Discovery and Exploration, 1000-1562

Author: Christopher Columbus  | Date: 1492

The Journal of Columbus


The so-called Journal of Columbus is one of those bare, spare, essential documents that form the skeleton of the corpus of history. It is a simple sailor’s record, but like the staff of Columbus’s patron saint it has grown with time into a palm-tree, covered with fruits and foliage. The narrative is an abstract of the original journal (made by the Admiral’s companion Las Casas.) It is as direct and outwardly severe as such a work would necessarily be; and yet from this seed have sprung histories, biographies, novels, plays and poems innumerable.

Naturally, for no other voyage has formed so large a link in the chain of human cause and effect. But aside from this the Journal is intrinsically dramatic. It requires a little imagination to penetrate behind the diarist’s mask of reserve and relive these long days of apprehension and bewilderment and the days of intoxication that followed them. (Other days of apprehension followed in turn, for Columbus had to live up to his promises, and we can feel the change in his interest as he became accustomed to the mere fact of the discovery and the question of gold and pearls more and more took possession of his mind. It was true that the Indians were delighted to give gold for bits of broken earthenware, pieces of pipetubes, fragments of shoe-latchets, scraps of rope. He had been obliged to intervene in this petty traffic of his men; he wished to run no risk of losing the good-will of the Indians. But how much gold did they have to give? A few nuggets, a handful of primitive ornaments. He had been dispatched to find the wealth of the Indies. To be sure, it was totally composed of gold.)

From the first page to the last we are aware of these powerful undercurrents of feeling that never find expression in words. The mingled notes of high-hearted expectation and suppressed anxiety play through the log of the Westward voyage. The Admiral is a very adroit master. He deceives the men, mis-stating each day the number of leagues they have sailed; he cajoles them; he encourages them, and perhaps himself, by pointing out signs and portents indicating that they are always near land—birds that never sleep at sea, whales, crabs, pelicans, creatures of the shore. He has reason to be anxious: Martin Alonze Pizon, the commander of the Pinta is going to desert him at the first opportunity, and no ship has ever had an unlikelier crew than his. But in the rapture of Columbus in the islands he has found the clouds lift from the diary. "He observed to the crew who accompanied him that a thousand tongues would be insufficient to inform the King and Queen of what he saw there, or a thousand hands to describe them, and that he appeared to be under the influence of enchantment." The air and the flowers remind him of May nights in Andalusia; "the singing of the little birds is such that it appears a man would wish never to leave here, and the flocks of parrots obscure the sun." It is a veritable dream of Vasco da Gama, such as Meyerbeer conceived in L’Africaine. Then we return to the obsession of the gold and the ponderings of the Admiral, so literally moving about in worlds not realized. We see him turning the well-thumbed leaves of his Marco Polo, puzzled, full of anticipation, undeceived to the last.

He listens to every vague report, he who has himself seen three mermaids close to the ship, "standing high out of the water," not to mention trees with branches of different sorts upon the same trunk. He hears of an island that is inhabited solely by women, another in which the men have no hair, a third where the people are born with tails. Sir John Mandeville’s travels are as familiar to him as Marco Polo’s, and for him as for them the world is full of a number of things. The island of Cibao is undoubtedly Cipango—Cuba is Japan. Caniba is Cathay, and who is Cami, this mighty chieftain of whom the Indians dimly talk, but the Great Chan himself? Thus Columbus, with Marco Polo humming in his head and the vague syllables of the savages buzzing in his ears, putting two and two together and persuading himself that the ends of the earth have met.

During the last half century the story of Columbus has been subjected, like every other ancient story, to the higher criticism. The circumstances that preceded and followed his first voyage have been reconstructed, and the legend of his life has undergone a surprising transformation. But the Journal remains, and must remain, the core of the whole matter, and those who can do their own embroidering will prefer it to more pretentious works in which the main facts are lost in a mass of detail. It has the charm of all primitive narratives and it narrates one of the great adventures of history. These are advantages that few books possess, and those that do possess them can afford to be artless.



WHEREAS, Most Christian, High, Excellent and Powerful Princes, King and Queen of Spain and of the Islands of the Sea, our Sovereigns, this present year 1492, after your Highnesses had terminated the war with the Moors reigning in Europe, the same having been brought to an end in the great city of Granada, where on the second day of January, this present year, I saw the royal banners of your Highnesses planted by force of arms upon the towers of the Alhambra, which is the fortress of that city, and saw the Moorish king come out at the gate of the city and kiss the hands of your Highnesses, and of the Prince my Sovereign; and in the present month, in consequence of the information which I had given your Highnesses respecting the countries of India and of a Prince, called Great Can, which in our language signifies King of Kings, how, at many times he, and his predecessors had sent to Rome soliciting instructors who might teach him our holy faith, and the holy Father had never granted his request, whereby great numbers of people were lost, believing in idolatry and doctrines of perdition.* Your Highnesses, as Catholic Christians, and princes who love and promote the holy Christian faith, and are enemies of the doctrine of Mahomet, and of all idolatry and heresy, determined to send me, Christopher Columbus, to the above-mentioned countries of India, to see the said princes, people, and territories, and to learn their disposition and the proper method of converting them to our holy faith; and furthermore directed that I should not proceed by land to the East, as is customary, but by a Westerly route, in which direction we have hitherto no certain evidence that any one has gone. So after having expelled the Jews from your dominions, your Highnesses, in the same month of January, ordered me to proceed with a sufficient armament to the said regions of India, and for that purpose granted me great favours, and ennobled me that thenceforth I might call myself Don, and be High Admiral of the Sea, and perpetual Viceroy and Governor in all the islands and continents which I might discover and acquire, or which may hereafter he discovered and acquired in the ocean; and that this dignity should be inherited by my eldest son, and thus descend from degree to degree forever. Hereupon I left the city of Granada, on Saturday, the twelfth day of May, 1492, and proceeded to Palos, a seaport, where I armed three vessels, very fit for such an enterprise, and having provided myself with abundance of stores and seamen, I set sail from the port, on Friday, the third of August, half an hour before sunrise, and steered for the Canary Islands of your Highnesses which are in the said ocean, thence to take my departure and proceed till I arrived at the Indies, and perform the embassy of your Highnesses to the Princes there, and discharge the orders given me. For this purpose I determined to keep an account of the voyage, and to write down punctually every thing we performed or saw from day to day, as will hereafter appear. Moreover, Sovereign Princes, besides describing every night the occurrences of the day, and every day those of the preceding night, I intend to draw up a nautical chart, which shall contain the several parts of the ocean and land in their proper situations; and also to compose a book to represent the whole by picture with latitudes and longitudes, on all which accounts it behooves me to abstain from my sleep, and make many trials in navigation, which things will demand much labour.

Friday, Aug. 3d, 1492. Set sail from the bar of Saltes* at 8 o’clock, and proceeded with a strong breeze till sunset, sixty miles* or fifteen leagues S. afterwards S.W. and S. by W. which is the direction of the Canaries.

Saturday, Aug. 4th. Steered S.W. by S.

Sunday, Aug. 5th. Sailed day and night more than forty leagues.

Monday, Aug. 6th. The rudder of the caravel* Pinta became loose, being broken or unshipped. It was believed that this happened by the contrivance of Gomez Rascon and Christopher Quintero, who were on board the caravel, because they disliked the voyage. The Admiral says he had found them in an unfavourable disposition before setting out. He was in much anxiety at not being able to afford any assistance in this case, but says that it somewhat quieted his apprehensions to know that Martin Alonzo Pinzon, Captain of the Pinta, was a man of courage and capacity. Made a progress, day and night, of twenty-nine leagues.

Tuesday, Aug. 7th. The Pinta’s rudder again broke loose; secured it, and made for the island of Lanzarote, one of the Canaries. Sailed, day and night, twenty-five leagues.

Wednesday, Aug. 8th. There were divers opinions among the pilots of the three vessels, as to their true situation, and it was found that the Admiral was the most correct. His object was to reach the island of Grand Canary, and leave there the Pinta, she being leaky, besides having her rudder out of order, and take another vessel there, if any one could be had. They were unable to reach the island that day.

Thursday, Aug. 9th. The Admiral did not succeed in reaching the island of Gomera till Sunday night. Martin Alonzo remained at Grand Canary by command of the Admiral, he being unable to keep the other vessels company. The Admiral afterwards returned to Grand Canary, and there with much labor repaired the Pinta, being assisted by Martin Alonzo and the others; finally they sailed to Gomera. They saw a great eruption of flames from the Peak of Teneriffe; which is a lofty mountain. The Pinta, which before had carried latine sails, they altered and made her square-rigged. Returned to Gomera, Sunday, Sept. 2d, with the Pinta repaired.

The Admiral says that he was assured by many respectable Spaniards, inhabitants of the island of Ferro, who were at Gomera with Dona Inez Peraza, mother of Guillen Peraza, afterwards first Count of Gomera, that they every year saw land to the west of the Canaries; and others of Gomera affirmed the same with the like assurances. The Admiral here says that he remembers, while he was in Portugal, in 1484, there came a person to the King from the island of Madeira, soliciting for a vessel to go in quest of land, which he affirmed he saw every year, and always of the same appearance. He also says that he remembers the same was said by the inhabitants of the Azores and described as in a similar direction, and of the same shape and size.* Having taken in wood, water, meat and other provisions, which had been provided by the men which he left ashore on departing for Grand Canary to repair the Pinta, the Admiral took his final departure from Gomera with the three vessels on Thursday, Sept. 6th.

Thursday, Sept. 6th. Set sail from the harbour of Gomera this morning and shaped their course for the voyage. The Admiral learnt by a vessel from the island of Ferro that there were three Portuguese caravels cruising about there in search of him. This circumstance probably originated in the envy of the King of Portugal, as the Admiral had left him to resort to Castile. It was calm the whole day and night; in the morning they found themselves between Gomera and Teneriffe.

Friday, Sept. 7th. Calm all Friday, and till three o’clock P. M. on Saturday.

Saturday, Sept. 8th. At three in the afternoon the wind rose from the N.E. Steered their course W., encountered a strong head sea, which impeded their progress. Sailed, day and night, nine leagues.

Sunday, Sept. 9th. Sailed this day nineteen leagues, and determined to count less than the true number, that the crew might not be dismayed if the voyage should prove long. In the night sailed one hundred and twenty miles, at the rate of ten miles an hour, which make thirty leagues. The sailors steered badly, causing the vessels to fall to leeward toward the Northeast, for which the Admiral reprimanded them repeatedly.

Monday, Sept. 10th. This day and night sailed sixty leagues, at the rate of ten miles an hour, which are two leagues and a half. Reckoned only forty-eight leagues, that the men might not be terrified if they should be long upon the voyage.

Tuesday, Sept. 11th. Steered their course and sailed above twenty leagues; saw a large fragment of the mast of a vessel, apparently of a hundred and twenty tons, but could not pick it up. In the night sailed about twenty leagues, and reckoned only sixteen, for the cause above stated.

Wednesday, Sept. 12th. This day steering their course, sailed day and night thirty-three leagues, and reckoned less, for the same cause.

Thursday, Sept. 13th. This day and night sailed W. thirty-three leagues, and reckoned three or four less. The currents were against them. At the first of the evening this day, the needles varied to the N. W. and the next morning about as much in the same direction.

Friday, Sept. 14th. Steered this day and night W. twenty leagues; reckoned somewhat less. The crew of the Nina stated that they had seen a grajao, and a tropic bird, or water-wagtail, which birds never go farther than twenty-five leagues from the land.

Saturday, Sept. 15th. Sailed day and night, W. twenty-seven leagues and more. In the beginning of the night saw a remarkable bolt of fire fall into the sea at the distance of four or five leagues.

Sunday, Sept. 16th. Sailed day and night, W. thirty-nine leagues, and reckoned only thirty-six. Some clouds arose and it drizzled. The Admiral here says that from this time they experienced very pleasant weather, and that the mornings were most delightful, wanting nothing but the melody of the nightingales. He compares the weat her to that of Andalusia in April. Here they began to meet with large patches of weeds very green, and which appeared to have been recently washed away from the land; on which account they all judged themselves to be near some island,* though not a continent, according to the opinion of the Admiral, who says, "the continent we shalt find farther ahead."

Monday, Sept. 17th. Steered W. and sailed, day and night, above fifty leagues; wrote down only forty-seven; the current favoured them. They saw a great deal of weed which proved to be rockweed, it came from the W. and they met with it very frequently. They were of opinion that land was near. The pilots took the sun’s amplitude, and found that the needles varied to the N. W. a whole point of the compass; the seamen were terrified, and dismayed without saying why. The Admiral discovered the cause, and ordered them to take the amplitude again the next morning, when they found that the needles were true; the cause was that the star moved from its place, while the needles remained stationary.* At dawn they saw many more weeds, apparently river weeds, and among them a live crab, which the Admiral kept, and says that these are sure signs of land, being never found eighty leagues out at sea. They found the seawater less salt since they left the Canaries, and the air more mild. They were all very cheerful, and strove which vessel should outsail the others, and be the first to discover land; they saw many tunnies, and the crew of the Nina killed one. The Admiral here says that these signs were from the west, "where I hope that high God in whose hand is all victory will speedily direct us to land." This morning he says he saw a white bird called a water-wagtail, or tropic bird, which does not sleep at sea.

Tuesday, Sept. 18th. Continued their course, and sailed day and night more than fifty-five leagues; wrote down only forty-eight. All this time they had experienced fair weather, and sailed as they would have done upon the river at Seville. This day Martin Alonzo in the Pinta which was a swift sailer, ran ahead of the other vessels, he having informed the Admiral that he had seen great flocks of birds towards the W. and that he expected that night to reach land; for this reason he kept on ahead of the others. A great mass of dark, heavy clouds appeared in the north, which is a sign of being near the land.

Wednesday, Sept. 19th. Continued on, and sailed, day and night, twenty-five leagues, experiencing a calm. Wrote down twenty-two. This day at ten o’clock a pelican came on board, and in the evening another; these birds are not accustomed to go twenty leagues from land. It drizzled without wind, which is a sure sign of land. The Admiral was unwilling to remain here, beating about in search of land, but he held it for certain that there were islands to the North and South, which in fact was the case and he was sailing in the midst of them.* His wish was to proceed on to the Indies, having such fair weather, for if it please God, as the Admiral says, we shall examine these parts upon our return. Here the pilots found their places upon the chart: the reckoning of the Nina made her four hundred and forty leagues distant from the Canaries, that of the Pinta four hundred and twenty, that of the Admiral four hundred. *

Thursday, Sept. 20th. Steered W. by N., varying with alternate changes of the wind and calms; made seven or eight leagues’ progress. Two pelicans came on board, and afterwards another,—a sign of the neighbourhood of land. Saw large quantities of weeds today, though none was observed yesterday. Caught a bird similar to a grajao; it was a river and not a marine bird, with feet like those of a gull. Towards night two or three land birds came to the ship, singing; they disappeared before sunrise. Afterwards saw a pelican coming from W. N. W. and flying to the S. W.; an evidence of land to the westward, as these birds sleep on shore, and go to sea in the morning in search of food, never proceeding twenty leagues from the land.

Friday, Sept. 21st. Most of the day calm, afterwards a little wind. Steered their course day and night, sailing less than thirteen leagues. In the morning found such abundance of weeds that the ocean seemed to be covered with them; they came from the west. Saw a pelican; the sea smooth as a river, and the finest air in the world. Saw a whale, an indication of land, as they always keep near the coast.

Saturday, Sept. 22d. Steered about W.N.W. varying their course, and making thirty leagues’ progress. Saw few weeds. Some pardelas* were seen, and another bird. The Admiral here says, "this head wind was very necessary to me, for my crew had grown much alarmed, dreading that they never should meet in these seas with a fair wind to return to Spain." Part of the day saw no weeds, afterwards great plenty of it.

Sunday, Sept. 23d. Sailed N. W. and N. W. by N. and at times W. nearly twenty-two leagues. Saw a turtle dove, a pelican, a river bird, and other white fowl;—weeds in abundance with crabs among them. The sea being smooth and tranquil, the sailors murmured, saying that they had got into smooth water, where it would never blow to carry them back to Spain; but afterwards the sea rose without wind, which astonished them. The Admiral says on this occasion "the rising of the sea was very favourable to me, as it happened formerly to Moses when he led the Jews from Egypt."

Monday, Sept. 24th. Continued their course and sailed day and night fourteen leagues and a half; reckoned twelve; a pelican came to the ship, and they saw many pardelas.

Tuesday, Sept. 25th. Very calm this day; afterwards the wind rose. Continued their course till night. The Admiral held a conversation with Martin Alonzo Pinzon, captain of the Pinta, respecting a chart which the Admiral had sent him three days before, in which it appears he had marked down certain islands in that sea;* Martin Alonzo was of opinion that they were in their neighbourhood, and the Admiral replied that he thought the same, but as they had not met with them, it must have been owing to the currents which had carried them to the N.E. and that they had not made such progress as the pilots stated. The Admiral directed him to return the chart, when he traced their course upon it in presence of the pilot and sailors.

At sunset Martin Alonzo called out with great Joy from his vessel that he saw land, and demanded of the Admiral a reward for his intelligence. The Admiral says, when he heard him declare this, he fell on his knees and returned thanks to God, and Martin Alonzo with his crew repeated Gloria in excelsis Deo, as did the crew of the Admiral. Those on board the Nina ascended the rigging, and all declared they saw land. The Admiral also thought it was land, and about twenty-five leagues distant. They remained all night repeating these affirmations, and the Admiral Ordered their course to be shifted from W. to S.W. where the land appeared to lie. They sailed that day four leagues and a half W. and in the night seventeen leagues S.W., in all twenty-one and a half: told the crew thirteen leagues, making it a point to keep them from knowing how far they had sailed; in this manner two reckonings were kept, the shorter one falsified, and the other being the true account. The sea was very smooth and many of the sailors went in it to bathe, saw many dories and other fish.

Wednesday, Sept. 26th. Continued their course W. till the afternoon, then S.W. and discovered that what they had taken for land was nothing but clouds. Sailed, day and night, thirty-one leagues; reckoned to the crew twenty-four. The sea was like a river, the air soft and mild.

Thursday, Sept. 27th. Continued their course W. and sailed, day and night, twenty-four leagues, reckoned to the crew twenty. Saw many dories, and killed one. Saw a tropic bird.

Friday, Sept. 28th. Continued their course West, and sailed, day and night with calms, fourteen leagues, reckoned thirteen; met with a few weeds; caught two dories, and the other vessels more.

Saturday, Sept. 29th. Continued their course W. and sailed twenty-four leagues; reckoned to the crew twenty-one. On account of calms made little progress this day. Saw a bird called Rabihorcado, which forces the pelicans to disgorge what they have swallowed, and then devours it; this is its only way of providing food; it is a marine bird, but never alights at sea, nor goes twenty leagues from land; there are many of them in the Cape Verd islands. Afterwards there came two pelicans. The air was soft and refreshing, and the Admiral says nothing was wanting but the singing of the nightingale; the sea smooth as a river. Three times they saw three pelicans, and a Rabihorcado. Many weeds appeared.

Sunday, Sept. 30th. Continued their course and sailed day and night in calms, fourteen leagues; reckoned eleven. Four tropic birds came to the ship, which is a very clear sign of land, for so many birds of one sort together show that they are not straying about, having lost themselves. Twice, saw two pelicans; many weeds. The constellation called Las Guardias,* which at evening appeared in a westerly* direction, was seen in the N.E. the next morning, making no more progress in a night of nine hours, this was the case every night, as says the Admiral. At night the needles varied a point towards the N.W., in the morning they were true, by which it appears that the polar star moves, like the others, and the needles are always right.

Monday, Oct. 1st. continued their course and sailed twenty-five leagues; reckoned to the crew twenty. Experienced a heavy shower. The pilot of the Admiral began to fear this morning that they were five hundred and seventy-eight leagues West of the island of Ferro. The short reckoning which the Admiral showed his crew gave five hundred and eighty-four, but the true One which he kept to himself was seven hundred and seven leagues.

Tuesday, Oct. 2d. Continued their course day and night, thirty-nine leagues; reckoned to the crew thirty; the sea ever smooth and favourable. "Many thanks be to God," says the Admiral here. Weeds came from the E. towards the W., the contrary to what they had before observed. Saw many fish and took one. A white bird, which appeared to be a gull, was seen.

Wednesday, Oct. 3d. Continued their accustomed course, and sailed forty-seven leagues; reckoned to the crew forty. Many pardelas appeared, and great quantities of weed, some of it old, and some very fresh, which appeared to contain fruit. Saw no other birds. The Admiral believed they had passed the islands contained in his chart. Here the Admiral says that he was unwilling to stay beating up and down as the week before, when they had so many signs of land, though he knew there were islands in that quarter, because his wish was to proceed onward to the Indies, and to linger on the way he thought would be unwise.

Thursday, Oct. 4th. Continued their course W. Sailed day and night, sixty-three leagues, and reckoned to the crew forty-six. There came to the ship above forty pardelas in a flock, with two pelicans; a boy on board the caravel hit one of them with a stone. A rabihorcado came to the ship, and a white bird like a gull.

Friday, Oct. 5th. Continued their course and sailed eleven miles an hour; day and night; fifty-seven leagues, the wind abating in the night, reckoned to the crew forty-five. Fine weather and the sea smooth. "Many thanks to God," says the Admiral. The air soft and temperate; no weeds; many pardelas were seen, and swallow-fishes in great numbers came on board.

Saturday, Oct. 6th. Continued their course and sailed forty leagues day and night; reckoned to the crew thirty-three. This night Martin Alonzo gave it as his opinion that they had better steer from W. to S.W. The Admiral thought from this that Martin Alonzo did not wish to proceed onward to Cipango;* but he considered it best to keep on his course, as he should probably reach the land sooner in that direction, preferring to visit the continent first, and then the islands.

Sunday, Oct. 7th. Continued their course and sailed twelve miles an hour, for two hours, then eight miles an hour. Sailed till an hour after sunrise, twenty-three leagues; reckoned to the crew eighteen. At sunrise the caravel Nina, who kept ahead on account of her swiftness in sailing, while all the vessels were striving to outsail one another, and gain the reward promised by the King and Queen by first discovering land—hoisted a flag at her mast head, and fired a lombarda,* as a signal that she had discovered land, for the Admiral had given orders to that effect. He had also ordered that the ships should keep in close company at sunrise and sunset, as the air was more favourable at those times for seeing at a distance. Towards evening seeing nothing of the land which the Nina had made signals for, and observing large flocks of birds coming from the N. and making for the SW., whereby it was rendered probable that they were either going to land to pass the night, or abandoning the countries of the North, on account of the approaching winter, he determined to alter his course, knowing also that the Portuguese had discovered most of the islands they possessed by attending to the flight of birds. The Admiral accordingly shifted his course from W. to W.S.W. with a resolution to continue two days in that direction. This was done about an hour after sunset. Sailed in the night nearly five leagues, and twenty-three in the day. In all twenty-eight.

Monday, Oct. 8th. Steered W.S.W. and sailed day and night eleven or twelve leagues; at times during the night, fifteen miles an hour, if the account can be depended upon. Found the sea like the river at Seville, "thanks to God," says the Admiral. The air soft as that of Seville in April, and so fragrant that it was delicious to breathe it. The weeds appeared very fresh. Many land birds, one of which they took, flying towards the S.W.; also grajaos, ducks, and a pelican were seen.

Tuesday, Oct. 9th. Sailed S.W. five leagues, when the wind changed, and they stood W. by N. four leagues. Sailed in the whole day and night, twenty leagues and a half; reckoned to the crew seventeen. All night heard birds passing.

Wednesday, Oct. 10th. Steered W.S.W. and sailed at times ten miles an hour, at others twelve, and at others, seven; day and night made fifty-nine leagues’ progress; reckoned to the crew but forty-four. Here the men lost all patience, and complained of the length of the voyage, but the Admiral encouraged them in the best manner he could, representing the profits they were about to acquire, and adding that it was to no purpose to complain, having come so far, they had nothing to do but continue on to the Indies, till with the help of our Lord, they should arrive there.*

Thursday, Oct. 11th. Steered W.S.W.; and encountered a heavier sea than they had met with before in the whole voyage. Saw pardelas and a green rush near the vessel. The crew of the Pinta saw a cane and a log; they also picked up a stick which appeared to have been carved with an iron tool, a piece of cane, a plant which grows on land, and a board. The crew of the Nina saw other signs of land, and a stalk loaded with roseberries. These Signs encouraged them, and they all grew cheerful. Sailed this day till sunset, twenty-seven leagues.

After sunset steered their original course and sailed twelve miles an hour till two hours after midnight, going ninety miles, which are twenty-two leagues and a half; and as the Pinta was the swiftest sailer, and kept ahead of the Admiral, she discovered land and made the signals which had been ordered. The land was first seen by a sailor called Rodrigo de Triana, although the Admiral at ten o ’clock that evening standing on the quarter-deck saw a light, but so small a body that he could not affirm it to be land; calling to Pero Gutierrez, groom of the King’s wardrobe, he told him he saw a light, and bid him look that way, which he did and saw it; he did the same to Rodrigo Sanchez of Segovia, whom the King and Queen had sent with the squadron as comptroller, but he was unable to see it from his situation. The Admiral again perceived it once or twice, appearing like the light of a wax candle moving up and down, which some thought an indication of land. But the Admiral held it for certain that land was near; for which reason, after they had said the Salve which the seamen are accustomed to repeat and chant after their fashion, the Admiral directed them to keep a strict watch upon the forecastle and look out diligently for land, and to him who should first discover it he promised a silken jacket, besides the reward which the King and Queen had offered, which was an annuity of ten thousand maravedis.* At two o’clock in the morning the land was discovered, at two leagues’ distance; they took in sail and remained under the square-sail lying to till day, which was Friday, when they found themselves near a small island, one of the Lucayos, called in the Indian language Guanahani.* Presently they descried people, naked, and the Admiral landed in the boat, which was armed, along with Martin Alonzo Pinzon, and Vincent Yanez his brother, captain of the Nina. The Admiral bore the royal standard, and the two captains each a banner of the Green Cross, which all the ships had carried; this contained the initials of the names of the King and Queen each side of the cross, and a crown over each letter. Arrived on shore,* they saw trees very green, many streams of water, and diverse sorts of fruits. The Admiral called upon the two Captains, and the rest of the crew who landed, as also to Rodrigo de Escovedo notary of the fleet, and Rodrigo Sanchez, of Segovia, to bear witness that he before all others took possession (as in fact he did) of that island for the King and Queen his sovereigns, making the requisite declarations, which are more at large set down here in writing. Numbers of the people of the island straightway collected together. Here follow the precise words of the Admiral: "As I saw that they were very friendly to us, and perceived that they could be much more easily converted to our holy faith by gentle means than by force, I presented them with some red caps, and strings of beads to wear upon the neck, and many other trifles of small value, wherewith they were much delighted, and became wonderfully attached to us. Afterwards they came swimming to the boats, bringing parrots, balls of cotton thread, javelins and many other things which they exchanged for articles we gave them, such as glass beads, and hawk’s bells; which trade was carried on with the utmost good will. But they seemed on the whole to me, to be a very poor people. They all go completely naked, even the women, though I saw but one girl. All whom I saw were young, not above thirty years of age, well made, with fine shapes and faces; their hair short, and coarse like that of a horse’s tail, combed toward the forehead, except a small portion which they suffer to hang down behind, and never cut. Some paint themselves with black, which makes them appear like those of the Canaries, neither black nor white; others with white, others with red, and others with such colours as they can find. Some paint the face, and some the whole body; others only the eyes, and others the nose. Weapons they have none, nor are acquainted with them, for I showed them swords which they grasped by the blades, and cut themselves through ignorance. They have no iron, their javelins being without it, and nothing more than sticks, though some have fishbones or other things at the ends. They are all of a good size and stature, and handsomely formed. I saw some with scars of wounds upon their bodies, and demanded by signs the cause of them; they answered me in the same way, that there came people from the other islands in the neighbourhood who endeavoured to make prisoners of them, and they defended themselves. I thought then, and still believe, that these were from the continent. It appears to me, that the people are ingenious, and would be good servants; and I am of opinion that they would very readily become Christians, as they appear to have no religion. They very quickly learn such words as are spoken to them. If it please our Lord, I intend at my return to carry home six of them to your Highnesses, that they may learn our language. I saw no beasts in the island, nor any sort of animals except parrots." These are the words of the Admiral.*

Saturday, Oct. 13th. "At daybreak great multitudes of men came to the shore, all young and of fine shapes, very handsome; their hair not curled but straight and coarse like horsehair, and all with foreheads and heads much broader than any people I had hitherto seen; their eyes were large and very beautiful; they were not black, but the colour of the inhabitants of the Canaries, which is a very natural circumstance, they being in the same latitude with the island of Ferro in the Canaries. They were straight-limbed without exception, and not with prominent bellies but handsomely shaped. They came to the ship in canoes, made of a single trunk of a tree, wrought in a wonderful manner considering the country; some of them large enough to contain forty or forty-five men, others of different sizes down to those fitted to hold but a single person. They rowed with an oar like a baker’s peel, and wonderfully swift. If they happen to upset, they all jump into the sea, and swim till they have righted their canoe and emptied it with the calabashes they carry with them. They came loaded with balls of cotton, parrots, javelins, and other things too numerous to mention; these they exchanged for whatever we chose to give them. I was very attentive to them, and strove to learn if they had any gold. Seeing some of them with little bits of this metal hanging at their noses, I gathered from them by signs that by going southward or steering round the island in that direction, there would be found a king who possessed large vessels of gold, and in great quantities. I endeavoured to procure them to lead the way thither, but found they were unacquainted with the route. I determined to stay here till the evening of the next day, and then sail for the S.W.; for according to what I could learn from them, there was land at the S. as well as at the S.W. and N.W. and those from the N.W. came many times and fought with them and proceeded on to the S.W. in search of gold and precious stones. This is a large and level island, with trees extremely flourishing, and streams of water; there is a large lake in the middle of the island, but no mountains: the whole is completely covered with verdure and delightful to behold. The natives are an inoffensive people, and so desirous to possess any thing they saw with us, that they kept swimming off to the ships with whatever they could find, and readily bartered for any article we saw fit to give them in return, even such as broken platters and fragments of glass. I saw in this manner sixteen balls of cotton thread which weighed above twenty-five pounds, given for three Portuguese ceutis.* This traffic I forbade, and suffered no one to take their cotton from them, unless I should order it to be procured for your Highnesses, if proper quantities could be met with. It grows in this island, but from my short stay here I could not satisfy myself fully concerning it; the gold, also, which they wear in their noses, is found here, but not to lose time, I am determined to proceed onward and ascertain whether I can reach Cipango. At night they all went on shore with their canoes.

Sunday, Oct. 14th. In the morning, I ordered the boats to be got ready, and coasted along the island toward the N.N.E. to examine that part of it, we having landed first at the eastern part. Presently we discovered two or three villages, and the people all came down to the shore, calling out to us, and giving thanks to God. Some brought us water, and others victuals: others seeing that I was not disposed to land, plunged into the sea and swam out to us, and we perceived that they interrogated us if we had come from heaven. An old man came on board my boat; the others, both men and women cried with loud voices—"Come and see the men who have come from heaven. Bring them victuals and drink." There came many of both sexes, every one bringing something, giving thanks to God, prostrating themselves on the earth, and lifting up their hands to heaven. They called out to us loudly to come to land, but I was apprehensive on account of a reef of rocks, which surrounds the whole island, although within there is depth of water and room sufficient for all the ships of Christendom, with a very narrow entrance. There are some shoals within side, but the water is as smooth as a pond. It was to view these parts that I set out in the morning, for I wished to give a complete relation to your Highnesses, as also to find where a fort might be built. I discovered a tongue of land which appeared like an island though it was not, but might be cut through and made so in two days; it contained six houses. I do not, however, see the necessity of fortifying the place, as the people here are simple in warlike matters, as your Highnesses will see by those seven which I have ordered to be taken and carried to Spain in order to learn our language and return, unless your Highnesses should choose to have them all transported to Castile, or held captive in the island. I could conquer the whole of them with fifty men, and govern them as I pleased. Near the islet I have mentioned were groves of trees, the most beautiful I have ever seen, with their foliage as verdant as we see in Castile in April and May. There were also many streams. After having taken a survey of these parts, I returned to the ship, and setting sail, discovered such a number of islands that I knew not which first to visit; the natives whom I had taken on board informed me by signs that there were so many of them that they could not be numbered; they repeated the names of more than a hundred. I determined to steer for the largest, which is about five leagues from San Salvador; the others were some at a greater, and some at a less distance from that island. They are all very level, without mountains, exceedingly fertile and populous, the inhabitants living at war with one another, although a simple race, and with delicate bodies.

Monday, Oct. 15th. Stood off and on during the night, determining not to come to anchor till morning, fearing to meet with shoals; continued our course in the morning; and as the island was found to be six or seven leagues distant, and the tide was against us, it was noon when we arrived there.* I found that part of it towards San Salvador extending from N. to S. five leagues, and the other side which we coasted along, ran from E. to W. more than ten leagues. From this island espying a still larger one to the W. I set sail in that direction and kept on till night without reaching the western extremity of the island, where I gave it the name of Santa Maria de la Concepcion.* About sunset we anchored near the cape which terminates the island towards the W. to enquire for gold, for the natives we had taken from San Salvador told me that the people here wore golden bracelets upon their arms and legs. I believed pretty confidently that they had invented this story in order to find means to escape from us, still I determined to pass none of these islands without taking possession, because being once taken, it would answer for all times. We anchored and remained till Tuesday, when at daybreak I went ashore with the boats armed. The people we found naked like those of San Salvador, and of the same disposition. They suffered us to traverse the island, and gave us what we asked of them. As the wind blew S.E. upon the shore where the vessels lay, I determined not to remain, and set out for the ship. A large canoe being near the caravel Nina, one of the San Salvador natives leaped overboard and swam to her; (another had made his escape the night before,) the canoe being reached by the fugitive, the natives rowed for the land too swiftly to be overtaken; having landed, some of my men went ashore in pursuit of them, when they abandoned the canoe and fled with precipitation; the canoe which they had left was brought on board the Nina, where from another quarter had arrived a small canoe with a single man, who came to barter some cotton; some of the sailors finding him unwilling to go on board the vessel, jumped into the sea and took him. I was upon the quarter deck of my ship, and seeing the whole, sent for him, and gave him a red cap, put some glass beads upon his arms, and two hawk’s bells upon his ears. I then ordered his canoe to be returned to him, and despatched him back to land.

