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Enumeration and account of the valiant companions who passed
over to the conquest of
New Spain with the most adventurous
and magnanimous Don Hernando Cortes Marquis of
the Valley. Advantages resulting from the conquest—Transactions
at court. Concluding observations of the author.


IN the list of the conquerors of Mexico the first is the Marquis Don H. Cortes; with him came the following officers and soldiers. Don P. de Alvarado, commander of St. Jago, adelantado and governor of Guatimala, Honduras, and Chiapa; he was about thirty four years of age when he came to this country, of a handsome person, very chearful countenance, and mild look; for which reason he was called by the Mexicans, “Tonatio,” which signifies the sun; he was very active, and a good horseman; of a generous disposition, and courteous manners, very splendid in his dress, wearing a gold chain with a medal round his neck, and a diamond ring on his finger.

P. de Montejo was of the middle stature, of a chearful countenance, and gay disposition; at the time of his arrival here he was about thirty five years of age; he was fitter for business than war, and of a liberal turn, expending more than he received; he arrived to the dignity of adelantado and governor of Yucatan, and died in Castille.

Captain G. de Sandoval was at the time of his arrival here about twenty two years of age; he was joint governor of New Spain for about eleven months; in this officer courage and judgment were combined;

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he was robust in body, his legs rather bowed, and his countenance masculine; his hair and beard were curled, and of a light brown; his voice was rough, and somewhat terrible, and he stammered a little; he was a plain man, and one who did not know much of letters, not avaritious of gold, but attentive to his business like a good officer, seeing that his soldiers did their duty well, and taking good care of them. He was not fond of rich dresses, but went plain and like a soldier. He had the best horse that ever was seen; he was a chestnut, with a star in his forehead, and his near foot white; his name was Motilla; he became a proverb, so that when any horse was extraordinarily good, we used to say he was as good as Motilla. Sandoval was an officer fit for any station; he was a native of Medellin, and an hidalgo; his father was an alcalde of a castle.

Don C. de Oli was a Hector in battle, but his judgment was not equal to his valour, and he required to be kept under command. The captains De Alvarado, De Sandoval, and De Oli, were in high estimation with his Majesty, who was pleased to say that he had three in New Spain who might be compared with the greatest the world had produced. Cortes also used to talk highly of his officers and soldiers, but what Bernal Diaz del Castillo thinks upon the subject is this; that if what Cortes afterwards said in their favour, he had written at first to his Majesty, he would have done right; but at that time he made no mention of our valiant actions, nor even our names; but only said, “this I did; this I ordered to be done;” whereas I think the least he should have done was to make mention of us. I will now return to my enumeration of our officers and soldiers.

J. V. de Leon, native of Old Castille, was about twenty seven years of age, well proportioned, and robust; his beard was red and curled, his voice rough and fierce, and he stammered a little; he was a cavalier of good manners, and generous, sharing what he had with his companions; he killed a person of consequence in the Island of His- 

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paniola, for which he was obliged to conceal himself, and the officers of justice never were able to apprehend him, he made such resistance. He was most valiant both on horseback and on foot; he died at the bridge.

D. de Ordas, from the neighbourhood of Campos, was about forty years of age; he was captain of the soldiers armed with sword and buckler, not being a horseman; he was very valiant, and wise, strong, and of good stature, of a masculine countenance; and black thin beard. In speaking there were certain words which he could not pronounce; he was generous, and of good manners. He was commander of St. Jago, and governor of Maranion, where he died.

Captain L. Marin was valiant, and stout built; bow legged, with a red beard, and a full and chearful countenance, slightly marked with the small pox. He was about thirty years of age, and a native of St. Lucar, lisping a little, like the Sevillians. He was a good horseman, and of mild manners; he died in Mechoacan.

Captain P. de Ircio was of middle stature, chearful countenance, and, duck legged; a great boaster of his exploits, but by what we could perceive in him good for very little; he was always repeating certain stories of the Count de Urena, and Don Pedro Giron; we used to call him Agrages without deeds; he was for a time captain under Sandoval during the siege, and died in Mexico.

A. de Avila was of a good person and countenance, clear and sensible in his conversation, very valiant, and about thirty three years of age. He was free with his companions, but proud, fond of commanding, and impatient of controll, with a considerable share of envy, and turbulence, insomuch that Cortes could not bear to have him near him; he therefore took care that he should be employed in such affairs as would draw him to a distance; he was uncle to the cavaliers the sons of 

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Benavides, who were beheaded in Mexico; he died in that city or in Yucatan.

A. de Monjarez was of middling stature, and a good countenance; he acted as captain during the siege, but was always an invalid; he was aged about thirty years, and died a natural dearth.

C. de Olea was a native of Medina Del Campo, and a most valiant soldier; he was about twenty fix years of age, of the middle stature, with a masculine but pleasing countenance; his hair and beard a little curled, and a clear voice; this soldier’s bravery was such that we all held him in the highest honour; he saved the life of Cortes at Suchimillico, when the enemy had seized and were carrying him off to sacrifice; and a second time upon the causeway of Mexico when he was in a still more desperate situation, being wounded and in the hands of a number of the Indians, the brave De Olea, though mortally wounded, with his sword killed and beat off every one of these who were upon Cortes, thus saving his general’s life, and losing his own at the same time. When the person of this valiant soldier recurs to my mind, and the manner he used to fight at our sides, the tears flow from my eyes, for he was my towns-man, and we were related to the same families.

G. Dominguez, and Lares, were soldiers of high renown, and, might be put in comparison with Olea; the first died by the fall of his, horse, the second at the battle of Otumba.

A. de Tapia was aged about twenty four years, of a pale complexion and grave countenance; he was a valiant captain, and died in Mexico, a natural death.

J. de Escalante was a captain; he died at Villa Rica. F. de Lugo, a brave officer, acted as captain occasionally; he was the natu- 

