Journal of Christopher Columbus
following is the narrative of the explorer's visit to Cuba during
his first voyage (1492) from his Journal. The Journal was forwarded
to the King and Queen, but is now lost. In his Life of Columbus,
Ferdinand Columbus drew largely from the Journal (see
AMERICA, DISCOVERY OF),
and in the subjoined abstract we have parts of the Journal word for
word, with many quotations by another chronicler concerning what
Columbus did and said:
Columbus Ship on its Voyage to the New World
Monday, Oct. 29.—The Admiral weighed anchor from this port and sailed to the westward, to go to the city, where, as it seemed, the Indians said that there was a king. They doubled a point 6 leagues to the northwest, and then another point, then east 10 leagues. After an-other league he saw a river with no very large entrance, to which he gave the name of Rio de la Luna. He went on until the hour of vespers. He saw another river much larger than the others, as the Indians told him by signs, and near he saw goodly villages of houses. He called the river Rio de Mares. He sent two boats on shore to a village to communicate, and one of the Indians he had brought with him, for now they understood a little, and show themselves content with Christians. All the men, women, and children fled, abandoning their houses with all they contained. The Admiral gave orders that nothing should be touched. The houses were better than those he had seen before, and he believed that the houses would improve as he approached the mainland. They were made like booths, very large, and looking like tents in a camp without regular streets, but one here and another there. Within they were clean and well swept, with the furniture well made. All are of palm branches beautifully constructed. They found many images in the shape of women, and many heads like masks, very well carved. It was not known whether these were used as ornaments, or to be worshipped. They had dogs which never bark, and wild birds tamed in their houses. There was a wonderful supply of nets and other fishing implements, but nothing was touched. He believed that all the people on the coast were fishermen, who took the fish inland, for this island is very large, and so beautiful that he is never tired of praising it. He says that he found trees and fruits of very marvelous taste; and adds that they must have cows or other cattle, for he saw skulls which were like those of cows. The songs of the birds and the chirping of crickets throughout the night lulled every one to rest, while the air was soft and healthy, and the nights neither hot nor cold. On the voyage through the other islands there was great heat, but here it is tempered like the month of May. He attributed the heat of the other islands to their flatness, and to the wind coming from the east, which is hot. The water of the rivers was salt at the mouth, and they did not know whence the natives got their drinking-water, though they have sweet water in their houses. Ships are able to turn in this river, both entering and coining out, and there are very good leading-marks. He says that all this sea appears to be constantly smooth, like the river at Seville, and the water suitable for the growth of pearls. He found large shells unlike those of Spain. Remarking on the position of the river and port, to which he gave the name of San Salvador, he describes its mountains as lofty and beautiful, like the Pella de las Enamoradas, and one of them has another little hill on its summit, like a graceful mosque. The other river and port, in which he now was, has two round mountains to the southwest, and a fine low cape running out to the west-southwest.
Tuesday, Oct. 30. -He left the Rio de Mares and steered northwest, seeing a cape covered with palm-trees, to which he gave the name of Cabo de Palmas, after having made good 15 leagues. The Indians on board the caravel Pinta said that beyond that cape there was a river, and that from the river to Cuba it was four days' journey. The captain of the Pinta reported that he understood from that, that this Cuba was a city, and that the land was a great continent trending farto the north. The king of that country, he gathered, was at war with the Gran Can, whom they called Cami, and his land or city Fava, with many other names. The Admiral resolved to proceed to that river, and to send a present, with the letter of the sovereigns, to the king of that land. For this service there was a sailor who had been to Guinea, and some of the Indians of Guanahani wished to go with him, and afterwards to return to their homes.
Wednesday, Oct. 31.-All Tuesday night he was beating to windward, and he saw a river, but could not enter it because the entrance was narrow. The Indians fancied that the ships could enter wherever their canoes could go. Navigating onward, he came to a cape running out very far, and surrounded by sunken rocks, and he saw a bay where small vessels might take shelter. He could not proceed, because the wind had come round to the north, and all the coast runs northwest and southeast. Another cape farther on ran out still more. For these reasons and because the sky showed signs of a gale, he had to return to the Rio de Mares.
Thursday, Nov. 1.-At sunrise the Admiral sent the boats on shore to the houses that were there, and they found that all the people had fled. After some time a man made his appearance. The Admiral ordered that he should be left to himself, and the sailors returned to the boats. After dinner, one of the Indians on board was sent on shore. He called out from a distance that there was nothing to fear, because the strangers were good people and would do no harm to any one, nor were they people of the Gran Can, but they had given away their things in many islands where they had been. The Indian then swain on shore, and two of the natives took him by the arms and brought him to a house, where they heard what he had to say. When they were certain that no harm would be done to them they were reassured, and presently more than sixteen canoes came to the ships with cotton thread and other trifles. The Admiral ordered that nothing should be taken from them, but that they might understand that he sought for nothing but gold, which they called nucay. Thus they went to and fro between the ships and the shore all day, and they came to the Christians on shore with confidence. The Admiral saw no gold whatever among them, but he says that he saw one of them with a piece of worked silver fastened to his nose. They said, by signs, that within three days many merchants from inland would come to buy the things brought by the Christians, and would give information respecting the king of that land. So far as could be understood from their signs, he resided at a distance of four days' journey. They had sent many messengers in all directions, with news of the arrival of the Admiral. " These people," says the Admiral, " are of the same appearance and have the same customs as those of the other islands, without any religion, so far as I know, for up to this day I have never seen the Indians on board say any prayer; though they repeat the Salve and Ave Maria with their hands raised to heaven, and they make the sign of the cross. The language is also the same, and they are all friends; but I believe that all these islands are at war with the Gran Can, whom they call Cavila, and his province Bafan. They all go naked like the others." This is what the Admiral says. " The river," he adds, " is very deep, and the ships can enter the mouth, going close to the shore. The sweet water does not come within a league of the mouth. It is certain," says the Admiral, " that this is the mainland, and that I am in front of Zayto and Guinsay, 100 leagues, a little more or less, distant the one from the other. It was very clear that no one before has been so far as this by sea. Yesterday, with wind from the northwest, I found it cold."
Friday, Nov. 2.-The Admiral decided upon sending two Spaniards, one named Rodrigo de Jerez, who lived in Ayamonte, and the other Luis de Torres, who had served in the household of the Adelantado of Murcia, and had been a Jew, knowing Hebrew, Chaldee, and even some Arabic. With these men he sent two Indians. one from among those he had brought from Guanahani. and another native of the houses by the river-side. He gave them specimens of spices, to see if any were to be found. Their instructions were to ask for the king of that land, and they were told what to say on the part of the sovereigns of Castile, how they had sent the Admiral with letters and a present, to inquire after his health and establish friendship, favoring him in what he might desire from them. They were to collect information respecting certain provinces, ports, and rivers of which the Admiral had notice.
This night the Admiral took an altitude with a quadrant, and found that the distance from the equinoctial line was 42 degrees. He says that, by his reckoning, he finds that he has gone over 1,142 leagues from the island of Hierro. He still believes that he has reached the mainland.
Columbus Lands in the New World
Saturday, Nov. 3.-In the morning the Admiral got into his boat, and, as the river is like a great lake at the mouth, forming a very excellent port, very deep, and clear of rocks, with a good beach for careening ships, and plenty of fuel, he explored it until he came to fresh water at a distance of 2 leagues from the mouth. He ascended a small mountain to obtain a view of the surrounding country, but could see nothing, owing to the dense foliage of the trees, which were very fresh and odoriferous, so that he felt no doubt that there were aromatic herbs among them. He said that all he saw wag so beautiful that his eyes could never tire of gazing upon such loveliness, nor his ears of listening to the songs of birds. That day many canoes came to the ships, to barter with cotton threads and with the nets in which they sleep, called hamacas.
Sunday, Nov. 4.-At sunrise the Admiral again went away in the boat, and landed to hunt the birds he had seen the day before. After a time, Martin Alonzo Pinzon came to him with two pieces of cinnamon, and said that a Portuguese, who was one of his crew, had seen art Indian carrying two very large bundles of it; but he had not bartered for it, because of the penalty imposed by the Admiral on any one who bartered. He further said that this Indian carried some brown things like nutmegs. The master of the Pinta said that he had found the cinnamon-trees. The Admiral went to the place, and found that they were not cinnamon-trees. He showed the Indians gold and pearls, on which certain old men said that there was an infinite quantity in a place called Bohio; he further understood them to say that there were great ships and much merchandise, all to the southeast. He also understood that, far away, there were men with one eye, and others with dogs' noses who were cannibals, and that when they captured an enemy they beheaded him and drank his blood.
The Admiral then determined to return to the ship and wait for the return of the two men he had sent, intending to depart and seek for those lands, if his envoys brought some good news touching what he desired. The Admiral further says: " These people are very gentle and timid; they go naked, as I have said, without arms and without law. The country is very fertile. The people have plenty of roots called zanahorias (yams), with a smell like chestnuts; and they have beans of kinds very different from ours. They also have much cotton, which they do not sow, as it is wild in the mountains, and I believe they collect it throughout the year, because I saw pods empty, others full, and flowers all on one tree. There are a thousand other kinds of fruits which it is impossible for me to write about, and all must be profitable." All this the Admiral says.
Monday, Nov. 5.-This morning the Admiral ordered the ship to be careened, afterwards the other vessels, but not all at the same time. Two were always to be at the anchorage, as a precaution; although he says that these people were very safe, and that without fear all the vessels might have been careened at the same time. Things being in this state, the master of the Nina came to claim a reward from the Admiral because he had found mastic, but he did not bring the specimen, as he had dropped it. The Admiral promised him a reward, and sent Rodrigo Sanchez and master Diego to the trees. They collected some, which was kept to present to the sovereigns, as well as the tree. The Admiral says that he knew it was mastic, though it ought to be gathered at the proper season. There is enough in that district for a yield of 1,000 quintals every year. The Admiral also found here a great deal of the plant called aloe. He further says that the Puerto de Mares is the best in the world, with the finest climate and the most gentle people. As it has a high, rocky cape, a fortress might be built, so that, in the event of the place becoming rich and important, the merchants would be safe from any other nations. He adds: "The Lord, in whose hands are all victories, will ordain all things for his service. An Indian said by signs that the mastic was good for pains in the stomach."
