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Title: A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 03 - Arranged in Systematic Order: Forming a Complete History of the Origin and Progress of Navigation, Discovery, and Commerce, by Sea and Land, from the Earliest Ages to the Present Time
Author: Kerr, Robert, 1755-1813
Language: English
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*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 03 - Arranged in Systematic Order: Forming a Complete History of the Origin and Progress of Navigation, Discovery, and Commerce, by Sea and Land, from the Earliest Ages to the Present Time" ***

available by the Canadian Institute for Historical Microreproductions

[Transcriber's note: The spelling and punctuation inconsistencies and
typographical errors of the original have been preserved in this etext.]









       *       *       *       *       *




CHAP. I. History of the discovery of America, by Christopher Columbus,
written by his son Don Ferdinand Columbus, Introduction, Epochs of
American discovery, Authors Preface.

  I. Of the country, original, and name of Admiral Christopher
  Columbus; with other particulars of his life previous to his arrival in

  II. Of his first coming to Portugal, and the motives of his
  proposing to discover the West Indies.

  III. The Admiral, disgusted by the procedure of the King of
  Portugal, in regard to the proposed discovery, offers his services
  to the court of Spain.

  IV. Narrative of the First Voyage of Columbus, in which he actually
  discovered the New World[1].

  VI. Second Voyage of Columbus to the West Indies.

  VII. Account of the antiquities, ceremonies, and religion of the
  natives of Hispaniola, collected by F. Roman, by order of the Admiral.

  VIII. The Admiral returns to Spain from his second voyage.

  IX. Account of the Admirals Third Voyage, during which he discovered
  the continent of Paria; with the occurrences to his arrival in

  X. An account of the Rebellion in Hispaniola, previous to the arrival
  of the Admiral.

  XI. Continuation of the troubles after the return of the Admiral to
  Hispaniola, to their adjustment.

  XII. Transactions in Hispaniola subsequent to the settlement of the
  disturbances, until the sending of Columbus in irons to Spain.

  XIII. Account of the Fourth Voyage of Columbus to the West Indies.

CHAP. II. Account of the Discovery of America, by Christopher Columbus;
by Antonio de Herrera.

  I. Of the knowledge of the Ancients respecting the New World.

  II. Of the motives which led Columbus to believe that there were
  unknown countries.

  III. Columbus proposes his design to the King and Queen of Spain; which,
  after many repulses, is adopted by the Queen.

  IV. Conditions granted to Columbus by the crown of Castile, and an
  account of his First Voyage, in which he discovered the New World.

  V. Continuation of the voyage; signs of approaching land; the people
  mutiny, and the Admiral endeavours to appease them.

  VI. Discovery of the Islands of San Salvador, the Conception,
  Ferdinandina, Isabella, and others; with a description of these Islands,
  and some account of the Natives.

  VII. Discovery of Cuba and Hispaniola, and desertion of Martin Alonzo

  VIII. Farther discovery of Hispaniola; simplicity of the natives; the
  Admiral loses his ship, and resolves to settle a colony in the island.

  IX. The Admiral builds a fort in Hispaniola, and prepares for his return
  to Spain.

  X. Account of the Voyage home from Hispaniola to Lisbon.

  XI. From the arrival of Columbus at Lisbon till the commencement of his
  Second Voyage to the New World.

  XII. Second Voyage of Columbus to the West Indies, and establishment of
  Isabella, the first European colony in the New World.

  XIII. Columbus proceeds to explore the coast of Cuba, discovers the
  island of Jamaica, and returns to Isabella in Hispaniola.

  XIV. Summary of occurrences in Hispaniola, to the return of Columbus
  into Spain from his Second Voyage.

  XV. Conclusion of the discoveries of Columbus.

CHAP. III. The voyages of Americus Vespucius to the New World,

  I. The First Voyage of Vespucius.

  II. The Second Voyage of Americus Vespucius.

  III. The Third voyage of Americus Vespucius.

  IV. The Fourth voyage of Americus Vespucius.

CHAP. IV. Summary of the discoveries and settlements of the Spaniards in
the West Indies, from the death of Columbus to the expedition of Hernando
Cortes against Mexico, Introduction.

  I. Improvements made in the colony of Hispaniola, by Nicholas de
  Obando, and the great value of gold procured in that island during his

  II. Settlement of Porto Rico under Juan Ponce de Leon.

  III. Don James Columbus is appointed to the government of the Spanish
  dominions in the West Indies.

  IV. Settlement of a Pearl Fishery at the island of Cubagua.

  V. Alonzo de Hojeda and Diego de Nicuessa are commissioned to make
  discoveries and settlements in the New World, with an account of the
  adventures and misfortunes of Hojeda.

  VI. The history of Vasco Nugnez de Balboa, and the establishment, by
  his means, of the colony of Darien.

  VII. The adventures, misfortunes, and death of Don Diego de Nicuessa,
  the founder of the colony of Nombre de Dios.

  VIII. The conquest and settlement of the island of Cuba by Diego

  IX. The strange expedition of Juan Ponce de Leon in search of the
  Fountain of Youth, in which he discovered Florida and the Bahama

  X. The martyrdom of two Dominican Friars on the coast of Venezuela,
  through the avarice of the Spaniards.

  XI. Discoveries on the continent of America, by command of Velasquez,
  under the conduct of Francis Hernandez de Cordova.

  XII. Farther discoveries on the continent by Juan Grijalva, under the
  orders of Velasquez, by which a way is opened to Mexico or New Spain.

CHAP. V. History of the discovery and conquest of Mexico, written in the
year 1568, by Captain Bernal Diaz del Castillo, one of the conquerors,
Introduction, Preface by the Author.

  I. Expedition of Hernandez de Cordova in 1517.

  II. Expedition of Juan de Grijalva in 1518.

  III. Commencement of the expedition of Hernando Cortes for the conquest
  of Mexico, in 1518.

  IV. Arrival of the armament at St Juan de Ulua, and account of
  occurrences at that place.

  V. The Spanish army advances into the country; an account of their
  proceedings before commencing their march to Mexico.

[1] By error of the press, a considerable part of this Section is
    marked in the running title as Section V. and the next is numbered
    Section VI. so that, numerically only, Section V; is entirely omitted.

[Illustration: West Indies]





       *       *       *       *       *




[Illustration: West Indies]

The whole of this chapter contains an original record, being a distinct
narrative of the discovery of America by COLUMBUS, written by his own son,
who accompanied him in his latter voyages. It has been adopted into the
present work from the Collection of Voyages and Travels published at
London in 1704, by Awnsham and John Churchill, in four volumes folio; in
which it is said to have been translated from the original Italian of Don
Ferdinand Columbus, expressly for the use of that work. The language of
that translation is often obscure and ungrammatical, as if the work of a
foreigner; but, having no access to the original, has necessarily been
adopted for the present occasion, after being carefully revised and
corrected. No farther alteration has been taken with that version, except
a new division into sections, instead of the prolix and needlessly minute
subdivision of the original translation into a multitude of chapters;
which change was necessary to accommodate this interesting original
document to our plan of arrangement; and except in a few rare instances,
where uninteresting controversial argumentations have been somewhat
abridged, and even these chiefly because the original translator left the
sense obscure or unintelligible, from ignorance of the language or of the

It is hardly necessary to remark, that the new grand division of the world
which was discovered by this _great navigator_, ought from him to
have been named COLUMBIA. Before setting out upon this grand discovery,
which was planned entirely by his own transcendent genius, he was misled
to believe that the new lands he proposed to go in search of formed an
extension of the _India_, which was known to the ancients; and still
impressed with that idea, occasioned by the eastern longitudes of Ptolemy
being greatly too far extended, he gave the name of _West Indies_ to
his discovery, because he sailed to them westwards; and persisted in that
denomination, even after he had certainly ascertained that they were
interposed between the Atlantic ocean and Japan, the Zipangu, or Zipangri
of Marco Polo, of which and Cathay or China, he first proposed to go in

Between the _third_ and _fourth_ voyages of COLUMBUS, _Ojeda_, an officer
who had accompanied him in his _second_ voyage, was surreptitiously sent
from Spain, for the obvious purpose of endeavouring to curtail the vast
privileges which had been conceded to Columbus, as admiral and viceroy of
all the countries he might discover; that the court of Spain might have a
colour for excepting the discoveries made by others from the grant which
had been conferred on him, before its prodigious value was at all thought
of. Ojeda did little more than revisit some of the previous discoveries of
Columbus: Perhaps he extended the knowledge of the coast of Paria. In this
expedition, Ojeda was accompanied by an Italian named _Amerigo_ or
_Almerico Vespucci_, whose name was Latinized, according to the custom of
that age, into _Americus Vespucius_. This person was a Florentine, and
appears to have been a man of science, well skilled in navigation and
geography. On his return to Europe, he published the first description
that appeared of the newly discovered continent and islands in the west,
which had hitherto been anxiously endeavoured to be concealed by the
monopolizing jealousy of the Spanish government. Pretending to have been
the first discoverer of the _continent_ of the _New World_, he
presumptuously gave it the appellation of _America_ after his own name;
and the inconsiderate applause of the European literati has perpetuated
this usurped denomination, instead of the legitimate name which the new
quarter of the world ought to have received from that of the real

Attempts have been made in latter times, to rob COLUMBUS of the honour of
having discovered _America_, by endeavouring to prove that the _West
Indies_ were known in Europe before his first voyage. In some maps in the
library of St Mark at Venice, said to have been drawn in 1436, many
islands are inserted to the _west_ of Europe and Africa. The most
_easterly_ of these are supposed in the first place to be the Azores,
Madeira, the Canaries and Cape Verds. Beyond these, but at no great
distance towards the _west_, occurs the _Ysola de Antillia_; which we may
conclude, even allowing the date of the map to be genuine, to be a mere
gratuitous or theoretic supposition, and to have received that strange
name, because the obvious and natural idea of _Antipodes_ had been
anathematized by Catholic ignorance. Still farther to the _north-west_,
another fabulous island is laid down, under the strange appellation of
_Delaman Satanaxia_, or the land created by the hand of Satan. This latter
may possibly have some reference to an ignorant position of Iceland. Both
were probably theoretic, for the fancied purpose of _preserving a balance_
on the globe with the continents and islands already known; an idea which
was transferred by learned theorists, and even persisted in for a
considerable part of the eighteenth century, under the name of the _Terra
Australis incognita_; and was only banished by the enlightened voyages of
scientific discovery, conducted under the auspices of our present
venerable sovereign.

The globe of Martin Behaim, in 1492, repeats the island of _Antillia_, and
inserts beyond it to the _west_, the isle of St Brandan or Ima, from a
fabulous work of the middle ages. Occasion has already occurred to notice
two other ancient pretended discoveries of the New World: the fabulous
voyages of the Zenos, another Venetian tale; and the equally fabulous
Portuguese island of the _Seven Churches_, abounding in gold, and
inhabited by Spanish or Portuguese Christians. Britain even had its Madoc
prince of North Wales; and a _white_ nomadic nation in North America,
speaking _Welsh_, is still among the puerile fancies of this nineteenth

All these pretended proofs of any previous knowledge of the _western_
world, resolve into complete demonstrations of perfect ignorance, even in
the art of deception and forgery. Not only is the world indebted to
COLUMBUS for this great and brilliant discovery, but every subsequent
improvement in navigation, geography and hydrography, is justly
attributable to his illustrious example. Much and deservedly as our COOK
and his coadjutors and followers have merited from their country and the
world, they are all to be considered as pupils of the truly great
archnavigator COLUMBUS; himself a worthy scholar from the nautical academy
of the truly illustrious and enlightened father of discoveries, DON HENRY.
All other discoveries, whether nautical or by land, dwindle into mere
ordinary events, when compared with his absolutely solitary exertion of
previous scientific views. The sagacious and almost prophetic induction,
persevering ardour, cosmographical, nautical, and astronomical skill,
which centered in COLUMBUS, from the first conception to the perfect
completion of this great and important enterprize, the discovery of a
large portion of the globe which had lain hid for thousands of years from
the knowledge of civilization and science, is altogether unexampled. He
was incontestibly the first bold and scientific mariner who ever dared to
launch out into the trackless ocean, trusting solely to the guidance of
the needle and the stars, and to his own transcendent skill and

There can be no doubt that Greenland, in some measure an appendage of
America, was discovered in 982, by the Norwegians or their Icelandic
colony; and that the same people accidentally fell in with Newfoundland,
or a part of Labradore, in 1003; of which early real discoveries
particular notices have been taken in the first part of this work. But
these were entirely accidental, and were lost to the world long before
COLUMBUS began his glorious career; and do not in the least degree detract
from the merit or originality of his discovery.

The name even of the great COLUMBUS has of late been fastidiously
endeavoured to be rejected, in favour of the Spanish appellation _Colon_,
which he adopted on entering into that service, which repaid him with base
ingratitude and cruel injuries for his transcendent services. It will be
seen, however, from the authority of his own son, that the original name
of his family was _Colombi_; though some branches in other parts of Italy
had adopted the modern or middle age Roman name of _Collona_. COLUMBUS,
therefore, ought certainly to remain in our language as the Latinized
original name of this illustrious person.

In supplement to the history of Columbus by his son, we have chosen to
give an account of the first Discovery of America, by _Herrera_ the royal
historiographer of Spain. To some readers this may appear superfluous: But,
as _Don Ferdinand Columbus_ may naturally enough be supposed to have
written under a degree of partial attachment to the glory of his immortal
father, it seems fortunate that we possess an authentic early history of
the same unparalleled event, from a more certainly impartial and well
informed author, having access to the public archives. That portion of our
work is given as an original record, almost without any remark; leaving it
to the ingenious industry of such of our readers as may be so disposed, to
make a critical comparison between the work of _Don Ferdinand Columbus_, a
rare and valuable monument of filial piety, and that of _Antonio de
Herrera_. We have only to regret, that the transcendent genius, who
possessed the unexampled sagacity to devise, and the singular good
fortune, perseverance, capacity, and conduct, to succeed in _Discovering
the Western Hemisphere_, had not sufficient health and leisure to have
favoured the world with his own _commentaries_ of this greatest
enterprise that was ever achieved by man.--_Ed_.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Abridged Series of the Epochs of American Discovery_[2].

A.D. 982. East Greenland discovered by the Norwegians or Icelanders, who
planted a small colony. This was long afterwards shut in by the
accumulation of arctic ice, and entirely lost.

1003. Winland, either Newfoundland or Labradore, was discovered by the
Icelanders, but soon abandoned and forgotten.

1492, August 3d. COLUMBUS commenced his first voyage. 12th October
discovered _Guanahani_, one of the _Bahama_ group, which he named _St
Salvador_, now named _Cat Island_. In this voyage, besides several others
of the Bahama islands, he discovered _Cuba_ and _Hispaniola_, leaving a
colony in the latter, which was cut off by the natives. He returned to
Spain from this voyage on the 4th March 1493.

1494, September 25th. Second voyage of COLUMBUS began; in which he
discovered the _Carribbee_ islands, and founded a permanent colony in
_Hispaniola_ or Haiti. He returned from this voyage in 1496.

1497. _Giovanni Gabotta_, a Venetian, employed by Henry VII. of England,
discovered _Newfoundland_, and traced the eastern coast of North America
as far south as _Virginia_.

1498. Third voyage of COLUMBUS, in which he discovered _Trinidad_ and the
coast of Paria in _South America_; now called the _Spanish Main_ by the
English. He was _sent home in irons_ from Hispaniola in 1500.

1499. _Ojeda_ was sent from Spain to interfere with the great privileges
granted to COLUMBUS; but did very little more than retrace some of his
previous discoveries. In this voyage, as already mentioned, Ojeda was
accompanied by _Americus Vespucius_, who usurped the right of giving the
_New World_ his own name _America_, which still continues universal.

1500. _Cabral_, a Portuguese admiral, while on a voyage to India,
accidentally discovered Brazil.

In this year likewise, _Corte de Real_, a Portuguese navigator,
discovered Labradore, while in search of a _north-west_ passage to India.

1502. _Fourth_, voyage of COLUMBUS, in which he discovered the
continental coast, from _Honduras_ to near the Isthmus of _Darien_.

1513. _Vasco Nunez de Balboa_, descried the _Pacific Ocean_, or great
_South Sea_, and waded into the waves, taking formal possession for the
crown of Spain; and even embarked on that ocean in a canoe, as a more
formal act of conquest.

In the same year, _Florida_ was first discovered by _Ponce de Leon_, a
Spanish officer.

1515. The continent of _South America_ was explored down to the _Rio de
la Plata_.

1519. _Cortez_ began the conquest of _Mexico_, which he accomplished in

About the same time, _Magalhaens_, usually named Magellan, explored the
_Pacific Ocean_.

1526. _Pizarro_ visited the coast of _Peru_, which he invaded in 1530,
and _afterwards conquered_.

[1] Churchills Collection of Voyages and Travels, Vol. II. 479.

[2] From Pinkertons Modern Geography.

       *       *       *       *       *


Because admiral DON CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS, my father, was a person most
worthy to be held in eternal remembrance, it seems reasonable that _I his
son_, who sailed some time along with him, should to my other performances
add this my chiefest work: _The history of his life, and of his wonderful
discovery of the West Indies_.

In consequence of his great and continual sufferings, and the diseases he
long laboured under, my father had not time to reduce his own notes and
observations into historical order; and these having fallen to me, enable
me to execute the present undertaking. Knowing that many others had
undertaken to execute this task, I long delayed its performance. But,
having read those other narratives, I found that they exaggerated many
circumstances, had passed lightly over other matters of importance, and
had even entirely omitted much that was deserving of particular notice.
From these considerations I have been induced to publish this work;
thinking it more becoming that I should undergo the censure of wanting
skill, rather than to permit the truth respecting my noble father to
remain in oblivion. Whatever may be the faults in this performance, these
will not be owing to my ignorance of the truth; for I pledge myself to set
down nothing which I do not find in his own papers or letters, or of which
I have not actually been a witness.

In the following work, the reader will find a faithful record of all the
reasons which induced the admiral to enter upon his great and glorious
and successful enterprize, and will learn how far he personally proceeded
in his _four_ several voyages to the New World. He will see what great
and honourable articles were conceded to him, before going upon his great
discovery, by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, how basely all these
were violated, and he most unworthily and inhumanly treated, after
performing such unparalleled services; how far he established the affairs
of Hispaniola, the first settlement of the Spaniards in the New World;
and what care he took that the _Indians_ should not be oppressed, but
rather prevailed on by kind usage and good example, to embrace the
Catholic faith. In this work, likewise, will be found a faithful picture
of the manners and customs of the Indians, an account of their opinions
and practices respecting religion, and every thing that can reasonably be
looked for in a work like the present: The foundation for which was laid
by the great discoverer, and the superstructure raised by me his own son,
who possessed every advantage derivable from a liberal education and the
possession of authentic original documents, to fit me for executing a
work of such importance.


_Of the Country, Original, and Name of Admiral Christopher Columbus; with
other particulars of his Life previous to his arrival in Portugal._

It is a material circumstance in the history of a great man to make known
his country and original, as those are best esteemed in the world who are
derived from noble cities and born of illustrious parents. Wherefore some
would have engaged me to prove that the admiral my father was honourably
descended, although his parents, through the fickleness of fortune, had
fallen into great poverty. Those persons required me to prove that his
ancestors descended from _Junius Colomus_, who, as Tacitus relates,
brought Mithridates a prisoner to Rome, for which service he was raised
by the Roman people to the consulate. They would likewise have induced me
to give an account at large of the two illustrious _Colomi_ his
predecessors, who gained a great victory over the Venetians, as recorded
by Sabellius, and which shall be mentioned in this work. But considering
that my father seemed to have been peculiarly chosen by the Almighty for
the great work which he performed, and may be considered in some measure
as an apostle of the Lord by carrying the gospel among the heathen; and
that the other apostles were called upon from the sea and the rivers, and
not from courts and palaces, by him whose progenitors were of the royal
blood of the Jews, yet who was pleased that they should be in a low and
unknown estate: And seeing that God had gifted my father with those
personal qualities which so well fitted him for so great an undertaking,
he was himself inclined that his country and original might remain hidden
and obscure.

Some who would throw a cloud upon his fame, have alleged that he was from
Nerni, others from Cuguero, and others from Bugiesco, all small towns in
the Riviera of Genoa: While others again, who were disposed rather to
exalt his origin, say that he was a native of Savona, others of Genoa,
and some more vain, make him to have been a native of Placentia, where
there are some honourable persons of the name, and several tombs having
the arms and inscriptions of the family of Columbus, which was the usual
sirname of his predecessors; but he, in compliance with the country where
he went to reside, modelled the name in resemblance of the ancients to
Colon, thereby distinguishing the direct descent from the collateral

Many names have been given by secret impulse, to denote the effects those
persons were to produce; and as most of my fathers affairs were guarded by
some special providence, his name and sirname were not without some
mysterious significations. Thus, considering the sirname of his ancestors,
Columbus or Columba, since he conveyed the grace of the Holy Ghost into
that New World which he discovered, shewing the knowledge of the beloved
Son of God to those people who knew him not, as was done by the Holy Ghost
in the form of a _Dove_ at the baptism of St John; and because, like Noahs
dove, he carried the olive branch and the oil of baptism across the waters
of the ocean, to denote the peace and union of those people with the
church, which had long been shut up in the ark of darkness and ignorance.
So likewise of the sirname of Colon which he revived, which was
appropriate to him as signifying a member; and, in conjunction with his
sirname of Christopher, denoted that he was a member of Christ, by whom
salvation was to be conveyed to the heathen people whom he discovered.
Thus, as St Christopher received that name because he carried Christ over
the deep waters with great danger to himself; so the admiral Christopher
Colonus, imploring the protection of Christ, safely carried himself and
his people over the unknown ocean, that those Indian nations which he
discovered might become citizens and inhabitants of the heavenly Jerusalem.
For many souls, whom the Devil expected for his prey, were through his
means passed through the water of baptism, and made inhabitants of the
eternal glory of heaven.

To return to the quality and persons of his progenitors; however
considerable they may once have been, it is certain that they were reduced
to poverty and want, through the long wars and factions in Lombardy. I
have not been able to discover in what manner they lived; though in one of
his letters the admiral asserted that his ancestors and himself had always
traded by sea. While passing through Cuguero, I endeavoured to receive
some information on this subject from two brothers of the _Colombi_, who
were the richest in those parts, and who were reported to be somewhat
related to him; but the youngest of them being above an hundred years old,
they could give me no information. Neither do I conceive this any
dishonour to us his descendants; as I think it better that all our honour
be derived from his own person, without inquiring whether his father were
a merchant, or a nobleman who kept hawks and hounds. There have been
thousands such in all parts, whose memory was soon lost among their
neighbours and kindred, so that no memorials remain of there ever having
been such men. I am therefore of opinion, that the nobility of such men
would reflect less lustre upon me than the honour I receive from such a
father: And, since his honourable exploits made him stand in no need of
the wealth of predecessors, who though poor were not destitute of virtue,
he ought from his name and worth to have been raised by authors above the
rank of mechanics or peasants.

Should any one be disposed to affirm that the predecessors of my father
were handicrafts, founding upon the assertion of Justiniani, I shall not
engage to prove the contrary; for, as the writing of Justiniani is not to
be considered as an article of faith, so I have received the contrary from
a thousand persons. Neither shall I endeavour to prove the falsehood of
his history from those other authors who have written concerning my father;
but shall convict him of falsehood out of his own writings and by his own
testimony; thus verifying proverb which says "that _liars ought to have
good memories_," because otherwise they contradict themselves, as
Justiniani has done in this case, of which I propose to exhibit sufficient

In his comparison of the four languages, when commenting upon that passage
in the psalms, "In omnem terrarum exivit sonus eorum," he says, "This
Christopher Columbus having acquired some rudiments of learning in his
tender years, applied himself to navigation when he came to manhood, and
went to Lisbon, where he learned cosmography from a brother who there made
sea charts; in consequence of which improvement, and by discoursing with
those who had sailed to St George del Mina in Africa, and through his own
reading in cosmography, he entertained thoughts of sailing towards those
countries which he afterwards discovered." Hence, contrary to the
assertion of Justiniani, it appears from his own words that my father
followed no handicraft or mechanic employment, but devoted his childhood
to learning, his youth to navigation and cosmography, and his riper years
to discoveries. Thus Justiniani convicts himself of falsehood, and proves
himself inconsiderate, rash, and malicious. When he had occasion to speak
of so renowned a person who reflected so great honour on his country,
although the admirals parents had even been very mean, it had been more
decent in mentioning his origin, as other authors have done, to have said
that he was of low parentage or come of very poor people, instead of
falsely calling him a mechanic, as he did in his Psalter, and afterwards
in his Chronicle. Even supposing he had not contradicted himself, reason
might have shewn that a man who had been bred up in a mechanical
employment, must grow old in it to become a perfect master, and could not
from his youth have travelled into so many countries, or have attained so
much knowledge and learning as his actions demonstrate; more especially in
those four principal sciences which were so indispensably necessary to fit
him for what he performed, astronomy, cosmography, geometry, and
navigation. It is not much to be wondered that Justiniani should be guilty
of untruth in this circumstance, which is hidden, since he has inserted
above a dozen falsehoods in half a sheet of paper in his Psalter, in
matters concerning this discovery and navigation, which are well known.
These I shall briefly mention, without staying to give him any answer,
that I may not interrupt the series of the history; and because from its
tenor, and by what has been written by others on that subject, the
falsehood of his writing will distinctly appear.

The _first_ falsehood is, that the admiral went to Lisbon to learn
cosmography from a brother of his own who was settled in that place. This
is utterly contrary to the truth; since he lived in that city before the
arrival of his brother, and taught his brother what he knew instead of
learning from him. The _second_ falsehood is, that their Catholic
majesties Ferdinand and Isabella accepted his proposal at his first coming
to Castile, after it had been seven years bandied about and rejected by
all men. The _third_, that he set out upon his discovery with two ships;
whereas the truth is, that he had three caravels in his first voyage. The
_fourth_, that his first discovery was Hispaniola; whereas the first land
he came to was Guanahani, which he named St Salvador, or St Saviour. The
_fifth_, that the island of Hispaniola was inhabited by cannibals; while
the truth is, that its inhabitants were the best and most civilized people
in all those parts. The _sixth_, that he took the canoe or Indian boat
which he first saw by force of arms; whereas it is certain that he had no
hostilities in the first voyage with any of the Indians, and continued in
peace and amity with them until his departure from Hispaniola. The
_seventh_, that he returned by way of the Canary Islands, which is by no
means the proper route. The _eighth_, that he dispatched a messenger from
the Canaries to their Catholic majesties; whereas it is certain he was not
at these islands on his return, and that he was his own messenger. The
_ninth_, that he went with _twelve_ ships on his second voyage, while he
actually had _seventeen_. The _tenth_, that he arrived at Hispaniola in
twenty days, which is too short a time to reach the nearest islands; and
he certainly did not perform the second voyage in two months, and besides
went to other islands much farther distant before going to Hispaniola. The
_eleventh_, that he immediately afterwards went from Hispaniola with two
ships, whereas he certainly went to Cuba with three vessels. The _twelfth_
falsehood is, that Hispaniola is four hours (difference in longitude)
distant from Spain; while the admiral reckoned it to be five. The
_thirteenth_, to add one to the dozen, is that the western point of Cuba
is six hours distant from Hispaniola; making a farther distance of
longitude from Hispaniola to Cuba, than from Spain to Hispaniola.

By the foregoing examples of negligence, in inquiring into the truth of
those particulars which are plain and easy to have been learnt, we may
divine what inquiry he made into those which are obscure and in which he
contradicts himself, as already proved. But, laying aside this fruitless
controversy, I shall only add that, in consideration of the many
falsehoods in the Chronicle and Psalter of Justiniani, the senate of Genoa
have imposed a penalty upon any person within their jurisdiction who shall
read or keep those books, and have ordered that they shall be carefully
sought after and destroyed.

To conclude this disquisition, I assert that the admiral, so far from
being a person occupied with the vile employments of mechanics or
handicraft trades, was a man of learning and experience, and entirely
occupied in such studies and exercises as fitted him for and became the
glory and renown of his most wonderful discoveries; and I shall close this
chapter with an extract from a letter which he wrote to the nurse of
Prince John of Castile. "I am not the first admiral of my family, let them
give me what name they please. After all, that most prudent king David was
first a shepherd, and was afterwards chosen king of Jerusalem; and I am a
servant to the same Lord who raised him to so great dignity."

In his person the admiral was above the middle stature and well shaped,
having rather a long visage, with somewhat full cheeks, yet neither fat
nor lean. His complexion was very fair with delicately red cheeks, having
fair hair in his youth, which became entirely grey at thirty years of age.
He had a hawk nose, with fair eyes. In his eating and drinking, and in his
dress, he was always temperate and modest. In his demeanour he was affable
to strangers and kind and condescending to his domestics and dependents,
yet with a becoming modesty and dignified gravity of manner, tempered with
easy politeness. His regard for religion was so strict and sincere, even
in keeping the prescribed fasts and reciting all the offices of the church,
that he might have been supposed professed in one of the religious orders;
and so great was his abhorrence to profane swearing that I never heard him
use any other oath than by St Ferdinand; and even in the greatest passion,
his only imprecation was "God take you." When about to write, his usual
way of trying his pen was in these words, _Jesu cum Maria sit nobis in
via_; and in so fair a character as might have sufficed to gain his bread
by writing.

Passing over many particulars of his character, manners, and disposition,
which will appear in the course of this history, I shall now only mention
that, in his tender years he applied himself to such studies at Pavia as
fitted him to understand cosmography, his favourite science; for which
purpose he chiefly devoted himself to the study of geometry and astronomy,
without which, it is impossible to make any proficiency in cosmography.
And, because Ptolemy, in the preface to his cosmography, asserts that no
person can be a good cosmographer without a thorough knowledge of drawing;
he therefore learnt to draw, so as to be able to delineate not only the
exact outlines of countries, but to express their cosmographical features,
whether having plain surfaces or interspersed with hills and vallies.

Having laid a foundation in the before-mentioned sciences, he went to sea,
and made several voyages both to the east and west[1]: But of these, and
many other circumstances respecting his early years I have no perfect
knowledge. I was so young at his death, that owing to filial respect, I
had not the boldness to ask an account from him of the incidents of his
youth, and besides I was not then interested in such inquiries. But some
account of these things may be gleaned from his letters to their Catholic
majesties, to whom he would not dare to write any thing but the truth. In
one of these letters, written in the year 1501, he says,

"Most Serene Princes! I went to sea when very young, and have continued to
the present day; and this art of navigation inclines those who follow it
to be desirous of discovering the secrets of this world. It is now forty
years[2] that I have been sailing to all those parts of the world which
are frequented at present; and I have conversed with many wise and learned
men, both clergy and laity, Latins, Greeks, Indians and Moors, and of many
other sects and nations. God has been favourable to my inclination, and
has given me the spirit of understanding, so that I have become very
skilful in navigation, with a competent knowledge in arithmetic, geometry,
and astronomy, and both genius and skill to draw maps and charts of this
world, with its cities, rivers, islands, and ports, all in their proper
places and proportions. During my whole life, I have endeavoured to see
and understand all books of cosmography, history, and philosophy; by which
my understanding hath been enlightened so as to enable me to sail from
Europe to the Indies, and God hath inclined me to put this design into
execution. Filled with this desire I came to your highnesses; and after
all who had heard an account of my proposed undertaking had rejected it
with scorn and contempt as visionary and impracticable; in your highnesses
alone I found judgment to believe in the practicability of my proposal,
and constancy and spirit to put it into execution."

In another letter, written in January 1495 from Hispaniola, to their
Catholic majesties, in illustration of the errors and mistakes common in
voyages and the piloting of ships, he thus writes, "I was formerly sent to
Tunis by King _Renee_, whom God hath since taken to himself, to take the
galeasse called Fernandina; and, when near the island of St Peter off
Sardinia, I was informed that the Fernandina was accompanied by two ships
and a carack. This intelligence dismayed my people, who refused to proceed
in the enterprize, and demanded to go back to Marseilles for another ship
and more men. Finding that it was impossible to go on against their
inclinations, without a stratagem, I pretended to yield to their desires;
but having altered the card of the ships compass, I set sail when it was
late, under pretence of making for Marseilles. But next morning at
day-break, when all on board believed we had been sailing for Marseilles,
we found ourselves close in with Cape Carthagena[3]."

In a memorandum or observation tending to prove that all the five zones
are habitable by the experience of navigation, he thus writes: "In
February 1467, I sailed an hundred leagues beyond Thule, or Iceland, the
northern part of which is 73 degrees distant from the equinoctial, and not
63 degrees as some suppose; neither does it lie upon the line where
Ptolemy begins the West, but considerably more to the westwards. To this
island, which is as large as England, the English carry on trade,
especially from the port of Bristol. When I was there the sea was not
frozen, but the tides were so great that in some places it rose and fell
twenty-six fathoms[4]. I have likewise been in the Portuguese fort of St
George del Mina, under the equinoctial, and can witness that it is not
uninhabitable, as some have supposed." In his book respecting his first
voyage, he says that he saw some mermaids on the coast of _Menegueta_, but
that they were not by any means so like ladies as represented in paintings.
In another place he says, that, in several voyages between Lisbon and
Guinea, he had observed that a degree on the earth corresponds to 56 miles
and two thirds. He notices having seen mastick drawn from some trees in
the island of Scio, one of the isles in the Greek Archipelago.

In one place of his own writings he says that he had been at sea during
twenty-three years, without being on shore for any length of time; and had
seen all the countries of the east and west, and towards the north,
particularly England and Guinea; yet had never seen any harbours that
could be compared for goodness with those which he had discovered in the
West Indies. He says farther, "I went first to sea at fourteen years of
age, and have followed that profession ever since." In his note book of
his second voyage he says, "I had two ships, one of which I left at Porto
Sancto, for a certain reason, where it continued one day; and on the day
following, I rejoined it at Lisbon[5]; because I encountered a storm, and
had contrary winds at south-west, and the other ship had contrary winds at
south-east." From these instances it may be inferred that he had great
experience in sea affairs, and that he had visited many countries and
places, before he undertook his great discovery.

[1] This must be understood as referring to voyages in the Mediterranean,
    in respect of the port of Genoa.--E.

[2] Supposing Columbus to have been 14 years of age on first going to sea,
    it may be concluded that he was born in 1447. He must therefore have
    been 45 years old when he set out in 1492 for the discovery of America;
    and 59 years old at his death, in 1506.--E.

[3] Or rather Cape Carthago, on the coast of Barbary near Tunis.--E.

[4] It is highly probable that the original translator may have here
    mistaken the braccio of 1.913 English feet, for the fathom of 6 feet.
    In fathoms, this tide rises to the incredible height of 156 feet;
    whereas in _braccios_, it amounts only to 49 feet: And besides there
    are braccios considerably shorter than the one here assumed.--E.

[5] There is some inexplicable ambiguity in this passage, which the
    original translator must have misunderstood, and which cannot now be

[Illustration: Chart of North Western Africa]


_Of his first coming to Portugal, and the cause or motives of his
proposing to discover the West Indies._

The occasion of his first coming into Portugal, arose from his attachment
to a famous man of his name and family, named Columbus, long renowned on
the sea as commander of a fleet against the infidels; insomuch that even
in his own country his name was used to frighten young children. This man,
known by the name of _Columbus the young_, to distinguish him from another
great sea captain of the same name, was a person of great prowess, and
must have commanded a goodly fleet, as he captured at one time four
Venetian galleys, of such size and strength as I could not have believed
unless I had seen them fitted out. Of this Columbus junior, Marc Anthony
Sabellicus, the Livy of our age, says, in the eighth book of his tenth
decade, that he lived at the time when Maximilian the son of the Emperor
Frederick III. was chosen king of the Romans; and that Jerom Donato was
sent ambassador from Venice to return thanks to John II. king of Portugal,
for having relieved and clothed the crews of their great galleys so as to
enable them to return to Venice. These galleys were returning from
Flanders, when they were encountered and taken by the famous corsair
Columbus junior, who stripped their whole crews and turned them ashore on
the coast of Portugal.

The authority of so grave an author as Sabellicus, sufficiently proves the
malice of Justiniani who makes no mention whatever of this incident,
evidently lest the family of Columbus might appear less obscure than he
was disposed to hold it out to the world. If in this he erred through
ignorance, he is not the less worthy of blame for having undertaken to
write the history of his country without making himself acquainted with so
signal a victory, of which even the enemies of Genoa make mention. Even
Sabellicus in his eighth book, mentions the great discovery of the admiral,
though less obliged to inquire into it, but without adding the twelve lies
which Justiniani inserted.

To return to the matter in hand. While the admiral my father sailed along
with Columbus junior, which he long did, they received intelligence of
four large Venetian galleys being on their voyage from Flanders, and going
in quest of them, came up with them near Cape St Vincent on the coast of
Portugal. A furious contest took place, in which the hostile vessels
grappled with each other, and the crews fought with the utmost rage, not
only using their hand weapons but artificial fire-works. The fight
continued with great fury from morning till night; when the vessel in
which my father was took fire, as did likewise a great Venetian galley to
which she was fast grappled by strong iron hooks and chains. In this
dreadful situation neither of them could be relieved, on account of the
confusion and terror of fire, which increased so rapidly that all who were
able of both crews leapt into the water, preferring that death to the
torture of fire. In this emergency, my father being an excellent swimmer,
and having the good fortune to lay hold of an oar, made for the land,
which was little more than two leagues distant. Sometimes swimming, and at
other times resting on the oar, it pleased God, who preserved him for the
accomplishment of greater designs, that he had sufficient strength to
attain the shore, but so exhausted by his exertions and by long
continuance in the water that he had much ado to recover. Being not far
from Lisbon, where he knew that many Genoese his countrymen then dwelt, he
made all haste to that city; where making himself known, he was
courteously received and entertained by the Genoese.

After remaining some time at Lisbon, where he behaved himself honourably,
being a man of comely appearance, it happened that Donna Felipa Moniz, a
lady of good family, then a boarder in the nunnery of All-Saints whether
my father used to go to mass, fell in love with him and married him. The
father of his lady, Peter Moniz Perestrello, being dead, the newly married
pair went to live with the widow; who seeing her son-in-law much addicted
to cosmography, informed him that her husband, Perestrello, had been a
great sea-faring man, and had gone with two other captains to make
discoveries with the license of the king of Portugal, and under an
agreement that they were to divide their discoveries into three portions,
and each to have a share by lot. That accordingly they had sailed from
Lisbon towards the south-west, where they discovered the islands of
Madeira and Porto Sancto, places which had never been seen before. And as
Madeira was the largest, they divided it into two portions, making Porto
Sancto the third, which had fallen to the lot of her husband Perestrello,
who continued in the government of that island till his death.

The admiral being much delighted with the relations of sea voyages, his
mother-in-law gave him the journals and sea charts which had been left by
her husband, which excited his curiosity to make inquiry respecting the
other voyages which the Portuguese had made to St George del Mina and the
coast of Guinea, and he enjoyed great delight in discoursing with such as
had sailed to those parts. I cannot certainly determine whether he ever
went to Mina or Guinea during the life of this wife. But while he resided
in Portugal he seriously reflected on the information he had thus received;
and concluded, as the Portuguese had made discoveries so far to the
southward, it was reasonable to conclude that land might be discovered by
sailing to the westwards. To assist his judgment, he again went over the
cosmographers which he had formerly studied, and considered maturely the
astronomical reasons which corroborated this new opinion. He carefully
weighed likewise the information and opinions on this subject of all with
whom he conversed, particularly sailors. From an attentive consideration
of all that occurred to him, he at length concluded that there must be
many lands to the west of the Canary and Cape de Verd islands; and that it
must be perfectly possible to sail to and discover them. But, that it may
distinctly appear by what train of arguments he came to deduce so vast an
undertaking, and that I may satisfy those who are curious to know the
motives which induced him to encounter so great danger, and which led him
to his great discovery, I shall now endeavour to relate what I have found
among his own papers respecting this matter.

The motives which induced my father to undertake the discovery of the West
Indies were three. Natural reason, authority of authors, and the testimony
of sailors. From natural reason my father concluded that the whole sea and
land of this world composed a globe or sphere, which might assuredly be
gone round, so that men should stand with their feet directly against the
feet of other men, in any precisely opposite parts whatever. _Secondly_,
he took it for granted upon the authority of approved authors that a great
portion of our globe had been already travelled over and explored; and
that it now only remained to discover the whole, so as to make known what
was contained in the vacant space which remained, between the eastern
boundaries of India which were known to Ptolemy and Marinus, and those our
newly discovered western parts of the coast of Africa and the Azores and
Cape Verd islands, the most westerly which were yet known. _Thirdly_, he
concluded that this still unknown space, between the eastern limits known
to Marinus and the Cape Verds, could not exceed a third part of the
circumference of the globe; since Marinus had already described 15 hours
towards the east, out of the 24 parts or hours into which the
circumference of the world is divided by the diurnal course of the sun;
and therefore to return in an easterly direction to the Cape Verd islands
from the limits discovered by Marinus, or to proceed westerly from these
islands to meet the eastern limits of Marinus, required only to pass over
about 8 parts in 24 of the circumference of the earth[1].

He reckoned, _fourthly_, that as the cosmography of Marinus had given an
account of fifteen hours or parts of the circumference of the globe
eastwards, and had not yet attained to a knowledge of the eastern
extremity of the land, it followed of course that this eastern extremity
must be considerably beyond those known limits; and consequently, that the
farther it extended eastwards, so much the nearer it must approach to the
Cape Verd islands, or the then known western limits of the globe: And, if
this space were sea, it might be easily sailed over in a short time; and
if land, that it would be much sooner discovered by sailing to the west,
since it must be much nearer to these islands in that direction. To this
may be added what is related by Strabo in his Fifteenth Book, that no army
ever penetrated to the eastern bounds of India, which according to Ctesias
is as extensive as all the rest of Asia. Onesicritus affirms that India is
a full third part of the world; and Nearchus says that it is four months
journey in a straight line from west to east. Pliny, in the 17th Chap, of
his 6th Book, says that India is a third part of the earth, and that
consequently it must be nearer Spain in the western than in the eastern

The fifth argument which induced the admiral to believe that the distance
in a western direction to India was small, was taken from the opinion of
Alfragranus and his followers, who computed the circumference of the
globe as much less than all other cosmographical writers, as they only
allowed 56-2/3 miles to a degree of longitude. Whence my father inferred,
that the whole globe being small, the extent of that third part which
remained to be discovered must necessarily be proportionally small
likewise; and might therefore be sailed over in a short time. And, as the
eastern bounds of India were not yet discovered, and must lie considerably
nearer us towards the west, he therefore considered that the lands which
he might discover in his proposed expedition westwards might properly be
denominated the Indies. Hence it appears how much Roderick the archdeacon
of Seville was wrong in blaming the admiral for calling those parts the
Indies which were not so. But the admiral did not call them the Indies as
having been seen or discovered by any other person; but as being in his
opinion the eastern part of India beyond the Ganges, to which no
cosmographer had ever assigned any precise limits, or made it to border
upon any other country farther to the east, considering those unknown
parts of eastern India to border on the ocean. And because he believed
those countries which he expected to discover formed the eastern and
formerly unknown lands of India, and had no appropriate name of their own,
he therefore gave them the name of the nearest known country, and called
them the _West Indies_. He was, so much the more induced to choose this
appellation that the riches and wealth of India were well known, and he
thereby expected the more readily to induce their Catholic Majesties to
accede to his proposed undertaking, of the success of which they were
doubtful; by saying that he intended to discover the way to India by the
west: And he was desirous of being employed in the service of the crown of
Castile, in preference to any other.

The second motive which encouraged the admiral to undertake his great
enterprize, and which might reasonably induce him to call the countries he
proposed to discover by the name of the Indies, was derived from the
authority of learned men; who had affirmed that it was possible to sail
from the western coast of Africa and Spain to the eastern bounds of India
by the westwards, and that the sea which lay between these limits was of
no great extent. This is affirmed by Aristotle, in his Second Book of the
Heaven and of the World, as explained by Averroes; in which he says that a
person may sail from India to Cadiz in a few days. Seneca, in his book of
Nature, reflecting upon the knowledge of this world as insignificant in
comparison with what shall be attained in a future life, says that a ship
may sail in a few days with a fair wind from Spain to India. And if, as
some suppose, the same Seneca were the author of the tragedies, he
expresses himself to the same purpose in the following chorus of the Medea:

    Venient annis
  Secula feris, quibus Oceanus
  Vincula rerum laxat, et ingens
  Pateat tellus, Typhysque novos
  Detegat orbes, nec sit terris
    Ultima Thule.

"There will come an age in latter times, when the ocean shall loosen the
bonds of things, and a great country shall be discovered; when another
Typhys shall find out new worlds, and Thule shall no longer remain the
ultimate boundary of the earth."

This prophecy has now certainly been fulfilled by my father. In the first
book of his cosmography, Strabo says that the ocean encompasses the whole
earth; that in the east it washes the shores of India, and in the west
those of Mauritania and Spain; and that if it were not for the vast
magnitude of the Atlantic, men might easily sail in a short time from the
one to the other upon the same parallel; and he repeats the same opinion
in his second book. Pliny, in the Second Book of his Natural History, Chap.
iii. says that the ocean surrounds all the earth, and extends from east to
west between India and Cadiz. The same author, in his Sixth Book, Chap.
xxxi. and Solinus in the sixty-eight chapter of the Remarkable Things of
the World, say that, from the islands of the Gorgonides, which are
supposed to be those of Cape Verd, it was forty days sail across the
Atlantic Ocean to the Hesperides; which islands the admiral concluded were
those of the West Indies. Marco Polo the Venetian traveller, and Sir John
Mandeville, say that they went much farther eastward than was known to
Ptolemy and Marinus. Perhaps these travellers do not mention any eastern
sea beyond their discoveries; yet from the accounts which they give of the
east, it may be reasonably inferred that India is not far distant from
Spain and Africa. Peter Aliacus, in his treatise on the Figure of the
Earth, in the eighth Chapter respecting the extent of habitable land, and
Julius Capitolinus upon inhabitable places, and in several other treatises,
both assert that Spain and India are neighbours towards the west. The
latter author, in the nineteenth Chapter of his Cosmography says,
according to the opinion of Pliny and other philosophers, the ocean which
stretches from the western shores of Spain and Africa to the eastern
limits of India is of no great extent, and might certainly be sailed over
in a few days with a fair wind; and therefore that the beginning of India
eastwards cannot be far distant from the western limits of Africa.

From these and similar authorities of eminent writers, the admiral was led
to believe that he had formed a sound opinion on this subject; and he was
much encouraged to undertake his proposed voyage of discovery by his
contemporary Paul, physician to Signior Dominico of Florence. This Paul
corresponded with Ferdinand Lopez, a canon of Lisbon, concerning the
voyages which had been undertaken to Guinea in the reign of King Alphonzo
of Portugal, and concerning future discoveries which might be made to the
westwards. The admiral, who was always exceedingly ardent in inquiries on
these topics, came to the knowledge of this correspondence; and soon
afterwards, by means of Laurentio Girarde, a Florentine who then resided
in Lisbon, entered into correspondence with Paul on this subject,
acquainting him with his design, and sending him a small terrestrial globe.
The communications from Paul on this subject are as follow:

"To Christopher Columbus, Paul the Physician wisheth health. I perceive
the noble and earnest desire which you entertain to sail to those parts
which produce spices; and therefore, in answer to your letter, I send you
one which I wrote some time ago to a friend of mine, a servant to the king
of Portugal, before the wars of Castile, in answer to one he had written
to me by the order of his highness upon this same subject; and I send you
a sea chart similar to the one I sent to him, which will satisfy your
demands. The copy of that letter is this!"

"To Ferdinand Martinez, Paul the physician wisheth health.--I rejoice to
learn the familiarity which you have with your most serene and magnificent
king; and although I have often discoursed concerning the short way by sea
from hence to the Indies where spice is produced, which I consider to be
shorter than that you now take by the coast of Guinea; yet you now inform
me that his highness requires me to explain and demonstrate this my
opinion, so that it may be understood and reduced to practice. Therefore,
though I could better shew it with a globe in my hand, so as to make him
sensible of the figure and dimensions of the world; yet I have resolved to
make it as easy and intelligible as possible by delineating this way upon
a chart, such as is used in navigation. Wherefore I now send one to his
majesty, drawn by my own hand; in which I have set down the utmost bounds
of the west, from Ireland in the north to the farthest parts of Guinea,
with all the islands that lie in the way: Opposite to which western coast,
the beginning of the Indies is delineated, with the islands and places to
which you may go, and how far you may bend from the north pole towards the
equinoctial, and for how long a time; that is, how many leagues you must
sail before you arrive at those places which are most fruitful in all
sorts of spice, in jewels and precious stones.

"Do not wonder that I term the country where the spice is produced in the
_west_, because that production has been generally ascribed to the _east_:
Since those who may sail to the westward will always find those places in
the _west_, which those who travel by land eastwards must find in the
_east_. The straight lines that run lengthways in the chart shew the
distances from east to west, and the other lines which cross these at
right angles shew the distances from north to south. I have likewise
represented in the chart, several places in India where ships may take
shelter in any storm or contrary wind, or on occasion of any unforeseen
accident. Moreover, to give you full information respecting all those
places of which you inquire, you must understand that none but traders
reside in these islands, in which as great a number of ships and mariners,
and as great quantities of merchandize is to be found, as in any other
part of the world; more particularly in a most noble port called Zacton[2],
where there are every year 100 large ships loaded and unloaded with pepper,
besides many other ships which take in other kinds of spice. This country
is exceedingly populous, and contains many provinces and kingdoms and
cities innumerable, under the dominion of a sovereign called the Great
Cham, which title signifies the King of kings, who usually resides in the
province of Cathay[3].

"The predecessors of the great cham were very desirous to have amity and
commerce with the Christians; and 200 years ago sent ambassadors to the
pope, desiring him to send many learned men and doctors to instruct them
in our holy faith; but by reason of some obstacles which these ambassadors
encountered, they returned back without coming to Rome. There came however
in our day an ambassador from those parts to Pope Eugenius IV. who told him
of the great friendship which subsisted between these princes and their
people with the Christians. I discoursed at large with this person upon
several matters, respecting the splendour of their royal buildings, the
great length and breadth of their rivers, and many other topics. He told
me many wonderful things of the multitude of cities and towns along the
banks of the rivers; insomuch that there were 200 cities upon one river
alone, having marble bridges over it of wonderful length and breadth, and
adorned with numerous pillars. This country deserves as well as any other
to be explored; and great profit may be made by trading thither, as it
abounds in many valuable commodities, and with gold, silver, all kinds of
precious stones, and spices of all sorts. It is likewise certain that many
wise men, philosophers, astronomers, and others, exceedingly ingenious and
skilled in the arts and sciences, govern the numerous provinces of that
mighty empire, and command its armies.

"From Lisbon directly westwards, there are in the chart which I now
transmit twenty-six spaces, each of which contains 250 miles, or 6500
miles in all, to the vast and most noble city of _Quisay_[4], which is 100
miles or thirty-five leagues in compass. Its name signifies the heavenly
city, and wonderful things are reported respecting the magnificence of its
buildings, the prodigious amount of its revenues, and the multitude and
ingenuity of its inhabitants. This city is in, the province of Mango[5],
bordering on that of Cathay where the king resides. And the before
mentioned distance between Lisbon and that city westwards, is almost a
third part of the circumference of the globe. From the island of Antilia,
which you call the Seven Cities, and of which you have some knowledge,
there are ten spaces in the chart to the most noble island of Cipango,
which make 2500 miles or 875 leagues[6]. The island of Cipango abounds in
gold, pearls and precious stones, and the people even cover their temples
and palaces with plates of pure gold[7]. But, for want of knowing the way,
all these wonderful things remain hidden and concealed, although they
might easily be gone to with safety. Much more might be said, but as you
are a wise and judicious person, and I have already told you of what is
most material, I am satisfied that you will fully understand the whole,
and I shall not therefore be more prolix. What I have written may satisfy
your curiosity, and is as much as the shortness of the time and my
business will admit. Therefore I remain most ready to satisfy his majesty
to the utmost of my abilities in all commands which he may be pleased to
lay upon me."

Paul the Physician afterwards wrote the following letter to my father.--"I
received your letter with those things you sent me, which I esteem a great
favour, and I greatly commend your noble and ardent desire of sailing
from the east to the west, as marked out in the chart which I sent you;
but which would be much better demonstrated in the form of a globe. I am
rejoiced that it is well understood, that the voyage laid down is not
only possible but true, certain, honourable, advantageous, and most
glorious among Christians. You can only become perfect in the knowledge of
it by practice and experience, which I have had in some measure,
especially by the solid and true information of many worthy and wise men
who came from those parts to the court of Rome, and from merchants who
are persons of good reputation and have long traded to those regions.
Hence, when the voyage shall be performed, it will be to powerful kingdoms,
and to most noble provinces and cities, rich, flourishing, and abounding
in all those commodities of which we are in need: particularly in great
quantities of all sorts of spice, and in great store of jewels. It will
likewise be very grateful to the kings and princes of those parts, who are
exceedingly desirous to have intercourse and trade with the Christians;
whether that some of them are inclined to become Christians, or else
desire to communicate with the wise and learned men of Europe, as well in
regard to religion, as in all the sciences, by reason of the extraordinary
accounts they have received of the kingdoms and governments and learning
of our part of the world. On all which accounts, and others which might be
alleged, it is reasonable that your own magnanimity, and the whole
Portuguese nation, ever renowned for great men, and memorable in all their
undertakings, should be eagerly bent upon performing this voyage."

By this letter, as has been before observed, the admiral was greatly
encouraged to go upon his discovery, although the learned physician was
mistaken in believing that Cathay and the empire of the great Cham was the
first land to be met with in sailing towards the west; for experience has
made it appear, that the distance from the West Indies to that country is
greater than from Europe to the West Indies.

The _third_ and last motive by which the admiral was incited to the
discovery of the West Indies, was the hope of finding in his way to India
some very beneficial island or continent, from whence he might the better
be enabled to pursue his main design. This hope was founded upon the
authority and opinion of many wise and learned men, who believed that the
greatest part of the surface of the terraqueous globe was composed of land,
or that there certainly was more earth than sea. If that were the case, he
concluded that, between the coast of Spain and the then known bounds of
India, there must be many islands and a great extent of continent
interposed, which experience has since demonstrated to be true. In this
opinion he was confirmed by many fabulous stories which he had heard from
sailors and others who had sailed to the islands and western coast of
Africa, and to Madeira; and as these testimonies, though false, tended to
confirm the purpose he had so long and ardently cherished, they the more
readily gained his assent; and, to satisfy the curiosity of such as are
curious in these matters, I shall here relate them.

One Martin Vicente, a pilot in the service of the king of Portugal,
related to the admiral, that, being once 450 leagues to the westward of
Cape St Vincent, he had found a piece of wood most curiously curved, but
not with iron; and seeing that the winds had blown for many days
previously from the west, he conjectured that the carved wood must have
been drifted from some island in that direction. One Peter Correa, who had
married a sister of the admirals wife, told him of having seen another
piece of wood which had been brought to the island of Porto Sancto by the
same westerly wind, and of certain drifted canes, so thick that every
joint was large enough to contain four quarts of wine. These he alleged to
have shewn to the king of Portugal, and as there were no such canes in our
parts of the world, he believed that the winds must have wafted them from
some distant islands in the west, or else from India: More especially as
Ptolemy, in the first book of his cosmography, and chapter 17. says, that
such canes grow in the eastern parts of India; and some of the islanders,
particularly those in the Azores, informed Correa that when the west wind
blew long together, the sea sometimes drove pine trees on the islands
Gratioso and Fayal, where no such trees were otherwise to be found. He was
likewise told that the sea had cast upon the island of Flores, another of
the Azores, the dead bodies of two men, having very broad visages, and
very different in their appearance from Europeans.

It was likewise reported to the admiral that the people about Cape Verga
had once seen some almadias or covered boats, which it was believed had
been driven thither by stress of weather while going from one of these
supposed islands in the west to another island. One Anthony Leme, who was
married and settled in the island of Madeira, told the admiral that,
having once made a considerable run to the westward, he had descried three
islands. To this information, however, he gave little credit, as by his
own account Leme had not sailed above 100 leagues to the west, and might
have been deceived by some rocks; or what he had seen might have been some
of those floating islands, called Aguades by the sailors, of which Pliny
makes mention in the 97th chapter of the first book of his natural history.
Pliny says that some spots of land are seen in the northern parts of the
ocean on which there are deep-rooted trees, and that these parcels of land
are carried about like floats, or islands swimming upon the water. Seneca,
in his third book, endeavouring to give a probable reason for the
existence of such islands, alleges that there are certain rocks so light
and spongy in their substance, that islands in India which are composed of
such do actually swim upon the water. Therefore, even if it were actually
the case that Leme had seen the three islands, the admiral, was of opinion
that they must have been of that kind, such as those called the islands of
St Brandan are supposed to be, where many wonders are reported to have
been seen. Accounts have also been propagated of other islands, which are
continually burning, and which lie far to the northward[8].

Juventius Fortunatus mentions an account of two floating islands
considerably to the west, and more southward than those of Cape Verd.
These and such like reports, might induce several of the inhabitants of
Ferro and Gomera, and of the Azores, to affirm that they saw islands
towards the west every year; of which they were so thoroughly convinced,
that many reputable persons swore that it was true. The same Fortunatus
relates, that a person came from Madeira to Portugal in the year 1484, to
beg a caravel from the king in which he might go in quest of an island
which he made oath that he saw every year, and always after the exact same
manner; with whom others agreed, who declared that they had seen the same
land from the Azores.

On these grounds, in all the former maps and charts, certain islands were
placed in that direction. In his book concerning the wonderful things of
nature, Aristotle informs us of a report, that some Carthaginian merchants
had sailed across the Atlantic to a most beautiful and fertile island, of
which we shall give a more particular account hereafter. Some Portuguese
cosmographers have inserted this island in their maps under the name of
Antilla; though they do not agree with Aristotle in regard to its
situation, yet none have placed it more than 200 leagues due west from the
Canaries and Azores. This they assert to be certainly the island of the
seven cities, which is said to have been peopled by the Portuguese in the
year 714, at the time when Spain was conquered by the Moors. At that time,
according to the legend, seven bishops with their people sailed to this
island, where each of them built a city; and, that none of their people
might ever think of returning to Spain, they burnt their ships with all
the tackling, and destroyed every thing that was necessary for navigation.
There are who affirm that several Portuguese mariners have been to that
island, but could never find their way back to it again. It is said
particularly, that in the time of Don Henry, infant of Portugal, a
Portuguese ship was driven by stress of weather upon this island of
Antilla, where the men went on shore, and were led by the islanders to a
church, that they might see whether they were Christians and observed the
ceremonies of the Roman worship; and perceiving that they did, the
islanders requested them to remain till their lord should return, who
happened to be then absent, but who would be very kind to them, and give
them many presents. But the master and seamen were afraid of being
detained, and suspected that the islanders had no mind to be discovered,
and might burn their vessel; wherefore they sailed back to Portugal,
hoping to be rewarded for their discovery by Don Henry. But he reproved
them severely, and ordered them to return quickly; wherefore the master
and all his crew escaped from Portugal with their ship, and never
returned. It is likewise reported, that while the master and seamen of
this vessel were at church in the foresaid island, the boys of the ship
gathered sand for the cook room, a third part of which was found to be
pure gold.

Among others who set out to discover this island was one Jattes de Fiene,
whose pilot Peter Velasquez, of the town of Palos de Moguer, told the
admiral in the monastery of St Mary de la Rabida, that they sailed 150
leagues south-west from Fayal, and discovered the island of Flores in
their return, to which they were led by observing numbers of birds to fly
in that direction, and because these were land birds they concluded that
they were making for land, as they could not rest upon the waters. Leaving
Flores, they sailed so far to the north-east, that they came to Cape Clear
in the west of Ireland, where they met with a stiff western gale and yet a
smooth sea, whence they concluded that there must be land in that
direction by which the sea was sheltered from the effects of the west wind;
but it being then the month of August, they did not venture to proceed in
search of that supposed island, for fear of winter. This happened about
forty years before the discovery of the West Indies.

The foregoing account was confirmed to the admiral by the relation of a
mariner whom he met with at Port St Mary, who told him that, once in a
voyage to Ireland he saw that western land, which he then supposed to be a
part of Tartary stretching out towards the west, but could not come near
it on account of bad weather. But it is probable that this must have been
the land now called _Bacallaos_, or Newfoundland. This was farther
confirmed by what was related to him by one Peter de Velasco of Galicia,
whom he met with in the city of Murcia in Spain: who, in sailing for
Ireland, went so far to the north-west, that he discovered land far to the
west of Ireland; which he believes to have been the same which one
Femaldolmos endeavoured to discover in the following manner, as set down
in my fathers writings, that it may appear how some men build great and
important matters upon very slight foundations. Gonzalo Fernandez de
Oviedo, in his natural history of the Indies, says that the admiral had a
letter in which the Indies were described by one who had before discovered
them; which was by no means the case, but only thus: Vincent Diaz, a
Portuguese of Tavira, on his return from Guinea to the Tercera islands,
and having passed the island of Madeira, which he left to the east, saw,
or imagined that he saw something which he certainly concluded to be land.
On his arrival at Tercera, he told this to one Luke de Cazzana, a Genoese
merchant, his friend, and a very rich man, and endeavoured to persuade him
to fit out a vessel for the conquest of this place: This Cazzana agreed to,
and obtained a license from the king of Portugal for the purpose. He wrote
accordingly to his brother Francis de Cazzana, who resided at Seville, to
fit out a vessel with all expedition for Diaz; but Francis made light of
the matter, and Luke de Cazzana actually fitted out a vessel from Tercera,
in which the before named pilot sailed from 120 to 130 leagues, but all in
vain, for he found no land. Yet neither he nor his partner Cazzana
desisted from the enterprize till death closed their hopes. The before
mentioned Francis de Cazzana likewise informed the admiral, that he knew
two sons of the pilot who discovered the island of Tercera, named Michael
and Jasper Cortereal, who went several times in search of that land, and
at last perished one after the other in the year 1502, without having ever
been heard of since, as was well known to many credible persons.

If all that has been said above concerning so many imaginary islands and
continents appears to be mere fable and folly, how much more reason have
we to consider that as false which Gonzalo Fernandez de Oviedo conceits in
his Natural History of the Indies, "That there was another discoverer of
this navigation of the ocean, and that the Spaniards held anciently the
dominion of these lands." He pretended to make out this assertion from
what Aristotle wrote concerning the island of Atalantis, and Sebosus of
the Hesperides. Thus, looking upon his own imagination as a certain
standard of truth, he affirms upon the judgment of some persons whose
writings I have duly weighed and attentively examined. I should have
omitted to enlarge on this subject, to avoid tiring the reader, and that I
might not be obliged to condemn the opinions of others, were it not that
many persons, to detract from the honour and reputation of the admiral,
have made great account of these notions. Besides, it appeared that I
should not fully perform my duty by merely recounting with all sincerity
and truth, the motives and incitements which inclined the admiral my
father to undertake his unparalleled enterprize, if I should suffer what I
know to be a manifest falsehood to pass uncensured. Wherefore, the better
to detect the mistake of Oviedo, I shall first state what Aristotle has
said on this subject, as related by F. Theophilus de Ferrariis, among the
problems of Aristotle which he collected in a book entitled De Admirandis
in Natura auditis, in the following strain:

"Beyond the pillars of Hercules, it is reported that certain Carthaginian
merchants discovered an island in the Atlantic, which had never before
been inhabited except by beasts. This island was not many days sail from
the continent, was entirely covered over with trees, and abounded in all
the usual productions of nature, having a considerable number of navigable
rivers. Finding this a beautiful country, possessing it fertile soil and
salubrious atmosphere, these Carthaginians began to people it; but the
senate of Carthage, offended with this procedure, passed a decree
forbidding any person to go to that island under pain of death, and they
ordered all those who had already gone there to be slain; meaning thereby
to prevent all other nations from acquiring any knowledge of the place,
lest some other and more powerful state might take possession, to the
detriment of their liberty and commercial interest."

Oviedo had no just grounds for asserting that this island must have been
Hispaniola or Cuba. As he was ignorant of Latin, he was obliged to take
such interpretation of this story as he could procure from some other
person, who certainly was very ill qualified for the task, since the Latin
text has been altered and misinterpreted in several particulars. This may
have misled Oviedo, and induced him to believe that the foregoing
quotation referred to some island in the West Indies. In the Latin text we
do not read of the Carthaginian merchants going out of the straits of
Gibraltar as Oviedo writes[9]. Neither is it said that the island was
extensive, or its trees large, but only that it was much wooded. Nor do we
find that the rivers were wonderful, or the soil fat, or that the island
was more remote from Africa than from Europe; but merely that it was
remote from the continent. It is not said in the original that any towns
were built here, and indeed it is not likely that these traders should
build much; neither is the place said to have become famous, as we see on
the contrary that the Carthaginians were careful to prevent its fame from
spreading among the nations. Thus the translator being ignorant, led
Oviedo to believe quite a different story from the reality[10].

It is quite ridiculous to suppose that Carthaginian merchants could
possibly be carried so far out of their way as Hispaniola or Cuba; neither
could they have arrived at either of those islands without meeting with
the many other islands which surround them. It is more probable that the
island discovered by the Carthaginians was one of the Azores; for though
Ferrarius speaks of navigable rivers, he might possibly have written _ad
navigandum_ instead of _potandum_, and have thereby corrupted the meaning
of his author, that the island had plenty of streams fit for drinking,
into abundance of rivers adapted for navigation[11]. Oviedo falls into a
similar error in supposing this island of the Carthaginians to have been
the same with that mentioned by Seneca in his fourth book; where he tells
us that Seneca speaks of an island named Atlantica, which was entirely or
mostly drowned in the time of the Peloponnesian war; and of which island
Plato likewise makes mention in his Timaeus: But we have already dwelt too
long on these fables.

Oviedo insists that the Spaniards had the entire dominion of these islands,
which he was pleased to consider as the same with our West Indies. He
grounds this opinion on what is said by Statius and Sebosus, that certain
islands called _Hesperides_ lay forty days sail west from the Gorgonian
islands on the coast of Africa. Hence he argued, that these islands must
necessarily be the West Indies, and were called Hesperides from Hesperes
king of Spain, who consequently with the Spaniards his subjects were lords
of these islands. But I am quite tired of this dispute, and shall now
proceed to the history of the admirals discovery.

[1] In his reasoning, by some error which cannot be now corrected, a
    twenty-fourth part, or one hour, is omitted.--E.

[2] Paul here evidently speaks of the empire of China, and the port here
    named Zacton or Zaiton, may be that now called Canton, although spice
    certainly is not the produce of that country.--E.

[3] Cathay seems here to denote northern China.--E.

[4] This is obviously the Quinsay of Marco Polo.--E.

[5] Mangi or southern China.--E.

[6] The island Antilia, the name of which has been since adopted by the
    French for the smaller West India islands, was, like the more modern
    Terra Australia incognita, a gratuitous supposition for preserving the
    balance of the earth, before the actual discovery of America. Cipango
    was the name by which Japan was then known in Europe, from the
    relations of Marco Polo.--E.

[7] Such appeared to the early travellers the richly gilt and lackered
    tile used in Japan and other parts of India.--E.

[8] This report must have proceeded from some very erroneous account of
    Iceland, as it is the only place in the northern part of the Atlantic
    which contains a volcano.--E.

[9] Don Ferdinand, or his translator, has forgot here that, in the extract
    from Ferrarius, beyond the straits, and in the Atlantic, are the
    distinctly expressed situation of the island.--E.

[10] There is a good deal more in the original, totally uninteresting to
    the reader, in the same querulous strain of invective against Oviedo,
    but which is here abridged as conveying no information.--E.

[11] Our author falls into a mistake in this chapter, supposing the Azores
    to have been the Cassiterides of the ancients, well known to have been
    the Scilly islands.--E.


_The Admiral, being disgusted by the procedure of the King of Portugal, in
regard to the proposed Discovery, offers his services to the Court of

Having fully satisfied himself of the practicability of his long
considered project of discovering the route to India by the west, as
already explained, the admiral resolved to put his scheme into execution;
and being sensible that the undertaking was only fit for a prince who was
able to go through with the expence, and to maintain the dominion of the
discovery when made, he thought it proper to propose it to the king of
Portugal, because he then lived under his government and protection. And,
though King John who then reigned gave a favourable ear to his arguments
and proposals, he yet seemed backward in acceding to them, on account of
the great expence and trouble he was then at in carrying on the discovery
and conquest of Guinea on the western coast of Africa, which had not yet
been crowned with any considerable success; not having been hitherto able
to double the Cape of Good Hope, which name had been given to this cape
instead of its original denomination, _Agesingue_; as some say because the
Portuguese had no hope of ever extending their discoveries and conquests
any farther, while others assert it was so called on account of their
hopes of better navigation and of discovering more valuable countries
beyond. However this may have been, the king of Portugal was little
inclined to expend more money in prosecuting discoveries; yet he was so
far prevailed upon by the excellent reasons adduced by the admiral in
favour of his proposed undertaking, that the only remaining difficulty was
in complying with the terms my father demanded for himself in case of
success: For my father, who was a man of a noble and dignified spirit,
insisted upon conditions which should redound to his honour and reputation;
being resolved to leave behind him such a reputation, and so considerable
a family as he deemed due to his merits and the actions which he
confidently expected to perform.

While matters were in this train, by the advice of one Doctor Calzadilla
in whom he reposed great confidence, the king of Portugal resolved to
dispatch a caravel in secret to attempt making the discovery which my
father had proposed to him; as, if he could make the discovery in this
clandestine manner, he should be freed from the obligation of bestowing
any great reward on the occasion. Accordingly, a caravel was fitted out
under pretence of carrying supplies to the Cape Verd islands, with private
instructions to sail in the direction in which my father had proposed to
go upon his intended discovery. But the people who were sent upon this
expedition did not possess sufficient knowledge or spirit; and, after
wandering many days in the Atlantic, they returned to the Cape Verd
islands, laughing at the undertaking as ridiculous and impracticable, and
declaring that there could not possibly be any land in that direction or
in those seas. When this scandalous underhand dealing came to my fathers
ears, he took a great aversion to Lisbon and the Portuguese nation; and,
his wife being dead, he resolved to repair into Castile, with his son Don
James Columbus, then a little boy, who has since inherited his fathers
estate. But, lest the sovereign of Castile might not consent to his
proposal, and he might be under the necessity of applying to some other
prince, by which much time might be lost, he dispatched his brother
Bartholomew Columbus from Lisbon to make similar proposals to the king of
England. Bartholomew, though no Latin scholar, was skilful and experienced
in sea affairs, and had been instructed by the admiral in the construction
of sea charts, globes, and other nautical instruments. While on his way to
England, Bartholomew Columbus had the misfortune to be taken by pirates,
who stript him and all the rest of the ships company of every thing they
had of value. On this account he arrived in England in such great poverty,
and that aggravated by sickness, that he was unable to deliver his message
until he had recruited his finances by the sale of sea charts of his own
construction, by which a long time was lost He then began to make
proposals to Henry VII. who then reigned in England, to whom he presented
a map of the world, on which the following verses and inscription were

   Terrarum quicunque cupis feliciter oras
 Noscere, cuncta decens docte pictura docebit,
 Quando Strabo affirmat, Ptolomaeus, Plinius, atque
 Isiodorus, non una tamen sententia quisque.
 Pingitur hic etiam nuper sulcata carinis
 Hispanis zona illa, prius incognita genti,
 Torrida, quae tandem minet est notissima multis.

   Pro Auctore, sive Pictore.
 Janua cui patria est nomen, cui Bartholomaeus
 Columbus de Terra-rubra, opus edidit istud,
 Londiniis Ann. Dom. 1480, atque insuper anno,
 Octavo decimaque die cum tertia mensis
 Februarii. Laudes Christi cantentur abunde.

The sense of the first verses is to this effect: "Whosoever thou art who
desirest to know the coasts of countries, must be taught by this draught
what has been affirmed by Strabo, Ptolemy, Pliny, and Isiodorus; although
they do not in all things agree. Here is also set down the formerly
unknown torrid zone, lately visited by vessels from Spain, and now well
known to many." The second inscription has the following signification:
"As to the author or painter of this chart; he is Bartholomew Columbus of
the red earth, a Genoese, who published this work at London on the 21st of
February in the year 1480. Praised be Christ abundantly."

It may be observed here, that I have seen some subscriptions of my father,
the admiral, in which he designs himself Christopher Columbus de
Terra-rubra; but this was before he acquired his title of admiral. But to
return to Bartholomew: The king of England graciously received the map;
and having favourably listened to the admirals proposals, which my uncle
had laid before him, readily agreed to the conditions demanded, and
ordered my father to be invited into England. But Providence had
determined that the advantage of this great discovery should belong to
Castile; and by this time my father had gone upon his first voyage, from
which he was already returned with success, as shall be shewn in its
proper place.

About the end of the year 1484 the admiral stole away privately from
Lisbon with his son James, as he was afraid of being detained by the king
of Portugal. For, being sensible of the misconduct of the people whom he
had sent in the caravel already mentioned, the king was desirous to
restore the admiral to favour, and to renew the conferences respecting the
proposed discovery. But as he did not use as much diligence in executing
this new resolution as the admiral did in withdrawing himself, he lost the
opportunity, and the admiral got into Castile, where better fortune
awaited him. Leaving therefore his son James in the monastery of La Rabida
at Palos, he went to the court of their Catholic majesties at Cordova.
Being of affable manners and pleasant conversation, he soon acquired the
intimacy of such persons as he found best inclined to favour his views,
and fittest to persuade the king to embrace his proposed undertaking.
Among these was Lewis de Santangel an Arragonese gentleman, who was clerk
of the allowances in the royal household, a man of great prudence and
reputation. But, as a matter of such importance required to be learnedly
investigated, and not merely by empty words and the favourable reports of
courtiers, their majesties referred it to the consideration of the prior
of Prado, afterwards archbishop of Granada; ordering him to take the
assistance of some cosmographers, and after a full investigation of the
whole affair, to make a report of their opinion on its practicability.
There were few cosmographers then in Spain, and those who were convened on
this occasion were far from skilful: And besides, warned by the trick
which had been attempted in Portugal, the admiral did not explain himself
so fully as he might, lest he should lose his reward. On these accounts,
the report which they gave to their Catholic majesties was as various as
their several judgments and opinions, and by no means favourable to the
projected enterprize.

Some alleged, that since so many skilful sailors, during the many thousand
years which had elapsed from the creation of the world, had not acquired
any knowledge whatever of these countries, it was not at all probable that
he should know more of the matter than all who had gone before or who now
existed. Others, pretending to ground their opinion upon cosmographical
arguments, said that the world was of such prodigious size that they
questioned if it were possible to sail in three years to the eastern
extremity of India, whither he proposed to go; and they endeavoured to
confirm this opinion by the authority of Seneca, who says in one of his
works, "That many wise men disagreed about whether the ocean were of
infinite extent, and doubted whether it were navigable, and whether
habitable lands existed on its other side; and, even if so, whether it
were possible to go to these." They added, that only a small proportion of
this terraqueous globe, which had remained in our hemisphere above the
water, was habitable; and that all the rest was sea, which was not
sussceptible of being navigated, except near the coasts and rivers; and
that wise men denied the possibility of sailing from the coast of Spain to
the farthest parts of the west. Others argued nearly in the same manner as
had been formerly done by the Portuguese in regard to the navigation along
the western coast of Africa: That if any one should sail due westwards, as
proposed by the admiral, it would certainly be impossible to return again
to Spain; because whoever should sail beyond the hemisphere which was
known to Ptolemy, would then go downwards upon the rotundity of the globe,
and then it would be impossible to sail up again on their return, which
would necessarily be to climb up hill, and which no ship could accomplish
even with the stiffest gale. Although the admiral gave perfectly valid
answers to all these objections; yet, such was the ignorance of these
people, that the more his reasons were powerful and conclusive so much the
less were they understood: For when people have grown old in prejudices
and false notions of philosophy and mathematics, these get such firm hold
of the mind that true and just principles are utterly unintelligible.

The prior and his coadjutors were all influenced by a Spanish proverb,
which, though contradictory to reason and common sense, says _Dubitat
Augustinus_, or it is contradicted by St Augustine; who, in the 9th
chapter of the 21st book of his city of God, denies the possibility of the
_Antipodes_, or that any person should be able to go from one hemisphere
into the other. They farther urged against the admiral the commonly
received opinions concerning the five zones, by which the torrid zone is
declared utterly uninhabitable, and many other arguments equally absurd
and ridiculous. Upon the whole, they concluded to give judgment against
the enterprize as vain and impracticable, and that it did not become the
state and dignity of such great princes to act upon such weak information
as they conceived to have been communicated. Therefore, after much time
spent in the business, the admiral received for answer that their Catholic
majesties were then occupied in many other wars, and particularly in the
conquest of Granada then going on, and could not therefore conveniently
attend to this new undertaking; but that on some future opportunity of
greater leisure and convenience, they would have more time to examine into
his proposal. To conclude, their majesties refused to listen to the great
proposals which the admiral made to them.

While these matters were in agitation, their Catholic majesties had not
been always resident in one place, owing to the war of Granada in which
they were then engaged, by which a long time was lost before they had
formed a final resolution and given their answer. The admiral went
therefore to Seville, where he still found their majesties as unresolved
as before. He then gave an account of his projected expedition to the duke
of Medina Sidonia; but, after many conferences finding no likelihood of
success, he resolved to make application to the king of France, to whom he
had already written on the subject; and, if he should not succeed there,
he proposed to have gone next into England to seek his brother, from whom
he had not hitherto received any intelligence. In this resolution, he went
to the monastery of Rabida, whence he proposed to have sent his son James
to Cordova, and to have then proceeded on his journey into France. But
Providence having decreed otherwise, occasioned the cementation of so
great friendship between the admiral and John Perez, the father guardian
of that monastery, who was so thoroughly assured of the excellence and
practicability of the project, that he was deeply concerned at the
resolution my father had adopted, and for the loss which Spain would
sustain by his departure. Perez earnestly entreated the admiral to
postpone his intended departure; saying, that as he was confessor to the
queen, he was resolved to make an essay to persuade her to compliance, and
hoped that she would give credit to his representations.

Although the admiral was much disgusted with the irresolution and want of
judgment which he had encountered among the Spanish councillors, and was
quite out of hope of success; yet considering himself in a great measure
as a Spaniard, owing to his long residence in the country, he was desirous
that Spain rather than any other country, might reap the benefit of his
undertaking. Another reason of the preference was that his children were
then resident in Spain. In a letter which he wrote about this time to
their Catholic majesties he said: "That I might serve your highnesses, I
have refused the offers of France, England, and Portugal, as may be seen
by the letters of these princes, which I have deposited in the hands of
the doctor Villalan."

Gained by the pressing instances of Perez, the admiral departed from the
monastery of Rabida, accompanied by that ecclesiastic, and went to the
camp of St Faith, where their Catholic majesties were then carrying on the
siege of Granada. Perez here made such pressing instances to Isabella,
that she was pleased to order a renewal of the conferences, which were
still held with the prior of Prado and his former coadjutors, who were
still irresolute and contradictory in their opinions. Besides Columbus was
high in his demands of honour and emolument, requiring that he should be
appointed admiral and viceroy of all the countries he might discover,
together with other important concessions. The Spanish councillors deemed
his demands too high to be granted, as too considerable even in the event
of success; and, in case of disappointment, they thought it would reflect
ridicule and the imputation of folly upon the court to have conceded such
high titles. Owing to these considerations the business again came to

I cannot forbear expressing my sense of the admirals wisdom and high
spirit, as well as his foresight and resolution on this trying occasion.
Besides his earnest desire to go upon his great undertaking, and his wish
that it might be in the service of Spain for the reasons formerly
mentioned, he was now so exceedingly reduced in his circumstances, that
any ordinary person would have been glad to accept of almost any offer
whatever. But he would not accept any terms short of the high titles and
honours, and those other conditions of eventual emolument which he had
demanded, as if foreseeing with assured certainty the entire success of
his project. Hence by his spirited determination they were at the last
obliged to concede to all his demands: that he should be admiral on the
ocean of all the seas and lands which he might discorer, with all the
allowances, privileges, and prerogatives enjoyed by the admirals of
Castile and Leon in their several seas; that all civil employments, as
well of government as in the administration of justice, should be entirely
at his disposal in all the islands and continents which he was to discover;
that all governments should be given to one of three persons to be named
by him; and that he should appoint judges in all parts of Spain trading to
the Indies, to decide upon all causes relating to that trade and to those
parts. Besides the salary and perquisites belonging to the offices of
admiral, viceroy, and governor-general over all his discoveries, he
demanded to have one tenth of all that should be bought, bartered, found,
or procured in any manner of way within the bounds of his authority,
abating only the charges attending the discovery and conquest; so that if
1000 ducats were acquired in any island or place, 100 of these were to
belong to him. Besides all this, as his adversaries alleged that he
ventured nothing in the undertaking, and had the command of the fleet
during the expedition, he offered to be at one eighth part of the expence,
for which he demanded to receive the eighth part of what he should bring
home in the fleet. As these high conditions were refused, the admiral took
leave of all his friends, and began his journey to Cordova, with the
intention of making preparations for going to France; being resolved not
to return into Portugal, although the king had invited him back.

The admiral departed from the camp of St Faith in the month of January
1492 on his intended journey; and on the same day Lewis de Santangel,
formerly mentioned, who was exceedingly anxious to forward his project,
obtained an audience of the queen of Castile, and used every argument he
could devise to persuade her to adopt the undertaking and to comply with
the terms required. He expressed his astonishment that she, who had always
evinced much greatness of soul in all important matters, should now want
spirit to venture upon an undertaking where so little was to be risked,
and which might redound so highly to the glory of God and the propagation
of the faith, not without great benefit and honour to her kingdoms and
dominions. That, should any other prince accept the offer of Columbus, the
injury which her crown would sustain was very obvious; and that then she
would justly incur much blame from her friends and servants, and would be
reproached by her enemies, and all the world would say that she deserved
the misfortune and disappointment; and, although she might never be
sensible of the evil consequences of her refusal, her successors must.
That, since the proposal seemed well grounded in reason and sound argument,
and was made by a man of wisdom and knowledge, who demanded no other
reward but what might arise from his discoveries, and who was willing to
bear a proportion of the charges, and to adventure his own personal safety
on the event, her majesty ought certainly to make the attempt. That she
ought not to believe the undertaking was such an impossibility as had been
alleged by those learned men to whom the proposal had been referred,
neither to consider its possible failure as any reflection upon her wisdom;
for in his opinion it would be universally looked upon as a mark of
generous magnanimity to attempt discovering the secret wonders of the
world, as had been done by other monarchs to their great honour and
advantage. That, however uncertain the event might be, even a considerable
sum of money would be well employed in the endeavour to ascertain the
certainty of so very important an affair; whereas the admiral only
required 2500 crowns to fit out a fleet for the discovery; and that
therefore she ought not to allow it to be said hereafter that the fear of
losing so small a sum had kept her from patronizing the enterprise.

The queen was much impressed by these representations of Santangel, of
whose sincere attachment to her service and honour she was extremely
sensible. She thanked him for his good counsel, and said that she was
willing to accede to the proposed enterprise, providing that the execution
were delayed until she might have a little time to recruit her finances
after the conclusion of the present war. Yet, if he thought it necessary
to proceed immediately, she was willing that the requisite funds should be
borrowed on the credit of her jewels. Upon this condescension to his
advice which she had refused to all other persons, Santangel immediately
replied, that there was no necessity to pawn her jewels on the occasion,
as he would readily advance his own money to do such a service to her
majesty. Upon this resolution, the queen immediately sent an officer to
bring the admiral back, who had already reached the bridge of Pinos, two
leagues from Granada. Though much mortified at the difficulties and delays
he had met with hitherto, yet, on receiving intimation of the queens
willingness to comply with his proposals, he returned immediately to the
camp of St Faith, where he was honourably received by their majesties. The
dispatch of the articles of agreement was commited to John Coloma the
secretary, and every thing which he had demanded, as has been mentioned
before, without alteration or diminution, was granted under the hands and
seals of their Catholic majesties.


_Narrative of the first voyage of Columbus, in which he actually
discovered the New World._

All the conditions which the admiral demanded being conceded by their
Catholic majesties, he set out from Granada on the 21st May 1492 for Palos,
where he was to fit out the ships for his intended expedition. That town
was bound to serve the crown for three months with two caravels, which
were ordered to be given to Columbus; and he fitted out these and a third
vessel with all care and diligence. The ship in which he personally
embarked was called the St Mary; the second vessel named the Pinta, was
commanded by Martin Alonzo Pinzon; and the third named the Nina, which had
square sails, was under the command of Vincent Yanez Pinzon, the brother
of Alonzo, both of whom were inhabitants of Palos. Being furnished with
all necessaries, and having 90 men to navigate the three vessels, Columbus
set sail from Palos on the 3d of August 1492, shaping his course directly
for the Canaries.

During this voyage, and indeed in all the _four_ voyages which he made
from Spain to the West Indies, the admiral was very careful to keep an
exact journal of every occurrence which took place; always specifying what
winds blew, how far he sailed with each particular wind, what currents
were found, and every thing that was seen by the way, whether birds,
fishes, or any other thing. Although to note all these particulars with a
minute relation of every thing that happened, shewing what impressions and
effects answered to the course and aspect of the stars, and the
differences between the seas which he sailed and those of our countries,
might all be useful; yet as I conceive that the relation of these
particulars might now be tiresome to the reader, I shall only give an
account of what appears to me necessary and convenient to be known.

On Saturday the 4th of August, the next day after sailing from Palos, the
rudder of the Pinta broke loose. The admiral strongly suspected that this
was occasioned by the contrivance of the master on purpose to avoid
proceeding on the voyage, which he had endeavoured to do before they left
Spain, and he therefore ranged up along side of the disabled vessel to
give every assistance in his power, but the wind blew so hard that he was
unable to afford any aid. Pinzon, however, being an experienced seamen,
soon made a temporary repair by means of ropes, and they proceeded on
their voyage. But on the following Tuesday, the weather becoming rough and
boisterous, the fastenings gave way, and the squadron was obliged to lay
to for some time to renew the repairs. From this misfortune of twice
breaking the rudder, a superstitious person might have foreboded the
future disobedience of Pinzon to the admiral; as through his malice the
Pinta twice separated from the squadron, as shall be afterwards related.
Having applied the best remedy they could to the disabled state of the
rudder, the squadron continued its voyage, and came in sight of the
Canaries at daybreak of Thursday the 9th of August; but, owing to contrary
winds, they were unable to come to anchor at Gran Canaria until the 12th.
The admiral left Pinzon at Gran Canaria to endeavour to procure another
vessel instead of that which was disabled, and went himself with the Nina
on the same errand to Gomera.

The admiral arrived at Gomera on Sunday the 12th of August, and sent a
boat on shore to inquire if any vessel could be procured there for his
purpose. The boat returned next morning, and brought intelligence that no
vessel was then at that island, but that Donna Beatrix de Bobadilla, the
propriatrix of the island, was then at Gran Canaria in a hired vessel of
40 tons belonging to one Gradeuna of Seville, which would probably suit
his purpose and might perhaps be got. He therefore determined to await the
arrival of that vessel at Gomera, believing that Pinzon might have secured
a vessel for himself at Gran Canaria, if he had not been able to repair
his own. After waiting two days, he dispatched one of his people in a bark
which was bound from Gomera to Gran Canaria, to acquaint Pinzon where he
lay, and to assist him in repairing and fixing the rudder.

Having waited a considerable time for an answer to his letter, he sailed
with the two vessels from Gomera on the 23d August for Gran Canaria, and
fell in with the bark on the following day, which had been detained all
that time on its voyage by contrary winds. He now took his man from the
bark, and sailing in the night past the island of Teneriffe, the people
were much astonished at observing flames bursting out of the lofty
mountain called El Pico, or the peak of Teneriffe. On this occasion the
admiral was at great pains to explain the nature of this phenomenon to the
people, by instancing the example of Etna and several other known volcanos.

Passing by Teneriffe, they arrived at Gran Canaria on Saturday the 25th
August; and found that Pinzon had only got in there the day before. From
him the admiral was informed that Donna Beatrix had sailed for Gomera on
the 20th with the vessel which he was so anxious to obtain. His officers
were much troubled at the disappointment; but he, who always endeavoured
to make the best of every occurrence, observed to them that since it had
not pleased God that they should get this vessel it was perhaps better for
them; as they might have encountered much opposition in pressing it into
the service, and might have lost a great deal of time in shipping and
unshipping the goods. Wherefore, lest he might again miss it if he
returned to Gomera, he resolved to make a new rudder for the Pinta at Gran
Canaria, and ordered the square sails of the Nina to be changed to _round_
ones, like those of the other two vessels, that she might be able to
accompany them with less danger and agitation.

The vessels being all refitted, the admiral weighed anchor from Gran
Canaria on Saturday the first of September, and arrived next day at Gomera,
where four days were employed in completing their stores of provisions and
of wood and water. On the morning of Thursday the sixth of September 1492,
the admiral took his departure from Gomera, and commenced his great
undertaking by standing directly westwards, but made very slow progress at
first on account of calms. On Sunday the ninth of September, about
day-break, they were nine leagues west of the island of Ferro. Now losing
sight of land and stretching out into utterly unknown seas, many of the
people expressed their anxiety and fear that it might be long before they
should see land again; but the admiral used every endeavour to comfort
them with the assurance of soon finding the land he was in search of, and
raised their hopes of acquiring wealth and honour by the discovery. To
lessen the fear which they entertained of the length of way they had to
sail, he gave out that they had only proceeded fifteen leagues that day,
when the actual distance sailed was eighteen; and to induce the people to
believe that they were not so far from Spain as they really were, he
resolved to keep considerably short in his reckoning during the whole
voyage, though he carefully recorded the true reckoning every day in

On Wednesday the twelfth September, having got to about 150 leagues west
of Ferro, they discovered a large trunk of a tree, sufficient to have been
the mast to a vessel of 120 tons, and which seemed to have been a long
time in the water. At this distance from Ferro, and for somewhat farther
on, the current was found to set strongly to the north-east. Next day,
when they had run fifty leagues farther westwards, the needle was observed
to vary half a point to the eastward of north, and next morning the
variation was a whole point east. This variation of the compas had never
been before observed, and therefore the admiral was much surprised at the
phenomenon, and concluded that the needle did not actually point towards
the polar star, but to some other fixed point. Three days afterwards, when
almost 100 leagues farther west, he was still more astonished at the
irregularity of the variation; for having observed the needle to vary a
whole point to the eastwards at night, it pointed directly northwards in
the morning. On the night of Saturday the fifteenth of September, being
then almost 300 leagues west of Ferro, they saw a prodigious flash of
light, or fire-ball, drop from the sky into the sea, at four or five
leagues distance from the ships towards the south-west. The weather was
then quite fair and serene like April, the sea perfectly calm, the wind
favourable from the north-east, and the current setting to the north-east
The people in the Nina told the admiral that they had seen the day before
a heron, and another bird which they called _Rabo-de-junco_[1]. These were
the first birds which had been seen during the voyage, and were considered
as indications of approaching land.

But they were more agreeably surprised next day, Sunday sixteenth
September, by seeing great abundance of yellowish green sea weeds, which
appeared as if newly washed away from some rock or island. Next day the
sea weed was seen in much greater quantity, and a small live lobster was
observed among the weeds: From this circumstance many affirmed that they
were certainly near the land. The sea water was afterwards noticed to be
only half so salt as before; and great numbers of tunny fish were seen
swimming about, some of which came so near the vessel, that one was killed
by a bearded iron. Being now 360 leagues west from Ferro, another of the
birds called Rabo-de-junco was seen. On Tuesday the eighteenth September,
Martin Alonzo Pinzon, who had gone a-head of the admiral in the Pinta,
which was an excellent sailer, lay to for the admiral to come up, and told
him that he had seen a great number of birds fly away westwards, for which
reason he was in great hope to see land that night. Pinzon even thought
that he saw land that night about fifteen leagues distant to the
northwards, which appeared very black and covered with clouds. All the
people would have persuaded the admiral to try for land in that direction;
but, being certainly assured that it was not land, and having not yet
reached the distance at which he expected to find the land, he would not
consent to lose time in altering his course in that direction. But as the
wind now freshened, he gave orders to take in the top-sails at night,
having now sailed eleven days before the wind due westwards with all their
sails up.

All the people in the squadron being utterly unacquainted with the seas
they now traversed, fearful of their danger at such unusual distance from
any relief, and seeing nothing around but sky and water, began to mutter
among themselves, and anxiously observed every appearance. On the
nineteenth September, a kind of sea-gull called _Alcatraz_ flew over the
admirals ship, and several others were seen in the afternoon of that day;
and as the admiral conceived that these birds would not fly far from land,
he entertained hopes of soon seeing what he was in quest of. He therefore
ordered a line of 200 fathoms to be tried, but without finding any bottom.
The current was now found to set to the south-west.

On Thursday the twentieth of September, two alcatrazes came near the ship
about two hours before noon, and soon afterwards a third. On this day
likewise they took a bird resembling a heron, of a black colour, with a
white tuft on its head, and having webbed feet like a duck. Abundance of
weeds were seen floating in the sea, and one small fish was taken. About
evening three land birds settled on the rigging of the ship and began to
sing. These flew away at day-break, which was considered a strong
indication of approaching the land, as these little birds could not have
come from any far distant country; whereas the other large fowls, being
used to water, might much better go far from land. The same day an
alcatraz was seen.

Friday the twenty-first another alcatraz and a rabo de junco were seen,
and vast quantities of weeds as far as the eye could carry towards the
north. These appearances were sometimes a comfort to the people, giving
them hopes of nearing the wished-for land; while at other times the weeds
were so thick as in some measure to impede the progress of the vessels,
and to occasion terror lest what is fabulously reported of St Amaro, in
the frozen sea, might happen to them, that they might be so enveloped in
the weeds as to be unable to move backwards or forwards; wherefore they
steered away from those shoals of weeds as much as they could.

Next day, being Saturday the twenty-second September, they saw a whale and
several small birds. The wind now veered to the south-west, sometimes more
and sometimes less to the westwards; and, though this was adverse to the
direction of their proposed voyage, the admiral to comfort the people,
alleged that this was a favourable circumstance; because among other
causes of fear, they had formerly said they should never have a wind to
carry them back to Spain, as it had always blown from the east ever since
they left Ferro. They still continued however to murmur, alleging that
this south-west wind was by no means a settled one, and as it never blew
strong enough to swell the sea, it would not serve to carry them back
again through so great an extent of sea as they had now passed over. In
spite of every argument used by the admiral, assuring them that the
alterations in the wind were occasioned by the vicinity of the land, by
which likewise the waves were prevented from rising to any height, they
were still dissatisfied and terrified.

On Sunday the twenty-third of September, a brisk gale sprung up at W.N.W.
with a rolling sea, such as the people had wished for. Three hours before
noon a turtle-dove was observed to fly over the ship; towards evening an
alcatraz, a river fowl, and several white birds were seen flying about,
and some crabs were observed among the weeds. Next day another alcatraz
was seen and several small birds which came from the west. Numbers of
small fishes were seen swimming about, some of which ware struck with
harpoons, as they would not bite at the hook.

The more that the tokens mentioned above were observed, and found not to
be followed by the so anxiously looked-for land, the more the people
became fearful of the event, and entered into cabals against the admiral,
who they said was desirous to make himself a great lord at the expence of
their danger. They represented that they had already sufficiently
performed their duty in adventuring farther from land and all possibility
of succour than had ever been done before, and that they ought not to
proceed on the voyage to their manifest destruction. If they did they
would soon have reason to repent their temerity, as provisions would soon
fall short, the ships were already faulty and would soon fail, and it
would be extremely difficult to get back so far as they had already gone.
None could condemn them in their own opinion for now turning back, but all
must consider them as brave men for having gone upon such an enterprize
and venturing so far. That the admiral was a foreigner who had no favour
at court; and as so many wise and learned men had already condemned his
opinions and enterprize as visionary and impossible, there would be none to
favour or defend him, and they were sure to find more credit if they
accused him of ignorance and mismanagement than he would do, whatsoever he
might now say for himself against them. Some even proceeded so far as to
propose, in case the admiral should refuse to acquiesce in their proposals,
that they might make a short end of all disputes by throwing him overboard;
after which they could give out that he had fallen over while making his
observations, and no one would ever think of inquiring, into the truth.
They thus went on day after day, muttering, complaining, and consulting
together; and though the admiral was not fully aware of the extent of
their cabals, he was not entirely without apprehensions of their
inconstancy in the present trying situation, and of their evil intentions
towards him. He therefore exerted himself to the utmost to quiet their
apprehensions and to suppress their evil design, sometimes using fair
words, and at other times fully resolved to expose his life rather than
abandon the enterprize; he put them in mind of the due punishment they
would subject themselves to if they obstructed the voyage. To confirm
their hopes, he recapitulated all the favourable signs and indications
which had been lately observed, assuring them that they might soon expect
to see the land. But they, who were ever attentive to these tokens,
thought every hour a year in their anxiety to see the wished-for land.

On Tuesday the twenty-fifth of September near sun-set, as the admiral was
discoursing with Pinzon, whose ship was then very near, Pinzon suddenly
called out, "Land! land, Sir! let not my good news miscarry." And pointed
out a large mass in the S.W. about twenty-five leagues distant, which
seemed very like an island. This was so pleasing to the people, that they
returned thanks to God for the pleasing discovery; and, although the
admiral was by no means satisfied of the truth of Pinzons observation, yet
to please the men, and that they might not obstruct the voyage, he altered
his course and stood in that direction a great part of the night. Next
morning, the twenty-sixth, they had the mortification to find the supposed
land was only composed of clouds, which often put on the appearance of
distant land; and, to their great dissatisfaction, the stems of the ships
were again turned directly westwards, as they always were unless when
hindered by the wind. Continuing their course, and still attentively
watching for signs of land, they saw this day an alcatraz, a rabo de junco,
and other birds as formerly mentioned.

On Thursday the twenty-seventh of September they saw another alcatraz
coming from the westwards and flying towards the east, and great numbers
of fish were seen with gilt backs, one of which they struck with a harpoon.
A rabo de junco likewise flew past; the currents for some of the last days
were not so regular as before, but changed with the tide, and the weeds
were not nearly so abundant.

On Friday the twenty-eighth all the vessels took some of the fishes with
gilt backs; and on Saturday the twenty-ninth they saw a rabo de junco,
which, although a sea-fowl, never rests on the waves, but always flies in
the air, pursuing the alcatrazes till it causes them to mute for fear,
which it catches in the air for nourishment. Many of these birds are said
to frequent the Cape de Verd islands. They soon afterwards saw two other
alcatrazes, and great numbers of flying-fishes. These last are about a
span long, and have two little membranous wings like those of a bat, by
means of which they fly about a pike-length high from the water and a
musket-shot in length, and sometimes drop upon the ships. In the afternoon
of this day they saw abundance of weeds lying in length north and south,
and three alcatrazes pursued by a rabo de junco.