I now set sail for the other large island to the W. and gave orders for the canoe which the Nina had in tow to be set adrift. I had refused to receive the cotton from the native whom I sent on shore, although he pressed it upon me. I looked out after him and saw upon his landing that the others all ran to meet him with much wonder. It appeared to them that we were honest people, and that the man who had escaped from us had done us some injury, for which we kept him in custody. It was in order to favour this notion that I ordered the canoe to be set adrift, and gave the man the presents above mentioned, that when your Highnesses send another expedition to these parts it may meet with a friendly reception. All I gave the man was not worth four maravedis. We set sail about ten o’clock, with the wind S.E. and stood southerly for the island I mentioned above, which is a very large one, and where according to the account of the natives on board, there is much gold, the inhabitants wearing it in bracelets upon their arms, legs, and necks, as well as in their ears and at their noses. This island is nine leagues distant from Santa Maria in a westerly direction. This part of it extends from N.W., to S.E. and appears to be twenty-eight leagues long, very level, without any mountains, like San Salvador and Santa Maria, having a good shore and not rocky, except a few ledges under water, which renders it necessary to anchor at some distance, although the water is very clear, and the bottom may be seen. Two shots of a lombarda from the land, the water is so deep that it cannot be sounded; this is the case in all these islands. They are all extremely verdant and fertile, with the air agreeable, and probably contain many things of which I am ignorant, not inclining to stay here, but visit other islands in search of gold. And considering the indications of it among the natives who wear it upon their arms and legs, and having ascertained that it is the true metal by showing them some pieces of it which I have with me, I cannot fail, with the help of our Lord to find the place which produces it.

Being at sea, about midway between Santa Maria and the large island, which I name Fernandina,* we met a man in a canoe going from Santa Maria to Fernandina; he had with him a piece of the bread which the natives make, as big as one’s fist, a calabash of water, a quantity of reddish earth, pulverized and afterwards kneaded up, and some dried leaves which are in high value among them, for a quantity of it was brought to me at San Salvador; he had besides a little basket made after their fashion, containing some glass beads, and two blancas* by all which I knew he had come from San Salvador, and had passed from thence to Santa Maria. He came to the ship and I caused him to be taken on board, as he requested it; we took his canoe also on board and took care of his things. I ordered him to be presented with bread and honey, and drink, and shall carry him to Fernandina and give him his property, that he may carry a good report of us, so that if it please our Lord when your Highnesses shall send again to these regions, those who arrive here may receive honour, and procure what the natives may be found to possess.

Tuesday, Oct. 16th. Set sail from Santa Maria about noon, for Fernandina, which appeared very large in the W.; sailed all the day with calms, and could not arrive soon enough to view the shore and select a good anchorage, for great care must be taken in this particular, lest the anchors be lost. Beat up and down all night, and in the morning arrived at a village and anchored. This was the place to which the man whom we had picked up at sea had gone, when we set him on shore. He had given such a favourable account of us, that all night there were great numbers of canoes coming off to us, who brought us water and other things. I ordered each man to be presented with something, as strings of ten or a dozen glass beads, plates of brass, such as cost in Castile a maravedi apiece, and thongs of leather, all which they estimated highly; those which came on board I directed should be fed with molasses. At three o ’clock, I sent the boat on shore for water; the natives with great good will directed the men where to find it, assisted them in carrying the casks full of it to the boat, and seemed to take great pleasure in serving us. This is a very large island, and I have resolved to coast it about, for as I understand, in, or near the island, there is a mine of gold. It is eight leagues W. of Santa Maria, and the cape where we have arrived, and all this coast extends from N.N.W. to S.S.E. I have seen twenty leagues of it, but not the end. Now, writing this, I set sail with a southerly wind to circumnavigate the island, and search till we can find Samoet, which is the island or city where the gold is, according to the account of those who come on board the ship, to which the relation of those of San Salvador and Santa Maria corresponds. These people are similar to those of the islands just mentioned, and have the same language and customs; with the exception that they appear somewhat more civilized, showing themselves more subtle in their dealings with us, bartering their cotton and other articles with more profit than the others had experienced. Here we saw cotton cloth, and perceived the people more decent, the women wearing a slight covering of cotton over the nudities. The island is verdant, level and fertile to a high degree; and I doubt not that grain is sowed and reaped the whole year rom’d, as well as all other productions of the place. I saw many trees, very dissimilar to those of our country, and many of them had branches of different sorts upon the same trunk; and such a diversity was among them that it was the greatest wonder in the world to behold. Thus, for instance, one branch of a tree bore leaves like those of a cane, another branch of the same tree, leaves similar to those of the lentisk. In this manner a single tree bears five or six different kinds. Nor is this done by grafting, for that is a work of art, whereas these trees grow wild, and the natives take no care about them. They have no religion, and I believe that they would very readily become Christians, as they have a good understanding. Here the fish are so dissimilar to ours that it is wonderful. Some are shaped like dories, of the finest hues in the world, blue, yellow, red, and every other colour, some variegated with a thousand different tints, so beautiful that no one on beholding them could fail to express the highest wonder and admiration. Here are also whales. Beasts, we saw none, nor any creatures on land save parrots and lizards, but a boy told me he saw a large snake. No sheep nor goats were seen, and although our stay here has been short, it being now noon, yet were there any, I could hardly have failed of seeing them. The circumnavigation of the island I shall describe afterward.

Wednesday, Oct. 17th. At noon set sail from the village where we had anchored and watered. Kept on our course to sail round the island; the wind S.W. and S. My intention was to follow the coast of the island to the S.E. as it runs in that direction, being informed by the Indians I have on board, besides another whom I met with here, that in such a course I should meet with the island which they call Samoet, where gold is found. I was further informed by Martin Alonzo Pinzon captain of the Pinta, on board of which I had sent three of the Indians, that he had been assured by one of them, I might sail round the island much sooner by the N.W. Seeing that the wind would not enable me to proceed in the direction I first contemplated, and finding it favourable for the one thus recommended me, I steered to the N.W. and arriving at the extremity of the island at two leagues’ distance, I discovered a remarkable haven with two entrances, formed by an island at its mouth, both very narrow, the inside capacious enough for a hundred ships, were there sufficient depth of water. I thought it advisable to examine it, and therefore anchored outside, and went with the boats to sound it, but found the water shallow. As I had first imagined it to be the mouth of a river, I had directed the casks to be carried ashore for water, which being done we discovered eight or ten men who straight-way came up to us, and directed us to a village in the neighbourhood; I accordingly dispatched the crews thither in quest of water, part of them armed, and the rest with the casks, and the place being at some distance it detained me here a couple of hours. In the meantime I strayed about among the groves, which present the most enchanting sight ever witnessed, a degree of verdure prevailing like that of May in Andalusia, the trees as different from those of our country as day is from night, and the same may be said of the fruit, the weeds, the stones and everything else. A few of the trees, however, seemed to be of a species similar to some that are to be found in Castile, though still with a great dissimilarity, but the others so unlike, that it is impossible to find any resemblance in them to those of our land. The natives we found like those already described, as to personal appearance and manners, and naked like the rest. Whatever they possessed, they bartered for what we chose to give them. I saw a boy of the crew purchasing javelins of them with bits of platters and broken glass. Those who went for water informed me that they had entered their houses and found them very clean and neat, with beds and coverings of cotton nets. Their houses are all built in the shape of tents, with very high chimneys. None of the villages which I saw contained more than twelve or fifteen of them. Here it was remarked that the married women wore cotton breeches, but the younger females were without them, except a few who were as old as eighteen years. Dogs were seen of a large and small size, and one of the men had hanging at his nose a piece of gold half as big as a castellano,* with letters upon it. I endeavoured to purchase it of them in order to ascertain what sort of money it was* but they refused to part with it. Having taken our water on board, I set sail and proceeded N.W. till I had surveyed the coast to the point where it begins to run from E. to W. Here the Indians gave me to understand that this island was smaller than that of Samoet, and that I had better return in order to reach it the sooner. The wind died away, and then sprang up from the W.N.W. which was contrary to the course we were pursuing, we therefore hove about and steered various courses through the night from E. to S. standing off from the land, the weather being cloudy and thick. It rained violently from midnight till near day, and the sky still remains clouded; we remain off the the south-east part of the island, where I expect to anchor and stay till the weather grows clear, when I shall steer for the other islands I am in quest of. Every day that I have been in these Indies it has rained more or less. I assure your Highnesses that these lands are the most fertile, temperate, level and beautiful countries in the world.

Thursday, Oct. 18th. As soon as the sky grew clear, we set sail and went as far round the island as we could, anchoring when we found it inconvenient to proceed. I did not, however, land. In the morning set sail again.

Friday, Oct. 19th. In the morning we got under weigh, and I ordered the Pinta to steer E. and S.E. and the Nina S.S.E.; proceeding myself to the S.E. the other vessels I directed to keep on the courses prescribed till noon, and then to rejoin me. Within three hours we descried an island to the E. toward which we directed our course, and arrived all three, before noon, at the northern extremity, where a rocky islet and reef extend toward the North, with another between them and the main island. The Indians on board the ships called this island Saomete. I named it Isabela.* It lies westerly from the island of Fernandina, and the coast extends from the islet twelve leagues, west, to a cape which I called Cabo Hermoso,* it being a beautiful, round headland with a bold shore free from shoals. Part of the shore is rocky, but the rest of it, like most of the coast here, a sandy beach. Here we anchored till morning. This island is the most beautiful that I have yet seen, the trees in great number, flourishing and lofty; the land is higher than the other islands, and exhibits an eminence, which though it cannot be called a mountain, yet adds a beauty to its appearance, and gives an indication of streams of water in the interior, From this part toward the northeast is an extensive bay with many large and thick groves. I wished to anchor there, and land, that I might examine those delightful regions, but found the coast shoal, without a possibility of casting anchor except at a distance from the shore. The wind being favourable, I came to the Cape, which I named Hermoso, where I anchored today. This is so beautiful a place, as well as the neighbouring regions, that I know not in which course to proceed first; my eyes are never tired with viewing such delightful verdure, and of a species so new and dissimilar to that of our country, and I have no doubt there are trees and herbs here which would be of great value in Spain, as dyeing materials, medicine, spicery, etc., but I am mortified that I have no acquaintance with them. Upon our arrival here we experienced the most sweet and delightful odour from the flowers or trees of the island. Tomorrow morning before we depart, I intend to land and see what can be found in the neighbourhood. Here is no village, but farther within the island is one, where our Indians inform us we shall find the king, and that he has much gold. I shall penetrate so far as to reach the village and see or speak with the king, who, as they tell us, governs all these islands, and goes dressed, with a great deal of gold about him. I do not, however, give much credit to these accounts, as I understand the natives but imperfectly, and perceive them to be so poor that a trifling quantity of gold appears to them a great amount. This island appears to me to be a separate one from that of Saomete, and I even think there may be others between them. I am not solicitous to examine particularly everything here, which indeed could not be done in fifty years, because my desire is to make all possible discoveries, and return to your Highnesses, if it please our Lord, in April. But in truth, should I meet with gold or spices in great quantity, I shall remain till I collect as much as possible, and for this purpose I am proceeding solely in quest of them.

Saturday, Oct. 20th. At sunrise we weighed anchor, and stood to the N.E. and E. along the south side of this island, which I named Isabela, and the cape where we anchored, Cabo de la Laguna; in this direction I expected from the account of our Indians to find the capital and king of the island. I found the coast very shallow, and offering every obstacle to our navigation, and perceiving that our course this way must be very circuitous, I determined to return to the westward. The wind failed us, and we were unable to get near the shore before night; and as it is very dangerous anchoring here in the dark, when it is impossible to discern among so many shoals and reefs whether the ground be suitable, I stood off and on all night. The other vessels came to anchor, having reached the shore in season. As was customary among us, they made signals to me to stand in and anchor, but I determined to remain at sea.

Sunday, Oct. 21st. At 10 o’clock, we arrived at a cape of the island, and anchored, the other vessels in company. After having dispatched a meal, I went ashore, and found no habitation save a single house, and that without an occupant; we had no doubt that the people had fled in terror at our approach, as the house was completely furnished. I suffered nothing to be touched, and went with my captains and some of the crew to view the country. This island even exceeds the others in beauty and fertility. Groves of lofty and flourishing trees are abundant, as also large lakes, surrounded and overhung by the foliage, in a most enchanting manner. Everything looked as green as in April in Andalusia. The melody of the birds was so exquisite that one was never willing to part from the spot, and the flocks of parrots obscured the heavens. The diversity in the appearance of the feathered tribe from those of our country is extremely curious. A thousand different sorts of trees, with their fruit were to be met with, and of a wonderfully delicious odour. It was a great affliction to me to be ignorant of their natures, for I am very certain they are all valuable; specimens of them and of the plants I have preserved. Going round one of these lakes, I saw a snake, which we killed, and I have kept the skin for your Highnesses; upon being discovered he took to the water, whither we followed him, as it was not deep, and dispatched him with our lances; he was seven spans in length; I think there are many more such about here. I discovered also the aloe tree, and am determined to take on board the ship tomorrow, ten quintals of it, as I am told it is valuable. While we were in search of some good water, we came upon a village of the natives about half a league from the place where the ships lay; the inhabitants on discovering us abandoned their houses, and took to flight, carrying off their goods to the mountain. I ordered that nothing which they had left should be taken, not even the value of a pin. Presently we saw several of the natives advancing towards our party, and one of them came up to us, to whom we gave some hawk’s bells and glass beads, with which he was delighted. We asked him in return, for water, and after I had gone on board the ship, the natives came down to the shore with their calabashes full, and showed great pleasure in presenting us with it. I ordered more glass beads to be given them, and they promised to return the next day. It is my wish to fill all the water casks of the ships at this place, which being executed, I shall depart immediately, if the weather serve, and sail round the island, till I succeed in meeting with the king, in order to see if I can acquire any of the gold, which I hear he possesses. Afterwards I shall set sail for another very large island which I believe to be Cipango, according to the indications I receive from the Indians on board. They call the Island Colba,* and say there are many large ships, and sailors there. This other island they name Bosio, and inform me that it is very large; the others which lie in our course, I shall examine on the passage, and according as I find gold or spices in abundance, I shall determine what to do; at all events I am determined to proceed on to the continent, and visit the city of Guisay* where I shall deliver the letters of your Highnesses to the Great Can, and demand an answer, with which I shall return.

Monday, Oct. 22d. Through the night, and today we remained waiting here to see if the king, or any others would bring us gold or anything valuable. Many of the natives visited us, resembling those of the other islands, naked like them, and painted white, red, black and other colours; they brought javelins and clews of cotton to barter, which they exchanged with the sailors for bits of glass, broken cups, and fragments of earthenware. Some of them wore pieces of gold at their noses; they readily gave them away for hawk’s bells and glass beads; the amount collected in this manner, however, was very inconsiderable. Any small matter they received from us, they held in high estimation, believing us to have come from heaven. We took in water for the ships from a lake in the neighbourhood of this cape, which I have named Cabo del Isleo: in this lake Martin Alonzo Pinzon, captain of the Pinta, killed a snake similar to that of yesterday, seven spans long. I ordered as much of the aloe to be collected as could be found.

Tuesday, Oct. 23d. It is now my determination to depart for the island of Cuba, which I believe to be Cipango, from the accounts I have received here, of the multitude and riches of the people. I have abandoned the intention of staying here and sailing round the island in search of the king, as it would be a waste of time, and I perceive there are no gold mines to be found. Moreover it would be necessary to steer many courses in making the circuit, and we cannot expect the wind to be always favourable. And as we are going to places where there is great commerce, I judge it expedient not to linger on the way, but to proceed and survey the lands we meet with, till we arrive at that most favourable for our enterprise. It is my opinion that we shall find much profit there in spices; but my want of knowledge in these articles occasions me the most excessive regrets, inasmuch as I see a thousand sorts of trees, each with its own species of fruit, and as flourishing at the present time, as the fields in Spain, during the months of May and June; likewise a thousand kinds of herbs and flowers, of all which I remain in ignorance as to their properties, with the exception of the aloe, which I have directed today to be taken on board in large quantities for the use of your Highnesses. I did not set sail to-day for want of wind, a dead calm and heavy rain prevailing. Yesterday it rained much without cold; the days here are hot, and the nights mild like May in Andalusia.

Wednesday, Oct. 24th. At midnight weighed anchor and set sail from Cabo del Isleo of the island of Isabela, being in the North part, where I had remained preparing to depart for the island of Cuba, in which place the Indians tell me I shall find a great trade, with abundance of gold and spices, and large ships, and merchants; they directed me to steer toward the W.S.W., which is the course I am pursuing. If the accounts which the natives of the islands and those on board the ships have communicated to me by signs (for their language I do not understand) may be relied on, this must be the island of Cipango, of which we have heard so many wonderful things; according to my geographical knowledge it must be somewhere in this neighbourhood. We continued our course W.S.W., till day, when the wind died away, while the rain which had been falling most of the night continued, we remained thus with little wind till the afternoon, when it began to blow finely: we crowded all sail, and kept on our course till dusk, when Cabo Verde, which is in the south-westerly part of the island of Fern an din a, bore N.W. seven leagues distant. The wind continuing to blow fresh, and not knowing the distance to the island of Cuba, I determined not to run for it during the night, as these islands have bold shores, no bottom being obtained at more than two lombarda-shots from the land, add to this that they are surrounded with rocks and shoals in abundance, and the whole renders it very hazardous to anchor, except during the day. I therefore ordered all the sails to be taken in except the fore sail, and kept on under that; the wind increased, and we made much progress, the extent of which I could not ascertain. It was very cloudy with rain, finally I ordered the foresail to be taken in."*

Thursday, Oct. 25th. Sailed after sunrise W.S.W. till 9 o’clock, a distance of five leagues, then altered their course to W., and went at the rate of eight miles an hour till one o’clock; they continued on till three in the afternoon, having gone forty-four miles, when they discovered land, which proved to be seven or eight islands,* extending from north to south, five leagues distant.

Friday, Oct. 26th. They anchored south of the islands, finding the water shallow five or six leagues off the shore. The Indians on board told them that the island of Cuba was distant from thence a voyage of a day and a half in their canoes, which are small things, made of a log, and carrying no sail. Departed for Cuba, which from the Indians signifying to them the abundance of gold and pearls there, as well as the magnitude of the island, they doubted not, was Cipango.*

Saturday, Oct. 27th. They weighed anchor at sunrise, and left these islands, which they named Las Islas de Arena* on account of the shoals which extend out from them half a dozen leagues to the south. Sailed S.S.W., eight miles an hour, till one o ’clock, having gone forty miles; by night they had proceeded twenty-eight more in the same direction; before dark they discovered land. They kept a diligent watch through the night which proved very rainy. They sailed on Saturday, by sunset, seventeen leagues to the S.S.W.

Sunday, Oct. 28th. Continued on S.S.W., in quest of the island of Cuba, keeping close to the shore. They entered a fine river, free from shallows and all other obstructions, which in fact is the case with all the coast here, the shore being very bold. The mouth of the river had a depth of water of twelve fathoms, and a breadth sufficient for ships to beat in. They anchored within the river, and the Admiral states that the prospect here exceeded in beauty anything he ever saw, the river being surrounded with trees of the most beautiful and luxuriant foliage of a singular appearance, and covered with flowers and fruits of all sorts. Birds were here in abundance singing most delightfully. Great numbers of palm trees were noticed, different from those of Guinea, and ours, wanting their particular manner of bark; they were of a moderate height, and bore very large leaves, which the natives use for coverings to their houses. The land appeared quite level. The Admiral went ashore in the boat, and found two dwellings, which he supposed to be those of fishermen, and that the owners had fled; he found in one of them a dog unable to bark. Both houses contained nets of palm, lines, horn fish-hooks, harpoons of bone, and other implements for fishing, as also many fire-places, and each seemed to be adapted to the reception of a large number of persons. The Admiral gave orders that nothing should be touched, which directions were adhered to. The grass was as high as it is in Andalusia in April and May, and they found purslain and strawberry-blite in abundance. They returned on board the boat and ascended the river some distance, where the Admiral says it was exceedingly pleasant to behold the delightful verdure and foliage which presented itself, not to mention the birds in the neighbourhood; the whole offered a scene of such enchantment that it was hardly possible to part from it. He declares this to be the most beautiful island ever seen, abounding in good harbours, and deep rivers, with a shore upon which it appears that the sea never breaks high, as the grass grows down to the water’s edge, a thing which never happens where the sea is rough. Indeed a high sea they had not as yet experienced among these islands. This isle, he says, is full of pleasant mountains, which are lofty, although not of great extent, the rest of the country is high, after the manner of Sicily, abounding in streams, as they understood from the Indians of Guanahani, which were on board the ships, who informed them by signs that it contained ten large rivers, and was of such a size that with their canoes they could not sail round it in twenty days. When the ships were sailing towards the island, some of the natives put off from the shore in two canoes, and perceiving the Spaniards entering into the boat and rowing towards the mouth of the river to sound for an anchorage, they took to flight. The Indians told them there were mines of gold here and pearls, and the Admiral observed muscles and other indications of these articles in the neighbourhood. They further informed him that there came large ships hither from the Great Can, and that the main land was distant ten days’ voyage. The Admiral named this river and port San Salvador.*

Monday, Oct. 29th. They weighed anchor and sailed from this port towards the west, in quest of the city where it appeared to be signified to them by the Indians that they would meet with the king. A point of the island* extended towards the Northwest, six leagues from the place of their departure, and another* ten leagues towards the east. A league further on, they discovered a river with a narrow entrance, which the Admiral named Rio de la Luna.* They continued on till evening and descried another river larger than those they had yet seen, which also the Indians signified to them in the usual manner; on the banks they saw many collections of houses, the Admiral named it Rio de Mares.* He dispatched two boats to land in order to get some communication with the people, in one of them he sent an Indian of those oil board, as they appeared at last to be contented with the company of the Spaniards, and they were enabled in some degree to understand them; the people on shore, men, women and children all fled at their approach, abandoning their dwellings and goods, which the Admiral ordered should not receive the least injury. He states the houses to have been the finest he had yet seen, and thinks the nearer he approaches toward the continent they will continue improving: they were of a large size, constructed in the shape of a tent, and each collection of them appeared like a camp, without any order of streets, but scattered here and there; the interiors were found very clean and neat, well furnished and set in order; they were all built of fine palm branches. They found here many statues in the shape of women, and numerous heads something like masks, well executed; whether these were used as ornaments, or objects of worship, did not appear. Here were small fowl originally wild, but now tame about the houses, as also curious collections of nets, hooks, and other gear for fishing, but the Spaniards, as they were ordered, touched nothing. The Admiral was of opinion that the inhabitants of the coast were all fishermen, and carried what they took into the interior of the island, as it is a very large one, and more beautiful than words can express. He says that he met with trees and fruits here of a most delicious odour, and that there are undoubtedly cows and other cattle in the island, as he saw a skull, which appeared to be that of a cow. All the night they were entertained with the melody of the birds and crickets; the air was mild and soft throughout the night, neither hot nor cold. In the other islands he states the heat to have been excessive, but here it was temperate like May. The heat of the other islands he ascribes to their being level, and the wind, which blows there, being from the East and consequently hot. The water of the rivers was found to be salt at the mouths: it was not known where the Indians obtained their water, which was met with fresh in their houses. This river was broad enough for the ships to manoeuvre in on their entry or departure, and the land contained many marks to serve as directions for steering. It was seven or eight fathoms deep at the mouth, and five inside. The sea about here, he says appears to be ever as smooth as the river at Seville, and the water very favourable for the pearl fishery. Here were periwinkles of a large size, but tasteless, unlike those of Spain. The river and port of San Salvador, above mentioned, he describes as marked by lofty and beautiful mountains, like the Pena de los enamorados, one of them containing on its summit a protuberance in the form of a handsome mosque. The other river and harbour, where they now remain, has upon the S.E. two mountains of a round shape, and at the W.N.W., a fine level cape extends into the sea.

Tuesday, Oct. 30th. They left the river which they had named Rio de Mares, and standing to the N.W., discovered a cape covered with palm trees, which the Admiral called Cabo de Palmas;* it was fifteen leagues distant from the place of their departure. The Indians on board the Pinta signified to the Spaniards, that beyond this cape was a river,* and from this river to Cuba* was a distance of four days’ voyage or journey. The Captain of the Pinta declared that he understood Cuba to be a city, and that the land here was a continent of great size which extended far to the North; also that the king of this country was at war with the Great Can, whom the Indians called Cami, and his country or city Fava and other names. The Admiral determined to steer for this river, and dispatch a present and the letter of the Spanish sovereigns to the king: this he judged best to perform by means of a mariner he had on board, who had formerly been in Guinea, and some of the Indians of Guanahani. The Admiral states the latitude of this place to be twenty-one degrees North, if the manuscript from which I have copied this be correct, and says he must proceed on to the Great Can, whom he supposed was to be found thereabout, or to the city of Cathay* which he affirms to be a very large city, according as he had learned before he sailed from Spain. All the land here he describes as pleasant and level, bordered with a deep sea.

Wednesday, Oct. 31st. All Tuesday night they beat up and down, and then came to a river which they could not enter for the shoals at the mouth; the Indians thought it as easy to enter with the ships as they did with their canoes. Proceeding onward they discovered a cape* extending far into the sea, and surrounded with shallows; they saw also a bay capable of receiving small vessels, which they could not reach, as the wind had shifted to the North, and the coast ran N.N.W. and S.E.; another cape which they saw farther onward, extended still farther into the sea. For this reason and observing from the appearance of the heavens that it threatened to blow violently, they returned to Rio de Mares.

Thursday, Nov. 1st. At sunrise the Admiral sent the boats to land to visit the houses they saw there; they found the inhabitants all fled, but after some time they espied a man; the Admiral then dispatched one of his Indians on shore, who called out to him from a distance and bade him not be fearful, as the Spaniards were a friendly people, not injuring anyone, nor belonging to the Great Can, but on the contrary, had made many presents of their goods among the inhabitants of the islands. The natives having ascertained that no ill was intended them, gathered confidence, and came in above sixteen canoes to the ships, bringing cotton yarn and other things, which the Admiral ordered should not be taken from them, as he wished them to understand that he was in search of nothing but gold, which they call nucay. All day the canoes kept passing between the ships and the shore. The Admiral saw no gold among them, but remarks having observed an Indian with a bit of wrought silver at his nostrils, which he conceived to be an indication of the existence of that metal in the country. The Indians informed them by signs that within three days there would come many traders from the interior to purchase the goods of the Spaniards, to whom they would communicate news of the king, who as far as could be learned from the signs of the natives, was about four days’ journey distant. They informed the Spaniards also that many persons had been dispatched to inform the king respecting the Admiral. These people were found to be of the same race and manners with those already observed, without any religion that could be discovered; they had never remarked the Indians whom they kept on board the ships to be engaged in any sort of devotion of their own, but they would, upon being directed, make the sign of the cross, and repeat the Salve and Ave Maria with the hands extended towards heaven. The language is the same throughout these islands, and the people friends to one another, which the Admiral says he believes to be the case in all the neighbouring parts, and that they are at war with the Great Can, whom they call Cavila, and his country Bafan. These people go naked like the rest. The river here he describes as deep, and having a bold shore at the mouth, where ships may lay close to the land; the water of the river salt for a league upwards when it becomes very fresh. It is certain, says the Admiral, that this is the continent, and that we are in the neighbourhood of Zayto and Guinsay,* a hundred leagues more or less distant from the one or the other.

Friday, Nov. 2d. The Admiral resolved to send two of the Spaniards into the country; those whom he selected for this purpose were Rodrigo de Jerez, of Ayamonte, and Luis de Torres, who had lived with the Adelantado of Murcia, and knew Hebrew, Chaldaic, and some Arabic; he had been formerly a Jew; to these he joined two of the natives, one of those he had brought from Guanahani, and another belonging to the houses near the river. He gave them strings of beads to purchase provisions, and directed them to return within six days. Specimens of spicery were intrusted to them that they might judge if anything similar existed in the country. He took care to instruct them how they should inquire for the king, and what they were to say in informing him that the King and Queen of Castile had dispatched the Admiral with letters and a present for him, and to learn the state of his country and gain his friendship. Furthermore the envoys were instructed to obtain a knowledge of the territory, and observe the ports and rivers, with their distances from the place where the ships lay, etc. The Admiral here took an observation, and found the latitude to be twenty-one degrees; according to his calculation, their distance from the island of Ferro was eleven hundred and forty-two leagues.* He was fully persuaded that this was the continent.

Saturday, Nov. 3d. In the morning the Admiral went on board his boat, and observing that the mouth of the river formed an ample harbour, very deep and free from rocks, with a fine beach very fit for careening ships, as well as plenty of wood on shore, he rowed up the stream a couple of leagues to the fresh water, and going on shore, ascended a hill to take a view of the country, but nothing of the inhabitants was seen on account of the thickness of the woods, which diffused a very odoriferous scent, leading him to believe that aromatic plants abounded there. The beauty of the prospect was such that he declares his eyes were never tired with viewing it, nor was the harmony of the feathered tribe wanting. Great numbers of canoes came to the ships this day for the purpose of bartering their cotton, and nets or hammocks on which they sleep.

Sunday, Nov. 4th. Early in the morning the Admiral went on shore in the boat to shoot birds, and at his return, Martin Alonzo Pinzon came to him with two pieces of cinnamon, saying that a Portuguese on board his vessel had seen an Indian with two large handfuls of it, but was afraid to purchase it on account of the prohibition of the Admiral, and furthermore that the Indian had some reddish things resembling nutmegs. The boatswain of the Pinta declared he had seen cinnamon trees. The Admiral went to the place but found none. He showed some of the natives pepper and cinnamon which he had brought from Castile, they recognized it as he declares, and intimated to him by signs that much of it was to be found not far from thence to the southeast. He likewise showed them gold and pearls, and was informed by some old men that these existed in great abundance in a place which they called Bohio*, being worn by the people at their necks, ears, arms and legs. They had, according to the same account, large ships, and carried on traffic, and this was all at the southeast. They further informed him that at a distance there were men with one eye only, and others with faces like dogs, who were man-eaters, and accustomed upon taking a prisoner, to cut his throat, drink his blood, and dismember him. The Admiral then determined to return to his ship and wait for the men whom he had sent into the country, when he was resolved to depart in quest of the regions which had been described to him, unless he should receive such accounts from the interior as would induce him to stay. He says "these people are very mild and timorous, naked as I have described the others, without weapons or laws. The soil is very fertile abounding with mames,* a root like a carrot, with a taste of chestnuts; beans likewise are here, very dissimilar to ours, also cotton, growing spontaneously among the mountains; I am of opinion that this is gathered at all seasons of the year, as I observed upon a single tree blossoms, pods unripe, and others burst open. A thousand other productions, which are doubtless of great value, I remarked, but find it impossible to describe them."

Monday, Nov. 5th. In the morning the Admiral ordered the ships to be careened, one at a time, the others remaining afloat for security, although he declares the natives were very friendly, and that they might without hazard have careened them all together. While they were about this, the boatswain of the Nina came to him demanding a reward for having discovered mastick, the specimen, however, he did not exhibit, having lost it. The Admiral promised him the reward, and sent Rodrigo Sanchez and Maestre Diego to examine the trees; they brought back a portion of the gum and of the wood, which he preserved for the King and Queen. He says that it was evidently mastick, although, to be good, it should be collected at the proper season; and that there were trees in that neighbourhood sufficient to yield a thousand quintals a year. Here too he states that he found much of that sort of wood which appeared to be aloe. This harbour which he called Puerto de Mares, is according to his account, one of the best in the world, with a fine air, and the inhabitants very gentle. Here is a rocky promontory, upon which a fort might be built to defend the port if this should become a place of any trade. The Admiral adds "May our Lord, in whose hands are all victories, direct all things to his service." An Indian informed him by signs that the mastick was beneficial to them when they were afflicted with pain in the stomach.

Tuesday, Nov. 6th. Last night, says the Admiral, the two men whom I had sent into the country returned, and related as follows. After having travelled a dozen leagues they came to a town containing about fifty houses, where there were probably a thousand inhabitants, every house containing a great number; they were built in the manner of large tents. The inhabitants received them after their fashion with great ceremony; the men and women flocked to behold them, and they were lodged in their best houses. They signified their admiration and reverence of the strangers by touching them, kissing their hands and feet, and making signs of wonder. They imagined them come from heaven, and signified as much to them. They were feasted with such food as the natives had to offer. Upon their arrival at the town they were led by the arms of the principal men of the place, to the chief dwelling, here they gave them seats, and the Indians sat upon the ground in a circle round them. The Indians who accompanied the Spaniards explained to the natives the manner in which their new guests lived, and gave a favourable account of their character. The men then left the place, and the women entered, and seated themselves around them in the same manner, kissing their hands and feet, and examining whether they were flesh and bone like themselves. They entreated them to remain there as long as five days. The Spaniards showed them the cinnamon, pepper and other spices which they had received from the Admiral, and they informed them by signs that there was much of these in the neighbourhood at the southeast, but they knew not of any in this place. The Spaniards not discovering any great number of towns here, resolved to return to the ships, and had they chosen to admit the natives to accompany them, might have been attended back by more than five hundred men and women, who were eager to bear them company, thinking they were returning to heavens They took none along with them but one of the principal inhabitants with his son; with these the Admiral held some conversation, and showed them great civilities; the Indian described to him by signs many countries and islands in these parts, and the Admiral thought to carry him home to Spain, but says he was unable to find whether the Indian was willing. At night he seemed to grow fearful, and wished to go on shore; the Admiral says that having the ship aground he thought it not advisable to oppose him, and so let him return, requesting him to come back the next morning, but they saw him no more. The Spaniards upon their journey met with great multitudes of people, men and women with firebrands in their hands and herbs to smoke after their custom.* No village was seen upon the road of a larger size than five houses, but all the inhabitants showed them the same respect. Many sorts of trees were observed, and herbs and odoriferous flowers. Great numbers of birds they remarked, all different from those of Spain except the nightingales, who entertained them with their songs, and the partridges and geese, which were found in abundance. Of quadrupeds they descried none except dumb dogs. The soil appeared fertile and under good cultivation, producing the mames aforementioned and beans very dissimilar to ours, as well as the grain called panic-grass. They saw vast quantities of cotton, spun and manufactured, a single house contained above five hundred arrobas;* four thousand quintals might be collected here per annum. The Admiral says it appears to him that they do not sow it, but that it is productive the whole year round; it is very fine with an exceeding long staple. Everything which the Indians possessed they were ready to barter at a very low price; a large basket of cotton they would give for a leather thong, or other trifling thing which was offered them. They are an inoffensive, unwarlike people, naked, except that the women wear a very slight covering at the loins; their manners are very decent, and their complexion not very dark, but lighter than that of the inhabitants of the Canary Islands. "I have no doubt, most serene Princes," says the Admiral, "that were proper devout and religious persons to come among them and learn their language, it would be an easy matter to convert them all to Christianity, and I hope in our Lord that your Highnesses will devote yourselves with much diligence to this object, and bring into the church so many multitudes, inasmuch as you have exterminated those who refused to confess the Father, Son and Holy Ghost,* so that having ended your days (as we are all mortal) you may leave your dominions in a tranquil condition, free from heresy and wickedness, and meet with a favourable reception before the eternal Creator, whom may it please to grant you a long life and great increase of kingdoms and dominions, with the will and disposition to promote, as you always have done, the holy Christian religion, Amen.

"This day I launched the ship, and made ready to depart in the name of God, next Thursday, for the S.E. in quest of gold and spices, as well as to discover the country." These are the words of the Admiral, who expected to sail on Thursday, but the wind being contrary, detained him till the twelfth day of November.