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ral son of a wealthy gentleman at Medina del Campo; he died a natural death. Gregorio de Monjaraz; a good soldier; lost his hearing during the siege, and died a natural death. Four brothers of Don P. de Alvarado. J. Xaramillo was an officer of merit; he died a natural death. Christoval Flores, a worthy soldier. Christoval de Gamboa, equerry to Cortes. One Calcedo, a wealthy man. Francisco de Bonal, a good soldier. Maldonado, surnamed “the broad,” a good soldier. Francisco Alvarez Chico, a man of business. Francisco de Torrazas, major domo to Cortes, a person of merit. Christoval del Corral, our ensign; an officer of merit. Anthonio de Villaroel, some time ensign. Alonzo de Grado; one fitter for business than war; by his importunities he induced Cortes to give him the daughter of Montezuma in marriage. Francisco Flores, a very noble person. De Solis. There were four of this name; one was surnamed, “casquete,” or “rattle-skull;” another called himself “De la Huerta;” but we called him “silk coat,” because he prided himself on his dress. Another was named “De atras la Puerta,” because he always sat behind the door of his house, observing the passengers in the street. Bernardino Vasquez de Tapia; a person of wealth and consequence. Juan Lopez de Ximena, alcalde major of Vera Cruz. Juan de Cuellar, a good horseman, married the handsome daughter of the Lord of Tezcuco, named Donna Anna. Another Cuellar related to F. Verdugo. Santos Hernandez, whom we used to call “the good old ranger.” Pedro Moreno Medrano, alcalde in Vera Cruz, a good soldier, and an upright judge. Roman Lopez, a person of eminence. Juan de Limpias Caravajal, grew deaf during the siege, where he was captain of a vessel. Melchor de Galvez. Villandrando, laid to have been related to the Count of Ribadeo. Ossorio, a good soldier. Rodrigo de Castaneda, a good soldier. Juan de Naxara, a good soldier. Ojeda, who lost an eye during the siege. Alonzo Hernandez Puertocarrero, cousin to the Count of Medellin. Hernando Burgueno, a good soldier. Tirado de la Puebla, a man of business. Hernandes de Alanis, a very brave soldier. Navarrete. Juan Flamenco. Francisco del Barco, promoted to be a captain. Juan Perez, who killed 

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his wife, the daughter of La Baguera. Najara, “the hump backed,” a most valiant soldier. Madrid, “the hump backed;” a very valiant soldier. Juan de Inhiesta. De Alamilla, a good crossbow-man. Moron; a fine musician. De Varela; a good soldier. De Villasuerte; a person of consequence, married to a relation of the first wife of Cortes. Gutierrez. Pacheco; a person of distinction. Hernando de Lerma, or de Lema; a captain. Suarez the elder, who killed his wife with a blow of a hand-mill. Lasios, who had a suit about his district. Garci Caro. One Ximenes. Amaya. Two Carmenos, brothers. One Vargas. Polanco. Juan de Aragon. St. Estevan. Bernardino de Coria. Rodorigo Rangel. Almodova, his son, and nephew. A reverend father of the order of mercy, named Fra Bartholome de Olmedo; a great theologian, a fine singer, and a virtuous man. Two nephews of Alonzo Hernandez de Palo. Christoval Diaz; a good crossbow-man. Juan Siciliano. Diego de Coria. Juan Sedeno. Saragossa, father to the scrivener in Mexico. Diego Martin de Agamante, a good soldier. Diego Hernandez, lost his fight; he was an assistant shipwright, Alvaro Lopez. One Yanez who went to Higueras; during his absence his wife took another husband with whom he left her. Martin de Alpedrino, Juan Alvarez Rubazo, Gonzalez Sanchez, brave men, all Portugueze. One Avila. One Espinosa, surnamed “De la buena benedicion,” from his often using the word. Peron de Toledo. One San Juan. Aparicio Martin. Izguierdo; a good soldier. Morrales, an old man, lame of a leg, alcalde in ordinary at Villa Rica, and a strict doer of justice. Arevalo, Juan Leon, Madrigal; inhabitants of Villa Rica; never were on service. Navarro. Manzanilla, an Indian of the islands. Benito Vejel, a drummer who had served in Italy. Alonzo Romero. Pedro Lopez; a good soldier. Juan Garcia, Hernan Martin, and another; smiths. Alvaro Gallego. Pedro de Tapia. Lorenzo Ginoves. Ochoa; a rich and eminent person. Martin Vasquez, a man of eminence. Sebastian Rodriguez, a crossbow-man and Trumpeter. Penalosa. Juan Perez Artiaga, surnamed “Malintzin;” a rich man. Pedro Gonzalez Sabiote, a good soldier. Aguilar whom 

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we found at the point of Cotoche; a good soldier. Pedro Valenciano. One Tariffa. Another of that name called by us “the meritorious,” because he was always bragging of what he had done, and that he had not been properly rewarded; a prating fellow. Pedro Sanchez Farfan; a brave soldier; he acted as captain. Escobar the bachelor, apothecary, surgeon, and physician; he went mad. Juan de Caceres the rich. Gonzalo Hurones. Ramirez the elder. Astorga. Tostado. Pedro Valencia. Fray Juan de las Varillas, of the order of mercy; a good theologian, and a virtuous man. Those enumerated above all died naturally. Francisco de Saucedo, called “the gallant.” Francisco de Morla, a very brave soldier. De Lares, a good soldier and horseman. Another of that name. De Solis, an old man. Benitez, a brave man. Juan Ruano, a good soldier. Two nephews of Gonzales de Najara. Gonzalo Dominguez, very brave and an excellent horseman. One De Mora, a good soldier. Juan Alvarez Chico. A good soldier who had lost one hand in Castille by the course of justice. One Tobillo, lame, as he said by a wound received while serving under the great captain. Gonzalo Lopez de Ximena. One Pilar, a good linguist. Alonzo Luis; a good soldier; being very tall he was called “the infant.” Alonzo de Monroy, a good soldier, son of a commander of St. Stephen; he went under the name of Salamanca. Juan Rico de Alanis, a good soldier. Martin de Vendabal. Pedro Gallego. Three soldiers of the name of Truxillo, brave men. De Valladolid. De Angulo. Francisco Gutierrez. Santa Clara. One Ximenes. Two brothers of the name of Florin. One Vargas. One De Cieza, remarkable for pitching a bar. Bartholome Pardo. Arbolanche, a very brave soldier. A nephew of one Almodovar. Two brothers by name Martinez; brave men. Sancho de Avila who is said to have brought six thousand crowns in gold to Castille from St. Domingo, having had the luck to fall on some very rich mines there; he lost the whole at play and then joined us. Alonzo Hernandez de Palo, Alonzo de la Mesta, and Rabanal Montanez; good soldiers. Retamales: Gines Nortes, a brave soldier. Luis Alonzo, an excellent swordsman. Alonzo Catalan, a good soldier.

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Canillas, a drummer, and a good soldier, having served in Italy. Hernandez, secretary to Cortes. Juan Diaz, belonged to the general’s household. Balnor. Cardenas, who said he was son to a commander, Arguello, a good soldier. Vasquez, a brave soldier. Arroyuelo. Pizarro; a relation of Cortes, acted as captain; his name was not then remarkable, nor had Peru been heard of. Magellanes, a brave soldier, a Portugueze, as was another, a goldsmith. One Avila. Two of the name of Espinosa. One of the name of San Juan, called “the lofty,” from his presumptuousness. Caceres, a good soldier. Escanola the younger. Alonzo de Talavera, a good soldier. An Indian of the islands named Manzanilla. Galleguillo, a very little man. A smith whose name I forget. Paredes. Gonzalo Mexia Rapapello, who said he was descended from the corsair of that name in the reign of King John. Lucas Ginoves. Cervantes, a buffoon. Plazuela. Alonzo Perez Maite, a brave soldier, married to a handsome Indian of the islands. Alonzo de Escobar, a person of consideration, formerly page to Velasquez. Ponce. Mendez. An old crossbow-man a great card player whose name I forget. The page Orteguilla and his father. Gaona. Luis Farfan. Morillas. One of the Tostados. Porras, a fine singer, with a very fair complexion. Ortiz; he played on the fiddle and taught dancing. Serrano, a good soldier. Quintero. Andres de Mola. Alberza, a good soldier. Most of these lost their lives at the bridge, were sacrificed, or fell in battle.