On the morning of Sunday the thirtieth of September four rabo de juncos
came to the ship; and from so many of them coming together it was thought
the land could not be far distant, especially as four alcatrazes followed
soon afterwards. Great quantities of weeds were seen in a line stretching
from W.N.W. to E.N.E. and a great number of the fishes which are called
Emperadores, which have a very hard skin and are not fit to eat. Though
the admiral paid every attention to these indications, he never neglected
those in the heavens, and carefully observed the course of the stars. He
was now greatly surprised to notice at this time that the _Charles wain_
or Ursa Major constellation appeared at night in the west, and was N.E. in
the morning: He thence concluded that their whole nights course was only
nine hours, or so many parts in twenty-four of a great circle; and this he
observed to be the case regularly every night. It was likewise noticed
that the compass varied a whole point to the N.W. at night-fall, and came
due north every morning at day-break. As this unheard-of circumstance
confounded and perplexed the pilots, who apprehended danger in these
strange regions and at such unusual distance from home, the admiral
endeavoured to calm their fears by assigning a cause for this wonderful
phenomenon: He alleged that it was occasioned by the polar star making a
circuit round the pole, by which they were not a little satisfied.

Soon after sunrise on Monday the first of October, an alcatraz came to the
ship, and two more about ten in the morning, and long streams of weeds
floated from east to west. That morning the pilot of the admirals ship
said that they were now 578 leagues west from the island of Ferro. In his
public account the admiral said they were 584 leagues to the west; but in
his private journal he made the real distance 707 leagues, or 129 more
than was reckoned by the pilot. The other two ships differed much in their
computation from each other and from the admirals pilot. The pilot of Nina
in the afternoon of the Wednesday following said they had only sailed 540
leagues, and the pilot of the Pinta reckoned 634. Thus they were all much
short of the truth; but the admiral winked at the gross mistake, that the
men, not thinking themselves so far from home, might be the less dejected.

The next day, being Tuesday the second of October, they saw abundance of
fish, caught one small tunny, and saw a white bird with many other small
birds, and the weeds appeared much withered and almost fallen to powder.
Next day, seeing no birds, they suspected that they had passed between
some islands on both hands, and had slipped through without seeing them,
as they guessed that the many birds which they had seen might have been
passing from one island to another. On this account they were very earnest
to have the course altered one way or the other, in quest of these
imaginary lands: But the admiral, unwilling to lose the advantage of the
fair wind which carried him due west, which he accounted his surest course,
and afraid to lessen his reputation by deviating from course to course in
search of land, which he always affirmed that he well knew where to find,
refused his consent to any change. On this the people were again ready to
mutiny, and resumed their murmurs and cabals against him. But it pleased
God to aid his authority by fresh indications of land.

On Thursday the fourth of October, in the afternoon, above forty sparrows
together and two alcatrazes flew so near the ship that a seaman killed one
of them with a stone. Several other birds were seen at this time, and many
flying-fish fell into the ships. Next day there came a rabo de junco and
an alcatraz from the westwards, and many sparrows were seen. About sunrise
on Sunday the seventh of October, some signs of land appeared to the
westwards, but being imperfect no person would mention the circumstance.
This was owing to fear of losing the reward of thirty crowns yearly for
life which had been promised by their Catholic majesties to whoever should
first discover land; and to prevent them from calling out land, land, at
every turn without just cause, it was made a condition that whoever said
he saw land should lose the reward if it were not made out in three days,
even if he should afterwards actually prove the first discoverer. All on
board the admirals ship being thus forewarned, were exceedingly careful
not to cry out land upon uncertain tokens; but those in the Nina, which
sailed better and always kept a-head, believing that they certainly saw
land, fired a gun and hung out their colours in token of the discovery;
but the farther they sailed the more the joyful appearance lessened, till
at last it vanished away. But they soon afterwards derived much comfort by
observing great flights of large fowl and others of small birds going from
the west towards the south-west.

Being now at a vast distance from Spain, and well assured that such small
birds would not go far from land, the admiral now altered his course from
due west which had been hitherto, and steered to the south-west. He
assigned as a reason for now changing his course, although deviating
little from his original design, that he followed the example of the
Portuguese, who had discovered most of their islands by attending to the
flight of birds, and because these they now saw flew almost uniformly in
one direction. He said likewise that he had always expected to discover
land about the situation in which they now were, having often told them
that he must not look to find land until they should get 750 leagues to
the westwards of the Canaries; about which distance he expected to fall in
with Hispaniola which he then called Cipango, and there is no doubt that
he would have found this island by his direct course, if it had not been
that it was reported to extend from north to south[2]. Owing therefore to
his not having inclined more to the south he had missed that and others of
the Caribbee islands whither those birds were now bending their flight,
and which had been for some time upon his larboard hand. It was from being
so near the land that they continually saw such great numbers of birds;
and on Monday the eighth of October twelve singing birds of various
colours came to the ship, and after flying round it for a short time held
on their way. Many other birds were seen from the ship flying towards the
south-west, and that same night great numbers of large fowl were seen, and
flocks of small birds proceeding from the northwards, and all going to the
south-west. In the morning a jay was seen, with an alcatraz, several ducks,
and many small birds, all flying the same way with the others, and the air
was perceived to be fresh and odoriferous as it is at Seville in the month
of April. But the people were now so eager to see land and had been so
often dissappointed, that they ceased to give faith to these continual
indications; insomuch that on Wednesday the tenth, although abundance of
birds were continually passing both by day and night, they never ceased to
complain. The admiral upbraided their want of resolution, and declared
that they must persist in their endeavours to discover the Indies, for
which he and they had been sent out by their Catholic majesties.

It would have been impossible for the admiral to have much longer
withstood the numbers which now opposed him; but it pleased God that, in
the afternoon of Thursday the eleventh of October, such manifest tokens of
being near the land appeared, that the men took courage and rejoiced at
their good fortune as much as they had been before distressed. From the
admirals ship a green rush was seen to float past, and one of those green
fish which never go far from the rocks. The people in the Pinta saw a cane
and a staff in the water, and took up another staff very curiously carved,
and a small board, and great plenty of weeds were seen which seemed to
have been recently torn from the rocks. Those of the Nina, besides similar
signs of land, saw a branch of a thorn full of red berries, which seemed
to have been newly torn from the tree. From all these indications the
admiral was convinced that he now drew near to the land, and after the
evening prayers he made a speech to the men, in which be reminded them of
the mercy of God in having brought them so long a voyage with such
favourable weather, and in comforting them with so many tokens of a
successful issue to their enterprize, which were now every day becoming
plainer and less equivocal. He besought them to be exceedingly watchful
during the night, as they well knew that in the first article of the
instructions which he had given to all the three ships before leaving the
Canaries, they were enjoined, when they should have sailed 700 leagues
west without discovering land, to lay to every night, from midnight till
day-break. And, as he had very confident hopes of discovering land that
night, he required every one to keep watch at their quarters; and, besides
the gratuity of thirty crowns a-year for life, which had been graciously
promised by their sovereigns to him that first saw the land, he engaged to
give the fortunate discoverer a velvet doublet from himself.

After this, as the admiral was in his cabin about ten o'clock at night, he
saw a light on shore; but it was so unsteady that he could not certainly
affirm that it came from land. He called to one Peter Gutierres and
desired him to try if he could perceive the same light, who said he did;
but one Roderick Sanchez of Segovia, on being desired to look the same way
could not see it, because he was not up time enough, as neither the
admiral nor Gutierres could see it again above once or twice for a short
space, which made them judge it to proceed from a candle or torch
belonging to some fisherman or traveller, who lifted it up occasionally
and lowered it again, or perhaps from people going from one house to
another, because it appeared and vanished again so suddenly. Being now
very much on their guard, they still held on their course until about two
in the morning of Friday the twelfth of October, when the Pinta which was
always far a-head, owing to her superior sailing, made the signal of
seeing land, which was first discovered by Roderick de Triana at about two
leagues from the ship. But the thirty crowns a-year were afterwards
granted to the admiral, who had seen the light in the midst of darkness, a
type of the spiritual light which he was the happy means of spreading in
these dark regions of error. Being now so near land, all the ships lay to;
every one thinking it long till daylight, that they might enjoy the sight
they had so long and anxiously desired[3].

When day light appeared, the newly discovered land was perceived to
consist of a flat island fifteen leagues in length, without any hills, all
covered with trees, and having a great lake in the middle. The island was
inhabited by great abundance of people, who ran down to the shore filled
with wonder and admiration at the sight of the ships, which they conceived
to be some unknown animals. The Christians were not less curious to know
what kind of people they had fallen in with, and the curiosity on both
sides was soon satisfied, as the ships soon came to anchor. The admiral
went on shore with his boat well armed, and having the royal standard of
Castile and Leon displayed, accompanied by the commanders of the other two
vessels, each in his own boat, carrying the particular colours which had
been allotted for the enterprize, which were white with a green cross and
the letter F. on one side, and on the other the names of Ferdinand and
Isabella crowned.

The whole company kneeled on the shore and kissed the ground for joy,
returning God thanks for the great mercy they had experienced during their
long voyage through seas hitherto unpassed, and their now happy discovery
of an unknown land. The admiral then stood up, and took formal possession
in the usual words for their Catholic majesties of this inland, to which
he gave the name of St Salvador. All the Christians present admitted
Columbus to the authority and dignity of admiral and viceroy, pursuant to
the commission which he had received to that effect, and all made oath to
obey him as the legitimate representative of their Catholic majesties,
with such expressions of joy and acknowledgment as became their mighty
success; and they all implored his forgiveness of the many affronts he had
received from them through their fears and want of confidence. Numbers of
the Indians or natives of the island were present at these ceremonies; and
perceiving them to be peaceable, quiet, and simple people, the admiral
distributed several presents among them. To some he gave red caps, and to
others strings of glass beads, which they hung about their necks, and
various other things of small value, which they valued as if they had been
jewels of high price.

After the ceremonies, the admiral went off in his boat, and the Indians
followed him even to the ships, some by swimming and others in their
canoes, carrying parrots, clews of spun cotton yarn, javelins, and other
such trifling articles, to barter for glass beads, bells, and other things
of small value. Like people in the original simplicity of nature, they
were all naked, and even a woman who was among them was entirely destitute
of clothing. Most of them were young, seemingly not above thirty years of
age; of a good stature, with very thick black lank hair, mostly cut short
above their ears, though some had it down to their shoulders, tied up with
a string about their head like womens tresses. Their countenances were
mild and agreeable and their features good; but their foreheads were too
high, which gave them rather a wild appearance. They were of a middle
stature, plump, and well shaped, but of an olive complexion, like the
inhabitants of the Canaries, or sunburnt peasants. Some were painted with
black, others with white, and others again with red: In some the whole
body was painted, in others only the face, and some only the nose and eyes.
They had no weapons like those of Europe, neither had they any knowledge
of such; for when our people shewed them a naked sword, they ignorantly
grasped it by the edge. Neither had they any knowledge of iron; as their
javelins were merely constructed of wood, having their points hardened in
the fire, and armed with a piece of fish-bone. Some of them had scars of
wounds on different parts, and being asked by signs how these had been got,
they answered by signs that people from other islands came to take them
away, and that they had been wounded in their own defence. They seemed
ingenious and of a voluble tongue; as they readily repeated such words as
they once heard. There were no kind of animals among them excepting
parrots, which they carried to barter with the Christians among the
articles already mentioned, and in this trade they continued on board the
ships till night, when they all returned to the shore.

In the morning of the next day, being the 13th of October, many of the
natives returned on board the ships in their boats or canoes, which were
all of one piece hollowed like a tray from the trunk of a tree; some of
these were so large as to contain forty or forty-five men, while others
were so small as only to hold one person, with many intermediate sizes
between these extremes. These they worked along with paddles formed like a
bakers peel or the implement which is used in dressing hemp. These oars or
paddles were not fixed by pins to the sides of the canoes like ours; but
were dipped into the water and pulled backwards as if digging. Their
canoes are so light and artfully constructed, that if overset they soon
turn them right again by swimming; and they empty out the water by
throwing them from side to side like a weavers shuttle, and when half
emptied they lade out the rest with dried calabashes cut in two, which
they carry for that purpose.

This second day the natives, as said before, brought various articles to
barter for such small things as they could procure in exchange. Jewels or
metals of any kind were not seen among them, except some small plates of
gold which hung from their nostrils; and on being questioned from whence
they procured the gold, they answered by signs that they had it from the
south, where there was a king who possessed abundance of pieces and
vessels of gold; and they made our people to understand that there were
many other islands and large countries to the south and south-west. They
were very covetous to get possession of any thing which belonged to the
Christians, and being themselves very poor, with nothing of value to give
in exchange, as soon as they got on board, if they could lay hold of any
thing which struck their fancy, though it were only a piece of a broken
glazed earthen dish or porringer, they leaped with it into the sea and
swam on shore with their prize. If they brought any thing on board they
would barter it for any thing whatever belonging to our people, even for a
piece of broken glass; insomuch that some gave sixteen large clews of well
spun cotton yarn, weighing twenty-five pounds, for three small pieces of
Portuguese brass coin not worth a farthing. Their liberality in dealing
did not proceed from their putting any great value on the things
themselves which they received from our people in return, but because they
valued them as belonging to the Christians, whom they believed certainly
to have come down from Heaven, and they therefore earnestly desired to
have something from them as a memorial. In this manner all this day was
spent, and the islanders as before went all on shore at night.

Next Sunday, being the 15th of October, the admiral sailed in his boats
along the coast of the island of St Salvador towards the north-west, to
examine its nature and extent, and discovered a bay of sufficient capacity
to contain all the ships in Christendom. As he rowed along the coast, the
people ran after him on shore inviting him to land with offers of
provisions, and calling to each other to come and see the people who had
come down from Heaven to visit the earth, and lifting up their hands to
Heaven as if giving thanks for their arrival. Many of them in their canoes,
or by swimming as they best could, came to the boats asking by signs
whether they came down from Heaven, and entreating them to come on shore
to rest and refresh themselves. The admiral gave to all of them glass
beads, pins and other trifles, being much pleased at their simplicity; and
at length came to a peninsula having a good harbour, and where a good fort
might have been made. He there saw six of the Indian houses, having
gardens about them as pleasant as those of Castile in the month of May,
though now well advanced in October. But the people being fatigued with
rowing, and finding no land so inviting as to induce him to make any
longer stay, he returned to his ships, taking seven of the Indians along
with him to serve as interpreters, and made sail for certain other islands
which he had seen from the peninsula, which all appeared to be plain and
green and full of inhabitants.

The next day, being Monday the 16th of October, he came to an island which
was six leagues from St Salvador, to which he gave the name of St Mary of
the Conception. That side of this second island which is nearest to St
Salvador extended north-west about five leagues; but the side to which the
admiral went lies east and west, and is about ten leagues long. Casting
anchor off the west point of this island, he landed and took possession.
Here the people flocked to see the Christians, expressing their wonder and
admiration as had been done in the former island.

Perceiving that this was entirely similar to St Salvador, he sailed on the
17th from this island, and went westwards to another island considerably
larger, being above twenty-eight leagues from north-west to south-east.
This like the others was quite plain and had a fine beach of easy access,
and he named it Fernandina. While sailing between the island of Conception
and Fernandina they found a man paddling along in a small canoe, who had
with him a piece of their bread, a calabash full of water, a small
quantity of a red earth like vermilion, with which these people paint
themselves, and some dried leaves which they value for their sweet scent
and as being very wholesome; and in a little basket he had a string of
green glass beads and two small pieces of Portuguese coin: Whence it was
concluded that he had come from St Salvador past the Conception, and was
going in all haste to Fernandina to carry the news of the appearance of
the Christians. But as the way was long and he was weary, he came to the
ships and was taken on board, both himself and his canoe, and was
courteously treated by the admiral, who sent him on shore as soon as he
came to land, that he might spread the news. The favourable account he
gave caused the people of Fernandina to come on board in their canoes, to
exchange the same kind of things as had been done at the two former
islands; and when the boats went on shore for water, the Indians both
readily shewed where it was to be got, and carried the small casks full on
their shoulders to fill the hogsheads in the boats.

The inhabitants of Fernandina seemed to be a wiser and discreeter people
than those in the two former islands, as they bargained harder for what
they exchanged; they had cotton cloth in their houses as bed-clothes, and
some of the women wore short cotton cloths to cover their nakedness, while
others had a sort of swathe for the same purpose. Among other things
worthy of remark in this island, certain trees had the appearance of being
engrafted, as they had leaves and branches of four or five different sorts,
and were yet quite natural. They saw fishes of several sorts, ornamented
with fine colours; but no sort of land animals except lizards and serpents.
The better to observe this island, the admiral sailed along its coast to
the north-west, and came to anchor at the mouth of a most beautiful
harbour, at the entrance of which a small island prevented the access of
ships. In that neighbourhood was one of the largest towns they had ever
yet seen, consisting of twelve or fifteen houses together, built like
tents or round pavilions, but in which were no other ornaments or
moveables besides those which have been already mentioned as offered in
barter. Their beds were like nets, drawn together in the nature of a sling,
and tied to two posts in their houses. In this island they saw some dogs
resembling mastiffs, and others like beagles, but none of them barked.

Finding nothing of value in Fernandina, the admiral sailed thence on
Friday the 19th October to another island called Saomotto by the natives,
to which, that he might proceed regularly in his nomenclature, he gave the
name of Isabella. Thus to his first discovery called Guanahani by the
natives, he gave the name of St Salvador or St Saviour, in honour of God
who had delivered him from so many dangers, and had providentially pointed
out the way for its discovery. On account of his particular devotion to
the immaculate conception of the Virgin Mary, and because she is the great
patroness of the Christians, he named the second island St Mary of the
Conception. The third he named Fernandina in honour of the Catholic king;
the fourth Isabella in honour of the Catholic queen; and the next island
which he discovered, called Cuba by the natives, he named Joanna in
respect to prince John the heir of Castile, having in these several names
given due regard to both spirituals and temporals. Of the four islands
hitherto discovered, St Salvador, the Conception, Fernandina, and Isabella,
Fernandina far exceeded all the others in extent, goodness, and beauty,
and abounded more in delicious waters, pleasant meadows, and beautiful
trees, among which were many aloes. It had likewise some hills, which were
not to be seen in these other islands. Being much taken with its beauty,
the admiral landed to perform the ceremony of taking possession in some
meadows as pleasant and delightful as those of Spain in April, where
nightingales and other birds sung in the most cheerful manner, both in the
trees and flying about in such numbers as almost to darken the sun; but
most of them differed much from our birds in Spain.

In this island there were great abundance of waters and lakes, and in one
of them our people saw a sort of alligator seven feet long and above a
foot wide at the belly. This animal being disturbed threw itself into the
lake, which was by no means deep; and though somewhat alarmed by its
frightful appearance and fierceness, our people killed it with their
spears. The Spaniards learnt afterwards to consider the alligator as a
dainty, and even as the best food possessed by the Indians; as when its
horrid-looking skin, all covered with scales, is removed, the flesh is
very white and delicious. The alligator is called yvana by the Indians.

As it grew late, our people left the alligator where it was slain, and
returned to the ships; but being desirous to explore the country somewhat
farther, they landed again next day, when they killed another alligator in
the same place. Travelling thence into the interior of the island they
found a town or village, whence the natives fled at their approach,
carrying off as much of their goods as they were able. The admiral would
not suffer any part of what they had left to be taken away, lest the
natives should consider the Spaniards as thieves; wherefore their fears
soon abated, and they came to the ships to barter their commodities as the
other Indians had done.

Having examined the nature and products of the island of Isabella and the
manners of its inhabitants, the admiral determined to waste no more time
in exploring the remaining islands in this numerous group, more especially
as he was informed by the Indians that they all resembled each other. He
therefore shaped his course for a large island to the southwards, which
the Indians named Cuba, and which was much applauded by them all.
Accordingly, on Sunday the 28th of October, he arrived on its northern
coast. At first sight this island appeared to be better and richer than
those which he had visited before; from the great extent of its coasts,
the size of its rivers, the beauty and variety of its hills and mountains,
and the extent of its plains, all clothed with an infinite variety of
trees. He was therefore desirous to get some knowledge of its people, and
came to anchor in the mouth of a large river, the banks of which were
richly adorned with thick and tall trees, all covered with fruit and
blossoms very different from those of Spain. The place was in every
respect delicious, and abounded in tall grass, and herbs of a vast variety
of kinds, mostly differing from those of Europe, and the woods were
thronged with birds of various plumage. On going to two houses at a short
distance, the inhabitants were found to have fled, leaving their nets and
other fishing tackle, together with a dog which did not bark. As the
admiral had given strict orders that nothing should be carried away, they
soon returned to the ships.

Leaving this river, the squadron continued its course along the coast to
the westwards, and came to another river, which the admiral named Rio de
Mares, or the river of the seas. This was much larger than the former
river, as a ship was able to turn up its channel, and its banks were
thickly inhabited; but all the natives fled towards the mountains on first
perceiving the approach of our ships; carrying away every thing they were
able to remove. These mountains appeared of a round or conical form, very
lofty, and entirely covered with trees and an infinite variety of
beautiful plants. Finding himself disappointed, through the fears of the
natives, of learning what he wished respecting the nature and productions
of the island, and the manners of the people, and considering that he
should increase their terrors if be were to land a great number of men, he
resolved to send two Spaniards into the interior, accompanied by one of
the natives of St Salvador, whom he had brought along with him from that
island, and a native of Cuba who had ventured aboard in his canoe. He
instructed these men to travel up into the country, and to caress and
conciliate as much as possible any of the natives they might fall in with.
And that no time might be lost during their absence, he ordered the ships
to be laid on shore to careen their bottoms. It was observed in this place
that all the firewood they used was from a tree in every respect
resembling the mastic, but much larger than those of Europe.

The ships being repaired and ready for sailing on the 5th of November, the
two Spaniards who had been sent into the interior returned, bringing two
of the natives along with them. They reported that they had travelled
twelve leagues up the country, where they came to a town of fifty pretty
large houses, all constructed of timber in a round form and thatched with
straw, resembling so many tents or pavilions. According to their
estimation, this place might contain 1000 inhabitants, as all that
belonged to one family dwelt together in one house. The principal people
of the place came out to meet them, and led them by the arms into the town,
giving them one of the large houses to lodge in during their stay. They
were there seated upon wooden stools made of one piece, in very strange
shapes, almost resembling some living creature with four very short legs.
The tail was lifted up, and as broad as the seat, to serve for the
convenience of leaning against; and the front was carved into the
resemblance of a head, having golden eyes and ears. The Spaniards being
seated on those stools or chairs, which the Indians called _duchi_, all
the natives sat about them on the ground, and came one by one to kiss
their hands with great respect, believing them to have come from Heaven.
They were presented with some boiled roots to eat, not unlike chesnuts in
taste; and as the two Indians who had accompanied them had given an
excellent character of the strangers, they were entreated to remain among
them, or at least to rest themselves for some days. Soon afterwards the
men went out from the house, and many women came to see them, who all
respectfully kissed their hands and feet, and offered them presents of
various articles.

When they proposed returning to the ships, many of the Indians wanted to
accompany them, but they would only accept of the king, his son, and one
servant, whom the admiral received with every demonstration of honour and
respect. The Spaniards farther reported that they had fallen in with
several other towns, both in their going out and returning, in all of
which they had been entertained with the same courtesy; but that none of
these other towns contained above five houses. That they met many people
by the way, all of whom carried a lighted fire-brand, to light fires, by
means of which they perfumed themselves with certain odoriferous herbs, or
roasted some of the roots mentioned before, which seemed to be their
principal food. They saw during their journey many kinds of trees and
plants different from those which grew on the coast, and great variety of
birds altogether different from those of Europe; but among the rest were
partridges and nightingales; and they had seen no species of quadruped in
the country, except the dumb dogs formerly mentioned. They found a good
deal of cultivated land, some of which was planted with the roots before
mentioned, some with a species of bean, and some sown with a sort of grain
called maiz, which was very well tasted either baked or dried, and ground
to flour. They saw vast quantities of well spun cotton yarn, made up into
balls or clews; insomuch, that in one house only they had seen 12,500
pounds of that commodity[4]. The plants from which the cotton is procured
grow naturally about the fields, like rose bushes, and are not cultivated
or planted by the natives. When ripe, the pods open of themselves, but not
all at one time; for upon the same plant young buds, others beginning to
open, and others almost entirely ripe are seen at the same time. Of these
pods the Indians afterwards carried large quantities on board the ships,
and gave a whole basket-full for a thong of leather: Yet none of them used
this substance to clothe themselves with, but only to make nets to serve
them for beds, which they call _hamacas_, and in weaving aprons for the
women, all the men going entirely naked. On being asked whether they
possessed any gold, or pearls, or spice, they made answer by signs that
there was great plenty towards the east, in a country which they named
_Bohio_, which was afterwards supposed to be the island of Hispaniola, but
it has never been certainly ascertained what place they meant to indicate.

After receiving this account, the admiral resolved to remain no longer in
the Rio de Mares, and ordered some of the natives of Cuba to be seized, as
he intended to carry some from all parts of his discoveries into Spain.
Accordingly twelve were seized, men women and children; and this was done
with so little disturbance, and occasioned so little terror, that when the
ships were about to sail, the husband of one of the women and father of
two children, who had been carried on board, came off in a canoe,
requesting to go along with his wife and children. This circumstance gave
great satisfaction to the admiral, who ordered him to be taken on board,
and they were all treated with great kindness.

On the 13th of November the squadron weighed from the Rio de Mares and
stood to the eastwards, intending to proceed in search of the island
called Bohio by the Indians; but the wind blowing hard from the north,
they were constrained to come to an anchor among some high islands on the
coast of Cuba, near a large port which the admiral named Puerta del
Principe, or the Princes Port, and he called the sea among these islands
the Sea of our Lady. These islands lay so thick and close together, that
most of them were only a musket-shot asunder, and the farthest not more
than the quarter of a league. The channels between these islands were so
deep, and the shores so beautifully adorned with trees and plants of
infinite varieties, that it was quite delightful to sail among them. Among
the multitude of other trees, there were great numbers of mastic, aloes,
and palms, with long smooth green trunks, and other plants innumerable.
Though these islands were not inhabited, there were seen the remains of
many fires which had been made by the fishermen; for it appeared
afterwards, that the people of Cuba were in use to go over in great
numbers in their canoes to these islands, and to a great number of other
uninhabited islets in these seas, to live upon fish, which they catch in
great abundance, and upon birds, crabs, and other things which they find
on the land. The Indians are by no means nice in their choice of food, but
eat many things which are abhorred by us Europeans, such as large spiders,
the worms that breed in rotten wood and other corrupt places, and devour
their fish almost raw; for before roasting a fish, they scoop out the eyes
and eat them. The Indians follow this employment of fishing and
bird-catching according to the seasons, sometimes in one island, sometimes
in another, as a person changes his diet when weary of living on one kind
of food.

In one of the islands in the Sea of our Lady, the Spaniards killed a
quadruped resembling a badger, and in the sea they found considerable
quantities of mother-of-pearl. Among other fish which they caught in their
nets, was one resembling a swine, which was covered all over with a very
hard skin except the tail, which was quite soft. In this sea among the
islands, the tide was observed to rise and fall much more than in the
other places where they had been hitherto; and was quite contrary to ours
in Spain, as it was low water when the moon was S.W. and by S.

On Monday the 19th November, the admiral departed from the Princes Port in
Cuba and the Sea of our Lady, and steered eastwards in search of Bohio;
but owing to contrary winds, he was forced to ply two or three days
between the island of Isabella, called Saomotto by the Indians, and the
Puerta del Principe, which lie almost due north and south, at about
twenty-five leagues distance. In this sea he still found traces of those
weeds which he had seen in the ocean, and perceived that they always swam
with the current and never athwart.

At this time Martin Alonzo Pinzon, being informed by certain Indians whom
he had concealed in his caravel, that abundance of gold was to be had in
the island of Bohio, and blinded by covetousness, he deserted the admiral
on Wednesday the 21st of November, without being constrained by any stress
of weather, or other necessity whatever, as he could easily have come up
with him before the wind. Taking advantage of the superior sailing of his
vessel the Pinta, he made all sail during the next day, and when night
came on of the 22d, he was entirely out of sight. Thus left with only two
ships, and the weather being unfavourable for proceeding on his way in
search of Bohio, the admiral was obliged to return to Cuba, where he came
to anchor in a harbour which he called St Catherines, not far from the
Princes Port, and there took in wood and water. In this port he
accidentally saw signs of gold on some stones in the river where they were
taking in water. The mountains in the interior were full of such tall pine
trees as were fit to make masts for the largest ships; neither was there
any scarcity of wood for plank to build as many ships as might be wished,
and among these were oaks and other trees resembling those in Castile. But
perceiving that all the Indians still directed him to Bohio and the
eastwards as the country of gold, he ran ten or twelve leagues farther to
the east along the coast of Cuba, meeting all the way with excellent
harbours and many large rivers. In one of his letters to their Catholic
majesties, he says so much of the delightfulness and beauty of the country,
that I have thought fit to give an extract in his own words. Writing
concerning the mouth of a river which forms a harbour which he named
Puerto Santo, or the Holy Harbour, he says thus:

"When I went with the boats before me to the mouth of the harbour towards
the south, I found a river up the mouth of which a galley could row easily;
and it was so land-locked that its entrance could not be discovered unless
when close at hand. The beauty of this river induced me to go up a short
distance, where I found from five to eight fathoms water. Coming to anchor,
I proceeded a considerable way up the river with the boats; and such was
the delightfulness of the place that I could have been tempted to remain
there for ever. The water was so clear that we could see the sand at the
bottom. The finest and tallest palm trees I had ever seen were in great
abundance on either shore, with an infinite number of large verdant trees
of other kinds. The soil seemed exceedingly fertile, being every where
covered by the most luxuriant verdure, and the woods abounded in vast
varieties of birds of rich and variegated plumage. This country, most
serene princes, is so wonderfully fine, and so far excels all others in
beauty and delightfulness as the day exceeds the night; wherefore I have
often told my companions that though I should exert my utmost endeavours
to give your highness a perfect account of it, my tongue and pen must ever
fall short of the truth. I was astonished at the sight of so much beauty,
and know not how to describe it. I have formerly written of other
countries, describing their trees, and fruits, and plants, and harbours,
and all belonging to them as largely as I could, yet not so as I ought, as
all our people affirmed that no others could possibly be more delightful.
But this so far excels every other which I have seen, that I am
constrained to be silent; wishing that others may see it and give its
description, that they may prove how little credit is to be got, more than
I have done, in writing and speaking on this subject so far inferior to
what it deserves."

While going up this river in the boat, the admiral saw a canoe hauled on
shore among the trees and under cover of a bower or roof, which was as
large as a twelve-oared barge, and yet hollowed out of the trunk of one
tree. In a house hard by they found a ball of wax and a mans skull, each,
in a basket, hanging to a post, and the same was afterwards found in
another house; and our people surmized that these might be the skulls of
the founders of these two houses. No people could be found in this place
to give any information, as all the inhabitants fled from their houses on
the appearance of the Spaniards. They afterwards found another canoe all
of one piece, about seventy feet long, which would have carried fifty

Having sailed 106 leagues eastwards along the coast of Cuba, the admiral
at length reached the eastmost point of that island, to which he gave the
name of Cape Alpha; and on Wednesday the fifth December he struck across
the channel between Cuba and Hispaniola, which islands are sixteen leagues
asunder; but owing to contrary currents, was unable to reach the coast of
Hispaniola until the next day, when he entered a harbour which he named
Port St Nicholas, in honour of the saint on whose festival he made the
discovery. This port is large, deep, safe, and encompassed with many tall
trees; but the country is more rocky and the trees less than in Cuba, and
more like those in Castile: among the trees were many small oaks, with
myrtles and other shrubs, and a pleasant river ran along a plain towards
the port, all round which were seen large canoes as big as those they had
found in Puerto Santo. Not being able to meet with any of the inhabitants,
the admiral quitted St Nicholas and stretched along the coast to the
northwards, till he came to another port which he named the Conception,
which lies almost due south from a small island about the size of the Gran
Canaria, and which was afterwards named Tortuga. Perceiving that this
island, which they believed to be Bohio, was very large, that the land and
trees resembled Spain, and that in fishing they caught several fishes much
like those in Spain, as soles, salmon, pilchards, crabs and the like, on
Sunday the ninth of December the admiral gave it the name of _Espannola_,
or little Spain, or as it is called in English Hispaniola.

Being desirous of making inquiry into the nature of this country and its
inhabitants, three of the Spaniards travelled up the mountain and fell in
with a considerable number of Indians, who were all naked like those they
had seen at the other islands; these immediately ran off into the thickest
parts of the wood on seeing the Spaniards draw near, and they could only
overtake one young woman, who had a plate of gold hanging from her nose.
She was carried to the admiral, who gave her some baubles, as bells and
glass beads, and then sent her on shore without any injury being offered
to her; and three of the Indians who had been brought from the other
islands, with three Spaniards, were ordered to accompany her to her
dwelling-place. Next day he sent eleven men on shore well armed, with
directions to explore the country. After travelling about four leagues
they found a sort of town or village, consisting of about a thousand
houses, scattered about a large valley. The inhabitants all fled on seeing
the Spaniards; but one of the Indians brought from St Salvador went after
them, and persuaded them to return, by assuring them that the Spaniards
were people who had come down from Heaven. Having laid aside their fears
they were full of admiration at the appearance of the strangers, and would
lay their hands on their heads to do them honour; they brought food to our
people and gave them every thing they asked, requiring nothing in return,
and entreated them to remain all night in their village. The Spaniards
would not accept the invitation, but returned to the ships with the news
that the country was very pleasant and abounded in provisions; that the
people were whiter and handsomer than any they had seen in the other
islands, and were very courteous and tractable. To the constant question
respecting gold, they answered, like all the rest, that the country where
it was found lay farther to the eastwards.

On receiving this intelligence, although the wind was adverse, the admiral
set sail immediately; and on the following Sunday the sixteenth of
December, while plying between Tortuga and Hispaniola, he found one man
alone in a small canoe, which they all wondered was not swallowed up by
the waves, as the wind and sea were then very tempestuous. This man was
taken into the ship and carried to Hispaniola, where he was set on shore
with several gifts. He told the Indians how kindly he had been treated,
and spoke so well of the Spaniards that numbers of the natives came
presently on board; but they brought nothing of value, except some small
grains of gold hanging from their ears and noses, and being asked whence
they procured the gold, they made signs that there was a great deal to be
had higher up the country.

Next day, while the cacique or lord of that part of Hispaniola was on the
beach bartering a plate of gold, there came a large canoe with forty men
on board from the island of Tortuga to near the place where the admiral
lay at anchor. When the cacique and his people saw the canoe approach,
they all sat down on the ground, as a sign that they were unwilling to
fight. Almost all the people from the canoe immediately landed; on which
the Hispaniola chief started up alone, and with threatening words and
gestures made them return to their canoe. He then threw water after them,
and cast stones into the sea towards the canoe; and when they had all most
submissively returned into their canoe, he delivered a stone to one of the
Spanish officers, making signs to him to throw it at those in the canoe,
as if to express that he took part with the Spaniards against the Indians
of Tortuga; but the officer, seeing that they retired quietly, did not
throw the stone[5]. While afterwards discoursing the friendly cacique
affirmed that it contained more gold than all Hispaniola; but that in
Bohio, which was fifteen days journey from the place they were then in,
there was more than in any other land.

On Tuesday the eighteenth of December, the cacique who came the day before
to where the canoe of Tortuga was, and who lived about five leagues from
where the ships lay, came in the morning to a town near the sea, where
some Spaniards then were by order of the admiral to see if the natives
brought any more gold. These men came off to the admiral to acquaint him
of the arrival of the king, who was accompanied by above 200 men, and who
though very young, was carried by four men in a kind of palanquin. Having
rested a little, the king drew near the ships with all his people, but I
shall give an account of the interview in the admiral's own words
addressed to their Catholic majesties.

"There is no doubt that your highnesses would have been much pleased to
have seen the gravity of his deportment, and the respect with which he was
treated by his people, though all we saw were entirely naked. When he came
on deck and understood that I was below at dinner, he surprized me by
sitting down at my side without giving me time to go out to receive him or
even to rise from table. When he came down, he made signs to all his
followers to remain above, which they did with the utmost respect, sitting
down quietly on the deck, excepting two old men who seemed to be his
councillors, who came down along with him and sat down at his feet. Being
informed of his quality, I ordered some meat which I was eating at the
time to be offered him. He and his councillors just tasted it, and then
sent it to their men upon deck, who all eat of it. The same thing they did
in regard to drink; for they only kissed the cup, and then handed it about.
Their deportment was wonderfully grave, and they used but few words, which
were uttered very deliberately and with much decorum. After eating, one of
his attendants brought him a girdle not much unlike those used in Castile,
but wrought of different materials, this they very respectfully delivered
into his hand, and he presented it to me with two very thin pieces of
wrought-gold. Of this gold I believe there is but little here, though I
suspect there is a place at no great distance which produces a great deal,
and whence they procure it. Believing he might like a carpet or
counterpane which lay on my bed, I presented it to him, together with some
fine amber beads which I wore about my neck, a pair of red shoes, and a
bottle of orange-flower water, with all of which he seemed very much
pleased. The two old men who sat at his feet, seemed to watch the motions
of the kings lips, and spoke both for and to him; and both he and they
expressed much concern because they did not understand me or I them,
though I made out that if I wanted any thing all the island was at my
command. I brought out a casket in which was a gold medal weighing four
ducats, on which were the portraits of your highnesses, and shewed it to
him, endeavouring to make him sensible that your highnesses were mighty
princes, and sovereigns of the best part of the world. I shewed him
likewise the royal standard, and the standard of the cross, which he made
great account of. Turning to his councillors, he said that your highnesses
must certainly be great princes, who had sent me so far as from Heaven
thither without fear. Much more passed between us which I did not
understand; but could easily perceive that they greatly admired every
thing they saw. It being now late, and seeming anxious to be gone, I sent
him on shore very honourably in my boat, and caused several guns to be
fired. When ashore, he got into his palanquin attended by above two
hundred people, and a son whom he had along with him was carried on the
shoulders of one of his principal people. He ordered all the Spaniards who
were on shore to have provisions given to them, and that they should be
very courteously used.

"Afterwards I was told by a sailor who met him on his way into the country,
that every one of the things I had given him were carried before him by a
person of note; that his son did not accompany him on the road, but was
carried at some distance behind with as many attendants as he had; and
that a brother of his, with almost as many more followed on foot, led by
two principal people supporting him under the arms. The brother had been
on board along with the king, and to him likewise I had made some trifling

In continuance of the foregoing account of his proceedings, the admiral
gives the following narrative of the unfortunate loss of his own caravel
the St Mary:

"Having put to sea, the weather was very calm on Monday the twenty-fourth
December, with hardly any wind; but what little there was carried me from
the sea of St Thomas to _Punta Santa_ or the Holy Cape, off which we lay
at about the distance of a league. About eleven at night, being very much
fatigued, as I had not slept for two days and a night, I went to bed; and
the seaman who was at the helm left it to a _grummet_[6], although I had
given strict injunctions that this should never be done during the whole
voyage, whether the wind blew or not. To say the truth I thought we were
perfectly safe from all danger of rocks and shoals; as on that Sunday when
I sent my boats to the king of the island, they went at least three
leagues and a half beyond Punta Santa, and the seamen had carefully
examined all the coast, and noted certain shoals which lie three leagues
E.S.E. of that cape, and observed which way we might sail in safety, a
degree of precaution which I had not before taken during the whole voyage.
It pleased God at midnight, while all the men were asleep, that the
current gently carried our ship upon one of the shoals, which made such a
roaring noise that it might have been heard and discovered at the distance
of a league. Then the fellow who felt the rudder strike and heard the
noise, immediately began to cry out, and I hearing him got up immediately,
for no one had as yet perceived that we were aground. Presently the master
whose watch it was came upon deck, and I ordered him and other sailors to
take the boat and carry out an anchor astern, hoping thereby to warp off
the ship. Thereupon he and others leapt into the boat, as I believed to
carry my orders into execution; but they immediately rowed away to the
other caravel which was half a league from us. On perceiving that the boat
had deserted us, and the water ebbed apace to the manifest danger of our
ship, I caused the masts to be cut away, and lightened her as much as
possible in hopes to get her off. But the water still ebbed, and the
caravel remained fast in the shoal, and turning athwart the stream the
seams opened and all below deck became filled with water."

"Meanwhile, the boat returned from the other caravel to our relief, for
the people in the Nina, perceiving they had fled, refused to receive them,
and obliged them to return to our ship. No hopes of saving the ship
appearing, I went away to the other caravel to save the lives of the
people; and great part of the night was already spent, while yet we knew
not which way to get from among the shoals, I lay to with the Nina till
daylight, and then drew towards the land within the shoals. I then
dispatched James de Arana the provost, and Peter Gutieres, your highnesses
secretary, to acquaint the king with what had happened, and to inform him,
that as I was bound to his own port to pay him a visit, according to his
desire, I had lost my ship on a flat opposite his town. On receiving this
intelligence, with tears in his eyes, the king expressed much grief for
our loss, and immediately sent off all the people in the place with many
large canoes to our assistance. We accordingly began immediately to unload,
and with our own boats and their canoes, we soon carried on shore every
thing that was on the deck. The aid given us on this occasion by the king
was very great; and he afterwards, with the assistance of his brothers and
kindred, took all possible care, both on board and ashore, that every
thing should be conducted and preserved in the most orderly manner. From
time to time he sent some of his people to me weeping, to beg me not to be
dejected, as he would give me everything he possessed. I assure your
highnesses that better order could not have been taken in any port in
Castile to preserve our things, for we did not lose the value of a pin. He
caused all our clothes and other articles to be laid together in one place
near his own residence, and appointed armed men to watch them day and
night, until the houses which he had allotted for our accommodation could
be emptied and got in readiness for our reception. All the people lamented
our misfortune as if the loss had been their own. So kindly, tractable,
and free from covetousness are these good Indians, that I swear to your
highnesses there are no better people, nor is there a better country in
the world. They love their neighbours as themselves, and their
conversation is the sweetest that can be conceived, always pleasant and
always smiling. It is true that both men and women go entirely naked, yet
your highnesses may rest assured that they have very commendable customs.
The king is served with much state and ceremonious respect, and his
manners are so staid that it is very pleasing to see him. They have
wonderfully good memories, and are of quick apprehension, and were
extremely desirous to know every thing, asking many questions, and
inquiring into the causes and effects of every thing they saw."

The chief king of the country came on board to visit the admiral on
Wednesday the 26th of December, and expressed much sorrow for his
misfortune, and endeavoured to comfort him by promising to give him every
thing that he might desire. He said that he had already given three houses
to the Spaniards to lay up every thing which had been saved from the ship
and was ready to give them as many more as they might require. In the mean
time, a canoe came from a neighbouring island, bringing some plates of
gold to exchange for small bells, which the Indians valued above every
thing; and our seamen from the shore informed the admiral that many
Indians resorted from other places to the town, who brought several
articles made of gold which they bartered for points and other things of
small value, and offering to bring much more gold if the Christians
desired. The king or great cacique perceiving that the admiral was much
gratified by this information, told him he would give orders to bring a
great quantity of gold from a place called _Cibao_, where it was to be had
in great abundance. Afterwards, when the admiral was on shore, the cacique
invited him to eat axis and cazabi, which formed the principal diet of the
Indians[7]. He likewise presented him with some masks or vizors, having
their eyes, noses, and ears, made of gold, and many pretty ornaments of
that metal which the Indians wore about their necks.

The cacique complained to the admiral of a nation called the _Caribs_, who
used often to carry away his men to make slaves of or to eat them; and he
was greatly rejoiced when the admiral shewed him the superiority of the
European weapons, and promised to defend him and his people against the
Caribs. He was much astonished at our cannon, which so terrified the
natives that they fell down as if dead on hearing the report. Finding
therefore so much kindness among these people, and such strong indications
of gold, the admiral almost forgot his grief for the loss of his ship,
thinking that God had so ordered on purpose to fix a colony of Christians
in that place, where they might trade and acquire a thorough knowledge of
the country and people, by learning the language and conversing with the
natives; so that when he returned from Spain with succours and
reinforcements, he might have several persons qualified to assist and
direct him in subduing and peopling the country; and he was the more
inclined to this measure, that many of the people voluntarily offered to
remain and inhabit the place. For this reason he determined to build a
fort or blockhouse from the timber of the ship which had been wrecked, all
of which had been saved and was now put to that use.

While employed in this plan, he received intelligence on Thursday the 27th
December, that the missing caravel, the Pinta, was in a river towards the
east point of Hispaniola. To be assured of the truth of this report, the
cacique, whose name was Guacanagari, sent a canoe with some Indians and
one Spaniard to make inquiry. These people went twenty leagues along the
coast, and returned without being able to hear any thing of the Pinta; for
which reason no credit was given to another Indian, who reported that he
had seen that vessel a few days before. The admiral still persisted,
however, in his resolution of leaving some Christians in that place, being
still more sensible of the goodness and wealth of the country, as the
Indians frequently brought masks and other articles of gold, and told them
of several districts in the island where that metal was to be procured.

Being now nearly ready to depart, the admiral took occasion to discourse
with the cacique about the Caribs or Cannibals, of whom they complained
and were in great dread; and therefore, as if to please him, he offered to
leave some Christians behind for their protection. At the same time, to
impress him with awe in regard to our weapons, he caused a gun to be fired
against the side of the ship, when the bullet went quite through and fell
into the water, at which the cacique was much amazed. The admiral shewed
him all our other weapons, and explained to him both how the Spaniards
were able to offend others, and to defend themselves in a very superior
manner; telling him, that since such people with such weapons were to be
left for his protection, he need be in no fear of the Caribs, as the
Christians would destroy them all; and that he would leave him a
sufficient guard, while he returned to Castile for jewels and other things
to give him.

The admiral particularly recommended to the attention of the cacique James
de Arana, son to Roderick de Arana of Cordova, of whom mention has been
formerly made in this narrative. To him, with Peter Gutierres and Roderick
de Eskovedo, he left the government of the fort, with a garrison of
thirty-six men, with abundance of commodities, provisions, arms, and
cannon, the boat which had belonged to the lost ship, with carpenters,
caulkers, a surgeon and gunner, and all other necessaries for settling
commodiously. All this being settled, he determined to return with all
speed to Castile without attempting to make any farther discoveries;
fearing, as he had now but one ship remaining, that some other misfortune
might befal him by which their Catholic majesties would be deprived of the
knowledge of those new kingdoms which he had acquired for them.

On Friday the 4th of January 1493, the admiral set sail at sun-rise,
standing to the north-west, having the boats a-head to lead him safe cut of
shoal water. He named the port which he now quitted Navidad, or the
Nativity, because he had landed there on Christmas day, escaping the
dangers of the sea, and because he began there to build the first
Christian colony in the new world which he had discovered. The flats
through which he now sailed reach from Cape Santo to Cape Serpe, which
forms an extent of six leagues, and they run above three leagues out to
sea. All the coast to the north-west and south-east, is an open beach, and
continues plain and level for four leagues into the country, where high
mountains begin, and the villages were more numerous than are to be seen
in the other islands. Having got past the shoals, the admiral sailed
towards a high mountain, which he called Monte Christo, eighteen leagues
east of Cape Santo. Whosoever wishes to arrive at the Nativity from the
eastwards, most first make Monte Christo, which is a rock of a round or
conical form, almost like a pavilion. Keeping two leagues out to sea from
this mountain, he must sail west till he comes to Cape Santo, whence the
Nativity is five leagues distant, and to reach which place, certain
channels among the shoals which lie before it must be passed through. The
admiral chose to particularize these marks that it might be known where
the first Christian habitation had been established in these parts.

While sailing eastwards from Monte Christo with a contrary wind on Sunday,
the 6th of January, a sailor from the round top discovered in the morning
the caravel Pinta coming down westward, right before the wind. As soon as
it came up with the admiral, the captain Martin Alonzo Pinzon came on
board, and began to give reasons and excuses for leaving the squadron,
alleging that it had been against his will. Though the admiral was
satisfied that it had proceeded from evil intentions, well remembering the
bold and mutinous proceedings of Pinzon during the voyage, he yet
concealed his displeasure and accepted the excuses, lest he might ruin the
voyage, as most of the crew were Martins countrymen, and several of them
his relations. The truth is, that when Martin Alonzo forsook the admiral
at Cuba, he went purposely away with the design of sailing to Bohio, where
he learned from the Indians on board his caravel that plenty of gold was
to be found. But not finding the object of his search, he had returned to
Hispaniola where other Indians informed him there was much gold, and had
spent twenty days in sailing not above fifteen leagues east of the
Nativity, where he had lain sixteen days in a river, which the admiral
called the river of Grace, and had there procured a considerable quantity
of gold for things of small value, as the admiral had done at the Nativity.
He distributed half of this gold among his crew, that he might gain them
to his purposes, and concealed the rest for his own emolument, pretending
to the admiral that he had not got any. Finding the wind still contrary,
the admiral came to an anchor under Monte Christo, and went in his boat up
a river to the south-west of that mountain, where he discovered signs of
gold in the sand, on which account he called it the river of gold. This
river is seventeen leagues east of the Nativity, and is not much less than
the Guadalquivir which runs past Cordova.

Proceeding afterwards on the voyage, and being off Cape Enamorado, or the
Lovers Cape, on Sunday the 13th of January, the admiral sent the boat on
shore to examine the nature of the country. Our people there found a
considerable number of fierce looking Indians, armed with bows and arrows,
who seemed disposed to enter into hostilities, yet considerably alarmed at
the appearance of the Spaniards. After some conference, our people bought
two of their bows and some arrows, and with much difficulty prevailed on
one of them to go on board the admiral. These people appeared much fiercer
than any of the natives who had been hitherto seen; and their faces were
all daubed over with charcoal; their hair was very long, and hung in a bag
made of parrots feathers. Their mode of speech resembled the fierceness of
their aspect and demeanour, and one of them, standing completely naked
before the admiral, said in a lofty tone that all in these parts went in
the same manner. Thinking this Indian was one of those called Caribs, and
that the bay they were now in divided that race from the other inhabitants
of Hispaniola, the admiral asked him where the Caribs dwelt. Pointing with
his finger, the Indian expressed by signs that they inhabited another
island to the eastwards, in which there were pieces of _guanin_[8] as
large as half the stern of the caravel. He said moreover, that the island
of _Matinino_ was entirely inhabited by women, with whom the Caribs
cohabited at a certain season; and that such sons as they brought forth
were afterwards carried away by the fathers, while the daughters remained
with their mothers[9]. Having answered all the questions, partly by signs,
and partly by means of what little of their language the Indians from St
Salvador could understand, the admiral gave this person to eat, and
presented him with some baubles, such as glass beads and slips of green
and red cloth, and sent him on shore, desiring that his companions would
bring gold to barter as had been done by the other Indians.

When our people landed with this man, they found fifty-five other Indians
among the trees near the shore, all of them armed with bows and arrows,
perfectly naked and having their long hair tied into a large knot on the
crown of the head, as worn by the women in Spain, and decorated with
plumes of various feathers. The man who had been on board prevailed upon
them to lay down their bows and arrows and great clubs, which they carry
instead of swords. The Christians stept on shore, and began to trade for
bows and arrows, as ordered by the admiral; but after selling two, they
scornfully refused to part with any more, and even made demonstrations to
seize the Spaniards, running to where they had left their arms, and taking
up ropes as if to bind our men. They being now on their guard, and seeing
the Indians coming furiously to attack them, although only seven, fell
courageously upon them, and cut one with a sword on the buttock, and shot
another in the breast with an arrow. Astonished at the resolution of our
men, and terrified at the effect of our weapons, the Indians fled, leaving
most of their bows and arrows behind; and great numbers of them would
certainly have been killed, but the pilot of the caravel, who commanded
the boats crew, restrained our people from any farther vengeance. The
admiral was not at all displeased at this skirmish, as he imagined these
Indians were Caribs, so much dreaded by all the other natives of
Hispaniola; or at least, being a bold and resolute people, that they
bordered on that race; and he hoped that the islanders on hearing how
seven Spaniards had so easily defeated fifty-five fierce Indians, would
give the more honour and respect to our men who had been left at the

Afterwards about the evening, these people made a smoke as if in defiance;
but on sending a boat on shore to see what they wanted, they could not be
brought to venture near our people, and the boat returned. Their bows were
of a wood resembling yew, and almost as large and strong as those of
France and England; the arrows of small twigs which grow from the ends of
the canes, massive and very solid, about the length of a mans arm and a
half; the head is made of a small stick hardened in the fire, about
three-eighths of a yard long, tipped with a fishes tooth, or sharpened
bone, and smeared with poison. On this account, the admiral named the bay
in which he then was _Golpho de Flechas,_ or Gulf of arrows; the Indians
called it _Samana_. This place appeared to produce great quantities of
fine cotton, and the plant named _axi_ by the Indians, which is their
pepper and is very hot, some of which is long and others round[10]. Near
the land where the water was shallow, there grew large quantities of those
weeds which had formerly been seen in such abundance on the ocean; whence
it was concluded that it all grew near the land, and broke loose when ripe,
floating out to sea with the currents.

On Wednesday the 16th of January 1493, the admiral set sail from the Gulf
of Arrows, or _Samana,_ with a fair wind for Spain, both caravels being
now very leaky and requiring much labour at the pumps to keep them right.
Cape Santelmo was the last land they saw; twenty leagues north-east of it
there appeared great abundance of weeds, and twenty leagues still farther
on the whole sea was covered with multitudes of small tunny fishes, and
they saw great numbers of them on the two following days, the 19th and
20th of January, followed by great flocks of sea-fowl; and all the weeds
ran with the currents in long ropes east and west; for they always found
that the current takes these weeds a great way out to sea, and that they
do not continue long in the same direction, as they sometimes go one way,
and sometimes another, as carried by the changes of the currents; and
these weeds continued to accompany them for many days, until they were
almost half way across the Atlantic.

Holding on their course steadily with a fair wind, they made such way,
that on the 9th of February, the pilots believed they had got to the south
of the Azores; but in the opinion of the admiral, they were still 150
leagues to the west of these islands, and his reckoning turned out to be
true. They still found abundance of weeds, which, when they formerly
sailed to the West Indies, had not been seen until they were 263 leagues
west from the island of Ferro. As they sailed thus onwards with fair
weather and favourable winds, the wind began to rise, and increased from
day to day with a high sea, till at length they could hardly live upon it.
The storm had so increased on Thursday the 14th of February, that they
could no longer carry sail, and had to drive whichever way the wind blew;
but the Pinta, unable to lie athwart the sea, bore away due north before
the wind, which now came from the south; and though the admiral always
carried a light, she was entirely out of sight next morning. Considering
their consort to be certainly lost, and believing themselves in imminent
hazard, the whole company betook themselves to prayers, and cast lots
which of them should go on pilgrimage for the whole crew to the shrine of
our Lady of Guadaloupe, which fell upon the admiral. They afterwards drew
for another to go to Loretto, and the lot fell upon Peter de Villa, a
seaman of Port St Mary; and they cast lots for a third to watch all night
at the shrine of St Olave of Moguer. The storm still increasing, they all
made a vow to go barefooted, and in their shirts, to some church of our
Lady at the first land they might come to. Besides these general vows,
several others were made by individuals. The tempest was now very violent,
and the admirals ship could hardly withstand its fury for want of ballast,
which was fallen very short in consequence of the provisions and water
being mostly expended. To supply this want, they filled all the empty
casks in the ship with sea water, which was some help and made the ship to
bear more upright, and be in less danger of oversetting. Of this violent
storm the admiral wrote thus to their Catholic majesties:

"I had been less concerned at the tempest had I alone been in danger, for
I know that I owe my life to my Creator, and I have often been so near
death that only the slightest circumstance was wanting to its completion.
But, since it had pleased God to give me faith and assurance to go upon
this my undertaking in which I have been completely successful, I was
exceedingly distressed lest the fruits of my discoveries might be lost to
your highnesses by my death; whereas if I survived, those who opposed my
proposal would be convinced, and your highnesses served by me with honour
and increase of your royal state. I was therefore much grieved and
troubled lest the Divine Majesty should please to obstruct all this by my
death, which had yet been more tolerable to contemplate if it were not
attended with the loss of all those men I had carried with me upon promise
of happy success. They, seeing themselves in so great jeopardy, did not
only curse their setting out upon the expedition, but the fear and awe
which I had impressed upon them, to dissuade them from returning when
outward bound, as they had several times resolved upon. Above all, my
sorrow was redoubled by the remembrance of two sons whom I had left at
school in Cordova, destitute of friends and in a strange country, before I
had done, or at least before it could be known that I had performed any
service which might incline your majesties to remember and protect them."

"Though I comforted myself with the hope that God would not allow a matter
which tended so much to the exaltation of his church to be left imperfect,
when I had through so much opposition and trouble brought it almost to
perfection; yet I considered that it might be his will that I should not
be permitted to obtain such honour in this world, because of my demerits.
In this perplexity, I remembered your highnesses good fortune; which,
though I were dead and the ship lost, might yet find some means that a
conquest so nearly achieved should not be lost, and that possibly the
success of my voyage might come to your knowledge by some means or other.
With this view, as briefly as the time would permit, I wrote upon
parchment that I had discovered the lands which I had promised; likewise
how many days were employed on the voyage, the direction in which I had
sailed, the goodness of the country, the nature of the inhabitants, and
how some of your highnesses subjects were left in possession of my
discoveries. Which writing I folded and sealed up and superscribed to your
highnesses, promising a reward of 1000 ducats to whoever might deliver it
sealed into your hands; that, in case it might be found by a foreigner,
the promised reward might induce him not to communicate the intelligence.
I then caused a great cask to be brought to me, and having wrapped the
writing in oiled cloth, which I surrounded with a cake of wax, I placed
the whole in the cask: I then carefully closed up the bung-hole and threw
the cask into the sea, all the people fancying that it was some act of
devotion. Apprehending that this might never be taken up, and the ship
coming still nearer to Spain, I made another packet like the first, which
I placed on the poop, that when the ship sunk the cask might float upon
the water, and take its chance of being found."

Sailing on in such extreme danger, at break of day on Friday the 15th of
February, one Ruy Garcia saw land from the round top bearing E.N.E. The
pilot and seamen judged it might be the rock of Lisbon, but the admiral
concluded that it was one of the Azores. Yet though at no great distance,
they could not come to anchor there that day because of the weather, and
the wind being easterly, they lost sight of that island, and got sight of
another, towards which they used every effort to approach, struggling with
continual labour against wind and weather, but unable to reach the land.
In his journal, the admiral says that on the night of Saturday the 16th of
February he arrived at one of the Azores, but could not tell which; and
having had no rest from the foregoing Wednesday, and being lame in both
legs by being continually wet and in the open air, he took some sleep that
night. Even provisions were now scanty. Having come to anchor on Monday
the 18th February, he learnt from some of the inhabitants that it was the
island of St Mary, one of the Azores, and the inhabitants expressed great
surprize that the ship had weathered the storm, which had continued
fifteen days in these parts without intermission.

Learning the great discovery which the admiral had made, the inhabitants
of St Mary seemed greatly to rejoice, giving praise to God, and three of
them came on board with some fresh provisions, and with many compliments
from the commander of the island, who resided at the town not far from
thence. About this place nothing was seen but a hermitage, said to be
dedicated to the Blessed virgin; whereupon the admiral and all the crew,
bearing in remembrance the vow which they had made on the Thursday before,
to go barefooted and in their shirts to some church of our Lady at the
first land, were of opinion that they ought here to discharge their vow,
especially as the governor and people expressed so much kindness for them,
and as they belonged to a king who was in perfect amity with Castile. The
admiral therefore requested these three men to repair to the town and
cause a chaplain to come to the hermitage to say mass for them. To this
these men consented, and went on shore in the caravels boat with half the
crew, that they might perform their vow, meaning on their return that the
other half of the ships company should then go on shore in their turn.
They accordingly landed, and proceeded according to their vow barefooted
and in their shirts towards the hermitage; but the governor and many
people from the town, who lay in ambush, suddenly rushed out upon them and
made them all prisoners, taking away their boat at the same time, without
which they believed it impossible for the admiral to get away from thence.

It being now noon, and thinking that the people staid too long on shore as
they went off before day-break, the admiral began to suspect that some
misfortune had befallen them either by land or sea; but not being able to
see the hermitage from the place where he then lay, he sailed round a
point which intervened, and then saw a multitude of people on horseback,
who dismounted and went into the boat to attack the caravel. Suspecting
what had really happened, the admiral ordered all his remaining hands to
quarters well armed, but made no shew of resistance that the Portuguese
might come near. When they were near the admiral, the chief man among them
stood up and demanded a parley, which the admiral agreed to in hope that
he might come on board and might be secured without any breach of faith,
considering that he had seized the Spaniards without any just cause. But
the Portuguese would not venture nearer than was sufficient for being
heard; whereupon the admiral told him that he was surprised at his
irregular proceedings, and that none of his men had come off in the boat,
since they had gone ashore upon assurance of safety and offers of
assistance, and more especially as the governor of the island had sent to
welcome him. He desired him to consider that their conduct was contrary to
the laws of honour, such as even enemies would, not have been guilty of,
and at which the king of Portugal would be highly offended; since when any
of his subjects landed in the dominions of their Catholic majesties or
resided there, even without any safe conduct, they were perfectly safe and
were treated with all manner of civility. Besides, he declared that their
Catholic majesties had given him letters of recommendation to all princes
potentates and other persons in the world, which he was ready to shew if
he would come on board; and as such letters were received in all places
with respect, and he and the subjects of their Catholic majesties always
well treated on their account, much more ought they to be so in the
dominions of Portugal, their sovereigns being such near neighbours and
allies; and as he was their great admiral of the ocean and viceroy of the
Indies which he had discovered, he was ready to shew him all this under
their highnesses hands and seals. Accordingly at that distance he
exhibited his commissions, and told him he might draw near without any
apprehension, as he was commanded to pay the utmost civility to such
Portuguese ships as he might fall in with. He added, that even if they
should persist in detaining his men, this should not prevent his return to
Spain, as he still had a sufficient number, not only to return to Seville,
but if need were to punish his treacherous conduct which he well deserved;
besides that he would be assuredly punished by his own king, for giving a
cause of war between Spain and Portugal.

The Portuguese captain and his men made answer, that they neither knew
their Catholic majesties or their letters, neither did they fear them, and
would make him to know what Portugal was. From this answer, the admiral
suspected that some breach had occurred between the crowns since his
departure, and therefore gave him such an answer as his folly deserved.
At last when about to depart, the captain stood up and said that the
admiral might go with his caravel to the harbour, as all he had done was
by order of the king his master. The admiral desired all his ships company
to bear witness to this, and then calling out to the Portuguese, declared
he would not leave his caravel till he had taken an hundred Portuguese to
carry prisoners to Castile, and that he would utterly destroy the whole
island. This said, the Portuguese went away to the land, and the admiral
came to anchor in the port where he had first arrived, being obliged by
the wind to do so. But the wind increasing next day and the place being
unsafe, he lost his anchors and was obliged to stand out to sea towards
the island of St Michael; resolving, in case he might be unable to come to
anchor there, to stand out to sea notwithstanding the danger, and that he
now had only three able seamen left and some _grummets_, all the rest of
the crew being landsmen and Indians who knew nothing of sea affairs.
Supplying the want of the absent hands by his own continual personal
attention, he passed the whole of that night in much danger and anxiety,
and when day appeared he perceived that the had lost sight of the island
of St Michael. The weather being now calmer, he resolved to return to St
Mary that he might endeavour to recover his men, anchors, and boat.

On Thursday the twenty-first of February in the afternoon he got back to
the island of St Mary, and a boat soon afterwards came off with five men
and a notary, who all came on board upon assurance of safety, and staid
all night, it being then too late to return safely to the shore. Next day
the notary declared that they came from the governor to be certainly
informed whence the ship came, and whether it had a commission from their
Catholic majesties, and that being fully satisfied on these points the
admiral might depend upon receiving every friendly assistance; but all
this was merely because they could not succeed in seizing the ship and the
admiral, and were therefore afraid of the consequences of what they had
already done. The admiral suppressed his resentment and thanked them for
their civil offers; and since they now proceeded according to the maritime
rules and customs, declared his readiness to satisfy them. He accordingly
shewed them the letters of their Catholic majesties directed to all their
own subjects and to those of other princes, and his own commission for the
voyage; upon which the Portuguese went on shore quite satisfied, and soon
dismissed the Spanish boat and all the seamen. From them the admiral
learnt that it was reported in the island, that the king of Portugal had
sent orders to all his subjects to secure the person of the admiral
wherever he might be found.

The admiral sailed from the island of St Mary for Spain on Sunday the
twenty-fourth of February, being still much in want of wood and ballast,
which he could not take in because of the badness of the weather; but the
wind being fair he was unwilling to make any longer delay. Being about 100
leagues from the nearest land, a swallow came on board the ship, driven
out to sea as was believed by a storm; and this was the more probable as a
great many more swallows and other land birds came onboard next day, the
twenty-eighth February, and a whale was seen. On the third of March about
midnight it blew so great a storm as to split their sails; and being in
great danger of perishing, they made a vow to send one of their number on
a pilgrimage to the shrine of _Neustra Senhora de Cintra_ at Guelva, and
the lot fell again on the admiral, shewing that his offerings were more
acceptable than those of others. While thus driving on under bare poles,
amid high winds, a raging sea, and frightful thunder and lightning, it
pleased God to give them a sight of land about midnight. But this
threatened them with new danger; and to avoid being beaten to pieces on
the rocks, or running into some unknown place whence they might not be
able to get off, they were under the necessity to make some sail and to
beat up against the storm till day. When day appeared they found
themselves close in with the rock of Lisbon, and were forced to put in
there for present safety. The people and seamen of that country were much
astonished at the news, and flocked from all parts to behold the wonder;
for such they considered a ship which had escaped so terrible a storm, as
they had heard of many vessels having perished about the coast of Flanders
and other parts at this time. The admiral came to anchor in the river
Tagus on Monday the fourth of March, and immediately sent off an express
to their Catholic majesties with an account of his arrival, and another to
the king of Portugal asking leave to come to anchor off the city of Lisbon;
for he did not consider himself in safety where he then lay, especially
from any that might entertain evil designs against him, who might believe
that in destroying him they did acceptable service to their own king by
obstructing the success of the court of Spain.

On Tuesday the fifth of March, the master of a large guard-ship which lay
in the Tagus came in his boat filled with armed men to the admirals
caravel, and required him to go with him to the kings officers to give an
account of himself, as was the custom of all ships that came to this port.
To this he answered, that the admirals of their Catholic majesties, one of
whom he was, were not bound to obey any such summons, nor to quit their
ships to give an account of themselves to any one, and that he was
resolved to do his duty. The master then desired him to send his
boatswain to make the report. To this the admiral replied that it was the
some thing whether he sent even a grummet or went himself, and it was
therefore in vain to desire him to send any person. Being sensible that
the admiral was right, the master now requested to see the letter of their
Catholic majesties, that he might be able to satisfy his own captain; and
this request being entirely reasonable, the admiral produced that letter,
with which he was entirely satisfied, and went back to his ship to give an
account to his captain Alvaro de Acunna, who immediately came on board in
great state, with trumpets, drums, and fifes, expressing much kindness and
offering every service in his power.

Next day, it being known at Lisbon that the ship came from the Indies,
such throngs of people went on board to see the Indians that the caravel
could not contain them all, and the water was covered over with boats.
Some praised God for the happy discovery, while others expressed their
severe regret that their country should have been deprived of that vast
acquisition through the incredulousness of their king. On the next day the
king of Portugal gave orders to present the admiral with every kind of
refreshment, and all things he might need for himself or his people,
without taking any payment in return. He at the same time wrote to the
admiral a congratulatory letter on his safe arrival, and desiring that he
would come to see him. The admiral was doubtful how he should proceed in
this case; but considering that the king of Portugal was in amity with
their Catholic majesties and had treated him courteously, he consented to
go to Valparaiso, nine leagues from Lisbon, where the king then was. He
accordingly went there on Saturday night the ninth of March, and the king
ordered all the nobility of his court to go out to meet him; and when the
admiral came into the presence, the king received him with great honour,
commanding him to put on his cap and to sit down: and having listened with
a pleasant countenance to a recital of his successful voyage, made offer
of supplying with every thing he might stand in need of for the service of
their Catholic majesties. The king then alleged, as Columbus had been a
captain in the service of the crown of Portugal, that the discovery and
conquest of the new found Indies ought to belong to him. To this the
admiral answered, that he knew of no agreement to that effect, and that he
had strictly obeyed his orders, which were not to go to the Portuguese
mines nor to the coast of Guinea. The king then observed that all was well,
and he had no doubt that justice would be done between the two countries.
Having spent a long time in discourse, the king commanded the prior of
Crato, the greatest person then in the presence, to entertain the admiral
and to shew him all civility and respect, which was done accordingly.

The admiral remained at Valparaiso all the Sunday and Monday till after
mass, when he took leave of the king, who expressed great kindness and
made him great proffers; and ordered Don Martin de Noronha to accompany
him. Many other gentlemen went along with him to do him honour, and from
curiosity to hear an account of the voyage. While on his way to Lisbon,
the admiral had to pass a monastery where the queen then resided, who
earnestly entreated him not to pass without seeing her. She received him
with all the favour and honour which is due to the greatest lord. That
night a gentleman brought a message from the king to inform the admiral
that if he chose to go by land into Spain, he had orders to attend him,
and to provide lodgings and every thing he might want by the way, as far
as the frontiers of Portugal. But the admiral chose to return by sea.

On Wednesday the thirteenth of March, two hours after day-break, the
admiral sailed from Lisbon, and on the following Friday, the fifteenth of
March 1493, he arrived at Saltes about noon, and came to an anchor in the
port of Palos, whence he had set out on the preceding third of August 1492,
having been absent seven months and twelve days upon his expedition. He
was there received by all the people in solemn procession, giving thanks
to God for his prosperous voyage and glorious discovery, which it was
hoped would greatly redound to the propagation of Christianity, and the
extension of their Catholic majesties dominions. All the inhabitants
considered it as a great honour to their city that the admiral had sailed
from thence, and that most of his men belonged to the place, although many
of them, through the instigations of Pinzon, had been mutinous and

It so happened that about the same time that the admiral arrived at Palos,
Pinzon had arrived with the Pinta in Galicia, and designed to have gone by
himself to Barcelona to carry the news of the expedition to their Catholic
majesties. But he received orders not to come to court, unless along with
the admiral with whom he had been sent upon the discovery; at which he was
so mortified and disappointed that he returned indisposed to his native
country, where he died shortly after of grief. But before Pinzon got to
Palos the admiral had set out for Seville, designing to go from thence to
Barcelona where their majesties then resided, and he was forced to make
several short stops by the way, to gratify the importunate curiosity and
admiration of the people, who flocked from all the towns in the
neighbourhood wherever he went, to see him and the Indians and the other
things he had brought with him. Thus holding on his way, the admiral
reached Barcelona about the middle of April, having before sent to their
highnesses on account of the happy success of his voyage. This was very
pleasing to them, and they ordered him to be received in the most
distinguished manner, as a person who had done them such signal service.
All the court and city went out to meet and welcome him, and to escort him
in honourable triumph to the royal presence. Their Catholic majesties sat
in public with great state on rich chairs under a canopy of cloth of gold
to receive him; and when he advanced to kiss their hands, they stood up as
if to receive a great lord, even making a difficulty in giving him their
hands to kiss, and then caused him to sit down in their presence. Having
given a brief account of his voyage, they gave him leave to retire to his
apartment, whither he was attended by the whole court; and so great was
the favour and honour shewn him, that when the king rode about Barcelona,
the admiral rode on one side of him and the Infante Fortuna on the other;
whereas before no one rode along-side of the king except the Infante, who
was his near kinsman.

[1] Rabo de junco is explained to signify Rush-tailed: Rabo being a tail
    and Junco a rush in the Spanish language.--E.

[2] Don Ferdinand compliments his father too largely in this place by
    supposing Cipango and Hispaniola the same. The original design of
    Columbus to sail westwards to India, which he erroneously supposed to
    be vastly nearer in that direction, led him accidentally almost to
    discover Hispaniola on the supposed route to Cipango or Japan.--E

[3] The dates of the voyage may be here recapitulated. Columbus sailed
    from Palos on the third of August 1492, and reached the island of
    Gomera, one of the Canary islands, on the ninth of August, or in six
    days. He remained there and at Gran Canaria, refitting and
    replenishing his stores, till the sixth of September, when he began
    his passage due west across the Atlantic; and the first land of
    America was discovered on Friday the twelfth of October at two in the
    morning: thirty-six days after leaving Gran Canaria, and seventy days
    after leaving Palos in Spain.--E.

[4] This would seem to be a great exaggeration, perhaps an error of the
    press; but now impossible to be rectified.--E

[5] Nothing can be more ambiguous than the interpretation of signs between
    people who are utterly ignorant of each others language: But the signs
    on this occasion seem rather to imply that the cacique requested the
    Spaniards to declare themselves his friends, by participating in
    hostile demonstrations against the people from Tortuga.--E.

[6] This term evidently expresses a person unused to the sea, as
    contradistinguished from an experienced seaman.--E.

[7] Cazabi seems to have been what is now called casada in the British
    West Indies, or prepared manioc root; and axi in some other parts of
    this voyage is mentioned as the spice of the West Indies; probably
    either pimento or capsicum, and used as a condiment to relish the
    insipidity of the casada.--E.

[8] The meaning of this term is nowhere explained in this voyage: but in
    the account of the discovery of America by Herrera, it is said to
    signify pale gold. From its application in the text, it is probably
    the Indian name of gold, the perpetual object of inquiry by the

[9] Such absurd fables have in all ages been the consequence of credulous
    intercourse of ill-informed men, ignorant of the languages of newly
    discovered nations. The Amazons of antiquity are here supposed to be
    rediscovered; but were afterwards transferred to the interior marshy
    plains of South America.--E.

[10] The author probably alludes here to the various-shaped pods of
    different species or varieties of capsicum.--E.


_Second Voyage of Columbus to the West Indies_.

Orders were issued from Barcelona to prepare with all care and expedition
for the return of the admiral to Hispaniola, as well to relieve those
Christians who had been left there as to enlarge the colony and subdue the
island, with the rest that were and should be discovered. To strengthen
and confirm their title to the newly discovered regions, their Catholic
majesties by the advice of the admiral, procured the approbation and
consent of the pope for the conquest of the Indies, which was readily
granted by Alexander VI, who then governed the church; and the bull to
this effect was not only for what was already discovered, but for all that
might be discovered westwards, until they should come to the _East_, where
any Christian prince was then actually in possession, and forbidding all
persons whomsoever to intrude within these bounds. And this concession and
exclusive right was again confirmed in the year following in the most
ample terms. Sensible that all this favourable grant from the pope was due
to the admiral, by whose discovery they had become entitled to the
possession of all these parts, their majesties were pleased, on the
twenty-eighth of May, at Barcelona, to ratify, renew, confirm, and explain
the privileges and prerogatives which they had granted him before, by
granting them of new, so as explicitly to define how far the bounds of his
admiralty and viceroyalty extended, being over all which had been granted
to them by his holiness, of which grant the tenor follows:

_Original Grant to Columbus in 1492, before the Discovery_.

"FERDINAND and ISABELLA, by the grace of God, King and Queen of Castile,
Leon, Arragon, Sicily, Granada, Toledo, Valencia, Galicia, Majorca,
Minorca, Seville, Sardinia, Jaen, Algarve, Algezira, Gibraltar, and the
Canary islands, Lord and Lady of Biscay and Molina, Duke and Duchess of
Athens and Neopatria, Count and Countess of Boussillon and Cerdagne,
Marquis and Marchioness of Oristan and Gociano, &c."

"Forasmuch as you CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS are going by our command, and with
some of our ships and men to discover and subdue certain islands and
continents in the ocean, and it is hoped by Gods assistance that some of
those islands and continents will be discovered by your means and conduct,
it is therefore just and reasonable, since you expose yourself to such
dangers in our service, that you be suitably rewarded. And willing to
honour and favour you for the reasons aforesaid, our will is that you
Christopher Columbus, after discovering and conquering the said islands
and continent, in the said ocean, or any of them, shall be our admiral
of all such islands and continent as you shall so discover and conquer,
and that you be our admiral, viceroy, and governor in them: that for the
future you may call and style yourself Don Christopher Columbus; and that
your sons and successors in the said employment may call themselves dons,
admirals, viceroys, and governors, in the same: That you may exercise the
charge of admiral, viceroy, and governor of the said islands and continent
which you or your lieutenants shall conquer, and shall freely decide all
causes, civil and criminal, appertaining to the said employments of
admiral, viceroy, and governor, as you think fit according to justice, and
as the admirals of our kingdom are in use to do: That you shall have power
to punish all offenders: That you and your lieutenants may exercise the
employments of admiral, viceroy, and governor, in all things belonging to
the said offices, or any of them, and that you shall enjoy the perquisites
and salaries belonging to the said employments and to each of them, in the
same manner that the high admiral of our kingdom does at present."

"By this our letter, or by a copy thereof signed by a public notary, We
command prince John, our dearly beloved son the Infante, dukes, prelates,
marquisses, great masters, and military orders, priors, commanderies, or
councillors, judges, and others our officers of justice whomsoever,
belonging to our household, courts, and chancery, and constables of
castles, commanders of forts and others, and all corporations, mayors,
bailiffs, and magistrates, governors, judges, commanders, and sea officers;
the aldermen, common councillors, officers, and good people, of all
cities, towns, lands, and places in our kingdoms and dominions, and in
those which you shall discover and subdue; and the captains, masters,
mates, and all other officers and sailors, our natural subjects at present,
or who shall so become hereafter, all or any of them, that when you shall
have so discovered the said islands and continent in the ocean, and you or
any that have your commission shall have taken the oaths usual in such
cases, that they shall look upon you for the future so long as you live,
and after you your son and heir, and so on from one heir to another for
ever, as our admiral, viceroy, and governor of the said islands and
continent by you Christopher Columbus to be discovered and conquered; and
that they treat you, and your lieutenants by you appointed for executing
the employments of admiral, viceroy, and governor, as such in all respects;
and shall give you all the perquisites and other things belonging and
appertaining to the said offices; and shall allow and cause to be allowed
you, all honours, graces, concessions, preeminences, prerogatives,
immunities, and other things, or any of them, which are due to you by
virtue of your commands of admiral, viceroy, and governor, all to be
observed completely, so that nothing shall be diminished: That they shall
raise no objection to this or any part of it, nor suffer any such to be
made; forasmuch as we by this our letter bestow on you the employments of
admiral, viceroy and governor forever, and have put you in possession of
the said offices and all of them, with full power to use and exercise them,
and to receive the perquisites and salaries belonging to them, or any of
them, as above said."

"Concerning all which things if it be requisite and you shall desire it, We
command our chancellors, notaries, and other officers, to pass, seal, and
deliver to you our letter of privilege, in such firm and legal manner as
you shall require and stand in need of. And that none presume to do any
thing to the contrary upon pain of our displeasure, and the forfeiture of
thirty ducats for each offence. And we command him who shall shew them
this our letter, that he shall summon them to appear before us at our
court wherever we shall then be, within fifteen days after such summons
under the foresaid penalty. Under which same penalty we also command any
public notary whomsoever, that he give to him that shews it to him a
certificate under his seal, that we may know how our command is obeyed."

    "Given at Granada on the thirtieth of April in the
     year of our Lord 1492."
          "_I the King._           _I the Queen._"

    _Confirmation in_ 1493.

After a preamble, as in the original grant, it proceeds thus:

"And now, forasmuch as it has pleased GOD that you have discovered several
of the said islands, as we still hope you will proceed by his grace to
discover others, and the continent in the said ocean, and those parts of
the Indies, and seeing that you have desired us to confirm to you our said
grant here recapitulated, and all the contents thereof, to the end that
you and your children, heirs, and successors, one after another, and after
your days, may have and enjoy the said employments of admiral, viceroy,
and governor of the said ocean, islands, and continent, as well of those
you have already found and discovered as of those you shall hereafter find
and discover, with all the powers, preeminence, privileges, and
prerogatives as the admirals, viceroys, and governors in our kingdoms of
Castile and Leon do actually enjoy; and that all the perquisites and
salaries, appertaining and belonging to the said offices, and granted and
allowed to our admirals, viceroys, and governors, may be made good to you,
or that we shall make such provision in this case as in our goodness we
may think fit."

"And, having regard to the fatigues and dangers which you have exposed
yourself to in our service, in going to discover and find out the said
islands, and that which you now run in attempting to find out the other
islands and continent, wherein we have been and hope to be by you well
served; we, to requite and reward you, do by these presents confirm to you
and your children, heirs, and successors, one after another, now and for
ever, the said employments of admiral of the said ocean, and viceroy and
governor of the said islands and continent, by you discovered and found
out, and of the other islands and continent that shall be by you, or by
your industry found or discovered in those parts of the Indies. And it is
our will, that you, and after you your children, heirs, and successors,
one after the other, enjoy the said employment of admiral of the said
ocean which is ours, and which commences at a line which we have caused
to be drawn from the Azores islands to the islands of Cape Verd, and so
from pole to pole north and south, so that all beyond the said line
westwards is ours and belongs to us. And we accordingly constitute you
our admiral, and your sons and successors one after another, of all that
part for ever. And we appoint you, and your sons, heirs, and successors,
one after another, viceroy and governor of the said islands and continent
discovered, and to be discovered in the said ocean, and in those parts of
the Indies aforesaid; and we grant you the possession of all the said
employments of admiral, viceroy, and governor for ever, with full
commission and authority to use and exercise in the said ocean the office
of admiral in all things, and in the same manner and form, and with the
rights and privileges, perquisites and salaries as our admirals of Castile
and Leon now use, have, and enjoy, or have enjoyed, as well in the said
islands and continent already discovered, as in those which shall
hereafter be discovered in the said ocean, and in the said parts of the
Indies, that the planters or colonists of the same may be the better

"And we grant you such power and authority, that you, as our viceroy and
governor, and your lieutenants, commanders, and officers, by you created,
may exercise the civil and criminal jurisdiction, the supreme and mean
authority, and the absolute and mixed command. And in those places you may
remove, turn out, and put in others in their places, as often as you
please, and may find convenient. And they shall have power to hear, judge,
and determine, all suits or causes, civil and criminal, that shall occur
or arise in said islands and continent, and they shall have and receive
the fees and salaries usually annexed and pertaining to those employments
in our kingdoms of Castile and Leon. And you our said viceroy and governor,
may hear and determine all the said causes or any of them, whensoever you
please, upon the first motion, or by way of appeal or complaint, and may
examine, determine, and decide them as our viceroy and governor: and you
and your children may do all that is reasonable in such cases, and in all
other things pertaining to the office of viceroy and governor; and you and
your lieutenants and officers, may take such cognizance and use such
methods as you shall think proper for our service and the due execution of
justice. All which you and they may do, and perform lawfully and
effectually, as they might and ought to do, had the said officers been
appointed by us. And our will and pleasure is, that all such
letters-patent as you shall grant, be drawn and granted in our names with
these words, _Ferdinand and Isabella, by the grace of GOD, king and queen
of Castile and Leon, &c._ and shall be sealed with our seal, which we
shall cause to be given you for the said islands and continent. And we
command all the people and inhabitants, and other persons in the said
islands and continent, to obey you as our viceroy and governor of the same,
and all those who sail on the said seas, to obey you as our admiral of the
said ocean; and that all of them shall execute your letters and orders,
and shall take part with you and your officers for the due execution of
our justice, and shall give and cause to be given you all the aid and
assistance you shall require and stand in need of, upon such penalties as
you shall impose upon them, which by these presents we do impose upon them,
and declare to be imposed; and we grant you authority to execute the same,
upon their persons and goods."

"And it also is our will, that if you shall find it for our service, and
the due execution of justice to cause any person who shall be in the said
islands and continent to depart therefrom, and not to stay or return
thereto, and that they shall come and appear before us; you may, in our
name command and make them depart accordingly, all whom we by these
presents command, that they presently perform, execute, and put in
practice all that has been enjoined, without looking farther or asking
advice in the same, not expecting any other letter or command from us, and
notwithstanding any appeal or petition which they may make or present to
us against your said order. For all which things, and any other due or
belonging to the said offices of our admiral, viceroy, and governor, we
give you sufficient authority in all incidents, dependencies, and
emergencies, that may occur. Concerning all which, if you shall so desire,
we command our chancellor, notaries, and others, our officers belonging to
our seals, that they give, pass, dispatch, and seal for you, our letters
of privilege, in as strong, firm, and effective manner as you may require
of them and stand in need of, and that none of them do any thing to the
contrary, upon pain of our displeasure, and of _thirty_ ducats to be paid
to our treasury by every one who may be guilty to the contrary hereof."

"And besides, we command him that shall shew them[1] this our letter to
summon them to appear before us in our court wheresoever we may happen to
be, within fifteen days, under the same penalty. Under which we also
command any public notary, who may be called for such purpose, that he
give to him who shall produce these letters to him a certificate, signed
under his hand, that we may know how our commands are obeyed[2].

    "Given in our city of Barcelona, this 28th of May, in the
     year of our Lord 1493."
          "_I the King._           _I the Queen._"

    "By their majesties order, _Ferdinand Alvarez de Toledo_,
     secretary to the king and queen."
    "_Peter Gutierres_, Chancellor: Without fees for seal or
  "Delivered by _Roderick Doctor_."
  "Entered, _Alonzo Perez_."

Orders having been issued to make all necessary preparations for the
establishment of a permanent colony in the new discovery, the admiral went
from Barcelona to Seville in June 1493, and so diligently solicited the
fitting out of the fleet which their Catholic majesties had directed to be
provided, that in a short time seventeen vessels of various sizes were got
ready, well stored with provisions and with all things deemed necessary
for the intended colonization. Handicrafts of all sorts, with peasants or
farmers to till the ground, and a variety of labourers, were engaged to
accompany the expedition. The fame of the gold and other rarities which
the newly discovered region produced, had induced so many gentlemen and
other persons of respectability to offer themselves, that it became
necessary to limit the numbers who could be permitted to embark, and not
to allow all who were eager to transport themselves to the new world to go
there, until time should make it appear how matters might succeed, and the
colony might be somewhat settled. Yet so eager were the adventurers to
engage in the scheme of this new colony, that 1500 persons of all sorts
went upon the expedition; of whom some carried out horses, asses, and
other kinds of cattle, which were afterwards of most important benefit to
the colony.

All things being prepared, the admiral weighed anchor from the road of
Cadiz, where the fleet had been prepared, upon Wednesday the 25th of
September 1493, an hour before sun-rising, and stood to the southwards for
the Canary islands, designing to procure some necessary refreshments
there[3]. On the 28th of September, being then 100 leagues from Spain,
great numbers of land birds, among which were turtle-doves, and many small
birds, came aboard the admirals ship, which were supposed to come from the
Azores, and to be on their passage to Africa to pass the winter. Holding
on their course, the fleet came to anchor at Gran Canaria on Wednesday the
2d of October, and sailed again at midnight for Gomera, where it arrived
on the 5th of October. The admiral issued orders for every thing of which
the fleet might stand in need to be provided with all possible dispatch.

On Monday the 7th of October, the admiral continued his voyage for the
West Indies, having first delivered sealed orders to every ship in the
fleet, with strict injunctions that they were not to be opened unless
separated from him by stress of weather. In these he gave directions for
the course which they were to steer for attaining the town of the Nativity
in Hispaniola, and he did not wish that course should be known by any one
without urgent necessity. Having sailed on with a fair wind until Thursday
the 24th of October, when they were by estimation 400 leagues west from
Gomera, all were astonished at not finding any of the weeds which had been
met with on the former voyage when only 250 leagues advanced into the
Atlantic. On that day and the next a swallow was seen flying about the
fleet. On the night of Saturday the 26th, the body of _St Elmo_, with
seven lighted candles, was seen on the round top, which was followed by
prodigious torrents of rain and frightful thunder and lightning. I mean
those lights were seen which the seamen affirm to be the body of St Elmo,
to whom they sing litanies and prayers upon these occasions, and they
firmly believe that there can be no danger from those storms in which that
phenomenon occurs. According to Pliny, when such lights appeared to the
Roman sailors they were said to be Castor and Pollux, of which Seneca
likewise makes mention in the beginning of his Book of Nature.[4]

On Saturday the 2d of November, the admiral observed a great alteration in
the appearance of the sky and in the winds, and concluded from these, and
the prevalence of heavy rains, that he was certainly approaching the land,
and therefore ordered most of the sails to be furled, and all the people
to be on the watch, and to keep a strict look out. This precaution was
exceedingly necessary; for next morning, just as day began to dawn, a high
mountainous island was discovered about seven leagues to the west, to
which the admiral gave the name of Dominica, because discovered on Sunday.
Soon afterwards another island was seen to the north-east of Dominica, and
then another, and another after that more to the northwards.[5] On this
joyful occasion, all the crew assembled on the poop, and devoutly sung the
_salve regina_, and other hymns, giving thanks to God that in twenty
days after their departure from Gomera they had safely made the land,
judging the distance between Gomera and Dominica to be between 750 and 800
leagues. Finding no convenient place for anchoring on the east side of
Dominica, the admiral stood over to another island which he named
Marigalante after his own ship. Landing here, he again confirmed with all
due solemnity, the possession which he had taken in his first voyage of
all the islands and continent of the West Indies for their Catholic

On Monday the 4th of November, the admiral sailed northwards past another
large island, which he named St Mary of _Guadalupe_, partly by reason of
his own especial devotion to the holy Virgin, and because he had made a
promise to the friars of that monastery to name some island after their
house. Before they came to it, and about two leagues distance from its
coast, they discovered a very high rock ending in a point, whence issued a
stream of water as thick as a large barrel, which made so great a noise in
its fall as to be heard on board the ships; yet many affirmed that it was
only a white vein in the rock, the water was so white and frothy by reason
of its rapid fall. Going on shore to view a kind of town, they found no
parson there except some children, all the people having fled into the
woods. To the arms of these children they tied some baubles, to allure
their fathers when they returned.

In the houses our people found some geese like those of Spain, and
abundance of parrots as large as common cocks, having red, green, blue,
and white feathers. They also found pompions, and a sort of fruit
resembling our green pine apples, but much larger, which were full of a
solid fruit like melons, but much sweeter both in taste and smell, and far
better than those which are brought up by art. This fruit grew on long
stalks, like lilies or aloes, wild about the fields. They also saw other
sorts of fruits and herbs different from ours. In the houses there were
beds or hammocks made of cotton nets, with bows and arrows, and other
articles; but our people took none of these things away, that the Indians
might be the less afraid of the Christians. What they most admired and
wondered at was that they found an iron pan in one of the houses; though I
am disposed to believe that the rocks and fire-stones of the country being
of the colour of bright iron, a person of indifferent judgment may have
taken it for iron without sufficient examination; for there never was any
iron found afterwards among these people, and I find no authority from the
admiral for this incident on his own knowledge, and as he used to write
down daily whatever happened and was reported to him, he may have set down
this among other particulars related by those who had been on shore.[6]
Even if it actually were iron, it may be thus accounted for: The natives
of Guadaloup, being Caribs, were accustomed to make plundering expeditions
as far as Hispaniola, and might have procured that pan from the Christians
or the natives of that island. It is likewise possible that they might
have carried off some of the iron from the wreck of the admirals former
ship; or some of that wreck containing iron might have been drifted by the
winds and currents from Hispaniola. Be this as it may, the people neither
took away the pan nor any thing else.

Next day the admiral sent two boats on shore, to endeavour to procure some
person who might be able to give him some account of the country, and to
inform him in what direction Hispaniola lay. Each of the boats brought off
a youth, who agreed in saying that they were not of that island, but of
another which they called _Borriquen_, now St John; and that the
inhabitants of Guadaloupe were Caribs or Canibals, and had taken them
prisoners from their own island. Soon afterwards, the boats returned on
shore to bring off some Christians who had been left, and found six women
who had fled to them from the Caribs, and came off willingly to the ships.
To allure the Indians, the admiral would not keep them, but set them on
shore against their wills, giving them some glass beads and bells. This
was not done unadvisedly, for as soon as they landed, the Caribs even in
sight of the Christians, took away all the trinkets which had been given
them. Therefore, either through hatred or fear of the Caribs, when the
boats returned some time afterwards for wood and water, the women got into
them and requested to be carried back to the ships, and gave the seamen to
understand by signs that those people eat men and make slaves of the women,
and therefore they would not remain with them. Yielding to their
entreaties, the seamen brought them back, with two children and a young
man who had escaped from the Caribs; these people thinking themselves
safer in the hands of strangers whom they had never seen or heard of,
than among the cruel and wicked Caribs who had eaten their husbands and
children, but who are said not to eat women, whom they keep as slaves. One
of the women said there were many islands to the south, some inhabited and
others not, which they severally named Giamachi, Cairvaco, Huino, Buriari,
Arubeira, and Sixibei. They said that the continent was very large, and
both they and the inhabitants of Hispaniola named it Zuanta; saying, that
in former times canoes had come from that land to the islands to barter
with abundance of lads, of whom there were two thirds in an island not far
distant[7]. They also said that the king of the island, from which they
fled, was gone with ten large canoes and 300 men to make incursions into
the neighbouring islands to take prisoners to eat. The women likewise gave
information where Hispaniola lay; for though the admiral had inserted it
in his chart, yet he was inclined to hear what the natives of these
islands knew respecting it for his better guidance.

The admiral now wished to proceed on his voyage, but was told that one
Captain Mark had gone on shore before day with eight men without his leave,
and had not yet returned. He was therefore obliged to send out to look for
him, though in vain, by reason of the thickness of the trees. Therefore,
that they might not be lost or be obliged to leave a ship for them, which
might afterwards miss its way to Hispaniola, the admiral resolved to
remain till next day; and because the country was full of extensive and
thick woods, he ordered them to be carefully sought after, making a great
noise with trumpets and muskets to lead them on the right way. But the
people having searched the whole day ineffectually, returned to the ships
in the evening without finding them, or hearing any thing of them. It was
now Thursday morning, and no news had been heard of them since Tuesday;
and considering that they had gone without leave, the admiral declared his
resolution to continue the voyage, or at least made a shew of doing so to
deter others from doing the like in future; but he allowed himself to be
prevailed on by some of the kindred and friends of the stragglers to stay
a little longer, and gave orders in the meantime for all the ships to
complete their wood and water, and for the people to wash their linens;
and he sent Captain Hojeda with forty men to look out for those who were
amissing, and to examine into the nature of the country. Hojeda found
mastick, aloes, sandal, ginger, frankincense, and some trees resembling
cinnamon in taste and smell, and abundance of cotton. He saw many falcons,
and two of them pursuing the other birds; also kites, herons, daws,
turtles, partridges, geese, and nightingales; and he affirmed, that in
travelling six leagues they had crossed twenty-six rivers, several of
which were very deep; but I am apt to believe, as the country was very
woody and uneven, that they had often crossed the same river. While the
party under Hojeda were admiring the beauties of the country, and other
parties were going about in all directions in search of the stragglers,
they returned to the ship on Friday the 8th of November without having
been met by any of those who looked for them. They excused themselves by
saying that they had lost their way in the woods; but to punish their
presumption, the admiral ordered the captain to be put in irons, and that
the rest should have their allowance of provisions retrenched. The admiral
then landed and went to some of the houses, where he saw all the
particulars which have been already mentioned; likewise abundance of
cotton, both spun and unspun, and looms for weaving, many human skulls
hung up, and baskets full of human bones. The houses in this island were
better, and more plentifully furnished with provisions and other things
used by the Indians, than any which he had seen in his first voyage.

On Sunday the 10th of November the admiral weighed anchor, standing with
the whole fleet towards the N.W. along the coast of Guadaloupe, and came
to an island which he named Monseratte on account of its height; and was
informed by the Indians on board that the Caribs had entirely dispeopled
it by devouring all the inhabitants. He thence proceeded by St Mary
Redonda, so named on account of its round and upright shape, insomuch,
that there seemed no possibility of getting up to it without ladders. It
was called Ocamaniro by the Indians. He next came to St Maria la Antigua,
which is about twenty-eight leagues in extent. Still holding on his course
to the N.W. there appeared several other islands towards the north, and in
the N.W. and S.E. all very high and woody; at one of these he cast anchor
and named it St Martin. They here took up some pieces of coral sticking to
the flukes of the anchors, which made them hope to find other useful
articles of commerce in these islands. Though the admiral was always
anxious to examine into every place which he discovered, he yet resolved
to hold on his course towards Hispaniola, that he might carry relief to
the people who had been left there. But the weather being bad, he was
obliged to come to anchor at an island on the 14th of November, where he
gave orders to take some of the inhabitants, that he might learn
whereabout he then was. As the boat was returning to the fleet with four
women and three children whom they had taken, it met a canoe in which were
four men and a woman; who perceiving that they could not escape, stood
upon their defence, and hit two of the Spaniards with their arrows, which
they discharged with such force and dexterity that the woman pierced a
target quite through. The Spaniards attempted to board, and the canoe was
overset, so that all the Indians were taken swimming in the water; and one
of them shot several arrows while swimming, as dexterously as if he had
been on dry land.

These people were found to be castrated; for they had been made prisoners
by the Caribs in some other islands, who had so used them as we do capons,
that they might become fatter and better food. Departing from thence, the
admiral continued his voyage W.N.W. where he fell in with a cluster of
above fifty islands, which he left to the northward of his course. The
largest of these he named the island of St. Ursula, and the others he
called the Eleven Thousand Virgins. He next came to the island called
_Borriquen_ by the Indians, but which he named St John the Baptist, in a
bay on the west side of which the fleet came to anchor, where they caught
several sorts of fish, as skate, olaves, pilchards, and shads. On the land
they saw falcons, and bushes resembling wild vines. More to the eastwards
some Spaniards went to certain houses well built after the Indian fashion,
having a square before them and a broad road down to the sea, with bowers
on each side made of canes, and curiously interwoven with evergreens, such
as are seen in the gardens of Valencia. At the end of the road next the
sea there was a raised stage or balcony, lofty and well built, capable of
containing ten or twelve men.

