Early Modern Spain

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This is the first voyage with the courses and route which the Admiral don Christopher Columbus took when he discovered the Indies, set down in an abbreviated form, except for the prologue to the Monarchs which is given in full and begins:


Most Christian and most exalted and most excellent and most powerful Princes, King and Queen of the Spains and of the islands of the sea, Our Sovereigns: Forasmuch as in this present year of 1492, after Your Highnesses had brought to an end the war with the Moors who reigned in Europe and had concluded the war in the great city of Granada where this same year on the second day of January I saw Your Highnesses' royal banners placed by force of arms on the towers of the Alhambra, which is the fortress of the said city, and I saw the Moorish king come out to the city gates and kiss Your Highnesses' royal hands and those of My Lord the Prince;1 and then in the same month from information which I had given Your Highnesses about the lands of India and a prince called the Great Khan, which means in our language King of Kings, and how he and his ancestors had many times sent to Rome for learned men to instruct him in our holy faith, and how the Holy Father had never provided them, and how so many people were being lost, falling into idolatry and embracing doctrines of perdition;2 and Your Highnesses, as Catholic Christians and princes devoted to the holy Christian faith and the furtherance of its cause, and enemies of the sect of Mohammed and of all idolatry and heresy, resolved to send me, Christopher Columbus, to the said regions of India to see the said princes and the peoples and lands and determine the nature of them and of all other things, and the measures to be taken to convert them to our holy faith; and you ordered that I should not go by land to the East, which is the customary route, but by way of the West, a route which to this day we cannot be certain has been taken by anyone else: So then, after having expelled all the Jews from all your kingdoms and domains, in the same month of January,3 Your Highnesses commanded me to take sufficient ships and sail to the said regions of India. And in consideration you granted me great favours and honoured me thenceforth with the title 'Don' and the rank of Admiral of the Ocean Sea and Viceroy and Governor in perpetuity of all the islands and mainland that I should discover and take possession of and which should hereafter be discovered and occupied in the Ocean Sea, and that my eldest son should succeed in turn, and so on from generation to generation for ever.4 And I left the city of Granada on the twelfth day of May of the same year 1492, a Saturday, and came to the town of Palos, which is a seaport, where I prepared three ships suitable for such an undertaking, and I set out from the said port well stocked with supplies and with many seamen5 on the third day of August of the same year, a Friday, half an hour before sunrise, and I took the route to the Canary Islands, Your Highnesses' possessions in the said Ocean Sea, thence to set my course and navigate until I should reach the Indies, and deliver Your Highnesses' embassy to those princes and comply with what you had ordered.6 And for this purpose I decided to write down the whole of this voyage in detail, day by day, everything that I should do and see and undergo, as will be seen in due course.7 Furthermore, My Lords, besides writing down each night whatever the day should bring, and each day the course taken during the night, I propose to make a new navigational chart, on which I shall note all the sea and land in the Ocean Sea in their proper places with their bearings and also keep a book in which, in the same way, I shall record them by latitude from the equator and by longitude to the west; above all, I must give no thought to sleep, and must work diligently at my navigation, because such is my duty; all of which will require great effort.8

Friday 3 August

We left the bar of Saltés at eight o'clock on Friday 3 August 1492. We sailed with a strong sea breeze until sunset, S for 60 miles, which is 15 leagues, then SW and S by W, which was the route to the Canaries.9

Saturday 4 August

They sailed SW by S.

Sunday 5 August

They made more than 40 leagues during the day and night.

Monday 6 August

The rudder of the caravel Pinta, in which Martín Alonso Pinzón was sailing, came adrift or became dislodged and it was believed or suspected that this was the work of one Gómez Rascón and Cristóbal Quintero, the owner of the caravel, because he was annoyed at having to make the voyage; and the Admiral says that before they left they had been obstructive and always putting a spoke in, as they say.10 The Admiral was very worried at not being able to assist the Pinta without danger to himself and says that his fears were somewhat allayed by the thought that Martín Alonso Pinzón was a courageous and resourceful man. They eventually made 29 leagues during the the day and night.

Tuesday 7 August

The Pinta's rudder again came adrift and they repaired it and made for the island of Lanzarote, which is one of the Canary Islands, and they made 25 leagues during the day and night.

Wednesday 8 August

There were differing opinions among the pilots of the three caravels about their position and the Admiral turned out to be nearest the truth. He wished to go to Gran Canaria to leave the caravel Pinta there because her rudder was in bad condition and she was taking in water, and he wished to obtain another if he could find one. They were unable to obtain one that day.

Thursday 9 August

The Admiral could not make Gomera until Sunday night and Martín Alonso remained off the coast of Gran Canaria at the Admiral's orders because he could not navigate. Then the Admiral returned to Canaria11 and with painstaking effort from the Admiral, Martín Alonso and the rest the Pinta was put in very good repair and eventually they reached Gomera. They saw a great fire issuing from the peak of the island of Tenerife, which is extremely high.12 They fitted the Pinta13 with square sails because she was lateen-rigged. He returned to Gomera on Sunday 2 September with the Pinta repaired. The Admiral says that many trustworthy Spaniards from the neighbouring island of Ferro who were on Gomera with doña Inés Peraza, mother of Guillén Peraza, later to be the first Count of Gomera, swore that every year they could see land to the W of the Canaries, that is, under the setting sun. And others from Gomera affirmed as much on oath. Here the Admiral says he remembers that, when in Portugal in 1484, a man from the island of Madeira14 came to the King to ask for a caravel to go to this land which he had sighted, and which he swore he sighted every year and always in the same way.15 And he also says that he remembers the same thing being said in the Azores, with everyone seeing land in the same direction with the same aspect and the same size. Having taken on water and firewood and meat and the other things obtained by the men the Admiral left on Gomera when he went to the island of Canaria to repair the caravel Pinta, he finally set sail from the said island of Gomera with his three caravels on Thursday 6 September.

Thursday 6 September

He left that day in the morning from the port of Gomera and rounded the island to proceed on his voyage. The Admiral learned from a caravel which came from the island of Ferro that three caravels from Portugal were cruising in the area with the intention of detaining him; it must have been due to the envy the King felt at his having gone to Castile. He was becalmed that day and night and in the morning lay between Gomera and Tenerife.

Friday 7 September

He was becalmed all of Friday and until three o'clock on Saturday morning.

Saturday 8 September

At three o'clock on Saturday morning the wind began to blow from the NE and he set his course and sailed W; he had heavy sea over the bows which made progress hard going and he made about 9 leagues that day and night.

Sunday 9 September

He made 15 leagues that day and decided to reckon fewer than he was making so that if the journey were long the men should not be afraid and discouraged.16 That night he made 120 miles at 10 miles an hour, which is 30 leagues. The sailors steered badly, drifting W by N and even WNW. The Admiral several times rebuked them about this.

Monday 10 September

He made 60 leagues that day and night at 10 miles an hour, which is 2½ leagues, but he only reckoned 48 leagues so that the men should not be afraid if the journey were long.

Tuesday 11 September

That day they steered their course W and made 20 leagues or more and saw a great portion of the mast of a ship of 120 tons, but they could not catch it. During the night they made nearly 20 leagues and he counted no more than 16 for the reason stated.

Wednesday 12 September

Proceeding on their course that day they made 33 leagues during the night and day, reckoning fewer for the reason given.

Thursday 13 September

That day and night, following their course W, they made 33 leagues and he reckoned three or four fewer. The currents were against him. On this day at nightfall the needles pointed NW and in the morning somewhat to the NE.17

Friday 14 September

That day and night they steered their course W and made 20 leagues; he reckoned somewhat fewer. Here the crew of the caravel Niña said that they had seen a tern and a reed-tail, and these birds never go more than 25 leagues from land.

Saturday 15 September

That day and night he steered his course W making a little over 27 leagues, and at nightfall they saw a marvellous sheet of fire fall from the sky into the sea 4 or 5 leagues away.

Sunday 16 September

That day and night he steered his course W; they made about 39 leagues but he reckoned no more than 36. He had an overcast sky and some drizzle. Here the Admiral says that today and thenceforth they always encountered the most gentle breezes, that the enjoyment of the mornings was a great pleasure, that all they needed was to hear nightingales, he says; and the weather was like April in Andalusia. Here they began to see great clumps of deep green seaweed which (so it seemed to him) had only recently been torn from land.18 On account of this they all thought that they were near some island, but not the mainland, according to the Admiral, who says: Because I make the mainland further on.

Monday 17 September

He steered his course W and they would have made more than 50 leagues during the day and night; he only reckoned 47. The current was assisting them. They saw a good deal of weed, very frequently, and it was a rock weed and came from westward. They reckoned they were near land. The pilots took the north and marked it and found that the compass needles veered NW by a full point, and the sailors were fearful and anxious and did not say why. The Admiral sensed this and ordered them to mark north again at dawn and they found that the compasses were true. The reason was that it is the star that appears to move, not the needles. At dawn on that Monday they saw much more weed which seemed to be a river weed and in which they found a live crab which the Admiral kept. He says that these were sure signs of land, because they are not found 80 leagues from land. They found the seawater less salty since they had left the Canaries and the breezes more and more gentle. Everyone was very happy and the ships sailed as fast as they could to be the first to sight land. They saw many tunny fish and the crew of the Niña killed one. Here the Admiral says that those indications came from the west, where I hope that Almighty God, in whose hands all victories are found, will soon grant us land. That morning he says that he saw a white bird called a reed-tail which does not usually sleep on the sea.

Tuesday 18 September

He proceeded on his course during that day and night and they made about 55 leagues; but he only put down 48. All those days he had a very calm sea, like the river at Seville. On this day Martín Alonso with the Pinta, which was very fast, did not wait, for he told the Admiral from his caravel that he had seen a large flock of birds flying westward and that he expected to sight land that night and for that reason was making such speed. A mass of dark cloud appeared to the N which is a sign that one is near land.

Wednesday 19 September

He steered his course and during the day and night he made about 25 leagues, since it was calm. He put down 22. On this day at ten o'clock a gannet came to the ship and they saw another during the afternoon; they do not usually go 20 leagues from land. There was some drizzle without wind, which is a sure sign of land. The Admiral did not wish to delay by beating to windward in order to see if there were any land, especially as he was certain that to the N and S there were some islands, as in fact there were,19 and he was sailing between them, because his intention was to press on to the Indies, and the weather is fine, because, God willing, everything could be seen on the way back. These are his words. Here the pilots compared their reckonings: the Niña's pilot made it 440 leagues from the Canaries; the Pinta's, 420; and the Admiral's pilot, 400 exactly.

Thursday 20 September

On this day he steered W by N and WNW because, with the prevailing calm, the winds were variable. They made about 7 or 8 leagues. Two gannets came to the ship and then another, which was a sign that they were near land, and they saw a lot of seaweed although on the previous day they had not seen any. They caught by hand a bird which was like tern; it was a river bird and not a sea bird; it had feet like a gull's. At dawn two or three small land birds came singing to the ship and then disappeared before the sun got up. Then came a gannet; it came from the WNW and was flying SE, which was an indication that it was leaving land to the WNW, because these birds sleep on land and in the morning fly out to sea to look for food and do not go further than 20 leagues.

Friday 21 September

That day was mostly calm and later there was some wind. They made about 13 leagues during the day and night, some of it on course, some not. At dawn they found so much seaweed that the sea seemed clotted with it and it came from the W. They saw a gannet. The sea was as flat as a river and the breezes the best in the world. They saw a whale, which is a sign that they were near land because they always stay close by.

Saturday 22 September

He steered WNW more or less, sometimes inclining one way, sometimes another. They made about 30 leagues. They saw hardly any weed. They saw some petrels and another bird. At this point the Admiral says: I was in great need of this head wind because my men were very agitated and thought that no winds blew on these seas that would get them back to Spain.20 For part of the day there was no weed; then it was very thick.

Sunday 23 September

He steered NW and at times NW by N and at others kept his course which was W, and he made about 27 leagues. They saw a pigeon and a gannet and another river bird and other white birds. There was much seaweed and they found crabs in it. As the sea was so calm and flat the men began muttering, saying that as there was no heavy sea in that area, there would never be enough wind to return to Spain. But later the sea stirred a great deal and without wind, which surprised them; for which reason the Admiral says at this point: So I had great need of that high sea the like of which has not been seen since the time of the Jews when they were leaving Egypt and murmured against Moses who was delivering them from captivity.21

Monday 24 September

He steered his course W during the day and night and they made about 14½ leagues; he reckoned 12. A gannet came to the ship and they saw many petrels.

Tuesday 25 September

On this day it was very calm and then the wind got up and they proceeded on course to the W until nightfall. The Admiral had talks with Martín Alonso Pinzón, captain of the other caravel Pinta, about a chart22 which he had sent to the caravel three days previously and on which it seems the Admiral had certain islands depicted in that area of the sea. And Martín Alonso said that they were in that vicinity and the Admiral replied that he thought the same; but since they had not come across them the reason must have been that the currents had been continually pushing the ships NE and that they had not sailed as far as the pilots said. Such being the case, the Admiral asked him to send back the said chart and when it had been sent back on a line the Admiral began to plot a course on it with his pilot and crew. At sunset Martín Alonso went up to the poop of his ship and with great joy called to the Admiral, claiming a reward because he could see land. And when he heard it said so positively, the Admiral says that he fell on his knees to give thanks to God and Martín Alonso said the Gloria in excelsis Deo with his men. The Admiral's crew and that of the Niña did the same. They all climbed the mast and the rigging and they all said that it was definitely land and the Admiral thought so too and that it must be about 25 leagues away. They were all still positive that it was land until the evening. The Admiral ordered them to change course from W to SW where the land had appeared. They sailed that day about 4 and a half leagues W and in the evening 17 leagues SW, which is 21, although he told the men 13 leagues because he always pretended to the men that he was making little headway so that the voyage should not seem long; so that he kept two reckonings for that voyage: the shorter was the false one and the longer was the true one.23 They had very calm sea and many sailors went swimming. They saw many dorados and other fish.

Wednesday 26 September

He steered his course W until after midday; then they went SW until they realized that what they had said was land was merely sky. They sailed 31 leagues day and night, and he told the men 24. The sea was like a river, the breezes sweet and very gentle.

Thursday 27 September

He steered his course W. He sailed 24 leagues during the day and night; he told the men 20 leagues. Many dorados came along and they killed one. They saw a reed-tail.

Friday 28 September

He steered his course W. They made 14 leagues day and night between periods of calm; he reckoned 13. They saw little weed; they caught two dorados, and the crew of the other ships caught more.

Saturday 29 September

He steered his course W. They made 24 leagues; he told the men 21. Because they were becalmed they made little progress during the day and night. They saw a bird called a frigate-bird which makes gannets regurgitate what they have eaten and then eats the vomit itself and lives off nothing else. It is a sea bird but does not settle on the sea nor does it fly more than 20 leagues from land. There are many of these in the Cape Verde islands. Later they saw two gannets. The breezes were very gentle and sweet and he says that all that was missing was the sound of the nightingale, and the sea was as flat as a river. On three occasions there appeared three gannets and a frigate-bird. They saw a lot of weed.

Sunday 30 September

He steered his course W. He made 14 leagues during the day and night between periods of calm; he reckoned 11. Four reed-tails came to the ship, which is a sure sign of land, because so many birds together is a sign that they had not strayed or were lost. Four gannets were seen on two occasions; much weed. He notes that when night falls the stars which are called the Guards are beside the western arm; and at sunrise they are on a line below the arm to the NE, so that it appears that throughout the night they only move three lines, that is 9 hours, and this is the case every night;24 this is what the Admiral says at this point. Furthermore, at nightfall the compass needles point a quarter NW, and at sunrise they are right on the star. From which it seems that the star appears to move, like the other stars;25 and the needles always seek the truth.

Monday 1 October

He steered his course W. They made 25 leagues; he told the men 20 leagues. They had a downpour. This morning at dawn the Admiral's pilot held that they had made 578 leagues W from the island of Ferro. The Admiral's shorter reckoning which he showed to the men was 584, but the true one which the Admiral calculated and kept to himself was 707.

Tuesday 2 October

He steered his course W night and day for 39 leagues; he told the men a matter of 30 leagues. The sea is still good and flat, thanks be to God, the Admiral says at this point. The weed floated from E to W contrary to what it usually did. Many fish appeared; one was killed. They saw a white bird which looked like a seagull.

Wednesday 3 October

He steered his usual course. They made 47 leagues; he told the men 40 leagues. Some petrels appeared; much weed, some of it old and some very fresh, with what looked like fruit.26 They saw no birds at all and the Admiral believed that they had left behind the islands depicted on his chart. Here the Admiral says that he did not wish to delay by beating to windward during the past week and on those days when he saw so many signs of land although he knew of certain islands in the vicinity, so as not to delay matters, because his aim was to reach the Indies and he says that if he were to have delayed it would not have been very sensible.

Thursday 4 October

He steered his course W. They made 63 leagues during the day and night; he told the men 46 leagues. More than forty petrels came to the ship in a flock, and two gannets, and one of the ship's boys hit one with a stone. A reed-tail came to the ship and a white bird like a seagull.

Friday 5 October

He proceeded on his course. They made about 11 miles an hour; during the night and day they made about 57 leagues because during the night the wind eased somewhat. He told the men 45. The sea is beautifully calm, he says, thanks be to God. The air very sweet and temperate; no weed; birds, many petrels; many flying fish flew onto the ship.

Saturday 6 October

He steered his course W.27 They made 40 leagues during the day and night; he told the men 33 leagues. That night Martín Alonso said that it would be a good idea to steer SW by W; and the Admiral thought not. Martín Alonso suggested this with the island of Cipangu28 in mind, and as the Admiral saw it, if they missed it, they would not be able to reach land so quickly, and that it was better to make for the mainland first and then for the islands.

Sunday 7 October

He steered his course W. They made 12 miles an hour for two hours and then 8 miles an hour and he made about 23 leagues by an hour after sunrise; he told the men 18. On this day at sunrise the caravel Niña, which went on ahead as she was fast and as they were all sailing for all their worth to be the first to sight land and claim the reward which the Monarchs had promised to the first person to sight it, ran a flag up to the mast-head and fired a lombard shot as a sign that they could see land, because that is what the Admiral had ordered. He had also ordered that at sunrise and sunset all the ships should join him because at those times the atmosphere was such as to allow them to see furthest. Since in the evening the crew of the Niña could not see the land which they thought they had seen, and because a large flock of birds passed from the N to the SW, which led them to believe that they were going to roost on land or were perhaps fleeing the winter which was approaching in the lands from which they came, and because the Admiral knew that most of the islands which the Portuguese held had been discovered because of birds; for these reasons the Admiral agreed to leave the course to the W and steer WSW with the intention of following that course for two days. This he began an hour before sunset. Throughout the night he made a matter of 5 leagues, and 23 in the day, a total of 28 during the night and day.

Monday 8 October

He steered WSW and they made about 11 and a half or 12 leagues during the day and night and it seems that at times during the night they were making 15 miles an hour, if the text is to be believed. They had a sea like the river at Seville, thanks be to God, the Admiral says; the sweetest of breezes, like April in Seville, such that it is a pleasure to be in them, so fragrant are they. The seaweed seemed very fresh; many land birds fleeing to the SW - they caught one; terns and ducks and a gannet.

Tuesday 9 October

He steered SW. He made 5 leagues; the wind veered and he ran W by N for 4 leagues; thereafter, a total of 11 leagues by day and 20 and a half by night. He told the men 17 leagues. All night they heard birds passing.

Wednesday 10 October

He steered WSW; they made 10 miles an hour and at times 12 and at others 7, and during the day and night 59 leagues; he told the men no more than 44 leagues. Here the men could stand it no longer; they complained of the long journey; but the Admiral encouraged them as best he could, holding out good hope of the rewards they could gain. And he added that there was no point in complaining, because he had set out for the Indies and that he intended to persist until he found them, with the help of Our Lord.

Thursday 11 October

He sailed WSW. They had a rough sea, rougher than any they had had throughout the voyage. They spotted some petrels and a green reed near the flagship. The crew of the caravel Pinta spotted a cane and a twig and they fished out another piece of stick, carved with iron by the looks of it, and a piece of cane and other vegetation that grows on land, and a small plank. The crew of the caravel Niña also saw signs of land and a branch covered in barnacles. At these signs they breathed again and all took heart. They sailed 27 leagues today, until sunset. After sunset he set his former course due W. They were making about twelve miles an hour and until two in the morning they made about 90 miles, that is 22 leagues and a half. And because the caravel Pinta was faster and sailed ahead of the Admiral, she sighted land and gave the signals that the Admiral had commanded. The first man to see this land was a sailor by the name of Rodrigo de Triana,29 although the Admiral had seen a light at ten in the evening on the poop deck, but it was so indistinct that he would not swear that it was land.30 But he called Pero Gutiérrez, Hisis Majesty's chamberlain, told him that it seemed to be a light and asked him to look, which he did, and he did see it. He also called Rodrigo Sánchez de Segovia, whom the King and Queen had sent as comptroller, and he saw nothing as he was not in a position from which he could see it. After the Admiral had spoken, the light was spotted a couple of times, and it was like a small wax candle being raised and lowered, which struck very few people as being a sign of land, but the Admiral was certain that he was near land. So when they had said the Salve, which all sailors are accustomed to say or chant in their own way, and they were all gathered together, the Admiral urged them to keep a good lookout from the forecastle and watch for land, saying that he would give the first man to tell him that he could see land a silk doublet, quite apart from the other rewards which the King and Queen had promised, such as the annual payment of ten thousand maravedís to the first man to see land. Two hours after midnight land appeared at a distance of about two leagues. They shortened all sail, kept the mainsail without the bonnets and lay to, waiting for Friday to dawn, the day on which they finally reached a small island of the Lucayos which was called in the language of the Indians Guanahaní.31 Then they saw some naked people and the Admiral went ashore in the armed boat with Martín Alonso Pinzón and Vicente Yáñez, his brother, who was the captain of the Niña. The Admiral brought out the royal standard, and the captains unfurled two banners of the green cross, which the Admiral flew as his standard on all the ships, with an F and a Y, and a crown over each letter, one on one side of the + and one on the other. When they landed they saw trees, very green, many streams and a large variety of fruits. The Admiral called the two captains and the others who landed, and Rodrigo de Escobedo, secretary of the expedition, and Rodrigo Sánchez de Segovia, and made them bear witness and testimony that he, in their presence, took possession, as in fact he did take possession, of the said island in the names of the King and Queen, His Sovereigns, making the requisite declarations, as is more fully recorded in the statutory instruments which were set down in writing. Then, many islanders gathered round. What follows are the Admiral's own words from the journal of his first voyage and discovery of these Indies. In order to win their good will, he says, because I could see that they were a people who could more easily be won over and converted to our holy faith by kindness than by force, I gave some of them red hats and glass beads that they put round their necks, and many other things of little value, with which they were very pleased and became so friendly that it was a wonder to see. Afterwards they swam out to the ships' boats where we were and brought parrots and balls of cotton thread and spears and many other things, and they bartered with us for other things which we gave them, like glass beads and hawks' bells. In fact they took and gave everything they had with good will, but it seemed to me that they were a people who were very poor in everything.32 They go as naked as their mothers bore them, even the women, though I only saw one girl, and she was very young. All those I did see were young men, none of them more than thirty years old. They were well built, with handsome bodies and fine features. Their hair is thick, almost like a horse's tail, but short; they wear it down over their eyebrows except for a few strands behind which they wear long and never cut. Some of them paint themselves black, though they are naturally the colour of Canary Islanders,33 neither black nor white; and some paint themselves white, some red and some whatever colour they can find; some paint their faces, some their whole bodies, some only the eyes and some only the nose. They do not carry arms and do not know of them because I showed them some swords and they grasped them by the blade and cut themselves out of ignorance. They have no iron: their spears are just shafts without a metal tip, and some have a fish tooth at the end, and some have other things. They are all fairly tall, good looking and well proportioned. I saw some who had signs of wounds on their bodies and in sign language I asked them what they were, and they indicated that other people came from other islands nearby and tried to capture them, and they defended themselves.34 I believed then and still believe that they come here from the mainland to take them as slaves. They ought to make good slaves for they are of quick intelligence since I notice that they are quick to repeat what is said to them, and I believe that they could very easily become Christians, for it seemed to me that they had no religion of their own. God willing, when I come to leave I will bring six of them to Your Highnesses so that they may learn to speak. I have seen no animals of any kind on this island, except parrots. These are all the Admiral's own words.

Saturday 13 October

At sunrise many of these men, all youths, as I have said, came to the shore. They were all of good stature, very handsome people, with hair which is not curly but thick and flowing like a horse's mane. They all have very wide foreheads and heads, wider than those of any race I have seen before; their eyes are very beautiful and not small. None of them is black, rather the colour of the Canary islanders, which is to be expected since this island lies E-W with the island of Ferro in the Canaries on the same latitude.35 They all have very straight legs; they are not pot-bellied, but very well formed. They came to the ship in dugouts36 which are made out of a tree-trunk, like a long boat, and all in one piece and wonderfully well carved in the local manner. Some are large, to the extent that 40 or 45 men came in some of them, and others are smaller, so small that there were some with only one man in them. They paddle with a kind of baker's peel and it goes along wonderfully, and if one overturns they all swim around and right it and bale it out with gourds which they carry. They brought balls of cotton thread and parrots and spears and other things which it would be tedious to list and they gave anything in exchange for whatever was given to them. I watched intently and tried to find out if there was any gold and I saw that some of them wore a small piece hanging from a hole in the nose. By sign language I gathered that to the south, or rounding the southern end of the island, there was a king who had great quantities of it in large pots. I tried to get them to go there but I subsequently saw that they were not interested in going.37 I decided to wait until tomorrow afternoon and then leave for the SW, where from what many of them pointed out to me, they said there was land to the S and SW and NW, and that from these islands to the NW they very often came to attack them; and so to the SW, to look for the gold and precious stones. This island is very large and very flat, the trees are very green, and there is much water; there is a very large lake38 in the centre. There are no mountains and it is all so green that it is a pleasure to see. And these people are so gentle, and out of a desire to have some of our things and fear that they will not be given anything without their giving something in exchange, and they have nothing to give, they grab whatever they can and set off swimming. They give everything they have for whatever we give them, even pieces of broken bowls and glass cups they will barter for. I even saw 16 balls of cotton given for three Portuguese coins worth a few farthings in Castile, but there must have been more than 25 pounds of cotton thread there. I would forbid this and not allow anyone to take any of it, but order it all to be kept for Your Highnesses, if there were plenty of it. It grows here on this island but for lack of time I could not make a full investigation; the gold which they wear hanging from their noses is also found here, but, in order not to waste time I want to go and see if I can find the island of Cipangu. Now since it is night they have all gone ashore in their canoes.

Sunday 14 October

At dawn I ordered the ship's boat and the caravels' boats to be got ready and went NNE along the island to see what there was on the other side, the eastern side, and also to see the villages; and I saw two or three, and all the people came to the shore calling us and giving thanks to God. Some brought us water; others, other things to eat; others, when they saw that I was not intending to land, jumped into the sea and swam out and we understood them to be asking us if we had come from heaven.39 One old man got into the boat40 and all the others, men and women, called in loud voices "Come and see the men who have come from heaven; bring them something to eat and drink". Many came, and many women, each with something and giving thanks to God, throwing themselves on the ground and lifting their hands to the sky and then calling out to us to go ashore, but I was fearful of a great reef of rock which surrounds the whole of that island. Inside it is deep and there is a harbour for as many ships as there are in the whole of christendom, and the entrance to it is very narrow. It is true that inside this ribbon there are some shoals, but the sea is as still as a well. I made an effort to see all this this morning so that I would be able to give a full account of it to Your Highnesses and inform you also where a fortress could be built. I saw a piece of land shaped like an island although it is not one, on which there were six houses; this could be cut off and made into an island in two days,41 except that I do not see it as necessary because these people are unfamiliar with weapons, as Your Highnesses will see from seven42 of them whom I have had captured to take with me to learn our language before returning. Alternatively they can all be taken to Castile when Your Highnesses wish or they can be held captive on the island, because with fifty men one could keep them all in subjection and make them do whatever one might wish. Later, next to the said islet, there are the most beautiful groves of trees I have seen, and so green, and with leaves like those in Castile in April and May, and much water. I looked around the whole of that harbour and then went back to the flagship and set sail and saw so many islands that I could not decide which I would go to first. The men whom I had taken told me in sign language that there were so many of them that they were without number and they mentioned by name more than a hundred. So I looked for the biggest and decided to make for that, which I am doing; it must 5 leagues from this island of San Salvador, and of the others, some are nearer, some further away. They are all very flat, without mountains and very fertile and all populated, and they make war with each other, although these are very simple people and very attractive.

