Introductory American History
Henry Eldridge Bourne and Elbert Jay Benton
Part 3 out of 4
rather than for Christopher Columbus. This seems the more strange since
we know so little about the life of Americus. Americus Vespucius was
born in Florence, Italy, and like many other young Italians of that day
entered the service of neighboring countries. He went to Spain and
accompanied several Spanish expeditions sent to explore the new
continent which Columbus had discovered on his third voyage.
Perhaps Americus went as a pilot; he certainly was not the leader in any
expedition. But he seems to have written to his friends interesting
accounts of what he had seen. In one of these letters Americus seems to
have written boastfully of how he had found lands which might be called
a new world. He said that the new continent was more populous and more
full of animals than Europe, or Asia, or Africa, and that the climate
was even more temperate and pleasant than any other region. This was
clearly a new world.
WHY AMERICUS WAS REGARDED AS THE DISCOVERER OF AMERICA. The
statement of Americus was scattered widely by the help of the newly
invented printing press. It was written in Latin, and so could be read
by the learned of all countries. They were impressed by the belief of
Americus that he had seen a new world and not simply the Indies. This
was especially true of men living outside of Spain who had heard little
of Columbus or his discovery.
Columbus for his part had written as if his great discovery was a way to
the Indies and the finding of islands on the way thither less important.
Besides, when he saw what we call South America he had no idea that it
was a new world. The people of Europe either never knew that he had
discovered the mainland or had forgotten it altogether. But they heard a
great deal about Americus and his doings. It is not strange that
Americus rather than Columbus was long regarded as the true discoverer
TWO NAMES FOR THE NEW LANDS. Even then the new continent might not
have been called America but for the suggestion of a young scholar of
the time. Martin Waldseemüller, a professor of geography at the college
of St. Dié, now in eastern France, wrote a book on geography. In his
description of the parts of the world unknown to the ancients, he
suggested naming the continent stretching to the south for Americus.
[Illustration: FACSIMILE Of the passage in the _Cosmographia
Introductio_ (1507), by Martin Waldseemüller, in which the name of
America is proposed for the New World.]
The facsimile's transcription reads as follows:
Nunc Vero et hae partes sunt latius lustratae, et alia quarta
pars per Americum Vesputium (ut in sequentibus audietur) inventa
est quam non video cur quis jure vetet ab Americo inventore
sagacis ingenii viro Amerigen quasi Americi terram, sive Americam
dicendam: cum et Europa et Asia a mulieribus sua sortita sint
nomina. Ejus situm et gentis mores ex bis binis Americi
navigationibus quae sequuntur liquide intelligidatur.
Waldseemüller thought Americus had been the real discoverer of this
continent. He said, "Now, indeed, as these regions are more widely
explored, and another fourth part has been discovered by Americus
Vespucius, I do not see why any one may justly forbid it to be named
Amerige--that is, Americ's Land, from Americus, the discoverer."
Others adopted Waldseemüller's suggestion and the name America came into
general use outside of Spain. But the Spaniards continued to call all
the new lands by the name which Columbus had given them--the Indies.
America was at first the name for South America only, but later was also
used by writers for the other continent which was soon found to the
north. It was natural to distinguish the two continents as South and
BALBOA. The successors of Columbus kept up a ceaseless search for
the real Indies, but the more they explored the more they saw that a
great continental barrier was lying across the sea passage to Asia. A
few began to suspect that after all America was not a part of Asia.
Vasco Nuñez Balboa was one of these. Balboa was a planter who had
settled in Española. He fell deeply into debt, and to escape his
creditors had himself nailed up in a barrel and put aboard a vessel
bound for the northern coast of South America. From there he went to the
eastern border of Panama with a party of gold seekers. The Indians told
him of a great sea and of an abundance of gold on its shores to be found
a short distance across the isthmus. It is probable that the Indians
wished to get rid of the Spaniards as neighbors.
[Illustration: VASCO NUÑEZ BALBOA]
BALBOA'S DISCOVERY OF THE PACIFIC. Balboa resolved to make a name
for himself and to be the discoverer of the other sea. He set off in
1513. The land is not more than forty-five miles wide at Panama, but it
is almost impassable even to this day. For twenty-two days the hardy
adventurers advanced through a forest, dense with thickets and tangled
swamps and interlacing vines--so thick that for days the sun could not
be seen--and over rough and slippery mountain-sides until they came to
an open sea stretching off to the south and west. Balboa called it the
South Sea, but it is usually called the Pacific Ocean, the name given it
Balboa had made the important discovery that the barrier of land was
comparatively narrow. This gave the impression that North America, too,
was narrower than it proved to be, and the search for the passage to the
Indies was pushed with greater vigor.
MAGELLAN. A Portuguese explorer, Vasco da Gama, had really won the
race begun by Prince Henry's navigators and Columbus for India, the land
of cloves, pepper, and nutmegs. He had won in 1497 by going around the
Cape of Good Hope. Another explorer, Ferdinand Magellan, finally,
reached the Indies in a long westward voyage lasting two years, from
1519 to 1521.
[Illustration: FERDINAND MAGELLAN]
THE BEGINNING OF MAGELLAN'S VOYAGE. Magellan, himself a Portuguese,
tried in vain like Columbus to persuade the king of Portugal to aid him
in his project. He succeeded better in Spain, and sailed from there in
1519 with a small fleet given him by the young king Charles. The five
ships in his fleet were old and in bad repair, and the crews had been
brought together from every nation. They sailed directly to South
America, and spent the first year searching every inlet along the coast
for a passage.
[Illustration: THE STRAIT OF MAGELLAN]
They found that the natives of South America used for food vegetables
that "looked like turnips and tasted like chestnuts." The Indians called
them "patatas." In this way the potato, one of the great foods of
to-day, was found by Europeans. A whole winter was passed on the cold
and barren coast of Patagonia. Magellan called the natives "Patagones,"
the word in his language meaning big feet, from the large foot-prints
which they left on the sand.
THE STRAIT OF MAGELLAN. Magellan finally found a strait, since
named for him the Strait of Magellan, and sailed his ships through it
amid the greatest dangers. The change from the rough waters of the
strait to the calm sea beyond made the word Pacific or Peaceful Sea seem
the most suitable name for the vast body of water which they
THE FIRST VOYAGE ACROSS THE PACIFIC. From the western coast of
South America Magellan struck boldly out into the Pacific Ocean on his
way to Asia. The crews suffered untold hardships. The very rats which
overran the rotten ships became a luxurious article of food which only
the more fortunate members of the crews could afford. The poorer seamen
lived for days on the ox-hide strips which protected the masts. These
were soaked in sea-water and roasted over the fire.
Magellan was fortunate enough to chance upon the Isle of Guam, where
plentiful supplies were obtained. He called the group of small islands,
of which Guam is one, the Ladrones. This was his word for robbers, used
because the natives were such robbers. The expedition discovered a group
of islands afterwards called the Philippines. There Magellan fell in
with traders from the Indies and knew that the remainder of the voyage
would be through well-known seas and over a route frequently followed.
Poor Magellan did not live to complete his remarkable voyage. He was
killed in the Philippine Islands in a battle with the natives.
[Illustration: AN OLD MAP OF THE NEW WORLD--1523 After
Magellan's voyage, but before the exploration of North America had
Only one of the five ships found its way through the Spice Islands,
across the Indian Ocean, around the Cape of Good Hope, and so back to
Spain; but this one carried home twenty-six tons of cloves, worth more
than enough to pay the whole cost of the expedition. Such was the value
of the trade Europe was so eagerly seeking.
WHAT MAGELLAN HAD SHOWN THE PEOPLE OF EUROPE. Magellan's voyage
had, however, been a great event. Historians are agreed that it was the
greatest voyage in the history of mankind. It had shown in a practical
way that the earth is a globe, just as Columbus and other wise men had
long taught, for a ship had sailed completely around it.
But Magellan had also proved some things that they had not dreamed. He
had shown that two great oceans instead of one lay between Europe and
Asia; he had made clear that the Indies which the Spanish explorers had
found, and which other people were beginning to call the Americas, were
really a new world entirely separate from Asia, and not a part of Asia
as Columbus had thought.
1. Why were the early American explorers disappointed at finding two
continents between Europe and Asia?
2. What land did John Cabot discover? Where did he think this land
was? Why did the English people take little interest in this voyage?
3. Why was our country named America? Do you think that Americus
Vespucius deserved so great an honor? By what name did the Spaniards
continue to call the new region? Why did the Spaniards have one name
and the other Europeans another name for a long time?
4. How did Balboa come to find the Pacific Ocean? Why did men search
for a passage between the Atlantic and the Pacific more vigorously
after Balboa's expedition?
5. Why has Magellan's voyage been called the greatest one in
history? What three things had Magellan shown the European world?
1. Make out a list of the explorers mentioned in this chapter who
helped in the discovery of the New World, and place opposite the
name of each the name of the land he discovered.
2. Trace Magellan's voyage on the map and make a list of the lands
or countries he passed. Look at the map of North America on this old
map, and at the one in mentioned Chapter XIX. How do you account for
the queer shape of North America on the old map?
_Important date_--1519-21. Magellan's ship made the first voyage
around the world.
EARLY SPANISH EXPLORERS AND CONQUERORS ON THE MAINLAND
THE CIVILIZATION OF THE MEXICAN INDIANS. Early Spanish explorers on
the coast of Mexico found the Indians of the mainland more highly
civilized than the natives of the West Indies. Some of these, especially
the Aztecs, lived in large villages or cities and were ruled by powerful
chiefs or kings. They built to their gods huge stone temples with towers
several stories in height.
Their houses, quite unlike those of the other Indians the Spanish had
seen, were made of stone or sun-dried brick and coated with hard white
plaster. Some of them were of immense size and could hold many families.
Doors had not been invented, but hangings of woven grass or matting of
cotton served instead. Strings of shells which a visitor could rattle
answered for door-bells.
The streets of the towns were narrow, but were often paved with a sort
of cement. Aqueducts in solid masonry somewhat like the old Roman
aqueducts, although not so large, carried water from the neighboring
hills for fountains and rude public baths.
The women wove cotton and prepared clothing for their families. Workmen
made ornaments of gold and copper, and utensils and dishes of pottery
for every-day use. The people cultivated the fields around the cities,
raising a great variety of foods, and even built ditches to carry water
for irrigating the fields. All this was in striking contrast with the
simple habits of the West Indians.
[Illustration: AZTEC SACRIFICIAL STONE Now in the National
Museum in the City of Mexico]
CRUEL CUSTOMS OF THE AZTECS. With all the good features of Mexican
life, with all the superiority of the Mexicans over the other Indians,
there was much that was hideous and cruel. The Aztecs, the most powerful
tribes, were continually at war with their neighbors. They lived mainly
upon the plunder of their enemies and the tribute which they took from
those they had conquered. Like all Mexicans, they worshiped great ugly
idols as gods and to these their priests offered part of the captives
taken in war as human sacrifices.
SPANISH IDEAS OF MEXICO. The reports of the Aztec civilization and
of the treasures of gold, mostly untrue, excited the interest and greed
of the Spaniards. Mexico seemed like the China which Marco Polo had
described, and might offer a chance of immense wealth for those who
should conquer it. In truth, Mexican civilization did resemble that of
Asia more than anything that the Spaniards had seen. Montezuma, a
powerful chief or king of the Aztecs, lived somewhat like a Mongol
Emperor of Persia or China.
