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Title: A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 03

Author: Robert Kerr

Release date: May 1, 2004 [eBook #12325]
Most recently updated: December 14, 2020

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Robert Connal and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team
from images generously made available by the Canadian Institute for
Historical Microreproductions.




















PART II.--(Continued.)




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


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


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


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.

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

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

SECTION VI. Second Voyage of Columbus to the West Indies.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

SECTION 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SECTION XV. Conclusion of the discoveries of Columbus.


The voyages of Americus Vespucius to the New World.


SECTION I. The First Voyage of Vespucius.

SECTION II. The Second Voyage of Americus Vespucius.

SECTION III. The Third voyage of Americus Vespucius.

SECTION IV. The Fourth voyage of Americus Vespucius.


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.

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

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

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

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

SECTION 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.

SECTION 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.

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

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

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

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

SECTION 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.


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.

SECTON I. Expedition of Hernandez de Cordova in 1517.

SECTON II. Expedition of Juan de Grijalva in 1518.

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

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

SECTON V. The Spanish army advances into the country; an account of their proceedings before commencing their march to Mexico. [Illustration: West Indies]







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

INTRODUCTION. [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 subject.

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 search.

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 discoverer.

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 century.

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 intrepidity.

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].

[2] From Pinkertons Modern Geography.

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 1521.

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.


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 lines.

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 proofs.

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."

[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.

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]."

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

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.

[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.

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.

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

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

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 direction.

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].

[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.

"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."

[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.

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].

[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.

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].

[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.

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.

[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.

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.


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 Spain.

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 written:

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 nothing.

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 private.

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.

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

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.

[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.

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].

[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.

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.

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

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 persons.

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.

[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.

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 presents."

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."

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

"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.

[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.

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.

[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 Spaniards.--E.

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 Nativity.

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.

[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.

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 disobedient.

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.


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 governed."

"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 entry."
"Delivered by Roderick Doctor."
"Entered, Alonzo Perez."

[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.

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.

[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.

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]

[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.

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 majesties.

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

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.

[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.

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.

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

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 receive.

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 Spain.

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.

[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 medicines.--E.

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.

[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.

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.

[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.

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.

[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.

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.

[12] Flamingos.

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].

[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.

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.

[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.

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.

[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.

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].

[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.

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.

[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.

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.

[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.

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.

[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.

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 order.

[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.

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].

[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.

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."

[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.

"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 state."


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

[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 materials.--E.

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 nightingale.

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 original.

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 there.

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 half.

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.

[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.

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 Buhuitihu[3].

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

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 bastinado.

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 cogiaba.

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.

[4] In this paragraph, marked 20--24. the substance of five prolix chapters by F. Roman is compressed.--E.

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 day.

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].

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

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.

[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 Hispaniola.--E.
[7] This surely means no more than that their rude looms were upright or perpendicular.--E.
[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.

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.

[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.

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 affairs.

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 north.

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.

[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.

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.

[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.

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].

[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.

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 Domingo.


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

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 return.

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 protection.

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.

[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.

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.

[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.

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.


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 reasons.

[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.

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].

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

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 Europe.

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 admiral.

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 force.

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 Domingo.

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 waiting.

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.


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

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.

[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.

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.

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

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.

[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.

"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]."

[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.

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.

[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.

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 mentioned[7].

[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.

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 departure."

"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.


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.

[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.

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.

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

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].

[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.

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.

[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.

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.

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

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.

[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.

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.

[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.

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.

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

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 admiral.

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.

[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.

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 supper.

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.

[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.

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.

[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.

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.

[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 country.--E.

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 breast.

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 companions.

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.

[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.

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].

[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.

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 natives.

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 nations.



[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.


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.

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

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.


Of the Motives which led Columbus to believe that there were unknown Countries.

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.

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

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.

[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].

[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.

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].

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

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.

[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.

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 undertaken.

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

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 return.

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.

[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.

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.


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 men.

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 another.

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.

[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 expedition.--E.

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.

[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.

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.

[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 Japan.--E.

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.

[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.

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 dwelling.


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 saint.

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.

[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.

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 Spain.

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 attacked.

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 Spain.

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.


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 amazement.

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].

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

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 devotion.

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].

[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.

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.

[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 Inquisition.--E.

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 interests.

[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 expedition.--E.

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].

[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 days."--E.
[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.

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.

[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.

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.


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.

[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 cacique."--E.

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.


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.

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

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 importunity.

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.

[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.

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].

[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.

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.

[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 port.--E.
[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.

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.

[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.

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.


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.

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

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 admiral.

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.


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.

[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.

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 Spain.

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 actions.



[1] Novus Orbis, p. 111.


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.

[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.

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].

[7] Id. II. 87.
[8] Harris, II. 33.

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].

[9] Harris, II. 38.

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].

[10] Hakluyt, III. 25.

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].

[11] Hakluyt, III. 27.

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].

[12] Hakl. III. 28.
[13] Id. III. 29.
[14] Id. ib.

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.

[15] Id. ib.

"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]."

[16] Hakl. III. 591.

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].

[17] Hakl. III. 31.

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.


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.

[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.

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.

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

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.

[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.

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 published.

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.

[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.

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.

[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.

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.

[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.

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.

[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 saxivoma[--E.

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.


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 intercourse.

[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.

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.

[3] Called in the text myrrh-apples, Poma myrrhae, perhaps meant to imply mirabolans.--E.

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.

[4] This appears to refer to chewing tobacco, and gives a strong picture of that custom carried to excess.--E.

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.

[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.

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.

[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.

[1] Assuredly Brasil is here meant, yet the latitude is absurdly erroneous.--E.
[2] This must necessarily be an error, as he now sailed in the service of the king of Portugal.--E.

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.

[3] Perhaps malefactors, who have been formerly mentioned in the early Portuguese voyages to India, as employed in such hazardous commissions.--E.

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.

[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 name.--E.

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.

[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.

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].

[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.

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.

[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].

[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 China.--E.
[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 misfortunes.--E.

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.[5] 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.

[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.

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.

[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 Brazil.--E.
[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.

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] 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.

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 failed.

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.


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].

[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.

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."


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