Simon de Cuenca was killed at Xicalonga, with ten more soldiers. Francisco de Medina died in the hands of the Indians with fifteen more. One De la Serna, who discovered silver mines, I do not know what is become of him. Martin Lopez, the ship carpenter who rendered such eminent services; he is now living in Mexico. One Granado is now living in Mexico. Villa Lobos returned rich to Castille. Juan del Rio returned to Castille. Juan Gomez returned rich to Castille. Herman Lopez de Avila, a trustee of the effects of the dead, returned very rich to Castille. Pedro Escudiro, Juan Cermeno, and his brother, all good 

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soldiers. Gonzalo de Umbria a pilot. Francisco de Orozco; had been a soldier in Italy, and acted as captain during the siege of Mexico; I know nothing more of him. Mesa had been a canonier in Italy; was drowned in crossing a river, after the conquest. Luis Velasquez, and Martin Valenciano, died in the expedition to Higueras. Alonzo de Barrientos, Juan del Puerto a good soldier, died of disease. Pedro de Guzman, a brave soldier; it is said that on his journey to Peru, he and his whole family, servants and horses, were frozen to death. Cardenas; this was he who talked of the two kings; he was very troublesome to Cortes. The Emperor made him a grant of lands worth a thousand crowns a year, with which he returned to Mexico, but shortly after, died. Los Villanuevas; two brothers; Portugueze; I do not know what became of them. Villocinda, a brave soldier, put on the Franciscan habit. Alonzo de Herrera, a good soldier, he fought with Captain Figuero, and to avoid the vengeance of the treasurer, fled to the Indians of Maronon, by whom he was killed. Figuero was drowned going to Castille. Maldonado de Medellin, I do not know what became of him.

Lencero, a good soldier, had an inn on the road to Vera Cruz, turned friar. Sindos de Portillo, possessed large estates, which he sold, giving the money to the poor, and taking orders, led a holy life. Quintero a good soldier, attained great wealth, which he renounced for God’s sake, and taking the Franciscan habit, led a holy life. Alonzo de Aguilar owned the inn between Vera Cruz and La Puebla; a rich man; he sold all his property for the service of God, and putting on the Dominican habit, led a holy life. Burguillos, a rich man, renounced his property, and entered the order of St. Francis, which he afterwards quitted. Escalante, a good soldier, of a gay disposition; he put on the Franciscan habit, but afterwards quitted the monastery, and entered again into the military service; but, in the course of a month, resumed his friar’s habit, and led a holy life. Gaspar Diaz, a wealthy man, renounced all for God’s sake, and retired to the pine woods of Guaxo-

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cingo, where, in the most retired part, he made a hermitage for himself; in this course of life he reduced his body to a very weak state, by fasting and penance, and the fame of his austerities reaching the Bishop Juan de Zumarraga, he entreated him not to carry them to such an extreme. Several other persons also joined him, being induced by his example to lead holy lives; at the end of about four years, it was God’s will to take them all from this world, to his heavenly glory. Lerma; a very valiant soldier; it was he who rendered such essential service to Cortes, in once saving his life; Lerma was afterwards obliged to fly, and seek refuge among the Indians from this very Cortes whom he had preserved, and who was exasperated against him, for reasons which, from regard to his honour, I will not mention; we never knew what became of him, but our suspicions were very bad. Pinedo, a good soldier, had been educated in the house of Velasquez; on the arrival of Narvaez, quitting Mexico to join him, he was way-laid and killed on the road by Indians; Cortes was suspected of having a hand in his death.

One Lopez, returned to Hispaniola. Alaminos and his son, Camacho de Triano, Alvarez de Huelva, Sopuerto del Condado, Cardinas, Umbria, Galdin, and several others, all pilots; Sopuerto, only, remained in Mexico; the rest being in dread of Cortes, because they had offered their services to Garray. Enreque, drowned himself, from despair and fatigue on a march. Zemudio, a very brave soldier, returned to Old Spain, on account of having wounded several persons in frays; he was there given the command of a company; he died in Locastil with many other Spanish cavaliers. Tariffa, the third of that name, called by us “of the white hands,” because he was not fit either for war or labour; or any thing else except to prate about what had happened to him in Seville; he and his horse were drowned on the march to Higueras. Escobar, a brave man but very turbulent; he was hanged for sedition and for violating a married woman. St. Jago, returned rich to Castille. Alonzo de Escobar, a person of estimation, formerly

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page to Velasquez. Saldanha and two more whose names I forget were killed in Tabasco. De Rojas, went to Peru. Guillen de la Loa, Andrez Nunez, Maisse Pedro el de la Harpa, and three more; the first died by a cannon shot, the others by the enemy, or course of nature. Alonzo Rodriguez, left good mines in Cuba; was killed at the rocks, together with Gaspar Sanchez, a brave man, nephew to the treasurer of Cuba, and six of the soldiers of Narvaez. Pedro de Palma, first husband of Elvira Lopez “the tall,” was hanged together with a soldier named Trebejo, and a priest, for sedition, by Avila or Las Casas, after the death of De Oli, under whom they served; I was shewn the tree whereon they were executed, when returning from Higueras with Captain Marin. Many sea-faring men also came with us, and behaved very bravely in the wars, but not recollecting their names I do not put them down; I should run indeed into too great prolixity if I were enumerate and describe all the valiant soldiers who passed over with Cortes; but they were worthy to be recorded in letters of gold.

Last of all I put down myself, having been in this country antecedent to the coming of Cortes twice, and the third time with him, as I have related; and I give thanks and praise to our Lord. God, and his Holy Mother the Virgin Mary, who preserved me from being sacrificed like the most of my companions, that I might now relate and make manifest our heroic actions, and enumerate by name our valiant captains and soldiers, who conquered this new world, thereby to prevent all the honour and merit from being unjustly ascribed to one person.

Of those who came with Narvaez, although several were very valiant men, I will say nothing, because my intention in writing this history, was but to record the heroic actions of the soldiers of Cortes. I will therefore only describe Narvaez himself.

