EXPEDITIONS INTO THE YALLEY OF THE AMAZONS, 1539, 1540, 1639. Экспедиции в долину Амазонки, 1539, 1540, 1639 гг.

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Экспедиции в долину Амазонки, 1539, 1540, 1639 гг.




1539, 1540, 1639.






EXPEDITION OF GONZALO PIZAURO to the land of Cinnamon,
A.D., 1539-42, translated from the second part of Garcilasso
Inca de la Vega's " Royal Commentaries of Peru."
the Amazons, A.D. 1540-1, translated from the sixth decade
of Antonio de Herrera's " General History of the Western
by Father Cristoval de A curia, A.D. 1639, translated from the
Spanish edition of 1641.
AMAZONS, containing all those which are mentioned in the
voyages of Orellana and Acuna.



THE early expeditions into the great valley of the
river of Amazons, during the sixteenth century, are,
perhaps, the most romantic episodes in the history
of Spanish discovery. The first that is deserving of
notice was sent by the conqueror Pizarro, under the
command of his youngest brother Gonzalo, " who was
held to be the best lance that ever went to those
countries, and all confess that he never showed his
back to the enemy."1
I have translated the narrative of the expedition to
the land of Cinnamon, undertaken by Gonzalo Pizarro,
from the royal commentaries of Garcilasso Inca de la
Vega. This chronicler had excellent opportunities
of collecting information respecting the expedition,
and, as we have no account actually written by one
who was concerned in it, Garcilasso's narrative may
be considered to be the best that is now procurable.
His father was intimate with Gonzalo Pizarro ; the
younger Garcilasso had himself seen him when a boy,2
1 Varones IUustres del Nuevo Munch, by Don F. Pizarro y
Orellana, which contains an eulogistic life of Gonzalo Pizarro.
2 When Gonzalo Pizarro entered Cuzco, after the bloody battle


he had conversed with several persons who were en-
gaged in the expedition, and had consulted the ac-
counts of Zarate and Gomara. The Inca historian
has frequently been accused of exaggeration ; but in
narrating the terrible sufferings endured by Gonzalo
and his followers, their heroic endurance, and final
escape from the dismal forests, I cannot see that he
outsteps the bounds of probability in any single
The base desertion of Orellana, which added so
much to the sufferings of Gonzalo's people, was the
means of discovering the course of the mightiest river
in the world. I have translated the account of Orel-
lana's voyage from Antonio de Herrera's " Historia
general de las Indias occidentales ;" and it forms a
sequel to the . Hen-era
held the post of historiographer of the Indies for
many years, during the reigns of Philip II and Philip
III, and died in 1625. He had the use of all public
documents, and his account of the expedition of
Orellana is the best that has come to my knowledge.
After the disastrous termination of these enter-
prizes, no attempt was made to penetrate far into the
of Huarina in 1547, the young Garcilasso went out as far as Quis-
picanchi (about three leagues) to meet his father, who was then
serving under the rebel chief. Garcilasso describes all the events
of this day, which seem to have been deeply impressed on his
mind. He tells us that he walked part of the way, and was carried '
by Indians towards the end of his journey, but that he got a
horse to come back on. He remembered these trifles, " porque la
memoria guarda mejor lo que vio en su ninez, que lo que pasa en j
su edad mejor."—Com. Real., ii, lib. v, cap. 27.


valley of the Amazons for several years, with one
notable exception. I allude to the escape of some of
the followers of the younger Almagro into the forests
of Caravaya, after the final overthrow of the young
adventurer at the battle on the heights of Chupas in
1542. A few scattered notices respecting these fugi-
tives have alone come within my reach. It appears
that they crossed the snowy range of the Ancles to
the eastward of the city of Cuzco, and descended into
the great tropical forests of Colla-huaya ; where they
discovered rivers, the sands of which were full of
gold.1 On the banks of these rivers they built the
towns of Sandia, San Gaban, and San Juan del Oro ;
large sums of gold were sent home to Spain ;2 and
the last named settlement received the title of a royal
city from Charles V. But eventually the wildChuncho
Indians, of the Sirineyri tribe, fell upon them, burnt
the towns, and massacred every Spaniard to the east-
ward of the Andes. Until within the last few years
no further attempt was made to settle in these forests
of Caravaya; but it is said that the Cascarilleros^ or
1 Don Manuel Guaycochea, the obliging Cura of Sandia, sup-
plied me with some of the above information. The province of
Colla-huaya (now called Caravaya), in the Peruvian department of
Puno, is becoming important, both on account of its gold wash-
ings, and of the number of valuable cinchona trees in its forests.
The village of Sandia is on the eastern slope of the Cordillera, and
on the verge of the boundless forests, which extend for hundreds
of miles to the north and east.
2 Comm. Real., ii, lib. iii, cap. 19. "La provincia de Colla-
huaya, donde sacaron muy mucho oro finisimo, de viento y quatro
(juilatcs, y hoy sc saca-todavia, aunque no en tanta abundancia."


