CHAPTER 3: Our Landing in Florida

THAT SAME DAY [April 14] the comptroller Alonso Enríquez ventured to an island in the bay and called to the Indians, who came and stayed with him quite a while, trading fish and venison for trinkets.

The day following - Good Friday - the Governor debarked with as many men as the ships' little boats could hold. We found the buhíos [wigwams of a type which had an open shed attached] deserted, the Indians having fled by canoe in the night. One of the buhíos was big enough to accommodate more than 300 people; the others were smaller. Amid some fish nets we found a gold rattle.

Next day the Governor raised flags and took possession of the country in Your Majesty's name, exhibiting his credentials and receiving our acknowledgement of his office, according to Your Majesty's command. We, for our part, laid our commissions before the Governor and he responded appropriately to each. [Narváez, we gather much later, thought of himself as founding a town, La Cruz (The Cross), at this time.]

He then ordered the balance of the men to land, with the horses, of which only 42 had survived the storms and the long passage at sea; these few were too thin and run down to be of much use.

The Indians of the village returned next day and approached us. Because we had no interpreter, we could not make out what they said; but their many signs and threats left little doubt that they were bidding us to go. They, however, went away and interfered no further.