A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Vol. III.
Robert Kerr

Part 2 out of 10

sails up.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


_Second Voyage of Columbus to the West Indies_.

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

_Original Grant to Columbus in 1492, before the Discovery_.

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

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

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

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

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

_Confirmation in_ 1493.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The admiral now wished to proceed on his voyage, but was told that one
Captain Mark had gone on shore before day with eight men without his leave,
and had not yet returned. He was therefore obliged to send out to look for
him, though in vain, by reason of the thickness of the trees. Therefore,
that they might not be lost or be obliged to leave a ship for them, which
might afterwards miss its way to Hispaniola, the admiral resolved to
remain till next day; and because the country was full of extensive and
thick woods, he ordered them to be carefully sought after, making a great
noise with trumpets and muskets to lead them on the right way. But the
people having searched the whole day ineffectually, returned to the ships
in the evening without finding them, or hearing any thing of them. It was
now Thursday morning, and no news had been heard of them since Tuesday;
and considering that they had gone without leave, the admiral declared his
resolution to continue the voyage, or at least made a shew of doing so to
deter others from doing the like in future; but he allowed himself to be
prevailed on by some of the kindred and friends of the stragglers to stay
a little longer, and gave orders in the meantime for all the ships to
complete their wood and water, and for the people to wash their linens;
and he sent Captain Hojeda with forty men to look out for those who were
amissing, and to examine into the nature of the country. Hojeda found
mastick, aloes, sandal, ginger, frankincense, and some trees resembling
cinnamon in taste and smell, and abundance of cotton. He saw many falcons,
and two of them pursuing the other birds; also kites, herons, daws,
turtles, partridges, geese, and nightingales; and he affirmed, that in
travelling six leagues they had crossed twenty-six rivers, several of
which were very deep; but I am apt to believe, as the country was very


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