Spanish Sea: The Gulf of Mexico in North American Discovery, 1500-1685

By Robert S. Weddle | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 8
Victoria Garayana: Garay and Pánuco, 1523

ON June 14, 1523, Francisco de Garay, governor of Jamaica and adelantado of Amichel, sailed with 11 ships from Jamaica's north coast. Among the vessels, with an aggregate capacity of almost 800 toneladas, were two caravels, and two brigantines equipped with oars for negotiating shallow coves. The rest were heavier naos, carrying horses and artillery. By Garay's own count there were "600 men, including 150 horsemen." Their ultimate destination was the Río Pánuco, where Garay hoped to pacify the Indians and establish a colony in compliance with his royal commission.

The captain of the fleet was Juan de Grijalva, the same who had coasted Yucatán and discovered New Spain in 1518. Chief pilot was Diego Morillo, occasionally taken for Diego Miruelo and said to be the nephew of the pilot of that name who has been mistakenly credited with visiting the Florida Gulf coast in 1516. Shipmasters included Diego de la Serpa, Juan del Huerto, Gonzalo Gómez, Juan Martín, and Pedro Díaz de Castromocho. Juan el Griego was the chief boatswain. Captains of horse and foot were Diego de Figueroa, Gonzalo Dovalle, Gonzalo de Figueroa, and Gil González. There was also Gonzalo de Ocampo, who was Garay's brother-in-law, and a Huastec Indian who had evidently been brought home by Alvarez de Pineda and had learned Spanish well enough to serve as interpreter. One whose presence on the expedition becomes important only in the light of his later exploits was Angel de Villafañe, age 19. Years later, he was to have a part in picking up the pieces of Tristán de Luna's Florida enterprise.

Two years had elapsed since the issuance of the cédula authorizing Garay's venture. During that time Cortés had drained the resources of Cuba and Jamaica to support his conquest, weakening his adver-

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