[Illustration: MONTEZUMA, THE LAST KING OF MEXICO After Montanus
CORTÉS. In 1519 the governor of Cuba sent Hernando Cortés to
explore and conquer Mexico. The expedition landed where Vera Cruz is now
situated. The ships were then sunk in order to cut off all hope of
retreat for the soldiers. "For whom but cowards," said Cortés, "were
means of retreat necessary!" Cortés, with great skill, worked up the
zeal of his soldiers to the fury of a religious crusade. All thought it
a duty to destroy the idols they saw, to end the practice of offering
human sacrifices, and to force the Christian religion upon the natives.
The small army marched slowly inland towards the City of Mexico, which
was the capital of Montezuma's kingdom. Cortés and his men had learned
the Indian mode of fighting from ambush, and also how successfully to
match cunning and treachery with those villagers who tried to prevent
his invasion of their country.
HOW THE SPANIARDS AND THE AZTECS FOUGHT. The Mexican warriors,
though they fought fiercely, were no match for the Spaniards. The
Mexicans were experts with the bow and arrow, using arrows pointed with
a hard kind of stone. They carried for hand-to-hand fighting a narrow
club set with a double edge of razor-like stones, and wore a crude kind
of armor made from quilted cotton. But such things were useless against
Spanish bullets shot from afar.
[Illustration: THE ARMOR OF CORTÉS After an engraving of the
original in the National Museum, Madrid]
The roaring cannon, the glittering steel swords, the thick armor and
shining helmets, the prancing horses on which the Spanish leaders were
mounted, gave the whole a strange, unearthly appearance to the
simple-minded Indians. The story is told that the Mexicans believed that
one of their gods had once floated out to sea, saying that, in the
fulness of time, he would return with fair-skinned companions to begin
again his rule over his people. Many Aztecs looked upon the coming of
the white men as the return of this god and thought that resistance
would be useless. Such natives sent presents, made their peace with
Cortés, and so weakened the opposition to the conquerors.
CORTÉS IN PERIL. Cortés easily entered the City of Mexico, and
forced Montezuma to resign. But here the natives attacked his army in
such numbers that he had to retreat to escape capture. The Spaniards
fled from the city at night amid the onslaught of the inhabitants
fighting for their religion and their homes.
[Illustration: CANNON OF THE TIME OF CORTÉS After Van Menken.
There are in the naval museum at Annapolis guns captured in the Mexican
War supposed to be those used by Cortés]
The retreat cost the Spaniards terrible losses. Cortés started in the
evening on the retreat with 1,250 soldiers, 6,000 Indian allies, and 80
horses. There were left in the morning 500 soldiers, 2,000 allies, and
20 horses. Cortés is said to have buried his face in his hands and wept
for his lost followers, but he never wavered in his purpose of taking
Mexico. He was able to defeat the Indians in the open country, and to
return to the attack on the capital city.
CAPTURE OF THE CITY OF MEXICO. The siege which followed, lasting
nearly three months, has rarely been matched in history for the bravery
and suffering of the natives. The fighting was constant and terrible.
The fresh water supply was cut off from the inhabitants in the city, and
famine aided the invaders. At length the defenders were exhausted and
Cortés entered. It had taken him two years to conquer the Aztecs. A
greater task remained for him to do. He was to cleanse and rebuild the
City of Mexico, make it a center of Spanish civilization, and Mexico a
New Spain. By such work Cortés showed that he could be not only a great
conqueror, but also an able ruler in time of peace.
[Illustration: THE CITY OF MEXICO UNDER THE CONQUERORS
From the engraving in the "Niewe Wereld" of Montanus]
PIZARRO. A few years after Cortés conquered Mexico a second army
conquered another famous Indian kingdom. Francisco Pizarro commanded
this expedition, which set out from Panama in 1531. Pizarro had been
with Balboa at the discovery of the South Sea or Pacific Ocean, and,
like his master, had become interested in the stories the Indians told
of a rich kingdom far to the south. The golden kingdom which the Indians
described was that of the Incas, who lived much as the Aztecs. The
Spaniards called the region of the Incas the Biru country or, by
softening the first letter, the Peru country, from Biru, who was a
native Indian chieftain.
[Illustration: A STONE IDOL OF THE AZTEC'S
It is more than eight feet high and five feet across, and was dug up in
the central square of the City of Mexico more than one hundred
CONQUEST OF PERU. Pizarro found the Incas divided as usual by civil
wars and incapable of much resistance. One of their rival chiefs was
outwitted when he tried to capture Pizarro by a trick, and was himself
made a prisoner instead. He offered to give Pizarro in return for his
freedom as much gold as would fill his prison room as high as he could
reach. The offer was accepted, and gold, mainly in the shape of vases,
plates, images, and other ornaments from the temples for the Indian
idols, was gathered together.
The Spaniards soon found themselves in possession of almost $7,000,000
worth of gold, besides a vast quantity of silver. As much more was taken
from the Indians by force. The whole was divided among the conquerors.
Pizarro's share was worth nearly a million dollars. But the poor chief
who had made them suddenly rich was suspected of plotting to have his
warriors ambush them as they left the country, was tried by his
conquerors, and put to death. The bloody work of conquest was soon over.
Peru, like Mexico, rapidly became a center of Spanish settlement.
Emigrants, instead of stopping in the West Indies, had the choice of
going on into the newer regions which Cortés and Pizarro had won.
EMIGRANTS TO SPANISH AMERICA. It was much harder in the sixteenth
century to leave Spain and settle in America than it is today. The first
and sometimes the greatest difficulty was in getting permission to leave
Spain. No one could go who had not secured the king's consent. The
emigrant must show that neither he nor his father nor his grandfather
had ever been guilty of heresy, that is, that he and his forefathers had
been steadfast Catholic Christians. His wife, if he had one, must give
her consent. His debts must all be paid. The Moors and the Jews of Spain
could not secure permits to move to the New World. Foreigners of
whatever nation were not wanted in the colonies and were usually kept
out. Spain tried to keep its colonies wholly for Spaniards.
HARDSHIPS OF THE SEA VOYAGE. Those who did go to the colonies found
the voyage dangerous and costly. One traveler has related that it cost
him about one hundred and eighty dollars for the passage, and that he
provided his own chickens and bread. The danger to sailing ships from
storms was much greater than it is today for steamships. The voyage
required three or four weeks and not uncommonly as many months.
THE NEED OF LABORERS. The hardships and dangers of the voyage and
the reports of suffering from famine and disease kept most people from
going to the New World. Emigration was slow, amounting to about a
thousand a year. There were always fewer capable white laborers than the
landowners in the colonies needed for their work, for there was much to
do in clearing the land and preparing it for use. The landowners were
usually well-to-do Spaniards who did not like to work in the fields
themselves. A great many of the laborers who migrated to America served
in the army or went to the gold and silver mines of Mexico and Peru. The
craze for gold constantly robbed the older colonies of their farm
laborers. The landowners in the islands of the West Indies, during the
early history of the colonies, made slaves of the Indians and compelled
them to take the place of the laborers they needed and could not obtain.
INDIAN SLAVERY. The people of Europe thought that the whole world
belonged to the followers of Christ. Non-Christians, whether Indian or
negro, had the choice of accepting Christianity or of being made slaves.
The choice of Christianity did not always save them from the fate of
slavery. In this the Spaniards were no more cruel than their neighbors
the English or the French. The Spanish planters from the beginning
forced the Indians to work their farms. The gold seekers made them work
in their mines.
The labor in every case was hard, and specially hard for the Indian
unused to work. The overseers were brutal when the slaves did not do the
tasks set for them. Hard usage and the unhealthful quarters rapidly
broke down the natives. The white men also brought into the island
diseases which they, with their greater experience, could resist, but
from which, one writer says, the Indians died like sheep with a
[Illustration: A SPANISH GALLEON Ships like this carried the
Spanish emigrants to America]
SLAVERY DESTROYS THE WEST INDIANS. When the number of the Indians
in Española and Cuba had decreased so much that there were not enough
left to meet the needs of the planters, slave-hunters searched the
neighboring islands for others. Finally, when the Indians were nearly
gone, and the planters began to look to the mainland for their slaves,
the king of Spain forbade making slaves of the Indians. Unfortunately he
did not forbid them to capture negroes in Africa for the same purpose,
and the change merely meant that negroes took the place of Indians as
slaves. The story of the change is in great part the story of the life
of Bartholomew de Las Casas.
LAS CASAS. The father of Las Casas was a companion of Columbus on
his second voyage in 1493. He returned to Spain, taking with him a young
Indian slave whom he gave to his son. This youth became greatly
interested in the race to which his young slave belonged. In 1502 he
went to Española to take possession of his father's estate. The
planter's life did not long satisfy him and finally he became a priest.
He moved from Española to Cuba, the newer colony.
Las Casas became convinced that Indian slavery was wrong, and gave his
own slaves their freedom. In his sermons he attacked the abuses of
slavery. He visited Spain in order to help the slaves, and secured many
reforms which lessened the hardships of their lot. Since the planters
demanded more laborers and Las Casas thought the negro would be hardier
than the Indian, he advocated negro slavery in place of Indian slavery
as the less of two evils. Finally, in 1542, Las Casas persuaded his
king, Charles V, to put an end to Indian slavery of every form.
His success came too late to benefit the natives of the West Indies.
They had decreased until almost none were left. It is said that there
were two hundred thousand Indians in Española in 1492, and that in 1548
there were barely five hundred survivors. The same decrease had taken
place in the other islands. But the work of Las Casas came in time to
save the Indians on the mainland from the fate of the luckless
NEGRO SLAVERY. Las Casas later regretted that he had advised the
planters to obtain negroes to take the place of the Indians. Some
negroes had been captured by the Portuguese on the coast of Africa
during their explorations and taken to Europe as slaves. Columbus
carried a few of these to the West Indies with him, and others had
followed his example, but negro slavery had grown very slowly until
after Las Casas stopped Indian slavery, when it increased rapidly in
[Illustration: LAS CASAS After the picture by Felix Parra in the
Academy, Mexico. Las Casas is supposed to be imploring Providence to
shield the natives from Spanish cruelty]
THE MISSIONS OF THE MAINLAND. Las Casas became at one time a
missionary to a tribe of the most desperate warriors located on the
southern border of Mexico, in a region called by the Spaniards the "Land
of War." Three times a Spanish army had invaded the country, and three
times it had been driven back by the native defenders. Las Casas wished
to show the Spaniards that more could be accomplished by treating the
Indians kindly than by bloody warfare and conquest.
He and the monks whom he took with him learned the language of the
Indians, and went among them not as conquerors but as Christian
teachers. Their gentle manners and endless patience won the friendship
of the Indians in time and changed the land of constant warfare into one
of peace. They led the natives to destroy their idols and to give up
cannibalism. The mission established among them and kept up by the monks
who were attracted to it was only one of a great number which sprang up
on the mainland.
