3. HISTORY. Exploration Period.— Spain, not being satisfied with the discoveries and conquests which she had effected in Amer ica, was made ambitious by her rival. Portugal, regarding the known riches of the Molucca Islands, in the Malay Archipelago. To pos sess herself of these she looked for a channel between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans travers ing the new continent, and the mission of find ing this was entrusted to the most able mariner of the day, Capt. Juan de Solis, who in 1515 A.D., navigating with two boats along the coast of America, arrived at S. latitude. •He proceeded along what is now known as the river Plata (Rio de la Plata) until he reached the mouth of the Uruguay River, and anchored his vessels there, in front of a little island which he named Martin Garcia, in honor of the second commander of the expedition.
Solis and some of his companions went to the eastern bank of the river, but they had hardly disembarked when they were killed by the Cliarrua Indians. Deprived of their leader the company did not venture to begin the ex ploration of the newly-discovered country, and returned to Spain. This dismal faildre dis heartened the Spanish government until 15 years later, when the discovery of Brazil and the conquests of the Portuguese revived the ambition of Spain. In 1526 the Spanish gov ernment sent nearly simultaneously two expe ditions to the south, one under the command of Diego Garcia, with the intention of stopping the advance of the Portuguese, and the other in charge of the English captain Sebastian Cabot, with the object of finding an interoceanic passage. The lack of provisions and a mutiny among the sailors prevented Cabot from carry ing out his designs, and unfortunately while navigating in the river discovered by Solis, and following the Uruguay River, the detach ment that disembarked to explore the region had no better fate than that of Solis and perished at the hands of the Charruas. Cabot therefore changed his route and discovered the mouth of the Parana. Here he established in the delta the first European port in the region of the Rio de la Plata, the fort Espiritu Santo. Ascending the Parana to its junction with the Paraguay, Cabot began trading with various tribes of Indians, whom he found using many silver ornaments and utensils. This excited the cupidity of the explorer, who, thinking he had discovered a region of silver mines, named the estuary then known as Rio de Solis the Rio de la Plata, or Silver River.
By chance the expedition of Diego Garcia, which, as previously stated, had been sent out to stop the advance of the Portuguese, arrived at the mouth of the river Plata. Quarrels broke out between the two commanders which obliged Diego Garcia to return to Spain, and fearing the decision of fhe government at Madrid would be unfavorable to himself, Cabot returned to Europe, leaving large supplies in the fort Espiritu Santo, which was soon as saulted in an unexpected way and burned to the ground by the Timbu Indians, who up to this time had maintained friendly relations with the Spaniards.
These early discoveries in the Rio de la Plata led to a great deal of jealousy and desire for territorial expansion on the part of Euro pean monarchs. Carlos V, King of Spain and Emperor of Austria, who was at war with Francis I of France, not being able to disband his army nor to give much attention to the con quest of America, decided to send out explor ing parties to annex definitely the territory of the river Plata. A rich Spanish noble, Don Pedro de Mendoza, arranged with his govern ment to equip at his own cost an expedition, on condition that he was to be named governor over all the territories which he discovered or conquered. The Mendoza expedition consisted of a fleet of 14 vessels and about 2,000 men, many of whom were -Germans. This force en tered the river Plata 20 Feb. 1535, and landed on the spot where now stands the capital of the' Argentine Republic. There a town site was chosen, Mendoza giving it the name of Santa Maria de Buenos Aires, which means Saint Mary of the Good Breezes. Subsequently the little town was destroyed by the Querandi In dians who inhabited the region. The expedition escaped to the Espiritu Santo fort, leaving seven horses and five mares, the first herd of horses in Argentina. From Espiritu Santo Mendoza sent his principal lieutenant, Don Juan de Ayolas, to explore the Parana River. After numerous fights with the various Indian tribes Ayolas occupied the land and founded the town of Asuncion in 1537. He intended later to pene trate as far as Lima in Peru. Mendoza, sick and discouraged, started to return to Spain, but died on the way. Ayolas succeeded him in command of the Spaniards on the Plata.