Wednesday, the thirteenth of May, the Governor left from Cofitachequi, and in two days he arrived at the province of Chalaque And they slept in a pine forest, where many Indian men and women began to come in peace with presents and gifts, and they were there on Whitsuntide.
And from there the Governor wrote to Baltasar de Gallegos by some Indians And on Monday, the seventeenth of that month, they departed from there and spent the night in a forest; and on Tuesday they went to Guaquili And on the following Wednesday they went to a canebrake, and on Thursday to a small savannah where a horse died; and some foot soldiers of Baltasar de Gallegos arrived, making known to the Governor that he was approaching The next day, Friday, they went to Xuala, which is a town on a plain between some rivers And on Saturday Baltasar de Gallegos arrived there with many sick and lame, and they needed them healthy, particularly since they now had the mountains before them.
In that Xuala it seemed to them that there was better disposition to look for gold mines than in all that they had passed through and seen in that northern part The next day they spent the night in an oak grove, and the following day, alongside a large creek, which they crossed many times; and the next day And on Wednesday they spent the night alongside a swamp The next day, Thursday, they went alongside a large creek next to the river that they had crossed in the savannah where the cacica went away, and now it was large.
The next day, Friday, they went to a pine forest and a creek, where Indians from Chiaha came in peace and brought corn Saturday, the fifth of June, was the day that they entered in Chiaha; and since from Xuala all their travel had been through a mountain range and the horses were tired and thin, and the Christians likewise fatigued The following Wednesday they crossed a river, and then a town and the river another time, and they spent the night in the open.
And on Thursday the cacique of Coste came forth to receive them in peace, and he led the Christians to sleep in a town of his. And thus, the next day, Thursday, going toward his principal town of Coste, he slipped away and evaded the Spaniards and called his people to arms. It is fairly well accepted by scholars. It begins near the Great Smokey Mountains and ends in southern Alabama. It took Desoto's army 30 days to march the miles along its way.
On Monday they crossed a river, and slept in the open. On Tuesday they crossed another river, and on Wednesday another large river, and they slept in Tasqui And the next day, Wednesday, they went to Caxa, a wretched town on the bank of the river and at the boundary [rays] between Talisi and Tuscalusa. And the next day, Thursday, they spent the night alongside the river, and a town that is called Humati was on the other side of the water. It took the army 40 days to march it, but is highly contested in destination.
Many suggest that trail led to the Mississippi River at Memphis, miles from Mabila. Some now believe that trail led due north to the Ohio River, miles away. From this river and province the Governor and his people left in search of Chicasa on Thursday, the ninth of December, and they arrived the following Tuesday at the river of Chicasa, having passed many bad crossings and swamps and rivers and cold weather.
Orders were given to make a piragua [raft] and they crossed very well in the piragua on Thursday, the sixteenth of the month [leaving Alabama]. And the Governor advanced [45 miles] with some on horseback, and they arrived very late at night at the town of the lord, and all the people were gone. The next day Baltasar de Gallegos arrived with the thirty [horsemen] who went with him. And on Thursday they went to another savannah, where the Indians had made a very strong barricade Alabamo On Saturday, the last day of April, the army departed from the site of the barricade, and traveled nine days through an uninhabited region and a bad road through forests and swamps, until There they saw the great river.
They spent 11 weeks searching Indiana and Illinois as far north as Lake Michigan. On Sunday, they went to a town of Aquijo; on Tuesday, the twenty-first of June, they left from there and passed through the province of Aquijo, which is very beautiful and nicely situated.
The next day, Wednesday, they passed through the worst road of swamps and water that they had seen in all Florida, and in this day's journey the people suffered much hardship. The next day following, Thursday, they entered in the land of Quarqui and passed through many towns, and the next day, Friday, the day of St. John, they went to the town of the lord of Casqui, and he gave food and clothes to this army, and on Saturday they entered in his town And on Monday, the first of August, they arrived at another town that is alongside the river of Casqui, which is a branch that comes forth from the great river of Pacaha, and this branch is as large as the Guadalquivir [River in Spain].
There Casqui came and helped them cross the river by canoe on Tuesday the second of August. And the next day, Friday, they went to Quiguate [Province], which is the largest town they saw in that land, next to the river of Casqui; and they found out afterwards that river was well populated below although they did not manage to find it out then , and for that reason they took the road from Coligua [for 3 days], passing through an uninhabited region.
And on Tuesday they went to the river that they call [the river] of Coligua, and on Wednesday likewise along the same river, and the following Thursday, which was the first of September, to Coligua, and they found the town populated, and in it they took many people and clothes and a great deal of food and much salt.
It is a pleasant town among some mountains, on a gorge of a large river [the Mississippi River], and from there they went at midday to kill cows [buffalo], since there are many wild ones On the following Thursday they went to Palisma, and on Saturday, the tenth of September, they came forth to sleep at a [body of] water, and on Sunday they arrived at Quixila and rested there on Monday, and they went on Tuesday to Tutilcoya, and on Wednesday to a town alongside a large river, and on Thursday they spent the night alongside a swamp.