THE WORK OF THE MISSIONS. Influenced by the work of Las Casas
against Indian slavery and for Indian missions, the Spaniards bent their
efforts to preserve and Christianize the natives wherever they came upon
them in America. Catholic priests gathered the Indians into permanent
villages, which were called missions. Within about one hundred years
after the death of Columbus, or by 1600, there were more then 5,000,000
Indians in such villages under Spanish rule. Priests taught them to
build better houses, checked their native vices, and suppressed heathen
Every mission became a little industrial school for children and parents
alike, where all might learn the simpler arts and trades and the customs
and language of their teachers. Each Indian cultivated his own plot of
land and worked two hours a day on the farm belonging to the village.
The produce of the village farm supported the church. The monks or
friars who had charge of the mission cared for the poor, taught in the
schools, preserved the peace and order of the village, and looked after
the religious welfare of all.
[Illustration: RUINS OF A SPANISH MISSION HOUSE]
Gradually Spanish emigrants settled in the mission stations, and
planters established farms around them, and they became Spanish villages
in every respect like those in the islands or in the Old World, except
that many inhabitants in the towns on the mainland were Indians. The
emigrants freely intermarried with the Indians and a mixed race took the
place of the old inhabitants. The customs, language, religion, and rule
of Spain prevailed in this New Spain, though in some ways the new
civilization was not so good as that of the Old World.
1. In what ways did the Aztecs resemble the Europeans? How did they
differ from them? Why were the Spaniards particularly anxious to
2. Why did many of the Mexicans refuse to fight the Spaniards? How
many soldiers and Indian allies did Cortés lose in one battle? How
long did it take Cortés to conquer Mexico?
3. What other Indian people was conquered a few years later? By
whom? What seemed to be the main object of these conquerors, Cortés
and Pizarro, in their expeditions?
4. Why did the Spaniards make slaves of the Indians in the West
Indies? Why did they later cease making slaves of Indians and begin
making slaves of negroes? What share had Las Casas in this change?
5. What good work did the priests and monks in the Spanish Missions
accomplish? What became of the Aztecs or other Indian tribes
1. Find all you can about the houses, food, clothing, and
occupations of any Indians living in your part of the United States,
or if none are there now, learn this from your parents or from some
neighbor who knew the Indians. Did they resemble the Aztecs in these
respects or the West Indians?
2. Review the account of emigrating to Spanish America four hundred
years ago. Who could not go to Spanish America then? Find out who
may not come into the United States to-day. What did it cost one
traveler to get to America in the sixteenth century? Find out the
cost of a voyage from Europe to America to-day. How long did it take
to make such a voyage? Find out the usual length of a voyage from
THE SPANISH EXPLORERS OF NORTH AMERICA
PONCE DE LEON. While men like Cortés were exploring and conquering
the countries on the west shore of the Gulf of Mexico, others began to
search the vast regions to the north. One of these explorers was Ponce
de Leon, who had come to Española with Columbus in 1493. He afterwards
spent many years in the West Indies capturing Indians, and understood
from something they said that a magic fountain could be found beyond the
Bahamas which would restore an old man to youth and vigor, if he
bathed in it.
[Illustration: PONCE DE LEON]
As Ponce de Leon was beginning to feel aged he went in search of this
wondrous fountain, but he found instead a coast where flowers grew in
great abundance. It was the Easter season in 1513. Since the Spanish
call this season _Pascua Florida_ or Flowery Easter, Ponce called the
new flowery country Florida. He went ashore near the present site of St.
Augustine, and later, while trying to establish a settlement, lost his
life in a battle with the Indians.
EXPLORATIONS OF NORTH AMERICAN COAST. Other Spanish explorers
between 1513 and 1525 followed the whole Gulf coast from Florida to Vera
Cruz, and the Atlantic coast from Florida to Labrador. They sought
continually for a passage to India. Every large inlet was entered, for
it might prove to be the long-looked-for strait. Slowly the coast of
North America took shape on the maps of that time. Two famous
expeditions into the interior of the country did much to enlarge this
knowledge. One was made by De Soto through the region which now forms
seven southern states of the United States, and the other was by
Coronado through the great southwest.
[Illustration: HERNANDO DE SOTO]
DE SOTO. Hernando de Soto, a noble from Seville in Spain, had won
fame and fortune with Pizarro in Peru. The King of Spain, to reward his
bravery and skill in conquering Indians, made him Governor of Cuba. In
those days the Governor of Cuba controlled Florida. It was a larger
Florida than the present state of that name, for Spanish Florida
included the whole north coast of the Gulf of Mexico running back into
the continent without any definite boundary.
THE STORY OF THE GILDED MAN. De Soto had heard a fanciful story of
a country so rich in gold that its king was smeared every morning with
gum and then thickly sprinkled with powdered gold, which was washed off
at night. De Soto thought this country might be somewhere in Florida,
and prepared to search for the Gilded Man, or in the Spanish language
THE COMRADES OF DE SOTO. More than six hundred men, some of them
from the oldest families of the nobility of Spain and Portugal, flocked
to De Soto's banner. They sold their possessions at home and ventured
all their wealth in the hope of obtaining great riches in Florida.
DE SOTO'S ROUTE THROUGH THE SOUTH OF NORTH AMERICA. De Soto crossed
from Cuba to the west coast of Florida in 1539, and advanced northward
by land to an Indian village near Apalachee Bay. Here he spent the first
winter. A white man, whom the Indians had taken captive twelve years
before and finally adopted, joined De Soto and became very useful as an
[Illustration: SPANISH KNIGHT OF 16TH CENTURY]
In the spring De Soto renewed his explorations. It was like a journey
into the interior of Africa. The expedition passed northeasterly through
the country now within Georgia and South Carolina, as far, perhaps, as
the border of North Carolina. From here it passed through the mountains,
and turned southwesterly through Tennessee and Alabama until a large
Indian village called Mauvilla was reached. This was near the head of
Mobile Bay. Mobile was named from the Indian village Mauvilla. The
Alabama Indians, whose name means "the thicket clearers," were near by.
Here again De Soto changed his course to the northwest into the
THE HARDSHIPS OF THE JOURNEY. His army was almost exhausted by the
difficulties of the journey. A road had to be cut and broken through
thickets and forest, paths had to be made through the many swamps, and
fords found across the rivers. It frequently became necessary to stop
for months at a time, to let the horses, worn out from travel and
starving because of the scarcity of fodder, fatten on the grass. The
stores which the army brought with them soon gave out. The men were
forced to live like Indians, and were often reduced to using the roots
of wild plants for food. Where they could, they robbed the Indians of
their scanty stores of corn and beans.
[Illustration: INDIANS BROILING FISH]
CRUEL TREATMENT OF THE INDIANS. De Soto was cruel in his treatment
of the conquered natives along his route. Many of his officers came with
him really for the purpose of obtaining Indian slaves for their
plantations in Cuba. Indian women were made to do the work of the camp.
Indian men were chained together and forced to carry the baggage. The
chiefs were held as hostages for the good behavior of the whole tribe.
The Indians who tried to shirk work or offered resistance were killed
[Illustration: MAP OF DE SOTO'S ROUTE--1539-1542]
De Soto's cruelties made the Indian of the South hate the white men, and
left him the enemy of any who should come to those regions in
after-years. More than once De Soto narrowly escaped destruction at the
hands of the enraged savages. They attacked the Spaniards with all their
strength at Mauvilla, and again while they were in camp in northern
Mississippi for the winter of 1540-1541. These two battles with the
Indians cost the Spaniards their baggage, which was destroyed in the
burning villages. New clothing, however, was soon made from the skins of
wild animals. Deerskins and bearskins served for cloaks, jackets,
shirts, stockings, and even for shoes. The great army must have looked
much like a band of Robinson Crusoes.
THE DISCOVERY OF THE MISSISSIPPI. De Soto marched on northwesterly
until May 8, 1541, when he was somewhere near the site of the present
city of Memphis. There he came upon a great river. One of his officers
tells us that the river was so wide at this point that if a man on the
other side stood still, it could not be known whether he were a man or
not; that the river was of great depth, and of a strong current; and
that the water was always muddy.
De Soto called it, in his own language, the Rio Grande or Great River,
but the Indians called it the Mississippi. Americans have adopted the
Indian name. Other Spanish explorers had probably passed the mouth of
the Mississippi River before De Soto, and wondered at its mighty size,
but De Soto was the first white man to approach it from the land and to
appreciate the importance of his discovery.
WANDERINGS WEST OF THE MISSISSIPPI. The Spaniards cut down trees,
made them into planks and built barges on which they crossed the
Mississippi. Then they wandered for another year through the endless
woods and marshes of the low-lying lands now within the state of
Arkansas. They probably went as far west as the open plains of Oklahoma
or Texas. In these border regions between the forests and the prairies
they met Indians who used the skins of the buffalo for clothing.
[Illustration: BURIAL OF DE SOTO IN THE MISSISSIPPI]
DEATH AND BURIAL OF DE SOTO. The severe winter of 1541-1542
discouraged the hardy travelers, who had now spent nearly three years in
a vain search. The natives whom they had found made clothing from the
fiber in the bark of mulberry trees and from the hides of buffaloes, and
stored beans and corn for food, but such things seemed of little value
to the seekers for the Gilded Man.
De Soto returned to the Mississippi and prepared to establish a colony
somewhere near the mouth of the Red River. It was his purpose to send to
Cuba for supplies, and, with this settlement as a base, make a farther
search in the plains of the great West. He did not live to carry out his
plan. Long exposure and anxiety had weakened him. The malaria of the
swamps attacked him, and he died within a few days. His body was wrapped
in mantles weighted with sand, carried in a canoe, and secretly lowered
in the midst of the great river he had discovered.
His successor tried to conceal De Soto's death from the Indians. The
Spaniards had called their leader the Child of the Sun, and now he had
died like any other mortal. They were afraid if the Indians found his
body they would cease to believe that the strangers were immortal and
would massacre them all. The Indians were told that the great leader had
gone to Heaven, as he had often done before, and that he would return in
a few days.
RESULTS OF DE SOTO'S JOURNEY. The weary survivors built boats,
floated down the Mississippi into the Gulf, and sailed cautiously along
the coasts to Mexico. They had been gone four years and three months,
and half of the army which set out had perished. However, the expedition
of De Soto will always remain one of the most remarkable journeys in the
history of North America. It had extended the Spanish claims far into
the interior. With it had begun the written history of the country now
composing at least eight states in the United States, Florida, Georgia,
South Carolina, North Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, and
Arkansas. It had perhaps reached the present Oklahoma and Texas, and had
certainly passed down the Mississippi River through Louisiana.
THE STORY OF THE SEVEN CITIES. While De Soto was exploring the
southeastern part of North America a second expedition searched the
southwest. Both were looking for rich Indian kingdoms like Mexico and
Peru. The second expedition came about in this manner. Some of the
Indians from northern Mexico told the Spaniards a strange tale of how in
the distant past their ancestors came forth from seven caves.
[Illustration: AN INDIAN OF NORTHERN MEXICO]
The Spaniards, however, confused the tale with a story of their own
about Seven Cities. They believed that at the time Spain was overrun by
the Moors in the eighth century, seven bishops, flying from persecution,
had taken refuge, with a great company of followers, on an island or
group of islands far out in the Atlantic Ocean, and that they had built
Seven Cities. Wonderful stories were told in Spain of these cities, of
their wealth and splendor, though nobody ever pretended to have actually
seen them. The Spaniards thought the Indians meant to tell them of these
Seven Cities instead of seven caves.
