National Geographic : 1940 Sep
On the Cortes Trail 339 9730 97' 96'30 Tlatlauquitepec f Teziuta . Atlixcos *Zaragoza Altotonga . . **"' * - Exact location . * 'i * Banderilla not certain 0ooo Jalapa San Antonioj 4500 " ... Cortfs made his -" - ' Limn 4o5o+CofredePerote first Indian allies n beah atVeracruS 30 Slaan ' *Zempoala Corfs paradedfirst SXi epecCT La Gloria' he n ..... ut too loy iTac _ ... y elo* ..... Jose Cardel ".. de sReyes . A tigua Veracruz "...a wind came downfrom the "P uenteac SanJuandeU a snowy hills....(we) had nothing with . 1 , w acfihto cover ourselves, only our armor...." Bernal Isaz. *4 Ap f ecru " uatusco The Author's oute ade A Tolowin in the Tootsteps of , s . SCitaltl HERNAN CORTfES (Orizaba) .on. who with 508 men and I6 horses -. landed at Veracruz on (oly Thurs Chalchicomula day, 1519, to begin his march of j. * conquest on the Aztec capital 0 10 20 30 40 OOrizaba -- Scle l_ ., ,Palmar / Maltrat a MEXICO 4 Scale of 3file, SPAIN 97 30' 97' 96"30 brawn by NewmanKumstead It was dark when we entered the coffee growing area. Through the open windows of the last coach, of which I was the sole pas senger, came the delicate scent of short-lived coffee blossoms. When we stopped for five minutes at a way station close to Jalapa, I got off to stretch my legs. The station platform was a feebly lighted island in a sea of darkness, on whose fringe appeared dimly the first ranks of a cultivated jungle of coffee bushes and their umbrellalike shade trees. Paddle-shaped leaves of banana plants clicked softly in the night breeze, and in the deeper darkness of the valleys and hollows below us, myriads of fireflies wove intricate patterns of gleaming points. A Lanky Texan Joins the Trek Staying at my hotel in Jalapa were two Americans, students at the summer school of the University of Mexico. One of them, Homer Rogers, fencing master at Baylor Uni versity in Texas, offered to accompany me on my journey. I accepted gladly, for now the route was lonely where it led into the moun tains from Jalapa, and could be negotiated only on horse- or mule-back beyond Xico. In the market place in Jalapa, Rogers and I bought short rubber-coated ponchos for use on the rainy mountain trails ahead, long bladed machetes-made in Connecticut-for cutting brush, and pinch-waisted brown gourds to be made into water bottles. Hotels "Disappear" at Night On my return from a late walk I had diffi culty getting into my hotel, as I had for gotten the general custom in Latin-American countries of locking the doors of hotels as well as private residences at night. After the movies or a late ramble, it is necessary to knock or ring for the porter, who may, like one I had seen in Guatemala, sleep just inside the door and release the bolt without rising by pulling on a string tied to his great toe. Samuel left us at the railroad station next morning; he was to drive on to Perote. "I'd like to hear a summary of Cortes's ex pedition," remarked Homer as our train puffed along. "You know, I came in halfway through the show, so to speak." "Briefly, this is what happened. In 1519 Cortes was commissioned by Diego Velasquez, governor of Cuba, to lead an expedition to the recently discovered mainland of YucatAn. He and his men sailed from Habana in eleven ships with 16 horses and 508 soldiers.