Monday, September 7, 2009

Food and Clothing of the Conquistadors

When reading period accounts of the Conquistadors I try to take notes as aids in research for reenactment. Some time ago I read The Discovery and Conquest of Peru by Pedro de Cieza de Leon (edited and translated by Parma Cook & Noble David Cook, Duke University Press 1998)pp.56-57

"...they had to return quickly to relive those who had remained with Captain Francisco Pizarro. They loaded the ship with a good supply of maize, meat, bananas, and other fruits and roots.....

...the beach where they had found the coconuts...He was carrying in a backpack [another of those times where I'd love to see the original word - a"backpack" isn't something one typically sees in period illustrations]three loaves of bread for the captain and four oranges [per the footnote on this passage, Oviedo planted orange trees in Darien around 1514]...Pizarro divided the loaves and oranges among all of them without himself eating more than the others [suggesting of course that it was a Captain's prerogative to do just that] They became as invigorated as if each had eaten an entire capon."

"Because most of the shirts they wore were made of coarse linen, their clothes were rotting, and their hats and caps were falling to pieces."

..and also a brief mention a of a tent:

"...I walked out of a tent in the valley and drenched in water I climbed up to the hills just to escape them [mosquitoes]."

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