On Friday the fifteenth of November the admiral reached the north side of
Hispaniola, and immediately sent on shore at Samana one of the natives of
the island who had been in Spain, and who being converted to our holy
faith, offered to engage all his countrymen to submit to the Christians.
The admiral continued his voyage to the Nativity, and off Cape Angel some
Indians came on board to barter their commodities. Coming to anchor in
the bay of Monte Christo a boat was sent on shore, the people of which
found two dead men lying near a river. One of these seemed to be young and
the other old, having a rope made of a substance like Spanish broom round
his neck, and his arms extended and tied to a piece of wood in the form of
a cross. Having been long dead, it could not be known whether these people
were Christians or Indians, but it was considered an evil omen. The next
day, twenty-sixth November, the admiral sent on shore in several places,
and the Indians came boldly and freely to converse with the Spaniards,
touching their shirts and doublets, and naming these articles in the
Spanish language. This confidence and friendly behaviour relieved the
admiral from the fears which he had conceived on account of the dead men;
believing that if the natives had injured the Christians whom he had left,
they would not have come so boldly on board the ships. But next day,
coming to anchor about midnight near the town of Nauidad or the Nativity,
a canoe came to the fleet and asked for the admiral, and being bid to come
on board, they refused to do so till they should see him. The admiral
therefore went to the ships side to hear what they had to say, and then
two men from the canoe went up with two marks of gold, which they
presented with many compliments to the admiral as from the cacique
Guacanagari. Being asked concerning the Christians who were left at the
Nativity, they answered that some of them had died of distempers, some had
parted from the company and had gone into other parts of the country, and
that all of them had four or five wives. Though it appeared from the way
in which these Indians spoke, that all or most of the colonists were dead,
yet the admiral did not think fit to take much notice of the circumtance
at the time; he therefore dismissed the messengers with some brass
trinkets and other baubles for Guacanagari, and a few to themselves.

Towards evening on Thursday the twenty-eighth November the admiral came
with all the fleet into the harbour of the Nativity, and found the whole
town burnt, and no person whatever could be seen about the place. Next
morning the admiral landed, and was much concerned to find the fort and
houses entirely destroyed, and nothing left which had belonged to the
Christians, except some tattered garments and other broken articles of no
value. Finding no person at whom he could make inquiries, he went up a
river in the neighbourhood with several boats, leaving orders to clean out
the well which he had dug in the fort, as he had directed the colonists to
throw all the gold they could get into that well, to be prepared against
the worst that might happen; but nothing of the kind could be found. On
his way up the river he could meet with none of the Indians, who all fled
from their houses into the woods on his approach. He therefore returned to
Nauidad, where eight of the Christians had been discovered and three
others in the fields, who were recognized by the remnants of their apparel,
and seemed to have been a month dead. While prosecuting this melancholy
search, a brother of the cacique Guacanagari came, accompanied by some
Indians, to the admiral. These men could speak a few words of Spanish, and
knew the names of all the Christians who had been left there. They said
that those Spaniards had soon fallen out among themselves after the
departure of the admiral, everyone taking for himself as much gold and as
many women as he could procure. That Gutierres and Escovedo killed one
named James, and then went away with nine others and all their women to
the territories of a cacique named Caunabo who was lord of the mines, and
by whom they had all been killed. That many days afterwards Caunabo came
with a great number of men to Nauidad, where only James de Arana remained
with ten men to guard the fort, all the rest of the Spaniards having
dispersed about the island. Caunabo came by night and set fire to the
houses where the Christians resided with their women, all of whom fled to
the sea, where eight of them were drowned, three of them being slain on
shore. That Guacanagari, in fighting against Caunabo in defence of the
Christians, had been wounded and fled.

This account agreed with that which was received by some Spaniards whom
the admiral had sent up into the country, and had gone to a town in the
interior where the cacique lay ill of his wounds. This he said had
prevented him from waiting upon the admiral and giving him an account of
the catastrophe of the Christians, which he narrated exactly in conformity
with the account given by his brother, and he requested that the admiral
would go to see him as he was unable to be moved. The admiral went
accordingly next day, and with great signs of sorrow the cacique related
all that had happened, and that he and his men had all been wounded in
endeavouring to defend the Christians, as appeared by their wounds, which
had not been inflicted by Christian weapons, but with _aragayas_ or wooden
swords and arrows pointed with fish bones. At the end of his discourse the
cacique presented to the admiral eight strings of small beads made of
white, green, and red stones, a string of gold beads, a royal crown of
gold, and three small calabashes full of gold dust, all of which might be
about four marks weight of gold, the mark being half a pound. In return
for all this the admiral gave him abundance of our baubles, which though
not worth three ryals or eighteen-pence, he yet valued exceedingly.
Although Guacanagari was very ill, he insisted upon going, with the
admiral to see the fleet, where he was courteously entertained, and was
much delighted to see the horses, of which he had received an account from
the Christians. And as some of those who had been killed had given him a
very erroneous account of our holy faith, the admiral used his best
endeavours to instruct him, and prevailed with him to wear an image of the
Virgin Mary suspended from his neck, which he had at first refused to

Reflecting on the disaster of the Christians at Nauidad, and his own
misfortune in that neighbourhood by losing his ship, and considering that
there were other places at no great distance more commodious for the
establishment of a colony, he sailed on Saturday the seventh of December
with the whole fleet to the eastwards, and about evening cast anchor not
far from the islands of Monte Christo. And the next day removed to Monte
Christo, among those seven low islands which were mentioned in the account
of the former voyage. These little islands, although destitute of trees,
are yet extremely pleasant; for in that season of winter they found a
profusion of fine flowers, the nests had many of them eggs, and young
birds in others, and all other things resembled the appearance of summer
in Spain. Removing thence, he went to anchor before an Indian town where
he had resolved to plant his colony, and landed all the men, provisions,
utensils, and animals which had been brought on board the fleet. The place
he now chose was a fine plain near a rock on which a fort might be very
conveniently built for its defence; and here he immediately began to build
a town which he named Isabella, in honour of the queen of Castile. The
port of this place, though exposed to the N.W. was large and convenient,
and had a most delicious river only a bow-shot distant, from which canals
of water might be drawn for the use of the town, to run through the
streets. Immediately beyond that river there lay a vast open plain, from
the extremity of which the Indians said the gold mines of Cibao were not
far remote. For all these reasons the admiral was so extremely intent upon
settling the colony, that what with the fatigues which he had endured at
sea and the labour he now encountered, he not only was unable to write
down from day to day the occurrences as had been his usual custom, but he
fell sick, by which causes his journal was interrupted from the eleventh
of December 1493 till the twelfth of March 1494. During all this time
however, he ordered the affairs of the colony to the best advantage, as
far as he was able. In this interval likewise he detached Alonzo de Hojeda
with an escort of fifteen men to explore the mines of Cibao. And
afterwards he sent on the second of February twelve ships of his fleet
back to Spain under the command of Captain Anthony de Torres, who was
brother to the nurse of Don John prince of Spain. Torres was a man of
great judgment and entire honour, in whom their Catholic majesties and the
admiral reposed much confidence. With him the admiral sent a detailed
account in writing of the nature of the country, and of every thing which
was required for the assistance of the infant colony, as well as an ample
account of every occurrence from the time the fleet had departed from

Hojeda returned soon after the departure of the fleet, and gave an account
of his journey. He reported that he halted on the second night of his
journey at the pass of a mountain which was of very difficult access. That
afterwards at many leagues distance, he found Indian villages and caciques
who had been very kind to him; and that at the end of his sixth days
journey he came to the mines of Cibao, were the Indians immediately took
up gold in his presence from the bed of a small river, as they had done in
many other places on his route, where he affirmed that there was plenty of
gold. This news greatly rejoiced the admiral, who was now recovered from
his sickness, and he resolved to go on shore to observe the nature of the
country and the disposition of the inhabitants, that he might be the
better able to judge of what ought to be done. Accordingly, on Wednesday
the twelfth of March 1494, he set out from Isabella to inspect the mines
of Cibao, taking all the people along with him who were in health, part on
foot and part on horseback; leaving a good guard in the two ships and
three caravels that remained of the fleet, and causing all the tackle and
ammunition belonging to the other ships to be removed into his own.

He took the above mentioned precaution to prevent any from rebelling
during his absence and seizing the ships to return home, as several had
attempted to do during his sickness. Many had embarked in this voyage
under the belief that they might load themselves with gold as soon as they
landed, and so return rich home in a short time. But gold wherever it is
to be found requires time, trouble and labour to gather it; and matters
not turning out according to their sanguine expectations, they became
dissatisfied and offended, and weary of the fatigue attending the building
of Isabella, and of the diseases which the climate and change of diet had
engendered among them. One Bernard de Pisa, who had been an inferior
officer of justice at court, and who had gone the voyage as comptroller
for their Catholic majesties, was the ring-leader and head of these
mutineers; therefore the admiral would not punish him any otherwise than
by securing him on board ship, with the design of sending him home to
Spain, with his process regularly drawn up, as well on account of his
mutinous conduct as for having written a false information against the
admiral, which he had hidden in the ship.

Having properly ordered all these matters, and having left some persons in
whom he could confide both at sea and on shore, to look to and secure the
fleet under the charge of his brother Don James Columbus, he set out for
Cibao, carrying with him all the necessary tools and implements for
building a fort to keep that district under subjection, and for securing
the Christians who might be left there to gather gold from any evil
designs or attempts of the Indians. And the more to impress the natives
with awe and respect, and to take away all hopes that they might be able
to do now as they had done with Arana and the thirty-eight Christians who
had been left with him at the Nativity, he carried all the men that he
could along with him, that the natives might see and be sensible of the
power of the Christians, and that if any injury should be offered even to
a single individual of our people, there was a sufficient force to ensure
due and severe chastisement. To appear the more formidable to the natives,
when he set out from Isabella, and whenever he passed any of the Indian
towns, he caused his men to march with their arms in rank and file as is
usual in time of war, with trumpets sounding and colours flying. In this
way he marched along the river, which lay about a musket-shot from
Isabella; he crossed a smaller river about a league beyond, and halted for
the night in a plain divided into pleasant fields about three leagues from
Isabella, which reached to a craggy hill about two bow-shots high. To this
place he gave the name of Puerta de los Hidalgos, or the Gentlemens Pass,
because some gentlemen had been sent on before to order a road to be
opened, which was the first road ever made in the Indies. The paths made
by the Indians are only broad enough for one person to pass at a time.

Beyond this pass he entered upon a large plain over which he marched five
leagues the next day, and halted on the banks of a large river called the
River of Canes, which falls into the sea at Monte Christo, and over which
the people crossed on rafts and in canoes. In the course of the journey
they passed many Indian towns, consisting of round thatched houses, with
such small doors that it requires a person entering to stoop very low. As
soon as the Indians from Isabella who accompanied the march entered any
of those houses they took what they liked best, and yet the owners seemed
not to be at all displeased, as if all things were in common among them.
In like manner the people of the country were disposed to take from the
Christians whatever they thought fit, thinking our things had been in
common like theirs; but they were soon undeceived. In the course of this
journey they passed over mountains most delightfully wooded, where there
were wild vines, aloes, and cinnamon trees[8]; and another sort that
produces a fruit resembling a fig, which were vastly thick at the foot,
but had leaves like those of our apple trees.

The admiral continued his march from the River of Canes on Friday the 14th
March, and a league and a half beyond it he came to another which he
called the River of Gold, because some grains of gold were gathered in
passing. Having crossed this river with some difficulty, the admiral
proceeded to a large town, whence many of the inhabitants fled to the
mountains; but most of them fortified their houses by barring the doorways
with large canes, as if that had been a sufficient defence to hinder
any body from coming in; for according to their customs, no one dares to
break in at a door that is barred up in this manner, as they have no
wooden doors or any other means of shutting up their houses. From the
river of gold the march was continued to another fine river, which was
named _Rio verde_, or the Green River, at which the party halted for the
night. Continuing the march next day, they passed several considerable
towns, the inhabitants of which had barricadoed their doors with canes and
sticks in the manner already mentioned. The whole party being fatigued
with the march of this day, halted for the night at the foot of a rugged
mountain, to which the admiral gave the name of _Puerto de Cibao_, or the
Pass of Cibao, because the province or district of Cibao begins beyond
that mountain. Betwixt the former ridge named the Hidalgos Pass and this
of Cibao they had travelled directly south for eleven leagues over a fine
level plain. From this place the admiral sent back a party with several
mules to Isabella to bring a supply of bread and wine, as they began to
want provisions; the Spaniards suffered the more on this long journey that
they were not yet accustomed to the food of the country, which is more
easy of digestion and agrees better with the constitution in that country
than what is brought from Europe, according to the experience of those who
now live and travel in these parts, though not so nourishing.

The people who had been sent for provisions having returned, the admiral
passed over the mountain along a path so narrow, steep, and winding, that
the horses were led over with much difficulty. They now entered the
district of Cibao, which is rough and stoney and full of gravel, yet
plentifully covered with grass, and watered with several rivers in which
gold is found. The farther they went in this country they found it the
rougher and more uncouth, and everywhere encumbered with mountains, on the
summits even of which they found grains of gold, which is washed down from
the tops of these mountains by the great rains and torrents into the beds
of the rivers, and there found in small dust, sand, or grains,
interspersed with some of a larger size. This province is as large as
Portugal, and abounds in mines and brooks producing gold; but for the most
part has few trees, and these are mostly pines and palms of several sorts,
growing on the banks of the rivers. As Ojeda had travelled before into
this country, the Indians had some knowledge of the Christians; and
understanding that they came in search of gold, the natives came to meet
the admiral everywhere during the march with small quantities of gold
which they had gathered, and bringing presents of provisions. Being now 18
leagues from Isabella[9], and the country he had marched over from the
Pass of Cibao very rugged, the admiral ordered a fort to be constructed in
a strong and very pleasant situation, to command the country about the
mines, and to protect the Christians that might be employed there in
procuring gold, and gave it the name of the castle of St Thomas. He gave
the command of this new fort to Don Pedro Margarite, with a garrison of 56
men, among whom were workmen of all kinds for building the castle, which
was constructed of clay and timber, as of sufficient strength to resist
the efforts of any number of Indians that might come against it. On
breaking ground for the foundations of the fort, and cutting a rock to
form its ditches, at two fathoms below the surface, they found several
nests made of hay and straw, containing instead of eggs three or four
round stones as large as oranges, as artificially made as if they had been
cannon-balls [10]. In the river that runs at the foot of the hill on which
the castle was built, they found stones of several colours, some of them
large, of pure marble, and others of jasper.

Leaving orders for finishing the fortifications of fort St Thomas, the
admiral set out on his return for Isabella on Friday the 21st of March.
Near the Green River he met the escort of mules with provisions, which he
sent on to the fort[11]; and was constrained to remain some time at the
green river on account of the excessive rains which then fell. While
afterwards endeavouring to find the fords of the Rio Verde and Rio del Oro,
which is larger than the Ebro, he had to remain for several days among the
towns of the Indians, subsisting his whole party on the Indian bread and
garlick, which the natives parted with for a small price. On Sunday the
29th of March he returned to Isabella, where melons were already grown and
fit for eating, although the seed had only been put into the ground two
months before. Cucumbers came up in twenty days. A wild vine of the
country having been pruned, had produced large and excellent grapes. On
the 30th of March a peasant gathered some ears of wheat which had only
been sown in the latter end of January. There were vetches likewise, but
much larger than the seed they had brought from Spain; these had sprung up
in three days after they were sown, and the produce was fit to eat after
twenty-five days. The stones of fruit set in the ground sprouted in seven
days. Vine branches shot out in the same time, and in twenty-five days
they gathered green grapes.

Sugar canes budded in seven days. All this wonderful rapidity of
vegetation proceeded from the temperature of the climate, which was not
unlike that of the south of Spain, being rather cool than hot at the
present season of the year. The waters likewise were cold, pure, and
wholesome; so that upon the whole the admiral was well satisfied with the
soil and air, and with the people of the country.

On Tuesday the 1st of April, intelligence was brought by a messenger from
fort St Thomas, that all the Indians of that country had withdrawn from
the neighbourhood, and that a cacique named Caunabo was making
preparations to attack the fort. Knowing how inconsiderable the people of
that country were, the admiral was very little alarmed by this news, and
was especially confident in the horses which were in that garrison, as he
knew the Indians were particularly afraid of them, and would not enter a
house where a horse stood lest they should be devoured. But, as he
designed to go out from Isabella with the three caravels he had detained
there on purpose to discover the continent, he thought fit to send more
men and provisions to the fort, that every thing might remain quiet and
safe during his absence. Wherefore, on Wednesday the 2d of April he sent
70 men with a supply of provisions and ammunition to fort St Thomas. Of
these, 25 were appointed to strengthen the immediate garrison, and the
others were directed to assist in making a new road between the _puerto_
and the fort, the present one being very troublesome and difficult, as
well as the fords of the rivers, which were ordered to be cleared. While
the ships were fitting out to go upon the new discovery, the admiral
attended to order all things necessary and useful for the town of Isabella,
which he divided into regular streets, and provided with a convenient
market-place. He likewise endeavoured to bring the river water to the town
along a large canal, because the river being almost a gun-shot distant,
occasioned much trouble to the people in supplying themselves with water;
more especially as most of them were then weak and indisposed, owing to
the sharpness of the air, which did not agree with them. They had now no
other Spanish provisions except bread and wine, owing partly to the bad
management of the captains of the ships, and partly because nothing keeps
so well in that country as in Spain; and though they had abundance of the
provisions of the country, yet not being used to that food it did not
agree with them, and many of them were sick. Taking all these
circumstances into consideration, he resolved to send back part of the
people into Spain, retaining only 300 men in the island, which number he
considered as quite sufficient for keeping the country under subjection.
In the mean time, as biscuit began to grow scarce and they had no flour to
make more, though wheat was in plenty, he resolved to construct some mills,
although there was no fall of water fit for the purpose within less than a
league from the town; in this and all other works he was under the
necessity of constantly superintending the workmen, who all endeavoured
to save themselves from any labour or fatigue.

To husband the remaining provisions, Hojeda was sent from Isabella on
Wednesday the 29th of April with 400 men, leaving none in the town who
were in health except handicrafts and artificers. These were ordered to
march about the country in various directions to strike terror into the
Indians, to accustom them to subjection, and to enure the Spaniards to the
food of country. Hojeda was ordered to march in the first place to fort St
Thomas, of which he was to take the command as the first discoverer of the
province of Cibao, which in the Indian language means the stony country.
Don Pedro Marguerite was then to take charge of marching with this little
army about the country. While on his outward march, Hojeda apprehended a
cacique who resided on the other side of the Rio del Oro, together with
his brother and nephew, sending them in irons to the admiral, and cut off
the ears of one of his subjects in the great place of his town, for the
following reason: This cacique had sent five Indians along with three
Christians who were travelling from St Thomas to Isabella to carry their
clothes over the river at the ford, and they being come to the middle of
the river returned to the town with the clothes, when the cacique, instead
of punishing the people for the robbery, took the clothes to himself and
refused to restore them. Another cacique who dwelt beyond the river,
relying on the service he had done the Christians, went along with the
prisoners to Isabella to intercede with the admiral for their pardon. The
admiral received him very courteously, but ordered that the prisoners
should be brought out into the market-place with their hands bound, and
sentenced them to die. On seeing this the friendly cacique petitioned for
their lives with many tears, promising that they should never be guilty of
any other offence; at length the admiral relented and discharged them all.
Soon afterwards a person came on horseback from St Thomas, and reported
that he had found five Christian prisoners in the town of the cacique who
had just been pardoned, who had been taken by his subjects while going
from Isabella; that by frightening the Indians with his horse he had
obtained the relief of the prisoners, above 400 of the Indians running
away from him alone, two of whom he wounded in the pursuit; and that when
he crossed the river the Indians turned back upon the Christians to retake
them, but by making as if he would go against them, they all ran away lest
the horse should fly over the river.

Before proceeding on his intended voyage for discovering the continent,
the admiral appointed a council to govern the island in his absence, of
which he appointed his brother Don James Columbus president: the others
were F. Boyl and Peter Fernandez Coronell regents, together with Alonzo
Sanchez de Caravajal, rector of Bracca, and Juan de Luxan of Madrid,
gentleman to their Catholic majesties. That there might be no want of
flour for supporting the people, he hastened the building of the mills,
notwithstanding the rain and floods which very much obstructed the work.
Owing to these rains, in the admirals opinion, the great fertility of the
island proceeded. So wonderful is this fertility that they eat the fruits
of the trees in the month of November, while at the same time they are
blossoming afresh, by which it is evident that they bear fruit twice every
year. But herbs and seeds grow at all times indiscriminately, and nests
with eggs and young birds are found on the trees throughout the whole year.
As the fruitfulness of the island appeared so extraordinary, so daily
accounts arrived of its abundant wealth, and of the discovery of new mines,
which coincided with the reports of the Indians concerning the great
quantity of gold to be met with in several parts of the island[11a]. But
the admiral could not rest satisfied with these things, and resolved to
prosecute his discoveries by sea, beginning with the coast of Cuba, not
yet knowing whether it was an island or a continent.

In the afternoon of Thursday the 24th of April 1494 the admiral sailed
with three caravels from Isabella, and came to anchor that evening at
Monte Christo, having shaped his course to the west. On Friday he went to
Guacanagaris port, or the Nativity, thinking to find him there; but he
fled, though his subjects falsely affirmed that he would soon return. Not
caring to stay without sufficient cause, he departed on Saturday the 26th
of April, and went to the island of Tortuga 6 leagues to the westwards. He
lay here all that night in a calm with all his sails loose, the tide
running back against the current. Next day the N.W. wind and a strong
current setting to the west obliged him to go back to anchor in the river
Guadalquiver in the same island, to wait for a wind sufficient to stem the
current, which both then and the year before he found to run strong from
the east. On Tuesday the 29th of April, the wind became fair and he was
able to reach Cape St Nicholas, whence he crossed over to Cuba and run
along its southern coast a league beyond Cape Fuerte, where he put into a
large bay which he named _Puerto Grande_ or the Great Harbour. The mouth
of this port was 150 paces across, and had abundant depth of water. He
cast anchor in this bay, where he procured refreshment of fish and oysters,
which the Indians had in great abundance. On the first of May he continued
his voyage along the coast, where he everywhere found commodious harbours,
fine rivers, and lofty mountains. After leaving Tortuga the sea everywhere
abounded with the same kind of weeds which he saw on the ocean in his
voyages to and from Spain. While sailing along the coast many of the
natives came off in their canoes, and thinking our people came down from
heaven, freely bestowed their country bread and fish without asking any
thing in return; but the admiral ordered them to be paid with beads, bells,
and such like baubles, and sent them away well pleased.

On Saturday the third of May, having heard that there was much gold in
Jamaica, he stood over for that island, which he discovered on Sunday the
fourth of May. Upon Monday he came to an anchor there, and thought it the
most beautiful of any island he had yet seen in the West Indies, and was
astonished at the multitudes of people who came off to the ships in large
and small canoes. Next day he ran along the coast in search of harbours.
The boats being sent in to examine a harbour which the admiral named
_Puerto Bueno_ or the Good Port, so many canoes came out filled with armed
natives to defend their country, that our people thought proper to return
towards the ships, to avoid any quarrel with these people; but considering
that to shew any signs of fear would make the Indians proud, they returned
again towards the port; and as the Indians came to drive them off they
gave them a flight of arrows from their cross-bows, by which six or seven
of them were wounded, and they all retired. The fight ended upon this, and
afterwards many natives came off to the ships in a peaceable manner to see
our people and to barter provisions and other articles for such trifles as
our people offered. In this bay, which is in the form of a horse shoe, the
admiral repaired his ship which was leaky; and then sailed on the ninth of
May, keeping along shore to the westwards, the Indians following
continually in their canoes to trade or barter with our people. The wind
proving rather contrary, and not being able to make so much way as he
wished, the admiral left the coast of Jamaica and stood over for Cuba,
designing to keep along its coast for five or six hundred leagues, that he
might be satisfied whether it were an island or the continent. That day
while leaving Jamaica, a young Indian came on board desiring to be
carried into Spain, and when several of his kindred and others entreated
him to return he refused to change his resolution, and to avoid the
importunities of his friends, and not to see his sisters cry and sob, he
went where they could not come to him. The admiral admired his resolution,
and gave orders that he should be civilly treated.

Leaving Jamaica on Wednesday the 15th of May, the admiral came to that
point of Cuba which he named Cabo de Santa Cruz, or Cape Holy Cross. In
running along the coast they encountered a great storm of thunder and
lightning which, combined with numerous flats and strong currents,
occasioned much trouble and great danger, being obliged to struggle at the
same time against two evils which required opposite remedies; for it is
proper during thunder to strike the sails, whereas it is necessary to
spread them to avoid the flats, and had this double calamity lasted for
eight or ten leagues it had been quite insupportable. The worst of all was,
that all over this sea, both northwards, and to the north-east, the farther
they went the greater number of low little islands they met with, in some
of which there were trees, but others were sandy and scarcely appeared
above the surface of the water; some of these were a league in compass,
some more and some less. The nearer they kept to the coast of Cuba the
higher and pleasanter these small islands appeared; and it being difficult
and useless to give names to every one, the admiral called them all in
general _Jardin de la Reyna_, or the Queens Garden. They saw many more
islands next day to the north-east, north-west, and south-west, insomuch
that they counted 160 islands that day, all parted by deep channels, many
of which the ships sailed through. In some of these islands they saw many
cranes resembling those of Spain in shape and size, but of a scarlet
colour[12]. In others they found great numbers of turtles, or sea
tortoises, and immense quantities of their eggs, which are not unlike
those of a hen but with much harder shells. The female turtle deposits her
eggs in holes on the sand, and covering them up leaves them to be hatched
by the heat of the sun, which brings forth the little turtles, which grow
in time to be as large as a buckler or great target. In these islands they
also saw crows and cranes like those of Spain, and sea crows, and infinite
numbers of small birds which sung delightfully, and the very air was sweet,
as if they had been among roses and the finest perfumes; yet the danger
was very great on account of the innumerable channels among the islands,
by which much time was spent in finding the way through.

In one of these channels they observed a canoe with Indian fishermen, who
very quietly awaited our boat coming towards them, and made signs not to
approach near till they had done fishing. Their manner of fishing was so
strange and new to our people that they willingly complied, and looked on
with astonishment. They had tied certain small fishes which they call
_reves_ by the tail with a long line and let them into the water, where
these _reves_ attached themselves to other fishes, by means of a certain
roughness which they have from the head to the middle of the back, and
stick so fast that the Indians drew both up together. It was a turtle our
men saw taken in this manner, and the _reve_ clung close to its neck,
which place they usually fasten upon because safe from being bitten by the
other fish, and they sometimes fasten upon vast sharks. When the Indians
in the canoe had thus taken the turtle, having already two others, they
came in a very friendly manner to know what our men would have, and went
by their direction on board the admiral who treated them courteously, and
to whom they would have freely given all they had; but he would only allow
their fish to be taken, and refused their nets, hooks, and calabashes
full of water which they had on board to drink, for which he gave them
some trifles with which they went away very well contented. From these
Indians he learnt that there were an infinite multitude of islands in that
sea, and he held on his course. But beginning to want provisions he could
not continue much longer, otherwise he meant to have gone west about
before returning to Hispaniola, although much spent, having never had it
in his power to go to bed, except eight nights, from the time he left
Hispaniola on the 24th of April till now, which was the 19th of May. He
always had much care and anxiety in his voyages, but infinitely greater
this time by reason of the innumerable islands among which he was sailing,
insomuch that on the 20th of May they counted seventy-one, besides a great
many more that were seen about sun-set. These islands are not only
dangerous on account of their numbers, but there rises from them every
night a heavy fog to the eastwards, so dismal to behold as if some great
shower of hail would fall, and it is generally accompanied by violent
thunder and lightning; but when the moon rises it all vanishes, partly
turning to rain and wind. These phenomena are so natural and usual in
these seas that they not only took place all those nights on which the
admiral was there, but I saw the same among those islands in the year 1503
on my return from the discovery of Veragua; and generally, the wind here
is every night from the north, coming from the island of Cuba, and
afterwards when the sun rises it comes about east, and follows the sun
till it comes to the west.

The admiral still held on his course westwards among infinite numbers of
islands, and came to one on the 22d of May somewhat larger than the rest,
which he called St Mary. They landed at a town which was seen on shore,
but none of the natives would stay to converse with the Christians, and
nothing was found in their houses save fish upon which they feed, and
several dogs like mastiffs which feed likewise on fish. They sailed thence
to the north-west still among numerous islands, on which they saw many
scarlet cranes or flamingos, parrots, and other birds, and dogs like those
mentioned before, and the sea was covered with large quantities of weeds.
The sailing among so many islands, channels, and shoals, fatigued the
admiral extremely, as sometimes they had to stand west, sometimes north,
and sometimes south, according as the channels would permit; and
notwithstanding his constant care in sounding and keeping men continually
on the look-out from the round top, yet the ship often touched, and there
was no avoiding it, there being no end to the flats on all hands. Sailing
on in this manner, they came at length again to Cuba to take in water, of
which they stood much in need. Though no town could be seen because the
place was entirely overgrown with trees, yet one of the seamen who was on
shore, having gone among the trees to kill some bird or beast with his
cross-bow, saw about thirty people armed after the Indian manner with
spears and a kind of clubs or staves, which they use instead of swords,
and which they call _macanas_. Among these he said that he saw one person
clad in a white coat or vest down to his knees, carried by two others who
had white vestments down to their feet, all three of them as white as
Spaniards; but that he had no intercourse with them, because being afraid
of such a number he called out to his comrades, and the Indians ran away
without looking back[13].

Next day, the admiral sent some people on shore to look after these
natives, but they could not travel above half a league from the shore on
account of the thickness of the trees and bushes, and because all that
coast for two leagues up the country, where the hills and mountains begin,
is boggy and marshy, so that they only saw a few footsteps of fishermen on
the shore, and abundance of cranes like those of Spain but larger. Having
sailed about ten leagues farther westwards, they saw some houses on the
shore, whence some canoes came off with water, and such food as the
Indians use, and for which they were well paid. The admiral caused one of
those Indians to be detained, telling him and the rest, by means of an
interpreter, that he would freely permit him to go home as soon as he had
given him an account of the country and some directions for the voyage.
This Indian assured the admiral that Cuba was an island, and that the king
or cacique of the western part of it never spoke to any of his subjects
but by signs, yet that all his orders were immediately obeyed; that all
this coast was very low and full of small islands. This latter information
was found to be too true; as next day, the 11th of June, the admiral was
forced to have the ships towed over a flat where there was not a foot of
water, and its whole breadth did not exceed two ships length[14]. Bearing
up closer to Cuba, they saw turtles of vast bigness, and in such numbers
that they covered the sea. At break of day, they saw such an enormous
flock of sea crows as even darkened the sun, these were going from sea
towards to the island, where they all alighted; besides these abundance of
pigeons and other birds were seen; and the next day such immense swarms of
butterflies, as even to darken the air, which lasted till night, when a
heavy rain carried them all away.

Perceiving that the coast of Cuba ran far west, and that it was extremely,
difficult to sail in that direction, on account of the infinite multitude
of islands and shoals, and because provisions were very scanty, the
admiral resolved on the 13th of June to return to Isabella. He anchored
therefore at an island which he named _Evangelista_ which is thirty
leagues in circuit, and lies 700 leagues west from Dominica, to take in
wood and water; and thence directed his course southwards, hoping to get
better out in that direction from among the labyrinth of islands in which
he had been so long bewildered. After sailing in the channel which seemed
the clearest for a few leagues, he found it entirely shut up, which
dismayed the people extremely, at seeing themselves apparently hemmed in
on all sides, and destitute of provisions and all hopes of comfort. But
he, who was always wise and courageous, cheered their faint-heartedness,
by saying he was thankful for being forced back so soon, as if they had
been able to continue their voyage in that direction, they might possibly
have got into a situation whence they could hardly have extricated
themselves, when they had neither ships nor provisions to carry them back,
but which was now easily in their power. He therefore returned to
Evangelista, and sailed thence on the 25th of June to the N.W. towards
some small islands about five leagues off. Going on still a little farther,
they found the sea so patched with green and white that it seemed one
entire sand, though there was two fathoms water. Along this singular
looking sea they sailed seven leagues, and then came to another sea as
white as milk and very thick; this was much wondered at, and dazzled the
eyes of all the beholders, who could not conceive that there was water
enough for the ships, and yet it was about three fathoms deep. After
sailing about four leagues on this white sea, they came to another which
was as black as ink, and five fathoms deep[15]. Through this black sea he
held on his course to Cuba, and thence stood to the eastwards[16] with
scanty winds, and through narrow channels among continual shoals.

While writing his journal on the 30th of June, his ship ran so fast
aground, that neither by means of anchors or any ether invention could she
be got off; but it pleased GOD that she was at length drawn over the shoal
a-head, though with some damage from beating on the sand. He thence
sailed on as the wind and shoal water would permit, always through a white
sea of two fathoms regular depth, unless when he approached a shoal when
the water became shallower. Besides all this anxious fatigue, occasioned
by these perpetual shoals, they were distressed every evening about
sun-set by prodigious rains, which arose from the mountains and marshes of
Cuba, and continued till he came off Cuba towards the east, the way he had
come at first. Thence as he had found before, came off a most refreshing
scent as of fragrant flowers. On the 7th of July, the admiral landed to
hear mass, when there came to him an old cacique, who was very attentive
to the service. When it was ended, by signs, and the best methods which he
could find to express himself, he said it was good to give thanks to GOD,
because the souls of the good would go to Heaven, while the body remained
on earth, whereas wicked souls would go to hell. Among other things, this
cacique said that he had been to Hispaniola, where he knew some of the
chief men; that he had been to Jamaica, and a great way west in the island
of Cuba, and that the cacique of that part was clothed like a priest[17].

Sailing thence on the 16th of July, and still attended by terrible rains
and winds, he at length drew near to Cape Santa Cruz in Cuba, where he was
suddenly assailed by so violent a squall of wind and furious rain, which
laid his ship on her broad-side; but it pleased GOD that they immediately
lowered all their sails and dropt their anchors, and the ship soon righted;
yet the ship took in so much water at the deck that the people were not
able to keep the hold clear, they were so much spent for want of
provisions. For some time they had been reduced to a pound of rotten
biscuit daily with half a pint of wine, unless when they happened to catch
fish, which could not be kept from day to day on account of the climate.
This want and short allowance was common to all, and the admiral speaks
thus of it in his journal addressed to their Catholic majesties. "I am
myself at the same allowance, and I pray to GOD that it may be for his
honour and the service of your highnesses, for I shall never again expose
myself to such sufferings and dangers for my own benefit; and there never
passes a day but we are all on the very brink of death."

In this state of distress and danger, the admiral arrived at Cape Santa
Cruz on the 18th of July, where he was entertained in a very friendly
manner by the Indians, who brought him abundance of their bread made from
grated roots, which they name _cazabi_[18]. They brought likewise a great
deal of fish, and abundance of fruit, and other articles of their ordinary
provisions, which proved a great relief to the exhausted mariners. The
wind being contrary for going to Hispaniola, the admiral stood over to
Jamaica on the 22d of July, and sailed along to the westwards close under
the shore, the country being all along most delightful, and very fruitful,
with excellent harbours at every league distance. All the coast was full
of towns, whence the natives followed the ships in their canoes, bringing
such provisions as they used, which were much better liked by our people
than what they found in any of the other islands. The climate, air, and
weather, was the same as in the other islands, for in this western part of
Jamaica, there gathered every evening a storm of rain which lasted
generally about an hour. This the admiral attributed to the great woods
in these countries, as he knew that this was usual at first in the
Canaries, Azores, and Madeira islands, whereas now that the woods in these
islands are mostly cut down, there are not such great and frequent storms
and heavy rains as formerly[19]. The admiral sailed along the coast of
Jamaica, but was obliged by contrary winds to take shelter every night
under the land, which appeared green, pleasant, fruitful, abounding in
provisions, and so populous that he thought nothing could excel it,
especially near a bay which he named _De las Vacas_, on account of nine
islands close to the land. At this place the land was as high as any he
had ever seen, insomuch that he believed it to reach above the regions in
which the storms are bred. He estimated Jamaica to be 800 miles in
compass; and when it was fully discovered, he computed it to be fifty
leagues long by twenty leagues broad. Being much taken with the beauty of
this island, he was much inclined to have made a longer stay to be fully
informed of its nature; but the great want of provisions under which he
laboured, and the crazy state of his vessels would not permit. Wherefore,
as soon as the weather became a little fair, he sailed away to the
westwards, and on Tuesday the 19th of August, he lost sight of that island,
standing directly for Hispaniola and named the most easterly cape of
Jamaica on the south coast _Cabo del Farol_.

On Wednesday the 20th of August, the admiral got sight of the south side
of Hispaniola, and called the first point Cape St Michael, which is thirty
leagues distant from the most easterly point of Jamaica; but through the
ignorance of the sailors that Cape is now called _Tiberoun_. From this
cape, on the 23d of August, a cacique came on board, who called the
admiral by his name, and had some other Spanish words, from which
circumstance he was convinced that this was the same land with Hispaniola.
At the end of August, he anchored at an island called _Alto Velo_, and
having lost sight of the other two ships, he caused some men to go on
shore in that little island which was very high, but they were unable to
see either of their consorts. When about to return on board, they killed
eight sea wolves that lay asleep on the sand, and took abundance of
pigeons and other birds; for that island being uninhabited, these animals
were unaccustomed to the sight of men, and allowed themselves to be
knocked down with sticks. They did the same on the two following days
waiting for the ships, which had been missing ever since the 22d of August.
At the end of six days they made their appearance, and all three proceeded
to the island _Beata_, twelve leagues from Alto Velo. Hence they continued
to coast along Hispaniola, in sight of a delightful country, which was a
plain of about a mile broad, before the hills began to ascend, and so
populous, that in one place there seemed to be a continued town for the
length of a league; and in that plain there appeared a lake five leagues
long from east to west. The people of the country having some knowledge of
the Christians, came on board in their canoes, and said that some
Spaniards from Isabella had been among them, and that they were all well,
which news gave the admiral great satisfaction; and to the end that they
too might receive intelligence of his return to the island, he ordered
nine men to cross the island by way of the forts St Thomas and the
Magdalen to Isabella.

Continuing his voyage eastwards, he sent the boats on shore for water, to
a place where a great town appeared, when the Indians came out with bows
and poisoned arrows, and with ropes in their hands, making signs to the
Spaniards that they would bind them if they came on shore. But as soon as
the boats came close to the beach they laid down their weapons, and
offered to bring bread and water, and every thing they had, asking in
their language for the admiral. Going from hence, they saw a strange fish
in the sea as big as a whale, having a great shell on its neck like a
tortoise, and bearing its head, as big as a hogshead, above the water, the
tail was very long like a tunny fish, and it had two large fins on the
sides. From the appearance of this fish and other signs, the admiral
foresaw an approaching change of weather, and sought for some harbour to
secure himself; and it pleased GOD that on the 15th of September, he
discovered an island near the east part of Hispaniola named _Adamanoi_ by
the Indians, and the weather being very stormy, dropt anchor in the
channel between it and Hispaniola, close to a small island which lies
between both. That night he saw an eclipse of the moon, which he said
varied five hours and twenty-three minutes from its time at Cadiz[20], to
the place where he then was. The bad weather, probably owing to the
eclipse, lasted so long, that he was forced to remain at that anchorage
till the 20th of the month, all the time under great anxiety for the other
ships which were not able to get into the same place of security, but it
pleased GOD to save them. Having rejoined the other caravels, they all
sailed over to the eastern part of Hispaniola, and thence to a little
island called _Mona_ by the Indians, which lies between Hispaniola and St
John de Boriquen.

The journal of the admiral breaks off at this island, and he does not
inform us of his course from thence to Isabella; but only, that while
going from Mona to St John, the great fatigues he had undergone, together
with his own weakness and the want of proper food, brought on a violent
malady, between a pestilential fever and a lethargy, which presently
deprived him of his senses and memory; whereupon, all the people in the
three caravels resolved to desist from the design he had then in hand of
discovering all the islands in the Caribbean sea, and returned to Isabella,
where they arrived on the 29th of September, five days afterwards[21].
This heavy sickness lasted during five months, but it pleased GOD to
restore him afterwards to health. His illness was occasioned by the great
sufferings he had gone through in this voyage, during which he had often
not been able to sleep three hours in eight days, owing to the perilous
nature of the navigation among innumerable islands and shoals; a degree
of privation that seems almost impossible, were it not authenticated by
himself and those who accompanied him.

On his return to Hispaniola, the admiral found there his brother
Bartholomew Columbus whom he had sent, as formerly related, to treat with
the king of England about the discovery of the Indies. On his return to
Spain with the grant of all his demands, he learned at Paris from Charles
king of France, that his brother the admiral had already made the
discovery, and the king supplied him with an hundred crowns to enable him
to prosecute his journey into Spain. He thereupon made all the haste he
could to overtake the admiral in Spain; but on his arrival at Seville, he
found that the admiral had gone out upon his second voyage with seventeen
sail, as already related. Wherefore, to fulfil the orders which his
brother had left for him at the beginning of 1494, he went to the court of
their Catholic majesties at Valadolid, carrying my brother Don James
Columbus and me along with him, as we had been appointed to serve as pages
to Prince John. Immediately upon our arrival, their majesties sent for Don
Bartholomew, and dispatched him with three ships to Hispaniola, where he
served several years, as appears from the following memorandum which I
found among his papers: "I served as captain from the 14th April 1494,
till the 12th of March 1498, when the admiral set out for Spain, and then
I began to act as governor till the 24th of August 1498, when the admiral
returned from the discovery of Paria; after which, I again served as
captain till the 11th of December 1500, when I returned to Spain." On his
return from Cuba, the admiral appointed his brother governor of the
Indies; though controversies afterwards arose on this subject, as their
majesties alleged that they had not given authority to the admiral to
make any such appointment. But to end this difference, their highnesses
granted it a-new, under the title of adelantado, or lieutenant of the
Indies, to my uncle Don Bartholomew.

Having now the assistance and advice of his brother, the admiral took some
rest, and lived in quiet, although he met with sufficient troubles, both
on account of his sickness, and because he found that almost all the
Indians had revolted through the fault of Don Pedro Marguerite. He, though
obliged to respect and honour the admiral, who had left him the command of
360 foot and 14 horse, with orders to travel all over the island, and to
reduce it to the obedience of their Catholic Majesties and the Christians,
particularly the province of Cibao, whence the chief profit was expected;
yet acted in every thing contrary to his orders and instructions, insomuch,
that when the admiral was gone, he went with all his men to the great
plain called _Vega Real_, or the Royal Plain, ten leagues from Isabella,
where he remained without ever endeavouring to traverse and reduce the
island. Hence there ensued discords and factions at Isabella, as Don Pedro
endeavoured to make the council which the admiral had instituted in that
place, subservient to his own authority, sending them very insolent
letters; and perceiving that he could not succeed in getting the whole
power and authority into his hands, he was afraid to wait the return of
the admiral who would have called him to a severe account for his conduct,
and went therefore on board the first ships that returned to Spain,
without giving any account of himself or any way disposing of the men who
had been left under his command.

Upon this desertion of Don Pedro, every one went among the Indians as they
thought fit, taking away their women and goods, and committing everywhere
such outrages, that the Indians resolved to revenge themselves on all whom
they should find straggling about the country. The cacique of the Magdalen,
Guatiguana, had killed ten, and had privately caused a house to be fired
in which there were eleven sick Spaniards. But he was severely punished by
the admiral after his return; for though the cacique himself could not
then be taken, yet some of his subjects were sent prisoners into Spain in
four ships that sailed in February 1495 under Antonio de Torres. Six or
seven other Indians who had injured the Christians in other parts of the
island suffered for their conduct. The cacique had killed many, and would
certainly have destroyed many more, if the admiral had not fortunately
come in time to restore order among the Christians, and to curb the
refractory spirit of the Indians. On his arrival from his late voyage to
Cuba and Jamaica, he found that most of the Christians had committed a
thousand insolencies, for which they were mortally hated by the Indians,
who refused to submit to their authority. It was no difficult matter for
them all to agree in casting off the Spanish yoke, as the whole island was
subject to the authority of four principal caciques. These were Caunabo,
Guacanagari, Behechico, and Gaurionex; each of whom commanded over seventy
or eighty inferior lords or caciques. These paid no tribute to the
superior caciques, but were obliged to till the ground when called upon,
and to assist them in their wars; but of these four, Guacanagari, who was
superior lord of that part of the island in which the town of Navidad had
been built, continued always friendly to the Christians. As soon therefore
as he heard of the admirals return to Isabella, he went to wait upon him,
and represented that he had not been any way aiding or advising with the
others, as might appear from the great civility the Christians had always
received in his country, where 100 men had always been well used and
furnished with every thing of which they stood in need. For which reason
the other caciques had become his enemies, as Behechico had killed one of
his women, and Caunabo had taken away another; wherefore he entreated the
admiral to cause her to be restored, and to assist him in revenging his
wrongs. The admiral was disposed to believe that Guacanagari spoke truth,
as he always wept whenever the discourse turned upon the slaughter of the
Christians at the Nativity; and the admiral was the more inclined to take
part with this cacique, as he considered that the discord among the Indian
chiefs, would make it the more easy for him to reduce the country to
subjection, and to punish the other Indians for their revolt, and for
having killed so many of the Christians.

Having resolved to make war upon the refractory natives, he set out from
Isabella on the 24th of March 1495, taking Guacanagari along with him; yet
the enterprize seemed difficult, as the malcontent Indians had collected
a force of above 100,000 men, whereas the admiral had only about 200
infantry, 20 horsemen, and about the same number of dogs [22]. Being well
acquainted with the nature and qualities of the Indians, when he was two
days march from Isabella, the admiral divided his small force, giving
half to his brother the lieutenant, that he might attack the multitude
which was scattered over the plain in two places at once, believing that
the terror of the noise in two places would throw them into disorder, and
put them to flight the sooner, as it actually proved in the event. The
battalions of foot fell upon the disordered multitude of the Indians, and
broke them with the first discharge of their cross-bows and muskets; the
cavalry and the dogs next fell upon them in the most furious manner that
they might have no time to rally, and the faint-hearted natives fled on
every side. Our men pursued them, and made such havock, that in a short
time, through GOD'S assistance, many of the enemies were slain, and others
taken prisoners, among whom was Caunabo the principal cacique of the whole,
with his wives and children, and one of his brothers. Caunabo afterwards
confessed that he had killed twenty of the Spaniards who had been left
with Arana at the town of the Nativity on the first voyage, when the
Indies were discovered; and that he had afterwards gone under colour of
friendship to Isabella, that he might observe how best to attack it and do
as he had formerly done at Navidad. The admiral had been fully informed
of all these things by others, and therefore to punish him for that
offence and for this revolt, he sent the whole family prisoners into Spain,
not being inclined to execute so considerable a person without the
knowledge of their Catholic majesties; but he capitally punished several
others of the ringleaders in the revolt. The consequences of this great
victory, and the capture of Caunabo put the affairs of the Christians into
such good order, that although there were then only 630 Spaniards in the
island, many of whom were sick, and others women and children; yet in the
space of a year, which the admiral employed in traversing the island
without being again constrained to use the sword, he reduced it to entire
obedience, and brought the people to engage for the payment of a tribute
every three months to their Catholic majesties. All the inhabitants of
the province of Cibao, in which the gold mines are situated, from fourteen
years of age and upwards; were to pay a large horse bell full of gold dust;
while those in the other districts of the island were rated at twenty-five
pounds of cotton each person[23]. That it might be known who had paid
their quotas of this tribute, a sort of coin made of brass and tin was
stamped, one of which was given to each person that paid, which he was
directed to wear hanging from his neck, that whoever was found without
this token might be known as not having paid, and be punished accordingly.
Doubtless this arrangement would have proved effectual to ensure a
respectable revenue, as after the capture of Caunabo, the country became
so peaceable, that for the future a single Christian went safely all over
the island, and the Indians would even carry the Spaniards about on their
shoulders. But the troubles which happened afterwards among the Christians,
which will be related in the sequel, overturned all this fair fabric of

The admiral attributed the ease with which he had discomfited so vast a
multitude, with only 200 ill armed and half-sick men, to the interposition
of Providence and the good fortune of their Catholic majesties. And it
pleased the Divine Majesty, not only to enable him to reduce the whole
country under authority, but to end such a scarcity of provisions, and
such violent diseases among the natives, that they were reduced to a third
of the number which they had been when first discovered: Thus making it
evident that such miraculous victories, and the subduing of nations, are
the gift of Providence, and not the effect of our power or good conduct,
or of the want of courage in the natives; for though our men were superior
to them, yet their numbers might have compensated for any advantage we had
over them in arms and discipline [24].

The people of the island being reduced to subjection, and conversing more
freely with our men, many particulars and secrets respecting their
religion were discovered, and many circumstances of the nature of the
country: Particularly that it contained mines of copper, azure, and amber,
and that it produced ebony, cedar, frankincense, and other rich gums, and
spice of several kinds, but wild, and which might be brought to perfection
by cultivation; as cinnamon of a good colour but bitter, ginger, long
pepper, abundance of mulberry trees for making silk which bear leaves all
the year, and many other useful trees and plants not known in our parts. I
shall here insert an account of the religion of these people as written by
the admiral, which is followed by a more particular memorial on the same
subject, written at his desire by an Anchorite who understood the language
of the natives.

"I could discover neither idolatry among those people nor any other sect,
though every one of their kings, who are very numerous both in Hispaniola
and the other islands and continent, has a house apart from the town, in
which there are nothing but some carved wooden images which they call
_cemis_[25], and every thing that is done in these houses is expressly for
the service of these images, the people repairing to these houses to pray
and to perform certain ceremonies, as we do to our churches. In these
houses they have a handsome round table made like a dish, on which there
is some powder which they lay on the head of the _cemi_, with certain
ceremonies; and then by means of a tube which has two branches which they
apply to their nostrils, they snuff up this powder, using certain words
which none of our people understand. This powder puts them beside
themselves as if they were intoxicated. They also give each of these
images a name, which I believe to be derived from the names of their
fathers and grandfathers; for all have more than one image, and some of
them above ten, all in memory of their forefathers. I have heard them
commend one of these images as superior to others, and have observed them
to shew more devotion and respect to one than to another, as we do in our
processions in time of need, and the people and their caciques boast among
one another of having the best _cemis_. When they go to their cemis they
shun the Christians, and will not allow them to go into the houses where
they are kept; and if they suspect any of our people will come, they take
away their cemis into the woods and hide them, for fear we should take
them away; and, what stems most ridiculous, they are in use to steal the
cemis from one another. It happened once that some Christians rushed into
one of these houses, when presently the cemi began to cry out; by which it
appeared to be artificially made hollow, having a tube connected with it
leading into a dark corner of the house, where a man was concealed under a
covering of boughs and leaves, who spoke through the cemi according as he
was ordered by the cacique. The Spaniards, therefore, suspecting how the
trick was performed, kicked down the cemi and discovered the concealed
invention; and the cacique earnestly entreated them not to betray the
secret to his subjects and the other Indians, as he kept them in obedience
by that policy. This may be said to have some resemblance to idolatry,
especially among those who are ignorant of the fraud practised by the
caciques, since they believe that it is the cemi that speaks, and all are
imposed upon by the deceit, except the cacique and the person who combines
with him to abuse their credulity, by which means he draws what tribute he
pleases from his people."

"Most of the caciques have three stones also, to which they and their
people shew great devotion. One of these they say helps the growth of all
sorts of grain, the second causes women to be delivered without pain, and
the third procures rain or fair weather, according as they stand in need
of either. I sent three of these stones to your highnesses by Antonio de
Torres, and I have three more to carry along with myself. When these
Indians die, their obsequies are performed in several manners, but their
way of burying their caciques is this. They open and dry him at a great
fire, that he may be preserved whole. Of others they preserve only the
head. Others they bury in a grot or den, and lay a calabash of water and
some bread on his head. Others they burn in their houses, having first
strangled them when at the last gasp, and this is done to caciques. Others
are carried out of the house in a hammock, laying bread and water at their
head, and they never return any more to see after them. Some when
dangerously ill are carried to the cacique, who gives orders whether they
are to be strangled or not, and their orders are instantly obeyed. I have
taken pains to inquire whether they know or believe what becomes of them
after death, and I particularly questioned Caunabo, who was the chief
cacique in all Hispaniola, a man well up in years, experienced, and of a
most piercing wit and much knowledge. He and the rest answered, that they
go after death to a certain vale, which every great cacique supposes to be
in his own country, and where they affirm they rejoin their relations and
ancestors, that they eat, have women, and give themselves up to all manner
of pleasures and pastimes. These things will appear more at large in the
following extended account which I ordered to be drawn up by one father
_Roman_, who understood their language, and set down all their ceremonies
and antiquities: But these are so filled with absurdities and fable, that
it is hardly possible to make any thing out of them, except that the
natives have some ideas of the immortality of the soul and of a future

[1] This apparently ambiguous expression, probably means all contraveners
    in the premises, or all who might in any way obstruct the full
    execution of the offices and their privileges here granted to Columbus
    and his heirs.--E.

[2] This is certainly the greatest hereditary grant that ever was conceded
    by sovereign to subject. Had it taken effect in its clear extent, the
    family of Columbus must long ere now have become prodigiously too
    powerful and wealthy to have remained hereditary admirals, viceroys,
    and governors of the whole new world. They must either have become
    independent sovereigns, or must have sunk under the consequences of
    rebellion. If they still exist, they owe their existence, or their
    still subjected state, to the at first gross injustice of the court of
    Spain, and its subsequent indispensably necessary policy to preserve
    the prodigious acquisition acquired for them by the genius of this
    great man.--E.

[3] The author mentions that he and his elder brother, the sons of
    Columbus, were present on this occasion, probably to take leave of
    their father. It appears afterwards that James the admirals brother,
    accompanied him on this second voyage.--E.

[4] The phenomenon here alluded to is now well known to be electricity,
    proceeding from or to pointed projections and in a continued stream,
    resembling flame.--E.

[5] These three additional islands probably were successively, Marigalante,
    Petite Terre, and Deseado or Desirade.--E.

[6] The origin of this may have been one of the people saying he had seen
    a pan or vessel of a substance _like iron_, while in the progress of
    the story to the admiral the qualifying circumstance of resemblance
    was omitted.--E.

[7] The meaning of this passage is quite inexplicable.--E.

[8] Those here called cinnamon trees must only have had some distant
    resemblance to true cinnamon in flavour; probably what is now called
    _Canella alba_, which is only used to give a flavour to nauseous

[9] By the description of the route in the foregoing narrative, the
    distances appear to have been, from Isabella to the pass of Hidalgos 3
    leagues; from Hidalgos to the pass of Cibao 11 leagues; and from this
    latter pass to the Castle of St Thomas 4 leagues: in all 18 leagues as
    in the text.--E.

[10] This story, like the iron pan in Dominica formerly mentioned, seems
    to have gained circumstances in its passage to the author. Such
    collections of balls or round stones are not uncommon in mines, and
    are termed nests: The hay and straw seem an embellishment.--E.

[11] In a former passage he was said to have waited for the convoy of
    provisions before going to Cibao, which must have been an oversight in
    the author.--E.

[11a] All these mighty promises of mines turned out only torrents and
    rivulets, in the beds of which gold dust and grains were found with
    infinite labour, and which, after the destruction of the natives, were
    all abandoned as unprofitable.--E.

[12] Flamingos.

[13] The remarkable whiteness of these three natives might have proceeded
    from the use of white pigments, which, as well as red and black, were
    used by the natives of the West India islands.--E.

[14] There must be a gross error here in the original translation, as the
    circumstance of towing ships in such shallow water is impossible. The
    passage ought probably to be thus understood: "There was not a foot of
    water _to spare_, and the wind being foul the channel was too narrow
    to turn through, which occasioned the necessity of towing." As
    expressed in the text, the boats could not have floated.--E.

[15] These strong descriptive epithets seem to have been colloquial
    exaggerations of the recounter to Don Ferdinand Columbus.--E.

[16] Columbus seems now to have changed his course, back again the way be
    came, though not clearly so expressed in the text.--E.

[17] Probably alluding to the dress of the Spanish priest who had said
    mass, and explanatory of the clothed natives who had been seen in that
    place during this voyage.--E.

[18] This bread, which is called cassada or cassava in the British West
    Indies, is made from the roots of Manioca pounded or grated, and
    carefully pressed free from its juice, which is alleged to be
    poisonous. The process will be found minutely described in other parts
    of this collection.--E.

[19] It is not competent in the bounds of a note to enter upon
    philosophical discussions. But it may be shortly mentioned that the
    regular evening rains can be easily accounted for upon Dr Huttons
    ingenious theory of rain. The heated land air loaded to saturation
    with water, by the periodical change of the land and sea breezes,
    meets and mixes with the colder sea air, likewise saturated. The
    reduced mean temperature of the mixture is no longer able to hold the
    same quantity of water in solution, and the superabundant quantity
    precipitates in rain. Hence likewise the prodigious rains in all warm
    latitudes at the changes of the monsoon. The observation of Columbus
    respecting clearing away the woods has been verified in several West
    India islands.--E.

[20] The longitude of Cadiz is 6°18' W. from Greenwich. That of _Saono_,
    the modern name of Adamanoi, is 68°30'. The difference between these
    is only 62°12', or four hours five minutes. The calculation in the
    text therefore is one hour and eighteen minutes erroneous in point of
    time, and 12°15' in longitude; and would remove the east end of
    Hispaniola, to long 80°45' west from Greenwich, considerably beyond
    the west end of Jamaica.--E.

[21] Our author forgets what he had said a few pages before, that the
    admiral had previously resolved to return to Isabella, on account of
    wanting provisions to continue the voyage.--E.

[22] This is probably the first instance of a civilized nation employing
    the horrid alliance of ferocious animals to hunt down their brethren
    like beasts of chase. Once only were the British arms disgraced by a
    demonstration of using this savage mode of warfare, which it is to be
    hoped will never be again heard of in our annals.--E.

[23] The measure of gold dust in the text seems enormous, and I am
    disposed to believe that instead of the large _horse_ bell, mentioned
    in the text, a large _hawks_ bell ought to be substituted. It is
    difficult, perhaps impossible to estimate the population of St Domingo
    at this period, and thence to form a conjecture as to the amount of
    the tribute. From the preceding account of the number of subordinate
    caciques, and the large force opposed to Columbus, perhaps Hispaniola
    might then contain 500,000 inhabitants of all ages, half of whom, or
    250,000, might be liable to the tax. Supposing 50,000 of these
    employed as gold finders, and to pay one ounce each annually, worth
    L. 4 the ounce, this would produce L. 200,000. The remaining 200,000
    paying 100 libs. of cotton each, would give twenty million of pounds;
    and this rated at sixpence a pound would produce L. 500,000, making
    the whole revenue L. 700,000 a-year, a prodigious sum in those days;
    but out of which the expences of government and the admirals share
    were to be defrayed. All this can only be considered as an
    approximation or mere conjecture.--E.

[24] It is a singularly perverted devotion that praises the Almighty for
    success in murder, rapine, and injustice; and doubtless a devout
    Spaniard of those days would sing Te Deum for the comfortable
    exhibition of an _auto de fe_, in which those who differed from the
    dogmas of the holy Catholic church were burnt for the glory of GOD.
    The ways of Providence are inscrutable, and are best viewed by human
    ignorance in silent humility and reverential awe.--E.

[25] It is surely possible that a good Catholic, accustomed to the worship
    of images, might not see idolatry in the ceremonies of the
    Hispaniolans; but the sentiment seems darkly expressed.--E.


_Account of the Antiquities, Ceremonies, and Religion of the Natives of
Hispaniola, collected by F. Roman, by order of the Admiral_[1].

I, Father Roman, a poor anchorite of the order of St Jerome, by command of
the most illustrious lord admiral, viceroy and governor-general of the
islands and continent of the Indies, do here relate all that I could hear
and learn concerning the religious opinions and idolatry of the Indians,
and of the ceremonies they employ in the worship of their gods.

Every one observes some particular superstitious ceremonies in worshipping
their idols, which they name _cemis_. They believe that there is an
immortal being, invisible like Heaven, who had a mother, but no beginning,
whom they call Atabei, Jermaoguacar, Apito, and Zuimaco; which are all
several names of the Deity. They also pretend to know whence they came at
the first, to give an account of the origin of the sun and moon, of the
production of the sea, and what becomes of themselves after death. They
likewise affirm that the dead appear to them upon the roads when any
person goes alone, but that when many are together they do not appear. All
these things they derive from the tradition of their ancestors, for they
can neither write nor read, and are unable to reckon beyond ten.

1. In a province of the island named Caanan, there is a mountain called
Carita, where there are two caves named Cacibagiagua and Amaiauva, out of
the former of which most of the original inhabitants came. While in those
caverns, they watched by night, and one Marocael having the watch, he came
one day too late to the door and was taken away by the sun, and he was
changed into a stone near the door. Others going to fish were taken away
by the sun and changed into trees called jobi, or mirabolans.

2. One named Guagugiana ordered another person named Giadruvava to gather
for him the herb digo, wherewith they cleanse their bodies when they wash
themselves. Giadruvava was taken away by the sun and changed to a bird
called giahuba bagiaci, which sings in the morning and resembles a

3. Guagugiana, angry at the delay, enticed all the women to accompany him,
leaving their husbands and children.

4. Guagugiana and the women came to Matinino, where he left the women, and
went to another country called Guanin. The children thus deserted by their
mothers, called out ma! ma! and too! too! as if begging food of the earth,
and were transformed into little creatures like dwarfs, called tona; and
thus all the men were left without women.

5. There went other women to Hispaniola, which the natives call Aiti, but
the other islanders call them Bouchi. When Guagugiana went away with the
women, he carried with him the wives of the cacique, named Anacacugia; and
being followed by a kinsman, he threw him into the sea by a stratagem, and
so kept all the caciques wives to himself. And it is said that ever since
there are only women at Matinino.

6. Guagugiana being full of these blotches which we call the French pox,
was put by a woman named Guabonito into a guanara, or bye-place, and there
cured. He was afterwards named Biberoci Guahagiona, and the women gave him
abundance of guanine and cibe to wear upon his arms. The cibe or colecibi
are made of a stone like marble, and are worn round the wrists and neck,
but the guanine are worn in their ears, and they sound like fine metal.
They say that Guabonito, Albeboreal, Guahagiona, and the father of
Albeboreal were the first of these Guaninis. Guahagiona remained with the
father called Hiauna; his son from the father took the name of Hia Guaill
Guanin, which signifies the son of Hiauna, and thence the island whether
Guahagiona went is called Guanin to this day.

7. The men who had been left without women were anxious to procure some,
and one day saw the shape of human beings sliding down the trees, whom
they could not catch. But by employing four men who had rough hands from a
disease like the itch, these four strange beings were caught.

8. Finding those beings wanted the parts of women, they caught certain
birds named turiri cahuvaial, resembling woodpeckers, and by their means
fashioned them to their purpose.

9. There was once a man named Giaia, who had a son named Giaiael, which
signifies the son of Giaia; and who, intending to kill his father was
banished and afterwards killed by his father, and his bones hung up in a
calabash. Afterwards going to examine the bones, he found them all changed
into a vast number of great and small fishes.

10. There were four brothers, the sons of a woman named Itiba Tahuvava,
all born at one birth, for the woman dying in labour they cut her open.
The first they cut out was named Diminan, and was a caracaracol, or
afflicted with a disease like the itch, the others had no names. One day
while Giaia was at his conichi or lands, these brothers came to his house
and took down the calabash to eat the fish; but not hanging it up properly,
there ran out so much water as drowned the whole country, and with it
great quantities of fish: And in this manner they believe the sea had its

11. After a long story of a live tortoise being cut out from the shoulder
of Diminan Caracaracol, quite away from the purpose, F. Roman proceeds to
say that the sun and moon came out of a grotto called Giovovava, in the
country of a cacique named Maucia Tiuvel. This grotto is much venerated,
and is all painted over with the representation of leaves and other things.
It contained two cemis made of stone, about a quarter of a yard long,
having their hands bound, and which looked as if they sweated. These were
called Boinaiel and Maroio, and were much visited and honoured, especially
when they wanted rain.

12. They say the dead go to a place called Coaibai, which is in a part of
the island named Soraia; and that one Machetaurie Guaiava, who was lord or
cacique of Coaibi, the dwelling-place of the dead, was the first who went

13. They say that the dead are shut up during the day, and walk abroad in
the night, when they feed on a certain fruit called guabazza, which is
something else during the day and changes to that fruit at night for the
use of the dead. The dead go about and feast with the living, who
sometimes think they have a woman of Coaibi in their arms who vanishes
suddenly; and they allege that those dead inhabitants of Coaibi may be
known by the want of navels. The souls of the living they name goeiz,
those of the dead opia.

14. There is a set of men among them called Bohutis, who use many juggling
tricks, pretend to talk with the dead and to know all the actions and
secrets of the living, whom they cure when sick. All their superstitions
and fables are contained in old songs which these Bohutis rehearse, and
which direct them in all things as the Moors are by the Coran. When they
sing these songs they play on an instrument named Maiohaven, like a
calabash with a long neck, made of wood, strong, hollow, and thin, which
makes so loud a noise as to be heard at the distance of a league and a

15. Almost every person in Hispaniola has abundance of cemis; some have
their fathers, mothers, and predecessors and kindred, some in stone and
others in wood, some that speak, some that eat, some that cause things to
grow, others that bring rain, and others that give winds. When any one is
sick, the Buhuitihu is brought, who must be dieted exactly in the same
manner with the sick man. That is both snuff up a certain powder named
cobaba by the nose, which intoxicates them and makes them speak
incoherently, which they say is talking with the cemis, who tell them the
cause of the sickness.

16. When the Buhuitihu goes to visit a sick person, he smears his face
with soot or powdered charcoal. He wraps up some small bones and a bit of
flesh, which he conceals in his mouth. The sick man is purged with cohaba.
The doctor sits down in the house, after turning out all children and
others, so that only one or two remain with him and the sick person, who
must all remain silent. After many mumming tricks[2], the Buhuitihu lights
a torch and begins a mystic song. He then turns the sick man twice about,
pinches his thighs and legs, descending by degrees to the feet, and draws
hard as if pulling something away; then going to the door he says, "begone
to the sea or the mountains, or whither thou wilt," and giving a blast as
if he blew something away, turns round clapping his hands together, which
tremble as if with cold, and shuts his mouth. After this he blows on his
hands as if warming them, then draws in his breath as if sucking something,
and sucks the sick mans neck, stomach, shoulders, jaws, breast, belly, and
other parts of his body. This done he coughs and makes wry faces as if he
had swallowed something very bitter, and pulls from his mouth what he had
before concealed there, stone, flesh, bone, or whatever that may have been.
If any thing eatable, he alleges that the sick man had eaten this which
had occasioned his disorder, pretending, it had been put in by the cemi
because he had not been sufficiently devout, and that he must build a
temple to the cemi, or give him some offering. If a stone, he desires it
to be carefully preserved, wrapped up in cotton and deposited in a basket.
On solemn days when they provide much food, whether fish, flesh, or any
other, they put it all first into the house of their cemi, that the idol
may eat.

17. If the patient die and has many friends or was lord of a territory, so
that the family dare contend with the Buhuitihu, and are disposed to be
revenged for the loss of their friend, they proceed as follows; but mean
people dare not oppose these jugglers. They take the juice of an herb
called gueio or zachon, with which they mix the parings of the dead mans
nails and the hair of his forehead reduced to powder, and pour this
mixture down the dead mans throat or nostrils, asking him whether the
Buhuitihu were the cause of his death, and whether he observed order?
repeating this question several times till he speaks as plain as if he
were alive, so that he gives answers to all they ask, informing them that
the Buhuitihu did not observe due order in his treatment, or that he had
occasioned his death. It is said that the Buhuitihu then asks him whether
he is alive, and how he comes to speak so plain, to which he answers that
he is actually dead. After this strange interrogatory, they restore the
body to the grave. There is another mode of conjuration on similar
occasions. The dead body is thrown into a violent fire, and covered up
with earth like a charcoal furnace, and then questioned as before. In this
case the dead body gives ten distinct answers and no more. When the fire
is uncovered the smoke proceeds into the house of the Buhuitihu, who falls
sick in consequence and is covered all over with sores, so that his entire
skin comes off. This is taken as a sure sign that the deceased had not
been orderly treated, and the kindred conspire to be revenged on the

18. After this the kindred of the dead man way-lay the Buhuitihu, and
break his legs, arms, and head with repeated blows of heavy clubs till
they leave him for dead. They allege that during the night the poor
battered Buhuitihu is visited by numerous snakes, white, black, green, and
variegated, which lick his face, body, and fractured members till the
bones knit together again, when he gets up and walks to his own house,
pretending that the cemis had restored him. Enraged at the disappointment
of their intended revenge, the kindred again assault him at the first
opportunity, putting out his eyes and emasculating him, without which
previous operation it alleged that a Buhuitihu cannot be lulled by the

19. The cemis of wood are thus made. A person travelling sees some tree
that seems to move or shake its roots, on which in great alarm he asks who
is there? To this the tree answers that such or such a Buhuitihu knows and
will inform. The astonished traveller applies to the conjurer, who repairs
to the spot, where he takes cogiaba or the intoxicating powder formerly
mentioned, then standing up addresses the tree with many titles as if some
great lord, then asks who it is, what he does there, why he sent for him,
and what he would have him do, whether he desires to be out; whether he
will accompany him, where he will be carried, and if a house is to be
built and endowed for his reception? Having received satisfactory answers,
the tree is cut down and formed into a cemi, for which a house is built
and endowed, and cogiaba or religious ceremonies performed there at
certain stated times. The stone cemis are of several sorts, some being
those stones which the Buhuitihus pretend to take from the bodies of the
sick, as before related.

When the natives wish to know if they are to be victorious in war, the
great men of the district consult the favourite cemi, no others being
admitted into the house or temple. The principal chief snuffs cogiaba, and
makes a long address to the idol. Then stands a while with his head turned
round resting his arms on his knees, after which looking up to heaven he
relates the vision he has seen, pretending to have conversed with the cemi,
and delivers his favourable or unfavourable responses, according as it may
have struck his imagination during the fit of intoxication produced by the

20.--24[4]. The cemis have various names, one was called Baidrama, which
is said to have been a burnt dead body restored to shape by having been
washed in the juice of giuca. Corocose is the name of another, which is
said to have removed itself from a house that was on fire to another
dwelling, and used to cohabit with the women. Opigielguoviran is said to
have had four feet like a dog, and when the Christians came to the island
ran away into a morass and disappeared. Guabancex is said to have been a
female cemi and to raise storms, being accompanied by two inferiors;
Guataniva, who summoned the other cemis to aid in raising the intended
storm, and Coatrischie who gathered the waters of inundations in the
mountains and then let them loose to destroy the country. Faraguvaol is
the name of another that used often to escape from its temple.

25. Cazziva a former cacique instituted a fast or abstinence of six or
seven days, which the natives still practise. They shut themselves up
during that period, without using any food except the juice of certain
herbs, in which they likewise wash themselves, and become so weak that
they see visions and get revelations. Giocauvaghama, a cemi, is said to
have revealed to Cazziva that whoever survived him would soon be subdued
by a clothed people who were to arrive in the island and would rule over
and kill them. This they first thought was to have been done by the
Canibals or Caribs, but they only plundered and fled; and they now
believed that the prophecy referred to the Christians.

When I was at the fort Madalena with Arriaga the governor, it pleased God
to give the light of the faith to a whole family of that province of
Maroris, consisting of sixteen persons all relations, five of whom were
brothers. The first of these who was baptised was Guaticaua, named John in
baptism, who suffered a cruel death and in my opinion died a martyr,
crying out Dio aboridacha, I am Gods servant. Another of these brothers
was named Anthony, and died equally a Christian. I afterwards resided with
a cacique named Guarionex nearly two years, who at first seemed much
disposed to become a Christian, desiring to be taught the Paternoster,
Creed, and other Christian prayers, but he fell off by the persuasions of
some of the other principal people. I thence repaired to another cacique
named Mauiatue who evinced a favourable inclination to become a Christian;
and on our way we left some religious pictures in a house for the use of
the catechumens, for them to kneel and pray before. Two days after we were
gone six Indians came to that house of prayer by order of Guarionex, took
away the pictures by force, threw them down, covered them with earth, and
pissed upon them, saying "Now you will see what fruit they will yield."

26. Don Bartholomew Columbus, then governor for his brother who was gone
to Spain, proceeded against these impious men and burnt them. Some days
afterwards the owner of the field in which the pictures had been buried,
went to dig up his agis, which are roots some like turnips and some like
radishes, and in the very spot found two or three of these roots grown in
the shape of a cross. This was found by the mother of Guarionex, the worst
woman in those parts, who considered the circumstance as a great miracle
shewn by God: God knows to what end!

The island is much in need of people to punish the caciques, who refuse to
allow their dependants to be instructed in the faith. Some are easily
instructed that there is but One God who made heaven and earth, while with
others force and ingenuity must be used; for some begin well and have a
better end, while others begin well and then fall off, with whom there is
need of force and punishment I know a principal cacique named
Mahuviativire who has continued three years in his good purpose, desiring
to be a Christian, and to have but one wife; whereas many have two or
three, and the principal caciques twenty or thirty. May it please God, if
my endeavours turn to his good service, to enable me to persevere; and if
it must fall out otherwise to deprive me of understanding.

_Here ends the work of the poor Anchorite, Roman Pane._


_The Admiral returns to Spain, from his Second Voyage._

Having reduced the island to peace and order, and having completed the
town of Isabella, and built three forts in different places to protect the
Christians, the admiral resolved to return into Spain to acquaint their
Catholic majesties with several matters which he considered to be
important: but especially because he had learnt that many malicious and
envious persons had given false information at court respecting the
affairs of the Indies, to the great prejudice and dishonour of him and his
brothers. For these reasons he embarked on Thursday the tenth of March
1496, with 225 Spaniards and thirty Indians in two caravels, the Santa
Cruz and the Nina, and sailed from Isabella about day-break. Holding his
course eastwards along the coast, he lost sight of the eastern point of
Hispaniola on Tuesday the twenty-second of March, keeping an easterly
direction as far as the wind would permit; but the wind for the most part
continuing from the east, and provisions falling short, by which the men
were much discouraged, he deviated southwards towards the Caribbee islands,
and anchored at Marigalante on Saturday the ninth of April. Although it
was not his custom to set sail from any port of a Sunday, yet as his men
muttered, saying that when in want of food it was not necessary to keep so
strictly to the observation of particular days, he therefore set sail next

He next anchored at the island of Guadaloupe and sent the boats on shore
well armed. These were opposed by a great number of women, who came out of
a wood armed with bows and arrows and decorated with feathers; seeing whom
the people in the boats kept aloof, and sent two women of Hispaniola on
shore by swimming to parley with the natives; who, understanding that the
Christians only desired to have provisions in exchange for such
commodities as they had to barter, desired them to go with their ships to
the north side of the island where their husbands then were, who would
furnish them with what they wanted. The ships did accordingly, and sailing
close to the shore saw abundance of people, who came down to the sea-side
and discharged their arrows in vain against our people, setting up loud
cries, but their weapons all fell short. When our boats well armed and
full of men drew near the shore, the Indians retired into an ambush,
whence they sallied forth to hinder our people from landing; but terrified
by some discharges of cannon from the ships, they fled into the woods,
abandoning their houses and goods, when the Christians took and destroyed
all they found. Being acquainted with the Indian method of making bread,
they fell to work and made enough to supply their want, as they found
abundance of materials[5].

Among other things which they found in the Indian houses on this island,
were parrots, honey, wax, and iron, of which last they had hatchets[6]:
and they likewise found looms like those used in Europe for weaving
tapestry[7], in which the natives weave their tents. Their houses, instead
of the ordinary round forms which had been hitherto met with in the West
Indies, were square; and in one of them the Spaniards found the arm of a
man roasting at a fire upon a spit. While the bread was making, the
admiral dispatched forty men into the country to examine into its nature
and productions, who returned next day with ten women and three boys all
the rest of the natives having fled into the woods. One of these women was
the wife of a cacique, who was exceedingly nimble and had been taken with
very great difficulty by a man of the Canaries: She might even have got
from him, but observing him to be alone she thought to have taken him, and
closed with him for that purpose, and even got him down and had almost
stifled him, had not some others of the Christians come to his aid. The
less of these women are swathed with cotton cloth from the ancle to the
knee, which gives them a very thick appearance; and they gird these
ornaments, which they call _Coiro_, and consider as very genteel, so
tightly that the leg appears very thin when they happen to slip off[8].
The same swaths are used both by men and women in Jamaica upon the smaller
parts of their arms up to the armpits, similar to the old-fashioned
sleeves in Spain.

The women of this island were excessively fat, insomuch that some were
thicker than a man could grasp round; they all wear their hair long and
loose upon their shoulders, nor do they cover any part of their bodies
except as before mentioned. As soon as their children can use their limbs,
they give them bows and arrows that they may learn to shoot. The woman who
made so much resistance said that the island was only inhabited by women,
and that those who made demonstrations of hindering the landing of our men
were all women, except four men who had come there accidentally from
another island; for at certain times of the year the men come from the
other islands to sport and cohabit with the women of this. The same
customs were followed by the women in another island, called Matrimonio or
the Island of Matrimony, and this woman gave an account of these islanders
similar to what we read concerning the Amazons; and the admiral believed
it because of the strength and courage of these women[9]. It is also said
that these women seemed to have clearer understandings than those of the
other islands; for in the other islands they only reckon the day by the
sun and the nights by the moon, whereas these women reckoned by other
stars, saying that it is time to do such and such things when the great
bear or certain other stars, as it may be, are due north.

When they had made provision of bread for twenty days besides what they
had on board, the admiral resolved to continue his voyage into Spain. But,
considering that the island of Guadaloupe was an inlet to others, he
thought fit to send all the women on shore, having first made them some
gifts in compensation of the loss they had sustained; except the chief
lady, who chose to go into Spain with her daughter along with the other
Indians from Hispaniola. One of these was Cannabo, the chief cacique of
that island in the late disturbances, who was himself a Carib and not a
native of that island. Having furnished all the vessels with bread, wood,
and water, the admiral set sail on Wednesday the twentieth of April from
Guadaloupe, with the wind very scant, keeping near the latitude of
twenty-two degrees north: as at this time they had not found out the
method of running away north to meet the S.W. winds.

Having made but little way and the ships being full of people, they began
by the twentieth of May to be much afflicted with scarcity of provisions,
insomuch that they were reduced to an allowance of six ounces of bread and
less than a pint of water for each person daily, and had no other article
of provision besides. Though there were eight or nine pilots in the two
ships, yet none of them knew whereabout they were, but the admiral was
confident that they were then only a little west of the Azores, whereof he
gives the following account in his journal.

"This morning the Dutch compasses varied as they used to do a whole point,
while those of Genoa, which used to agree with them, varied but a very
little, though afterwards sailing farther east they varied more, which is
a sign that we were 100 leagues west of the Azores or somewhat more; for
when we were just 100 leagues there were only a few scattered weeds to be
seen, the Dutch needles varying a point while those of Genoa pointed due
north; and when we got somewhat farther E.N.E. they altered again." This
idea was verified on the twenty-second of May, when by exact reckoning the
admiral found that he was 100 leagues to the west of the Azores. He was
much astonished at this singular difference between the two kinds of
compasses, which he was disposed to attribute to their having been made by
different kinds of loadstones; for until they had arrived at that
longitude they all varied a point from the true north, and some of them
continued to do so even there, while those constructed at Genoa, now
pointed due north, and the same remarkable discrepancy continued upon the
twenty-fourth of May.

They thus continued their course, all the pilots going on with blind
confidence, till on Wednseday the 8th of June they came in sight of
Odemira, between Lisbon and Cape St Vincent; but the admiral, confident
that they were near that cape, slackened sail the night before, though
laughed at by many, some affirming that they were in the English channel,
while those who erred least believed themselves on the coast of Galicia.
The scarcity was now become so great that many objected to shortening sail,
alleging that it were better to run the risk of perishing at once by
running on shore than to starve miserably on the sea; and many, like the
canibals, were for eating the Indians who where on board, or at least were
for throwing them overboard, on purpose to make some small saving of the
provisions which remained; and this would certainly have been done if the
admiral had not exerted his whole authority to save them, as human
creatures who ought not to be worse used than the rest. At length it
pleased God to reward him with the sight of land in the morning, according
to his promise the preceding evening; for which he was ever afterwards
considered by the seamen as most expert and almost prophetical in maritime

Having landed in Spain the admiral went to Burgos, where he was very
favourably received by their Catholic majesties, who were then at that
place celebrating the marriage of their son Prince John with Margaret of
Austria, daughter of the Emperor Maximilian. That princess was conducted
into Spain with great splendour, and received by most of the nobility and
by the greatest concourse of persons of quality that ever had been seen
together in Spain. But though I was present on the occasion as page to
prince John, I shall not enter into the particulars of this solemnity,
since it does not belong to the history I have undertaken to write, and
because the royal historiographers will have doubtless taken care to
record this event.

On his arrival at Burgos, the admiral presented their majesties, with many
curious specimens of the productions of the Indies, as birds, beasts,
trees, plants, instruments, and other things used by the Indians in their
employments and amusements; also girdles, and masks, having ears and eyes
made of gold plates; likewise with much gold dust, small and gross as
produced by nature, some of the grains as big as vetches, some like beans,
and others as large as pigeons eggs. These latter, then so much admired,
were not afterwards so much valued, as in progress of time lumps of gold
have been found which weighed above thirty pounds; but they were then held
in high estimation in prospect of great future hopes, and were received in
good part by their majesties. When the admiral had given them an account
of all that seemed to him necessary for improving and peopling the Indies,
he was very desirous to return thither with all speed, lest some disaster
might happen during his absence, considering that he had left the colony
in great want of necessaries; and though he strongly solicited and pressed
the necessity of speedy succours, such was the tediousness and delay of
business in that court, that ten or twelve months elapsed before he could
procure the equipment of two ships, which were sent out in February 1498,
under the command of Pedro Fernandez Coronel.

The admiral remained at court to solicit the appointment of such a fleet
as he considered to be necessary for his return to the Indies. But he was
forced to remain above a year at Burgos and Medina del Campo, where in the
year 1497 their majesties granted him many favours, and gave the necessary
orders for expediting his affairs, and for the settlement and government
of the Indies. These I here mention to shew that their Catholic majesties
were, still ready to acknowledge and reward his services and merit; though
they afterwards altered greatly in this respect, through the false
information and scandalous insinuations of malicious and envious persons,
so as to permit gross wrongs to be done him, as will afterwards appear.

Having at length procured the necessary orders, he proceeded to Seville,
and there the fitting out of his fleet was retarded very unprofitably
through the negligence and ill management of the public officers,
especially Juan de Fonseca, the archdeacon of Seville, who was afterwards
bishop of Burgos, and always was a bitter enemy to the admiral and his
affairs, and became the chief leader among those who afterwards brought
him into disgrace with their Catholic majesties. While engaged at Seville
in superintending the equipment, that my brother and I might not suffer by
the delays, we having both served as pages to Prince John, who was now
dead, he sent us back to court in November 1497 to serve as pages to her
majesty Queen Isabella of glorious memory.


_Account of the Admirals third Voyage, during which he discovered the
Continent of Paria; with the occurrences to his arrival in Hispaniola._

The admiral forwarded the equipment of this expedition with all possible
care, and set sail from the bay of San Lucar de Barameda on the thirtieth
of May 1498, having six ships loaded with provisions and other necessaries
for the relief of the colonists in Hispaniola, and for the farther
settlement and peopling of that island. On the seventh of June he arrived
at the island of Puerto Santo, where he heard mass, and took in wood and
water and other necessaries, yet he sailed that same night for Madeira,
where he arrived on Sunday the ninth of June, and was courteously received
and entertained at Funchal by the governor of the island. He remained in
this place until Saturday the fifteenth of June, providing all manner of
refreshments, and arrived at Gomera on Wednesday the nineteenth of the
same month. At this place there was a French ship which, had captured
three Spanish vessels; on seeing the admirals squadron, the Frenchman
stood out to sea with two of his prizes: and the admiral supposing them to
be three merchant vessels which mistook his squadron for French, took no
care to pursue till too late, and when informed of what they were, he sent
three of his ships in pursuit but they got clear off. They might have
carried away the third prize likewise, if they had not abandoned her in
the consternation they were in on first noticing our fleet; so that there
being only four Frenchmen on board and six Spaniards belonging to her
original crew, the Spaniards on seeing assistance at hand, clapt the
Frenchmen under the hatches and returned into port, where the vessel was
restored to her former master. The admiral would have executed these
French prisoners as pirates, but that Don Alvaro de Lugo the governor
interceded for them, that they might be given in exchange for six of the
inhabitants who had been carried away.

The admiral sailed from Gomera for Ferro on Thursday the twenty-first of
June, whence he resolved to send three of his ships direct to Hispaniola,
and going with the rest to the islands of Cabo Verde to sail directly over
from thence to discover the continent. He therefore appointed a captain to
each of the ships which he sent to Hispaniola. One of those was Pedro de
Arana, cousin to that Arana who died in Hispaniola, the second was Alonzo
Sanchez de Caravajal, and the third his own kinsman John Anthony Columbus.
To these captains he gave particular instructions for the conduct of their
voyage, directing that each of them should have the command a week in his
turn. Having dispatched these three ships for Hispaniola, he set out with
the other three for the Cape Verde islands; but the climate he was then
entering upon being unhealthy at that season, he had a terrible fit of the
gout in one leg, and four days afterwards he fell into a violent fever;
but, notwithstanding this sickness he was still himself, and diligently
observed the course made by the ship, the alterations of the weather, and
all other circumstances as in his first voyage.

On the twenty-fifth June he discovered the island de Sal, one of the Cape
Verdes, and passing it he came to another very improperly named _Bona
vista_, which signifies good prospect, yet the place is dull and wretched.
Here he cast anchor in a channel near a small island in which there are
six or seven houses appointed for persons who are afflicted with the
leprosy, who come there to be cured. And as sailors rejoice when they
discover land, so do these wretches much more when they discover any ship;
wherefore they immediately ran down to the shore to speak with the people
whom the admiral sent on shore to take in water and salt. There are
likewise abundance of goats in that island. Understanding that our people
were Spaniards, the Portuguese who had charge of this island for the owner
went on board to wait upon the admiral, and made offer of every assistance
in his power, for which the admiral thanked him and ordered him to be well
treated, and to have some provisions given him, for by reason of the
barrenness of the island the inhabitants live very miserably. Being
desirous to know what methods were used for curing the leprosy, this man
told the admiral that the excellent temperature of the air was one
principal cause, and the next the diet of the infected; for there came to
this island vast numbers of turtles, on which the sick chiefly feed, and
anoint themselves with the blood of these animals, and are by these means
speedily cured; but that such as are born with the distemper are longer of
being cured. The reason assigned for the great numbers of turtle was, that
the shores of the island being all sandy, these creatures resort thither
from the west coast of Africa in the months of June, July, and August, to
deposit their eggs. They are mostly as large as an ordinary target, and
come every night on shore to sleep and to lay their eggs in the sand. The
people go along the shore at night with lanterns and other lights, seeking
the tracks which the turtle leaves in the sand, which they follow till
they find the animal, which being tired with the exertion, sleeps so
soundly as not to waken on their approach. Having found a turtle it is
turned on its back, and without doing any more harm they go on to seek
more, which are treated in the same manner. Having got as many as they
think fit, they come back in the morning to choose those they like best,
as they cannot possibly recover their feet when once turned over. They
then carry off such as they think fit, turning up the smaller ones upon
their belly and allowing them to go away. The island being very dry and
barren, without either trees or springs, the wretched sick inhabitants
have no other sustenance, and are entirely without employment, and they
are necessitated to drink of the thick and brackish water of certain wells,
there being none else to be found.

Besides the sick, the only inhabitants of the island consisted of the man
who had the charge and four more, and their only employment was to kill
and salt goats to be sent to Portugal. There were such multitudes of goats
on the island, all derived from eight left there originally, that some
years they killed to the value of three or four thousand ducats. The
proprietor was Roderick Alfonzo, secretary of the customs to the king of
Portugal, by whom the original stock of goats had been carried to this
place. These goat-hunters are often four or five months without bread or
any thing to eat but goats flesh and fish; for which reason this man made
great account of the provisions which the admiral had given him. This man
and his companions, with some of the admirals men, went out to hunt goats
for the use of the ships, but finding that it would require much time to
kill all he had need of, and being anxious to proceed on his voyage, the
admiral would not protract his stay in this place.

On Saturday the 30th of June, he sailed for Santiago, the principal of the
Cape Verde islands, where he arrived the next evening, and cast anchor near
a church, sending on shore to purchase some bulls and cows, which he
wished to carry alive to Hispaniola. But finding it difficult to procure
them so soon as he wished, and considering how prejudicial delays might
prove to the safety and success of his voyage, he would not remain. He was
the more induced to get away with all expedition on account of the
unhealthiness of the country, lest his men might fall sick; as during all
the time he lay among these islands he never saw the sky or any star, in
consequence of a perpetual thick hot fog; insomuch that three fourths of
the inhabitants were sick, and all of them had a most unhealthy colour.

On Thursday the 5th of July, the admiral left the island of St Jago,
sailing S.W. with the intention of holding that course till he was under
the equinoctial, and then to steer due west, that he might discover some
other land before proceeding to Hispaniola. But the currents among these
islands set so strongly to the north and north-west, that he was unable to
keep his intended course, and was still in sight of Fogo, one of the Cape
Verde islands, on the 7th of July. This island is very high land on the
south side, and looks at a distance like a great church with a steeple at
the east end, which is an exceedingly high rock, whence there usually
breaks out much fire before the east winds blow, in the same manner as is
seen at Teneriffe, Vesuvius, and Etna. From this last country of the
Christians he held on his course S.W. till he came into only 5° of north
latitude, where he was becalmed, having till then been continually
attended by the before-mentioned fog. The calms lasted eight days, with
such violent heat as almost to burn the ships, and it was impossible
during all that time for any of the people to remain below deck, and had
not the sun been clouded with occasional rains, the admiral thought they
would have been burnt up alive together with their ships. On the first day
of the calm, being fair, nothing could withstand the heat, had not GOD
relieved them with the rain and fog. Having therefore got a little way to
the northwards into seven degrees of latitude, he resolved not to hold any
farther to the south, but to sail due west in that parallel, at least till
he saw how the weather settled, because he had lost many casks in
consequence of the hoops starting with the great heat, and the corn and
all other provisions were scorched up.

About the middle of July, the admiral observed the latitude with great
care, and found a wonderful difference between the appearances there and
in the parallel of the Azores. For at the Azores, when the constellation
of the great bear was to the right or east, then the north star is lowest,
and from that time began to rise; so that when the great bear was over
head, the north star had risen two degrees and a half, and being passed,
that began again to descend the five degrees it had ascended. This he
observed very carefully, several times when the weather was very fit for
his purpose. But at the place where he now was in the torrid zone these
appearances were quite contrary; for when the great bear was at its
greatest elevation, he found the north star six degrees high; and when in
six hours the bear came to the west the north star was then eleven degrees
high; when the bear was quite depresssed and could not be seen because of
the obliquity of the pole, the north star was six degrees high, so that
the difference was ten degrees, and the north star described a circle
having a diameter of ten degrees; whereas, in other places, it made but
five, and in a different position as to the great bear, for at the Azores
the polar star was lowest when the bear was in the west, and here the
north star was lowest when the bear was at its greatest elevation. The
admiral, not being complete master of this subject, thought this of very
difficult comprehension; and observes that probably when at the
equinoctial, the full orbit of the star is seen; whereas, the nearer one
approaches the pole it seems the less, because the Heavens are more
oblique. As for the variation, I believe the star has the quality of all
the four quarters, like the needle, which if touched to the east
side points to the east, and so of the west, north, and south; wherefore,
he that makes a compass covers the loadstone with a cloth, all but its
north part, or that which has the power to make the needle point to the

On Tuesday the 31st of July, 1498, having sailed many days west, insomuch
that the admiral believed the Caribbee islands were to the north, he
resolved to discontinue that western course, and to make for Hispaniola,
because he was greatly in want of water, and almost all his provisions had
perished, and because he was afraid lest some mutiny or disorder might
have broken out in the colony during his long absence, which in fact had
been the case as we shall shew hereafter. Therefore, altering his course
from the west, he stood to the north[10], thinking to fall in with the
Caribbee islands to refresh his men, and to take in wood and water, of
which he was in great want. While thus sailing one day about noon, Alonzo
Perez Nirando, a sailor of the town of Gullva, discovered land from the
round top at about fifteen leagues distance, three mountains making their
appearance at once, and soon afterwards the land was observed to stretch
out towards the N.E. as far as the eye could reach, so that it appeared to
have no end. The salve regina and other prayers usual with seamen in times
of joy or distress were immediately rehearsed, and the admiral called the
land now discovered Trinidada or the island of the Trinity; both because
he had before intended to give that name to the first land he might
discover, and because it had pleased God to give him a sight of _three_
mountains all at one time. He now altered his course to the west that he
might get to a cape which appeared southwards, and making for the south
side of the island, came to an anchor five leagues beyond a point which he
named Punta de la Galera, or Galley Point, on account of a rock which lay
near that point, looking at a distance like a galley under sail.

Having now only one cask of water remaining for the whole crew, and the
other ships in company being in the same condition, and no water being
found in this place, he continued his course still westwards, and cast
anchor on the Wednesday following at another point which he named Punta de
la Plaga, or Sand Point, because of a fine strand or beach where the
people landed and procured water at a fine brook[11]. In this place they
found no habitations and saw no people, though along the coast, which they
had left behind them, they had seen many houses and towns. They found here,
however, the tokens of fishermen who had fled, leaving behind them some of
their fishing tackle; and they noticed the prints of the feet of beasts,
which they judged might have been goats, and they saw the bones of one,
the head of which had no horns, and which, therefore, they thought might
have been a monkey, or cat-o-mountain, as they afterwards found it to have
been, having found many of these cats in Paria[12]. This same day, being
the 1st of August, while sailing between Cape Galera and la Plaga, they
discovered the continent about twenty-five leagues distant, but thinking
it another island, it was named Isla Santo, or the Holy Island[13]. The
coast of Trinidada between those two points was thirty leagues in length
from E. to W. without any harbour, but all the country appeared pleasantly
covered with trees down to the water side, and had abundance of towns.
They ran this space of thirty leagues in a very short time, because the
current set so violently to the westwards that it looked like a rapid
river both day and night; for although the tide flowed and ebbed along the
shore above forty paces, as it does at San Lucar de Barameda in Spain, yet
the current never ceases to run in the same direction.

Perceiving that no account could be got of the people of the country at
this cape, that it was excessively laborious to take in a full supply of
water here, and that there was no convenience for careening the ships, or
procuring provisions, the admiral went next day to another point of land
which seemed to be the most westerly in the island, which he named Cabo
del Arenal, and came here to anchor, thinking that the easterly winds
which reign there might not be so troublesome to the boats in going
backwards and forwards from the shore. On the way to this point a canoe
followed the admirals ship, having twenty-five men on board, and stopped
at the distance of a cannon-shot, calling out and speaking very loud.
Nothing could be understood, though it was supposed they inquired who our
men were and whence they came, as had been usual with the other Indians.
As they could not be induced to come on board, either by words or gestures,
or by exhibiting looking glasses, little brass basons, and other baubles
which used to have great influence on the other natives of the Indies, the
admiral ordered some young fellows to dance on the poop to the music of a
pipe and tabor. On seeing this, the Indians snatched up their targets, and
began shooting their arrows at the dancers; who, by the admirals command,
left off dancing and began to shoot with their cross-bows in return, that
the Indians might not go unpunished, or learn to despise the Christians;
whereupon, the Indians were glad to draw off, and made for another caravel
which they immediately went along-side of without any apprehension. The
pilot of that ship went over into the canoe, and gave the Indians some
baubles with which they were much pleased, and said if they were on shore
they would have brought him bread from their houses. The account given of
these people was that they were well shaped and whiter than the other
islanders, wearing their hair long like women, bound up with small strings,
and that they covered their nudities with small clouts. But the people in
the caravel did not detain any of them for fear of giving displeasure to
the admiral.

As soon as the ships had anchored at Punta del Arenal, the admiral sent
the boats on shore for water, and to endeavour to procure some information
respecting the Indians, but they could do neither, that country being very
low and uninhabited, and having no springs or rivulets. He therefore
ordered them next day to dig trenches or pits on the island in hope of
procuring water by that means; and by good fortune, they found these ready
made to their hands and full of excellent water, it being supposed that
they had been dug by the fishermen. Having taken what water they wanted,
the admiral resolved to proceed to another mouth or channel which appeared
towards the north-west, which he afterwards called _Boca del Drago_, or
the Dragons Mouth, to distinguish it from the one where he then was, to
which he had given the name of _Boca del Sierpe_, or the Serpents Mouth.
These two mouths or channels, like the Dardanelles, are made by the two
most westerly points of the island of Trinidada, and two other points of
the continent, and lie almost north and south of each other. In the midst
of the Serpents Mouth, where the admiral now anchored, there was a rock
which he called El Gallo, or the cock. Through this channel the water ran
continually and furiously to the northwards, as if it had been the mouth
of some great river, which was the occasion of naming it _Boca del Sierpe_,
because of the terror it put our people into; for, as they lay very
securely at anchor, there came a stronger current of the water than usual,
making a hideous noise and running furiously to the northwards; and being
opposed by another current running out from the Gulf of Paria, they met
with a hideous roaring noise, and caused the sea to swell up like a high
mountain, or ridge of hills along the channel. Soon afterwards, this
mountainous wave came towards the ships, to the great terror of all the
men, fearing they should be overset. But it pleased GOD that it passed
underneath, or rather lifted up the ships without doing any harm; yet it
drew the anchor of one of them and carried it away, but by means of their
sails they escaped the danger, not without mortal fear of being lost. That
furious current being past, and considering the danger of remaining there,
the admiral stood for the Dragons Month, which is between the north-west
point of Trinidada and the east point of Paria; but he went not through it
at that time, but sailed along the south coast of Paria westwards,
thinking it to have been an island, and expecting to find a way out
northwards into the Caribbean sea towards Hispaniola; and though there
were many ports along that coast of Paria, he would put into none, all
that inland sea being a harbour locked in by the continent.

Being at an anchor on Sunday the 5th of August, and it being his custom
never to weigh on a Sunday, he sent the boats on shore, where they found
abundance of fruit, of the same kinds which they had seen on the other
islands; there were great numbers of trees, and marks of people who had
fled for fear of the Christians. Being unwilling to lose time, he sailed
fifteen leagues farther along that coast without going into any harbour,
lest he should not have sufficient wind to bring him out again. While at
anchor, there came out a canoe to the caravel called _El Borreo_ having
three men; and the pilot, knowing how much the admiral wished to receive
some information from these people, pretended to talk with the Indians and
let himself down into the canoe, by which means some Spaniards in the boat
took these men and sent them to the admiral, who made much of them and
sent them on shore with many gifts, at a place where there were a great
number of Indians. These, hearing the good account which the three Indians
gave them of their treatment, came off in their canoes to barter for such
things as they had, which were much the same as had been already seen in
the islands before discovered, only that they had no targets or poisoned
arrows, which are only used by the Canibals or Caribs. Their drink was a
sort of liquor as white as milk, and another somewhat blackish, tasting
like green wine, made from unripe grapes, but they could not learn what
fruit it was made from[14].

