The Explorers, 1492-1774

TRANSLATION: Historiae Verdadera of Bernal Diaz del Castillo

Then Cortes sent to Villa Rica for much of the iron and the bolts of the ships which we had destroyed, and for anchors, sails and rigging and for cables and tow and all the other materials for building ships, and he ordered all the blacksmiths to come, and one Hernando de Aguilar who was half a blacksmith and helped in the forging. Cortes sent a certain Santa Cruz as Captain to Villa Rica with orders to bring all the material I have mentioned. He brought everything, even to the cauldrons for melting the pitch, and all the things that they had taken out of the ships, and transported them with the help of more than a thousand Indians, for all the towns of those provinces were enemies of the Mexicans, and at once gave men to carry the loads. Then as we had no pitch with which to caulk the launches, and the Indians did not know how to extract it, Cortes ordered four sailors who understood the work to go and make pitch in some fine pine woods near Huexotzingo.

Translated by A. P. Maudslay, “The Discovery and Conquest of Mexico of Bernal Diaz del Castillo,” 337.

I remember that Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo went in charge of these as captain. He was a good soldier in the war of Mexico, and afterward as a citizen of Guatemala and very much honored. He was captain and Almirante of thirteen ships for Pedro de Alvarado. He served his Majesty very well in everything that offered and died in royal service.

Translated by Don Joaquin Pardo, Director of the Archivo General de la Nacion, Guatemala.