Thus, surely, their Highnesses the King and Queen may henceforth regard themselves as the most prosperous and wealthy sovereigns in the world; never yet, since the creation, has such a thing been seen or read of; for on the return of the ships from their next voyage, they will be able to carry back such a quantity of gold as will fill with amazement all who hear of it. Here I think I shall do well to break off my narrative. I think those who do not know me, who hear these things, may consider me prolix, and a man who has exaggerated somewhat, but God is my witness, that I have not exceeded, by one tittle, the bounds of truth.[313-2]
[283-1] There is a gap here in the text of the original which has been filled by taking the corresponding words in Bernaldez's text.
[284-1] Major here translated algun dia "one day." It should be "some days." Bernaldez has algunos dias, and Coma says the tarry at Gomera was nearly six days.
[284-2] La nao Capitana means the flagship. The name of the flagship on the second voyage was Marigalante. Historie of Ferdinand Columbus, cap. XLV. (London, ed. 1867), p. 137.
[284-3] October 27.
[285-1] The island of Dominica, which is so called from having been discovered on a Sunday. Historie, p. 137.
[285-2] The island Marigalante, which was so called from the name of the ship in which Columbus sailed. Historie, ibid.
[286-1] One would infer from this that it was the fruit of the manzanillo, which produces similar effects. (Navarrete.) On the Manzanillo (Manchineel), see Oviedo, lib. IX., cap. XII. He says the Caribs used it in making their arrow poisons.
[288-1] It was Diego Marquez, the inspector, who with eight other men went on shore into the interior of the island, without permission from the Admiral, who caused him to be sought for by parties of men with trumpets, but without success. One of those who were sent out with this object was Alonzo Ojeda, who took with him forty men, and on their return they reported that they had found many aromatic plants, a variety of birds, and some considerable rivers. The wanderers were not able to find their way to the ships until the 8th of November. [Navarrete, condensed from Las Casas, Historia de las Indias, II. 7-8.]
[288-2] Tayno was also the tribal name of these people, who differentiated themselves from the Caribs. Peter Martyr reports the assertions of the followers of Guacamari that they were Taynos not Caribs: "Se Tainos, id est, nobiles esse, non Canibales, inclamitant." De Rebus Oceanicis, Dec. I., lib. II., p. 25. (Cologne ed. of 1574.)
[289-1] Las Casas, Historia de las Indias, II. 8, remarks of these bones, "They must have belonged to lords or persons whom they loved since it is not probable that they belonged to those they ate, because if they ate as many as some say, the cabins would not hold all the bones and skulls, and it seems that after having eaten them there would be no object in keeping the skulls and bones for relics unless they belonged to some very notable enemies. The whole matter is a puzzle."
[289-2] The name Caribe here obviously has begun to have the meaning "cannibal," which is in origin the same word.
[289-3] This practice still survives among the Caribs. Im Thurn describes it in almost the same words as Dr. Chanca. See Among the Indians of Guiana, p. 192.
[290-1] These are the native names for Dominica (Ceyre) and Guadeloupe (Turuqueira and Ayay), which consists of two islands separated by a narrow channel.
[291-1] They left on Sunday, the 10th of November. Las Casas, Historia, II. 9.
[291-2] The island Montserrat. Las Casas, ibid.
[291-3] The island of St. Martin. Las Casas, ibid.
[293-2] Santa Cruz. November 14. Las Casas, ibid.
[294-1] The Admiral named the largest of these islands St. Ursula, and all the others The Eleven Thousand Virgins. Las Casas, Historia, II. 10.
[294-2] The island of Porto Rico, to which the Admiral "gave the name of St. John the Baptist, which we now call Sant Juan and which the Indians called Boriquen." Las Casas, II. 10.
[295-1] See note to Journal, September 29. Frigate-bird is the accepted English name; a species of pelican.
[295-2] Porto Rico.
[295-3] On Friday, the 22d of November, the Admiral first caught sight of the island of Espanola. Las Casas, II. 10.
[295-4] Cape Engano, in the island of Espanola. (Navarrete.)
[295-5] Preserved in the Bay of Samana.
[295-6] See Journal, October 21. and note.[TN-6]
[296-1] Of this voyage of exploration there seems to be no record. Our natural sources, the Historie and Las Casas, are silent. Columbus suspended his writing in his Journal from December 11, 1493, till March 12, 1494. Antonio de Torres sailed for Spain February 2, 1494, when Dr. Chanca sent off his letter. Probably this exploration was begun about December 20.
[296-2] Unos gosques grandes. The French translation has gros carlins, "large pug-dogs." Bernaldez calls these dogs, gozcos pequenos, "small curs." "Cur" is the common meaning for gozque or gosque. See Oviedo, lib. XII., cap. V., for a description of these native dogs which soon became extinct.
[296-3] Bernaldez, II. 34, supplies the native name, Utia. Oviedo, lib. XII., cap. I., describes the hutia. When he wrote it had become so scarce as to be seen only on rare occasions. It was extinct in Du Tertre's time, a century later. Of the four allied species described by Oviedo, the hutia, the quemi, the mohuy, and the cori (agouti), only the last has survived to the present day.
[296-4] Cabra, or Goat Island, between Puerto de Plata and Cas Rouge Point. (Major.)
[297-1] Apparently the cayman or South American alligator.
[298-1] The river Yaque.
[298-2] It is only seven leagues. (Navarrete.)
[298-3] This chief's name is Guacanagari in Las Casas, Historia de las Indias, and in the Historie of Ferdinand Columbus, Goathanari in the Syllacio-Coma letter, Guacanari in Bernaldez and Guaccanarillus in Peter Martyr's De Rebus Oceanicis.
[298-4] The admiral anchored at the entrance of the harbor of Navidad, on Wednesday, the 27th of November, towards midnight. Las Casas, II. 11.
[299-1] See Journal of First Voyage, December 25.
[299-2] The Bay of Caracol, four leagues west of Fort Dauphin. (Major.)
[299-3] "Toward midnight a canoe came full of Indians and reached the ship of the Admiral, and they called for him saying 'Almirante, Almirante.'" Las Casas, II. 11.
[300-1] The hawk bell was a small open bell used in hawking. The discoverers used hawk bells as a small measure as of gold dust.
[302-1] See above, p. 289, note 1.
[302-2] The mark was a weight of eight ounces, two-thirds of a Troy pound. The mark of gold in Spain was equivalent to 50 castellanos, or in bullion value to-day about $150.
[303-1] Melchior Maldonado, apparently the Melchiorius from whom Peter Martyr derived some of his material for his account of the second voyage. See his De Rebus Oceanicis, ed. 1574, p. 26.
[304-1] The familiar hammock.
[304-2] The original reads "cinco o seiscientos labrados de pedreria," which Major translated "five or six hundred pieces of jewellery," and Thacher "five or six hundred cut stones." The dictionaries recognize labrado as a noun only in the plural labrados, "tilled lands." Turning to Bernaldez, Historia de los Reyes Catolicos, in which Dr. Chanca's letter was copied almost bodily, we find, II. 27, "cinco o seis labrados de pedreria," which presents the same difficulty. The omission of cientos is notable, however. I think the original text of Dr. Chanca's letter read "cinco 6 seis cintos labrados de pedreria," i.e., five or six belts worked with jewellery. Cintos being written blindly was copied cientos by Antonio de Aspa, from whom our text of Dr. Chanca's letter has come down (Navarrete, I. 224), and was omitted perhaps accidentally in Bernaldez's copy. This conjecture is rendered almost certain by the Historie, where it is recorded that "the Cacique gave the Admiral eight belts worked with small beads made of white, green, and red stones," p. 148, London ed. of 1867. This passage enables us to correct the text of Las Casas, II. 14, changing "ochocientas cuentas menudas de piedra," "eight hundred small beads of stone," to "ocho cintos de cuentas menudas," etc., "eight belts of small beads," and again, ciento de oro to cinto de oro. In the Syllacio-Coma letter the gift is balteos duodecim, "twelve belts." Thacher, Columbus, II. 235. Cf. Las Casas's description of the girdle or belt that this chief wore when Columbus first saw him, Dec. 22, above, p. 194.
[305-1] These were not only the first horses seen in the New World since the extinction of the prehistoric varieties, but the first large quadrupeds the West Indians had seen.
[306-1] Port Dauphin. (Navarrete.)
[307-1] That is, three months from the time the fleet left Spain, September 25, 1493. Neither the Historie nor Las Casas mentions the date of landing. In the Syllacio-Coma letter the date is given as "eight days from Christmas." See Thacher, Columbus, II. 236, 257.
[307-2] Port Isabelique, or Isabella, ten leagues to the east of Monte Cristi. (Navarrete.)
[308-1] Cosas introfatibles in the Spanish. The translation follows the French version. The text perhaps is corrupt. The word introfatibles is not found in any of the Spanish dictionaries nor is it a learned compound whose meaning is apparent from its etymology. Professor H.R. Lang suggests that cosas corruptibles may be the proper reading. The sentence is omitted in the corresponding passage in Bernaldez, II. 30.
[308-2] The river Isabella.
[308-3] I can offer no explanation for this name, which is found only in Dr. Chanca's letter. Bernaldez, who copied Dr. Chanca, gives Isabela as the name of the city, II. 30, and the Historie and Las Casas, who preserve for us the gist of Columbus's own narrative, both say that "he named the city Isabela in memory of Queen Isabela." Las Casas, II. 21. Historie, p. 150.
[308-4] Yams, the Dioscorea sativa. Columbus had seen the yam in Guinea an applied the African negro name, igname, name, whence the English, yam. See note to Journal, November 4.