Narvaez was about forty two years of age, of tall stature and large limbs, a full face, and red beard, and agreeable presence; very sonorous 

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and lofty in his speech, as if the sound came out of a vault; a good horseman, and said to be valiant. He was a native of Valladolid, or Tudela de Duero, and married to a lady named Maria de Valenzuela. He had a considerable property in the Island of Cuba, where he was a captain. One of his eyes was beaten out in the attack which we made upon him. This gentleman was said to be very close in his disposition. He went to Castille to lay his complaints against us before his Majesty, and obtained a royal grant of a government in Florida, where he was lost and all his property. Those who read the particulars of so many gallant officers and soldiers, such as I have now described them, frequently ask me how it happened that I should remember them perfectly, after the lapse of so many years. To which I reply, that it is natural enough that I should recollect the names of five hundred and fifty companions who were always together, in expeditions, in watches, in battles, and in skirmishes, and conversing with each other how such a one had been killed at such a place, and how others were carried off to be sacrificed. For this was the manner in which we communicated with each other, especially after we had come out of a bloody and doubtful battle. And there have been generals who knew the soldiers of their armies personally, even when there were as many as thirty thousand men; so says history of Mithridates king of Pontus, and another king of the Epirots, and of Alexander, and Hannibal of Carthage, and in our times of the valiant Gonzalo de Cordova called the great captain, and many others. I say farther, that I have their figures so perfectly pourtrayed in my imagination, that I could draw them as it were to the life, each of them in the manner he entered into battle, like the great Apelles, and these famous modern painters Michael Angelo, or the far celebrated Burgales, who is said to be another Apelles. Glory be to God, and the Holy Virgin, who saved me from being sacrificed to idols, to make those things known!

Having enumerated the soldiers who passed with Cortes, and related in what manner they died, I have now to observe, that we were for 

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the most part hidalgos, although some were not of such clear lineage as others, for all cannot be alike in this world, either in rank or in virtues. But whatever may have been the dignity of our birth, we made ourselves much more illustrious by our heroic actions in the con-quest of this country, at our own proper coil, and without any support save that of our Lord Jesus Christ who is the true aid and succour. If we look into the antient history of our own country, we than then see that many cavaliers arose to dignity and honours, by valiant and, faithful services to their king; and I have observed that those who thus obtained these titles and dignities, did not go into the field without receiving pay and salaries for their service; and yet they were rewarded with houses and castles, and lands, and privileges, to them and their descendents in perpetuity. Also when his Majesty Don Jayme won parts of his kingdom from the Moors, he made grants thereof to those cavaliers who had assisted him in the conquest, from which period they derive their honours and blazons. Those also who served under the great captain and the Prince of Orange were rewarded in like manner, and we, even without his Majesty’s knowledge, by our valour gained him this great country. I have here recalled this to recollection, that the world may consider and see our manifold, and good, and notable, and loyal services, to God and the King, and all Christendom, and let them be put in a ballance and weighed, and let it be decided if we are not as worthy of rewards and remunerations, as those cavaliers whom I have mentioned above. And as amongst those whom I have enumerated there were many valiant companions, I was held in no inconsiderable degree of estimation in my day as a soldier.

Now curious reader reflect on my life, and in how many battles and dangers I have been, since I first came to this country, and how I was twice in the hands of the enemy who were carrying me off to sacrifice, and God gave me force to escape out of their clutches; besides the distresses by hunger, thirst, and fatigue, which occur to all who undertake discoveries in unknown countries.

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It is now proper that I should relate the good effects of our exertions for the service of God and his Majesty, by our illustrious conquests, in which most of our companions lost their lives, being sacrificed to the idols Huitzilopochtli and Tezcatepuca. In the first place, we purged the land of its wickedness and evil customs, as for instance that of human sacrifice. By the accounts taken by certain reverend Franciscan fathers, the first who came here after Fray Bartholome de Olmedo, it appears, that in the city of Mexico, and some adjacent towns in the lake, they sacrificed every year above two thousand five hundred human beings, young and old. Of course in the whole extent of the country the number thus put to death annually, must have been much greater. Their various horrid practices of this nature exceed the powers of my pen to describe. Their cursed adoratories were so many that I bestow on all of them a hearty malediction; it seems to me that they resembled what we have in Castille, for as we see there in every city, holy churches, and hermitages, and chapels, so they had in this country their houses of idols, devils, and diabolical figures. Besides these, each native, male or female, had two altars, one by the place where he or she slept, the other at the door of the house, with chests containing idols large and small, stones, and stone knives, with books made of the bark of trees, in which were noted down their records of past times. They were much addicted to abominable practices, especially upon the coast, and in the sultry provinces, where boys wore female attire. They eat human flesh, as we do beef which we buy in the market, and in every town they had wooden cages, wherein they kept and fattened those men, women, and children, who were destined for that purpose, as was the case with all those whom they took in their wars. Incest was common amongst them; and they were drunkards in an extreme. In the province of Panuco in particular, they took the wine into their bodies in the manner a medicine is administered, by means of a hollow cane; an unheard-of beastliness! They had as many wives as they pleased, and all these, and other abominations, it was the will of our Lord Jesus Christ that we should be the instruments to sweep from the 

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land, substituting in their places, a good policy and the holy doctrine. It is true that after the lapse of two years, when the country was subjugated and civilized, certain worthy fathers Franciscans, of good example and doctrine came here, and were followed in three or four years by fathers of the order of St. Dominic, who completed what others had begun, but if it is duly considered it will appear that the meed and honour of destroying the evil customs of the land, in justice belongs to us the true conquerors, in preference to any other persons, even though they should be of the holy profession.

Since the destruction of idolatry, by the will of God, and with his holy aid, and the good fortune and sacred christianity of the most christian Emperor Don Carlos of glorious memory, and of our monarch and most fortunate sovereign, the invincible King of Spain, our lord Don Philip his dear and much beloved son, to whom may God grant years, and much increase of dominion, to be enjoyed by him during his fortunate and holy life, and to be transmitted from him to his posterity, there have been baptized in this country, all the natives, whose souls formerly were sunk and lost in the infernal pit. At present also as there are here many reverend fathers of the different orders, they go through the country preaching and baptizing, whereby the holy Evangelists are firmly planted in the hearts of the natives, who confess every year, and those sufficiently advanced in the knowledge of the faith comulgate. The churches also and their altars are richly adorned, with all requisites for holy worship, as, crosses, and candlesticks, wax candles, chalices, cups, plates, and vessels for incense, all of silver. The ornaments of the altars and crosses are of velvet and damask, and other rich materials of various colours and workmanship, and embroidered with gold, silk, and pearls. The funerals also are distinguished by their emblematic representations of skulls and bones, and with their palls, some good, and others not so. Each town also has its bells, according to its ability. There are choirs also in the chapels, of good voices which sing in concert, tenors, and trebles, and counter-altos. In some

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places are organs, and most have flutes, hautbois, sackbuts, dulcimers, with trumpets base and treble, more in this one province of Guatimala than there are in my native country, which is Old Castille. It is a thing worthy to thank God on to see the devotion which the natives exhibit when at holy mass, especially if it is said by fathers of the orders of St. Francis, or of Mercy, who are appointed to the cures of parishes. All the natives also, men, women, and children, are taught the holy orations in their mother tongue, and when they pass a cross, crucifix, altar, they bow, and falling on their knees say a Pater Noster or Ave Maria. We, the conquerors also taught them to keep wax candles lighted before the holy altars and crosses, for before our arrival they did not know the use of wax in making candles. We also taught them to have with respect to the reverend fathers, and when they came to their towns, to go out to meet and receive them with lighted wax candles, ringing the bells, and giving them plentifully to eat; and thus they do. They have also other holy and good customs, for on the day of our Lady, or of Corpus Christi, and other solemn feasts, when we make processions, most of the neighbours of this city of Guatimala go in procession with crosses and lighted candles, bearing the image of the saint who is their patron or patroness, as richly dressed as they can afford; and they go singing the litanies, and other holy orations, and sound their flutes and trumpets.