Monday, Nov. 12th. They sailed from the port and river de Mares at daybreak: they directed their course in search of an island which the Indians on board affirmed repeatedly was called Babeque,* where as they related by signs, the inhabitants collected gold at night by torchlight upon the shore, and afterwards hammered it into bars. In order to reach this island they directed to steer East by South. Having sailed eight leagues along the coast, they discovered a river, and four leagues further onward, another, very large, exceeding in size all which they had seen. The Admiral was unwilling to remain, and put into either of them, for two reasons, the first and principal one, because the wind and weather were favourable to proceed to the above mentioned island of Babeque; the other was, that were there any large towns near the sea, they might easily be discovered, but in case they were far up the rivers, they could only be reached by ascending the stream in small vessels, which those of his fleet were not. A desire, therefore, not to waste time determined him not to explore these rivers, the last of which was surrounded with a well-peopled country; he named it Rio del Sol.* He states that the Sunday previous he had thought it would be well to take a few of the natives from the place where the ships lay for the purpose of carrying them to Spain, that they might acquire our language, and inform us what their country contained, besides becoming Christians and serving us at their return as interpreters, "for I have observed," says he, "that these people have no religion, neither are they idolaters, but are a very gentle race, without the knowledge of any iniquity; they neither kill, nor steal, nor carry weapons, and are so timid that one of our men might put a hundred of them to flight, although they will readily sport and play tricks with them. They have a knowledge that there is a God above, and are firmly persuaded that we have come from heaven. They very quickly learn such prayers as we repeat to them, and also to make the sign of the cross. Your Highnesses should therefore adopt the resolution of converting them to Christianity, in which enterprise I am of opinion that a very short space of time would suffice to gain to our holy faith multitudes of people, and to Spain great riches and immense dominions, with all their inhabitants; there being, without doubt, in these countries vast quantities of gold, for the Indians would not without cause give us such descriptions of places where the inhabitants dug it from the earth, and wore it in massy bracelets at their necks, ears, legs, and arms. Here are also pearls and precious stones, and an infinite amount of spices. In the river de Mares, which I left last evening, there is undoubtedly a great deal of mastick, and the quantity might be increased, for the trees transplanted easily take root; they are of a lofty size, bearing leaves and fruit like the lentisk; the tree, however, is taller and has a larger leaf than the lentisk, as is mentioned by Pliny, and as I have myself Observed in the island of Scio in the Archipelago. I ordered many of these trees to be tapped in order to extract the resin, but as the weather was rainy all the time I was in the river, I was unable to procure more than a very small portion, which I have preserved for your Highnesses. It is possible also that this is not the proper season for collecting it, which, it is likely, may be in the spring, when they begin to put forth their blossoms; at present the fruit upon them is nearly ripe. Great quantities of cotton might be raised here, and sold, as I think, profitably, without being carried to Spain, but to the cities of the Great Can, which we shall doubtless discover, as well as many others belonging to other sovereigns; these may become a source of profit to your Highnesses by trading thither with the productions of Spain and the other European countries. Here also is to be found abundance of aloe, which, however, is not a thing of very great value, but the mastick assuredly is, being met with nowhere else except in the before-mentioned island of Scio, where, if I remember rightly, it is produced to the amount of fifty thousand ducats’ value in a year. The mouth of this river forms the best harbour I have yet seen, being wide, deep and free from shoals, with a fine situation for a town and fortification where ships may lie close along the shore, the land high, with a good air and fine streams of water. Yesterday a canoe came to the ship with six young men; five of them came on board, whom I ordered to be detained, and have them with me; I then sent ashore to one of the houses, and took seven women and three children: this I did that the Indians might tolerate their captivity better with their company, for it has often happened that the Portuguese have carried the natives from Guinea to Portugal for the purpose of learning their language, and when this was done and they returned with them to Guinea, expecting by reason of the good treatment they had showed them, and the presents they had given them, to find great benefit in their use, they have gone among their own people and never appeared more. Others have done differently, and by keeping their wives, have assured themselves of their possession. Besides, these women will be a great help to us in acquiring their language, which is the same throughout all these countries, the inhabitants keeping up a communication among the islands by means of their canoes. This is not the case in Guinea, where there are a thousand different dialects, one tribe not understanding another. This evening came on board the husband of one of the women and father of the three children, which were a boy and two girls; he intreated me to let him accompany them, which I very willingly granted; the natives whom I had taken from here were all so delighted at this as to induce me to think them his relations. He is a person of about forty-five years of age." All this is in the exact words of the Admiral; he also says that he found the weather somewhat cold, and being in the winter, thought it not advisable to prosecute his discoveries any farther towards the north.* This day, Monday, they sailed by sunset, eighteen leagues, East by South, to a cape which he named Cabo de Cuba.*

Tuesday, Nov. 13th. All night beat up and down, making no progress, which was done for the purpose of examining a gap between two lofty mountains which they had noticed at sunset, and which seemed to be a separation between the land of Cuba and that of Bohio,* this the Indians on board signified to them in the usual way. At daylight they stood towards the land, and passed a point which appeared at night about two leagues in extent; they then entered a spacious gulf five leagues to the S.S.E., and saw a cape five leagues further onward, where, between two high mountains, there was discernible a large gap: whether this was a strait of the sea they could not determine; and because the Admiral was anxious to proceed on to the island they called Babeque, where as he understood there was much gold, and this island was to the East, he put out to sea, perceiving no shelter on the coast from the violence of the wind, which blew more strongly than ever; they kept on their course East, with the wind from the North, eight miles an hour, till sunset, when they had sailed fifty-six miles, which are fourteen leagues, East from Cabo de Cuba. Of the coast of Bohio, which was to leeward, they had viewed apparently eighty miles, or twenty leagues, beginning at the cape of the gulf above mentioned. All this coast runs E.S.E. and W.N.W.

Wednesday, Nov. 14th. Stood off and on during the night, not judging it safe to sail among the islands in the dark. The Indians informed them yesterday that the distance from Rio de Mares to the island of Babeque was three days’ voyage; this, of course, was to be understood of a voyage in their canoes, which go about seven leagues in a day. The wind was light, and though their direction was East, it would not allow them to steer within a point of this course; these, and other hindrances which are related, kept them from making any progress before morning. At sunrise the Admiral, in consequence of the wind having shifted from N. to N.E., determined to steer for the land and seek a harbour, and in the event of not meeting with one, to return to that he last quitted. Having gone that night twenty-four miles East by South, he stood South for the land, and arriving near, saw many harbours, inlets, and islands; the wind blowing strong with a high sea, he did not dare risk an entrance into either of them, but kept along the coast N.W. by W., still looking out for a harbour: a great many were seen, but none of them appeared safe; having gone in this manner sixty-four miles, they came to a very deep entrance, a quarter of a mile wide, with a river, forming a good haven,* here they entered and found it spacious and deep, containing so many islands that they could not be counted; these were of a good size and lofty, covered with palm and other trees of a thousand different sorts. The Admiral was struck with admiration at viewing so many islands of such a height, and declares to the King and Queen that he believes there are not higher mountains in the world than those which he saw along the coast, and among these islands, and that none equal them in beauty, they being without clouds or snow. At the feet of the mountains there is great depth of water. He states it as his opinion that these islands are the innumerable ones which in the maps are placed at the extremity of the East,* and says he believes they contain great riches, precious stones, and spicery, and extend far to the South, spreading out on each side. He named this place La Mar de Nuestra Senora, and the harbour near the strait which is the entrance to these islands he called Puerto del Principe, of which he made no further survey than by viewing it from without, till he returned to it on the Saturday of the following week, as will afterwards appear. The Admiral dilates very much upon the fertility, beauty and loftiness of these islands, and cautions the King and Queen not to be surprised at the great admiration he expresses, for as he assures them he does not represent a hundredth part of the truth. Some of these mountains appeared to reach to the skies, and were shaped like the points of diamonds, and others very lofty with table summits. A great depth of water was at their feet, so that the largest carrack* might lie there. None of them were rocky, but all covered with wood.

Thursday, Nov. 15th. The Admiral went with the boats to visit the islands, of which he gives a wonderful description, and says he found mastick and great abundance of aloe. Some of the islands were cultivated with the roots which the Indians use in making their bread. Fire was found burning in several places, but they met with no fresh water. A few inhabitants were seen, who fled. They found the water in depth from fifteen to sixteen fathoms, with a sandy bottom, and no rocks, a very desirable thing to mariners, as these last are very dangerous in cutting the cables.

Friday, Nov. 16th. They made it a practice in all those countries and islands, on going on shore, to set up and leave there a cross. The Admiral went in the boat to the mouth of this port, and upon a point of land found two large trunks of trees, of different sizes, laid across each other in the shape of a cross, so exactly that he says a carpenter could not have done the thing with more precision; having paid their adorations to this, he ordered that these trunks should be taken and made into a large and lofty crucifix. Canes were found about the shore, but they could not discover where they grew. The Admiral thought they had floated down some river and were washed ashore, and in this he was right. They entered a cove or inlet within the entrance of the port toward the South East; here they found a rocky promontory with a very bold shore, where the largest carrack in the world might lie close to the land, with a recess or corner in which half a dozen ships might lie without anchors as in a dock. This appeared to him a convenient situation for a fortress in case these islands should ever become a great mart of trade. Returning to the ship, he found the Indians on board fishing for cockles, which are found of a large size in these seas. He made the crew dive here and search for button-shells which are the cockles in which pearls are found; they succeeded in obtaining many of them, but no pearls; this he thought was owing to the season being unfit, and was of opinion that the proper time must be in May and June. The sailors found a creature which appeared like a taso. They fished with nets and took a fish among others resembling a hog, totally covered with a shell of exceeding hardness, being soft nowhere except at the eyes and tail. The Admiral directed it to be preserved by salting, as a curiosity.

Saturday, Nov. 17th. The Admiral went on board the boat in the morning for the purpose of visiting the islands in the South West, which had not been surveyed. A great number were discovered, very fertile and of a beautiful appearance, with the water very deep among them; in several of these, streams of fresh water were seen running down to the sea, which were thought to proceed from springs among the mountains. Proceeding onward, they came to a fine river of fresh water, which was found to be very cool; here was also a delightful meadow, with great numbers of palm trees more lofty than any they had yet seen; according to the Admiral’s relation they found nutmegs here, and large Indian mice, also craw-fish of a large size. Great flocks of birds were seen, and they smelt a powerful odour of musk, which article, they entertained no doubt, was to be met with in these parts. This day the two oldest of the Indians which had been taken at Rio de Mares, and sent on board the Nina, made their escape.

Sunday, Nov. 18th. The Admiral with many of the crew, went in the boats to land, for the purpose of setting up the cross which had been made from the logs before-mentioned: this was done at the entrance of Puerto del Principe, where was selected a beautiful spot, clear of wood, for the situation: it was a lofty elevation and afforded an enchanting prospect. He says that the sea here ebbs and flows much more than at any other place he has visited in these countries; this he thinks must be ascribed to the multitude of islands in the neighbourhood. The tide, he informs us, is the reverse of what it is among us, for when the moon is S.W. by S. it is low water in this port. Being Sunday, they remained here through the day.

Monday, Nov. 19th. Set sail before sunrise, but met with a calm. At noon it began to blow a little from the east, and they steered N.N.E.; at sunset Puerto del Principe bore S.S.W. seven leagues distant. They came in sight of the island of Babeque, which bore exactly east, at the distance of sixty miles. They sailed all night with a light wind, making a progress of sixty miles, and at ten o’clock the next day they had completed a dozen more, which amount to eighteen leagues in the direction of N.E. by N.

Tuesday, Nov. 20th. The island or islands of Babeque bore E.S.E., from which quarter the wind blew, being, of course, ahead. Seeing no prospect of the wind’s shifting, and the sea being high, the Admiral resolved to put about and return to Puerto del Principe, from whence they had last sailed, and which was distant twenty-five leagues. He was unwilling to proceed to the island he had named Isabela, which was about a dozen leagues off, and where he might have anchored that day, for two reasons, the one, because he saw two islands to the south which he wished to examine, the other because he feared that the Indians on board, which he had taken from San Salvador or Guanahani, as the natives call it, might effect their escape, as that island was only eight leagues distant from Isabela, this he was desirous to prevent, as he wished to carry them to Spain. The Indians, as he informs us, were given to understand that in case the Spaniards met with gold they intended to set them at liberty. They arrived near Puerto del Principe, but were unable to enter, on account of the night, besides that the current carried them to the North West. They then put about and stood to the North East, under a strong breeze, which, however, abated about the third watch of the night, when they steered East by North; the wind changed to S.S.E., and at dawn it shifted again to South. At sunrise they found Puerto del Principe to bear nearly S.W. by W., forty-eight miles or twelve leagues distant.

Wednesday, Nov. 21st. As soon as the sun had risen, they stood to the East with a Southerly wind; the currents being contrary, they made little progress; towards evening they had gone twenty-four miles, when the wind shifted to the East, and they steered South by East, and by sunset sailed a dozen miles. Here the Admiral found their latitude to be twenty-one degrees North, as at Puerto de Mares, but says he shall make no further use of his quadrant, till he arrives on shore, where he shall repair it. It appeared to him that they were not in reality so far to the North, and in this opinion he was right. He was induced to think the quadrant was correct by observing that the north star appeared as high as in Castile, and if this was the fact, he must have been in as high a latitude as Florida, in this case what is the situation of the islands he has been mentioning? Moreover he states that the heat was excessive, but it is clear that if he had been upon the coast of Florida he would not have found it hot but cold, as it is manifest that in no part of the world is a great lie at experienced in such a latitude except by some accidental cause, and even this I believe has never been known.* This excessive heat which the Admiral says they suffered, indicates that in these Indies and in the parts where they were sailing there must be a great deal of gold. To-day Martin Alonzo Pinzon, in the caravel Pinta, left the other ships, without leave of the Admiral, incited by his cupidity, upon the occasion of an Indian on board his vessel offering to direct him whither he might find much gold. Thus he abandoned them without any excuse of necessity or stress of weather, and the Admiral remarks, "he has by language and actions occasioned me many other troubles."

Thursday, Nov. 22d. Last night sailed South by East, with an easterly wind, which, however, blew very little. At the third watch it began to blow from the N.N.E.; they continued their course southerly, to examine the land which they saw in that quarter, and at sunrise found themselves as far distant from it, as they were the day before, by reason of the contrary currents; the land was forty miles distant. Martin Alonzo steered to the East for the island of Babeque, where the Indians told him there was much gold; he was in sight of the Admiral, about sixteen miles off. All night the Admiral stood towards the land, having taken in some of the sails, and carrying a light, as he thought the Pinta was steering towards him. The night was clear, and there was a fine breeze which might have enabled her to come up, had her commander been so disposed.

Friday, Nov. 23d. Kept on their course South towards the land with a light wind; the current set so strong against them that they made no progress ahead, but found themselves at sunset, where they had been in the morning. The wind was E.N.E. and favourable for sailing to the South, except that it was light. Beyond the cape which they saw before them extended out another headland toward the East, which the Indians on board called Bohio, and said it was very large, and contained inhabitants with one eye in their foreheads and others which they called Canibales, and spoke of them with many marks of fear; as soon as they saw the ships were taking that course they were struck with terror, and signified that the people went armed, and would devour them. The Admiral declares that he believes there is some truth in their representations, but thinks that these people described as possessing arms must be a race of some sagacity, and that having made prisoners of some of the other Indians, their friends not finding them to return, concluded they had eaten them. This, in fact, was the opinion entertained of the Spaniards by some of the natives at their first arrival.

Saturday, Nov. 24th. Sailed all night, and at three o’clock in the morning, arrived at a low flat island,* being the same which they had visited the week before in their voyage to the island of Babeque. At first the Admiral was unwilling to approach the shore, as it appeared to him that the sea rendered it unsafe. At length he proceeded to the gulf which he had named La Mar de Nuestra Senora, where the multitude of islands was discovered: Here he entered the harbour, which is situated at the entrance of the strait, He says that, had he before known of the existence of this harbour, and had not occupied himself with visiting the islands in the gulf, he should not have found it necessary to put back, although he looks upon the time as well bestowed in exploring the islands. Arrived at the land, he dispatched the boat and sounded the harbour, the entrance was found from six to twenty fathoms deep, with a fine sandy bottom. He then sailed up the harbour with the ships, steering southwest and afterwards west, the low island above-mentioned bearing northerly and forming with another island a port sufficient to contain all the ships in Spain,* where they might lie without moorings perfectly safe from all winds. The entrance here is from the southeast, and there is an outlet toward the west, very broad and deep, so that these islands may be sailed between, and examined by any one coming from the north. They are at the foot of a high mountain* which extends a considerable distance from East to West, and is the longest and most lofty among the infinite number which are to be found upon this coast. A ridge of rock runs along at the foot of the mountain toward the entrance of the strait. Toward the Southeast, and in the direction of the low island, there is another reef, but small; between them the water is very deep and the passage wide, as is before remarked. Within the entrance at the Southeast, they discovered a river* very fair and wide, and of greater volume than any they had yet seen. The water was fresh quite to the sea. It had a bar at its mouth, but a good depth of eight or nine fathoms inside. The land here, as elsewhere, was totally covered with palm and other trees.

Sunday, Nov. 25th. Before sunrise the Admiral went in the boat to view a cape or point of land* to the Southeast of the low island, about a league and a half distant, as it appeared to him there was in that quarter some convenient river. About two bow shots from the cape to the Southeast, he discovered a fine stream running down a mountain* with loud murmurs. He proceeded toward it, and found in the stream certain stones which shone with spots of a golden hue;* recollecting that gold was found in the river Tague near the sea, he entertained no doubt that this was the metal, and directed that a collection of these stones should be made to carry to the King and Queen. While they were about this, the ship-boys cried out that they saw pine trees; the Admiral looked towards the mountain, and discovered pines of such loftiness and admirable shape, that he found it impossible to exaggerate in the description of them, their trunks being tall and straight to a marvel. Here he perceived that there might be procured masts, plank, and every such material for building the largest ships. Here were also oaks and strawberry-trees, a convenient stream and good site for saw-mills; the land was high, and the air the most agreeable they had yet met with. Many stones of a ferruginous colour were found along the shore, and others which some of the men said came out of silver mines; all these were brought down by the stream. They procured from the forest, a yard and mizzen-mast for the caravel Nina. Proceeding to the mouth of the river, they put into a bay* at the foot of the cape at the Southeast, which they found spacious and deep, and capable of containing a hundred ships without anchors or moorings; a finer port than this they had never seen. The mountains were remarked very lofty, with many fine streams running down their sides; all were covered with forests of pines and other beautiful trees. Two or three other rivers were seen. The whole he describes to the King and Queen with much enthusiasm: the pines especially, it gave him inexpressible joy to behold, as they afforded the means of building any desirable number of ships. He cannot represent, as he affirms, the hundredth part of what he saw, and declares that it pleased our Lord to go on discovering to him things more and more valuable; and in all that had been met with, the countries, their productions and inhabitants, things had grown better and better. He adds that himself who saw these wonders, being struck with such admiration, much greater must be caused in one who only hears of them, and that none would believe the accounts of these things, unless they saw them.

Monday, Nov. 26th. At sunrise they weighed anchor, and set sail from the harbour of Santa Catalina within the low island; they proceeded along the coast with a light breeze from the Southwest, toward Cabo del Pico* at the Southeast, and arrived at the cape late in the afternoon, the wind having died away; they espied in the direction of Southeast by East, another cape about sixty miles distant; nearer the ship was a third, which bore Southeast by South, apparently twenty miles distant, this the Admiral named Cabo de Campana,* they could not reach it before night, as the wind failed them. They sailed this day thirty-two miles, which are eight leagues: in this course they saw and marked down nine very remarkable harbours, which the mariners affirmed to be excellent, also five large rivers were seen, the ships keeping close along the coast for the purpose of making a full survey. The land seemed to consist entirely of very lofty mountains of a delightful appearance, not rocky or barren, but smooth and abounding in beautiful valleys, the whole most enchantingly covered with tall and flourishing trees, among which appeared to be many pines. Beyond Cabo del Pico, toward the southeast, were a couple of islets each of about two leagues in circuit, and within these, three fine harbours, and two large rivers. No towns were seen along the coast, although there were probably many in these parts, to judge from the indications they met with, for wherever they went on shore, they found fires burning, and other signs of inhabitants. The Admiral thought the land that was seen to the Southeast of Cabo de Campana was the island called by the Indians Bohio, as it appeared to be separated from the mainland. All the natives whom they had hitherto met with seemed to entertain a great dread of the people of the place they called Caniba or Canima, and stated that they resided in this island of Bohio, which the Admiral says must be a very large one, and thinks that the inhabitants plunder the lands and houses of the other Indians, who are very cowardly and are ignorant of weapons. It is on this account that he supposes the Indians are afraid to build their houses near the sea, in the vicinity of their enemies. He relates that the Indians on board, when they perceived the Spaniards were directing their course thither, were struck speechless with terror, thinking they should be devoured; these apprehensions they were unable to shake off, but persisted in affirming that the men of this country had the faces of dogs, with only one eye; this the Admiral did not believe, and was of opinion that these people who made prisoners of the other Indians, belonged to the Great Can.

Tuesday, Nov. 27th. At sunset last night they approached the cape which they had named Cabo de Campana, and as the sky was clear and the wind light, the Admiral thought it best not to anchor, although there were five or six excellent ports to leeward. This he was incited to do by his wish to make up the time he had spent in lingering about and viewing the beautiful places he had passed. On this account they beat up and down all night, during which time the currents carried them along five or six leagues to the Southeast. Beyond Cabo de Campana they discovered a large strait which appeared to make a division in the land, with what seemed to be an island in the middle. The wind being Southwest, the Admiral determined to put about, and examine it. On arriving thither it was found to be a large bay;* at the Southeasterly extremity was a lofty promontory of a square shape, which appeared like an island.* The wind shifted to the North, and they stood about, and steered Southeast, for the purpose of making discoveries along the coast. At the foot of the cape called Cabo de Campana they found an excellent harbour* and large river; a mile beyond, another river, half a league further, a third river; and another half a league onward, a fourth. Four additional rivers were seen within the distance of as many leagues, the last of them about twenty miles from Cabo de Campana, to the SE. The most of these had safe entrances of great breadth and depth, and form excellent harbours for large ships, being free from rocks, shoals and reefs. Standing along the coast they discovered at the SE. of the last river a large town,* which exceeded in size any they had hitherto seen; a vast multitude of people came down to the seashore shouting loudly; they were all naked and had javelins in their hands. The Admiral desired to have some conversation with them, and ordered the sails to be lowered; they came to anchor and the boats were dispatched on shore with such preparation and order, that the Indians should neither receive any injury, nor cause any to the Spaniards. Some trifles were sent in the boats for distribution among them. Those on shore made a show of attempting to prohibit the landing of the Spaniards, but perceiving the boats fearlessly approaching the land they retired to a distance. The Spaniards thinking that a small number of the crew might approach them without causing any fear, three of their number advanced towards the Indians, calling out to them in the Indian language, (which they had learnt in some degree from those on board) not to be afraid, notwithstanding this they took to flight, leaving not a soul behind. The Spaniards proceeded to the houses, which were built of straw, after the manner of the others, but found neither inhabitants nor furniture. They returned to the ships and set sail at noon for a pleasant cape,* which they saw at the East, about eight leagues distant. Having sailed half a league in the bay, they descried toward the South a very singular harbour.* The country at the SE. presented a most delightful view, descending in an open plain from the mountains. Large towns, and the smoke of many fires were seen, and the land appeared to be well cultivated. These determined the Admiral to put into the harbour above-mentioned, and attempt some intercourse with the people. This harbour he declares to be far superior to all he had yet seen, for the populousness and beauty of the country in the neighbourhood, and the fineness of the air. He speaks in terms of admiration of the beauty of the fields and the forests, among which were pines and palm trees. The plain before-mentioned extended to the SE., with an undulating surface and many streams crossing it which run down from the mountains, altogether forming the most beautiful prospect in the world. Having anchored, the Admiral went in the boat to sound the harbour, which was of a circular shape, and at the mouth of it toward the South he found the entrance of a stream, wide enough to admit a galley; this was so situated as not to be seen before arriving close to the spot. At a distance of the length of the boat within, there were found eight fathoms depth of water. Proceeding up the stream he was astonished to perceive the fresh and luxuriant verdure of the trees, the clearness of the water, the variety of the birds, and the beauty of the whole prospect, and declares he was never willing to leave the place. He observed to the crew who accompanied him that a thousand tongues would be insufficient to inform the King and Queen of what they saw there, or a thousand hands to describe them, and that he appeared to be under the influence of enchantment. He was desirous that other persons of prudence and credit should be witnesses of them, and says he is certain their descriptions will not fall short of his. He adds these words: "It is indubitable, sovereign Princes, that in such countries there must be things of infinite value, and the profits that may be acquired here I am not able to describe. I am unwilling to remain long in any port, but desire to visit all the lands in this quarter, that I may give a relation of them to your Highnesses. The language of this people neither I nor any of my company understand, and we are perpetually making mistakes in our conversation with one another. I place little confidence in the Indians I have on board, as they have several times attempted to escape. Henceforth, with the permission of our Lord, I shall use my exertions, and have the language taught to some of our people, for I perceive that thus far the dialect is the same throughout. Thus we shall acquire a knowledge of all that is valuable here, and shall endeavour to convert to Christianity these people, which may be easily done, as they are not idolators, but are without any religion. Your Highnesses may order a city and fortress to be built here, and possess the country. And I assure your Highnesses that, to my thinking, there are not under the sun better lands, considering the fertility of the soil, the temperature of the air and the abundance of fine streams of water, which are not pestilent, like the rivers of Guinea, for, praised be our Lord, there has not as yet been one among all my crews brought upon his bed by sickness, or even afflicted with so much as a headache, excepting an old man who was troubled for two days with the stone, a disorder which he has possessed all his life. Please God your Highnesses may send learned men hither, who may ascertain the truth of all I describe. And as I have before spoken of a situation for a town and fortress at the Rio de Mares, where there is a fine port and a pleasant country in the neighbourhood, I repeat what I then affirmed in recommendation of that place; but it is certain that neither that situation, nor the Afar de Nuestra Senora can, in any degree, be compared to this, for here are undoubtedly large towns, multitudes of people, and things of great value. All these countries which I have seen, and which I expect to discover, before my return to Castile, will, in my opinion, offer a vast trade to Europe, and especially to Spain, to which they must all necessarily be subject. Your Highnesses ought not to suffer any trade to be carried on, nor a foreign foot to be set upon these shores except by Catholic Christians, as the object and sum of the present undertaking has been the increase and glory of the Christian religion." All these are the words of the Admiral.

They proceeded up the river, which they found to possess several branches, and then rowing round the harbour, they saw at the mouth of the river several delightful groves, and a very fine canoe made of a log, as large as a fusta of twelve oars, it was hauled up under a shed constructed with wood and covered with palm leaves in such a manner that it was completely sheltered from the rain and sun. The Admiral declares this to be an excellent place for a town and fort on account of the advantages of the harbour, streams and soil, and the plenty of wood, and pleasantness of the country.

Wednesday, Nov. 28th. They remained in port all day on account of the rain, although the wind blowing from the SW., they might have sailed along the coast. But as the thickness of the weather would have hindered the view of the land, the Admiral thought best to remain, especially considering the danger in not being acquainted with the coast. The crews went on shore to wash their clothes, and some of them went a distance into the country; they found large villages with the houses empty, the natives having fled. They discovered another river, larger than that at the harbour.

Thursday, Nov. 29th. As it continued to rain and the sky was completely covered with clouds, they did not set sail. Some of the Spaniards went to visit a town toward the NW., and found in the houses neither inhabitants nor furniture. On the way they met with an old man who was unable to escape, him they took, assuring him of their friendly disposition, and, after presenting him with some trifles, allowed him to depart. The Admiral was desirous of seeing him, in order that he might give him some clothes, and have some conversation with him, for he was much delighted with the country and judged it to be very populous. They found a cake of wax* in one of the houses, which they preserved for the King and Queen, and the Admiral was of opinion that where wax was found there must be a great many other valuable commodities. In one of the houses was likewise found a man’s head hanging from a beam in a small covered basket; the like they found in a house in one of the other villages. The Admiral thought these were heads of the principal men, as the houses in which they were met with were of a very large size, and that the persons to whom they belonged were relations.

Friday, Nov. 30th. They could not put to sea, the wind being from the E. and contrary. The Admiral sent eight men armed, with two of the Indians on board, to explore the country and obtain some communication with the inhabitants. They came to many houses without finding within them person or thing, the inhabitants having fled. At length they discovered four young men digging in the fields, who perceiving the Spaniards, took to flight and could not be overtaken. They travelled a considerable distance and saw a great many villages; the land was very fertile and the whole under cultivation. Large streams of water were seen, and in the neighbourhood of one they saw a canoe very finely built of a single log, it was ninety-five spans in length, and capable of carrying a hundred and fifty men.

Saturday, Dec. 1st. They remained still in port, the wind continuing ahead, with rain in abundance. At the entrance of this harbour, which was named Puerto Santo,* they set up a cross in the solid rock; the point where this was done is in the southern part near the mouth, and whoever wishes to sail into the port, should keep near the northwesterly point rather than the other, the depth at the foot of each being twelve fathoms close to the shore, and free from obstructions; but at the entrance of the harbour near the southeasterly point there is a shoal which rises above the water, and so far from the shore that a vessel may pass between the point and it, in case of necessity. Round about the shoal and the point there is a depth of twelve and fifteen fathoms. Coming in, it is requisite to steer SW.

Sunday, Dec. 2d. The wind still contrary, they could not depart, although every night there blew a land-breeze. The Admiral states that there would be no danger of driving ashore in this harbour, in the most violent storms by reason of the shoal at the entrance. In the mouth of the river a ship’s boy found some stones which seemed to contain gold, these were preserved for the King and Queen. A lombarda-shot from this place were large rivers.

Monday, Dec. 3d. Still detained in port by the weather. The Admiral resolved to visit a fine cape which he saw a mile distant from the harbour at the SE. He accordingly went with the boats and some of the crew armed. At the foot of the cape he found the mouth of a pleasant river;* they rowed to the SE. to enter it, and found it a hundred paces wide: the depth at the mouth was a fathom, but within increased to twelve, and there was room enough for all the ships in Spain. Passing a branch of the stream, they proceeded to the SE. and came to a creek or cove, in which they saw five large canoes, very handsomely wrought, like fustas. At the foot of the mountain they found the land all under cultivation. The woods were very thick, and in passing through them, they came to a shed very well built and tightly covered, so that neither sun nor rain could penetrate it: under it they found a canoe made like the others, from a log, as large as a fusta of sixteen oars, it was well shaped, and very handsomely carved. They ascended a mountain and observed the country very level. Many productions were observed such as gourds and the like, and the fields offered a delightful prospect. They came suddenly upon a large town, and all the inhabitants upon perceiving them immediately fled. The Indian who accompanied the Spaniards called out to them not to fear, for they were friends. The Admiral caused them to be presented with hawk’s bells, brass rings and strings of green and yellow glass- beads, with the which they were highly delighted. Having ascertained that they possessed no gold nor any precious commodity, the Spaniards returned to their boats. The country was found very populous, but the most of the inhabitants fled through fear. The Admiral declares to the King and Queen that these people are such cowards that ten men might put ten thousand of them to flight. They carry no weapons save sticks with the ends a little hardened in the fire, these were very easily obtained from them. Arrived at the boats, two men were sent off to a place where the Admiral thought he had seen a large bee-hive. Before their return many Indians came to the boats where the Admiral was with his crew, and one of them jumped into the river and came to the stern of the Admiral’s boat where he made a long speech, nothing of which was understood, except that the other Indians held up their hands to heaven from time to time and uttered loud cries. The Admiral was of opinion that they were assuring him of the pleasure which his arrival gave them, but presently observed that the Indian on board changed colour* and trembled exceedingly, entreating the Admiral by signs to leave the river, for the natives were about to kill them all. He then took a cross-bow from one of the Spaniards and held it out towards the Indian, and uttered a speech which the Admiral understood to be a menace of hostility against them. He also seized a sword, and drawing it from the scabbard showed it to them, using the same language, which being heard by those on shore they all took to flight. The Indian continued trembling and overpowered with fear, although a stout, well made fellow. The Admiral determined not to leave the river, but rowed for the shore toward a place where he saw many people, all of them naked, and stained red, some with tufts of feathers in their hands, and all having javelins. "I approached them," says he, "and gave them some pieces of bread, demanding their javelins, which they gave me for a hawk’s bell to one, a little brass ring to another and a few beads to another. In this manner they were all pacified, and came to the boats offering their articles for any thing we chose to give them in return. A turtle had been killed, and the shell lay in pieces in the boat; the ship-boys purchased the javelins of the Indians with it, at the rate of a handful of them for a scale. These people are like the others I have seen, and imagine we have come from heaven. They are ready to barter any thing they possess for whatever we choose to give them, without objecting to the small value of it; and if they had spices or gold I believe it would be the same. I saw here a handsome house of a moderate size, with two doors, as all the others are; I entered it and found a very singlar contrivance in the manner of alcoves which I cannot describe; from the ceiling hung cockle shells and other things. I took it to be a temple, and called the Indians, demanding of them by signs whether they offered up their devotions there, to which they replied in the negative, and one of them climbed up, and gave me the ornaments which were hanging about; some of them I accepted.

Tuesday, Dec. 4th. They set sail with a light wind, and left this harbour, which received the name of Puerto Santo. At two leagues’ distance they saw a fine river, mentioned yesterday.* Kept along the coast, and found it, after having passed a cape, to run ESE. and WNW., to a cape which they named Cabo Lindo;* this is five leagues E. by S. from another called Cabo del Monte, and a league and a half from the last is a river somewhat narrow, which appears to have a safe and deep entrance. Three miles from that they saw another river, very large and which to appearance came from a distance, it was about a hundred paces wide and eight fathoms deep, with a good entrance free from shoals; the water was fresh to the sea; these facts were learned by dispatching a boat to sound and examine it; the river appeared to bring as great a volume of water to the sea as any they had seen, and probably had many towns on its banks. Beyond Cabo Lindo there was a bay of considerable extent.

Wednesday, Dec. 5th. All last night they lay to off Cabo Lindo, in order to examine the land which extended to the east, and at sunrise discovered another cape* in that direction, two leagues and a half distant, which having passed, they found the coast began to tend toward the south and southwest* and presently discovered a lofty and handsome cape in that direction, about seven leagues from the last. The Admiral was inclined to steer that way, but his desire to visit the island of Babeque, which according to the Indians was to the northeast, restrained him. The wind, however, blowing from the northeast hindered him from steering that way; proceeding onward, therefore, he descried land in the southeast* which appeared to be quite a large island, and according to the information of the Indians, was very populous and called Bohio. The inhabitants of Cuba or Juana, and those of the other islands entertained a great dread of these people, imagining them to be man-eaters. Other surprising relations the Indians communicated by signs to the Spaniards, of which the Admiral does not avow his belief, but thinks the Indians of Bohio to be a more ingenious and artful race than the others, as they were accustomed to make prisoners of them.—The wind being northeast and inclining toward the north he determined to leave Cuba or Juana, which hitherto he had taken for a continent by its size, having sailed along the coast a hundred and twenty leagues. He therefore left the shore and steered southeast by east, as the land last discovered appeared in that direction. He took this course because the wind always came round from the north to northeast, and from thence to east and southeast. It blew hard and they carried all sail, having a smooth sea and a current favouring to them, so that from morning to one o’clock in the afternoon they sailed eight miles an hour for nearly six hours; the nights are stated to be here nearly fifteen hours long. After this, they went ten miles an hour, and by sunset had made a progress of eighty-eight miles, which are twenty-two leagues, all to the southeast. As night was coming on the caravel Nina, being a swift sailer, was dispatched ahead to look out for a harbour; she came to the mouth of one* which resembled the bay of Cadiz, and it being dark, they sent the boat to sound it; the boat carried a light, and before the Admiral could come up with the Nina, who was beating up and down, waiting for the boat to make her a signal to enter, the light disappeared. Upon this she stood off to sea, making a light for the Admiral, and coming up, they related what had happened. Presently the light on board the boat again appeared, when the Nina stood in for the land; the Admiral was not able to follow, but remained beating about all night.