[326-1] By the Indians Dr. Chanca means the Tainos, the native inhabitants of Espanola.
[326-2] "Every woman wears a tiny apron called a queyu, suspended by tying its strings around her waist." Im Thurn, Among the Indians of Guiana, 194.
[326-3] On this body painting, see Im Thurn, ibid.
[310-1] A species of the N.O. Bombaceae; perhaps the Eriodendron anfractuosum. (Major.) The English name is silk-cotton tree. The fibre, however, cannot be woven. Von Martius suggests the Bombax ceiba.
[310-2] Cf. Hazard, Santo Domingo, p. 350, "the cotton plant which instead of being a simple bush planted from the seed each year, is here a tree, growing two or three years, which needs only to be trimmed and pruned to produce a large yield of the finest cotton."
[310-3] Probably the so-called Carnauba wax or perhaps palm-tree wax. Cf. the Encyclopaedia Britannica, art. "Wax."
[311-1] The Spanish here is linaloe, but the reference seems to be to the medicinal aloes and not to lign aloes. On lign aloes, see Columbus's Journal, November 12, and note.
[311-2] The myrobolan is an East Indian fruit with a stone, of the prune genus. Crude or preserved myrobolans were a more important article of commerce in the Middle Ages than now. There were five varieties, one of which, the Mirobalani citrini, were so named because they were lemon-colored. Heyd, Histoire du Commerce du Levant au Moyen-Age, II. 641. A species of myrobolan grows in South America.
[311-3] The product of the Bursera gummifera.
[311-4] Cf. Columbus's Journal, November 4, and note.
[311-5] Agi, also written Axi, is the Capsicum annuum or Spanish pepper. Most of the cayenne or red pepper of commerce comes from the allied species, Capsicum frutescens. In Mexico the name of this indigenous pepper plant was Quauhchilli, Chili tree. Chili was taken over into Spanish as the common name for capsicum and has come down in English in the familiar Chili sauce. See Peschel, Zeitalter der Entdeckungen, p. 139; De Candolle, Origin of Cultivated Plants, pp. 289-290. Encyclopaedia Britannica, art. "Cayenne Pepper."
[312-1] Cf. Im Thurn, Among the Indians of Guiana, 266.
[312-2] The Admiral, "having described the country at length and the condition in which he was and where he had settled for the Catholic sovereigns and sending them the specimen of gold which Guacanagari had given him and that which Hojeda had brought, and informing them of all that he saw to be needed, despatched the twelve ships before mentioned, placing in command of them all Antonio de Torres, brother of the nurse of the prince Don Juan, to whom he intrusted the gold and all his despatches. They made sail the 2d of February, 1494." Las Casas, Historia de las Indias, II. 25-26. Columbus's letter to Ferdinand and Isabella mentioned here has not been preserved. That part of it which related to future needs was apparently duplicated in the "memorial" which he gave to Torres. This document is given in English in Thacher, Christopher Columbus, II. 297-308, and Major, Select Letters of Christopher Columbus, ed. 1870, pp. 72-107. See p. 73, ibid., for a reference to letters of the Admiral no longer extant.
[313-1] Alonso de Hojeda was sent to explore the region of Cibao with fifteen men. He found Cibao to be fifteen or twenty leagues from Isabella. The other exploring party was headed by Gines de Gorbalan. Further details of these expeditions are given in the Syllacio-Coma letter. Thacher, Columbus, II. 258-260. According to Coma, or his translator Syllacio, Cibao was identified with the Sheba of the Bible. Columbus, on the other hand, identified Cibao and Cipango. Cf., e.g., Peter Martyr, De Rebus Oceanicis, ed. 1574, p. 31.
[313-2] "The preceding is the transcript of that part of Doctor Chanca's letter, which refers to intelligence respecting the Indies. The remainder of the letter does not bear upon the subject, but treats of private matters, in which Doctor Chanca requests the interference and support of the Town Council of Seville (of which city he was a native), in behalf of his family and property, which he had left in the said city. This letter reached Seville in the month of [March] in the year fourteen hundred and ninety-three [four]." This note is no doubt from the hand of Friar Antonio de Aspa, who formed the collection of papers in which Navarrete found the text of Dr. Chanca's letter. The collection was made about the middle of the sixteenth century. See Navarrete, II. 224. The returning fleet arrived at Cadiz in March, 1494. Bernaldez, Historia de los Reyes Catolicos, (ed. 1870), II. 37.
NARRATIVE OF THE THIRD VOYAGE OF COLUMBUS AS CONTAINED IN LAS CASAS'S HISTORY
The narrative given here of the third voyage of Columbus in which he discovered the mainland of South America is taken from the Historia de las Indias of Las Casas. In preparing his History Las Casas had the use of a larger body of Columbus's papers than has come down to us. Among these papers was a journal of this third voyage which was incorporated in a condensed form by Las Casas in his History, just as he did in the case of the journals of the first and second voyages. This narrative is found in the second volume of the Historia de las Indias, pp. 220-317. The translation is, as is mentioned in the preface to this volume, that given in John Boyd Thacher's Christopher Columbus.
In certain places the text differs slightly from that in the printed edition of Las Casas, as Mr. Thacher followed the critical text of Cesare de Lollis prepared for the Raccolta Colombiana by a collation of the manuscript in the Archives at Madrid with the recently discovered autograph manuscript of Las Casas. Mr. Thacher, following Lollis, omitted passages that were obviously comments on the text by Las Casas. These have been supplied either from Mr. Thacher's notes or translated by the editor from the printed text. The editor has gone over the whole translation and can testify to its exceptional accuracy. A few slight changes have been made in the wording for the sake of greater clearness or exactness.
Columbus described this voyage in a letter to Ferdinand and Isabella. This letter is included in Major's Select Letters of Columbus and in P.L. Ford's Writings of Columbus. This letter is of great importance in the study of Columbus's geographical ideas. Other contemporary accounts of this voyage are contained in Ferdinand Columbus's Historie, the life of his father, where the journal abridged by Las Casas is still further condensed, in Peter Martyr's De Rebus Oceanicis, Dec. I., lib. VI., and in the letter of Simone Verde and the three letters of Angelo Trivigiano which will be found in Harrisse, Christophe Colomb, II. 95-98 and 119-123.
NARRATIVE OF THE THIRD VOYAGE OF COLUMBUS AS CONTAINED IN LAS CASAS'S HISTORY
May 30-August 31, 1498
He started then (our First Admiral)[319-1] "in the name of the Most Holy Trinity" (as he says and as he was always accustomed to say) from the port of San Lucar de Barrameda, Wednesday, May 30, 1498, with the intention of discovering new land not yet discovered, with his six ships, "greatly fatigued," he says, "with my voyage, since as I was hoping for some quietude, when I left the Indies, I experienced double hardships;" they being the result of the labors, new obstacles and difficulties with which he obtained the funds for his starting upon the expedition and the annoyances in connection therewith received from the royal officials and the hindrance and the evil reports the people around about the Sovereigns gave concerning the affairs in the Indies, wherefore it appeared to him that what he already had done was not sufficient but that he must renew his labors to gain new credit. And because war had then broken out with France,[319-2] he had news of a French fleet which was waiting for the Admiral beyond the Cape of St. Vincent, to capture him. On this account he decided to steal away as they say and make a detour, directing his course straight to the island of Madeira.
He arrived at the island of Puerto Sancto, Thursday, June 7, where he stopped to take wood, water and supplies and to hear mass, and he found all the island disturbed and all the farms, goods and flocks guarded, fearing that the new-comers might be French; and then that night he left for the island of Madeira and arrived there the following Sunday, June 10. He was very well received in the town[320-1] and with much rejoicing, because he was well known there, having been a citizen thereof during some time.[320-2] He remained there six days, providing himself fully with water and wood and the other necessities for his journey.
Saturday, June 16, he left the island of Madeira with his six ships and arrived at the island of Gomera[320-3] the following Tuesday. At this island he found a French corsair with a French vessel and two large ships which the corsair had taken from the Castilians, and when the Frenchman saw the six vessels of the Admiral he left his anchors and one vessel and fled with the other vessel. The Admiral sent a ship after him and when the six Spaniards who were being carried away on the captured ship saw this ship coming to their aid, they attacked six Frenchmen who were guarding them and by force they placed them below decks and thus brought them back.
Here in the island of Gomera the Admiral determined to send three ships directly to the island of Espanola, so that, if he should be detained here, they might give news of him and cheer and console the Christians with the supplies: and principally that they might give joy to his brothers, the Adelantado[321-1] and Don Diego, who were very desirous of hearing from him. He named Pedro de Arana, a native of Cordova, as captain of one ship,—a very honorable and prudent man, whom I knew very well, brother of the mother of Don Ferdinand Columbus,[321-2] the second son of the Admiral, and cousin of that Arana who remained in the fortress with the 38 men whom the Admiral on his return found dead. The other captain of the second ship was called Alonso Sanchez de Carvajal, governor of the city of Bacea, an honorable gentleman. The third captain for the remaining ship was Juan Antonio Columbo,[321-3] a Genoese, a relation of the Admiral, a very capable and prudent man and one of authority, with whom I had frequent conversation.