The natives of these countries have also learned the trades used amongst us in Castille, and have their shops, manufactories, and journeymen, and gain their livelihood thereby. The gold and silversmiths work both in cast metal, and by the hammer, and excel, as do the lapidaries and painters. The engravers execute first rate works, with their fine instruments of iron, especially upon emeralds, whereon they represent all the acts of the holy passion of our redeemer and Saviour Jesus Christ, in such a manner that those who had not seen them execute it, would not believe that such works could be done by Indians; insomuch that according to my judgment, that famous painter of ancient times 

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the renowned Apelles, or the modern ones named Michael Angelo and Berruguete, and another a native of Burgos who is in great fame, being as they say a second Apelles, could not with their subtle pencils equal the works which are done by three Mexican artists named Andres de Aquino, Juan de la Cruz, and El Crespillo. In addition to all there things, the sons of the chiefs used to be grammarians, and were learning very well, until they were forbidden by the holy synod, under an order of the most reverend archbishop of Mexico, but many of them are now, notwithstanding, literate. They are also weavers of silk, stuffs, and cloths, and manufacturers thereof, through all the various stages. They have also learned to be hatters and soap boilers. Two trades only could never be acquired by them; one is, that of making glass, the other that of the apothecary; but this is not owing to any defect of natural genius, for they are surgeons, and herbalists, jugglers, and makers of puppets, and of violins. Tillers of land they were before our arrival; and now they rear stock, and break bullocks, and plow, sow wheat, manure, reap, sell, and make bread and biscuit. They have planted their lands and inheritances with the fruit trees of Old Spain, and sell the fruit, cutting down the unwholesome peach trees, and overshading plantains, to make room for quince, apple, and pear trees, which they hold in high estimation. We have taught them also laws and justice, and in consequence, they every year elect their ordinary alcaldes, regidors, notaries, alguazils, fiscals, and major domos. They have their halls of common council, with bailiffs, where they meet two days in the week, judging, and sentencing, and for some offences punishing and whipping; but for murder and higher crimes, they refer them to the governors, if there is no court of royal audience.

I have further been told by persons well informed upon the subject, that in Tlascala, Tezcuco, Cholula, Guaxocingo, Tepeaca, and other great cities, when the natives go to council, gilt maces are borne before the governors and alcaldes, as is done before the viceroys, and they do

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justice with as much zeal and activity as is used among us, priding themselves thereon, and being very anxious to obtain a knowledge of our laws.

All the caciques have horses and are rich, and ride, handsomely caparisoned and attended by their pages, through and about their respective towns. In some towns also they exercise with the lance on horseback, run at the ring, and have bull fights, especially on the days of Corpus Christi, St. John, St. James, our Lady in August, or the patron or patroness of the town. Many also of them will face the bulls be they ever so fierce, and are excellent horsemen, especially those of a place named Chiapa de los Indios. Those who are caciques now breed horses, and use them and mules for ordinary purposes, conveying by their means, wood, maiz, and lime for sale. Many of the natives have likewise taken up the trade of arrieros or carriers, as is in practice in Castille. To conclude, they excel in all manufactures, not excepting that of tapestry.

Other advantages and profits are also derived from our illustrious services. By them our mother country has obtained gold, silver; precious stones, grain, wool, sarsaparilla, and hides; all which are annually transmitted thither to the benefit of his Majesty’s revenue. I do not include the presents we at various times sent, and that which is exported by merchants and passengers, for since the time that the wise King Solomon built the holy temple of Jerusalem with the gold and silver which he caused to be brought from the Islands of Tarsis, Ofir, and Saba, ancient or modern history do not record such treasures to have been derived from any country, as what have been sent from New Spain; and this I say, because although it is notorious that from Peru many millions in gold and silver have been obtained, yet at the time of the conquest of this country Peru was unknown, nor was it gained until ten years after. We also from the first continued to send to his Majesty most rich presents, for which and other reasons, I rate this 

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country higher in estimation, because we well know that Peru has been involved in cruel civil wars, whereas we have remained, and will continue to do so, our breasts prostrate on the earth in submission and allegiance to our lord the King, and ready to expose and devote our lives and fortunes in his service.

Let the curious reader consider the number of cities of New Spain, which from their being so many, I will not detail; our ten bishoprics, not including the archbishopric of the noble city of Mexico, the three courts of royal audience, together with the succession of governors, archbishops, and bishops, our holy cathedrals and monasteries, Dominican, Franciscan, Mercenarian, and Augustin, our hospitals with the extensive remissions and pardons attached to them, and the Santa Casa of our Lady of Guadeloupe with the holy miracles there performed every day, and let us give thanks to God, and to his blessed mother our Lady, for giving us grace and support to conquer these countries, where so much christianity is now established.

Let it be also remembered, that in Mexico there is a university wherein are studied and learned grammar, theology, rhetoric, logic, philosophy, and other sciences. There is also a printing press for books both in Latin and Romance, and in this college they graduate as licentiates and doctors; to which I might add many other instances to enhance the value of these countries, such as the mines of silver, and other discoveries, whereby prosperity and grandeur redound to the mother country. If all which I have now said does not suffice, let the wise and learned read my history from beginning to end, and they will then confess, that there never existed in the world men who by bold atchievement have gained more for their Lord and King, than we the brave conquerors; amongst the most valiant of whom I was considered as one, and am the most ancient of all. I say again that I,—I myself,—I, am a true conqueror: and the most ancient of all.

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I will now propose a few questions by way of dialogue, with the immortal and illustrious goddess of Fame, who has seen, and proclaims through the world, our manifold, great, and remarkable services, to God, his Majesty and all Christendom, and cries with a loud voice, saying, that it is in justice and in reason, that we should have better estates and situations than others who have not served his Majesty here or elsewhere. The goddess also enquires where are our palaces, and mansions, adorned with distinguishing blazons, with sculptures of our coats of arms, and monumental trophies of our heroic actions, in the same manner as those cavaliers have who served their king in Spain, our atchievements being no way inferior to theirs, but on the contrary of most eminent merit, and not exceeded by any. The goddess of Fame also enquires for those conquerors who escaped from cruel deaths, and for the tombs and monuments of those who fell.