The mistake was natural, as the Spanish explorers had much trouble in
understanding the Indian languages. They had long expected to find the
Seven Cities in America. Indeed there was rumor that white travelers had
seen them north of Mexico.
THE JOURNEY OF FRIAR MARCOS. In 1539 the Viceroy of Mexico sent a
frontier missionary, Friar Marcos by name, together with a negro,
Stephen, and some Christianized Indians to look for them. Friar Marcos
traveled far to the north. He inquired his way of the Indians, always
asking them about Seven Cities. He described them as large cities with
houses made of stone and mortar. The Indians, half-understanding him,
directed him to seven Zuñi villages or pueblos. The first of these they
called Cibola. Friar Marcos henceforth spoke of them as the Seven Cities
The good friar himself never entered even the first of them. His negro,
Stephen, had been sent on in advance to prepare the way, but this rough,
greedy fellow offended the Indians, who promptly murdered him. When the
friar approached he found the Indians so excited and hostile that he
dared not enter their village. He did, however, venture to climb a hill
at a distance, from which he had a view of one of the cities of Cibola.
The houses, built of light stone and whitish adobe, glistened in the
wonderfully clear air and bright sunlight of that region, and gave him
the idea of a much larger and richer city than really existed. Friar
Marcos, by this time thoroughly frightened, hurriedly retraced
CORONADO. There was great excitement in Mexico over the story Friar
Marcos told. The account of what had been seen grew, as such stories
always do, in the telling and retelling. Nothing else was thought of in
all New Spain. The Viceroy of Mexico made ready a great army for the
conquest of the Seven Cities of Cibola. He gave the command to his
intimate friend, Francisco de Coronado. Everybody wanted to accompany
him, but it was necessary to have the consent of the viceroy. Sons of
nobles, eager to go, traded with their more fortunate neighbors for the
viceroy's permit. Some men who secured these sold them as special favors
to their friends. Whoever obtained one of them counted it as good as a
title of nobility. So high were the expectations of great wealth when
the Seven Cities should be discovered!
[Illustration: A ZUÑI PUEBLO FROM A DISTANCE]
THE ARMY OF CORONADO. In the early part of 1540, Coronado set forth
from his home in western Mexico near the Gulf of California. He had an
army of three hundred Spaniards, nearly all the younger sons of nobles.
They were fitted out with polished coats of mail and gilded armor,
carried lances and swords, and were mounted on the choicest horses from
the large stock-farms of the viceroy. There were in the army a few
footmen armed with crossbows and harquebuses. A thousand negroes and
Indians were taken along, mainly as servants for the white masters. Some
led the spare horses. Others carried the baggage, or drove the oxen and
cows, the sheep and swine which would be needed on the journey. A small
fleet carried part of the baggage by way of the Gulf of California,
prepared also to help Coronado in other ways, and to explore the Gulf
to its head.
[Illustration: THE ROUTE OF CORONADO]
THE ROUTE OF CORONADO TO CIBOLA. The large army marched slowly
through the wild regions of the Gulf coast. Coronado soon became
impatient and pushed ahead of the main body with a small following of
picked horsemen. They went through the mountainous wilderness of
northern Mexico and across the desert plains of southeastern Arizona.
After a march lasting five months, over a distance equal to that from
New York to Omaha, Coronado came upon the Seven Cities of Cibola; but
the real Seven Cities of Cibola as Coronado found them bore little
resemblance to what he had expected.
[Illustration: A ZUÑI PUEBLO]
THE REAL SEVEN CITIES OF CIBOLA. The first city of Cibola was an
Indian pueblo of about two hundred flat-roofed houses, built of stone
and sun-dried clay. The houses were entered by climbing ladders to the
top and then passing down into the rooms as we enter ships through
hatches. The people wore only such clothes as could be woven from the
coarse fiber of native plants, or patched together from the tanned skins
of the cat or the deer. They cultivated certain plants for food, but
only small and poor varieties of corn, beans, and melons. They had some
skill in making small things for house and personal decoration, mainly
in the form of pottery and simple ornaments of green stone.
The kingdom of rich cities dwindled to a small province of poor villages
inhabited by an unwarlike people. We know now that Coronado had found
the Zuñi pueblos in the western part of New Mexico. The conquest of
these was a wofully small thing for so grand and costly an expedition.
No gold or silver or precious jewels had been found.
[Illustration: CANYON OF THE COLORADO]
THE CANYON OF THE COLORADO. Yet the wonders of the natural world
about them astonished and interested the Spaniards. Some of their number
found the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River and vividly described it to
their comrades. As they looked into its depths it seemed as if the water
was six feet across, although in reality it was many hundred feet wide.
Some tried without success to descend the steep cliff to the stream
below or to discover a means of crossing to the opposite side. Those who
staid above estimated that some huge rocks on the side of the cliff were
about as tall as a man, but those who went down as far as they could
swore that when they reached these rocks they found them bigger than the
great tower of Seville, which is two hundred and seventy-five feet high.
CORONADO IN NEW MEXICO. Coronado marched from the Cities of Cibola
eastward to the valley of the Rio Grande River, and settled for the
winter in an Indian village a short distance south of the present city
of Albuquerque, New Mexico. The Spaniards drove the natives out, only
allowing them to take the clothes they wore.
A WINTER IN AN INDIAN VILLAGE. The soldiers passed the severe
winter of 1540-1541 comfortably quartered in the best houses of the
Indian village. A plentiful supply of corn and beans had been left by
the unfortunate owners. The live stock brought from Mexico furnished an
abundance of fresh meat. Coronado required the Indians to furnish three
hundred pieces of cloth for cloaks and blankets for his men, to take the
place of their own, now worn out. Nor did the officers give the Indians
time to secure the cloth that was demanded, but forced them to take
their own cloaks and blankets off their backs. When a soldier came upon
an Indian whose blanket was better than his, he compelled the unlucky
fellow to exchange with him without more ado.
Coronado's strenuous efforts to provide well for the comforts of his men
made him much loved by them, but much hated by the Indians. It is no
wonder that such treatment drove the Indians into rebellion, and that
Coronado was obliged to carry on a cruel war of reconquest and revenge.
THE TALE OF QUIVIRA. An Indian slave in one of the villages cheered
Coronado and his followers with a fabulous tale about a wonderful city,
many days' journey across the plains to the northeast, which he called
Quivira. The king of Quivira, he said, took his nap under a large tree,
on which were hung little gold bells, which put him to sleep as they
swung in the air. Every one in the city had jugs and bowls made of
wrought gold. The slave was probably tempted by the eagerness of his
hearers to make his tale bigger. He perhaps made it as enticing as he
could in order to lead the strangers away to perish in the pathless
plains where water would be scarce and corn unknown.
THE SEARCH FOR QUIVIRA. The slave's story deceived the Spaniards.
Coronado grasped eagerly at the only hope left of finding a rich country
and marched away in search of Quivira. He traveled to the northeast for
seventy-seven days. There were no guiding land marks. Soldiers measured
the distance traveled each day by counting the footsteps. The plains
were flat, save for an occasional channel cut by some river half buried
in the sand; they were barren, except for a short wiry grass and a small
rim of shrubs and stunted trees along the watercourses.
QUIVIRA. The most marvelous sight of the long journey was the herds
of buffaloes in countless numbers. The Indians guided Coronado in the
end to a cluster of Indian villages which they called Quivira. This was
somewhere in what is now central Kansas near Junction City. The Indians
were in all probability the Wichitas. Here again the great explorer met
with a bitter disappointment.
[Illustration: INDIAN TEPEES]
Instead of a fine city of stone and mortar, he found scattered Indian
villages with mere tent-like houses formed by fastening grass or straw
or buffalo skins to poles. The people were the poorest and most
barbarous which he had met. Coronado was, however, fortunate in securing
a supply of corn and buffalo meat in Quivira for his long
CORONADO'S OPINION OF THE WEST. A year later a crestfallen army of
half-starved men clad in the skins of animals stumbled back homeward
through Mexico in straggling groups. Great sadness prevailed in Mexico,
for many had lost their fortunes besides friends and relatives in the
enterprise. Coronado seemed to the people of the time to have led a
costly army on a wild-goose chase. He himself thought that the regions
he had crossed were valueless. He said they were cold and too far away
from the sea to furnish a good site for a colony, and the country was
neither rich enough nor populous enough to make it worth keeping.
RESULTS OF CORONADO'S EXPLORATIONS. We know better to-day the
value of Coronado's great discoveries. He had solved the age-long
mystery of the Seven Cities, and explored the southwest of the United
States of our day. The rich region now included in the great states of
Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas had been seen, and it
was soon after described for the European world. His men had explored
the Gulf of California to its head, and the Colorado River toward its
source for two hundred miles. They had proved that lower California was
not an island but a part of the mainland. Others soon explored the
entire coast of California to the limits of the present state of Oregon.
HOW DE SOTO AND CORONADO CAME NEAR MEETING. De Soto and Coronado
together pushed the Spanish frontier far northward to the center of
North America. A story which was told by De Soto's men shows how close
together the two great explorers were at one time. While Coronado was in
Quivira, De Soto was wandering along the borders of the plains west of
the Mississippi River, though neither knew of the nearness of the other.
An Indian woman who ran away from Coronado's army fell in with De
Soto's, nine days later. If De Soto and Coronado had met on the plains
there would have been a finer story to tell, almost as dramatic as the
meeting of Stanley and Livingstone in central Africa. One cannot refrain
from wondering how different would have been the ending with the two
great armies united and encouraged to continue their explorations.
1. What story had Ponce de Leon heard in the West Indies? What did
he find? Why did he call the new country which he discovered
Florida? What was included in Florida as the Spaniards
2. What was De Soto looking for in North America? How long did he
search? What did he find? Was he disappointed? What was he planning
to do when he died? Why was his journey very remarkable? Through
what present states of the United States did he pass?
3. Where did the Spaniards expect to find the Seven Cities? Why did
he expect to find them there? What was the story of the Seven
Cities? Of the Seven Caves?
4. What did Coronado expect to find at the Seven Cities of Cibola?
What did he find there? Why did he go far on into North America in
search of Quivira? What did he find on the way to Quivira? What did
he find Quivira to be?
5. What did Coronado think of his own discoveries? What had he found
out of interest or value to the rest of the world? Which of the
present states of the United States did his route touch?
1. Review the effect of the discoveries of Columbus,
Magellan, De Soto, Coronado, on the knowledge of the new world.
_Important date_--1541. The discovery of the Mississippi by De Soto.
RIVALRY AND STRIFE IN EUROPE
THE RIVALS OF SPAIN. When the early voyages to America and Asia were
ended, the French, the English, and the other northern peoples of
Europe seemed to be beaten in the race for new lands and for new
routes to old lands. The French had sent a few fishermen to the Banks
of Newfoundland, and that was all. The English had made one or two
voyages and appeared to be no longer interested. (See Chapter XIV,
Cabot) The Dutch seemed to be only sturdy fishermen, thrifty farmers,
or keen traders, occupied much of the time in the struggle against the
North Sea, which threatened to burst the dikes and flood farms and
THE TRADE-WINDS. The Portuguese and the Spaniards had a great
advantage in living nearer the natural starting-point for such voyages.
