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The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 63, July 1959 - April, 1960

Pieda's Sketch
A QUARTER OF A CENTURY after Columbus made his first voyage
to the West Indies the Spaniards had infiltrated these
islands and, no doubt spurred on by Portugal's success in
reaching India, were still frantically searching for a passage
through the new continent to the Spice Islands. Cortes had uncov-
ered vast wealth in Mexico and it was the thought of this wealth as
much as the desire to find a western route to Cathay that prompted
Francisco de Garay, the governor of Jamaica, to outfit a flotilla
which in 1519 explored the coast of the Gulf of Mexico under
the command of Alfonso Alvarez Pifieda. A copy of the map or
sketch which was made of the country explored by Pifieda
appears immediately preceding the text of the writings of Fran-
cisco Cervantes de Salazar, published by Francisco del Paso y
The original of this sketch is in the Archivo de Indias; the
phototype used by Paso y Troncoso was made by the photographic
firm of Hauser and Menet from a reproduction made by one
Beauchy, a photographer of Sevilla, Spain. There is another copy
of the original on page 148 of Martin Fernandez Navarrete's
Coleccidn de los viages y descubrimientos, que hicieron por mar
los espafioles desde fines del siglo XV.2
Pifieda's interest in the region around the PAnuco River and
the riches of the Aztecs is evident on the sketch in the lack of
detail between the upper boundary of his explorations and the
Panuco River and the wealth of detail from the PAnuco on to and
beyond his lower boundary. That Garay did expect to share in
the plunder of the Aztec kingdom is shown by the fact that in
1521, armed with samples of the gold Pifieda had picked up, the
governor requested and received a royal cedula from Charles I to
1Francisco Cervantes de Salazar, Crdnica de Nueva Espaia (Madrid, 1914).
2Martin Fernandez de Navarrete, Colecci6n de los viages y descubrimientos, que
hicieron por mar los espafoles desde fines del siglo XV (5 vols.; Madrid, 1825-1837),
III, 148.

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 63, July 1959 - April, 1960. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed May 2, 2016.

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