To these questions I reply as follows, with much brevity. Oh excellent and illustrious Fame! desired and sought for by the good and virtuous, but shunned and hated by the malicious, why do you not exalt us as our merits deserve? know, goddess, that of five hundred and fifty soldiers who left the Island of Cuba with Cortes, at the moment that I am writing this history in the year one thousand five hundred sixty eight no more than five are living, the rest having been killed in the wars, sacrificed to idols, or died naturally. In answer to your question concerning their tombs and monuments, I tell you that their tombs are the maws of cannibal Indians, who devoured their limbs, and of tigers, serpents, and birds of prey, which feasted on their mangled bodies. Such were their sepulchres, and such their monuments! but to me it appears that the names of those ought to be written in letters of gold, who died so cruel a death, for the service of God and his Majesty, to give light to those who were in darkness, and to procure wealth which all men desire.

The illustrious goddess next asks me for an account of those who 

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came with Narvaez, and with Garray; to which I reply, that the number of the soldiers who came with the former was one thousand three hundred exclusive of the mariners, of whom not more than ten or eleven survive, the rest having fallen in the wars, and being sacrificed and devoured. Those who came with Garray, according to my account, including the three companies which landed at St. Juan de Ulua previous to the arrival of Garray himself, were in all one thousand two hundred soldiers, most of whom were sacrificed and devoured in the province of Panuco. Fame also asks for the fifteen soldiers who accompanied Lucas Vasquez de Aillon who loft his life on the coat of Florida; to which I reply that they are all dead. I also inform you Oh excellent Fame! that there only remain alive at this moment five of the companions of Cortes, and we are very old, and bowed down with infirmities, and very poor, and with a heavy charge of sons to provide for, and of daughters to marry off, and grandchildren to maintain, and little rent to do it withall! and thus we pass our lives, in pain, in labour, and in sorrow.

Having now answered your questions illustrious Fame relative to our monuments, blazons, and palaces, I request of you that henceforward you exalt to more effect your most virtuous and excellent voice, in order that our high prowesses may be made known to the universe, and not be obscured as they are by the Flanders of the malignant. To this my request most virtuous Fame replies, that she will do so most willingly; and also, that she is astonished to find that we have not the best properties allotted to us in that country which we conquered, and which it was his Majesty’s orders should be given to us, in like manner as the Marquis Cortes was rewarded, not indeed to the same extent, but moderately. The goddess also says that the actions of the valiant and magnanimous Cortes are always to be most highly estimated, and considered amongst those most celebrated in history. She also at the same time observes, that in the histories of Gomara and the Doctor Illescas and others, no mention is made of any of us, but they only say, “Cortes 

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discovered,” and “Cortes conquered;” the captains and soldiers remaining unnoticed; but she has been very happy to find that all which I have narrated in my history is strictly conformable to the truth, and that I follow matter of fact closely and literally, without running into servile praises, and that I do not depreciate many valiant captains and soldiers to exalt one, as is the case with Gomara and the ether historians. The good goddess also promises me, that she will proclaim these truths wherever she shall be, and further, that if this my history is published, it shall be credited, and its authenticity acknowledged wherever it is seen or heard, and that it than obscure and annull all others.

Besides what I have here proposed by way of dialogue, a certain doctor, an oydor of the court of royal audience of Guatimala, asked me how it happened that when Cortes wrote to his Majesty, and also when he went the first time to Castille, he did not solicit for us, since we were, under God, the means whereby he acquired his marquisate and government. To this I then replied, and now say, that when his Majesty gave him the government, he therewith received the better part of this whole country, believing that he was to remain absolute master thereof, and to have unlimited liberty to bestow or deprive as he thought proper; and this, it is supposed, was the reason why he would not and did not write on the subject. Also, at the time his Majesty gave him his marquisate, he solicited the government in the same manner that he had held it before; but it was then refused him, and he did not think of asking any thing that might be serviceable to us, but only to himself.

Further, the veedor and factor, together with other cavaliers of Mexico had represented to his Majesty, that the Marquis had taken for himself the best provinces and towns of New Spain, and had assigned others to his friends and relations newly come from Castille, leaving very little for the royal patrimony; whereupon, as we afterwards learned, Majesty was pleased to order that all the overplus should be divided 

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amongst us, the companions of Cortes, but the Emperor was at that time in Barcelona, preparing to embark for Flanders. Had Cortes immediately after the conquest divided this country into five parts, and assigned one of the richest and best of the fifths for his Majesty; allotted one share and a half for himself, for churches, monasteries, and municipal properties, as also for a fund wherefrom his Majesty could reward cavaliers who served him in Italy or against the Turks and Moors; and divided the other two fifths and a half, by grants in perpetuity to us, we should have been all satisfactorily provided for. As our Caesar was so christian a monarch, and as the conquest of this country cost him nothing, he would have readily granted us these favours. But we at that time did not know how to apply for justice, nor to whom to represent our services or our injuries, except to Cortes himself, who did in the business as he thought fit. We therefore remained with the little which had been of signed us, until we saw that Don Francisco de Montejo who went to wait upon his Majesty in Europe obtained the appointments of adelantado and governor of Yucatan, estates in Mexico, and other rewards. Diego de Ordas also, who went to court, obtained an encomienda of St. Jago, and districts in New Spain. Then Don Pedro de Alvarado went to kiss his Majesty’s feet and was made adelantado and governor of Guatimala and Chiapa, commander of the order of St. Jago, and obtained districts of lands. Last went Cortes, who was created a marquis, and appointed captain general of the South Sea.

When we the conquerors therefore saw, that those who did not reach his Majesty’s presence had no one to speak in our favour, we sent to petition that whatever lands thenceforward fell vacant, should be distributed in perpetuities amongst us, according as our claims were substantiated, as was the case before the first court of royal audience held in Mexico, whereof Nuno de Guzman was president. His Majesty’s express directions to Nuno de Guzman were, to throw the whole property of New Spain into a mass, and then to make the divisions more equal, deducting in due proportion from the immoderate grants of

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Cortes. Also, that to us, the true conquerors should be given the best districts and of most rent, leaving the cities and great towns for his Majesty’s property. The Emperor also ordered that the vassals of Cortes should be counted, leaving no more with him than his patent specified; but what was to be done with the surplus I do not recollect. The reason why Nuno de Guzman and the oydors did not make this repartition in perpetuity was, that they were misled by bad advisers, whom, not to dishonour, I will not name, but the persons I have alluded to told them, that if the conquerors once sound themselves provided for, they would cease to respect and be dependent on them, as was the case while they were compelled to supplicate for a subsistence. As also, by retaining, they kept the power of bestowing the vacant lands at their pleasure, and to the advantage of their own private interest. It is true that as districts fell vacant, Guzman and the oydors constantly assigned them to conquerors, and colonists, to their satisfaction; and if that court was superceded, it was on account of the disputes with Cortes, and of marking free Indians for slaves.