To go to Asia ships went by way of the Cape of Good Hope. To go to
America a southern route was taken, for in the North Atlantic the
prevailing winds are from the southwest, while south of Spain the
trade-winds blow towards the southwest, making it easy to sail to
America. To take the northern route, which was the natural one for
French and English sailors, would be to battle against head winds and
THE SPANIARDS AND THE PORTUGUESE DIVIDE THE WORLD. The Spaniards
and the Portuguese believed that their discoveries gave them the right
to all new lands which should be found and to all trade by sea with the
Golden East. Two years after the first voyage of Columbus the Spaniards
agreed with the Portuguese that a line running 370 leagues west of the
Cape Verde Islands should separate the regions claimed by each. The
Spaniards were to hold all lands discovered west of that line, and the
Portuguese all east of it. This left Brazil within the region claimed by
the Portuguese. The rest of North and South America lay within the
Spanish claims. It is the future history of this region that especially
interests us as students of American history.
[Illustration: CABOT MEMORIAL TOWER Erected at Bristol, England,
in memory of the first sailor from England to visit America]
THE MAIN QUESTION. Were the Spaniards to keep what they claimed and
continue to outstrip their northern rivals? The answer to this question
is found in the history of Europe during the sixteenth century.
Unfortunately for the Spaniards they were drawn into quarrels in Europe
which cost them many men and much money. The consequence was that they
were unable to make full use of their discoveries, even if they had
known how. Before the century was ended their rivals, the English and
the French, were stronger than they; and the Dutch, their own subjects,
had rebelled against them.
THE ENGLISH AND THE FRENCH DESIRE A SHARE. Men had such great ideas
of the immense wealth of the Indies that the successes of one nation
made the other nations eager for some part of the spoil. Englishmen and
Frenchmen were not likely to allow the Portuguese to take all they could
find by sailing eastward around the Cape of Good Hope, and the Spaniards
to keep whatever they discovered by sailing directly westward or by
following the route marked out by Magellan. Both would search for new
routes to the East, and both would lay claim to lands they saw by the
way, regardless of any other nation. Many quarrels came from this
rivalry, but quarrels arose also from other causes.
KING CHARLES AND KING FRANCIS. About the time Cortés conquered
Mexico, his master, King Charles of Spain, began a war against Francis,
the king of France. As long as these two kings lived they were either
fighting or preparing to fight. Had Charles been king of Spain only,
there might have been no trouble, but he ruled lands in Italy and
claimed others which the French king ruled. He also ruled all the region
north of France which is now Belgium and Holland, and he owned a
district which forms part of eastern France near Switzerland. As he was
the German emperor besides, the French king thought him too dangerous to
be left in peace. These wars have little to do with American history,
except that they helped to weaken the king of Spain and to prevent the
Spaniards from making the most of their early successes in colonizing.
RELIGION A CAUSE OF STRIFE. Religion was the most serious cause of
quarrel in the sixteenth century, and the king of Spain was the prince
most injured by the struggle. At the time of Prince Henry of Portugal
and of Columbus all peoples in western Europe worshiped in the same
manner, taught their children the same beliefs, and in religious matters
they all obeyed the pope. But by 1521 this had changed. The troubles
began in Germany when Charles V was emperor. Before they were over
Philip II, son of Charles, lost control of the Dutch, who rebelled and
founded a republic of their own. The English finally became the
principal enemies of Spain. The French, most of whom were of the same
religion as the Spaniards, came to hate Spanish methods of defending
religion, especially after the Spaniards had massacred a band of French
settlers in America.
[Illustration: EMPEROR CHARLES V]
THE "REFORMERS." Many men became discontented at the way the Church
was managed. At first all were agreed that the evils of which they
complained could be removed if priests, bishops, and pope worked
together to that end. After a while some teachers in different countries
not only complained of evils, but refused to believe as the Church had
taught and as most people still believed. They did not mean to divide
the Christian Church into several churches, but they thought they
understood the words of the Bible better than the teachers of
THE REFORMATION. At that time people who were not agreed in their
religious beliefs did not live peaceably in the same countries. The
princes and kings who were faithful to the Church ordered that the new
teachers and their followers should be punished. Other princes accepted
the views of the "reformers," and soon began to punish those of their
subjects who continued to believe as the Church taught. In Germany these
princes were called "Protestants," because they protested against the
efforts of the Emperor Charles and his advisers to stop the spread of
the new religion. This name was afterwards given to all who refused to
remain in the older Church, subject to the bishops and the pope.
CATHOLIC AND PROTESTANT LEADERS. The most famous leaders of the
Roman Catholics at this time were Ignatius Loyola, a Spaniard, Reginald
Pole, an Englishman, and Carlo Borromeo, an Italian. Loyola had been a
soldier in his youth, but while recovering from a serious wound,
resolved to be a missionary. With several other young men of the same
purpose he founded the Society of Jesus or the Jesuit Order. Of the
Protestants the greatest leaders were Martin Luther, a German, and John
Calvin, a Frenchman. Luther was a professor in the university at
Wittenberg in Saxony, which was ruled by the Elector Frederick the Wise.
Calvin had lived as a student in Paris, but when King Francis resolved
to allow no Protestants in his kingdom, Calvin was obliged to leave the
country. He settled in the Swiss city of Geneva.
THE LUTHERAN CHURCH. Luther's teachings were accepted by many
Germans, especially in northern Germany. He translated the Bible into
German. After a while his followers formed a Church of their own which
was called Lutheran. It differed from the Roman Catholic Church in the
way it was governed as well as in what it taught.
THE FRENCH HUGUENOTS. Calvin lived in Geneva, but most of those who
accepted his teachings continued to live in France. The nickname
Huguenots, or confederates, was given to them. They were not permitted
by the French king to worship as Calvin taught, but by 1562 so many
nobles had joined them that it was no longer possible to treat them as
criminals. They were permitted to hold their meetings outside the walled
towns. The leader whom they most honored was Admiral Gaspard de Coligny.
Both he and they, as we shall see, soon had reason to fear and hate the
Spaniards. But we must first understand the difficulties which the king
of Spain had in dealing with his Dutch subjects.
THE KING OF SPAIN AND THE NETHERLANDS. Philip II inherited from his
father Charles seventeen duchies, counties, and other districts north of
France in what is now Belgium and Holland. Charles had known how to
manage these people, because he was brought up among them. The task of
managing them was not easy. Each district or city had its own special
rights and its people demanded that these should be respected by the
ruling prince. Charles had remembered this, but Philip wished to rule
the Netherlanders, as these people were called, just as he ruled the
people of Spain.
[Illustration: THE DIKES ALONG THE YSSEL IN THE NETHERLANDS]
PROTESTANTS IN THE NETHERLANDS. The trouble was made worse because
many of the Netherlanders became followers of Luther or Calvin, and
brought their books into the country. Now Philip, like his father
Charles, was faithful to the teachings of the Church, and thought it was
his duty to punish such persons. The result was that Philip soon had two
kinds of enemies in his Netherland provinces, those who did not like the
way he ruled and those who refused to believe as the Church taught, and
the two united against him. After a while most of the Lutherans were
driven away, but the Calvinists kept coming in over the border
THE NETHERLANDS. The Netherlands, or Low Countries, are well
named, especially the northern part where the Dutch live, because much
of the land is below the level of the sea at high tide, and some of it
at low tide. For several hundred years the Dutch built dikes to keep
back the sea, or pumped it out where it flowed in and covered the lower
lands. Occasionally great storms broke through the dikes and caused the
Dutch months or years of labor. A people so brave and industrious were
not likely to submit to the will of Philip II. The chances that they
would rebel were increased by the spread of the new religious views,
which the Dutch accepted more readily than their neighbors, the southern
Netherlanders. The southern Netherlanders who became Calvinists
generally emigrated to the northern cities, like Amsterdam, where they
[Illustration: Map Of The Netherlands]
WILLIAM OF ORANGE. William, Prince of Orange, was the leader of the
Dutch against Philip II. He had been trusted by Charles, Philip's
father, who had leaned on his shoulder at the great ceremony held in
Brussels when Charles gave up his throne to Philip. William was called
the "Silent," because he was careful not to tell his plans to any except
his nearest friends. When Philip returned to Spain, William was made
governor or _stadtholder_ of three of the Dutch provinces--Holland,
Zealand, and Utrecht. Philip was angry because William and other great
nobles in the Netherlands opposed his way of dealing with the heretics
and of ruling the Netherlands. In this both the southern Netherlanders
and the northern Netherlanders were united, although the southern
Netherlanders remained faithful to the Roman Catholic religion.
SPAIN AND ENGLAND. The English at first had no reason to quarrel
with the king of Spain. They were friendly to the Netherlanders, who
were his subjects. During the Middle Ages they sold great quantities of
wool to the Netherland cities of Bruges, Brussels, and Ghent, and bought
fine cloth woven in those towns. The friendship of the ruler of the
Netherlands seemed necessary, if this trade was to prosper. It was the
trouble about religion which finally made the English and the
HENRY VIII. During the reign of Henry VIII, King of England, the
king, the parliament, and the clergy decided to refuse obedience to the
pope. The king called himself the head of the Church in England.
Lutheran views crept into the country as they had done into the
Netherlands, but King Henry at first disliked the Lutherans quite as
much as he grew to dislike the pope.
THE ENGLISH CHURCH. So long as Henry lived not much change was made
in the beliefs or the manner of worship in the Church. During the short
reign of his son, the English Church became more like the Protestant
Churches on the Continent, except that in England there were still
archbishops and bishops, and the government of the Church went on much
as before. When Henry's daughter Mary was made queen she tried to stop
these changes, and for a few years her subjects were again obedient to
the pope, but she died in 1558 and her half-sister, Elizabeth,
[Illustration: QUEEN ELIZABETH]
THE ENGLISH CHURCH AND THE CATHOLICS. In religious matters Queen
Elizabeth did much as her father and her brother had done. All persons
were forced to attend the religious services carried on in the manner
ordered in the prayer-book. Roman Catholics could not hold any
government office. They were punished if they tried to persuade others
to remain faithful to the older Church. Philip did not like this, but
for a time he preferred to be on friendly terms with the English.
[Illustration: COSTUMES AT THE TIME OF ELIZABETH]
QUEEN ELIZABETH. Queen Elizabeth ruled England for forty-five
years. The English regard her reign as the most glorious in their
history. Before it was over they proved themselves more than a match for
the Spaniards on the sea. They also began to seek for routes to the East
and to attempt settlements in America. Their trade was increasing. The
Greek and Roman writers were studied by English scholars at Oxford and
Cambridge. Books and poems and plays were written which were to make the
English language the rival of the languages of Greece and Rome. This was
the time when Shakespeare wrote his first plays.
1. Why was it easier to sail toward America from Spain or Portugal
than from England?
2. What peoples divided the new world between them? Where did they
draw the line of division?
3. Why were the kings of France and Spain rivals? Over what
countries did King Charles rule?
4. When did religion become a cause of strife? What king was chiefly
injured by such struggles?