And the Governor went in advance with some on horseback, and he arrived at Tanico; and the next day they the army went to the same province of Tanico On Wednesday, the nineteenth of October, this army and the Governor departed from Tula, and they spent the night at two huts, and the next day they left Missouri The next day, Saturday, they went to Guipana, which is among some mountains, next to a river The next day they came out of the mountains and entered the plains, and on Monday, the last day of the month, they arrived at a town that is called Quitamaya, and on Tuesday, the first of November, they passed through a small village, and on Wednesday, the second of November, they arrived at Utiangue, which is a very well populated savannah of attractive appearance He accompanied Hernando de Soto until his death, then DeSoto's successor: Elvas reported the army's movements without calendar dating, as was the habit of Rangel above.
Elvas described campsites in relation to geographic features, native villages and provincial boundaries rivers in most cases. His writings, twice supplemented by Garcilaso de la Vega , the "Inca," for clarity, are tabulated in sequence below.
From Autiamque, it took the governor ten days to reach a province called Ayays. He reached a town near the river which flowed through Cayas and Autiamque. There he ordered a piragua to be constructed, by which he crossed the river. After crossing, such weather occurred that he could not march for four days because of the snow. As soon as it stopped snowing, he marched for three days through an unpopulated region and a land so low and with so many swamps and such hard going that one day he marched all day through water that in some places reached to the knees and in others to the stirrups, and some passages were swum over.
He came to a deserted village, without maize called Tutelpinco. Near it was a lake which emptied into the river and had a strong current and force of water Reed frames and rafts were made there from reeds and wood from the houses, on which they crossed the lake.
The governor sent a captain on ahead to Nilco with horse and foot, so that the Indians might not have any opportunity to carry off the food. They went through three or four large towns, and in the town where the cacique lived - located two leagues from where the governor remained - they found many Indians with their bows and arrows He lodged with all his men in the cacique's town which was located on a level field, and which was all populated for a quarter of a league; while a league and a half-league distant were other very large towns where there was a quantity of maize, beans, walnuts, and dried plums.
This was the most populous region which had been seen in Florida and more abounding in maize, with the exception of Coosa and Apalache. The lord of the upper part [Guachoya] came in canoes to make war on the lord of Nilco The governor gave him some trifles and showed him great honor. He questioned him about the settlement down the river. He said that he knew of none other except his own; and that on the other side was a province of a cacique called Quigaltam.
A few days later, the governor made up his mind to go to Guachoya, in order to ascertain there whether the sea were nearby, or whether there were any settlement nearby where he might subsist himself while brigantines were being built which he intended to send to the land of Christians The governor sent a captain and fifty men in six canoes down the river, while he, with the rest of his men, went overland. He reached Guachoya on Sunday, April 17, and lodged himself in the cacique's town, which was surrounded by a stockade, a crossbow flight from the river.
He said he did not, nor of any settlement down the river from that place, except that there was a town of one of his principal Indians subject to him two leagues away, and on the other side three days' journey downstream the province of Quigaltam, who was the greatest lord of that region.
He was gone for a week and on his coming back said that during that whole time he could not proceed more than fourteen or fifteen leagues because of the great arms leading out of the river, and the canebrakes and thick woods lying along it; and that he found no settlement. With that thought, he fell sick Next day, May 21 died the magnanimous, virtuous, and courageous captain, Don Hernando de Soto, governor of Cuba and adelantado of Florida He asked each to express his opinion in writing and to sign his opinion with his name, so that having the opinions of them all, he might make up his mind whether to descend the river or to penetrate inland.
It seemed advisable to all to take the road overland toward the west, for New Spain lay in that direction; and they considered as more dangerous and of greater risk the voyage by sea; for no ship could be built strong enough to weather a storm, and they had no master or pilot, and no compass or sailing chart, and they did not know how far away the sea was, nor had they any information of it; nor whether the river made some great bend through the land or whether it fell over any rocks where they would perish.
On Monday, June 5, he left Guachoya. The cacique gave him a guide to Chaguate and remained in his village. They passed through a province called Catalte and after passing through anuninhabited region for six days They reached Chaguete on the twentieth of the month. The cacique of that province had gone to visit the governor, Don Hernando de Soto, at Autiamque where he brought him gifts of skins, blankets, and salt. They passed through a small town where there was a lake where the Indians made salt.
The Christians made some on a day they rested there from some briny water which rose near the town in pools like springs. The governor now Luis de Moscoso stayed six days in Chaguete. There he got information of the people to the west.
They told him that three days' journey from there was a province called Aguacay The governor reached his town Minden on Wednesday, July 4. He found the town abandoned and lodged therein. He stayed there for some time, during which he made several inroads The camp was pitched quite near to a salt marsh, and on that evening some salt Potassium nitrate, the oxidizing agent of gun powder was made there as it is today; its called the Lousiana Ordnance Plant.
Next day he reached a small town called Pato today's Bossier City. The fourth day after he left Aguacay, he reached the first settlement of a province called Amaye Shreveport, having walked across the Red River log jam. An Indian was captured there who said that it was a day and a half journey thence to Naguatex Texas , all of which lay through an inhabited region.
That night he slept there and next day reached the village of Naguatex which was very extensive. He asked where the town of the cacique was and they told him it was on the other side of a river [the Sabine] which ran through that district He marched toward it and on reaching it saw many Indians on the other side waiting for him, so posted as to forbid his passage.
Since he did not know whether it [the river] was fordable, nor where it could be crossed, and since several Christians and horses were wounded, in order that they might have time to recover in the town where he was, he made up his mind to rest for a few days.
Because of the great heat, he made camp near the village, a quarter of a league from the [Sabine] river, in an open forest of luxuriant and lofty trees near a brook.