PEDRO FERNANDEZ DE QUIROS
Chapter 6 Part A
By Michael de Looper B. Sc. (Hens.)
Also
 
THE VOYAGES OF PEDRO FERNANDEZ DE QUIROS 1595 TO 1606
Chapter 6 Part B
 

 

Chapter 6 Part A
The Hakluyt Society translation of De Quires' account of naming Australia del Espiritu Santo - the Great South Land of the Holy Spirit.
 

  'And He made from one man euely nation of men to lioe on all the face of the earth, haoing determined allotted periods and the boundaries oftheir habitation, that they should seek God, in the hope that they might seek after Him and find Him...' (Acts 17:26, 27). 

  It may seem somewhat strange to include a Portuguese navigator amongst notable Australian Christians.  However, in this Bicentennial year, this remarkable man should not go unnoticed, and his life and deeds are worthy of tribute. For it is to this man that we owe the very name of our country, and it is to this man's 'vision splendid' that many look with longing for a hope and a future - a land dedicated to the Holy Spirit. This man was Pedro Fernandez de Quiros. 

Since ancient times, the belief had existed that there was an extensive land mass in the southern hemisphere to 'balance' that in the north. Indeed, on a map drawn at the beginning of the fifth century according to the theory of Macrobius, this 'Terra Australis' appears with the inscription 'Perus-Ta-Temperata-Antipodum Nobis Incognita'. 

Following the discovery of the Americas, various globes and maps featured the 'Southern Land', and it was this belief in the southern hemisphere that caused the kings of Spain to send expeditions in search of the reputed continent. Their motives were mixed, but can be summarised crudely as 'God, gold and glory', not necessarily in that order! 
 
By the early seventeenth century, the Catholic Spaniards vied with the Protestant Dutch and English, as well as the Muslims for the riches and the souls that the new land had come to represent. The missionary minded Catholics earnestly desired to win the race lest the 'heretical' Protestants arrive ahead of them. 

Manning Clark states, 'By 1580 the spread of heresy in Europe had enlivened this religious motive with a sense of urgency, for by then all true believers were tormented by the fear that the English and Dutch heretics would infect with the depravity of their apostasy countless numbers of Gentiles in the south seas.' (Clark, pp. 13-14). A number of Spanish voyages was sent west from Callao in Peru, yet most of these either lost heart in the vast number of central Pacific islands, or were driven by huge seas, winds and currents to the north. 

Into this scene stepped de Quiros. A product of the Catholic reformation, full of idealism and missionary fervour, he was born at Evora, Portugal, in 1565. In 1595, he had sailed as chief pilot with Spanish explorer Alvaro de Mendana, in order to colonize the Solomon Islands, which Mendana had previously discovered. Mendana died en route, leaving de Quiros to struggle on to the Philippines. 

J.C. Beaglehole, a renowned authority on Pacific exploration, described this 'guideless voyage to the Philippines against contrary winds, in rotten ships with a starving and dying company', as 'one of the greatest feats in the record of Pacific journeyings' (in Aust. Ency. p. 337). 

De Quiros returned to Mexico, after spending eighteen months refitting in Manila. In 1600 he journeyed to Rome for inspiration, and was blessed by Pope Clement VIII. He had come to believe that he was divinely chosen as the one to bring the inhabitants of the southern land into the 'true fold' of the Catholic church, and that this 'Terra Australis' would become Austrialia del Espiritu Santo, a country dedicated to the Holy Spirit. 

De Quiros obtained royal approval to search for the southern land in 1603. After acquiring three vessels and a crew, including Luis Viez de Torres as second-in-command, he set sail for Callao, Peru on 21 December 1605. Sailing west, they sighted land after five months at sea. With great festivity and excitement, de Quiros took possession of this land in the name of  His Majesty on 14 May 1606. 
 
His proclamation stated: - 'Let the heavens, the earth, the waters with all their creatures and all those here present  witness that I, Captain Pedro Fernandez de Quiros, in these hitherto unknown parts, in the name of Jesus Christ, Son of the Eternal Father and of the Virgin Mary, God and true man, hoist this emblem of the Holy Cross on which His person was crucified and whereon He gave His life for the ransom and remedy of all the human race, being present as witnesses all the land and sea-going officers; on this Day of Pentecost, 14 May 1606. 

'In these hitherto unknown southern regions where I now am, I have come with the authorisation of the Supreme Pontiff, Clement III, and by order of our King, Philip III, King of the Spains, etc, promulgated by the Council of State, I, Pedro Fernandez de Quiros, in the name of the Most Holy Trinity take possession of all the islands and lands that I have newly discovered and shall discover as far as the pole. 

'I take possession of all this part of the South as far as the pole in the name of Jesus. I take possession of all this part of the South as far as the pole in the name of St Francis and in the name of all his Order and members of it... I take possession of all this part of the South as far as the pole in the name of John of God and all the professed members of his Order... 