Thursday, Dec. 6th. At daybreak he found himself four leagues from the harbour, which he named Puerto Mama, and saw a fine cape which bore south by west; to this he gave the name of Cabo del Esterlla,* it was twenty-eight miles distant, and appeared to be the southern extremity of the island. There appeared land in the east* like an island of a moderate size, about forty miles distant. Another handsome and finely shaped headland was seen bearing east by south, at a distance of fifty-four miles, this he called Cabo del Elefante.* Another bore east southeast, twenty-eight miles off, which he named Cabo de Cinquin. A large opening or bay which seemed to be a river* was observed about twenty miles distant in the direction of southeast by east. There appeared to be between the two last mentioned capes a very wide channel* which the sailors said separated an island from the mainland; this island he named Tortuga. The land here appeared lofty, and not mountainous but even and level like the finest arable tracts. The whole or great part of it seemed under cultivation, and the plantations resembled the wheat fields in the plain of Cordova in the month of May. Many fires were seen during the night, and by day, a great number of smokes, which to appearance were signals giving notice of some people with whom they were at war. The whole coast runs to the east. In the evening the Admiral entered the above-mentioned harbour, which he named Puerto de San Nicolas, it being the day of that saint; he was astonished on entering, to observe the goodness and beauty of the harbour, and although he had highly praised the ports of Cuba, he declares that this is not inferior to any of them, but rather exceeds, and differs from them all. The entrance has a width of a league and a half, where a vessel should steer SSE., there being sufficient room to steer in any direction. It extends in this manner to the SSE. two leagues. Here is a fine beach with a river, and trees of a thousand sorts all loaded with fruit, which the Admiral took for spices and nutmegs, but being unripe he could not get any knowledge of them. The water in this harbour is of a surprising depth, they not being able to reach bottom at a short distance from the shore with a line of forty fathoms; in other parts they found fifteen fathoms and a clear bottom; not a shoal is to be seen throughout the harbour, and the shore is so bold that an oar’s length from it the water is five fathoms deep. Here is room sufficient for a thousand carracks to sail about in. At the SSE. the harbour offers a recess opening towards the NE. of about half a league in depth, and preserving the same breadth throughout its whole extent. This is shut in after such a manner, that within it the main entrance of the harbour cannot be seen. The depth of the water is every where eleven fathoms, with a fine clean sand at the bottom; the shore is bold, having eight fathoms water within a few feet distance. Here is a fine dry air, and the shore around free from wood. The land appeared the most rocky of any they had seen; the trees small, and many similar to those of Spain, as evergreen oaks and strawberry trees; the same they remarked of the herbs. Since they had been in this part of the world, they had not experienced so cool a temperature of the air as they found at this place. A beautiful plain lay opposite the entrance of the harbour, through the midst of which flowed the river mentioned above. The neighbourhood the Admiral thought to be extremely populous, from the number and size of the canoes which were seen; some of them were as large as a fusta of fifteen oars. The Indians all took to flight on perceiving the ships. Those whom the Spaniards had on board grew so earnest to return to their homes that the Admiral says he had some intention of carrying them thither at his departure from this place, and that they were mistrustful of him for not taking his route that way. For this reason he declares that he put no trust in any of their representations, nor they in his. They appeared to have the greatest fear imaginable of the people of this island. The Admiral found that if he wished to obtain any communication with those on shore, it would be necessary to wait here some days, which lie was unwilling to do, as he could not depend upon the weather, and wished to make further discoveries. He hoped in our Lord that he should be able, through the medium of the Indians on board, to have some conversation with them upon his return; and may it please the Almighty, says he, that I may find some good traffic in gold before that time.

Friday, Dec. 7th. At daybreak, they set sail and left the port of San Nicolas with a southwesterly wind, and stood on their course two leagues to the NE. towards a cape which forms the carenero, when a bay was seen to the SE. and Cabo de la Estrella to the SW., twenty-four miles distant. From thence they proceeded to the east, along the coast, about forty-eight miles to Cabo Cinquin, twenty miles of which course they had gone E. by N. They found the land high and the water deep, close to the shore twenty and thirty fathoms, and a lombarda shot distant, no bottom; all which was proved by actual experiment of the Admiral through the day. He remarks that if the space between the bay abovementioned and the harbour of San Nicolas were cut through, it would form an island of three or four miles in circuit. The land, as before, very high and trees not large but like evergreen oaks and strawberry trees, the country closely resembling Castile. Two leagues before arriving at Cabo Cinquin, they discovered an opening like a gap in the mountain* within which was seen a very large valley, covered apparently with barley, a sign that this valley abounded with settlements; at the back of it were lofty and extensive mountains. Arrived at Cabo de Cinquin they found Cabo de Tortuga to bear NE., thirty-two miles distant. About a lombarda shot from Cabo de Cinquin there is a rock rising above the water, very easily noticed. At this place Cabo del Elefante bore E. by S., seventy miles distant, the land all very lofty. Six leagues further onward was a bay,* within which they discovered extensive valleys and fields, with very high mountains, the whole country appearing like Castile. At eight miles distance they found a river, which was narrow although deep, and might easily admit a carrack, the mouth without banks or shallows. Sixteen miles further along they came to a harbour,* both broad, and of such a depth that no bottom was obtained at the entrance, and the water was fifteen fathoms deep a few feet from the shore; it extended about a mile into the land. As the sky was very cloudy and threatened rain, an unfavourable state upon a coast, especially a strange one, the Admiral determined to put in here, although it was no later in the day than one o’clock and a strong wind blew astern. This harbour he named Puerto de la Concepcion, and entering, landed near a small stream which flowed through fields and plains of wonderful beauty. They carried nets with them for fishing, and while rowing to the land a skate, similar to those of Spain, leaped into the boat; this was the first instance of their meeting with a fish which resembled those of their own country. Many of these were taken by the sailors, as well as soles, and other fish like the Spanish. Going some distance round the country they observed the soil all under cultivation, and heard the songs of the nightingale and many other Spanish birds. They met five Indians who immediately fled. A myrtle-tree was seen, and other trees and plants like those of Castile, which, in fact, the whole country resembles.

Saturday, Dec. 8th. It rained very hard, with a strong north wind. The harbour was found secure from all winds except the north, which causes a great surf, driving the vessels from their moorings. At midnight the wind shifted to the NE., and afterward to the E., from which quarter the harbour is well sheltered by the island of Tortuga, which lies off against it, thirty-six miles distant.*

Sunday, Dec. 9th. This day it continued to rain and the weather seemed wintry like October in Castile. No settlement except a single house was seen at the Port of San Nicolas: this was a handsome one, and better constructed than those they had observed in other parts. This is a very large island, says the Admiral, and will undoubtedly measure two hundred leagues in circuit; the land is all cultivated to high degree, and the towns are probably at a distance back in the country, the inhabitants fleeing at the approach of the strangers, carrying their property with them, and making signals by smoke about the country, as in a state of war. The harbour is about a thousand paces or quarter of a league wide at the mouth, without either bank or shoal, but exceedingly deep to the edge of the shore; it extends within about three thousand paces, with a fine clear bottom; any ship may enter it and anchor without the least hazard. Here are two small streams, and opposite the mouth of the harbour, several plains the most beautiful in the world, and resembling those of Castile, except that they surpass them. On this account the Admiral named the island Espanola.

Monday, Dec. 10th. The wind blew strong from the NE., and they dragged their anchors with half the length of the cable, at which the Admiral wondered, and ordered the cables to be veered out. Perceiving that the weather was unfavourable for his setting sail, he dispatched on shore six men, well armed and equipped, for the purpose of penetrating into the country and obtaining some communication with the natives. They went and returned without seeing any of the inhabitants, or any dwellings save a few huts. They met with some narrow paths, and places where fires had been made. The country appeared the finest in the world, and they found mastick trees in abundance, but this was not the season for collecting it, as the gum does not concrete.

Tuesday, Dec. 11th. The wind blowing E. and NE., they did not set sail. Directly opposite the harbour, as stated above, lies the island of Tortuga; this appears of a very large size, and the coast runs in the same direction as the island of Espanola, the distance between them being at the most ten leagues,* that is to say, from Cabo de Cinquin to the extremity of Tortuga, after which the coast tends to the South. The Admiral was desirous of proceeding along the channel between these two islands, in order to take a survey of Espanola, which affords the finest view in the world. The Indians also informed him that this was the course he must take to reach the island of Babeque, which they described as very large, with rivers, valleys, and lofty mountains. The island of Bohio, they stated, was larger than that of Juana, which the inhabitants called Cuba, and was not surrounded by water, but as nearly as could be understood from them, was a continent, and situated behind Espanola, which they called Caritaba. The inhabitants of all these islands live in great fear of the people of Caniba, and the Admiral here repeats as he has done in many places, that Caniba means no other than the people of the Great Can, who live somewhere in this neighbourhood, and come in their vessels and make prisoners of the Indians, who not returning, their countrymen imagine their enemies have devoured them. Each day, as the Admiral remarks, they improved in their communications with the Indians on board, and conversed with them without such misunderstandings as formerly. They sent on shore and found a great many mastick trees, but the gum would not harden; the Admiral thought that this might be effected by water, and observes that in the island of Scio it is gathered in March, but these countries being warmer, it might probably be done in January. Many fish like those of Castile were taken, such as dace, salmon, poor-jacks, dories, pampanos, skates, carvinas and shrimps: pilchards were also seen. Vast quantities of aloe were met with on shore.

Wednesday, Dec. 12th. They were still unable to set sail, as the wind remained contrary. A large cross was set up at the entrance of the harbour, upon a beautiful spot upon the western side, "as an indication" in the words of the Admiral, "that your Highnesses possess the country, and principally for a token of Jesus Christ our Lord, and the honour of Christianity." This being done, three sailors went into the woods to view the neighbourhood and presently heard a sound of the Indians, a crowd of whom they shortly after discovered completely naked; they pursued and called out after them, but they all took to flight. Having been directed by the Admiral to take some of the natives if possible, as he wished to show them some good offices, and dissipate their fear, thinking from the fine appearance of the country that something valuable might be obtained here, the Spaniards kept on in the pursuit, and succeeded in capturing a female, handsome, and to appearance quite young; her they brought to the ships where the Admiral conversed with her by the interpretation of his own Indians, as their language was the same. He likewise caused her to be clothed, and presenting her with glass beads, hawk’s bells and rings of brass, dismissed her home with every civility. Some of the crew were sent with her, as also three of the Indians, for the purpose of communicating with the inhabitants. The sailors who carried her ashore told the Admiral that she showed much reluctance to leave the ship, and seemed inclined to remain with the females on board, whom they had taken at Puerto de Mares and Juana. The Indians with whom she was first in company came in a canoe, and when they came to the entrance of the harbour and perceived the ships, abandoned their canoe, and fled towards the houses, whither she now directed the Spaniards. This woman wore a bit of gold at her nose, which was an indication that it was to be found in the island.

Thursday, Dec. 13th. The three men whom the Admiral had dispatched into the country with the woman returned, not having gone to the Indian town, by reason either of the distance, or their fear. They affirmed that the next day there would come many of the inhabitants to the ships, as they would be encouraged by the accounts which the woman must give them. The Admiral, as he was desirous of ascertaining whether there was any thing valuable here, which he was inclined to believe, on account of the beauty and fertility of the country, and wishing to do every thing for the service of the King and Queen, resolved to send again to the town, confiding in the relation which the female must have given them of the friendly disposition of the Spaniards; for which purpose he selected nine persons from the crew, and dispatched them well armed and fitted for the enterprise, with one of his Indians. They set out, and proceeded to the town,* which they found in an extensive valley, four leagues and half to the SE. It was deserted, as the inhabitants, perceiving the approach of the Spaniards, had all fled, leaving every thing behind them. The town consisted of a thousand houses, and more than three thousand inhabitants. The Indian who accompanied the Spaniards ran after the fugitives, calling out to them not to fear, for the strangers were not from Cariba, but from heaven, and gave many fine things to those whom they met. This had such an effect upon them, that they took courage, and came in a body of above a thousand to the Spaniards, putting their hands upon their heads, which is a manifestation of great reverence and friendship; they stood trembling before them until the Spaniards by many assurances dissipated their apprehensions. The men further related that having overcome their dread, they went to their houses, and each one came bringing food for their guests; this consisted of fish, and bread made of niames,* which are roots resembling large radishes, cultivated throughout the country by the natives, and forming their principal subsistence; these they prepare by baking and roasting; and the bread thus made so nearly resembles chestnuts in taste, that it might easily be mistaken for a preparation of that fruit. The Indian who accompanied the Spaniards understanding that the Admiral wished to obtain a parrot, told this, as they were led to suppose, to the inhabitants, who brought great numbers of them immediately to their guests, and gave them as many as they desired, without demanding anything in return. They entreated them not to return that night, and promised them many things which they had in the mountains. While they were together with the Spaniards they espied a great multitude of people with the husband of the woman whom they had taken and entertained, this female they were carrying upon their shoulders, and came to return thanks to the Spaniards for the civilities which she had received, from the Admiral, and the presents he had given her. These people according to the relation of the men were the handsomest, and best disposed, of any they had yet seen. The Admiral says he knows not how they could be better disposed than those of the other islands, assuring us that he had found them of the very best disposition. As to beauty, the men stated that they exceeded the others beyond comparison, both males and females, being of a much lighter colour, and that two young females were seen as white as could be found in Spain. Moreover they affirmed that the most beautiful and excellent territories in Castile could not equal those of this country; to which indeed, the Admiral bore testimony, both in those he had before visited, and in those of the present place, although he was informed that the land which he saw about the harbour was nothing in comparison with the valley where the town stood; to which the plain of Cordova was no more equal than the night was to the day. The country, according to their relation was cultivated every where, and a large and wide river* capable of watering the whole territory, passed through the valley. The trees were flourishing and full of fruit, the plants very tall and luxuriant; the paths wide and commodious. The temperature like April in Castile; the nightingale and other birds were singing as at that season in Spain, and producing, as they said, the most delightful melody in the world. Crickets and frogs in abundance were heard; the fish were like the Spanish. Many mastick and aloe trees were seen, as also cotton shrubs. No gold was found, which was not surprising, they had been here so short a time. The Admiral here ascertained the length of the day and night, and found that from sunrise to sunset there passed twenty glasses of half an hour each, although he says there may be some defect in the calculation from the glass not being turned quickly enough, or the contrary. He states further that he took an observation with the quadrant and found the latitude to be seventeen degrees.*

Friday, Dec. 14th. They left the port of Concepcion with a land breeze, which, however, soon died away; the same they had experienced every day they remained there. Afterwards the wind sprung up from the east, and they stood to the NNE. which course brought them to the island of Tortuga. They descried a point of this island, which they named Punta Pierna; it was to the ENE. of the extremity of the island, about a dozen miles distant. They also discovered another point to the NE., about sixteen miles off, this they called Punta Lanzada, it was forty-four miles, or eleven leagues from the extremity of the island, towards the ENE. Along the coast there were several extensive beaches. The whole island is high, but not mountainous, and the land offers a beautiful prospect; it is moreover populous like Espanola, and the country under such an extensive cultivation that it appears like the plain of Cordova. Finding the wind unfavourable for proceeding to the island of Baneque,* the Admiral concluded to return to Puerto de la Concepcion. There was a river two leagues east of the harbour, which he was unable to reach.

Saturday, Dec. 15th. Left the harbour again, to proceed on their course; but on putting to sea, found a strong easterly wind ahead, upon which they stood for Tortuga, and arriving at the island, stood about and steered towards the river, which they saw the day before and could not reach, but were again unable to arrive there. They came to anchor half a league to leeward, at a beach with a good anchorage. The Admiral went with the boats to view the river, and entering an inlet near, found it was not the mouth. Returning, he discovered it at last with only a fathom’s depth of water, and a strong current. Here he entered with the intention of visiting the settlements which the men he had sent into the country had seen in this quarter. The end of a rope was carried on shore, and the boats towed up against the stream the distance of two lombarda-shots, not being able to proceed any further from the velocity of the current. Some houses were seen, and the valley where the town was situated; a river, which was the one they had entered, ran through the valley, and the Admiral declares that he never witnessed a more beautiful prospect. At the mouth of the river they met some of the inhabitants, who immediately fled. The Admiral states that these people must have been very subject to incursions from their enemies, as they displayed such a degree of fear. Wherever the Spaniards came, the inhabitants were observed to make signals by smoke, all over the country, more especially in Espanola and Tortuga. He named this valley, Valle del Paraiso (Vale of Paradise), and the river, Guadalquivir, it being as wide as the river of that name at Cordova; the banks were rocky, but pleasant and easy to travel.

Sunday, Dec. 16th. At midnight, set sail with a light land breeze, and put to sea. At three o’clock, it shifted to the East, when they stood close upon the wind, and at a distance from the land, halfway between Espanola and Tortuga, met with a canoe containing an Indian, at which the Admiral was surprised, wondering how he could keep the sea under so strong a wind. They took him with his canoe on board, and feasted him, presenting him with glass beads, hawk’s bells and brass rings. The ships then steered to land towards a village* near the shore about sixteen miles distant, where they anchored, finding a good place near the village. This appeared to be a new settlement; the houses being all of recent construction. The Indian went on shore with his canoe, giving a favourable account of the Spaniards to his countrymen; they were already prepossessed in their favour, from the information they had received of the inhabitants of the town which had been before visited by them. Presently there came to the shore more than five hundred people, and shortly after, their king. They assembled upon the beach, close to which the ships were anchored. Ere long they came in crowds on board, but brought nothing with them, except that a few wore bits of very fine gold at their ears and noses; these they very readily gave to the Spaniards. The Admiral ordered every civility to be shown them, "because," as he observes, "these are the best and most gentle people in the world, and especially, as I hope strongly in our Lord, that your Highnesses will undertake to convert them to Christianity, and that they may become your subjects, in which light, indeed I already regard them." They saw the king on the beach, and the natives around him, offering their respects. The Admiral sent him a present, which he received in great state. He appeared to be a youth of about twenty-one years, and was attended by an aged tutor and other counsellors who gave him their advice, and answered the questions put to them. The king himself spoke but little. One of the Indians belonging to the ships conversed with him, and informed him that the Spaniards had come from heaven, and were going to the island of Baneque in search of gold. He answered that this was well, and in that island there was much of the same metal. To the alguacil of the Admiral who carried the present he described the course to be taken, and informed him that in two days he might arrive there; he further added that if the Spaniards were in want of anything which his country furnished, he would give it them with much good will. The people here were all naked, king as well as subjects, the females without displaying any symptoms of bashfulness. Both sexes were handsomer than any they had hitherto seen, their colour light, and if clothed and guarded from the sun and air would be nearly as fair as the inhabitants of Spain; the temperature of the air being cool and pleasant to a high degree. The land is very lofty, covered with plains and valleys, and the highest mountains are arable. No part of Castile could produce a territory comparable to this in beauty and fertility. The whole island and that of Tortuga are covered with cultivated fields like the plains of Cordova. In these they raise ajes, which are slips set in the ground, at the foot of which grow roots like carrots; they grate these to powder, knead up and make into bread of a very pleasant taste like chestnuts: the stalk is set out anew, and produces another root, and this is repeated four or five times. The largest and most excellent that had been met with anywhere (the Admiral says they are also found in Guinea) were those of this island, being of the size of a man’s leg. The inhabitants here, according to the statement of the Admiral, were of a stout size and courageous temper, very different from the timid islanders of the other parts; agreeable in their intercourse and without any religion. The trees grew with such luxuriance that their leaves were rather black than green. It was wonderfully enchanting to view the valleys, the streams of fine water, the fields of the bread root, the pastures fit for flocks of all descriptions (although they possessed none), the grounds adapted for gardens, and for every thing a man could desire. In the evening the king came on board; the Admiral showed him every honour and informed him that he was a subject of the King and Queen of Castile, who were the greatest princes in the world; neither the Indians of the ship, who acted as interpreters, nor the king himself, believed this, but continued in the notion that the strangers came from heaven, where they imagined the kingdom of Castile was situated, and not upon this earth. Food of the Spaniards was given to the king, of which he ate a mouthful and gave the rest to his tutor and counsellors, and the others about him. "Your Highnesses may rest assured," says the Admiral, "that these countries are so extensive, so excellent and fertile, especially the island of Espanola, that no person is competent to describe them, and no one would believe what was said of them, without ocular proof. And your Highnesses may entertain no doubt that they are as much your own as the territory of Castile, for nothing is wanting to this purpose, but a settlement here, and orders what to perform. With the men I have with me, which are not in great number, I can traverse these islands without opposition, for I have seen three of my crew go on shore, and a whole multitude of the Indians take to flight without offering to resist them. They are all naked, and neither possess weapons nor know any thing about them. So timid are they, that a thousand of them would not oppose three of us. Thus they are very well fitted to be governed and set to work to till the land, and do whatever is necessary; they may be also taught to build houses and wear clothes, and adopt our customs."

Monday, Dec. 17th. At night it blew hard from the ENE., but the sea was not much agitated in consequence, by reason of the island of Tortuga which lay off against them and afforded a shelter. They remained at anchor all day, and the sailors were sent with nets to fish. The Indians took great pleasure in their intercourse with the Spaniards, and brought them certain arrows which belonged to the people of Caniba, or the Canibales: these were stalks of cane, pointed at the ends with large sticks, which were sharp and hardened in the fire. They were exhibited by two Indians who had lost portions of flesh from their bodies; these they informed the Admiral, the Canibales had eaten, which he did not believe. Some of the Spaniards were sent on shore to the town, and for strings of beads bought some pieces of gold beaten out into thin plates. They saw a native whom the Admiral took for the governor of the district, and whom the Indians call cacique; he had a plate of gold as large as the hand, which he appeared desirous of bartering; this he carried to his house and procured to be cut into pieces, which he traded away one by one; the whole disposed of, he informed them by signs that he had sent for more, which would be brought the next day. These things, says the Admiral, with the manners of the people, their practice of communicating their advice, and their gentleness of behaviour, show them to be more ingenuous and of a better understanding than the others we have seen. In the evening came a canoe with forty men from Tortuga, on whose arrival at land, all the Indians on shore sat down in signal of friendship, and most of those in the canoe landed. The Cacique stood up and with a speech apparently consisting of threats, sent them back to their canoe and threw water at them; also taking up stones from the beach he threw them into the sea; and after they had all with ready obedience gone into the canoe, he put a stone into the hand of the alguacil whom the Admiral had sent to land with the notary and others, that he might throw it at the canoe, which he declined doing. The canoe immediately returned home. The Cacique made every demonstration of favour to the Admiral, and told him that at Tortuga there was more gold than in Espanola, it being nearer to Baneque. The Admiral gives it as his opinion that neither in Espanola nor Tortuga are there mines of gold, but that it is brought from Baneque, and that these people get but little, because they have nothing to give in exchange for it, their country being so extensive that the inhabitants are not obliged to practice much labour, for their sustenance, nor to procure clothing, as they go naked. He believed himself now near the spot where the gold was found, and that our Lord was about to direct him thither. He learned that from hence to Baneque* was four days’ voyage, amounting perhaps to thirty or forty leagues, which distance they might sail with a good wind in a single day.

Tuesday, Dec. 18th. They remained at the anchorage through the day, not having a wind, and because the Cacique had told them he had gold to bring. The Admiral says he did not much regard the amount of this metal which he was likely to obtain here, but wished to know whence it came, as there were no mines in the island. In the morning he ordered the ships to be dressed out with their flags and arms for a festival, in honour of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin, and fired many salutes. The king of the island left his home, which was about five leagues off, and came to the town near the ships at three o’clock; there were some of the Spaniards on shore whom the Admiral had sent to ascertain whether the Indians had brought their gold. These informed that above two hundred men came with the king, four of them carrying him upon a sort of bier. The Admiral being at his meal in the cabin, the king with all his attendants came to the ship, and observes, "Your Highnesses would have been pleased to witness the honour and reverence they showed him, naked as they are. On coming on board and finding me at table in the cabin he came in the most respectful manner and sat down by me, and would not suffer me to rise, or to leave off eating. I thought he would be pleased with some of our viands, and accordingly ordered a portion to be placed before him, which he ate. Upon entering the cabin he made a sign with the hand for his people to remain without, which they did with the greatest readiness and respect in the world, and all sat down upon deck, except two men of mature age, whom I took for his counsellors; these came and sat down at his feet, and the king would take a small mouthful of the victuals and give the rest to his attendants who ate it; the same he did with the drink which was offered him, putting it to his mouth, and then passing it to the others; all this was done with great state, and very few words, which as near as I could understand what he said, were uttered in a very sensible manner, his two attendants watching his countenance, conversing with him, and answering for him with the greatest degree of veneration. The meal finished, an attendant brought me a girdle shaped like those of Castile, but of different workmanship, this he presented to me and I accepted, as well as two pieces of gold, beaten very thin, of which metal I am inclined to think they possess very little, although they are in the neighbourhood of the place where it is produced in abundance. I saw that he was pleased with the hanging over my bed, and made him a present of it, with some fine amber beads which I wore upon my neck, and some red shoes and a flask of orange-flower water; with these gifts he was wonderfully delighted, and both he and his counsellors appeared to feel much regret that we could not understand one another’s language. By all I could gather from him, he informed me that if I desired anything of his, the whole island was at my service. I then produced a gold excelente,* upon which the images of your Highnesses were stamped, and showed it to him, letting him know, as I had done before, that your Highnesses reigned over the first kingdom in the world, and that there were nowhere so great princes. I also exhibited to him the royal standards and the banners of the cross, which he much admired, and spoke with his counsellors respecting the great power of your Highnesses who had sent me such a distance from heaven, to these parts. Many other things passed, of which I understood nothing, save that they manifested great wonder."

As it grew late he desired to return to land, whither the Admiral dispatched him in the boat with great honour, firing a salute. Arrived on shore he ascended his bier and went up into the island accompanied by the whole multitude; his son was carried behind him upon the shoulders of one of the most honourable men. Wherever the Indians met with any of the sailors, they gave them food, and showed them great respect. One of them encountered the troop accompanying the king home, and stated that he saw the presents the Admiral had given, carried before the king, each separate article by one of the principal men, as was judged from the appearance. The king’s son followed his father with an equal train of attendants, as also a brother of the king in the same manner, except that he went on foot, being led by the arms by two honourable men. This person came to the ship after the king had left her, and the Admiral made him a few presents, learning now, that the king was called in the language of the Indians Cacique. This day little gold was obtained, but the Admiral was given to understand by an old man, that there were many islands in the neighbourhood, at the distance of a hundred leagues and more, as near as he could gather, where much gold was obtained, and that in some of them it was found in such plenty that the inhabitants collected and boulted it with sieves, after which they melted and beat it into bars and many other shapes which were described by signs. One of the islands was said to be totally composed of gold. The old man pointed out the direction in which these countries lay, and the Admiral determined to proceed thither. He remarks that if this person had not been one of the principal men of the king, he should have taken and carried him along with him, or had he understood his language would have intreated him to that effect, and thinks as he was so well pleased with the Spaniards, that he would very willingly have accompanied them; nevertheless, as he considered these people to belong to the sovereigns of Castile he was unwilling to offend them. A lofty cross was set up in the square or centre of the village, in which work the Indians assisted much, and repeated, as the Admiral says, prayers and adorations, from which circumstance he hopes in our Lord that these islands will all become Christian.

Wednesday, Dec. 19th. They set sail at night to leave the gulf formed by the island of Tortuga and Espanola. Upon the approach of day the wind shifted to the E., for which reason they were unable through the day to get out from between the islands; night coming on they found it impossible to reach a harbour* they saw near. In the neighbourhood of that place they espied four capes, and a bay and river, also another large bay* where there was a village, in the rear of which they saw a valley among several very high mountains; these mountains were covered with trees, which the Admiral judged to be pines. At the back of the capes which he called Los dos Hermanos, there was a mountain very large and high, which runs from NE. to SW. ESE. from another cape named Cabo de Torres* there was a little isle which he called Saint Thomas, the next day being the anniversary of that saint. He judged that this whole country abounded in capes and excellent harbours, from what he could observe at sea. West of the isle abovementioned, was a cape running far into the sea, lofty in some parts and in others low, from this circumstance he named it Cabo alto y baxo.* Seventy miles E. by S. from Camino de Torres was a mountain loftier than any other, which extended into the sea; it appeared like an island, on account of a gap towards the land; he called it Monte Caribata, as the district around was named Caribata; it was a beautiful height without clouds or snow, but covered with flourishing trees. The weather here, with respect to the air and temperature was like March in Castile, and the trees and herbs as in May in that country. The nights were fourteen hours long.

Thursday, Dec. 20th. At sunset this day they entered a harbour* between the island of St. Thomas and Cabo de Caribata; here they anchored. The harbour was found a very good one, and capacious enough to hold all the ships in Christendom. The entrance appeared impracticable from without, on account of several ledges of rocks which run from the mountain nearly to the island; these are scattered about in an irregular manner, some near the land and others off at sea, which renders it necessary to take great care in sailing in, the channels being very narrow, although deep, having seven fathoms water, and within the rocks twelve fathoms. A ship might lie here moored with any sort of rope, and be safe from all winds. Near the mouth of the harbour was a plantation of canes at the west of a little sandy islet, which was overgrown with trees, and at the foot of which were seven fathoms water. The harbour is safe from all the storms which can blow. From this place appeared a wide and cultivated valley which descended to the sea from the S.E., and was totally shut in by exceedingly tall mountains which seemed to rise to heaven; these presented the most delightful view, being covered with luxuriant trees. No doubt there are mountains here loftier than the island of Teneriffe which is held to be the highest in the world. Here is another isle,* a league from that of St. Thomas, and within it another, all having fine harbours, but where it is necessary to look out for the shoals. Villages were seen, and smokes made by the inhabitants.

Friday, Dec. 21st. The Admiral went with the boats to examine the harbour, and after having surveyed it declares that it is equalled by none which he has seen elsewhere. He excuses himself, saying that he has been so abundant in his praises of the others, that he has nothing left to say for this, and adds that he fears to be taken for an extravagant exaggerator of the truth, but is encouraged by the reflection that he has in company mariners of experience who will confirm his account. He repeats that the commendations he has bestowed upon the other ports are true, and the superiority he has assigned this he affirms to be true likewise, adding "I have followed the seas for twenty-three years, without being on shore any space of time worth accounting, and have seen all the East and West, and been to the North where England is situated, and even to Guinea, but in none of these countries are to be found ports of such excellence as are to be met with here; and as I go on making discoveries they show themselves better and better, as I find by carefully examining my journal; and I again affirm that this is superior to them all, and large enough to contain all the ships in the world, and so well sheltered that a ship might ride with safety, although moored with the rottenest rope in the world." From the entrance to the bottom of the harbour is a distance of five leagues.* Fields were seen under cultivation, indeed this was the case everywhere. Two men were dispatched from the boats, and ordered to ascend a height and look out after the villages of the inhabitants, as none were seen from the sea, although it was judged there were some in the neighbourhood, by a canoe with Indians having come last night about ten o’clock, to gaze at the ships, these men the Admiral presented with some trifles which pleased them greatly. The two Spaniards returned, informing that they had discovered a large town* at a little distance from the sea; the Admiral ordered the boats to row that way, and presently espied several Indians coming down to the shore; they seemed to be fearful of the Spaniards, and the Admiral directed the boats to be stopped and the Indians on board to speak to those on land and tell them they were friends, upon which the natives came close to the water’s edge and the boats proceeded to land; the inhabitants now banished all their fears and came down in such numbers as to cover the beach, making a thousand civilities to the Spaniards, men, women, and children. They ran here and there bringing bread made of niames, which they name ajes, this was very white and good; they also brought water in calabashes and earthen vessels, shaped like the pitchers of Castile. Whatever thing they were in possession of, and knew the Spaniards wanted, they offered with great pleasure and the utmost liberality. The Admiral remarks "These could not be deemed gifts of mean value, although their intrinsic worth was small, because every thing was given with the greatest generosity; a piece of gold was offered with as willing readiness as a calabash of water, and it is easy to perceive when a thing is given with a good will. These people have neither staves, javelins nor any other weapons, and this I have remarked of all the inhabitants of this island, which appears to me to be very large. They are all as naked as they were born, both men and women, whereas in Juana, and the other islands the females wear a small covering of cotton at the waist, especially those above a dozen years, but neither old nor young practise it here. In other places we have found the inhabitants anxious to conceal their women from us, but here they display no such jealousy. The females at this place possess fine shapes, and were the first to give thanks to heaven upon our arrival, and bring us offerings, especially bread of ajes and five or six sorts of fruits." These last the Admiral caused to be preserved for the King and Queen. The same treatment they had received from the women in other parts before the men took care to keep them out of sight. The Admiral gave strict orders that the utmost attention should be paid, not to give offence to the natives in any thing, and that no article should be taken from them without his permission; in this manner they were paid for every thing they gave the Spaniards. The Admiral remarks that he believes no one ever met with a people of such a liberal and generous disposition, which was exercised to such a degree that they were ready to rob themselves of every article of property to oblige their guests, flocking to them with offerings wherever they arrived. He sent six of his men to examine the town which had been seen, to these the Indians showed every honour they could invent, and presented such things as they had, not doubting in the least that the Admiral and all his crew had come from heaven, which also the Indians on board still continued to think, notwithstanding what the Spaniards had told them.) The men being gone to the town, there came several canoes from a sovereign in the neighbourhood, to request the Admiral on leaving this place to visit his town. The Admiral perceiving great crowds of people waiting for him upon a point of land, proceeded thither, when there came down to the shore immense multitudes, men, women and children crying out for him not to leave them, but remain there. The ambassadors of the prince abovementioned were all this time waiting with their canoes, lest he should go away without complying with their invitation. The Admiral then set off, and arriving near the place where the prince was waiting to receive him, this sovereign ordered all his people to seat themselves upon the ground, he then dispatched men with provisions to the boats which, seeing that the Spaniards accepted, the greater part of the Indians ran off to the town, which was probably near, and came back, bringing more, along with parrots and other things, which they offered with surprising liberality. Although they demanded nothing in return, the Admiral gave them glass beads, hawk’s bells, and brass rings, as he thought it but just that payment should be made them, and in particular as he says, because he looked upon them as Christians, and more the subjects of the King and Queen than the people of Castile. He adds that nothing is wanting but to know their language and give them orders, as they will perform every thing commanded them without making the least opposition. He then left the place to return to the ships, the Indians all calling out, men, women and children, and entreating him to remain among them. Several canoes full of men followed the boats to the ships, these the Admiral treated with much civility and gave them food and other presents. Great numbers came from the shore swimming about the ship, which was above half a league from the land. While the Admiral was upon his visit there came another prince from the westerly part of the island, and not finding him, he returned. The Admiral sent some men to visit and obtain information from him; these he received very graciously, and conducted toward his town where he intended to give them some large pieces of gold; they went along with him till they came to a wide river, which the Indians passed by swimming, but the Spaniards being unable to cross it, returned back. All this neighbourhood abounds in mountains so lofty that they seem to reach to the skies; the peak of Teneriffe is nothing in comparison with them, either for height or beauty. These are all covered with wood and vegetation in a delightful manner, and inclose among them many beautiful plains. At the South of this harbour is a plain so extensive that the eye cannot reach the end, it is probably fifteen or twenty leagues in extent, without the interruption of a single eminence; it contains a river and is inhabited and cultivated throughout, being at present as green and flourishing as the fields in Castile in May or June, although the nights are here fourteen hours long, and this country so far to the North. The harbour here is well sheltered from every wind that can blow, being deep and well shut in. Ships may also lie here in perfect safety from any incursion during the night from without; for although the entrance has a width of more than two leagues, it is confined by a couple of rocky ledges nearly on a level with the water, leaving a very narrow passage which seems almost the work of art. In the mouth of the harbour there are seven fathoms depth of water, this continues to a level islet which has a beach and is covered with trees. The entrance is to the West, where a ship may sail in without fear, coming close to the rock. Towards the NW. are three islands and a large river, a league from the cape of this harbour. This being St. Thomas’s day, the Admiral named the harbour The Port of the Sea of St. Thomas, calling it a sea, from its size.

