Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Founding of St. Augustine, 1565

While browsing the Modern History Sourcebook, I found an interesting account titled The Founding of St. Augustine, 1565. It was written by Francisco Lopez de Mendoza Grajales.

Here is the beginning of the text:

I. THE LORD having granted us favorable weather from the first, five days' sailing brought us in sight of the Lanzarote Islands and Fuerte Ventura. The following Wednesday, July 5, 1565, we reached the Canary Islands, which are two hundred and fifty leagues from Cadiz, where we stopped three days to lay in a supply of wood and water.

The following Sunday, July 8, our fleet, composed of eight ships, under the direction of our general, left the Canary Islands, and proceeded to the Island of Dominica, which was to be conquered from the Caribbee Indians. Unfortunately, the very evening we set sail, our first galley and a patache became separated from us. For two days we coasted up and down, hoping to rejoin them, but without any success; and our admiral, seeing that we should not be able to accomplish it, gave the order for us to sail directly to Dominica, where we were to await them in case they had not arrived before us. During this voyage a shallop, or boat, commanded by Capt. Francesco Sanchez sprung a leak, and, as it got beyond the control of the crew, he asked assistance from us, but it was impossible to give him any. The pilot wishing to continue to sail with the other vessels until they should arrive at their destination, and have the leak repaired there, the captain and a soldier had recourse to their swords to oblige the pilot to return to port, being fearful lest they should be all drowned. The pilot declared himself unable to do this on account of the rough weather, so they decided to make for the cape on the south-west in order to reach the land as soon as possible.

Thus it happened that we were obliged to leave them, which we did with deep regret and great anxiety as to what would become of them. The five vessels which remained of our fleet had a prosperous voyage the rest of the way, thanks to our Lord and His Blessed Mother. Up to Friday, the 20th, we had very fine weather, but at ten o'clock that day a violent wind arose, which by two in the afternoon had become the most frightful hurricane one could imagine. The sea, which rose to the very clouds, seemed about to swallow us up alive, and such was the fear and apprehension of the pilot and other sailors that I exerted myself to exhort my brethren and companions to repentance. I represented to them the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ, His justice and His mercy, and with so much success that I passed the night in confessing them.

You can read the entire account at the link above if this is of interest to you.

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