He gave them suitable instructions, in which instructions he ordered that, one week one captain, and another week another, each by turns should be captain-general of all the ships, as regarded the navigation and the placing of the night lantern, which is a lighted lantern placed in the stern of the ship in order that the other ships may know and follow where the captain guides. He ordered them to go to the west, quarter south-west,[321-4] for 850 leagues and told them that then they would arrive at the island of Dominica. From Dominica they should go west-north-west and they would then reach the island of Sant Juan,[321-5] and it would be the southern part of it, because that was the direct way to go to the New Isabella,[321-6] which now is Santo Domingo. Having passed the island of Sant Juan, they should leave the island of Mona to the north and from there they should make for the point of this Espanola,[322-1] which he called Sant Raphael, which now is the Cabo del Engano, from there to Saona, which he says makes a good harbor between it and this Espanola. Seven leagues farther there is another island, which is called Santa Catherina, and from there to the New Isabella, which is the port of Santo Domingo, the distance is 25 leagues. And he told the captains that wherever they should arrive and land they should purchase all that they needed by barter and that for the little they might give the Indians, although they might be the canibales,[322-2] who are said to eat human flesh, they would obtain what they wished and the Indians would give them all that they had; and if they should undertake to procure things by force, the Indians would conceal themselves and remain hostile. He says further in the instructions that he was going by the Cape Verde Islands (which he says were called in ancient times Gorgodes[322-3] or according to others Hesperides) and that he was going in the name of the Holy Trinity with the intention of navigating to the south of these islands so as to arrive below the equinoctial line and to follow the course to the west until this island of Espanola should lie to the northwest, to see if there are islands or lands. "Our Lord," he says, "guides me and gives me things which may serve Him and the King and Queen, our Lords, and which may be for the honor of the Christians, for I believe that no one has ever gone this way and that this sea is entirely unknown."[323-1] And here the Admiral finished his instructions.
Having then taken water and wood and other provisions, especially cheese, of which there are many and good ones there, the Admiral made sail with his six ships on Thursday, June 21, towards the island of Hierro,[323-2] which is distant from Gomera about fifteen leagues, and of the seven Canaries is the one farthest to the west. Passing it, the Admiral took his course with one ship and two caravels for the islands of Cape Verde, and dismissed the other three ships in the name of the Holy Trinity; and he says that he entreated the Holy Trinity to care for him and for all of them; and at the setting of the sun they separated and the three ships took their course for this island. Here the Admiral makes mention to the Sovereigns of the agreement they had made with the King of Portugal that the Portuguese should not go to the westward of the Azores and Cape Verde Islands, and also mentions how the Sovereigns sent for him that he should be present at the meetings in regard to the partition,[323-3] and that he could not go on account of the grave illness which he had incurred in the discovery of the mainland of the Indies, that is to say of Cuba, which he always regarded as the mainland even until the present time as he could not circumnavigate it. He adds further that then occurred the death of Don Juan, before he could carry out the matter.[323-4]
Then the Admiral continuing on his way arrived at the Cape Verde Islands, which according to what he says, have a false name, because he never saw anything green but all things dry and sterile. The first thing he saw was the island of La Sal, Wednesday, June 27: and it is a small island. From there he went to another which is called Buenavista and is very sterile, where he anchored in a bay, and near it is a very small island. To this island come all the lepers of Portugal to be cured and there are not more than six or seven houses on it. The Admiral ordered the boats to go to land to provide themselves with salt and flesh, because there are a great number of goats on the island. There came to the ships a steward[324-1] to whom that island belonged, named Roderigo Alonso, notary public of the exchequer[324-2] of the King of Portugal, who offered to the Admiral what there was on the island of which he might be in need. The Admiral thanked him and ordered that he should be given some supplies from Castile, which he enjoyed very much.
Here he relates how the lepers came there to be cured because of the great abundance of turtles on that island, which commonly are as large as shields. By eating the flesh and constantly bathing in the blood of these turtles, the lepers become cured.[324-3] The turtles in infinite number come there three months in the year, June, July, and August, from the mainland, which is Ethiopia,[324-4] to lay eggs in the sand and with the claws and legs they scratch places in the sand and spawn more than five hundred eggs, as large as those of a hen except that they have not a hard shell but a tender membrane which covers the yolk, like the membrane which covers the yolk of the hen's egg after taking off the hard shell. They cover the eggs in the sand as a person would do, and there the sun hatches them, and the little live turtles come out and then run in search of the sea as if they had come out of it alive. They take the turtles there in this manner: At night with lights which are torches of dry wood, they go searching for the track of the turtle which is easily traced, and find the turtle tired and sleeping. They come up quickly and turn it over with the belly up and leave it, sure that it cannot turn itself back, and go in search of another. And the Indians do the same in the sea; if they come upon one asleep and turn it over it remains safe for them to take it whenever they wish. The Indians, however, have another greater device for taking them on the sea, which will be explained God willing when we give a description of Cuba.[325-1]
The healthy persons on that island of Buenavista who lead a laborious life were six or seven residents who have no water except brackish water from wells and whose employment is to kill the big goats and salt the skins and send them to Portugal in the caravels which come there for them, of which in one year they kill so many and send so many skins that they are worth 2000 ducats to the notary public, to whom the island belonged. Such a great multitude of goats, male and female, have been grown there, from only eight original head. Those who live there neither eat bread nor drink wine during four or five months, nor anything else except goat flesh or fish or turtles. All this they told to the Admiral.
He left there Saturday, June 30, at night for the island of Santiago, where he arrived on Sunday at the hour of vespers, because it is distant 28 leagues: and this is the principal one of the Cape Verde Islands. He wished to take from this island a herd of black cattle in order to carry them to Espanola as the Sovereigns had ordered, and he was there eight days and could not get them; and because the island is very unhealthy since men are burned with heat there and his people commenced to fall ill, he decided to leave it. The Admiral says again that he wishes to go to the south, because he intends with the aid of the Most Holy Trinity, to find islands and lands, that God may be served and their Highnesses and Christianity may have pleasure, and that he wishes to see what was the idea of King Don Juan of Portugal, who said that there was mainland to the south: and because of this, he says that he had a contention with the Sovereigns of Castile, and finally the Admiral says that it was concluded that the King of Portugal should have 370 leagues to the west from the islands of the Azores[326-1] and Cape Verde, from north to south, from pole to pole. And the Admiral says further that the said King Don Juan was certain that within those limits famous lands and things must be found.[326-2] Certain principal inhabitants of the island of Santiago came to see them and they said that to the south-west of the island of Huego, which is one of the Cape Verde Islands distant 12 leagues from this, may be seen an island, and that the King Don Juan was greatly inclined to send to make discoveries to the south-west, and that canoes had been found which start from the coast of Guinea and navigate to the west with merchandise. Here the Admiral says again as if he was speaking with the Sovereigns,—"He that is Three and One guides me by His pity and mercy that I may serve Him and give great pleasure to your Highnesses and to all Christianity, as was done in the discovery of the Indies which resounded throughout all the world."
Wednesday, July 4, he ordered sail made from that island in which he says that since he arrived there he never saw the sun or the stars, but that the heavens were covered with such a thick mist that it seemed they could cut it with a knife and the heat was so very intense that they were tormented, and he ordered the course laid to the way of the south-west, which is the route leading from these islands to the south, in the name, he says, of the Holy and Indivisible Trinity, because then he would be on a parallel with the land of the sierra of Loa[327-1] and cape of Sancta Ana in Guinea, which is below the equinoctial line, where he says that below that line of the world are found more gold and things of value; and that after, he would navigate, the Lord pleasing, to the west, and from there would go to this Espanola, in which route he would prove the theory of the King John aforesaid; and that he thought to investigate the report of the Indians of this Espanola who said that there had come to Espanola from the south and south-east, a black people who have the tops of their spears made of a metal which they call guanin, of which he had sent samples to the Sovereigns to have them assayed, when it was found that of 32 parts, 18 were of gold, 6 of silver and 8 of copper.
Following this course to the south-west he commenced to find grasses like those encountered in the direct way to these Indies; and the Admiral says here that after having gone 480 miles which make 120 leagues, that at nightfall he took the latitude and found that the North Star was in five degrees. Yet it seems to me that he must have gone more than 200 leagues, and that the text is in error because it is necessary to traverse more than 200 leagues on that course from the Cape Verde Islands and Santiago whence he started to put a ship within five degrees of the equator, as any sailor will observe who will judge it by the map and by the latitude. And he says that there, Friday, July 13, the wind deserted him and he entered into heat so great and so ardent that he feared the ships would take fire and the people perish. The ceasing of the wind and coming of the excessive and consuming heat was so unexpected and sudden that there was no person who dared to descend below to care for the butts of wine and water, which swelled, breaking the hoops of the casks; the wheat burned like fire; the pork and salted meat roasted and putrefied. This ardent heat lasted eight days. The first day was clear with a sun which burned them. God sent them less suffering because the seven following days it rained and was clouded; however with all this, they could not find any hope of saving themselves from perishing and from being burned, and if the other seven days had been like the first, clear and with the sun, the Admiral says here that it would have been impossible for a man of them to have escaped alive. And thus they were divinely succored by the coming of some showers and by the days being cloudy. He determined from this, if God should give him wind in order to escape from this suffering, to run to the west some days, and then if he found himself in any moderation of temperature to return to the south, which was the way he desired to follow. "May our Lord," says he, "guide me and give me grace that I may serve Him, and bring pleasing news to your Highnesses." He says he remembered, being in this burning latitude, that when he came to the Indies in the past voyages, always when he reached 100 leagues toward the west from the Azores Islands he found a change in the temperature from north to south, and for this he wished to go to the west to reach the said place.
