Ruskin Pocahontas

Excerpt from The Florida Review, Vol. V, No. 4. April, 1911, pp. 296–298.

One of the great needs of Desoto was an interpreter. So he sent out two scouting parties to catch some Indians. One of the parties came upon a dozen Indians in an open field. These Indians were really coming to meet the white men, who not knowing this, gave them chase. One of the cavaliers was about to thrust at an Indian with his lance, when he was astonished to hear him cry out in rather poor Spanish "For the love of God and the Virgin Mary do not slay me, I am a Christian, I am Jaun Ortiz." Ortiz was painted and tattooed like the Indians and indistinguishable from them. Ortiz had been among the Indians for 12 years, and could only talk Spanish by mixing it up with Indian. I leave the Fidalgo of Elvas to relate an incident following the capture of Ortiz.

"By command of Ucita, Juan Ortiz was bound hand and foot to four stakes, and laid upon scaffolding, beneath which a fire was kindled, that he might be burned; but a daughter of the chief entreated that he might be spared. Though one Christian, she said, might do no good, certainly he could do no harm, and it would be an honor to have one for captive; to which the father acceded, directing the injuries to be healed. When Ortiz got well, he was put to watching a temple, the wolves, in the night time, might not carry off the dead there, which charge he took in hand, having commended himself to God. One night they snatched away from him the body of a little child, son of a principal man; and, going after them, he threw a dart at the wolf that was escaping, which, feeling itself wounded, let go its hold and went off to die; and he returned, without knowing what he had done in the dark. In the morning, finding the body of the little boy gone, he became very sober, and Ucita, when he heard what had happened, determined he should be killed; but having sent on the trail which Ortiz pointed out as that the wolves had made, the body of the child was found, and a little further on, the dead wolf; at which circumstance the chief became well pleased with the Christian and satisfied with the guard he kept, ever after taking much notice of him.

"Three years having gone since he had fallen into the hands of the chief, there came another, named Mococo, living two days distant from the port, and burnt the town, when Ucita fled to one he had in another seaport, whereby Ortiz lost his occupation and with it the favor of his master. The Indians are worshippers of the devil and it is their custom to make sacrifices of the blood of the bodies of their people, or of those of any other they can come by; and they artirm, too, that when he would have them make an offering, he speaks, telling them that he is athirst, and hat they must sacrifice to him. The girl who had delivered Ortiz from the fire, told him how her father had the mind to sacrifice him the next day, and that he must flee to Mococo, who she knew would receive him with regard, as she had heard that he had asked for him, and said she would like to see him: and as he knew not the way, she went half a league out of the town with him at dark, to put him on the road, returning early so as not to be missed.

Uleleh was the name of this Florida heroine who was four years older than Pocahontas of Virginia, or sixteen, and is said to have been exceedingly fair and graceful. No romance grew out of this adventure, her deed seems to have been due solely to her love of humanity. I see no reason why Uleleh should not be as celebrated as Pocahontas.

Ortiz spent nine years with Mococo, who promised if he remained faithful he would return him to the Christians, and it was in fulfillment of this promise that he was being escorted by a number of Indians, to the whites, when captured.

The Tainos And The Pocahontas Story

Source: The Taino People

Pocahontas is anther lie! Many Taino know that Pocahontas was a not even in the picture 200 years, before the original story was being read by some White Man named John Smith. He read the Garcilasco De Vega story, about a captive Spanish man called "Ortiz" and his account of 1528. This account was later published in 1557 in Lisbon, Portugal and later translated into English in 1605. This account by Garcillasco De Vega about Juan (John) Ortiz's encounter with the Taino-Timucua Indigenous Cacique (Chieftist) near Tampa Bay in Bimini (Florida). Her real name was Caciquea Ulele (Chieftist). The use of the word "Barbacoa", a word that survived as "Barbecue" is of the Taino Language, meaning the fire pit.