5. Who were called "reformers?" By what other names were they
6. Who were the leaders of the Catholics? of the Protestants? Who
were the Huguenots? What was their leader's name?
7. Why did Philip II and his subjects in the Netherlands quarrel?
8. What was strange about the land in which the Dutch lived? Who was
the hero of the Dutch?
9. Why were the English and the Spaniards at first friendly? What
king of England refused to obey the pope?
10. Why do Englishmen think Queen Elizabeth a great ruler? How did
Elizabeth settle the question of religion?
Collect pictures of the Dutch, of their canals, dikes, and towns.
FIRST FRENCH ATTEMPTS TO SETTLE AMERICA
CARTIER. During the reign of Francis I, the French made the first
serious attempts to find a westward route to the Far East and to settle
the new lands that seemed to lie directly across the pathway. In 1534
Jacques Cartier was sent with two ships in search of a strait beyond the
regions controlled by Spain or Portugal which would lead into the
Pacific Ocean. Cartier passed around the northern side of Newfoundland
and into the broad expanse of water west of it. This he called the Gulf
of St. Lawrence.
CARTIER AT MONTREAL. Cartier made a second voyage in the following
year, exploring the great river which he called the St. Lawrence. He
went up the river until the heights of Mount Royal or Montreal, as he
called them, appeared on his right hand, and swift rapids in the river
blocked his way in front. The name Lachine rapids, or the China rapids,
which was afterwards given to these, remains to remind us that Cartier
was searching for a passage to China.
THE FIRST WINTER IN CANADA. Cartier spent the severe winter which
followed at the foot of the cliffs which mark the site of the modern
city of Quebec. The expedition returned to France with the coming
ATTEMPTS TO PLANT A COLONY AT QUEBEC. Several years later, in 1541,
Cartier and others attempted to establish a permanent settlement on the
St. Lawrence. As it was hard to get good colonists to settle in the cold
climate so far north, the leaders were allowed to ransack the prisons
for debtors and criminals to make up the necessary numbers. They
selected the neighborhood of the cliffs where Cartier had wintered in
1535, where Quebec now stands, as the most suitable place for their
colony. But the settlers were ill-fitted for the hardships of a new
settlement in so cold and barren a country. Diseases and the hostility
of the Indians completely discouraged them, and all gladly returned
[Illustration: MAP SHOWING JACQUES CARTIER's VOYAGES
Thus: 1st Voyage---- 2d Voyage.... 3d Voyage--> -->]
The zeal of the French for American discovery and settlement on the St.
Lawrence ceased with Cartier. His hope that the St. Lawrence would prove
the long-sought passage to China had to be given up, but the river which
he had discovered and so thoroughly explored proved to be a great
highway into the center of North America.
COLIGNY'S PLAN FOR A HUGUENOT COLONY. Nearly thirty years later the
French Protestant leader, Coligny, formed the plan of establishing a
colony in America, which would be a refuge for the Huguenots if their
enemies got the upper hand in France. An expedition left France in 1564,
and selected a site for a settlement near the mouth of the St. Johns
river in Florida. It seemed a good place. A fort, called Fort Caroline,
was quickly built. But the first colonists were not well chosen. They
were chiefly younger nobles, soldiers unused to labor, or discontented
tradesmen and artisans. There were few farmers among them.
THE MISDEEDS OF THE COLONISTS. They spent their time visiting
distant Indian tribes in a vain search for gold and silver, or
plundering Spanish villages and ships in the West Indies. No one thought
of preparing the soil and planting seeds for a food supply. It seemed
easier to rob neighbors. The provisions which they had brought with them
gave out. Game and fish abounded in the woods and rivers about them, but
they were without skill in hunting and fishing. Before the first year
had passed the miserable inhabitants of Fort Caroline were reduced to
digging roots in the forest for food. Starvation and the revenge of
angry Indians confronted them.
RELIEF SENT TO THE COLONY. In August, 1565, just as the
half-starved colonists were preparing to leave the country, an
expedition with fresh settlers--mostly discharged soldiers, a few young
nobles, and some mechanics with their families, three hundred in
all--arrived in the harbor. It brought an abundance of supplies and
other things needed by a colony in a new country. It looked then as
though these Frenchmen would succeed in their plan and establish a
permanent colony in America.
[Illustration: FORT CAROLINE, THE FRENCH SETTLEMENT IN FLORIDA
From De Bry's Voyages]
FORT CAROLINE AND THE SPANIARDS. The French had, however, settled
in Florida. Indeed, it would have been difficult to settle in America at
any place along the Atlantic coast without doing so. The Spaniards
regarded all North America from Mexico to Labrador as lying within
Florida. The attempt of the French to settle on the lands claimed by the
king of Spain was sure to bring on a war, sooner or later. The conduct
of the French at Fort Caroline in plundering the Spanish colonies in the
West Indies made all Spaniards anxious to drive out such a nest of
robbers and murderers. Besides, the Spaniards hated Coligny's followers
more than ordinary Frenchmen, because they were Huguenots.
MENENDEZ. At the time the news reached Spain of Coligny's
settlement at Fort Caroline, a Spanish nobleman, Pedro Menendez, was
preparing to establish a colony in Florida, and thus after a long delay
carry out the task which De Soto had vainly attempted. Menendez was
naturally as eager as the king to drive out the French intruders. So an
expedition larger than was planned at first was hurried off. Menendez
was to do three things: drive the French out, conquer and Christianize
the Indians, and establish Spanish settlements in Florida.
THE DEFEAT OF THE FRENCH FLEET. Menendez with a part of his fleet
arrived before Fort Caroline just one week after the relief expedition
which Coligny had sent over came into harbor. His ships attacked and
scattered those of the French. The vessels of the French for the most
part sought refuge on the high seas. They were too swift to be
overtaken, but no match for the Spanish in battle. Menendez decided to
wait for the rest of his ships before making another attack on Fort
Caroline. Meanwhile he sailed southward along the coast for fifty miles
till he came to an inlet. He called the place St. Augustine.
ST. AUGUSTINE FOUNDED. A friendly Indian chief readily gave his
dwelling to the Spaniards. It was a huge, barn-like structure, made of
the entire trunks of trees, and thatched with palmetto leaves. Soldiers
quickly dug a ditch around it and threw up a breastwork of earth and
small sticks. The colonists who came with Menendez landed and set about
the usual work of founding a settlement. Such was the beginning of the
Spanish town of St. Augustine, founded in 1565, and the oldest town in
the United States.
[Illustration: ST. AUGUSTINE, FLORIDA, AS FOUNDED BY MENENDEZ
Pagus Hispanorum as given in Montanus and Ogilby]
FRENCH SAIL TO ATTACK ST. AUGUSTINE. Both sides prepared for a
terrible struggle, the French at Fort Caroline and the Spaniards in
their new quarters at St. Augustine. The French struck the first blow. A
few of the weaker and the sick soldiers were left at Fort Caroline to
stand guard with the women and children. The main body aboard the ships
advanced by sea to attack St. Augustine, but a furious tempest scattered
and wrecked the French fleet before it arrived.
MENENDEZ DESTROYS FORT CAROLINE. Menendez now took advantage of the
storm to march overland to Fort Caroline, wading through swamps and
fording streams amid a fearful rain and gale. His drenched and hungry
followers fell like wild beasts upon the few French left in the fort.
About fifty of the women and children were spared to become captives. As
many men escaped in the forests around the fort, but the greater part
CAPTURE OF THE SHIPWRECKED FRENCH. The French fleet had been
wrecked off the coast of Florida a dozen miles south of St. Augustine. A
few days later Menendez discovered some survivors wandering along the
coast, half starved, trying to live on the shell-fish they found on the
beach, and slowly and painfully working their way back toward Fort
Caroline. The Frenchmen begged Menendez to be allowed to remain in the
country till ships could be sent to take them off, but he was unwilling
to make any terms with them.
MURDER OF THE CAPTIVES. The unhappy Frenchmen were taken prisoners,
and, a few hours later, put to death. Other shipwrecked refugees were
captured a few days later, and these suffered the same fate. Nearly
three hundred perished in this cold-blooded manner. It was a merciless
deed, and yet such was the character of all warfare at the time.
Menendez believed that he was doing his duty. Nor did the king of Spain
think Menendez unduly cruel, for when he heard the story of the fate of
the Frenchmen of Fort Caroline he sent this message to Menendez: "Say to
him that, as to those he has killed, he has done well; and as to those
he has saved, they shall be sent to the galleys."
[Illustration: NORTH AMERICA AS KNOWN AFTER THE EXPLORATIONS OF
DE SOTO CORONADO AND CARTIER]
1. Who was the leader in the first French efforts to explore and
settle in North America? Find as many reasons as possible why France
had not tried to settle in America before. What parts of the
continent did Cartier become interested in? Why was he specially
interested in St. Lawrence region?
2. How did Montreal get its name? Why was the name, Lachine rapids,
given to the rapids above Montreal on the St. Lawrence river?
3. Why did Cartier fail in his attempts to plant a French colony in
North America? How much had he and his friends accomplished for
France in North America?
4. Why did Coligny later wish to establish a colony in America?
Where did his people try to settle? Find the place on the map.
Give several reasons why they soon got into trouble with
5. What did the king of Spain send Menendez to Florida to do? What
things did he accomplish? Why do we specially remember St.
Augustine? Find it on the map.
1. Examine the map of North America in 1541. What parts
of North America were known? What parts were unknown? Can you see
why the explorers would search each bay or inlet or great river?
2. Find how far into the continent of North America the French
explored the St. Lawrence river, that is, the distance from
Newfoundland to Montreal by using the scale of miles on a map in one
of your geographies.
_Important Date_: 1565. The founding of St. Augustine.
THE ENGLISH AND THE DUTCH TRIUMPH OVER SPAIN
CRUEL TREATMENT OF THE NETHERLANDERS. Two years after the cruel
massacre of the Huguenot colony in Florida, Philip II, the King of
Spain, decided to put an end to the obstinacy of the Netherlanders, and
sent an army from Spain commanded by the Duke of Alva, who was as
pitiless as Menendez. Alva began by seizing prominent nobles, and he
would have arrested the Prince of Orange, but he escaped into Germany. A
court was set up which condemned many persons to death, including the
greatest nobles of the land. The people nicknamed it the Council of
Blood. Alva also turned the merchants against him by compelling them to
pay the "tenth penny," that is, one tenth of the price of the goods
every time these were either bought or sold. Alva made himself so
thoroughly hated that even Philip decided to call him back to Spain.
THE BEGGARS OF THE SEA. Just then something happened which gave
Coligny and the Huguenots their chance for vengeance. The men who were
resisting the king's officers in the Netherlands had been nicknamed the
"Beggars." When they were driven from the cities they took to the sea.
The "Beggars of the Sea" sometimes found a port of refuge in La
Rochelle, a Huguenot town on the western coast of France, and sometimes
they put into friendly English harbors. From these places they would
sail out and attack Spanish vessels. When Queen Elizabeth in 1572
ordered a fleet of these "Beggars" to leave, they crossed over to their
own shores and drove the Spanish garrison out of Brille. This success
encouraged the Dutch and many of the southern Netherlanders to rise and
expel the Spanish soldiers from their towns.