Tuesday, Nov. 6.-" Yesterday, at night," says the Admiral, " the two men came back who had been sent to explore the interior. They said that after walking 12 leagues they came to a village of fifty houses, where there were 1,000 in-habitants, for many live in one house. These houses are like very large booths. They said that they were received with great solemnity, according to custom, and all, both men and women, came out to see them. They were lodged in the best houses, and the people touched them, kissing their hands and feet, marvelling and believing that they came from heaven, and so they gave them to understand. They gave them to eat of what they had. When they arrived, the chief people conducted them by the arms to the principal house, gave them two chairs on which to sit, and all the natives sat round them on the ground. The Indian who came with them described the manner of living of the Christians, and said that they were good people. Presently the men went out, and the women came sitting round them in the same way, kissing their hands and feet, and looking to see if they were of flesh and bones like themselves. They begged the Spaniards to remain with them at least five days." The Spaniards showed the natives specimens of cinnamon, pepper, and other spices which the Admiral had given them, and they said, by signs, that there was plenty at a short distance from thence to the southeast, but that there they did not know whether there was any. Finding that they had no information respecting cities, the Spaniards returned; and if they had desired to take those who wished to ac-company them, more than 500 men and women would have come, because they thought the Spaniards were returning to heaven. There came, however, a principal man of the village and his son, with a servant. The Admiral conversed with them, and showed them much honor. They made signs respecting many lands and islands in those parts. The Admiral thought of bringing them to the sovereigns. He says that he knew not what fancy took them; either from fear, or owing to the dark night, they wanted to land. The ship was at the time high and dry, but, not wishing to make them angry, he let them go on their way, saying that they would return at dawn, but they never came back.
The two Christians met with many people on the road going home, men and women with a half-burnt weed in their hands, being the herbs they are accustomed to smoke. They did not find villages on the road of more than five houses, all receiving them with the same reverence. They saw many kinds of trees, herbs, and sweet-smelling flowers; and birds of many different kinds, unlike those of Spain, except the partridges, geese, of which there are many, and singing nightingales. They saw no quadrupeds except the dogs that do not bark. The land is very fertile, and is cultivated with yams and several kinds of beans different from ours, as well as corn. There were great quantities of cotton gathered, spun, and worked up. In a single house they saw more than 500 arrobas, and as much as 4,000 quintals could be yielded every year. The Admiral said that " it did not appear to be cultivated, and that it bore all the year round. It is very fine, and has a large boll. All that was possessed by these people they gave at a very low price, and a great bundle of cotton was exchanged for the point of a needle or other trifle. They are a people," says the Admiral, " guileless and unwarlike. Men and women go as naked as when their mothers bore them. It is true that the women wear a very small rag of cotton cloth, and they are of very good appearance, not very dark, less so than the Canarians. I hold, most serene Princes, that if devout religious persons were here, knowing the language, they would all turn Christians. I trust in our Lord that your Highnesses will resolve upon this with much diligence, to bring so many great nations within the Church, and to convert them, as you have destroyed those who would not confess the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. And after your days, all of us being mortal, may your kingdoms remain in peace, and free from heresy and evil, and may you be well received before the eternal Creator, to whom I pray that you may have long life and great increase of kingdoms and lordships, with the will and disposition to increase the holy Christian religion as you have done hitherto. Amen !
" Today I got the ship afloat, and pre-pared to depart on Thursday, in the name of God, and to steer southeast in search of gold and spices, and to discover land." These are the words of the Admiral, who intended to depart on Thursday, but, the wind being contrary, he could not go until Nov. 12.
Monday, Nov. 12. — The Admiral left the port and river of Mares before dawn to visit the island called Babeque, so much talked of by the Indians on board, where, according to their signs, the people gather the gold on the beach at night with candles, and afterwards beat it into bars with hammers. To go hither it was necessary to shape a course east by south. After having made 8 leagues along the coast, a river was sighted, and another 4 leagues brought them to another river, which appeared to be of great volume, and larger than any they had yet seen. The Admiral did not wish to stop nor to enter any of these rivers, for two reasons: the first and principal one being that wind and weather were favorable for going in search of the said island of Babeque; the other that, if there was a populous and famous city near the sea, it would be visible, while, to go up the rivers, small vessels are necessary, which those of the expedition were not. Much time would thus be lost; moreover, the exploration of such rivers is a separate enterprise. All that coast was peopled near the river, to which the name of Rio del Sol was given.
The Admiral says that, on the previous Sunday, Nov. 11, it seemed good to take some person from among those at Rio de Mares, to bring to the sovereigns, that they might learn our language, so as to be able to tell us what there is in their lands. Returning, they would be the mouthpieces of the Christians, and would adopt our customs and the things of the faith. "I saw and knew," says the Admiral, " that these people are without any religion, not idolaters, but very gentle, not knowing what is evil, nor the sins of murder and theft, being without arms, and so timid that 100 would fly before one Spaniard, al-though they joke with them. They, however, believe and know that there is a God in heaven, and say that we have come from heaven. At any prayer that we say, they repeat, and make the sign of the cross. Thus your Highnesses should resolve to make them Christians, for I believe that, if the work was begun, in a little time a multitude of nations would be converted to our faith, with the acquisition of great lordships, peoples, and riches for Spain. Without doubt, there is in these lands a vast quantity of gold, and the Indians I have on board do not speak without reason when they say that in these islands there are places where they dig out gold, and wear it on their necks, ears, arms, and legs, the rings being very large. There are also precious stones, pearls, and an infinity of spices. In this river of Mares, whence we de-parted to-night, there is undoubtedly a great quantity of mastic, and much more could be raised, because the trees may be planted, and will yield abundantly. The leaf and fruit are like the mastic, but the tree and leaf are larger. As Pliny de-scribes it, I have seen it on the island of Chios in the Archipelago. I ordered many of these trees to be tapped, to see if any of them would yield resin; but, as it rained all the time I was in that river, I could not get any, except a very little, which I am bringing to your Highnesses. It may not be the right season for tap-ping, which is, I believe, when the trees come forth after winter and begin to flower. But when I was there the fruit was nearly ripe. Here also there is a great quantity of cotton, and I believe it would have a good sale here without sending it to Spain, but to the great cities of the Gran Can, which will be discovered without doubt, and many others ruled over by other lords, who will be pleased to serve your Highnesses, and whither will be brought other commodities of Spain and of the Eastern lands; but these are to the west as regards us. There is also here a great yield of aloes, though this is not a commodity that will yield great profit. The mastic, however, is important, for it is only obtained from the said island of Chios, and I believe the harvest is worth 50,000 ducats, if I remember right. There is here, in the mouth of the river, the best port I have seen up to this time, wide, deep, and clear of rocks. It is an excellent site for a town and fort, for any ship could come close up to the walls; the land is high, with a temperate climate, and very good water.
" Yesterday a canoe came alongside the ship, with six youths in it. Five came on board, and I ordered them to be detained. They are here now. I afterwards sent to a house on the western side of the river, and seized seven women, old and young, and three children. I did this because the men would behave better in Spain if they had women of their own land than without them. For on many occasions the men of Guinea have been brought to learn the language of Portugal, and after-wards, when they returned, and it was expected that they would be useful in their land, owing to the good company they had enjoyed and the gifts they had received, they never appeared after arriving. Others may not act thus. But, having women, they have the wish to perform what they are required to do; besides, the women would teach our people their language, which is the same in all these islands, so that those who make voyages in their canoes are understood every-where. On the other hand, there are 1.000 different languages in Guinea, and one native does not understand another.
" The same night the husband of one of the women came alongside in a canoe, who was father of the three children—one boy and two girls. He asked me to let him come with them, and besought me much. They are now all consoled at being with one who is a relation of them all. He is a man of about forty-five years of age." All these are the words of the Admiral. He also says that he had felt some cold, and that it would not be wise to continue discoveries in a northerly direction in the winter. On this Monday, until sunset, he steered a course east by south, making 18 leagues, and reaching a cape, to which he gave the name of Cabo de Cuba,Tuesday, Nov. 13. — This night the ships were on the bowline, as the sailors say, beating to windward without making any progress. At sunset they began to see an opening in the mountains, where two very high peaks were visible. It appeared that here was the division between the land of Cuba and that of Bohio, and this was affirmed by signs, by the Indians who were on board. As soon as the day had dawned, the Admiral made sail towards the land, passing a point 'which appeared at night to be distant 2 leagues. He then entered a large gulf, 5 leagues to the south-southeast, and there remained 5 more, to arrive at the point where, between two great mountains, there appeared to be an opening; but it could not be made out whether it was an inlet of the sea. As he desired to go to the island called Babeque, where, according to the information he had received, there was much gold; and as it bore east, and as no large town was in sight, the wind freshening more than ever, he resolved to put out to sea, and work to the east with a northerly wind. The ship made 8 miles an hour, and from ten in the forenoon, when that course was taken, until sunset, 56 miles, which is 14 leagues to the east-ward from the Cabo de Cuba. The other land of Bohio was left to leeward. Commencing from the cape of the said gulf, he discovered, according to his reckoning, 80 miles, equal to 20 leagues, all that coast running east-southeast and west-northwest.
