AMICHEL. When Alonzo Álvarez de Pineda explored the Gulf Coast from peninsular Florida to Veracruz in 1519, the territory was named Amichel. The name is known from only two sources: the royal patent granted Francisco de Garay (Álvarez's sponsor) to settle the region and a map known as the Cortés map, published in 1524. Although Garay's report of the Álvarez voyage was sent to Spain before the end of 1519, it was not acted upon until 1521. On June 4 that year the royal cédula was issued at Burgos. Royal officials acting for King Charles II (Emperor Charles V of the Holy Roman Empire) exulted that through the efforts of Garay, Diego Velázquez, and Juan Ponce De León, the entire Gulf Coast had been discovered and proved to be contiguous mainland. According to this document, the entire coast was pleasant and fruitful, inhabited by pacific natives of affectionate nature who gave every indication of being suitable subjects for conversion to the Catholic faith. In places the people were as much as seven feet tall; in others they were midgets of no more than 3½ to four feet. Some of the natives, it is said, wore gold jewelry in their nostrils and earlobes, and there was wide distribution of the precious metal in the territory.
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