Monday 15 October

I stood off that night for fear of reaching land and having to anchor before morning, not knowing if the coast were free of shoals, and intending to put on sail at dawn. And since the island was more than 5 leagues off, more like 7, and the current held me up, it would have been midday when I reached the said island.43 And I found that the side facing the island of San Salvador runs N-S for 5 leagues, and the other, which I followed, ran E-W for more than 10 leagues. And since from this island I saw another larger one to the W, I put on full sail to proceed all that day until the evening because, otherwise, I would not have been able to reach the western cape. I called the island Santa María de la Concepción. And almost at sunset I anchored off the said cape to see if there were any gold there, because the men I had had captured on the island of San Salvador said that there they wore very large gold bracelets on their legs and arms. I thought that everything they said was a ruse to escape. However, I did not wish to pass by any island without taking possession of it, although it might be said that once one had been taken, they all were. I anchored and stayed there until today, Tuesday, when I went ashore at dawn with the armed boats. I disembarked and they, who were many and naked and of the same type as those on the other island of San Salvador, allowed us to go about the island and gave us what was asked of them. And as the wind was blowing strongly across from the SE, I did not wish to wait and left for the ship. A large canoe was alongside the caravel Niña, and one of the men from the island of San Salvador who was on board jumped into the sea and went off in the canoe. And before midnight another threw himself overboard44 and went after the canoe, which raced off and there was never a boat which could catch it, since we were a long way behind it. It eventually reached land and they abandoned the canoe and some of my crew went ashore after them, and they all ran off like hens. We brought the canoe which they had abandoned alongside the Niña, to which there came another small canoe from another direction with a man who wanted to barter a ball of cotton, and some sailors jumped into the sea because he would not come aboard the caravel and they captured him. I was on the poop of the flagship and saw it all and sent for him and gave him a red bonnet and some small green glass beads which I put on his arm and two hawks' bells which I put on his ears and I ordered his canoe which had also been brought aboard the ship's boat to be returned to him and I sent him ashore. I then set sail to make for the other large island which I could see to the W. I also ordered the other canoe which the Niña was towing astern to be set free. And later, on land, at the time of our arrival, I saw the man to whom I had given the things I mentioned and from whom I refused to take the ball of cotton although he wished to give it to me, and all the others clustered around him and he was ecstatic and clearly thought that we were good people and that the other man who had escaped had done us some wrong and for that reason we were taking him away. And it was for that reason that I treated him as I did, ordering him to be released and giving him the things I said, so that they should think highly of us in this way so that the next time Your Highnesses should send someone here they would not be badly received. And everything I gave him was not worth more than 4 maravedís. And so I left at what must have been 10 o'clock with a SE wind that veered southerly, to go across to this other island which is very large and where all these men I have brought from San Salvador make signs that there is a great deal of gold, and that they wear it in bracelets on their arms and legs, in their ears and noses and around their necks. Between the island of Santa María and this one there were 9 leagues E-W and all this part of the island tends NW-SE. And it looks as if the coast may run for more than 28 leagues45 on this side of the island. It is very flat, with no mountains, just like San Salvador and Santa María, and all the beaches are free of rocks except that they all have some offshore reefs under the water, which makes it necessary to keep one's eyes open when anchoring and not to anchor very close to shore, although the water is always very clear and the bottom can be seen. And two lombard shots offshore from all these islands the water is so deep that it cannot be sounded. These islands are very green and fertile and with very gentle breezes and there may be many things on them which I do not know about because I do not want to delay by searching the islands for gold. And since signs are such that they wear it on their arms and legs, and it is gold because I showed them some pieces which I have, I cannot fail with the help of Our Lord to find the place where it originates. And being midway between these two islands, that is, between Santa Marnd this large island to which I have given the name Fernandina,46 I found a man alone in a canoe who was crossing from Santa María to Fernandina and he had with him a piece of their bread about the size of a fist and a gourd of water and a piece of brown earth powdered and kneaded into a mass and some dried leaves, which must be something they value highly because I was brought some on San Salvador as a present.47 And he was carrying one of their baskets in which he had a string of glass beads and two blancas, from which I realised that he came from San Salvador and had crossed to Santa María and was on his way to Fernandina. He came alongside the flagship; I brought him aboard at his request and told him to bring his canoe aboard also and ordered that everything he was carrying should be kept safely, and that he should be given bread and honey to eat and something to drink. And so I shall take him across to Fernandina and give him back all his belongings, so that he will spread good news about us, and when, God willing, Your Highnesses send others here, those who come will be received with honour and the Indians will give us everything there is.

Tuesday and Wednesday 16 October

I left the islands of Santa María de la Concepción at what must have been midday for the island of Fernandina which shows signs of being very large, to the W, and I navigated all that day in a calm. I was not able to arrive in time to see the bottom to anchor in safe water, for it is essential to take great care not to lose the anchors. And so I stood off all that night until the morning when I saw a village where I anchored and to which the man I met yesterday in the canoe in the middle of the gulf had come. He had given such good news about us that all night there were nothing but canoes alongside the ship bringing water and whatever they had. I ordered them all to be given something, that is, some beads, ten or a dozen glass ones on a string, and some little brass bells of the type that cost a maravedí each in Castile, and some thongs, all of which they were delighted with, and I also ordered them to be fed when they came aboard the ship and given molasses. Later, at terce,48 I sent the ship's boat ashore to fetch water and they very gladly showed my men where the water was and themselves carried the full barrels to the boat and took great delight in obliging us. This island is very large and I have decided to round it, because, as far as I can understand, on it or near it there is a gold mine. This island is 8 leagues almost E-W of Santa Marnd the cape to which I have come and the whole of this coast runs NNW and SSW, and I saw a good 20 leagues of it but it did not end there.49 Now, as I write this, I have set sail with a southerly wind to push on round the whole island, and make an effort to find Samaot,50 which is the island or city where the gold is, for that is what all those who have come to the ship say, and what they told us on the islands of San Salvador and Santa María. These people are similar to those on the other islands, with the same language and customs except that these people already seem to me to be rather more civilised in manner and more intelligent, because I notice that they have brought cotton to the ship and other things for which they drive a harder bargain than the others did. Further, I have seen on this island cotton cloth made into headdresses, and the people are better looking and the women wear on the front of their bodies a little cotton garment which barely covers their genitals. This is a very green and flat and fertile island and I have no doubt that they sow and reap corn51 and all other things all year round. And I saw many trees of a very different kind from ours, many of which had several different kinds of branches on one trunk; one branch is of one kind and one of another and they are so unlike each other that it is the greatest wonder of the world, so great is the difference. For example, one branch had leaves like a cane, one like a mastic tree, and so on, so that there were five or six kinds, all very diverse from each other.52 And they are not grafted, for it might be said to be the result of grafting; but they are also on the scrubland where these people do not cultivate them. I do not think they have any religion and I believe that they would quickly become Christians because they are very intelligent. Here there are fish of such different kinds from ours that it is a mar vel. There are some crested like dories, of the finest colours in the world, blue, yellow, red and all colours, and others of a thousand different hues. And the colours are so subtle that there is no man who would not marvel at them and delight in seeing them. There are also whales. I have seen no land animals of any kind except parrots and lizards. A boy told me that he saw a large snake. I have seen no sheep or goats or any other beast, although as it is midday I have not been here long, but if there were any, I could not fail to see them. I will describe the circuit of this island when I have rounded it.

Wednesday 17 October

At midday I left the village, where I had anchored and took on water, to make the circuit of this island of Fernandina and the wind was SW and S. My intention was to follow the coast of this island to the SE because the coast runs NNW and SSE and I wanted to take the route SSE because that was where all the Indians53 I have with me, and another from whom I got information, said the gold was, to the south on an island they call Samoet.54 Martín Alonso Pinzón, captain of the caravel Pinta, in which I sent three of these Indians, came to me and said that one of them had very definitely given him to believe that I would circle the island much more quickly to the NNW. I saw that the wind was not favourable for the route I wanted to take but was favourable for the other one, and I set sail to the NNW and when I was 2 leagues from the cape of the island I found a marvellous harbour with a mouth, or rather two mouths one might say, because it has an islet in the middle and both are very narrow, and it is wide enough inside for a hundred ships if it is deep enough and if it is clear and there is sufficient depth at the mouth. It seemed a good idea to inspect it and take soundings and so I anchored outside and went in with all the ships' boats and we saw that it was shallow. And because when I saw it I thought that it was the mouth of a river, I had ordered barrels to be brought to fetch water and onshore I found eight or ten men who then came to us and showed us the village nearby, where I sent the men for water, some of them armed, the others with barrels, and they fetched it. And because it was some distance away I waited for a space of two hours. During this time I wandered among those trees which were more beautiful to look at than anything else that has ever been seen; I saw as much greenery as in May in Andalusia, and the trees are as different from ours as the day from the night, and the fruits too and the grass and the stones and everything else. It is true that some of the trees were like some found in Castile, yet they were still very different and there were so many other types of trees that they could not be said to be comparable with those in Castile. The people were the same as those already mentioned, of the same type and as naked and of the same stature and they gave what they had for whatever was given to them. And here I saw some of the ships' boys exchanging pieces of broken crockery and glass for spears. The others who went for water told me how they had been in their houses, and that inside they were swept very clean and that their beds and coverings were like cotton nets.55 They, the houses, were all like tents, very high and with good chimneys,56 but of all the villages I have seen, I have not seen one which had more than 12 or 15 houses. Here they found that the married women wore cotton breeches, but not the young girls, except some who were already about eighteen years old. And there were mastiffs and small dogs there,57 and they found a man who had in his nose a piece of gold about the size of half a castellano, on which they saw letters. I rebuked them for not bartering for it, and giving whatever he asked, in order to see what it was and whose money this was, and they replied that he dared not barter it with them. After the water was taken on, I returned to the ship and set sail and steered NW until I had investigated the whole of that part of the island until the coast runs E-W. And afterwards all these Indians again said that this island was smaller than the island of Samoet, and that it would be better to turn back in order to be there sooner. Then the wind dropped and began to blow from the WNW, which was the wrong way for the course we had been following, and so I turned back and steered the whole of last night ESE, sometimes due E, sometimes SE, to keep clear of the land because the clouds were very dark and the sky very heavy; there was little wind and it did not allow me to reach land and anchor. So that last night it rained very heavily from after midnight until just before dawn and it is still cloudy with a threat of rain. We are off the SE cape of the island where I hope to anchor until the weather clears so that I can see the other islands I intend to visit. And so every day since I have been in the Indies it has rained more or less. Believe me, Your Highnesses, that this is the best and most fertile and temperate and flat and good land that there is in the world.

Thursday 18 October

When the weather cleared I sailed before the wind as far as I could around the island, and anchored when I could no longer navigate; but I did not land and set sail at dawn.

Friday 19 October

At dawn I weighed anchor and sent the caravel Pinta to the ESE, and the caravel Niña to the SSE, and I went SE with the flagship, having given orders that they should steer those courses until midday and that they should then both change course and rejoin me. And then, before we had been sailing for three hours, we saw an island to the east which we made for and before midday all three ships reached the northern point where it becomes an islet and there is a reef to seaward to the N and another between it and the main island. The men I have brought from San Salvador call this island Saomete, and I gave it the name of Isabela.58 The wind was northerly and the said islet lay on a line E-W with the island of Fernandina from which I had set out, and the coast then ran from the islet to the W for 12 leagues to a cape which I called Cabo Hermoso which is at the western end.59 It is indeed beautiful, round and with deep water and with no shoals offshore, and at first it is low and stony and further on it is a sandy beach, as almost all the coast is. I anchored there last night, Friday, until this morning. The whole of this coast, and the part of the island I have seen is almost all beach, and the island is the most beautiful thing I have seen, for if the others are very beautiful, this one is more so. It has many trees, very green and tall. This land is higher than the other islands I have discovered, and it has a high point, not such that it could be called a mountain, but something which enhances the rest, and there appears to be much water. The centre of this side of the island, from here to the NE, forms a great bay and it is thickly wooded with tall trees. I wanted to anchor off it to go ashore and see all these beautiful things, but the water was shallow and I could only anchor a long way offshore and the wind was favourable for reaching this cape where I am now anchored; I called it Cabo Hermoso, because that is what it is. So I did not anchor in that bay because I saw this cape from there, so green and so beautiful, like all the other things and lands in these islands, that I do not know where to go first nor do my eyes tire of seeing such beautiful greenery and so different from our own. I believe that there are on the islands many plants and trees which would be of great value in Spain as dyes and medicinal spices, but I do not recognise them, which I much regret. When I came to this cape such a fine sweet aroma of flowers or trees came from the land that it was the most delightful thing in the world. In the morning before I leave I shall go ashore to see what there is on this cape. The village where the men I have brought with me say the king who wears much gold is to be found is further inland. Tomorrow I want to press on to find the village and see or speak to this king who, according to the signs these men make, rules over all the neighbouring islands, wears clothes and much gold, although I do not give much credence to their stories, as much because I do not understand them very well as because I realize that they are so poor in gold that however little this king may have will seem a great deal to them. This cape which I call Cabo Hermoso I believe is a separate island from Saometo and that there is even another small island in between. I am not attempting to look at everything in great detail, because I could not do so in fifty years, and because I want to see and discover as much as possible to be able to return to Your Highnesses, God willing, in April. It is true that, if I find gold or spices in quantity, I shall delay until I have as much of it as possible. And for this reason I am simply pushing on to see if I can locate it.

Saturday 20 October

Today at sunrise I weighed anchor from where I was with the ship, anchored off the SW cape of this island of Saometo, the cape which I called Cabo de la Laguna60 and the island, Isabela, to steer NE and E from the SE and S, where I understood from these men I have brought with me that the village and the king are to be found. I found the water so shallow that I could not enter nor steer towards it, and I could see that the SW would be a very roundabout route. For this reason I decided to return by the way I had come, NNE from the W, and to round the island that way. There was so little wind that I could not make any headway along the coast except during the night. And because it is dangerous to anchor off these islands except in daytime when it is possible to see with the eye where the anchor is dropping, since it is all patchy, clear in one place and not in the next, I decided to stand off on the alert all Sunday night. The caravels anchored because they found themselves near land earlier and they thought that, from the signals which they are accustomed to make, I would drop anchor, but I did not wish to do so.

Sunday 21 October

At ten o'clock I arrived here at the Cabo del Isleo61 and anchored and the caravels did likewise. And after eating I went ashore, where there was no more habitation than a house, in which I found no-one, for I think that they had fled in fear, because all their household goods were there. I allowed nothing to be touched, but left with the captains and the men to see the island. If the others we have seen are very beautiful and green and fertile, then this is much more so, with great groves of trees, very green. There are some large lakes here and around and overlooking them there are marvellous woods. Here and in all the island everything is green and the vegetation is like April in Andalusia. And the singing of the birds is such that it would seem that a man would never wish to leave here. And the flocks of parrots that darken the sun, and birds of so many kinds so different from our own that it is a marvel! And then there are trees of a thousand kinds all producing their own kind of fruit, and all wonderfully aromatic; I am the saddest man in the world at not recognising them, because I am certain that they are all of value, and I am bringing samples of them, and of the herbs. While walking around one of these lakes, I saw a snake, which we killed and I am bringing the skin back for Your Highnesses. When it saw us it jumped into the lake and we followed it, because it was not very deep, until we killed it with our lances. It is seven palms in length.62 Las Casas's marginal note presumably means that the animal was an iguana, as he makes clear in the ²*Historia²* (I.43). Las Casas says that the iguana was highly prized by the Indians as food, while the Spaniards preferred it to breast of chicken; he could never bring himself to eat it, however, no matter how hungry he was.²*» I believe that there are many similar to these in these lakes. Here I recognised some aloe63 and have decided to have ten quintales brought to the ship tomorrow because they tell me that it is very valuable. Further, going in search of good water we went to a village near here about half a league from where I am anchored, and when the people there heard us they all fled and left their houses and hid their clothes and belongings in the scrub. I allowed nothing to be taken, not even to the value of a pin. Then some men approached us and one came nearer. I gave him some hawks' bells and some little glass beads and he was very happy and contented. And to make them more friendly and to ask something in return, I had them ask him for water. And after I had returned to the ship they came to the beach with their gourds full and were very pleased to give it to us. I ordered them to be given another string of glass beads and they said they would come here in the morning. I wanted to fill all the ships' casks with water here; and if the weather permits I shall soon set out to sail round the island until I can speak to the king and see if I can get from him the gold which I hear he carries, and then go to another very large island which I believe must be Cipangu according to the signs which the Indians I have brought with me are giving. They call it Colba,64 and say that there are large ships and many seafarers there. And then from this island to another which they call Bofío65 which they also say is very large. And the others in between I shall see in passing and depending on whether I find a quantity of gold or spices, I shall decide what to do. But I am still determined to go to the mainland and to the city of Quinsay66 to give Your Highnesses' letters to the Great Khan and ask for a reply and return with it.

Monday 22 October

All last night and today I have been here waiting to see if the king of this place or anyone else would bring gold or anything else of substance, and there came many of these people, similar to those from the other islands, naked and painted like them, some white, some red, some black and so on in many different ways. They were carrying spears and some balls of cotton to barter which they exchanged with some sailors here for pieces of glass, broken cups, and pieces of earthenware dishes. Some of them wore pieces of gold hanging from the nose, which they gladly gave for one of those bells for a sparrow-hawk's foot, and for glass beads and, indeed, for whatsoever little thing they are given. But there is so little that it is nothing. They also marvelled at our arrival and believed that we were from heaven. We drew water for the ships from a lake near here at what I called the Cabo del Isleo. In the lake Martín Alonso Pinzón, captain of the Pinta, killed another snake like the one yesterday, seven palms long. And I had as much aloe collected as we found.

Tuesday 23 October

I would like to set out today for the island of Cuba which I believe must be Cipangu,67 to judge from the signs which these people give of its size and riches; I will no longer delay here nor around this island in order to go to the village to speak with this king or lord as I had planned. This is to avoid a long delay, for I can see that there is no gold mine here and to circle these islands requires wind from several directions, and the wind does not blow as men would wish it to. The best thing is to go where there is most business to be done, and I hold that it is not right to delay, but better to be on our way and keep moving until we find a profitable land. My understanding is, however, that this island is rich in spices, but I have no knowledge of them, which gives me the greatest sorrow in the world; for I can see a thousand different kinds of trees each with its own kind of fruit and as green now as in Spain in the month of May and June, and a thousand kinds of herbs, also in flower, and of them all the only one I can identify is this aloe, of which I have today ordered a large quantity to be brought to the ship to carry back to Your Highnesses. I have not set sail for Cuba, nor can I, because there is no wind, only a dead calm, and it is raining heavily. It rained heavily yesterday but was not cold; on the contrary, it is hot during the day and the nights are as mild as in May in Spain, in Andalusia.

Wednesday 24 October

Last night at midnight I weighed anchor from the island of Isabela, from the Cabo del Isleo, which is on the north side and where I was stationed, to go to the island of Cuba which I hear from these people is very large and very busy and where there is gold and spices and great ships and merchants, and they indicated that I would get to it by going WSW. This I am doing, because I think that if it is as all the Indians of these islands and those I have on the ships say it is, in sign language because I do not understand their tongue, then it is the island of Cipangu of which so many marvellous tales are told. On the globes which I have seen and on the world maps Cipangu is in this area. And so I steered WSW until daybreak and at sunrise the wind dropped and it rained as it did nearly all night. And there I was with little wind until after midday and then it gently began to blow again and I hoisted all sail: mainsail and two bonnets, foresail, spritsail, mizzen, main topsail and the boat's sail on the poop.68 Thus I followed the course until nightfall, when Cabo Verde, which is on the S side of the western part of the island of Fernandina, lay to the NW of me about 7 leagues distant. And because the wind was now strong and I did not know how far it was to the island of Cuba and so as not to go looking for it at night, because all these islands are in very deep water and there is no bottom around them beyond two lombard shots, and what there is is patchy, rocky here and sandy there, so that one cannot anchor safely except by eye, I therefore decided to take in all sail except the foresail and proceed just with that, and after a while the wind grew stronger and I made a lot of headway of which I was unsure, and it was very cloudy and raining. I ordered the foresail to be furled and we made less than 2 leagues during the night, etc.

Thursday 25 October

After sunrise he steered WSW until nine o'clock. They made about 5 leagues. Then he changed course to the W. They were making 8 miles an hour until one o'clock in the afternoon, and from then till three o'clock [six miles an hour], and they made about 44 miles. Then they sighted land and it was seven or eight islands in a line from north to south,69 about 5 leagues away, etc.

Friday 26 October

He was S of the islands mentioned. It was shallow for 5 or 6 leagues; he anchored thereabouts. The Indians he had with him said that from those islands to Cuba was a day and a half's journey in their 'almadías' which are boats made out of a single piece of wood and without a sail. These are the canoes.70 He left there for Cuba because, from the signs that the Indians gave of its size and the gold and pearls there, he thought that that must be it, that is to say, Cipangu.

Saturday 27 October

At sunrise he weighed anchor from those islands which he called the Islas de Arena on account of the shallow bottom they found for up to six leagues to the S.71 He made eight miles an hour SSW until one o'clock and they made about 40 miles, by the evening they made about 28 miles on the same course; and before nightfall they saw land. They were on watch all night in heavy rain. Up to sunset on Saturday they made 17 leagues SSW.

Sunday 28 October

From there he made for the nearest point of the island of Cuba to the SSW and entered a very beautiful river72 with no danger of shoals or other obstacles, and all the water wherever he went along that coast was very deep and free of shoals right up to the shore. The mouth of the river was twelve fathoms deep and it is wide enough to tack. He says that they went in to the length of a lombard shot. The Admiral says that he never saw anything so beautiful. The river was completely surrounded by beautiful green trees, all different from ours, each one with its own kind of flowers and fruit and many birds singing sweetly. There was a large number of palms, different from those of Guinea and our own, of medium height and without bark on the stems, and very large leaves with which they thatch their houses. The land is very flat. The Admiral jumped into the boat and went ashore and came to two houses which he thought were those of fishermen who had fled in fear, and in one of them he found a dog which did not bark;73 and in both houses he found nets and ropes made from twisted palms and fish-hooks made of horn and harpoons of bone, and other fishing tackle, and many fires inside. He thought that many people live together in one house. He ordered none of these things to be touched and the order was observed. The grass was as high as in Andalusia in April and May. He found much purslane and wild amaranth. He returned to the boat and went a good way up-river and it was, he says, a great joy to see that greenery and the groves of trees and the birds and he could not bear to leave it and return. He says that that island is the most beautiful that eyes have ever seen, full of good harbours and deep rivers and the sea which never seemed to be rough, because the vegetation on the shore reached almost to the water, which does not normally happen where the sea is rough. Until then he had not experienced in all those islands a rough sea. He says the island is full of very beautiful mountains although they are not in long ranges, but high, and the rest of the land is high in the manner of Sicily. There is plenty of water, as far as he could understand from the Indians he had with him whom he took from the island of Guanahaní, who told him by signs that there are ten large rivers and that in their canoes they cannot circle the island in 20 days.74 When he was going ashore with the boats two 'almadías', or canoes, came out and when they saw that the sailors were getting in the boats and rowing out to judge the depth of the river, so that they would know where to anchor, the canoes fled. The Indians said that there were gold mines and pearls on that island, and the Admiral saw suitable places for them and mussels, which is a sign of them, and the Admiral understood that large ships came there from the Great Khan, and that from there to the mainland was a journey of 10 days. The Admiral called that river and harbour San Salvador.

Monday 29 October

He weighed anchor from that harbour and steered W to go, as he says, to the city where he thought the Indians said that the king was. One point of the island jutted out 6 leagues from there to the NW. Another point jutted out to the E 10 leagues away. After another league he saw a river with not such a wide entrance which he named the Río de la Luna.75 He sailed until the hour of vespers. He saw another river, much larger than the others, as the Indians had told him by signs, and nearby he saw fair-sized groups of houses. He called the river Río de Mares.76 He sent two boats to a village to talk to them, and in one of the boats he sent one of the Indians he had with him, because they were beginning to understand them and were showing signs of growing to like the Christians. All the men, women and children of the village fled leaving their houses unguarded with their belongings in them and the Admiral ordered nothing to be touched. He says that the houses were even more beautiful than those he had seen and he believed that the nearer he got to the mainland the better they would be. They were built like very large tents and gave the impression of tents in a camp, without a street plan, one here and one there. Inside they are swept very clean and neatly furnished. They are all made of palm branches, very beautiful. They found many statues in the form of a woman and heads like carnival masks, very well carved. I do not know if they are intended as ornaments or whether they worship them. There were dogs which did not bark;77 there were tame wild birds in the houses; there were marvellous stocks of nets and hooks and fishing tackle. They touched none of it. He thought that all those on the coast must be fishermen who take their catch inland, because that island is very large and so beautiful that he did not tire of speaking well of it. He says that he found trees and fruits with a marvellous taste, and says that there must be cattle and other stock there because he saw skulls which looked like those of cows.78 Birds, and the song of crickets which delighted them all night. The breezes were sweet and gentle all night, neither cold nor hot, whereas on the way from the other islands to that one he says that it had been very hot, but not there, rather it was mild as in May. He attributes the heat of the other islands to their being very flat and to the wind which had blown up till then from the E, and was therefore hot. The water of those rivers was salt to the taste; they did not know where the Indians drank from, although they had fresh water in their houses. In this river the ships could manoeuvre in and out and there are very good land marks; there is a depth of 7 or 8 fathoms at the mouth and 5 further in. He says that it seems to him that the whole of that sea must always be calm like the river at Seville, and the water ideal for cultivating pearls. He found large snails but they had no taste, unlike those in Spain. He gives details of the river and harbour which earlier he named San Salvador which has its beautiful high mountains like the Peña de los Enamorados, and one of them has on top another small hill like a beautiful mosque.79 The river and harbour at which he is now stationed has to the SE two rounded mountains80 and to the WNW a fine flat cape that juts out.

Tuesday 30 October

He left Re Mares to the NW and, after having made 15 leagues, he saw a cape full of palms which he named Cabo de Palmas.81 The Indians in the caravel Pinta said that behind that cape there was a river and that from the river to Cuba was 4 days' journey. The captain of the Pinta said that he understood that this Cuba was a city and that that land was a very large stretch of mainland which extends a long way to the N, and that the king of that land was at war with the Great Khan, whom they call Cami, and his land, or city, Faba, and many other names.82 The Admiral decided to go as far as that river and send a gift to the king of that land and send him the Monarchs' letter. And for this purpose he had a sailor who had been in Guinea on the same business, and some Indians from Guanahaní who were prepared to go with him provided that afterwards they were returned to their land. In the Admiral's opinion he was 42 degrees N of the equinoctial line, if the text from which I have transcribed this is not corrupt,83 and he says that he will endeavour to go to the Great Khan who he thought was in that region or to the city of Cathay which is in the Great Khan's possession, which he says is very large according to what he was told before he left Spain. All this land he says is low-lying and beautiful and the sea is deep.

Wednesday 31 October

All Tuesday night he tacked back and forth and saw a river which he could not enter because the mouth was shallow, the Indians thinking that the ships could enter just as their canoes did. Sailing on he found a cape which jutted out a long way and was surrounded by shoals and he saw an inlet or bay where small boats could anchor, but he could not make it because the wind had shifted due N and the whole coast ran NNW and SE, and another cape he could see ahead jutted out still further. For this reason, and because the sky threatened a stronger wind, he had to return to Re Mares.

Thursday 1 November

At sunrise the Admiral sent the boats ashore to the houses nearby and they found that all the people had fled. After some time a man appeared and the Admiral ordered them to reassure him and the boats returned. After eating he once more sent ashore one of the Indians he had with him who called out to them from a distance saying that they should have no fear because these were good people and did no-one any harm, and were not from the Great Khan, but, on the contrary, had made gifts of their property on the other islands they had visited. And the Indian dived in and swam ashore and two of the others grabbed him by the arms and took him to a house where they questioned him. And when they were assured that no harm was to come to them, they grew in confidence and more than 16 'almadías' or canoes came to the ships with spun cotton and other things which the Admiral ordered should not be taken, so that they would know that the Admiral was looking solely for gold, which they call nucay. And so all day they went back and forth from the shore to the ships and from the Christians to the shore in perfect safety. The Admiral saw gold on none of them, but he says that he saw one of them with a piece of worked silver hanging from the nose, which he took to be an indication that there was silver in that land. They made signs that within three days many merchants would come from the interior to buy the things the Christians had with them, and they would give news of the king of that land, who, as far as he could understand from the signs they made, was four days' journey away, because they had sent many men throughout the land to inform him about the Admiral. These people, says the Admiral, are of the same type and customs as the others I have found, with no religion that I can see. So far I have not seen these Indians I have with me say any prayers, but they say the Salve and the Ave María with their hands to heaven as they are taught to do, and they make the sign of the cross. They all speak the same language and are friendly with each other, as I believe all these islands are, and that they are at war with the Great Khan whom they call Cavila and the province, Bafan. They all go naked like the others. This is what the Admiral says. He says the river is very deep, and that at the mouth the ships can come alongside the shore. The fresh water does not come within a league of the mouth, and it is very sweet. It is certain, says the Admiral, that this is the mainland and that I am, he says, near Zaytó84 and Quinsay, within a hundred leagues more or less of one or the other, as is shown by the sea which has a different character from the way it has been hitherto, and yesterday when I was going NW I found that it was cold.

