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

Part 3 out of 10

woody and uneven, that they had often crossed the same river. While the
party under Hojeda were admiring the beauties of the country, and other
parties were going about in all directions in search of the stragglers,
they returned to the ship on Friday the 8th of November without having
been met by any of those who looked for them. They excused themselves by
saying that they had lost their way in the woods; but to punish their
presumption, the admiral ordered the captain to be put in irons, and that
the rest should have their allowance of provisions retrenched. The admiral
then landed and went to some of the houses, where he saw all the
particulars which have been already mentioned; likewise abundance of
cotton, both spun and unspun, and looms for weaving, many human skulls
hung up, and baskets full of human bones. The houses in this island were
better, and more plentifully furnished with provisions and other things
used by the Indians, than any which he had seen in his first voyage.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[12] Flamingos.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As soon as the ships had anchored at Punta del Arenal, the admiral sent
the boats on shore for water, and to endeavour to procure some information
respecting the Indians, but they could do neither, that country being very
low and uninhabited, and having no springs or rivulets. He therefore
ordered them next day to dig trenches or pits on the island in hope of
procuring water by that means; and by good fortune, they found these ready
made to their hands and full of excellent water, it being supposed that
they had been dug by the fishermen. Having taken what water they wanted,
the admiral resolved to proceed to another mouth or channel which appeared
towards the north-west, which he afterwards called _Boca del Drago_, or
the Dragons Mouth, to distinguish it from the one where he then was, to
which he had given the name of _Boca del Sierpe_, or the Serpents Mouth.
These two mouths or channels, like the Dardanelles, are made by the two
most westerly points of the island of Trinidada, and two other points of
the continent, and lie almost north and south of each other. In the midst
of the Serpents Mouth, where the admiral now anchored, there was a rock
which he called El Gallo, or the cock. Through this channel the water ran
continually and furiously to the northwards, as if it had been the mouth


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