It seems that the father of Ulele, Cacique Hirrihugua of the Yucayeque (Village) of Ucita, was going to have Juan (John) Ortiz put to death, because the Spaniard Narvaez had cut off his nose and killed his Mother. The daugther Ulele pleaded with her father to spare Ortiz's life. The next day Caciquea Ulele took Ortiz to the nieghboring Guacara Yucayeque (Village) of Cacique (Chief) Moscoso. The rest is nothing but a little white lie told by John Smith or John Ortiz an English manor a Spaniard? The Powhatan people do not have our Taino southern traditions; furthermore we do not speak the Powhatan language of the North-East. We Taino Indigenous Nation of the Caribbean & Florida know the truth of Juan Ortiz. It was not until 500 years later on in November 18th, 1993 that we have made this statement via our supporting evidence of traditional language and customs of the Taino-Timucua people of Bimini (Florida). Please do note that many historians of Florida support these historical facts.


The Pocahontas Myth

Source: The Powhatan Nation

In 1995, Roy Disney decided to release an animated movie about a Powhatan woman known as "Pocahontas". In answer to a complaint by the Powhatan Nation, he claims the film is "responsible, accurate, and respectful."

We of the Powhatan Nation disagree. The film distorts history beyond recognition. Our offers to assist Disney with cultural and historical accuracy were rejected. Our efforts urging him to reconsider his misguided mission were spurred.

"Pocahontas" was a nickname, meaning "the naughty one" or "spoiled child". Her real name was Matoaka. The legend is that she saved a heroic John Smith from being clubbed to death by her father in 1607 - she would have been about 10 or 11 at the time. The truth is that Smith's fellow colonists described him as an abrasive, ambitious, self-promoting mercenary soldier.

Of all of Powhatan's children, only "Pocahontas" is known, primarily because she became the hero of Euro-Americans as the "good Indian", one who saved the life of a white man. Not only is the "good Indian/bad Indian theme" inevitably given new life by Disney, but the history, as recorded by the English themselves, is badly falsified in the name of "entertainment".

The truth of the matter is that the first time John Smith told the story about this rescue was 17 years after it happened, and it was but one of three reported by the pretentious Smith that he was saved from death by a prominent woman.

Yet in an account Smith wrote after his winter stay with Powhatan's people, he never mentioned such an incident. In fact, the starving adventurer reported he had been kept comfortable and treated in a friendly fashion as an honored guest of Powhatan and Powhatan's brothers. Most scholars think the "Pocahontas incident" would have been highly unlikely, especially since it was part of a longer account used as justification to wage war on Powhatan's Nation.

Euro-Americans must ask themselves why it has been so important to elevate Smith's fibbing to status as a national myth worthy of being recycled again by Disney. Disney even improves upon it by changing Pocahontas from a little girl into a young woman.

The true Pocahontas story has a sad ending. In 1612, at the age of 17, Pocahontas was treacherously taken prisoner by the English while she was on a social visit, and was held hostage at Jamestown for over a year.

During her captivity, a 28-year-old widower named John Rolfe took a "special interest" in the attractive young prisoner. As a condition of her release, she agreed to marry Rolfe, who the world can thank for commercializing tobacco. Thus, in April 1614, Matoaka, also known as "Pocahontas", daughter of Chief Powhatan, became "Rebecca Rolfe". Shortly after, they had a son, whom they named Thomas Rolfe. The descendants of Pocahontas and John Rolfe were known as the "Red Rolfes."

Two years later on the spring of 1616, Rolfe took her to England where the Virginia Company of London used her in their propaganda campaign to support the colony. She was wined and dined and taken to theaters. It was recorded that on one occasion when she encountered John Smith (who was also in London at the time), she was so furious with him that she turned her back to him, hid her face, and went off by herself for several hours. Later, in a second encounter, she called him a liar and showed him the door.

Rolfe, his young wife, and their son set off for Virginia in March of 1617, but "Rebecca" had to be taken off the ship at Gravesend. She died there on March 21, 1617, at the age of 21. She was buried at Gravesend, but the grave was destroyed in a reconstruction of the church. It was only after her death and her fame in London society that Smith found it convenient to invent the yarn that she had rescued him.