Wednesday, Nov. 14.—All last night the Admiral was beating to windward (he said that it would be unreason-able to navigate among those islands during the night, until they had been explored), for the Indians said yesterday that it would take three days to go from Rio de Mares to the island of Babeque, by which should be understood days' journeys in their canoes, equal to about 7 leagues. The wind fell, and, the course being east, she could not lay her course nearer than southeast, and, owing to other mischances, he was detained until the morning. At sunrise he determined to go in search of a port, because the wind had shifted from north to northeast, and, if a port could not be found, it would be necessary to go back to the ports in the island of Cuba, whence they came. The Admiral approached the shore, having gone over 28 miles east-southeast that night. He steered south . . . miles to the land, where he saw many islets and openings. As the wind was high and the sea rough, he did not dare to risk an attempt to enter, but ran along the coast west-northwest, looking out for a port, and saw many, but none very clear of rocks. After having proceeded for 64 miles, he found a very deep opening, a quarter of a mile wide, with a good port and river. He ran in with her head south-southwest, afterwards south to southeast. The port was spacious and very deep, and he saw so many islands that he could not count them all, with very high land covered with trees of many kinds, and an infinite number of palms. He was much astonished to see so many lofty islands; and assured the sovereigns that the mountains and isles he had seen since yesterday seemed to him to be second to none in the world; so high and clear of clouds and snow, with the sea at their bases so deep. He believes that these islands are those innumerable ones that are depicted on the maps of the world in the Far East.
He believed that they yielded very great riches in precious stones and spices, and that they extend much further to the south, widening out in all directions. He gave the name of La Mar de Nuestra Senora, and to the haven, which is near the mouth of the entrance to these islands, Puerto de Principe. He did not enter it, but examined it from outside, until an-other time, on Saturday of the next week, as will there appear. He speaks highly of the fertility, beauty, and height of the islands which he found in this gulf, and he tells the sovereigns not to wonder at his praise of them, for that he has not told them the hundredth part. Some of them seemed to reach to heaven, running up into peaks like diamonds. Others have a flat top like a table. At their bases the sea is of a great depth, with enough water for a very large carrack. All are covered with foliage and without rocks.
Thursday, Nov. 15. — The
Admiral went to examine these islands in the ship's boats, and
speaks marvels of them, how he found mastic and aloes without end.
Some of them were cultivated with the roots of which the Ind-ians
make bread; and he found that fires had been lighted in several
places. He saw no fresh water. There were some natives, but they
fled. In all parts of the sea where the vessels were navigated he
found a depth of 15 or 16 fathoms, and all basa, by which he means
that the ground is sand, and not rocks; a thing much desired by
sailors, for the rocks cut their anchor cables.
Returning to the ship, he found that the Indians who were on board had fished up very large shells found in those seas. He made the people examine them, to see if there was mother-o'-pearl, which is in the shells where pearls grow. They found a great deal, but no pearls, and their absence was attributed to its not being the season, which is May and June. The sailors found an animal which seemed to be a taso, or taxo. They also fished with nets, and, among many others, caught a fish which was exactly like a pig, not like a tunny, but all covered with a very hard shell, without a soft place except the eyes. It was ordered to be salted, to bring home for the sovereigns to see.
Saturday, Nov. 17.-The Admiral got into the boat, and went to visit the islands he had not yet seen to the south-west. He saw many more very fertile and pleasant islands, with a great depth between them. Some of them had springs of fresh water, and he believed that the water of those streams came from some sources at the summits of the mountains. He went on, and found a beach bordering on very sweet water, which was very cold. There was a beautiful meadow, and many very tall palms. They found a large nut of the kind belonging to India, great rats, and enormous crabs. He saw many birds, and there was a strong smell of musk, which made him think it must be there. This day the two eldest of the six youths, brought from the Rio de Mares, who were on board the caravel Nina, made their escape.
Sunday, Nov. 18.—The Admiral again went away with the boats, accompanied by many of the sailors, to set up the cross which he had ordered to be made out of the two large trees at the entrance to the Puerto del Principe, on a fair site cleared of trees, whence there was an extensive and very beautiful view. He says that there is a greater rise and fall there than in any other port he has seen, and that this is no marvel, considering the numerous islands. The tide is the reverse of ours, because here, when the moon is south-southwest, it is low water in the port. He (lid not get under way, because it was Sunday.
Monday, Nov. 19. — The Admiral got under way before sunrise, in a calm. In the afternoon there was some wind from the. east, and he shaped a north-northeast course. At sunset the Puerto del Principe bore south-southwest 7 leagues. He saw the island of Babeque bearing due east about 60 miles. He steered northeast all that night, making 60 miles, and up to ten o'clock of Tuesday another dozen; al-together 18 leagues northeast by west.
Tuesday, Nov. 20.-They left Babeque, or the islands of Babeque, to the east-southeast, the wind being contrary; and, seeing that no progress was being made, and the sea was getting rough, the Admiral determined to return to the Puerto del Principe, whence he had started, which was 25 leagues distant. He did not wish to go to the island he had called Isabella, which was 12 leagues off, and where hemight have anchored that night, for two reasons: one was that he had seen two islands to the south which he wished to explore; the other, because the Indians he brought with him, whom he had taken at the island of Guanahani, which he named San Salvador, 8 leagues from Isabella, might get away, and he said that he wanted them to take to Spain. They thought that, when the Admiral had found gold, he would let them return to their homes. He came near the Puerto del Principe, but could not reach it, be-cause it was night, and because the cur-rent drifted them to the northwest. He turned her head to northeast with a light wind. At three o'clock in the morning the wind changed, and a course was shaped east-northeast, the wind being south-southwest, and changing at dawn to south and southeast. At sunset Puerto del Principe bore nearly southwest by west 48 miles, which are 12 leagues.
Wednesday, Nov. 21. — At sunrise the Admiral steered east, with a southerly wind, but made little progress, owing to a contrary sea. At vespers he had gone 24 miles. Afterwards the wind changed to east, and he steered south by east, at sunset having gone 12 miles. Here he found himself 42 degrees north of the equinoctial line, as in the port of Mares, but he says that he kept the result from the quadrant in suspense until he reached the shore, that it might be adjusted (as it would seem that he thought this distance was too great, and the had reason, it not being possible, as these islands are only in . . . degrees).
This day Martin Alonzo Pinzon parted company with the caravel Pinta, in disobedience to and against the wish of the Admiral, and out of avarice, thinking that an Indian who had been put on board his caravel could show him where there was much gold. So he parted company, not owing to bad weather, but because he chose. Here the Admiral says: "He had done and said many other things to me."
Thursday, Nov. 22. — On Wednesday night the Admiral steered south-south-east, with the wind east, but it was nearly calm. At three it began to blow from north-northeast; and he continued to steer south to see the land he had seen in that quarter. When the sun rose he was as far Gil' as the day before, owing to adverse currents, the land being 40 miles off. This night Martin Alonzo shaped a course to the east, to go to the island of Babeque, where the Indians say there is much gold. He slid this in sight of the Admiral, from whom he was distant 16 miles. The Admiral stood towards the land all night. He shortened sail, and showed a lantern, because Pinzon would thus have an opportunity of joining him, the night being very clear, and the wind fair to come, if he had wished to do so.
Friday, Nov. 23.-The Admiral stood towards the land all day, always steering south with little wind, but the current would never let them reach it, being as far off at sunset as in the morning. The wind was east-northeast, and they could shape a southerly course, but there was little of it. Beyond this cape there stretched out another land or cape, also trending east, which the Indians on board called Bohio. They said that it was very large, and that there were people in it who had one eye in their foreheads, and others who were cannibals, and of whom they were much afraid. When they saw that this course was taken, they said that they could not talk to these people because they would be eaten, and that they were very well armed. The Admiral says that he well believes that there were such people, and that if they are armed they must have some ability. He thought that they may have captured some of the Indians, and because they did not return to their homes, the others believed that they had been eaten. They thought the same of the Christians and of the Admiral when some of them first saw the strangers.
Saturday, Nov. 24. — They navigated all night, and at three they reached the island at the very same point they had come to the week before, when they started for the island of Babeque. At first the Admiral did not dare to approach the shore, because it seemed that there would be a great surf in that mountain-girded bay. Finally he reached the sea of Nuestra Senora, where there are many islands, and entered a port near the mouth of the opening to the islands. He says that if he had known of this port before he need not have occupied himself in exploring the islands, and it would not have been necessary to go back. He, however, considered that the time was well spent in examining the islands. On nearing the land he sent in the boat to sound; finding a good sandy bottom in 6 to 20 fathoms. He entered the haven, pointing the ship's head south-west, and then west, the flat island bearing north. This, with another island near it, forms a harbor which would hold all the ships of Spain safe from all winds. This entrance on the southwest side is passed by steering south-southwest, the outlet being to the west very deep and wide. Thus a vessel can pass amidst these islands, and he who approaches from the north, with a knowledge of them, can pass along the coast. These islands are at the foot of a great mountain-chain running east and west, which is longer and higher than any others on this coast, where there are many. A reef of rocks outside runs parallel with the said mountains, like a bench, extending to the entrance. On the side of the flat island, and also to the southeast, there is another small reef, but between them is great width and depth. Within the port, near the southeast side of the entrance, they saw a large and very fine river, with more volume than any they had yet met with, and fresh water could be taken from it as far as the sea. At the entrance there is a bar, but within it is very deep, 19 fathoms. The banks are lined with palms and many other trees.
