The travels of Pedro de Cieza de Léon, A.D.1532-50 - PDF book (1864)

The travels of Pedro de Cieza de Léon, A.D. 1532-50

Pedro de Cieza de Léon
Pedro de Cieza de Léon


contained in the first part of his Chronicle of Peru

The work of Pedro de Cieza de Leon is, in many respects, one of the most remarkable literary productions of the age of Spanish conquest in America, Written by a man who had passed his life in the camp from early boyhood, it is conceived on a plan which would have done credit to the most thoughtful scholar, and is executed with care, judgment, and fidelity. But before examining the work itself, I will give some account of its author — of whom, however, little is known, beyond what can be gathered from his own incidental statements in the course of his narrative. 

Cieza de Leon is believed to have been born in the year 1519 in the city of Seville, where he passed the first fourteen years of his life. It has been conjectured that his father was a native of Leon,^ in the north of Spain, but absolutely nothing is known of his parentage. In 1532, at the extraordinarily early age of fourteen, young Pedro embarked at Seville and set out to seek his fortunes in the New World. 

At that time scarcely a year elapsed without seeing an expedition fitted out, Don Pascual de Gajango.s is inclined to this opinion. to undertake some new discovery or conquest. Seville and Cadiz were crowded with adventurers, all eagerly seeking a passage to that marvellous land beyond the setting sun. It was, indeed, a time of wild excitement. 

Every ship that returned from the Indies might, and not a few did bring tidings of the discovery of new and powerful empires before undreamt of People of all ages and of every grade in society flocked to the seaports, and took ship for the Indies; excited beyond control by the accounts of those inexhaustible riches and fabulous glories, which penetrated to every village in Spain. Among the leaders of these expeditions, there were some honourable knights, with courteous manners and cultivated minds, such as Diego de Alvarado, Garcilasso de la Vega, and Lorenzo de Alana.

But the majority were either coarse and avaricious adventurers, or disappointed courtiers, like that young scamp Alonzo Enriquez de Guzman, whom I introduced to the notice of the Hakluyt Society in 1862. 

Cieza de Leon, at the time of his embarkation, was a mere boy, too young to be classed under any of these heads. His character was destined to be formed in a rough and savage school, and it is most remarkable that fine a fellow as our author really was, should have been produced amidst the horrors of the Spanish American conquest. Humane, generous, full of noble sympathies, observant, and methodical; he was bred amidst scenes of cruelty, pillage, and wanton destruction, which were calculated to produce a far different character. Considering the circumstances in which he was placed from early boyhood, his book is certainly a most extraordinary, as well as an inestimable result of his labours and military services. 

It does not appear in what fleet our boy soldier set out from Spain; but judging^ from the date, and from the company in which we find him immediately on landing in America, I consider it more than probable that he sailed from his native land in one of the ships which formed the expeditionary fleet of Don Pedro de Heredia. Heredia, who had already served with distinction on the coast of Tierra Firme, had obtained a grant of the government of all the country, between the river Maojdalena and the Gulf of Darien, from Charles V. 

He was a native of Madrid, where, having had his nostrils slit in a street brawl, he had killed three of the men who had treated him with this indignity. Forced to leave his native country, he took refuge in San Domingo, and relation had interest enough to get him appointed as lieutenant to Garcia de Lerma, in an expedition to Santa Martha; whence he returned to Spain. 
He was a man of considerable ability, judgment, and determination was respected by his own followers and had already had some experience in Indian warfare. His lieutenant was Francisco de Cesar, one of the most dashing officers of the time.^

Some contents:

The Travels of Pedro de Cieza de Leon.
Chap. I. — Which treats of the discovery of the Indies, of some other things which were done when they were first discovered, and of the present state of affairs - - - - - 11
Chap. II. — Of the city of Panama, and of its founding, and why it is treated of first, before other matters - - - - 14
Chap. III. — Of the ports between Panama and the land of Peru, of the distances between them, and of their latitudes - - - 19
Chap. IV. — Describes the navigation as far as the Callao of Lima, which is the port of the City of the Kings - - - 22
Chap. V. — Of the ports and rivers on the coast, from the City of the Kings to the province of Chile, and their latitudes, with other matters connected with the navigation of these seas - - - 27
Chap. VI. — How the city of San Sebastian was founded in the bay of Uraba; and of the native Indians in that neighbourhood - 32
Chap. VII. — How the barb is made so poisonous, with which the Indians of Carthagena and Santa Martha have killed so many Spaniards 38
Chap. VIII. — Li which other customs of the Indians subject to the city of Uraba are described - - - - - -

the book details :
  • Author: Pedro de Cieza de Léon
  • Publication date: Clements R. Markham
  • Company: London: Printed for the Hakluyt Society
  • Volume:33

  • Download 26 MB

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