In the year one thousand five hundred and fifty, I being in Old Spain, the licentiate De la Gasca came from Peru, and with him D. Martin el Regente a Dominican friar; and repairing to the court which was then at Valladolid, his Majesty promoted the aforesaid father to the bishopric of Las Charcas. At this period a council was formed, composed of D. Fray B. de las Casas bishop of Chiapa, D. Vasco de Quiroga bishop of Mechoacan, and other cavaliers who came as agents from New Spain and Peru, together with some hidalgos who were brought by business to the court, and to this council I was also called, as being the most ancient of the conquerors of New Spain.

De la Gasca and the other Peruvians had brought with them great quantities of treasure, as well for their own use as for his Majesty, the latter being sent from Seville to Augusta in Germany where the Emperor then was, and in his company our most happy Don Philip king of 

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the Spains, our lord his dear and much beloved son, whom God guard. At that time certain of the Peruvian cavaliers waited on his Majesty with the treasure, and to petition that he would cause the allotment of lands in perpetuity to be made. It seems also, that previous to this time a petition to the same effect had been presented from New Spain by Gonzalo Lopez, and Alonzo de Villanueva, who had been sent as procuradors or agents from Mexico. It so happened that just then the bishopric of Palencia fell vacant, and was bestowed on the licentiate De la Gasca who was also made Conde de Pernia, on account, as was said at the court, of the services rendered in Peru, which was then at peace.

His Majesty was pleased, in regard to the repartition of lands in perpetuity, to order, that the Marquis de Mondejar president of the royal council of the Indies, the licentiates Gutierre Velasquez, Tello de Sandoval, Gregorio Lopez and Briviesca, and the Doctor Hernan Perez de la Fuente, oydors of that court, together with cavaliers of other royal councils should assemble, to consider, and see how the repartition should be made, as was best for the service of God and for his Majesty’s interest.

When these cavaliers were met in the house of Pero Gonzalez de Leon, where was established the royal council of the Indies, it was proposed in that very illustrious assembly, that the perpetual repartition should take place in New Spain and in Peru; I am not certain that Grenada and Bobotan were included, but am inclined to think that they were, and the reasons offered in support of the measure were holy and good. It was argued that if the lands were granted in perpetuity, the proprietors would for their own interests treat the natives better, and pay more attention to the conversion of them to our holy faith. That if they suffered from sickness or misfortune they would be attended to like their children, and the rents alleviated. The proprietors would also go into improvements, planting vines and breeding cattle; disputes

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and litigations about lands and boundaries would cease, and the office of visitadors or inspectors would be unnecessary. The minds also of the soldiers would be tranquillized, in knowing that the presidents and governors had not the power of bestowing lands when they fell vacant, on their clients and favourites. His Majesty also in doing this would exonerate his royal conscience, in recompensing those who had served him faithfully. To these, many other good reasons were added. It was also proposed to deprive the turbulent and rebellious in Peru of their districts. After all this had been well debated and considered in the illustrious assembly, we proceeded to give our opinions in favour of the perpetual repartition.

It was then opposed by the Bishop of Chiapa, his associate Fray Roderigo of the order of St. Dominic, the Bishop of Palencia, the Marquis of Mondejar, and two oydors of the royal council of his Majesty. The Marquis of Mondejar did not however speak upon the occasion, but remained as it were on the look out to see which party was likely to carry the question. The arguments used by the others against the repartition were, that many in Peru had now life estates, who so far from deserving perpetuities, merited confiscation, and that if peace was once established in that country, if the soldiers who were unprovided for saw that there was no fund for that purpose, they would become mutinous and cause new troubles. The Bishop of Mechoacan who was of our party hereupon asked the licentiate De la Gasca, how it had happened that he did not chastize the mutineers as he very well knew them; whereas on the contrary he had given them lands. To this the other replied, laughing, that he had hanged and quartered many of them, and thought it no small atchievement to have escaped from amongst them safe and sound. More was also said on this subject.

It was proposed, and approved by many present, that the few of the real conquerors of New Spain who now remained, including those who came with Cortes, with Narvaez, and with Garray, should re- 

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ceive perpetuities, referring the other matter to future consideration. As soon as this proposition was made, the other party moved that all further proceedings should be postponed until the return of his Majesty to Castille, because in an affair of such importance his presence was necessary. It was then urged by the Bishop of Mechoacan and other cavaliers, as well as myself, that the perpetuities might be granted in New Spain, leaving the Peruvian procuradors to act as they thought fit, this being conformable to his Majesty’s declarations and instructions in our favour. This now brought on much debate; for we insisted that whatever reasons might be against the granting perpetuities in Peru, could be of no avail against us in New Spain, considering our great services to his Majesty and all Christendom. But all we said was of no effect with the members of the royal council of the Indies, the Bishop. Fray Bartholome de las Casas, Fray Rodrigo his associate, and the Bishop of Las Charcas. They said that on the return of his Majesty from Augusta in Germany every thing should be arranged to the satisfaction of the conquerors, and thus the affair dropped for the present.

Intelligence of these matters being conveyed by express to Mexico, the conquerors there proposed to send procuradors, to apply to his Majesty for our interest, exclusively. In consequence, after my return from the court I was written to, here, in this city of Guatimala, by Captain Andres de Tapia, P. Moreno Medrano, and J. de Limpias Caravajal “the deaf,” giving me an account of their intention, and of those conquerors concerned with them, amongst whom I was put down as one of the most ancient. I accordingly went round with the letter to the other conquerors settled in this city, to raise a sum by subscription for the purpose. This project failed from want of money. It was then determined that the conquerors in Mexico, conjointly with the whole of the community, should send procuradors to Castille; but neither was this carried into effect. At a subsequent period, our unconquered king and lord Don Philip, whom God preserve, and may he live many years in augmentation of power, was pleased to command by 

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his royal ordinances that the conquerors and their posterity should be provided for, attending in the first instance to those who were married, as may be seen in the royal cedules.

When I had written out fairly this my history, two licentiates requested me to lend it to them for their perusal, in order that they might know in detail the occurrences which happened in the conquest of New Spain, and also that they might see what difference existed between my account, and those of Gomara and the Doctor Illescas, relative to the heroic actions of the Marquis Del Valle. I accordingly presented this book to them for their perusal, with the respect which is due to scholars from a poor illiterate person like myself, desiring them at the same time to make no alteration whatever herein, as what I had written was the strict truth. As soon as they had read it, one of them who was a great rhetorician, and vain of his knowledge, began to praise the book, and expressed his surprise at my memory, and at my being able to carry in it such a series of matter, from the time I first came to these countries.