Saturday, Dec. 22d. At daybreak they set sail to go in search of the islands where, as the Indians told them, there was much gold, and in some of them more gold than earth; but found the weather unfavourable and returned to their anchorage, when the boat was dispatched with nets for fishing. The sovereign of the country* who resided in the neighbourhood sent a large canoe full of men, with one of his principal attendants requesting the Admiral to come with the ships to his territory, promising him any thing he had. He sent by this messenger a girdle to which was attached instead of a pouch, a mask having the nose, tongue, and ears of beaten gold. The Indians in the canoe, meeting the boat, gave the girdle to a ship’s boy, and proceeded on board the ship with their embassy. Some time passed before they could be understood, the Indians on board not comprehending them, as their language was somewhat different from that of the others; finally they made out to express themselves by signs, and made known their invitation. The Admiral determined to accept it, and came to a resolution to sail the next day, which was Sunday, although he was not accustomed to put to sea on that day; this arose from devotion and not from any superstitious scruples. Besides, entertaining a hope that these people, by the willingness they manifested, would become christians, and subjects of Castile, and already looking upon them in that light, he was desirous of doing everything to oblige them. Before quitting this place he sent six of his men to a very large town, three leagues to the West, the prince of that place having visited the Admiral the preceding day and told him that he had several pieces of gold. With these men he sent his secretary, whom he charged to take care that the Spaniards did nothing wrong to the Indians, for these were so liberal, and the Spaniards so immeasurably greedy, that they were not satisfied with receiving the most valuable of what the inhabitants possessed, in exchange for a leather thong, a bit of glass or earthenware, or other worthless trifle, and sometimes for nothing at all, which, however, the Admiral had always prohibited. Although the articles which the Indians offered were of little value, except the gold, yet the Admiral considering the readiness with which they parted with them, as giving a piece of gold for half a dozen strings of glass beads, ordered that nothing should be taken from them without paying for it. The Spaniards arriving at the town, the prince took the secretary by the hand, and led him, accompanied by a great multitude of people, to his house, where victuals were set before the Spaniards, and large quantities of cotton cloth and balls of yarn brought them. Late in the evening the Spaniards returned, the prince presenting them with three fat geese and some bits of gold; a great number of the Indians accompanied them back, and insisted upon carrying their goods for them across the rivers and miry places. The Admiral made the prince some presents, at which he and all his people showed the greatest pleasure, and thought themselves happy in gazing upon the Spaniards, whom they believed to have come from heaven. This day more than a hundred and twenty canoes came to the ships, all filled with people, and every one bringing something, in particular bread, fish, and water in earthen pitchers, as also a kind of seed which serves very well for a spice; of this they put a grain in a cup of water and drink it. The Indians on board the ships affirmed that it was very wholesome.

Sunday, Dec. 23d. The want of wind compelled them to remain here still, and the Admiral dispatched the boats with his secretary to the prince from whom he had received the invitation the day before. While they were gone he sent two of his Indians to visit the towns in the neighbourhood, these returned bringing a prince of the country with them, and the information that gold was to be had in that island in as great plenty as could be desired, the people coming thither from other parts to obtain it. More persons arrived who confirmed this account, and showed the manner of collecting it; this the Admiral understood with difficulty, but still held it for certain that the metal must exist in abundance in these parts, where on finding the spot it might be got for little or nothing. He remarks that he is confirmed in this opinion by having in the three days he has been here, received many large pieces, and cannot believe it is brought hither from other places. He utters these words: "Our Lord, in whose hands are all things, be my help, and order every thing for his service." More than a thousand of the inhabitants visited the ships, every one bringing something; their custom was on arriving within half a bow shot, to stand up in their canoes holding out their offerings in their hands, and exclaiming "Take! Take!" Besides these there came above five hundred, swimming for want of canoes, the ships being anchored near a league from the shore. Five princes with all their families came among the rest to visit the Spaniards, to all whom the Admiral made presents, esteeming every thing given them well bestowed. "Our Lord in his mercy," says he, "direct me where I may find the gold mine, as I have many here who profess to be acquainted with it." At night the boats returned and informed that they had gone a great distance, and at the mountain of Caribatan had met with canoes full of people, coming from the place where the Spaniards were going, to visit the Admiral; these turned back and accompanied the Spaniards to the town,* which they found the largest and most regular with respect to the streets, of any that they had seen: it was situated nearly three leagues to the southeast of Punt a Santa.* The canoes rowing faster than the boats, slipped ahead and carried the intelligence of their arrival to the Cacique as they called him. Hitherto the Admiral had been unable to learn whether this was the name of a king or a governor. They have another name for their chief people, which is Nitayno;* whether this signified governor, nobleman, or judge, could not be ascertained. The Cacique came out to meet the Spaniards in the public square of the town, which was a fine neat place; here more than two thousand men assembled, every one bringing victuals for the strangers. The king showed them great honour, and gave each man a portion of such cotton cloth as the women wear, adding some parrots and pieces of gold for the Admiral; the people also gave the Spaniards cotton cloths and other things, receiving whatever trifles were offered them in return, which they valued as highly as if they esteemed them relics. At evening when they wished to return, the king entreated them to stay till morning, and all the people joined in the solicitation. Finding them determined to set out, a great number accompanied them, carrying for them upon their shoulders the articles which the Spaniards had acquired there; they thus attended them to the boats, which were left at the mouth of the river.

Monday, Dec. 24th. Before sunrise they weighed anchor, and put to sea with a land breeze. Among the Indians who came on board yesterday, and informed them there was gold in the island, naming the places where it was found, there was one who seemed to display an uncommon degree of liking for the Spaniards; him the Admiral caressed, and prevailed upon to go along with him, and direct the way to the gold mines. This man was accompanied by another, his companion or relation, and both these, among other places they spoke of, where the gold was obtained, named Cipango which they called Civao, and said it was very far to the East, possessing vast quantities of gold, and that the Cacique of the country had his banners made of plates of that metal. The Admiral in this place says, "Your highnesses may be assured that there is not upon earth a better or gentler people, at which you may rejoice, for they will easily become Christians and learn our customs. A finer country or people cannot exist, and the territory is so extensive and the people so numerous, that I know not how to give a description of them, as I have spoken so highly of the people and country of Juana which the inhabitants call Cuba. But there is a difference between these two countries as great as between day and night. I think no one who has seen these parts, can say less in their commendation than I have said. I repeat that it is a matter of wonder to see the things we have met with, and the multitudes of people in this island, which I call Espanola, and the Indians Bohio; they are singularly pleasant in their intercourse and conversation with us, and not like the others, who when they speak appear to be uttering menaces; their shapes are fine, both men and women, and their colour not black, although they paint themselves, the most of them red, others of a dark hue, and others of still different colours, all which, I understand, is done to keep the sun from injuring them. The houses and towns are very handsome, and the inhabitants live in each settlement under the rule of a sovereign or judge, to whom they pay implicit obedience. These magistrates are persons of excellent manners, and great reserve, and give their orders by a sign with the hand, which is understood by all with surprising quickness.

In order to enter this port, called the Sea of St. Thomas,* it is necessary to stand for a small level island at the entrance, which was named La Amiga, and coming within a stone’s throw, to pass to the westward of the island, keeping close to the shore, as a large reef comes out from the west, which extends a lombarda-shot towards the island; in the channel arc, at the shoalest parts, seven fathoms, with a gravelly bottom, and within is room sufficient for all the ships in the world, where they may lie without moorings. There are two or three shoals without, and other large shoals and a reef are to the east, extending towards the island La Amiga, and far into the sea, coming two leagues towards the cape; but among these there appeared a channel two lombarda-shots from La Amiga, and at the foot of Mount Caribatan, a spacious and excellent harbour.*

Tuesday, Dec. 25th. Christmas. Last night they kept along the coast with a light wind, from the Sea of St. Thomas to the headland named Punta Santa, and at the end of the first watch, about eleven o’clock, being off this point about a league distant, the Admiral laid down to sleep, having taken no rest for two days and a night past. As the sea was calm, the man at the helm left his place to a boy, and went off to sleep likewise, contrary to the express orders of the Admiral, who had throughout the voyage forbidden in calm or storm, the helm to be intrusted to a boy. The Admiral was free from any dread of rocks or shoals, as the Sunday before, when he sent the boats to the king, they had passed three leagues and a half to the east of Punta Santa, and the sailors had surveyed the whole coast for three leagues beyond that point, and ascertained where the ships might pass, a thing never done before in the whole voyage. But as it pleased our Lord, at midnight, it being a dead calm, and the sea perfectly motionless, as in a cup, the whole crew, seeing the Admiral had retired, went off to sleep, leaving the ship in the care of the boy abovementioned, when the current carried her imperceptibly toward the shoals in the neighbourhood, upon which she struck with a noise that might be heard a league off. The boy at the helm hearing the roar of the sea, and feeling the current beating at the rudder, cried out, at which the Admiral awoke, and sprang upon deck before any of the sailors perceived that they had run aground; presently the master, whose watch it was, came up, and the Admiral ordered him and others who quickly made their appearance, to hoist out the boat and carry an anchor astern; the boat being hoisted out, the master and many others went into her, as the Admiral supposed to fulfill the order. Instead of doing this, they rowed off to the caravel, which was about half a league to the windward. Those on board, however, with great propriety and justice refused to receive them, and sent them back, dispatching also their own boat, which arrived first at the ship. Meantime the Admiral finding his men deserting him, and the ship down upon her side, with the water leaving her, saw no other remedy but to cut away the mast, and throw overboard everything they could spare, hoping that this would lighten and set her afloat, but in spite of all, the water continued to ebb, and the ship to lie down towards the sea, which fortunately continued smooth, and presently she opened between the ribs. The Admiral proceeded to the caravel to dispose of his crew, and as a slight breeze blew from the land, and much of the night remained, they lay to till day, not knowing how far the shoals extended; at daybreak he proceeded inside of the shoal to the ship, having first sent the boat to land with Diego de Arana, of Cordova, alguazil of the fleet, and Pedro Gutierrez, page of the royal wardrobe, to carry the news of his misfortune to the king, who had sent him the invitation the Saturday before, and whose residence was about a league and a half beyond the shoal where the ship lay. This person, as they stated, upon hearing the information, shed tears, and dispatched all the people of the town with large canoes to unload the ship; with their assistance the decks were cleared in a very short time, So great was the diligence of the king and his men. He, with his brothers and relations came to the shore, and took every care that all the goods should be safely brought to land, and carefully preserved. From time to time he sent his relations to the Admiral weeping, and consoling him, and entreating him not to be afflicted at his loss, for he would give him all he had. The Admiral here observes to the King and Queen, that in no part of Castile would more strict care have been taken of his goods, not the smallest trifle was lost. The king ordered several houses to be cleared for the purpose of stowing the goods. Here a guard was set over them who watched throughout the night. "The people as well as the king shed tears in abundance," says the Admiral. "They are a very loving race, and without covetousness; they are adapted to any use, and I declare to your Highnesses that there is not a better country nor a better people in the world than these. They love their neighbours as they do themselves, and their language is the smoothest and sweetest in the world, being always uttered with smiles. They all, both men and women go totally naked, but your Highnesses may be assured that they possess many commendable customs; their king is served with great reverence, and every thing is practised with such decency that it is highly pleasing to witness it. They have great memories and curiosity, and are very eager in their inquiries as to the nature and use of all they see."

Wednesday, Dec. 26th. At sunrise the king of the country visited the Admiral on board the Nina, and with tears in his eyes, intreated him not to indulge in any grief, for he would give him all he had; that he had already assigned the Spaniards on shore two large houses, and if necessary, would grant others, and as many canoes as could be used in bringing in the goods and crew to land, which, in fact, he had done the day before, without the smallest trifle being purloined, "so honest and free from covetousness are they," says the Admiral, "and their king pre-eminent in virtue." While the Admiral was conversing with him, a canoe arrived from another place, with Indians bringing pieces of gold, which they wanted to exchange for a hawk’s bell, these being held in special value among them; before the canoe reached the vessels, the Indians called out, showing the gold, and crying chug, chug,* for the hawk’s bells, and seemed ready to go mad after them; the other canoes setting off, they requested the Admiral to preserve a hawk’s bell for them, and they would bring him in return four pieces of gold as big as his hand. This intelligence gave him great joy, and there presently came a sailor from the land and informed the Admiral that the Spaniards were carrying on a great traffic with the Indians, purchasing bits of gold worth more than two castellanos, for a strap of leather, and that this was nothing to what it would be within a month. The King was much rejoiced to see the Admiral in good spirits, and discovering that he was anxious to obtain gold, he informed him by signs that he knew where, in that neighbourhood, a great deal of it might be had, and that the Admiral might be of good cheer, for he would give him as much as he wanted. He gave him a further account of it, and told him it existed in Cipango, which they called Civao, in such abundance that it was held in no esteem. It was understood in the same way, that it was brought hither from that place, although in the island of Espanola, and in the district of Caribata there were also great quantities. The king took a meal on board the caravel, and then went on shore accompanied by the Admiral, whom he treated with every honour, feasting him with several sorts of ajes, shrimps, game and other viands, with bread which they called cazavi. Afterwards he conducted him into an arbour near his house, where they were attended by more than a thousand persons. The king had on a shirt and a pair of gloves, which he had received from the Admiral, these last he particularly admired. In his manner of taking food he showed a decency and neatness well worthy of his rank; after finishing his repast, at which he continued long, certain herbs were brought him, with which he rubbed his hands for a considerable time, which was done as the Admiral thought, to soften them; water was then fetched him for washing. The meal completed, he went down to the shore with the Admiral, who sent for a Turkish bow and some arrows, these he gave to one of the crew who was expert in their use, and the exhibition of them much astonished the king, who knew nothing of weapons, his people neither using nor possessing them, although some discourse had been held here, about the people of Caniba whom they call Caribes, these, they stated, were accustomed to come and attack them with bows and arrows; it was ascertained that these last were not headed with iron, for neither iron nor steel are known in these parts, nor any other metal, except gold and copper; the Admiral saw little of the copper. The king was then given to understand by signs that the sovereigns of Castile would send people to fight against the Caribes, and bring them all prisoners with their hands tied. By order of the Admiral, a lombarda and an espingarda were fired, and the effect of their shot struck the king with new wonder, frightening the Indians to such a degree that they all fell upon the ground. Afterwards a large mask was brought, with great pieces of gold, at the ears, eyes, and other places; this the king gave the Admiral, along with other Jewels of the same metal, which he placed upon his head and neck; many other presents were made to the Spaniards. All these things had a great effect upon the Admiral in assuaging his grief for the loss of the ship, and he began to be convinced that our Lord had permitted the shipwreck in order that he might choose this place for a settlement. "And to this end," says he, "so many favourable things offered, that it cannot be called a disaster, but a great piece of good fortune, for if we had not run aground, we should have kept off without anchoring here, the place being in a large bay within side of two or three shoals. Neither should I otherwise have been induced to leave any men in these parts during the voyage, nor if I had, could I have spared them the proper provisions and materials for their fortification. Many of my crew have solicited me for permission to remain, and I have to-day ordered the construction of a fort, with a tower and ditch, all to be well built, not that I deem such a fortification necessary as a defence against the inhabitants, as I have already stated that with my present crew, I could subjugate the whole island, which I believe to be larger than the kingdom Of Portugal, and twice as populous, but that I Judge it proper, as the territory is at such a distance from our country, and that the natives may understand the genius of the people Of your Highnesses, and what they are able to perform, so that they may be held in obedience by fear as well as love. For this purpose I have directed that there shall be provided a store of timber for the construction of the fort, with provision of bread and wine for more than a year, seed for planting, the long-boat of the ship, a calker, a carpenter, a gunner, a cooper, and many other persons, among the number of those who have earnestly desired to serve your Highnesses and oblige me by remaining here, and searching for the gold mine. To the undertaking which I have mentioned, things seem to have concurred very opportunely, in particular the ship’s running aground in such a manner that it was not perceived till she had stuck fast, and this at a time when there was neither wave nor wind." The Admiral relates many other things by way of showing that it was a piece of good fortune, and the determined will of God that the ship should be wrecked there, that the Spaniards might remain, for as he states, had it not been for the treacherous conduct of the master and crew (who were most or all of them his countrymen) in not carrying the anchor astern to haul the ship off, as they were ordered, she would not have been wrecked, and thereby they should have failed of the knowledge of the country which they obtained during the stay, by the men whom he intended to leave there. His custom was to go on making discoveries, and not to stay in any one place above a day, unless compelled by the wind, as his ship was a dull sailer, and unfit for the purpose of discovery. He lays the blame of this upon the people of Palos, in not having complied with their agreement to furnish the King and Queen with suitable vessels for the expedition. The Admiral concludes by observing that every piece of the ship was saved, there not being lost so much as a thong, board, or nail, she being as complete as when she first sailed, except what was caused by cutting her to get out the casks and merchandise; all these were carried on shore and well secured, as above said. He adds that he hopes to find at his return from Castile, a ton of gold collected by them in trading with the natives, and that they will have succeeded in discovering the mine and the spices, and all these in such abundance that before three years the King and Queen may undertake the recovery of the Holy Sepulchre. "For I have before protested to your Highnesses," says he, "that the profits of this enterprise shall be employed in the conquest of Jerusalem, at which your Highnesses smiled and said you were pleased, and had the same inclination."

Thursday, Dec. 27th. At sunrise the king came on board, and told the Admiral that he had sent for gold, and wished he could cover him all over with it before his departure, or rather, that he would not depart at all. He took a meal with the Admiral in company with a brother and relation of the king, in a very private manner; they stated that they wished to go to Castile with him. While they were on board, there arrived accounts that the caravel Pinta was in a river at the end of the island, the Cacique dispatched a canoe thither, in which the Admiral ordered a Spaniard to embark. The Cacique displayed a degree of affection towards the Admiral that appeared wonderful. The utmost diligence was exerted in preparing for their return to Castile.

Friday, Dec. 28th. Tn order to see to the construction of the fort, the Admiral went on shore. It seemed that the king espied him as he was embarking, for he entered his house in haste and sent one of his brothers to receive him. The Admiral was conducted to one of the dwellings given to the Spaniards, which was the largest and best in the place. Here there was prepared a seat made of the inner bark of the palm tree, upon which they caused the Admiral to sit, the king’s brother then sent an attendant informing him that the ’Admiral was there, as if he was ignorant of it; the Admiral imagined that this was done to show him so much the more honour. The attendant having delivered his message, the king ran to the Admiral, carrying a great plate of gold in his hand, which he placed about his neck. He remained a night on shore, considering what was to be done.

Saturday, Dec. 29th. At sunrise there came on board the caravel a nephew of the king, quite a youth, but a person of good understanding and courage; and as the Admiral’s constant object was to find the place where the gold was produced, he made it a practice to question every one about it by signs, as they could converse in this manner. This young man informed him that at the distance of four days’ voyage to the east, was an isle called Guarionex, and others called Macorix, Mayonic, Fuma, Cibao, and Coroay,* and that they contained abundance of gold. The names of these places the Admiral wrote down, and it afterwards came to the knowledge of the king’s brother, that the youth had given this information, whereupon some altercation ensued between them, as near as the Admiral could make out. He had at other times understood that the king was exerting himself to prevent his learning where the gold was produced, lest he should go thither after it. "But there is such a quantity of it, and in so many places in the island of Espanola," says the Admiral, "that it is a matter of wonder." At night the king sent him a great golden mask, begging for a wash-basin and ewer; the Admiral supposed that he wished for these, to have others made like them. The request was complied with.

Sunday, Dec. 30th. The Admiral went to dine on shore, and found that there had arrived five kings, who were subject to Guacanagari the king abovementioned. All these wore their crowns and went in great state, and the Admiral remarks to the King and Queen, that their Highnesses would have been highly pleased to observe their manners. Guacanagari came to receive him on landing, and led him by the arm to the house where he was entertained the day before; here was an elevated space and seats, upon which he made him sit down; he then took his own crown from his head and placed it upon that of the Admiral, who in return took from his neck a splendid collar made of very beautiful beads, and put it upon that of the king, also divesting himself of a cloak of fine scarlet cloth, which he had put on that day, he clothed the king with it. He then sent for a pair of buskins which he put upon his feet, and a large silver ring upon his finger, having heard that the Indians had seen a sailor with a ring of that metal, and had tried hard to obtain it. The king was greatly pleased with these gifts, and two of the other chiefs came to the Admiral and gave him each a great plate of gold. While they were here, an Indian arrived saying he had two days since left the caravel Pinta in a harbour at the East. The Admiral returned to his vessel, and Vincent Yanez, the captain, told him that he had seen rhubarb, and that it was to be found at the island Amiga, at the entrance of the harbour which was named Mar de Santo Tome, six leagues from thence, and that he had recognized both the root and the branches. The description given of the rhubarb is that it sends forth flowers, and berries which appear like green mulberries half dried, the stalk near the root is of a fine yellow colour, and the root itself like a large pear.

Monday, Dec. 31st. This day was occupied in taking on board water and wood for their return to Spain. The Admiral’s object in hastening thither was to carry the intelligence as speedily as possible to the King and Queen, that ships might be dispatched to complete the discoveries, a vast deal remaining to be done in this way. He was, however, unwilling to depart before he had examined all this coast towards the east, but being with a single vessel, he though it not prudent to expose himself to the dangers attendant upon such an enterprise. He complains that all these troubles were occasioned by the Pinta’s having forsaken him.

Tuesday, Jan. 1st, 1493. At midnight the boat was sent to the island Amiga for rhubarb, and returned the next evening with a frail of it, not having procured more for want of a spade to dig with: what was obtained he preserved to show the King and Queen. The canoe which had been dispatched in quest of the Pinta, returned without seeing her. The sailor who went in the canoe stated, that at twenty leagues’ distance they met a king, who wore upon his head two great plates of gold, and as soon as the Indians whom he accompanied in the canoe spoke to him, he took them off. The Admiral believed that Guacanagari had prohibited all the others from selling gold to the Spaniards, that it might all pass through his hands. He had that day sent many canoes to collect it. The Admiral already knew the places, as above stated, where it was so plenty as not to be valued. The spicery,* as the Admiral says, is also abundant, and more valuable than pepper or grains of paradise. He left orders with those that remained, to collect as much of it as possible.

Wednesday, Jan. 2d. He went on shore in the morning, to take leave of Guacanagari. He gave him one of his own shirts, and conversing with him about the Caribes, who made war upon the people of the island, he determined to give him an experiment of the force of fire-arms; for this purpose a lombarda was ordered to be loaded, and fired against the side of the ship which was on shore; the shot passed through her and struck the sea at a distance. He also gave him a representation of a battle between parties of the crew, armed, informing the Cacique that he need not fear the Caribes, even if they should attack him. All this was done, as he informs us, to strike a terror into the inhabitants, and make them friendly to the Spaniards left behind. He took the king and his attendants along with him to his house to dine. At parting he gave a strict charge to Diego de Arana, Pedro Gutierrez and Rodrigo Escovedo, whom he constituted his lieutenants over the force of the settlement, that every thing should be well grounded and regulated for the service of God and their Highnesses. The Cacique displayed great affection towards the Admiral, and indulged a deep sorrow at separating from him, especially when he saw him about to embark. One of the Indians told the Admiral that he had ordered his statue to be made of gold as large as life, and that it was to be finished in ten days. He went on board with the intention of setting sail, but the wind did not permit it.

He left in this island of Espanola, which the Indians called Bohio, a fort and thirty-nine men, whom he states to have been great friends of king Guacanagari. Over these he placed Diego de Arana, a native of Cordova, Pedro Gutierrez, groom of the king’s wardrobe, and Rodrigo de Escovedo, a native of Seville, and nephew of Fray Rodrigo Perez, with all the powers the King and Queen had delegated to him. He left them all the goods which had been sent for trafficking, being a great amount, and every thing belonging to the ship which had been wrecked; the goods he directed should be traded away for gold. To these were added biscuit and wine for a year, and the long-boat of the ship, in order that they might, (being mariners for the most part) at convenient opportunities, undertake the discovery of the gold mine, and a place proper for building a city, as this port did not suit him, and especially because the gold came from the east, and the further east they were, the nearer to Spain; he also left them seed for sowing, his secretary and alguacil, a ship-carpenter and calker, a good gunner and engineer, a cooper, a surgeon and a tailor, all seamen.

Thursday, Jan. 3d. He did not set sail to-day, because the Indians belonging to the ships remained on shore. At night three of them arrived, and reported that the remainder with their wives were coming. The sea was somewhat rough, not suffering the boat to lie at the shore. The Admiral determined to sail, by the grace of God, the next morning. He says that if he had had the caravel Pinta with him, he should have been certain of obtaining a ton of gold, for in that case he should have ventured to coast along these islands, which being alone, he dared not do lest an accident should befall him and hinder his returning to Castile and informing the King and Queen of the discoveries he had made. Even had he been certain that the Pinta would arrive safe thither, with Martin Alonzo Pinzon, he should not have indulged his wish of surveying further these parts, as he feared that he might give a false relation to the King and Queen, in order to escape the punishment which be merited for his misconduct in abandoning the Admiral without leave, and thereby hinder the benefits consequent upon the discovery. He trusted that our Lord would grant him a favourable passage, and a remedy for all evils.

Friday, Jan. 4th. At sunrise they weighed anchor and stood out of the harbour with a light wind; they steered to the NW., passing the shoal by a channel much narrower than that by which they had entered. These are very good entrances to sail into Villa de Navidad,* and contain from three to nine fathoms depth of water, extending from NW. to SE. Here are shoals which reach from Cabo Santo to Cabo de Sierpe above six leagues, and extend three leagues into the sea. A league from Cabo Santo there are no more than eight fathoms water, and within this cape towards the east, are many shoals with navigable channels. All this coast runs NW. and SE., and has a beach throughout its whole extent; the land is very level for a space of four leagues from the shore, when it becomes diversified with lofty mountains, the whole very populous and abounding with large towns. They continued along the coast to the east in the direction of a very tall mountain, finely shaped like a tent, and which appeared to be an island, but was found to be connected with a low tract of the country. This the Admiral named Monte Cristi, it is situated exactly east of Cabo Santo at the distance of eighteen leagues;* they were unable to reach it this day within six leagues, the wind being light. They found four low sandy islets,* with a reef extending to the NW. and SE. Within is a large gulf which reaches from the mountain abovementioned, three leagues to the SW. It is throughout very shallow, and abounding with banks, and along the coast are many streams not navigable, although the sailor whom the Admiral sent in the canoe after the Pinta, related that he saw a river* which ships might enter. They anchored here in nineteen fathoms water, at the distance of three leagues from Monte Cristi, where they remained all night, having kept off from land to avoid the numerous shoals hereabouts. The Admiral here gives directions for sailing to Villa de Navidad, but as the coast is now known, it was not thought advisable to copy them. He concludes that Cipango must be in this island, and that it contains great store of gold, spices, mastick and rhubarb.

Saturday, Jan. 5th. Just before sunrise, they set sail with a land-breeze, which afterwards shifted to the east. They espied near Monte Cristi within an islet, a good harbour where they might anchor that night. Standing to the ESE., and afterwards to the SSE., they sailed six leagues towards that place and found seventeen fathoms water with a good bottom; they continued on three leagues farther with the same depth. Afterwards the depth diminished to twelve fathoms towards the highest part of the mountain, off against which they found nine fathoms, the bottom being all a fine sand. Keeping on in this direction, they arrived between the mountain and the islet, where they found a fine harbour of smooth water, having three fathoms and a half depth. Here they anchored, and the Admiral landed in a boat. They found on shore fire burning and other indications that fishermen had been there. Many stones of variegated colours were seen; these were similar to those found in San Salvador, and were fit from their beauty to be used in the construction of churches, or royal edifices. Trunks of the mastick tree were also met with. This eminence called Monte Cristi, says the Admiral, appears at a distance like an island; it is lofty, finely shaped, and accessible in every part. The country around is flat and consists of very beautiful fields. From this mountain they discovered a cape toward the east, twenty-four miles distant, which was named Cabo del Becerro. Within this distance lie several reefs, which extend a couple of leagues toward the sea; they appear to contain some channels which may be entered, but this should be done by day, with the boat sent ahead to sound. The shore within, for four leagues east of the mountain, is a fine beach, and the country back, level and beautiful; the rest of the distance, the land is very lofty, with tall mountains of a delightful appearance and under cultivation. In the interior is a chain of mountains, the finest they had seen, and which closely resembles the Sierra of Cordova. At a greater distance towards the south and SE. are other very high mountains, with verdant and beautiful valleys of great extent. The whole abounds in streams of water and offers views of such variety that the thousandth part could not be described. Towards the east about a hundred miles distant, appears an eminence which is like Monte Cristi in size and shape; from thence to the NE. the land is lower.

Sunday, Jan. 6th. The harbour was found to offer a good shelter against all winds except the N. and NE., which however, the Admiral says, are not common here, and even from these, a safety may be obtained behind the islet. The depth is from three to four fathoms. At sunrise they set sail and proceeded along the coast, which runs to the East. Many reefs of sand and rocks are scattered along its extent, of which it is necessary to take heed; within them are very good harbours, with entrances by channels between the shoals. In the afternoon the wind blowing strong from the E. a sailor was sent to the mast-head to look out for the shallows, when he discovered the caravel Pinta bearing down upon them before the wind; no good anchorage being found in the neighbourhood, the Admiral hove about and stood back for Monte Cristi from which they had gone ten leagues; the Pinta kept him company, and Martin Alonzo Pinzon came on board the Nina to make his excuses, saying he had parted against his will; he offered several reasons for his conduct, which the Admiral says were all totally false, as he was actuated solely by his haughtiness and avidity in abandoning him. He confesses himself unable to learn the cause of the unfavourable disposition which this man had manifested towards him throughout the voyage; but the immediate occasion of his deserting him, was the information he got from an Indian which the Admiral had placed on board his vessel, that in an island called Baneque he would find abundance of gold, and knowing his vessel to be light and a swift sailer he did not hesitate to abandon him as before related. The Admiral concealed his resentment, that he might not aid the machinations of Satan in impeding the voyage, as he had hitherto done. It was ascertained that Martin Alonzo, on arriving at Baneque, had not found any gold, and had thence returned to the coast of Espanola, where from the information of the Indians he expected to discover the mine. He coasted along the island for a distance of fifteen leagues approaching near Villa de la Navidad, in which progress he spent above twenty days, from this account it appeared that the reports given by the Indians, of his being seen in the neighbourhood, upon the strength of which king Guacanagari sent the canoe after him, were correct. The Admiral states that in this time he obtained much gold by trading, buying for a thong of leather, pieces as big as the two fingers, and at times as big as the hand. Of the metal thus acquired, he kept half himself, and divided the rest among his crew. The Admiral makes this remark, "Thus I perceive, Sovereign Princes, that it was a providence of our Lord in suffering the ship to be cast away here, it being the best place in the whole island for a settlement, and nearest to the gold mines." He adds that he had learnt of another island behind that of Juana toward the South, in which there was a still greater quantity of gold, and where it was found in grains of the size of a bean. In Espanola they are met with in the mines as large as kernels of wheat.* This first mentioned isle was called by the Indians Yamaye.* From these places to the main land, the distance was described as ten days voyage in a canoe, which might be sixty or seventy leagues. It was said that the people of the continent wore clothing, and the Admiral says he was informed by many persons of an island towards the East inhabited solely by women.

Monday, Jan. 7th. The Admiral’s caravel having a leak, he this day ordered her to be calked, and sent the sailors ashore for wood. They found many mastick and aloe trees.

Tuesday, Jan. 8th. The wind blowing hard from the E. and SE., he did not sail to-day, but continued providing wood, water, and other necessaries for the voyage. It was the Admiral’s wish to coast along the whole island of Espanola, which he might have done upon his course homeward, but as he considered that the captains of the two caravels were brothers, namely Martin Alonzo Pinzon, and Vincent Yanez, and that they had a party attached to them, the whole of whom had displayed great haughtiness and avarice, disobeying his commands, regardless of the honours he had conferred upon them, all which misdemeanours as well as the treachery of Martin Alonzo, in deserting him, he had winked at, without complaining, in order not to throw impediments in the way of the voyage—he thought it best to return home as quickly as possible. He adds, that he possessed many faithful men among his crews, but resolved to put up with the behaviour of the refractory ones, and not at such an unfavourable season undertake their punishment. The Admiral went in the boat to a river which was situated a league to the SSW. from Monte Cristi, and where the sailors got the water for the vessels. This river* was found wide and of a great depth at the mouth. The sand at the bottom, he says, was full of fine gold dust, and he imagined that it was worn thus in its passage down the river. Many large grains were found of the size of lentils, and the finer sort was in great abundance. The tide being up, he ascended the river a stone ’s throw, in order to reach the fresh water, here they filled the casks, and returning to the caravel, found bits of gold between the hoops. The Admiral named this river Rio del Oro (River of Gold), it has a narrow and shoal entrance, but immediately within there is great depth. Its distance from Villa de la Navidad is seventeen leagues,* within this extent are many other streams and in particular three, which from their superior size, the Admiral thought must contain more gold than the one he visited. This last is nearly as large as the Guadalquivir at Cordova, and is not twenty leagues from the mines.* The Admiral concludes by saying that he thought it not necessary to take on board any of the golden sand, as their Highnesses had it within their reach at the port of Navidad, and especially because he wished to return with all speed, and communicate the news of his discoveries, and get rid of the disagreeable society of his refractory crew.