The Admiral must have been on that same parallel or rather meridian, on which Hanno the Carthaginian was with his fleet, who departing from Cadiz and going out into the Ocean to the left[328-1] of Lybia or Ethiopia after thirty days' voyaging toward the south, among other distresses that he suffered the heat and fire were so intense that it seemed as if they were roasting; they heard such thundering and lightning that their ears pained them and their eyes were blinded and it appeared no otherwise than as if flames of fire fell from heaven. Amianus narrates this—a Greek historian, a follower of the truth, and very famous—in the History of India near the end, and Ludovico Celio quotes it in Book I., ch. XXII., of the Lectiones Antiguas.[329-1] Returning to these days of toil:—
Saturday, which they counted July 14, the Guards[329-2] being on the left hand, he says the North was in seven degrees: he saw black and white jays,[329-3] which are birds that do not go far from land, and from this he considered it a sign of land. He was sick at this point of the journey, from gout and from not sleeping; but because of this he did not cease to watch and work with great care and diligence.
Sunday and Monday, they saw the same birds and more swallows, and some fish appeared which they called botos,[329-4] which are little smaller than great calves, and which have the head very blunt. The Admiral says here incidentally that the Azores Islands which in ancient times were called Caseterides,[329-5] were situated at the end of the fifth clime.[329-6]
Thursday, July 19, there was such intense and ardent heat that they thought the men and ships would burn, but as our Lord at sight of the afflictions which He gives is accustomed by interfering to the contrary to alleviate them, He succored him by His mercy at the end of seven or eight days, giving him very good weather to get away from that fire; with which good weather he navigated towards the west 17 days, always intending to return to the south, and place himself, as above said, in such a region, that this Espanola should be to the north or septentrion, where he thought he must find land before or beyond the said place: and thus he intended to repair the ships which were already opening from the past heat, and the supplies, of which he had a large quantity, because of the necessity of taking them to this island and the great difficulty in getting them from Castile, and which were becoming worthless and damaged.
Sunday, July 22, in the afternoon, as they were going with good weather, they saw innumerable birds pass from the west-south-west to the north-east: he says that they were a great sign of land. They saw the same the Monday following and the days after, on one of which days a pelican came to the ship of the Admiral, and many others appeared another day, and there were other birds which are called "frigate pelicans."[330-1]
On the seventeenth day of the good weather which they were experiencing, the Admiral was hoping to see land, because of the said signs of the birds, and as he did not see it Monday, or the next day, Tuesday, July 31, as they lacked water, he decided to change his route, and this was to the west, and to go to the right, and make for the island of Dominica, or some of the islands of the Canibales, which to-day are called the Caribes, and thus he ordered the course to the north, quarter north-east, and went that way until midday. "But as His Divine Majesty," he says, "has always used mercy with me, a sailor from Guelva,[330-2] my servant, who was called Alonso Perez, by chance and conjecture ascended to the round top and saw land to the west, and he was 15 leagues from it, and that part which appeared were three rocks or mountains." These are his words. He named this land "The Island of the Trinity,"[331-1] because he had determined that the first land he discovered should be named thus. "And it pleased our Lord," he says, "by His Exalted Majesty, that the first lands seen were three rocks all united at the base, I say three mountains, all at one time and in one glance." "His High Power by His pity guides me," he says, "in such a manner, that He may have much service, and your Highnesses much pleasure: as it is certain that the discovery of this land in this place was as great a miracle as the discovery of the first voyage." These are his words. He gave infinite thanks to God as was his custom, and all praised the divine goodness, and with great rejoicings and merriment the Salve Regina[331-2] was sung with other devout songs which contain praises of God and our Lady, according to the custom of sailors, at least our sailors of Spain, who in tribulations and rejoicings are accustomed to say them.
Here he makes a digression and recapitulation of the services he has rendered the Sovereigns, and of the will he always had keen to serve them, "not as false tongues," says he, "and as false witnesses from envy said."[331-3] And surely, I believe that such as these God took for instruments to chasten him because he loved him since many without cause and without object maligned him and disturbed these efforts, and brought it about that the Sovereigns grew lukewarm and wearied of expense and of keeping up their attachment and expectation that these Indies were likely to be of profit, at least that it should be more than the expenses with increase that came to them. He repeats a mention of the heat he suffered, and how they were nevertheless now going by the same parallel, except they had drawn near to the land when he ordered the course directed to the west, because the land emits coolness from its fountains and rivers, and by its waters causes moderation and softness; and because of this he says the Portuguese who go to Guinea which is below the equinoctial line are able to navigate because they go along the coast. He says further, that now he was in the same parallel from which the King of Portugal brought gold, from which he believed that whoever would search those seas would find things of value. He confesses here that there is no man in the world for whom God has shown so much grace, and entreats Him that He will furnish something from which their Highnesses and Christianity may receive great pleasure; and he says that, although he should not find any other thing of benefit except these beautiful lands, which are so green and full of groves and palms, that they are superior to the gardens of Valencia in May, they would deserve to be highly valued. And in this he speaks the truth and later on he will place a still higher value on it with much reason. He says that it is a miraculous thing that the Sovereigns of Castile should have lands so near the equinoctial as 6 degrees, Ysabela being distant from the said line 24 degrees.
Having seen the land then to the great consolation of all, he left the course which he desired to follow in search of some of the islands of the Canibales in order to provide himself with water, of which he was greatly in need, and made a short excursion towards the land which he had seen, towards a cape which appeared to be to the west, which he called "Cabo de la Galera,"[332-1] from a great rock which it had, which from a distance appeared like a galley sailing. They arrived there at the hour of compline.[332-2] They saw a good harbor but it was not deep, and the Admiral regretted that they could not enter it. He pursued his course to the point he had seen, which was seven leagues toward the south. He did not find a harbor. On all the coast he found that the groves reached to the sea, the most beautiful coast that eyes ever saw. He says that this island must be large; a canoe appeared at a distance filled with people who must have been fishing, and made towards the land to some houses which appeared there. The land was very cultivated and high and beautiful.
Wednesday, August 1, he ran down the coast toward the west, five leagues, and arrived at a point, where he anchored with all three ships, and took water from fountains and streams. They found signs of people, instruments for fishing, signs of goats, but they were only of deer of which there are many in those lands. He says that they found aloes and great groves of palms, and very beautiful lands: "for which infinite thanks may be given to the Holy Trinity." These are his words. He saw much tilled land along the coast and many settlements. He saw from there towards the south, another island, which is distant more than 20 leagues. (And he might well say five hundred since this is the mainland which, as he saw a part of it, seemed to him to be an island); to this he gave the name of "Ysla Sancta." He says here that he would not take any Indians in order not to disturb the land. From the Cape of Galera to the point where he took the water, which I believed he named "Punta de la Playa," he says that having been a great way, and running east-west (he should say that he went from east to west) there was no port in all that way, but the land was well populated and tilled, and with many trees and thick groves, the most beautiful thing in the world, the trees reaching to the sea. Here it may be remarked that when the trees of the country grow down to the water's edge it indicates that such a coast is not exposed to high seas, because when the coast is so exposed trees do not grow down to the water, but there is an open sandy shore. The current, surgente, which is that which comes down, and the montante, which is that which ascends from below, he says appear to be great. The island which lies to the south he says is very large, because he was already going along with the mainland in sight although he did not think so, but that it was an island.
He says that he came to search for a harbor along the island of Trinidad, Thursday, August 2, and arrived at the cape of the island of Trinidad, which is a point, to which he gave the name "Punta del Arenal,"[334-1] which is to the west: so that he had in a sense already entered in the gulf which he called "de la Ballena,"[334-2] where he underwent great danger of losing his ships, and he as yet did not know that he was becoming encircled by land as will be seen. This gulf is a wonderful thing and dangerous on account of the very great river that flows into it which is called the Yuyapari,[334-3] the last syllable long. It comes from more than 300 and I believe more than 400 leagues, and it has been traversed for 300 leagues up stream partly with a ship, partly with brigantines and partly with large canoes. And since the force of the water is very great at all times and particularly so in this season of July and August in which the Admiral was there, which is the season of high water as in Castile in October and November, and since it wants naturally to get to the sea, and the sea with its great mass under the same natural impulse wants to break upon the land, and since this gulf is enclosed by the mainland on one side and on the other by the island of Trinidad, and since it is very narrow for such a violent force of contrary waters, it must needs be that when they meet a terrific struggle takes place and a conflict most perilous for those that find themselves in that place.
He says here that the island of Trinidad is large, because from the Cape of Galera to the Point of Arenal, where he was at the present time, he says it is 35 leagues. I say that it is more than 45, as he that desires may see by the charts, although now those names are not written on the charts as they have been forgotten, and to understand the matter they must consider the course the Admiral pursued until he arrived there, and at what point he first saw land, and from there where he went till he stopped, and in that way, one will find out what he called the Cape of Galera and what the Point of Arenal. It is not a matter of surprise that the Admiral did not make an accurate estimate of the leagues of the island because he went along it piece by piece.
He ordered that his people should land on this Point of Arenal, the end of the island toward the west, to enjoy themselves and obtain recreation, because they had become wearied and fatigued; who found the land very much trampled by deer, although they believed they were goats. This Thursday, August 2, a large canoe came from towards the east, in which came twenty-five men, and having arrived at the distance of a lombard shot, they ceased to row, and cried out many words. The Admiral believed, and I also believe, that they were asking what people they were, as the others of the Indies were accustomed to do, to which they did not respond in words, but by showing them certain small boxes of brass and other shining things, in order that they should come to the ship, coaxing them with motions of the body and signs. They approached somewhat, and afterwards became terrified by the ship; and as they would not approach, the Admiral ordered a tambourine player to come up to the poop deck of the ship and that the young boys of the ship should dance, thinking to please them. But they did not understand it thus, but rather, as they saw dancing and playing, taking it for a signal of war, they distrusted them. They left all their oars and laid hold of their bows and arrows; and each one embracing his wooden shield, they commenced to shoot a great cloud of arrows. Having seen this, the Admiral ordered the playing and dancing to cease, and that some cross-bows should be drawn on deck and two of them shot off at them, nothing more than to frighten them. The Indians then, having shot the arrows, went to one of the two caravels, and suddenly, without fear, placed themselves below the poop, and the pilot of the caravel, also without any fear, glided down from the poop and entered with them in the canoe with some things which he gave them; and when he was with them he gave a smock frock and a bonnet to one of them who appeared to be the principal man. They took them and as if in gratitude for what had been given them, by signs said to him that he should go to land with them, and there they would give him what they had. He accepted and they went away to land. The pilot entered the boat and went to beg permission of the Admiral on the ship, and when they saw that he did not go directly with him, they did not expect him longer, and so they went away and neither the Admiral nor any other ever saw them more. From the sudden change in their bearing because of the playing on the tambourine and the dancing, it appears that this must be considered among them a sign of hostility.