Friday 2 November

The Admiral decided to send out two Spaniards, one called Rodrigo de Jerez who lived in Ayamonte, and the other a certain Luis de Torres who had lived with the Adelantado de Murcia and had been a Jew and, he says, knew Hebrew and Chaldean and some Arabic, and with them two Indians, one from among those he had brought from Guanahannd the other from those houses grouped by the river. He gave them strings of beads to buy food if they needed to, and a time limit of six days to return. He gave them samples of spices to see if they could come across any of them. He gave them instructions on how they should ask for the king of that land and what they should tell him on behalf of the Monarchs of Castile and how they had sent the Admiral on their behalf to present him with letters and a gift and to find out about his state and to establish friendship with him and assist him in whatever he should require of them, etc., and that they should find out about certain provinces and harbours and rivers of which the Admiral had information and how far away they were, etc. Here the Admiral took the latitude with a quadrant this evening and found that he was 42 degrees from the equinoctial line, and he says that by his calculations he found that he had travelled 1142 leagues from the island of Ferro, and he still affirms that this is the mainland.

Saturday 3 November

In the morning the Admiral got into the boat and, because the mouth of the river forms a great lake which makes a most exceptional deep harbour, free of rocks and with a good beach on which to careen the ships and a good supply of wood, he went up-river until he reached the fresh water, which would be around 2 leagues, and climbed a hill to take a look at the land, and he could see nothing for the great groves of trees which were very fresh and scented. For this reason he says that there is no doubt that there are aromatic herbs here. He says that everything he saw was so lovely that his eyes did not tire of seeing such beauty, nor could he weary of the birds singing. Many 'almadías' or canoes came that day to the ships to barter with cotton thread and the nets in which they slept, which are hammocks.

Sunday 4 November

Then at dawn the Admiral got into the boat and went ashore to catch some of the birds he had seen the previous day. On his return Martín Alonso Pinzón came to him with two pieces of cinnamon,85 and said that a Portuguese he had on his ship had seen an Indian who was carrying two great bundles of it, but that he did not dare to barter for it because of the penalty the Admiral had imposed on bartering. He also said that that Indian had some red things like nuts. The boatswain of the Pinta said that he had found cinnamon trees; the Admiral immediately went and looked but found that they were not. The Admiral showed the Indians there some cinnamon and pepper, apparently some which he had brought from Castile as a sample, and they recognised it, he says, and made signs that there was a lot of it nearby to the SE. He showed them gold and pearls, and some old men replied that in a place which they called Bohío there was a great deal of it and that they wore it around the neck and ears and arms and legs, and pearls also. He further understood that they said that there were large ships and merchandise and that all this was to the SE. He also understood that far away there were men with one eye, and others with a dog's snout, who ate men, and on capturing one would cut his throat and drink the blood and cut off his genitals. The Admiral decided to return to the ship to wait for the two men he had sent out, and determined to set off in search of those lands if they did not bring back any good news of what they wanted. The Admiral further says: These people are very gentle and timorous, naked as I have said, without weapons and without laws. These lands are very fertile; they are full of 'mames',86 which are like carrots with the flavour of chestnuts, and they have kidney beans and broad beans of many different types from ours, and much cotton which they do not sow but which grows wild in great trees on the hillsides, and I think that it is ready to be gathered all year round, because I saw the bolls open and others about to open and flowers all on one tree, and a thousand other types of fruit which it is impossible to put in writing, and it all must be of great value. All this the Admiral says.

Monday 5 November

At dawn he ordered the flagship and the other ships to be beached for careening, not all at the same time, but so as to leave two in position for reasons of security, although he says that those people were very trustworthy and all the ships could be beached at the same time without fear. Meanwhile the boatswain of the Niña came to claim a reward of the Admiral because he had found mastic, but he did not have the sample with him because he had dropped it. The Admiral promised him the reward and sent Rodrigo Sánchez and master Diego off to the trees and they brought a little of it back, which the Admiral kept, together with a portion of the tree, to take back to the Monarchs, and he says that it was recognisably mastic, although it has to be harvested in season, and that there was enough in that region to collect a thousand quintales every year.87 He says he found there a great deal of that wood which seemed to him to be aloe. He further says that that harbour of Mares is one of the best in the world with the mildest breezes and gentlest people, and because it has a cape with a rocky high point on which could be built a fortress, so that, if that area turned out to be rich and important, the merchants would be safe from any other nations. He says, Our Lord, in whose hands lie all victories, disposes everything for his service. He says that an Indian made signs that mastic was good for when they suffered stomach-ache.

Tuesday 6 November

Yesterday evening, says the Admiral, the two men he had sent out to investigate the interior returned and described how they had walked the 12 leagues to a village of 50 houses, where he says that there must have been 1000 people because many live together in one house. These houses are like very large tents. They said that they had been received with great solemnity after their custom, and they all, men and women alike, came to see them and put them up in the best houses. The people touched them and kissed their hands and feet and marvelled at them, believing that they had come from heaven and that is what they gave them to understand. They gave them things to eat from what they had. They said that when they arrived, the most honourable men of the village carried them on their shoulders to the main house and gave them two seats on which to sit, and they all sat on the floor around them. The Indian who accompanied them told them how the Christians lived and how they were good people. Then the men went out and the women came in and sat around them in the same way, kissing their hands and feet, touching them to see if they were of flesh and blood like them. They asked them to stay there with them for at least five days. They showed them the cinnamon and the pepper and other spices which the Admiral had given them, and the people said in sign language that there was a lot of it nearby to the SE, but that they did not know if there was any thereabouts. When they found no indication of any city, they returned, and if they had allowed all those who wanted to do so, more than 500 men and women would have come with them, because they thought that they were returning to heaven. However, one of the elders of the village came with them with his son and a manservant. The Admiral spoke with them, paid them many courtesies, and he pointed out many lands and islands which there were in that region. The Admiral thought about bringing him back to the Monarchs, and says that he did not know what came over him but apparently out of fear and the dark night he wanted to go ashore. And the Admiral says that because the flagship was on dry land, not wishing to upset him he let him go. The Indian said that in the morning he would return; but he never came back. The two Christians found many people, men and women, on their journey who were on their way to their villages carrying a smouldering brand of herbs which they are accustomed to smoke.88 They found no village on the way with more than five houses, and all treated them with the same respect. They saw many kinds of trees and plants and fragrant flowers. They saw birds of many kinds, different from those of Spain, except partridges and nightingales which sang,89 and geese, of which there are a great many. They saw no four-legged animals except dogs which did not bark. The land was very fertile and cultivated with those 'niames' and kidney beans and broad beans all very unlike our own; likewise, Indian corn and a great quantity of cotton, picked and spun and woven; in a single house they had seen more than 500 arrobas, and 4000 quintales a year could be obtained there. The Admiral says that it seemed to him that they did not cultivate it and that it fruits all year round. It is very fine and produces large bolls. He says that everything those people had they gave for a very low price, and that they would give a great basket of cotton for the end of a leather thong or whatever else they are given. They are people, says the Admiral, completely without evil or aggression, naked every one of them, men and women, as the day they were born. It is true that the women wear only a cotton garment, large enough to cover their genitals, but no more. They are very good looking, not very black, rather less so than the Canary Islanders. Most Serene Princes (says the Admiral at this point), I hold that once dedicated and religious people knew their language and put it to use, they would all become Christians. And so I hope in Our Lord that Your Highnesses will determine with all speed to bring such great peoples to the Church and convert them, just as you have destroyed those who refused to confess the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost; and at the end of your days, for we are all mortal, you will leave your kingdoms in tranquillity, free from heresy and evil, and will be well received before the Eternal Creator, whom it may please to grant you long life and great increase of your many kingdoms and possessions, and the will and the inclination to spread the holy Christian religion as you have done hitherto. Amen. Today I will refloat the flagship and I am readying myself to set out on Thursday in the name of God to go SE and seek the gold and spices and discover land.90 These are all the words of the Admiral, who planned to leave on Thursday, but because the wind was against him, could not depart until the twelfth day of November.

Monday 12 November

He left the harbour and river of Mares at the end of the dawn watch to go to an island which the Indians he had with him insisted was called Babeque91 where, according to the signs they made, the people collect gold by candlelight at night on the beach and afterwards beat it into bars with hammers. To go there it was necessary to steer E by S. After sailing 8 leagues along the coast he found a river,92 and after a further 4 leagues he found another93 which seemed to be of great volume and larger than any of the others he had found. He did not wish to delay and enter any of them for two reasons: the first and principal one was that the weather and wind were favourable for searching for the island of Babeque; the other was that if there were any large or important city by the shore it would be apparent, and that to go up-river needed small ships, which his were not, and so much time would be wasted, and such rivers need to be explored in their own right. All that coast was populated, particularly near the river to which he gave the name Río del Sol.94 He said that the previous Sunday, 11 November, it had seemed to him a good idea to capture some of the people from that river and to take them to the monarchs to learn our language, so that we would know what there is in this land and so that on their return they could act as interpreters for the Christians and adopt our customs and faith. For I have seen and recognise (says the Admiral) that these people have no religion, nor are they idolaters, rather they are very gentle and know nothing of evil, nor murder nor theft nor weapons, and so timorous that a hundred of them flee from one of our people even though they may only be teasing them. They are trusting and know that there is a God in heaven, and firmly believe that we have come from heaven, and they are ready to repeat any prayer that we say to them and they make the sign of the cross +. So Your Highnesses must resolve to make them Christians, for I believe that once you begin you will in a short space succeed in converting to our faith a multitude of peoples and acquiring great kingdoms and riches and all their peoples for Spain. Because without doubt there is in these lands a huge amount of gold and not without reason do these Indians I have with me say that there are in these islands places where they dig up gold and wear it at the neck and from the ears and in very thick bracelets on their arms and legs. And there are also pearls and precious stones and an infinity of spices. And by this river of Mares which I left last night there is without doubt a huge quantity of mastic, and more if one cared to produce more, for the trees take well when planted, they are large and there are many of them and they have leaves like a lentisk and fruit too, except that it is larger, both the trees and the leaves, as Pliny says95 and I have seen on the island of Chios in the Archipelago. I ordered many of these trees to be tapped to see if they would produce resin to bring back, and as it has been raining throughout the time that I have been at the said river I have not been able to obtain any, except a very little which I am bringing back to Your Highnesses; it may also be that it is not the season for tapping them, which is best done I believe when the trees are emerging from winter and about to flower, and here the fruit is already nearly ripe. There would also be a great amount of cotton here and I believe it could very well be sold here without taking it back to Spain, but taking it instead to the great cities of the Great Khan which will doubtless be discovered, and to the many other cities of other lords who will have great pleasure in serving Your Highnesses and where they will be supplied with other goods from Spain and the lands of the Orient, since these are to the W of us. There is also an infinite amount of aloe here, although this is not something from which to make a great fortune, but from mastic much can be expected because it is only found on the island of Chios and I believe that they earn a good 50000 ducats from it, if I remember rightly. And there is here at the mouth of the said river the best harbour I have yet seen, clean and wide and deep and a good place and situation for a town and fortress alongside whose walls any ship would be able to draw, and a very temperate land and high and with very good water. Yesterday a canoe drew up beside the ship with six youths, of whom five came aboard; these I ordered to be detained and I am bringing them with me. Later I sent to a house on the western side of the river and they brought back seven women, young and adult, and three children. I did this so that the men would behave themselves better in Spain with their own women than without them, because on many other occasions men have been brought from Guinea to learn the language in Portugal and when they were returned and it was thought that some advantage might be gained from them in their own land in consideration for the good treatment they had received and the presents they had been given, once they arrived on land, they never appeared again. Others did not do this. If they have their women they will be more willing to provide the cooperation expected of them and these women will also do much to teach our men their language. The language is one and the same in all these islands of India; they all understand each other and go about the islands in their canoes, which is not the case in Guinea where there are a thousand different languages, with one not understanding the other. This evening there came alongside in a canoe the husband of one of these women and father of three children, one male and two female, and asked me to let him come with them, which I was very pleased to do, and they are all now consoled with him. They must all be related and he is already a man of 45 years. These are all the Admiral's own words. He also says earlier that it was somewhat cold and that for this reason it would not be a good idea to sail north to discover in winter. This Monday he sailed till sunset 18 leagues E by S as far as a cape to which he gave the name Cabo de Cuba.96

Tuesday 13 November

All this night he stood 'a la corda' as the mariners say, which is beating back and forth without going anywhere, in order to take a look at a gap or opening between the mountains, as between one range and another, which he first saw at sunset. The appearance of two very large mountains gave the impression that the land of Cuba was separated from that of Bofío, and this is what the Indians they had with them said in sign language. When daylight came he sailed towards the land and passed a point which last night seemed to him a matter of 2 leagues away, and entered a great gulf 5 leagues SSW and there were still another 5 leagues before he reached the cape where there was a defile between two large hills; he could not tell if it was a sea inlet. And because he wished to go to the island they called Baneque where, as far as he understood from information he had, there was a lot of gold, which island was to the E of him, as he saw no large settlement where he could shelter from the wind which was growing stronger than it ever had been until then, he decided to go out to sea and sail E before the wind, which was N, and he made 8 miles an hour and from ten o'clock when he took that course until sunset he made 56 miles which is 14 leagues E from Cabo de Cuba. And of the other land of Bohío to leeward, starting from the cape of the aforementioned gulf, he discovered what he reckoned to be 80 miles, which is 20 leagues, and all that coast ran ESE and WNW.97

Wednesday 14 November

All last night he cautiously beat about (because he said that it was not a good idea to sail among those islands at night until he had investigated them), and because the Indians he had with him told him yesterday, Tuesday, that it would be three days' journey from Río de Mares to the island of Baneque, that is days in their canoes which can make 7 leagues; and because the wind was also against them, and having to go E he could only manage E by S, and for other hindrances to which he there refers, he had to hold fast until the morning. At sunrise he decided to seek a harbour, because the wind had veered from N to NE and if he did not find a harbour he would need to turn back to those harbours he left on the island of Cuba. He reached land that night having made 24 miles E by S. He went S *** miles to the shore where he saw many inlets and many islets and harbours, and because the wind was strong and the sea very rough he did not dare to attempt to enter; instead he ran NW by W along the coast looking for a harbour and he saw that there were several, but not very clear. After making 64 miles in this way he found a very deep inlet, a quarter of a mile wide, and a good harbour and river which he entered and turn the prow SSW and then S until he reached the SE, all of it of good width and very deep, where he saw so many islands that he could not count all of them, all of good size and very high lands, full of a thousand different kinds of trees and an infinite number of palms. He marvelled greatly at seeing so many islands and so high, and assures the Monarchs that it seems to him that there can be no higher mountains in the world than those which since the day before yesterday he has seen on this coast and those of these islands, nor any so beautiful and clear without cloud or snow, and with such deep waters at their foot. And he says that he believes that these are the innumerable islands which appear on world maps at the eastern edge. He says that he thought that there were great riches and precious stones and spices on them, and that they extend a long way to the S and spread out in every direction. He called them the Mar de Nuestra Señora,98 and the harbour near the mouth of the entrance to those islands he called Puerto del Príncipe. He looked at it from outside but did not enter it until he returned on the Saturday of the following week, as will be apparent.99 He says so many and such things about the fertility and beauty and loftiness of these islands which he found in this harbour, that he tells the Monarchs that they should not wonder that he enthuses so much, because he assures them that he believes that he is not telling the hundredth part. Some of them seem to reach the sky and are pointed like diamonds; others form a sort of table at their highest peak and at their foot the water is very deep so that a huge carrack could reach them, and they are all full of groves and not rocky.

Thursday 15 November

He decided to sail among these islands in the ships' boats and says marvellous things about them, and that he found mastic and an infinite amount of aloe; some of them were cultivated for the roots from which the Indians make their bread,100 and he found that fires had been started in some places. He saw no fresh water. There were some people who fled. Wherever he sailed he found a depth of 15 or 16 fathoms and it was all 'basa', which means that the bottom is sandy and not rocky, which sailors very much hope for, because rocks cut the ships' anchor cables.

Friday 16 November

Because wherever he went, whatever island or land he entered, he always left a cross in position, he got into the boat and went to the mouth of one of those harbours and on a point of land he found two large pieces of timber, one larger than the other and one on top of the other like a cross, so that he says that a carpenter could not have made them better proportioned. When they had worshipped that cross he ordered a very large high cross to be made out of the same pieces of wood. He found canes on that beach but did not know where they came from, and believed that some river must have brought them and left them on the shore, and in this he was correct. He went to a creek within the entrance to the harbour to the SE (a creek is a narrow entrance where the sea enters the land); there was there a high rocky point like a cape, and at the foot of it the water was very deep, so that the largest carrack in the world could come alongside and there was a place or corner where six ships could lie without anchors, as if in a drawing room. It seemed to him that a fortress could be made there at little cost, if a large volume of trade should ever develop in that sea of islands. Returning to the ship he found that the Indians he had with him were fishing for the large snails which there are in those waters, and he had the men dive in and see if there were oysters, which are the hosts in which pearls grow, and they found many, but no pearls, and he attributed this to the fact that it could not be the season for them which he believed was in May and June. The sailors found an animal which looked like a badger.101 They also fished with nets and found a fish among many others which looked just like a pig, not like a tunny, which he says was all very hard shell, and had nothing soft except the tail and the eyes and a hole underneath to expel waste.102 He ordered it to be salted in order to take it back for the Monarchs to see.

Saturday 17 November

He entered the boat in the morning and went to see the islands which he had not seen, to the SW. He saw many others, very fertile and delightful with deep water between them. Some of them were crossed by streams of fresh water and he believed that water and those streams came from some springs which flowed from the high peaks of the islands. Proceeding from here he found a stream of beautiful sweet water which flowed very cold through a narrow crack. There was a very pretty meadow and many palms which were much taller than those he had seen. He found large nuts like those of India,103 I think he says, and large mice like those of India too, and very large crabs. He saw many birds, and there was a strong smell of musk and he thought there must be some there. On this day, of the six youths he took from the Río de Mares and ordered to travel in the caravel Niña, the two eldest ran away.

Sunday 18 November

He went out in the boats again with many of the ships' crew and went to set up the great cross which he had ordered made from the two timbers mentioned ear lier, at the mouth of the entrance to the Puerto del Príncipe, in a clearing in a prominent position. It was very high and made a fine sight. He says that the sea rises and falls there much more than in any other harbour he has seen in that land and that it is not surprising considering the many islands, and that the tide is the opposite of our own, because there when the moon is SW by S it is low tide in that position.104 He did not set out from here because it was Sunday.

Monday 19 November

He left before sunrise in a calm, and later, at midday, there was a light E wind and he steered NNE. At sunset Puerto del Prpe lay SSW, at about 7 leagues. He saw the island of Baneque due E at a distance of about 60 miles. All that night he steered NE; he would have made scarcely 60 miles and by 10 o'clock on Tuesday another 12 NE by N, which is 18 leagues in all.

Tuesday 20 November

Baneque, or the islands of Baneque, lay ESE, the direction from which the wind which was against him was blowing. And seeing that there was no change and that the sea was getting up, he decided to return to Puerto del Príncipe, from where he had set out, which lay 25 leagues away. He did not wish to go to the island he called Isabela which was 12 leagues away, and off which he could have anchored that day, for two reasons: one because he saw two islands to the S and wished to examine them; the other so that the Indians he had with him and had taken in Guanahaní, which he called San Salvador and which was 8 leagues from Isabela, would not escape. He says that he needs them and wishes to take them to Castile, etc. He says that they had understood that once he had found gold the Admiral would allow them to return to their own land. He reached the area of Puerto del Príncipe but could not make it because it was night and because the currents were taking him NW. He turned round again and steered NE with a strong wind; the wind fell and changed at the third watch of the night, he steered E by N; the wind was SSE; at dawn it shifted due S and slightly SE. After sunrise he took a bearing on Puerto del Príncipe which lay SW and almost SW by W and he must have been 48 miles distant, which is 12 leagues.

Wednesday 21 November

At sunrise he steered E with a S wind. He made little headway as the sea was against him. By vespers he had made 24 miles. Then the wind changed to the E and he went S by E and by sunset he had made 12 miles. At this point the Admiral found himself 42 degrees N of the equinoctial line, as at the Puerto de Mares. But here he says that he has suspended the use of the quadrant until he reaches land and can repair it. For it seemed to him that he could not be so far N, and he was right because it was not possible since these islands are only *** degrees N. He says that seeing the North Star as high as in Castile led him to believe that the quadrant was accurate. If that were so he was very nearly as far N as Florida.105 But in that case where were these islands which he had close at hand? This was confirmed by the fact that it was, he says, very hot, but it is clear that if he had been off the Florida coast it would not have been hot but cold. And it is also obvious that nowhere on earth is it thought to be hot at 42 degrees, unless it were an exceptional case, which I do not believe has been known to this day. From this heat which the Admiral says he was suffering, he argues that in these Indies and in the area in which he was sailing there must be much gold. On this day Martín Alonso Pinzón went off with the caravel Pinta, without leave and against the Admiral's will, out of cupidity, he says, thinking that an Indian the Admiral had ordered to be placed on that caravel would give him much gold. And so he went off without waiting, and not because the weather was bad but because he wanted to. And the Admiral says here, He has done me many other wrongs in deed and word.

Thursday 22

On Wednesday night he steered S by E with the wind E and almost calm. At the third watch it blew NNE. He was still sailing S to examine that land which lay in that direction and when the sun rose he found himself as far away as the day before because of the contrary currents, and the shore was 40 miles away. During this night Martlonso followed the route to the E to go to the island of Baneque where the Indians say there is much gold; he was within sight of the Admiral at a distance of about 16 miles. All night the Admiral ran parallel to the land and had some sail taken in and a lantern lit all night because it seemed to him that Martín Alonso was approaching, and the night was very clear and the breeze favourable for returning to him if he wished.

Friday 23 November

All day the Admiral headed for the land to the S, always with a light wind, and the current never allowed him to reach it; on the contrary, he was as far away today at sunset as he had been in the morning. The wind was ENE and reasonable for going S but it was very light. And beyond this cape he saw another higher land or cape which also extends to the E, which those Indians he had with him called Bohío and which they said was very large, and there were people there with one eye in their forehead, and others called cannibals106 of whom they appeared to be in great fear. And when they saw that he was taking this course he said that they were speechless with fear that they would be eaten, and because they are heavily armed. The Admiral says that he well believes that there was something in what they said but that since they were armed they must be an intelligent people107 and he believed that they must have captured some of them and that because they did not return home the others would say that they had been eaten. They believed the same thing of the Christians and the Admiral when some first saw them.

Saturday 24 November

He sailed the whole of that night and at the hour of terce he made land at Isla Llana at the same spot at which he had landed last week when he was going to the island of Baneque.108 At first he dared not approach the shore because it seemed that the sea was breaking very violently in the opening between the mountains. He eventually reached the Mar de Nuestra Señora where the many islands were, and he entered the harbour near the mouth of the entrance to the islands and says that if he had known about this harbour then and had not spent time looking at the islands in the Mar de Nuestra Señora he would not have needed to turn back, although he says that he considers it worthwhile to have seen those islands.109 On making land he sent out the boat and sounded the harbour and found a very good entrance, from 6 to 20 fathoms deep and with a clean, sandy bottom. He entered, steering SW and then, turning to the W, with the Isla Llana lying to the N. This island and a neighbouring one form a sea lagoon in which all the ships of Spain could lie safe from all winds without anchors. And this entrance on the SE side, which is entered by steering SSW, has a very deep and wide exit to the W. So that it is possible to pass between the two islands, and so that anyone coming from the sea to the N along this coast would recognise these islands, they are at the foot of a large mountain running E-W which is very long and higher and longer than any other along this coast, where there are an infinite number. To seaward there is a reef which runs the length of the mountain like a bar and extends as far as the entrance. This is all to the SE, but there is also another reef on the side of the Isla Llana, but this is a small one. Between them both it is very wide and deep, as has been said. Then at the SE entrance of the same harbour they saw a large and very beautiful river with more water than they had seen until then, and the fresh water reached right up to the sea. There is a bank at the entrance, but once entered it is eight or nine fathoms deep. It is surrounded by palms and many groves like the others.

Sunday 25 November

Before sunrise he entered the boat and went to look at a cape or point of land to the SE of the Llana islet, about a league and a half away,110 because it seemed to him that there must be a good river there. Then at the beginning of the cape on the SE side, two crossbow shots further on, he saw a great stream of lovely water rushing down from a mountain and making a great noise. He went to the river and saw shining in it some stones with streaks on them the colour of gold, and he remembered that there is gold at the mouth of the river Tagus, and it seemed to him that there must be gold here. He ordered some of those stones to be collected to take them to the Monarchs. Meanwhile the ships' boys shouted that they could see pine forests. He looked across the sierra and saw them, so large and so marvellous that he could not do justice to their height and straightness, like thick and slender spindles. He recognised that ships could be built, and quantities of decking and masts, for the largest ships in Spain. He saw oaks and strawberry trees111 and a good river and location for a sawmill. The land and the breezes were milder than before because of the altitude and beauty of the mountains. He saw on the beach many other stones the colour of iron, and others which some said were from silver mines, all of which the river brings down. He cut a yard and a mizzen mast for the caravel Niña. He reached the mouth of the river and entered a very large, deep creek at the foot of that cape on the SE side, in which a hundred ships could lie without cables or anchors.112 And the harbour was such that eyes never saw another like it. The mountains were very high and many beautiful streams flowed down from them; all the mountains were full of pines and all over there were many varied and most beautiful groves of trees. Two or three more rivers lay behind. He praises all this very highly to the Monarchs and evidently received great pleasure and joy at seeing it, particularly the pines, because as many ships as were desired could be built there, if all the materials were brought out, except the wood, of which there was plenty. And he assures them that he is not praising the hundredth part of what it is, and that it pleased Our Lord always to show him something better and in what he had discovered until then he always went from good to better, both in the lands and groves and herbs and fruits and flowers and in the people, always different wherever he went; the same thing was true of the harbours and the waters. And finally he says that when it is such a wonder to one who has seen it, how much more wonderful must it be to one who hears about it, and that no one will be able to believe it unless he sees it.

Monday 26 November

At sunrise he weighed anchor from the Puerto de Santa Catalina113 where he lay inside Isla Llana, and steered along the coast with a light SW wind in the direction of the Cabo del Pico which was to the SE.114 He reached the cape late because the wind dropped and when he arrived he saw to the SE by E another cape about 60 miles away.115 And from there he saw another cape which must have been SE by S of the ship and it seemed to him to be about 20 miles away. He named it Cabo de Campana;116 he could not reach it that day because the wind again dropped completely. He made about 32 miles, which is 8 leagues, in the whole of that day, during which he observed and recorded nine outstanding harbours which all the sailors marvelled at, and five large rivers, because he hugged the shore so as to see everything properly. All that land has very high and very beautiful mountains, not bare and rugged, but all accessible and with very beautiful valleys. The valleys and the mountains alike are full of tall leafy trees which were glorious to see and there seemed to be many pine groves. Beyond the Cabo del Pico on the SE side there are also two islets, each about 2 leagues round, with three marvellous harbours and two large rivers beyond them.117 On all this coast he saw no village at all from the sea; there may be some and there are signs that this is so because wherever they went ashore they found signs of people and many fires. He judged that the land which he saw today to the SE of Cabo de Campana was the island which the Indians called Bohnd it seems to be so because the said cape is separate from that land. All the people he has come across before today live, he says, in great fear of those from Caniba or Canima, and they say that they live on this island of Bohwhich must be very large, as it seems to him, and he believes that the Caniba go and capture the lands and houses of these people as they are so cowardly and know nothing of arms. For this reason he believes that those Indians he had with him tend not to inhabit the seashore because they are close to this land. He says that when they saw him head for this land, they were speechless for fear that they would be eaten, and he could not reassure them, and they said that they had only one eye and the face of a dog, and the Admiral believed that they were lying, and felt that those who captured them must be subjects of the Great Khan.