Wednesday, Jan. 9th. At midnight they set sail with a Southeasterly wind, and steered to the ENE., in the evening they arrived and anchored under the shelter of a cape sixty miles* East of Monte Cristi, this he named Punta Roxa.* Here were extensive shoals, on which account they did not leave the place through the night. The land from Monte Cristi to the place where they anchored, was high but level, with beautiful fields, at a distance back appeared a chain of fine mountains running from E. to W., covered with cultivation and presenting a most charming view; streams of water were also in abundance. All along the coast there are great multitudes of turtle, of which the sailors took some at Mote Cristi, as they came on shore to lay their eggs. They were as big as a buckler of the largest size. The Admiral relates, that when on his visit to the Rio del Oro yesterday, he saw three mermaids standing high out of the water, they had faces something similar to those of human beings, but were not so handsome as it was customary to represent them: he adds that he has formerly seen them in Guinea, upon the Pepper coast.* This night, he says, he intends to set sail in the name of our Lord, without suffering himself to be detained here longer by any thing; having accomplished the main object of his enterprise; and as he is anxious to free himself from the troubles which Martin Alonzo causes him, and inform the King and Queen of his voyage and performances, "after which," says he, "I shall no more suffer the practices of worthless and malignant persons who behave with such disobedience and want of respect to one who has shown them so distinguished favours."

Thursday, Jan. 10th. They set sail from their anchorage, and at sunset came to a river,* which the Admiral named Rio de Gracia, its distance was three leagues to the SE. They anchored at its mouth, finding a convenient spot on the Eastern side. There is a bank at the entrance, having but two fathoms water, and the channel very narrow. Within is a harbour well inclosed, but abounding in worms, from which the caravel Pinta had suffered severely, she having been, while absent from the Admiral, sixteen days here, trading for gold, the thing Martin Alonzo was in quest of. It was ascertained that this man having learnt from the Indians that the Admiral was upon the coast, and he could not miss him, he resolved to return to his company, having endeavoured to procure all his crew to swear that they had been there but six days; but his villainy, says the Admiral, was so apparent, that it could not be concealed. He had made regulations that the half of all the gold discovered, or obtained by barter, should be his property; and at leaving this place took six of the Indians, four men and two girls, on board his vessel by force; these the Admiral ordered to be clothed, and sent to their homes, "which," he says, "is for the service of your Highnesses, for they are all your Highnesses’ subjects, especially those of this island, where the people should receive all favour and respect from us, as the place contains so many fine countries with gold and spicery, and the settlement which has been made."

Friday, Jan. 11th. At midnight they sailed from Rio de Gracia with a land-breeze, proceeding four leagues to the E. toward a cape which the Admiral named Belprado. SE. from this, at a distance, according to his account, of eight leagues, is a mountain which he called Monte de Plata.* E. by S., eighteen leagues distant, is a cape which he named Cabo del Angel. Between this and Monte de Plata is a gulf,* bordered by a most charming country, consisting of lofty and beautiful fields extending far into the land. At a distance back is a chain of mountains running from E. to W., very tall and presenting a beautiful view. At the foot of the mountain abovementioned is an excellent harbour* having fourteen fathoms depth at the mouth. The mountain is lofty and handsome, covered with settlements, and, in the Admiral’s opinion contains fine streams of water and much gold. Four leagues E. by S. of Cabo del Angel is a point which he called Punt a del Hierro.* Four leagues farther on is another, named by him, Punt a Seca.* Another called Cabo Redondo,* six leagues beyond that. East from this last, is another, which he named Cabo Frances, beyond which is a bay* but which did not appear a good anchoring place. A league from the bay is a cape called Cabo del Buen tiempo, and another league S. by E. from this, a cape which he named Tajado. To the South another was seen, apparently fifteen leagues distant. They made a great progress this day, as both the wind and the currents were favourable. Not daring to anchor for fear of the shoals, they lay to all night.

Saturday, Jan. 12th. At day-break they stood to the East with a fresh breeze, and sailed by sun-rise twenty miles, the following two hours twenty-four miles, when they discovered land the South* forty-eight miles distant. They found they had gone in the night, twenty-eight miles to the NNE. Standing for the land they discovered a cape which was named Cabo de Padrey Hijo,* as it has toward the East two cliffs of unequal size. Two leagues to the East, an opening was descried between two large mountains, which proved to be a fine large harbour with a good entrance. Being so early, they did not enter, not wishing to lose time, as the wind then blew from the NNW., although for the most part they had found it to How from the E. Continuing their course E. they came to a cape which the Admiral called Cabo del Enamorado* (the lover’s cape); it was of craggy rock and very high, at a distance of thirty-two miles E. of the harbour abovementioned, named by him Puerto Sacro. From this place they discovered another promontory* loftier and handsomer than the last, of a round shape, and all of rock, like Cape St. Vincent in Portugal; it was twelve miles E. of Cabo Enamorado. Arrived off this last, they discovered between these two headlands a very large bays* of three leagues in breadth, with a little isle in the middle. They found the water deep in the mouth near the shore, where they anchored in twelve fathoms, and sent the boat for water, and to converse with the inhabitants, but they all fled. The Admiral stopped here wishing to ascertain if this land was part of Espanola. He was astonished at the great size of the island.

Sunday, Jan. 13th. They did not sail, as no land breeze blew. The Admiral wished to go in search of a better harbour, as this was somewhat unsheltered, and he was desirous of witnessing the conjunction of the sun, moon, and Mercury in opposition to Jupiter, which occasions high winds. The boat was sent on shore to procure ajes for provision; they landed upon a beach in the neighbourhood, and found several Indians with bows and arrows: they entered into conversation with them, purchased their arms, and persuaded one of their number to accompany them on board the caravel, to visit the Admiral. This man was of a more unpleasing appearance than any that had yet been seen; his face was smutted all over with charcoal, though in all parts they are accustomed to paint themselves with a variety of colours. His hair was long, gathered and tied behind, and adorned with parrot’s feathers. He was totally naked. The Admiral took him for one of the Caribes who were man-eaters, and believed that the gulf seen yesterday was a separation between Espanola and another island. He asked him for the Caribes, and he answered by signs that their land was to the East in the neighbourhood; the Admiral says he saw it the day previous, before entering the bay. The Indians informed him that much gold existed there, and in masses as big as the stern of the caravel. He called the metal tuob, not understanding it by caona, as it was called in the other part of the island, nor by nozay, which was the name of it in San Salvador, and the other islands. Copper, or base gold, was called in Espanola tuob. The Indian also spake of the island of Matinino, which according to his account was peopled by women, without a single man, and contained much tuob; he described it as situated East of Carib. Another island containing gold he called Goanin.* The Admiral says he had been informed of these islands some time before, and by several persons. In all the islands they had visited, he declares that the inhabitants entertained great fear of Carib, which in some parts they called Caniba, but in Espanola Carib. He thinks them to be a warlike nation, as they make incursions upon the other islands and devour the prisoners whom they take. He understood some of the words which this Indian used, and by their help obtained the above intelligence; the Indians on board understood more, although there was a difference in their dialects, occasioned by their countries being so remote from one another. The Indian above mentioned, after having been feasted, was sent away with a present of beads, and pieces of red and green cloth, the Admiral requesting him to bring back gold, if he possessed any, which was suspected from some things he carried with him. When the boat arrived at the land, they discovered among the woods, fifty-five Indians, armed with bows; they were all naked, with coarse hair, as long as the women wear it in Castile; the back part of their heads was adorned with bunches of the feathers of parrots and other birds. The Indian in the boat, landing, joined the others, and prevailed with them to lay down their arms, which consisted of bows and arrows with heavy wooden swords. They then came to the boat, and the crew landed and went to purchasing their arms, having been so ordered by the Admiral. The Indians having sold two bows, refused to part with any more, but prepared to attack the Spaniards, and running back for their arms, returned bringing cords, for the purpose, as it seemed, of binding their prisoners. The Spaniards finding themselves about to be attacked, prepared for it, having many times before been instructed by the Admiral to be upon their guard, and as the Indians were running to the assault, fell upon them, wounding several in the breast with their cross-bows, and one upon the posteriors with a sword. The Indians finding they were likely to have the worst of the affray, although their enemies were but seven, and they above fifty, took to flight every one, leaving their weapons scattered here and there. The Spaniards would have killed many, but the pilot who commanded them, would not permit it. They then returned on board the caravel, and informed the Admiral of the adventure, who states that he regretted it on some accounts, but was otherwise glad, because these Indians, whom he was now confident were Caribes, and a savage, man-eating race, would entertain a dread of the Spaniards, and if the men whom he had left at Navidad should make a voyage hither in their boat, the natives would be cautious of offending them. Many smokes were seen up in the country, as had been observed all over the island.

Monday, Jan. 14th. The Admiral wishing to make prisoners of some of the Indians, intended to dispatch the boat to land in the night, to visit their houses for this purpose, but the wind blowing strong from the E. and NE., occasioned a rough sea which prevented it. When the day came, a great many of the natives were seen on shore, and the Admiral sent the boat well armed to land. The Indians all came crowding around her, and among them the one who had visited the caravel and received the presents the day before. With these also came a king of the country, who had dispatched this Indian with some beads to give the boat’s crew in token of security and peace. The king with three of his men entered the boat and went on board the caravel. The Admiral treated them with biscuit and honey, and gave the king a red cap, some beads, and red cloth; to the others he presented pieces of cloth, and dismissed them all highly pleased to land, the king informing him that he would bring him the next day a golden mask, and that there was much of the metal at this place, as well as in Carib and Matinino. The Admiral here states that the caravels were very leaky about the keels, and complains much of the calkers at Palos, who did their work very badly, and when this had been discovered by him, and he endeavoured to make them mend it, had absconded. But he says that in spite of the bad state of his vessels he confides in our Lord, that as he has brought him to these parts, so he will in his great mercy return him; for his Heavenly Majesty knew what struggles it had cost him to set on foot this enterprise, and that he alone had favoured him before the King and Queen, all others in the most unreasonable manner opposing him. He adds, "these last have been the cause that the royal crown of your Highnesses does not possess at this day an hundred millions of revenue more than when I entered your service, from which time it will be seven years the twentieth day of this month of January, without mentioning the increase to arrive hereafter. But Almighty God will remedy all."

Tuesday, Jan. 15th. The Admiral wished to sail, as his stay could no longer be of any profit, on account of the rupture with the Indians. He says he has discovered that most of the gold is in the neighbourhood of Villa de la Navidad, and that in the island of Carib, there is much copper, as also in Matinino. To explore the first, he thinks will be difficult, on account of the ferocity of the inhabitants, and the last is stated to be peopled solely by women. The island of Carib was seen from this place, and he determined, as they both lay in his route, to visit them and capture some of the natives. He sent the boat to land, where they found that the king had not arrived, his town being at a distance; he, however, sent his crown, which was of gold, as he had promised the day before, and many of his men came bringing cotton, bread and ajes, all armed with bows and arrows. The traffic between them being finished, there came four young Indians on board the caravel, where they gave so good an account to the Admiral, of the island to the east, which lay in his course homeward, that he determined to take them along with him. Here he relates that he had discovered no iron nor any other metal but those already mentioned, in these quarters, although he acknowledges it impossible to learn much of the country while they were ignorant of the language, and were several days in making the people understand a single thing. The bows here, he describes as equal in size to those of France and England, and the arrows just like the javelins used by the inhabitants of the other isles, which are made of stalks of the cane while in seed; they are very straight, about a yard and a half in length, and doubled, with a sharp piece of wood a span and a half long at the end; at the point of this some affix a fish’s tooth, but the most of them grass. These arrows are shot in a manner which prevents their doing much harm. A great deal of cotton was found at this place very fine and long. Mastick trees were in abundance, and the bows of the Indians appeared to be made of yew. The land was found to produce much aji, which is the pepper of the inhabitants, and more valuable than the common sort; they deem it very wholesome and eat nothing without it. Fifty caravels might be loaded every year with this commodity at Espanola. The Admiral states that he found in this bay a great deal of that sort of weed which they met at sea upon their passage; on which account he imagined there were islands extending to the east as far as the place where they first perceived it, as he held it for certain that this weed grew in shoal water near the land. He adds, if the above be correct, these Indies must be very near the Canary Isles, in his opinion less than four hundred leagues distant.

Wednesday, Jan. 16th. Three hours before day they set sail from this gulf, which the Admiral named Golfo de las Flechas* (the Gulf of Arrows). They had at first a land breeze, which afterwards shifted to the west, when they steered east by north, for the island of Carib, which contained the people of whom all the other Indians stood in terror, as they were accustomed to scour all those seas with innumerable fleets of canoes, and devour their prisoners. One of the Indians whom they had taken at the place last quitted, directed them upon the route. After sailing, as they judged sixty-four miles, the Indians signified to them that the island was to the SE.,* when they altered their course and proceeded in that direction, and having sailed a couple of leagues, the wind freshened and blew very favourably for their return to Spain. The crews began to despond at leaving their course homeward, on account of the leaky state of the vessels, there being no remedy for it but the help of God, and the Admiral found himself constrained to change his course anew, and steer directly for Spain. He accordingly shaped his route NE. by E., and sailed by sunset forty-eight miles or twelve leagues. The Indians informed him that in this direction he would meet with the island of Matinino, which was inhabited by women; the Admiral was very desirous to visit the place and carry five or six of the inhabitants to Spain, but doubted whether the Indians knew the course thither. Besides he was unwilling to be detained any longer with his leaky vessels. He says, however, that the fact respecting this island is certain, and that the inhabitants are visited at particular times of the year, by men from the isle of Carib, which is about ten or a dozen leagues distant, and the male children which are born, they send to that place, but keep the females themselves. The Admiral believed these islands to be at the SE., and not more than fifteen or twenty leagues from the place whence they had sailed, but he thought the Indians were unable to point out the way. Losing sight of a cape in Espanola, which he named San Theramo,* and which bore west, sixteen leagues distant, they sailed twelve leagues E. by N. The weather was very fine.

Thursday, Jan. 17th. At sunset yesterday, the wind abated a little, and they sailed for fourteen glasses, each of half an hour or a trifle less, till the first watch, going four miles an hour, which made twenty-eight miles. The wind then freshened and they sailed under it the whole watch, which was ten glasses, and afterwards six more till sunrise, at eight miles an hour, making in all eighty-four miles or twenty-one leagues NE. by E. By sunset they sailed forty-four miles or eleven leagues further, in an easterly direction. Here a pelican came on board the caravel, and afterwards another. There was much sea-weed.*

Friday, Jan. 18th. Kept on their course at night E. by S., and sailed forty miles or ten leagues. Afterwards steered SE. by E. till sunrise thirty miles, which are seven leagues and a half. After sunrise sailed all day with light winds, from NE. and E., steering N. and NE., going in the whole sixty miles or fifteen leagues. But little sea-weed was seen, and the Admiral says that yesterday and to-day the ocean was covered with tunnies, which as he thinks were accustomed to direct their course from these parts, to the fisheries where the Spaniards take them. A bird called a rabihorcado, which flew about the caravel, and then went off to the SE., caused the Admiral to think there were islands in that quarter.*

Saturday, Jan. 19th. In the night they sailed fifty-six miles N. by E., and sixty-four NE. by N. After sunrise the wind blew fresh from ESE., and they stood NE. and afterward NE. by N., going eighty-four miles, or twenty-one leagues. The sea was covered with tunnies of a small size, and they saw pelicans, tropic birds, and rabihorcadoes.

Sunday, Jan. 20th. The wind died away at night, and afterwards blew in squalls; they sailed twenty-miles to the NE. After sunrise eleven miles to the SE., and then thirty-six miles or nine leagues to the NNE. A vast number of small tunnies were seen; the air was fresh and soft as at Seville in April or May, and the sea "many thanks to God" says the Admiral, always smooth. Rabihorcadoes, pardelas, and many other birds appeared.

Monday, Jan. 21st. Yesterday, after sunset they sailed N. by E., with the wind E. and NE., going eight miles an hour till midnight, which make fifty-six miles. Afterwards they steered NNE., and sailed at the same rate throughout the night, making a hundred and four miles, or twenty-six leagues. After sunrise kept on the same course, with the wind at E., sometimes varying their course to the NE., sailing in eleven hours, eighty-eight miles or twenty-one leagues, subtracting one which was lost in waiting to speak with the Pinta. The air was found cool, and this was expected to increase every day as they advanced toward the north, and had longer nights. A great many tropic birds, pardelas and other fowl were seen, but not so great a multitude of fish as before, which was thought to be owing to the greater coolness of the water. Weeds also in abundance.

Tuesday, Jan. 22d. After sunset last evening they stood to the NNE., with the wind from E. to SE., and sailed eight miles an hour for five glasses, adding three which were sailed before the watch, in all eight, which make seventy-two miles or eighteen leagues. Afterwards sailed NE. and N. six glasses, eighteen miles further. Then four glasses of the second watch to the NE., six miles an hour, which make three leagues. Then till sunrise ENE., eleven glasses, six miles an hour, making eight leagues and a quarter. Then ENE. till eleven o’clock in the forenoon, thirty-two miles, when it fell calm and they made no further progress. The Indians went into the sea to swim. Tropic birds and much weed were seen.

Wednesday, Jan. 23d. Last night there were many changes of the wind; making all the customary calculations and allowances, they supposed their course had been eighty-four miles or twenty-one leagues NE. by N. The Admiral hove to many times for the Pinta, she sailing badly upon the wind, having little aid from her mizzen, as the mast was unsound. The Admiral remarks that if the captain, Martin Alonzo Pinzon, had taken as much care to provide himself with a new mast in the Indies, where there are so many fine trees, as he had exerted in running away from him in the hope of loading his vessel with gold, they would not have laboured under that inconvenience. They saw many tropic birds and much weed; the sky was totally overcast, but no rain: the sea all the time smooth as a river, "many thanks be to God," says the Admiral. After sunrise they bore away to the NE., and sailed thirty miles, or seven leagues and a half; then ENE. as much further.

Thursday, Jan. 24th. All last night the wind kept shifting toward the NE., and they sailed forty-four miles, or eleven leagues; after sunrise ENE. fourteen leagues.

Friday, Jan. 25th. At night, sailed ENE., three glasses, nine leagues and a half, then NNE. six miles further. After sunrise, the wind dying away, they made no more than twenty-eight miles, or seven leagues toward the ENE., till night. The sailors took a tunny and a very large shark, which was a seasonable supply of food, for they had nothing to eat but bread and ajes from India.

Saturday, Jan. 26th. At night continued their course East by South, fifty-six miles, or fourteen leagues. After sunrise stood Southeasterly, and sailed by eleven o’clock forty miles. Then hove about and stood upon the wind twenty-four miles or six leagues to the North.

Sunday, Jan. 27th. After sunset steered NE. and N., sailing five miles an hour for thirteen hours, which make sixty-five miles, or sixteen leagues and a half. At sunrise sailed NE., twenty-four miles, or six leagues, till noon, and from that time till sunset, three leagues to the ENE.

Monday, Jan. 28th. All night steered ENE, thirty-six miles or nine leagues, and from sunrise till night, twenty miles further in the same direction. The air was soft and mild. Saw tropic-birds, pardelas, and much weed.

Tuesday, Jan. 29th. Steered ENE. in the night, with a Southerly wind, sailing thirty-nine miles or nine leagues and a half. By day eight leagues further. The air mild, as in Castile in April, and the sea smooth. Many dories leaped on board.

Wednesday, Jan. 30th. At night sailed seven leagues ENE. In the day, thirteen leagues and a half South by East. Saw tropic-birds, and abundance of tunnies and weed.

Thursday, Jan. 31st. Sailed in the night thirty miles North by East, then NE., thirty-five miles, in all sixteen leagues. From sunrise till night, steered ENE., thirteen leagues and a half. Tropic birds and pardelas were seen.

Friday, Feb. 1st. In the night sailed ENE., sixteen leagues and a half; in the day, twenty-nine leagues and a quarter, in the same direction. The sea very smooth, "thanks to God," says the Admiral.

Saturday, Feb. 2d. During the night sailed ENE. forty miles or ten leagues. In the day, with the same wind astern, sailed seven miles an hour, going in eleven hours, seventy-seven miles, which are nineteen leagues and a quarter. The sea very smooth, thanks to God, and the air soft. The sea was so covered with weeds that those unacquainted with them would have taken them for shoals. Pardelas were seen.

Sunday, Feb. 3d. The wind astern at night, and the sea smooth, thanks to God, they sailed twenty-nine leagues. The polar star appeared as high as at Cape St. Vincent, but the motion of the vessel would not allow them to take its altitude with the astrolabe or quadrant. In the day continued their course ENE., sailing ten miles an hour, going in eleven hours twenty-seven leagues.

Monday, Feb. 4th. At night, steered East by North, going ten and eleven miles an hour; sailed a hundred and thirty miles, which are thirty-two leagues and a half. The sky was very cloudy, with rain, and the air began to grow cold, for which reason the Admiral says he knew he had not yet reached the Azores. After sunrise, altered their course to the East. All day sailed seventy-seven miles, which are nineteen leagues and a quarter.

Tuesday, Feb. 5th. All night sailed East, fifty-four miles, or thirteen leagues and a half; in the day ten miles an hour, for eleven hours, making a hundred and ten miles, or twenty-seven leagues and a half. Saw pardelas and some small sticks, a sign that they were near land.

Wednesday, Feb. 6th. In the night steered East, eleven miles an hour, going a hundred and forty-three miles, or thirty-five leagues and a quarter, in thirteen hours. Saw many pardelas and other birds. In the day sailed fourteen miles an hour, making day and night about seventy-four leagues. Vincent Yanez said that this morning the island of Flores bore North, and that of Madeira, East. Roldan stated that the island of Fayal or that of St. Gregory bore NE., and Porto Santo, East. Many weeds were seen.

Thursday, Feb. 7th. All night sailed East, ten miles an hour, making in thirteen hours, a hundred and thirty miles, or thirty-two leagues and a half. In the day, eight miles an hour, eighty-eight miles or twenty-two leagues. This morning the Admiral was by his reckoning seventy-five leagues south of the island of Flores. The reckoning of Pedro Alonzo, the pilot, carried him as far North as a point between Tercera and Santa Maria, and to the East, twelve leagues beyond the meridian of Madeira. The sailors saw a great deal of weed, different from that observed before, and of that sort which abounds in the Azores. Afterwards met with it of the former kind.

Friday, Feb. 8th. At night sailed three miles an hour, to the E. for some time, then SE.; going twelve leagues during the night. From sunrise till noon, sailed twenty-seven miles, and from that time to sunset, as much farther; in all, thirteen leagues SSE.

Saturday, Feb. 9th. Part of the night sailed SSE. three leagues, then S. by E., afterwards NE. five leagues till ten o’clock, thence till night, nine leagues to the East.

Sunday, Feb. 10th. After sunset sailed E. all night, going a hundred and thirty miles, or thirty-two leagues and a half; from sunrise till night sailed nine miles an hour, making ninety-nine miles, or twenty-four leagues and three-quarters. On board the Admiral’s caravel, reckonings were kept by Vincent Yanez, the two pilots, Sancho Ruiz and Pedro Alonzo Nino, and Roldan. All these, by their own accounts were far beyond the Azores to the E., and no one so far north as Santa Maria, which is the most southerly of the group, so that their reckonings brought them in the neighbourhood of Madeira or Porto Santo. The Admiral was much behind them, finding himself that night S. of the island of Flores, and in the latitude of Nafe in Africa. Thus their accounts made them nearer to Spain than his by an hundred and fifty leagues. He remarks that by the grace of God they shall find upon making land, who is the most correct. He further observes that upon their passage out they sailed two-hundred and sixty-three leagues before they met with the weeds.

Monday, Feb. 11th. Kept on their course in the night, twelve miles an hour, and sailed thirty-nine leagues; in the day, sixteen and a half. Saw many birds, on which account they thought themselves near land.

Tuesday, Feb. 12th. Sailed E. six miles an hour through the night, going seventy-three miles, or eighteen leagues and a quarter. Here the wind began to blow furiously with a heavy sea, and if the caravel had not been a good vessel, and well prepared, they would have been in danger of perishing. During the day they sailed eleven or twelve leagues with much labour and hazard.

Wednesday, Feb. 13th. From sunset till day, they laboured exceedingly with a high wind and furious sea; it lightened three times in the NE., which in the Admiral’s opinion was a sign of a violent tempest from that, or the opposite quarter. They scudded under bare poles most of the night, and afterwards set a little sail and went fifty-two miles or thirteen leagues. In the day the wind remitted somewhat, and then sprung up with more violence; the sea was terrible, running cross and causing the vessel to labour excessively. They made a progress of fifty-five miles, or thirteen leagues and a half.

Thursday, Feb. 14th. In the night the wind increased, and the sea was most tremendous, the waves crossing and dashing against one another, so that the vessel was overwhelmed, and not able to get out from between them. The fore sail was set very low, in order to carry her somewhat out of her dangerous situation; they stood under it for three hours, going twenty miles, when the wind and sea increasing, they began to drive before it, not having any other remedy. At the same time, the Pinta, in which was Martin Alonzo, began to scud likewise, and they soon lost sight of her, although the two caravels made signals to one another by lights, until from the fury of the storm they were no longer perceptible. The Admiral drove all night to the NE. by E., going fifty-four miles or thirteen leagues. At sunrise the wind still increased, and the cross sea grew more and more terrible; they set the foresail again, low, to carry them out from between the waves, among which they expected to be crushed. They kept to the ENE., and afterwards to the NE. going in six hours thus seven leagues and a half. The Admiral ordered that lots should be cast for one of them to go on a pilgrimage to St. Mary of Guadalupe and carry a wax taper of five pounds weight; he caused them all to take an oath that the one on whom the lot fell should perform the pilgrimage. For this purpose as many peas were selected as there were persons on board, one of them was marked with a cross, and the whole shaken together in a cap. The first who put his hand in was the Admiral, and he drew the crossed pea. So the lot fell upon him, and he looked upon himself as bound to accomplish the pilgrimage. Another lot was taken for a pilgrimage to St. Mary of Loretto, in the marc of Ancona, territory of the pope, which is the house where Our Lady has performed so many miracles, this fell upon a sailor of Puerto de Santa Maria, called Pedro de Villa; the Admiral promised to furnish him with money for his expenses. A third lot was determined upon, for the selection of a person who should watch a whole night in St. Clara de Moguer, and have a mass said there; it fell again upon the Admiral. After this, he and all the crew made a vow to go in procession, clothed in penitential garments, to the first church dedicated to Our Lady which they should meet with on arriving at land, and there pay their devotions.

Besides these general vows, every individual made his private one, all expecting to be lost, so furious was the rage of the hurricane. Their danger was increased by the want of ballast in the vessel, as their provisions were mostly consumed, and their wine and water gone, which deficiencies the Admiral had neglected to supply among the islands, because he wished to husband his time in making discoveries, and expected to take in ballast at the isle of the women, which he intended to visit. All the remedy they could devise in the present extremity was to fill with sea-water such empty casks as they could get at, and in this manner they obtained some relief.

Here the Admiral states the circumstances which caused him to fear that our Lord would suffer them to perish, and others which gave him hope that he would bring them safe to land, and not allow the important information they were carrying to the King and Queen to be lost. He seems to have felt the most anxious desire to have his great discovery known, so that the world might be convinced the assertions made by him had been correct, and that he had accomplished what he professed himself able to do; the thought of this not being done, gave him the greatest inquietude, and he was perpetually in apprehensions as the smallest trifle might defeat his whole undertaking.* He ascribes this to his want of faith and confidence in the Divine Providence, but comforts himself in reflecting upon the many mercies God had shown him in having enabled him to conquer all his adversities and hindrances in Castile, and accomplish his great discovery. And as he had made the service of God the aim and business of his undertaking, and he had hitherto favoured him in granting all his desire, he indulges a hope that he will continue that favour, and secure him a safe arrival. Especially he reflected that he had delivered him when he had much greater reason for fear, upon the outward voyage, at which time the crew rose up against him, and with an unanimous and threatening voice, resolved to return back, but the eternal God gave him spirit and valour against them all. With these thoughts and the consideration of other wonderful favours he had experienced, he says he ought not to be in fear of the tempest; but he adds that his apprehensions and the anguish of his mind would not allow him to rest; besides, he continues, his anxiety was increased in reflecting upon the state of his two sons whom he had left at their studies in Cordova, these would be left orphans in a foreign land, and the King and Queen being ignorant of the services he had rendered them by the voyage, would not feel any inclination to provide for them. On this account, and that their Highnesses might be informed that our Lord had granted success to the enterprise in the discovery of the Indies, and might know that storms did not prevail in those quarters,* (which was apparent from the plants and trees growing down to the very brink of the sea,) he devised a method of acquainting them with the circumstances of the voyage in case they should perish in the storm; this he performed by writing upon parchment an account of it, as full as possible, and earnestly entreating the finder to carry it to the King and Queen of Spain. The parchment was rolled up in a waxed cloth, and well tied; a large wooden cask being then produced, he placed it within, and threw it into the sea, none of the crew knowing what it was, but all taking it for some act of devotion. Violent showers of rain followed, and the wind shifted to the West, when they scudded before it under the foresail five hours, with a tremendous sea, going two leagues and a half to the NE. The mainsail was taken in, lest the sea should carry it away altogether.

Friday, Feb. 15th. After sunset last night, the sky began to grow clear in the West, and the wind inclined to that quarter. The bonnet was set upon the mainsail. The sea was high, but abating. They steered ENE. four miles an hour, and during the night went thirteen leagues. At sunrise they discovered land ahead, which some thought to be Madeira, and others the rock of Cintra near Lisbon. The land being about five leagues distant, the wind suddenly came round to the ENE., directly ahead. According to the Admiral’s reckoning they were near the Azores, and he took this for one of those islands. The others were by their calculation near Spain.

Saturday, Feb. 16th. All night they beat against the wind for the land, which was found to be an island. They stood to the NE. and NNE. till sunrise, when they hove about for the South, in quest of the island, which was hidden from them by clouds, and discovered another island astern, at the distance of eight leagues. From sunrise till night they continued beating for the island, against a violent wind and heavy sea. At the time of saying the salve which is in the beginning of the night, a light was seen by some of the crew to leeward, which appeared to be the island first seen yesterday. All night they kept plying to windward, to discover, if possible, the islands by sunrise. The Admiral took a little rest, having since Wednesday, neither slept nor been able to do so; he found himself exceedingly lame from exposure to the cold and waves, and the little food which he had taken. They steered SSW., and at night espied an island, which, by reason of the clouds, they did not recognize.

Monday, Feb. 18th. After sunset last night they sailed round the island to find an anchorage and communicate with those on shore. An anchor was dropped which they quickly lost, and were obliged to put to sea again, beating to windward all night. At sunrise they stood toward the North part of the island, where they once more cast anchor, and sending the boat to land, ascertained that it was the island of St. Mary, one of the Azores. The inhabitants directed them to a harbour for the caravel, and declared that they had never witnessed a storm like that which had endured for fifteen days past, and wondered how the Spaniards had escaped. The islanders returned thanks to God, and rejoiced much to hear that the Admiral had discovered the Indies. He says that his reckoning had been very true, for which he gave many thanks to our Lord. And although it apparently run a little beyond their true situation, yet he had held it for certain that they were in the neighbourhood of the Azores, one of which isles he thought this to be, upon the discovery of it. He adds that he suffered his reckoning to run ahead of their true progress for the purpose of humouring the pilots and others who made calculations, these having manifested great dissatisfaction at finding his accounts differing from their own.

Tuesday, Feb. 19th. After sunset, three men came down to the shore and called out to them. The boat was sent, and they came on board bringing fowls and new bread with other things, it being shrove-tide; these were sent by the Captain of the island, who was named Juan de Castaneda, and stated that he was well acquainted with the Admiral, but could not visit him on account of the night. He promised to come on board in the morning with other refreshments, and bring with him the three Spaniards who had been sent on shore, and whom as he declared, he detained for the great pleasure of hearing them relate the particulars of the voyage. The Admiral ordered every respect to be shown towards the messengers of the Captain, and assigned them beds for sleeping on board, as it was late and the town distant. And remembering the vow they had made during the storm, to go in penitential garments to the first church dedicated to Our Lady, which they should meet on coming to land, he directed that one half the crew should go and fulfil their vow at a hermitage near the shore, and himself with the other half afterwards. Not seeing any thing to fear on the land, and confiding in the offers of the Captain, and the amity which subsisted between Portugal and Castile, he requested the three islanders to go to the town and send him an ecclesiastic for the purpose of reciting a mass. The crew being at the hermitage at their devotions in accomplishment of the vow, the whole population attacked them with horse and foot, the Captain at their head, and took them all prisoners. Meantime the Admiral continued waiting without any suspicion, for the return of the boat, that he might go with the rest of the crew in their turn. About eleven o’clock in the forenoon, seeing nothing of his men, he began to suspect that the Portuguese had detained them, or the boat was wrecked, the shore being high and rocky. Nothing could be discovered on land, as the hermitage was situated behind a point. He ordered the anchor to be weighed, and they made sail till they came off against the place, when they discovered many persons on horseback, who alighted and entering the boat with their arms, came off towards the caravel for the purpose of capturing the Admiral. The Captain stood up in the boat and demanded a security of the Admiral, who replied that he would grant the request, but wished to know why none of the Spaniards were in the boat; he invited him on board the caravel, promising to satisfy all his demands; this he did in order to make a prisoner of him and recover his crew, but the Captain finding he was unlikely to succeed in his attempt, did not dare come on board. The Admiral seeing that he could not entice him into his hands, demanded to be informed why he detained his men, and how they had offended the King of Portugal, adding that in the dominions of the King and Queen of Castile, the Portuguese were treated with every respect and were as free and safe as at Lisbon. He further informed him that his sovereigns had given him letters of recomendation to all Princes, Sovereigns and commanders in the world, which he was ready to exhibit if desired; and that he was their Admiral of the Sea and Viceroy of the Indies, which then belonged to their Highnesses. The commission to this effect, signed and sealed by their hands, he displayed to the captain who remained at a distance. To these representations he subjoined others relating to the amity which subsisted between the King and Queen of Castile and the King of Portugal, and the orders which had been given by the former to treat with respect all Portuguese ships. If notwithstanding these considerations, he refused to release his crew, he stated that he should not be hindered from proceeding to Castile, as he had men enough left to navigate his vessel to Seville, and the Captain and his followers would be severely punished for the injury they had done him. The Captain and others in the boat replied that they knew nothing there of the King and Queen of Castile, or their commissions, nor cared for them, but would make the Spaniards learn what the Portuguese were, expecting to intimidate the Admiral. This gave him much anxiety, suspecting that some difference had arisen between the two kingdoms since his departure, and he could not refrain from answering the Captain in such a manner as his conduct merited. The Captain stood up again in the boat and ordered him to proceed with the caravel to the harbour, adding that all he had done was by order of the king, his master. The Admiral ordered all on board his vessel to bear witness to these transactions, and called out to the Captain and those with him, vowing that he would not leave the caravel till he had carried a hundred of the Portuguese to Castile, and depopulated the island. He then returned to his anchorage in the harbour, as the wind and weather did not admit of taking any other course.

Wednesday, Feb. 20th. The Admiral ordered the vessel to be set in order, and the casks to be filled from the sea for ballast, as the harbour was very bad, and he feared the rocky bottom would cut the cables, which in fact happened, and they put to sea toward the island of St. Michael. There was no harbour in all the Azores, which was safe from the weather which then prevailed, and the only remedy was to stand off to sea.