They wore cotton cloths, well wove and of several colours, about the size
of a handkerchief, some larger and some less, and what they most valued of
our articles was brass, and especially bells. These people seemed more
civilized and tractable than the natives of Hispaniola. The men covered
their nudities with one of these cloths fastened round their middle, and
had another wrapped round their heads, but the women went altogether naked
as in Trinidada.

They saw nothing of value here except some small plates of gold which the
natives were hanging from their necks; for which reason, and because the
admiral could not stay to dive into the secrets of the country, he ordered
six of these Indians to be taken, and continued his voyage to the
westwards, still believing that land of Paria which he had called the Holy
Island to be no continent. Soon afterwards, an island appeared towards the
south, and another towards the west, both high land, cultivated and well
peopled, and the inhabitants had more plates of gold about their necks
than the others, and abundance of guaninis, which are made of very low
gold. They said that this gold was procured from other islands farther to
the westwards, of which the inhabitants eat men. The women had strings of
beads about their arms, and among these were some very fine large and
small strung pearls, some of which were procured as a sample to send to
their Catholic majesties. Being asked where they got these things, they
made signs to show that in the oyster shells which were taken westwards
from that land of Paria, and beyond it towards the north these pearls were
found. Upon this good discovery, the admiral remained some time to learn
more about it, and sent the boats on shore, where all the people of the
country who had flocked together appeared very tractable and friendly,
and importuned the Christians to accompany them to a house not far off,
where they gave them to eat, and likewise a great deal of their wine. From
that house, which was believed to be the kings palace, they were carried
to another belonging to his son, where the same kindness was shewn. These
people were all in general whiter than any they had yet seen in the Indies,
with better aspects and shapes, having their hair cut short by their ears
after the Spanish fashion. From them they learnt that the country was
named Paria, and that they would gladly be in amity with the Christians.
Thus they departed from them and returned to the ships.

Holding on his course westwards, the admiral found the depth of the water
gradually to lessen, till passing through five and four fathoms, they at
length had only two and a half at the ebb. The tide differed considerably
in this place from what it had been found at Trinidada; for whereas there
it ebbed and flowed three fathoms, here, at forty-five leagues to the
westward it only rose and fell one fathom. At Trinidada both during ebb
and flow, the current always ran west, whereas here the flood made to the
west, and the ebb returned to the east. At Trinidada the sea water was
brackish, while here it was sweet, almost like river water. Perceiving
this difference, and how little water they had, the admiral durst not
proceed any farther with his own ship, which being of 100 tons burthen,
required three fathoms water; he therefore came to anchor on the coast in
a very safe port, land-locked on all sides and shaped like a horse shoe.
From this place he sent on the little caravel called _El Borreo_, or the
Post, to discover if there were any passage westwards among these supposed
islands. She returned next day, the 11th of August, having gone but a
short distance, and reported, that at the western point of that sea there
was a mouth or opening two leagues over from north to south, and within it
a round bay, having four little bays, one towards each quarter of the
Heavens, into each of which a river flowed, which occasioned the water of
that sea to be so sweet, which was yet much sweeter farther in; and they
added, that all this land which they had considered as separate islands
was one and the same continent. They had everywhere in that interior bay
four or five fathoms water, which so abounded in those weeds they had seen
on the ocean as even to hinder their passage.

Being now certain that he could get no passage to the westwards, the
admiral stood back that same day to the east, designing to pass the Boca
del Drago, or that strait which he had seen between Trinidada and the land
called Paria by the Indians. In this strait there are four small islands
to the east, next that point of Trindada which he named Cabo de Boca, or
Cape Mouth, because it was blunt; and the western cape upon the continent
he called Cabo de Lapa. The reason why he gave this strait the name of the
Dragons Mouth, was because it was very dangerous, on account of the
prodigious quantity of fresh water which continually struggles to get out
that way into the open sea, and that the strait is divided into three
boisterous channels by intervening islands. While sailing through this
strait the wind failed, and he was in great danger of being drifted by the
raging current against some sand or rock; he gave it this name likewise as
corresponding with that he had before given to the other entrance into the
gulf of Paria, the Boca del Sierpe or Serpents Mouth, where he was in no
less danger. But it pleased God, that what they most dreaded should prove
their greatest safety, for the strength of the current carried them clear
through. On Monday the 17th of August, he began to sail westwards along
the northern coast of Paria, in order to stand over afterwards for
Hispaniola, and gave thanks to God who had delivered from so many troubles
and dangers, still shewing him new countries full of peaceable people, and
abounding in wealth, more especially that which he now certainly concluded
to be the continent, because of the great extent of the gulf of Pearls and
the size of the rivers that run into it, making it all deep water, and all
the Indians of the Caribbean islands had told him there was a vast land to
the southward. Likewise, according to the authority of Esdras, the 8th
chapter of the 4th book, if the world were divided into seven equal parts,
one only is water and the rest land.

Sailing along to the westwards on the coast of Paria, the admiral fell
gradually off from it towards the N.W. being so drifted by the current
owing to the calmness of the weather, so that on Wednesday the 15th of
August, he left the _Cabo de las Conchas_, or Cape of Shells to the south,
and the island of _Margarita_ to the west, which name, signifying the isle
of Pearls, he gave to it as by divine inspiration, as close to it is the
isle of _Cabagua_ where an infinite quantity of pearls have since been
found; and he afterwards named some mountains in Hispaniola and Jamaica
the _Gold Mountains_, where the greatest quantity and largest pieces of
that metal that were ever carried into Spain were afterwards found. But to
return to his voyage, he held on his way by six islands which he called
_de las Guardas_, or the Guards, and three others more to the north called
_los Testigos_, or the Witnesses. Though they still discovered much land
in Paria to the westwards, yet the admiral says in his journal that he
could not from this time give such an account of it as he wished, because
through much watching his eyes were inflamed, and he was therefore forced
to take most of his observations from the sailors and pilots. This same
night, the sixteenth of August, the compasses, which hitherto had not
varied, did now at least a point and a half, and some of them two points,
and in this there could be no mistake, as several persons had attentively
observed the circumstance. The admiral admired much at this, and was much
grieved that he had not an opportunity of following the coast of the
continent any farther; he therefore held on his course to the N.W. till
on Monday the twentieth of August, he came to an anchor between Isla Beata
or the Blessed Island and Hispaniola, whence he sent a letter overland to
his brother the Adelantado, acquainting him with his safe arrival and his
success in having discovered the continent. The admiral was much surprised
at finding himself so far to the westwards, for although he was aware of
the power of the currents, he did not expect they would have produced so
great an effect. Therefore, that his provisions might not fail, he stood
to the eastwards for San Domingo, into which harbour he sailed on the
thirtieth of August. Here the lieutenant his brother had appointed to
build a city, on the east side of the river where it now stands, and which,
in memory of his father, named Domingo or Dominick, is now named _Santo


_An account of the Rebellion in Hispaniola, previous to the arrival of the

On his arrival at St Domingo, the admiral was almost blind with
overwatching and fatigue, and hoped there to rest himself and to find
peace among the people of the colony; but he found quite the contrary, for
all the people of the island were in disorder and rebellion. Great numbers
of those whom he had left were dead, and of those who remained above 160
individuals were ill of the French pox; besides that many were in
rebellion, with Francis Roldan at their head, whom he had left as alcalde
mayor, or chief justice of the island. And to add to the evil, the three
ships that he had dispatched from the Canary islands with supplies had not
yet arrived. Of all these matters it is requisite that we should treat in
an orderly manner, beginning from the time when the admiral had set out
from this island for Spain in March 1496, thirty months before his present

For some considerable time after his departure, matters went on pretty
quietly in hopes of his speedy return and receiving supplies and relief.
But after the first year, finding their hopes abortive, the Spanish
provisions having utterly failed, and sickness and sufferings increasing,
the people began to be much dissatisfied with their situation, and to
despair of any change for the better. When any discontented persons begin
to utter complaints, they are always sure to find some bold spirit to urge
them on, desirous to become the head of a party: Such on this occasion was
the conduct of Francis Roldan, a native of Torre de Ximena, whom the
admiral had left in great power both among the Christians and Indians, by
making him chief judge of the colony, so that he had almost as much power
and authority as himself. For this reason it is supposed that there was
not that good understanding between him and the admirals lieutenant as
ought to have been for the public good, as appeared actually to have been
the case in the sequel. And, as the admiral neither returned himself nor
sent any supplies, this Roldan began to entertain schemes of usurping the
supreme authority in the island, and designed for this purpose to murder
the admirals brothers as those who were best able to oppose his rebellion,
and actually waited an opportunity of putting this nefarious intention
into execution. It happened that the lieutenant went to a province in the
west called Xaragua, eighty leagues from Isabella, leaving Roldan in the
execution of his employment, but subordinate to Don James the admirals
second brother. Roldan was so much offended at this procedure, that while
the lieutenant was taking order how the caciques should pay their quotas
of the tribute to their Catholic majesties after the rate which had been
settled by the admiral, Roldan began underhand to draw over some of the
malcontents to his party. But that it might not prove fatal to rise too
suddenly and without some colourable pretence, Roldan took hold of the
following circumstance to favour his covert practices. The lieutenant had
caused a caravel to be built at Isabella, to have ready to send to Spain
in case of any urgent necessity, and for want of tackle and other
necessary equipments it still lay upon the bench unlaunched. Roldan
insinuated that the delay in launching this vessel was occasioned by other
reasons, and that it was necessary for the common benefit that it should
be fitted out, that some persons might be sent into Spain to represent
their sufferings and to implore relief. Thus under pretence of the public
good, Roldan pressed that the caravel might be launched, and as Don James
Columbus refused his consent on account of the want of tackle, Roldan
began more boldly to treat with some of the malcontents about launching
the caravel in spite of his refusal; telling those whom he thought would
fall into his measures, that the reason why the lieutenant and his brother
were averse to this measure was, that they were desirous to secure the
dominion of the island to themselves and to keep them in subjection, and
that there might not be any vessel to carry news of their revolt to their
Catholic majesties. And since they were sensible of the cruelty and ill
nature of the lieutenant, and the restless and laborious life he led them,
in continually building towns and forts without necessity, and as there
were now no hopes of the admiral returning with supplies, it was fit they
should seize upon that caravel to procure their own liberty and relief,
and not suffer themselves, under pretence of pay which they never received,
to be kept under the authority of a foreigner, when it was in their power
to live in ease and plenty. That by assuming the authority into their own
hands, they would have it in their power to divide the island equally
amongst them, and would be served by the Indians to their own content;
whereas the lieutenant now hold them under such rigorous authority that
they could not take to wife any Indian woman they pleased, and were forced
to keep the three vows of monachism, chastity, poverty, and abstinence,
and were not wanting in fasts and penances, imprisonments, and other
punishments, which were liberally bestowed for the smallest offences.
Wherefore, since he Roldan held the rod of justice and royal authority,
and could screen them against evil consequences on this account, he
advised them to act as he directed, in doing which they could not be found
guilty. With such pretences and arguments, proceeding from the hatred he
bore to the lieutenant, he drew over so many to his party, that one day,
after the return of the lieutenant from Xaragua to Isabella, some of the
conspirators resolved to stab him, and considered this as so easy a matter
that they had provided a halter to hang him up with after his death. The
circumstance which more immediately incensed them at this particular
period, was the imprisonment of one Barahoria, a friend to the
conspirators; and if God had not put it into the heart of the lieutenant
not to proceed to the execution of justice at this time against that
person, the conspirators had then certainly murdered him.

When Francis Roldan perceived that he had missed the opportunity of
murdering the lieutenant, and that his conspiracy was discovered, he
resolved to possess himself of the town and fort of the Conception,
thinking that from thence he might be easily able to subdue the island. It
happened conveniently for the execution of this design, that he was then
near that town, having been sent with forty men to reduce that province to
obedience, the Indians having revolted and formed a similar design of
making themselves masters of the Conception and massacring the Christians.
So that Roldan, under pretence of preventing this evil, gathered his men
at the residence of one of the caciques named Marche, intending to put his
enterprise into execution on the first opportunity. But Ballester, who
commanded in that fort, having some jealousy of Roldans intentions, kept
himself well upon his guard, and sent intelligence to the lieutenant of
the danger he was in; and the lieutenant with all speed drew together what
force he was able to muster and threw himself into the fort for its

Roldan finding his conspiracy discovered before it was ripe for execution,
came to the Conception under a safe conduct, more to make his observations
how he might best injure the lieutenant, than through any desire of coming
to an accommodation; and with more boldness and impudence than became him,
required the lieutenant to order the caravel to be launched, or else to
give him leave to do it, which he and his friends were able and willing to
do. Incensed at this presumption, the lieutenant answered that neither he
nor his friends were seamen, and know not what was proper to be done in
that case; and though they had known how to launch the caravel, yet they
could not sail in her for want of rigging and other necessaries, and
therefore it would only expose the men and the caravel to certain
destruction to pretend to send her to Spain. Upon this, conscious that
they had no knowledge of sea affairs, and that the lieutenant being a
seaman understood these matters, the conspirators differed in opinion on
this subject. After this quarrelsome discussion, Roldan went away in anger,
refusing to surrender his rod of justice to the lieutenant, or to stand
trial for his disobedient and mutinous conduct; saying that he would do
both when ordered by their Catholic majesties to whom the island belonged,
but that he could not expect to receive an impartial or fair trial from
the lieutenant, who bore him hatred and ill will, and would find means to
put him to a shameful death if he submitted, whether right or wrong. But
in the mean time, not to exceed the bounds of reasonable obedience, he was
willing to go and reside in any place that the lieutenant might point out.
Whereupon the lieutenant commanded him to go to the residence of the
cacique James Columbus[15]; but he refused this under pretence that there
were not sufficient provisions there for his men, and that he would find a
convenient place for himself.

Roldan went from thence to Isabella, where he gathered a company of
sixty-five adherents; and finding himself unable to launch the caravel, he
and his followers plundered the magazines, taking away what arms,
merchandize, and provisions they thought proper, Don James Columbus who
was there not being able to oppose them, and would even have been in
imminent peril of his life if he had not withdrawn into the fort with some
friends and servants. In the process or examinations which were afterwards
drawn up on this subject, some of the evidences deposed that Roldan
offered to submit to Don James, providing he would take his part against
his own brother: Which he refusing, and Roldan being unable to do him any
farther harm, and also fearing the succours which were coming from the
lieutenant, he and the mutineers left the town, and falling upon the
cattle that grazed in the neighbourhood, they killed such as they wanted
for food, and took away the beasts of burden to serve them on their
journey, as they resolved to go and settle in the province of Xaragua
whence the lieutenant had very lately returned. The reason for preferring
that province was because of its being the pleasantest and most plentiful
part of the island, and its inhabitants were more civilized and wiser than
any of the others, besides that the women there were handsomer and of more
pleasing manners than in any other district.

Before putting this design into execution, Roldan resolved to make a trial
of his strength, before the lieutenant could have time to increase his
power, and punish the rebels according to their demerits. For which reason
he resolved to attempt to take the town of the Conception by surprize on
the way to Xaragua, and to kill the lieutenant, and if this plan did not
succeed to besiege him there. But the lieutenant got timely notice of the
design of the mutineers, and stood upon his guard, encouraging his men
with good words and the promise of two slaves each and many gifts, if they
persisted in performing their duty. Yet he was led to believe that most of
those who were with him liked the life of insubordination and license
which was led by Roldan and his followers so well, that many of them gave
ear to his messages; and therefore Roldan conceived hopes that many of the
lieutenants people would go over to his side, which encouraged him to
undertake the enterprize upon the Conception, which did not however
succeed according to his wishes and hopes. The lieutenant was a man of
great resolution, and having the best soldiers on his side, resolved to do
that by force of arms which he could not affect by arguments and fair
means. He gathered therefore his men together and marched out of the town
to attack the rebels on the road.

Perceiving that his expectations were disappointed, and that not one man
deserted to him from the lieutenants party, Roldan was afraid to meet him
in the field, and resolved to retire in time to Xaragua as he had first
designed. Yet he talked contemptuously of the lieutenant, and stirred up
the Indians wherever he went to rebel against him, pretending that he had
deserted him because he was a person of a morose and revengeful
disposition both against the Christians and the Indians, and abominably
covetous, as was seen by the great burthens and tributes he imposed on
them; which if they submitted to he would augment every year, though
contrary to the will of their Catholic majesties, who required nothing of
their subjects but obedience, and wished to maintain them in justice,
peace, and liberty. And he declared that he and his friends and followers
would assist them to assert their rights against the lieutenant, and
declared himself the protector and deliverer of the Indians. After this
Roldan forbade the payment of the tribute which had been imposed by the
admiral, by which means it could not be gathered from those who were at
any distance from the residence of the lieutenant, and he was afraid to
collect it from those in his neighbourhood, lest he might provoke them to
join with the rebels. Notwithstanding of this concession, no sooner had
the lieutenant withdrawn from the Conception than Guarionex, the principal
cacique of that province, resolved to besiege that place with the
assistance of Roldan, and to destroy the Christians who defended it.

The better to effectuate this scheme, he called together all the caciques
of his party, and privately agreed with them that every one should kill
such of the Christians as resided in his district. For the territories in
Hispaniola were too small for any of them to maintain a great number of
people, and therefore the Christians were under the necessity of dividing
themselves into small parties of eight or ten in each liberty or district.
This gave the Indians hopes that, by surprizing them all at one and the
same time, they might have it in their power to extirpate the whole and
suffer none to escape. But having no other way of counting time or
ordering any thing else which requires counting, except by means of their
fingers, they resolved that every one should be ready to destroy the
Christians at the next full moon. Guarionex having thus concerted with his
caciques, one of the chiefest among them being desirous to acquire
reputation, and looking upon the enterprise as a very easy matter, fell on
before the time appointed, not being astronomer sufficient to know the
exact time of full moon. After a severe conflict, he was forced to fly for
assistance and protection to Guarionex, who put him to death as he
deserved, for having thus laid open the conspiracy and put the Christians
on their guard.

The rebels were not a little mortified at this miscarriage of the Indian
plot, for it was reported that it had been concerted with their privacy
and consent, and they had therefore waited to see whether Guarionex might
bring affairs to such a pass, that by joining with him they might be able
to destroy the lieutenant. But perceiving that it failed of success, they
considered themselves insecure in the province where they then were, and
therefore went away to Xaragua, still proclaiming themselves the
protectors of the Indians, whereas they were thieves in their actions and
inclinations, having no regard to God or the opinion of the world, but
following their own inordinate appetites. Every one stole or took away
what he could, and their leader Roldan more than any of the rest,
commanding every cacique to entertain him that could; and though he
forbade the Indians from paying any tribute to the lieutenant, he exacted
much more from them under pretence of acting as their defender, insomuch
that from one cacique only, named Monicaotex, he received every three
months a calabash full of pure gold, containing three marks or a pound and
a half, and to make sure of him he detained his son and nephew as hostages.
He who reads this must not wonder that we reduce the marks of gold to the
measure of a calabash, which is here done to shew that the Indians dealt
in all these cases by measure, as they never had any weights.

The Christians being thus divided, and no supplies coming from Spain, the
lieutenant and his brother were unable to keep the people in quiet who
still remained with them; for most of them were mean persons, and desirous
of leading that life of ease and licentiousness which Roldan offered for
their acceptance, by which they became so insolent that it was impossible
to keep them in order, or to punish the guilty lest they might be utterly
forsaken; neither dared they in these circumstances to attempt reducing
the rebels to order, and were necessitated, to bear patiently with their
audacious contempt of government. But it being the will of God to afford
them some comfort, it pleased him to order that the two ships should
arrive which had been dispatched about a year after the departure of the
admiral from the Indies. He, considering the nature of the country and the
dispositions of the people whom he had left in the colony, and the great
danger which might arise from his long absence, had pressed for and
obtained, not without great solicitation and difficulty that two of the
ships, out of the eight[16] which he had been ordered to fit out, might be
sent on before with supplies. The arrival of these, the supplies which
they brought of men and provisions, and the assurance that the admiral had
safely arrived in Spain, encouraged those who were with the lieutenant to
serve him more faithfully and made those who adhered to Roldan
apprehensive of being punished.

The rebels being desirous to hear news from home, and to furnish
themselves with many things of which they were in want, resolved to repair
to the harbour of St Domingo where the ships had put in, not without hopes
of being able to draw over some of the men to their party. But as the
lieutenant received notice of their design and was nearer that harbour, he
moved thither with all the force he could muster to hinder their design,
and leaving guards in the passes, he went to the port to visit the ships
and to regulate the affairs of that place. And being anxious that the
admiral might find the island in a peaceable condition and all troubles at
an end upon his return, he again made new overtures to Roldan, who was
then six leagues off with his men. For this purpose he sent Peter
Fernandez Coronel, the commander of the two newly arrived ships, whom he
chose for this employment because he was a man of worth and in authority,
and because he could certify to Roldan and the mutineers of the arival of
the admiral in Spain, the good reception he had found there, and the
willingness their majesties had expressed to support his authority in the
Indies. But the chief men among the rebels would not permit him to speak
in public, being fearful of the impression he might make upon their
deluded followers; they therefore received him on the road in a warlike
posture, and he could only speak some words in private to those who were
appointed to hear him. Thus unable to do any thing, Coronel returned to
the town, and the rebels to their quarters at Xaragua, not without
apprehensions lest Roldan and some of the ringleaders might write to their
friends at Isabella to intercede for them with the admiral on his arrival
to be restored to favour, as all their complaints were against the
lieutenant and not against the admiral himself.

The three ships which the admiral had dispatched from the Canary islands
with succours to Hispaniola, proceeded on their voyage with fair winds
till they came to those Caribbee islands which sailors first meet with on
their way to the port of St Domingo. The pilots were not then so well
acquainted with that voyage as they have since become, and knew not how to
hit that port, but were carried away by the currents so far to the
westwards that they arrived in the province of Xaragua, then occupied by
the rebels. These, understanding that the ships were out of their way and
knew nothing of the revolt, sent some of their number peaceably on board,
who pretended that they were there by the lieutenants orders, on purpose
to preserve that part of the country under obedience and to be the better
supplied with provisions. But a secret which is diffused among many is
easily divulged, so that Alonzo Sanchez de Caravajal, who was the most
skilful among the captains of these three ships, was soon aware of the
rebellion and discord, and began immediately to make overtures of peace to
Roldan, in hopes of persuading him to submit to the lieutenant. But the
familiar conversation which the rebels had previously been allowed on
board the ships had already produced such effects that his persuasions
were disregarded; Roldan having obtained private assurances from many of
those who had come fresh from Spain that they would adhere to him, and by
this accession of strength he hoped to advance himself to higher power.

Finding that the negociation was not likely to draw to a speedy
conclusion, Caravajal and the other captains thought it convenient and
proper that the people who had been brought from Spain under wages to work
in the mines and other public employments, should go by land to St Domingo;
because the winds and currents being adverse, the voyage there might
possibly occupy two or three months, during which these people would
consume a great deal of provisions, if they remained on board, and might
fall sick, and much time would be lost which they might otherwise have
devoted to the several employments for which they were sent out. Having
agreed upon this plan, it fell to the lot of John Anthony Columbus to
march with the men by land, who were forty in number; Arana was appointed
to conduct the ships from Xaragua to St. Domingo; and Caravajal remained
to endeavour to bring the rebels to an accommodation. John Anthony
Columbus set out with his people the second day after landing; but those
labourers and vagabonds who had been sent out to work deserted to the
rebels, and left him with only six or seven men who continued in their
duty. Upon this John Anthony went boldly to Roldan, to whom he represented,
that since he pretended to promote the service of their Catholic majesties,
it was not reasonable to suffer those men who had been sent out to people
and cultivate the country and who received wages for following their
callings, to remain and lose their time without performing their
engagements; that by turning them away he would make his words and actions
more conformable, and that his staying in this place evinced that he had
no inclination to forward the public service, but only to foment discord
and division with the lieutenant. But as the desertion of the labourers
was favourable to the views of Roldan and his followers, and they
considered that a crime committed by many is soonest connived at, he
pretended that he could not use violence towards these people, and that
his was a religious order which refused no man. Knowing that it was not
the part of a discreet person to expose himself to danger by pressing this
matter any farther, John Anthony determined to go on board again with
those few who still remained faithful; and that they might not be so
served by those who remained, he and Arana sailed immediately with their
two ships for St Domingo, with the wind as contrary as they feared; for
they spent many days at sea and spoiled all their provisions, and
Caravajals ship was much damaged upon certain sands, where she lost her
rudder and sprung a leak, so that they had much difficulty to bring her
into port.

[1] This prolix, diffuse, uninteresting, and confused disquisition, on the
    superstitious beliefs and ceremonies of the original natives of Haiti
    or Hispaniola, is so inexplicably and inexpressibly unintelligible and
    absurd, partly because the original translator was unable to render
    the miserable sense or nonsense of the author into English, but
    chiefly owing to the innate stupidity and gross ignorance of the poor
    anchorite, that the present editor was much inclined to have expunged
    the whole as unsatisfactory and uninteresting: But it seemed incumbent
    to give the whole of this most important voyage to the public. The
    Editor however, has used the freedom to compress the scrambling detail
    of the original of this section into a smaller compass; to omit the
    uselessly prolix titles of its subdivisions; and, where possible, to
    make the intended meaning somewhat intelligible; always carefully
    retaining every material circumstance. It was formerly divided into
    chapters like a regular treatise, and these are here marked by
    corresponding figures. The author repeatedly acknowledges that his
    account is very imperfect, which he attributes to the confused and
    contradictory reports of the natives, and allows that he may even have
    set down the information he collected in wrong order, and may have
    omitted many circumstances for want of paper at the time of collecting

[2] Some of these are so unintelligibly related, owing to ignorance in the
    translator, that it were unnecessary to insert them in this place.--E.

[3] The poor anchorite relates all these absurdities gravely, as actually
    proceeding from sorcery.--E.

[4] In this paragraph, marked 20--24. the substance of _five_ prolix
    chapters by _F. Roman_ is compressed.--E.

[5] Though not expressed in the text, these were probably the manico root,
    of which the cassada bread is made.--E

[6] It is singular that the author should not have endeavoured to account
    for the origin of these iron hatchets; probably procured in the
    plundering excursions of these Carib natives of Guadaloupe from

[7] This surely means no more than that their rude looms were upright or

[8] The probable use of these swaths may have been to defend the legs in
    forcing their way through the thorny brakes of the forests.--E.

[9] The author seems to have forgotten that he had only a little before
    mentioned this very woman as the wife of a caceque. The absurd notion
    of these women being Amazons probably proceeded from the Spaniards not
    understanding the language of these islanders, who appear to have been
    Caribs. The truth seems to have been that during the long absences of
    their husbands in piratical and plundering excursions to the other
    islands, these Carib women were driven to the necessity of providing
    for their own defence.--E.

[10] There must be some inaccuracy in this place. Columbus had evidently
    supposed himself farther west when he altered his course than he
    really was, for the Caribbee islands were not upon the north, and
    never could be in the latitude of 7°; as he fell in with Trinidada he
    must only have altered his course to the N.W. or the north of west.
    Had he continued in a west course in 7° N. he would have fallen in
    with the continent of Guiana, about the mouth of the Esquivo, or
    Isiquibo river: His original course in the parallel of 5° N. would
    have led him to Cayenne.--E.

[11] There is a want of sufficient precision in the dates of the text. It
    would appear that Columbus altered his course from W. to the
    northwards on Tuesday 31st July, 1498, and discovered Trinidada the
    same day; and that the ships anchored at Funta de la Plaga on
    Wednesday the 1st of August, or the immediately following day.--E.

[12] The country here named Paria is now called on our maps Cumana, or the
    Spanish Main; but the gulf or large basin between the island of
    Trinidada and the main still retains the name of the Gulf of Paria.--E.

[13] This must have been the low lying Delta of Cumana, lying between the
    principal mouth of the Oronoka and the western branch.--E.

[14] The white liquor was probably the milk of the coco nut, and perhaps
    the blackish vinous liquor might be the same fermented.--E.

[15] This is an obvious error which cannot be corrected, Don James
    Columbus being no cacique. It is possible that one of the native
    caciques may have embraced Christianity, receiving those names in
    baptism, but of this the text gives no intelligence.--E.

[16] In the original translation, the number of the appointed fleet is
    said to have been eighteen; but this must be a typographical error, as
    with the six ships he had with himself, and these two previously
    dispatched, there were just eight in all.--E.


_Continuation of the Troubles after the return, of the Admiral to
Hispaniola, to their Adjustment._

When the captains arrived at St Domingo with their ships they found the
admiral there, who had returned from his discovery of the continent. Being
fully informed of the conduct and situation of the rebels, and having
perused the process or examination which the lieutenant had drawn up
against them, by which their crimes were fully substantiated, he thought
proper to draw out a new process for the information of their majesties,
resolving at the same time to use all possible moderation in the affair,
and to use his utmost endeavours to reduce them to submission by fair
means, and without the employment of an armed force. For this reason, and
that neither they nor any others might have reason to complain of him, or
to say that he kept them in Hispaniola by force, he issued a proclamation
on the twelfth of September, granting leave to all who were inclined to
return into Spain, and promising them a free passage and provisions for
the voyage.

On the other hand the admiral received information that Roldan was coming
towards St Domingo with some of his men; wherefore he ordered Ballester
who commanded at the Conception to look well to the security of his town
and fort, and in case of Roldan coming that way, he desired him to say
that the admiral was much concerned for his sufferings, and was willing to
overlook all that had passed and to grant a general pardon to all the
malcontents; and invited Roldan to come immediately to him without,
apprehension, that by his advice all things might be duly ordered for the
good of the service, and that he would send him a safe conduct in such
form as he might require. Ballester made answer on the fourteenth
_February_[1] 1498, that he had received certain information that Riquelme
had come the day before to the town of Bonao, and that Roldan and Adrian,
the ringleaders of the mutineers, were to be there in seven or eight days,
when he might _apprehend_ them, as he did[2]. Ballaster conferred with
them pursuant to the instructions he had received, but found them
obstinate and unmannerly. Roldan said that they had not come to treat of
an accommodation, as they neither desired nor cared for peace, as he held
the admiral and his authority in his power, either to support or suppress
it at his pleasure: That they must not talk to him of any accommodation
until they had sent him all the Indian prisoners who were taken at the
siege of the Conception. He added other things, by which it plainly
appeared that he would enter into no agreement that was not much to his
advantage: And he demanded that Caravajal should be sent to treat with him,
declaring his resolution to treat with no other person, he being a man of
discretion who would listen to reason, as he had found by experience when
the three ships were at Xaragua. This answer made the admiral suspect the
fidelity of Caravajal, and not without much cause for the following

Before Caravajal was at Xaragua, the rebels had often wrote and sent
messages to their friends who were with the lieutenant, asserting that
they would submit to the admiral on his arrival, and requesting them to
intercede with and appease him. Since they promised this as soon as they
heard that two ships had come to the assistance of the lieutenant, they
had much more cause to perform it when the admiral was actually returned,
had they not been dissuaded during their long conference with Caravajal.
Had he done his duty, he ought to have kept Roldan and the other chiefs of
the rebellion as prisoners in his caravel, as they were two days on board
without any security or safe conduct asked or given. And knowing that they
were in rebellion he ought not to have permitted them to purchase from the
ships 56 swords and 60 cross-bows. As there were strong suspicions that
the men who were to land with John Anthony meant to join the rebels, he
ought not to have allowed them to land, or should have been more earnest
in his endeavours to recover them. Caravajal circulated a report that he
had come to the Indies as coadjutor to the admiral, so that nothing might
be done without him, lest the admiral might commit some offence. Roldan
had written to the admiral that he was drawing near to St Domingo by the
advice of Caravajal, to be nearer him to treat for an accommodation on his
arrival; and now that the admiral was arrived, his actions not suiting
with his letter, it was to be presumed that Caravajal had invited him
thither to the end that, if the admiral had been long of coming, or had
not come at all, he as the admirals associate and Roldan as chief judge
might have usurped the government of the island to the exclusion of the
lieutenant. When the other captains came with the caravels to St Domingo,
Caravajal came there by land under protection of a guard of rebels, the
chief of whom, Gamir, had been two days and two nights on board his ship.
Caravajal wrote to the rebels when they came to Bonao, and sent them
presents and provisions. And besides that the rebels would not treat
through any other person, they had unanimously declared that they would
have taken him for their captain, if there had been any occasion for such
a measure.

Notwithstanding of all this, considering that Caravajal was a gentleman of
prudence and discretion, who would not be guilty of doing any thing
contrary to his duty; that what had been reported of him might not be true,
and that every one of these arguments against him might admit of being
answered or explained, and the admiral being exceedingly desirous to put
an end to the distractions of the colony, he consulted with all the
principal people about him respecting Roldans letter, and what was best to
be done on this occasion. By their advice he sent Caravajal and Ballester
to treat. Roldan answered that since they had not brought with them the
Indians he had demanded, he would enter into no conference for an
accommodation. Caravajal so discreetly replied and used such convincing
arguments, that he influenced Roldan and three or four of the other
leaders to agree to wait upon the admiral and endeavour to come to an
agreement: But this being disliked by the rest, when Roldan and three
others were getting on horseback to go along with Caravajal to the admiral,
the rabble surrounded them, declaring they would not allow them to go, and
that if any agreement was to be made it should be drawn up in writing,
that all might know what was proposed to be done.

Some days afterwards Roldan, by consent of his men, wrote on the twentieth
of October to the admiral, laying the whole blame of the separation on the
lieutenant; and saying, as the admiral had not sent them any assurance or
security to come and give an account of themselves, they had resolved to
send him their demands in writing, which claimed a reward for what they
had hitherto done as will appear hereafter. Though their demands were
abundantly extravagant, yet Ballester wrote the next day to the admiral,
highly extolling Caravajals discourse; and saying that since it had failed
to dissuade those people from their wicked designs, nothing less would
prevail than granting them all they demanded, he found them so resolute.
He added that he looked upon it as next to certain that most of the people
who were with the admiral would go over to the rebels, and though he might
rely on the fidelity of the men of honour and his own servants, yet these
would not be able to withstand so great a number. The admiral already knew
this by experience, having made a muster of all who were fit to bear arms
at the time when Roldan was near St Domingo that he might be ready to
oppose the rebels if necessary; and so many of the people feigned
themselves sick or lame that only seventy appeared on the muster, of whom
there were not more than forty in whom he could confide.

Hearing of this muster and considering it a threat to proceed to
extremities against them, on the seventeenth of October 1498, Roldan and
the other chiefs of the mutineers sent a letter to the admiral subscribed
by them all, saying, That they had withdrawn themselves from the
lieutenant to save their lives, he having a design to destroy them. That
they being his lordships servants, whose coming they had anxiously waited
for, as of one who would look upon what they had done as in compliance
with their duty and as good service; that they had hindered their
adherents from doing any harm to any that belonged to his lordship, as
they might easily have done. That since he was now come and was so far
from thinking as they did, that he insisted upon taking revenge and
punishing them; therefore, that they might be at liberty to carry on their
proceedings and to do with honour what they had undertaken, they now took
leave of him and of his service. Before this letter was delivered to the
admiral, he had transmitted proposals for an accommodation with Roldan.

In his conference with Roldan, Caravajal represented the confidence which
the admiral had always reposed in him, and the good account which he had
given to their Catholic majesties of the conduct of the chief justice; and
said that the admiral had refrained from writing, lest his letter might
have been seen by some of the common people, and have occasioned prejudice
to the negociation; and therefore, he had sent a person in whom Roldan
knew that the admiral placed much confidence, so that he might regard what
was said by him and Ballester, as equally valid and binding as if under
the hand and seal of the admiral, and therefore, he might consider what
was proper to be done, and he should find him ready to comply with
whatever was reasonable.

On the 18th of October, the admiral ordered five of his ships to depart
for Spain, and sent a detailed account by them to their majesties of all
the affairs of the colony; saying, that he had detained the ships till
then under the belief that Roldan and his confederates would have gone
home in them, as they had at first given out; and that the other three
ships which he kept, were fitting out to go under the command of his
brother, to prosecute the discovery of the continent of Paria, and to form
an establishment for carrying on the fishery of pearls, a sample of which
he now sent to their majesties by Arogial.

Having received the admirals letter, Roldan seemed inclining to do all
that was required of him, but his men would not allow him to go to treat
without a safe conduct, he therefore wrote, desiring one to be sent to him
conformably to certain heads which he transmitted; and this communication
was signed by himself and the chief men of his party. The safe conduct was
accordingly sent without delay by the admiral on the 26th of October; and
Roldan soon came, but more with the design of drawing some of the people
about the admiral over to his party, than with the intention of concluding
an agreement, as appeared by the insolent nature of his proposals. He
returned therefore without any thing being concluded, saying, that he
would give his people an account of the state of matters, and should then
write the result of their deliberations; and that there might be some one
along with him having power to treat and sign to whatever might be agreed
upon, the admiral sent Salamanca, his steward, to accompany Roldan to
Bonao. After much talk among themselves, Roldan transmitted certain
articles of agreement for the admiral to sign, telling him that they
contained all that he could persuade his people to concede; and that if
his lordship thought fit to grant these terms, he should send his assent
to the Conception, for they could no longer remain at Bonao for want of
provisions, and they should wait for his answer till the ensuing Monday.
Having read their answer, and the dishonourable articles which they
proposed, and considering them as tending to bring himself, his brothers,
and even justice into contempt, the admiral would not grant them: But that
they might have no cause to complain that he was too stiff and uncomplying,
he caused a general pardon to be proclaimed and posted on the gates for
thirty days, of which the following was the purport:

"Whereas, during the absence of the admiral in Spain, certain differences
had occurred between the lieutenant with the chief justice Roldan and
others who had fled with him: Yet, notwithstanding any thing that had
happened, they might all in general, and every one in particular, safely
return to the service of their Catholic majesties, as if no differences
had ever been: And that whoever might be inclined to return into Spain
should have his passage and an order to receive his pay as was usual with
others; provided they presented themselves before the admiral within
thirty days after the date of this proclamation, to claim and receive the
benefit of this pardon; but that all who did not appear within the time
limited, should be proceeded against according to the due course of law."

The admiral sent this pardon signed by himself to Roldan by Caravajal, and
gave him in writing the reasons why he neither could nor ought to grant
the articles which had been proposed by them, and exhorting them to
consider what they were about, if they had any respect to the service of
their majesties. Caravajal went to the rebels at the Conception, who
received the admirals proffered pardon in derision, and haughtily said,
that he would soon have occasion to ask a pardon from them. All this took
place during the space of three weeks; in the course of which time, under
the pretence of wishing to apprehend a person whom Roldan desired to
execute in his character of chief justice, they besieged Ballester in the
fort of the Conception, and cut off his supply of water, thinking to force
him to surrender; but upon the arrival of Caravajal they raised the siege;
and after many alterations of the proposed articles on both sides, the
following were mutually concluded upon:

_Agreement_ between the Admiral and Roldan_[3].

1. The lord admiral shall give two good ships in good order, according to
the judgment of able seamen, to be delivered at the port of Xaragua, where
Roldan and his company shall embark and sail for Spain.

2. The admiral shall give an order for payment of the salaries due to them
all till that day, with letters of recommendation to their Catholic
majesties to cause them to be paid.

3. The admiral shall give them slaves for their services and sufferings,
and certify the gift; and some of them having women big with child, these
shall be counted instead of such slaves as they were to have, if carried
with them; and their children were to be free, and they might take them to

4. The admiral to supply all requisite provisions; but not being able to
provide bread, they are to be allowed to make it for themselves in the
country. And, lest the Carib bread might spoil, they are to have thirty
hundred weight of biscuit, or thirty sacks of corn in lieu thereof.

5. The admiral shall give a safe conduct for such persons as may come to
him to receive the orders for their pay.

6. The goods of some of those with Roldan having been seized, the admiral
shall order restitution.

7. Demands an order for payment of the value of 350 swine belonging to
Roldan, which had been seized.

8. Gives authority to Roldan to sell his goods, or to do with them as he
likes best.

9. Desiring speedy judgment in a cause respecting a horse.

10. The just demands of Salamanca to be paid.

11. Concerning some slaves, not conclusive or explained.

12. The admiral to grant a safe conduct, and to promise in the name of
their majesties, and upon his own faith and the word of a gentleman, that
neither he nor any other person shall injure them or obstruct their voyage.

"I Francis Roldan, judge, promise and engage my faith and word, for myself
and all those with me, that the articles here set down shall be faithfully
observed and fulfilled on our part, the lord admiral performing his part
thereof, and of the following articles.

1. That from this date, till the answer be brought, for which ten days are
allowed; no person, shall be admitted among us from those who are with the

2. That within fifty days after receiving the answer, we will embark and
sail for Spain.

3. That none of the slaves freely granted to us shall be taken away by

4. We shall give account to a person deputed by the admiral, of all we
carry on board, and shall deliver to him all we may have belonging to
their majesties.

In testimony whereof; I, Francis Roldan, engage for myself and company to
observe and perform the same, and have subscribed this writing at the
Conception this 16th of November 1498.

Having examined this agreement, made by Alonzo Sanchez de Caravajal and
James de Salamanca with Francis Roldan and his company, this day, being
Wednesday the 21st of November 1498; I agree to its being fully observed,
upon condition that said Francis Roldan and his followers shall not
receive into their company any other Christians of the island of any state
or condition whatsoever."

Matters being thus adjusted, Caravajal and Salamanca repaired to St
Domingo to the admiral, and at their request he subscribed his
ratification of the articles as above, and granted a new safe conduct, or
leave to all who might not incline to go to Spain with Roldan to remain,
promising them pay or the liberty of planters as they liked best, and for
others to come freely to the seat of government to arrange their affairs.
These were delivered to Roldan and his company by the Castellan Ballester
at the Conception on the 24th of November, and they went away towards
Xaragua to prepare for their departure. Though the admiral was sensible of
their villany, and much concerned that the good services which his brother
might have performed in continuing the discovery of the continent of Paria,
and the settlement of a pearl fishery, was obstructed by giving those
ships to the rebels, yet he would not give them occasion to blame him for
the continuance of disturbances by refusing them a passage. He began,
therefore, immediately to fit out the ships according to the agreement,
though the equipment was somewhat retarded by the want of stores and other
necessaries. To remedy this defect, he ordered Caravajal to go overland to
provide and dispose all things for their departure, while the ships went
about to Xaragua, resolving to go soon himself to Isabella to settle
affairs in that place, leaving his brother James in the command at St

In the end of January 1499, after his departure, the two caravels being
furnished with all necessaries, set out to take up the rebels; but a great
storm arose by the way, and they were forced to put into another port till
the end of March, and because the caravel Nina was in the worst condition
and wanted most repairs, the admiral sent orders to Peter de Arana and
Francis de Garai to repair to Xaragua with the Santa Cruz in her stead, on
board of which Caravajal went by sea instead of going by land as before
intended. He was eleven days by the way, and found the other caravel in

In the meanwhile, the caravels not coming, and most of the rebels having
no mind to embark, they took the delay as a pretence for remaining in the
island, throwing all the blame upon the admiral, as if he had not
dispatched them as soon as it was in his power. Being informed of this, he
wrote to Roldan and Adrian, endeavouring to persuade them in a friendly
manner to perform the agreement and not to relapse into rebellion. Besides
this, Caravajal, who was then at Xaragua, entered a formal protest on the
20th of April, before a notary named Francis de Garai, afterwards governor
of Panuco and Jamaica, requiring them, since the admiral had furnished
them with ships, to embark pursuant to their agreement. And because they
would not, and because the ships bottoms suffered much from the ravages of
the worms, and the men began to be in want of provisions, he ordered them
back to St Domingo on the 25th of April.

The rebels were no way concerned at this, but rather rejoiced and grew
haughty on seeing that such account was made of them, and were so far from
acknowledging the civility and attention of the admiral, that they laid it
to his charge in writing, that through his fault they were forced to stay;
that he had a mind to be revenged upon them, and had therefore delayed to
send the caravels, which were in such bad condition that it were
impossible they should go in them to Spain; and though they had been never
so good, their provisions were all expended in waiting for them, and they
could not provide more for a long while to come: For all which reasons
they were resolved to remain on the island, and to expect redress of their
grievances from the justice of their Catholic majesties. Caravajal
returned by land with this answer to St Domingo, to whom at the time of
his departure Roldan said he would willingly wait upon the admiral to
endeavour to form such an agreement as might be satisfactory to all
parties, provided he were furnished with a safe conduct. Caravajal sent
word of this to the admiral from St Domingo on the 15th of May, who
answered on the 21st, commending him for the pains he had taken, and
transmitting the required safe conduct. He sent at the same time a short
but forcible letter to Roldan, urging him to peace and submission, and to
co-operate in advancing the service of their majesties. This he afterwards
repeated more at large on the 29th of June from St Domingo; and on the
third of August, six or seven of the chief men about the admiral sent
another safe conduct to Roldan that he might come to treat with the
admiral. But the distance being great, and the admiral wishing to visit
the country, he went with two caravels to the port of Azua west from St
Domingo, to be nearer the province where the rebels were, many of whom
repaired to that port. The admiral went there about the end of August and
conferred with their chiefs, exhorting them to desist from their evil
course, and promising them all possible favour and kindness upon their
returning to obedience. This they engaged to do, provided the admiral
would grant the four following conditions:

1. That fifteen of their number should be sent into Spain by the first
ships that went there.

2. That to those who remained he should assign land and houses in
satisfaction of their pay.

3. That proclamation should be made that the whole disturbances had been
occasioned by the false suggestions of evil disposed men.

4. That the admiral should renew the appointment of Roldan as chief judge
for life.

All this being concluded and agreed to, Roldan went on shore from the
admirals caravel and sent the articles to his companions: These were so
much to their mind that they immediately accepted them, saying that if the
admiral failed in any part it would be lawful for them to compel
performance by force or any other means. The admiral was very eager to
conclude this difficult and vexations matter, which had lasted above two
years; and as he considered that his adversaries continued more obstinate
than ever, and that many of those who were with him were much inclined to
join with the mutineers, that they might go off to different parts of the
island as Roldan had done, he was induced to sign these articles, as he
had done those which were before agreed to. On the Tuesday following,
being the fifth of November, Roldan began to exercise his office, and it
being a part of his prerogative, he constituted Peter Riquelme judge of
Bonao, with power to imprison offenders in criminal cases, but that he
should transmit criminals upon life and death to be tried by himself at
the fort of the Conception.

[1] This must be an error for September.--E.

[2] They certainly were not apprehended or made prisoners; the word used
    is probably a mistake of the original translator, as a conference was
    the only consequence.--E.

[3] The minute technical forms of this agreement, as altogether
    uninteresting, are here abridged.--E.


_Transactions in Hispaniola subsequent to the settlement of the
disturbances, until the sending of Columbus in irons to

Having adjusted matters with Roldan, the admiral appointed a captain with
some men to march about the island to restore it to peace and order, and
to reduce the Indians to pay the fixed tribute; and with orders to be
always in readiness to suppress the first appearance of mutiny among the
Christians, or any rebellion of the Indians. And having taken measures for
this purpose, he intended to go over into Spain taking his brother along
with him, considering that if he were left behind it would be difficult to
forget old quarrels. As he was preparing for this voyage, Alonso de Ojeda
who had been out upon discovery with four ships returned to the island.

Forasmuch as this sort of men sail about to make their fortunes, Ojeda on
the fifth of September put into the port which the Christians call Brazil
and the Indians Yaquimo, designing to take what he could from the Indians
and to load with wood and slaves. While thus employed he did all the harm
he could, and to shew that he was a limb of the bishop we have
mentioned[1], he endeavoured to stir up another mutiny; giving out that
Isabella was ready to die, and that as soon as she was dead there would be
nobody to support the admiral, and that he as a faithful servant of the
bishop might do what he pleased against the admiral, because of the enmity
which was between them. Upon these grounds he began to write to some who
were not very sound after the late troubles and to hold correspondence
with them. But Roldan being informed of his designs and proceedings, went
against him by the admirals orders with a party of twenty-one men to
prevent him from doing the harm he intended. Roldan came within a league
and a half of him on the twenty-ninth of September, and learnt that he was
at the house of a cacique named Haniquaba with fifteen men, employed in
making bread and biscuit for his crew. Roldan accordingly travelled the
whole of that night that he might surprize him; but Ojeda getting
intelligence of the intention of Roldan, and being too weak for resistance,
resolved to put a bold face on a bad cause and went to meet him, saying
that want of provisions had brought him hither to supply himself in the
dominions of his sovereigns without meaning to do any harm.

Ojeda gave an account of his voyage to Roldan, saying that he had been
discovering 600 leagues westwards along the coast of Paria, where he found
people who fought the Christians hand to hand, and had wounded twenty of
his men, for which reason he could make no advantage of the wealth of the
country. That he had seen deer and rabbits, the skins and paws of tigers,
and guaninis[2], all of which he shewed to Roldan in his caravels. He
farther said that he should soon repair to St Domingo to give the admiral
a full account of his voyage.

The admiral was much troubled at this time, as Peter de Arana had
signified to him that Riquelme, judge of Bonao for Roldan, the substitute
being no honester than his master, under pretence of building a house for
his herds, had made choice of a strong rock to build a kind of castle or
strength, that from thence with a few men he might do all the harm he
thought fit. Arana had forbidden this and put a stop to his proceedings;
whereupon Riquelme had instituted a legal process attested by witnesses,
which he sent to the admiral, complaining that Arana had used violence
against him and praying relief. Although the admiral well knew that
Riquelme was of an unquiet and mutinous disposition, bethought fit to
conceal his jealousy on the present occasion, and rather to connive at
this matter which might be guarded against, thinking it quite enough to
provide against the open intrusion of Ojeda.

Having parted from Roldan, Ojeda went with his ships from the port of
Yaquimo or Brazil, in February 1500, to Xaragua, where a great many of
those who had been in rebellion with Roldan still lived. He there gave out
that their Catholic majesties had appointed him and Caravajal as
councillors to the admiral, that he might not do any thing they thought
prejudicial to the service; and that he had it in command to pay every one
in ready money for their services in the island, and as the admiral was
not just enough to do that, he was ready to go along with them to St
Domingo to compel him to pay them immediately, and to turn him out of the
island dead or alive. He farther urged, that they ought not to rely on the
agreement which had been entered into, or the promises which the admiral
had made, who would keep these no longer than necessity obliged him. Upon
these promises and suggestions, many resolved to join with him in a new
rebellion, and with their assistance, he made an attack one night upon
others who opposed him, and there were some killed and wounded on both
sides. Being satisfied that Roldan, who had returned to his duty and the
admirals service, would not join them, they resolved to surprize and make
him prisoner; but having notice of their designs, he went well attended to
Xaragua to put a stop to the designs of Ojeda, or to punish him if he
found it expedient or practicable. For fear of him Ojeda retired to his
ships, and Roldan and he treated about a conference, each being afraid to
put himself into the power of the other. Perceiving that Ojeda was
unwilling to trust himself on shore, Roldan offered to treat with him on
board, and desired that the boat might be sent for that purpose, which
came accordingly well manned, and Roldan went into it with six or seven of
his followers on whom he could depend. Seizing their opportunity, Roldan
and his people fell unexpectedly on the boats crew with their swords, and
having killed some and wounded others, they made themselves masters of the
boat, and returned with it to the land. Ojeda had now only a small skiff
left, in which he ventured on shore to treat peaceably with Roldan. After
apologizing for his offences, he offered to restore some men whom he had
made prisoners, providing his boat and people were restored; and
represented that the detention of the boat would be the ruin of his ships,
as they had now no other fit for service. Roldan readily granted this
request, that there might be no reason to complain or to allege that the
expedition of Ojeda had suffered prejudice or danger through his means;
but he made him engage and give security for the performance of his
promise, that he should depart from the island by an appointed time; which
Roldan took care to ensure by keeping a strong guard on shore.

As it is a hard matter to root out cockle so that it may not sprout again,
so it is no less difficult for people who have once been habituated to
evil to forbear relapsing into their crimes. Only a few days after the
departure of Ojeda, one D. Ferdinand de Guevara, who was in disgrace with
the admiral as a seditious person, and who had taken part with Ojeda from
hatred to Roldan, because he would not permit him to take to wife the
daughter of Canua the principal queen of Xaragua, began to gather many
conspirators to secure Roldan, that he might succeed him as leader of the
mutineers. In particular, he drew over to his party one Adrian de Moxica,
a chief man in the late rebellion; and about the middle of May 1499, a
plot was laid for securing or murdering Roldan. But having intelligence of
their design, Roldan stood upon his guard, and managed matters so
dexterously, that he seized D. Ferdinand and Adrian and the other
ringleaders of the party. Roldan immediately sent notice of what he had
done to the admiral, and desired to have his instructions in what manner
he should proceed with the prisoners. The admiral made answer: That since
they had endeavoured without any cause or provocation to excite
insurrection and rebellion, and that if their crimes were overlooked every
thing would go to ruin, he should punish them according to their demerits
and as the law directed. The judge accordingly proceeded legally against
them, hanged Adrian as the chief author of the conspiracy, and banished
others. He kept D. Ferdinand in prison till the 13th of June, when he
delivered him with other prisoners to the charge of Gonsalo Blanco, to
carry them to La Vega or the Plain, where the admiral then was. This
example restored the country to quiet, and the Indians again submitted
themselves to the authority of the Christians.

Such rich gold mines were now discovered, that every man in the island
left the royal pay and went away to the mines on their own account,
applying themselves to dig for gold at their own expence, paying a third
part of all they found to the royal coffers. This prospered so well, that
a man often gathered five marks, eight ounces each, in one day, and a
single lump of gold has been taken up worth above 196 ducats[3]. The
Indians were perfectly submissive, being afraid to offend the admiral, and
many of them became Christians, merely to oblige him and conciliate his
favour. When any of their chiefs had to appear in his presence, they used
their utmost endeavours to be decently clothed. In consequence of all
these favourable circumstances, the admiral resolved to make a progress
over the island, and set out for that purpose, accompanied by his brother
the lieutenant, on the 20th of February 1499[4], and came to Isabella on
the 19th of March. From thence they set out for the Conception on the 5th
of April, and reached that place on the Tuesday following. The lieutenant
went thence for Xaragua upon Friday the 7th of June; and on the Christmas
day following, in that year 1499, he makes the following memorandum, which
I found among his papers.

"Being forsaken by all the world, the Indians and rebel Christians fell
upon me, and I was reduced to such distress, that, leaving all behind me
to avoid death, I put to sea in a little caravel. But our Lord presently
relieved me saying: "Thou man of little faith fear not I am with you." And
so he dispersed my enemies, shewing how he could fulfil his promises.
Unhappy sinner that I am, who placed all my hopes on this world[5]."

From the Conception, the admiral meant to set out on the third of February
1500 for St Domingo, to prepare for returning into Spain to give their
Catholic majesties an account of the affairs of the colony. While these
disorders were going forwards of which mention has been made, many of the
rebels, by letters which they sent from Hispaniola, and by some of their
adherents who returned into Spain, continually conveyed false information
to their majesties and the council against the admiral and his brothers;
alleging that they were cruel and tyrannical and unfit for the government
of the colony, both because they were strangers and aliens, and because
they had not formerly been in a condition to learn by experience how to
govern and command over gentlemen. They affirmed, if their highnesses did
not apply some remedy, those countries would be utterly ruined and
destroyed; or that the admiral would revolt and join in league with some
prince who would support him, for he pretended that the whole belonged to
himself, as having been discovered by his industry and labour: That the
better to compass his designs, the admiral concealed the wealth of the
country, and would not permit that the Indians should serve the Christians,
or that they should be converted to the holy faith; because by
conciliating them he hoped to draw them to his side, that he might fortify
himself against the authority of their highnesses. They proceeded in these
and such like slanders, continually importuning their majesties and
perpetually speaking ill of the admiral, and complaining that there were
several years pay due to the men, which gave occasion to all that were
about the court to rail against the admiral. At one time about fifty of
those shameless wretches brought a load of grapes and sat down in the
court of the castle and palace of the Alhambra at Granada, crying out that
their majesties and the admiral caused them to live in misery by
withholding their pay, and using many other scandalous expressions; and if
the king went out they all flocked round him, calling _pay! pay!_

My brother and I were then at Granada as pages to the queen; and when we
chanced to pass by these people they would cry out in a hideous manner,
making the sign of the cross, "There go the sons of the admiral of the
Morescoes; he that has found out false and deceitful countries to be the
ruin and burial place of the Spanish gentry." Adding many more such
insolencies, which made us very cautious of appearing before them. By
continual complaints and constantly importuning the favourites at court,
it was at length determined to send a judge to Hispaniola to inquire into
all these affairs; who was authorized, if he found the admiral guilty of
what had been laid to his charge, to send him home to Spain and to remain
himself as governor of the colony. The person chosen for this purpose was
Francis de Bovadilla, a poor knight of the order of Calatrava, who besides
his full and ample commission was supplied with blank directed letters
subscribed by their majesties, which he was empowered to direct to such
persons as he might think fit in Hispaniola, commanding them to be aiding
and assisting to him in the discharge of his commission.

Thus furnished with ample powers, Bovadilla arrived at St Domingo in the
latter end of August 1500, at which time the admiral happened to be at the
Conception settling the affairs of that province, in which his brother had
been assaulted by the rebels, and where the Indians were more numerous and
of quicker capacity and more enlarged understandings than in any other
part of the island.

Finding no person at his arrival who could in any way keep him in awe,
Bovadilla immediately took possession of the admirals palace, and
appropriated every thing he found there to his own use as if it had fallen
to him by inheritance. He gathered together all whom he could find who had
been in rebellion, and many others who hated the admiral and his brothers,
and immediately declared himself governor of the colony; and to secure the
affections of the people, he proclaimed a general freedom for twenty years.
He then summoned the admiral to appear before him without delay, as
necessary for their majesties service; and to justify this measure he sent
on the seventh of September the royal letter, of which the following is
the substance, by F. John de la Sera, to the admiral.

"_To D. Christopher Columbus, our Admiral of the Ocean_."

"We have ordered the commander Francis de Bovadilla, the bearer, to
aquaint you with certain things from us; wherefore we command you to give
him entire credit, and to obey him."

"Given at Madrid, the twenty-first of May 1500.

"_I the King. I the Queen_."

"By command of their majesties. _Mich. Perez de Almazan_."

On seeing the letter of their Catholic majesties, the admiral came
immediately to St Domingo to Bovadilla, at the beginning of October 1500.
And Bovadilla being eager to assume the government, without any delay or
legal information, immediately sent the admiral and his brother James as
prisoners in irons on board ship under a strong guard, forbidding all
persons under severe penalties to hold any intercourse with them by word
or letter. After this, _by Abington law_[6], he drew up examinations
against them, admitting their enemies the rebels as witnesses in the
process, and publickly favouring all who came forwards to speak evil of
them. These gave in such villanous and incoherent depositions, that he
must have been blind indeed who did not plainly perceive their falsehood
and malice. For this reason, their Catholic majesties would not admit of
the truth of the charges, and afterwards cleared the admiral, sore
repenting that they had sent such a man as Bovadilla in that employment.

He ruined the island and squandered the royal revenues, that all men might
be his friends; saying that their majesties required no more than the
honour of the dominion, and that all the profits should belong to their
subjects. Yet he neglected not his own share, but combining with all the
richest and most powerful men of the colony, he gave them Indians to serve
them on condition of having a share in all the acquisitions which were
made by their means. He sold by auction all the possessions and rights
which the admiral had acquired for the crown; saying that their majesties
were not farmers or labourers, and only kept these for the benefit of
their subjects; and while selling all things under these pretences, he
took care on the other hand that every thing should be purchased by his
own confederates at a third of the value. Besides all this, he made no
other use of his judicial power than to enrich himself and to gain over
the affections of the people; being still afraid that the lieutenant, who
had not yet come from Xaragua, might put a stop to his proceedings, and
might endeavour to set the admiral at liberty by force of arms. But in
this the brothers conducted themselves with the utmost prudence and
propriety; for the admiral sent to the lieutenant, desiring him to come
peaceably to Bovadilla, that the island might not be thrown into confusion
and civil war; as, when they arrived in Spain, they should the more easily
obtain satisfaction for the wrongs that had been done them, and secure the
punishment of Bovadilla for his senseless and injurious conduct.

Yet did not all this divert Bovadilla from putting the admiral and his
brother in irons; and he allowed the baser people to rail against them in
public, blowing horns in triumph about the harbour where they were shipped,
besides placarding them in many scandalous libels pasted up at the corners
of the streets. When informed that one James Ortir, who was governor of
the hospital, had written a malicious libel against the admiral, which he
read publickly in the market-place, so far from punishing his audacity, he
seemed to be much gratified by it, which encouraged others to do the same
thing. And perhaps from fear lest the admiral should swim on shore, he
gave strict injunctions to Andrew Martin, the commander of the ship to
guard the admiral with the utmost care, and to deliver him in irons to the
bishop D. John de Fonseca, by whose advice and direction it was believed
he had thus proceeded. Yet when at sea, the master being sensible of the
unworthy proceedings of Bovadilla, would have taken off the irons from the
admiral; but this he would not permit, saying, that since their majesties
had commanded him to perform whatsoever Bovadilla might order in their
names, and that he had been put in irons in virtue of their authority and
commission, he would not be freed from them unless by the express command
of their highnesses. He also declared his determination to keep these
fetters as a memorial of the reward he had received for his many services.
I afterwards saw these irons constantly in his chamber, and he gave orders
that they should be buried along with his body.

Being arrived at Cadiz, the admiral wrote to their majesties on the 20th
of November 1500, acquainting them of his arrival; and they, understanding
the condition in which he was, gave immediate orders that he should be
released, and sent him very gracious letters expressive of their sorrow
for his sufferings and the unworthy behaviour of Bovadilla
towards him. They likewise ordered him up to court, engaging that care
should be taken about his affairs, and that he should be speedily
dispatched with full restitution of his honour. Yet I cannot remove blame
from their Catholic majesties for employing that base and ignorant person;
for had he known the duty of his office, the admiral would have been glad
of his coming, for he had desired in his letters to Spain that some
impartial person might be sent out to take a true information of the
perversity of the colonists, and to take cognizance of their crimes; he
being unwilling to use that severity which another would have done,
because the original of these tumults, and rebellions had been raised
against the lieutenant his brother. But although it might be urged that
their majesties ought not to have sent out Bovadilla with so much power
and so many letters, without limiting his commission; yet it is not to be
wondered at, as the complaints which had been sent against the admiral
were numerous and heavy, though false and malicious.

As soon as their majesties learnt the arrival of the admiral at Cadiz and
of his being in irons, they sent orders on the 12th of December to set him
at liberty, and wrote for him to repair to Granada, where he was most
favourably received with the most gracious discourse. They assured him
that his imprisonment had not been by their desire or command; that they
were much offended at it, and would take care that full satisfaction
should be given to him, and those who were in fault severely punished.
Having thus graciously received him, they gave orders that his business
should be immediately gone into; and the result was, that a governor
should be sent to Hispaniola, who was to restore all that had been taken
from the admiral and his brother, and to reinstate them in their rights.
And that the admiral should be allowed all the profits and emoluments
belonging to him, according to the articles of agreement which had been
originally granted; and that the rebels should be proceeded against and
punished according to their offences. Nicholas de Obando, commandary of
laws, was the person appointed to this high office. He was a wise and
judicious man; but, as afterwards appeared, extremely partial, crafty in
concealing his passions, giving credit to his own surmises and the false
insinuations of malicious people. He therefore acted cruelly and
revengefully in the conduct of his government, as particularly appears by
the death of the 80 caciques of the island who have been before

As their majesties were pleased to appoint Obando to the government of
Hispaniola, so they thought it proper to send the admiral upon some voyage
of farther discovery which might redound to his and their advantage, and
might keep him employed till Obando could pacify and reduce the island to
order and subjection; as they did not _then_ incline to keep him long out
of his rights without just cause, the informations transmitted by
Bovadilla now plainly appearing to be full of malice and falsehood, and
containing nothing which could justify the forfeiture of his rights. But
the execution of this design being attended with delay, it being now the
month of October 1500, and evil disposed men still endeavouring to
insinuate that new informations might be expected on the subject, the
admiral applied personally to their majesties, entreating them to defend
him against his enemies, and afterwards repeated the same by letter. When
the admiral was ready to proceed upon his voyage, they promised him their
protection and favour, by letter to the following effect:

"Be assured that your imprisonment was very displeasing to us, of which
you and all men must have been sensible, seeing that we applied the proper
remedies as soon as we heard of the circumstance. You likewise know with
how much honour and respect we have always commanded you to be treated,
which we now direct shall be contined towards you, and that you receive
all worthy and noble usage. We promise that the privileges and
prerogatives by us granted you shall be preserved in the most ample manner,
which you and your children shall enjoy without contradiction or
disparagement, as is reasonably due. And, if requisite to ratify them of
new, we will order it to be done, and will take care that your son be put
into possession of the whole; for we desire to honour and favour you even
in greater matters. And be assured that we shall take due care of your
sons and brothers after your departure; for the employment shall be given
to your son as has been said. We pray you therefore not to delay your

"Given at Valentia de la Torre, 14th March 1502."

The occasion of this letter was, that the admiral had resolved to trouble
himself no farther with the affairs of the Indies, but to transfer his
employment upon my brother; for he said justly, that if the services he
had already performed were not sufficient to have those villanous people
punished who had rebelled against his lawful authority, all that he could
do for the future would never obtain justice. He had already performed the
grand object of his undertaking before he set out to discover the Indies;
which was to shew that there were islands and a continent to the westwards,
that the way was easy and navigable, the advantages great and manifest,
and the people gentle and unwarlike. As he had verified all this
personally, there only now remained for their highnesses to pursue what
was begun, by sending people to discover the secrets of these countries;
for now the way was opened up and made plain, and any one might follow out
the course, as some had done already who improperly arrogated the title of
discoverers; not considering that they had not discovered any new country,
but that all which they had done or could do in future was merely to
pursue and extend the first discovery, the admiral having already shewn
them the route to the islands and to the province of Paria, which was the
first discovered land of the new continent. Yet, having always a great
desire to serve their majesties, more especially the queen, he consented
to return to his ships and to undertake the proposed voyage to be now
related, for he was convinced that great wealth would be discovered, as he
formerly had written to their majesties in 1499. All of which has since
been verified by the discovery of Mexico and Peru, though at that time, as
generally happens to the conjectures of most men, nobody would give credit
to his assertions.

Having been well dispatched by their majesties, the admiral set out from
Granada for Seville in the year 1501; and so earnestly solicited the
fitting out of his squadron, that in a short time he rigged and
provisioned four vessels, the largest of 70 tons and the smallest 50, with
a complement of 140 men and boys, of whom I was one.

[1] Certainly alluding to D. Juan de Fonseca, archdeacon of Castile, and
    bishop of Burgos, formerly mentioned as obstructing the equipment of
    the admirals ship, and afterwards as the principal mover of the
    injurious treatment experienced by the admiral.--E.

[2] This article is nowhere explained, but was said on a former occasion
    to be made of very low or impure gold.--E.

[3] This reported produce is prodigious, and must have only been temporary
    or accidental. Forty ounces of gold a-day, allowing but L.4 the ounce,
    as perhaps inferior to standard, amount to L.160. The piece of gold,
    mentioned in the text was worth about L.88. These mines, once so rich,
    have been long abandoned. The original natives of Hispaniola died out,
    and negroes have been found unequal to the hardships of mining.
    Hispaniola long remained a mere depot of adventurers, whence the great
    conquests of Mexico and Peru were supplied with men and arms.--E.

[4] The original, or rather the old translation, is most miserably
    defective and confused in its dates about this period, bandying 1499
    and 1500 backwards and forwards most ridiculously. This error it has
    been anxiously endeavoured to correct in the present version.--E.

[5] This is a most imperfect account of an insurrection which appears to
    have broke out against the lieutenant, who seems to have been very
    unfit for his situation.--E.

[6] This obviously means trial after condemnation, a procedure which has
    been long proverbial in Scotland under the name of Jedwarth justice.
    Some similar expression relative to Spain must have been used in the
    original, which the translator chose to express by an English
    proverbial saying of the same import.--E.

[7] Upon a former occasion, the author had stated that there were four
    principal caciques in Hispaniola, each of whom commanded over seventy
    or eighty inferior chiefs, so that there may have been 300 caciques
    originally. The particulars of the death or massacre of the eighty
    caciques here mentioned are nowhere mentioned by our author; who,
    confining himself to the actions of his illustrious father, says very
    little more about the affairs of Hispaniola.--E.


_Account of the Fourth Voyage of Columbus to the West Indies_.

We set sail from Cadiz on Monday the 9th of May 1502, and departed from St
Catharines on the 11th of the same month for Arzilla, intending to relieve
the Portuguese in that garrison who were reported to be in great distress;
but when we came there the Moors had raised the siege. The admiral sent on
shore his brother D. Bartholomew and me, along with the other captains of
our ships to visit the governor, who had been wounded by the Moors in an
assault. He returned thanks to the admiral for the visit and his offers of
assistance, sending several gentlemen on board for this purpose, among
whom were some relations of Donna Philippa Moniz, the admirals former
Portuguese wife. We sailed from Arzilla on the same day, and arriving at
Gran Canaria on the 20th of May, casting anchor among the little islands,
and on the 24th went over to Maspalomas in the same island to take in wood
and water for our voyage, and set out next night for the Indies. It
pleased God to give us a fair wind, insomuch that on Wednesday the 15th of
June, without handing our sails the whole way, we arrived at the island of
Matinino. There, according to the custom of those who sail from Spain for
the Indies, the admiral took in a fresh supply of wood and water, and
ordered the men to wash their linens, staying till the 18th, when we stood
to the westwards and came to Dominica ten leagues distant from Matinino[1].
So continuing our course among the Caribbee islands we came to Santa Cruz,
and on the 24th of June we ran along the south side of the island of St
John[2]; and thence proceeded for St Domingo, where the admiral proposed
to have exchanged one of his ships for another. The vessel he wished to
part with was a bad sailer, and besides could not carry sail without
running its lee gunwale almost under water, and was a great hindrance to
the voyage. His original design was to have gone directly to the coast of
Paria, and to keep along the shore to the westwards till he should
discover the straits, which he concluded must be somewhere about Veragua
or Nombre de Dios. But on account of the fault of that ship he was forced
to repair to St Domingo in hope of exchanging her for a better.

That the commandary Lores[3], who had been sent out by their majesties to
call Bovadilla to account for his mal-administration, might not be
surprised at our unexpected arrival, the admiral sent on the 29th of June,
being then near the port, Peter de Terreros, captain of one of the ships,
with a message to him signifying the necessity there was for exchanging
one of the ships. For which reason, and because he apprehended the
approach of a great storm, he requested permission to secure his squadron
in the harbour; and he advised him not to allow the fleet then preparing
to sail for Spain to quit the port for eight days to come, as it would
otherwise be in great danger. But the governor would not permit the
admiral to come into the harbour; neither did he delay the sailing of the
fleet which was bound for Spain. That fleet consisted of 18 sail, and was
to carry Bovadilla who had imprisoned the admiral and his brothers, and
Francis Roldan with all those who had been in rebellion and done so much
harm; all of whom it pleased God so to infatuate that they would not
listen to the admirals good advice. I am satisfied that the hand of God
was in this; for had they arrived in Spain they would never have been
punished as their crimes deserved, as they enjoyed the protection of the
bishop Fonseca. This impunity was prevented by their setting out from St
Domingo for Spain, as no sooner were they come to the east point of
Hispaniola than there arose a terrible storm; the admiral of the fleet
went to the bottom, and in her perished Bovadilla with most of the rebels,
and so great was the havock among the rest, that only three or four
vessels escaped of the whole eighteen.

This event happened on Thursday the 30th of June; when the admiral, who
had foreseen the storm and had been refused admittance into the port, drew
up as close to the land as he could to shelter himself from its effects.
The people on board his vessels were exceedingly dissatisfied at being
denied that shelter which would have been given to strangers, much more to
them who were of the same nation, and they feared they might be so served
if any misfortune should afterwards befal them in the prosecution of their
voyage. The admiral was greatly concerned on the same account, and was yet
more vexed to experience such base ingratitude in a country which he had
given to the honour and benefit of Spain, where he was thus refused
shelter for his life. Yet by his prudence and judgment he secured his
ships for that day. But next night the tempest increasing, and the night
being extremely dark, three of the ships broke from their anchors and
drifted from him. All were in imminent danger, and the people on board of
each concluded that all the others were certainly lost. Those in the Santo
suffered greatly by endeavouring to save their boat, which had been ashore
with their captain Terreros, and now dragged astern where it overset, and
they were obliged to cast it loose to save themselves. The caravel Bermuda
was in infinite danger; for running out to sea it was almost covered and
overwhelmed by the waves, by which it appeared what good reason the
admiral had to endeavour to exchange that vessel, which all men concluded
was saved, under God, by the wisdom and resolution of the admirals brother,
than whom there was not at that time a more expert sailor. After all had
suffered extremely, except the admiral who rode out the gale, it pleased
God that they all met again on Sunday the 3d of July in the port of Azna
on the south side of Hispaniola, where every one gave an account of his
misfortunes. It appeared that Bartholomew Columbus had weathered this
great storm by standing out to sea like an able sailor; while the admiral
had avoided all danger by hugging close to the land like a wise astronomer,
who knew whence the peril was to come.

His enemies might well blame him, by saying that he had raised this storm
by magic art to be revenged on Bovadilla and the rest of his enemies who
perished with him, since none of his own four ships were lost; whereas of
the eighteen which had set out at the same time with Bovadilla, the
_Ajuga_, or Needle, only held on its course for Spain, where it arrived in
safety though the worst of the whole fleet, the other three that escaped
having returned to St Domingo in a shattered and distressed condition. In
the Ajuga there were 4000 pesos of gold belonging to the admiral, each
peso being worth eight shillings.

The admiral gave his men a breathing time in the port of Azua, to recover
from the fatigues which they had encountered in the storm; and as it is
one of the usual diversions of seamen to fish when they have nothing else
to do, I shall make mention of two sorts of fish in particular which I
remember to have seen taken at that place, one of which was pleasant, and
the other wonderful. The first was a fish called _Saavina_, as big as half
an ordinary bull, which lay asleep on the surface of the water, and was
struck by a harpoon from the boat of the ship Biscaina; being held fast by
a rope so that it could not break loose, it drew the boat after it with
the swiftness of an arrow in various directions, so that those who were in
the ship, seeing the boat scud about at a strange rate without knowing the
cause, could not imagine how it could do so without the help of oars. At
length it sunk, and being drawn to the ships side was hoisted on deck by
the tackle. The other fish is called Manati by the Indians, and there is
nothing of the kind seen in Europe. It is about as large as an ordinary
calf, nothing differing from it in the colour and taste of the flesh,
except that it is perhaps better and fatter. Those who affirm that there
are all sorts of creatures to be found in the sea, will have it that these
fishes are real calves, since they have nothing within them resembling a
fish, and feed only on the grass which they find along the banks[4].

Having refreshed his men and repaired his ships, the admiral went from
Azua to the port of Brazil called Yaquimo by the Indians, to shun another
storm of which he observed the approach. From thence he sailed again on
the 14th of July, and was so becalmed that instead of holding on his
course he was carried away by the current to certain small sandy islands
near Jamaica; not finding any springs in these islands, the people had to
dig pits or wells in the sand whence they procured water; on account of
which circumstance the admiral named them _Islas de los Poros_, or the
Well Islands. Then sailing southwards[5] for the continent, we came to
certain islands, where we went on shore on the biggest only called Guanaia;
whence those who make sea charts took occasion to call all those the
islands of Guanaia, which are almost twelve leagues from that part of the
continent now called the province of Honduras, but which the admiral then
named Cape Casinas. These fabricators of charts often commit vast mistakes
from ignorance; thus these same islands and that part of the continent
nearest them are twice inserted in their charts, as if they were different
countries; and though cape _Garcias a Dios_, and that they call Cape[6]
----. The occasion of this mistake was, that after the admiral had
discovered these countries, one John Diaz de Solis, from whom the Rio de
Plata was named Rio de Solis because he was there killed by the Indians,
and one Vincent Yanez Pinzon, who commanded a ship in the first voyage
when the admiral discovered the Indies, set out together on a voyage of
discovery in the year 1508, designing to sail along that coast which the
admiral discovered in his voyage from Veragua westwards; and following
almost the same track which he had done, they put into the port of Cariari
and passed by Cape Garcias a Dios as far as Cape Casinas, which they
called Cape Honduras, and they named the before mentioned islands the
Guanaias, giving the name of the biggest to them all. Thence they
proceeded farther on without acknowledging that the admiral had been in
those parts, that the discovery might be attributed to them, and that it
might be believed they had found out extensive countries; although Peter
de Ledesma, one of their pilots who had been with the admiral in his
voyage to Veragua, told them that he knew the country, having been there
with the admiral, and from whom I afterwards learnt these circumstances.
But, independent of this authority, the nature of the charts plainly
demonstrates that they have laid the same thing down twice, as the island
is of the same shape and at the same distance; they having brought a true
draught of the country, only saying that it lay beyond that which the
admiral had before discovered. Hence the same country is twice delineated
on the same chart, as time will make apparent when it shall please God
that this coast shall be better known; for they will then find but one
country of that sort. But to return to our voyage; the admiral ordered his
brother Bartholomew to land with two boats on the island of Guanaia, where
he found people like those of the other islands, except that their
foreheads were not so high. They also saw abundance of pine trees, and
found pieces of lapis calaminaris, such as is used for mixing with copper
in the process for making brass; and which some of the seamen mistaking
for gold concealed for a long time.

While the admirals brother was on shore, using his endeavours to learn the
nature of the country, it so happened that a canoe eight feet wide and as
long as a galley, made all of one piece, and shaped like those which were
common among the islands, put in there. It was loaded with commodities
brought from the westwards, and bound towards New Spain[7]. In the middle
of this canoe there was an awning made of palm-tree leaves, not unlike
those of the Venetian gondolas, which kept all underneath so close, that
neither rain nor sea water could penetrate to wet the goods. Under this
awning were the women and children, and all the commodities; and though
there were twenty-five men in the canoe, they had not the courage to
defend themselves against the people in our boats who pursued them. The
canoe being thus taken without any opposition, was brought along side of
the admiral, who blessed GOD for having given him samples of the
commodities of that country, without exposing his men to any danger. He
therefore ordered such things to be taken as he judged most sightly and
valuable; such as quilts, cotton shirts without sleeves, curiously wrought
and dyed of several colours; some small cloths for covering the nudities,
large sheets, in which the women in the canoe wrapped themselves, as the
Moorish women in Granada used to do, long wooden swords, having a channel
on each side where the edge should be, in which many pieces of sharp-edged
flints were fixed by means of thread and a tenacious bituminous matter;
these swords could cut naked men as well as if they had been made of steel;
hatchets for cutting wood made of good copper, and resembling the stone
hatchets usual among the other islanders, also bells and plates of the
same metal, and crucibles for melting it. For provisions, they had such
roots and grains as they eat in Hispaniola, and a sort of liquor made of
maize like English beer. They likewise had abundance of cacao nuts, which
serve as money in New Spain, and on which they seemed to place great value;
for when these were brought on board along with their other goods, I
observed that when any of them fell, they all anxiously stooped to gather
them up as if they had been of great importance.

These poor creatures seemed to be in a manner out of their wits, on being
brought on board as prisoners among a people so strange and fierce as our
men seemed to them; but so prevalent is avarice in man, that we ought not
to wonder that it should so prevail over the apprehensions of these
Indians, as to make them so anxious about their cacao-nut money, even in
their present situation[8]. The modesty of their demeanour was admirable;
for in getting them from the canoe into the ship, it happened that some of
their clouts were removed, when they would clap their hands before them to
supply the deficiency; and the women wrapped themselves up like the Moors
of Granada, to avoid observation. The admiral restored their canoe, and
gave them some things in exchange for those of which they had been
deprived. And he only detained one old man named Giumbe, who seemed the
chief, and the most intelligent person among them, that from him something
might be learnt concerning the country, and that he might draw others of
the natives to converse and traffic with the Christians. This he did very
readily and faithfully all the while he sailed with us, where his language
was understood; and as a reward for his service, when we came to where a
different language was spoken, which was before we reached Cape Garcias a
Dios, the admiral gave him some things, and sent him home quite satisfied.

Though the admiral had heard so much from those in the canoe concerning
the great wealth, politeness, and ingenuity of the people westwards,
towards what is now called New Spain; yet, considering that as these
countries lay to leewards, he could sail thither whenever he might think
fit from Cuba, he would not go that way at this time, but persisted in his
design of endeavouring to discover a strait or passage across the
continent, by which he might clear a way into what we now call the South
Sea, in order to arrive at those countries which produce spice. He
therefore determined to sail eastwards towards Veragua and Nombre de Dios,
where he imagined that strait would be found, _as in effect it was_; yet
was he deceived in this matter, as instead of an isthmus, he expected to
discover a narrow gulf or inlet, communicating between the two seas. This
mistake might proceed from the similarity of the two names; for when the
natives said that the strait which he so anxiously desired to find was
towards Veragua and Nombre de Dios, it might be understood either of land
or water, and he understood it in the most usual sense, and that which he
most earnestly desired[9]. And though that strait is actually land, yet it
is the means of acquiring the dominion of both seas, and by which such
enormous riches have been discovered and conveyed to Spain; for it was
GODS will that this vast concern should be so found out, as from this
canoe the admiral received the first information respecting New Spain.

There being nothing worthy of notice in the islands of Guanaia, he sailed
thence to a point which he called _Casinas_, in order to find out the
strait before mentioned. It received this name on account of its abounding
in the trees which produce a species of fruit known by the name _casinas_
to the natives of Hispaniola; which fruit is rough like a spongy bone, and
good to eat, especially when boiled. As there was nothing worthy of notice
in that part of the country, the admiral would not lose time in examining
a large bay which is in that place, but held on his course eastwards,
along that coast which reaches to Cape Garcias a Dios, which is all very
low and open. The people nearest to Cape Casinas, or Honduras, wear those
painted shirts or jackets before mentioned, and clouts before their
nudities; and likewise use certain coats of mail made of cotton, strong
enough to defend them against their native weapons, and even to ward off
the stroke of some of ours.

The people farther to the eastwards about Cape Garcias a Dios are almost
black, of a fierce aspect, go stark naked, are very savage, and according
to Giumbe eat mans flesh and raw fish. They have their ears bored with
holes, large enough to admit a hens egg, owing to which circumstance the
admiral called this coast _De las Orejas_, or the Land of Ears[10]. On
Sunday the 14th of August, Bartholomew Columbus went ashore in the morning,
with the captains and many of the men to hear mass; and on the Wednesday
following, when the boats went ashore to take formal possession of the
country, above 100 of the natives ran down to the shore loaded with
provisions; and as soon as the lieutenant landed, came before him, and
suddenly drew back without speaking a word. He ordered them to be
presented with horse-bells, beads, and other trinkets, and endeavoured to
make inquiry concerning the country by means of Giumbe; but he having been
only a short time with us, did not understand our language, and by reason
of his distance from Hispaniola, could not comprehend those of our people
who had learnt the language of that island; neither did he understand
those Indians. But they, being much pleased with what had been given them,
above 200 of them came next day to the shore, loaded with various sorts of
provisions; such as poultry much better than ours, geese, roasted fish,
red and white beans like kidney beans, and other things like the
productions of Hispaniola. This country, though low, was verdant and very
beautiful, producing abundance of pines and oaks, palm trees of seven
different kinds, mirabolans, of the kind called hobi in Hispaniola, and
almost all the kinds of provisions produced in that island were found here.
There were likewise abundance of deer, leopards, and other quadrupeds, and
all sorts of fish that are found either at the islands or in Spain.

The people of this country are much like those of the islands, but their
foreheads are not so high, neither did they appear to have any religion.
There are several languages or dialects among them, and for the most part
they go naked, except the clout before mentioned, though some of them wore
a kind of short jerkin without sleeves, reaching to the navel. Their arms
and bodies have figures wrought upon them with fire, which gave them an
odd appearance; some having lions or deer, and others castles, with towers
or other strange figures painted on their bodies. Instead of caps, the
better sort wore red and white cotton cloths on their heads, and some had
locks of hair hanging from their foreheads. When they mean to be very fine
upon a day of festival, they colour their faces, some black and some red,
and others draw streaks of several colours; some paint their noses, others
black their eyes, and thus adorning, themselves as they think to look
beautiful, they look in truth like devils.

The admiral sailed along the coast de las Orejas, or the Mosquito shore,
eastwards to Cape Garcias a Dios, or Thanks be to GOD, so called on
account of the difficulty of getting there, having laboured seventy days
to get only sixty leagues to the eastwards of Cape Casinas or Honduras.
This was occasioned by opposing currents and contrary winds, so that we
had continually to tack out to sea and stand in again, sometimes gaining,
and sometimes losing ground, according as the wind happened to be scant or
large when we put about. And had not the coast afforded such good
anchoring we had been much longer upon it; but being free from shoals or
rocks, and having always two fathoms of water at half a league from the
shore, and two more at every league farther distant, we had always the
convenience of anchoring every night when there was little wind. When on
the 14th of September we reached the cape, and found the land turned off
to the southwards, so that we could conveniently continue our voyage with
those _levanters_ or east winds that so continually prevailed, we all gave
thanks to GOD for the happy change, for which reason the admiral gave it
the name of Cape Garcias a Dios. A little beyond that cape we passed by
some dangerous sands, that ran out to sea as far as the eye could reach.

It being requisite to take in wood and water, the boats were sent on the
16th of September to a river that seemed deep and to have a good entrance,
but the coming out proved disastrous, for the wind freshening from the sea,
and the waves running high against the current of the river, so distressed
the boats, that one of them was lost with all the men in it; for which the
admiral named it _Rio de la Disgratia_, or the River of Disaster. In this
river, and about it, there grew canes as thick as a mans leg. Still
running southwards, we came on Sunday the 25th of September to anchor near
a small island called Quiriviri, and near a town on the continent named
Cariari, where were the best people, country, and situation we had yet
seen, as well because it was high and full of rivers, and thickly wooded
with forests of palms, mirabolans, and other trees. For this reason, the
admiral named this island Hucite. It is a small league from the town named
Cariari by the Indians, which is situated near a large river, whither a
great number of people resorted from the adjacent parts; some with bows
and arrows, others armed with staves of palm tree, as black as coal and as
hard as horn, pointed with fish bone, and others with clubs, and they came
in a body as if they meant to defend their country. The men had their hair
braided, and wound round their heads, and the women wore their hair short
like our men. But perceiving that we had no hostile intentions, they were
very desirous to barter their articles for ours; theirs were arms, cotton
jerkins, and large pieces of cotton cloth like sheets, and guaninis which
are made of pale gold, and worn about their necks like our relics. With
these things they swam to our boats, for none of our people went on shore
that day or the next. The admiral would not allow any of their things to
be taken, lest we might be considered as covetous, but ordered some of our
articles to be given to them. The less we appeared to value the exchange,
the more eager were they to bring it about, and made many signs to that
effect from the shore. At last, perceiving that none of our people would
go on shore, they took all the things which had been given them, without
reserving the smallest article, and tying them up in a bundle, left them
on that part of the beach where our people first landed, and where our
people found them on the Wednesday following when they went on shore.

Believing that the Christians did not confide in them, the Indians sent an
ancient man of an awful presence, bearing a flag upon a staff, and
accompanied by two girls of about eight and fourteen years of ages and
putting these into the boat as if giving hostages, he made signs for our
people to land. Upon their request, our people went ashore to take in
water, the Indians taking great care to avoid doing any thing which might
have alarmed the Christians; and when they saw our men about to return to
the ships, the Indians made signs to take the girls along with them with
their guaninis about their necks, and at the request of the old man, they
complied and carried them on board. In this conduct these people shewed
themselves of a more friendly disposition than any we had yet met with;
and though the girls evinced uncommon undauntedness in trusting themselves
unconcernedly among strangers, they always behaved themselves with great
modesty and sweetness. The admiral treated them well, clothed and fed them,
and sent them again on shore, where they were received by the old man and
about fifty others, with great signs of satisfaction and content. On the
boats going on shore again the same day, they found the same people with
the girls, who insisted upon restoring all that had been given them by the

Next day, the admirals brother went on shore to endeavour to learn
something of these people, when two of the chiefs came to the boat, and
taking him by the arms made him sit down on the grass between them; and as,
when he was about to ask them questions, he ordered his secretary to write
down the information they might give, the sight of the pen, ink, and paper,
threw them into such consternation that most of them ran away[11]. It was
supposed they did this from dread of being bewitched; for to us they
appeared to be sorcerers and superstitious people, as whenever they came
near the Christians, they used to scatter some powder about them in the
air, and to burn some of the same powder, endeavouring to make the smoke
go towards the Christians; besides their refusing to keep any thing that
belonged to us showed a degree of jealousy like the proverb, which says,
"A knave thinks every man like himself[12]." Having remained here longer
than was convenient, considering the haste we were in, and having repaired
the ships, and provided all we wanted, the admiral sent his brother on
shore with some men on the 2d of October, to view the town, and to
endeavour to learn as much as possible of the manners of the people, and
the nature of the country. The most remarkable thing they saw was a great
wooden building covered with canes, in which were several tombs. In one of
these there lay a dead body dried up and embalmed, in another two bodies
wrapped up in cotton sheets and without any ill scent; and over each there
was a board carved with the figures of beasts, and on one of them the
effigies as was supposed of the person deposited underneath, adorned with
guaninis, beads, and others of their most valued ornaments. These being
the most civilized Indians yet met with, the admiral ordered some to be
taken that he might learn the secrets of the country; seven men were
accordingly seized, and of these two of the chiefest were selected, and
the rest sent away with some gifts and courteous treatment, that the
country might not be left in commotion; and these were told as well as we
could express our meaning, that they were only to serve as guides upon
that coast, and then to be set at liberty. But believing that they were
taken out of covetousness, in order that they might ransom themselves with
their valuable goods, great numbers of the natives came down next day to
the shore, and sent four of their number on board to the admiral to treat
for the ransom of their friends, offering such things as they possessed,
and freely giving three hogs of the country, which, though small, are very
ferocious. Observing, therefore, the uncommon policy of this nation, the
admiral was the more anxious to be acquainted with them; and though he
would not listen to their offers of ransoming their friends, he ordered
some _trifles_ to be given to the messengers that they might not go away
dissatisfied, and that they should be paid for their hogs.

Among other creatures which that country produces, there is a kind of cats
of a greyish colour, as large as a small greyhound, but with a much longer
tail, which is so strong, that whatever they clasp with it is as if bound
fast with a rope. These animals ran about the trees like squirrels, and
when they leap, they not only hold fast with their claws, but with their
tails also, by which they often hang to the boughs, either to rest
themselves or to sport. It happened that one Ballaster brought one of
these cats out of a wood, having knocked him from a tree, and not daring
to meddle with it when down because of its fierceness, he cut off one of
its fore paws and brought it on board in that mutilated condition. Even in
that maimed state, it terrified a good dog we had on board, but put one of
the Indian hogs into much greater fear. The hog used to run at every
person, and would not allow the dog to remain on deck; but the moment it
saw the cat it ran away with signs of the utmost terror. The admiral
therefore gave orders that the hog and the cat should be placed close
together; the cat immediately wound her tail around the snout of the hog,
and with its remaining fore-leg fastened on the pole of the hog, which
grunted the while most fearfully. From this we concluded that these cats
hunt like the wolves or dogs of Spain.

On Wednesday the 5th of October, the admiral sailed from Cariari, and came
to the bay of Caravaro, which is six leagues long and two broad; in this
bay there are many small islands, and two or three channels to go out and
in by. Within these channels the ships sailed as it had been in streets or
lanes between the islands, the branches of the trees rubbing against the
shrouds. As soon as we anchored in this bay, the boats went to one of the
islands where there were twenty canoes on the shore, and a number of
people all entirely naked; most of them had a plate of gold hanging from
the neck, and some an ornament of gold resembling an eagle. These people
were perfectly peaceable, and shewed no tokens of being afraid of the
Christians. Assisted by the two Indians from Cariari, who acted as
interpreters, our people bought one of the gold plates which weighed ten
ducats for three horse-bells, and the Indians said that there was great
plenty of that metal to be had farther up the country at no great distance.

Next day, being the 7th of October, our boats went ashore upon the
continent, where they met ten canoes full of people; and as they refused
to barter away their gold ornaments, two of their chiefs were taken
prisoners, one of whom had a gold plate weighing fourteen ducats, and the
other an eagle of gold which weighed twenty-two. Being examined by the
admiral, with the assistance of our interpreters, they said that there was
great plenty of gold up the country, at places which they named, and which
might be reached in a day or two. Vast quantities of fish were taken in
the bay, and there were abundance of these creatures on shore which were
before seen at Cariari; also great abundance of food, as grain, roots, and
fruit. The men were entirely naked, except a narrow cotton cloth before,
and had their faces and body painted all over with various colours, as red,
white, and black. From this bay of Caravaro, we went to another close by
it called Aburena, which in some measure is like the other.

On the 17th of October we put to sea to continue our voyage; and came to
Guaiga, a river twelve leagues from Aburena. When our boats were going on
shore here by order of the admiral, they saw above 100 Indians on the
strand, who assaulted them furiously, running into the water up to their
middles, brandishing their spears, blowing horns, and beating a drum in a
warlike manner; they likewise threw the water at the Christians, and
chewing certain herbs, they squirted the juice towards them. Our men lay
upon their oars and endeavoured to pacify them, which they at length
accomplished, and they drew near to exchange their gold plates, some for
two, and others for three horse bells, by which means we procured sixteen
gold plates worth 150 ducats. Next day, being Friday the 19th of October,
the boats went again towards the land, intending to barter; but before
going on shore, they called to some Indians who were under certain bowers
or huts, which they had made during the night to defend their country,
fearing the Christians might land to injure them. Though our people called
long and loud, none of the Indians would approach, nor would the
Christians venture to land till they knew what were the intentions of the
Indians; for it afterwards appeared that the Indians waited to fall upon
our people as soon as they might land. But perceiving that they came not
out of the boats, they blew their horns and beat their drum, and ran into
the water as they had done the day before, till they came almost up to the
boats, brandishing their javelins in a hostile manner. Offended at this
proceeding, and that the Indians might not be so bold and despise them,
the Christians at last wounded one of them in the arm with an arrow, and
fired a cannon to intimidate them, on which they all scampered away to the
land. After this four Spaniards landed and called the Indians to come back,
which they now did very quietly, leaving their arms behind them; and they
bartered three gold plates, saying they had no more with them, as they had
not come prepared for trade but for war.

The only object of the admiral in this voyage being to discover the
country, and to procure samples of its productions, he proceeded without
farther delay to Catiba, and cast anchor in the mouth of a great river.
The people of the country were seen to gather, calling one another
together with horns and drums, and they afterwards sent two men in a canoe
towards the ships; who, after some conversation with the Indians who had
been taken at Cariari, came on board the admiral without any signs of
apprehension, and by the advice of the Cariari Indians gave the admiral
two gold plates which they wore about their necks, for which he gave them
some baubles in return. When these went on shore, there came another with
three men, wearing gold plates at their necks, who parted with them as the
others had done. Amity being thus settled, our men went on shore, where
they found numbers of people along with their king, who differed in
nothing from the rest, except that he was covered with one large leaf of a
tree to defend him from the rain which then fell in torrents. To give his
subjects a good example, he bartered away his gold plate, and bade them
exchange theirs with our men, so that they got nineteen in all of pure
gold. This was the first place in the Indies where our people had seen any
sign of building, as they here found a great mass of wall or masonry that
seemed to be composed of stone and lime, and the admiral ordered a piece
of it to be brought away as a memorial or specimen. From thence we sailed
eastwards to Cobravo, the people of which place dwell near the rivers of
that coast; and because none of the natives came down to the strand, and
the wind blew fresh, he held on his course to five towns of great trade,
among which was Veragua, where the Indians said the gold was gathered and
the plates manufactured.

The next day he came to a town called Cubiga, where the Indians of Cariari
said that the trading country ended; this began at Carabora and extended
to Cubiga for 50 leagues along the coast. Without making any stay here,
the admiral proceeded on till he put into Porto Bello, to which he gave
that name because it is large, well peopled, and encompassed by a finely
cultivated country. He entered this place on the 2d of November, passing
between two small islands within which ships may lie close to the shore,
and can turn it out if they have occasion. The country about that harbour
and higher up is by no means rough, but cultivated and full of houses a
stone throw or a bow-shot only from each other, and forms the finest
landscape that can be imagined. We continued there seven days on account
of rain and bad weather, and canoes came constantly to the ships from all
the country round to trade with provisions and bottoms of fine spun cotton,
which they gave in exchange for points and pins and other trifles.

On Wednesday the ninth of November we sailed from Porto Bello eight
leagues to the eastwards, but were driven back four leagues next day by
stress of weather, and put in among some islands near the continent where
the town of Nombre de Dios now stands; and because all these small islands
were full of grain, the admiral called this place _Puerto de Bastimentos_,
or Port of Provisions. While here one of our boats pursued a canoe, and
the Indians imagining our men would do them some harm, and perceiving the
boat within less than a stones throw of them, they leapt into the sea to
swim away, which they all effected; for though the boat rowed hard it
could not overtake any of them, or if it did come up with one he would
dive like a duck and come up again a bow-shot or two distant. This chase
lasted above half a league, and it was very pleasant to see the boat
labour in vain and come back empty handed.

We continued here till the 23d of November, refitting the ships and
mending our casks, and sailed that day to a place called Guiga, there
being another of the same name between Veragua and Cerago. The boats went
ashore at this place, where they found above 300 persons ready to trade in
provisions and some small gold ornaments which they wore at their ears and
noses. On Saturday the 24th of November we put into a small port which was
called _Retrete_, or the Retired Place, because it could not contain above
five or six ships together; the mouth of it was not above 15 or 20 paces
over, and on both sides rocks appeared above water as sharp as diamonds.
The channel between was so deep that no bottom could be found, though if
the ships inclined only a little way to either side the men could leap on
shore. This sharpness of the rocks saved the ships in this narrow passage,
and the danger we were now in was owing to the covetousness of the people
who went in the boats to view it, as they were desirous of trafficking
with the Indians, and believed that the ships might be in safety close to
the shore. In this place we were detained nine days by bad weather. At
first the Indians came very familiarly to trade in such articles as they
had to dispose of; but our seamen used to steal privately on shore and
commit a thousand insolencies like covetous dissolute fellows, insomuch
that they provoked the Indians to break the peace, and several skirmishes
happened between them and our people. The Indians at length took courage
to advance to our ships which lay with their sides close to the shore,
intending to do us some harm; but their designs turned out to their own
detriment, although the admiral always endeavoured to gain them by
patience and civility. But perceiving their insolence to increase, he
caused some cannon to be discharged, thinking to frighten them; this they
answered with loud shouts, thrashing the trees with their clubs and staves,
and showed by threatening signs that they did not fear the noise.
Therefore to abate their pride and to surprise them with respect for the
Christians, the admiral ordered a shot to be fired at a company of them
that stood upon a hillock near the shore; and the ball falling among them
made them sensible that our thunder carried a bolt along with it, and in
future they dared not to show themselves even behind the hills.

