The Account: Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca's Relación

By Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca; Martin A. Favata et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER THIRTY-SIX
How We Had Them Build Churches
in That Land

After the Indians returned, all the people of that province who were friends of the Christians came to see us when they heard news of us, and brought us beads and feathers. We told them to build churches and place crosses on them, which they had not yet done. We had them bring the children of the principal chiefs and baptized them. Then the Captain vowed to God that he would not raid nor allow anyone to raid or to take slaves in the land or from the people to whom we had guaranteed safety, and that he would keep and carry this out until Your Majesty and Governor Nuño de Guzmán or the Viceroy 1 in your name decreed what would be of greatest service to God and Your Majesty.

After the children were baptized, we departed for the municipality of San Miguel, where, upon our arrival, Indians came to tell us that many people were coming down from the mountains, settling in the plain, building churches and crosses and doing everything we had told them to do. Every day we had news on how this was increasingly being done. After we had been there two weeks, Alcaraz returned with the Christians who had been on that raid. They told the Captain how the Indians had come down from the mountains and had settled in the plain, and how they had found that formerly empty and deserted villages now had many people in them. They said that the Indians had come out to greet them with crosses in their hands and had taken them to their houses and given them part of what they had. They slept with the Indians there that night. Stunned by this new manner, and because the Indians told them that their security was guaranteed, Alcaraz ordered that they not be harmed. Then the Christians departed.

May it be God our Lord's will, through his infinite mercy, that in Your Majesty's lifetime and under your dominion and lordship, these peoples may come to be truly and quite willingly subject to the true Lord who created and redeemed them. We are certain that this will be so and that Your Majesty will be the one to carry it out. This will not be so difficult to achieve because

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