INTRODUCTORY—THE FIRST SPANISH OCCUPATION OF ALABAMA— BATTLES FOUGHT BY DE SOTO—SETTLEMENT AT MOBILE—FRENCH AND SPANISH WARS—ENGLISH CONTROL—INDIAN WARS—WAR OF 1812—SEMINOLE AND FLORIDA WARS—ALABAMIANS IN THE WAR WITH MEXICO.
IT was Easter Sunday, March 27, 1513. The Southern sun was shining brightly over the placid bay of St. Augustine. Blooming flowers in the rich profusion characteristic of that soil and climate delighted the eye with their beauty and filled the air with their fragrance. The natives gathering on the beach gazed out upon the waters with awe and wonder at the white-winged ships slowly but surely approaching their shores. It was the fleet of Spain, commanded by John Ponce de Leon, who had been one of the companions of Columbus in his second voyage. He came now furnished with a royal charter to explore and conquer.
This expedition and others, dispatched in rapid succession during the century following the first voyage of Columbus, resulted in confirming the dominion of Spain in all of South and Central America, Mexico, and much of what is now the southern portion of the United States. In 1535, a French expedition under Cartier sailed up the St. Lawrence and gave the name of New France to the territory along its shores. As early as 1497 the Cabots received patents from the English crown to set up the royal standard in any of the newly-discovered lands, but with the exception of the expedition under the ill-starred Lord Raleigh, the first attempt to plant an English colony in America was that at Jamestown in 1607. So the