History tells the rest. Chief Powhatan died the following spring of 1618. The people of Smith and Rolfe turned upon the people who had shared their resources with them and had shown them friendship. During Pocahontas' generation, Powhatan's people were decimated and dispersed and their lands were taken over. A clear pattern had been set which would soon spread across the American continent.

Chief Roy Crazy Horse

It is unfortunate that this sad story,
which Euro-Americans should find embarrassing,
Disney makes "entertainment" and perpetuates a dishonest and self-serving myth
at the expense of the Powhatan Nation.


"Did Smith Plagiarize Pocahontas Tale? Florida Account Predates Famous Encounter"

By Bill Kaczor, Associated Press writer
(http://www.s-t.com/daily/07-95/07-11-95/0711APpocahontas.HTML )

When the Indian chief ordered the execution of a European captive, the chief's daughter persuaded him to spare the white man's life. Does that sound like the story of Captain John Smith, the Jamestown colonist, which has been retold in the popular Walt Disney movie "Pocahontas"? Actually, it happened in Florida nearly 80 years before Smith set foot in Virginia: the European was Spaniard Juan Ortiz, and the Indian maiden was known as Ulele.
Many historians doubt that young Pocahontas ever saved Smith's life and some contend the Englishman probably made up the story after reading previously published accounts of Ortiz's ordeal. Not until after Pocahontas died in 1617 did the story show up in a revised account of Smith's adventures. Some historians dismiss Smith as a "blowhard" and self-promoter. One biography is titled "The Great Rogue."
"It's something nobody can prove one way or the other," said historian William Coker. "But on the other hand the evidence, I think, leans pretty heavily in favor of him borrowing the story."
In 1528, Timucuan Indians (of the Uzita village) captured Ortiz and three other Spaniards who were searching for missing explorer Panfilio de Narvaez near Tampa Bay. "The first thing they did was . . . use them for target practice," said Dr. Coker, an emeritus professor of history at the University of West Florida. Three of the Spaniards were killed by arrows but Ortiz survived, he said.
Hirrihugua, chief of the Uzita village, had a score to settle with the Spanish because Narvaez had cut off his nose and killed his mother by throwing her to a pack of dogs. The chief saved Ortiz for a special torture called "barbacoa," a word that survives as "barbecue." Ortiz was strung up over a fire to be roasted alive but Ulele pleaded with her father to spare his life. The chief's wife joined in the appeal and he relented. However, the chief again threatened to have Ortiz killed. Before his sentence could be carried out, Ulele helped Ortiz escape to the village of a neighboring chief, Mocoso.
Ortiz lived there in relative peace until he encountered Hernando de Soto's expedition 11 years later. Ortiz, covered with tattoos as was the Timucuan custom, joined the Spaniards as an interpreter. He and de Soto both died during the winter of 1541-42 in present-day Arkansas, near the Mississippi River.
A de Soto survivor known as the Gentleman of Elvas included the Ortiz rescue in his account of the expedition published in Lisbon, Portugal, in 1557. An English translation was printed about 1605. A Spanish account by Garcilasco de la Vega appeared in 1601. "Lisbon and London were on good terms," Mr. Coker said. "There's no question in my mind that copies of the book in Portuguese, Spanish and English were in London early on and early enough for Smith to have made a thorough study of them."
Smith encountered Pocahontas in 1607 and returned to England two years later. Pocahontas married another colonist, John Rolfe, in 1614 and they moved to England in 1616. She died a year later.
Smith's tale of rescue, never written about by any other colonists, does have supporters. Some say he may have left out the rescue initially to avoid scaring away potential colonists. Others say his first writings were heavily edited, possibly deleting the Pocahontas story. But Helen Roundtree of Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va., has another reason for doubting the Pocahontas rescue story. It claims that Pocahontas' father, Powhatan, planned to bash out his brains with stones. The Indians of that time and place would have used a slower, more torturous method of death, she said.