'Finally, from this Bay of St Philip and St James and its port of Vera Cruz and from the place where the city to be known as the New Jerusalem is to be founded, in this latitude of full 15-1/3 degrees, and of all the lands that I have seen and I am seeing of all this part of the South as far as the pole. 

'Which from now on shall be called the Southern Land of the Holy Ghost, with all its annexes and dependencies, and this always and forever, in the name of King Philip III, who bears the cost and expense of this fleet with which I came to discover the said lands, on whose power and will shall depend the foundation, government and maintenance of all that is sought both temporally and spiritually for these lands and their peoples, in whose name these flags are flown and I hoist this his royal standard, in the presence as witnesses of the commander, Luis Baez de Torres, and hoist his royal standard and the other flags, being further witnesses on this Feast of Pentecost, and on the said day, month and year.' 
 
However, de Quiros had not discovered Terra Australis Incognita, but only the largest island in what was later known as the New Hebrides group. He had named the land after Philip III of Spain, a prince of the House of Austria, and did not derive it from Terra Australia, or the austral region featured for so long on maps. 

But de Quiros was now in a quandary. His crew hardly shared his visions and aspirations, and despite masterful sailing qualities, he did not inspire in his leadership. When action was required, pietism stepped in, and by now the members of the expedition were in a state of near mutiny. Should he continue? 

On June 8, the ships weighed anchor, but several days later de Quiros ordered a return. Two of the ships regained the anchorage, including de Torres, but de Quiros failed to do so, and for unclear reasons he subsequently returned to America. 

As Clark put it, 'He spoke... of the great contrary winds they would encounter if they sailed south in search of the south land, of how their present position was unknown, and how little water they had left and no meat. Then with a majestic sweep he reminded himself of his subjection to the ordinances of God,  His high and secret decrees, as well as the wishes of man. Whatever it was, whether obedience to the inscrutable decrees of providence or a use of the divine commands to justify the promptings of the heart, Quiros announced in grief and sorrow that all was ended' (p. 16). 

Perhaps de Quiros felt God had ordered his return, perhaps he was swayed by the demands of crew and situation.  Torres, however, continued, and in a remarkable feat, sailed to Manila via the previously unknown southern coast of New Guinea, through the strait separating that country from Australia. 

After de Quiros had sailed to Mexico, he endured hardship and poverty before arriving in Spain in October of 1607. During the next seven years, he petitioned the Spanish Government for a vessel to resume the search. Fifty of these petitions remain, testimony to the desperation de Quiros felt, and lack of interest on the part of the authorities. Ignored, vilified,  accused 
of lying and fraud,  he was sustained by his dream of a southern land dedicated to God. Only through petition number eight, printed in Pamplona in 1610, did the rest of the world learn of the discoveries, and it was not long before the Dutch and the English took full advantage of the news. 

Finally in 1614, de Quiros was given a letter addressed to the Viceroy of Peru,  ostensibly in which he was to provide ships and assistance. 
At the same time a despatch was sent directly to the Viceroy in which the whole matter was left to his discretion. De Quiros became aware of this, but such was his commitment to his ideal that he expressed a willingness to continue in a subordinate position, as long as the work could continue. However, he died at Panama in 1615, on his way to Peru. 

What a dream this man had! Had he sailed further south, Aussies might all have been Spanish-speaking Catholics! De Quiros came within an ace of discovering mainland Australia, and not for want of determination or faith. But God's will was otherwise disposed, and it was left to other Europeans of another denomination to found and colonise white Australia. 

However for many people of faith, the dreamof Austrialia del Espiritu Santo remains. We share with de Quiros a destiny unfulfilled, a longing not satisfied. The vision will yet be fulfilled, and when it is, we will remember him. 

Michael de Looper is a full time staff worker with Youth With A Mission; more specifically Lighthouse MInistries, and is also working full-time as a research assistant at the Australian Institute of Health. Michael has a B.Sc.(Hons) in psychology, and his interests are Christian psychology and Biblical archaeology. 
 
 
 

 
 
 References
A.H. Chisholm (ed).  The Australian Encyclopaedia  Vol. 7 (Angus and Robertson, Sydney, 1958).
C.M.H. Clark A History of Australia,  Vol. 1. (Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 1962).
Carlos Sanz, Australia. Su Descubrimiento Y Denominacion.  (Direccion General de Relaciones Culturales Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores, Madrid, 1973)


THE VOYAGES OF PEDRO FERNANDEZ DE QUIROS 1595 TO 1606
Chapter 6 Part B
Translated and edited by Sir Clements Markham K.C.B., P.R.G.S.
President of the Hakluyt Society
 
 
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
INSTITUTION OF AN ORDER OF KNIGHTHOOD BY QUIROS

"The present subject to be announced to you, gentlemen, is that of an Order, the title of which is to be the 'Knights of the Holy Ghost', with the constitutions and precepts to be kept and professed, guided by such lofty and Christian ends as will be seen in them when the Lord is served, as I shall be able to show. All is done in confidence that His Holiness and His majesty, each of these two Lords as regards what concerns them, will be served in payment of my continual labours and good desire, by confirming this Order, with advantageous privileges, as long as the world endures; as well for the good that it secures as for the merits of vassals so honourable and so loyal, as is shown by the numerous services they perform, and will continue to perform in these parts. 