THE FRENCH PROMISE AID. As soon as Coligny heard the news he urged
the French king to send an army into the Netherlands and take vengeance
not only for the massacre at Fort Caroline, but also for all the wrongs
that he and his father and his grandfather had ever received at the
hands of the Spaniards. The French king agreed and wrote a letter to the
Netherlanders promising aid.
[Illustration: GASPARD DE COLIGNY After the portrait in the
Public Library, Geneva]
MASSACRE OF HUGUENOTS IN PARIS. The plan was never carried out.
While Coligny and many other Huguenots were in Paris, his enemies
attempted to kill him. When the attempt failed these enemies, including
the king's mother, persuaded the king that Coligny and the Huguenots
were plotting against him, and goaded the king into ordering the murder
of all the Huguenots in Paris and the other cities of France. Thousands
of Huguenots perished. When the Netherlanders heard of what had befallen
Coligny and his followers, they were crushed with grief. Coligny had
missed the chance of vengeance. But the Spanish king was soon to have
other enemies besides the Huguenots who were ready to help the Dutch.
These new enemies were the English.
THE ENGLISH DRAWN INTO THE CONFLICT. The religious troubles in
England had been growing more serious. Two or three plots were made to
assassinate Elizabeth in order to put on the throne Queen Mary of
Scotland, who was the next heir. Philip began to encourage these
plotters, especially after the pope in 1570 had excommunicated Elizabeth
and forbidden her subjects to obey her as queen. She was sure to be
dragged into the struggle in the Netherlands sooner or later. We have
seen that she had once sheltered the "Beggars of the Sea." The murder of
Coligny and his followers frightened the English and made many of them
anxious to join in the conflict before their friends on the Continent,
the French Huguenots and the Dutch Calvinists, were utterly destroyed.
GROWTH OF ENGLISH TRADE. If England should be drawn into war, her
safety would depend mainly upon her ships. Englishmen had always taken
to the sea, as was natural for men whose shores were washed by the
Atlantic, the Channel and the North Sea, but they were slow in building
fleets of ships either for trade or for war. The trade of the country
with other peoples in the Middle Ages was carried on mostly by
foreigners. Yet since the days of Elizabeth's father and grandfather a
change had taken place. English merchants found their way to all
markets. They also made new things to sell. Refugees driven by the
religious troubles from France and the Netherlands brought their skill
to England and taught the English how to weave fine woolens and silks.
THE NEW ENGLISH NAVY. The English navy was growing. One of the new
ships, _The Triumph_, carried 450 seamen, 50 gunners, and 200 soldiers.
Besides harquebuses for the soldiers, there were many kinds of cannon
with strange names, such as culverins, falconets, sakers, serpentines,
and rabinets. Four of the cannon were large enough to shoot a
cannon-ball eight inches in diameter. But it was on the skill and
courage of her men rather than upon the size of her ships that England
relied for victory.
[Illustration: SIR FRANCIS DRAKE After the painting at Buckland
SIR FRANCIS DRAKE. One of these men was Francis Drake. He was son
of a chaplain in the navy and as a boy played in the rigging of the
great ships-of-war, as other boys play in the streets. In time young
Drake was apprenticed to the skipper of a small trading vessel. Fortune
smiled on the lad early in life. His master died, and out of love for
the apprentice who had served him so well, left him the vessel. Francis
Drake became thus a shipmaster on his own account, and in time the most
popular of Queen Elizabeth's sea-captains.
SLAVE-TRADERS. He often went with his cousin, John Hawkins, on
voyages to Africa. They bought negro slaves from slave-traders along the
coast, or kidnaped negroes whom they found, and carried them to the
Spanish planters of the West Indies. Hawkins and Drake were as devout
and humane as other men of their time. They simply could not see any
wrong in enslaving the heathen black men in Africa. Besides, they
enjoyed the wild life of the slave-trader with its dangers and
WHY DRAKE HATED THE SPANIARDS. The king of Spain tried to keep the
trade in slaves for his own merchants, and attempted to prevent the
trade of the English slavers with the West Indies. Spanish ships-of-war
ruined one of the voyages from which Hawkins and Drake hoped for large
profits. The Spaniards won thereby the undying hatred of Drake.
THE DRAGON OF THE SEAS. It was a time, too, when Drake's countrymen
at home shared his intense hatred of the Spaniard. While England and
Spain were not at war with one another, English and Spanish traders
fought whenever they met on the high seas. The English made the Spanish
settlements in America their special prey. At certain times of the year
Spanish ships, called government ships, carried to Spain gold and
silver--the royal share of the products of America. Drake, like many
another of his countrymen, lay in wait to rob these ships of their
precious cargoes. He managed to gather a fortune by his cunning and
courage. More than once he was forced to bury his treasures in the sand
to lighten his ships that they might sail the faster, and escape his
pursuers. The Spaniards came to know and to fear Drake as the Dragon
of the Seas.
[Illustration: SPANISH TREASURE SHIP]
DRAKE'S VENTURE. Drake once formed the plan to take a fleet into
the Pacific Ocean in order to plunder the treasure ships where they
would be less on their guard. A fleet of five ships was made ready.
Contributions from wealthy merchants and powerful nobles, perhaps a gift
from Queen Elizabeth herself, gave him the means for unusual luxuries in
the equipment of his fleet. Skilful musicians and rich furniture were
taken on board Drake's own ship, the _Pelican_, or the _Golden Hind_ as
he afterwards christened it. The brilliant little fleet left Plymouth in
1577. One after another of the ships turned back or was destroyed on the
long voyage of twelve months across the Atlantic and through the Strait
BEYOND THE STRAIT OF MAGELLAN. The _Golden Hind_ alone remained to
carry out the original project. As it entered the Pacific Ocean a furious
storm drove the little vessel southward beyond Cape Horn to the regions
where the oceans meet. No one before had sailed so far south.
THE FIRST PRIZES. Drake regained control of his ship when the storm
had passed, and sailed northward along the coast, plundering and robbing
as he went. Once, as a land-party was searching along the shore for
fresh water, it came upon a Spaniard asleep with thirteen bars of silver
beside him. His nap was disturbed long enough to take away his burden.
Further on they met another Spaniard and an Indian boy driving a train
of Peruvian sheep laden with eight hundred pounds of silver. The
Englishmen took their place, and merrily drove the sheep to their boats.
A treasure ship, nicknamed the _Spitfire_, on the way to Panama, was
captured after a long chase of nearly eight hundred miles. Drake
obtained from it unknown quantities of gold and silver. With such a rich
load, his thoughts turned to the homeward voyage.
DRAKE'S VOYAGE AROUND THE WORLD. By this time a host of Spanish
war-ships were on Drake's track. They expected to capture him on his
return through the Strait of Magellan. Drake, now confronted with real
danger, cunningly outwitted his enemies. He and many other Englishmen of
his day were sure a passage would be found somewhere through North
America between the Atlantic and the Pacific. Spanish, French, and
English explorers had all carried on the search for this passage. Drake
decided to return by such a route, if it were possible. He followed the
coast of California, and probably passed that of Oregon and Washington
as far as Vancouver
[Illustration: MAP OF DRAKE'S VOYAGE]
When it grew colder and the coast turned to the westward, he gave up the
After making some needed repairs in a small harbor a few miles above the
modern San Francisco, Drake set out boldly across the Pacific to return
home, as Magellan's men had done before him, by going around the world.
He touched at the Philippines, visited the Spice Islands, and slowly
worked his way around the Cape of Good Hope. The _Golden Hind_, long
since given up as lost, reached England in the fall of 1580, after
nearly three years' absence. For a second time a ship had sailed around
the world. Drake was the first Englishman to gain the honor.
DRAKE'S REWARD. Queen Elizabeth liked the story Drake told of
outwitting and plundering Spaniards. Arrayed in her most gorgeous robes
she visited his ship, where a banquet had been prepared. While Drake
knelt at her feet she made him a knight. And so it was that the man whom
the Spaniards called with good reason the Master Thief of the Seas, the
English called by a new title, Sir Francis Drake, and praised as the
greatest sea-captain of the age. His ship, the _Golden Hind_, was
ordered to be preserved forever.
THE DUTCH STRUGGLE AGAINST SPAIN. A few years after Drake returned
the English took a deeper interest in the struggle between Philip and
the Dutch. Although the Dutch had lost hope of help from the French
Huguenots, they resisted Philip's generals more boldly than ever. The
Spanish soldiers treated the towns which surrendered so savagely that
the other towns decided it was better to die fighting than to yield. The
siege of Leyden became famous because, after food had given out and the
inhabitants were starving their friends cut the great dikes in order
that the boats of the "Beggars of the Sea" loaded with provisions might
be floated up to the very walls of the city. This unexpected flood also
drove away the Spaniards. Fortunately after the rescue of the city a
strong wind arose and drove back the waves so that the dikes could again
[Illustration: QUEEN ELIZABETH MAKING DRAKE A KNIGHT]
THE DEATH OF WILLIAM OF ORANGE. King Philip had come to the
conclusion that unless William of Orange were killed the Dutch could not
be conquered, and so he put a price on Prince William's head, offering a
large sum of money to any one who should kill him. The first attempts
failed, but finally in 1584 he was shot.
SIR PHILIP SIDNEY. The murder of William alarmed the English for
Elizabeth's life, especially as Philip had already aided men who were
plotting against her. She sent an army into the Netherlands to aid the
Dutch, although she had not made up her mind to attack Philip directly.
The army did not give much help to the Dutch, but it is remembered
because a noble English poet, Sir Philip Sidney, was mortally wounded in
one of the battles. The story is told that while Sidney was riding back,
tortured by his wound, he became very thirsty, as wounded men always do,
and begged for a drink of water. Looking up when it was brought to him
he saw on the ground a common soldier more sorely wounded than he. He
immediately sent the water to the soldier saying, "Thy necessity is
greater than mine."
THE INVINCIBLE ARMADA. The king of Spain now decided that he could
not subdue the Dutch until he had thoroughly punished the English. He
even planned to put himself upon the English throne, claiming that he
was the heir of one of the early kings of England. Months were spent in
preparing a great fleet, an "Invincible Armada" which was to sail up the
Channel, take on board the Spanish army in the Netherlands, and cross
over to England. While these preparations were being made with Philip's
usual care, Sir Francis Drake swooped down on Cadiz and burnt so much
shipping and destroyed so many supplies that the voyage had to be
postponed a year. This Drake called "singeing the king of
THE ARMADA IN THE CHANNEL. It was July, 1588, before the
"Invincible Armada" appeared off Plymouth in the English Channel. Many
of the Spanish ships were larger than the English ships, but they were
so clumsy that the English could outsail them and attack them from any
direction they chose. Moreover, the Spaniards needed to fight close at
hand in order that the soldiers armed with ordinary guns might join in
the fray. The English kept out of range of these guns and used their
[Illustration: THE SPANISH ARMADA IN THE ENGLISH CHANNEL After
an engraving by the Society of Antiquarians following a tapestry in the
House of Lords]
DESTRUCTION OF THE ARMADA. With the English ships clinging to the
flanks and rear of the Armada, the Spaniards moved heavily up the
Channel. In the narrower waters between Dover and Calais the English
attacked more fiercely, and sank several Spanish vessels. Soon the
others were fleeing into the North Sea, driven by a furious gale. Many
sought to reach Spain by sailing around Scotland and Ireland, and some
of these ships were dashed on the rocky shores. Only a third of Philip's
proud fleet returned to Spain.