Tuesday 27 November

Yesterday at sunset he arrived near a cape which he called Campana and because the sky was clear and there was little wind he did not wish to go and anchor offshore, although he had five or six marvellous harbours to leeward, because he was being delayed more than he wished by the desire he had for and the delight he gained from seeing the beauty and freshness of those lands, wherever he went ashore, and so as not to delay the pursuit of his objective. For these reasons he spent that night beating about and standing off till daybreak. Because the tides and currents had carried him during the night more than 5 or 6 leagues SE beyond where he had been at nightfall, and the land of Campana had come into view, and beyond that cape there appeared a huge inlet which seemed to divide one land from another and formed a sort of island in between, he decided to return with the wind SW to where the opening had appeared, and he found that it was merely a large bay with a cape at the SE end on which there is a high, square mountain which seemed to be an island.118 The wind veered N and he resumed the course SE to skirt the coast and discover all that there might be there. He then saw at the foot of that Cabo de Campana a marvellous harbour and a great river, and a quarter of a league from there another river, and half a league further another river, and from there another half league on another river, and after a further league another river, and after a further league another river, and after a further quarter another river, and then another league further on another large river at about 20 miles SE of the Cabo de Campana. Most of these rivers had large, clear, wide entrances with marvellous harbours for the largest ships, without sandbanks or rocks or reefs. Continuing in this way along the coast SE from this last river mentioned he found a large village, the largest he has found until today, and he saw countless people on the seashore, shouting loudly, all naked, and with spears in their hands. He wanted to speak to them and he lowered the sails and anchored and sent the boats from the flagship and the caravel in an orderly manner so as not to harm any of the Indians nor to suffer any themselves, and with instructions to give them some trinkets from the objects for barter. The Indians made gestures that they would not allow them to land and would resist them, and when they saw that the boats were drawing nearer the land and that they were not afraid, they all left the shore. Believing that if two or three men landed from the boats they would not be afraid, three Christians disembarked telling them not to be afraid, in their own language because they knew a little of it from their contact with the Indians they have with them. Eventually they all fled. No one remained, large or small. The three Christians went to the houses, which are made of straw and of the same design as the others they had seen, and they did not find anyone or anything in any of them. They returned to the ships and set sail at midday to go to a beautiful cape which lay to the E about 8 leagues away. Having sailed half a league across the same bay, the Admiral saw a very remarkable harbour119 to the S and to the SE some marvellously beautiful lands, like a hilly stretch of land within these mountains, and smoke appeared from many fires and there were many villages and the land was highly cultivated, for which reasons he decided to run down to this harbour and see if he could talk to them. The harbour was such that, if he had praised other harbours, he says that this one he praised more for the countryside, the temperate climate and the neighbouring villages. He speaks wonders about the beauty of the land and of the trees which include pines and palms, and of the great plain which stretches to the SSE; although it is not flat in the usual sense of the word, it has low, gently rounded hills, and is the most beautiful thing in the world, and many streams of water which come down from these mountains flow across it. After anchoring the flagship, the Admiral got into the boat to take soundings in the harbour, which is like a basin, and when he was opposite the entrance to the S he found the mouth of a river which was wide enough for a galley to enter yet it could not be seen until it was reached, and on entering a boat's length within it was found to be from 5 to 8 fathoms deep. It was marvellous to sail along it with the fresh green woods and the clear water and the birds and the beautiful surroundings and he says that he felt that he did not want to leave. He told the men in his company that a thousand tongues would not suffice to give the monarchs an account of what they had seen, and his hand could not write it for he seemed to be enchanted. He wished that many other cautious and trustworthy people could see it all, and he says that he is certain that they would not praise these things less than he did. The Admiral goes on in these words: Of how great will be the benefits which could be had from this land, I write nothing. It is certain, Sovereign Princes, that where there are such lands there must be innumerable things of value, but I am not delaying in any harbour because I would like to see as many lands as possible in order to give Your Highnesses an account of them. Furthermore, I do not know the language and the people of these lands do not understand me, nor do I nor anyone I have with me understand them. With the Indians I have with me I often understand one thing for another, the wrong way round, and I have no great confidence in them because they have often tried to run away. But now, may it please Our Lord, I shall see as much as I can and gradually I shall understand and know more and shall teach this language to people of my household, because I can see that the language is all one until now. And later the benefits will become known and an effort will be made to make all these people Christians, for it will easily be done because they have no religion and are not idolaters. And Your Highnesses will order a city and fortress to be built in these parts, and these lands will be converted. I assure Your Highnesses that there cannot be better lands under the sun for fertility, temperate climate, neither cold nor hot, abundance of good, healthy water and not as in the rivers in Guinea which are all pestilential. Because, Our Lord be praised, to this day there has been not one person from all my crew who has had a headache nor been in bed with illness, except an old man with a kidney stone from which he had suffered all his life and then after two days was cured. What I say goes for all three ships. And so it will please God if Your Highnesses send here or if there come here learned men who will then see the truth of everything. And since I spoke earlier about a site for a town and fortress at Río de Mares on account of the harbour and the surroundings, it is certainly true what I said, but there is no comparison between there and here, or with the Mar de Nuestra Señora. For here there must be great townships and innumerable people inland and things of great benefit. For here and in all the other places I have discovered and hope to discover before I return to Castile I say that the whole of Christendom will come to do business, and above all Spain, to which all must be subject. And I say that Your Highnesses must not allow any foreigner to trade or set foot here unless he be a Catholic Christian, for this was the end and the beginning of the enterprise, that it should be for the promotion and glory of the Christian religion, and no one who is not a good Christian should come to these parts. These are all his words. He went up-river and found some tributaries and in sailing around the harbour found at the mouth of the river some very lovely groves like a delightful orchard, and there he found an 'almador canoe made of a piece of wood as large as a 12-seat galley, very beautiful, beached under a roof or canopy made of wood and covered in large palm leaves so that neither sun nor rain could damage it. And he says that there was a suitable place to build a town or city and fortress, on account of the good harbour, good water, good land, good surroundings and plentiful timber.

Wednesday 28 November

He spent that day in that harbour because it was raining and the clouds were very dark although he could have skirted the coast with the wind SW which would have been astern; but he did not set out because he could not have seen the land properly and it is dangerous for the ships if one does not know the land. The crews went ashore to wash their clothes; some went inland for a while. They found large villages and the houses empty because everyone had fled. They returned downstream along another river, larger than that in which they were stationed.

Thursday 29 November

Because it was raining and the sky was overcast in the same way as yesterday he did not set out. Some of the Christians went to another village nearby to the NW and found no one there and nothing in the houses. On the way they came across an old man who could not run away; they captured him and told him that they meant him no harm, and gave him some trinkets from the barter and let him go. The Admiral would have liked to see him to give him some clothes and speak with him, because he was very pleased by the congenial nature of that land and its suitability for settlement, and judged that there must be large towns there. In one house they found a cake of wax which he brought back for the Monarchs, and he says that where there is wax there must also be a thousand other good things.120 The sailors also found in one house a man's head in a small basket covered with another basket and hanging from a post of the house, and they found another similar in another village. The Admiral believed that they must be the heads of some prominent ancestors,121 because those houses were such that many people live together in one house, and they must be related to each other and descended from one man.

Friday 30 November

He could not set out because the wind was E, completely wrong for his course. He sent out 8 well-armed men and two of the Indians he had with him to investigate the peoples inland and speak to them. They came across many houses but did not find anyone or anything because they had all fled. They saw four youths who were digging their fields. As soon as they saw the Christians they fled; they could not catch up with them. They walked, he says, a great distance. They saw many villages and very fertile land, all cultivated, and great streams of water, and near one of them they saw an 'almadía' or canoe 95 palms long and of a single piece of wood, very beautiful, in which 150 people could sit and travel.

Saturday 1 December

He did not set out for the same reason, a head wind, and because it was raining heavily. He set up a great cross on a craggy point at the mouth of that harbour which I believe he called Puerto Santo. The point is the one on the SE side of the harbour entrance. Anyone needing to enter this harbour must keep more to the NW side of that point than to the SE, because at the foot of both points, next to the crag, it is 12 fathoms deep and very clear. Nearer the harbour entrance, on the SE side, there is a reef which breaks the surface, far enough from the point to allow passage between them, if necessary, because at the foot of the reef and the cape it is fully 12 to 15 fathoms deep and at the entrance one needs to steer SW.

Sunday 2 December

The wind was still against him and he could not set out. He says that every night without exception there is a land breeze and that however many ships there might be there, they need have no fear of any storm whatsoever because it could not penetrate the harbour because of a sandbank at the entrance, etc. He says that at the mouth of that river a ship's boy found some stones which appear to contain gold; he brought them back to show the Monarchs. He says that a lombard shot away there are large rivers.

Monday 3 December

Because the weather was still against him he did not set out from that harbour and decided to go and see a very beautiful cape122 a quarter of a league SE of the harbour. He went with the boats and some armed men. At the foot of the cape there was the mouth of a good river;123 he steered SE to enter, and it was 100 paces wide; it was a fathom deep at the entrance or mouth, but within it was 12, 5, 4 and 2 fathoms, and it would take all the ships of Spain. Taking a branch of that river he went SE and found a creek where he saw 5 very large 'almadías' which the Indians call canoes, like galleys, very beautifully made and, he says, a pleasure to look at, and at the foot of the hill he saw that everywhere was cultivated. The canoes were beneath very thick trees, and taking a path which led to them, they came upon a very well contrived canopy, providing cover against damage from sun and rain, and underneath there was another canoe made from a single piece of wood like the others and like a 17-seat galley, and it was a great pleasure to see the beauty of it and the workmanship. He climbed up a mountain and then found the terrain flat and planted with gourds and many of the local crops that were a joy to behold, and in the centre was a large village. He came suddenly upon the village folk and as soon as they saw them all the men and women took flight. The Indian he had there, one of those he had brought with him, reassured them, saying that they should not be afraid for these were good people. The Admiral ordered them to be given hawks' bells and brass rings, and green and yellow glass beads, with which they were very pleased. Seeing that they had no gold or any other thing of value, and that it was enough to leave them in peace, and that the whole surrounding area was inhabited and the majority had fled in fear - and the Admiral assures the Monarchs that ten men are enough to frighten off ten thousand of them; they are so cowardly and timorous that they carry no arms except some spears with sharp fire-hardened tips - he decided to return. He says that he took away all the spears from them in a proper manner, bartering for them so that they gave all of them. Returning to where they had left the boats, he sent some Christians to the place to which they had climbed, because he thought that he had seen a great beehive. Before those he had sent could return, many Indians gathered together and came to the boats where the Admiral and all his men had reassembled. One of the Indians waded into the river up to the stern of the boat and made a great speech which the Admiral did not understand, except that the other Indians from time to time raised their hands to the sky and gave a great shout. The Admiral thought that they were reassuring him and were pleased at his coming, but he saw the face of the Indian he had with him change colour and go as yellow as wax, and he trembled greatly, saying in sign language that the Admiral should leave the river because they intended to kill them. He went up to a Christian who had a loaded crossbow and showed it to the Indians and the Admiral understood that he was telling them that they would kill them all, because that crossbow fired and killed at a distance. He also took a sword and drew it out of its sheath, showing it to them and saying the same thing. When they heard this they all started to run off, and the Indian remained still trembling with cowardice and faint-heartedness although he was well built and a strong man. The Admiral refused to leave the river and instead ordered the men to row towards the shore where they were, and there were many of them, all painted red and as naked as their mothers bore them and some with feathers on their head and other plumes, and all with their bundles of spears. I went up to them and gave them pieces of bread and asked for their spears, and in exchange gave some of them a hawk's bell and others a brass ring and others some beads, so that they all were all pacified and came down to the boats and gave everything they had for whatever was given to them. The sailors had killed a turtle and the shell was in pieces in the boat, and the boys gave them a piece of it about the size of a fingernail, and the Indians gave them a bundle of spears. They are like the other peoples I have found (says the Admiral) with the same beliefs, and they believed that we had come from heaven and they give what they have for whatever they are given without saying that it is too little and I believe that they would do the same with spices and gold if they had any. I saw a beautiful house, not very large and with two doors, for that is how they all are, and I went in and saw a marvellous arrangement of rooms which I could not describe, and hanging from the roof were shells and other things. I thought that it was a temple and I called them and asked in sign language if they said prayers there; they said not, and one of them climbed up and gave me everything that was there and I took some of it.

Tuesday 4 December

He set sail with a light wind and left that harbour which he called Puerto Santo. After two leagues he saw a good river of which he spoke yesterday. He went along the coast and skirted the land which ran ESE and WNW, past the cape already mentioned as far as Cabo Lindo,124 which is 5 leagues from the Cabo del Monte125 E by S. A league and a half from Cabo del Monte there is a large, somewhat narrow river; it seemed to have a good entrance and was very deep, and three quarters of a league from there he saw another very large river which must have come from very far off. It was a good 100 paces at the mouth, without a sandbar, and 8 fathoms deep and with a good entrance because I sent men to inspect it and take soundings in the boat and the fresh water flows right into the sea, and it has one of the greatest volumes of water he had seen, and there must be large villages along it. Beyond Cabo Lindo there is a great bay which would be a good shelter from the ENE, SE and SSE.

Wednesday 5 December

All this night he beat about off Cabo Lindo, where he was at nightfall, in order to see the land which ran to the E, and at sunrise he saw another cape 2 and a half leagues to the E. Beyond that he saw that the coast turned S again and trended SW and he saw a very beautiful high cape126 in that direction, seven leagues distant from the previous one. He would have liked to go there, but he left it out of the desire he had to go to the island of Baneque which, according to the Indians he had with him, lay to the NE. Yet he could not go to Baneque either because the wind he had was NE. Proceeding in this way, he looked to the SE and saw land and it was a very large island,127 about which he says he already had information from the Indians, who called it Bohío, that it was inhabited. He says that the inhabitants of Cuba or Juana128 and of all the other islands are afraid of these people because it is said that they eat men. The Indians told him many other marvellous things by signs, but the Admiral says that he did not believe them, thinking rather that the Indians from the island of Bohío must be more astute and skilled at capture than the others, who are very faint-hearted. Because the weather was from the NE veering N, he decided to leave Cuba or Juana which up to that point he had regarded as the mainland on account of its size, because he must have sailed a good 120 leagues in one direction, and he set out on a course SE by E since the land which he had seen lay to the SE and he took this precaution because the wind veers from the N to NE and from there to E and SE. The wind got up and he set all sail, the sea was flat and the current was favourable so that from morning to 1 o'clock in the afternoon he made 8 miles an hour, not quite for 6 hours because he says that the nights there were nearly 15 hours long. Afterwards he made 10 miles an hour and so made about 88 miles or 22 leagues by sunset, all to the SE. And because night was falling he ordered the caravel Niña, because she was faster, to go ahead to inspect the harbour while it was still daylight. Arriving at the mouth of the harbour, which was like the bay of Cádiz, and because it was already night, she sent her boat to take soundings in the harbour. It carried a light, and before the Admiral could reach the point where the caravel was lying to and waiting for the boat to give a sign to enter the harbour, the boat's light went out. The caravel, because she could not see any light, ran out and lit the way for the Admiral and when he caught up with her they told him what had happened. Meanwhile the men in the boat lit another torch: the caravel followed it but the Admiral could not and lay to all that night.

Thursday 6 December

At dawn he found himself 4 leagues from the harbour. He named it Puerto María129 and saw a beautiful cape S by W which he called Cabo de la Estrella130 and it seemed to be the southernmost point of that island and he would have been 28 miles from it. Another piece of land like a small island appeared to the E about 40 miles away. Another very beautiful and well formed cape lay 54 miles E by S and he called it Cabo del Elefante.131 Another cape lay to the ESE, to which he gave the name Cabo de Cinquin;132 it must have been 28 miles from him. To the SE and SE by E lay a large ravine or breach or opening into the sea which seemed to be a river, and there would have been 20 miles between him and the opening. It seemed to him that between the Cabo del Elefante and Cabo Cinquin there was a wide inlet and some of the sailors said that it divided the island in two. He gave it the name of Isla de la Tortuga.133 That large island seemed to be a very high land, not capped with mountains, but flat like beautiful meadows and it appears to be completely cultivated or nearly so and the crops looked like wheat in the month of May in the fields around Córdoba. They saw many fires that night, and during the day many smoke signals from lookouts as if the island were on guard against people with whom they were at war. All the coast of this land stretches E. At the hour of vespers he entered the harbour mentioned and gave it the name Puerto de San Nicolás in honour of St Nicholas because it was his feast day, and at the entrance he marvelled at its beauty and pleasant aspect.134 Although he has praised the harbours of Cuba very highly, without doubt he says that this one is no less to be praised, but rather it excels them and none are its equal. At the mouth and entrance it is a league and a half wide and one should steer SSE, although because of the great width one could steer any course one wished. It stretches 2 leagues SSE in this way and on the southern side of the entrance there is a sort of promontory and from there it continues in the same way up to the cape where there is a very beautiful beach and a field with a thousand different kinds of trees all laden with fruit which the Admiral believed to be spices and nutmegs except that they were not ripe and could not be identified, and there is a river in the centre of the beach. This harbour is marvellously deep, for a 40-fathom plumb line did not strike bottom until a [ship's] length from the shore, and within that distance it is 15 fathoms and very clear. The whole harbour from one cape to the other is like that, 15 fathoms and clear up to a pace from the shore; and the whole coast is just as deep and clear and there is not a single shoal, and at the foot it is 5 fathoms deep an oar's length from the shore. Having gone the length of this harbour to the SSE, in which space a thousand carracks could lay to, an arm of the harbour extended inland to the NE for a good half league and at a width as constant as if it had been measured out by a rope. This arm lies in such a way that within its width, of some 25 paces, the mouth of the main entrance cannot be seen, so that it becomes a closed harbour, and the depth of this arm is a constant 11 fathoms from beginning to end with a clean sandy bottom throughout, and 8 fathoms deep right up to the edge, with the ship's gunwales against the grass. The whole harbour is very breezy, flat and unsheltered by trees. All this island seemed to him rockier than any other he had found. The trees are smaller and many of them of the same type as in Spain, such as oaks and strawberry trees and others, and the same is true of the plants. It is a very high land and all fields and open country and with very good breezes and it has not been so cold as there, although it cannot really be counted cold, except in comparison with the other lands. Opposite that harbour is a beautiful plain and in the middle, the river mentioned earlier. In that area, he says, there must be large villages to judge from the look of the canoes in which they travel, of which there are so many and as large as a galley of 15 benches. All the Indians fled and ran off as soon as they saw the ships. Those he had with him from the islands wanted so much to return to their land that he thought (says the Admiral) that after he left there he had to take them home, and they were already suspicious of him because he did not steer a course for their home. For this reason he says that he did not believe what they told him, and he could not understand them properly, nor they him, and he says that they were as afraid as anything of the people of that island. He would have to delay several days in that harbour if he wanted to speak to the people of that island, but did not do so because there was much land to see and he doubted if he would have time. He hoped in Our Lord that the Indians he had with him would learn his language and he theirs and later he would return and talk to those people, and please God (he says) that I find a good supply of gold to barter before I return.

Friday 7 December

At the end of the dawn watch he set sail and left that Puerto de San Nicolás and steered NE with a SW wind for 2 leagues as far as a cape he calls Cheranero,135 and to his SE lay a promontory and the Cabo de la Estrella was 24 miles SW of the Admiral. From there he steered E along the coast to Cabo Cinquin, which would be 48 miles; in truth, 20 of them were E by N. All the land on that coast is very high and the water is very deep; it is 20 to 30 fathoms right up to the shore and at the distance of a lombard shot there is no bottom, all of which the Admiral proved that day to his great delight, sailing along the coast with the wind SW. The promontory he mentioned above extends he says as far as a lombard shot from the Puerto de San Nicolás so that if that space were cut through the rest would be an island of 3 or 4 miles round. All that land was very high and with no large trees, but only oaks and strawberry trees just like, he says, the land in Castile. Two leagues before he reached Cabo Cinquin he found an opening like a ravine in a mountain through which he discovered a very large valley which he could see was sown with what looked like barley and he felt that there must be large villages in that valley and behind it there were large high mountains. When he reached Cabo Cinquin the cape of the island of Tortuga lay about 32 miles NE. At about a lombard shot off Cabo Cinquin there is a rock which rises up out of the sea and is easily seen. When the Admiral stood off that cape the Cabo del Elefante lay E by S about 70 miles away and all the land was very high. Six leagues further on he found a large bay136 and saw inland very large valleys and fields and very high mountains, all just like Castile. Eight miles further on he found a very deep river, but very narrow, although a carrack could perfectly well enter, and the entrance was completely clear with no sandbanks or shoals. Sixteen miles further on he found a very wide harbour,137 so deep that there was no bottom at the entrance and 15 fathoms three paces from the shore, and it stretches a quarter of a league inland. Although it was still very early, about 1 o'clock in the afternoon, and the wind was astern and strong, because the sky looked like heavy rain and the sky was very overcast, which is dangerous even when one knows the shore and even more so when one does not, he decided to enter the harbour which he called Puerto de la Concepción, and he went ashore in a small river at the end of the harbour which flows across some meadows and fields whose beauty was marvellous to see. He took nets to fish and before he reached the shore a mullet just like those in Spain jumped into the boat. Until then he had not seen a fish which looked like those of Castile. The sailors fished and killed others, and soles and other fish like those of Castile. He took a short walk across that land which is all cultivated and heard a nightingale sing and other birds like those of Castile. They saw 5 men, but they would not wait and took flight. He found myrtle and other trees and plants like those of Castile, for that is what the land and the mountains are like.

Saturday 8 December

There in that harbour it rained very heavily with a very strong N wind. The harbour is protected from all winds except the N, and that cannot do any harm because the undertow is strong and prevents the ship from dragging at its moorings in the river. After midnight the wind turned NE and then E, from which winds that harbour is well protected by the island of Tortuga which lies facing it, 36 miles away.

Sunday 9 December

This day it rained and the weather was wintry like October in Castile. He had not seen any village except a very beautiful house in Puerto de San Nicolás, and better made than those in other parts he had seen. The island is very large and, says the Admiral, it would not be surprising if it were not 200 leagues in circumference. He has seen that it is all very cultivated; he thought the villages must be a distance from the sea, and from there they can see when he arrived and so they all fled and took with them what they had and lit beacons like soldiers. This harbour is a thousand paces wide at the entrance, which is a quarter of a league. There are no sandbanks or shoals in it; on the contrary, there is hardly any bottom until the shoreline, and inside, it extends for three thousand paces, all clean and sandy so that any ship can anchor there without fear and enter without precaution. At the end there are two rivers which bring down very little water. Opposite there are some meadows, the most beautiful in the world and almost comparable with the lands of Castile, although these have the advantage, for which reason he gave the island the name the Isla Española.138

Monday 10 December

The wind blew hard from the NE and made him pull in the anchors by half a cable, which surprised the Admiral who put it down to the fact that the anchors were near the land and the wind was blowing towards the land. Seeing that it was against the direction in which he wanted to go, he sent six well-armed men ashore to go two or three leagues inland to see if they could make contact. They went and returned, having found no people or houses, although they found some huts and wide paths and places where many people had made fires. They saw the best lands in the world and found many mastic trees and brought some of it and said that there was a great deal, except that now is not the time to collect it because it is not forming a gum.

Tuesday 11 December

He did not set out because of the wind which was still E and NE. Opposite that harbour, as has been said, is the island of Tortuga and it appears to be a large island, and its coast runs almost exactly as does that of Española, and there can be at the most 10 leagues from one to the other, that is to say from Cabo Cinquin to the head of Tortuga which is to the N of Española. Afterwards the coast of Española runs S. He says that he would like to explore the strait between these two islands to see the island of Española which is the most beautiful thing in the world and because, according to what the Indians he had with him were saying, they had to go that way to get to the island of Baneque.139 They told him that it was a very large island and with very large mountains and rivers and valleys, and they said that the island of Bohío was larger than that of Juana, which they call Cuba,140 and that it is not surrounded by water, by which they seem to mean that it is mainland which is here behind this island of Española, which they call Caritaba,141 and is endless. It seems that they are harassed by people of intelligence because all these islands live in great fear of those from Caniba. I repeat what I have said before, he says, that Caniba is quite simply the people of the Great Khan who must be very close by, and must have ships in which they come and capture them, and because they do not return they believe that they have been eaten.142 Day by day we understand these Indians more and they us, even though they have often understood one thing for another, says the Admiral. He some sent men ashore. They found much mastic which had not yet formed gum; he says that the rain must cause this and that on Chios they gather it in March and that in these lands they would gather it in January because they are so temperate. They caught many fish like those of Castile: dace, salmon, hake, dory, pampano, mullet, congers, shrimps, and they saw sardines. They found much aloe.

Wednesday 12 December

He did not set out on this day for the same reason stated, a head wind. He set up a great cross at the entrance of the harbour on the western side on a very conspicuous high point, as a sign (he says) that Your Highnesses hold the land as your own and principally as a sign of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and in honour of Christendom. When it had been set up, three sailors set off across the scrub to look at the trees and plants, and they heard a great crowd of people, all naked like those they had seen previously. They called and ran after them, but the Indians took flight. Eventually they caught a woman but they could not manage more, for I, he says, had ordered them to capture some Indians to do them honour and reassure them so that we could gain something of value, for to judge from the beauty of the land it seems that there could not but be gains to be made. So they brought the woman, very young and beautiful, to the ship and she spoke with those Indians because they all have the same language. The Admiral had her dressed and gave her some glass beads and hawks' bells and brass rings, and sent her back again to the land with great ceremony as was his custom, and sent some men from the ship with her, and three of the Indians he had with him to speak to the people there. The sailors who went in the boat told the Admiral that when they were taking her to land she did not want to leave the ship but preferred to remain with the other Indian women whom he had had captured at Puerto de Mares on the island of Juana or Cuba. All the Indians who came with that Indian woman, he says, came in a canoe, which is their form of caravel in which they travel about, and when they rounded the harbour entrance and saw the ships they turned back and left the canoe there and went off in the direction of their village. She showed them the whereabouts of the village. This woman was wearing a small piece of gold in her nose, which was a sign that there was gold on that island.

Thursday 13 December

The three men whom the Admiral had sent with the woman returned at three o'clock in the morning, and they did not go with her to the village because it seemed to them a long way off, or because they were afraid. They said that the next day many people would come to the ships, because they must by then have been reassured by the news which the woman would give. Out of a desire to see if there were anything of value in that land and to speak to the people, and because the land was very beautiful and fertile, and so that they should wish to serve the Monarchs, the Admiral decided to send again to the village, trusting in the report which the Indian woman would have given that the Christians were good people. For this purpose he chose nine men, well-supplied with arms and suitable for the task, and with them went one of the Indians he had with him. They went to the village which was 4 and a half leagues to the SE and which they found in a huge valley,143 but it was empty because as soon as they heard the Christians coming they all fled into the interior leaving whatever they had behind. The village consisted of a thousand houses and more than three thousand people. The Indian whom the Christians had with them ran after them shouting that they should have no fear because the Christians were not from Caniba but from heaven and that they gave many beautiful things to all those they encountered. What he said so impressed them that they were reassured and more than two thousand of them all gathered together, and came to the Christians and put their hands on their heads, which was a sign of great reverence and friendship, and they were all trembling until they were greatly reassured. The Christians said that when they were no longer afraid, they all went to their houses and each person brought something of what he had to eat, which is bread made of 'niamas' which are roots like large radishes which grow there and which they sow and plant and cultivate in all these lands, and which is their staple food.144 They make bread from them and boil and roast them and they taste just like chestnuts and no one would think, eating them, that they were not chestnuts. And they gave them bread and fish and whatever they had. And because the Indians he had with him in the ship had understood that the Admiral wanted to have a parrot, it seems that the Indian who had gone with the Christians said something about this and so they brought them parrots and gave them as much as they asked without wanting anything in exchange. They asked them not to return that night145 and said that they would give them many other things which they had in the mountains. While all those people were together with the Christians they saw a great army or crowd of people coming towards them with the husband of the woman whom the Admiral had treated with respect and sent back and whom they were carrying on their shoulders. They came to thank the Christians for the honour which the Admiral had done her and the gifts which he had given her. The Christians told the Admiral that all these people were more handsome and of better character than any they had found until then; but the Admiral says that he does not know how they can be of better character than the others, by which he means that all those he had found on the other islands were of very good character. As far as beauty was concerned, the Christians said that there was no comparison, in both men and women, and that they are whiter than the others and that among them146 they saw two young women who were as white as they would be in Spain. They also said, speaking of the beauty of the lands they saw, that there was no comparison with the most beautiful and fertile lands of Castile. And the Admiral saw that it was so of both the lands he has seen and those he had before him. And they told him that there was no comparison between those which he could see and those in that valley, and that even the fields around Córdoba could not match them, being as different from them as the day is from the night. They said that all those lands were cultivated and that through the middle of that valley flowed a very wide river, large enough to irrigate all the fields. All the trees were green and full of fruit and all the plants in flower and very tall; the tracks were very wide and good; the air was like April in Castile; the nightingale and other small birds sang as they do in that month in Spain, and they say that it is the most delightful thing in the world. At night some birds sang sweetly; many crickets and frogs could be heard; the fish were like those in Spain; they saw many mastic and aloe and cotton trees. They found no gold, and it is not surprising that it could not be found in so short a time. Here the Admiral measured the length of the day and night in hours, and found that from sunrise to sunset was 20 half-hour glasses, although he says that there could be an error either because they do not turn the glass soon enough or because some of the sand has not passed through. He also says that he found from his quadrant that he was 34 degrees from the equinoctial line.147

Friday 14 December

He set out from Puerto de la Concepción with a land breeze which then dropped and he found this to be the case every day he was there. Then an E wind blew and he steered NNE, reached the island of Tortuga, spotted a point which he called Punta Pierna which was to the ENE of the head of the island at a distance of about 12 miles, and from there he sighted another point which he called Punta Lanzada in the same direction to the NE about 16 miles away. So from the head of Tortuga to the Punta Aguda would be about 44 miles which is 11 leagues ENE.148 On that course there were some large stretches of beach. This island of Tortuga is very high but not mountainous, and it is very beautiful and inhabited like the island of Española, and all the land is cultivated so that he thought he was looking at the fields around Córdoba. Seeing that the wind was against him and that he could not go to the island of Baneque, he decided to turn back to Puerto de la Concepción from where he had set out, and he could not gain entrance to a river which was 2 leagues E of that harbour.

Saturday 15 December

He again set out from Puerto de la Concepción to go on his way, but as he left the harbour the wind blew strongly from the E against him and he steered towards Tortuga and on reaching it turned back in order to take a look at that river which he wanted to see yesterday but which he could not reach. He could not make it from this pass either, although he anchored off a beach half a league downwind, a good clean anchorage. Having moored the ships he went with the boats to explore the river and entered via an arm of the sea half a league short of it and which is not the river mouth. He turned back and found the mouth which was not even a fathom deep and the current was very fierce. He went in with the boats to make for the villages which those whom he had sent out the day before yesterday had seen, and ordered the line to be thrown ashore, and with the sailors pulling on it they dragged the boats along two lombard shots but could not go further because of the strength of the current in the river. He saw some houses and the great valley where the villages lay and said that he had seen nothing more beautiful than that valley with the river flowing through it. He also saw people at the mouth of the river, but they all fled. He says further that those people must be hunted a great deal because they live in such fear, for wherever they land they make smoke signals from beacons right across the land and more so in the island of Española and in Tortuga, which is also a large island, than in the other islands he had left behind him. He named the valley Valle del Paraíso, and the river, Guadalquivir,149 because he says that it flows as strongly as the Guadalquivir at Córdoba, and on the edges or banks there is a beach with beautiful stones, and it is all suitable for walking.

Sunday 16 December

He set sail at midnight to leave that gulf with the land breeze, and coming from the coast of the island of Española and sailing close-hauled because presently at the hour of terce the wind blew from the E, in mid gulf he encountered a canoe with a solitary Indian in it, and the Admiral was amazed at the way he managed to remain afloat with the strong wind. He had him and his canoe brought aboard the ship and flattered him with some presents of glass beads, hawks' bells and brass rings, and took him by ship to land at a coastal village which was 16 miles away, where the Admiral anchored and found a good anchorage off the beach next to the village, which seemed to be newly built as all the houses were new. The Indian then went ashore with his canoe and gave news that the Admiral and the Christians were good people, although they already knew about what had happened to the others whom the six Christians had visited, and then more than 500 men came, and shortly afterwards their king, and they all gathered together on the beach near the ships, for they had anchored very close to the shore. Then one by one and many at a time they came to the flagship, bringing nothing with them, although some wore in their ears or noses some grains of the finest gold which they gave very willingly. The Admiral ordered that all should be treated with respect, and he says: because they are the finest people in the world and the most gentle. And above all (he says) I dearly hope in Our Lord that Your Highnesses will make them all Christians and they will all be your subjects, for I already consider them to be so. He also saw that the said king was on the beach and that they all showed him respect. The Admiral sent him a present, which he says he received with great ceremony, and that he must have been a youth of about 21 years, and that he had an elderly tutor and other counsellors who advised him and answered for him, and that he himself spoke very few words. One of the Indians the Admiral had with him spoke to him and told him how the Christians came from heaven, and that the Admiral was searching for gold and that he wished to go to the island of Baneque. He replied that this was good and that there was much gold on that island. He pointed out to the Admiral's bailiff150 who had taken the present to him the route which he should take and said that in two days he would get from there to the island, and that if they needed anything from his land he would give it very willingly. This king and all the others were as naked as their mothers bore them, and the women too, without a hint of shame. They are the most handsome men and women they had seen up to that time, so fair that if they wore clothes and kept out of the sun and the wind they would almost be as white as those in Spain. Because this land is quite cold and the finest that words can describe. It is very high and on the highest hill oxen could plough, and it consisted entirely of fields and valleys. In all Castile there is no land which could be compared with it in beauty or bounteousness. All this island and that of Tortuga are cultivated like the fields around Córdoba. They have it all sown with 'ajes'151 which are small branches which they plant and at the foot of which grow roots like carrots, which are used for bread and which they grate and knead and make into bread, and then they plant the same branch in another spot and it again produces four or five of those roots which are very tasty, with the exact flavour of chestnuts. Those here are the fattest and best he had seen anywhere for he also says that there were some of them in Guinea. Those here were as thick as a leg and he says that all these people were well-built and strapping and not thin like the others he had found previously, and very quietly spoken and without religion. And he says that the trees there are so lush that the leaves were so green that they were not green but black. It was a marvellous thing to see those valleys and rivers and fine waters, and the fields suitable for producing bread and for raising stock of all kinds, of which they have none, and for orchards and for everything on earth that man could ask for. Later that afternoon the king came to the flagship. The Admiral treated him with due respect and had him told how he came from the King and Queen of Castile who were the greatest princes in the world. But the Indians the Admiral had with him who were the interpreters believed none of it, nor did the king; they believed instead that they came from heaven, and that the kingdoms of the King and Queen of Castile were in the sky and not on this earth. They gave the king some things to eat from Castile, and he ate a mouthful and then gave it all to his counsellors and to the tutor and to the others he had with him. Believe me, Your Highnesses, that these lands are so good and so fertile, particularly these of this island of Española, that there is no one who could describe them, and no one could believe it unless they saw it. Be sure that this island and all the others are as much your own as is Castile, for all that is needed here is a seat of government and to command them to do what you wish, for I with these people I have with me, who are not many, could travel throughout these islands unopposed, and I have seen three of these sailors go ashore alone where there was a crowd of these Indians, and they have all run off, without anyone wishing them any harm. They have no weapons and are all naked and with no experience of arms and very timid, so that a thousand of them would not stand up to three of us, and so they are suitable to take orders and be made to work, sow and do anything else that may be needed, and build towns and be taught to wear clothes and adopt our customs.

Monday 17 December

The wind blew strongly that night from the ENE; the sea did not get up very much, as it is protected and shielded by the island of Tortuga which is opposite and forms a shelter. So he remained there throughout this day. He sent the men to fish with nets. The Indians enjoyed themselves very much with the Christians and brought them certain arrows belonging to the Caniba or Cannibals, and they are made from the stem of a reed with fire-hardened points inserted at the tip and are very long. They showed them two men with pieces of flesh missing from their bodies and gave them to understand that the cannibals had eaten mouthfuls of them. The Admiral did not believe it. He sent some Christians to the village again and in exchange for small glass beads they bartered some pieces of gold beaten into thin leaves. They saw one man, whom the Admiral took to be the governor of that province and whom they called 'cacique',152 with a piece of that gold leaf as large as a hand and he seemed to want to trade it. He went home and the others remained in the square, and he was cutting that piece into smaller pieces and bringing one at a time to barter with them. When there was none left he made signs that he had sent for more and that they would bring it the following day. All these things, their behaviour and customs, their gentleness and good sense shows them to be a more alert and understanding people than the others he had found until now, says the Admiral. In the afternoon there came a canoe from the island of Tortuga with a good 40 men, and when they arrived on the beach all the people of the nearby town sat down as a sign of peace and some if not most of those in the canoe came ashore. The cacique stood up alone and in words which seemed to be threatening made them go back to the canoe and threw water at them and took stones from the beach and threw them in the water and when they had all very obediently got into the canoe, he took a stone and put it in the hand of my bailiff, whom I had sent ashore with the secretary and others to see if they could bring back anything of value, for him to throw it, and the bailiff declined to throw it at them. In this way that cacique made it very clear that he favoured the Admiral. The canoe then went off and when it had left they told the Admiral that there was more gold on Tortuga than on Española because it is nearer to Baneque. The Admiral said that he did not believe that there were gold mines on that island of Española nor on Tortuga, but that they brought it from Baneque, and that they bring very little of it, because these people have nothing to give for it. That land is so rich that they do not need to work very much to support themselves, nor to clothe themselves because they go naked. And the Admiral believed that he was very close to the source and that Our Lord would show him where the gold originates from. He had information that from there to Baneque was four days' journey, which could be 30 or 40 leagues, which could be sailed in one day of fine weather.153

Tuesday 18 December

On this day he lay anchored off that beach because there was no wind and also because the cacique had said that he would bring gold, not that the Admiral set much store by the gold that he could bring (he says), because there were no mines there, but in order to find out more about where they brought it from. At dawn, then, he ordered the flagship and the caravel to be decked with arms and banners for the feast that day, which was Santa María de la O, or the commemoration of the Annunciation. Many lombard shots were fired and the king of that island of Española (says the Admiral) had set out early from his house which was about 5 leagues away, as far as he could judge, and arrived at the hour of terce at that village where there were already some of the sailors whom the Admiral had sent to see if the gold was coming. They said that the king was on his way with more than 200 men, and that four men were carrying him on a litter and that he was a young man, as was said earlier. Today, while the Admiral was eating beneath the forecastle, he came to the ship with all his men. And the Admiral says to the Monarchs: Your Highnesses would no doubt approve of the ceremony and respect with which they all treat him, although they all go naked. As soon as he came aboard the ship he found that I was eating at the table beneath the forecastle and he strode right up and sat down beside me and did not wish to give me the chance to go out to meet him nor rise from the table, but bade me continue my meal. I thought that he would be pleased to eat some of our food. I then ordered him to be brought something to eat. When he entered below the forecastle he gestured with his hand that his men should remain outside and so they did with the greatest readiness and respect in the world and they all sat on the deck except two men of mature age, whom I took to be his counsellors and tutor, who came and sat at his feet. And of the dishes which I put before him he took just enough from each to sample them and then sent the rest to his men and they all ate it, and he did the same with the drink, which he merely raised to his lips and then gave to the others, and all with an amazing gravity and with few words, and those he did speak, as far as I could understand, were very wise and considered and those two men watched his mouth and spoke for him and with him and with great respect. After he had eaten, a page brought a belt just like those from Castile in manufacture although the workmanship is different, which he took and gave to me, and two pieces of worked gold which were very thin, because I believe that they get very little of it here, although I hold that they are very close to its source and there is a great deal of it. I saw that he liked a tapestry which I had over my bed. I gave it to him with some very good amber beads which I had around my neck, and some red slippers, and a flask of orange-flower water with which he was so pleased that it was amazing. He and his tutor and counsellors are very sad because they could not understand me nor I them. Nevertheless, I understood him to say that if I wanted anything from there, the whole island was at my disposal. I sent for some of my beads among which I have a gold coin on which Your Highnesses are portrayed and I showed it to him, and told him again, as I did yesterday, that Your Highnesses hold sway over and are masters of the greater part of the world, and that there were no princes as great. And I showed him the royal standards and the others with the cross, at which he was greatly impressed and said in reply to his counsellors that what great lords Your Highnesses must be since from so far away and from heaven you had sent me here without fear, and other things passed between them which I did not understand, except that I could see that he marvelled at everything. When it got late and he wished to leave, the Admiral sent him off in the boat with great honour and had many lombards fired, and when he was set down ashore he climbed onto his litter and went off with more than 200 of his people. And they carried his son on the shoulders of an Indian, a very honourable man. Wherever the sailors and the ships' crews came across him he ordered them to be given food and treated with great honour. A sailor said that he had met him on the road and seen a man, who appeared to be one of the highest ranking, carrying before the king every one of the things which the Admiral had given him. The king's son followed a good way behind him with as large an escort as he had. And the same distance behind again came a brother of the same king, except that the brother came on foot and two honourable men led him by the arms. This man came to the ship after the king and the Admiral gave him some of the things for barter, and the Admiral learned then that they called the king in their language 'cacique'. He says that on that day they traded very little gold, but the Admiral learned from an old man that there were many neighbouring islands 100 leagues away and more, as far as he could understand, on which much gold is to be found, and he even said that there was one island which was all gold, and that on the others there was so much that they gather it and sift it with a kind of sieve and melt it and make it into bars and a thousand other objects: he illustrated the work by signs. This old man showed the Admiral the course and the position. The Admiral decided to go there and said that if that old man had not been such an eminent subject of that king he would have detained him and taken him with him, or if he had known the language he would have asked him to go, and believed that he and the Christians were on such good terms that he would have gone with them quite willingly. But because he already held those people to be subjects of the King and Queen of Castile, and that it was not right to do them an injury, he decided to leave him. He put a very imposing cross in the middle of the square of that village, in which the Indians helped greatly and he says that they offered up a prayer and worshipped it and from the signs that they give the Admiral hopes in Our Lord that all those islands will become Christian.

Wednesday 19 December

This night he set sail to leave that gulf which the Island of Tortuga forms with Española, and when day came the wind turned E, so that all this day he could not get out from between those two islands, and at night he could not make a harbour which appeared in that area. He sighted three or four capes there and a large bay and river, and from there he saw a very wide bay where there was a village, and behind it a valley between many very high mountains covered with trees, which he thought were pines, and above the Dos Hermanos154 there is a very high, broad mountain which runs from NE to SW, and off the Cabo de Torres155 to the ESE there is a small island to which he gave the name Santo Tomás156 because tomorrow is his vigil. All around that island there are capes and marvellous harbours, as far as he could judge from the sea. Before reaching the island on the W side there is a cape which runs far out to sea and is both high and low, and for that reason he called it Cape Alto y Bajo.157 From the Cabo de Torres to the SE by E it is 60 miles to a mountain, higher than any other, which juts into the sea and appears from a distance to be an island apart, owing to a ravine it has on the landward side. He gave it the name of Monte Caribata,158 because that province was called Caribata. It is very beautiful and covered in light-green trees, and without snow or mists on it; and at that time the weather there was like March in Castile, as far as the breezes and the mild temperatures are concerned, and as for the trees and plants, like May. He says that the nights were fourteen hours long.159

Thursday 20 December

Today at sunset he entered a harbour between the island of Santo Tomás and Cape Caribata, and anchored.160 This harbour is very beautiful and one in which as many ships as there are in Christendom could lie. From the sea, the entrance looks impossible to anyone who has not entered it, owing to some reefs of rock which run from the mountain almost as far as the island, and which are not in any order but some here and others there, some more out to sea and others more inland. For this reason one has to be alert to enter by some good, wide passages which there are and which can be negotiated without fear as it is all seven fathoms deep, and once the reefs are passed it is twelve fathoms deep inside. The flagship can be moored with any piece of rope against whatever winds may blow. At the entrance to this harbour he says that there was a reed bed on the W side of a small sandy island on which there are many trees, with a depth of seven fathoms right up to the edge. But there are many shallows in that area, and it is important to keep one's eyes open until the harbour is entered. Then there is no need to fear the strongest storm. From that harbour could be seen a very wide valley, all cultivated, running down to the harbour from the SE, surrounded on all sides by very high mountains which seem to reach to the sky, and very beautiful, covered in green trees. Without doubt there are mountains there which are higher than the island of Tenerife in the Canaries, which is held to be one of the highest to be found.161 From this side of the island of Santo Tomás there is another islet a league away, and within that another, and there are marvellous harbours on all of them; but it is essential to look out for the shallows. He also saw villages and smoke signals which they made.162

Friday 21 December

Today he went with the ships' boats to see that harbour. He saw that it was such that he affirmed that none he has seen so far can equal it, and he apologizes, saying that as he has praised the previous ones so much, he does not know how to commend this one, and that he fears that he may be thought to have built them up beyond what is the truth. He justifies this by saying that he has with him long-serving mariners and they say and will say the same, as will anyone who goes to sea, that is, that all the praise he has spoken of the previous harbours is true, and that it is equally true that this is very much better than all of them. He goes on in this manner: I have spent twenty-three years at sea and have not left it for any length of time worth mentioning, and I have seen everything from east to west, by which he means that he has been to the north, that is, to England,163 and I have been to Guinea, but in all these parts you will not find harbours so perfect. *** having always found *** better than the other, so that I looked back over what I have written and I say again that I have written correctly and that this one is better than all of them. All the ships in the world would fit within it and it is so sheltered that the oldest rope on the ship would keep it moored. From the entrance to the end of the harbour must be five leagues.164 He saw some lands which were well cultivated, although they are all like that, and he ordered two men to leave the boats and go to a high point to see if there were any village, since from the sea none could be seen, although that night around ten o'clock certain Indians came to the ship in a canoe to see and to marvel at the Admiral and the Christians and he gave them some of the things for barter, with which they were very pleased. The two Christians returned and told him where they had seen a large village a short distance away from the sea. The Admiral ordered them to row towards the shore in the direction of the village, and he saw some Indians coming down to the shore and, as they seemed to do so fearfully, he ordered the boats to stop and the Indians he had with him on the ship to tell them that he would not do them any harm. They then came closer to the sea and the Admiral drew closer to the land, and when they had completely lost their fear, so many of them came, men and women and children alike, that they covered the land, giving many thanks, Some ran here and others ran there to bring us bread which they make out of 'niames' which they call 'ajes',165 and which is very white and good, and they brought us water in gourds and in earthenware pots made like those in Castile, and they brought us everything they had in the world and which they knew the Admiral wanted, and all with such a generous and happy heart that it was marvellous. And let it not be said that because what they gave was worth little for that reason they gave generously (says the Admiral) because those who gave pieces of gold did so in the same way and just as generously as those who gave a gourd full of water; and it is easy to see (says the Admiral) when someone gives something with a glad heart. These are his words. These people have no staves or spears nor any other arms, nor have the others throughout the island, which I estimate to be very large. They are as naked as their mothers bore them, women and men alike, for in the other lands of Juana and the other islands the women wore a cotton garment in front of them with which they cover their genitals, somewhat like a pair of men's drawers, especially when they reach the age of twelve, but here neither young nor old women wear them. And in the other places all the men made their wives hide from the Christians out of jealousy, but not here. And there are some very shapely women and they were the first to come and give thanks to heaven, and bring everything they need, especially things to eat, bread made from ajes, and chufa,166 and five or six kinds of fruit, which the Admiral ordered to be dried and brought back to the Monarchs. He says that the women from the other parts did the same before hiding themselves away. Everywhere the Admiral ordered all his men to be careful not to offend anyone in any way, and to take nothing from them against their will, and so they paid for everything they received from them. Finally, the Admiral says that he cannot believe that anyone has seen such good-hearted people and so ready to give, and so timid that they did their utmost to give the Christians everything they had, and when they Christians arrived they ran to bring them everything. Later the Admiral sent six Christians to the village to see what it was like, and they paid them all the respect they could or knew how to and gave them everything they had, because there was no doubt that they believed that the Admiral and all his men had come from heaven. The Indians whom the Admiral had brought with him from the other islands believed the same, although he had already told them what they must believe. After the six Christians had left, some people in canoes came to ask the Admiral on behalf of a chieftain to go to his village when he left there. Canoe is a boat in which they travel, and some of them are large and others small. Seeing that that chief's village was on the way on a point of land and that he was waiting for the Admiral with many men, he went there. And before he set out so many people came down to the beach that it was frightening, men and women and children shouting to him not to go but to stay with them. The messengers of the other chief who had come to invite him were waiting with their canoes to make sure that he did not leave without going to see the chieftain. And he did so, and when the Admiral arrived at the place at which the chief was awaiting him with many things to eat, he ordered all his people to sit down. He ordered them to take the food to the boats where the Admiral was, close to the shore. And when he saw that the Admiral had accepted what they had taken to him, all or most of the Indians ran off to the village which must have been nearby to bring him more food and parrots and other things they had, with such a generous heart that it was marvellous. The Admiral gave them glass beads and brass rings and hawks' bells, not because they asked for anything, but because it seemed to him to be the right thing to do, and above all (says the Admiral) because he holds them to be Christians already, and subjects of the Monarchs of Castile, more so even than the people of Castile, and he says that the only thing needed is to know the language and give them orders, because whatever they are ordered they will do without demur. The Admiral left there to go back to the ships and the Indians, men and women and children alike, shouted that the Christians should not go and that they should stay with them. After they had left, canoes full of Indians came after them to the ship, and he had them treated with great respect and given something to eat and other things they took with them. Another chieftain had also previously come from the west, and many people even swam out, and the ship was a good half league from the shore. The chieftain I mentioned had gone back; I sent some men to see him and ask him about these islands; he received them very well and took them with him to his village to give them some large pieces of gold, and they reached a large river which the Indians swam across; the Christians could not, and so turned back. In the whole of this area there are very high mountains which seem to reach to the sky, so that the mountain of Tenerife seems nothing in comparison with them in height or in beauty, and they are all green, covered in groves of trees, so that it is a thing of wonder.167 Between them there are delightful plains168 and at the end of this harbour to the S there is a plain so extensive that the eyes cannot see to the end; there are no mountains to interrupt it and it seems that it must be fifteen or twenty leagues long. Across it flows a river and it is all inhabited and cultivated and is as green at the moment as if it were in Castile in May or June, although the nights are fourteen hours long and the land is so far north. Thus, this harbour is very good for whatever wind might blow, sheltered and deep, and inhabited throughout by very good and gentle people without weapons, good or bad, and any ship can lie in it without fear that other ships might come in the night and attack them. Because, although the mouth may be good and wide, more than two leagues, it is closed off by reefs which can scarcely be seen above water, except for a very narrow entrance in this reef which looks exactly as if it had been made by hand leaving a door open just wide enough for ships to enter. At the mouth it is seven fathoms deep up to the edge of a flat islet which has a beach and trees at its foot; the entrance is on the western side and a ship can come close enough to put its flank against the rock without fear. To the NW there are three islands and a great river a league from the end of this harbour. It is the best in the world; he gave it the name Puerto de la Mar de Santo Tom᳠because today was his day. He called it 'sea' on account of its great size.

Saturday 22 December

At day break he set sail to proceed on his way in search of the islands which the Indians told him had much gold, and some which, they said, had more gold than earth. The weather was not favourable and he had to turn back and anchor, and he sent the boat to do some fishing with the net. The chieftain of that land,169 who had a village nearby, sent a large canoe full of people, including one of his principal servants, to ask the Admiral to go with the ships to his land and he would give him everything he had. He sent with him a belt which instead of a pouch had a mask with two large ears, and the tongue and mouth, of beaten gold. And since these people have such generous hearts that they give whatever is asked of them with the best will in the world, and since they think that anyone asking for something is doing them a great honour, so says the Admiral, they came up to the boat and gave the belt to a ship's boy, and came alongside the ship in their canoe to deliver their message. A good part of the day passed before he could understand them; neither could the Indians he had with him understand them, since they have somewhat different words for the names of things.170 At length he managed to understand their invitation by signs. He decided to leave for that place on Sunday, although he used not to leave harbour on a Sunday, purely out of devotion and not from any superstition; but in the hope (he says) that those people will be Christians, on account of the good will they show, and subjects of the Monarchs of Castile as he holds them already to be, and so that they will serve them devotedly he wishes to do everything he can to please them. Before he set out today he sent six men to a very large village three leagues away to the W, because on the previous day the chief came to the Admiral and said that he had some pieces of gold. When the Christians arrived there, he took the Admiral's secretary171 by the hand - he was one of those the Admiral sent to prevent the others from doing anything unworthy to the Indians, because the Indians were so generous and the Spaniards so grasping and undisciplined that they were not satisfied that the Indians gave them whatever they wanted for the end of a lace or even a piece of glass or earthenware and other things that were worth nothing, but wanted to take everything without giving them anything, which the Admiral always forbade, although many of the things they gave the Christians were of little value except the gold; but the Admiral, considering the generous hearts of the Indians, who would give a piece of gold for six glass beads, for this reason ordered that nothing should be accepted from them without something being given in payment. So the chief took the secretary by the hand and led him to his house accompanied by all the people from the village, which was very large, and he ordered them to be given food and all the Indians brought them articles of cotton, spun or woven and wound into balls. Later in the afternoon, the chief gave them three very fat geese and some small pieces of gold, and a large number of people came with them and carried all the things which they had bartered for, and they argued among themselves for the chance to carry the Christians on their backs, which they did across some rivers and muddy places. The Admiral ordered the chief to be given some things, and he and all his people were very contented, truly believing that they had come from heaven, and they held themselves fortunate to have seen the Christians. On this day more than one hundred and twenty canoes came to the ships, all full of people and each person bringing something, especially some of their bread and fish, and water in little earthenware pots, and seeds which are good spices. They put some grain in a dish of water and drink it, and the Indians the Admiral had with him said that it was very good for the health.172

Sunday 23 December

For lack of wind he could not leave with the ships for the land of that chief who had sent his men to invite him; but with the three messengers who were waiting there he sent the boats with some men and the secretary. While they were away, he sent two of the Indians he had with him to the neighbouring villages, near the ships' anchorage, and they returned to the flagship with a chief and with news that there was a great quantity of gold on that island of Española, and that people came there from other places to buy it, and they told him that he would find there as much as he wished. Others came who confirmed that there was much gold there, and showed him the method they used to collect it. The Admiral understood all this with difficulty; but he was already certain that in that region there was a very great quantity of it and that, once he had found the place where it was collected, there would be a great fortune to be had at no cost, as he imagined. And he says again that there must be a lot of it, because in three days since he had been in that harbour, he had acquired substantial pieces of gold, and he cannot believe that they should bring it from another land. May Our Lord who has everything in his hands come to my aid and give me whatever may be in his service. These are the words of the Admiral. He says that he believes that at that hour more than one thousand people had come to the ship, and that they all brought some of their possessions and before they come within half a crossbow-shot of the ship, they get up in their canoes and take what they bring in their hands, saying: 'Take, take'. He also believes that more than five hundred swam to the ship because they did not have canoes although it was anchored nearly a league from shore. He judged that five chiefs and sons of chiefs had come with all their household, women and children, to see the Christians. He ordered something to be given to all of them because he says that it was a good investment, and says: May Our Lord take pity and guide me that I may find this gold, that is, the mine, for I have many here who say that they know of it. These are his words. At night the boats returned and said that it was a long way to where they had returned from and that at Monte Caribatán173 they found many canoes with very many people coming to see the Admiral and the Christians from the place where they were heading. And he was certain that if he could be in that harbour for the feast of the Nativity, all the people of that island, which he now thinks is larger than England, would come to see them. They all returned with the Christians to the village which he says they declared to be the largest and with the most organised street-plan of any they had previously found. He says it is almost three leagues to the SE of Punta Santa.174 And as the canoes can be rowed at a good speed, they went ahead to tell the 'cacique', as they called him there. Until then the Admiral had not been able to understand whether by this they mean 'king' or 'governor'. They also use another word for lord, 'nitayno'. He did not know if they used it for 'nobleman' or 'governor' or 'judge'.175 Eventually the cacique came to them and all the townspeople gathered together in the square which was swept very clean, and there were more than two thousand of them. This king did great honour to the men from the ships, and the common people all brought them something to eat and drink. Afterwards, the king gave each of them some cotton cloths which the women wear, and parrots for the Admiral, and some pieces of gold; the inhabitants also gave some of the same cloth and other things from their houses to the sailors, in return for any little thing they gave them. From the way they received these trifles it seemed that they valued them as holy relics. In the late afternoon, when they wished to leave, the king asked them to wait until the next day, as did all the people. When it was clear that they were determined to return, they came with them a good deal of the way, to the boats which were waiting at the entrance to the river, carrying on their shoulders what the cacique and the others had given them.

Monday 24 December

Before sunrise he weighed anchor with the wind off the land. Among the many Indians who had come to the ship yesterday and who had given them indications that there was much gold on that island, and had named places where they collected it, he saw one who was more amicably disposed or more inclined to speak to him, and he paid him the compliment of asking him to go with him and show him the gold mines. This man brought another companion or relative with him, and, among the other places they named where gold was collected, they spoke of Cipango, which they call Cibao.176 And they declare that there is a great quantity of gold there and that the cacique carries banners of beaten gold, but it is very far to the east. At this point the Admiral says the following words to the Monarchs: Your Highnesses may believe that in the whole world there can be no better or more docile people. Your Highnesses should be very pleased because in due course you will make them Christians and will have taught them the good customs of your kingdoms, for there can be no better people or land, and in such quantity that I do not know how to describe it. For I have spoken in superlative terms of the people and the land of Juana which they call Cuba, but there is as much difference between those people and that land and all of this as there is between day and night. Nor do I believe that anyone else who had seen this would have done or said less than what I have said, and I say that the things here and the great peoples of this island of Española, as I have called it, and which they call Bohío, are truly marvellous. They all have a most exceptionally charming manner and are softly spoken, not like the others who seem to threaten when they speak; and they are of good stature, both men and women, and not black. It is true that they all paint themselves, some black and others another colour, mostly red. I have established that they do it because of the sun, so that it does not do them so much harm, and their houses and villages are so beautiful, and all well-regulated, with a kind of judge or overlord; and they all obey him marvellously. All these chieftains are of few words, and very good manners, and their way of governing is usually by gestures of the hand which are marvellously well understood. These are all the Admiral's words. Anyone wishing to enter the sea of Santo Tomás should station himself a good league above the mouth of the entrance by a flat island which is in the centre, which he named Amiga,177 and should steer for that. And after arriving within a stone's throw of it, he should pass to the W, leaving it to the E, and should not pass it on the other side because there is a very large reef to the W and even in the sea beyond it there are three shoals and this reef stretches to within a lombard-shot of Amiga. He will be able to pass between them and will find a minimum depth of seven fathoms and gravel beneath. Inside he will find a harbour for all the ships in the world and they may lie unmoored. There is another reef and shoals from the E towards the island of Amiga and they are very large and extend far out into the sea reaching almost within two leagues of the cape; but among them there seemed to be an entrance two lombard shots away from Amiga, and at the foot of Monte Caribatán to the W there is a very good, large harbour.

Tuesday 25 December, Christmas Day

Sailing yesterday with little wind from the sea of Santo Tomás to the Punta Santa a league off which he stood until after the first quarter, which would be at eleven o'clock at night, he decided to get some sleep because he had not slept for two days and a night. Although it was calm, the sailor who was steering the ship decided to go to sleep and left the tiller to a young ship's boy, which the Admiral had always strictly forbidden throughout the voyage, whether it was windy or calm; that is, they should not allow the boys to steer. The Admiral felt safe from sandbanks and rocks because on Sunday, when he sent the boats to that chief, they had passed a good three and a half leagues to the E of Punta Santa, and the sailors had seen the whole coast and the shoals from Punta Santa to the ESE for a good three leagues, and they saw where it was possible to pass; this was something he had not done on the whole of this voyage. Our Lord willed that at twelve o'clock at night, seeing that the Admiral had gone to bed to rest and that it was dead calm and the sea like water in a bowl, they all lay down to sleep, and the rudder was left in the hands of that boy, and the currents which were running took the ship on to one of those banks. Although it was night-time the sea sounded against them so that they could be heard and seen a good league away, and it went aground so gently that it was hardly noticed.178 The boy who felt the rudder and heard the sound of the sea gave a shout, at which the Admiral came out, and happened so quickly that no one had yet realised that they were aground. Then the Master,179 whose watch it was, came out and the Admiral told him and the others to launch the boat they carried astern, and take an anchor and drop it astern of the ship, and he and many others jumped into the boat, and the Admiral thought that they were doing what he had ordered; they were concerned only to escape to the caravel which stood half a league off to windward. The caravel with every good reason would not take them aboard and so they returned to the flagship; but the caravel's boat got to her first. When the Admiral saw that they were fleeing and that they were his crew and that the tide was ebbing and that the ship was broadside on to the sea, seeing no other remedy, he ordered the mast to be cut down and everything they could to be jettisoned from the ship to see if they could get her refloated; and as the waters were still receding, she could not be saved, and she settled on her side, broadside on to the sea, although there was little or no sea. And her seams opened though she stayed in one piece. The Admiral went to the caravel to put the ship's crew safely on the caravel, and as there was now a light breeze off the land, and much of the night still left, and they did not know how far the banks extended, he stood off until daybreak, and then went inside the reef to the flagship. First of all he had sent the boat ashore with Diego de Arana, from Córdoba, the bailiff of the fleet, and Pero Gutiérrez, chamberlain in of the royal household, to inform the chieftain who had sent the invitation on Saturday to take the ships to his harbour and whose town was a matter of a league and a half beyond the sandbank. As soon as he heard the news they say that he wept, and he sent all his people from the town with many very large canoes to offload the ship. This was done and everything was offloaded from the holds in a very short space of time, so great was the expeditiousness and diligence that the king displayed. He in person, with his brothers and family, worked diligently both on the ship and on safeguarding what was taken off so that everything would be fully secure. From time to time he sent one of his relatives weeping to the Admiral to console him, saying that they should not be upset or distressed because he would give him everything he had. The Admiral assures the Monarchs that nowhere in Castile would such good care have been taken about everything that not a lace was missing. He ordered everything to be put next to the houses while some which he wanted to make available were emptied and everything could be put there and safeguarded. He ordered armed men to be placed around everything and to guard it all night. He and all his people were crying; they are (says the Admiral) so loving a people and so lacking in cupidity and so willing to do anything, that I assure Your Highnesses that I believe that there are no better people in the world, and no better land. They love their neighbours as themselves, and have the softest speech in the world, and are docile and always laughing. They go naked, men and women, as their mothers bore them. But Your Highnesses may believe that their dealings with each other are very good, and the king has a most marvellous bearing and such a sober manner that it is a pleasure to see it all, and their memory, and they want to see everything and ask what it is and what it is for. The Admiral says all this in these words.

Wednesday 26 December

Today at sunrise the king of that land who was in that village came to the caravel Niña where the Admiral was and almost in tears told him not to be upset because he would give him everything he had, and that he had given the Christians on shore two very large houses and that he would give them more if necessary, and as many canoes as could load and unload the ship and put ashore as many men as he wished; and that he had done so yesterday, without a crumb of bread or anything else being taken, so trustworthy are they (says the Admiral) and respectful of other people's property; and that king was even more honest than the others. While the Admiral was talking with him, another canoe came from another village carrying certain pieces of gold which they wanted to give for a hawk's bell, for they desired nothing so much as hawks' bells, and the canoe scarcely reached the shore before they called out and showed the pieces of gold, saying "chuq chuque", meaning "hawks' bells"; they nearly go mad over them. Having seen this, and with the canoes from the other villages about to leave, they called the Admiral and asked him to have a hawk's bell kept for them until the following day, because they would bring four pieces of gold as large as a hand. The Admiral was pleased to hear this, and afterwards a sailor returning from the shore told the Admiral that it was amazing to see the pieces of gold which the Christians on shore were bartering for nothing; for a shoe-lace they were giving pieces which would be worth more than two castellanos, and that this was nothing to what it would be like within a month. The king was very pleased to see the Admiral happy, and understood that he wanted much gold, and told him by signs that he knew where there was a very great deal nearby, and that he should be of good heart because he would give him as much gold as he wished. The Admiral says that he gave him information about it and told him in particular that there was so much gold in Cipango, which they called Cibao, that they attach no value to it at all and that he would bring some of it even though there was much more on that island of Española, which they call Bohío, and in that province of Caribata. The king ate on board the caravel with the Admiral, and afterwards went ashore with him, where he did the Admiral great honour, and gave him a meal of two or three types of ajes and shrimps and game and other kinds of food which they had, and some of their bread which they call cassava. Then he took him to see some groves of trees near the houses, and a good thousand people, all naked, went with him. The chief now wore the tunic and gloves which the Admiral had given him, and was more excited by the gloves than by anything else he had given him. From his eating habits, his decency and delightful cleanliness, he showed clearly that he was of good birth. After eating, for they remained at table for a fair while, they brought certain herbs which he thoroughly rubbed into his hands; the Admiral thought that he did so to soften them, and they gave him water for his hands. After they had finished eating, he took the Admiral to the beach and the Admiral sent for a Turkish bow and a handful of arrows, and the Admiral had one of his men who was skilled in archery shoot some arrows; and the chief thought it was wonderful since he does not know what weapons are as they neither possess or use them; he says, however, that what started it all was some talk about the people from Caniba whom they call Caribs and who come to capture them and carry bows and arrows without iron tips, for in all those lands there was no knowledge of iron or steel nor of any other metal except gold and copper, although the Admiral had only seen a little copper. The Admiral told him by signs that the Monarchs of Castile would order the Caribs to be destroyed and brought to them with their hands tied. The Admiral ordered a lombard and a musket to be fired, and seeing the effect of their force and the extent to which they penetrated, he was amazed. And when his people heard the shots they all fell to the ground. They brought the Admiral a great mask which had large pieces of gold in the ears and eyes and in other places, which they gave him, together with other gold ornaments, which the king himself placed on the Admiral's head and neck; and he also gave many ornaments to other Christians who were with him. The Admiral took great pleasure and consolation from these things which he saw, and the anguish and pain he had suffered from the loss of the flagship was mitigated, and he knew that Our Lord had caused the ship to run aground there so that he might establish a settlement.180 So many things came to hand (he says) that in truth it was not a disaster but a great piece of good fortune. Because it is certain (he says) that if I had not run aground I would have kept out to sea without anchoring in this place; because it is tucked away inside a great bay with two or more sandbanks. Nor would I have left men here on this voyage, and if I had wanted to leave them I could not have provided them with such thorough preparation, nor so much equipment or supplies or materials for a fort. And it is true that many of the men with me had pleaded for permission to stay. Now I have ordered a tower and fortress to be built, all in good order, with a large moat, not that I think this is needed for these Indians, (because I am sure that with these men I have with me I could subdue the whole of this island, which I believe is larger than Portugal and with twice the population) and they are naked, unarmed and timid beyond redress. But it is right that this tower should be built as it should, so that the Indians, although so far away from Your Highnesses, will realise the skill of Your Highnesses' subjects and see what they can do, so that with love and fear they will obey you. And so they will have planks from which to build the whole fortress and supplies of bread and wine for more than a year, and seed to sow, and the ship's boat, and a caulker and a carpenter and a gunner and a cooper, and many among those men who desire to serve Your Highnesses and to please me by finding the mine where the gold is collected. Thus everything has happened so that this beginning can be made, particu-larly since, when the ship went aground, it was so gently that no one felt it and there was neither wave nor wind. All this the Admiral says. And he adds more to show that it was good fortune and the determined will of God that the ship should run aground there so that he should leave men behind, and that if it were not for the treachery of the Master and the crew who were all or mostly from his region not wanting to drop the anchor astern to pull off the ship as the Admiral had ordered, the ship would have been saved and he would not have learned about the land (he says) all that he learned in those days that he was there, and will learn from those whom he intended to leave there, because it was always his intention to explore and not stop anywhere more than a day, unless through lack of wind, because he says that the ship was very heavy and not suited to exploration. And (he says) the people of Palos caused him to take such a ship by not fulfilling the promise they had made to the King and Queen: to give him suitable ships for that expedition, and they did not do so. The Admiral concludes by saying that not a shoe-lace was lost from what was on the ship, nor a plank nor a nail, because she remained as sound as when she left, except that she was somewhat cut and split in order to get at the barrels and the cargo which they put ashore and kept under guard as has been said. And he says that he hopes to God that, on the return journey which he intended to make from Castile, he would find a barrel of gold which those he was to leave behind would have bartered for, and that they would have found the gold mine and the spices; and in such quantity that the Monarchs would be able in three years to undertake preparations for the conquest of the Holy Land, just as (he says) it was my declared intention to Your Highnesses that the whole of the profit from this my enterprise should be spent on the conquest of Jerusalem and Your Highnesses laughed and said you were pleased and that, even without this expedition, that was your intention. These are the Admiral's words.

Thursday 27 December

At sunrise the king of that land came to the caravel and told the Admiral that he had sent for gold, and that he wanted to cover him with gold before he left, but that he would rather he did not leave, and the king ate with the Admiral together with a brother of his and another close relative, both of whom told him that they wanted to go with him to Castile. Meanwhile, there came news that the caravel Pinta was in a river at the end of that island;181 the cacique immediately dispatched a canoe, because he was so wonderfully fond of the Admiral, and the Admiral sent a sailor off in it. The Admiral was now preparing with all possible speed for the return to Castile.

Friday 28 December

In order to direct and hasten the completion of the fortress, and to brief the men who were to remain, the Admiral went ashore and it appeared to him that the king had seen him in the boat, and pretending not to have done so, quickly went into his house and sent a brother of his to receive the Admiral. And he took him to one of the houses which he had given to the Admiral's men, which was the biggest and best in that town. In it they had prepared a platform made from the inner bark of the palm tree, where they bade him sit down. Then the brother sent a page to tell the king that the Admiral was there, as if the king did not know that he had come, although the Admiral believed that he was pretending so that he could do him much greater honour. When the page told him, as he says, the king came running towards the Admiral, and put a great plate of gold which he was carrying around his neck. He stayed there with him until the afternoon, deciding what needed to be done.

Saturday 29 December

At sunrise one of the king's nephews came to the caravel, very young and intelligent and full of beans (as the Admiral puts it). And as he always strove to find out where the gold came from, he asked everyone, for he could now understand something by signs; and so this young man told him that four days' journey away to the east there was an island called Guarionex, and others called Macorix, and Mayonic and Fuma and Cibao and Coroay,182 where there was gold without end. The Admiral wrote the names down, and when one of the king's brothers found out what he had told him, he was very angry with him, as far as the Admiral could tell. The Admiral had understood at other times that the king was trying to prevent him from finding out where the gold came from so that he would not go and barter or buy elsewhere. But there is so much of it and in so many places, and on this island of Española itself (says the Admiral), that it is amazing. After dark, the king sent him a great mask of gold with a request for a jug and bowl; the Admiral believed that he wanted them to have another set made, and so he sent them to him.

Sunday 30 December

The Admiral went ashore to eat and arrived just as five kings, who were subjects of this one called Guacanagarí, had arrived, all with their crowns indicating their high rank, and the Admiral tells the Monarchs that Their Highnesses would have been very pleased at their bearing. On reaching the shore, the king came to meet the Admiral and took him by the arm to the same house as yesterday where he had a dais and chairs on which the Admiral sat and then he took off his crown and put it on the Admiral's head, and the Admiral took off a collar of good bloodstones183 and very beautiful beads of very fine colours which looked good in every way, and put it around the king's neck, and took off a cloak of fine scarlet cloth which he had worn that day, and put it on him, and sent for some coloured boots which he made him put on, and placed on his finger a large silver ring, because they said that they saw a sailor with a silver jewel and he had tried hard to obtain it. He was very happy and content and two of the kings who were with him came to where the Admiral was beside him and brought the Admiral two large plates of gold, one each. At which there came an Indian saying that two days before he had left the caravel Pinta in a harbour to the east. The Admiral returned to the caravel and Vicente Yáñez, her captain, declared that he had seen rhubarb,184 and that there was some on the island of Amiga which is in the entrance to the Mar de Santo Tomás six leagues away, and that he had recognized the stems and root. They say that rhubarb sends out small branches above ground and bears fruits like green mulberries, almost dry, and the stem near the root is yellow and as fine as the best possible colour for painting, and under the soil the root grows like a large pear.

Monday 31 December

This day was spent in getting water and wood fetched for the departure for Spain, to inform the Monarchs quickly so that they could send ships to discover what remained to be discovered, because now the enterprise seemed so great and of such importance that it is a marvel (said the Admiral). And he says that he did not wish to leave until he had seen all that land to the east and sailed the whole coast (he says) to be sure also of the route from Castile to there, so as to bring cattle and other things. But since he had been left with only one ship, it did not seem to him sensible to risk the dangers which exploration might entail. And he complained that all those problems and difficulties resulted from the caravel Pinta having left him.

Tuesday 1 January

At midnight he sent the boat to the island of Amiga to fetch the rhubarb. It returned at vespers with a large basketful; they did not bring more because they had no spade for digging; he took it as a sample for the Monarchs. The king of that land had sent, he says, many canoes for gold. The canoe that went to enquire after the Pinta returned, together with the sailor, but they did not find her. The sailor said that twenty leagues from there they had seen a chief with two large plates of gold on his head, and as soon as the Indians in the canoe spoke to him he took them off; he also saw other people with much gold. The Admiral believed that the king Guacanagarí have forbidden anyone to sell gold to the Christians, so that it would all pass through his hands. But he had learned of the places where, as he said the day before yesterday,185 there was so much gold that they attach no value to it at all. Also, the spices they eat (says the Admiral) are many and worth more than pepper and allspice. He had ordered those whom he wanted to leave behind that they should obtain as much as they could.

Wednesday 2 January

In the morning he went ashore to take his leave of Guacanagarí, and to set out in the name of the Lord, and he gave him one of his shirts. He also showed him the power of the lombards and the effect they produced. For this purpose, and arising out of a conversation about the Caribs with whom they are at war, he ordered a lombard to be loaded and fired at the side of the flagship which was aground. And he saw the range of the lombard and how the shot passed through the side of the ship and went into the sea some way beyond. He also had some men from the ships arm themselves and stage a mock battle, telling the cacique that he should not be afraid of the Caribs even if they did come. The Admiral says that he did all this so that the king would treat the Christians he was leaving behind as friends, and to inspire fear of them. The Admiral took him and the others who were with him to eat with the Admiral at the house in which he was lodging. The Admiral entrusted him to Diego de Arana, Pedro Gutiérrez and Rodrigo de Escobedo whom he left in joint charge of the men he was leaving behind, so that everything would be well administered in the service of God and Their Highnesses. The cacique showed the Admiral great affection and great regret at his leaving, particularly when he saw him going to embark. One of the king's counsellors told that Admiral that he had ordered a statue of pure gold to be made, as large as the Admiral himself, and that it would be brought in ten days' time. The Admiral embarked with the intention of leaving directly but the wind did not allow him to do so. He left on that island, which he says the Indians called Bohío, thirty-nine men with the fort and, he says, they were very friendly with king Guacanagarí. In charge of them were Diego de Arana from Córdoba, Pedro Gutiérrez the King's chamberlain and servant of the chief steward, and Rodrigo de Escobedo from Segovia, nephew of Fr. Rodrigo Pérez, entrusted with all the powers given to him by the Monarchs. He left them all the cargo which the Monarchs ordered to be bought for trading, of which there was a substantial amount, so that they could exchange and barter it for gold, along with everything from the flagship. He also left them a year's supply of biscuit and wine and much artillery, and the ship's boat so that, being sailors as most of them were, they could go when the time seemed right, in search of the gold mine, so that on his return the Admiral would find much gold, and a place where they could establish a settlement, because that harbour was not to his liking, especially as the gold they brought there came, as he says, from the east, and the further east they went the nearer they were to Spain. He also left them seed to sow and his officials, the secretary and the bailiff, and among the company a ship's carpenter and caulker and a good gunner with a knowledge of machinery and a cooper and a doctor, and a tailor, all of whom he says were seamen.

Thursday 3 January

He did not set out today because he says that last night three of the remaining Indians he had brought from the islands came to him and said that the others and their wives would come at sunrise.186 Moreover, the sea was rather rough and the boat could not go to the shore; he decided to leave tomorrow, the grace of God permitting. He said that if he had had the caravel Pinta with him, he would certainly have taken back a barrel of gold, because he could have risked following the coasts of these islands, which he dare not do alone in case any accident should befall him and prevent his return to Castile with the news which he had to give to the Monarchs of all the things that he had found. And if he were certain that the caravel Pinta would arrive safely in Spain under Martín Alonso Pinzón's command, he said that he would not abandon what he wished to do. But because he had no news of him, and because, if he were to go, he could lie to the Monarchs so that they would not punish him as he deserved for all the harm he had done and was still doing in having gone off without permission and preventing all the benefits and knowledge which could be had at once, says the Admiral, he was confident that Our Lord would give him fair weather and everything could be put right.

Friday 4 January

At sunrise he weighed anchor with a light wind on a NW course; the boat went ahead of him to find a way out through the shoals by a wider channel than that through which he entered. This channel and others are fine for approaching the town of Navidad. The least depth he found throughout was from three to nine fathoms. These two channels run from NW to SE through the large shoals that stretch from Cabo Santo187 to the Cabo de Sierpe,188 more than six leagues, and a good three leagues189 into the sea. A league above Cabo Santo the bottom is no more than eight fathoms, and inside that cape to the E there are many shoals and channels by which to pass through them. All that coast runs NW to SE and is all beach and the terrain is very flat for a good four leagues inland. Then there are very high mountains, and it is all thickly populated with large villages and good people, to judge from their treatment of the Christians. Thus he sailed E on course for a very high hill which looks almost like an island but is not because it is joined to the land by a very low-lying isthmus. This hill has the shape of a very beautiful pavilion and he named it Monte Cristo. It is about 18 leagues due E of Cabo Santo. Because the wind was very light he could not get within six leagues of Monte Cristo that day. He found four very low sandy islets190 with a sandbank which stretched far to the NW and to the SE. Inside there is a large gulf191 which runs a good twenty leagues SE from the hill, which must be all very shallow and with many banks. Inside the gulf the whole coast has many rivers, none of them navigable, although that sailor whom the Admiral sent in the canoe to seek news of the Pinta said that he had seen a river which ships could enter.192 The Admiral anchored six leagues from Monte Cristo in nineteen fathoms, having put out to sea in order to steer clear of the many shoals and sandbanks in that area, and there he stayed that night. The Admiral advises that anyone wanting to go to the town of Navidad should first sight Monte Cristo and stay two leagues offshore, etc., but since the land is well known up there, I will not write it here. He concludes that Cipango was on that island, and that there is much gold and spices and mastic and rhubarb.

Saturday 5 January

As the sun was about to rise he set sail with a land breeze; then the wind turned E and he saw that to the SSE of Monte Cristo, between it and an islet, there seemed to be a good anchorage for that night. He steered ESE and then SSE for a good six leagues towards Monte Cristo and after covering six leagues he found a depth of seventeen fathoms, very clear, and he sailed three leagues with the same depth. Then it decreased to twelve fathoms as far as the head of Monte Cristo, and one league beyond the head he found nine fathoms, all very clear and with fine sand. He followed this course until he was between Monte Cristo and the islet193 where he found three and a half fathoms at low tide and an exceptional harbour where he anchored. He took the boat to the islet where he found a fire and signs that fishermen had been there. He saw there a sort of quarry of many coloured stones of various hues, all shaped by nature in a very beautiful way, suitable, he says, for church buildings or other official buildings, and like those he found on the islet of San Salvador. He also found on this islet many mastic trees.194 He says that this Monte Cristo is very beautiful and high and accessible with a very pretty shape, and all the land around it is low, making a very lovely plain, and the hill itself is high so that from a distance it appears to be an island cut off from any other land. 24 miles beyond this hill to the E he saw a cape which he named Cabo del Bezerro195 and, between them both, shoals and sandbanks extend into the sea for two leagues, although it seemed to him that there were channels among them which would allow entry; but it had best be by day with the boat going ahead to take soundings. Four leagues E of Monte Cristo towards Cabo del Bezerro it is all beach and very beautiful lowland and the rest is very high land with large mountains with beautifully cultivated slopes and inland a mountain range runs from NW to SE, the most beautiful he had seen and just like the sierra in Córdoba. In the far distance there also appear to be very high mountains to the S and SE and very large valleys, very green and very beautiful and with many streams of water; all of this is so pleasant that he did not believe he was exaggerating by a thousandth part. Then he saw to the E of the mountain some land which looked like another hill just like Monte Cristo in size and beauty. From there E by N to the NE the land is not so high and must extend for a good hundred miles, or thereabouts.

Sunday 6 January

That harbour is sheltered from all winds except from the N and NW which, he says, do not prevail in that land;196 and it is possible to shelter even from these behind the islet. The depth is from three to four fathoms. At sunrise he set sail to go along the coast which stretched to the east. It is necessary, however, to look out for many reefs and sandbanks along that coast; although it is true that inside them there are good harbours and good approaches through their channels. After midday a strong easterly wind blew, and he ordered a sailor to climb to the top of the mast to look out for shallows, and he saw the caravel Pinta approaching from the E, and she reached the Admiral, and as there was nowhere to anchor because the water was shallow, the Admiral returned to Monte Cristi, undoing the ten leagues he had sailed, and the Pinta went with him. Martín Alonso Pinzón came to the caravel Niña where the Admiral was and made his excuses, saying that he had become separated from him against his will, giving reasons; but the Admiral says that they were all untrue and that he had acted out of great pride and greed on the night that he had gone off and left him. And the Admiral says that he had no idea where he had got the arrogance and disloyalty with which he had treated him on that voyage. The Admiral decided to turn a blind eye, so as not to give Satan a chance to do his evil deeds by hindering the voyage as he had done up till then. One of the Indians whom the Admiral had entrusted to him together with others he carried on his caravel had told him that there was much gold on an island called Baneque, and as his ship was light and fast he decided to go off on his own, leaving the Admiral behind. But the Admiral decided to stay and coast the island of Juana and Española because it was all in the same easterly direction. After Martín Alonso went to the island of Baneque he says that he found no sign of gold there and came to the coast of Española, acting on information from other Indians who told him that there was a great quantity of gold on that island of Española which the Indians called called Bohío, and for this reason he came within fifteen leagues of the town of Navidad more than twenty days before; from which it seems that the reports which the Indians gave, and which king Guacanagarí had sent the canoe and the Admiral the sailor to investigate, were correct; and she must have gone by the time the canoe got there. And the Admiral says here that the caravel bartered for much gold, for they would give good pieces of gold, the size of two fingers and sometimes a hand, in exchange for a piece of leather thong, and Martín Alonso took half and the other half was divided among the men. The Admiral adds, address- ing the Monarchs: And so, Sovereign Princes, I realize that it was a miracle that Our Lord commanded that ship to remain here, because it is the best place on the whole island to make a settlement and the closest to the gold mines. He also says that he learned that on the other side of the island of Juana to the south there is another large island on which there is a much greater quantity of gold than on this one, so much so that they would collect nuggets larger than beans and on the island of Española the nuggets they collected from the mines were the size of grains of wheat. He says that that island was called Yamaye.197 The Admiral also says that he learned that to the E there was an island where there were only women,198 and he says that he heard this from many people. And that the island of Española or the other island of Yamaye were ten days by canoe from the mainland, which would be sixty or seventy leagues away, and that the people there wore clothes.

Monday 7 January

Today he had the caravel, which was leaking, pumped out and caulked; and the sailors went ashore to fetch firewood and he says that they found many mastic trees and aloe.

Tuesday 8 January

Because the wind blew strongly from the E and SE he did not set out today; he therefore ordered the caravel to be provisioned with water and firewood and everything necessary for the complete voyage. For although he wished to coast as much of that island of that island of as possible on his homeward course, because the men he had put in charge of the caravels, who were brothers, that is Martín Alonso Pinzón and Vicente Yáñez, and others who supported them in their arrogance and greed, believing that everything was already theirs, and not heeding the honour which the Admiral had done to them, had not obeyed nor were obeying his orders, but rather were doing and saying many unjust things against him, and Martín Alonso had left him from 21 November till 6 January without cause or reason except his own disobedience, all of which the Admiral had suffered in silence to bring his voyage to a successful conclusion, in order to be rid of such bad company on whom he says it is best to turn a blind eye even though they are a rabble and even though he says he had with him many good men, but now was not the time to worry about punishment, he decided to return home as fast as possible and delay no longer. He got into the boat and went to the river nearby,199 a league SSE of Monte Cristo where the sailors went to fetch water for the ship, and he found that the sand in the river mouth, which was wide and deep, was he says all full of gold, so much so that it was a wonder even though the grains were very fine. The Admiral believed that as it came down that river the gold was broken into pieces. He says, however, that in a small area he found many grains as large as lentils, but he says that there was a great deal of the smaller size.200 And because the tide was full and the salt water mingled with the fresh, he ordered them to go a stone's throw up-river in the boat; they filled the barrels from the boat and on returning to the caravel they found small pieces of gold caught in the hoops and the same in the hoops of the cask. The Admiral gave the river the name Río del Oro. It is very deep inside the entrance although the entrance itself is shallow and the mouth very wide; it is seventeen201 leagues from the town of Navidad. In between there are many other large rivers, three in particular which he believed must contain more gold than that one because they are larger, although this one is almost as large as the Guadalquivir at Córdoba and from them to the gold mines is less than twenty leagues.202 The Admiral also says that he did not want to take back any of the sand which contained so much gold, since their Highnesses had it all at their disposal and at the gate of their town of Navidad, but preferred to return at all speed to give them the news; and to be rid of the bad company he was keeping and whom he had always said were a rabble.

Wednesday 9 January

At midnight he set sail with a SE wind on a course ENE. He arrived at a point which he called Punta Roja203 which is sixty miles due E of Monte Cristo, and he anchored in the shelter of it that afternoon, about three hours before sunset. He dare not proceed at night because there were many reefs, at least not until they are charted, but afterwards they will be of use if there are channels through them as there must be and a good depth and a good anchorage, secure from all winds. The land from Monte Cristo to the place where he anchored is high and flat with very lovely fields flanked by very beautiful hills which run from E to W and are all cultivated and green and it is marvellous to see their beauty and they have many streams of water. In all this land there are many turtles some of which the sailors captured at Monte Cristi as they came ashore to lay their eggs, and they were the size of a large wooden shield. The previous day when the Admiral went to the Río del Oro, he said that he saw three sirens which rose high above the water but they were not as beautiful as they are depicted, and in some ways they had the face of a man. He said that he had seen some on other occasions in Guinea and the coast of Manegueta.204 He says that tonight he would set out in the name of Our Lord without further delay for any reason, as he had found what he was looking for and he wanted no more trouble with Martín Alonso until Their Highnesses knew the news of his voyage and what he has done. Then (he says) I will not suffer the deeds of evil men of little worth who presume to have their own way with scant regard for him who gave them that honour.

Thursday 10 January

He left his anchorage and at sunset reached a river to which he gave the name Río de Gracia205 three leagues to the SE. He anchored to the east of the river mouth which is a good anchorage; entering the river, there is a very narrow sand bank with only two fathoms of water; once inside it is a good safe harbour except that there are many shipworms. The caravel Pinta in which Martín Alonso sailed had been badly attacked by them because, he says, she was trading there for sixteen days and traded for much gold, which is what Martín Alonso wanted. Once he found out from the Indians that the Admiral was on the coast of that same island of Española and that he could not miss him, he came to meet him. And he says that he wanted the men to swear that they had only been there six days. But he says that his misdeeds were so manifest that he could not conceal them. He had (says the Admiral) made a rule that half the gold they traded for or obtained should be his. And when he went to leave he took four Indian men and two boys by force. The Admiral ordered them to be given clothes and put ashore so that they could return home. I did this (he says) in the interests of Your Highnesses, because these men and women are all Your Highnesses's subjects, particularly those of this island as of the others. But here, where Your Highnesses already have a settlement the people should be treated with honour and respect since on this island there is so much gold and good lands and spices.