"For all I have said and can say on this subject, I seek from all the consent of their free wills, in the names of the Most Holy Trinity, in the name of the Roman Pontiff, in the name of His Catholic Majesty the King, Don Philip, third of that name, King of Spain, and my Lord; and I, the Captain Don Pedro Fernandez de Quiros, give to each one of your mercies this cross, of a blue colour, which presently you are to place on your breasts, being the insignia by which the Knights of the Order of the Holy Ghost are to be known; and for the persons in whose charge, if I should fail, is to be placed the discovery,  pacification, and possession of all these parts that we are discovering and may discover in the time to come. 

"I pray heartily that the Knights may know and esteem the value of this cross, gained with a determination to win much higher honours; and they must bear in mind that, though it has not cost much money, labour, sickness, nor time, that which it remains in their power to pay in this very high enterprise is very great, for it is now known that the enterprise holds a world for its heaven and its earth. 
 
"Pray to God, gentlemen, that it may serve Him to show me greater lands and other things; for greater are my desires that the King our Lord may deign to grant to all still greater favours.  Here I, in his royal name, offer to raise you to higher offices and dignities. I charge you all to be, as it were, members of one body; and I announce to you that from this day forward your obligations will be greater, and the rewards or punishments greater which are merited for good or for bad deeds." 

All this was listened to with much pleasure and accepted with satisfaction. The Captain asked them all to confess on Saturday, that on Sunday, the day of Pentecost, they might earn the Holy Jubilee which His Holiness had conceded to this expedition, and five other days in each year. Presently the Father Commissary persuaded all, and with his three priests he offered to confess, and all confessed. 

THE FIRST CHURCH 

Describes the celebration of the feast of the eve and the day of Pentecost, and the taking possession in the names of the Catholic Church, and of His Majesty. 

On that night all three vessels displayed many lights, and they sent off many rockets and fire-wheels. All the artillery was fired off; and when the natives heard the noise and the echoes resounding over the hills and valleys, they raised great shouts. We sounded drums, rang the bells, had music and dancing, and had other forms of rejoicing, in which the men showed great pleasure. The Captain said to all: "Gentlemen, this is the eve of my long-desired day, for which there should be no empty hand nor person for whom the appointed good things are not welcome, and as much more as the part he takes may deserve." 
 
It was not quite dawn when the Camp Master and ministers, taking with them an armed party in the two boats, went on shore. They landed near the launch with four small pieces to be used in a fort. Presently, with joyous diligence a booth made of branches was set up on the beach, surrounded by stakes, to serve as a fort in case of necessity. Within, the monks arranged a clean and well-ordered altar under a canopy. This was the first church, and was named by the Captain "Our Lady of Loreto". Everything having been arranged as well as the time would allow,  it was reported to the Captain, and presently he left the ship with the rest of the people. All the three companies were drawn up in good order on the beach. The officers and soldiers looked so active and honourable, with the crosses on their breasts, and I believe, if His Majesty could see them, with such sharpened resolves to finish what they had commenced, and to begin much greater things, that he would estimate their value at what it was worth, and increase his bounties. 

The Royal Ensign came forth with the standard in his hands. The banners, which were fluttering and brightening the whole scene, received their tribute from discharges of muskets and arquebuses. Presently the Captain came out and went down on his knees, saying: "To God alone be the honour and glory." Then, putting his hand on the ground, he kissed it, and said: "O Land! sought for so long, intended to be found by many, and so desired by me!" 

Then the Admiral came out with a cross made of the orange wood of the country, which the Captain had caused to be made. Our Father Commissary, with his five monks, all bare-footed, kneeling on the beach, received it in their arms, saying with great tenderness: "I adore thee, O Holy Cross, for the Author of our life, made flesh, died on thee for me, so great a sinner, and for the whole human race." Raising it and singing the "Lignum",  with the people in procession, we arrived at the door of the church; and there, on a pedestal which had been placed for the purpose, the Captain planted our cross, and ordered that the people should come round, and that the secretary should read, as in a loud voice he did read, the following documents:- 

RAISING OF THE CROSS 

Be witnesses the heavens and the earth, and the sea with all its inhabitants, and those who are present, that I, the Captain Pedro Fernandez de Quiros, in these parts which up to the present time have been unknown, raise and plant in the name of Jesus Christ, Son of the eternal Father, and of the Holy Virgin Mary, true God and man, this sign of the Holy Cross, on which His most holy body was crucified, and where He gave His life as a ransom for the whole human race. 
 