Thursday, Feb. 21st. They left the island of St. Mary last night for that of St. Michael, in search of a harbour against the bad weather, the wind being high with a heavy sea. They sailed all night without seeing any land, by reason of the clouds, and the obscurity which the wind and sea caused. The Admiral says, he was under some concern, having but three experienced sailors on board, the remainder being ignorant of maritime affairs. They kept lying to with much labour and danger from the violence of the storm. In one respect Our Lord showed his mercy, the sea and wind came in one direction, had they been cross, the damage suffered would have been much greater. At sunrise, not seeing the island of St. Michael, the Admiral resolved to return to St. Mary’s, and attempt the recovery of his crew, with the boat and anchors which had been lost.

He expresses his astonishment at the furious storms among these islands, having sailed in the Indies all the winter without being forced to anchor by the weather, and not having for a single hour witnessed the sea unfit to navigate. He remarks that he met with stormy weather upon the passage outward till his arrival at the Canaries, but after that, had always a smooth sea and fine wind. He draws the conclusion that the theologians and learned philosophers had very justly placed the terrestrial paradise at the extremity of the East, the climate there being exceedingly mild. This is the region, he says, that he has discovered.

Friday, Feb. 22d. Yesterday they anchored off the island of St. Mary, in the place they had occupied before, and presently a man came clambering down the rocky shore opposite them, and called out for them not to leave the place. Shortly after, came the boat with five sailors, two ecclesiastics, and a notary. They demanded a security, which being given by the Admiral, they came on board, and it being night slept there, he showing them every respect in his power. In the morning they requested to see his commissions from the King and Queen of Castile, that they might be satisfied he had made the voyage by their order. The Admiral was sensible that they did this by way of a colour for their previous conduct, wishing to get free from the affair as well as they could, having failed in the attempt to seize him. It appeared that they were apprehensive he would carry his threat into effect. The Admiral in order to regain his men, thought fit to show them the King and Queen’s letters, and his other commissions, he then treated them with such things as he had, and dismissed them contented ashore. The crew in the island were then released, and came on board in the boat; from them the Admiral learned that had the Portuguese succeeded in taking him, he would never have got free, for as the Captain stated, the King his master had given orders to that effect.

Saturday, Feb. 23d. Yesterday the weather began to grow favourable; they weighed anchor, and sailed round the island, searching for a good anchorage, to take in wood, and stone for ballast. Could not succeed till evening.

Sunday, Feb. 24th. Came to anchor last evening, but the sea being high, the boat was not able to land. At the first watch of the night, the wind began to blow from the W. and SW. and the Admiral ordered the sails to be set; as it was dangerous in those islands to lie at anchor with a Southerly wind, and from the SW. it quickly shifts to S. Seeing that it blew favourably for the passage to Castile, he resolved not to wait for the wood and ballast, and ordered to steer to the E., in which direction they sailed till sunrise, for the space of six hours and a half, seven miles an hour, going forty-five miles and a half. From sunrise till sunset they sailed six miles an hour, going sixty-six miles, in all twenty-eight leagues.

Monday, Feb. 25th. After sunset last night they kept on their course E., five miles an hour till sunset, sailing sixty-five miles or sixteen leagues and a quarter. From thence till sunrise the next morning, sixteen leagues and a half, the sea smooth, thanks to God. There came to the vessel a very large bird like an eagle.

Tuesday, Feb. 26th. Continued their course E., after sunset, the sea smooth, thanks to God. For the most of the night sailed eight miles an hour, going a hundred miles, or twenty-five leagues. After sunrise the wind grew light with showers. Went about eight leagues to the ENE.

Wednesday, Feb. 27th. Last night and all this day they were driven out of their course by the contrary wind and heavy sea. The Admiral found himself by his reckoning, one hundred and twenty-five leagues from Cape St. Vincent, eighty from the island of Madeira, and one hundred and six from that of St. Mary. He was much afflicted at meeting with such a storm so near home.

Thursday, Feb. 28th. Kept on in the same manner through the night, the wind varying from S. to SE. and NE. the same through the day.

Friday, March 1st. In the night sailed E. by N., twelve leagues; in the day, twenty-three leagues and a half in the same direction.

Saturday, March 2d. At night kept on their course E. by N., sailing twenty-eight leagues; by day, twenty more.

Sunday, March 3d. After sunset continued their course E. A violent squall struck the vessel and split all the sails. They were in imminent danger, but God saw fit to deliver them. A lot was ordered for the choice of one to go on a pilgrimage in penitential garments to St. Mary de la Cinta, in Huelba, and the lot fell again upon the Admiral. They all made a vow to fast upon bread and water the first Saturday after their arrival. Sixty miles had been sailed before the sails were split, afterwards they drove under bare poles, with a furious tempest and cross sea. Signs of land were seen, and all judged themselves near Lisbon.

Monday, March 4th. In the night they laboured with a terrible storm, and were near meeting with destruction from the cross sea, the fury of the wind, which seemed to carry them up to the skies, and the violent showers and lightning from many parts, but it pleased our Lord to sustain them, and they drove before the storm till the first watch, when the sailors discovered land, and in order not to approach too near it before discovering a harbour or place of shelter, they set the foresail and stood off to sea, although with great danger, but there was no other course. God preserved them till day, but as the Admiral says, with infinite labour and apprehension on their part. When the day arrived they found the land to be the Rock of Cintra, near Lisbon, where the Admiral determined to enter, as he could do no better, the violence of the storm not allowing him to remain at Cascaes, near the mouth of the river. He states that the people of the town were all the morning offering up prayers for the safety of the vessel, and upon her arrival within the river ran in crowds to see the Spaniards, wondering at their escape. At three o’clock they arrived at Rastelo upon the Tagus, and were informed by the mariner of the place that such a stormy winter had never been known, twenty-five ships being lost in Flanders, and others had been detained four months without being able to put to sea. The Admiral immediately wrote to the King of Portugal, who was nine leagues from that place, and informed him that the King and Queen of Castile had directed him to enter the ports of his Highness to purchase necessaries, and that he had come not from Guinea, but the Indies. He requested permission for the caravel to proceed to Lisbon, by reason that some avaricious persons, imagining that the vessel contained much gold, might in that lonely place attempt some deed of violence.

Tuesday, March 5th. This day Bartolome Diaz de Lisboa the Patron of the principal Portuguese ship which lay at anchor at Rastelo, came in an armed boat to the caravel, and signified to the Admiral that he must go with them and give an account of himself to the stewards of the king, and the Captain of the abovementioned ship; he replied that he was Admiral of the King and Queen of Castile, and gave no accounts to any such persons, adding that he should not leave his vessel except by force of arms. The Patron then said he might send the master of the caravel, to which the Admiral answered that neither the master nor any other person should go unless compelled by violence, for he looked upon it to be the same as going himself, and it was the custom of the Castilian Admirals rather to die than deliver up either themselves or their men. The Patron then grew moderate and said he might do as he pleased, seeing he held such a resolution, but requested to see the letters of the King and Queen of Castile, which the Admiral thought best to show him, when he returned to the ship, and related the circumstance to the Captain, whose name was Alvaro Dama. The captain came on board, the Admiral in great pomp with drums, trumpets and pipes, offering to serve him in any way he desired.

Wednesday, March 6th. The news of the Admiral’s arrival from the Indies being known at Lisbon, there came a vast multitude from the city to visit him, and see the Indians; it was a matter of admiration to behold the crowds, and the wonder which they manifested, giving thanks to Our Lord, and declaring that for the great faith, and desire to serve God which the King and Queen of Castile displayed, the Almighty had granted them all this.

Thursday, March 7th. This day came an infinite multitude of people to the caravel, and among them many knights, and the two royal stewards; all gave unbounded thanks to Our Lord for the great profit and increase of Christianity thus secured to the Sovereigns of Castile, which they attributed to the zeal of these Princes for the advancement of the Christian religion.

Friday, March 8th. This day the Admiral received by the hands of Martin de Noronha, a letter from the King of Portugal, requesting him to pay him a visit, as the weather did not permit him to sail: The Admiral thought proper to comply, in order not to show mistrust, although he disliked it. He set out upon the journey and slept at Sacanben. The King ordered his stewards to furnish him and his crew with every thing they stood in need of, free of cost, and to perform every wish of the Admiral.

Saturday, March 9th. He left Sacanben to meet the King, who was at Val do Paraiso, nine leagues from Lisbon; he did not reach the place till night on account of the rain. The king caused him to be received in the most honourable manner by the principal persons of his household, and conducted into his presence, where he treated him with the greatest respect, causing him to be seated. He then entered into conversation with him, and offered to perform every thing which could be for his service or that of the King and Queen of Castile. He expressed the highest pleasure at the success of the voyage, but remarked that he understood, according to the capitulation between him and those sovereigns, that this acquisition belonged to him. The Admiral replied that he had not seen the capitulation, nor was acquainted with any other circumstance respecting the matter, except that his orders had been not to go to the mine, nor to any part of Guinea, and that this had been published in all the ports of Andalusia before the voyage. The King graciously answered that he was certain no vouchers for that fact were necessary. He ordered the Prior of Crato to entertain him, who was the person of the highest distinction in the place. This man treated him with every honour and attention.

Sunday, March 10th. After mass, the King repeated to him that he would furnish him with any thing he desired. Much arguing arose between them about the voyage; the king always desiring him to be seated and doing him much honour.*

Monday, March 11th. The Admiral took leave of the King, who entrusted him with a message to the King and Queen of Castile; and dismissed him with many marks of affection. He set out after dinner, attended by Don Martin de Noronha, and all the knights, who by the King’s direction escorted him some distance. Arriving at a monastery of St. Anthony near Villafranca, where the Queen resided, he went to pay his respects and kiss her hands, she having requested him not to depart without paying her a visit. She received him very honourably in presence of the Duke and Marquis. He left her at night, and went to sleep at Llandra.

Tuesday, March 12th. On the point of setting out from Llandra, there arrived a gentleman from the King, informing him that if he wished to go to Castile by land, he was ready to attend him for the purpose of providing conveyances and lodgings upon the road, and any other thing which might be necessary. When the Admiral took leave of him, he ordered him a mule, and another for the pilot, to whom as the Admiral learnt, he also presented twenty espadims.* He mentioned this, as he says, that the King and Queen might know it. He arrived on board the caravel at night.

Wednesday, March 13th. At eight o’clock, weighed anchor and put to sea for Seville, with a Northwest wind and heavy sea.

Thursday, March 14th. After sunset last night, steered South, and before morning found themselves off Cape St. Vincent. They then stood to the East for Saltes, and sailed with a light wind till night, when they were off Furon.

Friday, March 15th. After sunset continued their course with little wind, and at sunrise found themselves off Saltes. At noon they crossed the bar with the flood tide, and arrived within the port, from whence they had sailed on the third day of August, the preceding year. And here, the Admiral says, this relation ends, but that he purposes to go to Barcelona by sea, being informed that their Highnesses are in that city, there to give them an account of his voyage, in which our Lord had directed and enlightened him. For although he believed without scruple that the Almighty created all things good, that all is excellent but sin, and that nothing can be done without his permission, "yet," he observes, "it has been most wonderfully manifested in the circumstances of this voyage, as may be seen by considering the many signal miracles performed throughout, as well as the fortune which has attended myself, who passed so long a time at the court of your Highnesses, and met with the opposition of so many of the principal persons of your household, who were all against me, and ridiculed my project. The which I hope in Our Lord will prove the greatest honour to Christianity ever accomplished with such ease." These are the final words of the Admiral Don Christopher Columbus, in the relation of his first voyage and discovery of the Indies.


THE following summary account of the voyage was written by our navigator on his arrival at Lisbon. It was translated into semi-barbarous Latin by Leandro Cosco and published at Rome in 1493. It appears to have been reprinted, but the work is rarely to be met with, and the copies very imperfect. According to the statement of Munoz, the greater part of the original text has been preserved in an unpublished history of the Catholic Kings written by Andreo Bernaldez the Court Chaplain. Don Francisco Antonio Gonzalez the royal Librarian has collated the different copies of this work, and translated it into Spanish for the collection of Navarrete. It is subjoined here with the title prefixed to the first edition.LETTER of Christopher Columbus, the great Benefactor of the present age, concerning the newly discovered islands of India upon the Ganges, upon which enterprise he was despatched eight months since by the invincible Sovereigns of Spain, Ferdinand and Isabella; directed to Don Rafael Sanchez, Treasurer of their most Serene Highnesses. Translated from the Spanish into Latin by Leandro de Cosco, April 25th, 1493, first year of the pontificate of Alexander vi.

As I know you will take pleasure in hearing of the success of my undertaking, I have determined to send you an account of the occurrences of my voyage and discoveries. Thirty-three days after my departure from Cadiz I arrived in the sea of India, where I discovered many islands, inhabited by innumerable people. Of these I took possession in the name of our fortunate monarch, with public proclamation and colours flying, no one offering any resistance. I named the first of these islands San Salvador, thus bestowing upon it the name of our holy Saviour, under whose protection I made the discovery. The Indians call it Guanahanyn. I gave also a new name to the others, calling the second Santa Maria de la Concepcion, the third, Fernandina, the fourth Isabela, the fifth Juana. In the same manner I named the rest. Arriving at the one last mentioned, I sailed along its coast, toward the West, discovering so great an extent of land that I could not imagine it to be an island but the continent of Cathay. I did not, however, discover upon the coast any large cities, all we saw being a few villages and farms, with the inhabitants of which we could not obtain any communication, they all flying at our approach. I continued my course, still expecting to meet with some town or city, but after having gone a great distance, and not meeting with any, and finding myself proceeding towards the North, which I was desirous to avoid on account of the cold, and moreover meeting with a contrary wind, I determined to return to the South, and therefore put about and sailed back to a harbour which I had before observed.

At this place I sent two men into the country to see if the King or any cities were to be found. These returned in three days, having discovered a great number of the towns, but all of them small, and without any government. In the mean time I had learned from certain Indians whom I had taken here, that this country was an island. I returned along the coast to the East, a distance of three hundred and twenty-two miles, which brought me to the extremity of the island. Here I discovered to the East another island, fifty-four miles from Juana. I gave it the name of Espanola, and coasted along the island to the North as at Juana I had proceeded to the East,* a distance of five hundred and sixty-four miles.* All these islands are very fertile. That of Juana abounds in safe and capacious harbours, which surpass in excellence all I have ever seen elsewhere. It is watered by a great number of large and pleasant rivers, and contains many high mountains.

These islands are of a beautiful appearance and present a great diversity of views. They may be traversed in any part, and are adorned with a great variety of exceedingly lofty trees, which to appearance never lose their foliage, for I saw them as verdant and flourishing as they exist in Spain in the month of May, some covered with flowers, others loaded with fruit, according to their different species and their season of bearing, the whole offering a spectacle of great beauty. The nightingale and countless other birds were singing, although it was the month of November when I visited this delightful region. There are in the island of Juan a six or eight sorts of palm trees, superior to those of our land in height and beauty, and this superiority is likewise observable in the other trees as well as in the herbs and fruits. Here are to be seen the most beautiful pine trees, and the most extensive fields and pastures, a great variety of birds, several sorts of honey, and many kinds of metal, with the exception of iron. In the island named Espanola, there are lofty and beautiful mountains, large cultivated tracts, woods, fertile fields, and every thing adapted to the purposes of agriculture, the pasturage of cattle, and the erection of houses. The excellence of the harbours here, and the abundance of the streams which contribute to the salubrity of the climate, exceed imagination. There is a considerable difference between the trees, fruits and fields of this island and those of Juana, but here are found divers sorts of precious drugs, gold and metals. The inhabitants of both sexes, in Espanola and all the other islands which I saw or heard of, go naked as they were born, all except a few females who wear at the waist a green leaf, a portion of cotton, or bit of silk which they manufacture for this purpose.

As I before remarked, they possess no iron, and they neither use nor are acquainted with weapons, to the exercise of which indeed they are not at all adapted, not by reason of any corporal deficiency, as they are very well shaped, but on account of their great timidity. Instead of arms they have canes dried in the sun, to the largest ends of which they fix a piece of wood sharpened at the end; of these, however, they have not the courage to make much use. I have in many instances sent two or three of my men to their towns to communicate with the inhabitants, when the Indians would tumultuously rush out, and seeing our people drawing near, run away with such haste that the father would abandon his child, and the child his father. This timidity was not owing to any violence or injury we offered them, as I was in the practice of making presents of cloth and other things to all the natives whom I met, but arose from their natural mildness and want of courage. Notwithstanding this, as soon as they have thrown aside their fear, and consider themselves in safety, they are very ingenuous and honest, and display great liberality with whatever they possess.

They never refuse to give any thing away which is demanded of them, and will even themselves entreat an acceptance of their property. They exhibit a great friendship towards every one, and will give whatever they have for a trifle or nothing at all. I forbade my men to purchase any thing of them with such worthless articles as bits of earthenware, fragments of platters, broken glass, nails, and thongs of leather, although when they got possession of any such thing they valued it as highly as the most precious jewel in the world. In this manner of bartering, a sailor has acquired for a leather strap or piece of rope, gold to the amount of three sueldos. Others have obtained as much for a matter of still lower value. For new Spanish coins they would give any thing asked of them, as an ounce and a half or two ounces of gold, or thirty or forty pounds of cotton. Thus they would trade away their cotton and gold like idiots, for broken hoops, platters and glass. I prohibited their traffic on account of its injustice, and made them many presents of useful things which I had carried with me, for the purpose of gaining their affection, in order that they may receive the faith of Jesus Christ, be well disposed towards us, and inclined to submit to the King and Queen our Princes, and all the Spaniards, and furthermore that they may furnish us with the commodities which abound among them and we are in want of.

They are not idolaters, but believe that all power and goodness is in heaven, and that I had proceeded from that place with my ships and men; under this notion they received me at my first arrival as soon as they had banished their fear. They are not stupid and indolent, but acute and sagacious. Those of them who navigate the seas among those islands give singular accounts of what they have observed upon their voyages, but have never seen people who wear clothes, nor any ships similar to ours. On my arrival I took by force from the first island a few of the Indians, in order that we might become acquainted with one another’s language, and to gain a knowledge of what their country contained. These were of singular use to us, as we came to understand each other in a short time by the help of words and signs. I have them still with me, and they continue in the belief that we have come from heaven. This information they published wherever we arrived, exclaiming in a loud voice, "Come! Come! and see the celestial people." Upon this call, the natives would come thronging to us, after having banished the fear which seized them at first, men, women and children, old and young, crowding the roads and bringing us victuals and drink, with the utmost affection and reverence.

In every one of these islands there are a great number of canoes, each one made of a solid log, of a narrow shape, somewhat resembling our fustas, but swifter in the water; they are navigated solely by oars. They are of different sizes, the most of them containing seats for eighteen rowers. With these they carry on a commerce among these islands which are innumerable. I saw some of these canoes with seventy or eighty rowers. Throughout these islands there is no diversity in the appearance of the people, their manners or language, all the inhabitants understanding one another, a very favourable circumstance in my opinion, to the design which I have no doubt is entertained by our king, namely to convert them to the holy Christian faith, to which as far as I can perceive they are well disposed. I have said that I sailed from W. to E. three hundred and twenty-two miles along the island of Juana; from the length of this course I am confident that this island is larger than England and Scotland together, for besides the extent which I coasted there are two other provinces to the West which I did not survey. One of these is named by the Indians Anam, and contains inhabitants with tails. These tracts extend to the distance of a hundred and eighty miles, as I have learnt from the Indians with me, who are well acquainted with them.

The island of Espanola is as large as that part of Spain which extends from Catalonia to Fontarabia, which I infer from the extent of that side of it which I sailed along, being five hundred and forty miles in length. I took possession of this fine island, as I had done of the others, in the name of our invincible king; and fixed upon a spot for a large city here, as I judged it the most favourable place. I called it Navidad, and ordered the construction of a fortress here, which is by this time finished. At this place I left a sufficient number of men, with all sorts of arms, and a sufficiency of provisions for above a year. I also left them a caravel and expert workmen, after having secured them the friendship of the king of this part of the country. These people are a friendly and amiable race, and the king took a pride in calling himself my brother. Even if their sentiments should change, and they should become hostile towards us, they will not be able to effect any injury to those who remain at the fortress, as they are destitute of weapons, go naked, and are very cowardly: so that those whom I have left there will be able to retain the whole island in subjection without any danger, if they adhere to the regulations with which I charged them.

Each of the natives, as far as I can understand, has one wife, with the exception of the King and Princes, who are permitted to have as many as twenty. The women appear to do more labour than the men. Whether there exists any such thing here as private property I have not been able to ascertain, as I have observed that an individual has been set to distribute to the others, in particular, food and such things. I found no ferocious sanguinary people in these parts, as some seem to have imagined the people here to be, but they are a very mild and friendly race. Their colour is not black like that of the Ethiopians. Their hair is lank and hanging down. They do not inhabit those parts where the sun’s rays are very powerful, as the heat is excessive here, the latitude being apparently twenty-six degrees. On the summits of the mountains the cold is great, but they do not suffer any incommodity from it, by being accustomed to the climate, and by the use of hot meats and drinks which they consume very prodigally.

People of a monstrous description I saw none nor heard of any, except those of the island named Caris which is the second on the course from Espanola to India: this island is inhabited by people who are regarded by their neighbours as exceedingly ferocious; they feed upon human flesh. These people have many sorts of canoes with which they make incursions upon all the isles of India, robbing and plundering wherever they go. Their difference from the others consists in their wearing long hair like that of the women, and in using bows and arrows of cane, these last constructed as I have already related, by fixing a piece of sharpened wood at the larger end. On this account they are deemed very ferocious by the other Indians, and are much feared by them; I think, however, these men are precisely like the others. These are the natives who go to visit the females who are the sole inhabitants of the island of Matenin, which is the first on the route from Espanola to India. These women exercise none of the common occupations of their sex, but manage the bow and dart, as we are told of the ancients. They wear armour made of plates of copper, of which metal they have great abundance.

I am assured by the Indians that there is another island, larger than Espanola, whose inhabitants are without hair, and who possess a greater quantity of gold than the others. From this island, as well as the others, I have taken some of the inhabitants to confirm the accounts which I give.

Finally to sum up the whole, and state briefly the great profits of this voyage, I am enabled to promise the acquisition, by a trifling assistance from their Majesties, of any quantity of gold, drugs, cotton, and mastick, which last article is found only in the island of Scio; also any quantity of aloe, and as many slaves for the service of the marine, as their Majesties may stand in need of. The same may be said of rhubarb and a great variety of other things which I have no doubt will be discovered by those I have left at the fort, as I did not stop long at any single place, unless obliged to do so by the weather, with the exception of the city of Navidad, where we made some stay to build the fort and provide the necessary securities for the place.

Although the discoveries actually accomplished appear great and surprising, yet I should have effected much more had I been furnished with a proper fleet. Nevertheless the great success of this enterprise is not to be ascribed to my own merits, but to the holy Catholic faith and the piety of our Sovereigns, the Lord often granting to men what they never imagine themselves capable of effecting, as he is accustomed to hear the prayers of his servants and those who love his commandments, even in that which appears impossible; in this manner has it happened to me who have succeeded in an undertaking never before accomplished by man. For although some persons have written or spoken of the existence of these islands, they have all rested their assertions upon conjecture, no one having ever affirmed that he saw them, on which account their existence has been deemed fabulous.

And now ought the King, Queen, Princes, and all their dominions, as well as the whole of Christendom, to give thanks to our Saviour Jesus Christ who has granted us such a victory and great success. Let processions be ordered, let solemn festivals be celebrated, let the temples be filled with boughs and flowers. Let Christ rejoice upon earth as he does in heaven, to witness the coming salvation of so many people, heretofore given over to perdition. Let us rejoice for the exaltation of our faith, as well as for the augmentation of our temporal prosperity, in which not only Spain but all Christendom shall participate.—Such are the events which I have described to you with brevity. Adieu.

Lisbon, March 14th.

Admiral of the Armada of the Ocean.


Comptroller of the Treasury of the King and Queen,
giving a summary relation of the voyage.*


Knowing the pleasure you will receive in hearing of the great victory which Our Lord has granted me in my voyage, I hasten to inform you, that after a passage of seventy-one days, I arrived at the Indies, with the fleet which the most illustrious King and Queen our sovereigns committed to my charge, where I discovered many islands inhabited by people without number, and of which I took possession for their Highnesses by proclamation with the royal banner displayed, no one offering any contradiction. The first which I discovered, named San Salvador, in commemoration of our Holy Saviour, who has, in a wonderful manner, granted all our success. The Indians call it Guanahani. To the second, I gave the name of Santa Maria de Concepcion, to the third, that of Fernandina, to the fourth, that of Isabela, to the fifth, that of Juana, thus giving each island a new name.

I coasted along the island of Juana to the West, and found it of such extent, that I took it for a continent, and imagined it must be the country of Cathay. Villages were seen near the sea-coast, but as I discovered no large cities, and could not obtain any communication with the inhabitants, who all fled at our approach, I continued on West, thinking I should not fail in the end, to meet with great towns and cities, but having gone many leagues without such success, and finding that the coast carried me to the N., whither I disliked to proceed, on account of the impending winter, I resolved to return to the S., and accordingly put about, and arrived at an excellent harbour in the island, where I dispatched two men into the country to ascertain whether the King, or any large cities were in the neighbourhood. They travelled three days, and met with innumerable settlements of the natives, of a small size, but did not succeed in finding any sovereign of the territory, and so returned. I made out to learn from some Indians which I had before taken, that this was an island, and proceeded along the coast to the East, an hundred and seven leagues, till I reached the extremity. I then discovered another island E. of this, eighteen leagues distant, which I named Espanola, and followed its northern coast, as I did that of Juana, for the space of an hundred and seventy-eight leagues to the E. All these countries are of surpassing excellence, and in particular Juana, which contains abundance of fine harbours, excelling any in Christendom, as also many large and beautiful rivers.

The land is high and exhibits chains of tall mountains which seem to reach to the skies, and surpass beyond comparison the isle of Cetrefrey. These display themselves in all manner of beautiful shapes. They are accessible in every part, and covered with a vast variety of lofty trees, which it appears to me, never lose their foliage, as we found them fair and verdant as in May in Spain. Some were covered with blossoms, some with fruit, and others in different stages, according to their nature. The nightingale and a thousand other sorts of birds were singing in the month of November wherever I went. There are palm-trees in these countries, of six or eight sorts, which are surprising to see, on account of their diversity from ours, but indeed, this is the case with respect to the other trees, as well as the fruits and weeds. Beautiful forests of pines are likewise found, and fields of vast extent. Here is also honey, and fruits of a thousand sorts, and birds of every variety. The lands contain mines of metals, and inhabitants without number. The island of Espanola is pre-eminent in beauty and excellence, offering to the sight the most enchanting view of mountains, plains, rich fields for cultivation, and pastures for flocks of all sorts, with situations for towns and settlements. Its harbours are of such excellence, that their description would not gain belief, and the like may be said of its abundance of large and fine rivers, the most of which abound in gold.

The trees, fruits and plants of this island differ considerably from those of Juana, and the place contains a great deal of spicery and extensive mines of gold and other metals. The people of this island, and of all the others which I have become acquainted with, go naked as they were born, although some of the women wear at the loins a leaf, or bit of cotton cloth which they prepare for that purpose. They do not possess iron, steel, or weapons, and seem to have no inclination for the latter, being timorous to the last degree. They have an instrument consisting of a cane, taken while in seed, and headed with a sharp stick, but they never venture to use it. Many times I have sent two or three men to one of their villages, when whole multitudes have taken to flight at the sight of them, and this was not by reason of any injury we ever wrought them, for at every place where I have made any stay, and obtained communication with them, I have made them presents of cloth and such other things as I possessed, without demanding anything in return. After they have shaken off their fear of us, they display a frankness and liberality in their behaviour which no one would believe without witnessing it. No request of anything from them is ever refused, but they rather invite acceptance of what they possess, and manifest such a generosity that they would give away their own hearts. Let the article be of great or small value, they offer it readily, and receive anything which is tendered in return with perfect content.

I forbade my men to purchase their goods with such worthless things as bits of platters and broken glass, or thongs of leather, although when they got possession of one of these, they estimated it as highly as the greatest jewel in the world. The sailors would buy of them for a scrap of leather, pieces of gold, weighing two castellanos and a half, and even more of this metal for something still less in value. The whole of an Indian’s property might be purchased of him for a few blancas, this would amount to two or three castellanos’ value of gold, or the same of cotton thread. Even the pieces of broken hoops from the casks they would receive in barter for their articles, with the greatest simplicity. I thought such traffic unjust, and therefore forbade it. I presented them with a variety of things, in order to secure their affection, and that they may become Christians, and enter into the service of their Highnesses and the Castilian nation, and also aid us in procuring such things as they possess, and we stand in need of. They are not idolators, nor have they any sort of religion, except believing that power and goodness are in heaven, from which place they entertained a firm persuasion that I had come with my ships and men. On this account, wherever we met them, they showed us the greatest reverence after they had overcome their fear. Such conduct cannot be ascribed to their want of understanding, for they are a people of much ingenuity, and navigate all those seas, giving a remarkably good account of every part, but do not state that they have met with people in clothes, or ships like ours.

On my arrival at the Indies I took by force from the first island I came to a few of the inhabitants, in order that they might learn our language and assist us, in our discoveries. We succeeded ere long in understanding one another, by signs and words, and I have them now with me, still thinking we have come from heaven, as I learn by much conversation which I have had with them. This, they were the first to proclaim wherever we went, and the other natives would run from house to house, and from village to village, crying out "come and see the men from heaven," so that all the inhabitants, both men and women, having gathered confidence, hastened towards us, bringing victuals and drink, which they presented to us with a surprising good will. In all the islands they possess a vast number of canoes, which are of various sizes, each one constructed of a single log, and shaped like a fusta. Some of these are as large as a fusta of eighteen oars, although narrow, on account of the material. I have seen sixty or eighty men in one of these canoes, and each man with his paddle. They are rowed with a swiftness which no boat can equal, and serve the purpose of transporting goods among these innumerable islands. I did not observe any great diversity in the appearance of the inhabitants in the different parts of these countries, nor in their customs nor language, for singularly enough in this last respect, they all understand one another; on which account I hope their Highnesses will exert themselves for the conversion of these people to our holy faith, in which undertaking they will be found very tractable.

I have already related that I proceeded along the coast of Juana, for an hundred and seven leagues from W. to E., from which, I dare affirm this island to be larger than England and Scotland together; for besides the extent of it which I coasted, there are two unexplored provinces to the W., in one of which, called Cibau, are people with tails. These districts cannot be less than fifty or sixty leagues in extent, according as I learn from my Indians, who are acquainted with all these islands The other island, called Espanola, is more extensive than the division of Spain from Corunna to Fontarabia, as I traversed one side of it for the distance of an hundred and thirty-eight leagues from W. to E. This is a most beautiful island, and although I have taken possession of them all, in the name of their Highnesses, and every one remains in their power, and as much at their disposal as the kingdoms of Castile, and although they are all furnished with every thing that can be desired, yet the preference must be given to Espanola, on account of the mines of gold which it possesses, and the facilities it offers for trade with the continent, and countries this side, and beyond that of the Great Can, which traffic will be great and profitable.

I have accordingly taken possession of a place, which I named Villa de Navidad, and built there a fortress, which is at present complete, and furnished with a sufficiency of men for the enterprise; with these I have left arms, ammunition and provisions for more than a year, a boat, and expert men in all necessary arts. The king of the country has shown great friendship toward us, and held himself a brother to me. Even should their friendly inclinations change, and become hostile, yet nothing can be feared from them as they are totally ignorant of weapons, and the most timorous people in the world. The small number of men whom I have left there would be sufficient to ravage thee whole territory, and they may remain there with perfect safety, taking proper care of themselves. In all the islands, as far as I could observe, the men are content with a single wife each, except that a chief or king has as many as twenty. The women appear to do more work than the men, and as to their property, I have been unable to learn that they have any private possessions, but apparently all things are in common among them, especially provisions. In none of the islands hitherto visited, have I found any people of monstrous appearance, according to the expectation of some, but the inhabitants are all of very pleasing aspect, not resembling the blacks of Guinea, as their hair is straight, and their colour lighter. The rays of the sun are here very powerful, although the latitude is twenty-six degrees, but in the islands where there are high mountains, the winter is cold, which the inhabitants endure from habit, and the use of hot spices with their food.

An island situated in the second strait at the entrance to the Indies is peopled with inhabitants who eat live flesh, and are esteemed very ferocious in all the other parts. They possess many canoes with which they scour all the islands of India, robbing and capturing all they meet. They are not of a more deformed appearance than the others, except that they wear their hair long like women, and use bows and arrows, which last are made of cane and pointed with a stick, for want of iron, which they do not possess. They exchange their wives, and although these are esteemed a fierce people among the neighbouring islands, yet I do not regard them more than the others, as the most of the inhabitants of these regions are very great cowards. One of these islands is peopled solely by women, who practise no feminine occupations, but exercise the bow and arrow, and cover themselves with plates of copper, which metal they have in abundance. There is another island, as I am assured, larger than Espanola, in which the inhabitants are without hair, and which contains a great abundance of gold. In confirmation of these, and other accounts I have brought the Indians along with me for testimonies. In conclusion, and to speak only of what I have performed; this voyage, so hastily dispatched, will, as their Highnesses may see, enable any desirable quantity of gold to be obtained, by a very small assistance afforded me on their part.

At present there are within reach spices and cotton to as great an amount as they can desire, aloe in as great abundance, and equal store of mastick, a production nowhere else found except in Greece and the island of Scio, where is it sold at such a price as the possessors choose. To these may be added slaves, as numerous as may be wished for. Besides I have as I think, discovered rhubarb and cinnamon, and expect countless other things of value will be found by the men whom I have left there, as I made it a point not to stay in any one place, while the wind enabled me to proceed upon the voyage, except at Villa de Navidad, where I left them, well established. I should have accomplished much more, had those in the other vessels done their duty. This is ever certain, that God grants to those that walk in his ways, the performance of things which seem impossible, and this enterprize might in a signal manner have been considered so, for although many have talked of these countries, yet it has been nothing more than conjecture. Our Saviour having vouchsafed his victory to our most illustrious King and Queen and their kingdoms, famous for so eminent a deed, all Christendom should rejoice, and give solemn thanks to the holy Trinity for the addition of so many people to our holy faith, and also for the temporal profit accruing not only to Spain, but to all Christians.

On board the Caravel, off the Azores, February 15th, 1493.

P.S. After writing the above, being at sea near Castile, the wind rose with such fury from the S. and S.E. that I was obliged to bear away, and run into the port of Lisbon, where I escaped by the greatest miracle in the world. From this place I shall write to their Highnesses. Throughout the Indies I always found the weather like May. I made the passage thither in seventy-one days, and back in forty-eight, during thirteen of which number I was driven about by storms. The seamen here inform me that there was never known a winter in which so many ships were lost.

March 4th.


PAUL TOSCANELLI was a Florentine physician and celebrated astronomer. According to his son, Ferdinand, Columbus was greatly encouraged in planning his voyages of discovery by these letters from Toscanelli.The first of Toscanelli’s letters was a reply to Fernando Martinez, a Portuguese, who had written on behalf of the King of Portugal. As soon as Columbus learned of their correspondence, he wrote direct to Toscanelli, and received the following communications from the noted astronomer.Letter of Paul Toscanelli,* a Florentine physician, and celebrated astronomer, to Columbus, dated June 25th, 1474, eighteen years before his first voyage.As this letter, according to the statement of Don Fernando Columbus in his biography of his father, had a great effect in causing Columbus to undertake the voyage, it has been thought deserving of a place here, more especially as it serves to illustrate several passages in the narrative. The immediate occasion of it was this: While Columbus was at Lisbon, a correspondence was maintained between Toscanelli and Fernando Martinez, a prebendary of that place, respecting the commerce of the Portuguese to the coast of Guinea, and the navigation of the ocean to the W. This came to the knowledge of Columbus, who at that time entertained thoughts of his future enterprise. He thereupon dispatched by an Italian then at Lisbon, a letter to the Florentine, informing him of his project. He received the following answer written in Latin.


I have become acquainted with the great and noble wish entertained by you, to visit the country of spices, on which account I send in answer to your letter, the copy of one directed by me, a few days since, to one of my friends, in the service of the King of Portugal before the wars of Castile; he having written to me, by order of his Highness, upon the same subject. I also send you a nautical chart, similar to one which I likewise presented to him; these may perhaps satisfy your inquiries. The copy of my letter is as follows:

To Fernando Martinez, prebendary of Lisbon, greeting—I feel a great pleasure in hearing of the intimacy between you and the Most Serene and Magnificent King. Although I have spoken many times concerning the short passage by sea from hence to the Indies, where the spices are produced, which course, in my opinion is shorter than that to Guinea, yet you inform me that his Highness wishes for some declaration or demonstration on my part, whereby he may more fully understand the matter. This I could do to his satisfaction, with the help of a terrestrial globe, instructing him how the parts of the earth are disposed.

But for greater facility and precision, I have determined to mark down the route in question upon a marine chart, which I herewith send to his Majesty, drawn and painted by my hand. In this is represented the whole extremity of the W., from Ireland, S. to Guinea, with all the islands in the whole extent. Opposite, in the W. is the commencement of the Indies, with the isles and accessible parts, and the space between the North pole and the Equinoctial line. In this manner will be perceived the number of leagues necessary to proceed in order to reach those fertile countries which abound in spices and precious stones. Let it not create wonder that a westerly region is assigned for the country of spices, which have always been understood to grow in the E.; for those who sail W. will find those lands in the W., and those who travel E., will find the same places in the E. The straight lines, which run lengthwise upon the chart, show the distance from W. to E. The oblique ones, the distance from N. to S. I have also marked down many places among the Indies, which may be reached by the occurrence of some casual event, such as contrary winds, or unlooked for accident of that sort. And in order that you may be made fully acquainted with whatever relates to this subject, I will give you the result of my investigations. The islands I have spoken of, are inhabited by merchants who carry on their trade among many nations; their ports contain a greater number of foreign vessels than those of any other part of the world.

The single port of Zaiton, which is one of the finest and most famous throughout the E., sends forth annually, more than a hundred ships laden with pepper, not to mention others, which return with cargoes of all sorts of spices. The whole territory is very extensive and populous, containing many provinces and kingdoms, under the dominion of a prince called Great Can, which signifies King of Kings. The common residence of this sovereign is in Cathay. His predecessors were desirous of an intercourse with the Christians, and two hundred years since, dispatched ambassadors to the Pope, requesting instructors to teach them our holy faith. These, however, were unable, from the obstacles they encountered upon their journey, to reach Rome, and were forced to return back. In the time of Pope Eugenius IV. there came an ambassador, who gave him assurances of the affection which was entertained for the Catholics by the princes and people of his country. I was a great deal in his company, and he gave me descriptions of the magnificence of his king, and of the immense rivers in that territory, which contained, as he stated, two hundred cities with marble bridges, upon the banks of a single stream. This is a noble country, and ought to be explored by us, on account of its great riches, and the quantity of gold, silver, and precious stones, which might be obtained there. For their governors, they choose the wisest men, without regard to rank or riches. You will perceive by the map, that the distance from Lisbon, to the famous city of Quisay, is three thousand nine hundred miles, going exactly W. This city is thirty-five leagues in circuit, and its name signifies City of Heaven. Its situation is in the province of Mango near Cathay, and it contains ten large marble bridges built upon immense columns, Of singular magnificence. From the island of Antilla to that of Cipango is a distance of two hundred and twenty-five leagues. This island possesses such an abundance of precious stones and metals that the temples and royal palaces are covered with plates of gold. I might add many things here, but as I have formerly given you a relation of them, I trust to your wisdom and good judgment, without making any further addition to this statement. I hope my letter will satisfy his Highness, and I beg you will assure him, that I shall be always ready to execute his commands.

Florence, June 25th, 1474.


I have received your letter with its accompaniment, for which I return you my thanks. I applaud your design of sailing to the West, and am persuaded, as you will have seen by my chart, that the voyage you intend to undertake has none of the difficulties ascribed to it. The passage, in my opinion, will be found easy and safe, in the quarters which I have pointed out. You would entertain no doubt upon this matter, had you conversed with the many persons from those countries, whom I have seen. You may be certain of meeting with extensive kingdoms, populous cities, and rich provinces, abounding in all sorts of precious stones, and your visit will cause great rejoicing to the King and Princes of those distant lands, besides opening a way for a communication between them and the Christians, and the instruction of them in the Catholic religion and the arts we possess. For which reasons, and many others which might be mentioned, I am not surprised at the courage and resolution manifested by you, and the whole Portuguese nation, which has never been deficient in eminent mell.


It may be interesting to subjoin a few specimens of the accounts, both probable and improbable, which contributed at that time to the popular belief of the existence of countries in the West. The following are from the biography of Don Fernando:

"Martin Vincent, Pilot of the King of Portugal, related that four hundred and fifty leagues West of Cape St. Vincent, he had picked up a log, perfectly wrought, but not with iron, and which had been brought thither by a westerly wind, from this circumstance he concluded that there were indubitably undiscovered islands in that quarter.

"Pedro Correa, brother-in-law of Columbus, informed him that he had seen near the island of Porto Santo, a fragment of wood similar to the former, and which came from the West. He also learned from the King of Portugal that in the same parts there had been found canes of such bigness that a single joint would contain nine garrafas of wine.

"The inhabitants of the Azores related to him that after a course of westerly winds, the sea cast upon the shores of those islands, and especially those of Graciosa, and Fayal, pine trees, which were not the growth of those parts, and that in the island of Flores, the bodies of two men had been washed ashore, whose complexion and features were different from those of any people in that neighbourhood. Others informed him that they had seen covered boats, filled with people of an uncommon description.

"Antonio Leme, a resident in the island of Madeira, told the Admiral, that having sailed far to the West, he discovered three islands. Pedro de Velasco, a native of Palos, related to him that sailing an hundred and fifty leagues toward the West, he discovered the island of Flores by following the flight of some birds, and that afterwards he sailed to the NE as far as the latitude of Cape Clear in Ireland, where he met with strong winds from the West with a smooth sea; this, he thought, could be explained only by supposing the existence of land in that direction which kept the sea from rising. It being late in the season, he did not venture to undertake the discovery of it. This happened above forty years before the discovery of the Indies.

"Another pilot informed him in the port of Santa Maria, that upon a voyage to Ireland, he descried a country, which he took for a part of Tartary. It extended toward the W., but he could not reach it on account of the unfavourable state of the weather. This was probably the land now called Bacalaos.* Another Pedro de Velasco, a Galician, gave him the same account in the city of Murcia, saying that on his passage towards Ireland he discovered a country in the West, which he believed to be that which Fernan Dolmos attempted to reach."—Hist. del Almirante, Cap. 8.

"The mother-in-law of the Admiral perceiving what pleasure he took in hearing the accounts of these voyages, presented him with the writings and charts which had belonged to her husband; the perusal of these increased the zeal of the Admiral, and he undertook many inquiries concerning the navigation of the Portuguese to the Mine and the coast of Guinea, and took great interest in conversation with those who had frequented those parts. I have not been able to ascertain whether during this matrimonial connection he made any voyages to the Mine or to Guinea; be that however, as it will, he began very naturally to reflect, while in Portugal, that as the Portuguese had sailed such a distance S., it was also possible to sail in a Westerly direction, and find land in that quarter. In order to corroborate this opinion, he examined anew those geographical writers which he had studied at a former period, and endeavoured to find what astronomical reasons would confirm the notion. He was careful to treasure up whatever information relating to this matter he could collect from travellers or seamen. In this manner he came to a firm persuasion that to the West of the Canaries and Cape Verd there were islands which might be reached by sailing in that direction. But to understand more fully the reasons which led to this conclusion, and to satisfy the curiosity of many who are desirous of knowing distinctly the arguments and motives upon which the Admiral founded his great undertaking, I will relate what I have been able to find among his papers to this effect.

"The causes which induced the Admiral to conceive the idea of discovering the Indies were three, namely,—Reasons drawn from a consideration of the figure of the earth; the authority of writers; and the relations of seamen.

"With respect to the first, he considered that as the land and water of which the earth is composed formed a sphere, it might be sailed round from East to West, till men came to stand feet to feet on the two opposite sides of the earth.

"With regard to the second, he judged from creditable authors that the greater part of this sphere had been explored, and that there remained undiscovered only that portion comprised between the eastern extremity of India, known to Ptolemy and Marinus, and the Azores and Cape Verd Islands, which then were the farthest West of any known territory.

"As to the third, he was of opinion that the space contained within these limits was not above a third part of the circumference of the earth, inasmuch as the abovementioned Marinus had travelled to the East a distance of fifteen twenty-fourths of this circumference, so that there remained but nine twenty-fourths from the East of India to the Cape Verd Islands.

"Furthermore he considered that the territories described in the Cosmography of Marinus, although extending the distance above specified, did not reach the extremity of the continent, and therefore the distance from that to the West of Europe must be still smaller. If this space were sea, he judged it might be sailed over in a short time; if it were land it might be discovered still sooner by going to the West, as it must necessarily lie very near the Cape Verd Islands. These opinions were strengthened by what is stated in Strabo’s fifth book of Geography, that no army has ever reached the eastern limit of India, which is a country as large, according to Ctesias, as all the rest of Asia, and agreeably to the assertion of Onesicritus is equal to a third part of the globe, and the like is affirmed by Pliny, Lib. 6. Cap. 17, to which may be added the statement of Nearchus, that it is four months’ journey in extent; from all which considerations he came to an opinion that its immense size must bring it near to Spain in the West.

"Another reason which induced him to believe that the distance from the West of Europe to India was small, was the opinion of Alfraganus and his followers, who assign a much smaller extent to the circumference of the earth than other writers, allowing but fifty-six miles and two thirds to a degree, which diminishing the extent of the earth’s surface, would also diminish the space between India and Europe which was unknown to Marinus. On this account he judged that whatever lands were discovered in the West must necessarily be a part of India, and for the same reason we may pronounce as unwarrantable the censures cast upon the Admiral by Rodrigo, Archdeacon of Seville and some of his party for be stowing the name of India upon these countries, which appellation they assert is not appropriate. Now the Admiral did not call them Indies as being the identical lands known by that name, but as being a part of that India beyond the Ganges which no geographer has set limits to by any other territory, but which has been regarded as extending to the ocean. These therefore being lands at the eastern limits of India, not designated by any particular name, it was judged most proper to bestow upon them that of the nearest country; they were thus called the West Indies on account of the known riches of the country of India. In this manner he extended an invitation to the Catholic Kings who were doubtful of the enterprise, to aid him in discovering the Indies by the way of the West.

"The Admiral was further incited to his undertaking, and supported in the opinion that the lands to the West were a part of India, by the authority of many learned men who affirmed that a passage might be made from the West of Africa and Spain, to the Eastern part of India by following a Westerly course, and that the ocean which separated these countries was not of great extent. This is averred by Aristotle, Lib. 2., de Coelo et Mundo. where he states that one might pass from India to Cadiz in a few days. The same is confirmed by a remark of Averrhoes upon this passage. And Seneca, Nat. Quaest., Lib. 1, regarding the learning of this world as nothing when compared to the knowledge which may be obtained in another life, observes that a ship may sail with a fair wind from the Western part of Spain to India in a few days. And if as some assure us, Seneca was the author of the tragedies which go by his name, we may be certain that he refers to this fact in the chorus to Medea:

Venient annis
Secula seris, quibus Oceanus
Vincula rerum laxet, et ingens
Pateat tellus, Tiphisque novos
Detegat orbes, nec sit Terris
Ultima Thule

In the last days there will come an age in which Ocean shall loosen the bonds of things; a great country will be discovered; another Tiphis shall make known new worlds, and Thule shalt no longer be the extremity of the earth. This prediction may assuredly be considered as accomplished in the person of the Admiral.

"Strabo, in the first book of his Geography, says the Ocean encompasses the whole earth, that it washes India on the East, and on the West Spain and Mauritania, and but for its vast extent, one might sail directly from the one of these countries to the other; the same he repeats in the second book.

"Pliny, in his Natural History, L. 2. Cap. 3, states that the Ocean surrounds the earth, extending from India to Cadiz; the same in Cap. 31. Lib. 6.

"Solinus, Cap. 48, says that from the Gorgonean Islands, by which we are to understand those of Cape Verd, there are forty days sail across the Atlantic Ocean to the Isles of the Hesperides; these the Admiral held for certain were the Indies.

"Marco Polo and Sir John Mandeville assert in their Travels into the East, that they went far beyond the countries described by Ptolemy and Marinus; and although these travellers do not speak of the Eastern Ocean, yet it may be inferred from their description of the Oriental territories, that India is not far distant from Africa and Spain.

"It is also affirmed by Petrus Heliacus, in his treatise De imagine mundi, Cap. 8, de quantitate terrae habitabilis, and by Julius Capitolinus, De locis habitabilibus, and in other treatises, that Spain is near to India in the West. This last author in the 19th chapter of his Geography has these words: ’According to Pliny and the Philosophers, the ocean lying between Spain and Western Africa on one side, and the extremity of India on the other, is not of great extent, and without doubt may be crossed with a favourable wind in a few days; the Eastern part of India therefore is not very distant from the West of Africa.’ "—Hist. del Almirante, Cap. V. et seq.


The reception of Columbus at the Portuguese court is related by Barros with every feeling of national prejudice: "The king being in Val do Paraiso, at the monastery of Nossa Senhora das Virtudes, in Santarem, on account of the pestilence which raged at that time, there came accounts from Lisbon, that one Christopher Columbus had arrived there, stating that he had come from the island of Cipango, with much gold and riches of that country. The king having some acquaintance with this Columbus, and knowing that he had been sent upon the discovery by Don Ferdinand, King of Castile, requested him to pay him a visit, that he might learn the events of his voyage. This he readily complied with, not so much from a wish to oblige the King, as to mortify him with his presence, for before he went to Castile, he had applied to this same King Don John, entreating to be sent by him upon the enterprise. This the King had refused, for reasons which I shall hereafter relate. Columbus was received very respectfully by the King, but the latter was much concerned on perceiving that the natives of the newly discovered countries, which he had brought along with him, were not black and woolly-headed, like those of Guinea, but similar in features, complexion, and hair to the people of India, where he was engaged in such important undertakings. Columbus in discoursing of those countries and extolling their character to an extravagant degree, used so great a freedom of language, chiding and censuring the King for not having taken up with his offer, that many of the nobles stung to resentment by the license of his tongue, as well as vexed that the King had lost the benefits of the enterprise, offered to prevent his return to Castile by assassinating him. For to all appearance, his arrival was likely to be very prejudicial to this kingdom, and cause great trouble to his Highness on account of the grants made by the popes, from the limits comprised in which, it appeared to be manifest that these natives were taken by Columbus. The King rejected these offers, and like a Catholic Prince, rebuked the nobles who made them, although the business gave him some concern."—Asia de Joam de Barros. Dec. 1. Liv. III. C. XI. See also Lafitau. Hist. des Decouvertes et Conquetes des Portugais: "Colomb etoit si fier du succes de son voyage, il en parloit avec tant d’emphase et d exageration, entremelant a ce qui’il disoit, des reproches qu’il fit au Roi sur le peu de confiance qu’il avoit eu en lui, et sur la perte qu’il s’etoit causee par-la a lui-meme, qu’il parut n’etre venue dans ses ports que pour lui faire insulte." etc.—Liv. I. Bouterwek is so much impressed with the acrimony of expression, prompted by the national feeling of the Portuguese writers on this occasion, as to ask "war der Entdecker von Amerika etwa wirklich ein Grossprahler?"—Gesch. der Portug. Poesie u. Bereds. B. 2. C. 2.

The testimony, however, of other historians acquits him of any such superciliousness of behaviour on the occasion referred to. "L’on fut surpris de voir que ce Pilote que, quelques annees auparavant on avoit regarde comme un homme de neant, et qui se repaissoit de chimeres, redpondoit a tout avec la dignite d’un Amiral & d’un Vice-Roi, et parloit toujours fort sensement." Charlevoix.—Hist. de St. Domingue, Liv. II.



See Note I.* at the end of the volume.

Harbour of Palos, a little north of Cadiz.

Italian miles, four to the league.

A caravel is a long, single-decked vessel, with three masts and latine sails. The Admiral’s ship, called the Santa Maria, was square-rigged.

A meteoric appearance observed to the west of the Canaries occasioned the inhabitants of those islands to imagine they saw a country in that direction; it bore the name of the isle of Brandon or Borondon, and was laid down in all the early maps. Saint Brandon or Brandam was a Benedictine monk of the sixth century, and according to the legend concerning him was, with his companions, seven years in pursuit of a western paradisic isle called Ima. The inhabitants, also, of Madeira and the Azores, deceived by an appearance similar to the above, entertained the belief that land existed to the west of them. This belief was current from the middle of the fifteenth century, and many expeditions were undertaken for the discovery of these countries, some of them by the orders of the King of Portugal. Although they met with no success, the popular imagination of the existence of these territories still continued.

Another island by the name of Antilla was laid down in their maps by the Portuguese, westward of Madeira, they give the following account of it. In the year 714 when the Moors conquered Spain, seven bishops accompanied by a number of people sailed to the West, and discovered an island, where they landed and burnt their ships, lest any of the people should abandon them. They built seven cities and remained there. Several Portuguese ships afterwards sailed thither and never returned home. In the time of the Infant Don Henry, a ship arrived at this island, where the crew went on shore, and the islanders straightway carried them to their church, in order to ascertain whether they were catholics, of which fact having satisfied themselves, they entreated them to remain a few days for their sovereign, who would rejoice to see them. But those of the ship fearing that the inhabitants would burn her, embarked in all haste and returned to Portugal. The sand which they found upon the shore of the island was a third part gold.

To the above may be added the following curious narration of Ebn Al Ouardi, an Arabian geographer, who died, according to D’Herbelot, in 1348, or according to others in 1446. After describing Spain and Portugal, and stating that these countries are bordered by the dark sea, which is very dangerous, he adds that eight persons of the city of Lisbon, desirous to know what was situated beyond the ocean, equipped a vessel with all the necessaries for a long voyage, and swore not to return till they had penetrated to the extremity of the ocean, and arrived at the land opposite. These navigators sailed eleven days, when they found themselves upon a sea without bottom, where the waves were high, and the winds drove them to the South: after proceeding on twelve days longer, they discovered an island which our author calls Dgezirat alghanam, the isle of sheep, because the Arabs found upon it many of these animals, which they could not eat for the bitterness of their flesh, but contented themselves with taking the skins. They found also a spring of fresh water, a supply of which they took on board and re-embarked. They sailed twelve days more to the South and discovered another island, which was inhabited; the people came in boats and conducted them to a house on the shore. They were of a red complexion, and tall stature. At the end of three days there came an interpreter who spoke Arabic, he conversed with them upon the subject of their voyage, and went to give an account of them to the king of the isle. The king informed them that he had likewise sent his men to make discoveries in that vast ocean, that they had sailed West for a month, when being stopped from proceeding by the great darkness which surprised them, they returned without discovering anything. The Arabs afterwards returned to Lisbon, where in memory of this event one of the streets was called Almagrurim, or the wanderers, which name it long retained. See the Notices et Extraits des Manuscrits de la Bibliotheque du Roi. T. 2. p. 24, with the remarks of M. de Guignes, who draws the following conclusions from the narrative. That the Arabs were accustomed to make expeditions of discovery far into the Atlantic Ocean. That they probably approached very near the continent of America, and with a little more perseverance would have arrived there. That the red colour of the inhabitants of the island, which is that of the natives of America, gives a probability to the relation. That the island could not be one of the Canaries, because the Arabs were acquainted with them. See Note II.

They were, in fact, at this time in the neighbourhood of a shoal afterwards discovered.

It is hardly necessary to remark that this explanation of the phenomenon was invented by Columbus to quiet the apprehensions of his crews.

It does not appear what islands Las Casas refers to in the above remark; they were at this time nearly in the centre of the Atlantic ocean. Breakers were discovered about this spot in 1802, but no land has ever been seen in the neighbourhood.

Their true distance.

A bird about the size of a pigeon.

This chart, drawn by Columbus, seems to have been a copy of one sent to Lisbon in 1474 by Paul Toscanelli, & Florentine astronomer; it was a chart of the Atlantic Ocean with the islands and countries of India in the west. See Note I.*

Charles’s Wain.

Probably an error for Northerly, which is the statement in the Biography of Columbus, by his son, Don Fernando, who relates this circumstance.

Zipangri or Japan, the name given to this island by Marco Polo, a Venetian, who travelled into the east during the thirteenth century. The most extravagant accounts of the riches of this country were given by the writers of that age, and its situation being placed by the geographers of the time, at the eastern extremity of India, Columbus, who expected by sailing west, to arrive tbere, naturally imagined that Cipango was the part of that country nearest to the west of Europe.

Martin Bebaim or Behem, a German, who afterwards entered into the service of the King of Portugal, constructed at Nuremberg in 1492, a terrestrial globe, of which a representation of that part comprising the Atlantic Ocean may be seen in Cladera’s Investigaciones Historicas. Southwest of the Azores is marked down the island of Antilia. Southwest of the Cape Verd islands, near the equator, the island of St. Brandon. Directly west from the Canaries, near the continent of India, is drawn a very large island with these notices, "Cipangu." "En esta isla crecen las Especias; Hay Syrenas en el mar." "Se adoran los Idolos," &c., &c. A vast number of isles large and small are scattered to the North, South, and West of this spot.

A sort of cannon, first brought from Lombardy.

This period is near the date of the occurrence, which, on the authority of Oviedo, has been related in most of the modern accounts of the discovery- namely that Columbus found himself so embarrassed and pressed by the mutiny of his crew, who were terrified at the length of the voyage, that he was obliged to enter into an agreement with them, that in case land should not be discovered within three days, he would abandon the enterprise, and return to Spain. Not the slightest hint of such a circumstance is to be found in this journal, nor is there any imaginable reason for the suppression of the fact by Columbus, had it really occurred. Las Casas certainly would not have omitted so important an item in making his abstract, and this was evidently drawn up from the diary of Columbus, written from day to day, and not from a narrative executed after his return to Spain, in which an omission of this sort might be more easily accounted for. Neither Herrera nor Don Fernando, who give very minute relations of the occurrences of the voyage, make any mention of it. Munoz adverts to the circumstance, but appears evidently inclined to disbelieve it. Robertson has admitted the account into his story, but it seems, upon the whole, not to be entitled to credit.

The reward for the discovery was adjudged by the King and Queen to be justly due to Columbus, as he was the first who saw the light. The annuity of 10,000 maravedis was therefore punctually paid him through the rest of his life.

The island first discovered has been hitherto generally supposed to be that now called St. Salvador, or Cat Island, between 24 and 25 degrees north latitude. But upon an examination of the Journal of Columbus, it will appear that his general course from the discovery of the first land was West till he arrived at the Island of Cuba. Had this route been taken from the Island of St. Salvador, the innumerable reefs and keys upon the great Bahama Bank would have obstructed his way. Nor would the course which he appears to have steered, have conducted him to the port of Nipe in Cuba, the part of the island first reached by him, had that course commenced at St. Salvador. Add to this, that his description of the island does not suit that place, nor, as far as can be made out with any accuracy, do the bearings and distances of the other islands from the one first visited, agree with the neighbourhood of the supposed spot of the discovery.

It seems probable that the island in question is the one now called Grand Turk, or Turk’s Island: this opinion is sustained by the description of Columbus, stating it to be flat, without any lofty eminence, surrounded by a reef of rocks, and with a lake in the centre, all which circumstances, especially the last, point out this place. The course afterwards pursued by the ships on leaving it, agrees also with the direction in which it lies from the others.

Munoz, in his History of the New World, gives it as his opinion that the land first discovered. was that now called Watling’s Island, but does not subjoin his reasons.

The narration is continued in Columbus’s own words, to Oct. 25th.

A coin worth less than a mill.

Probably Grand Cayco

Cayco del Norte

Now called Inagua Chica

Copper coins of Spain.

Ancient Spanish coin.

In this, it appears, Columbus was mistaken, nothing like a coin was ever found among the natives.

This appears to be the island now called Inagua grande.

Fair Cape.


Guisay, or Quensay, the city of Heaven, and residence of the Great Khan, according to Marco Polo, and other writers of the early ages, who give the most splendid accounts of this great capital of the east. See Note I.*

Here the words of Columbus cease for the present, and the narrative continues in the language of the abridger.

In the southern and eastern part of the Great Bahama bank.

The belief that Cipango was a part of the newly discovered country continued for some time. In a letter written by Columbus to the Pope, in 1502, describing his voyage, he introduces the following remark.—"This island is Tarsis, Cethia, Ophir, Ophaz and Cipargo, we have named it Espanola."

The Sandy Islands.

The Ray of Nips in the eastern part of Cuba.

Punta de Mulas.

Punta Cabana.

Probably Puerto de Banes.

Puerto de las Nuevitas del Principe.

Now called Alto de Juan Danue.

Rio Maximo.

The Spaniards, as the reader must have already perceived, understood very imperfectly what the natives signified to them. Cuba was here meant to denote Cubanacan, the centre of the island of Cuba, or it was actually, according to others, the name of the capital province or city of the island.

China, at that time, was known by this name.

Now called Roca de Carabelas Grandes and Punta del Maternillo.

Columbus being persuaded that he had arrived at the continent of India, thought himself near the cities which he names.

The true distance was eleven hundred and five leagues.

Bohio, according to Las Casas, was the name which the Indians gave to their houses, or, as the same author suggests, they might intend to signify by this name the island of Espanola which the inhabitants called Hayti.

Sweet potatoes according to some.

Las Casas in his General History of the Indies gives the following relation of this circumstance: "The two Spaniards met upon their journey great numbers of people of both sexes; the men always with a firebrand in their hands and certain herbs for smoking: these are dry, and fixed in a leaf also dry, after the manner of those paper tubes which the boys in Spain use at Whitsuntide: having lighted one end they draw the smoke by sucking at the other, this causes a drowsiness and sort of intoxication, and according to their accounts relieves them from the sensation of fatigue. These tubes they call by the name of tobacos. I knew many Spaniards in the island of Espanola who were addicted to the use of them, and on being reproached with it as a bad habit, replied that they could not bring themselves to give it up. I do not see what relish or benefit they could find in them." Here we see the origin of cigars. See Charlevoix, Hist. de St. Domingue, Lib. I: "le Tabac etoit naturel a l’isle Espagnole; les insulaires le nommoient Cohiba, et appelloient Tabaco l’instrument dont ils se servoient pour fumer. On ne doute point aujourd’hui que ce ne soit la l’origine du mot de Tabac, et c’est une erreur populaire que de l’attribuer a l’isle de Tabago."

An arroba is twenty-five pounds.

This refers to the Moors and Jews, as has been seen in the preface of Columbus.

This name was given by the natives, to the coast of Tierra Firme, which they also called Bohio and Caritaba.—Las Casas.

Puerto del Padre.

From what he here relates, it appears that had he proceeded Northerly he would undoubtedly, in two days, have discovered Florida.-Las Casas.

Punta de Mulas.

Sierras del Cristal and Sierras del Moa.

Probably Puerto de Tanamo, in Cuba.

In the map of Martin de Rebem, drawn up in 1492, and published by Mur and Cladera, a great multitude of islands are laid down, at the eastern limit of India.

A ship of the largest size.

It is not easy to understand these remarks of Las Casas. In this instance, as well as in the two preceding, where the latitude of places has been specified, it is given twenty-one degrees in the translation, although the statement of Columbus is forty-two: as the Spanish editor remarks in a note upon the first of these passages, that the quadrants in use at that time measured by double altitude, and by consequence forty-two degrees of the computation of Columbus are to be understood as half that number actual distance from the equator, it was thought proper to make the alterations above stated, especially as from a knowledge of the localities referred to, it appears that half the equatorial distance given in the original, is the true latitude of those places. From the observation, however, of Columbus, respecting the appearance of the polar star, one would be led to imagine that he supposed himself in reality as far North as forty-two degrees, and it would seem from what is observed by Las Casas- namely, that in the latitude specified by the Admiral, the excessive heat which he mentions, could not have existed,-that he understood the actual distance North to be as great as that expressed in the Journal: it would be surprising, if this were the fact, that Las Casas, who had made several voyages to America, should be totally ignorant of the methods of nautical calculation. Besides, the notion that he believed the latitude mentioned, to be really what the numbers express, is irreconcilable with his observation that their distance from the equator would have been in the parallel of Florida. Now this part of the continent was early discovered, and its true situation very well known when Las Casas wrote, so that no possibility exists of his supposing it to be so far North as forty-two degrees, and this writer himself remarks in a note which has already been given, that two days’ sail farther North from the coast of Cuba would have carried our navigator to that country. That the polar star could have been little more than half as high as it is seen in Spain, it is hardly necessary to observe. It does not appear how the statement of the Admiral respecting its appearance can be accounted for.

Cayo de Moa.

This is either the harbour of Santa Catalina, or more probably that of Cayo de Moa, to which it is said the description in the text exactly answers. These places are in the eastern extremity of Cuba.

Sierras de Moa.

Rio de Moa.

Punta del Mingle or del Guarico.

Sierras de Moa.

Piedras de Margarita, according to Las Casas.

Puerto de Jaragua.

Punta del Mangle, or Guarico.

Punta Vaez.


Monte del Yunque.

Puerto del Maravi


Ponta de Maici.

Puerto de Baracoa.

This, according to Las Casas must have come from Yucatan.


Rio Roma.

In the Spanish "turned as yellow as wax."

Rio Boma.

Punta del Frayle.

Punta de los Azules.

This is the eastern extremity of Cuba, called Punta de Maici.


St. Nicholas in Espanola.

This is Cape St. Nicholas.

A continuation of the coast.

Punta Palmista.

Puerto Escudo.

Channel of Tortuga.

Bahia Mosquito.

Puerto Escudo.

Bahia Mosquito.

So in the text, but the true distance is only eleven miles.

Error, as noted above.

Known afterwards by the name of Gros Morne, on the bank of the Rio de los tres Rios, which runs into the sea half a mile west of Port au Paix.

Niames, names or ajes, a sort of sweet potatoes having the taste of chestnuts.

Rio de los Tres Rios or Trois Rivieres.

An error, either in writing or transcribing the Journal; the true latitude is twenty degrees.

This he has hitherto called Babeque.

Port Paix.

This place was never found. Perhaps the island of Jamaica was meant.

Spanish coin

Puerto de la Granja.

Port Margot.

Punta de Limbe.

Point and Isle Margot.

Bahia de Acul.

Isla de Ratas.

Error, five miles.


This was Guacanagari, sovereign of Marien, where Columbus built a fort, and left a party of his men on his return to Spain.


San Honorato.

A Nitayno was a grandee next in rank to the king.—Las Casas.

Bahia de Acul.

Port Francois.

Take, take.

These, according to Las Casas, were the names of districts in the island of Espanola, and not separate isles.

Indian pepper.

The name given by Columbus to the fort and settlement here, he having arrived on Christmas day.

Les Sept Freres.

The true distance is ten leagues.

Rio Tapion.

Las Casas states that he has seen lumps of gold found in this last island, which would weigh eight pounds.


St Yago.

The true distance is only eight leagues.

There were mines within four leagues, according to Las Casas.

Forty-two miles according to other accounts.

Punta Isabelica.

These mermaids (serenas) were perhaps, as the Spanish editor suggests, Manaties, which Oviedo in his Natural History of the Indies thus describes. "The Manati is a large sea-animal, exceeding the shark in size, and of an ugly appearance, resembling one of those wine bags used for containing must in Medina del Campo and Arevalo. Its head and eyes are like those of a calf, and it has a pair of large stumps in the place of arms, which is uses for swimming. The creature is very tame, and is accustomed to approach near the shore, where if it espies any herbs growing near the water, it feeds upon them. They are shot with cross-bows, &c. Cap. 55.-see also Herrera. I. 5. 5. Gomara C. 31. and Charlevoix, Hist. de St. Domingue, Liv. I., who describes this animal as furnished with paps, with which it suckles its young. They give some relations about its having been tamed. The last author remarks, "Le premier qui s’est imagine que ce poissoa pouvoit bien etre la Sirene des Anciens fut Christophe Colomb, lequel donnoit volontiers dans tout le merveilleux qui pouvoit rendre ses decouvertes plus celebres." It must be confessed that if Columbus took a Manati for a Mermaid, he could not have failed to notice its deficiency in one distinguishing quality ascribed to this fabulous being, for, as Gomar observes, "tan feo es, que mas ser no puede."

Rio Chuzona Chico.

Silver Mountain. It is very lofty, and always covered with a white cloud, which gives it a silvery appearance.

Port of St. Jago.

Port Plate.

Punta Macuris.

Punta Sesua.

Cabo de la Roca.

Bahia Escocesa.

The peninsula of Samana.

Cape of the Father and Son.

Cabo Cabron.

Cabo Samana.

Baye de Samana.

Gonin, according to Las Casas, was the name given by the Indians to a sort of inferior gold, which emitted an odour, and was highly prized by them. Carib was the Indian name for the island of Porto Rico.

Baye de Samana.

Porto Rico.

Cape Samana.

There is a shoal in this neighhourhood, which they passed four leagues to the south.

The Antilles or windward islands lay in this direction.

Cada mosquito le podia perturbar y impediar.

It was a very fortunate circumstance for Columbus that he arrived in the West Indies so late in the year. The hurricane season was just past, and had he reached there a month sooner, it is probable one of those dreadful tempests would have destroyed his whole fleet.

See Note III.*

Gold coin.

Both the Latin and Spanish copies offer this statement, but it is evident that the words North and East should interchange their situations in the text.

The course sailed by Columbus along both the islands is about equal to this extent.

Found in the archives of Simancas.

For an account of this person see Tiraboschi Storia della Letteratura Italiana. Tom. 6. Lib. 2. Cap. 38.

Bacaleo, or Bacalieu, an island on the East coast of Newfoundland.


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Chicago: Christopher Columbus, "The Journal of Columbus," Discovery and Exploration, 1000-1562 in The Journal of Columbus Original Sources, accessed December 6, 2021,

MLA: Columbus, Christopher. "The Journal of Columbus." Discovery and Exploration, 1000-1562, in The Journal of Columbus, Original Sources. 6 Dec. 2021.

Harvard: Columbus, C, 'The Journal of Columbus' in Discovery and Exploration, 1000-1562. cited in , The Journal of Columbus. Original Sources, retrieved 6 December 2021, from