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

Part 7 out of 10

off with their women and goods to the district of a cacique named
_Caunabo_, the lord of the mines, who killed them all. That soon
afterwards Caunabo came with a great number of men to the fort, in which
there were then only James de Arana, and five others. That Caunabo set the
fort on fire during the night; and those few who were in it, in
endeavouring to escape to the sea were drowned. That all the rest of the
Spaniards had dispersed into different parts of the island. That
Guacanagari went out to fight against Caunabo in defence of the Christians,
and was severely wounded, being still ill of his wounds." All this agreed
with the intelligence brought to the admiral by some of the Spaniards, who
had been sent in search of information, and who had seen Guacanagari at
his place of residence, finding him ill of his wounds, which he urged in
excuse for not waiting on the admiral.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


_Conclusion of the Discoveries of Columbus_.

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

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

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

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

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

* * * * *




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[1] Novus Orbis, p. 111.

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

[3] Nov. Orb. 87.

[4] Mod. Geogr. III. 8.

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

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

[7] Id. II. 87.

[8] Harris, II. 33.

[9] Harris, II. 38.

[10] Hakluyt, III. 25.

[11] Hakluyt, III. 27.

[12] Hakl. III. 28.

[13] Id. III. 29.

[14] Id. ib.

[15] Id. ib.

[16] Hakl. III. 591.

[17] Hakl. III. 31.


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

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

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


_The first Voyage of Americus Vespucius_.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next day we saw an immense number of the islanders collecting on the shore,
sounding horns and other instruments used by them in war, all painted and
adorned with feathers, so that it was wonderful to behold them. It was
again determined in council that we should go on shore in force, and
should treat the natives as enemies if they rejected our friendship. We
accordingly landed in a body, unopposed by the islanders, who seemed


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