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[35] discovered in 1517 the province of Yucatan and the
Chap. II} 1517.
Bay of Campeachy. He then turned his prow to the north; but, at a place where he had landed for supplies of water, his company was suddenly assailed, and he himself mortally wounded.

In 1518, the pilot whom Fernandez had employed

1518.
conducted another squadron to the same shores; and Grijalva, the commander of the fleet, explored the coast from Yucatan towards Panuco. The masses of gold which he brought back, the rumors of the empire of Montezuma, its magnificence and its extent, heedlessly confirmed by the costly presents of the unsuspecting natives, were sufficient to inflame the coldest imagination, and excited the enterprise of Cortes. The voyage did not reach beyond the bounds of Mexico.

At that time Francisco de Garay, a companion of Columbus on his second voyage, and now famed for his opulence, was the governor of Jamaica. In the year 1519, after having heard of the richness and

1519.
beauty of Yucatan, he at his own charge sent four ships well equipped, and with good pilots, under the command of Alvarez Alonso de Pineda. His professed object was the search for some strait, west of Florida, which was not yet certainly known to form a part of the continent. The strait having been sought for in vain, his ships turned towards the west, attentively examining the ports, rivers, inhabitants, and every thing else that seemed worthy of remark; and especially noticing the vast volume of wafer brought down by one very large river, till at last they came upon the track of Cortes near Vera Cruz. Between that harbor and Tampico they set up a pillar as the landmark of the discoveries of Garay. More than eight months were employed in thus exploring three

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