Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB
[graphic]

DEATH OF ATAHUALPA, FROM A PAINTING IN THE CATHEDRAL AT CALLAO.

country, and the cruel sentence, which was common enough at that day, was carried out except in one particular. As the poor Inca stood bound to the stake, with the fagots of his funeral pile heaped around him, Valverde, the Dominican friar, made a last appeal to him to accept the cross and be baptized, promising him a less painful death if he would consent. The Inca, shrinking from the horror of the flames, consented, and was duly baptized under the name of Juan de Atahualpa. He was then put to death in the Spanish manner, by the garrote, or strangulation.

Thus died the Inca of Peru, the victim of the faith of a Pizarro. Great was the indignation of De Soto, on his return a day or two later from an expedition in which he had found no rebels, at what had been done. Pizarro tried to exculpate himself and blame others for deceiving him, but these told him to his face that he alone was responsible for the deed. There can be no doubt that they told the truth.

GONZALO PIZARRO AND THE

LAND OF CINNAMON.

WE have now to relate the most remarkable adventure in the story of the conquest of Peru, and one of the most remarkable in the history of the New World, the expedition of Gonzalo Pizarro to the upper waters of the Amazon and the pioneer voyage down that mighty river.

Francisco Pizarro was well aided by his brothers in his great work of conquest, three of them-Hernando, Juan, and Gonzalo-accompanying him to Peru, and all of them proving brave, enterprising, and able men. In 1540, eight years after the conquest, Gonzalo was appointed by his brother gov. ernor of the territory of Quito, in the north of the empire, with instructions to explore the unknown country lying to the east, where the cinnamon tree was said to grow. Gonzalo lost no time in seeking his province, and made haste in starting on his journey of exploration to the fabled land of spices.

It was early in the year that he set out on this famous expedition, with a force of three hundred and fifty Spaniards and four thousand Indians, one hundred and fifty of the whites being mounted. They were all thoroughly equipped and took with them a large supply of provisions and a great drove of hogs, five thousand in number, as some writers say. Yet with all this food they were to suffer from the extremes of famine.

We can but briefly tell the incidents of this extraordinary journey. At first it was easy enough. But when they left the land of the Incas and began to cross the lofty ranges of the Andes, they found themselves involved in intricate and difficult passes, swept by chilling winds. In this cold wilderness many of the natives found an icy grave, and during their passage a terrible earthquake shook the mountains, the earth in one place being rent asunder. Choking sulphurous vapors issued from the cavity, into whose frightful abyss a village of several hundred houses was precipitated.

After the heights were passed and they descended to the lower levels, tropical heats succeeded the biting cold, and fierce storms of rain, accompanied by violent thunder and lightning, descended almost ceaselessly, drenching the travellers day after day. It was the rainy season of the tropics, and for more than six weeks the deluge continued, while the forlorn wanderers, wet and weary, could scarce drag themselves over the yielding and saturated soil.

For several months this toilsome journey continued, many a mountain stream and dismal morass needing to be crossed. At length they reached the Land of Cinnamon, the Canelas of the Spaniards, where were forests of the trees supposed by them to bear the precious bark. Yet had it been the actual cinnamon of the East Indies, it would have been useless to them in that remote and mountain

« AnteriorContinuar »