The Search for the Silver City

Cover of book The Search for the Silver City
Categories: Fiction » Historical Fiction

INTRODUCTION: In Mr. E. G. Squier's preface to the translation of the Chevalier Arthur Morelet's "Travels in Central America" the following paragraph can be found: "Whoever glances at the map of Centr


al America will observe a vast region, lying between Chiapas, Tabasco, Yucatan, and the republic of Guatemala, and comprising a considerable part of each of those states, which, if not entirely a blank, is only conjecturally filled up with mountains, lakes and rivers. It is almost as unknown as the interior of Africa itself. We only know that it is traversed by nameless ranges of mountains, among which the great river Usumasinta gathers its waters from a thousand tributaries, before pouring them, in a mighty flood, into the Lagoon of Terminos, and the Gulf of Mexico. We know that it has vast plains alternating with forests and savannas; deep valleys where tropical nature takes her most luxuriant forms, and high plateaus dark with pines, or covered with the delicate tracery of arborescent ferns. We know that it conceals broad and beautiful lakes, peopled with fishes of new varieties, and studded with islands which supports the crumbling yet still imposing remains of aboriginal architecture and superstition. And we know, also, that the remnants of the ancient Itz?s, Lacandones, Choles, and Manches, those indomitable Indian families who successfully resisted the force of the Spanish arms, still find a shelter in its fastnesses, where they maintain their independence, and preserve and practice the rites and habits of their ancestors as they existed before the discovery. Within its depths, far off on some unknown tributary of the Usumasinta, the popular tradition of Guatemala and Chiapas places that great aboriginal city, with its white walls shining like silver in the sun, which the cur? of Quiche affirmed to Mr. Stephens he had seen, with his own eyes, from the tops of the mountains of Quesaltenango." In Stephens' "Yucatan," Vol II, page 195, are the following lines: "He (meaning the padre of Quiche, with whom Mr. Stephens was conversing), was then young, and with much labor climbed to the naked summit of the Sierra, from which, at a height of ten or twelve thousand feet, he looked over an immense plain?and saw at a great distance a large city spread over a great space, and with turrets white and glittering in the sun. The traditionary account of the Indians of Chajul is, that no white man has ever reached this city, that the inhabitants speak the Maya language, are aware that a race of strangers has conquered the whole country around, and murder any white man who attempts to enter their territory. They have no coin or other circulating medium; no horses, cattle, mules, or other domestic animals except fowls, and the cocks they keep under ground to prevent their crowing being heard. One look at that city would be worth ten years of an every-day life. If he (the padre) is right, a place is left where Indians and an Indian city exist as Cortez and Alvarado found them; there are living men who can solve the mystery that hangs over the ruined cities of America; who perhaps can go to Copan and read the inscriptions on its monuments. No subject more exciting and attractive presents itself to my mind, and the deep impression will never be effaced." --This text refers to the Kindle Edition edition.

The Search for the Silver City
+Write review

User Reviews:

Write Review: