The First Discovery of Australia and New Guinea
by George Collingridge
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They came at length to a small opening where the soil was moist; here they dug wells, but the water proved brackish. Their trouble was a little recompensed by the ease with which they procured an ample provision of cocoa and other nuts. With these they allayed their hunger and their thirst at pleasure; and every man loaded himself with as many as he could carry for his comrades who remained on board the ships.

To regain the place where they had landed they walked about half a league, and in the passage had the water up to their knees, because the sea, flowing full in, with great impetuosity, had risen above the rocks surrounding the island and overflowed the shore.

Fortunately, when they least expected it, they discovered a passage between the rocks; there they got into the boats and brought them so near to land, that they could all embark with ease and return to their vessels.

The ships stood off all night; and the following day, the 12th of February, they coasted along the island to the N.W. point., the latitude of which they determined by an observation of the sun to be 17 deg. 40' S. This island they called Conversion de San Pablo. It is Anaa, or Chain Island, about 200 miles east of Tahiti, in the same latitude.

Departing from Conversion de San Pablo, and continuing his route in a N. westerly direction, Queiroz discovered the islands following:—

La Fugitiva, two days and a half from Conversion de San Pablo. Seen to the N.E., but, as the fleet was too much to leeward, they did not attempt to touch there.

La Isla del Peregrino, a day's sail further. They left this also to windward, and proceeded to the W.

On February the 21st, land was seen a-head; the brigantine was detached to reconnoitre this new island more closely, and anchored on the coast in a bad harbour, where the ships could not lie with safety.

Isla de San Bernardo, which was the name given to this island, was found to be very flat, with a lagoon in its centre, and thirty miles in circumference.

The boats were sent out in hopes of getting water; but they searched in vain for it, and only met with great quantities of cocoanuts. The fish, which abounded on the coasts, and the birds, which were also very numerous, suffered themselves to be caught by hand.

It was supposed to be inhabited; its latitude, by observation, was about 101/2 deg. S. From this island they proceeded all night under very little sail, because the wind blew fresh in their stern, and the great number of birds that passed them proved that land was near.

On the 2nd of March, land was discovered to the W. It was an island six leagues round, which offered but a bad anchorage. The boats landed with difficulty, and one of them was actually overset in one of their visits and the crew nearly drowned among the breakers.

This natural obstacle was probably not the most obstinate that existed there; they found the island inhabited by a warlike people, that opposed them in every enterprise.

In different skirmishes, several natives were killed, and some of the Spaniards wounded, so that after some unsuccessful attempts to get water they were obliged to abandon the place.

They speak particularly with enthusiasm of the beauty and studied dress of the women, who, according to their accounts, surpassed the fairest Spanish ladies, both in grace and beauty.

This island was called Isla de la Gente Hermosa, Island of the Handsome People. I have been able to obtain a photograph of one of the descendants of the native women so much admired by the Spaniards, and you may judge for yourselves whether they were right in their appreciation.

The design of Queiroz was to reach Santa Cruz without delay, and with this object in view he directed his course westward, for in these latitudes they expected to come in sight of the lofty volcano, Tinacula, which would enable them to identify Santa Cruz.

After many days' navigation, they discovered, from the mast-head of the Capitana, a high and black-looking island, having the appearance of a volcano and lying W.N.W. They could not reach it for several days; after which they soon perceived that it was not Tivacula, as they had at first thought, for they had to pass among several small islands in order to get near it, and they well remembered that Tinacula stood alone in its awful and solemn grandeur.

The small islands that surrounded the larger one that they had taken for a volcano were most of them on the western side, but far enough from the larger one to leave a channel capable of receiving ships. Torres, the second in command, was sent to reconnoitre this island.

(I shall give his description in Chapter XII.)

In this harbour the fleet anchored in twenty-five fathoms. At no great distance, and within the reefs that surrounded these islands, a smaller island was observed, not more than five or six feet above the level of the water. It was formed of stones and coral, and seemed to be the work of man. They counted there seventy houses, which were covered with palm leaves, and hung with mats within.

The islanders gave them to understand that it was a retreat for them, for the sake of security and defence, when the inhabitants of the neighbouring islands came to attack their possessions; and that they, in their turn, invaded their neighbours in strong and large canoes, in which they could with safety commit themselves to the open sea. They also informed them that towards the south there were very extensive lands, and one in particular called Mallicolo.*

[* This indication of lands to the south, named Mallicolo, may have meant either Vanikoro (where La Perouse was wrecked after leaving Botany Bay), or Mallicolo (sometimes called Malekula), to the south of Santo, in the New Hebrides group.]

The Spaniards had, therefore, sufficient information that there were many more islands in the neighbourhood of that on which they had landed, and this knowledge led Queiroz to abandon, for the while, the idea of making for Santa Cruz. The natives called their island TAUMACO; it abounded with bananas, cocoanut trees and palms; it produced also sugar canes, and many kinds of nutritious roots.

The fleet here obtained, without difficulty, refreshments, wood, and water, of which it stood in great need. The Spaniards lived on good terms with the natives, who were eager to procure them all the assistance that their island afforded; nor was peace infringed till the very moment of their departure.

Thinking that it would be of service in the remainder of the voyage, to have some natives on board, who might act as guides or interpreters, the Spaniards seized four, whom they carried on board by force. Their chief was soon informed of it, and came to demand them in the most earnest manner; but, seeing the need in which they would be of interpreters should they land as they hoped on the Great Southern Continent, the chief, whose name was Tomai, was informed that they could not be returned, and war was instantly declared.

A fleet of canoes came out to attack the Spanish ships, which their fire arms quickly dispersed, and would totally have destroyed, had not these brave islanders, with all their courage, been sensible of their inferiority. Thus the thunder of European artillery made good the right of the Spaniards; but force by no means gives a sanction to base treachery.


Queiroz quitted this island of Taumaco on the 18th of April, and, giving up his project of settlement at Santa Cruz, sailed towards the south in search of the land of Mallicolo and other lands indicated by the chiefs of Taumaco.

On the 21st, in the evening, they discovered land in the S.E. They manoeuvred cautiously all night. They then sailed along the northern shores of what proved to be a small island. The captain of the Almiranta, Luis Vaez de Torres, went in a canoe to examine it.

He could not find an anchorage for the fleet; but he went near enough to the land to converse with the natives, who offered him a present of nuts, and a piece of stuff made of palm leaves woven together.

He learned from them that their island was caged TUCOPIA*; and they made him understand by signs that, if he sailed southwards, he would meet with extensive countries, where the inhabitants were fairer than those he had yet seen. As this island afforded no shelter from the wind, they did not remain there. In coasting along it, they perceived that it produced many fruit trees, of which they saw several plantations. They say that "It lies in latitude 12 deg. S."

[* The first island arrived at by the Spaniards bearing a native name preserved to this day, and that can, therefore, be positively identified, with reference to this voyage.]


As we are coming now to islands which I have positively identified,* it will be well to follow the itinerary on the maps given here.

[* See Portuguese, Spanish, and Victorian Geographical Societies' Journals. 1903-1904.]

The fleet proceeded southwards, with variable winds, till the 25th of April, when, at day-break, a very high land was seen in the latitude of 141/2 deg. (Bougainville's "Pic de l'Etoile," the "Star Island" or Merlav, of modern charts.) They named it San Marcos.

From San Marcos they went on a S.W. course, with men at the mast-head; and at 10 in the forenoon, at a distance of 12 leagues to the S.E., a land of many mountains and plains was sighted, the end of which could not be seen throughout the day. Queiroz gave it the name of Margaritana. It is the island of the New Hebrides group which Bougainville named Aurora.

About 20 leagues to the west, an island was seen that looked so beautiful that they determined to go to it. About a third of the way they saw another island, 3 leagues off. It was flat, with a hill that looked like a rock in the distance. Two canoes under sail came from it, from which they knew that it was inhabited.

On account of its thick woods and pleasant appearance, the name of Vergel, or Flower-Garden, was given to it. There was little wind, and, owing to the necessary caution in navigating among unknown islands, they hove-to during the night.

To the north of Vergel island, which is the Merig Island of modern charts, they saw another large island running N.E. and S.W., and the peaks of its numerous mountains gave the captain a strong desire to go and see it; but he gave it up, owing to other things that occurred. Its latitude they found to be 13 deg., and they named it Las Lagrimas da San Pedro. The Tears of St. Peter.

To the N.W. another island was seen, with a circumference of 60 leagues. It had two high and sloping hills, one at each end. The rest was flat and of very pleasant appearance, alike from its shape and numerous trees. Its latitude they found to be less than 14 deg.. They named it Portales de Belen.

Upon nearing the island to the westward of San Marcos, they saw columns of smoke arising in all directions, and at night many fires. In the centre it was rather high, and thence its slopes extended in all directions to the sea, so that its form was a massive round with only the parts towards the south, broken with ravines.

There were many palm trees, plantains, verdure, abundant water, and the land was thickly inhabited. The circumference was about 50 leagues, though some gave it much more and thought that it would support about 200,000 inhabitants. Its latitude was 14 deg. 30'. Owing to its great beauty, it was named Virgen Maria; it is the modern Gaua, in the Banks' group.

Four canoes with unarmed natives came to the Almiranta, and made signs to offer to take him into port. Seeing that the Spaniards did not wish it, they made presents of cocoanuts and other fruits. Having received a good return, they went back to their island. As the disposition of the natives seemed to be good, the captain sent a party in the launch and one boat, to examine the coast and find a port. The party was under the command of Pedro Lopez de Soto. They found to the S. and S.E. clean bottom at 20 fathoms or less, where the ships might have anchored if the weather to be experienced had been known. They saw a great number of people on the island, who came out to see and call to them. They followed the boat without passing certain boundaries, and by this they supposed that there were partitions of property between the people not on good terms.

Among them there were two distinct colours. While the natives were looking at each other and talking by signs, a man rushed down from behind some rocks. He was well made, of a clear mulatto colour, the hairs of his beard and head brown and crisp, and rather long. He was robust and vigorous. With a jump he got into the boat, and, according to the signs he made, he appeared to ask: "Where do you come from? What do you want? What do you seek?" Assuming that these were the questions asked, some of the Spaniards said, "We come from the east, we are Christians, we seek you, and we want you to be ours."

He showed himself to be so bold, that the Spaniards understood that he wanted to make them believe that to him they were a small affair. He presently was undeceived, for he was seized and brought to the ship, where he came on board so fearlessly that the Spaniards had to confess that he was no coward.

The captain embraced him, and asked about the land by signs, of which he appeared to give extensive information. He pointed to several places on the horizon, counted on his fingers several times, and ended by pronouncing several words in Spanish, thereby showing that he had come in contact with earlier Spanish navigators in those seas. The Spaniards say that it was "very pleasant to hear him, to see how lively he was, how vigorous and agreeable in his manner; having a bright look for all, including those who importuned him with a desire for information."

The night having come on, the launch arrived, and the pilot of her told Queiroz that they were bringing a native prisoner, secured by a hatchway chain. Soon after, however, the prisoner broke his chain; and, taking part of it and the padlock with him on one foot, he jumped overboard.

Queiroz heard this with great regret, fearing that the man had been drowned. To make sure of their first prisoner, he ordered him to be given his supper and to be put in the stocks, but on a bed where he could sleep. He also ordered that the ships should go in search of the one that had escaped.

Going in search at 10 at night, the look-out man heard a voice from the water, and made out the place where the native, being tired out, was struggling with death.

To the cries of the swimmer carne answer from the prisoner, in such doleful tunes that it caused grief to all to see the one and hear the other. The swimmer was got on board, to the joy of himself and the crew, and to their surprise that he could have sustained such a weight on his foot for four hours.

The padlock and chain were at once taken off, and he was given his supper, with wine to drink, and then put in the stocks, that he might not try it on again. There both remained all night, talking sadly and in confusion. At dawn, the captain, pretending that he quarrelled with all for putting them in the stocks, let them out. He then ordered the barber to shave off their beards and hair, except one tuft on the side of their heads. He also ordered their finger-nails and toe-nails to be cut with scissors, the uses of which they admired. Queiroz caused them to be dressed in silk of divers colours, gave them hats with plumes, tinsel, and other ornaments, knives, and a mirror, into which they looked with caution.

This done, the captain had them put into the boat, and told Sojo to take them on shore, coasting along to the end of the island, to see what there was beyond. The natives came, and the fear being passed, they sang their happy and unhoped-for fate. Arrived at the beach, they were told to jump out, which they could hardly believe.

Finally, they jumped overboard, where there were many natives; among them a woman with a child in her arms, who received the two with great joy. It appeared that she was the wife of the first native, and that he was a chief, for all respected and obeyed his orders. They seemed to be contented and gave each other many embraces, with gentle murmurings. The chief, pointing with his finger, seemed to be saying that the Spaniards were a good people. Many came to where the boat was, and they showed such confidence, that when one of the Spaniards asked the mother for her baby, she gave it. Seeing that it was passed from one to another, to be seen and embraced, the natives were well pleased. In fine, a good understanding was established.

The swimmer ran away, and presently came back with a pig on his shoulders, which he offered to his new friends. The chief gave them another, and a bunch of curious plantains, their shape being like that of moderate-sized egg-plants without points, the pulp orange colour, sweet and tender. The other natives emulously presented cocoanuts, sweet canes, and other fruits, and water in joints of cane four palmos long, and one thick. Pointing to the ships, they seemed to say that they should anchor there, that they might give them all they had in the island. The Spaniards took their leave and went on to the point, where they saw the coast of the island trending north, and the other of Belen at a distance of 4 leagues to the N.W. Satisfied with their view, they returned to the ship.

All the natives of this island were not equally well disposed towards the Spaniards, for the boatswain's mate of the Almiranta was wounded in one cheek by an arrow: certain natives being envious of the friendship of the others, or being enraged because, when they called to the Spaniards, they did not care to stop and speak with them, shot off arrows, and had an answer from muskets. The wound of the boatswain's mate healed quickly, and they knew thereby that the arrows were not poisoned. More mischief would have been done if their friend the swimmer had not come running, shouting, and making signs for the boat to keep away—"a great proof of gratitude," says the Spanish narrator.

Towards the end of April, one Melchor de los Reyes was looking out at the mast-head, when, at three in the afternoon, he saw at a distance of 12 leagues to the S.W. and S., more or less, an extensive land. For this, and because the eye could not turn to a point that was not all land, the day was the most joyful and the most celebrated day of the whole voyage.

They went towards the land, and next day found themselves near a coast running to the west. The name of Cardona * was given to this land in memory of the Duke of Sesa, who had taken a deep interest in the voyage, as well at Rome as at the Court of Spain, and because the captain felt very grateful.

[* The name of the Duke of Sesa was Don Antonio de Cardona, Y Cordova. On a visit to Rome, as a pilgrim, Queiroz was well received by Cardona, who was the ambassador from Spain at that Court. The land which Queiroz, named Cardona was Aoba Island of the modern chart.]

When they set out for the said land there was seen, far away to the S.E., a massive and very lofty chain of mountains, covered with thick masses of white clouds, in the middle and on the heights, while the bases were clear.

It seemed from aloft that the coasts of these two lands approached to form one. The captain gave the name of La Clementina to this range of mountains. It seemed to be in about 17 deg.. (The lofty range that crowns Pentecost Island).

Having come nearer to the land, an opening was seen in it, and, as it appeared to be a port, Queiroz sent an officer in a boat, with soldiers and rowers, to examine it. In the afternoon this officer returned, reporting that the opening formed a narrow island 6 leagues long, running N. and S., rather high, inhabited, and well wooded; and where it was found to be sheltered to the E. and N.E., there was bottom at 30 fathoms, and a strong current. The captain gave it the name of San Raimundo. (It is the Isla de Santiago of de Prado's chart.) See p. 34.

Coasting along this island to the W., there came out on the beach many tawny men, very tall, with bows in their hands, calling loudly to the Spaniards.

As the new-comers would not approach, they threw a great bundle of capon's feathers into the sea, intending with that, and by sending out boys, to induce the Spaniards to come within shot of their arrows.

Then they shot off volleys from their bows which the Spaniards returned with muskets. Further on they saw many natives of fine make and good colour, and away to the S. and S.E. three and four ranges of very high mountains (Malicolo and Ambrym), which seemed to join on to the other ranges that had been seen to the S.E.

With such good news that the land was inhabited, they sailed onwards on a western course; and at a distance of 6 leagues, on the 1st of May, 1606, they entered a great bay, where they passed the night.

Next day, the captain sent the admiral* away in a boat to look for a port.

[* The Spanish term applied to the second in command.]

Two canoes came out to the ships with men in them, having their bows ready. They stopped for an interval and rowed for another. They spoke loudly, and looked at the newcomers and at the shore, showing themselves to be troubled. Those in the launch fired off a piece to astonish them, which it did, for they took to flight, rowing as hard as they could.

Torres, the admiral, returned in the afternoon very well satisfied, and those who accompanied him were equally pleased, and could not hold back the joyful news that they had found a good port; for this is what they had hitherto failed to find, though they had sought for one with anxious wishes to succeed. Without a port, the discovery, they knew, would be of little importance.

Next day, being the 3rd of May, the three vessels anchored in the port with great joy, giving many thanks to God. Natives were seen passing along the beach.

The captain, with the boats, went to look at them, with the desire to take some of them and send them back clothed and kindly treated, so that in this and other ways friendship might be established. He did all he could to induce them to get into the boats. They did the same to get the Spaniards to land, and as the latter would not, the natives flung certain fruits into the water, which the men in the boats collected, and with which they returned to the ships.

The day after, the captain ordered the admiral to go on shore with a party of soldiers, and try by all possible means to catch some natives, so as to establish peace and friendship, based on the good work they intended to do for them.

The party ran the boat high up on the beach, and quickly formed in a squadron, for the natives were coming, and it was not known with what object. Being near, they made signs and spoke, but were not understood. The Spaniards called to them in return; then the natives drew a line on the ground and seemed to say that the new-comers were not to pass beyond it. They could not understand one another, and there seems to have been a want of management and discipline. Natives were seen in the woods, and to frighten them some muskets were fired into the air. A soldier who had lost patience, or who had forgotten his orders, fired low and killed a native. The others, with loud cries, fled. A Moor, who was the drummer in the Spanish corps, cut off the head and one foot of the dead native, and hung the body on the branch of a tree, without being seen to do it by those on the beach.

It then happened that three native chiefs came to where the Spaniards were, who, instead of showing them kindness, and taking them on board, showed them the headless body of their comrade, pretending that this cruelty was a means of making peace.

The chiefs, showing great sorrow, went back to where their people were, and shortly afterwards sounded their instruments, that is, their war drums, with great force and noise, which was heard on the hills among the trees.

Then from many directions they began shooting arrows and darts, and throwing stones, while the Spaniards fired on them, turning on one side or the other.

Queiroz saw all this from the ship where he was, with great regret to find peace turned into war. It appeared to him best to land more men in the direction taken by a number of natives, who were trying to surround the Spaniards. The supporting party got into such conflict with the enemy that the captain was obliged to fire two pieces. The balls, tearing the branches of the trees, passed over the natives; but, after this, and the resistance made by the soldiers, the enemy retired.

At the same time, the natives who were on the beach moved forward, brandishing their clubs, and with arrows fitted to their bows—and darts poised to throw, menacing with loud shouts. Then a tall old native advanced making a sound on a shell with great force. He seemed to be the same chief who had spoken to the soldiers, and they understood him to say that his people would defend their country against those who came to it killing their inhabitants. Eight of the musketeers were in ambush, and one of them, unfortunately, as he afterwards stated, killed this chief, and presently the rest desisted.

Three or four raised their dead on their shoulders with great celerity, and went inland, leaving the neighbouring villages deserted. The narrator here remarks: "Such was the end of the peace that the captain hoped for and sought for, the means of discovering the grandeur of the land, and all was contained in it."

Shortly after Queiroz went on shore again and instituted an order of knights of the Holy Ghost, with a badge, or insignia, in the shape of a cross of a blue colour, to be worn on the breast.

Towards evening of the same day all three vessels displayed many lights, and they sent off many rockets and fire-wheels. All the artillery was fired off; and when the natives heard the noise and the echoes resounding over hills and valleys, thy raised great shouts.

The Spaniards sounded drums, rang the bells, had music and dancing, and had other forms of rejoicing, in which the men showed great pleasure...

Next morning it was not quite dawn when the camp-master and ministers, taking with them an armed party in the two boats, went on shore. They landed near the launch with four small pieces of artillery to be used in a fort in case of necessity. Within, the monks arranged a clean and well-ordered altar under a canopy. This was the first church, and was named by the captain "Our Lady of Loreto."

Everything having been arranged as well as the tine would allow, it was reported to the captain, who left the ship with the rest of the people. All the three companies were drawn up in good order on the beach...

The Royal Ensign, Lucas de Queiroz (Queiroz's nephew), came forth with the standard in his hands.

The banners, which were fluttering and brightening the whole scene, received their tribute from discharges of muskets and arquebuses. Presently, the captain came out and went down on his knees, saying: "To God alone be the honour and glory." Then, putting his hand on the ground, he kissed it, and said: "O Land sought for so long, intended to be found by many, and so desired by me!" Then formal possession was taken under six different headings, the last being: "Possession in the name of His Majesty,"—which read as follows:—

"Finally, I take possession of this bay, named the Bay of St. Philip and St. James, and of its port named Santa Cruz, and of the site on which is to be founded the City of New Jerusalem, in latitude 15 deg. 10', and of all the lands which I sighted and am going to sight, and of all this region of the south as far as the Pole, which, from this time shall be called AUSTRALIA DEL ESPIRITU SANTO, with all its dependencies and belongings; and this for ever, and so long as right exists, in the name of the king, Don Philip, third of that name, king of Spain, and of the eastern and western Indies, my king and natural lord, whose is the cost and expense of this fleet, and from whose will and power came its mission, with the government, spiritual and temporal, of these lands and people, in whose royal name are displayed these his three banners, and I hereby hoist the royal standard."...

Then followed masses and various other ceremonies, including the creation of a municipality and the elections of officers thereto.

After which Queiroz ordered Torres to take an armed party, and penetrate further into the interior...They saw more and better farms and villages than before, and at one village they found the natives much occupied with their dances. When they saw the Spaniards approaching, they began a flight to the mountains, leaving strewn about, as they fled, bows, arrows, and darts. The people of the party found two roast pigs, and all their other food, which they eat at their ease. They carried off twelve live pigs, eight hens and chickens, and they saw a tree which astonished them, for its trunk could not have been encircled by fifteen or twenty men; so they returned to the ships. Queiroz, on the last day of Easter, taking with him such an escort as seemed necessary, went to an adjacent farm of the natives and sowed a quantity of maize, cotton, anions, melons, pumpkins, beans, pulse, and other seeds of Spain; and returned to the ships laden with many roots and fish caught on the beach. Next day Queiroz sent the master of the camp, with thirty soldiers, to reconnoitre a certain height, where they found a large and pleasant valley, with villages. When the inhabitants saw them coming, many assembled together in arms. They caught there three boys, the oldest being about seven years of age, and twenty pigs. With these they began to retreat, and the natives, with vigour and bravery, attacked their vanguard, centre and rearguard, shooting many arrows. The chiefs came to the encounter, and by their charges forced the Spaniards to lose the ground they were gaining. Arrived at a certain pass, they found the rocks occupied by many natives, who were animated by the desire to do them as much harm as possible. Here was the hardest fight, their arrows and stones hurled down from the heights causing great damage to the party.

When the captain heard the noise of the muskets and the shouting, he ordered three guns to be fired off, to frighten the natives and encourage his people, and the better to effect this at the port, those in the ships and on the beach were sent to support the retreating party in great haste. The forces having united, they came to the ships, saving the spoils, and all well.

Shortly after, the master of the camp was sent to examine the mouth of the river, which is in the middle of the bay, with the launch, a boat, and a party of men. He tried the depth at the mouth, and found that there was no bottom, with the length of an oar and his own arm. He went further up in the beat, and the view of the river gave much pleasure to those who were with him, as well for its size and the clearness of the water, as for its gentle current and the beauty of the trees on its banks.

The launch passed further up, and they landed on the bank and went inland. They found a small village of four streets, and an open space at the most elevated part. All round there were many farms, surrounded by palings. Two spies were posted, who warned the natives, and they all fled. The Spaniards found in their houses several kinds of fish, roasted and wrapped in plantain leaves, and a quantity of raw mussel in baskets, as well as fruits and flowers hung on poles. Near, there was a burial place. They also found a flute and certain small things worked out of pieces of marble and jasper. As they heard drums and shells sounding, and a great murmuring noise, understanding that it came from a large number of people, they retreated, followed by the natives, who did not dare to attack them. Finally, they got to the launch in peace, and returned to the ships.

On many other occasions they went to fish and to seek for things very necessary for the requirements of the ships, returning well content with the excellence of the land. Encounters with the natives were not wanting, and it is believed that some of the natives were killed by the Spaniards, although the latter denied it, when suspected and accused of the deed.

After the celebration of the Festival of Corpus Christi, Queiroz announced his intention of visiting the "lands to windward." At which Torres asked, "in his name and those of the crew, that another day might be allowed for the people to catch fish," and the historian says that "it happened that they fished in a certain place whence they brought to the ship a quantity of paryos, which are considered poisonous, like those in Havana and other ports. As many as ate them were attacked by nausea, vomiting, and feverish symptoms."*

[* The ill-effects of the poisonous fish of Santo.]


This bay, to which the captain gave the name of St. Philip and St. James, because it was discovered on their day, is 1700 leagues from Lima, from Acapulco 1300, from Manila in the Philippines 1100 leagues.

Its entrance is to the N.W., in 15 deg. S., and the port is in 15 deg. 10' S. The bay has a circuit of 20 leagues at the entrance 4 leagues across. The variation of the compass is 7 deg. N.E.

The land which forms, the bay runs directly N. on the E. side, with sloping heights and peopled valleys well covered with trees. This side ends at the mouth of the bay with a height rising to a peak, and the coast runs E. and then S.E., but we could not see how it ends.

The other land to the W. runs nearly N.W., and to the point is 11 leagues in length, consisting of a range of hills of moderate height, which the sun bathes when it rises and where there are patches without trees, covered with dried up grass.

Here are ravines and streams, some falling from the heights to the skirts of the hills, where many palm groves and villages were seen. From the point on this side the coast turns to the W.

The front of the bay, which is to the S., is 3 leagues long, and forms a beach. In the middle there is a river which was judged to be the size of the Guadalquivir at Seville. At its mouth the depth is 2 and more fathoms; so that boats, and even frigates could enter. It received the name of the 'Jordan.' On its right is seen the Southern Cross in the heavens, which makes the spot noteworthy.

To the eastward, at the corner of this bay, there is another moderate-sized river called 'Salvador,' into which the boats entered at their pleasure to get water.

The waters of both rivers are sweet, pleasant, and fresh. The one is distant from the other a league and a half, consisting of a beach of black gravel, with small heavy stones, excellent for ballast for a ship.

Between the said two rivers is the port. The bottom is clean, consisting of black sand, and here a great number of Ships would have room up to 401/2 brazos.

It is not known whether there are worms.*

[* Teredo Navalis.]

As the beach is not bare nor driven up, and the herbs are green near the water, it was assumed that it was not beaten by the seas; and as the trees are straight and their branches unbroken, it was judged that there were no great storms. The port was named 'Vera Cruz,' because we anchored there on that day.

In the whole bay we did not see a bank, rock, or reef; but it is so deep that there is no anchorage except at the above port. It is better to approach near the river Salvador, and there is another moderate port which is distant 2 leagues from this on the N. to S. coast.

All the said beach is bordered by a dense mass of great trees, with paths leading from them to the shore. It seemed to serve as a wall, the better to carry on defensive or offensive operations against other natives coming to make war. All the rest is a level plain, with hills on either side. Those on the W. side run southward, becoming more elevated and more massive as their distances increase. As for the plain, we have not seen where it ends. The earth is black, rich, and in large particles. It is cleared of wild trees to make room for fruit trees, crops, and gardens surrounded by railings. There are many houses scattered about, and whenever a view could be obtained, many fires and columns of smoke were discerned, witnesses of a large population.

The natives generally seen here are corpulent, not quite black nor mulatto. Their hair is frizzled. They have good eyes. They cover their parts with certain cloths they weave. They are clean, fond of festivities and dancing to the sound of flute and drums made of a hollow piece of wood. They use shells also for musical instruments, and in their dances make great shouting at the advances, balances, and retreats. They were not known to use the herb.*

[* Betel.]

Their arms are heavy wooden clubs, and bows of the same, arrows of reed with wooden points, hardened in the fire, darts with pieces of bone enclosed.

Their interments are covered. We saw some enclosed burial grounds with oratories and carved figures, to which they make offerings. It is, to all appearance, a courageous and sociable people, but without care for the ills of their neighbours; for they saw some fighting with us without coming to help them.

The houses are of wood, covered with palm-leaves, with two sloping sides to the roof, and with a certain kind of outhouse, where they keep their food. All their things are kept very clean.

They also have flower-pots with small trees of an unknown kind. The leaves are very soft, and of a yellow-reddish colour.

The bread they use is mainly of roots, whose young shoots climb on poles, which are put near them for that purpose.* The rind is grey, the pulp murrey colour, yellow, or reddish; some much larger than others. There are some a yard and a half in thickness, also two kinds; one almost round, and the size of two fists, more or less. Their taste resembles the potatoes of Peru. The inside of the other root is white, its form and size that of a cob of maize when stripped. All these kinds have a pulp without fibres, loose, soft, and pleasant to the taste. These roots are bread made without trouble, there being nothing to do but to take them out of the earth, and eat them, roast or boiled. They are very good cooked in pots. Our people ate a great deal; and, being of a pleasant taste and satisfying, they left off the ship's biscuit for them. These roots last so long without getting bad, that on reaching Acapulco those that were left were quite good.

[* The Kumara, or sweet potato, and yams.]

Their meat consists of a great quantity of tame pigs, some reddish, others black, white, or speckled. We saw tusks 11/4 palmos in length, and a porker was killed weighing 200 lbs. The natives roast them on hearths, wrapped up in plantain leaves. It is a clean way, which gives the meat a good colour, and none of the substance is lost.

There are many fowls like those of Europe. They use capons. There are many wild pigeons, doves, ducks, and birds like partridges, with very fine plumage. One was found in a lasso, with which the natives catch them. There are many swallows; we saw a macaw and flocks of paraquets; and we heard, when on board at early dawn, a sweet harmony from thousands of different birds, apparently buntings, blackbirds, nightingales, and others. The mornings and afternoons were enjoyable from the pleasant odours emitted from the trees and many kinds of flowers, together with the sweet basil. A bee was also seen, and harvest flies were heard buzzing.

The fish are skate, sole, pollack, red mullet, shad, eels, pargos, sardines, and others; for which natives fish with a three-pronged dart, with thread of a fibrous plant, with nets in a bow shape, and at night with a light. Our people fished with hooks and with nets for the most part. In swampy parts of the beach shrimps and mussels were seen.

Their fruits are large, and they have many cocoanuts, so that they were not understood to put much store by them. But from these palms they make wine, vinegar, honey, and whey to give to the sick. They eat the small palms raw and cooked. The cocoanuts, when green, serve as cardos and for cream. Ripe, they are nourishment as food and drink by land and sea.

When old, they yield oil for lighting, and a curative balsam. The shells are good for cups and bottles. The fibres furnish tow for caulking a ship; and to make cables, ropes, and ordinary string, the best for an arquebus. Of the leaves they make sails for their canoes, and fine mats with which they cover their houses, built with trunks of the trees, which are straight and high. From the wood they get planks, also lances and other weapons, and many things for ordinary use, all very durable. From the grease they get the yalagala, used instead of tar.

In fine, it is a tree without necessity for cultivation, and bearing all the year round.

There are three kinds of plantains: one, the best I have seen, pleasant to smell, tender and sweet.

There are many Obos, which is a fruit nearly the size and taste of a peach, on whose leaves may be reared silkworms, as is done in other parts.

There is a great abundance of a fruit which grows on tall trees, with large serrated leaves. They are the size of ordinary melons, their shape nearly round, the skin delicate, the surface crossed into four parts, the pulp between yellow and white, with seven or eight pips. When ripe it is very sweet, when green, it is eaten boiled or roasted. It is much eaten, and is found wholesome. The natives use it as ordinary food. There are two kinds of almonds: one with as much kernel as four nuts lengthways, the other in the shape of a triangle; its kernel is larger than three large ones of ours, and of an excellent taste.

There is a kind of nut, hard outside, and the inside in one piece without a division, almost like a chestnut; the taste nearly the same as the nuts of Europe.

Oranges grow without being planted. With some the rind is very thick, with others delicate. The natives do not eat them. Some of our people said there were lemons.

There are many, and very large, sweet canes; red and green, very long, with jointed parts. Sugar might be made from them.

Many and large trees, bearing a kind of nut, grew on the forest-covered slopes near the port. They brought these nuts on board as green as they were on the branches. Their leaves are not all green on one side, and on the other they turn to a yellowish grey. Their length is a geme,* more or less, and in the widest part three fingers. The nut contains two skins, between which grows what they call mace, like a small nut. Its colour is orange. The nut is rather large, and there are those who say that this is the best kind. The natives make no use of it, and our people used to eat it green, and put it into the pots, and used the mace for saffron.

[* The space between the end of the thumb and the end of the forefinger, both stretched out.]

On the beach a fruit was found like a pine apple. There were other fruits, like figs, filberts, and albaricoques,* which were eaten. Others were seen, but it was not known what fruits they were, nor what others grew in that land. To give a. complete account of them and other things, it is necessary to be a year in the country, and to travel over much ground.

[* Apricots.]

As regards vegetables, I* only knew amaranth, purslane, and calabashes.

[* It is Belmonte, Queiroz's secretary, who is describing the bay and its products.—G. C.]

The natives make from a black clay some very well-worked pots, large and small, as well as pans and porringers in the shape of small boats.*

[* I have seen some of these in the Noumea Museum.-G.C.]

It was supposed that they made some beverage, because in the pots and in cavities were found certain sour fruits.

It appeared to us that we saw there quarries of good marble*; I say good, because several things were seen that were made of it and of jasper. There were also seen ebony and large mother-o'-pearl shells; also some moderate-sized looms. In one house a heap of heavy black stones was seen, which afterwards proved to be metal from whence silver could be extracted. Two of our people said they had seen the footprints of a large animal.

[* Coral cliffs.]

The climate appeared to be very healthy, both from the rigour and size of the natives, as because none of our men became ill all the time we were there, nor felt any discomfort, nor tired from work. They had not to keep from drinking while fasting, not at unusual times, nor when sweating, nor from being wet with salt or fresh water, nor from eating whatever grew in the country, nor from being out in the evening under the moon, nor the sun, which was not very burning at noon, and at midnight we were glad of a blanket. The land is shown to be healthy, from the natives living in houses on terraces, and having so much wood, and because so many old people were seen. We heard few claps of thunder, and had little rain. As the river flowed with clear water, it was understood that the rains were over.

It is to be noted that we had not seen cactus nor sandy wastes, nor were the trees thorny, while many of the wild trees yielded good fruit. It is also to be noted that we did not see snow on the mountains, nor were there any mosquitos or ants in the land, which are very harmful, both in houses and fields.

There were no poisonous lizards either in the woods or the cultivated ground, nor alligators in the rivers. Fish and flesh keep good for salting during two or more days. The land is so pleasant, so covered with trees; there are so many kinds of birds, that owing to this and other good signs, the climate may be considered to be clement and that it preserves its natural order. Of what happens in the mountains we cannot speak until we have been there. As no very large canoes were seen, with so large a population, and such fine trees, but only some small ones, and the mountain ranges being so very high to W. and E., and to the S., and the river Jordan being so large, with great trees torn up and brought down at its mouth, we came to the conclusion that the land must be extensive, and yielding abundantly; and that consequently the people were indolent, and have no need to seek other lands.

I am able to say with good reason, that a land more delightful, healthy and fertile; a site better supplied with quarries, timber, clay for tiles, bricks for founding a great city on the sea, with a port and a good river on a plain; with level lands near the hills, ridges, and ravines; nor better adapted to raise plants and all that Europe and the Indies produce, could not be found. No port could be found more agreeable, nor better supplied with all necessaries, without any drawbacks; nor with such advantages for dockyards in which to build ships; nor forests more abundant in suitable timber good for buttock timbers, houses, compass timbers, beams, planks, masts and yards. Nor is there any other land that could sustain so many strangers so pleasantly, if what has been written is well considered. Nor does any other land have what this land has close by, at hand, and in sight of its port; for quite near there are seven islands,* with coasts extending for 200 leagues, apparently with the same advantages, and which have so many, and such good signs, that they may be sought for and found without shoals or other obstacles; while nearly half-way there are other known islands,** with inhabitants and ports where anchorages may be found. I have never seen, anywhere where I have been, nor have heard of such advantages...

[* Vanua Lava, Gaua, Aurora, Aoba, Pentecost, Ambryna, and Malekula.]

[** Gente hermosa, etc.]

As it was arranged that the ships should leave the port, understanding that the sickness was not very bad, they made sail on the 28th of May. In the afternoon the sick were so helpless that the captain ordered the pilots to keep the ships within the mouth of the bay until the condition of the people was seen next day. They were all in such a state that the captain gave orders for the ships to return to port where, the wind being fair, they were easily anchored. Then steps were taken to take care of the sick, and they all got well in a short tune.

On the day after they anchored a number of natives were seen on the beach, playing on their shells. To find out what it was about, the captain ordered the master of the camp to go with a party of men in the two boats to learn what they wanted. When the Spaniards were near them, they vainly shot off their arrows to the sound of their instruments. From the boats four musket-shots were fired in the air, and they returned to the ships.

Soon afterwards the captain ordered them to return to the shore, taking the three boys, that the natives might see them, and be assured that no harm had been done to them, the fear of which was supposed to be the cause of all this disturbance. When they arrived, the boys called to their fathers, who, though they heard them, did not know their sons by the voices or by sight, because they were dressed in silk. The boats came nearer, that they might get a better view; and, when the boys were known, two natives waded into the water up to their breasts, showing by this, and by their joy during all the time the sweet discourse lasted, that they were the fathers of the boys.

The natives were given to understand that the muskets were fired because they fired the arrows. To this they answered that it was not them, but others of a different tribe; and that, as they were friends, they should be given the three boys. They said they would bring fowls, pigs, and fruit, and present them. They were told by pointing to the sun, that they were to return at noon. They went away, and the boats went back to the ships. At the time arranged the natives sounded two shells, and the boats went back with the three boys, whose fathers, when they saw and spoke to them, did not show less joy than at the first interview. They gave the Spaniards a pig, and asked for the boys. They said that they would bring many on the next day, which, accordingly they did, sounding the shells.

The boats again went to the shore, taking a he- and a she-goat, to leave there to breed; also taking the boys as a decoy to induce the natives to come, so as to take them to the ships, and let them return. They found two pigs on the beach; and, when they were delivered up, the Spaniards gave the goats in exchange, which the natives looked at cautiously, with much talking among themselves.

The fathers begged for their sons; and, because their demand was not granted, they said they would bring more pigs, and that the Spaniards were to come back for them when they gave the signal. In the afternoon the same signal was made, and the boats returned to the shore. But they only saw the goats tied up, and two natives near them, who said that they would go to seek for others, as they did not want the goats. Thinking that this looked bad, a careful observation was made, and many natives were seen among the trees with bows and arrows. Understanding that this was a plan for seizing some of the men, or for some other had object, the muskets were fired off, and the natives hastily fled with loud shouts.

The Spaniards recovered the goats and returned to the ships.

Queiroz, seeing that the natives of that bay continued to be hostile, owing to the bad treatment they had received, resolved to proceed south to get a nearer view of the great and high chain of mountains in that direction; desiring by the sight of them to reanimate all his companions; because, as he said, "in the event of his death, he felt sure they would continue the work with ardour until it was finished." He left the bay with the three vessels on Thursday, the 8th of June, in the afternoon. They met with contrary winds and decided to return to port. All night they were beating on different tacks at the mouth of the bay. At dawn the Almiranta was 3 leagues to windward, and at three in the afternoon she and the launch were near the port...The force of the wind was increasing, and the night was near, owing to which the pilot* ordered that if they could not reach the port, they were to anchor wherever it was possible. The night came on very dark. The Almiranta and the launch appeared to have anchored.

[* Gonzalez de Leza.]

They saw the lanterns lighted, to give the Capitana leading marks, as she was also going to anchor. Soundings were taken, and they found 30 fathoms, not being an arquebus shot from the port. The wind came down in a gust over the land. Sails were taken in, and the ship was only under a fore course, falling off a little. The chief pilot, exaggerating very much the importance of being unable to find bottom, together with the darkness of the night, the strong wind, the numerous lights he saw without being able to judge with certainty which were those of the two ships, said to the captain that he was unable to reach the port.

The captain commended his zeal and vigilance. There was one who said, and made it clearly to be understood, that more diligence might easily have been shown to anchor or to remain without leaving the bay; and that, with only the sprit sail braced up, she might have run for shelter under the cape to windward. It was also said that they went to sleep. In the morning the captain asked the pilot what was the position of the ship. He replied that she was to leeward of the cape; and the captain told him to make sail that she might not make leeway. The pilot answered that the sea was too high and against them, and that the bows driving into the water would cause her timbers to open, though he would do his best. The narrator here remarks "that this was a great misfortune, owing to the captain being disabled by illness on this and other occasions when the pilots wasted time, obliging him to believe what they said, to take what they gave, measured out as they pleased." Finally, during this and the two following days, attempts were made to enter the bay. The other vessels did not come out, the wind did not go down; while, owing to the force of this wind the ship, having little sail on, and her head E.N.E., lost ground to such an extent that they found themselves 20 leagues to leeward of the port, all looking at those high mountains with sorrow at not being able to get near them.

The island of Virgen Maria was so hidden by mist that they could never get a sight of it. They saw the other island of Belen*, and passed near another, 7 leagues long. It consisted of a very high hill, almost like the first. It received the name of Pilar de Zaragoza. It is the Ureparapara of modern charts. Many growing crops, palms, and other trees, and columns of smoke were seen on it. It was about 30 leagues to the N.W. of the bay; but there were no soundings and no port.

[* Vanua Lava, in the Banks group.]

They diligently sought its shelter, but were obliged to give it up owing to the wind and current; and on the next day they found themselves at sea, out of sight of land.

Queiroz made an attempt to reach Santa Cruz where, in case of separation, the fleet was to rendezvous in Graciosa Bay. He failed to reach that island and sailed for Acapulco, which he sighted on the 3rd of October, 1606, and thence overland he reached Mexico with a small escort on his way back to Spain, where he arrived destitute.

On his return to Spain, Queiroz reported to the king the discovery of the Australian continent. Thus it came to pass, in after years, that Australia was represented as shown in the accompanying map, and not until the French navigator Bougainville, and after him our immortal Cook, re-discovered the New Hebrides, was the illusion concerning Queiroz's discovery of Australia thoroughly dispelled.

In a work published in Paris, in 1756, the same year, therefore, as the map by Vaugondy, given here, De Brosses, the author of a work on Australian Discovery, describing New Holland, the name then given to Australia, says:—

"On the eastern coast is the Terre du St. Esprit (the Land of the Holy Ghost), discovered by Queiroz."


The map given here was drafted by Don Diego de Prado, the cartographer of Queiroz' fleet. When compared with a modern map (see pp. 97-114), it will be seen how correct it is. The Spaniards approached their anchoring ground from the north and the perspective elevations of the hilly country is given as seen from the decks of their ships, a common practice in those days, but one, which in this case, necessitated placing the south on top; for purposes of comparison, it will be necessary, therefore, to reverse the map, mentally or otherwise.

The original map, which is of a much larger size, bears an inscription in Spanish (for want of space incomplete in my copy), referring to the discovery, date of taking possession, latitude, etc. It draws attention to the anchors marked in the bay and says that in those places the ships cast anchor. It will be noticed that no less than nine of these anchorages are marked, and that most of them are in the port of Vera Cruz. The inscription says also that the Capitana left them on the 11th of June.

It has often been said that Queiroz's port of Vera Cruz is not to be found in the big bay of St. Philip and St. James, that the water is too shallow in the locality where the port was said to be. This objection, however, may be overcome.

When amongst the islands of the group, a couple of years ago, a friend of mine, a French geologist of note, informed me that he had found numerous signs of upheaval in the corner of the bay, where, precisely, the port of Vera Cruz is marked on D. Diego de Prado's chart. This, coupled with what Queiroz says about "great trees torn up and brought down" by the rivers, accounts, no doubt, for what appears to be incorrect in the Spanish chart if compared with modern features.



I shall give here Torres' account from that portion of it that has come to be intimately connected with Australian discovery.

As there was a misunderstanding, to say the least of it, between Queiroz, the Portuguese, and his lieutenant Torres, the proud Spaniard, the second in command during the voyage we have just read about, it will be just as well to hear both sides of the question, and thus be able to form a more correct opinion of what really happened on the occasion of the last of Spain's great navigators' memorable voyage towards the Great South Land.

Torres, in a letter to the king of Spain says:

About sixty leagues before reaching Santa Cruz, we found a small island of 6 leagues, very high, and all around it very good soundings; and other small islands near it, under shelter of which the ships anchored.*

[* The island mentioned here was TAUMACO, which has been identified as one of the large islands of the Duff group, not far from Santa Cruz.]

I went with the two boats and fifty men to reconnoitre the people of this island; and at a distance of a musket shot from the island, we found a town surrounded with a wall, and only one entrance without a gate.

Being near with the two boats, with an intention of investing them, as they did not by signs choose peace, at length their chief came into the water up to his neck, with a staff in his hand, and without fear came directly to the boats; where he was very well received, and by signs which we very well understood, he told me that his people were in great terror of the muskets,* and, therefore, he entreated us not to land, and said that they would bring water and wood if we gave them vessels. I told him that it was necessary to remain five days on shore to refresh. Seeing he could not do more with me he quieted his people, who were very uneasy and turbulent, and so it happened that no hostility was committed on either side.

[* Some of them had, no doubt, a lively remembrance of the effect of Spanish fire arms, having been at Santa Cruz, eleven years before, when Mendana's fleet anchored in Graciosa Bay.]

We went into the fort very safely; and, having halted, I made them give up their arms, and made them bring from their houses their effects, which were not of any value, and go with them to the island to other towns.

They thanked me very much; the chief always continued with me. They then told me that TAUMACO was the name of their island.

All came to me to make peace, and the chiefs assisted me, making their people get water and wood, and carry it on board the ship. In this we spent six days.

The people of this island are of agreeable conversation, understanding us very well, desirous of learning our language and to teach us theirs.

They are great cruisers; they have much beard; they are great archers and hurlers of darts; the vessels in which they sail are large, and can go a great way. They informed us of more than forty islands, great and small, all peopled, naming them, and telling us they were at war with many of them. They also gave us intelligence of Santa Cruz Island, and of what happened when Mendana was there.

The people of this island are of ordinary stature. They have amongst them people white and red, some in color like those of the Indies, others woolly-headed, blacks and mulattoes. Slavery is in use amongst them. Their food is yams, fish, cocoanuts, and they have pigs and fowls. The name of the chief is Tomai.


We departed from Taumaco with four natives of the place, whom we took, at which they were not much pleased; and as we here got wood and water, there was no necessity for us to go to Santa Cruz Island; which is, in this parallel* sixty leagues further on.

[* It is not exactly in the same parallel.]

So we sailed from hence, steering S.S.E. to 12 deg. 30' S. latitude, where we found an island like that of Taumaco, and with the same kind of people, named Tucopia. There is only one small anchoring place; and passing in the offing, a small canoe with only two men came to me to make peace, and presented me with some bark of a tree, which appeared like a very fine handkerchief, four yards long and three palms wide; on this I parted from them.

From hence we steered south. We had a hard gale of wind from the north, which obliged us to lie to for two days: at the end of that time it was thought, as it was winter, that we could not exceed the latitude of 14 deg. S., in which we were, though my opinion was always directly contrary, thinking we should search for the islands named by the chiefs of Taumaco.

Wherefore, sailing from this place we steered west, and in one day's sail we discovered a volcano, very high and large [Star, or Merlav Island], above three leagues in circuit, full of trees, and of black people with much beard.

To the westward, and in sight of this volcano, was an island not very high, and pleasant in appearance. There are few anchoring places, and those very close to the shore; it was very full of black people.

Here we caught two in some canoes, whom we clothed and gave presents to, and the next day we put them ashore. In return for this they shot a flight of arrows at a Spaniard, though in truth it was not in the same port, but about a musket shot further on. They are, however, a people that never miss an opportunity of doing mischief.

In sight of this island and around it are many islands, very high and large, and to the southward one so large* that we stood for it, naming the island where our man was wounded, Santa, Maria.

[* This "one so large." is Espiritu Santo; Torres, evidently, did not share Queiroz's belief, but took it for what it was, an island. See for corroboration what he says further on, 8 paragraphs below.]

Sailing thence to the southward towards the large island we discovered a very large bay, well peopled, and very fertile in yams and fruits, pigs and fowls.

They are all black people and naked. They fought with bows, darts and clubs. They did not choose to have peace with us, though we frequently spoke to them and made presents; and they never, with their good will, let us set foot on shore.

This bay is very refreshing, and in it fall many and large rivers. It is in 15 deg. 45' S., latitude and in circuit it is twenty-five leagues. We named it the bay of San Felipe and Santiago, and the land del Espiritu Santo.

There we remained fifty days; we took possession in the Name of Your Majesty.

From within this bay, and from the most sheltered part of it, the Capitana departed at one hour past midnight, without any notice given to us, and without making any signal. This happened the 11th of June, and although the next morning we went out to seek for them, and made all proper efforts, it was not possible for us to find them, for they did not sail on the proper course, nor with good intention.

So I was obliged to return to the bay, to see if by chance they had returned thither. And on the same account we remained in this bay fifteen days, at the end of which we took Your Majesty's orders,* and held a consultation with the officers of the Brigantine.

[* The orders included instructions to sail as far as the 21st parallel; also to rendezvous at Graciosa bay, which order Torres appears to have disobeyed.]

It was determined that we should fulfil them, although contrary to the inclination of many, I may say of the greater part; but my condition was different from that of Captain Pedro Fernandez de Queiroz.*

[* Torres insinuates here that Queiroz was overruled by his crew.]


At length we sailed from this bay, in conformity to the order, although with intention to sail round this island,* but the season and strong currents would not allow of this, although I ran along a great part of it. In what I saw there are very large mountains. It has many ports, though soma of them are small. All of it is well watered with rivers.

[* Again, Torres states that Espiritu Santo is an Island, see 8 paragraphs previous.]

We had at this time nothing but bread and water. It was the depth of winter, and I had sea, wind, and ill will of my crew against me. All this did not prevent me from reaching the latitude mentioned (21 deg. S.), which I passed by one degree, and would have gone further if the weather had permitted,* for the ship was good. It was proper to act in this manner, for these are not voyages performed every day, nor could Your Majesty otherwise be properly informed.

[* When Torres says, he "would have gone further," etc., he evidently thought he was not far from the Australian Continent; a few days' sail, three at the most, would have brought him to Cape Capricorne, on the coast of Queensland, a little to the south of the "Lost Bay" that was marked on some of the maps of the period.]

Going in the said latitude on a S.W. course, we had no signs of land that way.

From hence I stood back to the N.W. till 11 deg. 30' S. latitude; there we fell in with the beginning of New Guinea, the coast of which runs W. by N. and E. by S.

I could not weather the E. point, so I coasted along to the westward on the south side.

I may here interrupt Torres' description in order to point out the various discoveries which he made along the southern shores of New Guinea during the course of his voyage to Manila in which he passed through the straits that bear his name.

The recovery of some ancient manuscript charts and other documents throws considerable light on this perilous and interesting voyage.*

[* The charts in question were pillaged from the Spanish archives during the wars of Napoleon I., and taken to Paris. There, buried away and uncatalogued, they were found, some years ago, by a friend of mine, who caused them to be returned to their original owners and acquainted me with their existence, thus enabling me to get copies of them which were first published to the English speaking world in my work on "The Discovery of Australia," in the year 1894.]

There lies at the eastern extremity of New Guinea a group of beautiful islands supposed to have been first sighted in the year 1873 by the leader of an English expedition, bent on discovery. Captain John Moresby, of H.M.S. Basilisk, the leader in question, in the account of his discoveries in New Guinea, published in 1876, says:

"I trust that the work done by H.M.S. Basilisk, in waters hitherto untracted, on shores hitherto untrodden, and among races hitherto unknown by Europeans will be held to call for some account."