A servant of the Admiral, called Bernaldo de Ibarro, who was on this voyage with him, told me and gave it to me in writing and I have this writing in my possession to-day, that a cacique came to the ship of the Admiral and was wearing upon his head a diadem of gold; and he went to the Admiral who was wearing a scarlet cap and greeted him and kissed his own diadem, and with the other hand he removed the cap of the Admiral and placed upon-him the diadem, and he himself put upon his own head the scarlet cap, appearing very content and pleased.
The Admiral says here that these were all youths and very well shaped and adorned, although I do not believe they wore much silk or brocade, with which, also, I believe the Spaniards and the Admiral might be more pleased; but they came armed with bows and arrows and wooden shields. They were not as short as others he had seen in the Indies and they were whiter, and of very good movements and handsome bodies, the hair long and smooth and cut in the manner of Castile. They had the head tied with a large handkerchief of cotton, symmetrically woven in colors, which the Admiral believed to be the almaicar;[336-1] he says that others had this cloth around them, and they covered themselves with it in place of trousers. He says that they are not black although they are near the equinoctial,[337-1] but of an Indian color like all the others he has found. They are of very fine stature, go naked, are warlike, wear the hair very long like the women in Castile, carry bows and arrows with plumes, and at the end of the arrows a sharp bone with a point like a fish-hook, and they carry wooden shields, which he had not seen before; and according to the signs and gestures which they made, he says he could understand from them that they believed the Admiral came from the south, from which he judged that there must be great lands toward the south, and he said well since the mainland is so large that it occupies a large part of the south.
The temperature of this land, he says, is very high, and according to him this causes the color of the people, and the hair which is all flowing, and the very thick groves which abound everywhere. He says it must be believed that when once the boundary is passed, 100 leagues to the west of the Azores, that many times he has said that there is a change in the sky and the sea and the temperature, "and this," he says, "is manifest," because here where he was, so near to the equinoctial line, each morning, he says, it was cool and the sun was in Leo. What he says is very true, since I who write this have been there and required a robe nights and mornings especially at Navidad.[337-2]
The waters were running toward the west with a current stronger than the river of Seville; the water of the sea rose and fell 65 paces and more, as in Barrameda so that they are able to beach carracks;[337-3] he says that the current flows very strongly going between these two islands, Trinidad and that one which he called Sancta, and the land which afterwards and farther on he called Isla de Gracia. And he calls the mainland an island, since he was already between the two which are two leagues apart which [i.e., the channel] is like a river as it appears on the map. They found fruits[338-1] like those of this Espanola, and the trees and the soil, and the temperature of the sky. In this Espanola they found few fruits native to the soil. The temperature of that country is much higher than it is in this Espanola, except in the mines of Cibao and in some other districts, as has been said above.
They found hostias or oysters, very large, infinite fish, parrots as large as hens, he says. In this land and in all the mainland the parrots are larger than any of those in these islands and are green, the color being very light, but those of the islands are of a green somewhat darker. Those of the mainland have the yellow with spots and the upper part of the wings with reddish spots, and some are of yellow plumage; those of the islands have no yellow, the neck being red with spots. The parrots of Espanola have a little white over the back; those of Cuba have that part red and they are very pretty. Those of the island of San Juan I believe are similar to those of this island [Espanola] and I have not observed this feature in those of Jamaica. Finally it appears that those of each island are somewhat different. In this mainland where the Admiral is now, there is a species of parrots which I believe are found nowhere else, very large, not much smaller than hens, reddish with blue and black feathers in the wings. These never speak nor are attractive except in appearance. They are called by the Indians guacamayas. It is marvellous how all the other kinds can speak except the smallest, which are called xaxaues.
Being at this Point of Arenal, which is the end of the island of Trinidad, they saw toward the north, quarter north-east,[339-1] a distance of 15 leagues, a cape or point of the same mainland, and this is that which is called Paria. The Admiral believing that it was another distinct island named it "Isla de Gracia": which island he says goes to the west [Oeste] which is the west [poniente], and that it is a very high land. And he says truly, for through all that land run great chains of very high mountains.
Saturday, August 4, he determined to go to the said island of Gracia and raised the anchors and made sail from the said Point of Arenal, where he was anchored; and because that strait by which he entered into the Gulf of Ballena was not more than two leagues wide between Trinidad on one side and the mainland on the other, the fresh water came out very swiftly. There came from the direction of the Arenal, on the island of Trinidad, such a great current from the south, like a mighty flood (and it was because of the great force of the river Yuyapari which is toward the south and which he had not yet seen), with such great thundering and noise, that all were frightened and did not think to escape from it, and when the water of the sea withstood it, coming in opposition, the sea was raised making a great and very high swell[339-2] of water which raised the ship and placed it on top of the swell, a thing which was never heard of nor seen, and raised the anchors of the other ship which must have been already cast and forced it toward the sea, and the Admiral made sail to get away from the said slope. "It pleased God not to injure us," says the Admiral here, and when he wrote this thing to the Sovereigns he said, "even to-day I feel the fear in my body which I felt lest it should upset the ship when it came under her."[340-1] For this great danger, he named the mouth "Boca de la Sierpe."[340-2]
Having reached that land which he saw in that direction and believed was an island, he saw near that cape two small islands in the middle of another channel which is made by that cape which he called Cabo de Lapa and another cape of the Trinidad which he called Cabo Boto, because of being thick and blunt,—the one island he named El Caracol, the other El Delfin.[340-3] It is only five leagues in this strait between the Point of Paria and Cape Boto of Trinidad, and the said islands are in the middle of the strait. The impetus of the great river Yuyapari and the tempestuous waves of the sea make the entrance and exit by this strait greatly dangerous, and because the Admiral experienced this difficulty and also danger, he called that difficult entrance Boca del Drago[340-4] and thus it is called to this day. He went along the coast of the mainland of Paria,[340-5] which he believed to be an island, and named it Isla de Gracia, towards the west in search of a harbor. From the point of the Arenal, which is one cape of Trinidad as has been said, and is towards the south, as far as the other Cape Boto, which is of the same island and is towards the sea, the Admiral says it is 26 large leagues, and this part appears to be the width of the island, and these two said capes are north and south. There were great currents, the one against the other; there came many showers as it was the rainy season, as aforesaid. The Isla de Gracia is, as has been said, mainland. The Admiral says that it is a very high land and all full of trees which reach to the sea; this is because the gulf being surrounded by land, there is no surf and no waves which break on the land as where the shores are uncovered. He says that, being at the point or end of it, he saw an island of very high land to the north-east, which might be 26 leagues from there. He named it "Belaforma," because it must have looked very well from a distance, yet all this is the mainland, which, as the ships changed their position from one side to the other within the gulf enclosed by land, some inlets appeared as if they separated lands which might be detached, and these the Admiral called islands; for such was his opinion.[341-1]
He navigated Sunday, August 5, five leagues from the point of the Cape of Lapa, which is the eastern end of the island of Gracia. He saw very good harbors adjacent to each other, and almost all this sea he says is a harbor, because it is surrounded by islands and there are no waves. He called the parts of the mainland which disclosed themselves to him "islands," but there are only the island of Trinidad and the mainland, which inclose the gulf which he now calls the sea. He sent the boats to land and found fish and fire, and traces of people, and a great house visible to the view. From there he went eight leagues where he found good harbors. This part of this island of Gracia he says is very high land, and there are many valleys, and "all must be populated," says he, because he saw it all cultivated. There are many rivers because each valley has its own from league to league; they found many fruits, and grapes like [our] grapes and of good taste, and myrobolans[341-2] very good, and others like apples, and others, he says, like oranges, and the inside is like figs. They found numberless monkeys.[341-3] The waters, he says, are the best that they saw. "This island," he says, "is all full of harbors, this sea is fresh, although not wholly so, but brackish like that of Carthagena"; farther down he says that it is fresh like the river of Seville, and this was caused when it encountered some current of water from the sea, which made that of the river salty.
He sailed to a small port Monday, August 6, five leagues from whence he went out and saw people, and then a canoe with four men came to the caravel which was nearest the land and the pilot called the Indians as if he wished to go to land with them, and in drawing near and entering he submerged the canoe, and they commenced swimming; he caught them and brought them to the Admiral. He says that they are of the color of all the others of the Indies. They wear the hair (some of them) very long, others as with us; none of them have the hair cut as in Espanola and in the other lands. They are of very fine stature and all well grown; they have the genital member tied and covered, and the women all go naked as their mothers gave them birth. This is what the Admiral says, but I have been, as I said above, within 30 leagues of this land yet I never saw women that did not have their private parts, at least, covered.[342-1] The Admiral must have meant that they went as their mothers bore them as to the rest of the body.