Friday 11 January

At midnight he left the Re Gracia with the land breeze; he steered E to a cape which he called Belprado,206 a distance of four leagues, and from there to the SE is the mountain which he called Monte de Plata207 and he says it is eight leagues. From Cape Belprado E by S is the cape he called del Angel,208 eighteen leagues away; and between this cape and Monte de Plata there is a gulf and the best and most beautiful lands in the world, all beautiful high fields stretching well inland; then there is a very large and very beautiful sierra running E to W and at the foot of the hill there is a very good harbour forty fathoms deep at the entrance.209 And this hill is very high and beautiful and is all well populated. And the Admiral believed that there must be good rivers and much gold. From Cabo del Angel four leagues E by S there is a point which he called del Hierro,210 and four leagues in the same direction is a point which he called the Punta Seca.211 And six leagues beyond in the same direction is the cape he called Redondo;212 and from there to the east is the Cabo Francés,213 and to the east of this cape there is a large bay but it did not appear to him to have an anchorage. A league from there is the Cabo del Buen Tiempo;214 from this a good league S by E is a cape he called Tajado.215 To the south of this cape he saw another at a distance of what seemed to him to be fifteen leagues. Today he made good progress because the wind and the currents were with him. He did not dare to anchor for fear of shoals and so stood off all night.

Saturday 12 January

At the dawn watch he steered E with a fresh wind and proceeded on that course until daybreak during which time he made twenty miles and in the next two hours he made about another twenty-four miles. From there he saw land to the south at a distance of about 48 miles and made for it; he says that by keeping out to sea he made about 28 miles NNE that night. When he sighted land he named a cape he saw Cabo del Padre e Hijo216 because on the eastern end it has two rocky outcrops, one larger than the other. Then two leagues further E he saw a large and very beautiful inlet between two large mountains, and saw that it was a very fine large harbour with a very good entrance; but because it was very early in the morning and so as not to lose time, because for the most part the winds in that region are easterlies and at that time he had a NNW wind, he did not want to delay any longer. He followed his course E to a very high and very beautiful cape, all of jagged rock, to which he gave the name Cabo del Enamorado217 and which was 32 miles E of that harbour he called Puerto Sacro.218 Arriving at this cape, he discovered another, higher and more beautiful,219 all of rock and with a rounded top like Cape St Vincent in Portugal, and this was 12 miles E of the Enamorado. After he had come abreast of the Enamorado he saw between it and the other cape a huge bay three leagues wide,220 and in the middle there is a tiny little island, and there is a good depth of water right up to the shore. He anchored there in 12 fathoms; he sent the boat ashore for water and to see if they could make contact; but all the people fled. He anchored also to find out if all that land was part of Española, for he suspected that what he called a gulf might have made a separate island. He was amazed to find that the island of Española was so large.

Sunday 13 January

He did not leave this harbour because there was no land breeze with which to do so; he would have liked to go to a better harbour because that one was somewhat exposed, and because he wanted to see the conjunction of the Moon with the Sun and Mercury221 which was expected on the 17th of this month and the opposition of the Moon and the Sun with Jupiter, which is a cause of strong winds. He sent the boat ashore to a beautiful beach so that they could gather ajes to eat, and they found some men with bows and arrows, with whom they stopped to talk and with whom they traded two bows and many arrows, and asked one of them to go to talk to the Admiral on the caravel, and he came. He says he was very ugly to look at, more so than others he had seen. His face was all blackened with charcoal,222 although everywhere they are accustomed to paint their faces in various colours. His hair was very long and drawn back and tied behind and gathered in a small net of parrot feathers,223 and he was as naked as the others. The Admiral thought he must be one of the man-eating Caribs, and that the gulf he had seen yesterday divided the land and made a separate island. He asked him about the Caribs and the Indians pointed out some land nearby to the E which the Admiral says he saw yesterday before entering that bay, and the Indian told him that there was much gold there, and pointing to the poop of the caravel which was very large he said that there were pieces just as large. He called gold "tuob" and did not understand "caona" as they call it in the first part of the island, nor "nozay" as they call it in San Salvador and the other islands. On Española they call copper or low-grade gold "tuob". Of the island of Matinino224 the Indian said that it was entirely populated by women without men and that there is a great deal of "tuob", that is, gold or copper, and that it is further E than Carib. He also spoke of the island of Goanin225 where there is much "tuob". The Admiral says that he had information about these islands from many people days before. The Admiral further says that the people on the previous islands were very afraid of the Carib and some called them "Caniba", but "Carib" on Española, and that they must be a daring people for they roam these islands eating anyone they can capture. He says that he understood a few words and from them he says he gathers other things, and that the Indians he had with him understood more although they found the languages different due to the great distance between the lands. He ordered food to be given to the Indian and gave him pieces of green and red cloth and small glass beads, of which they are very fond, and sent him ashore again, and told him to bring gold if there was any, which the Admiral believed to be so from some trinkets the Indian had with him. When the boat reached the shore there were a good fifty-five men behind the trees, naked and with very long hair just like women wear in Castile. At the back of the head they wore bunches of parrots' and other birds' feathers, and each one carried a bow. The Indian landed and made the others lay down their bows and arrows and a piece of wood which is like a very heavy [club] which they carry instead of a sword. They then came to the boat and the sailors went ashore and began to trade for the bows and arrows and other weapons from them as the Admiral had ordered. Having sold two bows they did not wish to sell any more; instead they made ready to attack the Christians and capture them. They ran to pick up their bows and arrows where they had left them and came back with ropes in their hands, he says, to tie up the Christians. Seeing them running towards them, and being ready because the Admiral had always warned about this, the Christians attacked them and gave one Indian a great gash on the buttocks and wounded another in the chest with an arrow. When they saw from this that they could gain little even though there were only seven of the Christians and more than fifty of them, they ran off leaving their bows and arrows scattered about, and none remained behind. He says that the Christians would have killed many of them if the pilot who was in charge of them had not prevented it. The Christians then returned to the caravel in the boat and when the Admiral learned what had happened he said that in one sense he was sorry but in another not; because they will fear the Christians, because without doubt (he says) those people are, he says, evil-doers and he thought they were from the Carib and that they were man-eaters,226 and because if the boat he left for the thirty-nine men in the fort and town of Navidad should come that way, they will be afraid to do them any harm. And if they are not caribs they must at least be neighbours and have the same customs, and they are without fear, not like the others on the other islands who are cowardly beyond reason and unarmed. All this the Admiral says, and that he would like to take some of them back. He says they made many smoke signals as was the custom on that island of Española.

Monday 14 January

He wanted to send men out tonight to look for the houses of those Indians to capture some of them, believing them to be caribs, and because the wind was from the E and NE and the sea very rough; but at daybreak they saw many Indian people on shore, and the Admiral therefore sent out the boat with some well-armed men. The Indians then all came to the stern of the boat, especially the one who had come to the caravel the day before and to whom the Admiral had given the trinkets for barter. With him, he says, came a king who had given that Indian some beads to give to the sailors as a token of security and peace. This king got into the boat with three of his men and came to the caravel. The Admiral ordered them to be given biscuit and honey, and gave the king a red cap and beads and a piece of red cloth; to the others he also gave pieces of cloth, and the king said that the next day he would bring a mask of gold, saying that there was a great deal of gold there, and on Carib and Matinino also. Then he sent them ashore well pleased. The Admiral also says that the caravels were leaking badly at the keel and complains bitterly about the caulkers in Palos who caulked them very badly and who fled when they saw that the Admiral had noticed their defective work and intended to make them put it right. But in spite of the amount of water the caravels were taking in, he trusts that Our Lord who brought him will, out of pity and mercy, get him back again, for His High Majesty well knew how much trouble he had had before he could set out from Castile, for no one showed him any favour except Him, because He knew his heart, and after God, Their Highnesses; and everything else had been against him without reason. And he goes on : And they have been the reason why Your Highnesses' royal crown does not have a hundred million more in revenue than it has since I came to serve you, now seven years ago on 20 January this present month,227 plus the extra which would accrue from now on. But that all-powerful God will set everything to rights. These are his words.

Tuesday 15 January

He says that he wishes to depart today because there was no longer anything to be gained from remaining after those disagreements; he must mean the commotion with the Indians. He also says that today he has learned that the bulk of the gold was in the area of Their Highnesses' town of Navidad and that there was a great deal of copper on the island of Carib and on Matinino, although there would be difficulties on Carib because of those people who, he says, eat human flesh; from there he could see their island228 and had decided to go there, since it is on his route, and to go to Matinino which, he says, was inhabited entirely by women,229 without men, and see them both and take back some of the inhabitants. The Admiral sent the boat ashore and the king of that land had not come because, he says, the village was a long way off; but he sent his crown of gold as he had promised, and many other men came with cotton and with bread and ajes, and all with their bows and arrows. After everything had been traded, he says that four young men came to the caravel, and they appeared to the Admiral to give such a good account of all those islands that were to the E on the same route that the Admiral was to take, that he decided to take them to Castile with him. He says that they had no iron, and no other metal had been seen there, although in a few days it is not possible to learn much about a country, because of the difficulty of the language which the Admiral did not understand except by conjecture and because in a few days they could not understand what he meant. He says that the bows of those people were as large as those of France and England; the arrows are the same as the spears of the other peoples he had seen previously, and are made from the stalks of canes which have gone to seed, which are very straight and about a yard and a half or two yards long, and they fix in the end a piece of sharp stick about one and a half palms long and into this stick some insert a fish tooth, and some, the majority, put poison on it. They do not shoot them as in other areas, but in a peculiar way which cannot do much harm. There was a great deal of very fine, long cotton there and much mastic, and it seemed to him that the bows were made of yew and that there is gold and copper. There is also much 'ají' which is their pepper, some of which is worth more than pepper, and all the men eat it with everything and find it very healthy; fifty caravels a year could be loaded with it on Española. He says that he found a lot of seaweed in that bay, of the same kind as they found in the gulf when he was on his journey of discovery, and for this reason he believed that there were islands stretching due E from where he began to find them; because he is certain that that weed grows in shallow water near to land. And he says that if that is the case, these Indies were very close to the Canary Islands, and for this reason he thought they were less than four hundred leagues away.

Wednesday 16 January

Three hours before daybreak he left that gulf which he called the Golfo de las Flechas230 with the land breeze, and later with a W wind he steered E by N to go, he says, to the island of Carib where there lived the people of whom all those islands and lands were so afraid, because, he says, that with their innumerable canoes they roamed those seas and he says that they would eat anyone they could capture. He says that some of the four Indians he had taken yesterday in the Puerto de las Flechas showed him the course. After having sailed what he estimated to be 64 miles, the Indians indicated to him that the island in question would lie to the SE; he decided to take that route and ordered the sails trimmed, and after sailing two leagues, the wind got up fresh, ideal for returning to Spain. He noticed that the crew was beginning to get unhappy about leaving the direct route because both caravels were leaking badly and they could expect help from no one but God. He was forced to leave the route which he believed leads to the island, and returned to the direct route to Spain NE by E and sailed on for 48 miles, that is 12 leagues, till sunset. The Indians told him that on that route he would find the island of Matinino, which he says was inhabited by women without men. The Admiral would very much like to see it in order, he says, to take five or six of them back to the Monarchs; but he doubted that the Indians knew the course well, and he could not delay because of the danger from the water which the caravels were shipping; but he says that he was certain that they existed, and that at a certain time of the year the men came to them from the island of Carib, which he says was ten or twelve leagues away, and if they gave birth to a boy they sent him to the men's island, and if a girl, they kept her with them.231 The Admiral says that those two islands cannot be more than 15 or 20 leagues from his point of departure and he believed that they were to the SE and that the Indians did not know how to show him the bearing. After losing sight of the cape on Española which he named San Theramo,232 which lay sixteen leagues W, he sailed twelve leagues E by N. He had very good weather.

Thursday 17 January

Yesterday at sunset the wind fell somewhat; he sailed for about 14 half-hour sand-glasses or a little less until the end of the first quarter watch, and made about 4 miles an hour, which is 28 miles. Then the wind freshened and he sailed the whole of that watch, or ten glasses, and then another six until sunrise at eight miles an hour, and so in total he sailed about 84 miles, that is 21 leagues, NE by E, and by sunset he made about another forty-four miles, which is eleven leagues, E. A tern came to the caravel, and then another, and he saw a lot of weed of the kind that is found in the sea.

Friday 18 January

This night he steered E by S with little wind for forty miles, that is 10 leagues, and then SE by E for 30 miles, which is 7 and a half leagues, until sunrise. After sunrise he sailed all day with little wind ENE and NE and E, more or less, steering sometimes N and at others N by E or NNE; and so in all he believed that he must have sailed sixty miles, which is 15 leagues. Very little weed appeared on the sea but he says that yesterday and today the sea appeared to be thick with tunny fish and the Admiral believed that they must go from there to the tunny fisheries of the Duke of Conil and Cádiz.233 Judging by a [bird] called a frigate bird which flew around the caravel and then headed SSE the Admiral believed that there were some islands in the area. And to the ESE of Española he said there lay the islands of Carib and Matinino and many others.

Saturday 19 January

This night he sailed fifty-six miles N by E and 64 NE by N. After sunrise he steered NE with a fresh ESE wind and later NE by N, and he made about 84 miles, which is twenty-one leagues. He saw the sea thick with small tunny fish; there were gannets, reed-tails and frigate birds.

Sunday 20 January

This night the wind dropped and there were occasional gusts and in all he must have sailed twenty miles NE. After sunrise he made about eleven miles SE, then 36 miles, or nine leagues, NNE. He saw a huge number of small tunny; the breezes he says are very gentle and sweet, as in Seville in April and May, and the sea, he says, is always calm, thanks be to God. Frigate birds and petrels and many other birds appeared.

Monday 21 January

Yesterday after sunset he steered N by E with the wind E and NE; he made about 8 miles an hour until midnight, that is fifty-six miles. Then he sailed NNE at 8 miles an hour, and so in the whole night one hundred and four miles, which is 26 leagues, NE by N. After sunrise he steered NNE with the same E wind and occasionally NE by N, and he made about 88 miles in eleven hours of daylight, which is 21 leagues after discounting one hour which he lost because he fell off towards the Pinta for a conference with her. He found the winds colder and thought, he says, that he would find them colder by the day the further north he went, and also because the nights were longer because of the shape of the Earth. Many reed-tails and petrels and other birds appeared but not so many fish, he says, because the water was colder; he saw a lot of weed.

Tuesday 22 January

Yesterday after sunset he steered NNE with the wind E and veering SE; he made 8 miles an hour until five sand-glasses had passed and three before the beginning of the next watch, which was eight half-hour glasses. So he must have made seventy-two miles, which is eighteen leagues.234 Then he sailed N by E for six glasses, which would have been another 18 miles. Then four glasses of the second watch NE at six miles an hour, which is three leagues NE. Then until sunrise he sailed ENE for eleven glasses at six [miles] an hour, which is seven leagues.235 Then 32 miles ENE until eleven o'clock in the morning. Then the wind fell and he made no more progress that day. The Indians went swimming, they saw reed-tails and a lot of weed.

Wednesday 23 January

This night the wind was very changeable; being on the alert for everything and taking the precautions which good sailors must and do take, he says that tonight he sailed about 84 miles NE by N, which is 21 leagues. He had to wait many times for the caravel Pinta because she was having trouble sailing close to the wind and was getting little help from the mizzen because the mast was not sound. And he says that if her captain, Martín Alonso Pinzón, had shown as much care in providing himself with a good mast in the Indies, where there were so many good ones, as he showed greed in sailing away thinking to fill the ship with gold, he would have put it to rights. Many reed-tails appeared, and much weed; the sky was all overcast these days but it had not rained and the sea was still as flat as a river many thanks be to God. After sunrise he made about 30 miles due NE for part of the day, that is seven and a half leagues, and then for the rest he sailed ENE for another thirty miles, which is seven and a half leagues.

Thursday 24 January

All this night, taking into account the very changeable wind, he made about 44 miles NE, which was eleven leagues. After sunrise until sunset he made about fourteen leagues ENE.

Friday 25

This night he steered ENE for part of the night, that is 13 sand-glasses, and made nine and a half leagues; then he sailed another six miles NNE. After sunrise he made about 28 miles, that is 7 leagues, ENE during the whole day because the wind died down. The sailors killed a porpoise and a very large shark, and he says they really needed them because they no longer had anything to eat but bread and wine and ajes from the Indies.

Saturday 26 January

This night he sailed 56 miles E by S, which is fourteen leagues. After sunrise he steered sometimes ESE and sometimes SE; he made about forty miles by eleven o'clock in the morning. Then he set another tack and sailed close to the wind and by nightfall he sailed 24 miles N, which is six leagues.

Sunday 27 January

Yesterday after sunset he sailed NE and N and N by E and made about five miles an hour or 65 miles in thirteen hours, which is 16 and a half leagues. After sunrise he sailed 24 miles NE, which is six leagues, by midday and from then until sunset he made about three leagues ENE.

Monday 28 January

All this night he steered ENE; he made about 36 miles, which is 9 leagues. After sunrise he sailed ENE until sunset for 20 miles, which is five leagues. He found the breezes temperate and sweet; he saw reed-tails and petrels, and much weed.

Tuesday 29 January

He steered ENE and made about 39 miles, which is 9 leagues and a half, with the wind S and SW. He made about 8 leagues all day. The breezes very mild, like April in Castile, the sea very flat. Fish they call dorados came aboard.

Wednesday 30 January

All this night he made about 7 leagues ENE. By day he ran thirteen leagues and a half S by E. He saw reed-tails and much weed and many porpoises.

Thursday 31 January

This night he steered thirty miles N by E and then thirty-five miles NE, which is sixteen leagues. Between sunrise and nightfall he sailed 13 leagues and a half ENE. They saw a reed-tail and some petrels.

Friday 1 February

On this night he sailed 16 and a half leagues ENE. By day he ran the same course for 29 leagues and a quarter. The sea was very calm, thanks be to God.

Saturday 2 February

On this night he sailed ENE for forty miles, which is 10 leagues. By day with the same wind astern he made 7 miles an hour so that in eleven hours he sailed 77 miles, which is 19 leagues and a quarter. The sea was very calm, thanks be to God, and the breezes very gentle. They saw the sea so choked with weed that, had they not already met it, they would have feared that there were shoals. They saw some petrels.

Sunday 3 February

On this night with the wind astern and the sea very calm, thanks be to God, he made about 29 leagues. The north star seemed to him to be as high as at Cape St. Vincent.236 He could not measure its elevation with the astrolabe nor the quadrant because the waves would not let him. By day he sailed on his course ENE and made about ten miles an hour and so in eleven hours, 27 leagues.

Monday 4 February

Tonight he steered E by N; for a time he made 12 miles an hour and then ten, and so sailed about 130 miles, which is 32 leagues and a half. The sky was overcast and rainy, and it was rather cold, from which he says he realised that he had not reached the islands of the Azores. After sunrise he changed course to the E. Throughout the day he sailed 77 miles, which is 19 leagues and a quarter.

Tuesday 5 February

Tonight he steered E; he made about 54 miles during the night, which is fourteen leagues less a half. By day he made 10 miles an hour and so in eleven hours, 110 miles, which is 27 leagues and a half. They saw some petrels and some small sticks, which was a sign that they were near land.

Wednesday 6 February

Tonight he steered E; he made about eleven miles an hour. In thirteen hours of night he sailed about 143 miles, which is 35 leagues and a quarter. They saw many birds and petrels. During the day he made 14 miles an hour and so that day sailed 154 miles, which is 38 leagues and a half. So by day and night they went 74 leagues more or less. Vicente Yáñez 237estimated that this morning the island of Flores lay to the N, and that of Madeira to the E. Roldán238 reckoned that the island of Faial, or San Gregorio, lay to his NNE and Porto Santo to the E. A lot of weed appeared.

Thursday 7 February

Tonight he steered E; he made about 10 miles an hour and so in thirteen hours, 130 miles, which is 32 leagues and a half. During the day, at eight miles an hour for eleven hours, he made 83 miles, which is 22 leagues. This morning the Admiral was 75 leagues S of the island of Flores and the pilot Pero Alonso239 estimated that by steering N he would pass between Terceira and Santa María, and by steering E he would pass to windward of the island of Madeira, 12 leagues off the north coast. The sailors saw a different kind of weed from that they had seen before, of which there is a great deal in the islands of the Azores. Later they saw the same kind as before.

Friday 8 February

This night he sailed E for a while at three miles an hour and then went E by S; throughout the night he made 12 leagues. Between sunrise and midday he sailed 27 miles; then until sunset as many again, which makes thirteen leagues SSE.

Saturday 9 February

For part of this night he made about three leagues SSE and then S by E; then NE until ten o'clock in the morning for another five leagues; and then until nightfall he sailed 9 leagues to the E.

Sunday 10 February

After sunset he steered E all night for 130 miles, which is 32 leagues and a half. From sunrise until night he made 9 miles an hour, and so in eleven hours made 99 miles, which is 24 leagues and a half and a quarter.

On the Admiral's caravel Vicente Yáñez and the two pilots Sancho Ruiz240 and Pero Alonso Niño and Roldán were plotting the course, and according to their charts they were all well to the E of the islands of the Azores and if they had sailed N none would have made the island of Santa María which is the easternmost island of all the Azores; rather, they would have been five leagues beyond and in the vicinity of the island of Madeira or Porto Santo. But the Admiral found himself way off their course and well behind them, for on this night he reckoned that the island of Flores lay to the N, and to the E he was heading for Nafe241 in Africa and would have passed to windward of the island of Madeira ***242 leagues to the N. So they were 150 leagues nearer Castile than the Admiral. He says that God willing as soon as they sight land they will know whose position was the most accurate. He also says here that on the outward journey he sailed 263 leagues from the island of Ferro before he saw the first weed, etc.

Monday 11 February

Tonight he sailed twelve miles an hour on his course and so made 39 leagues in all, and during the day he ran another 16 leagues and a half. He saw many birds, from which he believed that he was near land.

Tuesday 12 February

Tonight he steered E at six miles an hour and by daybreak sailed about 73 miles, which is 18 leagues and a quarter. Here he began to experience heavy seas and stormy weather and he says that if the caravel had not been very good and well equipped he feared that he would have been lost. By day he made about eleven or twelve leagues with great effort and at great risk.

Wednesday 13 February

Between sunset and daybreak he had a lot of trouble with the wind and the high waves and the stormy sea; three times there was lightning to the NNE; he said that it was a sign of a fierce storm coming from that quarter, that is, against him. He proceeded with bare masts for most of the night; then he put on a little sail and made about 52 miles, which is thirteen leagues. Today the wind abated a little; but later it strengthened and the sea became terrible with the waves crashing into each other and pounding the ships. He made about 55 miles, which is thirteen leagues and a half.

Thursday 14 February

Tonight the wind grew stronger and the waves were terrifying, crashing into each other and impeding the ship which could neither make headway nor extricate itself from them as they broke over it. He kept the mainsail very low simply to avoid the waves as far as possible; he must have sailed like that for three hours, making about 20 miles. The sea and the wind became much heavier, and seeing the great danger, he began to run before the wind wherever it took him, for there was nothing else he could do. Then the caravel Pinta with Martín Alonso aboard began to run before the wind and then disappeared even though all night the Admiral had flares burning and the other ship responded until it seems she could do so no longer because of the strength of the storm and because she was way off the Admiral's course.243 Tonight the Admiral sailed 54 miles NE by E, which is 13 leagues. At sunrise the wind blew stronger and the crashing waves grew more terrible; he carried only the mainsail and kept it low so that the ship would escape from the waves breaking over her and not be sunk by them. He was following a course ENE and then NE by E; he sailed about six hours like that and during that time made 7 leagues and a half. He declared that a pilgrim should be sent to Santa María de Guadalupe244 with a candle made from five pounds of wax, and that everyone should make a vow that whoever was chosen by lot should make the pilgrimage. To this end he ordered as many chickpeas as there were people on board to be brought, and one of them to be marked by a cross made with a knife, and the chickpeas to be placed in a cap and well shaken. The Admiral was the first to put his hand in and he pulled out the bean with the cross and so he drew the lot and naturally took himself to be the pilgrim bound to go and fulfil the vow. Lots were drawn again for a pilgrim to be sent to Santa María de Loreto245 which is in the province of Ancona, one of the papal lands,246 and which is a house where Our Lady has performed and still performs many great miracles, and the lot was drawn by a sailor from Puerto de Santa María called Pedro de Villa, and the Admiral promised to give him money for his expenses. It was decided that another pilgrim should be sent to keep vigil for one night in Santa Clara de Moguer247 and to have a mass said, and for this they again drew from the chickpeas including the one with the cross, and the lot fell to the Admiral again. After this the Admiral and all the men vowed that on the first land they reached they would all go in their shirts in a procession to pray in a church dedicated to Our Lady.

Apart from the general or communal vows, each man made his own pledge, for none thought he would escape, and all thought they were lost, so terrible was the storm they were suffering. The danger was made worse by the fact that the ship was short of ballast since the cargo had become lighter as the food was eaten and the water and wine drunk. The Admiral did not take on enough ballast, because he wanted to make the best of the fine weather they had among the islands, and intended to take on ballast on the Island of Women, which he intended to visit. The solution he found for this need was to fill, when they could, the empty water and wine casks with sea water, and with this they solved the problem.

At this point the Admiral writes about the reasons why he was afraid that Our Lord wanted him to perish there, and about others which made him hopeful that God would carry him to safety so that the news he was bringing to the Monarchs would not be lost. It seemed to him that the great desire he had to deliver such good news, and to show that he had been right in what he had said and undertaken to discover, made him very afraid that he would not manage to do so, and that the merest mosquito could upset his plans and prevent him. He attributes this to little faith and failing trust in Divine Providence. On the other hand he found comfort in the favour which God had shown him by giving him such a great victory in discovering what he had discovered and by fulfilling all his wishes, and having overcome many adversities and obstacles during his negotiations in Castile. And since he had always in the past entrusted the outcome of all his affairs to God's will, and He had heard him and given him all he had asked for, he must believe that He would allow him to complete what he had undertaken and would bring him to safety. Especially since He had delivered him on the outward voyage when he had greater reason to fear the problems he had with his crew and the men with him, all of whom were determined to a man to turn round and rebel against him in protest, and God eternal gave him strength and courage to face them all, and many other marvellous things which God had manifested in him and by him on that voyage, besides those things which Their Highnesses knew from the members of their household; so that (he says) he should not fear that storm. But his weakness and anguish (he says) would not let me set my mind at rest. He says further that he was also distressed about the two sons he had in school in Córdoba and of whom he was about to make fatherless and motherless in a strange land,248 and the Monarchs did not know the services he had rendered them on that voyage nor the marvellous news that he was bringing them, which might move them to see that the boys were cared for. For this reason and so that Their Highnesses would know how Our Lord had given him in triumph everything he desired from the Indies and so that they would know that there were no storms in those regions, which, he says, is shown by the grass and trees which spring up and grow even in the sea; and so that, if he were to perish in that storm, the Monarchs would have news of his voyage, he took a piece of parchment and wrote on it everything he could about everything he had found, beseeching whomsoever might find it to take it to the Monarchs. He wrapped the parchment tightly in a waxed cloth and called for a large wooden barrel and put it in the barrel without anyone knowing what it was, for they all thought it was some act of devotion, and then ordered it to be thrown into the sea.249 Then with the rain and the squalls the wind changed to the W, and he sailed before it with only the foresail set for about five hours with the sea very unsettled and he made about two leagues and a half NE. He had taken down the mainsail, for fear that a wave from the sea might carry it away altogether.

Friday 15 February

Yesterday after sunset the sky began to clear in the W, showing that the wind was about to come from that direction. He had the bonnet added to the mainsail; the sea was still very rough but was beginning to grow calmer. He sailed ENE at four miles an hour and in thirteen hours of night made thirteen leagues. After sunrise they sighted land which appeared ahead of them to the ENE. Some said that it was the island of Madeira, others that it was the Rock of Cintra in Portugal, near Lisbon. The wind then veered sharply to a head wind from the ENE and the sea to the W became very high; the caravel was about 5 leagues from land. By the Admiral's reckoning he was off the Azores and he believed the land ahead was one of them; the pilots and sailors thought they were already off the coast of Castile.