The Juan Ortiz Story

So, if John Smith actually did make up the entire episode about Pocahontas saving his life, from where did he get the idea? Recently, historians have mentioned the incredible true story of a young Spanish sailor named Juan Ortiz as the possible origin of the Pocahontas legend. But in order to understand the story of Juan Ortiz, one must first become familiar with the exploits of Panfilo de Narvaez, a Spanish conquistador who led a doomed attempt to explore and conquer Florida in the early 16th century.
Panfilo de Narvaez, a veteran Spanish soldier in the early years of conquest in the Caribbean, was a favorite of Charles V, the king of Spain. In June 1527, de Narvaez set sail from Spain with 600 men and five ships on a mission to conquer and govern Spanish land claims from the Rio Grande to Florida. After stops in the Caribbean, he sailed with 400 men and eighty horses. On Good Friday, April 15th, 1528, de Narvaez's ships landed near present-day Clearwater on the Pinellas peninsula, on the west side of Tampa Bay.
After raising the flag of Spain and taking possession of all of the surrounding land in the name of his king, de Narvaez and his men encountered members of the nearby Uzita tribe. Following them to their village, de Narvaez's men discovered some crude gold ornaments. Immediately, the Spaniards began a campaign of torture and enslavement of the peaceful Uzita tribe. In the search for gold and silver, natives were made to serve as guides and burden bearers. When the tribe's chief proved unwilling or unable to reveal the location of any treasure, he was forced to watch as his mother was torn to shreds before his eyes by fierce war dogs that accompanied the Spaniards. De Narvaez then ordered the nose of the chief to be cut off in order to get him to tell of hidden gold. As a result, the chief made up a story of how a great tribe to the north, the Apalachee, ruled a great kingdom of riches in the Tallahassee Hills.
With visions of treasure and glory equal to that of his contemporaries Pizarro and Cortes, de Narvaez and his soldiers began a long march north toward the Panhandle. Because of his brutal treatment of the Uzita people and other natives that were encountered along the way, the de Narvaez expedition would damage Spanish-Indian relations for decades. They left behind a legacy of violence and trickery. Upon reaching the Tallahassee Hills, de Narvaez would find only poor farming villages. Ordered to return to Cuba for provisions and come back to outfit the band of conquerors, de Narvaez's fleet returned to Tampa Bay, but found no sign of the expedition that was still marching through Apalachee territory. After searching for their captain and his men up and down the Gulf Coast of Florida, they ended their search and returned to Cuba.
De Narvaez's wife soon hired a group of sailors to find her husband. Upon reaching Charlotte Harbor, the agreed-upon rendezvous point for de Narvaez and his ships a year earlier, the rescuers were heartened by what appeared to be a note placed on a stick on a deserted beach. Thinking that it may have been a note left by de Narvaez or a member of his expedition, several men rowed a boat to shore to investigate further. One of these men was the eighteen-year-old Juan Ortiz.
The note was a trap that had been set, of all people, by Hirrihigua, the same chief who had watched his own mother be ripped to shreds by de Narvaez's dogs…the same chief whose nose had been cut off because he would not reveal the source of his tribe's gold. Needless to say, Hirrihigua, in his anger, sought revenge on Juan and the other captured Spaniards for his earlier treatment at the hands of de Narvaez. First, he made one of the hostages run around the village square while Indians shot arrows into his body; then, he had the others tied to trees and used for target practice. For Ortiz, though, Hirrihigua had a special torture in mind, since he believed the young Spaniard to be a son of the despised de Navaez. Hirrihigua had Juan tied to a barbacoa (a smoking and drying rack for foods and hides, a word that survives today as "barbeque") and placed over a fire to be slowly cooked to death. However, Hirrihigua's wife and two of his daughter's begged for the young Spanish boy's life, throwing themselves at the feet of the chief. Begrudgingly, Hirrihigua relented. Suffering greatly from his burns (which scarred him for the rest of his life), he was attended by the village's medicine man.

Picture A-4-4: A reenactment of Ortiz being placed on a barbacoa.