The people of this country were the handsomest we had yet seen among the
Indians, being tall and thin, without large bellies, and with agreeable
countenances. The country was all plain, bearing little grass and few
trees. In the harbour there were crocodiles or alligators of a vast size,
which go on shore to sleep, and they scatter a scent as if all the musk in
the world were together: They are fierce and ravenous, so that if they
find a man asleep they drag him to the water and devour him, but they are
fearful and cowardly when attacked. These alligators are found in many
other parts of the continent, and some affirm that they are the same with
the crocodiles of the Nile.

Finding that the violent winds from the E. and N.E. did not cease, and
that no trade could be had with those people, the admiral resolved to go
back that he might make farther inquiry into the reports of the Indians
concerning the mines of Veragua, and therefore returned on Monday the 5th
of November to Porto Bello ten leagues westwards. Continuing his course
next day, he was encountered by a west wind which was quite contrary to
his new design, though favourable for that which he had been attempting
for three months past, but expecting that this wind would not last long
because the weather was unsettled, he bore up against the wind for some
days; but when the weather would seem a little favourable for going to
Veragua, another wind would start up and drive us back again to Porto
Bello, and when almost in hopes of getting into port we were quite beat
off again. Sometimes there were such incessant flashes of thunder and
lightning that the men durst hardly open their eyes, the ships seemed just
sinking, and the sky appeared as if it would come down upon us. At times
the thunder was so continued, that it was conceived some ship was firing
its guns for assistance. At other times there would fall such incessant
and heavy torrents of rain for two or three days together as if an
universal deluge were going to overwhelm the world. This almost unceasing
war of the elements perplexed the men and reduced them almost to despair,
so that they were continually wet and could not get half an hours rest at
a time, always beating up to windward. In such terrible tempests they
dreaded the _fire_ in flashes of lightning, the _air_ for its fury, _the
water_ for its mountainous waves, and the _earth_ for hidden rocks and
sands; where they expected safety in a near haven, often encountering
danger, and therefore preferring to contend against all the other elements
to avoid the land. In the midst of all these terrors there occurred
another no less wonderful and dangerous, which was a water-spout rising
from the sea on Thursday the 13th of December; which, if they had not
dissolved by reciting the gospel of St John, had certainly sunk whatever
it had fallen upon. This phenomenon draws the water up to the clouds like
a pillar and thicker than a butt, twisting it about like a whirlwind.

That same night we lost sight of the ship called the Biscaina, but had the
good fortune to see it again after three or four dreadful dark days. It
had lost its boat and had been in great danger, being so near the land as
to be forced to come to anchor, which it likewise lost by being obliged to
cut the cable. It now appeared that the currents on this coast follow the
prevailing wind, running westwards with the east wind, and eastwards with
the west. The ships being now almost shattered to pieces by the tempest,
and the men quite spent with incessant labour, a calm for a day or two
gave them some relief, and brought such multitudes of sharks about the
ships as were dreadful to behold, especially to such as were superstitious.
Ravens are reported to smell out dead bodies from a great distance, and
some think that sharks have the same perceptive faculty. They have two
rows of sharp teeth in the nature of a saw, with which if they lay hold of
a mans leg or arm they cut it off as with a razor. Multitudes of these
sharks were caught by a hook and chain, but being able to destroy no more,
they continued in vast numbers swimming about. They are so greedy that
they not only bite at carrion, but may be taken by means of a red rag upon
the hook. I have seen a tortoise taken out of the stomach of one of these
sharks that lived for some time afterwards aboard the ship; and out of
another was taken the head of one of its own kind, which we had cut off
and thrown into the water as not fit to be eaten, and the shark had
swallowed it, which to us seemed strange and unnatural that one creature
should swallow the head of another as large as its own; this however is
owing to the vast size of their mouth which reaches almost to the belly,
and the head is shaped like an olive. Though some of the people considered
these creatures as foreboding misfortune, and others thought them bad fish,
yet we were all thankful for them on account of the want we were now in:
We had been eight months at sea, so that all the flesh and fish we had
brought from Spain was consumed, and owing to the heat and moisture of the
atmosphere, the biscuit was become so full of maggots that many of the
people waited till night before they could eat the pottage made of it,
that they might not see the maggots; but others were so used to eat them
that they were not curious to throw them away, lest they might lose their

Upon Saturday the 17th of December we put into a large bay or port three
leagues to the eastwards of _Pennon_ called _Huiva_ by the Indians, where
we remained three days. We there saw the Indians dwelling upon the tops
of trees, like birds, laying sticks across the boughs upon which they
build a kind of huts. We conceived this might have been for fear of the
_griffins_ which are in that country, or to be out of reach of their
enemies; for all along that coast the little tribes at every league
distant are great enemies to each other and perpetually at war. We sailed
from this port on the 20th with fair weather but not settled, for as soon
as we were got put to sea the tempest rose again and drove us into another
port, whence we departed the third day, the weather being somewhat mended,
but like an enemy that lies in wait for a man, it rushed out again and
drove us to Pennon, but when we hoped to get in there the wind came quite
contrary and drove us again towards Veragua. Being at an anchor in the
river the weather became again very stormy, so that we had reason to be
thankful for having got into that port, where we had been before on the
12th of the same month. We continued here from the 26th of December to the
3d of January 1508; when, having repaired the ship Gallega and taken on
board a good store of Indian wheat, water, and wood, we turned back to
Veragua with bad weather and contrary winds, which changed crossly just as
the admiral altered his course. This continual changing of the wind gave
us so much trouble between Veragua and Porto Bello that the admiral named
this _Costo de Contrasses_, or the Coast of Thwartings.

Upon Thursday, being the feast of the Epiphany, 6th January, we cast
anchor near a river called _Yebra_ by the Indians, but which the admiral
named Belem or Bethlem, because we came to it on the festival of the three
kings. He caused the mouth of that river and of another to the westwards
to be sounded; in the latter, called _Veragua_ by the Indians, the water
was shoal, but in the river Belem there were four fathoms at high water.
The boats went up this river to the town where we had been informed the
gold mines of Veragua were situated. At first the Indians were so far from
conversing that they assembled with their weapons to hinder the Christians
from landing; and the next day on going up the river of Veragua, the
Indians did the same, not only on shore, but stood upon their guard with
their canoes in the water. But an Indian of that coast who understood them
a little went on shore and persuaded them that we were good people, and
desired nothing from them but what we would pay for; by this they were
pacified and trucked twenty plates of gold, likewise some hollow pieces
like the joints of reeds, and some unmelted grains. On purpose to enhance
the value of their gold they said it was gathered a great way off among
uncouth mountains, and that when they gathered it they did not eat, nor
did they carry their women along with them, a story similar to which was
told by the people of Hispaniola when it was first discovered.

On Monday the 9th of January the admirals ship and that called Biscaina
went up the river, and the Indians came presently on board to barter away
such things as they had, especially fish, which at certain times of the
year come up these rivers from the sea in such quantities as would seem
incredible to those who had not seen it. They likewise exchanged some gold
for pins, and what they most valued they gave for beads, or hawks-bells.
Next day the other two ships came in, having to wait for the flood, which
does not rise above half a fathom in these parts. As Veragua was famed for
mines and extraordinary wealth, the admirals brother went up the river the
third day after our arrival to the town of _Quibio_, the king or cacique
of this province; who, hearing of the lieutenants coming, came down the
river in his canoes to meet him. Quibio behaved in a very friendly manner,
and interchanged several articles with the lieutenant, and after a long
discourse they parted in peace. Next day Quibio came on board to visit the
admiral, and having discoursed together about an hour, his men trucked
some gold for bells, and he returned to his own place.

While we lay here as we thought in perfect ease and security, the river of
Belem suddenly swelled on the 24th of January so high, that before we
could get a cable on shore the fury of the water came so impetuously on
the admirals ship that it broke one of her anchors, and drove her with
such force against the Galega as to bring the foremast by the board, and
both ships were carried away foul of each other in the utmost danger of
perishing. Some judged that this sudden and mighty flood had been
occasioned by the heavy rains, which still continued incessantly; but in
that case the river would have swelled gradually and not all of a sudden,
which made us suppose that some extraordinary rain had fallen in the
mountains about 20 leagues up the country, which the admiral called the
mountains of St Christopher. The highest of that range was above the
region of the air in which meteors are bred, as no cloud was ever seen to
rise above, but all floated below its summit; this mountain of St
Christopher looks like a hermitage[13], and lies in the midst of a range
of woody mountains whence we believed that flood came which was so
dangerous to our ships; for had they been carried out to sea they must
have been shattered to pieces, as the wind was then extremely boisterous.
This tempest lasted so long that we had time to refit and caulk the ships;
and the waves broke so furiously on the mouth of the river, that the boats
could not go out to discover along the coast, to learn where the mines lay,
and to seek out for a proper place in which to build a town; for the
admiral had resolved to leave his brother in this place with most of the
men, that they might settle and subdue the country, while he should return
into Spain to send out supplies of men and provisions. With this prospect,
he sent his brother on Monday the 6th of February with 68 men by sea to
the mouth of the Veragua river, a league to the westward of the Belem
river, who went a league and a half up the river to the caciques town,
where he staid a day inquiring the way to the mines. On Wednesday they
travelled four leagues and half, and rested for the night on the side of a
river which they had crossed 44 times in the course of that days march;
next day they travelled a league and a half towards the mines, being
directed in their journey by some Indian guides who were furnished by
Quibio. In about two hours time they came thither, and every man gathered
some gold from about the roots of the trees, which were there very thick
and of prodigious height. This sample was much valued, because none of
those who went upon this expedition had any tools for digging, or had ever
been accustomed to gather gold; and as the design of this expedition was
merely to get information of the situation of the mines, they returned
very much satisfied that same day to Veragua, and the next day to the
ships. It was afterwards learnt that these were not the mines of Veragua
which lay much nearer, but belonged to the town of _Urira_ the people of
which being enemies to those of Veragua, Quibio had ordered the Christians
to be conducted thither to do a displeasure to his foes, and that his own
mines might remain untouched.

On Thursday the 14th of February, the lieutenant went into the country
with 40 men, a boat following with 14 more. The next day they came to the
river _Urira_ seven leagues west from Belem. The cacique came a league out
of this town to meet him with 20 men, and presented him with such things
as they feed on, and some gold plates were exchanged here. This cacique
and his chief men never ceased putting a dry herb into their mouths, which
they chewed and sometimes they took a sort of powder which they carried
along with that herb, which singular custom astonished our people very
much[14]. Having rested here a while, the Christians and Indians went to
the town, where they were met by great numbers of people, had a large
house appointed for their habitation, and were supplied with plenty of
provisions. Soon after came the cacique of _Dururi_, a neighbouring town,
with a great many Indians, who brought some gold plates to exchange. All
these Indians said that there were caciques farther up the country who had
abundance of gold, and great numbers of men armed as ours were. Next day
the lieutenant ordered part of his men to return to the ships, and with 30
whom he retained, beheld on his journey to _Zobraba_, where the fields for
six leagues were all full of maize like corn fields. Thence he went to
_Cateba_ another town, and was well entertained at both places with
abundance of provisions, and some gold plates were bartered. These are
like, the pattern of a chalice, some bigger and some less, and weighed
about twelve ducats more or less, and the Indians wear them hanging from
their necks by a string as we do relics. Being now very far from the ships,
without having found any port along the coast, or any river larger than
that of Belem on which to settle his colony, the lieutenant came back on
the 24th of February, bringing with him a considerable value in gold which
he had acquired by barter during his journey.

Immediately on his return preparations were made for his stay, and eighty
men were appointed to remain with him. These were divided into gangs of
ten men each, and began to build houses on the bank of the Belem river on
the right hand going up, about a cannon-shot from its mouth, and the
infant colony was protected by surrounding it with a trench. The mouth of
this river is marked by a small hill. The houses were all built of timber
and covered with palm leaves, which grew abundantly along the banks of the
river; and besides the ordinary houses for the colony, a large house was
built to serve as a magazine and store-house, into which several pieces of
cannon, powder, provisions, and other necessaries for the use and support
of the planters were put. But the wine, biscuit, oil, vinegar, cheese, and
a considerable supply of grain were left in the ship Gallega as the safest
place; which was to be left with the lieutenant for the service of the
colony, with all its cordage, nets, hooks and other tackle; for, as has
been already said, there is vast abundance of fish in every river of that
coast, several sorts at certain seasons running along the coast in shoals,
on which the people of the country live more than upon flesh, for though
there are some beasts of different sorts, there are by no means enough to
maintain the inhabitants.

The customs of these Indians are for the most part much the same as those
of Hispaniola and the neighbouring islands; but those people of Veragua
and the country about it, when they talk to one another are constantly
turning their backs and always chewing an herb, which we believed to be
the reson that their teeth were rotten and decayed. Their food is mostly
fish, which they take with nets, and with hooks made of tortoiseshell,
which they cut with a thread as if they were sawing, in the same manner as
is done in the islands. They have another way of catching some very small
fishes, which are called _Titi_ in Hispaniola. At certain times these are
driven towards the shore by the rains, and are so persecuted by the larger
fish that they are forced up to the surface in shoal water, where the
Indians take as many of them as they have a mind by means of little matts
or small meshed nets. They wrap these up singly in certain leaves, and
having dried them in an oven they will keep a great while. They also catch
pilchards in the same manner; for at certain times these fly with such
violence from the pursuit of the large fish, that they will leap out of
the water two or three paces on the dry land, so that they have nothing to
do but take them as they do the _Titi_. These pilchards are taken after
another manner: They raise a partition of palm-tree leaves two yards high
in the middle of a canoe, fore and aft as the seamen call it, or from stem
to stern; then plying about the river they make a great noise, beating the
shores with their paddles, and then the pilchards, to fly from the other
fish, leap into the canoe, where hitting against the partition they fall
in, and by this means they often take vast numbers[15]. Several sorts of
fish pass along the coast in vast shoals, whereof immense quantities are
taken; and these will keep a long time after being roasted or dried in the
way already mentioned.

These Indians have also abundance of maize, a species of grain which grows
in an ear or hard head like millet, and from which they make a white and
red wine, as beer is made in England, mixing it with their spice as it
suits their palate, having a pleasant taste like sharp brisk wine. They
also make another sort of wine from certain trees like palms which have
prickly trunks like thorns: This wine is made from the pith of these palms,
which resemble squeezed palmitoes, and from which they extract the juice
and boil it up with water and spice. They make another wine from a fruit
which grows likewise in Guadaloup, resembling a large pine-apple. This is
planted in large fields, and the plant is a sprout growing from the top of
the fruit, like that which grows from a cabbage or lettuce. One plant
lasts in bearing for three or four years. They likewise make wines from
other sorts of fruit; particularly from one that grows upon very high
trees, which is as big as a large lemon, and has several stones like nuts,
from two to nine in each, not round but long like chesnuts. The rind of
this fruit is like a pomegranate, and when first taken from the tree it
resembles it exactly, save only that it wants the prickly circle at the
top. The taste of it is like a peach; and of them some are better than
others, as is usual in other fruits. There are some of these in the
islands, where they are named _Mamei_ by the Indians.

All things being settled for the Christian colony and ten or twelve houses
built and thatched, the admiral wished to have sailed for Spain; but he
was now threatened by even a greater danger from want of water in the
river, than that he had formerly experienced by the inundation. For the
great rains in January being now over, the mouth of the river was so
choked up with sand, that though there were ten feet of water on the bar
when we came in, which was scant enough, there were now only two feet when
we wished to have gone out. We were thus shut up without prospect of
relief, as it was impossible to get over the sand; and even if we had
possessed any engine calculated for this purpose, the sea was so
boisterous that the smallest of the waves which broke upon the shore was
enough to have beat the ships in pieces, more especially as ours were now
all eaten through and through by the worms like a honeycomb. We had
nothing left therefore, but to pray to God for rain, as we had before
prayed for fair weather; as we knew that rain would swell the river and
clear away the sand.

In the meantime it was discovered by means of our interpreter, an Indian
whom we had taken not far off above three months before, and who willingly
went along with us, that Quibio the cacique of Veragua, intended to set
fire to the houses and destroy the Christians, as all the Indians were
averse to the settlement of our people in their country. It was therefore
thought proper, as a punishment to this cacique and a terror and example
to the other Indians, to take him and all his chief men prisoners into
Spain, that his town and tribe might remain subjected to the Christians.
Accordingly, the lieutenant went with a party of seventy-six men towards
Veragua, on the 30th of March, to execute this project. This town or
village is not built close together, but all the houses are built at
considerable distances as in Biscay. When Quibio understood that the
lieutenant was come near, he sent word for him not to come up to his house;
but the lieutenant, that he might not seem any way afraid of these people,
went up notwithstanding this message, accompanied only by five men;
ordering all the rest to halt at the foot of the hill on which the
caciques house was situated, and desiring them to come after him, two and
two together, at some distance from each other; and that when they should
hear a musket fired, they should all run up, and beset the house that none
of them might escape.

When the lieutenant came to the house, Quibio sent another message to
desire that he might not come in, for though wounded by an arrow, he would
come out to receive him, and he acted in this manner to prevent his women
from being seen, these Indians being exceedingly jealous on that score. He
came out accordingly and sat down at the door, requesting that the
lieutenant alone might approach; who did so, ordering the rest to fall on
whenever they saw him seize hold of the cacique by the arm. He asked
Quibio some questions concerning his wound, and the affairs of the country,
by means of the before-mentioned interpreter, who was exceedingly fearful,
as he knew the intentions of the cacique to destroy the Christians, which
he thought might easily be done by the great numbers of people in that
province, as he had as yet no experience of the strength of our people or
the power of their weapons. Pretending to look where the cacique had been
wounded; the lieutenant took hold of his arm, and kept so firm a grasp,
though Quibio was a strong man, that he held him fast till the other five
Christians came up to his assistance, one of whom fired off his musket,
upon which all the rest ran out from their ambush and surrounded the house,
in which there were thirty people old and young; most of whom were taken,
and none wounded, for on seeing their king a prisoner they made no
resistance. Among the prisoners there were some wives and children of the
cacique, and some inferior chiefs, who said they had a great treasure
concealed in the adjoining wood, and offered to give the whole of it for
the ransom of their cacique and themselves. But the lieutenant would not
listen to their proposals, and ordered Quibio, with his wives and children,
and the principal people who had been made prisoners, to be immediately
carried on board, before the country took the alarm, and remained with
most of his men to go after the kindred and subjects of the captured
cacique, many of whom had fled. John Sanchez of Cadiz, one of our pilots,
and a man of good reputation, was appointed to take charge of the
prisoners, and more especially of Quibio, who was bound hand and foot, and
on being charged to take particular care that he might not escape, he said
he would give them leave to pull his beard off if he got away. Sanchez and
his prisoners embarked with an escort in the boats to go down the river of
Veragua to the ships; and when within half a league of its mouth, Quibio
complained that his hands were bound too tight, on which Sanchez
compassionately loosened him from the seat of the boat to which he was
tied, and held the rope in his hand. A little after this, observing that
he was not very narrowly watched, Quibio sprung into the water, and
Sanchez let go the rope that he might not be dragged in after him. Night
was coming on, and the people in the boat were in such confusion that they
could not see or hear where he got on shore, for they heard no more of him
than if a stone had fallen into the water and disappeared. That the rest
of the prisoners might not likewise escape, they held on their way to the
ships much ashamed of their carelessness.

Next day, perceiving that the country was very mountainous and woody, and
that there were no regular towns, the houses being scattered about at
irregular distances, and consequently that it would be very difficult to
pursue the Indians from place to place, the lieutenant returned to the
ships. He presented to the admiral the plunder of Quibios house, worth
about 300 ducats in gold plates, little eagles, small quills which they
string and wear about their arms and legs, and gold twists which they wear
about their heads in the nature of a coronet. After deducting the fifth
part for their Catholic majesties, he divided all the rest among the
people who had been employed in the expedition, giving one of those crowns
or coronets to the lieutenant in token of victory.

All things being provided for the maintenance of the colony, and the rules
and regulations by which it was to be governed being settled, it pleased
GOD to send so much rain that the river swelled and opened the mouth
sufficiently to float the ships over the bar. Wherefore the admiral
resolved to depart for Hispaniola without delay, that he might forward
supplies for this place. Taking advantage of a calm that the sea might not
beat upon the month of the river, we went out with three of the ships, the
boats towing a-head. Yet though they were lightened as much as possible,
every one of the keels rubbed on the sand which was fortunately loose and
moving; and we then took in with all expedition every thing that was
unloaded for making the ships draw less water. While we lay upon the open
coast, about a league from the mouth of the river, it pleased GOD
miraculously to induce the admiral to send his boat on shore for water,
which proved the cause of preventing the loss of our people who had been
left at Belem. For when Quibio saw that the ships had withdrawn, and could
therefore give no aid to the people who were left, he assaulted the
Christian colony at the very time when our boat went ashore. The approach
of the Indians was not perceived, on account of the thickness of the wood,
and when they came within ten paces of the houses they set up a great
shout, and fell upon our people suddenly and violently, throwing their
javelins at all whom they espied, and even at the houses, which being only
covered with palm-tree leaves, were easily stuck through, and several of
our men were wounded within them. In the first surprize, four or five of
our people were wounded before they could put themselves into a posture of
defence; but the lieutenant being a man of great resolution; went out
against the Indians with a spear, with seven or eight followers, and
attacked the Indians so violently, that he soon made them retire to the
adjoining wood. Thence they returned skirmishing with our people,
advancing to throw their javelins and then retiring, as the Spaniards do
in the sport called _juego de cannas_; but after having experienced the
sharp edges of our swords, and being furiously assailed by a dog belonging
to the Christians, they at length fled, having killed one Christian, and
wounded seven, among whom was the lieutenant, who was wounded in the

From the foregoing danger two Christians took care to preserve themselves;
which I shall relate, to show the comicalness of the one who was an
Italian of Lombardy, and the gravity of the other who was a Spaniard. When
the Lombard was running away to hide himself, James Mendez called him to
turn back; let me alone you devil, said Sebastian, for I am going to
secure my person. The Spaniard was Captain James Tristan, whom the admiral
had sent in the boat, who never went out of it with his men though the
affray was close beside the river; and being blamed for not assisting the
Christians, he excused himself by saying that those on shore might run to
the boat for shelter, and so all might perish, for if the boat were lost
the admiral would be in danger at sea, and he would therefore do no more
than he had been commanded, which was to take in water, and to see if
those on shore needed any assistance. He resolved therefore to take in
water immediately, that he might carry an account to the admiral of what
had happened, and went up the river with that view, to where the salt
water did not mix with the fresh, though some advised him not to go for
fear of being attacked by the Indians in their canoes; but he answered
that he feared no danger since he was sent for that purpose by the admiral.
He accordingly went up the river which is very deep within the land, and
so closely beset on both sides with thick trees, that there is scarcely
any possibility to go on shore, except at some fishermens paths where they
hide their canoes. When the Indians perceived that he had got about a
league above the colony, they rushed from the thickets on both sides of
the river in their canoes, and assaulted him boldly on all sides, making
hideous shouts and blowing their horns. They had great odds against our
people, being in great numbers, and their canoes very swift and manageable,
especially the small ones belonging to the fishermen, which hold three or
four men in each, one of whom paddles and can easily turn it about as he
pleases, while the others threw their javelins at our boat. I call them
javelins because of their bigness, though they have no iron heads, but are
only pointed with fish bones. In our boat there were seven or eight men to
row, and three or four more with the captain to fight; and as the rowers
could not defend themselves from the javelins, they were forced to quit
the oars to handle their targets. But the Indians poured upon them in such
multitudes from all sides, advancing and retiring in good order as they
thought fit, that they wounded most of the Christians, especially Captain
Tristan who was hurt in many places; and though he stood unmoved,
encouraging his men, his bravery availed him nothing, for he was beset on
all sides and could not stir or make use of his musket, and at length he
was pierced by a javelin in the eye and fell down dead. All the rest
shared his fate except one man named John da Noia a native of Cadiz; he by
good fortune fell into the water in the height of the combat, and gaining
the shore by diving made his way through the thickest of the woods to the
colony, where he brought the melancholy news of the destruction of all his

This intelligence, joined to what had befallen themselves, so terrified
our people, who were likewise afraid that the admiral, being at sea
without a boat, might never reach a place from whence he could send them
assistance, that they determined to abandon the colony, and would
certainly have done so without orders, had not the mouth of the river been
rendered impassable by bad weather and a heavy surf in which no boat could
live, so that they could not even convey advice to the admiral of what had
occurred. The admiral was in no little danger and perplexity, riding in an
open road with no boat, and his complement much diminished. Those on
shore were in great confusion and dismay, seeing those who had been
killed in the boat, floating down the river, followed by the country crows,
and this they looked upon as an evil omen, dreading that the same fate
awaited themselves; and the more so as they perceived the Indians puffed
up by their late success, and gave them not a minutes respite by reason of
the ill chosen situation of the colony. There is no doubt that they would
all have been destroyed if they had not removed to an open strand to the
eastwards, where they constructed a defence of casks and other things,
planting their cannon in convenient situations to defend themselves, the
Indians not daring to come out of the wood because of the mischief that
the bullets did among them.

While things were in this situation, the admiral waited in the utmost
trouble and anxiety, suspecting what might have happened in consequence of
his boat not returning, and he could not send another to inquire till the
sea at the mouth of the river should become calmer. To add to our
perplexity the kindred and children of Quibio, who were prisoners on board
the Bermuda, found means to escape. They were kept under hatches all night,
and the hatchway being so high that they could not reach it, the watch
forgot one night to fasten it down in the usual manner by a chain, the
more especially as some seamen slept on the top of the grating. That night
the prisoners gathered the stone ballast in the hold into a heap under the
grating, and standing on the stones forced open the grating, tumbling our
people off, and several of the principal Indians leaped out and cast
themselves into the sea. Our seamen took the alarm and fastened the chain,
so that many of the Indians could not get out; but those who remained, in
despair for not being able to get off with their companions, hanged
themselves with such ropes as they could find, and they were all found
dead next morning, with their feet and knees dragging on the bottom of the
hold, the place not being high enough. Though this loss was not material
to the ships, yet it was feared it might be hurtful to our people on shore,
as Quibio would willingly have made peace to get his children restored,
and there being now no hostage left it was reasonable to suspect he would
now make war with the greater fury.

Being thus afflicted with many troubles, having nothing to trust to but
our anchors and cables, and in great perplexity to get intelligence from
the shore, it was proposed that, since the Indians to recover their
liberty had ventured to leap into the sea a league from shore, some of our
people to save themselves and so many more, might venture to swim on shore,
if carried by the boat which remained as far as where the waves did not
break. Only one boat now remained belonging to the Bermuda, that of the
Biscaina having been lost in the affray, so that we had only one boat
among three ships. Hearing of this bold proposal among the seamen, the
admiral agreed that it should be attempted, and the boat carried them
within a musket-shot of the land, not being able to go any nearer on
account of the heavy waves that broke on it. Here Peter de Ledesma, a
pilot of Seville, threw himself into the water and got on shore. He there
learnt the condition of our people, who had unanimously determined not to
remain in that forlorn condition, and therefore entreated the admiral not
to sail till he had taken them off, as to leave them there was sacrificing
them; more especially as dissensions had already arisen among them, and
they no longer obeyed the lieutenant or the other officers, all their care
being to get on board with the first fair wind; and as this could not be
done conveniently with the only boat which they had, they proposed to
endeavour to seize upon some canoes to assist in their embarkation. Should
the admiral refuse to receive them, they were resolved to attempt saving
their lives in the ship which had been left with them in the river, and
rather trust to fortune than remain at the mercy of the Indians, by whom
they were sure to be massacred. With this answer Ledesema returned by
swimming through the surf to the boat, and thence went to the admiral, to
whom he gave a full report of the state of affairs on shore.

Being fully informed of the disaster which had befallen the colony, and
the confusion and despair which reigned onshore, the admiral determined to
remain and take off the people, though not without great risk and danger,
as his ships lay in an open road without hopes of escape if the weather
had become boisterous. But it pleased GOD, that in the eight days we
continued here, the weather moderated so much that all the people on shore
got off in safety. This they effected by means of their boat, assisted by
several large canoes bound fast two and two together that they might not
overset; and they used such diligence after the surf disappeared, that in
two days they brought every thing away, leaving nothing but the hull of
the ship, which was become quite unserviceable in consequence of the
ravages of the worms. Rejoiced that we were all again together, we sailed
up that coast to the eastwards; for though all the pilots were of opinion
that we might make St Domingo by standing away to the north, yet the
admiral and his brother only knew that it was quite requisite to run a
considerable way along this coast to the eastwards before they should
attempt to strike across the gulf which intervenes between the continent
and Hispaniola. This was very displeasing to our people, who conceived
that the admiral meant to sail direct for Spain, for which his ships were
utterly unfit, neither had he a stock of provisions for so long a voyage.
He knew best what was fit to be done, and therefore continued the eastern
course till we came to Porto Bello, where we were forced to leave the
Biscaina, as she had become so leaky and worm-eaten that she could be no
longer kept above water. Continuing this course, we passed the port
formerly called the _Retrete_, and a country near which there were many
small islands, which the admiral called _Las Barbas_, but which the
Indians and pilots named the territory of the cacique _Pocorosa_.

From thence we held on ten leagues farther to the east to the last land
which we saw on the continent, called _Marmora_[16]; and on Monday the 1st
of May 1503, we stood to the northwards, having the wind and current from
the east, which made us lay our course as near the wind as possible.
Though all the pilots said we should be to the east of the Caribbee
islands, yet the admiral feared we should not be able to make Hispaniola,
as it afterwards proved. Upon Wednesday the 10th of May we were in sight
of two very small low islands called Tortugas or the Tortoises, on account
of the prodigious multitudes of these animals which so swarmed about these
islands, and in the sea about them that they resembled rocks. On the
Friday following, we came in sight about evening of that great cluster of
islands on the coast of Cuba, called Jardin de la Reinas or the Queens
Garden, about thirty leagues from the Tortugas. We came here to anchor
about ten leagues from the coast of Cuba, full of trouble and perplexity;
our men had now nothing to eat but biscuit, with some little oil and
vinegar, and our ships were so worm-eaten and leaky, as to keep the people
labouring at the pumps day and night. In this forlorn state a great storm
arose, and the Bermuda dragging her anchors ran foul of us, and broke in
our stem and her own stern. It pleased GOD that we got the ships loosened
again, though with much difficulty, owing to the rough sea and high wind.
Although we let go all our anchors none would hold but the sheet anchor,
and when day returned we discovered that its cable held only by one strand,
so that if the night had continued an hour longer it must have given way,
and the sea being all full of rocks, we could not fail to have been dashed
in pieces upon some of those astern. But it pleased GOD to deliver us here
as he had done before from many dangers.

Sailing from hence with great toil, we came to an Indian town on the coast
of Cuba named _Mataia_, where we procured some refreshments; and as the
winds and currents set so strong towards the west that we could not
possibly stand for Hispaniola, we now sailed for Jamaica as our only hope
of preserving our lives. The ships were now so worm-eaten and leaky that
we never ceased working day and night at all the three pumps in both ships;
and when any of the pumps gave way, we were forced to supply the
deficiency while it was mending by bailing out the water in buckets and
kettles. Notwithstanding all this labour, on the night before midsummer
eve, the water gained on as and came up almost to our deck. With infinite
labour we held on till day, when we put into a harbour on the north shore
of Jamaica called _Puerto Bueno_, or the Good Harbour; which, though good
to take shelter in against a storm, had no fresh water or any Indian town
in its neighbourhood. Having made the best shift we could, we removed on
the day after the festival of St John, 26th of June, from that harbour to
one farther eastwards called _Santa Gloria_, or Holy Glory, which is
inclosed by rocks. Being got in here, and no longer able to keep the ships
above water, we ran them on shore as far in as we could, stranding them
close together board and board and shoreing them up on both sides to
prevent them from falling over. In this situation they could not budge,
and as the water came up almost to the decks, sheds were erected on the
decks and the poops and forecastles for the men to sleep in, that we might
secure ourselves against any surprise from the Indians, that island being
not then subdued or inhabited by the Christians.

Having thus fortified ourselves in the ships about a bow-shot from the
land, the Indians, who were a peaceable good-natured people, came in their
canoes to sell provisions and such things as they had for our commodities.
To prevent any disorder among the Christians, that they might not take
more in exchange than was fit, and that the natives might be fairly dealt
with, the admiral appointed two persons to have the charge of buying what
might be brought by the Indians; these men were likewise directed to
divide what was purchased daily among the men, as there was now nothing
left on board for subsistence. Some of our provisions had been spoiled or
lost in the haste and confusion of leaving Belem, and almost all the rest
was spent during the voyage to Jamaica. It was the good providence of God
which directed us to this island, which abounds in provisions, and is
inhabited by a people who are willing enough to trade, and who resorted
from all quarters to barter such commodities as they possessed. For this
reason, and that the Christians might not disperse about the island, the
admiral chose to fortify himself upon the sea, and not to settle a
dwelling on shore; for being naturally mutinous and disobedient, no
punishment would have kept the people from running about the country and
going into the houses of the Indians to take away any thing they pleased,
which would have angered their wives and children, and have given occasion
to quarrels; the taking away their provisions by force would have made
them our enemies, and would have reduced us to great want and distress.
These disorders could not happen now, as the men were all kept on board,
and there was no going on shore without leave. By these precautions the
Indians were kept in good humour, and our market was well supplied. They
sold us two _Huties_, which are little creatures like rabbits, for a piece
of tin, cakes of their bread called _Zabi_ for two or three red or yellow
glass beads, and when they brought a quantity of any thing they were
gratified with a hawks-bell. Sometimes we gave a cacique or great man a
red cap, a small mirror, or a pair of scissars. This good order kept the
men plentifully supplied with provisions, and the Indians were well
pleased with our company.

As it was necessary to devise some means of returning into Spain, the
admiral frequently consulted with the captains and other officers how we
might best get out from our present situation of confinement, and at least
secure our return to Hispaniola. To stay here in hopes that some vessel
might arrive was altogether out of the question, and to think of building
a vessel was impossible, as we had neither tools nor workmen fit to do any
thing to the purpose; and we should spend a long time, and not be able
after all to construct a vessel calculated to sail against the winds and
currents that prevail among these islands. After many consultations, the
admiral at length resolved to send over to Hispaniola, to give an account
there of his having been cast away on the island of Jamaica, and to desire
that a ship might be sent to his relief with provisions and ammunition. To
effect this purpose, he made choice of two men in whom he could confide to
perform it with fidelity and courage, as it seemed next to an
impossibility to go over from one island to the other in canoes, and yet
there was no other resource. These canoes or boats are hollowed out of one
single trunk, and are so shallow that the gunwale is not a span above
water when they are loaded. Besides they must be tolerably large to
perform that long passage, the small ones being more dangerous, and the
largest too heavy and cumbrous for so long a voyage.

Two canoes that were deemed fit for the purpose being procured in July
1503, the admiral ordered James Mendez de Segura his chief secretary to go
in one of them, accompanied by six Christians, and having ten Indians to
row or paddle; and in the other he sent Bartholomew Fiesca, a Genoese
gentleman, with a similar crew of Spaniards and Indians. Their orders were,
that as soon as they reached Hispaniola which is 250 leagues from Jamaica,
Mendez was to go on to St Domingo to execute the commission with which he
was entrusted; and Fiesco was to return immediately with intelligence of
the safe arrival of Mendez, that we might not remain in fear lest some
disaster had befallen our messenger. Yet this was much to be dreaded,
considering how unfit a canoe is to live upon a rough sea, especially when
manned by Christians; for if there had only been Indians, the danger would
not have been so great, because they are so dextrous that though a canoe
oversets they can turn it right easily while swimming, and get into it
again. But honour and necessity often lead men to bolder attempts than
this. The two canoes took their way along the coast of Jamaica to its
eastern point named _Aoamaquique_ by the Indians, from a cacique of that
province so called, which is 33 leagues from Maima, where we were. As the
distance between the islands is about 90 leagues, and nothing in the way
but one little island or rock, 8 leagues from Hispaniola, it was necessary
to wait for calm weather in order to cross so great a sea in such
incompetent vessels. This it pleased God soon to give; and every Indian
having taken on board his calabash of water and a supply of _carrabi_ as
their provision, and the Christians armed with swords and targets and
provided with the necessary sustenance, they put to sea. The lieutenant
accompanied them to the eastern point of Jamaica to take care that they
should not be hindered by the Indians, and remained till night came on and
he lost sight of them. He then returned along shore to the ships,
conversing in a friendly manner with the Indians as he went along.

After the departure of our canoes from Jamaica, the people in the ships
began to fall sick, owing to the hardships they had endured in the voyage,
and the change of diet, as we had now no Spanish provisions remaining and
no wine; neither had we any flesh, except a few of the _huties_ already
mentioned, which were procured by barter from the Indians. Those who still
remained in health thought it very hard to be so long confined, and began
to cabal among themselves. They alleged that the admiral would never
return into Spain, as he had been turned off by their majesties; and would
far less go to Hispaniola, where he had been refused admittance on his
last coming from Spain: That he had sent the canoes to solicit in his own
private affairs in Spain, and not for the purpose of procuring ships or
succours for them; and that he intended, while these his messengers were
soliciting for him with their Catholic majesties, to fulfil the term of
his banishment where he then was: That if it had been otherwise, Fiesco
must have come back by this time, as it was given out he had been so
ordered: Besides, they knew not but that both he and Mendez had been
drowned by the way; and if that were the case they would never be relieved
if they did not take care of themselves, as the admiral appeared to
neglect using any means for their preservation, and was so ill of the gout
as to be scarcely able to stir from his bed, far less to undergo the
fatigue and danger of going over to Hispaniola in a canoe. For all these
reasons it was urged that they ought boldly to fix their resolutions
before they too should fall sick, while it was not in the admirals power
to hinder them; and that they would be so much the better received in
Hispaniola by how much the more danger they left him in, because of the
enmity and hatred which Lores the governor of Hispaniola bore towards him;
and that when they got to Spain they would be sure of the favour and
support of the bishop Fonseca, and of Morales the treasurer, who had as
his mistress the sister of the _Porras_, who were the leaders of this
mutiny, and who did not doubt of being well received by their Catholic
majesties, before whom all the blame would be laid upon the admiral, as
had formerly been in the affair of Roldan: And finally, it was alleged
that their majesties would the rather seize the admiral and all his
property, that they might be freed from the obligation of performing all
the articles of agreement between them.

By these and such like arguments, and by the persuasions and suggestions
of the Porras, one of whom was captain of the Bermuda and the other
controller of the squadron, they prevailed on 48 men to join in the
conspiracy under the command and direction of Francis de Porras, the
captain of the Bermuda. Being all ready armed on the morning of the 2nd
January 1504, Captain Francis de Porras came upon the quarter-deck of the
admirals ship, and addressed the admiral saying, "My lord, what is the
reason that you will not go to Hispaniola, and keep us all in this place
to perish?" On hearing these unusually insolent words, and suspecting what
might be hatching, the admiral calmly answered that he did not see how
this could be accomplished till those whom he had sent in the canoes
should send a ship; that no one could be more desirous to be gone than he
was himself, as well for his own interest as the good of them all, for
whom he was accountable; but that if Porras had any thing else to propose,
he was ready to call the captains and other principal people together,
that they might consult as had been done several times before. Porras
replied, that it was not now time to talk, and that the admiral must
either embark immediately or stay there by himself; and turning his back
upon the admiral he called out in a loud voice, I am bound for Spain with
those that are willing to follow me. On this all his followers who were
present shouted out, We will go with you! we will go with you! and running
about in great confusion crying, Let them die! let them die! For Spain!
for Spain! while others called on the captain for his orders, they took
possession of the poop, forecastle, and round tops.

Though the admiral was then so lame of the gout that he could not stand,
he yet endeavoured to rise and come out upon deck on hearing this uproar;
but two or three worthy persons his attendants laid hold upon him and
forcibly laid him again in bed, that the mutineers might not murder him;
they then ran to his brother, who was going out courageously with a
half-pike, and wresting it from his hands, they forced him into the cabin
beside the admiral, desiring Captain Porras to go where he liked, and not
commit a crime for which they might all suffer; that he might be satisfied
in meeting no opposition to his going away, but if he killed the admiral
he must lay his account with being severely punished for what could not
possibly be of the least benefit to his views. When the tumult was
somewhat appeased, the conspirators seized ten canoes that lay along-side,
which the admiral had purchased all about the island, and went aboard of
them as joyfully as if they had been in a Spanish port. Upon this many
more, who had no hand in the plot, in despair to see themselves forsaken,
took what they could lay hold of along with them and joined the
conspirators in the canoes, to the great sorrow and mortification of the
few faithful servants who remained with the admiral, and of all the sick,
who considered themselves as lost for ever and deprived of all hopes of
ever getting away. It is certain that if the people had been all in health,
not above twenty would have remained with the admiral, who went now out to
comfort the remaining men with the best arguments that he could devise in
the present posture of affairs.

Francis de Porras went away with his mutineers for the eastern point of
the island, whence Mendez and Fiesco had taken their departure for
Hispaniola, and wherever they came they insulted the Indians, taking away
their provisions and every thing else they pleased by force, desiring them
to go to the admiral for payment, or that they might kill him if he
refused, which was the best thing they could do, as he was not only hated
by the Christians but had been the cause of all the mischief which had
befallen the Indians in the other island, and would do the same in this if
he were not prevented by death, for his only reason of remaining was to
subjugate them as he had already enslaved the natives of Hispaniola.

The mutineers took the advantage of the first calm weather after their
arrival at the easternmost point of Jamaica to set out for Hispaniola,
taking several Indians in every canoe to row or paddle them, as had been
done by Mendez and Fiesco. But before they had been four leagues out to
sea, the weather became unsettled and they resolved to return. Being able
to make but very little way, as the wind came against them, and as the
water flashed in over the gunwales in consequence of their unskilful
management, they threw every thing overboard except their arms and as much
provisions as might enable them to get back to the island. The wind still
freshened and they thought themselves in so much danger that it was
resolved to murder the Indians and throw them into the sea. This was
accordingly done with several, but others who trusted to their swimming
threw themselves into the sea to avoid being murdered, and when weary of
swimming clung to the sides of the canoes to rest themselves; those poor
fellows had their hands cut off and were otherwise wounded; insomuch that
eighteen Indians were slaughtered or drowned, only a very few being spared
for each canoe to assist in steering. Being returned to Jamaica they
differed in opinion as to their future procedure: Some advised to go over
to Cuba in preference to Hispaniola, as they might take the east winds and
currents upon their quarter, and could afterwards go from that island to
Hispaniola, not considering that the distance was seventeen leagues
directly against wind and current: Some said it would be but to return to
the ships and make their peace with the admiral, or to take from him by
force what arms and commodities he had left; while others were for staying
where they were till another calm, when they might again attempt the
passage to Hispaniola. This advice prevailed, and they remained in the
town of Aoamaquique, waiting for fair weather and destroying the country.
When the fair weather came they embarked twice, but were unsuccessful both
times, owing to the winds being contrary. Thus foiled in their endeavours,
they travelled westwards from one town to another much dismayed and
comfortless, leaving their canoes behind; sometimes eating what they were
able to find, and sometimes taking provisions by force, according as they
found themselves sufficiently powerful to cope with the caciques through
whose territories they passed.

After the rebels were departed, the admiral took every possible care that
the sick should be furnished with all that could conduce towards their
recovery, and that the Indians might be civilly treated, to induce them to
continue to bring provisions in exchange for our commodities. All these
things were so well managed that the Christians soon recovered, and the
Indians continued to supply us plentifully for some time. But they being
an indolent race, who take little pains in sowing, while every one of our
people consumed as much provisions in one day as would have sufficed an
Indian for twenty, and besides having no longer any inclination for our
commodities, they began to listen to the advice of the mutineers, since
they saw so many of our men had revolted, and therefore did not bring such
plenty of provisions as we needed. This brought us into great distress, as
if it had been necessary to take these by force, the greatest part of us
must have gone on shore armed, leaving the admiral on board in great
danger, as he was still very ill of the gout; and if we waited till the
Indians brought provisions of their own accord, we must live in great
misery, or have paid them ten times the price we did at first, as they
were sensible of the advantages our necessities gave them. But God, who
never forsakes those who put their trust in him, inspired the admiral with
a device by which we became amply provided. Knowing that in three days
there was to be an eclipse of the moon in the early part of the night, he
sent an Indian of Hispaniola who was on board, to call the principal
Indians of that province to talk with him upon a matter which he said was
of great importance to them. These Indians came accordingly to wait upon
him on the day before the eclipse was to happen, and he desired the
interpreter to tell them, That we were Christians who believed in the God
of Heaven, who took care of the good and punished the wicked. That God
seeing the rebellion of the Spaniards against his faithful servant, would
not permit them to go over to Hispaniola, as had been done by Mendez and
Fiesco, but had visited them with all those sufferings and dangers which
were manifest to the whole island: And that God was angry with the Indians
for being negligent in bringing provisions for our commodities, and had
determined to punish them with pestilence and famine; and lest they might
not believe his words, had appointed to give them a manifest token of his
wrath that very night, that they might plainly know whence their
punishment was derived. Wherefore the admiral desired them carefully to
observe the moon that night when she arose, and they would see her angry
and of a bloody hue, as a sign of the punishments which were to fall on
them from God. Upon this the Indians were dismissed and sent away, some of
them rather afraid and others looking upon it as an idle threat. But on
observing the moon to rise in part obscured, and the obscurity increasing
as she rose higher, the Indians were so terrified that they hastened from
all parts loaded with provisions, crying and lamenting and imploring the
admiral to intercede for them with God not to make them undergo the weight
of his wrath, and promising to bring him every thing he wanted for the
future. The admiral pretended to be softened by their repentance, and said
that he would speak to God in their favour. He accordingly shut himself up
for some time, till he knew that the eclipse was about to go off, and then
coming out of his cabin, he told the Indians that he had prayed to God for
them, and had promised in their names that they would be good in future,
would use the Christians well, and bring them plenty of provisions and
other necessaries; that God therefore forgave them, of which they would he
convinced when they saw the anger and bloody colour of the moon go off.
And this beginning to take place while he was yet speaking, they gave the
admiral many thanks for his intercession, and praised the mercy of the God
of the Christians. From that time they always took care to provide every
thing which we required; and though they had before seen eclipses, they
believed they had portended evils that had befallen them, but thinking it
impossible for any one to know on earth what was to happen in the heavens,
they certainly concluded that the God of the Christians must have revealed
all this to the admiral.

Eight months had passed after Mendez and Fiesco went away, without any
intelligence of them, by which the men who remained with the admiral were
much cast down and suspected the worst. Some alleged that they were lost
at sea, some that they had been killed by the Indians of Hispaniola, and
others that they had died with sickness and hardships; for from the point
of that island which is next to Jamaica it is above 100 leagues to St
Domingo where they had to go in quest of succour, the way by land being
over uncouth mountains, and that by sea against the prevailing winds and
currents. To confirm their fears some Indians assured them that they had
seen a canoe overset and driven by the current on the coast of Jamaica;
which report had probably been spread by the mutineers to make those who
were with the admiral despair of getting off. Our people at length
concluded that no relief was ever to be expected, and became exceedingly
dispirited and discontented, and most of them conspired to revolt and join
the mutineers, in which they were principally encouraged by one Bernard an
apothecary from Valencia, and two others named Zamora and Villatoro. But
the Almighty, who knew how dangerous this second mutiny must be to the
admiral, was pleased to put a stop to it by the coming of a vessel sent by
the governor of Hispaniola. This vessel came one morning to anchor near
our grounded ships, and her captain, named James de Escobar, came on board
in his boat, saying that he was sent by the governor of Hispaniola to the
admiral with his commendations, and that as he had it not in his power to
send a ship as yet that could carry off all the men, he had sent to
inquire after his situation. Escobar then presented him with a cask of
wine and two flitches of bacon, and sailed away again that same night
without waiting for any letters.

Our men were somewhat comforted by the appearance of this vessel, and the
assurance that Mendez and Fiesco had got safe to St Domingo, and dropt
their intended conspiracy and revolt; yet they wondered much that Escobar
should have stolen away so privately and suddenly, suspecting that the
governor of Hispaniola was unwilling that the admiral should go to that
island. As the admiral was aware that the hasty departure of Escobar might
occasion speculations and inquiries among the people, he told them that it
was by his own directions, because that caravel not being large enough to
carry them all away, he would not go himself, as he was unwilling to leave
them liable to the disorders that might be occasioned by the mutineers in
his absence. But the truth is, that the governor was unwilling to aid the
return of the admiral into Spain, lest their Catholic majesties might
restore him to his authority as viceroy, by which he would lose his
government; wherefore he would not provide as he might have done for the
admirals voyage to Hispaniola, and had sent Escobar to Jamaica to espy the
condition he was in, and to know whether he might contrive to destroy him
with safety. He had learnt the situation in which the admiral was placed
from James Mendez, who sent the following account of his proceedings in
writing to the admiral by Escobar.

Mendez and Fuesco on the day they left Jamaica held on their way till
night, encouraging the Indians to exert themselves with their paddles. The
weather was extremely hot, so that the Indians sometimes leaped overboard
to refresh themselves by swimming and then came fresh again to their
paddles. At night they lost sight of the land, and half the Christians and
Indians took watch and watch alternately to sleep and row, taking great
care that the Indians might not prove treacherous. Advancing in this
manner all night, they were very weary when day appeared; but the
commanders encouraged the men, sometimes rowing themselves to give a good
example; and after eating to recruit their strength, they fell to their
work again, seeing nothing all around but the sky and the sea. Though this
was enough to distress them sufficiently, yet they were besides in the
predicament of Tantalus, who had water within a span of his mouth yet
could not quench his thirst; such was their distress, for, through the
improvidence of the Indians and the prodigious heat of the preceding day
and night, all their water was drank up without any regard to the future.
As heat and labour together are altogether intolerable without drink, and
as the heat and thirst increased the second day the higher the sun
ascended, their strength was entirely exhausted by noon. By good fortune
the captains had reserved two casks of water under their own management,
from which they sparingly relieved the Indians, and kept them up till the
cool of the evening, and encouraged them by the assurance that they would
soon see a small island called _Nabazza_, which lay in their way eight
leagues from Hispaniola. This and their extraordinary thirst quite cast
them down, and made them believe that they had lost their way, for
according to their reckoning they had now run twenty leagues and ought to
have been in sight of Hispaniola; but it was weariness that deceived them,
for a canoe that rows well cannot in a day and night proceed above ten
leagues, and they had been retarded by the currents which were adverse to
their course.

Night being come on they had to throw one into the sea who had died of
thirst, and others were lying stretched out in the bottom of the canoe
perfectly exhausted, those who were still able to bear up a little being
sunk almost in despair, and so weak and spent that they could hardly make
any way at all. Some took sea water to refresh their thirst, which may be
called a comfort of that kind which was offered to our Saviour when he
complained of thirst upon the cross. In this manner they feebly held on
their way at the commencement of the second night; but it pleased God to
send them succour in their utmost need, for when the moon began to rise,
James Mendez perceived that she got up over some land, as a little island
covered her in the nature of an eclipse, neither could they have seen this
island, it was so small, if it had not been for this circumstance, and
without the timely relief of water which it afforded they must all have
perished of thirst on the following day. Comforting and cheering them with
the joyful tidings and shewing them the land, he so encouraged them,
supplying them at the same time with a little water from the casks, that
the next morning they were very near the small island of Nabazza. They
found this island to be all round one hard rock, about half a league in
circumference, without either spring or tree; but searching about they
found rain water in holes and clefts of the rock, out of which they filled
their calabashes and casks; and though those of knowledge and experience
advised the rest to use moderation in drinking, yet thirst made some of
the Indians exceed all bounds, whereof some died there and others fell
into desperate distempers.

Having remained all day at this island to refresh themselves, and eating
such things as they found along the shore, for Mendez had all materials
for striking fire, by which they were enabled to cook the shell-fish, they
rejoiced at being now in sight of Hispaniola, and fearful lest bad weather
might arise to impede the prosecution of their voyage, about sun-set they
took their departure from Nabazza for Cape St Michael, the nearest land in
Hispaniola, where they happily arrived next morning. After resting there
two days Fiesco, who was a gentleman that stood much upon his honour,
would have returned to Jamaica in pursuance of the admirals commands and
his own engagements to that effect; but the people, who were all sailors
and Indians, being spent and indisposed by their past labour and by
drinking sea-water, considered themselves like Jonas delivered from the
whales belly, having been like him three days and three nights in
tribulation, none of them would consent to go with him. Mendez, being most
in haste, went up the coast of Hispaniola in his canoe, although suffering
under a quartan ague, occasioned by his great sufferings by sea and land.
After some time, quitting his canoe, he travelled over mountains and by
bad roads till he arrived at Xaragua, in the west of Hispaniola, where the
governor then was, who seemed rejoiced to see him, though he afterwards
was extremely tedious in dispatching him, owing to the reasons already
mentioned. After much importunity Mendez obtained permission to go to St
Domingo, where he bought and fitted out a vessel from the private funds of
the admiral, which was sent to Jamaica at the latter end of May 1504, and
sailed thence for Spain by the admirals direction, to give their Catholic
majesties an account of the incidents of the voyage[17].

The admiral and all his company had received much comfort from the
knowledge that Mendez had arrived in Hispaniola, and entertained full
assurance of being relieved through his exertions; he therefore thought
fit to communicate the information to the mutineers, that laying their
jealousies aside they might be induced to return to their duty. For this
purpose he sent two respectable officers to them who had friends among the
mutineers, and suspecting that they might disbelieve, or seem not to
credit the visit of the caravel under the command of Escobar, he sent them
part of the bacon which she had brought. When these two arrived where
Porras and his chief confidant resided, he came out to meet them that he
might prevent them from moving the men to return to their duty by the
offer of a general pardon, which he justly suspected had been sent by the
admiral. Yet it was not in the power of the two Porras to prevent their
adherents from learning the coming of the caravel, the returned health of
those who were with the admiral, and the offers which he sent them. After
several consultations among themselves and with their principal
confederates, the Porras refused to trust themselves to the offered pardon;
but said they would go peaceably to Hispaniola if he would promise to give
them a ship provided two came, or if only one, that he should assign them
the half; and as they had lost their clothes and the commodities which
they had for trade, they demanded that the admiral should share with them
those which he had. The messengers answered that these proposals were
utterly unreasonable and could not be granted. To which the Porras proudly
replied, that since these were refused by fair means they would take them
by force.

In this manner the ringleaders dismissed the admirals messengers,
misinterpreting his conciliatory offers, and telling their followers that
he was a cruel revengeful man; saying that they had no fears for
themselves, as the admiral would not dare to wrong them because of their
interest at court, yet they had reason to fear he would be revenged of the
rest under colour of just punishment, on which account Roldan and his
friends in Hispaniola had not trusted his offers, and it had succeeded
well with them, as they had found favour at court, whereas the admiral had
been sent home in irons. They even pretended that the arrival of the
caravel with news from Mendez was a mere phantom produced by magic, in
which the admiral was an adept; as it was not likely, had it been in
reality a caravel, that the people belonging to it would have had no
farther discourse with those about the admiral, neither would it have so
soon vanished; and it was more probable, if it had been a real caravel,
that the admiral would have gone on board of it with his son and brother.
By these and other similar persuasions, they confirmed their adherents in
their rebellion, and at length brought them to resolve upon repairing to
the ships to secure the admiral and to take all they found there by force.

Continuing obstinate in their wickedness, the mutineers came to a town
then named _Maima_, in the neighbourhood of the ships, at which place the
Christians afterwards built a town called Seville. Upon learning this
audacious procedure and their design to attack him, the admiral sent his
brother against them, with orders to endeavour in the first place to
persuade them to submission by fair words, but so attended that he might
be able to oppose them by force if they attempted to attack him. For this
purpose the lieutenant landed with fifty men well armed, and advanced to a
hill about a bow-shot from the town in which the rebels had taken up their
quarters, whence he sent the two messengers who had been with them before,
requiring the captain of the mutineers to enter into a conference for
ending all disputes. But they being equal in numbers to the party under
the lieutenant, and almost all seamen, persuaded themselves that those who
were come out against them were weak men and would not fight, and would
not therefore permit the messengers to talk with them. They brandished
their naked swords and spears calling out tumultuously, Kill! kill! and
fell upon the lieutenants party immediately. Six of them had bound
themselves by oath to stick close by each other, and to direct their
united efforts against the lieutenant alone, being confident of an easy
victory if they succeeded in killing him. But it pleased God that they
were disappointed, for they were so well received that five or six of them
fell at the first charge, most of whom were of the party who had sworn to
slay the lieutenant. He now charged the rebels so manfully and was so well
seconded by his party, that John Sanchez and John Barba were killed, some
others were brought to the ground by severe wounds, and Francis de Porras
their captain was made prisoner. Sanchez was the person from whom Quibio
escaped in the river of Veragua, and Barba was the first man whom I saw
draw his sword at the breaking out of this rebellion.

Finding themselves thus unexpectedly overpowered, the mutineers turned
their backs and fled as fast as they could. The lieutenant would have
pursued; but some of the principal people about him remonstrated, saying
that it was good to punish, but not to carry severity too far, lest when
he had killed many of the mutineers the Indians might think fit to fall
upon the victors, as they were all in arms waiting the event without
taking either side. This advice being approved of, the lieutenant returned
to the ships with Porras and the other prisoners, where he was joyfully
received by the admiral and those who remained with him, giving God thanks
for the victory in which the guilty had received their just measure of
punishment, while on our side the lieutenant was slightly wounded in the
hand, and one of the gentlemen of the chamber to the admiral had a small
wound in his hip from a spear, of which however he died.

Peter de Ledisma (that pilot who went with Vincent Yanez to Honduras, and
who so bravely swam on shore at Belem,) in his flight from the lieutenant,
fell down some steep rocks unperceived, where he lay all that day and the
next until evening, unperceived by any except some of the Indians. They
were amazed to see the terrible gashes which he had received in the fight,
having no idea that our swords could cut in such a manner, and opened up
his wounds with little sticks to examine them. One of his wounds was on
the head and the brain was distinctly laid bare; another on his shoulder
so large and deep that his arm hung as it were loose; the calf of one leg
was so deeply cut that the flesh hung down to his ancle, and one foot was
sliced open from the heel to the toe. Yet in this desperate state he would
threaten to rise and destroy the Indians when they disturbed him, and they
were so afraid as to fly away in consternation. His situation being
reported at the ships, he was removed to a hut in the neighbourhood, where
the dampness and the intolerable multitude of gnats were sufficient to
have destroyed him. Yet being properly attended to, although the surgeon
for the first eight days alleged that he discovered new wounds every day,
he at last recovered, and the gentleman of the chamber in whom he
apprehended no danger, died of his slight wound.

The day after the battle, 20th of May, all the mutineers who had escaped
sent a petition to the admiral, humbly repenting of their disobedience,
begging that he would mercifully pardon their past transgression, and
declaring their readiness to submit to his authority. The admiral granted
their request and passed a general pardon, on condition that their captain
should remain a prisoner lest he might stir up another mutiny. And as he
thought inconvenience might arise if they were admitted on board the ships,
by quarrels among the meaner people, and that it might even be difficult
to maintain the whole in one place, he sent out a person in whom he could
confide to take the command of those who had been in the mutiny, with
directions to go with them about the island and keep them in order till
the ships came, which he daily expected, and supplied them with a
sufficient quantity of commodities to exchange for provisions with the

The mutineers having all returned to their duty, the Indians became more
regular in their supply of provisions to us in exchange for our
commodities. We had been some days more than a year at Jamaica when a ship
arrived which had been fitted out at St Domingo by James Mendez from the
admirals private funds, in which we all embarked, enemies as well as
friends, and set sail from Jamaica on the 28th of June. Proceeding on our
voyage with much difficulty on account of the adverse winds and currents,
we arrived in great need of rest and refreshment at St Domingo on the 13th
of August 1504. The admiral was received with great demonstrations of
honour and respect by the governor, who lodged him in the palace, yet he
set Porras who had headed the mutineers at liberty, and even attempted to
punish those who had been instrumental in taking him prisoner, pretending
to arrogate an authority of trying causes and offences which belonged
solely to the jurisdiction of the admiral, who had been appointed by their
Catholic majesties admiral and captain-general of their fleet.
Notwithstanding of all this he fawned upon the admiral, using every
demonstration of kindness in his presence, yet acting treacherously in
undermining his character and authority; and this lasted all the time we
remained at St Domingo. Our own ship being refitted and supplied with all
necessaries for the voyage, and another hired in which the admiral and his
kindred, friends, and servants, embarked, we sailed on the 2d of September,
most of the other people who had been along with us in our late disastrous
voyage remaining at St Domingo. We had scarcely got two leagues from the
port when the mast of one of the ships came by the board, and was
immediately sent back by the admiral to refit, while we held on our way in
the other vessel to Spain.

Having run about a third part of the way, so terrible a storm arose that
our ships were in imminent danger; and next day, 19th of October, when the
weather was fair and the ship quite steady the mast flew into four pieces;
but by the ingenuity of the admiral who was unable to rise from his bed on
account of the gout, and by the exertions of the lieutenant, a jury-mast
was constructed out of a spare yard, strengthened with some planks taken
from the poop and stern, and firmly bound together with ropes. We lost our
foremast in another storm; and yet it pleased God that we arrived safe at
the port of St Lucar de Barrameda, and thence to Seville; where the
admiral took some rest after the many fatigues he had undergone.

In May 1505 he went to the court of King Ferdinand, the glorious Queen
Isabella having in the year before exchanged this life for a better. Her
loss was severely felt by the admiral, as she had always favoured and
supported him; whereas the king had proved unkind and adverse to his
honour and interest. This plainly appeared by the reception he met with at
court; for though King Ferdinand received him with the outward appearance
of favour and respect, and pretended to restore him to his full power, he
yet would have stript him of all if shame had not hindered, considering
the engagements which both he and the queen had come under to him when he
went out upon his last voyage. But the wealth and value of the Indies
appearing every day more obvious, and considering how great a share of
their produce would accrue to the admiral in virtue of the articles which
had been granted previous to his discovery, the king was anxious to
acquire the absolute dominion to himself, and to have the disposal of all
the employments in the new world according to his own will and pleasure,
which by the agreement were in the gift of the admiral as hereditary
viceroy, admiral, and governor-general of the Indies. The king therefore
began to propose new terms to the admiral by way of equivalent, which
negociation God did not permit to take effect; for just when Philip the
first came to reign in the kingdom of Castile, at the time when King
Ferdinand went from Valladolid to meet him, the admiral, much broken down
by the gout, and troubled to find himself deprived of his rights, was
attacked by other distempers, and gave up his soul to God upon Ascension
day, the 20th of May, 1506, at the city of Valladolid. Before his death he
devoutly partook of the holy sacraments of the church, and these were his
last words "_Into thy hands O Lord! I commend my Spirit._" And through
his infinite mercy, we do not question but he was received into glory, to
which may God admit us with him.

His body was conveyed to Seville, where it was magnificently buried in the
cathedral by the order of the Catholic king, and the following epitaph in
Spanish was engraven upon his tomb, in memory of his renowned actions and
the great discovery of the Indies.


 _Columbus gave a New World to Castile and Leon._

These memorable words are worthy of observation, as nothing similar or any
way equivalent can be found either in the ancients or among the moderns.
It will therefore be ever had in remembrance, that he was the discoverer
of the Indies; though since then Ferdinand Cortes and Francis Pizarro have
found out many other provinces and vast kingdoms on the continent. Cortes
discovered the province of Yucutan and the empire of Mexico now called New
Spain, then possessed by the great emperor _Montezuma_; and Francis
Pizarro found out the kingdom of Peru which is of vast extent and full of
endless wealth, which was then under the dominion of the powerful king
_Atabalipa_. From these countries and kingdoms there come every year to
Spain many ships laden with gold and silver and rich commodities, as
Brazil wood, cochineal, indigo, sugar, and other articles of great value,
besides pearls and other precious stones: owing to which Spain and its
princes at this time flourish and abound in wealth beyond all other

[1] D. Ferdinand is surely mistaken here. Martinico, the island probably
    indicated by the name of Matinino, is about ten leagues distant from
    Dominca; but the course from the former to the latter is to the north,
    with a very alight western tendency.--E.

[2] Now called Porto Rico.--E.

[3] He was formerly called Obando; and is named Nicholas de Ovando by
    Herrera: Perhaps he had a commandary of the above name.--E.

[4] The historian of Columbus does not appear to have been at all
    conversant in zoology. What the Saavina was cannot be conjectured from
    his slight notices, unless a basking shark. The other, no way allied to
    fish except by living in the water, is a real mammiferous quadruped,
    the Trichechus Manati of naturalists, or the sea cow.--E.

[5] The author or his original translator, falls into a great error here.
    The land first discovered in this voyage was the island of Guanaia off
    Cape Casinas or Cape Honduras, therefore W.S.W. from Jamaica, not
    south. Guanaia seems to be the island named Bonaea in our maps, about
    ten leagues west from the isle of Ratan.--E.

[6] A blank is left here in the edition of this voyage published by

[7] This is an obvious error, as New Spain is to the west of Cape Casinas,
    off which the admiral now was. If bounds _for_ New Spain, the canoe
    must have come from the eastwards; if going with commodities from the
    westwards it was bound _from_ New Spain.--E.

[8] The papal authority for subjugating the Indians to the holy church,
    prevented D. Ferdinand from perceiving either avarice or robbery in
    the conduct of the Christians.--E.

[9] It would appear, though not distinctly enunciated, that Columbus had
    learnt from some of the natives, perhaps from Giumbe, that a great sea
    lay beyond or to the westwards of this newly discovered continent, by
    which he imagined he was now in the way to accomplish the original
    object of his researches, the route westwards to India.--E.

[10] Now called the Mosquito shore, inhabited by a bold race of savage
    Indians, whom the Spaniards have never been able to subdue.--E.

[11] It is utterly impossible that these people could have the smallest
    idea whatever of the European art of writing. But they might have
    heard of the Mexican representations of people and things by a rude
    painting, and of their frequent and distant excursions in quest of
    human victims to sacrifice upon their savage altars. This may possibly
    have been the origin of the terror evinced by the inhabitants of
    Cariari at the sight of the materials of writing, conceiving that the
    Spaniards were emissaries from the sanguinary Mexicans, and about to
    record the measure of the tribute in human blood.--E.

[12] A more charitable construction might be put on all this. The refusal
    to accept presents, perhaps proceeded from manly pride because their
    own had been refused. The powder and the smoke might be marks of
    honour to the strangers, like the rose water and other honorary
    perfumings of the east.--E.

[13] The similitude is not obvious, but may have been intended to comprae
    this mountain with the lofty sharp pinnacle on which the hermitage is
    built near St Jago de Compostella in Spain.--E.

[14] This is probably the first time that Europeans had seen tobacco
    chewed and the use of snuff; practices which have now become almost
    necessaries of life among many millions of the inhabitants of Europe
    and its colonies.--E.

[15] It is probable that the fish, here called pilchards were of one of
    the kinds of flying fish, which is of the same genus with the herring
    and pilchard. Voyagers ignorant of natural history are extremely apt
    to name new objects after corresponding resemblances in their own

[16] This appears to have been near Panama, or the western point of the
    Gulf of Darien in 78° 40' W. long. The pilots seem to have been
    extremely ignorant, and the admiral to have yielded to their
    importunity. The harbour of St Domingo being in 69° 50' W. long they
    ought to have proceeded about nine degrees, or 180 marine leagues
    farther east, to have insured their run across the trade winds and
    currents of the Caribbean sea.--E.

[17] Though not mentioned in the text, this vessel would certainly bring
    refreshments of various kinds, but was probably too small to bring off
    the people. Mendez appears to have remained at St Domingo in order to
    fit out a larger vessel, which he accordingly carried to Jamaica in
    June, as will be seen in the sequel.--E.

       *       *       *       *       *




_Of the Knowledge of the Ancients respecting the New World._

With the generality of mankind, so far from imagining that there could be
any such country as the _new world_ or West Indies, the very notion of any
such thing being supposed to exist was considered as extravagant and
absurd, for every one believed that all to the westwards of the Canary
islands was an immense and unnavigable ocean. Yet some of the ancients
have left hints that such western lands existed. In the close of the
second act of his tragedy of Medea, Seneca says, "The time will come, when
the ocean shall become navigable, and a vast land or New World shall be
discovered." St Gregory, in his exposition of the Epistle of St Clement,
says, "There is a new world, or even worlds, beyond the ocean." We are
informed by other authors, that a Carthaginian merchant ship accidentally
discovered in the ocean, many days sail from our ancient continent, an
incredibly fruitful island, full of navigable rivers, having plenty of
wild beasts, but uninhabited by men, and that the discoverers were
desirous of settling there; but, having given an account of this discovery
to the senate of Carthage, they not only absolutely prohibited any one to
sail thither, but put all who had been there to death, the more
effectually to prevent any others from making the attempt. Yet all this is
nothing to the purpose, as there is no authentic memorial of this supposed
voyage, and those who have spoken of it incidentally have given no
cosmographical indications of its situation, by means of which the admiral
Christopher Columbus, who made the first discovery of the West Indies,
could have acquired any information to guide him in that great discovery.
Besides, that there were no wild beasts, either in the windward or leeward
islands which he discovered, those men who would rob Columbus, in part at
least, of the honour of his great discovery, misapply the following
quotation from the _Timaeus_ of Plato: "There is no sailing upon the ocean,
because its entrance is shut up by the Pillars of Hercules. Yet there had
formerly been an island in that ocean, larger than all Europe, Asia, and
Africa in one; and from thence a passage to other islands, for such as
went in search of them, and from these other inlands people might go to
all the opposite continent, near the true ocean." These detractors from
the honour of Columbus, in explaining the words of Plato after their own
manner, evince more wit than truth, when they insist that the shut up
passage is the strait of Gibraltar, the gulf the great ocean, the great
island _Atlantis_, the other islands beyond that the leeward and windward
islands, the continent opposite them the land of Peru, and the true ocean
the great South Sea, so called from its vast extent. It is certain that no
one had any clear knowledge of these matters: and what they now allege
consists merely of notions and guesses, patched together since the actual
discovery; for the ancients concluded there was no possibility of sailing
across the ocean on account of its vast extent. These men, however, labour
to confirm their opinions, by alleging that the ancients possessed much
knowledge of the torrid zone; as they insit that Hano the Carthaginian
coasted round Africa, from the straits of Gibraltar to the Red Sea, and
that Eudoxias navigated in the contrary direction from the Red Sea to the
Mediterranean. They allege farther, that both Ovid and Pliny make mention
of the island of _Trapobano_, now Zumatra[2] which is under the line.

All this however is nothing to the purpose. The expression of Seneca is
not applicable; for his proposed discovery is towards the north, whereas
ours is to the westwards. The coasting of Africa, as said to have been
performed by the ancients, is widely different from traversing the vast
ocean, as was accomplished by Columbus, and by the Spaniards after his
example. If any notice is due to ancient hints, that only is worthy of
observation which we find in the twenty-eighth chapter of the book of Job,
in which it seems predicted that God would keep this new world concealed
from the knowledge of men, until it should please his inscrutable
providence to bestow its dominion to the Spaniards. No attention is due to
the opinions of those who would endeavour to establish the Ophir of the
Scriptures in Peru, and who even allege that it was called Peru at the
time when the holy text was penned. For, neither is that name of Peru so
ancient, nor does it properly belong to that great country as its
universal appellation. It has been a general practice among discoverers to
apply names to new found ports and lands, just as occasion offered, or
accident or caprice directed; and accordingly, the Spaniards who made the
first discovery of that kingdom, applied to it the name of the river they
first landed at, or that of the cacique who governed the district. Besides,
the similarity of words is too trivial a circumstance on which to
establish a foundation for a superstructure of such importance. The best
informed and most judicious historians affirm, that Ophir was in the East
Indies: For, if it had been in Peru, Solomons fleet must necessarily have
run past the whole of the East Indies and China, and across the immense
Pacific ocean, before it could reach the western shore of the new world;
which is quite impossible. Nothing can be more certain than that the fleet
of Solomon went down the Red Sea; and as the ancients were not acquainted
with those arts of navigation which are now used, they could not launch
out into the ocean to navigate so far from land; neither could those
distant regions be attained to by a land journey. Besides, we are told
that they carried from Ophir peacocks and ivory, articles that are not to
be found in the new world. It is therefore believed that it was the island
of Taprobana, from whence all those valuable commodities were carried to
Jerusalem; and the ancients may have very justly called their discovery
the _new world_, to express its vast extent, because it contained as much
land as was before known, and also because its productions differed so
much from those of our parts of the earth, or the _old world_. This
explanation agrees with the expressions of Seneca and St Jerome.

[1] Churchills Collection, V. 591. All that has been attempted in the
    present article is to soften the asperity of the language, and to
    illustrate the text by a few notes where these seemed necessary.--E.

[2] Trapobana, or rather Taprobana, is assuredly Ceylon, not Sumatra.--E.


_Of the Motives which led Columbus to believe that there were unknown

The admiral Christopher Columbus had many reasons for being of opinion
that there were new lands which might be discovered. Being a great
cosmographer, and well skilled in navigation, he considered that the
heavens were circular, moving round the earth, which in conjunction with
the sea, constitute a globe of two elements, and that all the land that
was then known could not comprise the whole earth, but that a great part
must have still remained undiscovered. The measure of the circumference of
the earth being 360 degrees, or 6300 leagues, allowing 17 leagues to the
degree, must be all inhabited, since God hath not created it to lie waste.
Although many have questioned whether there were land or water about the
poles, still it seemed requisite that the earth should bear the same
proportion to the water towards the antarctic pole, which it was known to
have at the arctic. He concluded likewise that all the five zones of the
earth were inhabited, of which opinion he was the more firmly persuaded
after he had sailed into 75 degrees of north latitude. He also concluded
that, as the Portuguese had sailed to the southwards, the same might be
done to the westwards, where in all reason land ought to be found: And
having collected all the tokens that had been observed by mariners, which
made for his purpose, he became perfectly satisfied that there were many
lands to the westwards of Cabo Verde and the Canaries, and that it was
practicable to sail over the ocean for their discovery; because, since the
world is round, all its parts must necessarily be so likewise. All the
earth is so fixed that it can never fail; and the sea, though shut in by
the land, preserves its rotundity, without ever falling away, being
preserved in its position by attraction towards the centre of gravity. By
the consideration of many natural reasons, and by perceiving that not
above the third part of a great circle of the sphere was discovered, being
the extent eastwards from Cabo Verde to the farthest then known land of
India, he concluded that there remained much room for farther discoveries
by sailing to the westwards, till they should come to meet with those
lands then known, the ends whereof to the eastwards had not been yet
explored. In this opinion he was much confirmed by his friend Martin de
Bohemia[1], a Portuguese and an able cosmographer, a native of the island
of Fayal.

Many other circumstances concurred to encourage Columbus in the mighty
enterprize of discovery towards the west, by discoursing with those who
used to sail to the westwards, particularly to the islands of the Azores.
In particular, Martin Vincente assured him, that, having been on one
occasion 450 leagues to the westwards of Cape St Vincent, he took up a
piece of wood which was very artificially wrought, and yet was supposed
not to have been fashioned with tools of iron: And, because the wind had
blown many days from the west, he inferred that this piece of wood must
have drifted from some land in that direction. Peter Correa, who had
married the sister of Columbuses wife, likewise assured him, that he had
seen another piece of wood similarly wrought, which had been drifted by
the west winds upon the island of Puerto Santo; and that canes also had
been floated thither, of such a size that every joint could contain a
gallon of liquor. Columbus had farther heard mention made of these canes
by the king of Portugal, who had some of them, which he ordered to be
shewn to the admiral, who concluded that they must have been drifted from
India by the west wind, more especially as there are none such in Europe.
He was the more confirmed in this opinion, as Ptolemy, in the 17th chapter
of the first book of his cosmography, describes such canes as being found
in India. He was likewise informed by some of the inhabitants of the
Azores, that when the wind continued long and violent from the west and
north-west, the sea used to throw pine trees on the coasts of the isles of
Gracioso and Fayal, in which no trees of that sort grew. The sea once cast
two dead bodies on the coast of Flores, having very broad faces, and quite
different features from those of the Christians. Two canoes were seen at
another time, having several articles in them, which might have been
driven out to sea by the force of the wind while passing from one island
to another, and thence to the Azores. Anthony Leme, who had married in
Madeira, declared that he once run a considerable way to the westwards of
that island in his caravel, and fancied that he saw three islands; and
many of the inhabitants of Gomera, Hierro, and the Azores, affirmed that
they every year saw islands to the westwards. These were considered by
Columbus as the same with those mentioned by Pliny in his Natural History,
where he says, "That the sea to the northwards cuts off some pieces of
woods from the land; and the roots being very large, they drift on the
water like floats, and looked at a distance like islands."

In the year 1484, an inhabitant of the island of Madeira asked permission
from the king of Portugal to go upon the discovery of a country, which he
declared he saw every year exactly in the same position, agreeable to what
had been reported by the people of the Azores. On these accounts, the
ancient sea-charts laid down certain islands in these seas, which they
called _Antilla_, and placed them about 200 leagues west from the Canaries
and Azores; which the Portuguese believed to be the island of the Seven
Cities, the fame of which has occasioned many to commit great folly from
covetousness, by spending much money to no purpose. The story is, that
this island of the Seven Cities was peopled by those who fled from the
persecution of the infidels, when Spain was conquered by the Moors, in the
reign of king Roderick; when seven bishops embarked with a great number of
people, and arrived in that island, where they burnt their ships to
prevent any one from thinking to return, and each of the bishops built a
separate city for his flock. It was reported, that in the days of Prince
Henry of Portugal, one of his ships was driven by a storm upon that island,
where the natives carried the sailors to church, to see whether they were
Christians observing the Roman ceremonies; and, finding them to be so,
desired them to remain till their lord should come; but, fearing they
might burn their ship and detain them, the Portuguese returned well
pleased into Portugal; expecting a considerable reward from the prince. He,
however, reproved them for bringing so imperfect an account, and ordered
them to return; which the master and sailors dared not attempt, but left
the kingdom, and were never more heard of. It is added, that these sailors,
while in the island of the Seven Cities, gathered some sand for their
cookroom, which turned out to be partly gold. Some adventurers from
Portugal, allured by this report, went out for the purpose of prosecuting
this discovery, one of whom was James de Tiene, and the pilot was James
Velasquez of Palos. This man affirmed to Columbus, at the monastery of St
Maria de Rabida, that they took a departure from Fyal, and sailed 150
leagues to the south-west, and at their return discovered the island of
Flores, following many birds flying in that direction, which they knew
were not water-fowl. He next said, that they sailed so far to the
north-west, that Cape Clare of Ireland bore east of them; where they found
the west wind blowing hard, yet with a smooth sea, which they believed was
occasioned by the nearness of some land sheltering the sea from the
violence of the wind; but that they dared not to proceed on their voyage,
it being then the month of August, and they feared the approach of winter.
This is said to have happened forty years before Columbus discovered the
West Indies.

A sailor belonging to Port St Mary affirmed, that in a voyage to Ireland
he saw a country to the westward, which he imagined to have been Tartary;
but which has since turned out to be _Bacallaos_, being a part of Canada,
but could not attain the coast by reason of stormy weather[2]. Peter de
Velasco of Galicia declared, that, in a voyage to Ireland, he stood so far
to the northward that he saw land west from that island. Vincent Diaz, a
Portuguese pilot of Tavira, said that one morning, on his return from
Guinea, he thought he saw an island under the parallel of Madeira. Diaz
discovered the secret to a merchant, who procured the leave of the king of
Portugal to fit out a ship for the discovery, and sent advice to his
brother Francis de Cazana to fit out one at Seville, and put it under the
command of Diaz. But Francis Cazana refusing, Diaz returned to Tercera,
where he procured a ship, with the assistance of Luke de Cazana, and went
out two or three times above an hundred leagues to the west, but found
nothing. To these may be added, the attempts made by Caspar and Michael de
Cortereal, sons to him who discovered the island of Tenera; but they were
lost in searching for this land. Yet all these particulars contributed to
encourage Columbus to undertake the enterprise; for, when Providence has
decreed the accomplishment of any thing, it disposes the means, and
provides the proper instruments.

[1] This is the person usually called Behain.--E.

[2] Rather Newfoundland.--E.


_Columbus proposes his Design to the King and Queen of Spain; which, after
many Repulses, is adopted by the Queen_[1].

The reason why Columbus gave the name of Indies to those new found
countries, was on purpose to excite the princes he had to deal with to
fall into his proposals, as he proposed to find gold, silver, and pearls,
and those drugs and spices which are not produced in our countries, and
therefore he concluded, that his discoveries might vie with the East
Indies, give reputation to his design, and add weight to his proposals.
Besides, it was his design to discover the east by way of the west; and as
the East Indies lay in the remotest part of the east, going eastwards,
which he meant to discover in a western course, it might well be called
India. After the actual discovery, and when both New Spain and Peru were
found out, the name was made plural, and the new world was called the West
Indies. These West Indies are the countries comprehended within the limits
assigned to the crown of Castile and Leon, consisting of one hemisphere,
or half the globe, being 180 degrees of longitude. These limits commenced
at a meridian, 30 or 40 degrees westwards from that of the city of Toledo,
and proceeded from thence to the west; so that allowing 17-1/2 leagues to
a degree, this allotment contains 3700 Spanish leagues in breadth, between
east and west[2].

Columbus, whom the Spaniards call Colon, to adapt his name to their
language, was born in Genoa, his fathers name being Dominick. As to the
original of his family, some derive it from Placentia, others from Cucureo,
a town on the coast near that city, others from the lords of the castle of
Cucaro, in Montferrat, near Alexandria de la Pagla. In 940, the Emperor
Otho II. confirmed to the brothers and earls, Peter, John, and Alexander
Columbus, the real and feudal estates which they possessed in the
liberties of the cities of Aqui, Savona, Asti, Montferrat, Turin, Vercelli,
Parma, Cremona, and Bergamo, with all the rest they held in Italy. By
other records, it appears that the Columbi of Cucaro, Cucureo, and
Placentia, were the same; and that the before-mentioned emperor granted,
in the same year 940, to the same three brothers, the castles of Cucaro,
Cowzana, Rosignano, and others, with the fourth part of Bistagno, which
belonged to the empire. This sufficiently demonstrates the antiquity and
importance of the family. When very young, Christopher Columbus came into
Spain, or Portugal rather, to seek his fortune like other men. He there
married Donna Philippa Moniz de Perestrello, by whom he had one son, Don
James Columbus; and afterwards, by a second wife, Donna Beatrix Henriquez
of the city of Cordova, he had another son, Don Ferdinand Columbus, a
gentleman excellently qualified and well learned.

Being entirely convinced that there were new lands to discover, which he
had been long revolving in his mind, he at length determined to attempt
carrying his design into execution; but knowing that such an undertaking
was fit only for some sovereign prince or state, he made the proposal, in
the first place, to the republic of Genoa, where it was looked upon as a
chimera. He then communicated his design to John II. of Portugal, who gave
him a favourable hearing, but was so much occupied with the discoveries
along the western coast of Africa, that he was unwilling to engage in
another enterprize of so much importance. King John, however, referred the
matter to three persons on whom he placed great reliance in matters
relating to cosmography and discovery; one of these was Don James Ortez,
bishop of Ceuta who was a Spaniard, born at Calzadilla in the commandary
of St Jago, and commonly called the Doctor Calzadilla; the other two were
Roderick and Joseph, two Jewish physicians. These persons pretended to
consider the design of Columbus as wild and impracticable; yet, after
hearing his reasonings, and an account of the course he proposed to steer,
they advised the king to send out a caravel upon the discovery, giving out
that it was destined for Cabo Verde. This was done accordingly, and the
vessel went many leagues to the westwards; but, encountering severe storms,
it returned without effecting any discovery, and holding out the notions
of Columbus to ridicule. He, not ignorant of this underhand dealing, was
much offended, and his wife being dead, he took a great aversion to
Portugal, and resolved upon going into Spain to offer his schemes at that
court. Lest he might be treated there as he had been in Portugal, he sent
his brother Bartholomew Columbus into England, where Henry VII. then
reigned. But Bartholomew spent much time by the way, being taken by
pirates; and after his release and arrival in England, he had to stay a
long time before he learnt how to solicit the affair with which he was
entrusted. In the mean time, Don Christopher Columbus departed privately
from Portugal in 1484 for Andalusia, knowing that the king of Portugal was
sensible that his scheme was well grounded, and was satisfied the people
of the caravel had not done their duty, so that he still inclined to
consult farther respecting the enterprize. Columbus landed at Palos de
Moguer, whence he went to the court of Ferdinand and Isabella, or
Elizabeth, king and queen of Spain, then at Cordova, leaving his son James
in the monastery of Rabida, half a league from Palos, under the care of
John Perez de Marchena, the father guardian of that house, who was learned
in humanity, and had some skill in cosmography.

On his arrival at Cordova, Columbus made known the object of his journey,
and found most encouragement from Alonso de Quintanilla comptroller of
Castile, a wise man and fond of great undertakings, who, finding Columbus
a man of worth and merit, invited him to his table, without which he could
not have subsisted during his tedious solicitation. After some time, their
Catholic majesties, so far listened to the proposal, as to refer it to
Ferdinand de Talavera, prior of Prado, and confessor to the queen, who
afterwards became the first Christian archbishop of Granada. Columbus was
called before an assembly of cosmographers, of whom there were few then in
Spain, and those none of the ablest; and besides the admiral was unwilling
to explain himself too unreservedly, lest he might be served as already in
Portugal; wherefore the result of this consultation was adverse to his
expectations and wishes. Some said, that as there had been so many persons
well skilled in maritime affairs in all ages of the world, who never
dreamt of those lands which Columbus endeavoured to persuade them he
should find, it was not to be imagined that he was wiser than all who had
gone before his time. Others alleged that the world was so large, that it
would require a voyage of three years at least, to reach those farthest
parts of the east to which Columbus proposed to sail; and quoted Seneca in
confirmation of their opinion, who says, "That wise men were divided
whether the ocean might not be of infinite extent, so that it would be
impossible to sail across its bounds; and, even if navigable, it was
questionable if there were any inhabited land beyond, or if there were a
possibility of going to such a distance." They farther alleged that no
other part of our globe was inhabited, except that small parcel which
existed above the water in our hemisphere, all the rest being sea: Yet
they conceded, that, if it were found practicable to go from Spain to the
farthest parts of the world eastwards, it must likewise be granted, the
same might be done by a western course. Others contended, that should
Columbus sail directly westwards, it would be impossible for him ever to
get back to Spain, owing to the rotundity of the globe; for, whoever
should go beyond the hemisphere known to Ptolemy, must necessarily descend
so much that it would be impracticable to return, which in that case would
be like climbing up a steep mountain. Although Columbus answered all their
objections, they could not comprehend his reasonings, and the assembly
declared his project to be vain and impracticable, and unbecoming the
majesty of such mighty princes to be undertaken on such trivial
information. Thus, after much time spent in vain, their Catholic majesties
ordered Columbus to be informed, that, being engaged in several wars,
particularly in the conquest of Granada, they could not then venture upon
other expences; but, when that was over, they would again examine the
matter; and so dismissed him.

Having received this mortifying answer, Columbus went away to Seville,
much discontented, after having spent five years at court to no purpose.
He then had his project made known to the Duke of Medina Sidonia, and as
some say, to the Duke of Medina Celi likewise; and being rejected by them,
he wrote to the king of France on the subject, and intended, if rejected
by the French court, to have gone over himself into England in search of
his brother, from whom he had not heard of a long while. Having formed
this resolution, he went to the monastery of Rabida, intending to place
his son in Cordova during his absence; and, having discovered the nature
of his designs to Father J. Perez de Marchena, it pleased God that the
father guardian prevailed on him to postpone his journey. Associating with
himself Garcia Hernandez a physician, Perez and he conferred with Columbus
on the matter; and Hernandez being a philosopher, was much pleased at the
proposed discovery. Whereupon Father John Perez, who was known to the
queen as having sometimes heard her confession, wrote to her majesty on
the subject, and received orders to repair to court, then at the new city
of Santa Fe before Granada, and to leave Columbus at Palos, with some hope
of being successful. When John Perez had discoursed with the queen, she
ordered 20,000 _maravedies_[3] to be carried by James Prieto to Columbus
at Palos, to enable him to return to court.

On his coming back, the prior of Prado, and the others who were joined
with him in commission, were still averse from the undertaking; and
besides, as Columbus demanded high conditions, among which were to have
the titles of admiral and viceroy over all his discoveries, they thought
he required too much in case of success, and that such a grant would seem
dishonourable in case of failure. The treaty was therefore again entirely
broken off, and Columbus resolved to go away to Cordova, in order to
proceed for France, being positive not to go to Portugal on any account.
Alonzo de Quintanilla, and Lewis de Santangel, who was clerk of the green
cloth to the crown of Arragon, were much concerned that this enterprize
should be laid aside, and at their request, and that of John Perez, Don
Pedro Gonzalez de Mendoza heard what Columbus had to say on the subject,
with which he was well pleased, valuing him as a man of worth. But the
adverse party still objected that Columbus ventured nothing of his own on
this discovery, requiring to be made admiral of a fleet by their Catholic
majesties, while it would be no loss to him even if the enterprize should
fail. To this he answered, that he would be at an eighth part of the
expence, provided he were entitled to a proportional share in the profits.
Yet nothing was concluded; whereupon Columbus left the city of Santa Fe in
January 1492, in great perplexity, on his way for Cordova. That same day,
Lewis de Santangel represented to the queen, that he was astonished she,
who had ever shewn much genius for great undertakings, should here fail
where so much might be gained, and so very little could be put to hazard;
and, should the enterprise be undertaken by any other prince, as Columbus
affirmed it would, her majesty might easily see how great an injury this
would prove to her crown, especially as Columbus seemed a person of worth,
and required no reward but what he should find, venturing even his own
person, and part of the charges. He farther urged that the thing was by no
means of an impracticable nature, as represented by the cosmographers, nor
ought the attempt to be considered as indiscreet, even if it should not
succeed. Besides, that Columbus only demanded a million of maravedies[4]
to fit himself out for the expedition; and he therefore earnestly
entreated that so small a sum might not obstruct so great an enterprize.
At the same time, the queen was much importuned by Alonzo de Quintanilla,
who had great credit with her majesty; she thanked them for their advice,
and said she would willingly embrace it, when she had a little recovered
from the expence of the war; or, if they thought it necessary to proceed
immediately, she was willing to have the money raised by pawning some of
her jewels. Quintanilla and Santangel kissed her hand, and expressed their
thanks that her majesty had been pleased to listen to their advice, after
the matter had been refused by the counsel of so many others; and
Santangel offered to lend the sum required out of his own money. All this
being settled, an alguazil or messenger was dispatched after Columbus,
with orders from the queen for his return. The messenger overtook him at
the bridge of Pinos, two leagues from Granada; and, though much concerned
to have been so much slighted, he returned to the city of Santa Fe, where
he was well received, and the secretary, John Coloma, was ordered to
prepare the contract and instructions, after he had spent eight years,
with much vexation and uneasiness, in soliciting to have his project

[1] We have here omitted two sections of very uninteresting cosmographical
    observations on the antipodes, the torrid zone, the climate of the
    Western hemisphere, and the peopling of America.--E.

[2] The author or translator has here committed a material arithmetical
    error; as 180 degrees, multiplied by 17-1/2, only produce 3150

[3] This sum does not much exceed ten pounds of our present money; yet in
    these days was thought a gift worthy of a queen.--Churchill.

    The value of money must then have been much greater than now, perhaps
    ten times; in which case this supply may have been equal to about 22
    hundred guineas in effective value.--E.

[4] This is little above L.520 of our money, according to the present

    Probably equal in effective value to L.5200 in the present time.--E.


_Conditions granted to Columbus by the Crown of Castile, and an Account of
his first Voyage, in which he discovered the New World._

Columbus and the Secretary Coloma conferred together upon the conditions,
which he had demanded from the beginning, and they at length agreed to the
following articles, which were signed on the 17th April 1492.

1. Their Catholic majesties, as sovereigns of the ocean, do from this time
constitute Don Christopher Columbus their admiral, throughout all those
islands or continents, that by his means shall be discovered and conquered
in the said ocean, for the term of his life, and after his death to his
heirs and successors for ever, with all the immunities and prerogatives
belonging to the said office, in the same manner as they have been enjoyed
by their admiral, Don Alonso Enriquez, and his predecessors, within their

2. Their highnesses do constitute and appoint the said D. C. Columbus
their viceroy and governor-general of all the islands or continents, which,
as has been said, he shall discover and conquer in the said seas; and that
he shall nominate three persons for the government of each of them, of
whom their highnesses shall choose one.

3. Their highnesses grant to the said D. C. Columbus, the tenth part of
all commodities whatsoever, whether pearls, precious stones, gold, silver,
spice, or any other, bought, bartered, found, taken, or otherwise had,
within the limits of the said admiralty, the charges being first deducted;
so that he shall take to himself the said tenth part, to use, enjoy, and
dispose of at his pleasure.

4. In case any controversies shall arise on account of the commodities he
may bring from the said islands or countries, so conquered or discovered
as aforesaid, or on account of those here taken of other merchants in
exchange for these, in the place where the said trade shall be settled; if
it shall belong of right to the admiral to try such causes, he shall be
allowed to do so by himself or deputy, as was allowed to the admiral Don
Alonso Enriquez, and his predecessors, within their districts.

5. It shall be lawful for the said D. C. Columbus, whenever any ships are
fitted out for the aforesaid trade, to contribute the eighth part of the
cargo, and accordingly to receive the eighth part of all the produce in

These articles were signed in the city of Santa Fe, in the plain of
Granada; with which, and with the before-mentioned sum of money, he
departed from that place on the 12th of May, and leaving his sons at
school in Cordova, he went himself to the port of Palos, in order to
expedite the preparations for his voyage, very few of the persons at court
believing that he would perform what he had promised. Their Catholic
majesties having strictly enjoined him not to touch at Guinea, nor to come
within an hundred leagues of the Portuguese conquests, gave him letters
patent to all kings and princes in the world, requiring them to receive,
honour, and relieve him as their admiral. He chose Palos, as a place where
there were many experienced seamen, and because he had friends among them;
as also for the sake of John Perez de Marchena, who greatly assisted him
in this affair, by disposing the minds of the seamen to accompany him, as
they were very unwilling to venture upon an unknown voyage. He had orders
for the town of Palos to furnish him with two caravels, with which that
place was obliged to serve the crown during three months of every year. He
fitted out a third vessel as admiral, which he called the _St Mary_. The
second was named the _Pinta_, commanded by Martin Alonso Pinzon, having
his brother, Francis Martinez Pinzon as master or pilot; and the third,
_La Vinna_, which had latine or triangular sails, was commanded by Vincent
Yanez Pinzon, who was both captain and pilot. This person advanced half a
million of maravedies, for the eighth part of the charges of the
expedition[1], the family of the Pinzons being of the first rank in Palos,
very wealthy, and excellent sailors; the common mariners, through their
example and influence, became willing to engage in the voyage, which at
first they were much averse from.

The vessels being ready for sea, were supplied with provisions for one
year, and took on board a complement of ninety men, most of whom were
inhabitants of Palos, except some friends of Columbus, and a few servants
of the court. They set sail half an hour before sun-rise on the 3d of
August 1492, going over the bar of the river Saltes, on which Palos is
situated, and directing their course for the Canaries; the whole crews of
all the three vessels, after the example of Columbus, having previously
made confession of their sins, and partaken of the holy sacrament. On the
very next day, the rudder of the caravel Pinta, which Martin Alonso Pinzon
commanded, broke loose; which was suspected to have happened by the
contrivance of Gomez Rascon and Christopher Quintero, her owners, and
serving as seamen on board, because they went on the voyage against their
inclination, and had endeavoured to throw obstacles in its way before
setting out. This obliged the Pinto to lie to, and the admiral made up to
the caravel, though he could not give any aid, on purpose to encourage the
men. Martin Alonso Pinzon being an experienced seaman, soon fastened the
rudder in such a manner with ropes as enabled her to continue the voyage:
But on the Tuesday following, it broke loose again through the violence of
the waves, and the whole of the small squadron was forced to lie to. This
early misfortune might have discouraged a superstitious person, more
especially considering the refractory conduct of M.A. Pinzon afterwards.
The rudder was again made fast as well as they could; and, continuing
their voyage, they discovered the Canaries about day-break of the 11th of
August. After endeavouring for two days to reach Gran Canaria, and always
baffled by contrary winds, Martin Alonso was left with orders to proceed
to land as soon as he could, to endeavour to procure another ship, and the
admiral went with the other two to Gomera with the same view. Not finding
any vessel for his purpose, he returned to Gran Canaria, where he got a
new rudder for the Pinta, and had her sails changed from latine or
triangular, into square, that she might labour less, and be able more
safely to keep up with the others. Leaving Gran Canaria on the afternoon
of the 1st September, he returned to Gomera, where he took in a supply of
flesh, and wood and water, with great haste in the course of four days; as
he had heard of some Portuguese caravels cruising in those parts to
intercept him, the king of Portugal being much concerned to learn that
Columbus had agreed with their Catholic majesties, by which he had missed
the opportunity of aggrandizing his own crown.

On Thursday the 6th of September, Columbus took his final departure from
Gomera, standing to the westwards in quest of his proposed discovery, and
made but little way for want of wind: Yet they lost sight of land next day,
when many bewailed their state with sighs and tears, believing they were
never more to see land; but Columbus did all in his power to raise their
hopes, by the promise of success, and of acquiring wealth. That day they
ran eighteen leagues, while the admiral gave out they had only advanced
fifteen; thinking it prudent to reckon the voyage short, on purpose to
lessen the apprehensions of the seamen. On the 11th of September, being
150 leagues to the westwards of Ferro, they saw a mast floating on the sea,
that seemed to have been drifted by the current, which a little farther on,
they found setting very rapidly to the northwards. On the 14th September,
being 50 leagues more to the west, the admiral, about night-fall,
perceived the needle to vary a point westwards, and somewhat more early
next morning. This variation had never been observed before, and therefore
astonished the admiral greatly; and still more so, three days after, when
he had advanced 100 leagues farther to the westwards, on finding the
needle to vary two points in the evening, and to point directly north next
morning. On the night of Saturday the 15th September, being then near 300
leagues west from Ferro, they saw a flame of fire drop into the sea, four
or five leagues S.W. from the ships, the weather being then calm, the sea
smooth, and the current setting to the N.E. The people in the Ninna said
they had seen some water-wagtails on the day before, at which they much
admired, considering that these birds never go above fifteen or twenty
leagues from land. On the next day, they were still more surprised at
seeing some spots of green and yellow weeds on the surface of the sea,
which seemed newly broken off from some island or rock. On Monday the 17th,
they saw much more, and many concluded they were near land, more
especially as a live grasshopper was seen on the weeds. Others of the
companies alleged these weeds might come from banks or rocks under water,
and the people, beginning to be afraid, muttered against the prosecution
of the voyage. They now perceived that the water was not more than half as
salt as usual, and that night they saw many tunny fishes, which followed
so near the ships that a man belonging to the Ninna killed one with a
harpoon. In the morning the air was temperate and delightful, like the
April weather of Andalusia. When about 360 leagues westwards of Ferro,
another water-wagtail was seen; and on Tuesday the 18th September, Martin
Alonso Pinzon, being before in the Pinta which was an excellent sailer,
lay to for the admiral, and reported that he had seen a numerous flock of
birds flying westwards, from which he had hopes of discovering land that
night, at about fifteen leagues to the northwards, and even fancied he had
seen it: But the admiral did not credit this, and would not lose time by
deviating from his course in search of the supposed land, though all the
people were much inclined to have made the attempt. That night the wind
freshened, when they had sailed eleven days always before the wind to the
west, without ever having to handle a sail. During the whole course, the
admiral constantly noted down every circumstance; as the winds, the fishes,
birds, and other tokens of land, and continually kept a good look out,
frequently trying for soundings.

