On how, after the Admiral was divest of authority over the island of Cuba or Fernandina after the agreement described and the compensation given to him by Their Majesties, Hernando de Soto went to govern the island as Their Majesties’ Captain General with the title of Adelantado of Florida.

Translated by Onyx Beytia ’22

Once the Admiral’s lawsuits had been settled, as was told in the previous chapter, and he and his officers were barred from the administration of justice on that island Fernandina, the Emperor, our lord, named  Hernando de Soto as his Governor and Captain General of the island, the province of Florida, and its dependencies on the northern band of the Mainland discovered by the late Juan Ponce de León. Hernando de Soto was one of the soldiers of Governor Pedrarias de Ávila—of whom frequent mention is made in the affairs of the Mainland since he is was one of the earliest Christians in those parts—and was involved in the imprisonment of Atabaliba (Atahualpa), where he was one of those who benefitted the most from the spoils. And he returned to Spain with so much spoil that it was said that he made it back to Castile with more than one hundred thousand pesos in gold and he was very well treated by the Emperor, our lord, who rewarded him for his services and merits and made him a knight of the military Order of Santiago together with other honors, and named him his Governor and Captain General, as I have said. And while in Castile, he married one of the daughters of Governor Pedrarias Dávila, named Doña Isabel de Bovadilla like her mother, a woman of great character and sound judgement and personality, and with her he went to Fernandina Island, where he arrived in the month of . . . of the year 1539.[1] After having visited the island and its towns, and informed himself about what was required to maintain the good condition and maintenance of the land, he gave orders to assemble a party to cross over to the Mainland for the conquest, settlement, and pacification of those provinces that his Majesty had entrusted to him: the story of that enterprise will be told in the chapters that follow.

[1] In the original codex, which we have before us, there is a gap that must have been occupied by the name of the month in which Hernando de Soto arrived in the island of Cuba. Since the author added the rest of this Book XVII to the middle of Chapter XX, it is no longer possible to fix the month to which Oviedo refers since it is useless to consult the printed copy; however, it seems indubitable that Hernando de Soto must have reached Fernandina island in February or March, in accordance to the facts that the author supplies in this and the following chapter.