Sunday, Nov 25. — Before sunrise the Admiral got into the boat, and went to see a cape or point of land to the south-east of the flat island, about a league and a half distant, because there appeared to be a good river there. Presently, near to the southeast side of the cape, at a distance of two cross-bow shots, he saw a large stream of beautiful water falling from the mountains above, with a loud noise. He went to it, and saw some stones shining in its bed like gold. He remembered that in the river Tejo, near its junction with the sea, there was gold; so it seemed to him that this should contain gold, and he ordered some of these stones to be collected, to be brought to the sovereigns. Just then the sailor-boys called out that they had found large pines. The Admiral looked up the hill, and saw that they were so wonderfully large that he could not exaggerate their height and straightness, like stout yet fine spindles. He perceived that here there was material for great store of planks and masts for the largest ships in Spain. He saw oaks and arbutus-trees, with a good river, and the means of making water-proof. The climate was temperate, owing to the height of the mountains. On the beach he saw many other stones of the color of iron, and others that some said were like silver ore, all brought down by the river. Here he obtained a new mast and yard for the mizzen of the caravel Nina. He came to the mouth of the river, and entered a creek which was deep and wide, at the foot of that southeast part of the cape, which would accommodate 100 ships with-out any anchor or hawsers. Eyes never be-held a better harbor. The mountains are very high, whence descend many limpid streams and all the hills are covered with pines, and an infinity of diverse and beautiful trees. Two or three other rivers were not visited.
The Admiral described all this, in much detail, to the sovereigns, and declared that he had derived unspeakable joy and pleasure at seeing it, more especially the pines, because they enable as many ships as is desired to be built here, bringing out the rigging, but finding here abundant supplies of wood and provisions. He affirms that he has not enumerated a hundredth part of what there is here, and that it pleased our Lord always to show hint one thing better than another, as well on the ground and among the trees, herbs, fruits, and flowers, as in the people, and always something different in each place. It had been the same as regards the havens and the waters. Finally, he says that, if it caused him who saw it so much wonder, how much more will it affect those who hear about it; yet no one can believe until he sees it.
Monday, Nov. 26.-At sunrise the Admiral weighed the anchors in the haven of Santa Catalina, where he was behind the fiat island, and steered along the coast in the direction of Cabo del Pico, which was southeast. He reached the cape late, because the wind failed, and then saw an-other cape, southeast by east 60 miles,which, when 20 miles off, was named Cabo de Campana, but it could not be reached that day. They made good 32 miles during the day, which is 8 leagues. During this time the Admiral noted nine remarkable ports, which all the sailors thought wonderfully good, and five large rivers; for they sailed close along the land, so as to see everything. All along the coast there are very high and beautiful mountains, not arid or rocky, but all accessible, and very lovely. The valleys, like the mountains, were full of tall and fine trees, so that it was a glory to look upon them, and there seemed to be many pines. Also, beyond the said Cabo de Pico to the southeast there are two islets, each about 2 leagues round, and inside them three excellent havens and two large rivers. Along the whole coast no inhabited places were visible from the_ sea. There may have been some, and there were indications of them, for, when the men landed, they found signs of people and numerous re-mains of fire. The Admiral conjectured that the land he saw to-day southeast of the Cabo de Campana was the island called by the Indians Bohio: it looked as if this cape was separated from the mainland. The Admiral says that all the people he has hitherto met with have very great fear of those of Caniba or Canima. They affirm that they live in the island of Bohio, which must be very large, according to all accounts. The Admiral understood that those of Caniba come to take people from their homes, they being very cowardly, and without knowledge of arms. For this cause it appears that these Indians do not settle on the sea-coast, owing to being near the island of Caniba. When the natives who were on board saw a course shaped for that land, they feared to speak, thinking they were going to be eaten; nor could they rid themselves of their fear. They declared that the Canibas had only one eye and dogs' faces. The Admiral thought they lied, and was inclined to believe that it was people from the dominions of the Gran Can who took them into captivity.
Tuesday, Nov. 27.—Yesterday, at sun-set, they arrived near a cape named Campana by the Admiral; and, as the sky was clear and the wind light, he did not wish to run in close to the land and anchor, although he had five or six singularly good havens under his lee. The Admiral was attracted on the one hand by the longing and delight he felt to gaze upon the beauty and freshness of those lands, and on the other by a desire to complete the work he had undertaken. For these reasons he remained close hauled, and stood off and on during the night. But, as the currents had set him more than 5 or 6 leagues to the southeast beyond where he had been at nightfall, passing the land of Campana, he came in sight of a great opening beyond that cape, which seemed to divide one land from another, leaving an island between them. He decided to go back, with the wind southeast, steering to the point where the opening had appeared, where he found that it was only a large bay; and at the end of it, on the southeast side, there was a point of land on which was a high and square-cut hill, which had looked like an island. A breeze sprang up from the north, and the Admiral continued on a southeast course, to explore the coast and discover all that was there. Presently he saw, at the foot of the Cabo de Campana, a wonderfully good port, and a large river, and, a quarter of league on, another river, and a third, and a fourth to a seventh at similar distances, from the furthest one to Cabo de Campana being 20 miles southeast. Most of these rivers have wide and deep mouths, with excellent havens for large ships, without sand-banks or sunken rocks. Proceeding onwards from the last of these rivers, on a southeast course, they came to the largest inhabited place they had yet seen, and a vast concourse of people came down to the beach with loud shouts, all naked, with their darts in their hands. The Admiral desired to have speech with them, so he furled sails and anchored. The boats of the ship and the caravel were sent on shore, with orders to do no harm what-ever to the Indians, but to give them presents. The Indians made as if they would resist the landing, but, seeing that the boats of the Spaniards continued to advance without fear, they retired from the beach. Thinking that they would not be terrified if only two or three landed, three Christians were put on shore, who told them not to be afraid, in their own language, for they had been able to learn a little from the natives who were on board. But all ran away, neither great nor small remaining. The Christians went to the houses, which were of straw, and built like the others they had seen, but found no one in any of them. They re-turned to the ships, and made sail at noon in the direction of a fine cape to the east-ward, about 8 leagues distant. Having gone about half a league, the Admiral saw, on the south side of the same bay, a very remarkable harbor and to the southeast some wonderfully beautiful country like a valley among the mountains, whence much smoke arose, indicating a large population, with signs of much cultivation. So he resolved to stop at this port, and see if he could have any speech or intercourse with the inhabitants. It was so that, if the Admiral had praised the other havens, he must praise this still more for its lands, climate, and people. He tells marvels of the beauty of the country and of the trees, there being palms and pine-trees; and also of the great valley, which is not flat, but diversified by hill and dale, the most lovely scenery in the world. Many streams flow from it, which. fall from the mountains.
As soon as the ship was at anchor the Admiral jumped into the boat, to get soundings in the port, which is the shape of a hammer. When he was facing the entrance he found the mouth of a river on the south side of sufficient width for a galley to enter it, but so concealed that it is not visible until close to. Entering it for the length of the boat, there was a depth of from 5 to 8 fathoms. In passing up it the freshness and beauty of the trees, the clearness of the water, and the birds, made it all so delightful that he wished never to leave them. He said to the men who were with him that to give a true relation to the sovereigns of the things which they had seen, 1,000 tongues would not suffice, nor his hand to write it, for that it was like a scene of enchantment. He desired that many other prudent and credible witnesses might see it, and he was sure that they would be as unable to exaggerate the scene as he was.
The Admiral also says: " How great the benefit that is to be derived from this country would be, I cannot say. It is certain that where there are such lands there must be an infinite number of things that would be profitable. But I did not remain long in one port, because I wished to see as much of the country as possible, in order to make a report upon it to your Highnesses; and, besides, I do not know the language, and these people neither understand me nor any other in my company; while the Indians I have on board often misunderstand. Moreover, I have not been able to see much of the natives, because they often take to flight. But now, if our Lord pleases, I will see as much as possible, and will proceed by little and little, learning and comprehending; and I will make some of my followers learn the language. For I have perceived that there is only one language up to this point. After they understand the advantages, I shall labor to make all these people Christians. They will be-come so readily, because they have no religion nor idolatry, and your Highnesses will send orders to build a city and fortress, and to convert the people. I assure your Highnesses that it does not appear to me that there can be a more fertile country nor a better climate under the sun, with abundant supplies of water. This is not like the rivers of Guinea, which are all pestilential. I thank our Lord that, up to this time, there has not been a person of my company who has so much as had a headache, or been in bed from illness, except an old man who has suffered from the stone all his life, and he was well again in two days. I speak of all three vessels. If it will please God that your Highnesses should send learned men out here, they will see the truth of all I have said. I have related already how good a place Rio del Mares would be for a town and fortress, and this is perfectly true; but it bears no comparison with this place, nor with the Mar de Nuestra Senora. For here there must be a large population, and very valuable productions, which I hope to discover before I return to Castile. I say that, if Christendom will find profit among these people, how much more will Spain, to whom the whole country should be subject. Your Highnesses ought not to consent that any stranger should trade here, or put his foot in the country, except Catholic Christians, for this was the beginning and end of the undertaking; namely, the increase and glory of the Christian religion, and that no one should come to these parts who was not a good Christian."
All the above are the Admiral's words. He ascended the river for some distance, examined some branches of it, and, re-turning to the mouth, he found some pleasant groves of trees, like a delightful orchard. Here he came upon a canoe, dug out of one tree, as big as a galley of twelve benches, fastened under a boat-house made of wood, and thatched with palm-leaves, so that it could be neither injured by sun nor by the water. He says that here would be the proper site for a town and fort, by reason of the good port, good water, good land, and abundance of fuel.
Wednesday, Nov 28.-The Admiral remained during this day, in consequence of the rain and thick weather, though he might have run along the coast, the wind being southwest, but he did not weigh, because he was unacquainted with the coast beyond, and did not know what danger there might be for the vessels. The sailors of the two vessels went on shore to wash their clothes, and some of them walked inland for a short distance. They found indications of a large population. but the houses were all empty, every one having fled. They returned by the banks of another river, larger than that which they knew of, at the port.