Although Juan was spared that day, he was made a slave and given the most despised jobs, such as keeping animals away from a temple that doubled as a burial place for the village's dead. It was understood that if a predator took even one body, Ortiz's death sentence would be carried out. Meanwhile, Hirrihigua's hatred toward the young boy continued to grow. Many times he had Juan tortured and threatened to carry out his death sentence, only to be persuaded by his wife and daughters to stop. The chief's eldest daughter, Ulele, decided that she and her mother and sisters could no longer protect Juan from
her father's rage, so she helped him escape to the village of a neighboring village ruled by Ulele's fiancé, Mocoso. Ortiz lived in relative peace for the next ten years under the protection of Chief Mocoso. Hirrihigua, meanwhile, was so enraged by his daughter's betrayal that he forbade her to ever marry Mocoso.
In 1539, another expedition, this one led by Hernando de Soto of Spain, explored the interior forests and swamps of Florida. Some of de Soto's men encountered a tattooed man; thinking that he might be a hostile native, they prepared to run him through with their weapons. Imagine their surprise when the man made the sign of the Cross and spoke Spanish to them! After eleven years living among the natives in Florida, Juan Ortiz had finally been found by the expedition of Hernando de Soto. Having learned the different native languages after years of captivity, Ortiz served de Soto as a guide and interpreter during de Soto's travels around Florida and the Southeast.
Both Ortiz and de Soto died near the Mississippi River in the winter of 1541-42, but not before Ortiz had told his story to one expedition member known only as the Gentleman of Elvas. The only thing known about this man was that he was a Portugese adventurer who survived the expedition, returned to Portugal, and published an account of the de Soto expedition, including a description of the Ortiz rescue, in 1557…twenty-three years before John Smith was even born! An English version was published in 1605. Two years later, John Smith met Pocahontas, and the rest is…history.



Source: Text by Sylvia Flowers for the National Parks Service

In 1539, Spaniard Hernando DeSoto landed on the Florida coast with a fleet of vessels, a contingent of over 600 men, 300 horses, a herd of pigs, some mules, bloodhounds, many weapons, and a large store of supplies.  His goal was to conquer and settle the territory of the Gulf States.  The army spent the winter near Tallahassee, Florida, then set off on a journey which, for him, ended at the Mississippi River.  This expedition marked the first entry of Europeans into the interior of the Southeastern United States.

The four accounts written during and after the expedition by Ranjel, Garcilaso de la Vega, Biedma, and the "Gentleman of Elvas" are often the basis for arguments concerning DeSoto's route.  However, they also provide the first sketches of the countryside and shed the earliest historic light on the native people of the interior Southeast.  

Upon arriving in La Florida, the expedition was without an interpreter and guide.  DeSoto sent two groups of heavily armed men to capture Indians to serve this purpose.  One of these forces came upon ten or eleven Indians in an open field.  To their surprise they found that one of them was actually a Spaniard, almost naked and sun-burned, his arms tattooed after the manner of the Indians.

With great rejoicing, the horsemen took the man back to camp where they learned that his name was Juan Ortiz, a native of Savilla and of noble parentage.  He had first gone into the country with Panphilo de Narvaez, then returned at the request of the Governor of Cuba's wife.  He and his men made port in sight of an Indian town. No sooner had he and a few men got ashore, when many natives came out of the houses and captured them.  Those remaining on the ship returned to Cuba without him.

The other men were killed, but he was taken before a chief named Ucita.  By command, he was bound hand and foot to four stakes, and laid upon scaffolding, beneath which a fire was kindled, that he might be burned; but a daughter of the Chief entreated that he might be spared; to which the father acceded, directing his injuries to be healed.  When Ortiz got well, he was, according to the Gentleman of Elvas, "put to watching a temple, that the wolves, in the night-time, might not carry off the dead there."  Ortiz had lived among the Indians for twelve years before he was found and joined the expedition.


Source: The Florida Historical Quarterly volume 1 issue 2
July, 1908

The Story of Juan Ortiz and Uleleh.

Every school child, who has been taught the elements of American history is familiar with the Story of Pocahontas, who saved the life of Captain John Smith, married the Englishman John Rolfe and became the progenetor of various prominent Virginia families, who proudly trace their ancestry to the Indian princess; yet comparatively few, even among the educated of our country, have any knowledge of the Story of Juan Ortiz, the young Spaniard, or the Indian Princess Uleleh, who saved his life in Florida, seventy-nine years before the events in Virginia which made Pocahontas famous.