"To these Indians," says the Admiral, "as soon as they were here, I gave hawks' bells and beads and sugar, and sent them to land, where there was a great battle among them, and after they knew the good treatment, all wished to come to the ships. Those who had canoes came and they were many, and to all we gave a good welcome and held friendly conversation with them, giving them the things which pleased them." The Admiral asked them questions and they replied, but they did not understand each other. They brought them bread and water and some beverage like new wine; they are very much adorned with bows and arrows and wooden shields, and they almost all carry arrows poisoned.
Tuesday, August 7, there came an infinite number of Indians by land and by sea and all brought with them bread and maize and things to eat and pitchers of beverages, some white, like milk, tasting like wine, some green, and some of different colors; he believes that all are made from fruits. Most or all of it is made from maize but as the maize itself is white or violet and reddish, it causes the wine to be of different colors. I do not know of what the green wine is made. They all brought their bows and poisoned arrows, very pointed;[343-1] they gave nothing for beads, but would give as much as they had for hawks' bells, and asked nothing else. They gave a great deal for brass. It is certain that they hold this in high estimation and they gave in this Espanola for a little brass as much gold as any one would ask, and I believe that in the beginning it was always thus in all these Indies. They called it turey as if it came from Heaven because they called Heaven hureyo.[343-2] They find in it I do not know what odor, but one which is agreeable to them. Here the Admiral says whatever they gave them from Castile they smelled it as soon as it was given them. They brought parrots of two or three kinds, especially the very large ones like those in the island of Guadeloupe, he says, with the large tail. They brought handkerchiefs of cotton very symmetrically woven and worked in colors like those brought from Guinea, from the rivers of the Sierra Leona and of no difference, and he says that they cannot communicate with the latter, because from where he now is to Guinea the distance is more than 800 leagues; below he says that these handkerchiefs resemble almayzars.[343-3] He desired, he says, to take a half-dozen Indians, in order to carry them with him, and says that he could not take them because they all went away from the ships before nightfall.
But Wednesday, August 8, a canoe came with 12 men to the caravel and they took them all, and brought them to the ship of the Admiral, and from them he chose six and sent the others to land. From this it appears that the Admiral did it without scruple as he did many other times in the first navigation, it not appearing to him that it was an injustice and an offence against God and his neighbor to take free men against their will, separating fathers from their sons and wives from their husbands and [not reflecting] that according to natural law they were married, and that other men could not take these women, or those men other women, without sin and perhaps a mortal sin of which the Admiral was the efficient cause—and there was the further circumstance that these people came to the ships under tacit security and promised confidence which should have been observed toward them; and beyond this, the scandal and the hatred of the Christians not only there, but in all the earth and among the peoples that should hear of this.
He made sail then towards a point which he calls "de l'Aguja,"[344-1] he does not say when he gave it this name, and from there he says that he discovered the most beautiful lands that have been seen and the most populated, and arriving at one place which for its beauty he called Jardines,[344-2] where there were an infinite number of houses and people, and those whom he had taken told him there were people who were clothed, for which reason he decided to anchor, and infinite canoes came to the ships. These are his words. Each one, he says, wore his cloth so woven in colors, that it appeared an almayzar, with one tied on the head and the other covering the rest, as has been already explained. Of these people who now came to the ships, some he says wore gold leaf[344-3] on the breast, and one of the Indians he had taken told him there was much gold there, and that they made large mirrors of it, and they showed how they gathered it. He says mirrors, wherefore the Admiral must have given some mirrors and the Indian must have said by signs that of the gold they made those things, for they did not understand the language. He says that, as he was going hastily along there, because he was losing the supplies which it had cost him so much labor to obtain, and this island Espanola is more than 300 leagues from there, he did not tarry, which he would have wished very much in order to discover much more land, and says that it is all full of very beautiful islands, much populated, and very high lands and valleys and plains, and all are very large. The people are much more politic than those of Espanola and warlike, and there are handsome houses. If the Admiral had seen the kingdom of Xaragua as did his brother the Adelantado and the court of the King Behechio[345-1] he would not have made so absolute a statement.
Arriving at the point of Aguja, he says that he saw another island to the south 15 leagues which ran south-east and north-west, very large, and very high land, and he called it Sabeta, and in the afternoon he saw another to the west, very high land. All these islands I understand to be pieces of the mainland which by reason of the inlets and valleys that separate them seem to be distinct islands notwithstanding that he went clear inside the gulf which he called Ballena enclosed as is said by land; and this seems clear since when one is, as he was, within the said gulf no land bears off to the south, except the mainland; next, the islands which he mentioned were not islands but pieces of the mainland which he judged to be islands.
He anchored at the place he had named the Jardines, and then there came an infinite number of canoes, large and small, full of people, according to what he says. Afterwards in the afternoon there came more from all the territory, many of whom wore at the neck pieces of gold of the size of horseshoes. It appeared that they had a great deal of it: but they gave it all for hawks' bells and he did not take it. And this is strange that a man as provident as the Admiral and desiring to make discoveries should not have seized this opportunity for trading, as he did on his first voyage. Yet he had some specimens from them and it was of very poor quality so that it appeared plated. They said, as well as he could understand by signs, that there were some islands there where there was much of that gold, but that the people were canibales, and the Admiral says here that this word "Canibales" every one there held as a cause for enmity, or perhaps they said so because they did not wish the Christians to go yonder, but that they should remain there all their life. The Christians saw one Indian with a grain of gold as large as an apple.
Another time there came an infinite number of canoes loaded with people, and all wore gold and necklaces, and beads of infinite kinds, and had handkerchiefs tied on their heads as they had hair well cut, and they appeared very well. It rained a great deal, and for this reason the people ceased to go and come. Some women came who wore on the arms strings of beads, and mingled with them were pearls or aljofars,[346-1] very fine, not like the colored ones which were found on the islands of Babueca; they traded for some of them, and he says that he would send them to their Highnesses.
I never knew of these pearls that were found in the islands of Babueca, which are near Puerto de Plata, in this Espanola; and these besides are low under the water and not islands, and they are very dangerous to ships that pass that way if they are not aware of them; and so they have the name Abre el Ojo.[346-2]
The Admiral asked the Indians where they found them or fished them, and they showed him some mother-of-pearl where they are formed; and they replied to him by very clear signs, that they grow and are gathered towards the west, behind that island, which was the Cape of Lapa, the Point of Paria and mainland, which he believed to be an island, but it was the mainland. He sent the boats to land to know if there was any new thing which he had not seen, and they found the people so tractable, says the Admiral, that, "although the sailors did not go intending to land, there came two principal persons with all the village, who induced them to descend and who took them to a large house, built near two streams and not round, like a camp-tent, in the manner of the houses of the islands, where they received them very well and made them a feast and gave them a collation, bread and fruit of many kinds; and the drink was a white beverage which had a great value, which every one brought there, at this time, and some of it is tinted and better than the other, as the wine with us. The men were all together at one end of the house and the women at the other. Having taken the collation at the house of the older man, the younger conducted them to the other house, where they went through the same function. It appeared that one must be the cacique and lord, and the other must be his son. Afterwards the sailors returned to the boats and with them went back to the ships, very pleased with this people." These are all the words of the Admiral. He says further: "They are of very handsome stature, and all uniformly large," and whiter than any other he had seen in these Indies, and that yesterday he saw many as white as we are, and with better hair and well cut, and of very good speech. "No lands in the world can be more green and beautiful or more populated; moreover the temperature since I have been in this island," says he, "is, I say, cool enough each morning for a lined gown, although it is so near the equinoctial line; the sea is however fresh. They called the island Paria." All are the words of the Admiral. He called the mainland an island, however, because so he believed it to be.
Friday, August 10, he ordered sail to be made and went to the west of that which he thought to be an island, and travelled five leagues and anchored. For fear of not finding bottom, he went to search for an opening [mouth] by which to get out of that gulf, within which he was going, encircled by mainland and islands, although he did not believe it to be mainland, and he says it is certain that that was an island, because the Indians said thus, and thus it appears he did not understand them. From there he saw another island facing the south, which he called Ysabeta,[347-1] which extends from the south-east to north-west, afterwards another which he called La Tramontana,[348-1] a high land and very beautiful, and it seemed that it ran from north to south. It appeared very large. This was the mainland. The Indians whom he had taken said—according to what he understood—that the people there were Canibales and that yonder was where the gold was found and that the pearls which they had given the Admiral they had sought and found on the northern part of Paria toward the west. The water of that sea he says was as fresh as that of the river of Seville and in the same manner muddy. He would have wished to go to those islands except for turning backward because of the haste he felt in order not to lose the supplies that he was taking for the Christians of Espanola, which with so much labor, difficulty and fatigue he had gathered for them; and as being a thing for the sake of which he had suffered much, he repeats this about the provisions or supplies many times. He says he believes that in those islands he had seen, there must be things of value because they are all large and high lands with valleys and plains and with many waters and very well cultivated and populated and the people of very good speech, as their gestures showed. These are the words of the Admiral.