Thursday, Nov. 29. — The rain and thick weather continuing, the Admiral did not get under way. Some of the Christians went to another village to the northwest, but found no one, and nothing in the houses. On the road they met an old man who could not run away, and caught him. They told him they did not wish to do him any harm, gave him a few presents, and let him go. The Admiral would have liked to have had speech with him, for he was exceedingly satisfied with the delights of that land, and wished that a settlement might be formed there, judging that it must support a large population. In one house they found a cake of wax, which was taken to the sovereigns, the Admiral saying that where there was wax there were also 1,000 other good things. The sailors also found, in one house, the head of a man in a basket, covered with another basket, and fastened to a post of the house. They found the same things in another village. The Admiral believed that they must be the heads of some founder, or principal ancestor of a lineage, for the houses are built to contain a great number of people in each; and these should be relations, and descendants of a common ancestor.
Friday, Nov. 30.-They could not get under way to-day because the wind was east, and dead against them. The Admiral sent eight men well armed, accompanied by two of the Indians he had on board, to examine the village inland, and get speech with the people. They came to many houses, but found no one and nothing, all having fled. They saw four youths who were digging in the fields, but, as soon as they saw the Christians, they ran away, and could not be overtaken. They marched a long distance, and saw many villages and a most fertile land, with much cultivation and many streams of water. Near one river they saw a canoe dug out of a single tree, 95 palmos long, and capable of carrying 150 persons.
Saturday, Dec. 1.-They did not depart, because there was still a foul wind, with much rain. The Admiral set up a cross at the entrance of this port, which he called Puerto Santo, on some bare rocks. The point is that which is on the south-east side of the entrance; but he who has to enter should make more over to the northwest; for at the foot of both, near the rock, there are 12 fathoms and a very clean bottom. At the entrance of the port, towards the southeast point, there is a reef of rocks above water, sufficiently far from the shore to be able to pass between if it is necessary; for both on the side of the rock and the shore there is a depth of 12 to 15 fathoms; and on entering, a ship's head should be turned southwest.
Sunday, Dec. 2.-The wind was still contrary, and they could not depart. Every night the wind blows on the land, but no vessel need be alarmed at all the gales in the world, for they cannot blow home by reason of a reef of rocks at the opening to the haven. A sailor-boy found, at the mouth of the river, some stones which looked as if they contained gold; so they were taken to be shown to the sovereigns. The Admiral says that there are great rivers at the distance of a lombard-shot.
Monday, Dec. 3.-By reason of the continuance of an easterly wind the Admiral did not leave this port. He arranged to visit a very beautiful headland a quarter of a league to the southeast of the anchorage. He went with the boats and some armed men. At the foot of the cape there was the mouth of a fair river, and on entering it they found the width to be 100 paces, with a depth of 1 fathom. Inside they found 12, 5, 4, and 2 fathoms, so that it would hold all the ships there are in Spain. Leaving the river, they came to a cove in which were five very large canoes, so well constructed that it was a pleasure to look at them. They were under spreading trees, and a path led from them to a very well-built boat-house, so thatched that neither sun nor rain could do any harm. Within it there was another canoe made out of a single tree like the others, like a galley with seventeen benches. It was a pleas-ant sight to look upon such goodly work. The Admiral ascended a mountain, and afterwards found the country level, and cultivated with many things of that land, including such calabashes as it was a glory to look upon them. In the middle there was a large village, and they came upon the people suddenly; but, as soon as they were seen, men and women took to flight. The Indian from on board, who was with the Admiral, cried out to them that they need not be afraid, as the strangers were good people. The Admiral made him give them bells, copper ornaments, and glass beads, green and yellow, with which they were well content. He saw that they had no gold, nor any other precious thing, and that it would suffice to leave them in peace. The whole district was well peopled, the rest having fled from fear. The Admiral assures the sovereigns that 10,000 of these men would run from ten, so cowardly and timid are they. No arms are carried by them, except wands, on the point of which a short piece of wood is fixed, hardened by fire, and these they are very ready to exchange. Returning to where he had left the boats, he sent back some men up the hill, because he fancied he had seen a large apiary. Before those be had sent could return, they were joined by many Indians, and they went to the boats, where the Admiral was waiting with all his people. One of the natives advanced into the river near the stern of the boat, and made a long speech which the Admiral did not understand. At intervals the other Indians raised their hands to heaven, and shouted. The Admiral thought he was assuring him that he was pleased at his arrival; but the saw the Indian who came from the ship change the color of his face, and turn as yellow as wax, trembling much, and letting the Admiral know by signs that he should leave the river, as they were going to kill him. He pointed to a cross-bow which one of the Spaniards had, and showed it to the Indians, and the Admiral let it be understood that they would all be slain, because that cross-bow carried far and killed people. He also took a sword and drew it out of the sheath, showing it to them, and saying the same, which, when they had heard, they all took to flight; while the Indian from the ship still trembled from cowardice, though he was a tall, strong man. The Admiral did not want to leave the river, but pulled towards the place where the natives had assembled in great numbers, all painted, and as naked as when their mothers bore them. Some had tufts of feathers on their heads, and all had their bundles of darts.
The Admiral says: " I came to them, and gave them some mouthfuls of bread, asking for the darts, for which I gave in exchange copper ornaments, bells, and glass beads. This made them peaceable, -so that they came to the boats again, and gave us what they had. The sailors had killed a turtle, and the shell was in the boat in pieces. The sailor-boys gave them some in exchange for a bundle of darts. These are like the other people we have seen, and with the same belief that we came from heaven. They are ready to give whatever thing they have in exchange for any trifle without saying it is little; and I believe they would do the same with gold and spices if they had any. I saw a fine house, not very large, and with two doors, as all the rest have. On entering, I saw a marvellous work, there being rooms made in a peculiar way, that I scarcely know how to describe it. Shells and other things were fastened to the ceiling. I thought it was a. temple, and I called them and asked, by signs, whether prayers were offered up there. They said that they were not, and one of them climbed up and offered me all the things that were there, of which I took some."
Tuesday, Dec. 4.-The Admiral made sail with little wind, and left that port, which he called Puerto Santo. After going 2 leagues, he saw the great river of which he spoke yesterday. Passing along the land, and beating to wind-ward on southeast and west-northwest courses, they reached Cabo Lindo, which is east-southeast, 5 leagues from Cabo del Monte. A league and a half from Cabo del Monte there is an important but rather narrow river, which seemed to have a good entrance, and to be deep. Three - quarters of a league further on, the Admiral saw another very large river, and he thought it must have its source at a great distance. It had 100 paces at its mouth, and no bar, with a depth of 8 fathoms. The Admiral sent the boat in, to take soundings, and they found the water fresh until it enters the sea.
This river had great volume, and must have a large population on its banks. Beyond Cabo Lindo there is a great bay, which would be open for navigation to east-northeast and southeast and south-southwest.
Wednesday, Dec. 5. — All this night they were beating to windward off Cape Lindo, to reach the land to the east, and at sunrise the Admiral sighted an-other cape, 21/2 leagues to the east. Having passed it, he saw that the land trended south and southwest, and presently sawa fine high cape in that direction, 7 leagues distant. He would have wished to go there, but his object was to reach the island of Babeque, which, according to the Indians, bore northeast; so he gave up the intention. He could not go to Babeque either, because the wind was north-east. Looking to the southeast, he saw land, which was a very large island, ac-cording to the information of the Indians, well peopled, and called by them Bohio. The Admiral says that the inhabitants of Cuba, or Juana, and of all the other islands, are much afraid of the inhabitants of Bohio, because they say that they eat people. The Indians relate other things, by signs, which are very wonderful; but the Admiral did not believe them. He only inferred that those of Bohio must have more cleverness and cunning to be able to capture the others, who, however, are very poor-spirited. The wind veered from north-east to north, so the Admiral determined to leave Cuba, or Juana, which, up to this time, he had supposed to be the mainland, on account of its size, having coasted along it for 120 leagues.
Memorial to Ferdinand and Isabella.—Subjoined is the text of the memorial, or report, of the second voyage of Columbus to the Indies, drawn up by him for their Highnesses King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella; and addressed to Antonio de Torres, from the city of Isabella, Jan. 30, 1494, with the reply of their Highnesses at the end of each item in italics:
The report which you, Antonio de Torres, captain of the ship
Marigalante, and governor of the city of Isabella, have to make, on
my behalf, to the king and queen, our sovereigns, is as follows :
Imprimis: after having delivered the credentials which you bear from
me to their Highnesses, you will do homage in my name, and commend
me to them as to my natural sovereigns, in whose service I desire to
continue till death ; and you will furthermore be able to lay before
them all that you have yourself seen and known respecting me.
Item. Although, by the letters which I have written to their Highnesses, as well as to Father Bull and to the Treasurer, a clear' and comprehensive idea may be formed of all that has transpired since our arrival, you will, notwithstanding, in-form their Highnesses, on my behalf, that God has been pleased to manifest such favor towards their service that not only has nothing hitherto occurred to diminish the importance of what I have formerly written or said to their Highnesses, but, on the contrary, I hope, by God's grace, shortly to prove it more clearly by facts, because we have found upon the sea-shore, without penetrating into the interior of the country, some spots showing so many indications of various spices as naturally to suggest the hope of the best results for the future. The same holds good with respect to the gold-mines; for two parties only, who were sent out in different directions to discover them, and who, because they had few people with them, remained out but a short time, found, nevertheless, a great number of rivers whose sands contained this precious metal in such quantity that each man took up a sample of it in his hand, so that our two messengers returned so joyous, and boasted so much of the abundance of gold, that I feel a hesitation in speaking and writing of it to their Highnesses. But as Gorbalan, who was one of the persons who went on the discovery, is returning to Spain, he will be able to relate all that he has seen and observed ; although there remains here another individual—named Hojeda, formerly servant of the Duke of Medina Celi, and a very discreet and painstaking youth—who with-out doubt discovered, beyond all comparison, more than the other, judging by the account which he gave of the rivers he had seen; for he reported that each of them contained things that appeared incredible. It results from all this that their Highnesses ought to return thanks to God for the favor which He thus ac-cords to all their Highnesses' enterprises.