Juan Ortiz was a native of Seville, Spain, of noble family, and a follower of Pamphilo de Narvaez who, in 1528, with a force of six hundred, invaded and attempted the conquest of Florida, but whose great expedition came to grief, the commander and all but four falling victims of starvation, disease, shipwreck or the vengeance of the natives, who had been cruelly treated by the arrogant and proud Spanish Cavalier.

Landing first at or near the bay of Espirito Santo, (now Tampa Bay) Narvaez sent back to Havana one of his brigantines and twenty men, among whom was Juan Ortiz, with dispatches for his wife. After executing the commission the vessel with Ortiz and others returned to the bay. Those aboard were informed by the Indians that Narvaez had marched into the interior of the country. They claimed to have a letter from Narvaez which

they wanted to deliver and requested the Spaniards to come ashore and receive it. Being suspicious of bad faith, this request was refused and the Indians were in turn requested to bring the letter to the vessel. This they declined to do, but sent four of their number to the vessel to be held as hostages for their good faith. Juan Ortiz and three others thereupon got into a canoe and went ashore. As soon as they landed the Indian hostages jumped overboard and swam ashore, and Ortiz and his companions were at once seized and made prisoners. The brig thereupon sailed away leaving the prisoners to their fate.

Narvaez, who had made a treaty of peace with Ucita* Casique of the province called Hirrigua, afterward treated that chief with the greatest cruelty, giving his aged mother to be torn to pieces by dogs, for complaining of an outrage which had been committed by one of the Spaniards on the person of a young Indian woman. The chief becoming incensed, threatened vengeance, when he was seized and scourged, by order of Narvaez, and his nose cut off. This chief and his family were not slow to wreak their vengeance upon the unfortunate Spaniards who had now fallen into their hands. They were taken to a square inclosed with palisades and, in the presence of Ucita, one of the four was stripped of his clothing and made to run around the inclosure while the Indians amused themselves shooting arrows into his body, until death terminated the cruel sport. This was repeated with two of the others until Ortiz was the only survivor. Believing him to be the son of Narvaez, he was reserved for slow and more lingering torture. A wooden frame was constructed on which the victim was laid and bound, and a slow fire built beneath. The tortures of the unfortunate youth, who was but eighteen *This chief is called by Irving, in his "Conquest of Florida by DeSoto," Hirrihigua. It is probable that his name is confused with that of the province over which he ruled, called by Ortiz Hirrigua. We adopt the names given by Ortiz in his story as told to DeSoto.

years of age, excited the pity of an Indian woman who hastened to the dwelling of the Casique and made known the situation to Uleleh the Chief's eldest daughter, then about sixteen years old. The young princess thereupon threw herself at the feet of her father and entreated him to suspend the execution and release the victim. Her request was granted and Ortiz was unbound, but suffered greatly from his burns. He was attended by the medicine man of the tribe, and the princess and her attendants did all that they could to relieve his sufferings. But, notwithstanding the importunities of his daughter, Ucita would not desist from the infliction of continued cruelties upon the young man, or relieve him from the sentence of death under which he was. He was employed in the most slavish and laborious occupations, and at times compelled to run all day in the public square where Indians stood ready to shoot him if he should stop. After about nine months of such life the chief consented to suspend execution of the death sentence for a year on condition that he be required to keep guard over the cemetery of the tribe, three miles from the village; where, according to custom, the bodies of their dead were exposed on biers or stages several feet above ground. It was necessary to keep watch over them at night to protect them from beasts of prey. Criminals under sentence of death were usually appointed to keep this watch, and were permitted to live provided they escaped from the dangers of their occupation. If the guard permitted a corpse to be carried away by wild animals he was put to death the following day. Uleleh informed Ortiz of the conditions of the suspension of his sentence, which he did not hesitate to accept.

