CHAPTER II. THE ATLANTIC COAST AND THE PACIFIC DISCOVERED
THE COAST OF FLORIDA EXPLORED. - What meantime had happened along the coast of North America? In 1513 Ponce de Leon  (pon'tha da la-on'), a Spaniard, sailed northwest from Porto Rico in search of an island which the Indians told him contained gold, and in which he believed was a fountain or stream whose waters would restore youth to the old. In the season of Easter, or Pascua Florida, he came upon a land which he called Florida. Ponce supposed he had found an island, and following the coast southward went round the peninsula and far up the west coast before going back to Porto Rico. 
THE GULF COAST EXPLORED. - In 1519 another Spaniard, Pineda (pe-na'da), sailed along the Gulf coast from Florida to Mexico. On the way he entered the mouth of a broad river which he named River of the Holy Spirit. It was long supposed that this river was the Mississippi; but it is now claimed to have been the Mobile. Whatever it was, Pineda spent six weeks in its waters, saw many Indian towns on its banks, traded with the natives, and noticed that they wore gold ornaments.
THE EXPEDITION OF NARVAEZ. - Pineda's story of Indians with gold ornaments so excited Narvaez (nar-vah'eth) that he obtained leave to conquer the country, and sailed from Cuba with four hundred men. Landing on the west coast of Florida, he made a raid inland. When he returned to the coast the ships which were sailing about watching for him were nowhere to be seen. After marching westward for a month the Spaniards built five small boats, put to sea, and sailing near the shore came presently to where the waters of the Mississippi rush into the Gulf. Two boats were upset by the surging waters. The others reached the coast beyond, where all save four of the Spaniards perished.
FOUR SPANIARDS CROSS THE CONTINENT. - After suffering great hardships and meeting with all sorts of adventures among the Indians, the four survivors, led by Cabeza de Vaca (ca-ba'tha da vah'ca), walked across what is now Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and Mexico to a little Spanish town near the Pacific coast. They had crossed the continent. 
NEW MEXICO EXPLORED. - Cabeza de Vaca had wonderful tales to relate of "hunchback cows," as he called the buffalo, and of cities in the interior where gold and silver were plentiful and where the doorways were studded with precious stones.  Excited by these tales, the Spanish viceroy of Mexico sent Fray Marcos to gather further information.  Aided by the Indians, Marcos made his way over the desert and came at last to the "cities," which were only the pueblos of the Zuñi (zoo'nyee) Indians in New Mexico. The pueblos were houses several stories high, built of stone or of sun-dried brick, and each large enough for several hundred Indians to live in. But Marcos merely saw them at a distance, for one of his followers who went in advance was killed by the Zuñi, whereupon Marcos fled back to Mexico.
THE SPANIARDS REACH KANSAS. - Marcos's reports about the seven cities of Cibola (see'bo-la), as he called them, aroused great interest, and Corona'do was sent with an army to conquer them. Marching up the east coast of the Gulf of California and across Arizona, Coronado came at last to the pueblos and captured them one by one. He found no gold, but did see doorways studded with the green stones of the Rocky Mountains. Much disappointed, he pushed on eastward, and during two years wandered about over the plains of our great Southwest and probably reached the center of what is now Kansas. 
DE SOTO ON THE MISSISSIPPI. - As Coronado was making his way home, an Indian woman escaped from his army, and while wandering about fell in with a band of Spaniards belonging to the army of De Soto. 
De Soto, as governor of Cuba, had been authorized to conquer and hold all the territory that had been discovered by Narvaez. He set out accordingly in 1539, landed an army at Tampa Bay, and spent three years in wandering over Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi. In the spring of 1542 he crossed the Mississippi River and entered Arkansas, and it was there that one of his bands met the Indian woman who escaped from Coronado's army. In Arkansas De Soto died of fever, and was buried in the Mississippi River. His followers then built a few boats, floated down the river to the Gulf, and following the coast of Texas came finally to the Spanish settlements in Mexico.
THE FRENCH ON THE COAST. - Far to the northeast explorers of another European nation by this time were seeking a foothold. When John Cabot came home from his first voyage to the Newfoundland coast, he told such tales of cod fisheries thereabouts, that three small ships set sail from England to catch fish and trade with the natives of the new-found isle. Portuguese and Frenchmen followed, and year after year visited the Newfoundland fisheries. No serious attempt was made to settle the island. What Europe wanted was a direct westward passage through America to Cathay. This John Verrazano, an Italian sailing under the flag of France, attempted to find, and came to what is now the coast of North Carolina. There Verrazano turned northward, entered several bays along the coast, sailed by the rock-bound shores of Maine, and when off Newfoundland steered for France.