[1] This is about L.260.--Churchill

    Equal to about L.2600 of our present money in effective value: But is
    difficult to conceive how the eighth part of this small armament
    should require so large a sum, which would extend the total amount to
    L.2080 of solid money, equal in efficacy to L.20,800 in our times: and,
    besides the crown had advanced L.520, equally to L.5200, as its
    contribution for seven eighths.--E


_Continuation of the Voyage; the signs of approaching land; the people
mutiny, and the Admiral endeavours to appease them._

Being altogether unacquainted with the voyage, and seeing nothing but sky
and water for so many days, the people began to mutter among themselves,
as thinking their situation desperate, and anxiously looked out for signs
of land, no one having ever been so far out at sea as they then were. On
Wednesday 19th September, a sea gull came on board the admiral, and others
appeared in the evening; which raised their hopes of land, believing these
birds did not fly far out to sea. Throwing the lead with a line of 200
fathoms, no ground was found, but the current was found setting to the S.W.
On Thursday the 20th two more gulls were seen; some time after they took a
black bird, having a white spot on its crown and feet like a duck; they
killed a small fish, and sailed over large quantities of weeds. From all
which tokens the people began to pluck up fresh courage. Next morning,
three small land birds settled on the rigging of the admiral, where they
continued singing till the sun rose, when they flew away. This
strengthened their hopes of land; as, though the other birds might venture
out to sea, those small birds could not as they thought, go far from land.
Some time after, a gull was seen flying from W.N.W. next afternoon a
water-wagtail and another gull, and more weeds to the northwards, which
encouraged them in the belief that they came from some land not far off.
Yet these very weeds troubled them, as they were sometimes in such thick
spots as to impede the way of the ships, and they therefore avoided them
as much as possible. Next day they saw a whale, and on the 22d September
some birds. During three days the winds were from the S.W. which, though
contrary, the admiral said were a good sign, because the ships having
hitherto sailed always before the wind, the men believed they would never
have a fair wind to return with. Notwithstanding every encouragement that
the admiral could devise, the men grew mutinous and slighted him, railing
against the king for sending them on such a voyage; while he sometimes
endeavoured to sooth them with hopes, and at other times threatened them
with the punishment they might look for from the king, for their cowardice
and disobedience. On the 23d, the wind sprung up at W. N.W. with a rough
sea, which pleased every one; at nine in the morning a turtle-dove flew
athwart the admiral; in the afternoon a gull and other white birds, and
grasshoppers were seen among the weeds. Next day another gull was seen,
and turtle-doves came from the westwards; some small fishes also were seen,
which were killed with harpoons, as they would not take bait.

All these tokens of land proving vain, the fears of the men increased, and
they now began to mutter openly that the admiral proposed to make himself
great at the expence of their lives; and, having now done their duty by
venturing farther than any men had ever done before, they ought not to
seek their own destruction by sailing onwards to no purpose; for, if they
should expend all their provisions, they would have none to serve them on
the homeward voyage; and the vessels, being already crazy, would never
hold out; so that no one would blame them for returning, and they would be
the more readily believed at home, as the admiral had met with much
opposition at court. Some even went the length of proposing to throw him
overboard, to end all controversy, and to give out that he had fallen
accidentally into the sea while observing the stars. Thus the men inclined
more and more to mutiny from day to day, which greatly perplexed Columbus;
who sometimes soothed them with fair words, and at other times curbed
their insolence with menaces; often enumerating the increasing signs of
land, and assuring them they would soon find a wonderfully rich country,
where all their toils would be amply rewarded. They thus continued so full
of care and trouble that every day seemed a year, till on Tuesday the 29th
September, Vincent Yannez Pinzon, while conversing with Columbus, called
out _Land! Land!_ "Sir, I demand my reward for this news." He then pointed
to the S.W. and shewed something that looked like an island, about 25
leagues from the ships. Though this was afterwards believed to have been a
concerted matter between the admiral and him, yet it was then so pleasing
to the men that they gave thanks to God; and the admiral pretended to
believe it till night, steering his course in that direction to please the

Next morning, what seemed land turned out only clouds or a fog bank, which
often looks like land; and with much discontent the course was again
altered due west, and so continued while the wind was favourable. This day,
Wednesday 26th, they saw a gull, a water-wagtail, and other birds. Next
morning another gull flew past from the west towards the east, and they
saw many fishes called _dorados_, or gilt-heads, some of which were struck
with harpoons. Another water-wagtail passed very near the ships; and the
currents were observed not to run in so strong a body as before, but to
change with the tides; and there were fewer weeds. Friday 28th September,
they saw many dorados, and on Saturday a water-wagtail, which is a species
of sea bird that never rests, but perpetually pursues the gulls till they
mute for fear, which the other catches in the air. Of these there are
great numbers about the Cape Verde islands. Soon after many gulls appeared,
and numbers of flying fishes. In the afternoon, many weeds were seen
stretching from north to south, also three gulls and a water-wagtail
pursuing them. The men constantly allowed that the weeds were a sign of
near land, but alleged that it was under water. On Sunday 30th September,
four water-wagtails came near the admiral at once, from which it was
concluded the land could not be far off. Many weeds appeared in a line
from W.N.W. to E.S.E; likewise many of those fishes which are called
emperors, having a hard skin, and not good eating. Though the admiral
carefully noted all these circumstances, he ceased not to observe the
heavens. He perceived that the needles varied two points at night-fall,
and returned due north in the morning, which much perplexed the pilots;
till he told them this proceeded from the north star moving round the pole,
with which gratuitous explanation they were partly satisfied, for this
hitherto unusual variation at such a distance from land, made them fearful
of some unknown danger.

On Monday the 1st October, at day-break a gull was seen, and some others
before noon resembling bitterns; and the weeds now set from east to west.
Many now feared they might come to some place where the land was so
closely beset with weeds that they might stick fast among them and perish.
This morning the pilot told Columbus that they were 588 leagues to the
west of Ferro; but the admiral answered that they were only 584, though
his reckoning was actually 707. On the Wednesday following, the pilot of
the Ninna reported his westing to be 650 leagues; and he of the Pinta 630;
in all of which they had reckoned short, having sailed right before the
wind, but Columbus refrained from setting them right, lest he might
increase the dismay of the people, by letting them know how far they were
from land. On the 2d October, they killed a tunny and saw many other sorts,
as also a white bird and many grey ones, and the weeds looked withered, as
if almost reduced to powder. No birds appearing next day, they feared
having passed some island unseen, supposing all the birds that appeared to
have been passing from one island to another, and the men were eager to
change their course to one hand or the other; but Columbus did not choose
to lose the advantage of the wind, which served for a due west course,
which he particularly wished, and he thought it would lessen his
reputation to sail up and down in search of land, which he always asserted
he was certain to find. On this the men again mutinied, which was not
wonderful, considering that so many were led by one of whom they had so
little knowledge, and that they had already sailed long on so vast an
ocean, seeing nothing but sky and water, without knowing what might be the
end of all their labours. But it pleased God to show fresh signs of land,
by which they were somewhat appeased; for, in the afternoon of the 4th
October, they saw above forty sparrows and two gulls, which came so close
to the ships that a sailor killed one with a stone; likewise many flying
fishes were seen, some of which fell upon the decks of the ships. Next day,
a gull, a water-wagtail, and many sparrows appeared to the westwards near
the ships. On Sunday the 7th October, some signs of land appeared to the
westwards, yet none durst say so, lest they might forfeit the annuity of
10,000 maravedies, which had been promised to him who first saw land; and
it was provided that whoever should pretend to see the land, if his
discovery were not verified in three days, should be ever after excluded
from the reward, even though he should actually make the discovery in the
sequel. Yet those in the Ninna, which was a-head of the rest, being the
best sailer, were so sure of seeing land that they fired a gun and shewed
their colours as a signal to that effect; but the more they advanced, the
appearances became the less, and at length vanished away. In this
disconsolate condition, it pleased God again to comfort them with the
flights of many birds, and among them some which were certainly land birds,
and which made for the south west. Upon this, concluding he could not now
be far from land, Columbus altered his course from west to south-west;
alleging the difference was not great, and that the Portuguese had
discovered most of their lands by following the flight of birds, and that
those he now followed took the very direction in which he had always
expected to find the land. He added that he had always told them he did
not expect to find the land till he had sailed 750 leagues westward of the
Canaries, where he expected to find the island of Cipango, and must
certainly have been upon it by this time; but knowing it to stretch north
and south, he had not turned southwards lest he might get foul of it; yet
he now believed it to lie among other islands towards the left, in the
direction these birds flew; and since they were so numerous, the land must
needs be near. On Monday the 8th October, about a dozen small birds of
several different colours came to the ship, and hovering a while about it,
afterwards flew away, and many others were seen flying to the south-west.
On the same evening, many large birds were seen, and flocks of small birds,
all coming from the northward, and many tunnies were seen. Next morning a
gull and some ducks, with many small birds were seen, all flying in the
same direction with the former; besides, the air became more fresh and
fragrant, as at Seville in April. But the men were now so anxious for land,
and so vexed at the frequent disappointment of their hopes, that they
regarded none of these tokens; though, on Wednesday the 10th, many birds
were seen both by day and night; yet neither the encouraging promises of
the admiral, nor his upbraiding their cowardice, could allay their fears,
or inspire them with any confidence of ultimate success.


_Admiral Columbus discovers the Island of San Salvador, the Conception,
Ferdinandina, Isabella, and others; with a Description of these islands,
and some account of the Natives_.

It pleased God, when Columbus was no longer able to withstand the
discontents and mutinous spirit of his men, that in the afternoon of
Thursday the 11th of October 1492, he was comforted by manifest tokens of
approaching land. A green rush was seen to float past his own ship, and a
green fish of that kind which is known to be usually near rocks. Those of
the Pinta saw a cane and a staff, and took up another curiously carved,
and a piece of board, and many weeds were seen, evidently fresh torn from
the shore. The people on board the Ninna saw similar tokens, and a branch
of thorn with its berries, that seemed to have been recently torn from the
bush. All these were strong indications of being near land; besides which
the lead now found a bottom and brought up sand; and the wind became
unsteady, which was thought to proceed from the nearness of the land. From
all these signs, Columbus concluded that he was now certainly near the
land he was in search of; and when night came, after evening prayer he
made a speech to his men, setting forth the infinite goodness of God, who
had conducted them in safety through so long a voyage. He then gave orders,
that they should lay to and watch all night; since they well knew that the
first article of their sailing instructions was, that, after sailing seven
hundred leagues without finding land, they should not make sail between
midnight and day-break; and he was almost confident they would make the
land that night. On purpose farther to rouse their vigilance, besides
putting them in mind of the promised annuity of 10,000 maravedies from the
king to him who might first see land, he engaged to give from himself a
velvet doublet to the discoverer.

_About ten o'clock at night of Thursday the 11th October_ 1492, as
Columbus was sitting on the poop of his vessel, he espied a light; on
which he privately called upon Peter Gutierrez, a groom of the kings privy
chamber, and desired him to look at the light, which he said he saw. He
then called Roderigo Sanchez de Segovia, inspector of the fleet, who could
not discern the light; but it was afterwards seen twice, and looked like a
candle which was lifted up and then held down; so that Columbus had no
doubt of it being a real light on land, and it afterwards turned out to
have been a light carried by some people who went from one house to

About two the next morning, the caravel Pinta, being always foremost, made
a signal of seeing land, which was first descried by a sailor named
Roderick de Triana, and was then about two leagues distant. But the
annuity of 10,000 maravedies, promised in reward to him who should first
discover land, was afterwards decreed by their majesties to belong to the
admiral, and was always paid him from the rents of the shambles of Seville;
because _he saw the light in the midst of darkness_; typical of the
spiritual light they were bringing among those barbarous people: For God
so ordered it, that, as soon as the wars with the Moors of Granada were
ended, after 720 years from their first coming into Spain, this great work
should begin; by which the crown of Castile and Leon might be continually
employed in the good work of bringing infidels to the knowledge of the
Catholic faith.

When day appeared, on Friday the 12th October, they perceived a flat
island, fifteen leagues in length, covered with wood, abundantly supplied
with good water, having a fresh lake in the middle, and full of people.
The natives stood on the shore in great admiration of the ships, which
they believed to be some monstrous unknown animals, and were as impatient
to be better informed respecting them, as the Spaniards were to go on
shore. The admiral went on shore in his boat well manned, and having the
royal standard displayed, accompanied by the two captains of the other
ships, Martin Alonzo Pinzon, and Vincent Yannez Pinzon, in their own boats
carrying the peculiar colours of the enterprize, being a green cross with
several crowns, and inscribed with the names of their Catholic majesties.
On landing they all fell upon their knees, kissing the ground, and
returned thanks to the Almighty for his merciful guidance and protection.
The admiral then stood up, and named the island _San Salvador_ or St
Saviour; but by the inhabitants it was called _Guanahani_. This first
discovered land in the new world, being one of the islands afterwards
called _Lucayos_ or _Bahamas_, is 950 leagues from the Canary islands[1],
and was discovered after 33 days sail[2]. Columbus took formal possession
of the country for the crown of Castile and Leon, in presence of the
notary Roderick de Escoveda, being surrounded by great numbers of the
natives. All the Spaniards now acknowledged him as admiral and viceroy,
taking an oath to obey him, as representing the sovereign in those parts;
and they did this with all that pleasure and alacrity which may easily be
imagined to have actuated them on this successful occasion, all begging
pardon for the trouble they had given him through their pusillanimous and
irresolute conduct during the voyage.

Perceiving that the natives, who were called Indians by the Spaniards,
were a simple and peaceable people, who stood gazing with admiration at
the Christians, wondering at their beards, complexion, and cloaths, the
admiral gave them some red caps, glass beads, and other baubles, which
they received eagerly and seemed to prize much; while the Spaniards were
no less surprised to behold the appearance and behaviour of this new
people. The admiral returned on board, followed by many Indians, some by
swimming, and others in boats called _canoes_, made out of one piece of
timber, like troughs or trays. The Indians brought along with them clews
of cotton-yarn, parrots, javelins pointed with fish bones, and some other
things, which they bartered for glass toys, hawks-bells and such trifles,
with which they were highly pleased, and even set a high value on broken
pieces of glazed earthern ware, plates, and poringers. All the natives,
both men and women, were entirely naked like man in the state of innocence,
the greater number being under thirty years of age, though some were old.
They wore their hair down to their ears, some few to their necks, tied
with a string in the nature of tresses. Their countenances and features
were good; yet having extraordinarily broad foreheads, gave some
appearance of deformity to their appearance. They were of a middle stature
and well shaped, having their skins of an olive colour, like the natives
of the Canaries; but some were painted white, some black, and others red;
most of them in different parts of their bodies, but some only on their
faces, round the eyes, or on their noses. They were quite ignorant of our
weapons; for on being shewn swords, they ignorantly laid hold of the edge.
They knew nothing of iron, but used sharp stones for working in wood.
Being asked by signs, how they came by some scars that were observed upon
some of them, they made the Spaniards understand that the people of some
other islands came occasionally to make them prisoners, and that they had
been wounded in defending themselves. They had very voluble tongues, and
appeared of quick apprehension, and easily repeated any words they heard
spoken. The only living creatures that were seen among them were parrots.

On the next day, being the 13th October, many Indians came off to the
ships in their canoes, most of which carried forty or even fifty men, and
some were so small as only to hold one. Their oars were formed like a
bakers peel, with which they rowed, or paddled rather, as if digging with
a spade. Though easily overset, the Indians were excellent swimmers, and
easily turned their canoes up, again, after which they laded the water out
with calabashes, which they carried with them for that purpose. They
brought much cotton on board to barter with the Spaniards, and some of
them gave as many clews as weighed a quarter of a hundred weight in
exchange for a small brass Portuguese coin called _centis_, worth less
than a farthing. These people were never satisfied with gazing on the
Spaniards, and used to kneel down and hold up their hands, as if praising
God for their arrival, and were continually inviting each other to go and
see the men who had come from heaven. They wore no jewels, nor had they
any other thing of value, except some little gold plates which hung at
their noses. Being asked whence they had this gold, they answered by signs
that they procured it from the southwards, where there was a king, who had
abundance of that metal. The ships were never clear of Indians, who, as
soon as they could procure a bit of any thing, were it only a fragment of
a broken earthen dish, went away well pleased and swam ashore with their
acquisition, offering whatsoever they possessed for the meanest trifle.
Thus the whole day was spent in trading, their generosity in giving being
occasioned by the value they set upon what they received in return, as
they looked upon the Spaniards as people come from heaven, and were
therefore desirous of something to keep in remembrance of them. At night
they all went on shore. On the morning of the 14th the admiral took a
survey of all the coast to the north-west in the boats, the natives
following along the shore, offering provisions, and calling to each other
to come and see these heavenly men; others followed in canoes, and some by
swimming, holding up their hands in admiration, asking by signs if the
Christians did not come from heaven, and inviting them to come on shore to
rest themselves. The admiral gave to all strings of glass beads, pins, or
other toys, being much pleased to see the simple innocence of the natives.
He continued the survey till he came to a ridge of rocks inclosing a
spacious harbour, where a strong fort might have been built, in a place
almost surrounded by water. Near that harbour there was a village of six
houses, surrounded by abundance of trees, which looked like gardens. As
the men were wearied with rowing, and the land did not appear sufficiently
inviting to make any stay, Columbus returned to the ships; and having
heard of other lands, he resolved to go in search of them.

Taking with him seven natives of Guanahani, that they might learn Spanish
and serve as interpreters, Columbus proceeded to discover the other
islands, of which there were above an hundred, all flat, green, and
inhabited, of which the Indians told him the names. On Monday the 15th of
October, he came to an island, seven leagues from St Salvador or Guanahani,
which he named _Santa Maria de la Conception_[3], which stretches near
fifty leagues in length between north and south; but the admiral ran along
that side of it which is east and west, where the extent is only ten
leagues. He anchored on the west side, and went on shore, when vast
numbers of the natives flocked about him, shewing the utmost wonder and
admiration. Finding this island similar to the former, he thought fit to
proceed farther on. A canoe being on board the caravel Ninna, one of the
seven Indians brought from St Salvador leaped over, and though pursued by
a boat got clear off; and another had made his escape the night before.
While here an Indian came off in a canoe to barter cotton, and the admiral
ordered a red cap to be put on his head, and to have hawks-bells fastened
to his legs and arms, on which he went away well pleased. Next day being
Tuesday 16th October, he proceeded westwards to another island, the coast
of which trended eighteen leagues N.W. and S.E.; but he did not reach it
till next day, on account of calms. On the way, an Indian was met in a
canoe, having a piece of their bread, some water in a calabash or gourd, a
little of the black earth with which they paint themselves, some dry
leaves of a wholesome sweet-scented herb which they prize highly; and, in
a little basket, a string of glass beads, and two vinteins[4], by which
it appeared he came from San Salvador, had passed the Conception, and was
going to this third island, which the admiral now named _Fernandina_, in
honour of the king of Spain. The way being long and the Indian tired with
rowing, he went on board, and the admiral ordered him to be regaled with
bread and honey and some wine; and when he arrived at the island, caused
him to be set on shore with some toys. The good report which this man gave,
brought the people of the island aboard the ships to barter, as in the
other islands. When the boats went ashore for water, the Indians readily
shewed where it was to be had, and even helped to fill the casks; yet they
seemed to have more understanding than the other islanders, as they
bargained harder in exchanging their commodities, and had cotton blankets
in their houses. Some of the women also wore short cotton wrappers, like
petticoats, from the waist half way down their thighs, while others had a
swathe or bandage of cotton cloth, and such as had nothing better, wore
leaves of trees; but the young girls were entirely naked. This island
appeared to have abundance of water, many meadows and groves, and some
pleasant little hills, which the others had not, and an infinite variety
of birds flew about in flocks, and sung sweetly; most of these being quite
different from the birds of Spain. There were many lakes, near one of
which our men saw a creature seven feet long, which he supposed to be an
alligator, and admired its size and strange shape. Having thrown stones at
this creature, it ran into the water, where they killed it with their
spears. Experience taught them afterwards that this animal is excellent
meat, and is much esteemed by the Indians of Hispaniola, who call them
_Yvanes_. In this island there were trees which seemed to have been
grafted, as they bore leaves of four or five kinds; yet they were quite
natural. They saw also fishes of fine colours, but no land animals except
large tame snakes, the before-mentioned alligators, and small rabbits,
almost like rats, called _Unias_; they had also some small dogs which did
not bark. Continuing the survey of this island to the north-west, they
anchored at the mouth of a spacious harbour, having a small island at its
mouth; but did not enter, as it was too shallow. In this place was a town
of some size, all the rest they had seen in these islands having not above
ten or twelve huts like tents, some of them round, and others with
penthouse roofs, sloping both ways, and an open porch in front in the
Flemish fashion. These were covered with leaves of trees, very neatly laid
on, to keep out wind and rain, with vents for the smoke, and the ridges
handsomely ornamented. Their only furniture were beds of net tied to two
posts, like hammocks. One Indian had a little piece of gold hanging from
his nose, with some marks on it resembling characters, which the admiral
was anxious to procure, supposing it to have been some species of coin;
but it afterwards appeared there was no such thing in all the West Indies.

Nothing being found in Fernandina beyond what had been already seen at St
Salvador and the Conception, the admiral proceeded to the next island,
which he named Isabella, in honour of the queen of Castile, and took
possession of it with the usual formalities. This island and its
inhabitants resembled the rest, having the beautiful appearance of the
south of Spain in the month of April. They here killed an alligator; and,
on going towards a town, the inhabitants fled, carrying sway all their
property; but no harm being done, the natives soon came to the ships to
barter like the others for toys; and being asked for water, they became so
familiar as to bring it on board in gourds. The admiral would not spend
time at Isabella, nor at any of the other small islands, which were very
numerous, but resolved to go in search of a very large island which the
Indians described as being in the south, by them called _Cuba_, of which
they seemed to give a magnificent account, and which he supposed might be
_Sucipango_. He steered his course W.S.W, and made little way on Wednesday
and Thursday, by reason of heavy rain, and changed his course at nine next
morning to S.E., and after running eight leagues, fell in with eight
islands in a north and south direction, which he called _Del Arena_, or
the Sand Isles, because surrounded by shoals. He was told that Cuba was
only a day and halfs sail from these islands, which he left on Saturday
the 27th October, and standing S.S.W., discovered Cuba before night; yet,
as it began to grow late and dark, he lay to all night.


_Discovery of Cuba and Hispaniola, and Desertion of Martin Alonzo Pinzon._

On Sunday the 28th of October, the admiral drew near the coast of Cuba,
which appeared much finer than any of the islands he had seen hitherto,
there being hills, mountains, plains, and waters, with various sorts of
trees; and he gave it the name of _Juanna_ or _Joanna_, in honour of the
princess of Spain. He anchored in a great river, to which he gave the name
of San Salvador, for a good omen. The wood appeared very thick, and
composed of tall trees, bearing blossoms and fruit quite different from
those of Spain, and frequented by numberless birds. Wanting some
information, the admiral sent to two houses in sight, but the inhabitants
fled away, taking their nets and fishing tackle, and accompanied by a dog
that did not bark. He would not allow any thing to be touched, but went on
to another great river, which he named _De la Luna_, or Moon river; and
thence to another which he called _Mares_, or Sea river, the banks of
which were thickly peopled, but the inhabitants all fled to the mountains,
which were thickly clothed with many kinds of tall trees. The Indians he
had brought with him from Guanahani, said that there were gold and pearls
to be found here; which last he thought likely, as muscles were seen.
These Indians added that the continent was only ten days sail from this
island; but, from a notion he had imbibed from the writings of Paul, a
physician of Florence, and though he was in the right, it was not the land
he imagined[5]. Believing that the Indians would be afraid if many men
were to land, he sent only two Spaniards on shore, along with one of the
Guanahani Indians, and one belonging to Cuba who had come on board in a
canoe. The Spaniards were Roderick de Xeres, a native of Ayamonte, and
Lewis de Torres, who had been a Jew, and spoke Hebrew and Chaldee, and
some Arabic. These people were furnished with toys to barter, and were
restricted to six days, having proper instructions of what they were to
say in the name of their Catholic majesties, and were directed to
penetrate into the country, informing themselves of every thing worth
notice, and not to do any injury to any of the natives. In the mean time,
the admiral refitted the ships, and found all the wood they used for fuel
produced a kind of gum like mastic, the leaf and fruit much resembling the
lentisc, but the tree was much larger. In this river of Mares, the ships
had room to swing, having seven or eight fathoms water at the mouth, and
five within. There were two small hills on the west side of the river, and
a pleasant flat cape running out to the W.N.W. This was afterwards the
port of Barocoa, which the adelantado Velasquez called Assumption.

On the 5th of November, when the ships were ready to sail, the two
Spaniards returned, accompanied by three natives of the island. They
reported that they had penetrated twenty-two leagues, and found a town of
50 houses, built like those which had been seen already, and containing
about 1000 inhabitants, as a whole race lived in one house. The prince and
chief men came out to meet them, and led them by the arms to lodge in one
of the houses, where they were seated on stools of an entire piece of wood,
shaped like a living creature with short legs, the tail standing upright,
and the head before, with gold eyes and ears. All the Indians sat about
them on the ground, and came in succession to kiss their hands, believing
they came from heaven, and gave them boiled roots to eat, which tasted
like chesnuts. They were entreated to remain, or at least to stay for some
days to rest themselves, as the Indians that went with them had said a
great deal in their praise. The men afterwards went away, and many women
came to see them, who were much amazed, kissed their hands and feet, and
touched them fearfully as if holy, offering them what they had to give. On
their return, many of the natives desired to accompany them; but they
would only permit the lord of the town, with his son and a servant, whom
the admiral treated with much respect. They added, that they met with
several towns, both in going and returning, where they were courteously
entertained; but none of them contained more than five or six houses. On
the way, they met many people carrying lighted fire-brands to make fire
with, to smoke themselves with certain herbs they carried along with them,
and to roast roots, which were their chief food. They could easily light a
fire, by rubbing pieces of a certain wood together, as if boring. They saw
several sorts of trees differing from those on the sea coast, and an
extraordinary variety of birds, quite different from those of Spain; but
among these there were partridges and nightingales; and they found no
quadrupeds, except the dogs formerly mentioned, that could not bark. The
Indians had much land in cultivation, part in those roots before mentioned,
and part sown with a grain named _Maize_, which was well tasted; either
boiled whole, or made into flour. They saw vast quantities of spun cotton,
made up into clews, and thought there was above 12,000 weight of it in one
house. This cotton grows wild in the fields, and opens of itself when ripe,
and there were some heads open and others shut on the same plants; and
this was held in so little estimation by the natives, that they would give
a basket full for a leather thong, a piece of glazed earthen ware, or a
bit of mirror. Being all naked, the only use to which this cotton was
applied, was for net hammocks, in which they slept, and for weaving into
small clouts to cover their nakedness. Being asked for gold and pearls,
they said there was plenty of them at _Bohio_, pointing to the east. The
Spaniards made much inquiry among the natives on board, for gold, and were
told it camp from _Cubanocan_; which some thought meant the country of the
Chan of Cathay, and that it was not far off, as their signs indicated four
days journey. Martin Alonzo Pinzon, thought Cubanocan must be some great
city, only distant four days journey; but it was afterwards found to be a
province in the middle of Cuba, _nocan_ signifying the middle, in which
there are gold mines.

The admiral was not inclined to lose time in this uncertain inquiry, but
ordered some Indians of several different parts to be seized, to carry
them into Spain, that they might each give an account of their country,
and serve as witnesses of his discovery. Twelve persons, men, women, and
children, were secured; and when about to sail, the husband of one of the
women, who had two children, came and solicited to go along with his wife
and children; and the admiral ordered him to be received and treated
kindly. The wind changing northerly, they were constrained to put into a
port called _Del Principe_, which he only viewed from without, in a
road-stead protected by a great number of islands, about a musket-shot
asunder, and he called this place _Mar de Nuestra Sennora_, or Our Lady's
Sea. The channels between the islands were deep, and the shores
beautifully adorned with trees and green herbage. Some of the trees
resembled mastic, and others lignum aloes, some like palms with smooth
green stems, and many other kinds. Landing on these islands, they found no
inhabitants, but there were the appearances of many fires having been made
in them, by fishers; as the inhabitants of Cuba go there for fish and fowl,
which are got in profusion. The Indians eat several filthy things; as
great spiders, worms bred in rotten wood, fish half raw, from which they
scoop out the eyes as soon as taken, and devour them; besides many other
things quite disgusting to the Spaniards. In this employment of fishing,
the Indians occupy themselves during several seasons of the year; going
sometimes to one island and sometimes to another, as people who tire of
one diet change to another. In one of these islands the Spaniards killed
an animal resembling a wild boar, and among many kinds of fish which they
drew up in their nets, one was like a swine, with a very hard skin, the
tail being the only soft part. They found likewise some mother-of-pearl.
The sea was observed to ebb and flow much more here than in any other part,
which the admiral attributed to the numbers of islands; and low water was
noticed to be when the moon was S.S.W, contrary to what it is in Spain.

On Sunday the 18th November, the admiral returned to _Puerto del Principe_,
and erected a large wooden cross at its mouth. On Monday the 19th, he
resumed his voyage for the island, afterwards named Hispaniola, which some
of the Indians called _Bohio_, and others _Babeque_; yet it afterwards
appeared that Babeque was not Hispaniola, but the continent, for they
called it Caribana[6]. The Indian word _Bohio_ signifies a house or
habitation; and as that term was applied to the island of Hispaniola, it
seemed to denote that it was full of _Bohios_ or houses. On account of
contrary winds, the admiral spent three or four days cruising about the
island of Isabella, but did not go very near, lest the Indians he had on
board might escape; at this place they found many of the weeds they had
before met with on the ocean, and perceived that they were drifted by the
currents. Martin Alonzo Pinzon, learning from the Indians that there was
much gold at Bohio, and eager to enrich himself, left the admiral on
Wednesday the 21st November, without any stress of weather or other
legitimate cause; his ship being always foremost, as the best sailer, he
slipped off at night unperceived. On the admiral perceiving his absence,
and that he did not return after many signals, he bore away for the island
of Cuba, as the wind was contrary, and put into a large and safe harbour,
to which he gave the name of _Puerto de Santa Catalina_, or St Catherines,
because discovered on the eve of that saint. While taking in wood and
water here, some stones were found which had veins resembling gold; and
there grew fine tall pines on the shore, fit for masts. The Indians still
directing him for Bohio or Hispaniola, as a country abounding in gold, he
sailed along the coast twelve leagues farther, where he found many
spacious harbours, and among these a river which might conveniently admit
a galley, yet the entrance could not be seen till close at hand. Invited
by the convenient appearance of the place, he went up the river in a boat,
finding eight fathom water at the entrance. He proceeded some way up the
river, the banks of which were pleasantly embellished with fine trees
swarming with a variety of birds. At length he came to some houses, where
a boat was found under an arbour, having twelve thwarts, or seats for
rowers, and in one of the houses they found a mass of wax, and a mans head
hanging in a basket. This wax was carried to their majesties, but as no
more was ever found in Cuba, it was afterwards supposed to have been
brought from Yucatan. They found no people in this place, as they had all
fled, but they saw another canoe ninety-five spans long, capable of
holding fifty persons, made all of one piece of wood like the rest, and
hollowed out with tools of flint.

After sailing 107 leagues eastwards along the coast of Cuba, the admiral
arrived at its eastern end, and departed thence on the 5th December for
Hispaniola, which is only 18 leagues distant; yet he could not reach it
till next day, on account of the currents. On the 6th he came to a harbour
which he called St Nicholas, at the western extremity of Hispaniola,
having discovered it on the day of that Saint. This port is safe, spacious,
and deep, surrounded by thick groves and a mountainous land; the trees,
however, were not large, and resembled those of Spain; among others, there
were found pine and myrtle. A pleasant river discharged itself into this
harbour, and on its banks were many canoes, as large as brigantines, of 25
benches. Finding no people, he went on to the north-east, to a harbour
which he named Conception, south from a small island called Tortuga, 10
leagues north of Hispaniola. Observing this island of Bohio to be very
large, that its land and trees resembled Spain, that his people caught,
among other fish, many skates, soles, and other fishes like those in Spain,
and that nightingales and other European birds were heard to sing in the
month of December, at which they much admired; the admiral named this land
_La Espannola_, which we now corruptly write _Hispaniola_. Some thought it
ought to have been named _Castellana_, as the crown of Castile alone was
concerned in this expedition of discovery. As he had received a favourable
account of this island from the Indians, he was desirous of learning
whether it were really so wealthy as they represented; and, as the natives
all fled, communicating the alarm from place to place by fires, he sent
six well armed Spaniards into the interior to explore the country. These
people returned, after having proceeded a considerable way without finding
any inhabitants; but they reported wonders of the deliciousness of the
country. One day three of the seamen having gone into a wood, saw many
naked people, who fled as soon as they saw our men into the thickest parts
of the wood; but the sailors pursued and took a woman, who had a small
plate of gold hanging at her nose. The admiral gave her some hawks-bells
and glass beads, and ordered her to have a shirt, and sent her away with
three Spaniards, and three of the Indian captives, to accompany her to her


_Farther Discovery of Hispaniola: Simplicity of the Natives: Kind
reception from the Cacique_ Guacanagari. _The Admiral loses his ship, and
resolves to settle a Colony in the Island._

Next day the admiral sent nine armed Spaniards, with an Indian of St
Salvador to serve as interpreter, to the womans habitation, which was four
leagues to the south-east of where the ships then lay. They here found a
town of 1000 scattered houses; but it was quite deserted, as all the
inhabitants had fled into the woods. The Indian interpreter was sent after
them, and at length persuaded them to return, by saying much in praise of
the Spaniards. They returned accordingly to the town, trembling with fear
and amazement, laying their hands on the heads of the Spaniards, out of
honour and respect, entreating of them to eat, and to remain with them for
the night. Abundance of people now collected; some of them carrying the
woman on their shoulders in triumph to whom the admiral had given a shirt,
and her husband came among them, on purpose to return thanks for the
honourable gift. The Spaniards now returned to the ships, reporting that
the country abounded in provisions, that the natives were whiter and
better-looking than those of the other islands; but that the gold country
lay still more to the eastwards. By their description the men were not of
large size, yet brawny and well set, without beards, having wide nostrils
and broad smooth ungraceful foreheads, which were so shaped at their birth
as a beauty, for which reason, and because they always went bareheaded,
their skulls were hard enough to break a Spanish sword. Here the admiral
observed the length of the day and night, and found that twenty half-hour
glasses run out between sun-rise and sun-set, making the day consequently
ten hours long; but he believed the seamen had been negligent and had made
a mistake, and that the day was somewhat more than eleven hours. Though
the wind was contrary, he resolved to leave this place, and continue his
course to the eastwards through the channel between Tortuga and Hispaniola,
where he found an Indian fishing in a canoe, and wondered his small vessel
was not swallowed up, as the waves rose very high; he accordingly took
both Indian and canoe into the ship, where he treated him well, and sent
him on shore afterwards with some toys. This man commended the Spaniards
so much that many of the natives resorted to the ships; but they had only
some small grains of gold hanging at their noses, which they freely parted
with. Being asked whence that gold came, they made signs that there was
plenty of it farther on. On the admiral inquiring for _Cipango_, which he
still expected to find in these seas, they thought he had meant _Cibao_,
and pointed to the eastwards, as the place in the island which produced
most gold.

The admiral was now informed that the _cacique_, or lord of that part of
the country was coming to visit him, attended by 200 men. Though young, he
was carried in a kind of chair on mens shoulders, attended by a governor
and counsellors; and it was observed that his subjects paid him wonderful
attention, and that his deportment was exceedingly grave. An Indian, from
the island of Isabella, went ashore and spoke to the chief, telling him
the Spaniards were men who had come from heaven, and saying much in their
praise. The cacique now went on board, and, when he came to the poop, he
made signs for his attendants to remain behind, except two men of riper
years, who seemed his counsellors, and sate down at his feet. Being
offered to eat by order of the admiral, he tasted a little of every thing
that was offered, then handed it to the other two, and from them it was
carried to the rest of his attendants. When offered drink, he only touched
it with his lips. They all observed much gravity, speaking little; but
when he spoke, his counsellors observed his lips with great attention, and
answered him with much respect. The admiral thought these people more
rational and farther advanced in civilization than any he had seen at the
other islands. When it grew late, the cacique and his attendants returned
to the shore. Next day, though the wind was contrary and blew hard, the
sea did not run high, as the anchoring ground was sheltered by the island
of Tortuga. Some of our people were engaged this day in fishing, and the
Indians were much gratified at seeing the Spanish mode, which differed
greatly from their own. Several of the Spaniards went on shore to the
Indian town, where they procured some small plates of gold in barter for
glass beads, which gave great satisfaction to the admiral, as he was now
enabled to convince their Catholic majesties that gold was to be had in
the country he had discovered, and consequently, that the promises he had
made were not vain. In the afternoon, the cacique came down again to the
shore, and about the same time, a canoe, with forty men, came over from
the island of Tortuga on purpose to visit the Spaniards, at which the
cacique appeared to take offence; but all the natives of Hispaniola sat
down on the ground, in token of peace. The people from Tortuga landed from
their canoe; but the cacique stood up and threatened them, on which they
reimbarked and pushed off from the shore. To shew his displeasure, the
cacique threw stones and water after them, and gave a stone to the
_alguazil_ belonging to the admiral, making signs for him to throw it at
the Tortugans, but he smiled and would not throw. Those in the canoe
returned very submissively to Tortuga. This day, in honour of the festival
of the Conception, the admiral ordered the ships to be dressed up with
colours and streamers, arming all the men, and firing the cannon. The
cacique came on board while the admiral was at dinner; and the respect
shewn by these naked people to their chief was very remarkable. On coming
into the cabin, the cacique sat down beside the admiral, without suffering
him to rise. Being invited to eat, he took the meat as he had done on a
former occasion, tasting a little of every thing, and giving the rest to
his more immediate attendants. After dinner, he presented to the admiral a
girdle of gold, somewhat like those used in Spain, but quite differently
wrought, and some small plates of gold, which the natives use as ornaments.
The admiral gave the cacique in return a piece of old tapestry hanging
which had attracted his fancy, some amber beads he happened to have about
his neck, a pair of red shoes, and a bottle of orange flower water, with
all of which he was much pleased. He and his attendants seemed much
concerned that they could not make themselves understood by the Spaniards,
and appeared to offer them whatever the country produced. The admiral
shewed him a piece of Spanish coin, bearing the heads of their Catholic
majesties, which he greatly admired, as also the colours with the crosses
and the royal arms. After having been treated with much respect and
attention by the admiral, the cacique went on shore, and was carried back
to his town on a chair or bier. He was accompanied by a son, and by a
great concourse of people; and all the things which had been given him by
the admiral were carried before him, held singly on high, that they might
be seen and admired by the people. A brother of the cacique came next on
board, whom the admiral treated with much respect; and next day, the
admiral caused a cross to be erected in an open spot of the town, near the
sea, as that where the cacique resided was four leagues off; to this cross
the Indians paid great respect, in imitation of the Spaniards.

The admiral took every opportunity of discovering the situation of that
place where all the Indians said that much gold was to be procured, and
being desirous of continuing his discovery to the east, he hoisted sail on
Tuesday night, but could not, during the whole of Wednesday the 19th
December, get out of the channel between Hispaniola and Tortuga, nor was
he able to reach a port which was in sight. He saw abundance of woods and
mountains, and a small island, to which he gave the name of St Thomas; and
from all he had seen, he concluded that Hispaniola was a delightful
country, blessed with pleasant weather, and having many capes, and plenty
of safe harbours. On Thursday the 20th, he put into a port between the
little island of St Thomas and a cape. They here saw several towns, and
many fires in the country; for the season being very dry, and the grass
growing to a great height, the natives are accustomed to set it on fire,
both to facilitate their passage from place to place, and for the purpose
of catching the small animals resembling rabbits, formerly mentioned,
which are called _Utias_. The admiral went in the boats to take a view of
the harbour, which he found very good. The Indians were at first shy: but
on being encouraged by their countrymen in the ships, they flocked in such
multitudes about the Spaniards, that the whole shore was covered with men,
women, and children. They brought victuals of various kinds, among which
was good bread made of maize or Indian wheat, and gourds full of water;
nor did they hide their women, as in other places, but all stood in
admiration of the Spaniards, and seemed to praise God. These people were
whiter, better shaped, more good-natured and generous, than any they had
seen, and the admiral took much care that no offence should be given them.
He sent six men to view their town, where they were entertained as persons
who had come from heaven. At this time there came some canoes with Indians,
sent by a cacique to request the admiral would come to his town, where he
waited for him, with many of his people, at a point or cape, not far
distant. He went accordingly with the boats, though the people of the
place where he now was entreated him to stay. On landing, the cacique sent
provisions to the Spaniards; and, on finding these were received, he
dispatched some Indians to fetch more, and some parrots. The admiral gave
them hawks-bells, glass beads, and other toys, and returned to the ships,
the women and children crying out for him to remain. He ordered meat to be
given to some of the Indians that followed him in canoes, and others who
swam half a league to the caravels. Though the whole shore seemed covered
with people, great numbers were seen constantly going to and from the
interior country, across a great plain which was afterwards called _La
Vega Real_, or the Royal Plain. The admiral admired this harbour, to which
he gave the name of Port St Thomas, because discovered on the day of that

On Saturday the 22d, the admiral intended to have departed from this place
in search of those islands where the Indians said there was much gold, but
was hindered by the weather, and therefore sent the boat to catch fish.
Soon after there came a man from _Guacanagari_, desiring the admiral would
come to his country, and he would give him all he possessed. This person
was one of the five sovereigns, or superior caciques of the island, and
was lord of most of its northern side, on which the admiral then was.
Guacanagari sent to the admiral, by his messenger, a girdle which he wore
instead of a purse, and a vizor or mask, having the ears, tongue, and nose
all made of beaten gold. The girdle was four fingers broad, all covered
with small fish bones, curiously wrought, and resembled seed pearls. The
admiral was resolved to depart on the 23d; but in the first place, he sent
the notary and six other Spaniards on shore, to gratify the natives; who
treated them well, and bartered some cotton and grains of gold for toys.
About 120 canoes came off to the ships with provisions, and well made
earthen pitchers painted red, filled with good water. They likewise
brought some of their spice, which they called _Axi_; and to shew that it
was wholesome, they mixed some of it in a dish of water, and drank it off.
As the bad weather detained the ships, the admiral sent the notary,
accompanied by two Indians, to a town where Guacanagari resided, to see if
he could procure gold; for, having got some considerable quantity of late,
he believed it might be more plentiful in this part. It was computed that
not less than 1000 men came off to the ships this day, every one of whom
gave something; and those who could not get from their canoes into the
ships, because of the multitude, called out for those on board to take
from them what they had brought. From all that he had seen, the admiral
concluded that the island might be as large as England. The notary was
received by Guacanagari, who came out of his town to meet him, and he
thought that town more regularly built than any he had seen; and all the
natives gazed on the Spaniards with surprise and admiration. The cacique
gave them cotton-cloths, parrots, and some pieces of gold; and the people
parted with any thing they had for the merest trifles, which they kept as
relics. On Monday the 24th, the admiral went on shore to visit Guacanagari,
whose residence was four or five leagues from the port of St Thomas. After
his return to the ships, he went to bed, the weather being quite calm, as
he had not slept during two days and a night. The weather being so fine
the steersman left the helm in charge of a _grummet_, although the admiral
had expressly commanded, whatever should be the weather, that he who was
entrusted with the helm should never leave it to any other person. In
truth, no danger was apprehended from rocks or shoals; as on Sunday, when
the boats attended the notary to the residence of the cacique, they had
sounded all the coast for three leagues to the S.E. from the point, and
had made observation how the ships might pass in safety; and as it was now
a dead calm, all went to sleep; thinking themselves free from all kind of
danger. It so happened that the current carried on the ship
imperceptibly[7], till at last the lad at the helm perceiving the rudder
to strike; gave the alarm. The admiral was the first on deck, after whom
came the master, whose watch it was. He was ordered, as the boat was
afloat, to get an anchor into the boat, that it might be carried out
astern and dropped in deep water; in hopes, by means of the capstern, to
heave the ship from the rock on which it lay. But, instead of executing
these orders, the people in the boat immediately made off towards the
other caravel, which was half a league to windward. In this emergency,
perceiving that the water ebbed perceptibly, and that the vessel was in
danger of oversetting, the admiral ordered the mast to be cut by the board,
and many of the things to be thrown into the sea, to lighten the vessel
and get her off. But nothing would do, as the water ebbed apace, and the
ship every moment stuck the faster; and though the sea was calm, the ship
lay athwart the current, her seams opened, she heeled to one side, sprung
a leak below, and filled with water. Had the wind been boisterous, or the
sea rough, not a man would have escaped; whereas, if the master had
executed the orders of the admiral, the ship might have been saved. Those
in the other caravel, seeing the situation of the admiral, not only
refused to admit the people who had so shamefully deserted him, and
ordered them back, but sent their own boat to give all the help in their
power. But there was no remedy, and orders were given to use every
exertion to save the people. For this purpose, the admiral sent James de
Arena and Peter Gutierrez on shore to inform the cacique that he had lost
his ship a league and a half from his town, while on his way to make him a
visit. Guacanagari shed tears on learning the misfortune, and immediately
sent out his canoes to their assistance; which immediately carried off
every thing on deck to the shore. The cacique himself and his brothers
attended, and took all possible care that nothing should be touched. He
even staid himself by the goods, for their security, and had them all
carried into two houses appointed for the purpose. He sent a message to
the admiral, desiring him not to be concerned for his loss, for he would
give him all he had in the world. The Indians assisted with so much
diligence and good will, that nothing better could have been done on the
occasion, even if they had been on the coast of Spain: They were quite
peaceable and kind; their language was easy to pronounce and learn; though
naked, many of their customs were commendable; the cacique was steady in
all points, and was served in great state. The people were very curious in
asking questions, desiring to have reasons and explanations of everything
they saw; they knelt down at prayers, in imitation of the Spaniards; and
at that time it did not appear that they had any other religion except
worshipping the heavens and the sun and moon.

On Wednesday the 26th December, Guacanagari went on board the caravel
Ninna to visit the admiral, who was in great affliction for the loss of
his ship, and the cacique endeavoured to comfort him by the offer of every
thing he had to make up his loss. Two Indians from another town brought
some small gold plates to exchange for hawks-bells, which they most valued,
and the admiral was well provided with these toys, knowing from the
Portuguese how much these were prized in Guinea. The seamen said likewise
that others of the Indians brought gold, and gave it in exchange for
ribbons and other trifles. As Guacanagari perceived the admiral valued
gold so highly, he said he would have some brought to him from _Cibao_.
Then going on shore, he invited the admiral to come and eat _axi_ and
_cazabe_, which form the chief articles of their diet, and he gave him
some masks, having their ears, eyes, and noses, made of gold, besides,
other small ornaments which they wore about their necks. Guacanagari
complained much of the _Caribbees_, or inhabitants of the Caribbee islands,
whom we call canibals or man-eaters, because they carried off his subjects.
The admiral shewed him our weapons, and among others a Turkish bow, in the
use of which one of the Spaniards was very expert, and promised to defend
them; but he was most afraid of the cannon, as when they were fired all
the Indians used to fall down as if dead.

Finding the natives so tractable and well affectioned to the Spaniards,
the country so pleasant and fertile, and such promising indications of
gold; the admiral concluded that God had permitted the loss of the ship on
purpose that a settlement might be made in this place, where the preaching
of his holy word might begin. The Almighty often permits that this should
be done, not solely to his own glory, and advantage of our neighbours, but
likewise for the rewards that men may look for both in this world and the
next: For it is not to be believed that any nation would venture upon so
many hardships and dangers, as had been undergone by the admiral and his
Spaniards, in so doubtful and hazardous an enterprize, were it not in hope
of some reward to encourage them in the holy work.

The Indians continued to go backwards and forwards bartering gold for
hawks-bells, which was the article they most esteemed, and as soon as they
came near the caravel, they held up their pieces of gold, calling out
_Chuque_, _chuque_, as much as to say _Take and give_. One day, an Indian
on shore came with a piece of gold weighing about half a mark or four
ounces, which he held in his left hand, holding out his right hand to
receive the bell, which he no sooner got hold of than he dropt the gold
and ran away, as if thinking that he had cheated the Spaniard. The admiral,
for the reasons already assigned, resolved to leave some men in this
country to trade with the Indians, to make researches into the inland
parts of the island, and to learn the language; that, on his return from
Spain, he might have some persons able to direct him in planting colonies
and subduing the country; and, on intimating his design, many freely
offered to remain. He gave orders, therefore, for building a tower, or
fort, with the timbers of the ship that was cast away. In the meantime,
advice was brought by some of the natives, that the caravel _Pinta_ was
in a river, towards the east end of Hispaniola, and Guacanagari, at the
admirals request, sent to get certain information respecting this report.
The admiral took much pains to advance the construction of the fort. As
Guacanagari always expressed great dread of the Caribbees, to encourage
him, and at the same time to impress him with a strong idea of the
efficacy of the Spanish arms, the admiral caused one of the cannons to be
fired, in presence of the cacique, against the side of the wrecked ship,
when the ball pierced through and fell into the water beyond. Having thus
shewn him what execution our weapons could do, he told the cacique that
the persons he meant to leave in this place would defend him against his
enemies with these weapons during his absence; as he intended to return
into Spain, on purpose to bring back jewels, and other fine things to
present to him. Of all the toys which the Spaniards gave to the Indians,
they were fondest of hawks-bells; insomuch that some of these people,
fearing there might be none left, used to come to the caravel in the
evening, and request to have one kept for them till next morning.


_The Admiral builds a Fort in Hispaniola, and prepares for his return to

The admiral had sent a Spaniard in a canoe, to endeavour to find out the
caravel Pinta, and to carry a letter to Martin Alonzo Pinzon, whom he
kindly requested to rejoin him, without taking any notice of the fault he
had committed in parting without leave. But the Spaniard returned, saying
that he had gone above twenty leagues along the coast, without being able
to find or hear of the Pinta: but if he had only proceeded five or six
leagues farther he had not lost his labour. Some time afterwards, an
Indian reported that he had seen the missing caravel in a river only two
days before; yet he was not believed, since the others had not seen her.
But it afterwards appeared that this man spoke truth; as be might have
seen her from some high ground, and made haste to come with the news. The
sailor who had gone in the canoe in search of the Pinta reported, that he
had seen a cacique, about twenty leagues to the eastwards, who had two
large plates of gold on his head, as had several of his attendants; but
that, immediately on being spoken to by the Indians of the canoe, he took
them off and concealed them. From this circumstance, the admiral imagined
that Guacanagari had forbidden them to sell any gold to the Spaniards,
wishing to have the whole of that trade to pass through his own hands. The
building of the fort went on expeditiously, as the admiral went on shore
daily to superintend and hasten the works, but always slept on board the
caravel Ninna. As he went one day on shore in the boat, he thought he saw
Guacanagari slip into his house, as if to avoid being seen; but he had
done so apparently for the more state, having concerted to receive the
admiral ceremoniously; for he sent his brother, who received the admiral
with much civility, and led him by the hand into one of the houses
appointed for the accommodation of the Christians, which was the largest
and best in the town. They had here prepared a place for the admiral to
sit in, adorned with large slips of the thin inner bark of palm trees, as
large as a great calfs skin, and much of that shape and appearance;
forming a clean cool alcove, large enough to cover a man, and to defend
him from the rain. These broad slips of palm bark serve the Indians for
many purposes, and are called _Yaguas_ in their language. They here seated
the admiral in a chair, having a low back and very handsome, such as are
used by the Indians, and as black, smooth, and shining as if mode of
polished jet. As soon as he was seated the brother gave notice to the
cacique, who came presently, and hung a large plate of gold about the
admirals neck, apparently with much satisfaction, and stayed with him till
it grew late, when the admiral went on board the caravel as usual to sleep.

Among the many motives which induced the admiral to settle a colony in
this place, he considered that many might be inclined to go from Spain to
settle in the new discovered country, when it was known that some persons
were already there; he likewise considered that the caravel which remained
could not conveniently accommodate the crews of both vessels, and the
people he meant to leave were perfectly satisfied with their lot, being
much encouraged by the mildness and affability of the natives. Likewise,
though he had resolved to carry over some of the Indians, and such other
things worth notice, as had been found in the country, in testimony of his
discovery and its value; he thought it might add greatly to the reputation
of his discoveries, and be a convincing proof of the excellence of the
country, when it was known that several of his men had settled there with
their own free will.

The fort was surrounded by a ditch, and though built of wood, was quite
sufficient for the defence of its intended garrison against the natives.
It was finished in ten days, as a great number of men were employed in its
construction. The admiral gave it the name of _La Villa de Navidad_, or
the town of the _Nativity_, because he came to that port on Christmas day.
On the morning of the 29th December, a very young but ingenious lad, who
was nephew to the cacique, came on board the caravel; and as the admiral
was still eager to know whence the Indians had their gold, he used to ask
this question of every one by signs, and now began to understand some
words of the Indian language. He accordingly inquired of this youth about
the mines, and understood that he informed him, "That at the distance of
four days journey to the eastwards there were certain islands, called
Guarionex, Macorix, Mayous, Fumay, Cibao, and Coray, in which there was
abundance of gold." The admiral wrote down these words immediately; but it
was evident he as yet knew little of the language, for it was known
afterwards that these places, instead of separate islands, were provinces
or districts in Hispaniola, subject to so many different lords or caciques.
_Guarionex_ was chief of the vast royal plain, formerly mentioned under
the name of _Vega real_, one of the wonders of nature, and the youth meant
to say that _Cibao_, which abounded in gold, belonged to the dominion of
Guarionex. Macorix was another province, which afforded little gold. The
other names belonged to other provinces, in which the admiral omitted some
letters and added others, not knowing well how to spell them properly: and
it appeared to him, that the kings brother, who was present, reproved the
lad for telling these names. At night the cacique sent on board a large
gold mask to the admiral, desiring in return a basin and pitcher, which
were perhaps of brass or pewter, and were immediately sent to him, it
being believed they were wanted as models by which to make others of gold.

On Sunday the 30th December, the admiral went on shore to dinner, where he
found five other caciques, all subjects to Guacanagari, who all had gold
crowns on their heads, and appeared in much state. As soon as he landed,
Guacanagari came to receive him, and led him by the arm to the house in
which he had been before, where a place of state was prepared with several
chairs. He made the admiral sit down, with much courtesy and respect, and
taking the crown from his own head, put it on that of the admiral; who, in
return, took a string of curious glass beads of many colours, and very
showy, from his own neck, and put it round the neck of Guacanagari, and
also put on him a loose coat of fine cloth which he then happened to wear.
He also sent for a pair of coloured buskins, which he caused him to draw
on; and put on his finger a large silver ring, such as was worn by some of
the seamen; being informed that the cacique had seen one, and was anxious
to get it, as the Indians put a great value on any white metal, whether
silver or pewter. These gifts pleased Guacanagari highly, and made him
believe himself the richest potentate in the world. Two of the subordinate
caciques attended the admiral to the boat, and each of them gave him a
large plate of gold, which were not cast, but composed of many grains
battered out between two stones, as the Indians are ignorant of the art of
melting and founding. When the admiral went on board the caravel to sleep
as usual, Vincent Yanes Pinzon affirmed that he had seen rhubarb, and knew
its branches and roots. Some persons were accordingly sent on shore for
this supposed rhubarb, of which they brought a basket-full on board as a
sample; but on being brought to Spain, it turned out not to be rhubarb. In
the opinion of the admiral, the substance called _Axi_ by the inhabitants
of Hispaniola was a valuable spice, better even than the pepper or grains
of paradise which is brought from the east; and he concluded that other
kinds of spice would probably be found in the newly discovered islands.

[Illustration: Chart of South Western Africa]

Having finished the construction of the fort, and anxious to return into
Spain to give an account of his happy discovery of a well peopled country,
having strong indications of abounding in gold, the admiral prepared for
his departure by taking in a supply of wood and water, and all other
necessaries for the voyage which could be procured in that country.
Guacanagari ordered the Spaniards to be supplied with as much of the
country bread, called _cazaba_, or casada, as they needed, and also with
_axi_, salted fish, and every other production of his country. Although he
wished to have extended his examination of the new discovered coast, which
he believed to run far to the eastwards, the admiral did not think this
advisable in his present situation, having only one caravel, and
complained much of the desertion of Martin Alonzo Pinzon, by which he felt
himself constrained to return to Spain, without prosecuting his
discoveries. He chose thirty-nine men, of those most willing to remain in
the island, and who were strong and healthy, over whom he appointed James
de Arana, a native of Cordova, to be captain of the fort of the Nativity.
In case of his death, Peter Gutierrez, a groom of the privy chamber of
their Catholic majesties, was to succeed to the command, and after him
Roderick de Escovedo, a native of Segovia. He left likewise Master John as
surgeon to the garrison, with a ship carpenter, a cooper, an experienced
gunner, and a tailor; all the rest being able seamen. From the ships
stores, the fort was furnished with as much wine, biscuit, and other
provisions as could be spared, sufficient to last a year; together with
seeds for sowing, commodities for bartering with the natives, all the
cannon belonging to the wrecked ship, and her boat. Every thing being now
in readiness for his own departure, the admiral called together the whole
members of this new colony, to whom he made a speech to the following
effect. He desired them to praise GOD, who had brought them to this newly
discovered country, on purpose to propagate his holy religion, to live
like good Christians, and to pray for a safe voyage, that he might soon
return with a sufficient force. He exhorted them to obey the captain be
had set over them, as indispensably necessary to their own safety. He
charged them to respect the cacique Guacanagari, and to do no wrong to any
of the natives, that they might be confirmed in their idea of the
Spaniards having been sent from heaven. He desired them to survey the
coasts, by means of their boat and the canoes of the natives; to endeavour
to discover the gold mines, and to search for a good harbour, as he was by
no means satisfied with that of the Nativity; to endeavour to procure as
much gold as possible by fair barter; to acquire the language of the
country, and to cultivate a good understanding with the natives. And
finally assured them, that, as they were the first settlers in this new
found empire, he should recommend them to their Catholic majesties, who
would reward their services. At the conclusion of this address, they all
promised faithfully to observe the advices and orders which he had given.

On Wednesday the 2d of January 1493, the admiral went on shore to take
leave of Guacanagari, and dined with him and his dependant caciques. He
recommended them to be kind to the Christians, who were to remain in the
country to defend them against the Caribs, and promised soon to return
from Spain, whence he should bring them magnificent presents from their
Catholic majesties. Guacanagari made him a courteous answer, expressing
much sorrow for his approaching departure; and one of his attendants said
that several canoes had been sent along the coast to seek for gold. The
admiral was much inclined to have made a circuit of the whole island,
whence he was convinced he might have procured a ton of gold: but, besides
the risk of protracting his voyage with one ship only, he was apprehensive
lest the Pinta might get safe to Spain before him, and that Pinzon might
prejudice their Catholic majesties against him, in excuse for his own
desertion; for which reason he resolved to depart without farther delay.


_Account of the voyage home, from Hispaniola to Lisbon._

On Friday the 4th of January 1493, Columbus took his departure from the
harbour of the Nativity, steering to the eastwards, towards a very lofty
mountain like a pavilion or tent, bare of trees, which they named _Monte
Christo_, or Christ's Mount. This mountain is four leagues from the
Nativity, and eighteen leagues from _Cabo Santo_, or the Holy Cape. That
night he anchored six-leagues beyond Monte Christo. Next day he advanced
to a small island, near which there were good salt pits, which he examined.
He was much delighted with the beauty of the woods and plains in this part
of the island, insomuch that he was disposed to believe it must be
_Cipango_, or Japan; and had he known that he was then near the rich mines
of _Cibao_, he would have been still more confirmed in that opinion.
Leaving this place on Sunday the 6th of January, and continuing his voyage,
he soon descried the caravel _Pinta_ coming towards him in full sail. Both
vessels returned to the anchorage at Monte Christo, where Martin Alonzo
Pinzon endeavoured to excuse himself for having parted company. Though far
from being satisfied, the admiral pretended to be convinced by his excuses;
yet believed that Pinzon had procured a considerable quantity of gold
during his separation, keeping half to himself, and giving the other half
to his crew, to secure their silence. To a considerable river which falls
into the sea near Monte Christo, the admiral gave the name of _Rio de Oro_,
or Golden River, because the sand had the appearance of gold. Wednesday
the 9th, hoisting sail, the admiral came to _Punta Roxa_, or Red Cape,
thirty leagues east from Monte Christo, where they procured tortoises as
large as bucklers, which went there on shore to lay their eggs in the sand.
The admiral affirmed that he saw three mermaids at this place, and that he
had seen others on the coast of Guinea. He described them as having some
resemblance to the human face, but by no means so beautiful as they are
usually represented. From Punta Roxa, he proceeded to Rio de Garcia, or
the river of Grace, where Martin Alonzo Pinzon had been trading, and which
is likewise called by his name. At this place, he set four Indians on
shore who had been taken away by Pinzon.

On Friday 11th January, he came to a cape called _Belprado_, from the
beauty of the coast, whence they had a view of a mountain covered with
snow, which looked like silver, whence it was named _Monte de Plata_, or
Silver Mountain; and to a harbour in its neighbourhood, in the shape of a
horse shoe, the admiral gave the name of _Puerto de Plata_, or Silver Port.
Running ten leagues farther along the coast, assisted by the current, he
passed several capes or head-lands, which he named _Punta del Angel_, or
Angel Point, _Del Yerro_, or Mistake Point, _El Redondo_, or Round Point,
_El Frances_, or French Point, _Cabo de Buentiempo_, or Cape Fair-weather,
and _El Tajado_, or Upright Cape. Next Saturday he advanced thirty leagues
farther, admiring the beauty and extent of the island, and passing _Cabo
de Padre y Hijo_, or Cape Father and Son, _Puerto Sacro_, or Sacred Port,
and _Cabo de les Enamorados_, or Lovers Cape. Near this last cape an
extraordinarily large bay was discovered, three leagues wide, having a
small island in the middle. He remained for some time at this place, on
purpose to observe an eclipse which was expected to take place on the 17th,
the opposition of Jupiter and the moon, and the conjunction of the sun and
Mercury in opposition to Jupiter. At this place the admiral sent a boat on
shore for water, where some men were found armed with bows and arrows,
from one of whom they bought a bow and some arrows, and persuaded him to
go on board to visit the admiral. When asked for the habitation of the
Caribbees, this person pointed to the eastwards; and when asked where gold
was to be had, he pointed towards the island of _Porto Rico_, saying it
produced much _guania_, or pale gold, which is highly valued by the
Indians. The admiral gave this man two pieces of red and green cloth, and
some glass beads, and then set him on shore. Fifty-five naked Indians lay
in ambush in the wood, but the Indian who had been on board, made them lay
down their arms and come to the boat. These men wore their hair long, like
the Spanish women, having their heads ornamented with large plumes of
feathers. Besides bows and arrows, they were armed with swords made of
hard palm tree wood, and heavy wooden spears or javelins. Two of their
bows were purchased by order of the admiral; but, instead of selling any
more, they endeavoured to seize the Spaniards; for which reason they fell
upon them, giving one a great cut on the buttocks, and felled another by a
blow on the breast, on which they all ran away and were not pursued. This
was the first hostility committed on this island between the Spaniards and
Indians; for which, though the admiral was concerned, he comforted himself
that the Indians might know what the Spaniards could do to them when

On the morning of Monday, 14th, a number of people appeared on the shore,
and the admiral ordered the men in his boat to stand on their guard; but
the natives shewed no signs of hostility, and the cacique of this part of
the country came on board the admiral, attended by the Indian who had been
there before and three other men. The admiral ordered them biscuits and
honey to eat, and gave them red caps, bits of coloured cloth, and beads.
Next day, the cacique sent his gold crown to the admiral and a great
quantity of provisions, the men who brought these things being all armed
with bows and arrows. Among the Indians who came on board the caravel,
Columbus selected four youths who appeared to have good capacities, with
the view of carrying them into Spain. From these he learnt many
circumstances respecting the country. He departed from this bay, which he
named _De los Flechos_, or of Arrows, on Wednesday the 16th of January,
not thinking fit to remain any longer, as the caravels were leaky. Having
sailed sixteen leagues with the wind at N.N.W. the Indians on board
pointed out the island which is now called _San Juan de Puerto Rico_, in
which they said the Caribbees lived, who are cannibals or man-eaters.
Though desirous of exploring these islands, yet to satisfy the men, and
because the wind freshened, he gave orders to steer a course for Spain.

For some time they sailed on prosperously, seeing many tunnies and gulls,
and fell in with abundance of sea weeds, with which they were now well
acquainted. They killed a tunny and a large shark, on which they made a
comfortable meal, having no other provisions now left except wine and
biscuit. The caravel Pinta could not sail well _upon a bouline_, as her
mizen mast was faulty, and could hardly admit of carrying any sail; on
which account little way was made, as the admiral had to wait for her. At
times, when the weather was calm, the Indians on board used to leap into
the sea and swim about with great dexterity. Having sailed several days on
several tacks, owing to changes in the wind, they compared their
reckonings. Pinzon, and the pilots Sancho Ruyz, Peralonso Ninno, and
Roldan, judged that they were to the eastwards of the Azores, having
allowed considerably more way than they had actually run; and proposed to
bear to the north, by which they would come to Madeira or Porto Santo. But
the admiral, being more skilful in computing the course, reckoned 150
leagues short of the others. On Tuesday the 12th February, a fierce storm
arose, so that the ships had for some time to drive under bare poles, and
the sea frequently broke over their decks. On Wednesday morning, the wind
slackened a little, and they were able to shew a small bit of canvas; but
towards night the storm again arose, and the waves ran so high that the
ships were hardly able to live. The admiral endeavoured to carry a
close-reefed mainsail, to bear his ship over the surges; but was at length
forced to lay to, and to suffer his ship to drive astern before the wind.
On Thursday the 14th February, the storm increased so that every one
expected to perish, and it was concluded the Pinta had foundered as she
was not to be seen. In this extremity, the admiral wrote an account of his
discovery on a skin of parchment, which he wrapped up in an oil skin, and
put into a close cask which he threw into the sea; in hope, if he should
be lost, that this might reach their Catholic majesties. The crew believed
that this was some act of devotion, and were the more confirmed in this
idea, as the wind soon afterwards slackened. On Friday the 15th of
February, land was seen a-head, to the E.N.E. which some alleged to be
Madeira, while others insisted it was the Rock of Lisbon; but the admiral
assured them it was one of the Azores. They plied backwards and forwards
for three days, endeavouring to get up to this land, during which time the
admiral suffered much with gout in his legs, having been long exposed to
the cold and wet on deck during the storm. At length, with much difficulty,
they came to anchor on Monday the 18th under the north side of the island,
which proved to be St Marys, one of the Azores.

The caravel was immediately hailed by three men from the shore, for whom
the admiral sent his boat, when they brought off some refreshments of
bread and fowls from Juan de Costenheada, the governor of the island. On
Tuesday the 19th, the admiral ordered half the crew to go on a procession
to a chapel on shore, in discharge of a vow which he had made during the
storm; proposing to do the same himself with the other half after their
return, and he requested the three Portuguese to send them a priest to say
mass. While these men were at prayer in their shirts, the governor come
upon them with all the people of the town, horse and foot, and made them
all prisoners. Owing to their long stay on shore, the admiral began to
suspect that his people were detained, or their boat had been staved on
the rocks. As he could not get sight of the place where they landed, as
the hermitage to which they had gone was covered by a point jutting out
into the sea, he removed the caravel right opposite the hermitage, where
he saw many people on the shore, some of whom went into his boat and put
off towards the caravel. Among these was the governor of the island, who,
when the boat was within speech of the caravel, stood up and demanded
security for coming on board; and though the admiral gave his word that he
should be safe, he would not venture to come on board. The admiral then
asked, why, since there was peace between the crowns of Spain and Portugal,
he had sent him fresh provisions, and a message inviting him on shore, and
yet had basely detained his men? adding, that he was ready to shew his
commission from the king and queen of Castile. The governor answered, that
he knew nothing of these sovereigns, of whom he did not stand in awe, and
whose commission he did not value, and that all he had done was by the
order of his own sovereign. After desiring his own men to bear witness of
these words, the admiral told him, if his boat and men were not
immediately restored, he would carry an hundred Portuguese prisoners into

After this, the admiral brought his ship again to anchor, and as the wind
blew fresh, he caused all the empty casks to be filled with sea water to
ballast the vessel. The wind continued to increase, and as there was no
safe anchorage, he thought it safer to be out at sea, and therefore made
sail for the island of St Michael. During the whole night it blew a heavy
gale; and not being able to make the island of St Michael, the admiral
returned to St Marys. Soon afterwards a boat came off with two priests, a
notary, and five sailors; and, having received assurance of safety, the
notary and priests came on board and examined the admirals commission.
They returned to the shore, and shortly after, the governor sent back the
boat and Spanish seamen; saying he would have given any thing to have
taken the admiral, whom he had been ordered to seize by the king of
Portugal. Having recovered his men, and the wind being now fair for Spain,
the admiral set sail on an easterly course. On Saturday the 2d of March a
new storm arose, so that the ship drove under bare poles till four o'clock
on Monday, without hope of escaping. At that time, it pleased GOD that our
mariners discovered the Cape of Cintra, usually called the Rock of Lisbon;
and to avoid the tempest, the admiral resolved to put into the harbour,
being unable to come to anchor at _Cascaes_. He gave GOD thanks for his
deliverance from danger, and all men wondered how he had escaped, having
never witnessed so violent a tempest.

[1] The actual difference of longitude, between Ferro in 17° 45' 50", and
    the eastern side of Guanahani in 75° 40', both west, is 57° 54' 11" or
    almost 58 degrees; which at 17-1/2 Spanish leagues to the degree, the
    computation previously established by our present author, would extend
    to 1015 leagues.--E.

[2] Some error has crept into the text, easily corrected. Columbus took
    his departure from Gomera on Thursday the 6th September, and landed on
    Guanahani on Friday the 12th October, both 1492. The time, therefore,
    which was employed in this first passage across the Atlantic, not
    including the 12th, because the land was observed in the night before,
    was exactly 36 days. Had Columbus held a direct course west from
    Gomera, in latitude 27° 47' N. he would have fallen in with one of the
    desert sandy islands on the coast of Florida, near a place now called
    Hummock, or might have been wrecked on the _Montanilla_ reef, at the
    north end of the Bahama banks: his deflection therefore, to the S.W.
    on the 7th October, was fortunate for the success of his great

[3] How infinitely better it had been for Columbus, and his precursors the
    Portuguese, to have retained the native names, where these could be
    learnt; or, otherwise, to have imposed single significant new names
    like the Norwegian navigators of the ninth century, instead of these
    clumsy long winded superstitious appellations. This island of St
    Mary of the Conception seems to have been what is now called
    Long-island, S.S.E. from St Salvador or Guanahani, now Cat-island.--E.

[4] A small Portuguese coin worth less than twopence.--Churchill.

[5] This sentence is quite inexplicable, and is assuredly erroneously
    translated. It is possible the original meant, that Columbus was
    misled by the opinion of Paul, to disregard the indications of the
    Indians; and instead of sailing directly west, which would have led
    him to the coast of Mexico, induced him to coast eastwards along Cuba,
    which brought him to Hispaniola, always searching for Cipango or

[6] The author seems here not clear or well informed, as _Haiti_ was the
    real Indian name of the island now called Hispaniola or St Domingo.--E.

[7] In the original, the current is said to have made "so loud a noise
    that it might have been heard a league off." This circumstance is
    quite inconsistent with the careless security of the whole crew; as it
    must necessarily have indicated their approach to rocks or shoals; and
    is therefore omitted in the text.--E.


_From the arrival of Columbus at Lisbon, till the commencement of his
second voyage to the New World_.

The king of Portugal happened then to be at _Valparayso_, to which place
the admiral sent a letter informing the king of his arrival, and that he
had orders from their Catholic majesties to put into any of the Portuguese
harbours in case of need, that he might procure what he was in want of,
and requested permission to wait upon the king, to satisfy him that he had
not come from Guinea, but from the Indies. At this time a galeon well
stored with cannon, lay guard in the Tagus, commanded by _Alvaro Daman_,
who sent his master _Bartholomew Diaz de Lisboa_ in an armed boat to the
admiral, desiring him to come on board the galeon and give an account of
himself to the kings officers. Columbus answered that he was admiral to
their Catholic majesties, and accountable to no man, and would not quit
his ship unless compelled by superior force. Diaz then desired him to send
his master; but this he likewise refused, saying that were as bad as going
himself, and that Spanish admirals were not wont to put themselves or
their men into the hands of others. On this Diaz requested to see his
commission, and having seen it he returned to give an account to his
captain of what had passed. Alvaro Daman, the Portuguese captain, went to
wait upon the admiral in his boat, accompanied by kettle drums, trumpets,
and hautbois, and courteously offered him every assistance in his power.
When it was known in Lisbon that the admiral had come from discovering the
_Indies_, great numbers flocked on board to see him, and the Indians he
had brought from the new discovered countries, and all were filled with

The king of Portugal sent a letter to the admiral, by Don Martin de
Noronha, requesting his presence at court; and, not to shew any distrust,
he immediately complied. On his arrival, he was met by all the gentlemen
of the royal household, who conducted him into the presence, where he was
honourably received by the king, who desired him to be seated and gave him
joy of his success. After inquiring some particulars of his voyage, the
king observed, that according to certain articles agreed upon with their
Catholic majesties, he conceived the discovery now made ought to belong to
Portugal, and not to Spain. The admiral replied, that he had not seen
these articles, and only knew that his sovereigns had directed him not to
go to Guinea or the Mina; which orders had been made public in all the sea
ports of Andalusia before he set out on his voyage. After some discourse,
the king committed him to the care of the prior of Crato, a knight of
Malta, the chief person then at court. Next day, the king told him he
should be supplied with every thing he stood in need of; and asked him
many questions concerning his voyage, the situation of his new discoveries,
the nature of the people, and other circumstances, shewing that he was
much concerned at having let slip the opportunity. Some persons proposed
to murder the admiral, that what he had done might not be known; but to
this infamous proposal the king would not give ear.

On Monday the 11th of March, the admiral took leave of the king, who
ordered Noronha to conduct him back to Lisbon, and gave orders that he
should be supplied gratis with all that he had need of, for himself or his
caravel. Columbus took the road by Villa Franca, where he waited on the
queen, then staying at the nunnery of St Anthony, and gave her a short
account of his voyage. On his way to Lisbon, he was overtaken by a
messenger from the king, offering horses and all other conveniencies, if
he chose to go by land to Spain. But he preferred going by sea, and sailed
from Lisbon for Seville on Wednesday the 13th of March. On Thursday before
sunrise he came off Cape St Vincent, and arrived on Friday the 15th of
March 1493 at _Saltes_, into which port he entered with the tide about
mid-day. He sailed from that place on Friday the 3d August of the
preceding year, having been six months and a half absent[1].

Being informed that their Catholic majesties were then at Barcelona, he
had some intention of proceeding thither in his caravel, but laying aside
that idea, he sent notice to the king and queen of his arrival, with a
brief account of his voyage and success, deferring a more ample recital
till he should have the honour of seeing them. He landed at Palos, where
he was received by a procession, and extraordinary rejoicings were made by
the inhabitants, all men admiring his wonderful exploit, which they never
expected to have ended so successfully. An answer came to Seville from
their majesties, expressing their joy for his return and the success of
his voyage, and promising to honour and reward him for his services. They
likewise commanded him to come without delay to Barcelona, that every
thing might be concerted for prosecuting the discovery so happily
commenced, and desiring him to leave such orders for that purpose as
occurred to him in the meantime, that no time might be lost. This letter
was addressed, _to Don Christopher Columbus, their Catholic Majesties
Admiral of the Ocean, Viceroy and Governor of the islands discovered in
the Indies_. It is impossible to express the high satisfaction entertained
by their majesties and all the court at the fortunate issue of this great
enterprize, which all had despaired of. In answer to their majesties, the
admiral sent a particular enumeration of the ships, men, stores,
ammunition, and provisions, which he considered to be requisite for his
return to the _Indies_; and they gave orders accordingly to _Rodriquez de
Fonseca_, to provide all things without delay for the voyage, pursuant to
his memorial.

Columbus began his journey for Barcelona, accompanied by seven Indians,
all the rest having died during the voyage. He took with him also several
green and red parrots, and other rare things, such as had never been seen
before in Spain. His fame spread everywhere before him on his journey, and
multitudes flocked from all quarters to see him and the Indians, as he
proceeded on his journey. On his arrival at Barcelona, about the middle of
April, the admiral was received with much honour, the whole court and city
flocking out in such numbers to see and greet him, that the streets could
hardly contain the multitude, who greatly admired the Indians and other
rarities, which were all openly exhibited to their wonder. On purpose to
do him the more honour, their majesties, attended by Prince John, received
him on the throne, which was set out in a public place. When the admiral
came into the presence, their majesties stood up to receive him; and when
he had knelt down and kissed their hands, they commanded him to rise, and
to be seated in a chair which was placed expressly for his reception. He
then gravely, and with much discretion, gave a brief recital of the voyage,
which by the mercy of GOD, and under their royal auspices, he had happily
accomplished, and expressed his firm hope of yet discovering larger and
richer countries than any he had hitherto visited. He then shewed the
Indians in their native habits, and all the curious things which he had
brought from the new world. When he had concluded his speech, the king and
queen rose from the throne, knelt down with their hands held up to Heaven,
and with tears in their eyes gave thanks to GOD for the great discovery.
After which the music of the chapel sung _Te Deum_, with much solemn

As the terms which had been originally agreed upon with the admiral were
only reduced to the form of an ordinary contract, and he had now
successfully performed all that he promised, their majesties now ratified
all that they had promised him at _Santa Fe_, on the 17th of April in the
former year, which was expressed in ample letters patent, passed at
Barcelona on the 30th of April, and signed by their majesties on the 28th
of May 1493. They also gave him the right to add the arms of Castile and
Leon to his paternal coat, with other honourable additions, expressive of
his wonderful discovery; and they bestowed some favours on his brothers,
Don Bartholomew and Don James, though not then at court. The king took the
admiral by his side, when he appeared in public, and shewed him many other
marks of honourable attention: in consequence of which he was invited to
dine with all the grandees and other principal people of the court. Don
Pedro Gonzales de Mendoza, the cardinal of Spain, a virtuous and noble
minded prince, was the first of the grandees who took the admiral home
from court to dinner, in which he was imitated by all the rest.

Their Catholic majesties thought proper to acquaint the reigning Pope,
Alexander VI. with the new discovery, that he might give thanks to GOD for
the goodness shewn to the church in his day, by which so glorious an
opportunity was presented of propagating the gospel. Their ambassador was
likewise desired to inform his holiness, that the admiral had been
strictly enjoined not to approach within a hundred leagues of Guinea and
the Mina, or any other part belonging to the Portuguese crown, which he
had punctually adhered to, so that his great discovery made no
encroachment on the rights of the king of Portugal. He was farther
instructed to say that the admiral had taken formal possession of these
new discovered lands for the crown of Castile and Leon; and although many
eminent civilians had given their opinion that there was no need of a
papal grant or confirmation of that new world in strict justice, yet their
majesties entreated his holiness to make a deed of gift of the lands
already discovered, or that should be discovered hereafter, to the crown
of Castile and Leon. The pope rejoiced exceedingly at this news, and gave
glory to GOD for the prospect which this discovery opened of converting so
many people from infidelity to become partakers of the blessings of the
gospel, by means of their Catholic majesties, the genius of Columbus, and
the power of the Spanish nation. The pope accordingly granted to the crown
of Castile and Leon in perpetuity, the sovereign dominion and empire of
the _Indies_ and their seas, with supreme and royal jurisdiction, and
imperial authority over all that hemisphere. In confirmation of all which,
by the advice, consent, and approbation of the sacred college of cardinals,
a _bull_ was promulgated on the 2d of May 1493, granting to the crown of
Castile and Leon all the privileges, franchises, and prerogatives in the
_Indies_[2], which had been formerly granted to the crown of Portugal for
_India_[2], Guinea, and the other parts of Africa. By a second bull, dated
on the succeeding day, the pope granted to the crown of Castile and Leon
for ever, the entire property, dominion, navigation, and discovery of all
the _Indies_[2], whether islands or continents, already discovered, or
which should be discovered to the westwards of a line to be drawn from
pole to pole at the distance of one hundred leagues west from the Azores
islands, and those of Cabo Verde, excepting only such part or parts of the
same as should be in possession of any other Christian prince, on or
before Christmas day of that same year; and the entire navigation of this
vast grant was forbidden to all others under severe penalties and
ecclesiastical censures[3].

Soon after the arrival of the papal bulls, and a few days before the
departure of the admiral from Barcelona to prepare for his second voyage,
their majesties caused the Indians to be baptised, having previously been
instructed in the Catholic faith, and having themselves desired to be
admitted as members of the Christian church. On this occasion, willing to
offer up to GOD these first fruits of the Gentiles, the king and the
prince his son stood god-fathers. The prince retained one of these Indians
in his service, but he died soon after. For the better conversion of the
Indians, Friar _Boyle_, a monk of the Benedictine order and other friars,
were ordered to go on the voyage with the admiral, having strict charge to
use the Indians well, and to bring them into the pale of the church _by
fair means_[4]. Along with the missionaries, very rich church ornaments of
all kinds were sent for the due and splendid service of GOD. The admiral
was ordered to hasten his departure, to endeavour as soon as possible to
determine whether Cuba, which he had named Juana, was an island or
continent, and to conduct himself with discretion towards the Spaniards
under his authority, encouraging those who behaved well, yet with
authority to punish evil doers.

On his arrival at Seville, the admiral found that the archdeacon Don
Rodriquez de Fonseca had provided seventeen ships large and small, with
abundance of provisions, ammunition, cannon, and stores of all kinds;
likewise with wheat and other seeds for cultivation; mares, horses, and
cattle, to stock the new colony; tools of various sorts, for agriculture,
and for working the gold mutes; and great store of commodities for barter
or giving away, as the admiral might think proper. The fame of the new
discovery and the prospect of acquiring gold, had drawn together 1500 men
desirous of going on the expedition, among whom were many gentlemen. Of
this large company only twenty went at their own charges, who were all
_horsemen_[5], all the rest being in the royal pay. Many of these were
labourers for working the gold mines, and others were handicrafts of
various sorts. By a separate commission, the admiral was appointed
captain-general of the present expedition, during the voyage, and while it
should remain in the Indies; and _Anthony de Torres_, brother to prince
Johns nurse, a man of ability and prudence, was to have charge of the
fleet on its return. Francis de Pennalosa, and Alonzo de Vallejo, were
appointed to command the land force employed in the expedition. Bernard de
Pisa, an alguazil or sergeant-at-arms of the court, was made controller of
the Indies, and James Marqué, inspector. The most noted persons who went
on this expedition were the commendary Gallegos, and Sebastian de Campo,
both of Galicia; the commendary Arroya, Roderick Abarca, Micer Girao, Juan
de Luxon, Peter Navarro, and Peter Hernandez Coronel, whom the admiral
appointed chief alguazil of Hispaniola; Mozen Peter Margarite, a gentleman
of Catalonia, Alonzo Sanchez de Carvajal, alderman of Baeza, Gorbolan,
Lewis de Arriaga, Alonzo Perez Martel, Francis de Zuniga, Alonso Ortiz,
Francis de Villalobos, Perefan de Ribera, Melchior Maldonado, and Alonso
Malaver. Along with these was Alonso de Ojedo, a servant of the duke of
Medina Celi. Ojeda was a little man, but handsome, well made, strong and
active. At one time, when accompanying Queen Isabella to the top of the
tower belonging to the cathedral at Seville, he got on a beam which
projected twenty feet beyond the tower, of which he measured the length
with his feet as nimbly as if walking along a room. When at the end of the
beam, he shook one leg in the air, turned round, and walked back to the
tower with the utmost composure, all who saw him expecting that he would
fall and be dashed to pieces. These, and all the rest who embarked in the
fleet, took a solemn oath of allegiance to their majesties, promising
obedience to the admiral and the justices, and fidelity to the royal

John king of Portugal was so much concerned for having allowed this new
empire to go from himself, that he ordered preparations to be made for
invading the new discoveries, pretending that they belonged of right to
him. At the same time he sent Ruy de Sande as his ambassador to their
Catholic majesties, who was desired to express his satisfaction at the
success of the voyage of discovery, and that the king his master made no
doubt, if Columbus had made the discovery of any countries and islands
which belonged to the crown of Portugal, their majesties would so act
towards him as he would to them on a like occasion: That, being informed
their majesties meant to prosecute discoveries due west from the Canary
islands, without turning to the southwards; the king of Portugal required
their majesties would direct their admiral not to pass these bounds to the
south, and he should enjoin his commanders not to go beyond the same
bounds to the north. Before the arrival of Ruy de Sande, a report had
reached court that the king of Portugal proposed to send a fleet the same
way with the Spaniards, on purpose to take possession of the new
discovered lands. To counteract this hostile indication, Fonseca was
instructed to provide the fleet of Columbus with ample means of offence or
defence, and to hasten its departure. Their majesties likewise sent Lope
de Herrera, a gentleman of their court, as envoy to Lisbon, with
instructions to return their thanks to the king of Portugal for his
courtesy to the admiral, when at Lisbon, and to require him to forbid his
subjects from going to any of the newly discovered islands and continents,
which were their undoubted property. Herrera was instructed to represent
the extraordinary care which their Catholic majesties had taken, in
charging the admiral not to touch at the gold mines of Guinea, or at any
other of the Portuguese discoveries. When Ruy de Sande had delivered his
embassy, as above, he desired leave to export certain articles, needed as
he said, for an expedition which the king of Portugal intended against the
Moors, which he gave out as a cover for the intended voyage of discovery
to the west. He likewise demanded that the Spaniards should be restrained
from fishing off Cape Bojador until it were settled amicably between the
two crowns whether that were lawful.

As Lope de Herrera had set out for Portugal before Ruy de Sande had
reached the Spanish court; King John, on learning the purport of his
embassy, sent Edward Galvan to give him notice of the commission entrusted
to Sande, respecting the discoveries of Columbus; and, without permitting
Herrera to use his credentials, gave assurance that the king of Portugal
would send no ships on discovery for sixty days[6], as he meant to send an
embassy to their Catholic majesties on that particular subject. While this
dispute was in agitation, the king of Portugal complained to the pope that
their Catholic majesties interfered with his discoveries and privileges,
protesting against the bulls, as trenching upon his limits, and requiring
a different line of demarcation to prevent the troubles which might ensue
between the subjects of the two crowns. The pope answered, that he had
ordered a meridianal line from pole to pole on purpose to mark out what
belonged to each of the sovereigns; and again issued another bull on the
26th of September of the same year, in which he granted to the kings of
Spain all that should be discovered and conquered in the islands to the
_east, west, and south_, not already possessed by any other Christian
prince. This gave much dissatisfaction to the court of Portugal, which
alleged that it was wronged by the pope, and the meridian of separation
ought to be drawn much farther westwards[7].

About this time, advice was brought of Martin Alonso Pinzon having arrived
with the caravel Pinta in one of the ports of Galicia, after escaping with
much difficulty from several dreadful storms. He died soon after; and some
say it was of grief, for a reprimand he received from court for his
disobedience to the admiral, and deserting him during the voyage; and
because their majesties refused to see him, unless introduced by Columbus.

After the sixty days assigned by the king of Portugal were elapsed[8],
their Catholic majesties sent Garcia de Herrera, one of the gentlemen of
their household, to require the court of Portugal to refrain from
encroaching on the limits granted by the Pope to the crown of Castile and
Leon. Their majesties afterwards sent Don Pedro de Ayala and Garcia Lopez
de Carvajal, to say that they were willing to admit all honourable means
of continuing in friendship with the king of Portugal, but they were
satisfied nothing belonged to his crown in the ocean, except Madeira, the
Azores, and the Cape Verde islands, as far as Guinea and the gold mines.
They even offered to submit the difference between the crowns on this
subject to the decision of persons nominated on both sides, with power to
the arbitrators to name an umpire, if they could not agree, or to have the
matter at issue debated at the court of Rome or any other neutral place,
as their majesties had no wish to invade the rights of others, or to
permit the infringement of their own. The Portuguese court proposed to
divide the ocean by a straight line, or parallel drawn west from the
Canaries, leaving all to the north of that line to the crown of Castile
and Leon, and all to the south to belong to Portugal. At length, after
tedious negotiations, a congress took place at Tordesillas, in which,
after long debates, it was agreed on the 7th June 1473[9], that the
meridianal line of division should be established 370 leagues farther west
than that mentioned in the Popes bull from the islands of _Cabo Verde_;
all to the west of which was to belong to Spain, and all eastwards to
Portugal; yet leaving it lawful to the subjects of Spain to sail through
the seas thus allotted to Portugal, following their direct course; but
neither party to trade or barter beyond their own limits.

Before leaving Barcelona, the admiral placed his sons Don James and Don
Ferdinand as pages in the service of prince John; and having received his
commission of admiral and viceroy, extending as large as the papal grant,
he repaired to Seville to expedite his second voyage to the new world. He
here applied himself to procure able pilots, and to review the men who
were to embark in the expedition, in the presence of the controller
_Soria_. All persons were prohibited from carrying out any goods for
barter, and it was ordered that every thing belonging to their majesties
or to private persons should be entered at the custom-house, both in Spain
and the Indies, under the penalty of confiscation. The admiral had
instructions to muster his men as soon as he arrived at Hispaniola, and to
do the same as often as he thought proper, with power to regulate their
pay. He was likewise authorized to nominate _alcaldes_ and _alguazils_, or
magistrates, in the islands and other parts, with power to try causes both
civil and criminal, from whom appeals might be made to himself. In the
first instance he was allowed the direct nomination of all the aldermen,
common council-men, and other officers, in any town; but in future he was
to nominate three persons to every vacancy, out of whom their majesties
were to appoint one to the office. All proclamations, patents, injunctions,
orders, or other public writings, were to be made in the name of their
majesties, signed by the admiral, and countersigned by the secretary or
clerk by whom they were written, and sealed on the back with the royal
seal. As soon as he landed, a custom-house was to be built, in which all
their majesties stores were to be secured under their officers, over whom
the admiral was to have supreme command; and all trade was to be conducted
by him, or by such persons as he might appoint, with the assistance of the
royal inspector and controller. The admiral was to have the eighth part of
all profit, paying the eighth of all goods carried over for barter; first
deducting the tenth which he was entitled to of all things according to
his contract. And finally, he was authorized to send ships to any other
part, according as he saw proper or convenient.

While the admiral remained at Seville attending to the equipment of the
expedition, he received a letter from their majesties, directing him to
cause a sea chart to be drawn with all the rhumbs and other particulars
necessary for pointing out the voyage to the _West Indies_. Their
majesties pressed him to hasten his departure, making him great promises
of favour and reward, as the importance of his discovery seemed every day
the greater. This letter was dated from Barcelona on the 5th September, up
to which day nothing had been definitively settled with the king of
Portugal, respecting the proposed limits between the two nations in the
ocean. The admiral continued his exertions to get every thing ready, and
caused many kinds of useful plants to be shipped; likewise wheat, barley,
oats, rye, and all kinds of grain and seeds; cows, bricks, lime, and other
materials for building; and an infinite number of useful articles.

[1] Almost seven months and a half; or more precisely thirty-two weeks,
    being seven kalendar months and twelve days.--E.

[2] In this bull, following the vague language of Columbus, the great
    discoverer, the New World is called the _Indies_, slightly
    distinguished, in grammatical number only, from _India_ in
    south-eastern Asia.--E.

[3] In the bull, as reported by Herrera, all that should be discovered to
    the west and _south_ of the meridianal line from pole to pole is
    granted to the crown of Castile and Leon. It is hard to say what
    portion of the globe was conceived to be _to the south_ of such a
    demarcation. But it is obvious that in granting _all to the west_ of
    this line to Spain, and _all to the east_ of it to Portugal, the pope
    and cardinals granted the _whole circumference_ of the globe
    reciprocally to both crowns. The sacred college had not hitherto
    adopted the geographical heresy of Galileo, and still entertained
    vague notions of the true figure of the earth.--E.

[4] This probably alludes to the _foul means_ then employed in Spain for
    converting the Moors and Jews, by means of the _holy office_ of the

[5] Perhaps this expression mean knights, or _fidalgos_; men of family and
    substance: yet it probably means nothing more than that twenty
    volunteer cavalry formed part of the military force of the

[6] I am apt to suspect the real sense of this passage ought to be,
    "requiring the court of Spain not to send off Columbus for sixty

[7] One hundred leagues, at 17-1/2 to the degree, west from the Azores,
    would fix the boundary about Long. 42° W. and would include within the
    Portuguese boundary a small portion of Brazil. By compact between the
    two crowns, this line was afterwards extended to 370 leagues west from
    the islands of Cabo Verde, giving considerably more of Brazil, then
    unknown, to Portugal: But the boundaries of that colony have been
    several times changed and regulated by treaties between the two crowns,
    without any rigid adherence to the papal grant.--E.

[8] This negociation, which is confusedly interspersed in the original
    among the transactions of Columbus, is here thrown together: But, as
    very indefinitely narrated, and exceedingly uninteresting, is somewhat
    compressed in this place.--E.

[9] This date is assuredly erroneous, as we afterwards learn that nothing
    had been finally settled with Portugal on the fifth of September.--E.


_Second Voyage of Columbus to the West Indies, and establishment of
Isabella, the first European colony in the New World._

Every thing being in readiness, the stores all shipped, and the men
embarked, the fleet set sail from the bay of Cadiz on Wednesday the 25th
of September 1493 before sunrise. The admiral directed his course to the
south-west for the Canary islands. On Wednesday the 2d October the fleet
came off the island of Gran Canaria, and on Friday the 5th came to anchor
at Gomera, where the admiral remained two days taking in wood and water,
and procuring cattle, sheep, goats, and swine, for the intended colony in
Hispaniola. Among these he purchased eight sows for 70 maravedies each,
from which all those which have since stocked the _Indies_ have multiplied.
He likewise took on board poultry, and other creatures, and garden seeds.
At this place the admiral delivered sealed instructions to all the pilots
of the fleet, directing them how to shape their course for the territory
of Guacanagari in the island of Hispaniola; but these were on no account
to be opened, unless in case of separation from him, as he wished as much
as possible to prevent the course of the voyage from becoming known to the
king of Portugal.

Columbus departed with his fleet from Gomera on Monday the 7th of October,
and passing _Hierro_, the farthest of the Canaries, steered more to the
southward than he had done in his first voyage. On the 24th of the same
month, having sailed about 450 leagues in his estimation, a swallow was
seen among the ships, and they soon afterwards had heavy showers of rain,
which the admiral supposed were occasioned by some near land, for which
reason he slackened sail at night, and ordered every one to keep a sharp
look-out. On Sunday the 3d November, all the fleet saw land to the great
joy of all on board. This proved to be an island, which Columbus named
_Dominica_, because discovered on Sunday. Presently two other islands were
seen on the starboard, and then many others; and they began to smell the
herbs and flowers, and to see flocks of parrots, which always make a great
noise during their flight. As there seemed no convenient anchorage on the
east coast of Dominica, the admiral continued his course to the second
island, which he named _Marigalante_, that being the name of his own ship.
He landed here with some men, and took formal possession in presence of a
notary and witnesses. Leaving this island, he discovered another next day,
to which he gave the name of _Guadaloupe_, to which he sent some boats on
shore to a small town, which was found deserted by the inhabitants, who
had all fled to the mountains. In searching their houses, a piece of ship
timber which the sailors call a _stern-post_ was found, to the great
surprise of every one, not knowing how it should have come hither, unless
either drifted from the Canaries, or perhaps it might have belonged to the
admirals ship, lost in the first voyage, and might have floated with the
currents from Hispaniola. In this island the Spaniards took the first of
those parrots which are called _Guacamayas_, which are as large as
dunghill cocks. Some men went on shore again on Tuesday the 5th of
November, who took two youths, who made them understand that they belonged
to the island of _Borriquen_, since named _St Juan de Porto Rico_, and
that the inhabitants of Guadaloupe were _Caribbees_, and kept them to eat,
being canibals. The boats returned for some Spaniards who had remained on
shore, and found with them six women who had fled from the Caribbees; but
the admiral gave them some hawks-bells and set them on shore. The
Caribbees took all from them; and when the boats went again on shore,
these women, with a youth and two boys, solicited to be taken on board the
ships. From these people it was learnt that there was a continent not far
distant, and many islands to which they gave names. On being asked for the
island of _Ayti_, which is the Indian name of Hispaniola, they pointed in
the direction where it lay.

The admiral proposed to continue the voyage, but was told that the
inspector James Marqué had gone on shore with eight soldiers, at which
conduct he was much offended. Parties of men were sent out in different
directions, but could not find him, on account of the thickness of the
woods. Other parties were again sent on shore, who fired muskets and
sounded trumpets, yet all to no purpose, and Columbus was inclined to
leave Marqué to his fate, being much concerned at the delay. Yet lest
these men might perish, he ordered the ships to take in wood and water,
and sent Alonso de Ojeda, who commanded one of the caravels, with forty
men, to view the country, and to search for Marqué and his party. Ojeda
returned without any tidings of the stragglers, and reported that in
travelling six leagues he had waded through twenty-six rivers, many of
which took his men to the middle. In this excursion much cotton was seen,
and a vast variety of birds in the woods. At length, on Friday the 8th
November, the inspector and his men returned, excusing himself that he had
lost his way in the prodigiously thick woods, and was unable to get back
sooner: But the admiral ordered him to be put under arrest for going on
shore without leave. In some of the houses at this island, cotton was
found both raw and spun, and likewise a strange sort of looms in which it
was wove by the natives. The houses were well constructed, and better
stored with provisions than those in the islands which were discovered in
the first voyage: But they found abundance of human heads, hung up in the
houses, and many baskets full of human bones, from which it was concluded
that the natives were canibals, or fed on human flesh.