collectors of Peruvian bark, sometimes stumble upon
ruined walls almost hidden in the dense underwood:
—the crumbling remains of San Gaban, or San Juan
del Oro.
Beyond this settlement in Caravaya, no attempt
was made to penetrate into the valley of the Amazons,
after the return of Gonzalo Pizarro, for about four-
teen years. In 1555, however, the Marquis of Canete,
a scion of the noble house of Mendoza, was appointed
viceroy of Peru.
On arriving in Lima, he found that the disgraceful
feuds of the Pizarros, the Almagros, and their follow-
ers, had just been concluded by the death of the rebel
Hernandez Giron, at Pucara. It was his care to
punish all traitors with severity, and to turn the rest-
lessness of the turbulent adventurers into another
channel, by promoting expeditions of discovery
Thus it was that Juan Alvarez Maldonado was sent
to explore the forests east of Cuzco, and that Pedro
de Ursua started in search of El Dorado, and the
kingdom of the Omaguas.
Juan Alvarez Maldonado was, says Garcilasso, "one
of the fattest and most corpulent men that I have ever
seen but at the same time he was brave and active.
Throughout Cuzco he was famous for having es-
caped death in a most unusual way. When fighting
against Gonzalo Pizarro, a bullet struck him full or/
the chest, and knocked him down ; but the ball hap-
pened to strike upon the breviary which was in his
bosom, and so, by the miraculous interposition of the
blessed Virgin, as it was said, his life was preserved.


Ever afterwards he hung the book outside his clothes,
as a charm against the evil eye.
This cavalier had heard that a number of the Incas,
with forty thousand followers, had assembled together,
with great store of gold and silver, and had fled far away
into the forests to the eastward of Cuzco ;l to escape
from the oppression of their conquerors. He intended,
therefore, to pursue them with a chosen band of sol-
diers, spoil them of their treasure, and proceed also
to explore the great river which was reported to take
its rise in those forests.2 Maldonado, however, had
cause for alarm in the knowledge that another adven-
turer named Tordoya also intended to chase the Incas;
and it was probable that the two parties of Spanish
wolves would rend each other over the carcasses of
their prey.
Maldonado crossed the snowy range of the eastern
Cordillera, penetrated some distance into the forests,
along the banks of the Tono, (a tributary of the
Purus), and encountered his rival Gomez de Tordoya,
who was waiting to receive him. They fought for
three successive days, until nearly every man, on
,both sides, was killed. The wild Indians, called
1 M. Rodriguez, lib. vi, cap. iv, p. 384.
2 This is the river Amaru-mayu, Madre de Dios, or Purus (the
Cuchivara of Acuiia and Samuel Fritz), one of the largest tribu-
taries of the Amazons, which remains unexplored to this day. In
mentioning this flight of the Incas into the valley of the Amazons,
Velasco, in his Historia de Quito, enumerates eight powerful Ama-
zonian tribes as being descended from them, namely, the Cinga-
ouchuscas, Campas, Comavas, Cunivas, Pirras, Jibitos, Panos,
and Chunchos.


Chunchos, finished off the remainder, three only es-
caping out of the whole number, among whom was
Maldonado himself, who eventually made his escape
alone, through the forests of Caravaya, to Cuzco.
Such an adventure must have reduced the size of this
lucky old soldier.
Thus did these exploring expeditions to the east-
ward of Cuzco destroy each other ; and we know less
now concerning the vast territory along the banks of
the Purus, and its tributaries, than was known in the
days of the Marquis of Cafiete, three hundred years
;The other expedition, mentioned above, under Don

EXPEDITIONS INTO THE YALLEY OF THE AMAZONS, 1539, 1540, 1639. Экспедиции в долину Амазонки, 1539, 1540, 1639 гг.
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