Armed with a bow and arrows he commenced his lonely watch, occupying a hut in the midst of the cemetery. The stench of dead bodies soon overpowered him. From this he recovered, however, sufficient to drive off wolves that appeared in the early part of the night. About midnight an animal carried off the corpse of a child. Ortiz terror stricken at what might result from the failure of his vigilance, followed in the direction the animal had taken and guided by the sound of the gnawing of bones, taking aim, as best as he could in the dark, shot an arrow at it, which he was rejoiced to discover next morning had penetrated the heart of the animal (a panther) and killed it. This feat won the admiration of the Indians.

After about two weeks of such service in the cemetery, the princess Uleleh accompanied by two faithful attendants came to the cemetery one night and informed Ortis that the priests had demanded his death at their approaching festival; that their demands would have to be complied with unless he escaped by flight. Inspired by the great beauty of the Indian princess and her uniform kindness to him, Ortiz made a declaration of his love, entreated her to accompany him in flight, seek asylum with some friendly tribe and become his wife, promising to take her to the land of his birth. But the dusky maiden was not slow to inform her white suitor that her kindness to him was not the inspiration of love, but pity for his sad condition, that she was already betrothed to a neighboring Casique, Mocoso, to whose protection she was about to recommend him. She then presented him with a girdle, as a token that she had sent him, and furnished him with a faithful guide. Accompained by this guide, Ortiz was prompt to seek safety in flight, arriving near Mocoso's village, the guide then left him. Some fishermen discovered him as he was approaching the village and took up their weapons with the purpose of assailing him, but desisted when he showed them the girdle. He was then led by them through the village and to the presence of the chief Mocoso, a young Indian of handsome appearance and intelligent countenance, to whom he presented the girdle sent by his bethrothed, the princess Uleleh, with request for his protection. Mocoso assured him of safe asylum and treated him with every kindness and affection. When the Casique Ucita heard that Ortiz had escaped and taken refuge with Mocoso he sent a demand to the latter for his return to him; this Mocoso refused, causing an estrangement between the two Casiques, which delayed for a considerable time the marriage of Mocoso and Uleleh. Such marriage took place, however, at the end of about three years.

Upon learning of the landing of Hernando DeSoto in 1539, Mocoso sent Juan Ortiz to him with an escort of about ten Indians, and a message asking friendship on the grounds of his protection and kindness to Ortiz. In the meantime DeSoto had dispatched Balthasar de Gallegos, with a force, to find and bring Otriz to him. This force coming upon Ortiz and party, without knowing who they were, proceeded to attack them, causing the Indians to flee for safety; but Ortiz, whose dress and appearance was so like an Indian as to deceive the Spaniards, remained, avoiding the thrusts of a lance directed at him, made the sign of the Cross, crying out "Sevilla, Sevilla" then informed his countrymen who he was. Most of the Indians who had accompanied Ortiz were now induced to return. Ortiz was taken to DeSoto, and Mocoso's message delivered. Ortiz then told his story. DeSoto thereupon sent messages to Mocoso urging him to visit the Spanish Camp. In ten days the Casique arrived accompanied by his warriers. DeSoto received him with great courtesy and assured him that his people would ever be grateful to him for his kindness to Ortiz. To this Mocoso replied: "What I have done for Otiz is but little indeed, he came commended to me and threw himself upon my protection. There is a law of our tribe which forbids our betraying a fugitive who asks an asylum. But his own virtue and dauntless courage entitles him to all the respect which was shown him. That I have pleased your people I rejoice exceedingly and by devoting myself henceforth to their service I hope to merit their esteem." This speech much touched DeSoto and his officers, who treated Mocoso with every kindness during his stay of eight days. These friendly relations were continued without interruption.

Juan Ortiz was furnished with proper clothing, armor and a horse and attached himself to DeSoto's expedition, in which he rendered invaluable service as a guide and interpreter. He was not destined however to return to his native land. Following the fortunes of DeSoto for nearly three years, he died during the winter of 1541-2 at the village of Utiangue, west of the Mississippi, where the expedition spent the winter. His death preceded that of his great commander by only a few months. Irving says of him "His death was a severe loss to the service as he had throughout the expedition served as the main organ of communication between the Spaniards and the Natives."





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