Their Highnesses return thanks to God for all that is recorded, and regard as a very signal service all that the Admiral has already done, and is yet doing; for they are sensible that, under God, it is he who has procured for them their present and future possessions in these countries, and, as they are about to write to him on this subject more at length, they refer to their letter.
Item. You will repeat to their Highnesses what I have already written to them, that I should have ardently desired to have been able to send them, by this occasion, a larger quantity of gold than what they have any hope of our being able to collect, but that the greater part of the people we employed fell suddenly ill. Moreover, the departure of this present expedition could not be delayed any longer for two reasons, namely: on account of the heavy expense which their stay here occasioned; and because the weather was favorable for their departure, and for the return of those who should bring back the articles of which we stand in the most pressing need. If the former were to put off the time of their starting, and the latter were to delay their departure, they would not be able to reach here by the month of May. Besides, if I wished now to undertake a journey to the rivers with those who are well—whether with those who are at sea or those who are on land in the huts—I should experience great difficulties, and even dangers, because, in traversing 23 or 24 leagues, where there are bays and rivers to pass, we should be obliged to carry, as provision for so long a journey, and for the time necessary for collecting the gold, many articles of food, etc., which could not be carried on our backs; and there are no beasts of burden to be found, to afford the necessary assistance. Moreover, the roads and passes are not in such a condition as I should wish for travelling over; but they have already begun to make them passable. It would be also extremely inconvenient to leave the sick men here in the open air, or in huts, with such food and defences as they have on shore; although these Indians appear every day to be more simple and harmless to those who land for the purpose of making investigations. In short, although they come every day to visit us, it would nevertheless be imprudent to risk the loss of our men and our pro-visions, which might very easily happen if an Indian were only, with a lighted coal, to set fire to the huts, for they ramble about both night and day. For this reason, we keep sentinels constantly on the watch while the dwellings are exposed and undefended.
He has done well.
Further, as we have remarked that the greatest part of those who have gone out to make discoveries have fallen sick on their return, and that some have even been obliged to abandon the undertaking in the middle of their journey, and return, it was equally to he feared that the same would occur to those who were at the time enjoying good health, if they were also to go. There were two evils to fear—one the chance of falling ill in undertaking the same work, in a place where there were no houses nor any kind of protection, and of being exposed to the attacks of the cacique called Caonabo, who, by all accounts, is a badly disposed man, and extremely daring, who, if he were to find us in a dispirited condition and sick, might venture upon what he would not dare to do if we were well. The other evil consisted in the difficulty of carrying the gold; for either we should have to carry it in small quantities, and go and return every day, and thus daily expose ourselves to the chance of sickness, or we should have to send it under the escort of a party of our people, and equally run the risk of losing them. He has done 'well.
These are the reasons, you will tell - their Highnesses, why the departure of the expedition has not been delayed, and why only a sample of the gold is sent to them; but I trust in the mercy of God, who in all things and in every place has guided us hitherto, that all our men will be soon restored to health, as, indeed, they are already beginning to be, for they have but to try this country for a little time, and they speedily recover their health. One thing is certain, that, if they could have fresh meat, they would very quickly, by the help of God, be up and doing; and those who are most sickly would speedily recover. I hope that they may be re-stored. The small number of those who continue well are employed every day in barricading our dwelling, so as to put it in a state of defence, and in taking necessary measures for the safety of our ammunition, which will be finished now in a few days; for all our fortifications will consist simply of stone walls. These pre-cautions will be sufficient, as the Indians are not a people to be much afraid of; and, unless they should find us asleep, they would not dare to undertake any hostile movement against us, even if they should entertain the idea of so doing. The misfortune which happened to those who remained here must be attributed to their want of vigilance; for, however few they were in number, and however favorable the opportunities that the Indians may have had for doing what they did, they would never have ventured to do them any in-jury if they had only seen that they took proper precautions against an attack. As soon as this object is gained, I will under-take to go in search of these rivers, either proceeding hence by land, and looking out for the best expedients that may offer, or else by sea, rounding the island until we come to the place which is described as being only 6 or 7 leagues from where these rivers that I speak of are situated, so that we may collect the gold in safety, and put it in security against all attacks in some stronghold or tower, which may be quickly built for that purpose; and thus, when the two caravels shall return thither, the gold may be taken away, and finally sent home in safety at the first favorable season for making the voyage.
This is well and exactly as he should do.
Item. You will inform their Highnesses (as indeed has been already said) that the cause of the sickness so general among us is the change of air and water, for we find that all of us are affected, though few dangerously. Consequently, the preservation of the health of the people will depend, under God, on their being provided with the same food that they are accustomed to in Spain; neither those who are here now nor those that shall come will be in a position to be of service to their Highnesses unless they enjoy good health. We ought to have fresh supplies of provisions until the time that we may be able to gather a sufficient crop from what we shall have sown or planted here; I speak of wheat, barley, and grapes, towards the cultivation of which not much has been done this year, from our being unable earlier to choose a convenient settlement. When we had chosen it, the small number of laborers that were with us fell sick; and, even when they re-covered, we had so few cattle, and those so lean and weak, that the utmost they could do was very little. However, they have sown a few plots of ground, for the sake of trying the soil, which seems excellent, in the hope of thereby obtaining some relief in our necessities. We are very confident, from what we can see, that wheat and grapes will grow very well in this country. We must, however, wait for the fruit; and, if it grows as quickly and well as the corn, in proportion to the number of vines that have been planted, we shall certainly not stand in need of Andalusia and Sicily here. There are also sugarcanes. of which the small quantity that we have planted has taken root. The beauty of the country in these islands—the mountains, the valleys, the streams, the fields watered by broad rivers—is such- that there is no country on which the sun sheds his beams that can present a more charming appearance.
Since the land is so fertile, it is desirable to sow of all kinds as much as possible; and Don Juan de Fonseca is instructed to send over immediately every-thing requisite for that purpose.
Item. You will say that, as a large portion of the wine that we brought with us has run away, in consequence, as most of the men say, of the bad cooperage of the butts made at Seville, the article that we stand most in need of now, and shall stand in need of, is wine; and, although we have biscuit and corn for some time longer, it is nevertheless necessary that a reasonable quantity of these be sent to us, for the voyage is a long one, and it is impossible to make a calculation for every day. The same holds good with respect to pork and salt beef, which should be better than what we brought out with us on this voyage. Sheep and, still better, lambs and lambkins, more females than males, young calves and heifers also, are wanted, and should be sent 'by every caravel that may be dispatched hither; and at the same time some asses, both male and female, and mares for labor and tillage, for here there are no beasts that a man can turn to any use. As I fear that their Highnesses may not be at Seville, and that their officers or ministers will not, without their express instructions, make any movement towards the carrying out of the necessary arrangements for the return voyage, and that, in the interval between the report and the reply, the favorable moment for the departure of the vessels which are to return hither (and which should be in all the month of May) may elapse, you will tell their Highnesses, as I charged and ordered you, that I have given strict orders that the gold that you carry with you be placed in the hands of some merchant in Seville, in order that he may therefrom disburse the sums necessary for loading the two caravels with wine, corn, and other articles detailed in this memorial; and this merchant shall convey or send the said gold to their Highnesses, that they may see it, receive it, and from it cause to be defrayed the expenses that may arise from the fitting-up and loading of the said two caravels. It is necessary, for the encouragement of the men who remain here, and for the support of their spirits, that an effort should be made to let the expedition arrive in the course of the month of May, so that before summer they may have the fresh provisions and other necessaries, especially against sickness. We particularly stand in need of raisins, sugar, almonds, honey, and rice, of which we ought to have a great quantity, but brought very little with us; and what we had is now consumed. The greater part of the medicines, also, that we brought from Spain are used up, so many of our number having been sick. For all these articles, both for those who are in good health and for the sick, you carry, as I have already said, memorials signed by my hand. You will execute my orders to the full if there be sufficient money where-with to do so, or you will at least procure what is more immediately necessary, and which ought, consequently, to come as speedily as possible by the two vessels. As to the remainder, you will obtain their Highnesses' permission for their being sent by other vessels without loss of time.
Their Highnesses will give instructions to Don Juan de Fonseca to make immediate inquiry respecting the imposition in the matter of the casks, in order that those who supplied them shall at their own expense make good the loss occasioned by the waste of the wine, together with the costs. He will have to see that sugar-canes of good quality be sent, and will immediately look to the dispatch of the other articles herein required.