The licentiates also observed, that in regard to my stile or language, it was conformable to that in ordinary use in Old Castille, and that as such it was the more agreeable, not being embarrassed with flowery affected phrases, such as are made use of by historians in general. They also observed that it seemed to them as if I praised myself greatly, in the battles which I give an account of, whereas I ought to have left that to be done by others; and that I should have given my witnesses, testimonies, and quotations, as authorities for what I wrote, and not have said drily, “that I did; this I saw;” it not being conformable to the custom of historical writing; for I am not a witness for myself. To these observations I then replied, as I do now, that in the year one thousand five hundred and forty the Marquis Del Valle wrote a letter to his Majesty giving an account of me and my services, how I had come twice to this country on voyages of discovery previous to his expedition, 

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how he had often been an eye witness of my conduit as a brave soldier in battle as well in Mexico as in other places, how I accompanied him in his expedition to Honduras and Higueras, and many other particulars which to avoid prolixity I will not relate. The most illustrious viceroy also, Don Alonzo de Mendoza wrote to his Majesty informing him of what he had learned relative to me from the captains by whose side I sought, and his account was in all respects conformable to that of the Marquis Del Valle. Proofs to the same purport were also presented on my part to the royal council of the Indies in the year one thousand five hundred and forty.

Now, said I, gentlemen licentiates, are not the Marquis Del Valle, the viceroy D. A. de Mendoza, and my proofs, good witnesses? but if they will not suffice, I will produce you the Emperor our lord Don Carlos the fifth, who by his royal letter, sealed with his royal. Peal, commanded all viceroys and presidents, that respecting the many and good services which I had rendered, benefits should be conferred upon me and mine. The original letters are now in my possession, and the copies deposited at court in the archives of the secretary Ochoa de Luyado. Such was my answer to the observation of the licentiates.

But to return to my subject, if more testimony is wanting look at New Spain which is three times larger than our Castille, and more thickly inhabited by Spaniards, and the great wealth which it sends to Castille. But I have observed that the historians Gomara and Illescas never chose to relate our heroic actions, leaving all our value and honours in the dark, where they would have remained were it not for this my true history, and assigning such great merit to Cortes; in which, although they were right to a certain degree, yet they ought not at the same time to have forgotten us.

Of the achievements of Cortes a part also of the honour falls to me, for I was one of the most forward in every battle by his side, as I 

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was in many others when he sent me under different captains to conquer provinces, as is found written in my history, how, when, and where.

Also when Cortes returned to Europe the first time, to kiss his Majesty’s feet, he informed him that he had many valiant captains and companions in the Mexican wars, and who he believed did not yield to the most famous in ancient history. Of this praise a proportionate share falls to me. Further, at Algiers, he said much in praise of his companions the conquerors. Of this I come in for my portion, as I was of them.

As to what the licentiates said, that I praise myself so much, and that I ought to leave it to be done by others, I say, in common life it is the custom of neighbours to speak of each other as each deserves; but he who never was in the wars with us, nor saw them, nor heard of them, how can he speak of us? were the birds which flew over our heads while in battle to give accounts of us? or the clouds? who then was to speak our praises but we ourselves? Indeed gentlemen licentiates said I had you found that I detracted from the honour due to one of our valiant captains or soldiers, and ascribed it to myself, then you might justly blame me. But the fact is that I do not praise myself so much as I ought.

I will now make a comparison, although on one side the subject of it is very high, and on the other a poor soldier like myself. Historians say that the great emperor and warrior Julius Caesar was in fifty three pitched battles. I say that I was in many more battles than Julius Caesar, as may be seen in this my history. Historians also say that Julius Caesar was brave and active in battle, and that when he had time, he at night committed to writing with his own hand, his heroic actions, although he had many historians, not chusing to entrust the office to them. Truly this happened many years ago, and may or may not be the case; whereas what I relate occurred yesterday as it may be said. 

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It is therefore not extraordinary if I relate the battles in which I fought, that in future ages it should be said, “thus did Bernal Diaz del Castillo,” in order that my sons and their posterity should enjoy the praises of their ancestor, in the manner that many cavaliers and lords of vassals in the present day, do the fames and blazons of their predecessors. I will however drop this subject lest the detracting malicious, to whom these things are odious, should charge me with digressing too much. There are also conquerors now living to contradict me if I were in error, and the world is so malevolent that any such thing could hardly pass without animadversion; but the narrative itself is the best testimony of its veracity.

I will now enumerate and particularise the various battles and other matters of warfare in which I was present. They are as follows. At the point of Cotoche, with Captain F. H. de Cordova. At Champoton, a battle, wherein half our companions were killed. In Florida, where we landed to procure water. Under Captain J. de Grijalva, a second battle in Champoton. In my third voyage under Cortes, at Tabasco, two pitched battles. On our arrival in New Spain, the battle of Cingapacinga. Shortly after, three pitched battles with the Tlascalans. The affair of Cholula. On our entry into Mexico I was at the seizure of Montezuma; I do not mention it as an affair of war, but on account of its great boldness. In four months after, the attack upon Narvaez whom we under Cortes defeated with two hundred and seventy six men, he having one thousand three hundred. The relief of Alvarado who was besieged by the Mexicans, when they made war upon us during eight days and nights, and killed above eight hundred and seventy soldiers; I consider six battles as having happened during this period, at which I was present. The battle of Obtumba. A battle at Tepeaca. Under Cortes a battle at Tezcuco. Two field battles, in one of which I was wounded in the throat by a lance. Two actions concerning the fields of maize. In the expedition round the lake when we made that rash and inconsiderate attack upon the fortresses named the

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rocks of the marquis. The battle of Cuernavaca. Three battles at Suchimillco. The siege of Mexico which lasted ninety three days, during which I was engaged, as I find by my account, in above eighty battles and skirmishes. After the conquest when I was sent to pacify the provinces of Guacacualco, Chiapa, and the Zapotecans. In Chamula and Cuitlan, two engagements. In Teapa and Chimatan two engagements; here I was wounded badly in the throat. I forgot to mention in its place, how, after our flight from Mexico we were pursued for nine days, and fought four battles. In the Expedition to Higueras and Honduras, an action at Culacotu, where my horse which cost me six hundred crowns was killed. After my return to Mexico I went against the Zapotecans and Minxes in the mountains. I do not mention numberless other engagements and dangers in which I have been, as it would be endless to detail them all. Nor do I chuse to say how I was one of the first who came to lay siege to Mexico, three or four days at least before Cortes.

I have therefore according to this account been present in one hundred and nineteen battles and engagements; and it is not extraordinary if I praise myself, as what I say is the mere truth. Nor are these old stories or histories of Romans, of many ages past; for evident and true are the many and notable services which I have rendered; first to God, then to his Majesty, and all Christendom; and I give thanks and praises to our Lord Jesus Christ, that I escaped from all dangers, to make these things manifest; and I also say, and praise myself thereon, that I have been in as many battles and engagements as, according to history, the Emperor Henry the fourth.

F I N I S.