In the same place, and at the same time the six following possessions were read, which our people heard with joy and gladness, the eyes of many filling with tears. 

ACTS OF POSSESSION 

Possession in the name of the most Holy Trinity 
In these parts of the South, until now unknown, where I am, and have come with authority from the Supreme Roman Pontiff, Clement VIII, and by order of the King, Don Philip III, King of Spain, despatched by his Council of State, I, Captain Pedro Fernandez de Quiros, in the name of the most Holy Trinity, take possession of all the islands and lands that I have newly discovered, and desire to discover, as far as the South Pole. 

Possession in the name of the Catholic Church 
I take possession of all these, the said lands, in the name of Jesus Christ, saviour of all men, how unknown soever they may be, and in the name of His mother the most Holy Virgin Mother of Loreto, and in the name of St. Peter and St. Paul, and of all the holy apostles and disciples, and in the name of the universal Vicar of Christ, the Roman Pontiff, and in the name of the whole Catholic Church, and of all those pious, just, and holy things that have a right in such possession; which I do with joy and to the end that to all the natives, in all the said lands, the holy and sacred evangel may be preached zealously and openly. 

Possession in the name of St. Francis and his Order 
I take possession of all the said lands in the name of my father, St. Francis, and of all his religion and professors of it, and being present, in the name of the Father Commissary, Friar Martin de Monilla, Friar Mateo de Vascones, Friar Antonio Quintero, and Friar Juan de Marlo, all four priests; and in the names of Fray Juan de Santa Maria and Fray Francisco Lopez, both lay brethren, come here, all six, at my request by order of His Holiness and of His Majesty, and of their Commissary General and Provincial of the province of the Twelve Apostles of Peru: from whose order I desire that all the workers sent to tend this vineyard may come, and the labourers who have to show His holy word and doctrine, and to gather in the fruits. 
 
Possession in the name of John of God and his Order 
I take possession of all the said lands in the name of John of God, and of all the professed brothers of his Order, and being present, in the name of Lazaro de Santa Maria, who came here in compliance with a brief of His Holiness, given to me for that end, that the same Brotherhood might found,  administer, and maintain by their professed charity all the hospitals there may be in those parts, so necessary that the natives may learn all our methods, and hold us in the love and veneration which the sight of our curing the native sick, and giving them other benefits, deserve. 

Possession in the name of the Order of the Holy Ghost 
I take possession of all these lands, by the right that His Holiness and His Majesty granted, to make just divisions of the lands and of the people on them; for all the Knights that are in these parts of the Order of the Holy Ghost as discoverers, settlers, defenders, and preservers, and no other, obliged without pay to serve in all the royal and public employments, with every human and divine office as regards the natives as their defenders, and with profession of all the rest that is in their constitution. 

Possession in the name of His Majesty 
Finally, I take possession of this bay, named the Bay of St. Philip and St. James, and of its port named Santa Cruz, and of the site on which is to be founded the city of New Jerusalem, in latitude 15 degrees 10', and of all the lands, and of all the lands which I sighted and am going to sight, and of all this region of the south as far as the Pole, which from this time shall be called Australia del Espiritu Santo, with all its dependencies and belongings; and this for ever, and so long as right exists, in the name of the King, Don Philip, third of that name King of Spain, and of the eastern and western Indies, my King and natural Lord, whose is the cost and expense of this fleet, and from whose will  and power came its mission, with the government, spiritual and temporal, of these lands and people, in whose royal name are displayed there his three banners, and I hereby hoist his royal standard. 

The reading being finished, all cried with loud voices: "Long live the King of Spain, Don Philip III, our Lord!" Then we entered the church to give due thanks to God. 
 
They said three Masses, and the fourth, which was sung, was by our Father Commissary. All the people took the sacrament very fervently. This done, the three Ensigns, who now held the banners in their hands, inclined them to the ground in front of the altar, the Royal Ensign holding the royal standard. The Commissary blessed them with great solemnity; and, at a certain signal that was given to the ships, whose mast-head banners displayed the royal arms, and at the sides the two columns and the plus ultra , with the streamers fluttering, fired off all their guns with full charges; the soldiers discharged muskets and arquebuses, and the gunners sent off rockets and fire-wheels. In the middle of all this noise, all shouted with almost infinite joy, and many times: "Long live the Faith of Christ!" And with this the celebration of the festival came to an end. 
 
 

[BACK TO BEGINNING]
[BACK TO TOP]