EFFECT OF THE DEFEAT OF THE ARMADA ON SPAIN. This was the last
attempt Philip made to attack the English, because Spain had been
exhausted in the effort to collect money and supplies for the Invincible
Armada. The war dragged on for many years, and the English attacked and
plundered Spanish vessels wherever they found them.
THE INDEPENDENCE OF THE DUTCH. The ruin of the Armada also meant
that the Dutch would succeed in becoming independent of the Spanish
king. Seven of the northern provinces had already formed a union and had
begun to call themselves the United Netherlands. They were growing
richer while their neighboring provinces on the south, which had decided
to return to their allegiance to Spain, grew poorer.
FIRST VOYAGE OF THE DUTCH TO THE EAST. Even while the fight was
going on the Dutch traded in places where Philip had not permitted them
to trade while he could control them. One of these places was Lisbon,
the capital of Portugal. Here the Dutch obtained spices which the
Portuguese brought from the East Indies. But in 1580 Philip seized
Portugal, and the Dutch could no longer go to Lisbon. This made them
anxious to find their way to the East. In 1595 the first fleet set out.
This voyage was unsuccessful, but other fleets followed, until soon the
Dutch had almost driven the Portuguese, now subjects of the king of
Spain, from the Spice Islands. Soon also Dutch sailors ventured across
the Atlantic to the shores of America.
1. What country in northern Europe did Spain rule? What name was
given to those who resisted the Spanish officers in the Netherlands?
Why were they given this name?
2. What promise did Coligny make to the people of the Netherlands?
Why was he unable to carry it out? What other people were ready to
help the Dutch? Can you give one reason at least why the English
were willing to help the Dutch against Spain?
3. Why had English trade grown important? Did this help to make a
4. Why did English sailors like Drake specially hate the Spaniards?
What was Drake's method of making a living? How did he come to go
around the world in 1577-1580? How long was it since Magellan made
5. What did the English think of Drake? What did the Spaniards think
of him? Why did each people think as it did?
6. Why did Philip of Spain have William of Orange killed? Why did
this make the conquest of the Dutch even harder?
7. Why did Philip, king of Spain, try to conquer England and make
himself king of that country? How did he try to carry out his plan?
Why were the English victorious in the great battle with the Armada?
Where was the battle fought?
8. How did the defeat of the Armada affect Spain's war in the
Netherlands? Did all of the Netherlands become independent of Spain?
9. What trade did the Dutch begin to carry on before their war with
10. What new people became rivals of the Spaniards and French for
trade and settlements in America?
1. What parts of North America did Drake visit on his famous voyage
around the world?
2. What effect did the quarrels in Europe described in Chapters 19
and 20 have upon the progress in exploring and settling America?
3. Find out whether the people of the northern Netherlands and the
southern Netherlands are still separate countries to-day.
THE ENGLISH PEOPLE ATTEMPT TO SETTLE AMERICA
ENGLISH INTEREST IN AMERICA AWAKENED. Voyages like those made by
Sir Francis Drake awakened a desire throughout England to learn more
about the New World. Until this time even the great discoveries of
Columbus and the Cabots had failed to stir the English people to take
part in the exploration and settlement of the Americas. The principal
reason was because their attention was occupied by the struggle between
their monarchs and the popes to decide whether king or pope should
govern the English Church. This continued until Queen Elizabeth had been
on the throne some years.
Other sea-captains, hearing of Drake's success, now turned their ships
toward the Americas. Many went to the West Indies, as he had done,
mainly to seize the rich plunder to be found on board the ships of Spain
bound homeward. Some of them explored the coast of North America, hoping
to find valuable regions that had not fallen into the possession of the
THE NORTHWEST PASSAGE. Martin Frobisher made three voyages, the
last in 1578, in search of a passage through North America to China. He
entered the bay which bears his name, and the strait which was later
called after Hudson, but failed to find a passage. Drake attempted to
find the western entrance to such a passage in 1579 as a short cut
homeward when he tried to avoid his Spanish pursuers.
GILBERT. A grander scheme was planned by Humphrey Gilbert. He
wished to build up another England across the sea, just as the people of
Spain were building up another Spain. He planned to do this by
establishing farms to which he and others might send laborers who could
not find work at home. Queen Elizabeth liked this plan, and to encourage
him, and to repay him for the expense of carrying the emigrants over,
she promised him the land for six hundred miles on each side of his
[Illustration: CHARLCOTE HALL An English Manor House of the time
of Queen Elizabeth]
FAILURE OF GILBERT'S EXPEDITION. Gilbert tried twice to plant a
colony in the neighborhood of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Sir Walter
Raleigh, his half-brother, was one of his captains in the expedition of
1578. He would have been in the disastrous second attempt in 1583 had
not Queen Elizabeth, full of forebodings of danger to her favorite,
refused to let him go. As it was he sent a ship at his own cost. Gilbert
took a large supply of hobby-horses and other toys with which to please
the savages. Mishap, desertion, and shipwreck pursued the luckless
The second expedition left Plymouth with five vessels in 1583. The ship
that Raleigh sent, the best in the fleet, deserted before they were out
of sight of England. One was left in Newfoundland. The wreck of the
largest ship, with most of the provisions, off Cape Breton, so
discouraged the crews that they prevailed upon Gilbert to abandon the
plan to settle on such barren and stormy shores, Gilbert attempted to
return on the _Squirrel_, the smaller of the two remaining vessels. This
was a tiny vessel of scarcely ten tons burden. What was left of the
little fleet voyaged homeward by the southern way, and ran into a
fearful storm as it approached the Azores.
Although Gilbert was urged to go aboard the larger vessel, he refused to
desert his companions, with whom he had passed through so many storms
and perils, and tried to calm the fears of all by his reply, "Do not
fear, Heaven is as near by water as by land." One night the _Squirrel_
suddenly sank. All on board were lost. Such was the sad ending of the
first efforts to establish an English colony in North America.
RALEIGH Sir Walter Raleigh took up the interesting plan which his
kinsman, Gilbert, had at heart. Raleigh was now at the height of his
favor with Queen Elizabeth. She had made him wealthy, especially by the
gift of large estates which she had taken from others. She readily
promised him the same privileges in America which she had offered to
Gilbert. Raleigh doubtless thought that he might increase his fortune
and win glory for himself and for his country by planting English
colonies in the New World. No man of the age was better fitted for the
undertaking. He had shown himself a fearless soldier and an able
commander in the war against Spain in the Netherlands. He had fortune,
skill, and powerful friends. Like Gilbert, he was a friend of poets and
scholars and a student of books; like Drake, he was a natural leader
[Illustration: SIR WALTER RALEIGH AND HIS SON]
VIRGINIA. Raleigh began in 1584 by sending an expedition to explore
the coast for a suitable site for a colony. His men sailed by way of the
Canaries, and came upon North America in the neighborhood of Pamlico
Sound, avoiding the stormy route directly across the Atlantic which
Gilbert had followed. They found, therefore, instead of the bleak shore
of Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island, the genial climate of North
Carolina and Virginia.
They carried home glowing reports of the country. They were particularly
pleased with an island in Pamlico Sound called by the Indians Roanoke
Island. They noted with wonder the overhanging grape-vines loaded with
fruit, the fine cedar trees which seemed to them the highest and reddest
in the world, the great flocks of noisy white cranes, and the numberless
deer in the forests. The Indians appeared gentle and friendly, Elizabeth
was so pleased with the accounts of the country that she allowed it to
be called Virginia after herself, the Virgin Queen, and made Raleigh
THE FIRST ENGLISH COLONISTS. Raleigh made several attempts to plant
a colony in Virginia. The most famous one was led by John White in 1587.
White had visited Virginia on an earlier voyage, and painted more than
seventy pictures of Indian life, representing their dress and their
manner of living. These may still be seen in the British Museum in
London. His interest in the country and its Indian population made his
appointment as governor seem a wise choice. Care was taken in the
selection of colonists in order to secure farmers rather than
gold-seekers. Twenty-five women and children were included in the colony
of about one hundred and fifty persons.
ROANOKE. White and his followers settled on Roanoke Island. They
found that the fort, which one of Raleigh's officers had built some
years earlier, was leveled to the ground. Several huts were still
standing, but they were falling to pieces. The first task was to rebuild
the huts and move into them from their ships. A baby girl was born a few
days after the landing, the first child born of English parents in the
New World. Her father, Ananias Dare, was one of White's councilors; her
mother, Eleanor Dare, was the daughter of Governor White. The baby was
given the name Virginia, the name of the country which was to be
[Illustration: MAP OF RALEIGH'S COLONIES]
THE COLONISTS IN DANGER. The little colony must have foreseen the
hostility of the Indians and a scarcity of food, for before Governor
White had been in America two months, he was sent back to England to
obtain more provisions, White, from his own account, did not wish to
leave his daughter and granddaughter.
WHITE'S SEARCH FOR AID. White returned to England in the fall of
1587 at the wrong moment to ask for aid. All England was alarmed by the
rumor that a great Spanish fleet was about to land an invading army. The
friends of Virginia in England were too busy protecting their own homes
from the invader to give heed to the needs of the farmer colonists
across the sea. White traveled through England, seeking aid for his
friends and family, but was disappointed everywhere.
WHY RALEIGH GAVE NO HELP. Raleigh had by no means forgotten his
colonists, but his queen and his country had the first claim on him
through the long war with Spain. Twice during this period, he found time
and means to prepare relief expeditions for Virginia. The queen stopped
the first one just as it was ready to sail, because all the ships were
needed at that moment for service in the war. A second expedition was
attacked by the Spaniards and forced to return.
THE LOST COLONY. White finally secured passage for himself on a
fleet going to the West Indies, not with a fleet and relief supplies of
his own, but as a passenger on another man's ship. It was the summer of
1591 when he arrived at Roanoke, four years after his departure. The
colonists were not to be found. Their houses were torn down. The chests
which they had evidently buried in order to hide them from the Indians
had been dug up and ransacked of everything of value. White's own papers
which he had left behind were strewn about. His pictures and maps were
torn and rotten with the rain. His armor was almost eaten through
One trace of the fate of the settlers was left. The large letters
CROATOAN were carved on a tree near the entrance to the old fort. White
recalled the agreement made when he left four years before. If the
colonists should find it necessary to leave Roanoke, they were to carve
on a tree the name of the place to which they were going. If they were
in danger or distress when they left, they were to carve a cross over
the name of the place. White found no cross. The word Croatoan was the
name of a small island lying south of Cape Hatteras, where Indians lived
who were known to be friendly. White believed his friends to be safe
among the Indians at Croatoan, but he could not go farther in search for
them because the captains of the ships which brought him over refused to
delay longer. They gave many excuses, but were evidently more eager to
attack the Spaniards than to find a few luckless emigrants.
[Illustration: AN INDIAN VILLAGE IN 1589
After a drawing by John White, now in the British Museum]
The fate of Raleigh's colony is one of the puzzles of history. It is
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