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As governor of Guatemala, Alvarado has been described by W. as "an insatiable despot who recognized no authority but his own and who regarded Guatemala as little more than his personal estate." Alvarado was a cavalier of high family, gallant and chivalrous, and [Cortes'] warm personal friend.
He had talents for action, was possessed of firmness and intrepidity, while his frank and dazzling manners made the Tonatiuh an especial favourite with the Mexicans.
As punishment for entering the Papaloapan River without orders, Grijalva sent Alvarado with the ship San Sebastián to relay news of the discoveries back to Cuba.
Alvarado made a triumphal entry to Santiago de Cuba, with a great display of the wealth that had been gained from the expedition.
The Maya remained hidden in the forest, so the Spanish boarded their ships and continued along the coast.
By means of interpreters, Grijalva indicated that he wished to trade and bartered wine and beads in exchange for food and other supplies.
His letters show no interest in civil matters, and he only discussed exploration and war.
The crew included officers that would become famous conquistadors, including Cristóbal de Olid, Gonzalo de Sandoval and Diego de Ordaz.
By 1511 a system of licenses had been established in Spain to control the flow of colonists to the New World.