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Map of the Voyage of Grijalva (1518)

In order to explore the Caribbean and Gulf Coast of Mexico, four ships with 300 men sailed from Havana on April 8, 1518 under Juan de Grijalva, nephew of the Cuban governor Velasquez. Grijalva's expedition was documented in both the Itinerario de l'Armata by the chaplain, Juan Díaz, and an account by the soldier, Bernal Díaz de Castillo. 

Grijalva's ships reached hundreds of miles up the Gulf Coast as far as the Río Panuco (around Tampico), before returning to Cuba.  Among other things, both Juan Díaz and Bernal Díaz de Castillo reported temples on mounds near densely populated coastal towns,  with remains of human sacrifices related to Aztec practices seen at Isla de Sacrificios in the Totonac region. In the next year (1519), Cortés followed Grijalva's coastal route as far north as Cempoala.

.[Fig.1: Route of Grijalva's voyage in 1518.]

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