On the 10th November he coasted along the island of Guadaloupe, towards
the north-west, steering for Hispaniola, and discovered a very high island,
which he called _Montserrate_, because it resembled the rocks of that
place. He next found a very round island, everywhere perpendicular, so
that it seemed impossible to get upon it without the assistance of ladders,
and which he named _Santa Maria la Redonda_, or the round island of St
Mary. To another island he gave the name of _Santa Maria et Antigua_ or
ancient St Mary, the coast of which extended fifteen or twenty leagues.
Many other islands were seen to the northward, which were very high, and
covered with woods. He anchored at one of these which he named St Martin;
and at another on the 14th November, which he named _Santa Cruz_, or the
Holy Cross. They took four women and two children at this island; and as
the boat was returning from the shore, a canoe was met in which there were
four men and a woman, who stood on their guard. The woman shot arrows as
well as the men, and one of her arrows pierced through a buckler. In
boarding, the canoe was overset, and one of the Indians discharged his bow
very vigorously while swimming. Holding on their course, so many islands
were seen close together that they could not be numbered, or separately
named. The admiral called the largest of these the island of _St Ursula_,
and the rest the _Eleven thousand Virgins_. He came afterwards to another
large island, called _Borriquen_ by the natives, but which he named the
island of _St John the Baptist_. It is now called _San Juan de Puerto
Rico_. In a bay on the west coast of this island, the seamen took several
kinds of fish in great plenty, such as skate, olaves, pilchards, and some
others. On this island many good houses were seen, all of timber and
thatched, each having a square inclosure and a clean well beaten path to
the shore. The walls of these houses were made of canes woven or wattled
together, and they were curiously ornamented with creeping plants or
greens, as is usual at Valencia in Spain. Near the sea there was a sort of
balcony or open gallery of the same kind of structure, capable to hold
twelve persons: But no person was to be seen about the place, all the
inhabitants having fled into the interior. On Friday the 22d of November,
the first land of Hispaniola was seen on the north side, to which they
went straight over from the extreme point of Porto Rico, the two islands
being fifteen leagues distant. At this place, which was in the province or
district of _Samona_, the admiral put one of the Indians on shore who had
been in Spain, desiring him to tell the natives all the wonderful things
he had seen, to induce them to enter into friendship with the Christians.
He readily undertook this commission, but was never more heard of, so that
he was believed to have died.

The admiral continued to sail along the northern coast of Hispaniola,
where at point _Angel_, some Indians came aboard in canoes with provisions
and other things to barter with the Spaniards. Anchoring afterwards off
_Monte Christo_, one of the boats entered a river, were they found two
dead men, one young and the other old. The latter had a rope about his
neck made of Spanish _esparto_, his arms stretched out and his hands tied
to a stick. It could not be ascertained whether these men were Christians
or Indians, on which account the admiral was much troubled, lest some
calamity had befallen the people he had left on the island. Next day,
being Tuesday the 26th November, the admiral sent several men in different
directions, to endeavour to learn if any news could be got of those whom
he had left at the Nativity. Many of the Indians came up to the Spaniards,
without fear, touching their dress, and saying _tubon camisa_ that is
doublet and shirt, to shew that they knew the Spanish names of these
articles. These circumstances gave great comfort to the admiral, as he
supposed the Indians would have been afraid, if those he had left in the
new town were dead. On Wednesday the 27th, he came to anchor off the
harbour of the Nativity, and about midnight a canoe came to the admirals
ship, calling _almirante_, or admiral. The Indians were desired to come on
board, but they refused till they saw and knew Columbus. They then gave
him two well wrought vizor masks and some gold, which, they had brought as
a present from Guacanagari, the cacique. Being asked concerning the
Christians, they said some had died of sickness, and that others had gone
up the country, along with their wives. The admiral much feared that they
were all dead, yet thought it prudent to conceal his fears, and sent back
the Indians with some brass baubles, on which they place great value, and
with other toys as a present for the cacique.

Next day the whole fleet entered the port of the Nativity, where they
found the fort burnt, on which it was concluded that all the Christians
were dead, and the more especially as none of the Indians appeared. Some
things which had belonged to the Spaniards were found scattered about the
place, which gave a melancholy indication of what had actually happened.
Columbus caused a well which had been dug in the fort to be cleared out,
but nothing was found there. All the Indians had fled from their houses,
in which some of the clothes were found which had belonged to the
Spaniards. They discovered seven or eight men buried near the fort, whom
they knew to have been Christians by their clothes. While employed in this
distressing search, a brother of Guacanagari and some other Indians made
their appearance, who spoke a little Spanish, and who were able to name
all the men who were left in the fort: From these men, by the help of one
of the Indians who had been in Spain, called James Columbus, they received
an account of the disaster which had befallen the Christians of the
Nativity. They declared, "That, as soon as the admiral departed, the
Spaniards disagreed among themselves, refusing obedience to their
commander, and went about the country in a disorderly manner, seizing
women and gold from the natives. That Peter Gutierrez, and Roderick de
Escovedo, killed one of the Spaniards, named Jacome; after which they went
off with their women and goods to the district of a cacique named
_Caunabo_, the lord of the mines, who killed them all. That soon
afterwards Caunabo came with a great number of men to the fort, in which
there were then only James de Arana, and five others. That Caunabo set the
fort on fire during the night; and those few who were in it, in
endeavouring to escape to the sea were drowned. That all the rest of the
Spaniards had dispersed into different parts of the island. That
Guacanagari went out to fight against Caunabo in defence of the Christians,
and was severely wounded, being still ill of his wounds." All this agreed
with the intelligence brought to the admiral by some of the Spaniards, who
had been sent in search of information, and who had seen Guacanagari at
his place of residence, finding him ill of his wounds, which he urged in
excuse for not waiting on the admiral.

From all that could be learnt, it appeared there had been divisions among
the Christians, which had originated in the disobedience of the
_biscainers_, and that they would not have miscarried if they had obeyed
the orders left by the admiral. Guacanagari sent a message to the admiral,
requesting a visit from him, as he was unable to go abroad on account of
his wounds. The admiral did so, and the cacique, with a melancholy
countenance, gave him a recital of all that has been already said, shewing
him his wounds and those of many of his men, which plainly appeared to
have been made by the weapons used by the Indians, being darts pointed
with fish bones. When the discourse was ended, the cacique gave the
admiral 800 small stone beads, called _cibas_, on which the Indians set
great value; likewise 100 gold beads, a crown of gold, and three little
gourds or calabashes, called _ybueras_, full of gold in grains; the whole
weighing about 200 pieces of eight. The admiral presented him with several
glass toys, knives, scissars, hawks-bells, pins, needles, and small
mirrors, which the cacique considered as a rich treasure. He attended the
admiral to his quarters, and was astonished at the sight of the Spanish
horses, and at seeing the way in which these animals were rode and managed.
Some officers of the expedition, and even Friar _Boyle_, advised that
Guacanagari should be secured, till he had cleared himself in a more
satisfactory manner from having a concern in the death of the Christians
who had been left in his country. But the admiral was of a different
opinion, conceiving it very improper to use severity, or to go rashly to
war, at his first settling in the country; meaning first to fortify
himself and establish the colony on a permanent footing, examining more
accurately into the matter gradually, and if the cacique were ultimately
found guilty, he could be punished at any time.

The admiral was full of perplexity how best to give a good beginning to
the great object he had undertaken; and though the province of _Marien_,
in which he had formerly built the Nativity, had good harbours and
excellent water, it was a very low country, in which stone and other
materials for building were scarce. He resolved, therefore, to return
along the coast to the eastwards, to look out for a more convenient
situation in which to build a town. With this design, he sailed with all
the fleet on Saturday the 7th December, and anchored that evening near
some small islands not far from _Monte Christo_, and came next day to
anchor close to that mountain. Imagining that _Monte de Plata_ was nearer
to the province of _Cibao_, in which he had been told the rich gold mines
were situated, which he fancied to be _Cipango_, he was desirous to draw
near that part of the island. But the wind proved so adverse after leaving
_Monte Christo_, that the men and horses became much fatigued, and he was
unable to reach the port of _Garcia_, where Martin Alonso Pinzon had been,
and which is now called the river of Martin Alonso, being five or six
leagues from _Puerta de Plata_. Under these circumstances, he was forced
to turn back three leagues to a place where he had observed a large river
discharging itself into the sea, forming a good harbour, though open to
the north-west. He landed at an Indian town on this river, and found a
delightful plain, some way up the river; at which place the river could
easily be drawn out in trenches or canals, to supply his intended town
with water, and might even be applied for the erection of mills, and all
other conveniencies. He therefore determined to build a town on this spot,
and ordered all the men and horses to be landed. To this place, which was
the first colony established in the _West Indies_, he gave the name of
_Isabella_, in honour of the queen of Castile, for whom he had
extraordinary respect. Finding abundance of stone and lime, and every
thing he could wish, and the land around being exceedingly fertile, he
applied himself diligently to build a church, magazines, and a house for
himself, all of stone, the others being of timber covered with thatch,
every person being allowed to build according to his own fancy and ability;
but the plan was regularly marked out in streets and squares.

As the people had been long at sea, to which they were unaccustomed, and
were now fatigued with much labour, while they were confined to short
allowance and disliked the country bread, they began to fall sick in great
numbers, though the country itself is very healthy, and many of them died.
They were much afflicted to find themselves reduced to such straits at a
vast distance from their native country, without hope of relief, and
disappointed in the prospect of acquiring that immense abundance of gold
which had induced them to embark in the expedition. The admiral himself
had endured much toil during the voyage, as he had to take charge of the
whole fleet, and was still forced to undergo much fatigue on shore, in
order to dispose all things in good order, that this important affair
which had been confided to his management might succeed according to his
wish. He was at length taken ill and confined to bed; yet he used every
endeavour to advance the building of the town, and that no time might be
spent in vain. On purpose to husband his provisons, he dispatched twelve
of the ships back to Spain, keeping five of the largest, two of them ships
and three caravels. About the same time he sent out Ojedo with fifteen men
to explore the country, and in particular to search out Cipango, about
which he was so much mistaken. Ojedo travelled eight or ten leagues
through an uninhabited country, and having passed a mountain, came to a
beautiful plain full of Indian towns, where he was well received. In five
or six days he reached _Cibao_, which was only 15 or 20 leagues from
Isabella; yet he could not travel any faster, having many rivers, brooks,
and ravines, to pass by the way. The Indian guides who accompanied him,
and the natives of the place, gathered gold in his presence; and he
returned with a sufficient quantity to shew that it was to be had there in
great abundance. This gave great satisfaction to the admiral and the rest
of the colony; and he sent these samples, and what had been before given
him by Guacanagari to their Catholic majesties, by Anthony de Torres,
under whose command he sent home the twelve ships before mentioned. Thus
ended the year 1493.

Soon after the departure of Torres for Spain, the admiral being recovered
from his sickness, received information of a plot having been formed by
some of the people who repented of having engaged in the expedition, and
who had chosen _Bernal de Pisa_ as their leader, with the intention of
carrying off the remaining five ships, or some of them, in order to return
into Spain. He immediately ordered Bernal de Pisa into custody; and,
having made formal examinations of his mutinous conduct, sent him, and a
copy of the proceedings, into Spain by one of the ships, that their
majesties might direct him to be dealt with according to their pleasure.
He caused some of the other chief conspirators to be punished at Isabella,
though not with the severity their crime deserved, yet his enemies took
occasion from thence to tax him with tyranny and oppression. About the
same time, an information, drawn up in form against the admiral, was found
concealed in the buoy of one of the ships, which he also transmitted to
their majesties. This was the first mutinous attempt against the authority
of the admiral in the West Indies, and became the foundation of all the
opposition which was made against him and his successors in the exercise
and enjoyments of their rights. Having quelled this mutiny, and restored
the colony to order, he chose a party of his best men, with some labourers
and proper tools, in order to visit the province of Cibao, and to dig for
gold. He carried materials likewise along with him for the construction of
a blockhouse, or fortalice, in case he found that precaution requisite. He
accordingly set out on this expedition with colours flying, drums beating,
trumpets sounding, and his troops in martial array, in which manner he
marched through all the towns on his way, to impress the Indians with awe
of his power, who were particularly astonished at the horses in his train.

He left the new town of Isabella on the 12th of March 1494, leaving his
brother Don James Columbus to command in his absence; a gentleman of a
peaceable disposition, and most orderly behaviour. After marching three
leagues the first day, Columbus halted at the foot of a craggy pass in the
mountains; and, as the Indian paths were exceedingly narrow, he sent on
some pioneers under the direction of several gentlemen to level the road;
from which circumstance this place acquired the name of _El puerto de los
Hidalgos_, the port or pass of the gentlemen. Having reached the top of
the mountain on Thursday, they beheld a great plain beyond of wonderful
beauty, being eighty leagues long, and between twenty and thirty leagues
wide. This appeared one of the finest plains in the world, so green and
delightful that the Spaniards thought it a terrestrial paradise, on which
account the admiral named it _Vega Real_, or the Royal Plain. Coming down
from the mountain, they marched five leagues across this noble plain,
passing through several towns, where they were kindly received. Coming to
a considerable river, called _Yaqui_ by the natives, the admiral gave it
the name of _Rio de los Cannas_, or River of Canes, because of the great
number of these that grew upon its banks, forgetting, or not being aware,
that he had named the same river at its mouth, in his first voyage, _Rio
del Oro_, or golden river, where it falls into the sea near Monte Christo.
The Spanish party halted for the night on the banks of this river, much
pleased with their days march. The Indians whom they had brought along
with them from the country near Isabella, went freely into all the houses
as they marched along, taking whatever they had a mind to, as if all
property were common, and the owners shewed no displeasure at this freedom:
These, in return, went to the quarters of the Christians, taking what they
liked, believing that this had been equally the custom among the Spaniards.
The admiral and the infantry of his party crossed the river next day, by
means of rafts and canoes, and the cavalry crossed at a ford not far off.
A league and half beyond the River of Canes, they came to another river
which they called _Rio del Oro_, or Golden River, having found some grains
of gold in its bed; but it is named Nicayagua by the natives. Into this
river three brooks, or rivulets, discharge their waters; the first of
which, named _Buenicum_ by the Indians, the Spaniards called _Rio Seco_,
or the Dry River; the second is called _Coatenicu_ by the natives, and the
third _Cibu_, all of which were extremely rich in the finest gold. Having
passed this river, the admiral came to a town, whence most of the
inhabitants fled at his approach; yet some remained, who placed a few
canes across their doors, thinking themselves safe from intrusion by that
simple artifice. Seeing their simplicity, the admiral gave orders that no
disturbance or wrong should be done them, on which they took courage and
came out. He continued his march to another river, which, from the
delightful verdure of its banks, was called _Rio Verde_, or Green River;
its bed being covered with round pebbles. On Saturday the 15th of March,
the admiral marched through other towns, where the inhabitants thought it
a sufficient protection to place a few slight canes across their doors.
They next came to a pass in the mountains, on the opposite side of the
Royal Plain, which was named _Puerto de Cibao_, because the province of
Cibao began at the top of this path.

The party halted at the bottom of this pass, and the pioneers were sent on
to clear the way: And as the people were not yet reconciled to the food
used by the natives, some pack-horses were sent back under an escort to
Isabella to bring provisions. Having gained the top of the pass, they
again enjoyed a delightful prospect of the Royal Plain. From this place
they entered the district or province of Cibao, which is a rugged uncouth
country, full of high rocky mountains, whence it derives its name, _Ciba_,
signifying a stone in the language of the natives. Cibao is everywhere
intersected by rivers and brooks, all of which yield gold; but it has few
trees, and little verdure, the land being very barren, unless in the
bottoms near the rivers. It abounds however in tall spreading pines, which
resemble the olive trees of Axarafe near Seville. This province is very
healthy, having a temperate air, and excellent wholesome water. Small
grains of gold were found in every brook, and sometimes large pieces are
got, but not often. From every town the natives came out, offering
provisions, and when they found the admiral was desirous of gold, they
brought him such grains as they had gathered. He was now eighteen leagues
from Isabella, and discovered several gold mines, besides one of copper,
one of azure, and another of amber; these two last being only in small
quantities. To protect his workmen at the mines, and to keep the province
under subjection, the admiral made choice of a convenient situation for a
redoubt or small fortress, on a hill which was almost encompassed by a
river called Zanique. The ramparts of this fort were constructed of earth
and timber, and these were defended by a trench at the gorge where not
inclosed by the river. He named this _Fort St Thomas_, because of the
incredulity of the Spaniards, who would not believe that the country
produced gold till they saw and touched it. In digging the foundations of
this fort, several nests of straw were found, in each of which three or
four round stones were found, as large as oranges, instead of eggs.

Having established all things to his mind, the admiral left Don Peter
Margarite, a gentleman of Catalonia, as governor of the fort, with a
garrison of fifty-six men, and returned himself to Isabella, where he
arrived on the 29th of March. He here found matters much worse than at his
departure, only seventeen days before. Many of the colonists were dead,
and great numbers sick, while those who were still in health were quite
disheartened at the prospect of following the fate of their companions.
The provisions which had been brought from Spain were growing extremely
scarce, owing to a great quantity of them being spoiled through the
negligence of the sea captains, while such as had been landed in good
condition would not keep long, on account of the dampness and heat of the
climate. All were therefore on short allowance, and the flour they had
still in store being near spent, it became necessary to construct a mill
for grinding corn: But, as all the labouring people were sick, the better
sort were forced to work, which was extremely grievous to them, especially
as they were in want of food. In this emergency the admiral was under the
necessity to use compulsion for carrying on the public works, that the
people might not perish. This rendered him odious to the leading Spaniards,
and gave occasion to Friar Boyle to charge him with cruelty; though it has
been alleged that the true cause of his aversion to the admiral proceeded
from being refused a larger allowance for himself and his servants than
was given to others. Provisions became at length so scarce, that even the
sick were often reduced to one egg each, and a pot of boiled Spanish pease
among five. The want of proper medicines added greatly to the distress;
for though some had been brought along with the expedition, they did not
agree with all constitutions; and, what was still worse, they had no
medical person to attend upon the sick. Many well-born men, who had never
been accustomed to such hardships, being sick and starving, and without
all hope of relief, sunk under their situation, and died almost of despair.
Afterwards, when the town of Isabella was abandoned, it was currently
reported that dreadful noises were heard in the place, so that for a long
while no one durst venture to go that way.

To add to his affliction, the admiral received intelligence from Fort St
Thomas, that all the Indians had abandoned their towns, and that _Caunabo_,
the cacique of one of the provinces, was making preparations to reduce the
fort. The admiral sent immediately a reinforcement of seventy of the
healthiest of his men to the fort, escorting some beasts of burden, laden
with arms and provisions. He likewise ordered Alonso de Ojedo to take the
field with as many men as were able to march, leaving only the sick and
the mechanics behind; desiring him to march about the country,
particularly the Royal Plain, where there were many caciques and an
innumerable multitude of Indians; intending to intimidate the natives by a
display of the Spanish force, and to accustom the Spaniards to use the
provisions of the country, as their own were nearly spent. Ojeda left
Isabella with above 400 men on the 9th of April; and as soon as he had
passed Golden River in the Royal Plain, he seized the cacique of one of
the towns, with his brother and nephew, whom he sent prisoners to Isabella,
and caused the ears of an Indian to be cut off in the market place. The
reason of this severity was, because when three Spaniards were going from
Fort St Thomas to Isabella, the cacique gave them five Indians to carry
their baggage across the river, who left the Spaniards and carried the
baggage back to the town, for which the cacique was so far from punishing
them, that he detained the baggage. The cacique of another town, on seeing
these chiefs carried away prisoners, went along with them to Isabella,
believing he might be able to procure their pardon from the admiral, as he
had always been friendly to the Spaniards. "As soon as they arrived, the
admiral ordered their heads to be cut off in the market-place, a crier
proclaiming the offences for which they were to suffer this condign
punishment; but for the sake of the friendly cacique he forgave them[1]."
About this time a horseman came to Isabella from the fort, who reported
that the inhabitants of the town belonging to the cacique who was their
prisoner had beset five Spaniards with intention to put them to death; but
that he and his horse had rescued them from above 400 of the natives, who
all fled before him out of fear for his horse, and that he had wounded
several of them with his lance.

Having pacified the threatened commotions to all appearance for the
present, the admiral determined to prosecute his maritime discoveries as
he had been directed by their Catholic majesties, and because his
disposition was averse from idleness, and much inclined to explore the
country which he had discovered. For the better government of the colony
during his absence, he appointed a council, of which his brother Don James
Columbus was constituted president; the other members were, Friar Boyle,
Peter Fernandez Coronel, the chief alguazil or judge, Alonso Sanchez de
Carvajal, and John de Luxon. Don Peter Margarite was ordered to continue
marching up and down the country with the military force, being above 400
men; and the admiral left such instructions for the good management of the
colony in his absence as he deemed convenient and necessary.

[1] The words marked with inverted commas, however equivocal in their
    meaning, are expressed so in Churchill's Collection, from which this
    article is adopted. The meaning of Herrera probably is, "That having
    ordered the nature of their crime, and the sentence which it merited
    to be proclaimed, he pardoned them at the desire of the friendly


_Columbus proceeds to explore the Coast of Cuba, discovers the Island of
Jamaica, and returns to Isabella in Hispaniola._

Leaving two vessels in the harbour of Isabella to serve the colony in any
case of emergency, the admiral set sail on Thursday the 24th of April 1494,
with one large ship and two caravels. Taking his course to the westwards,
he proceeded to Monte Christo and the harbour of Nativity, where he
inquired for Guacanagari, who happened to be absent; and although his
people said he would be soon back, the admiral was unwilling to delay his
voyage. He then advanced to the isle of _Tortuga_, but was forced back by
contrary winds, and came to anchor in a river which he named Guadalquivir.
On the 29th of April he reached Port St Nicholas, whence he discovered the
eastern point of the island of Cuba, called _Bayatiquiri_ by the natives,
but which he named Cape _Alpha and Omega_[1]. Crossing the strait between
Hispaniola and Cuba, which is eighteen leagues broad, he began to explore
the southern coast of Cuba, where he discovered a large bay, which he
named _Puerto Grande_[2], or Great Harbour, the mouth of which is an
hundred and fifty paces wide. He came to anchor here, and procured
considerable quantities of fish, brought by the Indians in canoes. On
Sunday the 7th of May he proceeded along the coast, which he found
everywhere provided with excellent harbours, high mountains, and numerous
rivers. As he kept everywhere as close as possible to the shore, infinite
numbers of Indians resorted continually to the ships in their canoes,
supplying the Spaniards freely with provisions, under the idea that they
were come from heaven: on these occasions the admiral always gave them
toys, with which they went away perfectly satisfied.

He now returned towards the south-east, on purpose to explore another
island named _Jamaica_, which some believe to have been the place so
frequently mentioned by the Indians of _Lucayo_, under the name of
_Babeche_ or _Bohio_. He accordingly reached the coast of Jamaica on
Monday the 14th of May, and thought it the most beautiful of all the
islands he had yet seen, and from it great numbers of canoes came off to
the ships; yet on sending the boats to explore and sound a port, a great
many armed canoes interposed to hinder the Spaniards from landing. The
admiral therefore made sail towards another place, which he named _Puerto
Bueno_, or the Good Harbour, where a similar opposition was made by the
natives. Irritated by this unfriendly reception, the admiral ordered a
flight of arrows to be discharged among the Indians from his cross-bows,
by which six or seven of them were wounded, after which the rest of the
natives came peaceably to the ships. Next Friday, being the 18th May, he
sailed along the coast to the westwards, so near the shore that many
canoes continually followed the ships, bartering such things as they
possessed for any baubles given them by the Spaniards. The wind being
always contrary, the admiral resolved to return to Cuba, that he might
satisfy himself whether it were an island or continent. At this time an
Indian youth came on board, and expressed by signs an anxious desire to go
along with the Christians; and though his parents and friends entreated
him with tears not to leave them, he would not be prevailed on to stay,
but went and hid himself in a private part of the ship, to avoid their

On returning to the coast of Cuba, he discovered a cape or point, which he
called _Cabo de Cruz_, or Cape Cross; and continued to sail along the
coast, accompanied by much rain, and a great deal of thunder and lightning.
In this course he was greatly perplexed by numerous shoals and islands,
which increased in number the farther he went, some of the Islands being
bare sand, while others were covered with trees. The nearer these islands
were to the shore of Cuba, they appeared the higher, greener, and more
beautiful, some of them being a league or two in compass, and others,
three or four. On the first day he saw many, and the next still more; and
considering that they were so numerous that it was impossible to give each
a name, he called the whole group or range _El Jarden de la Reyna_, or the
Queen's Garden. Between these islands there were many channels through
which the ships could pass; and in some of them they found a sort of red
cranes, or _flamingos_, which are only found on the coast of Cuba and
among the small islands, living on the salt water upon some kind of food
which they there find. These birds are often domesticated, and are then
fed on _cazabi_, or casada, which is the Indian bread, and which is given
them in pans of salt water. They saw cranes likewise, resembling those in
Spain; also crows, and many kinds of singing-birds, and abundance of
tortoises or turtles as large as bucklers.

At this time the Spaniards were much astonished by a new mode of fishing
which they saw practised by some Indians in a canoe, who shewed no
symptoms of dread on the approach of the Christians. These people in the
first place caught some fishes called _reves_, the largest of which are
about the size of a pilchard, and have a certain roughness on their belly,
by which they cling with such force to any thing they have a mind to, that
they may be sooner torn in pieces than forced to quit their hold. Having
caught some of these, the Indian fishermen fastened them by the tail to
one end of a small cord about 200 fathoms long, and allowed the fish to
swim about in the water, holding fast by the other end of the line. When
this fish came to a tortoise, it clung so close to the under shell of the
tortoise, that the men drew up one of an hundred weight or more into their
canoe. In the same manner they take sharks, the fiercest and most ravenous
creatures of the deep, which even devour men. When the Indians had
satisfied themselves with fishing, they came on board the admirals ship,
who ordered them to have a number of toys, and from them it was learnt
that there were many more islands to the west along the coast. The admiral
continued his way to the westwards among the islands, constantly having
much rain with thunder and lightning every evening, which continued till
the moon rose; and though all imaginable care was taken, the ship often
touched and stuck, and was got off with much labour. In one of the islands
of this group, larger than the rest, and which he named _Santa Martha_, he
found a town, in which there was abundance of fish, many dogs which did
not bark, large flocks of flamingos or red cranes, plenty of parrots and
other birds, but the inhabitants all fled.

Being in want of water, and not finding any in the small islands, the
admiral drew near the coast of Cuba. On account of the thickness of the
trees close down to the waters edge, it was impossible to discover whether
there were any towns or not; but one of the sailors having penetrated some
way into the woods, met thirty men armed with spears, and a kind of wooden
swords, called mazanos by the Indians: he alleged likewise that one of the
natives was clothed with a white garment down to his heels, like a
surplice; but neither his person nor any of the others, could be
afterwards found, as they all fled into the woods. Proceeding about ten
leagues further on, they espied some houses, whence several men came off
in their canoes, bringing provisions and calabashes of water, for which
they were rewarded with toys. The admiral requested them to leave one of
their men with him, to give him some information respecting the country,
to which they reluctantly consented. This person almost satisfied the
admiral that Cuba was an island, and he reported that a cacique who dwelt
farther towards the west, gave all his orders to his people by signs, yet
was obeyed by them. While continuing their way, the ships got aground on a
bank of sand, having only six feet water, and only two ships lengths
across, where they were obliged to force the ships over into deeper water
with much ado, by carrying out anchors and heaving the capstans with all
their might. At this place the whole sea was covered over with large
sea-tortoises or turtle. At one time so great a flight of crows passed
over the ships, going from the sea towards Cuba, that the sun was hid from
sight as by a large cloud, and these were followed by prodigious flights
of pigeons, sea-gulls, and many other kinds of birds. Next day such
multitudes of butterflies came off from the shore, that they hid the light
of the sun; and this continued till night, when they were all carried away
by heavy rains.

Being informed by the Indian whom he had taken on board, that the numerous
islands continued all along the coast in the direction he was now sailing,
so that the toil and danger they had so long suffered would increase; and
being likewise in want of provisions, the admiral came to the resolution
of returning to Hispaniola; but, wishing to provide a supply of wood and
water, he made for an island about 30 leagues in circumference, which he
called the _Evangelist_, but which is now believed to be that called _Isla
de Pinos_, or Isle of Pines. This island was reckoned 700 leagues distant
from Hispaniola[3]. Had the admiral proceeded 36 leagues farther on, he
would have discovered the extreme west point of Cuba[4]. Thus the admiral
had sailed on this discovery 333 leagues[5]; and computing his voyage by
astronomical rules, from Cadiz to the west, he found that he had sailed 75
degrees in longitude, which are equal to five hours in the difference of
time[6]. On Friday the 13th of June, the admiral steered to the southward
through what seemed to be a fair channel, but it was found quite
impracticable; finding themselves thus embayed among shoals, and running
short of provisions, the people were much discouraged; but by the
perseverance and resolution of the admiral, he got the ships back to
Evangelist Island. He then steered to the north-east for certain islands
about five leagues off, where they came to a part of the sea that was full
of green and white spots, appearing like shoals, but they never had less
than twelve feet water. Seven leagues from thence they came to a very
white sea, as if it had been congealed; and seven leagues farther on the
sea became as black as ink, and continued so all the way to the coast of
Cuba. The sailors were much amazed at these changes in the colour of the
sea, which is understood to proceed from the colour of the bottom, not of
the water, as is reported by the Portuguese to be the case with the Red
Sea; and similar spots have been observed both in the South and North Sea.
Among the windward islands there are similar white spots, because the
bottom is white, hence we may conclude that these appearances proceed from
the transparency of the water.

The admiral continued sailing along the southern coast of Cuba towards the
east, always through narrow channels full of shoals, and with a scanty
wind. On the 30th of June the admiral's ship stuck fast on a shoal, and
could not be hauled astern by all their anchors and cables; but at length,
by his ingenuity, she was forced a-head right over the shoal. Proceeding
continually on in no regular course, just as was permitted by the shoals
and islands, passing always through a very white sea, and having great
showers of rain every evening, the admiral came at length to that part of
the island of Cuba towards the east where he had entered among the shoals
and islands of the _Jarden de la Reyna_, where they smelt most fragrant
odours, as of storax, proceeding from the odoriferous wood which is there
burnt by the Indians. On the 7th of July, the admiral went on shore to
hear mass; and while that ceremony was performing an old cacique came to
the place, who observantly noted every thing that was done by the priest,
how reverently the Christians behaved themselves, and the respect which
was paid by every one to the admiral: Supposing him to be the chief over
all the rest, the cacique presented him with some of the fruit of that
country in a platter or basin made of the shell of a gourd or calabash,
called by the natives _ybueras_; and then sat down on his hams, which is
the manner of the Indians when they have not their usual low stools. The
cacique then addressed the admiral as follows: "You, who are of great
power, have come into our country, and have occasioned much terror among
us. According to our belief, there are two places in the other world to
which the souls of men go after death. One of these is dark and dismal,
and is prepared for the souls of the wicked; the other is pleasant and
delightful, and is appointed for the reception of those who promote peace
among mortals. If, therefore, you expect to die, and that men will be
rewarded hereafter according to their deserts in this life, you will not
harm those who do you none. What you have been now engaged in is good, as
I suppose you have been giving thanks to God." This man said, moreover,
that he had been in Hispaniola and Jamaica, and to the farther end of Cuba,
and that the lord of that country was clad like the priest he had seen
officiating. All this was understood by the admiral by means of an
interpreter, and he was amazed at the ingenious discourse of the old
Indian, to whom he made the following answer: "He was much rejoiced to
learn that the natives believed in the immortality of the soul, and in
future rewards and punishments. As for himself, he was sent to take a view
of the countries by a powerful monarch, and to inquire if there were any
who did wrong to others; and hearing that the Caribbees did so, he was
resolved to curb them, that all might live together in peace." The old
cacique shed tears of joy at this intelligence, and declared he would
accompany the admiral into Spain, were it not on account of his wife and
children. Being presented with some toys by the admiral, he knelt down in
great admiration, often asking whether these men were born in heaven or on
the earth.

Leaving that place, the winds and torrents of rain seem to have conspired
to obstruct his progress; and at one time a water spout fell upon the deck
of his ship, so that it appeared a miraculous interposition of Providence
which enabled them to lower the sails, and let go the anchors. So much
water was shipped at this time, that it required the utmost exertions of
the crew at the pumps to free the ship. In addition to all their
distresses, the people were now reduced to a pound of rotten biscuit, and
half a pint of wine a-day for each man, having no other provisions, unless
when they happened to take some fish. Under all these difficulties, the
admiral arrived on the 18th of July at Cape _Cruz_, where he remained
three days, as the Indians supplied the people liberally with fruit and
provisions. On Tuesday the 22d of July, as the wind was still adverse for
his return to Isabella in the island of Hispaniola, he struck over to the
island of Jamaica, which he named _Sant Jago_. He coasted along this
island to the westwards, admiring its delightful appearance and numerous
harbours. Great numbers of Indians followed the ships along the coast, and
freely parted with such provisions as the country afforded, which the
Spaniards thought better than they had met with in any of the other
islands. But he never failed to have heavy rains every evening, which he
endeavoured to account for by the proximity of such extensive woods. At
one place he saw a very beautiful bay, having seven small islands, one of
which was extraordinary high land. The admiral thought this island very
large and beautiful, and to have an unusual number of towns; but it
afterwards turned out to be Jamaica itself, which is eighty leagues long
and fifty broad[7].

The weather becoming more settled, the admiral stood to the eastwards for
Hispaniola, and came to the extreme point of that island stretching
towards Jamaica, which he called _Cabo de Ferol_, or Cape Lighthouse[8];
and on Wednesday the 20th of August, he got sight of the westernmost point
of Hispaniola, which he named Cape _St Michael_, now called _Tiberoon_;
which is twenty-five or thirty leagues from the easternmost point of
Jamaica[9]. On, Saturday the 23d of August, a cacique came off to the
ships, calling out _Almirante! Almirante!_ from which circumstance he
inferred that he had fallen in with Hispaniola, of which he was not till
then assured. At the end of August, he anchored at a small island which
looks like a sail, which he therefore named _Alto Vela_, being twelve
leagues from _Beata_[10]. The other two ships being out of sight, the
admiral sent some of his men to the top of this island to look out for
them. While on shore the seamen killed five seals which lay asleep on the
sand, and knocked down many birds with their sticks, even catching some
with their hands, for a the island was uninhabited they were not afraid of
men. After six days waiting, the other ships rejoined the admiral; and he
proceeded to _La Beata_, and thence eastwards along the coast of
Hispaniola to a river running through a fine populous plain, now called
_Catalina_, or Catherines Plain, from the name of a lady to whom it once
belonged[11]. Some Indians came off to the ships in their canoes, who said
the Spaniards from the town of Isabella had been there, and were all well.
Going on eastwards from this place, a large town was observed on shore, to
which he sent the boats for water. The Indians came out armed with
poisoned arrows, and threatened to bind the Spaniards with cords; yet as
soon as the boats came near, they laid down their arms, inquired for the
admiral, and brought provisions to the Spaniards. This place is in the
province of Higuay, the natives of which are the most warlike of all the
tribes in Hispaniola, and use poisoned arrows.

Continuing the course to the eastwards, a large fish was seen resembling a
small whale, having a shell on its neck like that of a tortoise, as large
as a target. Its head, which it held above water, was like a pipe or large
cask; it had two vast fins on the sides, and the tail resembled that of a
tunny fish, but much larger. From the appearance of this fish, and by
other tokens in the sky, the admiral suspected an approaching storm, and
took shelter therefore within an island called _Adamanoy_ by the Indians,
but which the Spaniards name _Saona_, which is about two leagues in length,
having a strait between it and Hispaniola about a league in breadth. He
there anchored, but as the other two ships were unable to get in they ran
great danger. That night, the admiral observed an eclipse of the moon,
from which he calculated the difference of longitude between the island of
Saona and Cadiz to be five hours and twenty-three minutes[12]. The admiral
remained in this place for eight days, and being rejoined by the other
ships, he made sail on the 24th September, and arrived at _Cabo de
Ergario_[13], or Cape Deceit, which he named _San Raphael_. He then
touched at the island of _Mona_, ten leagues from Hispaniola, and eight
from San Joan de Porto Rico. Leaving Mona, where the Spaniards got most
delicious melons as large as a two gallon vessel, the admiral was siezed
by a violent lethargy in which he lost his senses, and every one expected
him to die. In this emergency, the other officers made the best of their
way for Isabella, where all the ships arrived on the 29th of September,
without having been able to ascertain whether or not Cuba was an island,
except from the information of an Indian, as already mentioned.

On his arrival at Isabella, the admiral had the satisfaction to learn that
his brother Don Bartholomew Columbus was there, but this pleasing
intelligence was much damped by information that the natives of the island
had risen in arms against the Spaniards. Don Bartholomew had gone to
England to offer the proposed discovery of the Indies to King Henry VII.
He was long delayed on his way there, and spent a long time in learning
the language, and in soliciting at court before he could gain admission to
the ministry; insomuch, that seven years had elapsed from his leaving
Spain before his negociations were finished with King Henry, who agreed to
the proposed terms, and entered into articles with him for the employment
of the admiral. He then set out on his return to Spain in search of his
brother, who not having heard of him for so long a time, concluded that he
had died. When at Paris, he learnt that his brother had actually made the
discovery, and was already appointed admiral of the Indies. Charles, _the
headstrong_, who then reigned in France, gave him 100 crowns to assist his
journey into Spain; but his brother was already sailed on his second
voyage before his arrival. He found, however, the instructions which the
admiral had left for him, and went in consequence to court to visit his
nephews, who were pages to Prince John. Their Catholic majesties received
him very graciously, and gave him the command of three ships, to carry out
a supply of provisions to the new colony, where he had arrived in April,
after the admiral had sailed to explore Cuba. Don Bartholomew was a
discreet man, as skilful in sea affairs as his brother, and had many
commendable qualities; he was besides very brave and resolute but of a
blunt manner, and somewhat harsh in his temper, by which he incurred the
hatred of some persons of the colony. As the admiral hoped to derive much
assistance from Don Bartholomew, he gave him the title of _adelantado_, or
lieutenant-governor of the Indies; at which their Catholic majesties were
offended, considering that the admiral had exceeded his powers in giving
this appointment, which ought only to have come from them; yet they
confirmed it some years afterwards.

[1] The eastern point of Cuba, in Lat. 20° 22' N. Long. 74° 3' W. is now
    named Cape Maize.--E.

[2] Now called Cumberland Bay.--E.

[3] At 17-1/2 leagues to the degree, the distance between the Isle of
    Pines and Isabella is only 192 leagues: Or even counting twenty to the
    degree, only 220 marine leagues.--E.

[4] We are to suppose Columbus was now at the east end of the Isle of
    Pines, from whence Cape St Antonia, the western point of Cuba, is
    about 52 Spanish leagues.--E.

[5] The numbers in the translation of Herrera are inextricably corrupt,
    and quite irreconcileable with each other, or with truth.--E.

[6] Cadiz is in Long. 6° 18' W. from Greenwich, the east end of the Isle
    of Pines 82° W. Hence the difference of longitude is 75° 42' W. very
    near the same as in the text.--E.

[7] The text, or its original translation, is here obscure; but Columbus
    appears not to have been aware that this island, to which he gave the
    name of St Jago was the same which he had before visited as Jamaica.
    The extent in the text is exceedingly erroneous, as the length of
    Jamaica is only thirty-five Spanish leagues, and its greatest breadth
    thirteen leagues.--E.

[8] From the sequel it would appear that this Cape _Ferol_ belonged to
    Jamaica, and is probably that now called North-East Cape--E.

[9] The distance from Cape North-East in Jamaica, to Cape Tiberoon in
    Hispaniola is thirty-three Spanish leagues.--E.

[10] Beata is the most southern point of Hispaniola, directly to the west
    of Juliana Bay; and Alto Vela does not exceed 3-1/2 leagues from that

[11] Near the eastern end of the south side of Hispaniola, there is a
    small island called Santa Catalina, near which a considerable extent
    of the main island is called _the Plains_.--E.

[12] This would give a difference of 80° 45', and would place Saona in 87°
    3' W. But it is only in 68° 30' W. leaving an error in the text of 19°
    30' or an hour and eighteen minutes in time.--E.

[13] Now called Cape Engano.--E.


_Summary of Occurrences in Hispaniola, to the return of Columbus into
Spain from his second Voyage_.

During the absence of Columbus from the colony, Don Peter Margarite, whom
he had left with the command of the troops, instead of employing them
prudently to keep the natives in awe, as he had been directed by the
admiral, quartered them among the towns in the Royal Plain, where they
lived at free quarters, to the utter ruin of the Indians, one of them
eating more in a day than would suffice an Indian for a month. They
besides lived in a most disorderly manner, devoid of discipline, and gave
infinite offence to the natives by their licentiousness. The council to
which the admiral had confided the government in his absence, reproved
Margarite for allowing his troops to live in this disorderly manner, and
endeavoured to prevail upon him to march about the island, as he had been
directed by the admiral: But he refused to submit to their authority; and
being afraid of being punished for his misconduct, he and Friar Boyle, and
some other malcontents of the same party, took the advantage of the ships
which brought out Don Bartholomew Columbus, and returned with them to
Spain. On purpose to justify their own misconduct, and the desertion of
their duty, these men represented at the court of Spain that the admiral
had falsely represented the state of the West Indies, which they alleged
did not produce any gold.

After the departure of their commander, the soldiers threw off all remains
of subordination, and dispersed themselves in small parties about the
island, to the great offence and oppression of the natives, whom they
plundered at their pleasure. While in this state of dispersion,
_Guatiguana_, the cacique of a large town on the banks of the Great river,
killed ten of the Christians who had taken up their quarters in his town,
and sent privately to set fire to a house in which several of the sick
soldiers were quartered. Six more of the Spaniards were put to death by
the Indians in other parts of the island; and the Christians became
universally hated for their oppressive conduct to the natives. Four of the
principal caciques, named _Guarionex_, _Caunabo_, _Behechico_, and
_Higuanama_, with all their allies and subjects, who were prodigiously
numerous, entered into a confederacy to drive the Spaniards out of their
country. _Guacanagari_ alone, of all the native chiefs, who was cacique of
the district named _Marien_, refused to join in this hostile confederacy,
and remained friendly to the Spaniards, about an hundred of whom he
hospitably entertained in his province, supplying their wants as well as
he was able. Some days after the return of the admiral to Isabella, this
friendly chief waited on him, expressing much concern for his
indisposition, and the troubles that existed between the Spaniards and the
natives, declaring that he had taken no part in the disaffection of the
other caciques, but had always remained steadfast in his friendship for
the Spaniards, for which reason all the other chiefs were incensed against
him, particularly those of the Royal Plain, and others who were in arms.
He even wept on calling to mind the massacre of the Spaniards in the
Nativity, because he had not been able to defend them against his
countrymen till the return of the admiral; and on learning that the
admiral meant to take the field to reduce the insurgent caciques,
Guacanagari offered to join him with all his subjects who were able to
carry arms.

As Columbus was still unable to take the field in person, he sent out
others to make war on _Guatiguana_, that the natives might not grow too
bold by the delay of punishment for having put the Spaniards to death. A
great number of the subjects of that cacique were accordingly slain, and
many more made prisoners, who were sent into Spain; but the cacique made
his escape. _Caunabo_ was at that period the most powerful of all the
native caciques, his province of Maguana being very populous. As it
appeared somewhat difficult to reduce this chief by force, the admiral
employed Alonzo de Ojeda to attempt making him a prisoner by stratagem.

The Indians at this time put a greater value on brass and other metals
brought from Spain than they did on gold, believing that it came from
heaven; and when the bell of the church of Isabella rang, to summon the
Christians to prayers, they thought that it actually spoke, calling it
_turey_, which in their language signifies _heaven_. The fame of this bell
had spread over the island, and _Caunabo_ had often expressed his desire
of begging it from the admiral. Ojeda took advantage of this fondness of
the Indians for polished metals, and went on horseback into the country of
_Caunabo_, accompanied only by nine mounted Spaniards, under pretence of
carrying him a valuable present from the admiral. On his arrival in the
province of _Maguana_, which was sixty or seventy leagues from Isabella,
the natives were amazed to see him and his attendants on horseback,
believing the man and horse to be one animal. Some of them, by desire of
Ojeda, informed Caunabo that certain Christians were come from the admiral,
whom they named _Guamiquini_, bringing him a magnificent present of
_turey_, at which he was exceedingly glad. On his introduction to the
cacique, Ojeda and his men shewed him every mark of profound respect, and
then gave him a sight of the intended present, which consisted of fetters
and handcuffs so curiously polished as to resemble silver. Ojeda told him
that the kings of Spain wore such ornaments, which came from heaven, and
always appeared in them at _arcitos_ or solemn dances: But he stated that
it was necessary, before _Caunabo_ could put on these splendid ornaments,
that he should go along with the Christians and purify himself by bathing
in the river _Yaqui_, about half a league from his residence, after which
he should put on the _turey_ or heavenly ornaments, and come back to his
subjects on horseback dressed like the king of Spain. _Caunabo_ was
completely imposed upon by this shallow artifice, little imagining that
ten Spaniards would attempt any thing against him in his own country; he
accordingly was prevailed on to accompany Ojeda and his men to the river,
attended only by a small number of his dependants. Having washed and
purified himself, as desired, and being exceedingly anxious to fit on the
ornaments, he allowed himself to be lifted on horseback behind Ojeda, when
the fetters and handcuffs were put on, the Indian attendants keeping at
some distance for fear of the horses, of which they were in great dread.
Ojeda rode gently about with him for a short time, as if shewing the
cacique in his solemn new ornaments to his servants; then suddenly
galloped off accompanied by the Spaniards, and soon carried him out of
sight of the astonished Indians. The Spaniards now drew their swords, and
threatened to put the cacique to death if he attempted to escape. They
then bound him fast with ropes to Ojeda, and making the best of their way
to Isabella, delivered him a prisoner to the admiral, who kept him for
some time in his house always fettered. When the admiral happened to come
into the room where he was kept, _Caunabo_ never shewed him any respect,
but always did so to Ojeda; and being asked his reason for this, he said
the admiral durst not go as Ojeda had done, to seize him in his own
dominions. Sometime afterwards, the admiral sent _Caunabo_ and other
Indians into Spain; but the ship in which they were was cast away in a
storm, and all on board were lost. About this time, finding the ships
which had accompanied him in exploring the islands, and those others which
remained at Isabella, so much injured by worms as to be unfit for service,
he ordered that two new caravels should be built with all speed, that the
colony might not be without shipping; and these were the first ships that
were constructed in the New World.

The return of Antonio de Torres into Spain with the twelve ships gave much
pleasure to their Catholic majesties, who signified to the admiral by his
brother Don Bartholomew their entire satisfaction with his conduct, giving
him many thanks for all his toils and dangers in their service, expressing
much concern for the affronts which had been offered to his person and
authority, and promising always to support him in the exercise of his
government. They ordered him to send home Bernal de Pisa in the next ships,
and to appoint such person as he and Friar Boyle thought proper, in his
place of head alguazil. To satisfy the admiral, and to promote the
prosperity of the new colony, they ordered Rodriquez de Fonseca
immediately to fit out four ships with such articles as the admiral
desired might be sent to him, and appointed Antonio de Torres to return
with these to the West Indies. He brought letters from their majesties to
Columbus, dated at Segovia the 16th of August, in which they thanked him
for his exertions in their service, promising to shew him all manner of
favour, seeing that he had performed all he had undertaken, as exactly as
if he had known the land which he went to discover. They acknowledged the
receipt of his letters, giving an account of his second voyage; yet wished
him to be more particular in mentioning how many islands he had discovered;
what names they were known by to the natives, and what new names he had
given them; their distances from each other, and their productions; and an
account of the nature of the seasons during the different months. Having
sent him all those things which he desired for the advancement of the
infant colony, they requested him to send them all the falcons he could
meet with, and other kinds of birds. Their majesties approved of all that
he had done hitherto in regard to the government of the colony, directing
him to continue in the same manner, giving every encouragement and
countenance to those who conducted themselves properly, and discouraging
all disorderly persons. They were quite satisfied in respect to the town
he had founded, since he who was on the spot was necessarily the best
judge, and they would have taken his advice if they had been themselves
present. They gave him to understand that the controversy with Portugal
was adjusted, sending him a copy of the articles of agreement; and as the
settlement of the geographical line of partition was a matter of much
importance and considerable difficulty, their majesties wished the admiral
might be present along with the commissioners of the two crowns at fixing
this boundary; but, in case he could not come himself, desired him to send
his brother Don Bartholomew, or some other able persons, furnished with
proper instructions and draughts for the purpose. And they requested this
might be done as soon as possible, not to disappoint the king of Portugal.
Finally, in order to receive frequent intelligence from him, they thought
it advisable that a caravel should sail every month from Spain to the West
Indies, and another return from thence to Spain.

The imprisonment of _Caunabo_ gave great alarm, and infinite offence to
his three brothers, who were all valiant men, and who now resolved to
carry on war with all the energy in in their power against the Spaniards.
Learning that all the country was in arms and collecting to an appointed
rendezvous, the admiral, instead of waiting to be besieged in Isabella,
determined to meet the Indians in the field. So many of his men were sick
at this time, that he could only muster 200 foot and 20 horse. Yet with
this small force, he marched from Isabella on the 24th of March 1495,
accompanied by his brother Don Bartholomew, the _adelantado_ or
lieutenant-governor. _Guacanagari_, likewise, the constant friend of the
Spaniards, accompanied him with all his forces; and part of the force
employed by Columbus on this occasion, consisted of 20 blood-hounds, which
made great havock among the naked Indians. Columbus marched to the Royal
plain, where they found the Indian army drawn up under the command of
_Manicatex_, appearing to amount to 100,000 men. Don Barthlomew gave the
first charge, and the Spaniards acted with such vigour, _assisted by their
dogs_, that the Indians were soon put to the rout with prodigious loss,
great numbers being slain, and many made prisoners, who were made slaves
of, a considerable number of them being sent to Spain in the four ships
commanded by Antonio de Torres.

After this great victory, the admiral ranged for nine or ten months about
the island, punishing such as he found most active in the revolt. For some
time he met with considerable opposition from the brothers of Caunabo; but
finding themselves unable to resist, they and _Guarionex_, being the most
powerful caciques in the island, submitted at length to the admiral. On
the complete reduction of the island, Columbus imposed the following
tribute upon its native inhabitants. All the inhabitants from 14 years of
age and upwards of the Royal Plain, the province of Cibao, and of other
districts near the mines, were ordered to pay the fill of a small
hawks-bell of gold dust every three months. Those of the other provinces
were rated at a quarter of an hundred weight of cotton. The cacique
_Manicatex_, who had headed the great insurrection, was condemned to pay
monthly half a gourd, or calabash full of gold, which was worth 150 pieces
of eight. To ascertain the regular payment of this tribute, certain medals
of brass or copper were coined, every time the tribute fell due, and every
tributary Indian received one of these to wear about his neck, that it
might be known who had paid. _Guarionex_, the principal cacique of the
Royal Plain, represented to the admiral that his subjects knew not how to
gather the gold which was exacted from them, and offered to cultivate corn
for the Spaniards all across the island, from the _town_ of Isabella to
where St Domingo was afterwards built, provided he would demand no gold
from him. The distance between these two places is 55 leagues[1], and the
grain produce of this vast territory would have sufficed to maintain the
whole population of Castile. The admiral was conscious that he was
obnoxious to the ministers of their Catholic majesties, being an
unprotected stranger, and that he could not support his interest in Spain,
except by the transmission of treasure, which made him eager to procure
gold from the natives: But the pressure of this tribute was so intolerable
upon the Indians, that many of them abandoned their habitations and roamed
about the island, to avoid the tax which they were unable to pay, seeking
a precarious subsistence in the woods. In the sequel, finding this tribute
could not be paid, its amount was lessened by the admiral.

The Indians had flattered themselves that the visit of the Spaniards to
their country was only temporary, and used often to ask them when they
meant to return home: But finding that they built stone houses, that they
were much greater eaters than themselves, and were even obliged to bring
part of their provisions out of Spain, many of the towns endeavoured to
contrive to starve the Spaniards, so that they should either perish for
want of food, or be compelled to return into Spain. For this purpose they
discontinued the cultivation of provisions, and withdrew into the woods
and mountains, trusting to wild roots and the vast numbers of an animal
like a rabbit, called _utias_, for their subsistence. Although by this
contrivance the Spaniards suffered greatly from want, and by ranging after
the Indians, were often forced to feed on filthy and unwholesome things so
that many of them died; yet the calamity fell heavily on the Indians
themselves, who wandered about with their families in the utmost distress,
not daring to hunt or fish, or to seek provisions, and skulking on the
damp grounds, along the rivers, or among the mountains. Owing to these
hardships and the want of proper food, a violent distemper broke out among
the natives which carried off vast multitudes; insomuch that, through that
illness and the casualities of the war, a third part of the population of
the island had died by the year 1496.

Friar Boyle and Don Peter Margarite, who had deserted the island without
leave, as before related, combined together on their return into Spain to
discredit the admiral and his discoveries, because they had not found gold
laid up in chests, or growing on trees, ready to lay hold of. They also
grossly misrepresented the conduct of the admiral in his government of the
colony; and there being other letters sent against him in the four ships
commanded by Antonio de Torres, their Catholic majesties began to listen
to the aspersions of the malcontents. Owing to this, about the same time
that Columbus was taking the field against the insurgents in the Royal
Plain, their majesties sent out _Juan Aguado_, one of the pages of their
bed chamber, with authority to inquire into the actual situation of
affairs in Hispaniola. They sent at the same time four ships under his
command, carrying provisions and other necessaries for the assistance of
the colony. The credentials with which he was furnished were in the
following terms: "Gentlemen, yeomen, and others residing in the Indies, we
send you our page of the bed chamber, Juan Aguado, who will discourse with
you in our name, and to whom we command you to give full credit. Given at
Madrid on the 9th of April." Aguado arrived at Isabella about the month of
October, when the admiral was absent in the province of _Maguana_,
prosecuting the war against the brothers of _Caunabo_. He immediately
began to carry himself with a high hand, intermeddling in the government,
reproving some of the officers of the colony who had been appointed by the
admiral, imprisoning others, and paying no respect to Don Bartholomew
Columbus, who had been left to govern the town of Isabella. He even
resolved to go after the admiral with a military escort of cavalry and
infantry, who gave out on their march that another admiral was come, who
would kill the old one: The natives, being greatly dissatisfied by the war
and the tribute of gold, were much pleased with this news; and several of
the caciques met together privately in the house of a cacique named
_Manicaotex_, whose territories were near the river _Yaqui_, when they
agreed to complain against the admiral, and to demand redress of their
grievances from the new commander. When he received intelligence of Juan
Aguado coming in search of him, the admiral thought proper to return to
the town of Isabella; where he received the letters of their majesties
before all the people, with the sound of trumpets, and all the
demonstrations of profound respect. Aguado, however, did not the less
continue to shew his indiscretion, behaving disrespectfully to the admiral,
and interfering with many things, by which he gave a bad example to others,
and encouraged them to despise the admirals authority; who, on the other
hand, honoured and entertained him generously, and bore his contumelious
behaviour with great modesty. Among other things, Aguado pretended that
the admiral had not received their majesties letters with becoming respect;
and about four months afterwards he sent for the notaries to his house,
requiring them to make out affidavits to that effect. When they desired
him to send the vouchers on which this charge was grounded, he alleged
that he could not trust them in their hands: At length, however, affidavit
was made on this subject; but it was entirely favourable to the character
of the admiral. The conduct and example of Aguado were very prejudicial to
the authority of the admiral, and the inhabitants of Isabella were at the
same time much dissatisfied with their condition; They were mostly sick,
and had no other provisions beyond their allowances from the royal stores.
Each man was allowed a small measure of wheat, which he had to grind for
his own use in a hand-mill, though many used it boiled: Besides which they
had rations of rusty bacon, or rotten cheese, and a few beans or peas,
without any wine. As they were all in the royal pay, the admiral compelled
them to work on the fort, his own house, or the other public structures,
which reduced them almost to despair, and induced them to complain of
their intolerable hardships to Aguado. Such of the colonists as were in
health fared much better, as they were employed in going about the island
keeping the natives in subjection. Having collected as he thought a
sufficient number of complaints against the admiral, Aguado prepared to
return into Spain; but his four ships were wrecked in the port, by one of
these great storms which the Indians call _Hurrancans_, so that he had no
vessel to return in except one of the two caravels belonging to the

Taking into consideration the disrespectful behaviour of Aguado, and being
also informed of all that Friar Boyle and Don Peter Margarite had reported
to his prejudice at court, where he had no other support but his own
virtue, the admiral resolved to appear in person before their majesties,
that he might clear himself of the many calumnies which had been invented
by his enemies, and might acquaint them with the discoveries he had made
respecting Cuba, and give his advice respecting the line of partition of
the ocean between the crowns of Spain and Portugal. Before leaving the
island, he thought fit to place certain forts in good order, which he had
begun to erect for the security of the colony, and to keep the natives
under subjection. Besides the fort of St Thomas, already mentioned, for
protecting the mines of Cibao, there were the fort of St Mary Magdalen,
called likewise the lower Macorix, situated in the district belonging to
_Guanozonel_, one of the caciques in the Royal Plain, three or four
leagues from where the town of _Santiago_ now stands, the command of which
fort was confided to Lewis de Arriaga. Another fort, named _Santa
Catalina_, or St Catherine, was placed under the command of Ferdinand
Navarro, a native of Logronno. Another fort on the banks of the _Yaqui_,
towards _Ciboa_, was named _Esperanza_, or the Hope. Another, in the
district of the cacique _Guarionex_, in the Royal Plain, was called the
_Conception_, which was commanded by Juan de Ayala, who was afterwards
succeeded by Michael Ballester. The caciques, who were much burdened by
the gold tax, informed the admiral that there were good gold mines to the
southward, and advised him to send a party of Christians to explore them.
Being much interested in this matter, as conducive to support his
reputation at court, for which this served very opportunely on his
approaching return to Spain, the admiral sent a party under Francis de
Garay, and Michael Diaz, with some guides furnished by the Indians, to
examine into the truth of this report. From the town of Isabella, this
party went by the forts of Magdalen and the Conception, quite across the
royal plain, and thence through a pass in the mountains, two leagues long,
after which they came in view of a plain belonging to a cacique named
_Bonao_. Having travelled several leagues along the ridges of the
mountains in this district, they came to a considerable river called
_Hayra_, the banks of which are very fertile. In this place they were
informed that much gold was to be found in all the brooks and rivulets,
which they found to be the case. Likewise, by digging in several places,
gold was found in such plenty, that a single labourer was able to get to
the value of three pieces of eight every day. These new mines are now
known by the name of the mines of St Christopher, from a fort of that name
which the admiral left orders to build for their protection; but they were
afterwards called the old mines. About this time, some inhabitants of
Seville were soliciting permission from the court of Spain to fit out
expeditions for new discoveries.

[1] Herrera is exceedingly inaccurate in his measures, as the real direct
    distance is only 55 Spanish leagues.--E.


_Conclusion of the Discoveries of Columbus_.

Having been very particular in relating the incidents of these two voyages
of Columbus, and of the steps previous to their commencement, to shew by
what means the discovery of America and the West Indies was first made, I
shall only briefly touch upon the remaining particulars of the actions of
that great man. Having left all things in Hispaniola in the best posture
he was able, Columbus returned into Spain, labouring under severe illness
and loaded with heavy accusations: But their Catholic majesties,
considering his great services and extraordinary sufferings, cleared him
in spite of all his enemies, only recommending to him to treat the
Spaniards under his authority with kindness. After receiving from him a
recital of the new discoveries which he had made, and of the immense
wealth to be procured from these countries, they sent him back honourably
to Seville, where eight ships were provided for his third voyage. Two of
these he sent out to his brother Don Bartholomew, who had then begun to
build the city of San Domingo, the capital of Hispaniola, which is
situated on the southern coast of the island at the mouth of the river
Ozama. With the other six ships, Columbus set sail from San Lucar de
Barrameda on the 19th May 1497. In this voyage he held a southerly course
till he came under the line, where he met with long continued calms,
accompanied by such violent heat that the men thought they should all have
perished. At length the wind sprung up and enabled him to proceed to the
westwards; and, on the 1st of August, he discovered the island of _La
Trinidad_, or the Trinity, near that part of the continent of South
America, now called _New Andalusia_[1]. He then continued his voyage
westwards along the coast of the continent, trading with the natives for
gold and pearls, and giving names to noted places. After spending some
time in this new discovery, he sailed back to Trinidad, discovering the
island of Margarite by the way. Thinking his presence might be necessary
in the colony of Hispaniola, he stood across the Caribbean sea from
Trinidad, and arrived at the new city of San Domingo.

Several private adventurers fitted out ships from Spain, upon voyages of
discovery to the new world, after this third voyage of Columbus. In
particular, Alonso de Ojeda went out in 1499, being accompanied by
_Americas Vespucius_, who gave his own name to the new world, which has
ever since been called _America_. On his arrival in Hispaniola, Columbus
found all the Indians in arms against the Spaniards, who gave them several
defeats under the command of Don Bartholomew Columbus. In this war, Don
Bartholomew took fifteen of the caciques prisoners, among whom was
_Guarionex_, who acted as general of their army: But he set them all at
liberty, on their engagement to become subject to their majesties. After
this several of the Spaniards mutinied against the authority of Columbus
and his brother the lieutenant, and separated themselves from the rest of
the colony, which proved more pernicious than all that the natives were
able to do. The discontented party transmitted complaints to the court of
Spain against the admiral and his brother; on which Francis de Bovadilla,
a knight of the order of Calatrava, was sent out with authority to
investigate the cause of the troubles in the infant colony. Bovadilla
carried matters with a high hand, and on very slight pretences sent
Columbus and his brother in irons to Spain, in separate vessels.
Immediately on their arrival in Spain, their majesties ordered them to be
set at liberty, and to repair to court, which was then at Granada: And,
although they cleared themselves of all that had been laid to their charge,
they were deprived of the government of the West Indies, and put off with
fair promises. Bovadilla was afterwards lost at sea, on his return to

On the 9th of May 1502, Columbus sailed again from Spain with 170 men. He
arrived before San Domingo on the 29th of June, but the new governor
Nicholas de Ovando would not permit him to come into the harbour, for
which reason he was constrained to sail to the westwards. After struggling
with adverse currents and long calms for some time, he had to contend
against an almost continued storm of sixty days, and then discovered the
island of _Guana  ja_, to the northward of Cape Honduras, in Lat. 19° N.
He sent his brother on shore at this place, where he met with a canoe
eight feet wide and as long as a Spanish galley. This canoe was covered
with mats, and had men, women, and children on board, who had abundance of
commodities for barter; such as long webs of cotton of several colours;
short cotton shirts or jerkins without sleeves, curiously wrought; small
cotton cloths used by the natives to conceal their nakedness; wooden
swords edged with flints; copper hatchets, and horse-bells of the same
metal; likewise plates of copper, and crucibles, or melting pots; cocoa
nuts; bread made of maize or Indian corn, and a species of drink made from
the same. Columbus exchanged some commodities with these Indians; and
inquiring at them where gold was to be found, they pointed towards the
east, on which he altered his course in that direction. The first land he
came to was Cape Casinas in the province of Honduras, where his brother
landed and took formal possession. The natives of this coast wore short
cotton jackets without sleeves, and clouts before them. They behaved very
peaceably to the Spaniards, whom they supplied with plenty of provisions.
Sailing several days to the eastwards from thence with contrary winds, he
arrived at a great cape or head-land, whence the coast trended to the
southwards, and called this place _Cabo de Garcias a Dios_, or Cape thanks
to God, because the east winds which had hitherto obstructed his voyage
would now serve for navigating that part of the coast. He accordingly
explored that coast, touching at _Porto Bello_, _Nombre de Dios_, _Belen_
and _Veragua_, trading with the Indians. At _Veragua_ he was informed of
gold mines at no great distance, and sent his brother up the country in
search of them. On his return, Don Bartholomew brought down a considerable
quantity of gold, which he had procured from the natives for toys of
little value. Being encouraged by the prospect of gold, he proposed to
have left his brother in this place with 80 Spaniards to settle a colony,
and even began to build houses for that purpose; but, being opposed by the
Indians, and his own men becoming mutinous, he was obliged to relinquish
his intention.

From Veragua he stood over towards Hispaniola; but his caravels were so
much worm-eaten and shattered by storms that he could not reach that
island, and was forced to run them on shore in a creek on the coast of
Jamaica, where he shored them upright with spars, and built huts on their
decks for his men, all below being full of water. He remained in this
place almost a year, suffering many hardships. At length he found means to
send a canoe over to Hispaniola with intelligence of his forlorn condition,
and procured a vessel to transport him and his men to that island, whence
he went to Spain. This was his last voyage; after which he spent the
remainder of his life at Valadolid, where he died on the 8th of May 1506,
aged 64 years. His body was carried to Seville, as he had ordered in his
will, and was there honourably interred in the church of the Carthusians,
called _De las Cuevas_, with a Latin epitaph commemorating his great

[1] Trinidad, which is now subject to Britain, is on the coast of Cumana,
    or the Spanish main, on the north-eastern shoulder of South America,
    between Lat. 10° and 10° 50' N. Long. 61° and nearly 62° W.--E.

       *       *       *       *       *




The relation which is here offered to the public, we believe for the first
time in the English language, is only an abridged account of four voyages
made by Americus Vespucius to the New World, as written by himself, in
which he expresses his intention of publishing a more extensive work,
wherein all the events of these four voyages were to be related at large.
The information he has conveyed in the present article is by no means
satisfactory; yet it constitutes an original document respecting the early
discoveries of the southern continent of the New World, and is therefore
essential to the principles and arrangement of our work. Ample
opportunities will occur in the sequel, for inserting more extended
accounts of the countries which were visited lay this early navigator,
whose singular good fortune has raised him an eternal monument infinitely
beyond his merit, by the adoption of his otherwise obscure name for
designating the grand discovery of the immortal Columbus.

Various early editions of the voyages of this navigator are mentioned in
the _Bibliotheque Universelle des Voyages_[2], a recent work of much
research, published at Paris in 1808. In the titles of these he is named
_Americo Vespucio_, and _Alberico Vespucio_. In the NOVUS ORBIS of _Simon
Grynaeus_, from which our present article is translated, he is called
_Americus Vesputius_. In another portion of that work, containing some
very slight notices of these four voyages, his name is altered to
_Albericus_[3]. A modern author, we know not on what authority, names him
_Amerigo Vespucci_[4]. In all these publications, the authors or editors
have used their endeavours to deprive the illustrious _Columbus_ of the
well earned glory of being the discoverer of the _New World_, and to
transfer that honour most undeservedly to Americus, whose name has long
been indelibly affixed to this new grand division of our globe. Americus
himself pretended to have made the first discovery of the _continent_ of
the New World, alleging that his great precursor Columbus was only the
discoverer of the large West India islands. It has been already mentioned,
in the introduction to the voyages of Columbus, that in his first voyage
Americus sailed under the command of a Spanish officer named Ojeda or
Hojeda, who had accompanied Columbus in his second voyage: But, though it
sufficiently appears from his own writings that Americus did not command
in chief in any of his four voyages, he anxiously conceals the names of
the commanders under whom he sailed. The actual accomplishment of any of
these voyages by Americus has even been doubted[5]. At all events, there
are strong reasons for believing that all their dates have been
industriously falsified, on purpose to ground a pretension for having
discovered the continent or main-land of Paria, prior to the third voyage
of Columbus, in 1498, when that country and the islands of Trinidada and
Margarita certainly were discovered by Columbus. The same author here
quoted as doubting the reality of the navigations of Americus to the New
World, gives the following account of his pretensions as a discoverer.
"Americus Vespucius, by the interest of Bishop _Fonseca_, the enemy of
Columbus, was made chief pilot of Spain, and to him all the journals of
discovery were communicated, from which he constructed elegant maps,
helping out by his fancy whatever was deficient in his materials, so as to
exhibit things in graceful proportions, and the only thing wanting to his
cosmographic delineation was a strict regard to truth. But they answered
well his purpose; as, besides securing him a good place and competent
salary, they enabled him to impose his own name on the new world, before
he had discovered one foot of its coasts[6]." These are heavy charges; but,
as Harris quotes no authorities, it is utterly impossible to determine on
their justice at this distance of time. In another part of his work,
Harris acknowledges the reality of the first voyage of Americus, under the
command of Alonso Hojeda, and assigns the 20th May 1499 as its
commencement[7]. Americus was probably only pilot of the different
navigations he relates. It will be seen in the first section of this
chapter, that Americus dates his first voyage two years earlier; obviously
to warrant his pretended discovery of the coast of Paria, which Columbus
had actually discovered in July or August 1498.

It has been alleged, but we have forgot the authority for this assertion,
that the _two_ first voyages of Vespucius, as given in this article, were
in reality one and the same; but thus divided by himself, for giving the
better colour to his assuming a false date to ground his pretended
priority of discovering the continent of Paria.

Soon after the departure of this expedition under Hojeda. Peter Alonso
Nino and Christopher Guerro of Seville obtained a license from the court
of Spain to sail upon discovery to the New World, on condition that they
were not to anchor or land within fifty leagues of any place that had been
discovered by Columbus. Nino had sailed in the third voyage along with
Columbus, when Trinidada, Paria, and Margarita were discovered, and the
sole object of these interlopers appears to have been the acquisition of
pearls, which were found by Columbus in considerable numbers on this coast.
Accordingly, they do not appear to have extended their researches beyond
the coast which Columbus had already discovered; and in what is called the
Bay of Pearls, which is formed between the Island of Margarita and the
main, they procured great numbers of that precious commodity from the
natives, in barter for hawks-bells, and various baubles made of tin. From
thence they proceeded westwards to Coro and Venezuela, where they
augmented their store of pearls. This last place, the name of which
signifies Little Venice, appears to have been the town built in the water,
which is mentioned in the first voyage of Americus. Farther on, at a place
which they named Curiana, they procured some gold, both wrought and in its
native state, with monkeys and beautiful parrots. In the course of this
voyage, they are said to have procured 150 marks, or 1200 ounces of pearls,
all very beautiful, and of a fine water, some as large as hazel-nuts, but
ill bored, owing to the imperfect tools of the natives. Besides pearls and
gold, they took on board a considerable quantity of Brazil wood, though
contrary to their instructions. They returned eastwards along the coast of
Paria or Cumana to the gulf of Paria, whence they took their departure for
Spain, and arrived in Galicia on the 6th February 1500; where they were
accused by their own crew of concealing the pearls, on purpose to deprive
the crown of the established duty, being a fifth of all importations[8].

Vincent Yanez Pinzon, who had accompanied Columbus during his first and
second voyages, sailed on a voyage of discovery about the close of the
year 1499, with four stout vessels fitted out at his own expence. In this
voyage Pinzon appears to have sailed along the east coast of South America,
and to have discovered Cape St Augustine in Brazil, to which he gave the
name of Cape Consolation. On his return to the northwards, he likewise
appears to have discovered the great Maranon, or river of the Amazons, and
the mouth of the Oronoko; which latter he named _Rio Dulce_, or Fresh
River, because he took up fresh water _twenty_ leagues out at sea. He
thence proceeded to the coast of Paria, where he took in a cargo of Brazil
wood, and stood over to the islands between that coast and Hispaniola,
losing two of his ships in a great storm. With the two which remained he
went to Hispaniola to refit, and returned thence into Spain about the end
of September 1500[9].

In the immediately subsequent chapter a summary will be found of the
discoveries and settlements of the Spaniards in the West Indies, from the
death of the great Columbus to the commencement of the expedition under
Cortes, by which the rich and populous empire of Mexico was added to the
Spanish dominions in the New World. The present chapter consists of
voyages to the New World which were contemporary with those of the
immortal Columbus, and all surreptitiously intended to abridge the vast
privileges which he had stipulated for and obtained the grant of for his
inestimable services; but which the court of Spain was anxious to procure
pretexts for abrogating or circumscribing.

Of the other early voyages of discovery to America, very imperfect notices
now remain. England lays claim to have been the next nation in succession,
after the Spaniards and Portuguese, to explore the New World; yet, like
Spain, under the guidance of an Italian. We have already seen that
Columbus, when disappointed in his first views of patronage from the king
of Portugal, and while he went himself to offer his services to the court
of Spain, dispatched his brother Bartholomew into England, to lay his
proposals for discovery before Henry VII. and the circumstances have been
already detailed by which this scheme was disappointed, though Henry is
said to have agreed to the proposals of Columbus _four_ years before that
archnavigator began his career in the service of the crown of Castile.
After the king of England had thus, as it were by accident, missed reaping
the advantage and glory of patronizing the first discovery of the New
World, he is said to have encouraged other seamen of reputation to exert
their talents in his service, by prosecuting the faint light which had
transpired respecting the grand discovery of Columbus. Giovani Gabota, or
John Cabot, a citizen of Venice, who had been long settled in Bristol, was
among those who offered their services to the king of England on this
occasion, and his services appear certainly to have been employed. By
patent, dated 5th of March 1495 at Westminster, John Cabot and his three
sons, Lewis, Sebastian, and Sancio, their heirs and deputies, were
authorised, with five ships of any burthen they thought fit, and as many
mariners as they pleased, to sail under the flag of England to all
countries of the East, West, and North, at their own cost and charges, to
seek out and discover whatever isles, countries, regions, or provinces of
the heathens and unbelievers were hitherto unknown to all Christians; with
power to subdue, occupy, and possess all such towns, cities, castles, and
isles as they were able, leaving the sovereignty to the crown of England,
and bound to bring back to Bristol all fruits, profits, gains, and
commodities procured in their voyages, paying the fifth part of the profit
to the king, all necessary costs and charges first deducted from the
proceeds. And forbidding all the subjects of England from frequenting or
visiting their discoveries, unless by license from the Cabots, their heirs
or deputies, under forfeiture of their ships and goods[10].

In pursuance of the authority of this patent, and of a farther licence
dated 13th February 1497, allowing John Cabot to sail from any of the
ports of England with six ships of 200 tons burthen or under, John Cabot
and his son Sebastian sailed from Bristol, and discovered a land which had
never been before seen, on the 24th June 1497, about five in the morning,
to which they gave the name of _Prima Vista_, because that part was first
seen from sea. The island seen opposite, they named the Island of St John,
because discovered on the day of St John the Baptist. The inhabitants of
this island wore the skins of beasts, which they held in as much
estimation as we do our finest garments. In their wars they used bows,
arrows, spears, darts, wooden clubs, and slings. The land is barren and
unfruitful, but has white bears, and stags of unusual size. It abounds in
fish of great size, as seawolves, or seals, salmon, and soles above a yard
long; but chiefly in immense quantities of that kind which is vulgarly
called bacalaos. The hawks of this island are as black as crows, and the
eagles and partridges are likewise black[11].

The foregoing account is given by Hakluyt on the authority of a map,
engraved by Clement Adams after the design of Sebastian Cabot, which map
was then to be seen in the private gallery of Queen Elizabeth at
Westminster, and in the houses of many of the merchants of London. From
Ramusio, however, Hakluyt gives rather a different account of this matter.
By this account, it would appear that the father John Cabot had died
previous to the voyage, and that Sebastian went as commander of two
vessels furnished by King Henry. He sailed to the north-west, not
expecting to find any other land than Cathay, or northern China, and from,
thence to proceed for India. But falling in with land, he sailed
northwards along the coast, to see if he could find any gulf that
permitted him to proceed westwards in his intended voyage to India, and
still found firm land to lat 56° N. Finding the coast here turning to the
east, he despaired of finding a passage in that direction: he sailed again
down the coast to the southwards, still looking everywhere for an inlet
that would admit a passage by sea to India, and came to that part of the
continent now called Florida; where, his victuals failing, he took his
departure for England[12]. In the preface to the third volume of his
navigations, Ramusio, as quoted by Hakluyt, says that Sebastian Cabot
sailed as far north in this voyage as 67° 30', where on the 11th June the
sea was still quite open, and he was in full hope of getting in that way
to Cathay, but a mutiny of his people forced him to return to England[13].
Peter Martyr of Angleria, as likewise quoted by Hakluyt, says that
Sebastian was forced to return to the southwards by the immense quantities
of ice which he encountered in the northern part of his voyage[14].

Sebastian Cabot, on his return to England, found matters in a state which
did not promise him any farther advantages as a mariner, on which he went
into Spain, where he was employed by Ferdinand and Isabella, in whose
service he explored the eastern coast of South America, and discovered the
_Rio Plata_, up which he sailed above 360 miles, finding it to flow
through a fine country, everywhere inhabited by great numbers of people,
who flocked from all parts to admire his ships. After making many other
voyages, which are not specified, he settled in Seville, where he employed
himself in making sea charts, and had the appointment of pilot-major, all
pilots for the West Indian Seas having to pass his examination, and to
have his license[15]. He thought fit, however, to return into England, and
was employed by Henry VIII. In the service of that sovereign he made a
voyage to the coast of Brazil in 1516, under the superior command of Sir
Thomas Pert, vice-admiral of England, of which the following imperfect
account is preserved by Haklyut.

"That learned and industrious writer Richard Eden, in an epistle to the
Duke of Northumberland, prefixed to a work which he translated from
Munster in 1553, called _A treatise of the New India_, makes mention of a
voyage of discovery made from England by Sir Thomas Pert and Sebastian
Cabota, about the eighth year of Henry VIII. The want of courage in Sir
Thomas Pert occasioned this expedition to fail of its intended effect;
otherwise it might have happened that the rich treasury called _Perularia_,
now in Seville, in which the infinite riches which come from the new-found
country of Peru, would long since have been in the Tower of London to the
great honour of the king, and the vast increase of the wealth of this
realm. Gonsalvo de Oviedo, a famous Spanish writer, alludes to this voyage,
in his General and Natural History of the West Indies, as thus quoted by
Ramusio. In the year 1517, an English corsair, under pretence of a voyage
of discovery, came with a great ship to the coast of Brazil, whence he
crossed over to the island of Hispaniola, and arrived near the mouth of
the harbour of St Domingo, where he sent his boat to demand leave of entry
for the purpose of traffic. But Francis de Tapia, the governor of the
castle, caused some ordnance to be fired from the castle at the ship,
which was bearing in for the port; on which the ship put about, and the
people in the boat went again on board. They then sailed to the island of
St John, or Porto Rico, where they went into the harbour of St Germaine,
where they required provisions and other necessaries for their ship, and
complained against the inhabitants of St Domingo, saying that they came
not to do any harm, but to trade for what they wanted, paying in money or
merchandize. In this place they procured provisions, and paid in certain
vessels of wrought tin and other things. They afterwards departed towards
Europe, where it was thought they never arrived, as we never heard any
more news of them[16]."

From the above hint respecting the riches of Peru finding their way to the
Tower of London, and as combined with the former voyage of Cabot to the
north-west; in search of a passage to India, it may be inferred, that the
object of the present voyage was to discover a passage to India by the
south-west, or by what is now called Cape Horn. The passage to India by
the Cape of Good Hope, had been granted exclusively by the Pope to the
Portuguese; and Henry VIII. then a good catholic, wished to evade this
exclusive privilege by endeavouring to discover a new route. It was well
observed by one of the kings of France, in reference to the Pope having
granted all the East to the Portuguese, and all the West to the Spaniards,
"I wish my brothers of Spain and Portugal would shew me the testament of
our father Adam, by which they claim such ample inheritance." The
supposition that Cabot had perished on his voyage from Porto Rico to
England was unfounded. He was alive there in 1549, in which year Edward VI.
granted a yearly pension for life to him and his assigns, of L.166, 13s.
4d. to be paid quarterly, in consideration of the good and acceptable
service done and to be done by him[17].

We have been induced to insert this long digression in this place, because
no journals remain of the voyages to which they relate. The other early
voyages of the English to the New World, were all for the purpose of
discovering a N.W. passage by sea to India, or for colonizing the
provinces of North America, and will fail to be particularly noticed in
other divisions of our work.

[1] Novus Orbis, p. 111.

[2] Vol. I. 262, and Vol. V. 479.

[3] Nov. Orb. 87.

[4] Mod. Geogr. III. 8.

[5] Harris, Col. of Voy. and Trav. II. 167.

[6] Harris, Coll. of Voy. and Trav. II. 62.

[7] Id. II. 87.

[8] Harris, II. 33.

[9] Harris, II. 38.

[10] Hakluyt, III. 25.

[11] Hakluyt, III. 27.

[12] Hakl. III. 28.

[13] Id. III. 29.

[14] Id. ib.

[15] Id. ib.

[16] Hakl. III. 591.

[17] Hakl. III. 31.


_To the most illustrious Renee, King of Jerusalem and Sicily, Duke
of Lorain and Bar, Americas Vespucius in all humble reverence and due
gratitude, wisheth health and prosperity_.

Most illustrious sovereign, your majesty may perhaps be surprised at my
presumption in writing this prolix epistle, knowing, as I do, that your
majesty is continually engaged in conducting the arduous affairs of
government. I may deserve blame for presuming to dedicate to your majesty
this work, in which you will take little interest, both because of its
barbarous style, and that it was composed expressly for Ferdinand king of
Spain. But my experience of your royal virtues has given me a confident
hope that the nature of my subject, which has never yet been treated of by
ancient or modern writers, may excuse me to your majesty. The bearer,
_Benvenuto_, a servant of your majesty, and my valued friend, whom I met
with at Lisbon, earnestly entreated me to write this history, that your
majesty might be informed of all those things which I had seen during the
four voyages to different parts of the world, which I had undertaken for
the discovery of unknown countries. Of these four voyages, two were made
through a vast extent of ocean towards the West, at the command of the
illustrious Don Ferdinand king of Spain: The other two were to the south,
in the service of Don Manuel king of Portugal. I have used my utmost
diligence in the composition of this work, in hopes that your majesty
would graciously receive me among the number of your dependants,
considering that we were formerly companions during youth, while studying
grammar under the tuition of my venerable uncle, Fra George Antony
Vespucius. I wish that I were able to imitate that worthy person, as I
should then be quite different from what I am: Yet I am not ashamed of
myself, having always placed my chief delight in the practice of virtue,
and the acquisition of literature. Should these voyages displease you, I
may say, as Pliny said to his patron, "formerly my pleasantries used to
delight you." Although your majesty is always occupied in affairs of state,
you may certainly have as much leisure as will permit you to peruse these
pages; which, however trivial in comparison, may yet please by their
novelty. After the cares of government, your majesty will, I hope, receive
amusement from my labours, as a pleasant desert promotes digestion after a
plentiful repast. But, if I have been too tedious in my narrative, I ask
pardon and take my leave.

Be it known to your majesty that I first went to these new countries in
search of trade, in which I was occupied for four years, during which I
experienced various reverses of fortune; at one time raised to the summit
of human wishes, and afterwards reduced to the lowest ebb of misery, in so
much that I had resolved to abandon commerce, and to confine my exertions
to more laudable and safer exertions. I disposed myself, therefore, to the
purpose of exploring various parts of the world, that I might see the
wonderful things which it contains. An opportunity soon fortunately
offered for satisfying this desire, as King Ferdinand of Spain fitted out
four ships for the discovery of new countries towards the west, and was
pleased to employ me upon this service. We set sail on the 20th of May
1497 from the port of Cadiz, taking our course through the great gulf of
the ocean, in which voyage we were occupied for eighteen months,
discovering _many continents_, and almost innumerable islands, most of
which were inhabited, all of which were utterly unknown to our
predecessors and the ancients. If I am not mistaken, I have somewhere read
that the ocean is entirely void of countries and inhabitants, as appears
to have been the opinion of our poet Dante, in his _Inferno_. But of the
wonderful things which I have seen there, your majesty will find an
account in the following narrative.


_The first Voyage of Americus Vespucius_.

As already mentioned, we set sail with four ships in company from Cadiz on
the 20th May 1497[1], shaping our course with the wind at S.S.W.[2] for
the islands formerly called the _Fortunate_, and now named the Grand
Canaries; which are situated in the western extremity of the then known
habitable world, and in the third climate, the elevation of the pole being
twenty-seven degrees and two thirds. These islands are 280 leagues distant
from Lisbon, where this work was written. After spending about a week
there, taking in wood, water, and other necessaries, commending ourselves
to GOD, we set sail with a fair wind towards the west, one quarter
south-west[3], and made such progress that in about twenty-seven we
arrived at a country which we believed to be a continent, about a thousand
leagues distant from the Great Canaries, in 16° north latitude, and 75°
west longitude from the Canary islands[4]. Our fleet cast anchor at this
place, a league and a half from shore, to which we went in some boats well
armed and full of men. On nearing the beach, we could plainly see great
numbers of naked people going about, at which circumstance we were much
rejoiced. The natives, however, were astonished on seeing us, on account
of the unusual appearance of our dress and manners, so that as we advanced
they all fled to a hill in the neighbourhood, whence at that time we could
not allure them by any signs of peace and friendship. On the approach of
night, considering that the place in which our ships were anchored was
altogether unsafe in the event of any storm arising, we determined to quit
this part of the coast in the morning, for the purpose of seeking out some
harbour where our ships might ride in safety. We accordingly made sail
along the coast, and in sight of the shore, on which we could always see
the natives, and after two days sail we found a convenient anchorage for
the ships at the distance of half a league from the shore. At this place
we saw a great multitude of people, and being anxious to examine them, and
to establish a friendly intercourse, we landed that same day with about
forty of our men in good array. But the natives shewed themselves
extremely averse to any communication with us, and could not be allured to
a conference by any means. At length a small number of them were induced
to come near by presents of bells, small mirrors, glass beads, and similar
toys, and a friendly intercourse was thus established. As night came on,
we left them and returned to the ships. At dawn of the following day, we
saw immense numbers of the natives on shore, men, women, and children:,
and could observe that they had all their household stuff along with them,
of which an account will be given hereafter. On our approach towards the
shore, many of the natives threw themselves into the sea, being most
expert swimmers, and came to meet us with much appearance of kindness, and
joined us in perfect confidence of security, as if we had been old
acquaintances, which gave us much pleasure.

The whole of these people, men as well as women, went entirely naked.
Though of rather small stature, they are exceedingly well proportioned,
their complexion being reddish brown, like the hair of lion; but if they
were always clothed, they would in my opinion become as white as our
people. They have no hair on any part of their bodies, except on the head,
where it is long and black; especially the women, who wear their long
black hair in a very comely manner. Their faces are by no means handsome,
being broad like the Tartars, and they allow no hair to remain on their
eyebrows or eyelids, nor on any other part of their bodies, as already
mentioned, it being esteemed by them quite beastly to have hair remaining
on their bodies. Both men and women are amazingly agile in walking and
running, as we frequently experienced, the very women being able to run
one or two leagues at a stretch with the utmost ease, and in this exercise
they greatly excelled us Christians. They are likewise wonderfully expert
swimmers, in which the women excel the men and we have seen them swim two
leagues out to sea without any aid whatever. Their arms are bows and
arrows, which are more craftily made than ours; and, being destitute of
iron or any other metal, they arm the points of their arrows with the
teeth of wild beasts or fishes, often hardening their ends in the fire to
make them stronger. They are most expert archers, hitting any thing they
aim at with wonderful precision; the women also, in some places, being
excellent archers. Their other arms are a kind of very sharp lances or
pointed stakes, and clubs, having their heads very nicely carved. They are
chiefly accustomed to make war against their neighbours speaking a
different language; and as they give no quarter, unless to such as are
reserved for the most horrid tortures, they fight with extraordinary fury.
When they go to battle they are accompanied by their wives, not to assist
them in fighting, but on purpose to carry their provisions and other
necessaries; and one of their women will carry a greater weight on her
back for a journey of thirty or forty leagues, than a strong man is able
to lift from the ground, as we have often seen. They have no regular
captains or commanders in their wars; and although any one may assume the
office of leader, they always march onwards without any order whatever.
Their wars do not originate in any desire of extending their power or
territory, neither from any inordinate lust of dominion, but from ancient
enmities, transmitted from one generation to another; and when asked the
cause of these enmities, their only answer is that they are bound to
revenge the death of their ancestors. These people living in perfect
liberty, are not subjected to any kings or rulers, and are chiefly excited
to war when any of their tribe happens to be slain or made prisoner. On
such occasions, the elder relations of the slain person or of the prisoner
go about among the huts and villages, continually crying out, and urging
all the warriors of the tribe to make haste and accompany them to war,
that they may recover their friend from captivity, or revenge his death.
All being moved to compassion and revenge by these incitements,
immediately prepare for war, and march away in haste to the assistance of
their friends.

These people have no laws, or any idea of distributive justice, neither
are malefactors ever punished among them. Parents even neither teach nor
chastise their children. We have sometimes seen them conferring together
among themselves in a strange manner. They seem very simple in their
discourse, yet are they very cunning and shrewd. In speaking they are
neither loud nor loquacious, using accents similar to ours, but squeezing
as it were most of their words between the teeth and the lips. They have a
great number of dialects, as at every hundred leagues distance we found a
different language, the different tribes not understanding each other.
Their manner of feeding is very barbarous, as they have no fixed periods
for eating, but just as inclination or opportunity offers, whether by day
or night. When taking food they recline on the ground, using neither
table-cloths nor napkins, as they have no linen or any other kind of cloth.
Their food is put into vessels of earthen ware, manufactured by themselves,
or into half gourd shells instead of dishes. They sleep in large net
hammocks made of cotton, suspended at some height; and however
extraordinary or disagreeable this custom may appear, I have found it
exceedingly pleasant, and much preferable to the carpets which we use.
Their bodies are very clean and sleek, owing to their frequent bathing.
When about to ease nature they are at great pains to conceal themselves
from observation, yet are very indecent in discharging their urine, which
they would do at any time, both men and women, while conversing with us.
They observe no law or covenant in regard to marriage, every man having as
many wives as he pleases or can procure, and dismissing them at pleasure,
and this license is common both to men and women. They are little addicted
to jealousy, yet much given to lust, in which the women far exceed the men.
From motives of decency I here omit describing the expedients they put in
practice for satisfying their inordinate desires. The women are very
prolific, and do not shun labour or fatigue while pregnant. Their
deliveries are attended with little pain, so that they are able
immediately afterwards to go about their usual occupations in perfect
health and vigour; going in the first place to wash themselves in the
nearest river. Yet such is their proneness to cruelty and malignant spite,
that if exasperated by their husbands, they take a certain poison in
revenge, which kills the foetus within them, so that they afterwards
miscarry, by which abominable practice vast numbers of their children are
destroyed. Their bodies are so elegant and well proportioned, that hardly
is any the smallest deformity to be seen among them. Though they go
entirely naked among the women, their appearance is tolerably decent[5],
yet are they no more moved by this exposure than we are by shewing our
faces. It is rare among them to see any women with lax breasts or
shrivelled bellies through frequent child-birth, as they are all equally
plump and firm afterwards as formerly. Their women were extremely fond of
our men.

We could not perceive that this nation had any religion, nor ought they on
that account to be accounted worse than the Jews, or Moors, since these
nations are much more reprehensible than the pagans or idolaters. We could
not discover that they performed any sacrifices or sacred rites of any
kind, neither had they any temples or other places for worship. Their way
of living, which is exceedingly voluptuous, I consider as epicurean[6].
Their houses, which are common to all, are built in the shape of a bell,
firmly constructed of large pieces of timber, and covered over with palm
leaves, so strong as to be able to resist winds and storms; some of them
so large as to be able to contain six hundred persons. Among these we
found eight that were exceedingly populous, as in them there dwelt ten
thousand souls[7]. Every seven or eight years they change their place of
residence; and when asked the reason of this, they said that through the
heat of the sun, the air would become infected by a longer residence in
the same place, which would occasion various diseases. Their riches
consisted in the various coloured feathers of different birds, in certain
stones resembling those called _pater-nosters_, in plates, or beads made
of fish bones, or of green or white stones, which they hang by way of
ornaments on their cheeks, lips, and ears. They likewise consider as
valuable several other trifling things which we despise. They employ no
medium for sale or barter, being satisfied with those things which are
offered spontaneously by nature. Gold, pearls, and precious stones, and
others of like nature, which are considered in Europe as riches, they hold
in no estimation, or rather despise them as of no use. They are extremely
liberal of every thing they possess, so that they never refuse any thing
that is asked from them; but are equally greedy in their demands, after
they have entered into friendship with any one. As the greatest mark of
friendship, they give their wives and daughters to their friends; and
every parent thinks himself much honoured when any one asks from him his
virgin daughter, which cements the firmest friendships among them. They
use various rites and customs in burying their dead. Some deposit them in
the earth, accompanied with victuals and water at their head, which they
believe are used by the deceased. After this no farther mourning or
ceremonial is customary. In other places, their mode of sepulture is very
barbarous and cruel. When any person is considered to be near his end, his
relations carry him out into a large wood, where they suspend him in a
hammock from two trees; and having danced round him for a whole day, they
place at night as much water and provisions as may suffice him for four
days, and every one returns to his own home. After this, if the sick
person is able to eat and drink, and is so far restored to health as to be
enabled to return to his habitation, he is received back by his relations
with much ceremony. But very few are able to do so, as no one ever visits
the sick person after his suspension. Should any of these leave the
hammock and die in the wood, they get no other burial. They have several
other barbarous customs, which I omit mentioning, to avoid being prolix.

They use various medicines for curing their diseases, which are so totally
different from those used among us, that it is wonderful any one should
recover by their means. When any one is ill of a fever, they plunge the
patient at its heighth in the coldest water, after which he is forced to
run round a large fire for two hours till he is all over in a violent
perspiration, and is then taken to bed. By this strange remedy we have
seen many restored to health. They will sometimes refrain from food for
three or four days. They draw blood, not from the arms, but from the loins
and the calves of the legs. They excite vomiting by means of certain herbs
which they chew, and keep in their mouths. They use likewise various other
remedies and antidotes, which it were tedious to enumerate. They are
subject to different sanguineous and phlegmatic humours, occasioned by the
nature of their food, which consists of fish, with various roots, fruits,
and herbs. They use no meal of any kind of corns or other seeds; but their
chief food is made from the root of a certain tree, which they bruise down
into a tolerably good kind of meal. This root is called by some _jucha_,
by others _chambi_, and by others _igname_. They scarcely eat of any kind
of flesh except that of men, in the use of which they exceed every thing
that is brutal and savage among mankind; devouring their enemies, whether
slain or taken prisoners, both men and women indiscriminately, in the most
ferocious manner that can be conceived. I have often seen them employed in
this brutal feast, and they expressed surprize that we did not eat our
enemies as they did. All this your majesty may be assured is absolutely
true; and that their customs are so many and barbarous, it were tedious to
describe them all. Having seen many things during my four voyages
exceedingly different from our manners and customs, I have composed a book
in which all these are particularly described, but which I have not yet

In this beginning of our course along the coast, we did not discover any
thing from which any great profit could be derived, probably because we
did not understand the language of the natives, except that we observed
several indications that gold was to be found in this country, which in
all other repects is most admirably situated. It was therefore agreed upon
to continue our voyage, always keeping as near as possible to the shore,
which occasioned us to make many tacks and circuits, keeping up frequent
intercourse with the natives as we proceeded. After several days sailing,
we arrived at a certain port, where it pleased God to rescue us from very
imminent danger. Immediately on entering this harbour; we descried a town
built in the water, as Venice is, consisting of about twenty large
bell-shaped houses, founded on solid wooden foundations, and having
draw-bridges by which the inhabitants could pass from house to house. As
soon as the inhabitants of this place saw us they drew up their bridges
for security, and retreated into their houses. Soon afterwards we
perceived twelve almadias or canoes, each of them hollowed out of the
trunk of a large tree, which advanced towards us, surrounding us on all
sides at some distance, their crews admiring our dress and appearance. We
likewise continued looking at them, endeavouring by friendly signs to make
them come towards us without fear, which however they declined. We
therefore steered towards them, on which they all hastened to land, giving
us to understand that they would soon return. They went in all haste to a
certain mountain, from whence they brought sixteen girls, whom they took
into their canoes, and brought towards us, putting four of them on board
each of our four ships, to our great surprize. After this they went about
among our ships with their canoes, and conversed with us so peaceably that
we thought them in every respect friendly disposed. About this time
likewise a vast number of people came swimming towards our ships from the
town before-mentioned, and we did not in the least suspect any evil
intention. By and by we beheld several old women at the doors of the
houses, who set up violent outcries, tearing their hair in token of great
distress, by which we began to suspect some evil was intended towards us.
The young women who had been put on board our ships leapt all of a sudden
into the sea, and those in the canoes removing to some distance bent their
bows and plied us briskly with arrows. Those likewise who were swimming
towards the ships were all armed with lances, which they concealed under
water. Being now convinced of their treachery, we stood on the defensive,
and in our turn attacked them so hotly that we destroyed several of their
canoes and killed a considerable number of the natives. The survivors
abandoned the remaining canoes, and made for the shore by swimming, after
twenty of the natives were slain and many wounded. On our side only five
men were wounded, all of whom are restored to health by the blessing of
God. We took two of the before-mentioned young women, and three men, after
which we visited the houses of the natives, where we only found two old
women and a sick man. We returned to the ships, not choosing to burn the
town, and put the five prisoners in fetters; but the two girls and one of
the men made their escape from us next night.

Leaving this harbour on the day following, we sailed eighty leagues
farther along the coast, when we found another nation quite different from
the former, both in language and behaviour. We agreed to anchor at this
place and to go ashore in our boats, when we saw a crowd of near 4000
people, who all fled into the woods on our approach, leaving every thing
behind them. On landing we proceeded about a gun-shot along a road leading
into the woods, where we found many tents which the natives had erected
for a fishing station, and in which we found fires on which abundance of
victuals were boiling, and various kinds of wild beasts and fishes
roasting. Among these was a certain strange animal very like a serpent,
without wings, which seemed so wild and brutal that we greatly admired its
terrible fierceness. As we proceeded farther among the tents, we found
many more serpents of this description, having their feet bound, and their
mouths tied to hinder them from biting. They had so hideous and fierce an
aspect that none of us dared to touch them, from fear of being poisoned.
They were equal in size to a wild goat, and about a yard and a half long,
having long and strong feet, armed with strong claws. Their skins were
variegated, with many colours, and their snouts and faces resembled those
of real serpents. From their nostrils to the extremity of their tails, a
line of rough bristles extends along the ridge of the back, insomuch that
we concluded they were actually serpents, yet they are used as food by
this nation[8]. Instead of bread, these Indians boil the fish, which they
catch abundantly in the sea, for a short time, then pounding them together
into a cake, they roast this over a hot fire without flame, which they
preserve for use, and which we found very pleasant food. They have many
other articles of food, which they prepare from various roots and fruits,
but which it would be tedious to describe. Finding that the natives did
not return from the woods to their dwellings, we resolved not to take away
any of their effects, lest they should be afraid of us, and even left many
trifling European articles hung up in their huts, after which we returned
to the ships.