Now, by comparing the Spanish map given here, with Moresby's it will be seen how Moresby's work, on this point of the coast, had been forestalled by Torres.

The features and place-names in the Spanish chart will reveal some of the most important of Torres' discoveries at the south-east end of New Guinea, where the Spanish navigator made his first stay in order to refresh the crews of the Almiranta and Brigantine.

From a description on this chart we learn that during five days and nights the Spaniards stood in sight of those tantalizing verdant shores, unable to effect a landing, threading their way through perilous reefs and over dangerous shoals.

Then, at last, they rounded, no doubt, the cape which Torres called Cabo de tres hermanas, or Cape of the Three Sisters, passed the next point marked (A) on the map, near the east point of the compass, and came to anchor in a little bay which was called Puerto de San Francisco.

It is situated near the south-east entrance to Rocky Pass, between Basilisk and Hayter Islands, and formed, in all probability, during their sojourn in these parts, the centre of their various excursions to the islands and bays around.

Its name, San Francisco, gives us the date of Torres' landing (14th of July, 1606), for it was customary in those days to name discoveries after the saints of the calendar; but the feast of St. Bonaventure occurs also on July the 14th, so that name was likewise made use of, and given to the whole territory discovered.

Contrary to Torres', Moresby's approach, in the year 1873, was from the N.E. where the mainland of New Guinea was supposed to extend beyond Hayter, Basilisk and Moresby's Islands.

The English captain had already cut off Moresby's Island, left his good ship Basilisk at anchor in the strait thus discovered (Fortescue Strait), and—the numerous reefs rendering navigation impossible for his ship—taken to his boats, the galley and cutter.

Moresby and party then rounded the northern shores of what they thought might prove to be the "beginning of New Guinea," when, suddenly, a bay seemed to open towards the south.

Moresby entered it, and, by the merest chance, hit upon the identical narrow passage which Torres, 267 years previously, had discovered from the south side and named Boca de la Batalla, Mouth of the Battle; having, no doubt, had an encounter there with the natives.

Moresby called that mouth Rocky Pass, and grew enthusiastic at the discovery, and at having "separated another island from New Guinea."

He was anxious to find if Rocky Pass would afford a passage for his ship, and spent the remainder of the day in examining it; but a rocky ledge, which ran across, barred it to the ship, and made it dangerous even for boats at the strength of the tide.

Moresby's experiences help to show the difficulties that the Spaniards had to deal with, and also that Torres must have been compelled to leave his two ships at anchor somewhere to the south of the Baya de San Milian; San Francisco Bay, for instance; and use the only rowing boat he had for his excursions.

In this he explored the bay formed by the horse-shoe-shape of Basilisk Island, named it the Baya de San Milian (modern Jenkins Bay), and penetrated to the largest bay to be found among all the islands he had discovered in this region—that is Milne Bay. He says: "We went a long way out from Cabo Fresco [modern Challis Head of Moresby's chart], which is as far as we could go towards the east in a boat."

Other nautical remarks which I translate from the old Spanish text of the chart are: "Towards the E. [N.E.] we did not see the end of the land, but we could judge from the various small islands that the channels were wide; towards the west there are no channels, only land and continuous lofty ridges, 'Tierra alta y cerrada' (evidently the Mount Owen Stanly ranges in the distance). We steered in that direction, but had to give up further progress after a while owing to the inadequacy of our boat."

These and other notes on the Spanish chart correspond exactly with what Moresby says of Milne Bay; and the dimensions given to that bay by de Prado, the cartographer of the expedition (40 leagues in circumference), may be considered as a fairly correct estimate.

On the 18th of July, Torres and his party having concluded their running survey of Basilisk Island, landed and took possession in the name of the king of Spain, naming as I have said, the whole territory the TIERRA DE SAN BUENAVENTURA.

A careful examination which I have made of a much distorted copy of a general map of New Guinea, made by Torres' cartographer, shows that Torres' Tierra de san Buenaventura (Basilisk Island), is one of several islands off the south-eastern extremity of New Guinea; and, by coupling this fact with what Torres says of his inability to navigate the bay (Milne Bay), and proceed east of Cabo Fresco (Challis Head), although he noticed wide channels in that direction, we may infer that the reefs and coral patches (not contrary winds as generally believed) compelled him to seek the southwest passage to Manila.*

[* Torres evidently did not discover the passage, discovered by Moresby and named by him China Strait, otherwise he might have been able to take the northern course.]

This becomes still more evident when we consider that Moresby also was unable to take his ship through to the northern shores.

From these regions Torres sailed to Orangerie Bay of modern charts, which he discovered on the 10th of August, 1606, and named in consequence, THE GREAT BAY OF ST. LAWRENCE.*

[* On the same day, one hundred years before, the Portuguese had discovered Madagascar, which they called the Island of St. Lawrence.]

Here, another lengthy stay was made and an extensive survey, comprising the laying out of a township, as may be seen by the accompanying map.

Then the little squadron went right up into the Gulf of Papua and down again as far as 11 deg. S. latitude.

Not, therefore, through Torres Strait, so called, did Torres pass, but through Endeavour Strait, which has been named after Captain Cook's ship, the Endeavour.

Sailing along the shores of the islands to the north of Australia, between Cape York and Prince of Wales Island, Torres regained the coast of New Guinea and put in at the bay of St. Peter of Arlanza (modern Triton Bay), in order to refresh his crews.

There he took possession on the 18th of October, 1606, and, after a lengthy sojourn, sailed away to the Philippine Islands.

He had discovered Australia without being aware of the fact, and had completed the Spanish circumnavigation of New Guinea.

* * * * *


1492. Discovery of America, by C. Columbus. Marco Polo's. "Java-Major" appears on Martin Behaim's globe.

1497. Cape of Good Hope rounded by the Portuguese.

1502. Second Portuguese fleet sails for India.

1503. Third Portuguese fleet sails for India.

1504. Three Great Portuguese fleets dispatched to. India.

1511. The Spice Islands discovered by the Portuguese.

1519-22. Magellan's Expedition Round the World, sent out, from Spain. Sebastian del Cano, in the Victoria, puts in at Timor.

1525. Garcia Jofre de Loaysa, with Sabastian del Cano, sets sail for the Spice Islands, via the Straits of Magellan.

1527. Fernand Cortez sends his kinsman, Saavedra, in search of Loaysa's expedition.

1529. Saavedra discovers the Northern Shores of New Guinea.

1530-36. Copies of early Portuguese charts of Australia made in France.

1536. Remnant of Saavedra's Expedition reaches Lisbon. Grijalva's Expedition sent out by F. Cortez, to the Spice Islands.

1539. A few survivors of Grijalva's Expedition reach the Spice Islands.

1542. Ruy Lopes de Villalobos sets sail for the Philippines.

1545. Ortiz de Retez and Gaspar Rico make discoveries on Northern Shores of New Guinea.

1567. Samiento and Mendana sail from Peru in search of Western Islands, and Continental Land; they discover the Solomon Islands.

1569. Sarmiento and Mendana return to America.

1595. Mendana and Pedro Fernandez de Queiroz set sail from Peru in search of the Solomon Islands; they fail in their attempt, and reach the island of Santa Cruz, to the West of the Solomons, where they attempt a settlement.

1596. The remnant of Mendana's expedition reach New Spain.

1605-6. De Queiroz sets sail from Peru, with the object of renewing the attempt at settlement in the island of Santa Cruz, and from thence to search for the Great Australian Continent. He fails to reach Santa Cruz, and puts in at the New Hebrides.

1606. Torres sails towards Australia from the New Hebrides, passes through the straits that bear his name, and discovers Australia, without, apparently, being aware of the fact.


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