You will tell their Highnesses that, as we have no interpreter through whom we can make these people acquainted with our holy faith, as their Highnesses and ourselves desire, and as we will do so soon as we are able, we send by these two vessels some of these cannibal men and women, as well as some children, both male and female, whom their Highnesses might order to be placed under the care of the most competent per-sons to teach them the language. At the same time they might be employed in use ful occupations, and by degrees, through somewhat more care being bestowed upon them than upon other slaves, they would learn one from the other. By not seeing or speaking to each other for a long time, they will learn much sooner in Spain than they will here, and become much better interpreters. We will, however, not fail to do what we can. It is true that, as there is but little communication between one of these islands and another, there is some difference in their mode of expressing themselves, which mainly depends on the distance between them. But, as among all these islands those inhabited by the cannibals are the largest and the most populous, it must be evident that nothing but good can come from sending to Spain men and women who may thus one day be led to abandon their barbarous custom of eating their fellow-creatures. By learning the Spanish language in Spain, they will much earlier receive baptism and advance the welfare of their souls. Moreover, we shall gain great credit with the Indians who do not practice the above-mentioned cruel customs, when they see that we have seized and led captive those who injure them, and whose very name alone fills them with horror. You will assure their Highnesses that our arrival in this country and the sight of so fine a fleet have produced the most imposing effect for the present, and promise great security here-after; for all the inhabitants of this great island, and of the others, when they see the good treatment that we shall show to those who do well, and the punishment that we shall inflict on those who do wrong, will hasten to submit, so that we shall be able to lay our commands on them as vassals of their Highness-es. And as even now they not only readily comply with every wish that we express, but also of their own accord endeavor to do what they think will please us, I think that their Highnesses may feel assured that, on the other side, also, the arrival of this fleet has in many respects secured for them, both for the present and the future, a wide renown among all Christian princes ; but they themselves will be able to form a much better judgment on this subject than it is in my power to give expression to for the best expedients that may offer, or else by sea, rounding the island until we come to the place which is described as being only 6 or 7 leagues from where these rivers that I speak of are situated, so that we may collect the gold in safety, and put it in security against all attacks in some stronghold or tower, which may be quickly built for that purpose; and thus, when the two caravels shall return thither, the gold may be taken away, and finally sent home in safety at the first favorable season for making the voyage.
This is well and exactly as he should do.
Item. You will inform their Highnesses (as indeed has been already said) that the cause of the sickness so general among us is the change of air and water, for we find that all of us are affected, though few dangerously. Consequently, the preservation of the health of the people will depend, under God, on their being provided with the same food that they are accustomed to in Spain; neither those who are here now nor those that shall come will be in a position to be of service to their Highnesses unless they enjoy good health. We ought to have fresh supplies of provisions until the time that we may be able to gather a sufficient crop from what we shall have sown or planted here; I speak of wheat, barley, and grapes, towards the cultivation of which not much has been done this year, from our being unable earlier to choose a convenient settlement. When we had chosen it, the small number of laborers that were with us fell sick; and, even when they re-covered, we had so few cattle, and those so lean and weak, that the utmost they could do was very little. However, they have sown a few plots of ground, for the sake of trying the soil, which seems excellent, in the hope of thereby obtaining some relief in our necessities. We are very confident, from what we can see, that wheat and grapes will grow very well in this country. 'We must, however, wait for the fruit; and, if it grows as quickly and well as the corn, in proportion to the number of vines that have been planted, we shall certainly not stand in need of Andalusia and Sicily here. There are also sugar-canes, of which the small quantity that we have planted has taken root. The beauty of the country in these islands—the mountains, the valleys, the streams, the fields watered by broad rivers—is such that there is no country on which the sun sheds his beams that can present a more charming appearance.
Since the land is so fertile, it is desirable to sow of all kinds as much as-possible; and Don Juan de Fonseca is instructed to send over immediately every-thing requisite for that purpose.
Item. You will tell their Highnesses that the welfare of the souls of the said cannibals, and of the inhabitants of this island also, has suggested the thought that the greater the number that are sent over to Spain the better, and thus good service may result to their Highnesses in the following manner. Considering what great need we have of cattle and of beasts of burden, both for food and to assist the settlers in this and- all these islands, both for peopling the land and cultivating the soil, their Highnesses might authorize a suitable number of caravels to come here every year to bring over the said cattle and provisions and other articles. These cattle, etc., might be sold at moderate prices for account of the bearers; and the latter might be paid with slaves, taken from among the Carib-bees, who are a wild people fit for any work, well proportioned and very intelligent, and who, when they have got rid of the cruel habits to which they have become accustomed, will be better than any other kind of slaves. When they are out of their country, they will forget their cruel customs; and it will be easy to obtain plenty of these savages by means of rowboats that we propose to build. It is taken for granted that each of the caravels sent by their Highnesses will have on board a confidential man, who will take care that the vessels do not stop anywhere else than here, where they are to unload and reload their vessels. Their Highnesses might fix. duties on the slaves that may be taken over, upon- their arrival in Spain. You will ask for a reply upon this point, and bring it to me, in order that I may be able to take the necessary measures, should the proposition merit the approbation of their Highnesses. The consideration of this subject has been suspended for a time, until fresh advices arrive from the other side: let the Admiral write what he thinks upon the subject.
Item. You will also tell their Highnesses that freighting the ships by the ton, as the French merchants do, will be more advantageous and less expensive than any other mode, and it is for this reason that I have given you instructions to freight in this manner the caravels that you have now to send off,' and it will be well to adopt this plan with all the others that their Highnesses may send, provided it meets their approbation; but I do not mean to say that this measure should be applied to the vessels that shall come over licensed for the traffic of slaves.
Their Highnesses have given directions to Don Juan de Fonseca, to have the caravels freighted in the manner described, if it can be done.
Item. You will tell their Highnesses that, in order to save any extra expense, I have purchased the caravels mentioned in the memorial of which you are the bearer, in order to keep them here with the two vessels, the Gallega and the Capitana, of which, by advice of the pilot, its commander, I purchased the three-eighths for the price declared in the said memorial, signed by my hand. These vessels will not only give authority and great security to those who will have to remain on shore and whose duty it will be to make arrangements with the Indians for collecting the gold, but they will be also very useful to ward off any attack that may be made upon them by strangers. Moreover, the caravels will be required for the task of making the discovery of terra firma, and of the islands which lie scattered about in this vicinity. You will therefore beg their Highnesses to pay, at the term of credit arranged with the sellers, the sums which these vessels shall cost; for without doubt their Highnesses will be very soon reimbursed for what they may expend, at least such is my belief and hope in the mercy of God.
The Admiral has done well. You will tell him that the sum mentioned has been paid to the seller of the vessels, and that Don Juan de Fonseca has been ordered to pay the cost of the caravels purchased by the Admiral.
Item. You will speak to their Highnesses, and beseech them on my behalf, in the most humble manner possible, to be pleased to give mature reflection to the observations I may make, in letters or more detailed statements, with reference to the peacefulness, harmony, and good feeling of those who come hither, in order that for their Highnesses' service persons may be selected who will hold in view the purpose for which these men are sent rather than their own interest; and, since you yourself have seen and are acquainted with these matters, you will speak to their Highnesses upon this subject, and will tell them the truth on every point exactly as you have understood it. You will also take care that the orders which their Highnesses shall give on this point be put into effect, if possible, by the first vessels, in order that no further injury occur here in the matters that affect their service.
Their Highnesses are well informed of all that takes place, and will see to it that everything is done as it should be.
Item. You will describe to their Highnesses the position of this city, the beauty of the province in which it is situated, as you have seen it, and as you can honestly speak of it; and you can inform them that, in virtue of the powers which I have received from them, I have made you governor of the said city; and you will tell them also that I humbly beseech them, out of consideration for your services, to receive your nomination favorably, which I sincerely hope they may do.
Their Highnesses are pleased to sanction your appointment as governor.
Item. As Messire Pedro Margarite, an officer of the household to their Highnesses, has done good service, and will, I hope, continue to do so for the future in all matters which may be intrusted to him, I have felt great pleasure in his continuing his stay in this country; and I have been much pleased to find that Gaspar and Beltran also remain, and, as they are all three well known to their Highnesses as faithful servants, I shall place them in posts or employments of trust. You will beg their Highnesses especially to have regard to the situation of the said Messire Pedro Margarite, who is married and the father of a family, and beseech them to give him some vacant command in the order of Santiago, of which he is a knight, in order that his wife and children may thus have a com petence to live upon. You will also make mention of Juan Aguado, a servant of their Highnesses. You will inform them of the zeal and activity with which he has served them in all matters that have been intrusted to him, and also that I beseech their Highnesses on his behalf, as well as on behalf of those above mentioned, not to forget my recommendation, but to give it full consideration.
Their Highnesses grant an annual pension of 30,000 maravedis to Messire Pedro Margarite, and pensions of 15,000 maravedis to Gaspard and Beltram, which will be reckoned from this day, Aug. 15, 1494. They give orders that the said pensions be paid by the Admiral out of the sums to be paid in the Indies, and by Don Juan de Fonseca out of the sums to be paid in Spain. With respect to the matter of Juan Aguado their Highnesses will not be forgetful.
Item. You will inform their Highnesses of the continual labor that Dr. Chanca has undergone, from the prodigious number of sick and the scarcity of provisions, and that, in spite of all this, he exhibits the greatest zeal and kindness in everything that relates to his profession. As their Highnesses have intrusted me with the charge of fixing the salary that is to be paid to him while out here (although it is certain that he neither receives nor can receive anything from any one, and does not receive any-thing from his position, equal to what he did and could still do in Spain, where he lived peaceably and at ease, in a very different style from what he does here, and although he declares that he earned more in Spain, exclusive of the pay which he received from their Highnesses), I have, nevertheless, not ventured to place to the credit of his account more than 50,000 maravedis per annum, as the' sum which he is to receive for his yearly labor during the time of his stay in this country. I beg their Highnesses to give their sanction to this salary, exclusive of his maintenance while here; and I do so, because he asserts that all the medical men who attend their Highnesses in the royal yachts, or in any of their expeditions, are accustomed to receive by right the day's pay out of the annual salary of each individual. Let this be as it may, I am informed for certain that, on whatever service they are engaged, it is the custom to give them a certain fixed sum, settled at the will and by order of their Highnesses, as compensation for the said day's pay. You will, therefore, beg their Highnesses to decide this matter, as well with respect to the annual pay as to the above-mentioned usage, so that the said doctor may be reasonably satisfied.
Their Highnesses acknowledge the justice of Dr. Chanca's observations, and it is their wish that the Admiral shall pay him the sum which he has allowed him, exclusive of his fixed annual salary. With respect to the day's pay allowed to medical men, it is not the custom to authorize them to receive it, except when they are in personal attendance upon our Lord the King.