He says also that if the pearls are born as Pliny[348-2] says from the dew which falls in the oysters while they are open, there is good reason for having them there because much dew falls in that place and there are an infinite number of oysters and very large ones and because there are no tempests there, but the sea is always calm, a sign of which is that the trees enter into the sea, which shows there is never a storm there, and every branch of the trees which were in the water (and there are also roots of certain trees in the sea, which according to the language of this Espanola are called mangles[348-3]) was full of an infinite number of oysters so that breaking a branch, it comes out full of oysters attached to it. They are white within, and their flesh also, and very savory, not salt but fresh and they require some salt, and he says that they do not know or spring from mother-of-pearl. Wherever the pearls are generated, he says, they are extremely fine and they pierce them as in Venice. As for this that the Admiral says that the branches were full of oysters there, we say that those oysters that he saw and that are on the branches above the water and a little under the water are not those that produce pearls, but another species; because those that bear pearls are more careful from their natural instinct to hide themselves as much further under water as they can than those he saw on the branches....[349-1]
Returning to where I dropped the thread of the history, at this place the Admiral mentions many points of land and islands and the names he had given them, but it does not appear when. In this and elsewhere the Admiral shows himself to be a native of another country and of another tongue, because he does not apprehend all the signification of the Castilian words nor the manner of using them. He gave names to the Punta Seca, the Ysla Ysabeta, the Ysla Tramontana, the Punta Llana, Punta Sara, assuming them to be known, although he has said nothing of them or of any of them. He says that all that sea is fresh, and he does not know from whence it proceeds, because it did not appear to have the flow from great rivers, and that, if it had them, he says it would not cease to be a marvel. But he was mistaken in thinking there were no rivers, since the river Yuyapari furnished so great a flow of fresh water, as well as others which come from near there.
Desiring to get out of this Gulf of Ballena, where he was encircled by mainland and La Trinidad, as already said, in going to the west by that coast of the mainland, which he called "de Gracia" towards the point Seca, although he does not say where it was, he found two fathoms of water, no more. He sent the small caravel to see if there was an outlet to the north, because, in front of the mainland and of the other which he called Ysabeta, to the west, there appeared a very high and beautiful island. The caravel returned, and said that they found a great gulf, and in it four great openings which appeared small gulfs, and at the end of each one a river. This gulf he named Golpho de las Perlas, although I believe there are no pearls there. It appears that this was the inside corner of all this great gulf,[350-1] in which the Admiral was going enclosed by the mainland and the island of Trinidad; those four bays or openings, the Admiral believed were four islands, and that there did not appear to be a sign of a river, which would make all that gulf, of 40 leagues, of sea, all fresh; but the sailors affirmed that those openings were mouths of rivers. And they say true, at least in regard to two of these openings, because by one comes the great river Yuyapari and by the other comes another great river which to-day is called the river of Camari.[350-2]
The Admiral would have liked very much to find out the truth of this secret, which was the cause of this great gulf being 40 leagues in length by 26 in width, containing fresh water, which was a thing, he says, for wonder, (and he was certainly right), and also to penetrate the secrets of those lands, where he did not believe it to be possible that there were not things of value, or that they were not in the Indies, especially from having found there traces of gold and pearls and the news of them, and discovered such lands, so many and such people in them; from which the things there and their riches might easily be known; but because the supplies he was carrying for the people who were in this Espanola, and which he carried that they who were in the mines gathering gold might have food, were being lost, which food and supplies he had gathered with great difficulty and fatigue, he did not allow himself to be detained, and he says that, if he had the hope of having more as quickly, he would postpone delivering them, in order to discover more lands and see the secrets of them; and finally he resolves to follow that which is most sure, and come to this island, and send from it moneys to Castile to bring supplies and people under hire, and at the earliest opportunity to send also his brother, the Adelantado, to prosecute his discovery and find great things, as he hoped they would be found, to serve our Lord and the Sovereigns.
Yet, just at the best time, the thread was cut, as will appear, of these his good desires, and he says thus: "Our Lord guides me by His pity and presents me things with which He may be served, and your Highnesses may have great pleasure, and certainly they ought to have pleasure, because here they have such a noble thing and so royal for great princes. And it is a great error to believe any one who speaks evil to them of this undertaking, but to abhor them, because there is not to be found a prince who has had so much grace from our Lord, and so much victory from a thing so signal and of so much honor to their high estate and realms, and by which God may receive endlessly more services and the people of Spain more refreshment and gains. Because it has been seen that there are infinite things of value, and although now this that I say may not be known, the time will come when it will be accounted of great excellence, and to the great reproach of those persons who oppose this project to your Highnesses; and although they may have expended something in this matter, it has been in a cause more noble and of greater account than any undertaking of any other prince until now, nor was it proper to withdraw from it hastily, but to proceed and give me aid and favor; because the Sovereigns of Portugal spent and had courage to spend in Guinea, for four or five years, money and people, before they received any benefit, and afterward God gave them advantages and gold. For certainly, if the people of the kingdom of Portugal be counted, and those of them who died in this undertaking of Guinea be enumerated, it would be found that they are more than half of the kingdom;[352-1] and certainly, it would be the greatest thing to have in Spain a revenue which would come from this undertaking. Your Highnesses would leave nothing of greater memory; and they may examine, and discover that no prince of Castile may be found, and I have not found such by history or by tradition,—who has ever gained land outside of Spain. And your Highnesses will gain these lands, so very great, which are another world,[352-2] and where Christianity will have so great pleasure, and our faith in time so great an increase.[352-3] All this I say with very honest intention, and because I desire that Your Highnesses may be the greatest Lords in the world,[352-4] I say Lords of it all; and that it may all be with great service and contentment of the Holy Trinity, for which at the end of their days they may have the glory of Paradise, and not for that which concerns me myself, whose hope is in His High Majesty, that Your Highnesses will soon see the truth of it, and this is my ardent desire." All these are the actual words of the Admiral....[353-1]
So, in order to get out of this gulf, within which he was surrounded by land on all parts, with the intention already told of saving the supplies which he carried, which were being lost, in coming to this island of Espanola,—Saturday, August 11, at the appearance of the moon, he raised the anchors, spread the sails, and navigated toward the east (el leste), that is towards the place where the sun rises,[353-2] because he was in the corner of the gulf where was the river Yuyapari as was said above, in order to go out between the Point of Paria and the mainland, which he called the Punta or Cabo de Lapa, and the land he named Ysla de Gracia, and between the cape which he called Cabo Boto of the island of Trinidad.
He arrived at a very good harbor, which he called Puerto de Gatos,[353-3] which is connected with the mouth where are the two little islands of the Caracol and Delfin, between the capes of Lapa and Cape Boto. And this occurred Sunday, August 12.
He anchored near the said harbor, in order to go out by the said mouth in the morning. He found another port near there, to examine which he sent a boat. It was very good. They found certain houses of fishermen, and much water and very fresh. He named it Puerto de las Cabanas.[353-4] They found, he says, myrobolans on the land: near the sea, infinite oysters attached to the branches of the trees which enter into the sea, the mouths open to receive the dew which drops from the leaves and which engenders the pearls, as Pliny says and as is alleged in the vocabulary which is called Catholicon.[353-5]
Monday, August 13, at the rising of the moon, he weighed anchor from where he was, and came towards the Cape of Lapa, which is Paria, in order to go to the north by the mouth called Del Drago, for the following cause and danger in which he saw himself there; the Mouth of the Dragon, he says, is a strait which is between the Point of Lapa, the end of the island of Gracia, which is at the east end of the land of Paria and between Cape Boto which is the western end of the island of Trinidad. He says it is about a league and a half between the two capes. This must be after having passed four little islands which he says lie in the centre of the channel, although now we do not really see more than two, by which he could not go out, and there remained of the strait only a league and a half in the passage. From the Punta de la Lapa to the Cabo de Boto it is five leagues. Arriving at the said mouth at the hour of tierce,[354-1] he found a great struggle between the fresh water striving to go out to the sea and the salt water of the sea striving to enter into the gulf, and it was so strong and fearful, that it raised a great swell, like a very high hill, and with this, both waters made a noise and thundering, from east to west, very great and fearful, with currents of water, and after one came four great waves one after the other, which made contending currents; here they thought to perish, no less than in the other mouth of the Sierpe by the Cape of Arenal when they entered into the gulf. This danger was doubly more than the other, because the wind with which they hoped to get out died away, and they wished to anchor, because there was no remedy other than that, although it was not without danger from the fierceness of the waters, but they did not find bottom, because the sea was very deep there. They feared that the wind having calmed, the fresh or salt water might throw them on the rocks with their currents, when there would be no help. It is related that the Admiral here said, although I did not find it written with his own hand as I found the above, that if they escaped from that place they could report that they escaped from the mouth of the dragon, and for this reason that name was given to it and with reason.
It pleased the goodness of God that from the same danger safety and deliverance came to them and the current of the fresh water overcame the current of the salt water and carried the ships safely out, and thus they were placed in security; because when God wills that one or many shall be kept alive, water is a remedy for them.[355-1] Thus they went out, Monday, August 13, from the said dangerous Gulf and Mouth of the Dragon. He says that there are 48 leagues from the first land of La Trinidad to the gulf which the sailors discovered whom he sent in the caravel, where they saw the rivers and he did not believe them, which gulf he called "de las Perlas," and this is the interior angle of all the large gulf, which he called "de la Ballena," where he travelled so many days encircled by land. I add that it is a good 50 leagues, as appears from the chart.
Having gone out of the gulf and the Boca del Drago and having passed his danger, he decides to go to the west by the coast below[355-2] of the mainland, believing yet that it was the island of Gracia, in order to get abreast, on the right, of the said Gulf of the Pearls, north and south, and to go around it,[355-3] and see whence comes so great abundance of water, and to see if it proceeded from rivers, as the sailors affirmed and which he says he did not believe because he had not heard that either the Ganges, the Nile or the Euphrates[355-4] carried so much fresh water. The reason which moved him was because he did not see lands large enough to give birth to such great rivers, "unless indeed," he says, "that this is mainland." These are his words. So that he was already beginning to suspect that the land of Gracia which he believed to be an island is mainland, which it certainly was and is, and the sailors had been right, from which land there came such a quantity of water from the rivers, Yuyapari and the other which flows out near it, which we now call Camari, and others which must empty there, so that, going in search of that Gulf of the Pearls, where the said rivers empty, thinking to find it surrounded by land, considering it an island and to see if there was an entrance there, or an outlet to the south, and if he did not find it, he says he would affirm then that it was a river, and that both were a great wonder,—he went down the coast that Monday until the setting of the sun.