Going on shore early next morning, we saw a vast number of people
collected on the shore, who were at first very timid on our approach, yet
mingled freely among us, and soon became quite familiar, shewing great
desire to enter into a friendly correspondence. They soon made us
understand that they did not dwell in this place, to which they resorted
merely for the purpose of fishing, and solicited us in a most friendly
manner to go along with them to their villages. Indeed they conceived a
great friendship for us on acccount of the two prisoners whom we had in
custody, who happened to belong to a nation with whom they were at enmity.
In consideration of their great importunity, twenty-three of us agreed to
go along with them well armed, with a fixed resolution to sell our lives
dear if necessity required. Having remained with them for three days, we
arrived after a journey of three leagues inland at a village consisting of
nine houses, where we were received with many barbarous ceremonies not
worth relating, consisting of dances, songs, lamentations, joy, and
gladness, strangely mixed together, and accompanied with plentiful
entertainments. We remained in that place all night, on which occasion the
natives pressed their wives upon us as companions with so much earnestness
that we could hardly resist. By the middle of the following day a
prodigious number of people crowded to see us, shewing no signs of fear,
and we were entreated by their elders to accompany them to their other
villages, farther inland, with which we complied. It is not easy to
describe the multiplied attentions which we received from them during nine
days, in which time we visited a great number of their villages, on which
occasion those who remained at the ships were exceedingly anxious at our
long absence. On our return to the ships we were accompanied by an
incredible number of men and women, who paid us every possible attention.
If any of us were fatigued with walking, they were eager to carry us in
one of their hammocks. As we had to pass a great many rivers, some of
which were large, they contrived to carry us over with perfect safety.
Many of the natives who were in our train carried in hammocks great
quantities of their own commodities which they had given us, such as the
many-coloured feathers which have been already mentioned, many of their
bows and arrows, and great numbers of variegated parrots. Others of them
carried all their household goods and animals. They were so eager to serve
us, that he who happened to carry any of our company over a river, seemed
transported at his good fortune. When we came to the boats which were to
carry us on board our ships, such numbers pressed in to accompany us, that
they might see our ships, that our boats were ready to sink under the load.
We accordingly carried as many of them to the ships as our boats could
possibly accommodate, and vast numbers followed us by swimming, insomuch
that we were somewhat alarmed at their numbers, though naked and unarmed,
more than a thousand of them being on board at once, admiring the
prodigious size of our ships as compared with their own canoes, and
astonished at every part of the tackle and artillery. A ludicrous scene
took place on occasion of firing off some of our guns, for immediately on
hearing the prodigious report, the greatest part of the natives jumped
overboard; just as frogs are apt to do when, sunning themselves on a bank,
they happen to hear any unusual noise. We were a good deal concerned at
this incident, but we soon reconciled the natives and removed their terror,
by explaining to them that we used such weapons for destroying our enemies.
Having entertained the natives on board our ships the whole of that day,
we advised them to go on shore at night, as it was our intention to depart
on the day following, and they all took leave of us with every
demonstration of friendship. While here, we observed many singular customs
among these people, which I do not propose enlarging upon at present, as
your majesty will be afterwards more particularly informed of every thing
worthy of attention, when I shall have completed the geographical relation
of my four voyages, which still requires revision and enlargement.

This country is exceedingly populous, and abounds everywhere with many
animals of different kinds, few of which resemble ours, and even these
differ in some measure from ours in shape and appearance. They have no
lions, bears, deer, swine, roes, or goats; neither have they any horses,
mules, asses, or dogs; sheep likewise and cows are not to be found among
them. Their woods, however, abound with great numbers of different kinds
of animals, which I cannot easily describe, as they are all in a wild
state, none of them being domesticated by the natives. Their birds are so
numerous, and so different from ours in colours and species, as is quite
surprising to the beholders. The country is extremely pleasant and
fruitful, abounding everywhere with beautiful groves and extensive forests,
consisting of trees which are verdant during the whole year, and never
lose their leaves, producing innumerable fruits entirely different from
ours. This land is situated in the torrid zone, directly under the
parallel described by the tropic of _cancer_, and in the second climate,
where the pole is elevated 23 degrees above the horizon[9]. While there, a
prodigious number of people came to see us, wondering at our colour and
appearance, and inquiring whence we came. We answered, that we had come
down from heaven to visit the earth, and they believed us. We constructed
several fonts in this place, at which a prodigious number of people came
to be baptized, calling themselves _charaibs_, which word in their
language signifies _wise men_. The country is by them named _Parias_.

Leaving the before-mentioned harbour, we sailed along the coast, which we
kept always in sight for the space of 860[10] leagues, during which we had
to make many tacks and circuitous courses, always holding intercourse with
the numerous nations on the coast. We procured gold in many places, but
not in any considerable quantities, as our principal object was to
discover and explore these regions, and to learn whether they produced any
gold. Having employed thirteen months already in our voyage, and nearly
expended our stores and provisions, and our men being worn out with
continual watching and fatigue, we determined to take measures for
repairing our ships, which let in water on all sides, that we might return
into Spain. For the purpose, therefore, of repairing our ships, we entered
one of the best harbours in the world, where we were received in a most
friendly manner by the natives, who were here very numerous. Having
constructed a raft or lighter from the remains of our old boats and casks,
we carried all our guns and stores ashore. After completely unloading our
ships, we hauled them upon the beach, where we repaired them effectually.
In this laborious employment we were materially assisted by the natives,
who likewise most liberally supplied us with provisions, so that we
consumed very little of our own sea stores during our stay at this place.
This circumstance was of singular importance to us, as our own provisions
were much diminished, and we should hardly have been able to reach Spain
without this assistance, unless upon short allowance. We remained
thirty-seven days at this port, going frequently along with the natives to
their villages, where we were always received with much respect. When
ready to resume our voyage, the natives complained to us of a certain very
savage nation which was in use at certain times of the year to invade
their territories by sea, sometimes falling upon them by surprise, and at
other times by main force, who killed many of their people and devoured
the slain, carrying away others into captivity. They told us that this
nation, against whom they were hardly able to defend themselves, inhabited
a certain island at about an hundred leagues from their country; and as we
sympathised in their distress, we engaged to revenge them upon their cruel
enemies. They greatly rejoiced at this intelligence, and offered to
accompany us in the expedition, which we declined for substantial reasons,
and only agreed to take seven of them along with us by way of guides, who
were to go in one of their own canoes, as we could not engage to bring
them back to their own country; with which arrangement they gratefully
acquiesced, and we parted from them in great friendship.

Having repaired our ships and taken every thing belonging to them on board,
we put to sea, and sailed seven days with the wind at E.N.E. beating to
windward, after which we fell in with several islands, some of which were
inhabited and others not, near one of which we came to anchor, called
_Ity_[11] by the natives, on which we saw a great crowd of people. Arming
our boats with a good number of picked men and three pieces of ordnance,
we approached the shore at a place where there were at least 400 men and
many women. All of these, as noticed in formerly visited places, went
entirely naked, of strong bodies, and warlike appearance, and were all
armed with bows, arrows, and lances, many of them having round or square
shields for their defence, which did not at all impede them in discharging
their arrows. All of them had their bodies painted of many colours, and
were adorned with the feather's of various birds; and the friendly Indians
who had accompanied us from the continent assured us that their painting
and adornment were sure indications that they were prepared for battle.
Accordingly, when we had reached to within an arrow-flight of the beach,
they all advanced into the sea towards us, and began to let fly a vast
number of arrows, using their utmost efforts to prevent our landing,
insomuch that we were constrained to make several discharges from our
artillery against them. Oh hearing the reports of our guns, and seeing a
good many of their companions slain, all the rest retreated to the shore.
Having called a council of war, it was resolved, that forty-two of us
should land and attack them boldly. We accordingly leaped from the boats
with our arms in our hands, and were so manfully opposed, that the battle
lasted almost two hours, till at length we gained a complete victory,
killing a considerable number of the natives, and taking some prisoners.
The enemy then fled into the woods, several of them being slain in their
flight by our hand-guns[12], but we did not pursue far, as we were already
much fatigued. We returned therefore to our ships, the seven friendly
natives being greatly rejoiced at our victory.

Next day we saw an immense number of the islanders collecting on the shore,
sounding horns and other instruments used by them in war, all painted and
adorned with feathers, so that it was wonderful to behold them. It was
again determined in council that we should go on shore in force, and
should treat the natives as enemies if they rejected our friendship. We
accordingly landed in a body, unopposed by the islanders, who seemed
afraid of our cannon. Our force consisted on this occasion of four bodies
of fifty-seven men, each under its proper commander, and we had a long and
severe engagement with the natives hand to hand. After many of them were
slain, they at length took to flight, and we pursued them to one of their
villages, where we took twenty-five prisoners, and burned the village; and
we killed and wounded a great many more on our return towards the ships.
On our side one only was slain in this fight, and twenty-two wounded, all
of whom, by the blessing of God, recovered from their wounds. It was now
determined to return into Spain: wherefore the seven men who had
accompanied us from the continent, of whom five were wounded in the battle,
embarked in a canoe which we seized at this place, and returned to their
own country, very joyful for the vengeance we had taken of their cruel
enemies, and full of admiration at our war-like prowess. On this occasion
we gave them seven of our prisoners, three men and four women. Proceeding
from this place in our voyage to Spain, we arrived at Cadiz on the 15th
October 1498, carrying with us 222 prisoners whom we had taken during the
voyage, all of whom we sold. These are all the circumstances worthy of
notice which occurred during our first voyage.

[1] It is highly probable that the date is here falsified by error, or
    rather purposely to give a pretext for having discovered the continent
    of the New World before Columbus; for we are assured by Harris, II. 37,
    that the real date of this voyage was 1499. Alonzo Hojeda and Americus
    Vespucius were furnished by Fonseca, bishop of Burgos, with charts and
    projects of discovery made by Columbus, whose honour and interest the
    bishop was eager to destroy by this surreptitious invasion of his
    rights as admiral and viceroy of the West Indies.--E.

[2] In the original, having the wind between south and south-west. It is
    often impossible to ascertain, as here, from the equivocal language of
    the original, whether the author intends to express the course of the
    voyage or the direction of the wind. The course of the voyage from
    Cadiz to the Cananaries, whither Americus was now bound, certainly was
    towards the direction expressed in the text, and to this course the
    wind indicated is adverse.

[3] In the original, _per Ponentem, sumpta una Lebeccio quarta_. _Ponente_
    is the West in Italian, and _Lebeccio_ the south-west; but it is
    difficult to express in English nautical language the precise meaning
    of the original, which is literally translated in the text.--E.

[4] The latitude and longitude of the text would indicate the eastern
    coast of Yucutan, near the bay of Honduras; but from other
    circumstances, it is probable the coast now visited by Americus was
    that of Paria or the Spanish main, between the latitudes of 10° and
    12° N. and perhaps twenty-five degrees less to the west than
    expressed in the text. But the geographical notices in this work of
    Americus are scanty and uncertain.--E.

[5] Praeterquam regiuncula illa anterior, quam verecundiore vocabulo
    pectusculum imum vocamus.

[6] The author appears to mean here that they were entirely destitute of
    religious belief.--E.

[7] The expression of the author seems here ambiguous. He probably means
    towns or collections of huts as containing such large numbers; and it
    is hard to say whether he meant to say that these eight populous
    _habitations_ had 10,000 each, or altogether.--E.

[8] The expression of the original _serpens_, here translated serpent, had
    been better expressed, perhaps, by the fabulous term _dragon_.
    The animal in question was probably the _lacerto iguana_, or it may
    have been a young alligator.--E.

[9] This is a most singularly mistaken account of the situation of the
    coast of Paria, now Cumana or the Spanish main; which, beginning on
    the east at the island of Trinidad, about lat. 10° N. joins Carthagena
    in the west about the same latitude, and never reaches above 12° N.
    Were it not that the author immediately afterwards distinctly names
    the coast of Paria, the latitude of the text would lead us to suppose
    that he had been exploring the northern coast of Cuba.--E.

[10] Even supposing Americus to have coasted along the whole northern
    shore of South America, from Trinidad to Costa-rica, the distance does
    not exceed twenty-three degrees of longitude, and the coast of Paria
    or Cumana is scarce 15 degrees. The number of leagues, therefore, in
    the text is greatly exaggerated, unless we suppose them only to have
    been Italian miles.--E.

[11] The relation of this voyage is so exceedingly vague that we have no
    means of determining any of the places which were touched at. From the
    resemblance of the name in the text to Haiti, or Aiti, this island may
    possibly have been Hispaniola.--E.

[12] The author affects classical names for modern fire-arms, naming what
    we have translated hand-guns _balistae colubrinae_. Cannon are
    sometimes called _tormenta bellica_, and at other times _machina


_The Second Voyage of Americas Vespucius_.

We set sail from Cadiz on our second voyage on the 11th of May 1499,
taking our course past the Cape Verds and Canaries for the island of
_Ignis_, where we took in a supply of wood and water: Whence continuing
our voyage with a south-west wind for nineteen days, we reached a certain
undiscovered land, which we believed to be the continent, over against
that which we had explored in our former voyage, and which is situated in
the torrid zone upon the southern side of the equator, and in 5° of south
latitude[1], being 500 leagues from the before-mentioned islands, to the
south-west. In this country we found the days and nights to be equal on
the 27th of June, when the sun was in the tropic of cancer[2]. We found
this country inundated and pervaded by large rivers, having a very verdant
appearance, with large tall trees, but with no appearance of any
inhabitants. Having anchored our ships, we went to land with some of our
boats, but after a long search we found the whole land so covered with
water that we could not land anywhere, though we saw abundant indications
of a numerous population, after which we returned to the ships. Hoisting
our anchors, we sailed along shore with the wind at S.S.E. for above forty
leagues, frequently endeavouring to penetrate into the land, but in vain,
as the flux of the sea was so rapid from the S.E. to the N.W. that it was
impossible for the vessels to stem the current. In consideration of this
circumstance, we resolved to steer a course to the N.W. in the course of
which we came to a harbour, where we found a beautiful island, and an
excellent creek at the entrance. While sailing with the intention of
entering this harbour, we saw an immense number of people on this island,
which was about four leagues from shore. Having hoisted out our boats on
purpose to land on the island, we perceived a canoe with several natives
coming from seawards, which we endeavoured to surround with our boats,
that we might make them prisoners. After a long chase, finding that we
gained upon them, the whole of the natives in the canoe, to the number of
about twenty, jumped into the sea about two leagues from shore, and
endeavoured to escape by swimming, which they all did except two whom we
secured. In the canoe which they had deserted, we found four young men of
another nation whom they had made prisoners, and whose members had been
quite recently cut off, at which strange circumstance we were greatly
astonished. On taking these unfortunate captives to our ships, they made
us understand by signs that they had been taken away from their own
country to be eaten, as the nation by whom they had been made captives
were savage cannibals. After this, taking the captured canoe along with us,
we brought our ships to anchor within half a league of the shore, where we
observed great numbers of the natives wandering about. We then went on
shore, taking the two prisoners belonging to the canoe along with us; but
immediately on landing, all the natives fled into the woods. Seeing this,
we set free one of our prisoners, to whom we gave several trinkets, as
bells and small mirrors, in token of friendship, assuring him that he and
his countrymen need not be afraid of us, as we were desirous of entering
into friendship with them. This man soon brought back about four hundred
of the natives from the woods, accompanied by many of their women, all of
whom came to us unarmed, and an entire friendship was established between
us to all appearance, on which we set free the other prisoner, and
restored the captured canoe. This vessel, which was hollowed from a single
piece of wood, measured twenty-six paces long, and two yards broad, and
was very artificially constructed. As soon as they had secured their canoe
in another part of the river beyond our reach, the whole of the natives
suddenly deserted us, and never could be brought to renew their

Being disappointed in our expectation of any friendly connection with
these people, among whom we only saw a small quantity of gold, which they
wore as ornaments in their ears, we sailed about eighty leagues further
along the coast, when we discovered a safe harbour, into which we brought
our ships, and found the country exceedingly populous. We soon established
a friendly intercourse with these people, and even accompanied them to
several of their villages, where we found ourselves in perfect security,
and received the kindest treatment imaginable, and procured from them
about five hundred pearls for one bell and a small quantity of gold. The
natives of this country make a kind of wine, which they express from
fruits and seeds, resembling beer, both red and white. The best is made
from a species of apple[3]. Of these and many other excellent fruits of
fine flavour, we eat abundantly, and found them extremely wholesome. The
inhabitants of this place were more peaceably disposed, more civilized in
their manners and dispositions, and more abundantly supplied with all
kinds of necessaries and household-stuff than any we had seen hitherto. We
remained seventeen days in this harbour with much satisfaction, vast
numbers of the natives coming daily to visit us, admiring our appearance,
the whiteness of our complexions, the fashion of our clothes and arms, and
the magnitude of our ships. From these people we were informed of another
nation more to the west, by whom they were very much annoyed, and who
possessed great quantities of pearls; both because they had these in their
own country, and were accustomed to carry them off from those other tribes
against whom they went to war. They likewise informed us in what manner
the pearls originated, and how they were fished for; all of which we
afterwards found to be true.

Leaving this harbour, we continued our voyage along the coast, all of
which was numerously inhabited by different nations. Having entered a
certain harbour for the purpose of repairing one of our vessels, we there
found a great number of inhabitants, with whom we were unable to establish
any intercourse, either by force or good-will. When we endeavoured at any
time to land from our boats, they fiercely opposed us; and finding all
their resistance ineffectual, they fled into the woods, and could not be
prevailed on to enter into any intercourse with us. For which reason we
departed from their inhospitable shore.

Continuing our voyage, we came to a certain island about fifteen leagues
from the coast, which we agreed to visit, that we might see if it were
inhabited; and we accordingly found it possessed by a race of exceedingly
savage people, who were notwithstanding extremely simple and very
courteous. In manners and appearance they are little better that brutes,
and all of them have their mouths constantly filled with a certain green
herb, which they are continually chewing like ruminating cattle, so that
they can hardly speak to be understood[4]. Each individual among them
carries two small gourd shells hung from the neck, one of which contains
the herb which they chew, and the other is filled with a particular kind
of white meal resembling powdered gypsum, which, with a small stick chewed
and moistened, they draw out from this gourd, and sprinkle therewith the
chewed herb, which they again replace in their mouths. Although we
wondered much at this strange custom, we could not for a long while
discover its reason and object. But, as we walked about their country,
trusting to their friendly attentions, and endeavoured to learn from them
where we could procure fresh water, they explained to us by signs that
none was to be had in these parts, and they offered us the herb and powder
which they are in use to chew as a substitute. After accompanying them a
whole day, without food or drink, we learnt that all the water which they
used was gathered during the night, by collecting dew from certain plants
having leaves resembling asses ears, which are filled every night by the
dews of heaven. This nation is likewise destitute of any vegetable food,
and live entirely on fish, which they procure abundantly from the sea.
They even presented us with several turtles, and many other excellent
fish. The women of this nation do not use the herb which is chewed by the
men, but each of them carries a gourd shell filled with water to serve
them for drink.

This nation has no villages, nor even any huts or cabins, their only
shelter consisting in certain prodigiously large leaves, under which they
are protected from the scorching heat of the sun. When employed in fishing,
each individual carries one of these enormous leaves, which he sticks into
the ground directly between him and the sun, and is thus enabled to
conceal himself entirely under its shade; and although this is not a
sufficient protection against rain, it is wonderful how little rain falls
in this country. This island has many animals of various kinds, all of
which have only very dirty water for drinking.

Finding no prospect of advantage at this island, we went from it to
another in hope of procuring a supply of water. At our first landing, we
believed this other island to be uninhabited, as we saw no people on its
coast at our arrival; but on walking along the beach, we noticed the
prints of human feet of such uncommon magnitude, that if the rest of the
body were of similar proportions, the natives must be of astonishing size.
We at length noticed a path which led into the country, which nine of us
determined to pursue, that we might explore the island, as we imagined it
was of small size, and could not consequently have many inhabitants.
Having advanced near a league, we observed five cabins in a valley which
we believed to be inhabited; and going into these, we found five women,
two of whom were old, and three of them young, all of whom were of most
unusual stature, so that we were much amazed. On their side, likewise,
they were so much astonished at our appearance, that they were even unable
to run away from us. The old women spoke kindly to us in their language,
and all of them accompanying us into one of their huts, presented us with
plenty of their victuals. All of these women were taller than the tallest
men of our country, being as tall even as _Francisco de Albicio_[5], but
better proportioned than any of us. After consulting together, we agreed
among ourselves to carry off the young women by force, that we might shew
them in Spain as objects of wonder; but, while conversing together on this
project, about thirty-six of their men began to enter the cabin. These men
were much taller than the women, and of such handsome proportions that it
was a pleasure to behold them. They were armed with bows, arrows, spears,
and large clubs, and inspired us with such dread that we anxiously wished
ourselves safe back at the ships. On entering, they began to talk among
themselves, and we suspected that they were deliberating upon making us
prisoners, on which account we consulted together how we should act for
own safety. Some of our party proposed to attack them in the hut, while
others thought it would be safer to do so in the open ground, and the rest
were against proceeding to extremities till we were quite certain of the
intentions of the natives. We accordingly stole out of the cabin, and
resumed the path which led towards the shore. The men followed us at the
distance of a stones-throw, always speaking among themselves, and
apparently as much afraid of us as we were of them,; for when we stopped
they did the same, and only continued to advance as we retreated, always
keeping at a respectful distance. When at length we reached the boats, and
had pushed off from the shore, they all leapt into the sea, and shot a
number of their arrows against us, of which we were not now in much fear.
We fired two shots among them, more for the purpose of intimidation than
of killing them; and scared by the report, they all fled away into the
woods, and we saw no more of them. All of these people went naked, as has
been said of the other natives whom we had seen; and on account of the
prodigious size of these men, we named this place the island of Giants.

Proceeding on our voyage at no great distance from this last place, we had
frequent encounters with the natives, as they were unwilling to allow of
any thing being taken from their country. On this account, and because our
stock of provisions had become scanty, as we had been near a year at sea,
we resolved on returning to Spain. Since our departure from the Cape Verde
islands, we had been always in the torrid zone, and had twice crossed the
equator, insomuch that the remaining provisions in our ships were much
injured by the heat of the climate. In prosecuting our determination of
returning home, it pleased God to conduct us to a place for repairing our
vessels, where we found a people who received us with much kindness, and
from whom we procured a great number of oriental pearls. During
forty-seven days which we spent among this tribe, we purchased an hundred
and nineteen fine pearls, at an expence not exceeding forty ducats; as we
gave them in return bells, mirrors, and beads of glass and amber of very
little value. For one bell we could obtain as many pearls as we pleased to
take. We also learned where and how they procured their pearls, and they
even gave us many of the oysters in which they are found, several of which
we likewise bought, in some of which we found an hundred and thirty pearls,
but in others considerably fewer. Unless when perfectly ripe, and quite
detached from the shells in which they grow, they are very imperfect, for
they wither and come to nothing, as I have frequently experienced; but
when ripe, they separate from among the flesh, except that they then
merely stick to it, and these, are always the best.

After a stay of forty-seven days at this place in great friendship with
the natives, we took our departure, and went to the island of _Antilia_[6],
which was discovered a few years ago by Christopher Columbus, where we
remained two months and two days repairing our vessels and procuring
necessaries for the voyage home. During our stay there we suffered many
insults from the Christian inhabitants, the particulars of which are here
omitted to avoid prolixity. Leaving that island on the 22d of July, we
arrived at the port of Cadiz on the eighth of September[7], after a voyage
of six weeks, where we were honourably received; having thus, by the
blessing of God, finished our second voyage.

[1] This latitude of 5° S. would lead to Cape St Roquo on the coast of
    Brazil; but the indications given by Americus during his several
    voyages are exceedingly vague and uncertain.--E.

[2] The sun on the 27th of June has just passed to the south side of the
    equator, and is in the tropic of cancer on the 23d of March.--E.

[3] Called in the text myrrh-apples, _Poma myrrhae_, perhaps meant to
    imply mirabolans.--E.

[4] This appears to refer to chewing tobacco, and gives a strong picture
    of that custom carried to excess.--E.

[5] This person was probably a noted giant, or remarkably tall man, then
    well known in the south of Europe: Or it may refer to a colossal image
    of St Francis.--E.

[6] The island of Hispaniola is certainly here meant, to which Americus
    has chosen to give the fabulous or hypothetical name of Antilia,
    formerly mentioned; perhaps with the concealed intention of
    depreciating the grand discovery of Columbus, by insinuating that the
    Antilles were known long before his voyage.--E.

[7] Though not mentioned in the text, this date must have been of the year
    1500; or at least intended to be so understood by Americus--E.


_The Third Voyage of Americus Vespucius_.

While I was at Seville recovering from the fatigues of my late voyages,
and intending again to visit the _Land of Pearls_, it happened that
Emanuel king of Portugal chose, for what reason I know not, to send me a
letter by a messenger, earnestly desiring my immediate presence at Lisbon,
where he engaged to do much for my advantage. I signified by the messenger
that I was entirely disposed to comply with the commands of his majesty,
but was then ill, and should certainly evince my obedience if I recovered.
The king of Portugal afterwards sent Julian Bartholomew Jocundus from
Lisbon, with orders to use his endeavours to bring me with him to the
royal presence; and as all my acquaintances urged me against attempting
another voyage on account of my bad health, I was obliged to comply, and
immediately departed from Spain, where I had been very honourably
entertained, the king even having conceived a good opinion of me, and so
great was the urgency that I set out without taking leave of my host. On
presenting myself to Emanuel, I was graciously received, and strongly
urged to go along with three of his ships which had been fitted out for
discovering new countries; and as the requests of kings are equivalent to
commands, I consented to his desire.

I accordingly departed from Lisbon with the three ships belonging to his
majesty on the 10th of May 1501. We steered, in the first place, for the
Canaries, after which we proceeded for the western coast of Africa, where
during three days stay we took a prodigious number of certain fishes which
are called _Phargi_. From thence we went to that part of Ethiopia which is
called _Besilica_[1], which is situated in the torrid zone and first
climate, in 14° of north latitude. We here remained for eleven days,
taking in wood and water to enable us to continue our voyage through the
southern Atlantic. Leaving this port with a S.E. wind, we arrived in about
sixty-seven days at a certain island which is 700 leagues to the S.E. of
the before-mentioned port. During this voyage, we suffered prodigiously,
owing to the tempestuous weather which we encountered, especially near the
equator. At that place it was winter in the month of June, the days and
nights were of equal length, and our shadows were always towards the south.
At length it pleased the Almighty to conduct us to a new country on the
17th of August, where we came to anchor about a league and a half from the
shore, to which we went in our boats to see whether it were inhabited. We
accordingly found that it was full of inhabitants, who were worse than
beasts; though at our first landing we could not see any of the natives,
we yet saw by numerous traces on the shore that the country was very
populous. We took possession of this land for the king of Castile[2],
finding it in all appearance fertile and pleasant. This place is five
degrees beyond the equator to the south. After the ceremony of taking
possession, we returned to our ships; and as we required a supply of wood
and water, we went on shore next day for that purpose. While employed on
that service, we saw some natives on the top of a hill at some distance,
who could not be prevailed on to come towards us. They were all naked, and
of a similar colour and appearance with those we had seen in the former
voyages. As we had not been able to have any intercourse with the natives,
we left some bells, looking-glasses, and other trifles for them on the
ground, when we returned to our ships in the evening. When they saw us at
some distance from the shore, they came down from the hill to where we had
been, and shewed many tokens of surprise at the things we had left.

As we had only provided ourselves with water at this first trip, we
proposed going on shore next day, when we saw numbers of the natives
making several fires and smokes along the shore, as if inviting us to land.
Yet when we actually landed, though great numbers of people collected at
some distance, they could not be induced to join us, yet made signals for
us to go farther into the land along with them. On this account, two of
our men who were prepared for exposing themselves to such dangers[3], on
purpose to learn what kind of people these were, and whether they
possessed any spices or rich commodities, asked permission from the
commander of our ships to go with the natives, and took a number of
trinkets along with them for the purpose of barter. They accordingly set
off, engaging to return to the shore at the end of five days, and we
returned to the ships. Eight days elapsed without seeing any thing of our
men, during all which time many of the natives came down every day to the
beach, but would never enter into any intercourse with us. On the eighth
day we went again on shore, where we found that the natives were
accompanied by great numbers of their women; but as soon as we advanced
towards them the men withdrew, yet sent many of their women to meet us,
who seemed exceedingly shy and much afraid. On this account we sent
forwards a stout active young man, thinking that the women would be less
afraid of one than of many, and we returned to our boats. The women all
flocked about the young man, touching and examining him with eager
curiosity, while another woman came down the mountain, having a large
spear in her hand, with which she pierced the youth, who fell dead
immediately. The women then dragged his dead body by the feet to the
mountain; and the men came down to the shore armed with bows and arrows,
and began to shoot at us to our great alarm, as our boats dragged on the
sand, the water being very shallow, so that we were unable to get quickly
out of their way. For some time we had not presence of mind to take to our
arms, but at length we shot off four pieces against them; and although
none of the natives were hit, they were so astonished at the reports, that
they all fled to the mountain, where they joined the women who had killed
our young man. We could now see them cut his body in pieces, which they
held up to our view, after which they roasted these at a large fire, and
eat them. By signs, likewise, they made us understand that they had killed
and eaten our two men who went among them eight days before. We were sore
grieved at the savage brutality of these people, insomuch that forty of us
resolved to go on shore and attack them in revenge of their ferocious
cruelty; but our commander would on no account permit us, and we were
forced to depart unrevenged and much dissatisfied.

Leaving this savage country, with the wind at E.S.E. we saw no people for
a long time that would allow of any intercourse with them. We at length
doubled a head-land, which we named Cape St Vincent, which is 150 leagues
from the place where our men were slain towards the east, this new land
stretching out in a S.W. direction. This cape is eight degrees beyond the
equinoctial line towards the south [4]. Continuing our voyage beyond this
cape, we sailed along the coast of a country hitherto unvisited, and one
day saw a vast number of people who seemed greatly to admire both
ourselves and the size of our vessels. Having brought our vessels to
anchor in a safe place, we landed among these natives, whom we found of
much milder dispositions than those we were last among, yet it cost us
much trouble and patience to make them familiar with us, but we at length
succeeded in making them our friends, and remained five days among them,
trafficking for such articles as their country produced: Among these were
sugar-canes, green reeds, great quantities of unripe figs, some of which
we likewise found ripe on the tops of the trees. We agreed to take away
two of the natives from hence, that we might learn their language, and
three of them accompanied us to Portugal of their own accord.

Leaving this harbour with the wind at S.W. we proceeded along the land,
keeping it always in sight, and keeping up frequent intercourse with the
inhabitants, until we at length went beyond the tropic of Capricorn, so
far south that the south pole became elevated thirty-two degrees above the
horizon[5]. We had already lost sight of the Ursa Minor; the Ursa Major
appeared very low, almost touching the northern horizon; and we had now to
guide our course by the new stars of another hemisphere, which are more
numerous, larger, and brighter than those of our pole. On this account, I
delineated the figures of many of these new constellations, especially of
the largest, and took their declinations on the tracks which they describe
around the south pole, together with the measurement of the diameters and
semidiameters of their tracks, as shall be found in the history of my four
voyages which I am preparing for publication. In this long course,
beginning from Cape St Augustine[6], we had run 700 leagues along the
coast; 100 of these towards the west, and 600 towards the S.W.[7]. Were I
to attempt enumerating every thing we saw in this long and arduous
navigation, my letter would exceed all bounds. We found few things of any
value, except great numbers of _cassia_ trees, and many others which
produce certain nuts, to describe which and many other curious things
would occasion great prolixity. We spent ten months in this voyage, but
finding no precious minerals, we agreed to bend our course to a different
quarter. Accordingly orders were issued to lay in a stock of wood and
water for six months, as our pilots concluded that our vessels were able
to continue so much longer at sea.

Having provided ourselves for continuing the voyage, we departed with a
south-east wind, and on the 13th of February, when the sun had already
begun to approach the equinoctial on its way to our northern hemisphere,
we had gone so far that the south pole was elevated fifty-two degrees
above the horizon, so that we had now lost sight not only of the Less but
of the Great Bear; and by the 3d of April we had got 500 leagues from the
place of our last departure[8]. On that day, 3d April, so fierce a tempest
arose at S.W. that we had to take in all our sails and scud under bare
poles, the sea running mountains high, and all our people in great fear.
The nights now were very long, as on the 7th April, when the sun is near
the sign of Aries, we found them to last fifteen hours, the winter now
beginning. While driving amid this tempest, we descried land on the 2d of
April[9] at about twenty leagues distance. We found this land altogether
barren, without harbours, and destitute of inhabitants, in my opinion
because the intense cold would render it almost impossible for any one to
live there[10].

We had undergone such fatigue and danger from this storm, that all now
agreed to return towards Portugal; yet on the following day we were
assailed by a fresh tempest of such violence that every one expected to be
overwhelmed by its fury. In this extremity, our sailors made many vows of
pilgrimages for their safety, and performed many ceremonies according to
the customs of sea-faring men. We were driven by this terrible storm for
five days without a single rag of sail in which time we proceeded 250
leagues on the ocean, approaching towards the equator, the temperature of
the sea and air always improving, till at length, by the cessation of the
storm, it pleased God to relieve us from our danger. In this course our
direction was towards the N.N.E. because we wished to attain the coast of
Africa, from which we were 1300 leagues distant across the Atlantic; and
by the blessing of the Almighty, we arrived on the 10th of May at that
province which is named _Sierra Leone_, where we remained fifteen days for
refreshments, and to rest ourselves from the fatigues of our long and
perilous voyage. From thence we steered for the Azores, distant 750
leagues from Sierra Leone, and arrived there near the end of July, where
likewise we stopped fifteen days for refreshments. We sailed hence for our
port of Lisbon, whence we were now 300 leagues distant to the west, and
arrived there by the aid of the Almighty in 1502[11], with two only of our
ships, having been forced to burn the other at Sierra Leone, as it was
incapable of being navigated any farther. During this third voyage we
were absent about sixteen months, eleven of which we had sailed without
sight of the north Star or of the Greater and Lesser Bears, during which
time we directed our course by the other stars of the southern pole.

[1] Assuredly Brasil is here meant, yet the latitude is absurdly

[2] This must necessarily be an error, as he now sailed in the service of
    the king of Portugal.--E.

[3] Perhaps malefactors, who have been formerly mentioned in the early
    Portuguese voyages to India, as employed in such hazardous

[4] Could we trust to the position in the text, lat. 8° S. this voyage
    must have been upon the coast of Brazil, and the cape named St Vincent
    by Americus ought to be that now called St Augustine: Indeed in a
    subsequent passage of this same voyage he gives this cape that

[5] Lat. 32° S. as in the text, would bring this voyage of Americus all
    down the coast of Brazil almost to the mouth of the _Rio Grande_, or
    of St Pedro, now the boundary between Portuguese America and the
    Spanish viceroyalty of Buenos Ayres.--E.

[6] Obviously the same cape which was called St Vincent only a little way
    before, and which now receives its true name.--E.

[7] The difference of latitude between Cape St Augustine and the Rio
    Grande, is 24 degrees, or 480 leagues, and their difference of
    longitude 17 degrees or 340 leagues.--E.

[8] The circumstances in the text would indicate that Americus had now run
    down the eastern coast of South America, almost to the entrance of the
    Straits of Magellan.--E.

[9] The tempest has been already stated as beginning on the 3d of April,
    whence we must presume the present date in the text to be a
    typographical error, perhaps for the _twenty_-second.--E.

[10] From the high latitude of 52° S. in which they were at the
    commencement of the storm, and the direction of the wind from the S.W.
    it seems highly probable that this barren land was what is now called
    the Falkland Islands.--E.

[11] Though not mentioned in the text, we may conclude, from the time
    occupied in this voyage, as indicated a little farther on, that
    Americus returned to Lisbon in August 1502, the voyage having
    commenced in May 1501, and lasted sixteen months.--E.


_The Fourth Voyage of Americus Vespucius_.

It now remains for me to inform your majesty of what things I saw during
my fourth voyage. But, both because I have already satiated your majesty
by long narration, and because this last voyage had an unlucky end, owing
to a great misfortune which befel us in a certain bay of the Atlantic
ocean, I shall be brief in my present account. We sailed from Lisbon with
six ships under the command of an admiral, being bound for a certain
island _towards the horizon_[1], named _Melcha_[2], famous for its riches
and as a station for vessels of all kinds trading between the Gangetic and
Indian seas[3], as Cadiz is the great intermediate harbour for the ships
of all nations sailing between the west of Europe and the Levant. To this
port of Melcha the course is by the famous emporium of Calicut, from which
Melcha is farther to the east and south[4].

Departing from Lisbon on the 10th of May 1508, we sailed to the Cape Verd
islands, where we remained twelve days taking in various accessaries for
the voyage, when we set sail with a S.E. wind, the admiral, contrary to
all our opinions, merely that he might presumptuously shew himself to be
commander over us and our six ships, insisting upon going to Sierra Leone,
in southern Ethiopia, which was altogether unnecessary. On arriving in
sight of that place a dreadful storm arose in a direction opposite to our
course, so that during four days, we were not only unable to attain our
destined object, but were forced to retrace our former course. By this
wind at S.S.W.[4] we were driven 300 leagues into the ocean, insomuch that
we got almost three degrees beyond the line, when to our no small joy we
came in sight of land distant twelve leagues[6]. This was a very high
island in the middle of the ocean, rather exceeding two leagues long and
about one league broad, in which no human being had ever been, yet was it
to us most unfortunate, as on it our commander lost his vessel by his own
folly and bad management. This happened on the night of St Lawrence, or
10th of August, when his ship struck upon a rock, and soon after sunk with
every thing on board, the crew only being saved. This ship was of 300 tons
burthen, and in it we lost the main power of all our hopes. While all were
plying about the sinking vessel, and using our endeavours to save her, I
was ordered by the admiral to go in a boat to the island, to see if any
good harbour could be found for the reception of our ships. He would not
allow me, however, to use my own ship[7] on this service, which was manned
by nine of my sailors, because it was required for aiding his own ship, so
that I had to go in another boat with only four or five men, the admiral
engaging to restore my own when I had found a harbour. I made the best of
my way to the island, from which we were now only four leagues, and soon
found an excellent harbour which could have contained our whole fleet. I
remained here eight days, anxiously looking for the arrival of the admiral
and our squadron, whose non-appearance gave me great uneasiness, and so
greatly dismayed the people who were with me that they were reduced almost
to despair. While in this forlorn condition, we espied on the eighth day a
sail on the horizon, and went off immediately in our boat to meet them,
hopeful that they would take us to a better port. On getting up with this
vessel, we were informed that the admirals ship, which we had left in
great danger, had gone to the bottom. This melancholy intelligence gave us
vast uneasiness, as we were 1000 leagues from Lisbon. But putting our
trust in Providence, we returned with the ship to the before-mentioned
island, on purpose to take in wood and water for the voyage.

This island was wild and uninhabited, but had many pleasant rills of
excellent water, with great abundance of trees, and prodigious numbers
both of land and water-fowl, which were so tame, from being unaccustomed
to man, that they allowed themselves to be caught by hand, so that we
caught as many as filled one of our boats. The only quadrupeds were large
rats, and lizards having forked tails, besides which there were several
serpents. Having taken in such refreshments as the island afforded, we set
sail on a S.S.W. course, the king having ordered us to follow the same
direction we had pursued in our preceding voyage. We at length reached a
port, to which we gave the name of the Bay of all Saints[8], which we
reached in seventeen days sail, being favoured with a fair wind, although
300 leagues distance from the before-mentioned island[9]. Although we
waited here two months and four days, we were not joined by any of the
ships belonging to our squadron. It was therefore agreed upon between the
master and me to proceed farther along this coast, which we did
accordingly for 260 leagues to a certain harbour, where we determined upon
erecting a fort, in which we left twenty-four of our men who had been
saved out of the admirals ship[10]. We remained five months at this
harbour, occupied in building the fort, and in loading our ships with
Brazil-wood; our stay being protracted by the small number of our hands
and the magnitude of our labour, so that we only made slow progress.

Having finished our labours, we determined on returning to Portugal, for
which we required a wind that would allow us to hold a N.N.E. course. We
left twenty-four of our men in the fort, with twelve cannon, abundance of
other weapons, and provisions for six months, having entered into a treaty
of friendship with the natives. Of these I omit any particular notice,
although we saw vast numbers of them, and had much and frequent
intercourse with them during our long stay; having penetrated about forty
leagues into the interior of the country, accompanied by thirty of the
natives. In that expedition I saw many things worthy of notice, which I do
not here insert, but which will be found in my book describing my four
voyages. The situation of this fort and harbour is in latitude 18° S. and
35° W. longitude from Lisbon. Leaving this place we steered our course
N.N.E. for Lisbon, at which place we arrived in seventy-seven days after
many toils and dangers, on the 28th June 1504. We were there received very
honourably, even beyond our expectations, the whole city believing we had
perished on the ocean, as indeed all the rest of our companions did,
through the presumptuous folly of our commander. I now remain in Lisbon,
unknowing what may be the intentions of his majesty respecting me, though
I am now desirous of resting myself after my great labours.

[1] Such is the expression in the original, the _eastern_ horizon being so
    named apparently by way of eminence.--E.

[2] As written by an Italian, Melcha has the sound of Melka, and the place
    here indicated is obviously the city of Malacca in the Malayan
    peninsula, long a famous emporium for the trade of eastern India and

[3] The Bay of Bengal and sea of China.--E.

[4] In the original these positions are thus unaccountably misrepresented,
    as literally translated: "Melcha is more to the _west_, and Calicut
    more to the _south_; being situated 33° from the Antarctic pole."--E.

    It would appear from some circumstances in the sequel, that this fleet
    was directed to visit Brazil on its way to India; and that the
    ultimate object of the voyage was frustrated through its early

[5] _Per suduestium, qui ventus est inter meridiem et lebeccium:_ Between
    the S. and S.W. or S.S.W.--E.

[6] Perhaps the island of St Matthew, which is nearly in the latitude
    indicated in the text, and about the distance mentioned from Sierra
    Leone; yet it is difficult to conceive how they could get there with a
    storm at S.S.W. as the course is S.S.E. from Sierra Leone.--E.

[7] Such is the literal meaning of the original, yet I suspect Americus
    here means his largest boat.--E.

[8] In the original, _Omnium Sanctorum Abbatium_, but which must assuredly
    be Bahia dos todos los Santos, in lat 13° S. on the coast of

[9] The distance between the island of St Matthew, and the Bay of All
    Saints, is not less than 600 leagues, or thirty degrees; yet that
    distance might certainly be run in seventeen days with a fair wind.--E.

[10] The number of leagues mentioned in the text would lead us to the Bay
    of Santos on the coast of Brazil, in latitude twenty-four degrees S.
    but in the text this first attempt to colonize Brazil is said to have
    been in latitude eighteen degrees S. near which the harbour now named
    Abrolhos is situated.--E.

       *       *       *       *       *




The surprizing success of the Spaniards, in reducing so many fine islands,
and such extensive, rich, and fruitful countries under their dominion in
so short a time, has occasioned many authors to conceive that they must
have conducted their affairs with extraordinary prudence, and with that
steadiness of character for which their nation has always been remarkable.
But only a little reflection on the history of these events, will shew
that they acted with less judgment and good conduct than could have been
expected from a nation so renowned for wisdom. In truth, the whole of
these vast acquisitions were derived from the valour and exertions of
individuals; for few nations can boast of abler politicians or braver and
more expert captains, than the three great men to whom Spain is indebted
for its mighty empire in America. The first or these was the admiral
Columbus, who discovered the islands, and paved the way by his discoveries
for those who found out and subdued the two great continental empires of
America. The next was Cortes, and the third Pizarro, both men of
incredible valour and ability, and worthy therefore of immortal fame. Let
us compare the expedition of Nearchus with that of Columbus; and consider
with how great a fleet and what a number of men and able commanders, the
Grecian admiral accomplished so small a discovery, sailing always in sight
of land, and only from the mouth of the Indus to the head of the Persian
Gulf: Yet how great a figure does his expedition make in the works of the
greatest authors of antiquity, and what mighty rewards were bestowed upon
him for his services. Columbus, with only three vessels, smaller than any
of those of Nearchus, and with scarcely any encouragement or assistance
from those who accompanied him, made the surprising voyage from Spain to
the West Indies, a region before utterly unknown, and paved the way for
wider and more useful conquests than accrued to Alexander by his Indian
expedition. Let us compare the force with which Alexander attacked the
Indians, yet failed to subdue them, with the handfuls of men commanded by
Cortes and Pizarro; and we shall find the latter much greater conquerors
beyond all question, as will be more clearly seen in the accounts of their
respective expeditions. These are only adduced for the present, as proofs
that it was not to the wisdom of the Spanish government, but to the
personal abilities of those individuals who were accidentally employed in
its service, that these events were owing.

We have seen how ungratefully the court of Spain treated the first and
great discoverer of the New World, and how far it was from enabling him to
exert his great capacity in its service. After his disgrace and death, the
management of the affairs of the West Indies fell almost entirely into the
hands of Fonseca, bishop of Burgos, who of all the statesmen belonging to
the court of Spain was least fit to have been entrusted with affairs of
such importance, and who accordingly misconducted them in a most
surprising manner. Listening on the one hand to the proposals of every
needy adventurer, and slighting all those men on the other hand who were
most likely to have pushed the new discoveries to advantage, by the
knowledge they had acquired of the West Indies, by their wise conduct in
the settlement of the new colonies, and the power they possessed for
prosecuting farther discoveries and establishing new colonies; we
accordingly find that not one of all the bishop's instruments succeeded in
their projects, but uniformly reduced themselves to beggary, by rashly
engaging in enterprises beyond their means and abilities; while all the
successful undertakings were accomplished by persons employed by the
governors of colonies, and consequently the Spanish administration at home
had no right to take any credit to themselves for the successful issue of
any of the expeditions.

The only favourites of Bishop Fonseca who made any figure in the world,
were two bad men, well furnished with impudence, but very indifferently
provided with talents or abilities. The first of these, Americus Vespucius,
was made chief pilot of Spain by the interest of his patron, and had all
the journals of discoveries communicated to him, from which he constructed
very elegant maps, in which he exerted his fancy to supply any defects in
the information he had received; so that he exhibited things in very
graceful proportions, and the only thing wanting in his draughts being a
strict regard to truth. They answered his purpose, however, admirably; as,
besides securing him an honourable office with a competent salary, they
enabled him to impose his name on the New World, even before he had
visited any part of its shores. The other unworthy favourite of the bishop
was Bernard de Santa Clara, whom he appointed treasurer of Hispaniola
under the government of Obando, another of the bishop's worthy favourites.
The treasurer was but an indifferent steward for the king, but he acquired
a great fortune for himself, of which he was so proud, that he caused four
great salt-sellers to be placed every day on his table full of gold dust.
When this piece of vanity became known in Spain, a commission was granted
to examine into his accounts, by which it was discovered that he had
cheated the crown, or was at least indebted to it, to the amount of 80,000
pesos, which is near L.25,000 of our money. The governor Obando was
sensible that the sale of every thing belonging to this man would hardly
suffice to discharge his debt to the crown; but fell upon the following
expedient to save the bishop's credit and his own, and to serve the
treasurer. Professing a strict regard to justice, he ordered the effects
of the treasurer to be sold by auction, and encouraged the people to bid
considerably more than they were worth, warranting all the lots to be good
bargains. On purpose to acquire the favour and protection of the governor,
the colonists bid so much upon each other, that the whole effects sold for
96,000 pesos; so that the crown was paid, and the treasurer had a very
pretty fortune with which to begin the world a-new. Such were the arts and
intrigues of those men by whom the admiral Columbus was oppressed, and
such the dirty contrivances by which they supported each other. Yet these
things were done under the administration of King Ferdinand, who was
esteemed one of the wisest monarchs of his time; and matters were even
worse conducted under the emperor Charles V. though certainly the greatest
prince in every respect that ever sat on the throne of Spain.

The inference I would draw from all this is, that at all events, and under
all administrations, discoveries ought ever to be attempted and encouraged,
because they carry in themselves such incitements for their completion,
that they hardly ever fail to prove beneficial at the end, whatever
mistakes or mismanagements may occur at their commencement. Some ascribe
this to chance, and others, with more sense and decency, to Providence.
However this may be, great occasions are certain to bring forth great
spirits, if they do not produce them; and when once the way is laid open,
and a few instances have shewn that things are practicable that had been
thought impossible for ages, mighty things are performed. Emulation is a
noble principle, and one of the most valuable secrets in government is to
excite this; for every thing that finds favour from the great, or that
meets with popular encouragement, is almost always carried to a great
degree of perfection. When a spirit is once raised, even the most
disastrous reverses are not able to extinguish it. Thus the numbers of
Spaniards who perished in the first attempts to colonize the continent, by
shipwreck, famine, and disease; and the unfortunate catastrophes of Hojeda,
Nicuessa, and Cordova, had no effect to deter others from embarking in
similar enterprises. As all agreed that gold and pearls were to be
acquired in these parts; the thirst of gain in some, and the desire of
glory in others, soon overcame the terrors of such unfortunate examples,
and many attribute the miscarriage of those attempts to the imprudence or
misconduct of the commanders; and as slanders always find an easy belief,
so the imputations on the dead served to encourage the living, and men
were easily led to believe that their own superior abilities or their
better fortune would carry them through, where former adventurers had

There were several other concurring circumstances which gave life and
vigour to these enterprises, which we shall briefly enumerate under three
principal heads. In the first place, the marriage of Don Diego Columbus
with Donna Maria de Toledo, induced many young gentlemen and ladies of
good families to go over to Hispaniola, which proved of infinite
importance to the new colony; as the strong tincture of heroism or romance
in the Spanish character, was the fittest that could be conceived for
promoting such exploits. Secondly, The establishment of a sovereign
tribunal at St Domingo, the members of which had large salaries, induced
some considerable persons of more advanced age and experience to go there,
in whose train a number of young people of quality went over in search of
profitable or honourable employments. By the continual struggle for power
between this new tribunal and the young admiral, a jealousy and
competition was excited between the dependents of both parties; which,
whatever trouble and perplexity it might occasion to their superiors, had
very favourable effects on the colony in the main, and greatly promoted
its advancement and success. In the third place, The great dislike which
prevailed in Spain against Charles V. especially at his first coming to
the crown, on account of his partiality for his countrymen the Flemings,
induced the Spanish gentry to prefer advancing their fortunes in the West
Indies, to which none but Spaniards were permitted to go, rather than in
the service of the court, which they believed not willing to discern their
merits, or to reward them as they thought they deserved.--_Harris_.

[1] Harris, II. 49.

[2] Harris, II. 62. This introduction is transposed from Harris, who
    places it at the end instead of the beginning of his summary.--E.


_Improvements made in the colony of Hispaniola by Nicholas de Obando, and
the great value of Gold produced in that Island during his Government_.

It is natural to begin this chapter with some account of the progress of
the Spaniards in Hispaniola after the settlement of a regular government,
by which the value of the discovery became apparent; as owing to the great
wealth derived from this colony at the first, the Spaniards were excited
to continue their discoveries. This source of wealth has been long dried
up, and we now hear nothing whatever of the gold of Hispaniola; which
yielded more in proportion at its first discovery than even Peru has done
since. The early prosperity of Hispaniola was in a great measure owing to
the care and judicious industry of Nicolas Obando, who, in the first place,
employed a skilful pilot to sail round the whole inland, and describe its
coast and harbors, and afterwards took much pains to examine and survey
all the provinces of the island. A mine of excellent copper was
discovered in his time near the town of _Puerto Real_, but after a great
deal of money had been expended on the adventure, its produce was found
inadequate to the expence. The 300 Spaniards who inhabited the island at
the first coming of Obando, lived in a very disorderly manner, and had
taken to themselves the most beautiful native women of the island, and of
the highest families, whom they kept as mistresses, though the parents of
these women considered them as married. This lewdness gave great offence
to the Franciscan friars, who made representations to the governor to
remedy the evil. Obando accordingly issued an order, by which the
Spaniards were enjoined either to put away their Indian mistresses or to
marry them. Many of the Spaniards were men of quality, and thought this a
hardship; yet rather than lose the dominion they had acquired over the
Indians through these female connections, they consented to marry them.
The lawyers on the island alleged that this conveyed a legal right of
dominion over the Indians; but Obando, lest the Spaniards should become
proud as hereditary lords, took away the Indian vassals from them as soon
as they were married, and made them grants of equal numbers in other parts
of the island, that he might retain them under submission, as holding the
Indians only by gift. This was considered as depriving these would-be
lords of their just rights, but had the best consequences, by
consolidating and securing the authority of government.

When Nicholas de Obando went to take possession of the government of
Hispaniola in 1500, he carried along with him Roderick de Alcaçar,
goldsmith to their Catholic majesties, as marker of the gold, who was to
receive a fee of one per cent. then thought a very indifferent allowance.
After the distribution of the Indians among the colonists, so much gold
was gathered that it was melted four times every year; twice at the town
of _Buena Ventura_ on the river Hayna, eight leagues from St Domingo,
where the gold brought from the old and new mines was cast into ingots;
and twice a-year at the city of _de la Vega_, or the _Conception_, to
which the gold from _Cibao_ and the neighbouring districts was brought for
the same purpose. At each melting in Buena Ventura, the produce was from
11,000 to 12,000 pesos; and at La Vega between 125,000 and 130,000 pesos,
sometimes 140,000. Hence all the gold of the island amounted to 460,000
pesos yearly, equal to L.150,000 Sterling; which yielded 4,600 pesos, or
L.150 yearly to Alcaçar, which was then thought a very considerable
revenue, insomuch that the grant was revoked by their Catholic majesties.
It seldom happened that the adventurers at the mines were gainers,
notwithstanding the vast quantities of gold procured, as they always lived
luxuriously and upon credit; so that their whole share of the gold was
often seized at melting times for their debts, and very frequently there
was not enough to satisfy their creditors.


_Settlement of the Island of Porto Rico, under the command of Juan Ponce
de Leon_.

A war which took place in a province of Hispaniola, called _Higuey_, added
greatly to the power of the Spaniards, as Obando appointed Juan Ponce de
Leon to keep the Indians of that quarter under subjection. This man was
possessed of good sense and great courage, but was of an imperious and
cruel disposition, and soon formed projects of extending his authority
beyond the narrow bounds which had been assigned him. Learning from the
Indians of his province, that the island of _St Juan de Puerto Rico_,
called _Borriquen_ by the natives, was very rich in gold, he was anxious
to inquire into this circumstance personally. For this purpose, he
communicated the intelligence he had received to Obando, whose leave he
asked to go over to that island, to trade with the natives, to inquire
into the circumstance of its being rich in gold, and to endeavour to make
a settlement. Hitherto nothing more was known of that island than that it
appeared very beautiful and abundantly peopled to those who sailed along
its coasts. Having received authority from Obando, Juan Ponce went over to
Porto Rico in a small caravel, with a small number of Spaniards, and some
Indians who had been there. He landed in the territories of a cacique
named _Aguey Bana_, the most powerful chief of the island, by whom, and
the mother and father-in-law of the chief, he was received and entertained
in the most friendly manner. The cacique even exchanged names with him, by
a ceremony which they call _guaticos_, or sworn-brothers. Ponce named the
mother of the cacique, Agnes, and the father-in-law Francis; and though
they refused to be baptized, they retained these names. These people were
exceedingly good-natured, and the cacique was always counselled by his
mother and father-in-law to keep on friendly terms with the Spaniards.
Ponce very soon applied himself to make inquiries as to the gold mines,
which the natives of Hispaniola alleged to be in this island, and the
cacique conducted him all over the island, shewing him the rivers where
gold was found. Two of these were very rich, one called Manatuabon and the
other Cebuco, from which a great deal of treasure was afterwards drawn.
Ponce procured some samples of the gold, which he carried to Obando in
Hispaniola, leaving some Spaniards in the island, who were well
entertained by the cacique, till others came over to settle in the island.
The greatest part of the island of Porto Rico consists of high mountains,
some of which are clothed with fine grass, like those of Hispaniola. There
are few plains, but many pleasant vales with rivers running through them,
and all very fertile. The western point of the island is only 12 or 15
leagues from the eastern cape of Hispaniola, so that the one may be seen
from the other in clear weather from the high land of either cape. There
are some harbours, but none of them good, except that called Porto Rico,
where the city of that name is situated, which is likewise an episcopal
see. This island is at least forty leagues long by fifty in breadth, and
measures 120 leagues in circumference. The south coast is in latitude 17°,
and the north coast in 18°, both N. It formerly produced much gold, though
not quite so pure as that of Hispaniola, yet not much inferior.


_Don James Columbus is appointed to the Government of the Spanish
Dominions in the West Indies_.

We have already had occasion to notice the mean and scandalous behaviour
of King Ferdinand to Columbus, in depriving him and his family of their
just rights, for services of such high importance, that hardly any rewards
could be a sufficient recompense. After the death of the discoverer of
America, his eldest son and heir, James Columbus, succeeded to his
father's pretensions, along with which he inherited the dislike of King
Ferdinand, and the hatred of Bishop Fonseca. He long endeavoured by
petitions and personal applications at court to obtain his rights, but
could never procure any satisfaction, being always put off with fair words
and empty promises. Being at length wearied with ineffectual applications
for redress, he petitioned the king to allow his demands to be decided
upon by the courts of law; and as that could hardly be denied with any
decency, it was granted. This suit, as may well be supposed, was tedious
and troublesome; yet at length he obtained a clear decision in his favour,
and was re-established by the judges in all those rights which had been
granted to his father; in which he assuredly obtained nothing more than a
judicial recognition of a clear right which ought never to have been
disputed. To strengthen his interest at court, he married _Donna Maria_,
daughter to _Don Ferdinand de Toledo_, brother to the duke of _Alva_, and
cousin to the king; thus allying himself with one of the most illustrious
families in Spain. By the interest of his wifes relations, he at last
obtained the government of Hispaniola, in which he superseded Obando, the
great enemy of his father; but he had only the title of governor, not of
viceroy, which was his just and undoubted right. Don James Columbus went
out to his government of Hispaniola in 1508, two years after the decease
of his father, accompanied by his brother Don Ferdinand, and his uncles
Bartholomew and James, with many young Spanish noblemen. His lady was
likewise attended by several young ladies of good families; so that by
these noble attendants, the lustre of the new colony was restored and
augmented. His power in the government was no way greater than that which
had been confided to his predecessor, and was soon afterwards considerably
circumscribed by the establishment of a new court at St Domingo, under the
title of the _Royal Audience_, to which appeals were allowed from all parts
of the Spanish dominions in the New World.

While Ponce de Leon was occupied in the discovery of Porto Rico, Don James
Columbus came out to assume the government of Hispaniola in the room of
Obando, bringing with him from Spain a governor for the island of Porto
Rico. But Ponce de Leon, who had made the first settlement on that island,
disputed this new appointment; on which the young admiral set them both
aside, and appointed one Michael Cerron to the government, with Michael
Diaz as his lieutenant. De Leon, however, procured a new commission from
Spain, through the interest of his friend Obando with which he went over
to Porto Rico, and soon found pretext for a quarrel with Cerron and Diaz,
both of whom he sent prisoners to Spain. He now proceeded to make a
conquest of the island, which he found more difficult than he expected,
and had much ado to force the Indians to submit. This he at length
effected, reducing the natives to slavery, and employing them in the mines
till they were quite worn out, since which gold has likewise failed, which
many Spanish writers have considered as a judgment of God for that
barbarous proceeding, more especially as the same has happened in other
parts of their dominions.


_Settlement of a Pearl-Fishery at the Island of Cubagua_.

The court of Spain was at this time very solicitous to turn the
settlements already made in the New World to advantage, and was therefore
easily led into various projects which were formed for promoting the royal
revenue from that quarter. Among other projects, was one which recommended
the colonization of the island of Cabagua, or of Pearls, near Margarita,
on purpose to superintend the pearl-fishery there, and the young admiral
was ordered to carry that into execution. The Spanish inhabitants of
Hispaniola derived great advantage from this establishment, in which they
found the natives of the Lucayo or Bahama islands exceedingly useful, as
they were amazingly expert swimmers and divers, insomuch that slaves of
that nation became very dear, some selling for 150 ducats each. But the
Spaniards both defrauded the crown of the fifth part of the pearls, and
abused and destroyed the Lucayans, so that the fishery fell much off. The
island of Cubagua, which is rather more than 300 leagues from Hispaniola,
nearly in latitude 10° N. is about three leagues in circumference,
entirely flat, and without water, having a dry barren soil impregnated
with saltpetre, and only producing a few guiacum trees and shrubs. The
soil does not even grow grass, and there are no birds to be seen, except
those kinds which frequent the sea. It has no land animals, except a few
rabbits. The few natives which inhabited it, fed on the pearl oysters, and
had to bring their water in canoes from the continent of Cumana, seven
leagues distant, giving seed pearls in payment to those who brought it
over. They had their wood from the isle of Margarita, which almost
surrounds Cubagua from east to north-west, at the distance of a league. To
the south is Cape _Araya_ on the continent, near which there are extensive
_salines_ or salt ponds. Cubagua has a good harbour on the northern shore,
which is sheltered by the opposite island of Margarita. There was at first
such abundance of pearl oysters, that at one time the royal fifth amounted
to 15,000 ducats yearly. The oysters are brought up from the bottom by
divers, who stay under water as long as they can hold in their breath,
pulling the shells from the places to which they stick. Besides this place
there are pearls for above 400 leagues along this coast, all the way from
Cape _de La Vela_ to the gulf of Paria; for Admiral Christopher Columbus,
besides Cubagua, which he named the Island of Pearls, found them all along
the coast of Paria and Cumana, at _Maracapana_, _Puerto Flechado_, and
_Curiana_, which last is near _Venezuela_.


_Alonzo de Hojeda and Diego de Nicuessa are commissioned to make
Discoveries and Settlements in the New World, with an account of the
adventures and misfortunes of Hojeda_.

Among the adventurers who petitioned the court of Spain for licenses to
make discoveries, was Alonzo de Hojeda, a brave man, but very poor, who
had spent all he had hitherto gained; but John de la Cosa, who had been
his pilot and had saved money, offered to assist him with his life and
fortune. They got the promise of a grant of all that had been discovered
on the continent; but one Diego Nicuessa interposed, and being a richer
man, with better interest, he stopped their grant and procured half of it
to himself. Hojeda and Cosa got a grant of all the country from Cape _De
la Vela_ to the gulf of _Uraba_, now called the Gulf of Darien, the
country appropriated to them being called _New Andalusia_; while Nicuessa
received the grant of all the country from the before-mentioned gulf to
Cape _Garcias a Dios_, under the name of _Castilla del Oro_, or Golden
Castile. In neither of these grants was any notice taken of the admiral,
to whom, of right, all these countries belonged, as having being
discovered by his father. Nicuessa got likewise a grant of the island of
Jamaica; but the admiral being in the West Indies secured that to himself.
Hojeda fitted out a ship and a brigantine, and Nicuessa two brigantines,
with which vessels they sailed together to St Domingo, where they
quarrelled about their respective rights, and their disputes were adjusted
with much difficulty. These were at length settled, and they both
proceeded for their respective governments, or rather to settle the
colonies of which these were to be composed; but the disputes had occupied
so much time that it was towards the end of 1510 before either of them
left Hispaniola.

Hojeda, accompanied by Francis Pizarro, departed from the island Beata,
standing to the southward, and arrived in a few days at Carthagena, which
is called Caramari by the Indians. The natives of that place were then in
great confusion, and ready to oppose the Spaniards, because of the
injuries which had been done them by Christopher Guerra and others, who
had carried away many of the natives for slaves not long before. The
natives of this coast were of large stature, the men wearing their hair
down to their ears, while the women wore theirs long, and both sexes were
very expert in the use of bows and arrows. Hojeda and Cosa had some
religious men along with them, their Catholic majesties being very
desirous to have the Indians converted to Christianity; and having some
natives of Hispaniola along with them as interpreters, they tried by their
means to persuade the Indians to peace, leaving off their cruelty,
idolatry, and other vicious practices; but they were much incensed against
the Spaniards, on account of the villanous conduct of Guerra, and would by
no means listen to any peace or intercourse. Having used all possible
methods to allure them to peace and submission, pursuant to his
instructions, he had also orders to declare war and make slaves of them,
in case of their proving obstinate. He had at first endeavoured to procure
gold from these natives in exchange for Spanish toys; but as they were
fierce and refractory, Cosa recommended that they should establish their
colony at the bay of _Uraba_, where the natives were more gentle, after
which they could return to Carthagena better provided to overcome the
resistance of the natives. Hojeda, having been engaged in many quarrels
and encounters, both in Spain and Hispaniola, in all of which he had come
off without hurt, was always too resolute and fool hardy, and would not
listen to the salutary advice of his companion. He therefore immediately
fell upon the natives who were preparing to attack him, killed many,
seized others, and made booty of some gold in their habitations. After
this, taking some of his prisoners as guides, he marched to an Indian town,
four leagues up the country, to which the natives had fled from the
skirmish at the shore, and where he found them on their guard in greater
numbers, armed with targets, swords of an extraordinary hard wood, sharp
poisoned arrows, and a kind of javelins or darts. Shouting their usual war
cry, St Jago, the Spaniards fell furiously upon them, killing or taking
all they met, and forcing the rest to fly into the woods. Eight of the
natives who were not so expeditious as their fellows, took shelter in a
thatched hut, whence they defended themselves for some time, and killed
one of the Spaniards. Hojeda was so much incensed at this, that he ordered
the house to be set on fire, in which all these Indians perished miserably.
Hojeda took sixty prisoners at this town, whom he sent to the ships, and
followed after the Indians who had fled. Coming to a town called _Yarcabo_,
he found it deserted by the Indians, who had withdrawn to the woods and
mountains with their wives, children, and effects, on which the Spaniards
became careless, and dispersed themselves about the country, as if they
had no enemies to fear. Observing the careless security of the Spaniards,
the Indians fell upon them by surprise while they were dispersed in small
parties, and killed and wounded many of them with their poisoned arrows.
Hojeda, with a small party he had drawn together, maintained the fight a
long while, often kneeling that he might the more effectually shelter
himself under his target; but when he saw most of his men slain, he rushed
through the thickest of the enemy, and running with amazing speed into the
woods, he directed his course, as well as he could judge, towards the sea
where his ships lay. John de la Cosa got into a house which had no thatch,
where he defended himself at the door till all the men who were with him
were slain, and himself so sore wounded with poisoned arrows that he could
no longer stand. Looking about him in this extremity, he noticed one man
who still fought with great valour, whom he advised to go immediately to
Hojeda and inform him of what had happened. Hojeda and this man were all
that escaped of the party, seventy Spaniards being slaughtered in this
rash and ill-conducted enterprize.

In this unfortunate predicament, it happened luckily for the survivors
that Nicuessa appeared with his ships. Being informed of what had happened
to his rival, through his own rashness, he sent for him, and said that in
such a case they ought to forget their disputes, remembering only that
they were gentlemen and Spaniards. He offered at the same time to land
with his men, to assist Hojeda in revenging the death of Cosa and the rest.
Nicuessa accordingly landed with 400 men, which was more than sufficient
to defeat the Indians, whose town was taken and burnt. By this victory the
Spaniards acquired a vast number of slaves, and got so much booty that
each shared seven thousand pieces of gold. Nicuessa and Hojeda now agreed
to separate, that each might pursue the plan of discovery and settlement
which was directed by their respective commissions.

Understanding that Nicuessa intended to steer for Veragua, Hojeda made all
sail for the river of Darien; but having lost his old pilot, on whose
experience he chiefly depended, he missed the river, and resolved to
establish a settlement on the eastern promontory of the gulf of Uraba,
which he did accordingly, calling his new town St Sebastian; because that
saint is said to have been martyred by the arrows of the infidels, and was
therefore thought a fit patron to defend him against the poisoned arrows
of the Indians. He had scarcely fixed in this place when he found all the
inhabitants of the country to be a race of barbarous savages, from whom he
could only expect all the injury they could possibly do him and his colony.
In this situation, he dispatched one of his ships under Enciso to
Hispaniola, with orders to bring him as large a reinforcement of men as
possible, and immediately set to work in constructing entrenchments to
secure his remaining people against the natives. Provisions growing scarce,
so that his people could not subsist, be found himself soon obliged to
make excursions into the country in order to obtain a supply; but he was
unsuccessful in this measure, and had the misfortune to lose many of his
men by the arrows of the Indians, which were poisoned with the juice of a
stinking tree which grows by the sea side. By these disasters, his new
colony was speedily reduced to a very wretched situation; starved if they
remained within their works, and sure to meet death if they ventured out
into the country. While in this state of absolute despair, they were
surprised one day by seeing a ship entering the port. This was commanded
by Bernard de Talavera, no better than a pirate, who, flying from justice,
had taken shelter in this place, to him unknown. Hojeda was in too great
extremity to be nice in his inquiries into the character of Talavera, but
readily bought his cargo, and treated him so well in other respects, that
Talavera entered into his service. However serviceable this relief, it was
but of short continuance, as all their provisions were soon consumed, and
the savages were even more troublesome than before, if possible. As no
succours appeared from Hispaniola, they were reduced to vast straits, and
Hojeda at length determined upon going to St Domingo in order to procure
supplies. Leaving Francis Pizarro to command the colony in his absence, he
embarked in the vessel belonging to Talavera, but the voyage was
unfortunate from its very commencement. Hojeda not only used too much
severity to the crew, but behaved haughtily to Talavera, who laid him in
irons; but a storm soon arose, and the crew knowing him to be an
experienced seaman, set him at liberty, and it was chiefly through his
skill that they were enabled to save their lives, by running the ship
ashore on the coast of Cuba. Although it was only a short distance from
thence to Hispaniola, Talavera durst not go there, and prevailed on Hojeda
to venture a voyage of an hundred leagues in a canoe to Jamaica, which
they performed in safety. Hojeda had some pretensions by his commission to
the island of Jamiaca, and on hearing formerly that the admiral Don James
Columbus had sent Don Juan de Esquibel to that island, he had threatened
to cut off his head if ever he fell into his hands. He was now, however,
under the necessity of applying to Esquibel for assistance, and was used
by him with kindness. After a short stay in Jamaica, he went over to
Hispaniola, where he learnt that Enciso had sailed to St Sebastian; and
his own credit was now so low that he was hardly able to purchase food,
and died shortly afterwards of want, though he deserved a better fate,
being one of the bravest men that ever sailed from Spain to the West
Indies. Talavera remained so long in Jamaica, that the admiral heard of
his being there, and had him apprehended, tried, and executed for piracy.


_The History of Fasco Nugnez de Balboa, and the establishment by his means
of the Colony of Darien_.

In the meantime Pizarro quitted St Sebastian with a small remnant of the
unfortunate colony, and escaped with much difficulty to Carthagena, where,
by good fortune for him, Enciso had just arrived with two ships and a
considerable reinforcement. He took Pizarro on board, and they returned to
St Sebastian, where they had the misfortune to run their ships aground,
and after getting on shore with much difficulty, they found the place
reduced to ashes by the savages. They restored it as well as they could,
and got on shore all the provisions and stores from their stranded vessels,
but were soon afterwards reduced to the utmost extremity of distress by
war and famine. Hunger frequently forced them out into the country to
endeavour to procure provisions, and the savages as often drove them back
with the loss of some of their number, which they could very ill spare,
having only been 180 men at the first They were relieved from their
present distressed situation, by the dexterity and presence of mind of a
very extraordinary person who happened to be among them. Vasquez Nugnez de
Balboa, the person now alluded to, was a gentleman of good family, great
parts, liberal education, of a fine person, and in the flower of his age,
being then about thirty-five. He had formerly sailed on discovery along
with _Bastidas_, and had afterwards obtained a good settlement in
Hispaniola; but had committed some excesses in that island, for which he
was in danger of being put to death. In this extremity, he procured
himself to be conveyed into the ship commanded by Enciso, concealed in a
bread cask, in which he remained for some days, and at last ventured to
make his appearance, when the ship was 100 leagues from Hispaniola. Enciso
had been strictly enjoined not to carry any offenders from the island, and
now threatened to set Balboa ashore on the first desert island; but the
principal people on board interceded for him with the captain, who at last
relented and granted him protection. This did not efface from his memory
the threats of Enciso, as will be seen hereafter. Observing the state of
despair to which the company was now reduced, Balboa undertook to
encourage them, by asserting that their situation was not so helpless as
they imagined. He told them that he had been upon this coast formerly with
Bastidas, when they sailed to the bottom of the gulf, where they found a
fine large town, in a fruitful soil and salubrious climate, inhabited
indeed by warlike Indians, but who did not use poisoned arrows. He
exhorted them, therefore, to bestir themselves in getting off their
stranded vessels, and to sail to that place. They approved of this advice,
and sailed to the river named Darien by the Indians, where they found
every thing to correspond with the description given by Balboa. On
learning the arrival of the Spaniards, the natives secured their wives and
children, and waited on a little hill under their cacique, named Cemano,
for the attack of the Spaniards. After having performed their devotions,
the Spaniards fell resolutely on the Indians, whom they soon routed; and
then went to the town, which they found full of provisions to their wish.
Next day, they marched up the country among the neighbouring mountains,
where they found many empty houses, all the inhabitants having fled; but
they found the houses well replenished with household goods of various
kinds, such as earthen vessels, cotton garments like short petticoats for
women, a great deal of cotton, both spun and unspun, plates of gold which
the natives wear on their breasts, and many other things, amounting in
all to the value of 10,000 pieces of fine gold. Enciso was greatly
rejoiced at this unexpected good fortune, and immediately sent for the
rest of the men, who had been left on the other side of the bay, because
the brigantines could not carry the whole at once. Balboa gained much
reputation by the success of this enterprize, and was henceforwards held
in high esteem by the people.

The whole party agreed to establish a colony at this place, which they
named _Santa Maria el Antiqua del Darien_, the first part of the name
being that of a church in Seville, and Darien being the Indian name of the
river. Balboa being now in great credit with the colonists, and brooding
revenge for the former threats of Enciso, secretly plotted to deprive him
of the command, alleging that they were now beyond the limits of Hojedas
government, who had no authority in this place. While this was in
agitation, Enciso thought proper to prohibit all the colonists from
trading with the Indians for gold, under pain of death; but they,
believing that he did this entirely for his own advantage, unanimously
threw off all subjection to his authority, alleging that his command was
void for the reasons already mentioned, and others. They then proceeded to
choose alcaldes and regidores, being the titles of the chief magistrates
in the towns of Old Spain, and Balboa and Zamadio were elected alcaldes,
and Yaldibia regidore. The people, however, were dissatisfied with this
mode of governing, repenting that they had deposed Enciso, and the whole
colony divided into parties. One party alleged that it was not proper to
be without a commander in chief, and that Enciso ought to be restored till
another governor was appointed by the king: A second party said that they
ought to submit to Nicuessa, because the place they were in was within his
grant. The third party, being the friends of Balboa, wished to continue
the present frame of government; but if the majority were for a single
commander, they insisted that Balboa ought to have the command.

In the midst of these disputes, Roderic Enriquez de Colmenares arrived
with two ships, having on board provisions, military stores, and seventy
men. This captain had met with a great storm at sea, and had put into the
port of Santa Maria, which the Indians call Gayra, 50 or 60 leagues from
Carthagena. On the boats going on shore for water, the cacique came
forwards with twenty of his people, dressed in a kind of cotton cloaks,
though the natives of that part of the coast usually go naked. He advised
them not to take water from the place where they were, saying that it was
not good, and offered to shew them another river of better water. But on
coming to it, they could not get their boats to the place, owing to a
heavy surf, and returned to the first place. While filling their casks,
about seventy armed Indians rushed suddenly upon them, and before the
Spaniards could stand to their defence, forty-five of them were wounded by
poisoned arrows. The wounded men swam off to the ships, as the Indians had
staved their long-boat, and all of them died save one. Seven of the
Spaniards saved themselves in a large hollow tree, intending to swim off
at night; but those on board supposing them all killed, sailed away much
dejected, for Uraba, to inquire after Nicuessa. Finding no person on the
east side of the bay, where they thought to have found either their own
men or those belonging to Hojeda, Colmenares suspected they were all dead,
or had gone to some other place; but he thought fit to fire off some
cannon, that they might hear him if still in the neighbourhood; besides
which he made fires at night, and smokes by day on some of the adjacent
high rocks. The people at Santa Maria el Antiqua del Darien heard his guns,
which resounded through the whole bay to the westwards, and making signals
in return, he came to them about the middle of November 1510. Colmenares
distributed his provisions among the colonists of Darien, by which he
gained the good will of most of those who had opposed the calling of
Nicuessa to the command, whom they now agreed to send for that he might
assume the government.


_The Adventures, Misfortunes, and Death of Don Diego de Nicuessa, the
founder of the Colony of Nombre de Dios_.

After parting from Hojeda, whom he had so generously assisted, Nicuessa
met a few days afterwards with as great misfortunes at sea as Hojeda had
encountered by land; for he was tossed by a dreadful tempest from without,
and betrayed within by _Lopez de Olano_, who, perceiving the squadron
separated by the storm, took one of the largest ships into the river
_Chagre_, and left his patron to shift for himself. After some unlucky
adventures, Olano arrived at Veragna, which was their place of rendezvous,
where he endeavoured to persuade the people to abandon their original
design as impracticable, and to sail for Hispaniola to make the most of
what they had left, alleging that Nicuessa had certainly perished with all
his men. While meditating upon this project, a boat came into the port
with four men, who reported that Nicuessa had been stranded on an unknown
coast, and after marching a great way by land with incredible fatigue, was
now not far off, but that he and his followers were in a very miserable
condition. On hearing this melancholy account, Olano relented, and
immediately sent back the boat with provisions and refreshments, which
came very opportunely to save Nicuessa and his men from starving, which
they certainly must have done without this seasonable relief. Yet this did
not in the least soften his resentment against Olano for deserting him,
whom he would have hanged, if he had not been afraid of irritating the men,
and instead of that he put him in irons, threatening to send him to Spain
in that condition. The authority, however, did not remain long in his
hands; for, endeavouring to establish a settlement on the _Bethlehem_
river, he was so straitened for provisions, that he was obliged to leave a
part of his men there, and to sail with the rest to Porto Bello; but, not
being allowed by the Indians to land there, he was obliged to proceed four
or five leagues farther to the port which Columbus named _Bastimentos_.
Immediately on entering he exclaimed, _Paremos aqui en el nombre de Dios_,
Let us stay here in the name of God. He immediately landed and began to
erect a fortress, which was named _Nombre de Dios_, from the above
mentioned expression. He had not been long here till he found himself as
much straitened for provisions as at Bethlehem, on which account he sent
one of his ships to St Domingo to request assistance from the governor.
Scarcely was this vessel out of the port, before that with Colmenares
arrived from the river Darien, with the invitation to take the command of
the Spanish colony at that place. Colmenares and his men were so
astonished to see the miserable condition of Nicuessa and seventy of his
people, who were all that remained with him at Nombre de Dios, that they
shed tears. They were lean, ragged, and barefooted, and excited pity by
the recital of the intolerable distresses they had undergone, and the
numbers of their companions who had already died.

Colmenares did all he could to comfort Nicuessa, telling him that the
people of Darien wished him to come and assume the government of that
colony, which was situated in a fine country abounding in provisions, and
which did not want gold. Nicuessa began to recover his spirits, by the
seasonable supply of provisions, and the comfortable intelligence brought
by Colmenares, and gave thanks to God for this merciful relief. But he
soon forfeited the reputation for prudence which he had formerly enjoyed
among the colonists of Hispaniola; as, forgetting the miserable condition
from which he was so recently relieved, and not considering that the
people of Darien had submitted to his authority of their own free will, he
foolishly declared in public that he would take all their gold from them
on his arrival, and would even punish them for encroaching on his province.
This news soon spread abroad, and heaven had the imprudence to send a
caravel before him to Darien, having a desire to examine some islands
which lay in the way thither. That same night, Olano, who still remained a
prisoner, conversed with some of the people who came from Darien, to
incense them against Nicuessa; and when Nicuessa was embarking, he said to
some of those who were in his confidence, "Nicuessa fancies he will be as
well received by Hojedas men, as by us after his shipwreck at Veragua, but
he will probably find a considerable difference." James Albetes and the
bachelor Corral were in the caravel which went before, and gave notice to
the colonists at Darien of the threats which Nicuessa had made, of taking
away their gold and punishing them; saying that his misfortunes had
rendered him peevish and cruel, abusing all who were under his authority.
From the little islands which he had stopped to explore, Nicuessa sent one
Juan de Cayzedo to acquaint the colony at Darien of his approach; and this
man being privately his enemy, still farther exasperated the people
against him, so that they came to a resolution not to admit him into the
colony. This resolution was principally forwarded by Balboa, who secretly
advised all the principal people to exclude him, yet declared in public
that he was for receiving Nicuessa, and even got the public notary to give
him a certificate to that effect[1].

After spending eight days among these islands, where he took a few Indians
for slaves, Nicuessa made sail for Darien. On coming to the landing-place,
he found many of the Spaniards on the shore waiting his arrival; when, to
his great surprise, one of them required him in the name of all the rest,
to return to his own government of Nombre de Dios. Nicuessa landed next
day, when the people of Darien endeavoured to seize him, but he was
extraordinarily swift of foot, and none of them could overtake him. Balboa
prevented the colonists from proceeding to any farther extremities,
fearing they might have put Nicuessa to death, and even persuaded them to
listen to Nicuessa, who entreated them, since they would not receive him
as their governor, that they would admit him among them as a companion;
which they peremptorily refusing, he even requested them to keep him as a
prisoner, for he would rather die than go back to starve at Nombre de Dios.
In spite of every thing he could urge, they forced him to embark in an old
rotten bark, with about seventeen of his men, ordering them to return to
Nombre de Dios, on pain of being sunk if they remained at Darien. Nicuessa
and his people accordingly set sail, but were never seen more, and no one
knew what became of them. There was a story current in the West Indies,
that when the Spaniards came afterwards to settle the island of Cuba, they
found inscribed on the bark of a large tree, "Here the unfortunate
Nicuessa finished his life and miseries."

[1] We learn from the history of the conquest of Mexico, by Bernal Diaz
    del Castillo, one of the conquerors, that the government of the
    province of Tierra Firma, in which Darien and Nombre de Dios were
    situated, was afterwards granted by the court of Spain to Pedro Arias
    de Avila, in 1514, who gave his daughter in marriage to Vasco Nugnez
    de Balboa; yet caused him afterwards to be beheaded; on suspicion that
    he intended to revolt.--E.


_The Conquest and Settlement of the Island of Cuba by Diego Velasquez_.

The admiral Don James Columbus was much blamed for not endeavouring to
give succour to these adventurers, although the grants which they had
received of separate governments were in direct contradiction to his just
rights. His enemies made use of this to his prejudice at the court of
Spain, which was always jealous of him, and listened therefore with much
complacency to every complaint that was proffered against him. He on the
other hand, was very sensible of the disposition of the court, and used
every means he could think of to secure his rights in these countries,
pursuant to the agreement which had been made with his father. In this
view, having learnt that the court was desirous of discovering and
colonizing the great island of Cuba, although there were no accounts of
any rich mines in that country, he resolved to be beforehand with the
court, and sent a body of men there at the beginning of the year 1511,
under a confidential person; that having a lieutenant there of his own,
the court might have no pretence for granting it away to new undertakers,
as they had done that part of the continent which was discovered by his
father, and even the island of Jamaica, which last, however, he had
recovered. For this purpose, he made choice of James Velasquez, who was
the wealthiest and best beloved of all the Spanish inhabitants of
Hispaniola, and was besides a man of experience, and of a mild and affable
temper, who knew well how to maintain his authority. As soon as it was
known in Hispaniola that Velasquez was going to establish a settlement in
Cuba, abundance of people resolved to bear him company, some of them from
attachment to his person, and others because they were involved in debt.
All these rendezvoused at the town of _Salvatierra de la Zavana_, at the
western extremity of Hispaniola, whence they proposed to embark for Cuba.

Before proceeding with the transactions of Velasquez, it may be proper to
give some description of the island of Cuba, from the Spanish writers.
Cuba is within the tropic of Cancer, from 20° to 21° of N. latitude. It is
230 leagues in length, from Cape _St Antonio_ to Cape _Mayci_. Its breadth
between Cape _Cruze_ and port _Manati_ is forty-five leagues, whence it
narrows to about twelve leagues between _Matamano_ and the _Havanna_. Most
of the island is flat, and full of woods and forests; but from the eastern
point of Mayci, there are exceedingly high mountains for thirty leagues.
Beyond these to the westwards, and in the middle of the island, there are
many hills, but not very high. Many fine rivers run down the sides of
these hills, both to the north and south, which are full of fish,
especially skates and olaves, which ascend the streams a great way from
the sea. On the south of Cuba there are a prodigious number of small
islands, which were named the _Queens Garden_, by the admiral Don
Christopher Columbus. There are other small islands on the north side,
though not so numerous, which Velasquez named the _Kings Garden_. About
the middle of the south side, a considerable river, named _Cauto_ by the
natives, runs into the sea, containing vast numbers of alligators, the
banks of which river are very agreeable. The island is wonderfully well
wooded, insomuch that people may travel almost 230 leagues, or from one
end of the island to the other, always under their shelter. Among these
are sweet-scented red cedars of such astonishing size, that the natives
used to make canoes of one stick hollowed out, large enough to contain
fifty or sixty persons, and such were once very common in Cuba. There are
such numbers of storax trees, that if any one goes up to a height in the
morning, the vapours arising from the earth smell strongly of storax,
coming from the fires made by the natives in the evening, which are now
drawn up from the earth by the rising sun. Another kind of tree produces a
fruit called _xaquas_, which being laid by four or five days, though
gathered unripe, become full of a liquor like honey, and richer than the
finest pears. There are great quantities of wild vines, which climb very
high on the trees; these bear grapes, from which wine has been made, which
is somewhat sharp. Such is their universal abundance all over the island,
that the Spaniards used to say there was a vineyard in Cuba 230 leagues in
length. Some of the trunks of these vines are as thick as a mans body. The
whole island is very pleasant, more temperate and healthy than Hispaniola,
and has safer harbours for ships, made by nature, than any that have been
constructed by art in other countries. On the southern coast is that of
_St Jago_, which is in form of a cross, and _Xaquas_, which is hardly to
be matched in all the world. Its entry is not above a cross-bow shot in
breadth, and the interior part is 10 leagues in circumference, having
three little islands to which ships may be fastened by means of stakes,
where they are safe from every wind that blows, being everywhere shut in
by high mountains as in a house. In this harbour the Indians had pens in
which they shut up the fish. On the north side there are likewise good
harbours, the best of which was formerly called _Carenas_, but now Havanna,
which is so large and safe that few can be compared to it. Twenty leagues
east is the harbour of Matanaos, which is not quite safe. About the middle
of the island there is another good port, called _del Principe_; and
almost at the end is the port of _Baraca_, where good ebony is cut. All
along this coast there are good anchorages, though none so large and
commodious as those already mentioned.

Cuba produces great numbers of birds, as pigeons, turtle-doves, partridges
like those of Spain but smaller, and cranes. There are none of these two
latter on the other islands, but there are cranes on the continent. There
is another bird, not found on the continent, as large as cranes, which are
white when young, but grow red at their full growth, which are called
_flamences_ or _flamingos_. These would have been much valued in New Spain,
for the curious feather-works which are made by the natives. These
flamingos are found in vast flocks of 500 to 1000 together. They seldom
fly, but stand much in the water. When the Indians kept any of these birds
about their houses, they had to put salt into the water they gave them to
drink. There are infinite numbers of parrots, which are very good eating
when young, about the month of May. They have few land animals, except a
kind of rabbits like those of Hispaniola; but to make amends for this want,
they have vast quantities of fish both in the sea and the rivers: among
these the chiefest is tortoises or turtles, in vast abundance, excellent
of their kind, and very wholesome, which cure the leprosy and the itch, in
such as are content to make them their constant food. It produces maize or
Indian corn in great abundance; and every thing considered, it may be
pronounced the finest and best provided country in that part of the world.
The natives of Cuba were of the same nation with those of the Lucayos
islands, a good sort of people, and very well tempered. They were governed
by caciques, having towns of 200 or 300 houses, in each of which several
families resided, as in Hispaniola.

They had no religion, having no temples, idols, or sacrifices; but they
had a kind of conjuring priests or jugglers, like those in Hispaniola, who
pretended to have communication with the devil, and to obtain answers from
him to their questions. To obtain this favour, they fasted three or four
months, using only the juice of herbs; and when reduced to extreme
weakness, they were worthy of inspiration, and to be informed whether the
seasons of the year would be favourable or otherwise; what children were
to be born, and whether those born were to live, and such like questions.
These conjurors, who were called _behiques_, were the oracles of the
natives, whom they led into many superstitions and absurdities; pretending
to cure the sick by blowing on them, and other mummeries, muttering some
unintelligible words between their teeth. The natives of Cuba acknowledged
that the heavens and earth, and all things contained in these, had been
created. They are even said to have had traditions concerning the flood,
and the destruction of the world by water, occasioned by three persons who
came three several ways. The old men reported, that a sage who knew the
approaching deluge, built a great ship, into which he went with his family,
and many animals. That he sent out a crow, which remained a long while out,
feeding on the dead bodies, and afterwards returned with a green branch.
They added many other particulars respecting the deluge, even to two of
Noah's sons covering him when drunk, while the third scoffed him; adding
that the Indians were descended from the latter, and therefore had no
clothes, whereas the Spaniards descended from the other sons, and had
therefore clothes and horses. As they lived in towns under the authority
of caciques, it is probable that the will of these chiefs served as law.

Some time before the expedition of Velasquez to Cuba, a cacique of the
province of _Guatiba_, in Hispaniola, named _Hatuey_, to escape from the
tyranny of the Spaniards, went over to the eastern end of Cuba with as
many of his people as he could induce to accompany him; the distance
between the two islands being only eighteen leagues. He settled with his
followers in the nearest district of Cuba, called _Mayci_, reducing the
inhabitants of that place to subjection, but not to slavery. In fact
slavery does not appear to have been practised in any part of the West
Indies, no difference being made even by the caciques between their people
and their children; except in New Spain and other provinces of the
continent, where they used to sacrifice prisoners of war to their idols.
This cacique Hatuey, always had spies in Hispaniola, to inform him what
was going on there, as he feared the Spaniards would pass over into Cuba.
Having information of the admiral's design, and the intended expedition of
Velasquez, he assembled all the warriors of his tribe, and putting them in
mind of the many sufferings they had endured under the Spaniards, he
informed them of their new intentions. Then taking some gold from a basket
of palm leaves, he addressed them as follows: "The Spaniards have done all
these things which I have told you of for the sake of this, which is the
god whom they serve, and their only object in coming over to this island
is in search of this their lord. Let us therefore make a festival, and
dance to this lord of the Spaniards, that when they come hither, he may
order them not to do us any harm." They accordingly all began to dance and
sing, and continued till they were quite tired, as it is their custom to
dance from nightfall till daybreak, as long as they can stand. Their
dances, as in Hispaniola, are to the music of their songs; and though
50,000 men and women may have assembled at one time, no one differed in
the motions of their hands, feet, and bodies from all the rest. But the
natives of Hispaniola sung much more agreeably than those of Cuba. After
the subjects of Hatuey were quite spent with singing and dancing around
the little basket of gold, the cacique desired them not to keep the lord
of the Christians in any place whatsoever; for even if they were to
conceal him in their bowels, the Christians would rip them up to fetch him
out; wherefore he advised them to cast him into the river, where the
Christians might not be able to find him; and this they did.

James Velasquez set out from Salvatierra de la Zavana in November 1511,
and landed at a harbour called _Palina_, in the territories of Hatuey, who
stood on his defence, taking advantage of the woods, where the Spaniards
could not use their horses. During two months, the Indians hid themselves
in the thickest parts of the forests, where the Spaniards hunted them out,
carrying all they took to Velasquez, who distributed them among his men as
servants, not as slaves. Hatuey withdrew into the most inaccessible places
of the mountains, where he was at length taken after inexpressible toil,
and brought to Velasquez, who caused him to be burnt. After this example
of severity, the whole province of Mayci submitted, no one daring any
longer to resist. When it was known in Jamaica that Velasquez had gone
with the command to Cuba, many of those who were with Esquibel asked leave
to go and serve under him. Among these was Panfilo de Narvaez, a gentleman
of a graceful person, well behaved, but rather imprudent. He carried with
him a company of thirty cross-bows, and was well received by Velasquez,
who gave him the chief command under himself. When the Indians of the
province of Mayci were reduced under subjection, Velasquez distributed
them among the Spaniards as had formerly been done in Hispaniola by Obando,
taking the inhabitants of five Indian towns to himself. He likewise
founded a town at a harbour on the north side of the island, called
_Barracoa_ by the natives, which was the first Spanish colony in this
island. From this place Velasquez sent Narvaez with thirty men to reduce
the province of Bayamo, about 50 leagues from Barracoa, a fine open
country, very fertile and agreeable. Of this company, Narvaez alone was
mounted, all the rest marching on foot. The natives of the country came
out submissively to meet Narvaez, bringing him provisions, as they had no
gold, and were very much astonished at the sight of the mare on which
Narvaez rode. The Spaniards took up their residence in a town belonging to
the Indians, who, seeing the small number of their invaders, resolved to
rid themselves of them by surprise. Narvaez was by no means sufficiently
watchful, yet had his mare along with him in the house where he lay, and a
guard posted during the night. Near seven thousand Indians had assembled
from all parts of the province, armed with bows and arrows, who had
resolved to fall upon Narvaez and the Spaniards after midnight, though it
was unusual for them to fight during the night. They gave the assault in
two places at once, and found the centinels asleep on their posts; but
being more eager to plunder the Spaniards than to kill them, as they had
always anxiously wished for clothing ever since they saw the Christians,
they did not observe the time previously concerted, but began their
several attacks at different times, and one of the parties, which was the
most forward, even entered the town shouting. Narvaez awoke in great
consternation, and the Spaniards, who were astonished at the noise, knew
not well what to do in their fright. At length, the Indians whom Narvaez
had brought with him from Jamaica, lighted some fire-brands, by which the
Spaniards were enabled to see their danger; and Narvaez, though wounded by
a stone, found means to come at his mare, which he mounted, and rallied
his Spaniards to their defence. At that time part of the horse furniture
used by the Spaniards was hung with bells; and on hearing the sound of
these, and seeing Narvaez coming towards them at a round trot, with his
sword drawn, they lost heart, and not only abandoned the enterprize, but
fled out of the country, some of them to the distance of 50 leagues,
leaving none but their old and decrepid people behind. After this
Velasquez sent a reinforcement to Narvaez, who became absolute master of
the country.


_The Strange Expedition of Juan Ponce de Leon to Discover the Fountain of
Youth, in which he Discovered Florida and the Bahama Channel_.

We have already seen that Juan Ponce de Leon had been restored to the
government of Porto Rico by the interest of his friend Obando, and had
sent his predecessors, Cerron and Diaz, prisoners into Spain. This
circumstance, which he thought a bold stroke in politics, turned much
against himself; for these men presented a petition against him to the
court of Spain, and being strongly supported by the interest of the
admiral, they were sent back to resume their former employments. By this
reverse, De Leon was reduced to a private condition; but he had made good
use of his time, and had acquired a large fortune, which induced him to
attempt recovering his power and credit by means of discoveries. He
accordingly sailed from the port of St German on the 1st of March 1512,
with two stout ships which he had fitted out at his own expence; and
steering through among the Lucayos islands, he discovered land on the 2d
April, in lat. 30° 8' N. till then unknown to the Spaniards. Elated by
this good fortune, he ran along the coast in search of some good harbour,
and anchored at night near the shore in eight fathoms water. Believing
this land to be an island, and because it appeared beautiful, being all
level, with many pleasant groves, he named it the island of _Florida_,
also because discovered at Easter, which the Spaniards call _Pascha de
Flores_. De Leon went on shore at this place to take formal possession of
the country. He sailed thence on the 8th of April, and came to a place on
the 20th, where some Indians were seen on the shore. He here anchored and
went ashore, when the Indians endeavoured to get possession of the boat,
with the oars and arms. This was not at first resented, till one of the
natives knocked down a sailor with a blow on the head, on which the
Spaniards were obliged to fight in their own defence, and had two men
wounded by arrows or darts pointed with sharp bones. The Indians were
repulsed with some difficulty, and received little damage; and at night De
Leon got his men on board and sailed to the mouth of a river, where he
took in wood and water. They were here ineffectually opposed by sixty
natives, one of whom was made prisoner to give them some information of
the country, and to learn Spanish. They called this river _Rio de la Cruz_,
as they left in this place a stone cross with an inscription. On the 8th
of May they doubled Cape Florida, which was named _Cabo de las Corrientes_,
or the Cape of Currents, because they found the currents here stronger
than the winds; and they came to an anchor near a town called _Abacoa_.
All this coast, from Cape _Arracaifes_ to Cape _Corrientes,_ or Cape
Florida, lies north and south, one point east, and is all quite free of
shoals and rocks, with six fathoms water. They found Cape Florida to be in
lat. 18° 15' N. Sailing on to the southward, till in lat. 27°, they met
with two islands, one of which, about a league in circuit, they named
Santa Monta[1].

On the 15th of May, they proceeded 10 leagues along a line of small
islands, as far as two white ones, and called the whole group _los
Martyres_, or the Martyrs, because the high rocks at a distance had the
appearance of men upon crosses. This name has been since considered as
prophetic, on account of the great numbers of seamen who have been lost on
these rocks. They held on their course, sometimes north, and sometimes
north-east, and on the 24th were as far to the southwards as some small
islands lying out to sea, yet never perceived that they were going along
the continent. Finding a convenient place for wood and water, they
remained here to the 3d of June, careening one of their ships called the
St Christopher. Here the Indians came out in canoes to see the Christians,
as the Spaniards declined going on shore, though often invited by signs.
One day, being about to weigh an anchor, only to remove it to fresh ground,
the Indians supposing the Christians were going away, came off in their
canoes and laid hold of the cable, meaning to draw the ship away; on which
some men were sent in the long-boat to drive them away, and following the
Indians to the shore, took four women, and destroyed two old canoes. At
times while here, they bartered with the Indians for some skins, and a
small quantity of indifferent gold. On the 4th of June, while waiting for
a wind to go in search of a cacique named Carlos, who was said to have
gold, by some Indians on board, a canoe came off having an Indian on board
who understood Spanish, and was supposed to be a native of Hispaniola, or
some of the islands inhabited by Christians. This man desired them to wait,
as the cacique would send gold to barter. They accordingly waited, and
soon saw twenty canoes coming towards them, some of which were made fast
two and two together. A part of these went to the anchors, and others to
the ships, and began to fight. As those at the anchors were unable to
weigh them, they attempted to cut the cables; but a long-boat was sent out
against them, which obliged them to fly, taking four men and killing
several others. De Leon sent two of his prisoners to the cacique, saying
that although he had killed a Spaniard, he was willing to treat