Item. You will tell their Highnesses what great devotion Coronel has shown to the service in many respects, and what great proofs he has given of it in every important matter that has been trusted to him, and how much we feel his loss now that he is sick. You will represent to them how just it is that he should receive the recompense of such good and loyal services, not only in the favors which may hereafter be shown to him, but also in his present pay, in order that he and all those that are with us may see what profit will accrue to them from their zeal in the service, for the importance and difficulty of exploring the mines should call for great consideration towards those to whom such extensive interests are intrusted; and, as the talents of the said Coronel have made me determine upon appointing him principal constable of this portion of the Indies, and as his salary is left open, I beg their Highnesses to make it as liberal as may be in consideration of his services, and to confirm his nomination to the service which I have allotted to him by giving him an official appointment thereto.
Their Highnesses grant him, besides his salary, an annual pension of 15,000 maravedis, the same to be paid him at the same time as the said salary.
Item. You will at the same time tell their Highnesses that the bachelor, Gil Garcia, came out here in quality of principal alcalde, without having any salary fixed or allowed to him, that he is a good man, well informed, correct in his con-duct, and very necessary to us; and that beg their Highnesses to be pleased to appoint him a salary sufficient for his support, and that it be remitted to him together with his pay from the other side.
Their Highnesses grant him an annual pension of 20,000 maravedis during his stay in the Indies, and that over and above his fixed appointments; and it is their order that this pension be paid to him at the same time as his salary.
Item. You will tell their Highnesses, as I have already told them in writing, that I think it will be impossible to go this year to make discoveries until arrangements have been made to work the two rivers in which. the gold has been found in the most profitable manner for their Highnesses' interest; and this may be done more effectively hereafter, because it is not a thing that every one can do to my satisfaction or with advantage to their Highnesses' service, unless I be present; for whatever is to be done always turns out best under the eye of the party interested.
It is the most necessary thing possible that he should strive to
find the way to this gold.
Their Highnesses order Don Juan de Fonseca to make inquiries respecting the matter of the horses, and, if it be true that such a deception has been practised, to send up the culprits to be punished as they deserve; also to gain information respecting the other people that the Admiral speaks of, and to send the result of the information to their Highnesses. With respect to the horse-soldiers, it is their Highnesses' wish and command that they continue where they are, and remain in service, because they belong to the guards and to the class of their Highnesses' servants. Their hiighnesses also command the said horse - soldiers to give up their horses into the charge of the Admiral on all occasions when they shall be required; and, if the use of the horses should occasion any loss, their Highnesses direct that compensation shall be made for the amount of the injury, through the medium of the Admiral.
Item. You will mention to their Highnesses that more than 200 persons have come here without fixed salaries, and that some of them are very useful to the service; and, in order to preserve system and uniformity, the others have been ordered to imitate them. For the first three years it is desirable that we should have here 1,000 men, in order to keep a safeguard upon the island and upon the rivers that supply the gold; and, even if we were able to mount 100 men on horse-back, so far from being an evil, it will be a very necessary thing for us. But their Highnesses might pass by the question of the horsemen until gold shall be sent. In short, their Highnesses should give instructions as to whether the 200 people
Who nave come over without pay should receive pay, like the others, if they do their work well; for we certainly have great need of them to commence our la bors, as I have al- ready shown.
It is their High nesses' wish and com mand that the 200 persons without pay shall replace such of those who are paid as have failed, or as shall hereafter fail, in their duty, provided they are fit for the service and please the Admiral; and their Highnesses order the Accomptant to enter their names in the place of those who shall fail in their duty, as the Admiral shall determine.
Item. As there are means of diminishing the expenses that these people occasion, by employing them as other princes do, in industrial occupations, I think it would be well that all ships that come here should be ordered to bring, besides the ordinary stores and medicines, shoes, and leather for making shoes, shirts, both of common and superior quality, doublets, laces, some peasants' clothing, breeches, and cloth for making clothes, all at moderate prices. They might also bring other articles, such as conserves, which do not enter into the daily ration, yet are good for preserving health. The Spaniards that are here would always be happy to receive such articles as these in lieu of part of their pay; and, if they were purchased by men who were selected for their known loyalty, and who take an interest in the service of their Highnesses, considerable economy would result from this arrangement. As-certain their Highnesses' pleasure on this head; and, if the plan be deemed expedient for the service, it should be put in practice at once.
This matter may rest for the present until the Admiral shall write more fully on the subject. Meanwhile Don Juan de Fonseca shall be ordered to instruct Don Ximenes de Bribiesca to make the necessary arrangements for the execution of the proposed plans.
Item. You will tell their Highnesses that, in a review that was holden yesterday, it was remarked that a great number of the people were without arms, which I think must be attributed partly to the exchange made at Seville or in the harbor, when those who presented them-selves armed were left for a while, and for a trifle exchanged their arms for others of an inferior quality. I think it would be desirable that 200 cuirasses, 100 arquebuses, 100 arblasts, and many other articles of defensive armor, should be sent over to us; for we have great need of them to arm those who are at present without them.
Don Juan de Fonseca has already been written to, to provide them. Item. Inasmuch as many married per-sons have come over here, and are engaged in regular duties, such as masons and other tradesmen, who have left their wives in Spain, and wish that the pay that falls due to them may be paid to their wives, or whomsoever they may appoint, in order that they may purchase for them such articles as they may need, I therefore beseech their Highnesses to take such measures as they may deem expedient on this subject; for it is of importance to their interests that these people be well provided for.
Their Highnesses have already ordered Don Juan de Fonseca to attend to this matter.
Item. Besides the other articles which I have begged from their Highnesses in the memorial which you bear, signed by my hand, and which articles consist of provisions and other stores, both for those who are well and for those who are sick, it would be very serviceable that fifty pipes of molasses should be sent hither from the island of Madeira; for it is the most nutritious food in the world, and the most wholesome. A pipe of it does not ordinarily cost more than 2 ducats, exclusive of the casks; and, if their Highnesses would order one of the caravels to call at the said island on the return voyage, the purchase might be made, and they might at the same time buy ten casks of sugar, of which we stand greatly in need. It is the most favorable season of the year to obtain it at a cheap rate; that is to say, between this and the month of April. The necessary orders might be given if their Highnesses think proper, and yet the place of destination be carefully concealed.
Don Juan de Fonseca will see to it. Item. You will tell their Highnesses that, although the rivers contain in their beds the quantity of gold described by those who have seen it, there is no doubt that the gold is produced not in the rivers, but the earth, and that the water, happening to come in contact with the mines, washes it away, mingled with the sand. And, as among the great number of rivers that have been already discovered there are some of considerable magnitude, there are also some so small that they might rather be called brooks than rivers, only two fingers' breadth deep, and very short in their course. There will, therefore, be some men wanted to wash the gold from the sand, and others to dig it out of the earth. This latter operation will be the principal and the most productive. It will be expedient, therefore, that their Highnesses send men, both for the washing and for the mining, from among those who are employed in Spain in the mines at Almaden, so that the work may be done in both manners. We shall not, however, wait for the arrival of these workmen, but hope, with the aid of God and with the washers, that we have here with us, when they shall be restored to health, to send a good quantity of gold by the first caravels that shall leave for Spain.
This shall be completely provided for in the next voyage out. Meanwhile Don Juan de Fonseca has their Highnesses' orders to send as many miners as he can find. Their Highnesses write also to Almaden, with instructions to select the greatest number that can be procured, and to send them up.
Item. You will beseech their Highnesses very humbly in my name to be pleased to pay regard to my strong recommendation of Villacorta, who, as their Highnesses are aware, has been extremely useful, and has shown the greatest possible zeal in this affair. As I know him to be a zealous man and well disposed to their Highnesses' service, I shall take it as a favor if they will deign to grant him some post of trust adapted to his qualifications, and in which he might give proof of his industry and warm desire to serve their Highnesses; and you will manage that Villacorta shall have practical evidence that the work which he has done for me, and in which I found him needful to me, has been of some profit to him.
This shall be done as he wishes.
Item. That the said Messire Pedro, Gaspar, Beltran, and others remaining here came out in command of caravels which have now gone back, and are in receipt of no salary whatever; but, as these are people who should be employed in the most important and confidential positions, their pay has not been fixed, because it ought to be different from that of the rest. You will beg their Highnesses, therefore, on my behalf, to settle what ought to be given them, either yearly or monthly, for the advantage of their Highnesses' service.
Given in the city of Isabella, the thirtieth of January, in the year fourteen hundred and ninety-four.
This point has been already replied to above; but, as in the said clause he says that they should receive their pay, it is now their Highnesses' command that their salary shall be paid to them from the time that they gave up their command.
Columbus, DIEGO, navigator; son of Christopher; born in Lisbon about 1472. He accompanied his father to Spain, and was instructed, in his youth, at the Monastery of Santa Maria de Rabida, near Palos, under the care of Father Marchena, the prior of the establishment. He was afterwards nurtured in the bosom of the Spanish Court as an attendant upon Prince Juan, and developed, in young manhood, much of the indomitable spirit of his father. After the death of the latter he made unavailing efforts to procure from King Ferdinand the offices and rights secured to his father and his descendants by solemn contract. At the end of two years he sued the King before the Council of the Indies and obtained a decree in his favor and a confirmation of his title to the viceroyalty of the West Indies. In 1509 he sailed for Santo Domingo with his young wife, and superseded Nicholas Ovando as governor, who had been wrongfully put in that office by the King. The same year he planted a settlement in Jamaica; and in 1511 he sent Diego Velasquez, with a small number of troops, to conquer Cuba, and the victor was made captain-general of the island. He died in Montalvan, near Toledo, Spain, Feb. 23, 1526.
Site Copyright 2003-2018 Son of the South. For Questions or comments about this collection,
Are you Scared and Confused? Read My Snake Story, a story of hope and encouragement, to help you face your fears.