He saw that the coast was filled with good harbors and a very high land; by that lower coast he saw many islands toward the north and many capes on the mainland, to all of which he gave names: to one, Cabo de Conchas; to another, Cabo Luengo; to another, Cabo de Sabor; to another, Cabo Rico. A high and very beautiful land. He says that on that way there are many harbors and very large gulfs which must be populated, and the farther he went to the west he saw the land more level and more beautiful. On going out of the mouth, he saw an island to the north, which might be 26 leagues from the north, and named it La Isla de la Asuncion; he saw another island and named it La Concepcion, and three other small islands together he called Los Testigos.[356-1] They are called this to-day. Another near them he called El Romero, and three other little small islands he called Las Guardias. Afterwards he arrived near the Isla Margarita, and called it Margarita, and another near it he named El Martinet.
This Margarita is an island 15 leagues long, and 5 or 6 wide, and is very green and beautiful on the coast and is very good within, for which reason it is inhabited; it has near it extending lengthwise east and west, three small islands, and two behind them extending north and south. The Admiral did not see more than the three, as he was going along the southern part of Margarita. It is six or seven leagues from the mainland, and this makes a small gulf between it and the mainland, and in the middle of the gulf are two small islands, east and west, beside each other: the one is called Coche, which means deer, and the other Cubagua, which is the one we have described in chapter 136, and said that there are an infinite quantity of pearls gathered there. So that the Admiral, although he did not know that the pearls were formed in this gulf, appears to have divined that fact in naming it Margarita; he was very near it, although he does not express it, because he says he was nine leagues from the island of Martinet, which he says was near Margarita, on the northern part, and he says near it, because as he was going along the southern part of Margarita, it appeared to be near, although it was eight or nine leagues away; and this is the small island to the north, near Margarita, which is now called Blanca, and is distant eight or nine leagues from Margarita as I said. For here it seems that the Admiral must have been close to or near Margarita and I believe that he anchored because the wind failed him. Finally of all the names that he gave to the islands and capes of the mainland which he took for the island of Gracia none have lasted or are used to-day except Trinidad, Boca del Drago, Los Testigos, and Margarita.
There the eyes of the Admiral became very bad from not sleeping. Because always, as he was in so many dangers sailing among islands, it was his custom himself to watch on deck, and whoever takes ships with cargo should for the most part do that very thing, like the pilots, and he says that he found himself more fatigued here than when he discovered the other mainland, which is the island of Cuba, (which he regarded as mainland even until now), because his eyes were bloodshot; and thus his labors on the sea were incomparable. For this reason he was in bed this night, and therefore he found himself farther out in the sea than he would have been if he had himself watched, from which he did not trust himself to the sailors, nor should any one who is a diligent and perfect pilot trust to anybody, because dependent on him and on his head are all those who go in the ship, and that which is most necessary and proper to his office is to watch and not sleep all the time while he navigates.
The Admiral appears to have gone down the coast after he came out of the Mouth of the Dragon, yesterday Monday and to-day Tuesday, 30 or 40 leagues at least, although he does not say so, as he complains that he did not write all that he had to write, as he could not on account of his being so ill here. And as he saw that the land was becoming very extended below to the west, and appeared more level and more beautiful, and the Gulf of the Pearls which was in the back part of the gulf, or fresh-water sea, whence the river of Yuyapari flowed, in the search of which he was going, had no outlet, which he hoped to see, believing that this mainland was an island, he now became conscious that a land so great was not an island, but mainland, and as if speaking with the Sovereigns, he says here: "I believe that this is mainland, very great, which until to-day has not been known. And reason aids me greatly because of this being such a great river and because of this sea which is fresh, and next the saying of Esdras aids me, in the 4th book, chapter 6th, which says that the six parts of the world are of dry land and the one of water.[358-1] Which book St. Ambrose approves in his Examenon[358-2] and St. Augustine on the passage, 'Morietur filius meus Christus,' as Francisco de Mayrones alleges.[359-1] And further, I am supported by the sayings of many Canibales Indians, whom I took at other times, who said that to the south of them was mainland, and at that time I was on the island of Guadeloupe, and also I heard it from others of the island of Sancta Cruz and of Sant Juan, and they said that in it there was much gold, and, as your Highnesses know, a very short time ago, there was no other land known than that which Ptolemy wrote of, and there was not in my time any one who would believe that one could navigate from Spain to the Indies; about which matter I was seven years in your Court, and there were few who understood it; and finally the very great courage of your Highnesses caused it to be tried, against the opinion of those who contradicted it. And now the truth appears, and it will appear before long, much greater; and if this is mainland, it is a thing of wonder, and it will be so among all the learned, since so great a river flows out that it makes a fresh-water sea of 48 leagues." These are his words....[359-2]
Having finished this digression let us return then to our history and to what the Admiral resolved to do in the place where he was, and that is, going as fast as possible, he wished to come to this Espanola, for some reasons which impelled him greatly: one, because he was going with great anxiety and affliction, as he had not had news of the condition of this island for so many days; and it would seem that he had some, premonition of the disorder and the losses and the travail which with the rising of Francisco Roldan[360-1] all this land and his brothers were suffering; the other in order to despatch immediately the Adelantado, his brother, with three ships, to continue his discovery of the mainland which he had already begun to explore; and it is certain that if Francisco Roldan with his rebellion and shamelessness had not prevented him, the Admiral or his brother for him would have discovered the mainland as far as New Spain; but, according to the decree of Divine Providence, the hour of its discovery had not come, nor was the permission recalled[360-2] by which many were being enabled to distinguish themselves in unjust works under color of making discoveries.
The third cause which hastened him in coming to this island, was from seeing that the supplies were spoiling and being lost, of which he had such great need for the relief of those who were here, which made him weep again, considering that he had obtained them with great difficulties and fatigues, and he says that, if they are lost, he has no hope of getting others, from the great opposition he always encountered from those who counselled the Sovereigns, "who," he says here, "are not friends nor desire the honor of the high condition of their Highnesses, the persons who have spoken evil to them of such a noble undertaking. Nor was the cost so great that it should not be expended, although benefits might not be had quickly to recompense it, since the service was very great which was rendered our Lord in spreading His Holy Name through unknown lands. And besides this, it would be a much greater memorial than any Prince had left, spiritual and temporal." And the Admiral says further, "And for this the revenue of a good bishopric or archbishopric would be well secured, and I say," says he, "as good as the best in Spain, since there are here so many resources and as yet no priesthood. They may have heard that here there are infinite peoples, which may have determined the sending here of learned and intelligent persons and friends of Christ to try and make them Christians and commence the work; the establishment of which bishopric I am very sure will be made, please our Lord, and the revenues will soon come from here and be carried there." These are his words. How much truth he spoke and how clear a case there was of inattention and remissness and lukewarmness of charity in the men of that day, spiritual or ecclesiastical and temporal, who held the power and resources, not to make provision for the healing and conversion of these peoples, so disposed and ready to receive the faith, the day of universal judgment will reveal.
The fourth cause for coming to this island and not stopping to discover more, which he would have very much wished, as he says, was because the seamen did not come prepared to make discoveries, since he says that he did not dare to say in Castile that he came with intention to make discoveries, because they would have placed some impediments in his way, or would have demanded more money of him than he had, and he says that the people were becoming very tired. The fifth cause, was because the ships he had were large for making discoveries, as the one was of more than 100 tons and the other more than 70, and only smaller ones are needed to make discoveries; and because of the ship which he took on his first voyage being large, he lost it in the harbor of Navidad, kingdom of the King Guacanagari.[361-1] Also the sixth reason which very much constrained him to leave the discoveries and come to this island, was because of having his eyes almost lost from not sleeping, from the long and continued watches or vigils he had had; and in this place he says thus: "May it please our Lord to free me from this malady," he says. "He well knows that I did not suffer these fatigues in order to find treasures for myself, since surely I recognize that all is vanity which is done in this age, save that which is for the honor and service of God, which is not to amass pomps or riches, nor the many other things we use in this world, in which we are more inclined than to the things which can save us." These are his words.
Truly this man had a good Christian purpose and was very contented with his own estate and desired in a moderate degree to maintain himself in it, and to rest from such sore travail, which he fully merited; yet the result of his sweat and toil was to impose a greater burden on the Sovereigns, and I do not know what greater was necessary than had already fallen to them, and even he had imposed obligations on them, except that he kept seeing that little importance was made of his distinguished services that he had performed, and that all at once the estimation of these Indies which was held at first was declining and coming to naught, through those that had the ears of the Sovereigns, so that he feared each day greater disfavors and that the Sovereigns might give up the whole business and thus his sweat and travail be entirely lost.
Having determined, then, to come as quickly as he could to this island, Wednesday, August 15, which was the day of the Assumption of Our Lady, after the rising of the sun, he ordered the anchors weighed from where he was anchored, which must have been within the small gulf which Margarita and the other islands make with the mainland (and he must have been near Margarita as we said above, ch. 139), and sailed on the way to this island; and, pursuing his way, he saw very clearly Margarita and the little islands which were there, and also, the farther away he went, he discovered more high land of the continent. And he went that day from sunrise to sunset 63 leagues, because of the great currents which supplemented the wind....[362-1]