Saturday 16 February

He spent all this night beating against the wind in order to reach the land which they now saw was an island; at times he went NE, at others NNE, until sunrise, when he turned S to reach the island which they could no longer see because of the dark cloud, and he saw astern another island about 8 leagues off. Between sunrise and nightfall he tacked back and forth trying to reach the land in the face of the strong wind and heavy seas. At the singing of the Salve, which is at nightfall, some saw a light to leeward and it seemed that it must be the island they first saw yesterday; he spent all night beating about and getting as close as possible so that at sunrise he might see one of the islands. This night the Admiral rested a little because he had not been able to sleep since Wednesday and his legs were troubling him from being constantly exposed to the cold and the wet, and he had had very little to eat. After sunrise he steered SSW and at nightfall reached the island, but could not tell which island it was for the dense low cloud.

Monday 18 February

After sunset yesterday he sailed round the island to see where he could anchor and talk to someone; he cast one anchor which he promptly lost; he set sail again and beat about all night. After sunrise he approached the island again from the N, anchored where it seemed best and sent the boat ashore. They spoke to the islanders and learned that this was the island of Santa Marone of the Azores, and the islanders pointed out a harbour where they should take the caravel; they said that they had never seen such a storm as there had been during the last fifteen days, and they were amazed that they had escaped. He says that they gave many thanks to God and were very glad when they heard the news that the Admiral had discovered the Indies. The Admiral says that his course had been very accurate and that he had plotted it well, thanks be to God, although he was a little ahead of himself, but he was certain that he was in the neighbourhood of the islands of the Azores and that that island was one of them. And he says that he pretended to have sailed further to mislead the pilots and sailors who were plotting the course so that he would remain master of that route to the Indies, as he in fact remains, because none of the others was certain of the course and none can be sure of his route to the Indies.

Tuesday 19 February

After sunset three men from the island came to the shore and called. He sent the boat for them and they came out bringing chickens and fresh bread, and as it was Shrove Tuesday they brought other provisions sent by the Captain of the island, whose name was Juan de Castañeda,250 together with a message saying that he knew the Admiral very well and had not come to see him because it was night, but that he would come at daybreak and bring more provisions, and would bring with him the three men from the caravel who had stayed there and whom he was not sending back yet because he enjoyed so much hearing them recount the events of the voyage. The Admiral ordered the messengers to be treated with great honour and given beds to sleep in that night as it was late and the village was a long way off. And because last Thursday when they were in the grip of the storm they made the vows described above, and because they had agreed that on the first land they reached they would process in their shirts, etc., he decided that half the men should go and fulfil the vow at a small house like a hermitage beside the sea, and that he would go later with the other half. Seeing that the land was safe and trusting in the Captain's offers and the peace which existed between Portugal and Castile, he asked the three men to go to the village and send a priest to say mass for them. When they had set off in their shirts in fulfilment of their vows, and while they were at their prayers, the whole village together with the Captain attacked them on horseback and on foot and imprisoned them all. Later, the Admiral, unsuspecting, waited until eleven o'clock in the morning for the boat to take him and the other men to fulfil their vow, and when he saw that they did not return, he suspected that they had been detained, or that the boat had been wrecked, as the whole island was surrounded by very high cliffs. The Admiral could not see if this was so because the hermitage was beyond a promontory. He weighed anchor and sailed towards the hermitage, and he saw many horsemen who dismounted and got into the boat carrying arms and came out to the caravel to arrest the Admiral. The Captain stood up in the boat and asked the Admiral for safe conduct. He said that he granted it, but why had there been a change of plan, and why were none of his men in the boat? And the Admiral added that if he came aboard the caravel, he would do everything the Captain wanted. The Admiral was trying to cajole him to come aboard in an attempt to capture him in exchange for his own men, believing that he was not acting in bad faith by promising him safe conduct since the Captain had offered peace and safety and had broken his word. Being up to no good, he says, the Captain did not dare come aboard. When he saw that the Captain would not approach the caravel, the Admiral asked him to explain why he had detained his men, saying that the King of Portugal would be displeased, and that in the lands of the Monarchs of Castile the Portuguese were treated very well and could come and go as safely as in Lisbon, and that the Monarchs had given him letters of introduction for all the princes and lords and men in the world, letters which he would show him if he cared to come aboard; and that he was their Admiral of the Ocean Sea and Viceroy of the Indies which were now the possessions of Their Highnesses, as proof of which he would show him documents signed by the Monarchs and sealed with their seals, and which he showed him at a distance; and that the Monarchs were great friends and allies of the King of Portugal and had ordered him to treat any ships of Portugal he might come across with all due respect; and that even if the Captain would not return his men, he would still go to Castile because he had sufficient men to sail as far as Seville, and that the Captain and his men would be well punished for causing him this offence. Then the Captain replied that he and the rest did not recognise the King and Queen of Castile, nor their letters, nor were they afraid of them; rather, they would show them who Portugal was, almost threatening. When he heard this the Admiral was very angry and says that he wondered if there had been some dispute between the two kingdoms since his departure, and he was unable to refrain from replying in the appropriate manner. Then the Captain stood up again in the distance, he says, and told the Admiral to take the caravel to the harbour, and that everything he was doing and had done was at the express orders of the King, his lord. The Admiral called upon all those on board the caravel to witness what had happened and he called again to the Captain and all his men and promised them on his honour that he would not go ashore or leave the caravel until he had taken a hundred Portuguese to Castile and had depopulated that entire island. And so he returned to the first anchorage because the weather and the wind were too bad to do anything else.

Wednesday 20 February

He ordered the ship to be got ready and the casks to be filled with seawater as ballast, because he was in a very bad harbour and feared that they would cut his cables, which was what happened; so he set sail towards the island of San Miguel although there is no harbour in any of the Azores suitable for the weather as it was then, and he had no option but to flee into the open sea.

Thursday 21 February

Yesterday he left that island of Santa María for the island of San Miguel to see if he could find a harbour in which to shelter from the terrible weather, with strong winds and heavy seas, and he sailed until dark without seeing any land because of the thick clouds caused by the wind and the sea. The Admiral says he was not at all pleased because he had only three sailors who knew the sea, and the rest of the men with him had no knowledge of it. He beat about all this night in a severe storm and in great danger and difficulty. And Our Lord showed him mercy in that the sea, or the waves, came from one direction only, for if they had crossed each other as before he would have suffered much worse. After sunrise, finding that he could not see the island of San Miguel, he decided to return to Santa María to see if he could recover his men and the boat and the cables and anchors which he had left there.

He says that he was amazed at such bad weather as he experienced in those islands and in that area, because in the Indies he sailed the whole of that winter without dropping anchor and the weather was always good and that even for an hour he never saw a sea on which he could not sail with ease,251 and among those islands he had suffered such a terrible storm and the same thing had happened on the outward voyage until he reached the Canary islands; but once past them he found the wind and the sea always very calm. In conclusion the Admiral says that the sacred theologians and wise philosophers were right in saying that the Terrestrial Paradise is at the far end of the Orient252 because it is a very temperate place. So those lands which he had now discovered are (he says) the furthest Orient.

Friday 22 February

Yesterday he anchored off the island of Santa María in the place or harbour where he had first anchored, and a man came and signalled from some rocks facing them that they should not leave. Then the boat came with five sailors and two priests and a notary. They asked for safe conduct, and when the Admiral had granted it, they came aboard the caravel, and because it was night slept there, and the Admiral gave them the best reception he could. In the morning they asked him to show them the authorisation from the Monarchs of Castile so that they could confirm that he had undertaken that voyage on their behalf. The Admiral felt that they were doing this to give the impression that they had not acted wrongly but had been correct, because they had not been able to capture the Admiral in person, as they must have intended to do since they came armed in the boats; but it had not turned out as they intended, and they were afraid of what the Admiral had said and had threatened, which he fully intended to do and believed he could carry out. In the end, to regain the men they had captured he had to show them the general letter of authorisation from the Monarchs to all princes and lords, and other provisions, and he gave them what he had and they went ashore content, and then set free all the men with the boat, and from them he learned that if they had captured the Admiral they would never have let him go free, because the Captain said that those were the orders from the King, his lord.

Saturday 23 February

Yesterday the weather began to improve; he weighed anchors and went around the island to search for a good anchorage in order to take on firewood and stone for ballast, and could not find a place to anchor until the hour of compline.253

Sunday 24 February

He anchored yesterday afternoon to take on firewood and stones and because the sea was very heavy the boat could not reach the shore and at the end of the first night watch the wind began to blow from the W and SW. He ordered the sails to be hoisted because of the great danger in those islands of waiting at anchor with a S wind, and because if it is blowing from SW it will soon blow from S. And seeing that it was good weather for going to Castile, he stopped loading firewood and stones and ordered them to steer E, and until sunrise, a matter of some six and a half hours, he made about 7 miles an hour, which is 45 miles and a half. Between sunrise and sunset he made 6 miles an hour, which in eleven hours is 66 miles, and then forty-five and a half during the night, which is 111 and a half, and so 28 leagues.

Monday 25 February

Yesterday after sunset he steered his course E at five miles an hour; in thirteen hours tonight he sailed about 65 miles, which is 16 leagues and a quarter. Between sunrise and sunset he sailed another sixteen leagues and a half, with a calm sea, thanks be to God. A very large bird which looked like an eagle came to the caravel.

Tuesday 26 February

Yesterday after sunset he steered on his course to the E, with a calm sea, thanks be to God; for most of the night he made about 8 miles an hour. He sailed 100 miles, which is 25 leagues. After sunrise there was little wind; later there were showers. He sailed a matter of eight leagues ENE.

Wednesday 27 February

This night and day he sailed off course because of contrary winds and heavy waves and sea. He reckoned that he was a hundred and twenty-five leagues off Cape St. Vincent, and eighty from the island of Madeira, and a hundred and six from Santa María. He was very distressed to have such stormy weather when he was so close to home.

Thursday 28 February

Likewise, tonight he sailed S and SE with variable winds, this way and that, and NE and ENE, and similarly throughout the day.

Friday 1 March

This night he sailed twelve leagues E by N; during the day he ran 23 leagues and a half E by N.

Saturday 2 March

This night he sailed 28 leagues on his course E by N. By day he ran 20 leagues.

Sunday 3 March

After sunset he sailed his course E; a squall blew up which tore all the sails and he was in great danger, but God willed that they should escape. He drew lots to send a pilgrim, he says, in his shirt to Santa María de la Cinta in Huelva, and it fell to the Admiral's lot. They all also made a vow to fast on bread and water on the first Saturday they reached land. He made about sixty miles before his sails were torn; then they sailed with bare masts because of the great storm and the wind and the sea which devoured them from opposite directions. They saw signs that they were near land. They reckoned they were quite near to Lisbon.

Monday 4 March

Last night they suffered a terrible storm and they thought they would perish in the sea which came from opposing quarters and the winds which seemed to lift the caravel into the air, and the rain and the lightning from many directions; it pleased Our Lord to sustain him, and he sailed in this way until the first watch when Our Lord showed him land sighted by the sailors. And then so as not to reach the land before identifying it and seeing if there were a harbour or somewhere to take refuge, his only option was to hoist the mainsail and to make a little progress by keeping out to sea although it was very dangerous, and so God protected them until daylight which was, he says, a time of infinite difficulty and terror. At daybreak he identified the land as the rock of Sintra close to the river at Lisbon where he decided to enter because he could do nothing else, so terrible was the storm over the town of Cascais which is at the entrance to the river. He says that the villagers spent all that morning offering prayers for them, and once he had entered the mouth of the river the people came to see them and marvelled at the way they had escaped. And so at the hour of terce he arrived at Rastelo254 on the river near Lisbon, where he learned from the seafarers that there had never been a winter with such storms and that 25 ships had been lost in Flanders and there were others there which had not been able to leave for four months. Then the Admiral wrote to the King of Portugal who was nine leagues from there, telling him how the Monarchs of Castile had ordered him not to be afraid of entering His Highness's ports to buy whatever he needed. He asked the King's leave to take the caravel to Lisbon, in case some villains, thinking that he was carrying a lot of gold, and seeing him in a deserted harbour, should take it into their heads to commit some act of villainy, and also so that the King might know that he had not come from Guinea but from the Indies.

Tuesday 5 March

Today the master of the great flagship of the King of Portugal, which was also anchored in Rastelo and was the best equipped with artillery and arms he says he had ever seen - the master, who was called Bartolomé Díaz de Lisboa,255 came in the armed boat to the caravel and told the Admiral to enter the boat to go and give an account of himself to the King's factors and the captain of the said flagship. The Admiral replied that he was an admiral of the Monarchs of Castile and that he did not give accounts of himself to such people, nor would he leave any ship or vessel unless compelled to do so by superior force of arms. The master replied that he should send the master of the caravel; the Admiral said he would send neither the master nor anyone else unless he were forced to do so, because he regarded it as the same thing to send someone else as to go himself, and that it was the custom of the admirals of the Monarchs of Castile to die rather than surrender themselves or any of their men. The master compromised and said that since that was his determination, so be it, but he asked for the letters from the Monarchs of Castile to be shown to him if he had them. The Admiral was pleased to show them to him, and he then returned to the flagship and reported to the captain whose name was Alvaro Damán. He came to the caravel with great ceremony, with drums and trumpets and pipes, making a fine display, and spoke to the Admiral and offered to do whatever he wished.

Wednesday 6 March

When it was known today that the Admiral had returned from the Indies so many people came from the city of Lisbon to see him and to see the Indians that it was a great sight and marvellous to see the way they gave thanks to Our Lord, saying that it was for the great faith of the Monarchs of Castile and their desire to serve God that the Divine Majesty had given them all this.

Thursday 7 March

Today a huge number of people came to the caravel, including many gentlemen, and among them the King's factors, and they all gave infinite thanks to Our Lord for the great good fortune and advantage to Christendom which Our Lord had given to the Monarchs of Castile, which he says they attributed to the fact that Their Highnesses had worked hard and spared no effort in the furtherance of the religion of Christ.

Friday 8 March

Today the Admiral received a letter from the King of Portugal brought by don Martín de Noroña, in which he asked him to go to where he was because the weather was not suitable for setting out in the caravel. And he did so to avoid suspicion although he did not wish to go, and spent the night at Sacavém. The King ordered his factors to provide free of charge anything the Admiral and his men and the caravel required and that everything should be done as the Admiral wished.

Saturday 9 March

Today he left Sacav魠to go to where the King was, which was the Valle do Paraiso, nine leagues from Lisbon;256 because it rained he could not get there until night-time. The King ordered the principal members of his household to receive him with great honour, and the King also received him with great honour, paid him many respects, asked him to sit down and spoke very kindly, offering to ensure that everything that was in the interests of the Monarchs of Castile and the Admiral was done in due manner, and more so than if it were for himself, and he seemed to be very pleased that the voyage had been undertaken and had ended successfully, but that he understood that according to the treaty between the Monarchs and himself, those conquests belonged to him.257 To which the Admiral replied that he had not seen the treaty or knew anything about it except that the Monarchs had ordered him not to go to Mina258 or to anywhere in Guinea and that this had been proclaimed in all the ports of Andalusia before he set out on the voyage. The King graciously replied that he was certain that there would be no need for third parties in this matter. He appointed as his host the Prior of Crato259 who was the principal person there, from whom the Admiral received many honours and favours.

Sunday 10 March

Today after mass the King again told him that if he needed anything it would immediately be given to him, and he discussed the voyage with the Admiral at great length, always inviting him to be seated, and treated him with great respect.

Monday 11 March

Today he took his leave of the King who gave him some messages to be given on his behalf to the Monarchs, always showing him great affection. He left after eating, along with don Martín de Noroña who had been sent with him, and all those gentlemen came to accompany him and do him great honour for a good while. Later he came to a monastery of San Antonio which is near a place called Villafranca where the Queen was in residence and he went to pay his respects and kiss her hands, because she had sent a message to him that he should not leave until he had seen her. The Duke and the Marquis260 were with her and there the Admiral received great honour. The Admiral left her at nightfall and spent the night in Alhandra.

Tuesday 12 March

Today just as he was about to leave Alhandra for the caravel, a footman arrived with a message from the King saying that if he wished to go to Castile by land, the footman would go with him and arrange lodging and animals and anything he might need. When the Admiral left him he ordered a mule to be given to the Admiral and another to his pilot whom he had with him, and he says that he ordered that a present of twenty espadims261 was to be given to the pilot, as the Admiral learned later. He says that all this was said to have been designed to come to the attention of the Monarchs. He arrived at the caravel at night.

Wednesday 13 March

Today at eight o'clock with a rough sea and the wind NNW he weighed anchors and set sail for Seville.

Thursday 14 March

Yesterday after sunset he followed his course S and before sunrise he found himself off Cape St Vincent which is in Portugal. Then he steered E to go to Saltés andd sailed all day with a light wind until now when he is off Faro.

Friday 15 March

Yesterday after sunset he pursued his course until daylight with little wind, and at sunrise he found himself off Saltés, and at midday with a rising tide he crossed the bar at Saltés andd into the harbour from which he had set out on the third of August last year. And so he says that he is now finishing this account, except that he plans to go to Barcelona by sea, having been told that Their Highnesses were in that city. And this was in order to give them an account of the whole voyage which Our Lord had permitted him to carry out and for which He had inspired him. Because, certainly, besides the fact that he knew and believed firmly and strongly and without a trace of doubt that the Divine Majesty makes all things good, and that all things are good except sin, and that nothing can be imagined or thought without His consent, I know from this voyage (says the Admiral) that He has miraculously shown it to be so, as can be understood from this account and from the many remarkable miracles manifested during the voyage, and from my own example, who for so long was opposed in Your Highnesses' court by the opinions of so many principal persons of your household, all of whom were against me saying that this undertaking was a jest. I trust in Our Lord that it will be the greatest honour for Christendom to have been brought to light so easily. These are the final words of the Admiral don Christopher Columbus, in his first voyage of discovery to the Indies.

Thanks be to God.

layout text
1. layout text The capture of Granada by Ferdinand and Isabella on 2 January 1492 marked the end of the Reconquest which had taken Christian Spain nearly 800 years to bring to completion. The Moorish king Boabdil formally surrendered by presenting the keys of the Alhambra to Ferdinand on 6 January. The prince referred to is the Infante don Juan (1478-97), the only son of the Catholic Monarchs. On the relationship between the conquest of Granada and the discovery of America, J.H. Elliott has written that they are 'at once an end and a beginning. While the fall of Granada brought to an end the Reconquista of Spanish territory, it also opened a new phase in Castile's long crusade against the Moor...The discovery of the New World also marked the opening of a new phase - the great epoch of overseas colonisation - but at the same time it was a natural culmination of a dynamic and expansionist period in Castilian history which had begun long before. Both reconquest and discovery...were in reality a logical outcome of the traditions and aspirations of an earlier age, on which the seal of success was now firmly placed. This success helped to perpetuate at home, and project overseas, the ideals, the values and the institutions of medieval Castile.' (Imperial Spain 1469-1716, London: Edward Arnold, 1963, pp. 33-4.) Columbus links the two events in his prologue in a way which shows how conscious he was of his own place in history.
2. layout text The mention of the 'Gran Can' is probably intended to refer to Kublai Khan (1215-94), grandson of Genghis Khan and first Mongol emperor of China. Kublai Khan was known to medieval Europe from the writings of Marco Polo, who visited China from 1271-95. Columbus owned a Latin edition of Marco Polo's Travels, which survives in the Colombina Library in Seville. The Mongol emperors were widely regarded as potential allies against Islam in view of their openness to Western influence. Franciscan missions were sent to China by Pope Nicholas IV as early as the mid 13th century, and an archbishopric was established at the court of the Grand Khan in Ta-tu (Cambaluc). One of the most celebrated Franciscan missionaries to China was Odoric of Pordenone, who travelled there in the 1320s. Contacts between the papacy and China were maintained at least until the time of Benedict XII's mission to the Mongol court in 1342. Columbus's assertion that the papacy had failed to provide the Mongol emperors with instruction in the Christian faith is therefore largely unfounded. The last Mongol emperor, Togon-temür, was overthrown with the establishment of the Ming dynasty in 1368, and Columbus's intention to establish diplomatic contacts with the 'Gran Can' was unfortunately over 120 years too late.
3. layout text On 30 March 1492 Ferdinand and Isabella signed an edict requiring all professed Jews to convert to Christianity or leave the country by midnight on 2 August that year. The expulsion marked the culmination of a long series of anti-Jewish measures designed to underpin the political unification of Spain by imposing a single religious culture.
4. layout text The 'Capitulations' or memorandum of agreement between Columbus and the Catholic Monarchs were granted by Ferdinand and Isabella on 17 April in Granada. The terms of the agreement were extremely generous to Columbus and appear to have been drawn up without any serious expectation that he would be successful in his undertaking. Under the agreement, the Crown would take 90% of the net proceeds from any merchandise, but Columbus would retain, as he points out in this timely reminder, jurisdiction in perpetuity over any newly discovered territory (Capitulaciones del Almirante don Cristóbal Colón, Madrid: Dirección General de Archivos y Bibliotecas, 1970).
5. layout text The three ships were the flagship, the Santa María, described throughout the Journal as a 'nao' and owned by Juan de la Cosa, and two caravels: the Pinta, owned by Cristóbal Quintero and captained by Martín Alonso Pinzón; and the Niña, owned by Juan Niño and captained by Vicente Yáñez Pinzón. The combined crew of the three ships amounted to some 90 men, 45 on the Santa María, 25 on the Pinta and 20 on the Niña (A.B. Gould, 'Nueva lista documentada de los tripulantes de Colón en 1492', Boletín de la Real Academia de la Historia, 85-88, 90, 92, 110, 111, Madrid, 1922-38).
6. layout text The safe conduct which Columbus took with him referred to the purpose of the voyage as 'pro aliquibus causis et negociis, servicium Dei ac fidei ortodoxe augmentum, necnon benefficium et utilitatem nostram, concernentibus' (Capitulaciones, p. 23). Although this makes it clear that Columbus sailed as an agent of the Crown, it is doubtful whether Their Majesties can be said to have commanded Columbus to undertake his voyage as is claimed here and elsewhere in the prologue. Nevertheless, Columbus was to remind the Monarchs several times throughout his career that it was they who initiated the undertaking in the first place.
7. layout text Until 22 November 1575 the master of a Spanish ship was not required to keep a daily log book (Julio F. Guillén Tato, El primer viaje de Cristóbal Colón, Madrid: Instituto Histórico de Marina, 1943, p. 16, n. 7).
8. layout text Las Casas's transcription of this prologue in the Historia de las Indias (I.35) ends with the word 'etc.' and may indicate that the text as we have it is incomplete.
9. layout text Columbus is usually thought to have reckoned in Roman miles of around 4850 feet, as against a modern nautical mile of 6080 feet. This view has been convincingly challenged by James E. Kelley, Jr., 'In the wake of Columbus on a portolan chart' in Louis De Vorsey, Jr., and John Parker, In the Wake of Columbus. Islands and Controversy, Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1985, pp. 77-111. Kelley argues (p. 103) that Columbus used a mile which was about 5/6 the length of the Roman mile. This discrepancy would help to explain Columbus's apparent over-estimates of distances sailed at sea.
10. layout text Quintero's reluctance was due to the fact that the Crown had fined the town of Palos the use of two ships for the voyage, of which his was one.
11. layout text Las Casas adds 'or to Tenerife' in the margin. Columbus seems to have proceeded to Gomera, to look for a replacement for the Pinta, on Sunday 12 August and not having found one returned, according to Hernando Colón, to Gran Canaria to attend to the Pinta on 23 August. In the Historia (I.35), Las Casas implies that the sighting of the volcano at Tenerife, recorded later in the entry for 9 August, was made on the return from Gomera to Gran Canaria, which could account for this reference to Tenerife in the margin of the Journal. Hernando gives the date of the eruption as 23 August.
12. layout text The Pico de Teide is 12,198 feet. See note .
13. layout text The text has 'Pinta', but Hernando Colón says that it was the Niña that was re-rigged to improve her speed.
14. layout text Probably Fernan Domingues do Arco, to whom John II of Portugal granted the governorship of an island he intended to discover in 1484.
15. layout text There were many alleged sightings of legendary islands in the Atlantic due to freak atmospheric conditions. The tradition goes back to the voyage of the 6th-century Irish monk Brendan, and Brendan's island, together with others such as Antilia and Brasil, is frequently represented on medieval maps.
16. layout text This is unlikely. The crew were more familiar with the ships than he was and could not have been duped about their rate of progress. The interpretation which Las Casas puts on Columbus's decision to keep two records of the distance sailed is almost certainly based on a misunderstanding; see note .
17. layout text Columbus was the first to record the daily variation in the bearing of magnetic north relative to the Pole star. The observation is repeated in the entry for 17 September, where the explanation given may be attributed to Las Casas rather than Columbus himself.
18. layout text They had reached the outer edge of the Sargasso Sea, a large, relatively still area of the Atlantic 20o-35oN and 30o-70oW. The Sargasso Sea lies at the centre of the ocean current system and appeared on maps as early as Andrea Bianco's chart of 1436, and its position was almost certainly known to Columbus.
19. layout text If this comment is attributable to Las Casas, he can only have been referring with hindsight to the proximity of Puerto Rico or the Leeward Islands to the S.
20. layout text Las Casas (Historia, I.37) says that the men threatened to throw him overboard.
21. layout text The reference may be to Exodus 15.24 but the parallel is somewhat far-fetched, as are many of Columbus's biblical references. His identification with Moses, who led the Jews from captivity, has attracted some comment from historians in view of the fact that Columbus left Spain on 3 August, the very day on which the edict of expulsion took effect.
22. layout text For an informed discussion of the cartography of the first voyage see G.R. Crone, The Discovery of America, London: Hamish Hamilton, 1969, especially pp. 207-10. The chart which Columbus and Pinzón consulted on the outward voyage may have been the one which was sent to Columbus by Paolo Toscanelli; in any event it must have been derived from a group of world maps developed by the German cartographer Henricus Martellus and Francesco Roselli, on which Martin Behaim's globe of 1492 was based. All these maps illustrate the basic assumptions about the Atlantic on which Columbus based his own plan, particularly in respect of the width of the Ocean and the configuration of the eastern shore of Asia.
23. layout text Las Casas's contention that Columbus was attempting to dupe his men about the true distance travelled, consistent with his use of the word 'fingía' ('pretended'), seems to have been based on a misunderstanding of the evidence of the Journal. It is clear that Columbus did record two estimates of the distance sailed each day, and Las Casas may even have found the explanation given: that Columbus gave the men the lower figure to keep their spirits up. However, the two reckonings have recently been reinterpreted by the American scholar James E. Kelley, Jr., In the Wake of Columbus, pp. 104-7. Kelley argues that as Columbus was an Italian he would have been used to a shorter league than the crew, all but four of whom were Spaniards. Columbus therefore converted his own reckoning to one which the crew would have been used to. Thus by 1 October Columbus's own reckoning was 707 leagues, and that which he announced to the crew was 584; the distance was the same, but the latter number is smaller by a factor of 5/6. It clearly made psychological sense to convert the distance into a measure with which the crew were familiar and not to tell them that they had sailed 707 leagues when they knew that they had sailed 584. Kelley's reinterpretation is supported by the fact that Las Casas inserted the word 'fingía' as an afterthought into the text, writing it above the line after crossing out the word 'dezía' ('said' or 'told').
24. layout text The Guards are the two outermost stars (Kochab and Pherad) of the constellation Ursa Minor and the arms referred to are the arms of an imaginary human figure centred on the Pole star which was used to tell the time at night. A circle drawn around the human figure was divided into eight sections, each of 45o. The stars took three hours to move through each section, or 'line'; crossing three lines therefore marked the passage of nine hours.
25. layout text Columbus (or Las Casas) here confirms the observation that the Pole star rotates around true north.
26. layout text In fact, berry-like bladders which keep the gulfweed afloat.
27. layout text The Spanish text has two spellings for the word 'west', which Las Casas says are the same; presumably the spelling 'vueste' is that which appears in the text which Las Casas is summarising, while his own preferred spelling is 'güeste'.
28. layout text i.e. Japan.
29. layout text The name Rodrigo de Triana does not appear in the crew lists and the evidence of the pleitos suggests that the correct name was Juan Rodríguez Bermejo, a native of the town of Molinos. 'Rodrigo de Triana' may have been a nickname. In the event, Columbus claimed the reward on the grounds that he had seen a light the previous evening.
30. layout text This light has variously been attributed to Columbus's imagination, wishful thinking, or refusal to accept that someone else had spotted land first. If the light did exist, it may have been caused by a fire lit by native fishermen to attract fish to the vicinity at night. It would have to be a large fire, since the ships were over 50 miles from landfall at 10 pm the previous evening.
31. layout text The exact location of this island remains uncertain, and no contemporary source identifies Guanahaní, presumably because its identity was common knowledge; there is no hint of doubt in Las Casas's mind about which island is being referred to. Many islands in the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos group fit the description given by Columbus - low, green and surrounded by a reef, and connected to another island by a narrow isthmus. In all, nine islands have been suggested as the site of the first landfall, but only two, Watlings and Samana Cay, have attracted convincing arguments from respected scholars. The arguments have been summarised by John Parker in De Vorsey and Parker, In the Wake of Columbus, pp. 1-34, and by Robert Fuson in The Log of Christopher Columbus, Southampton: Ashford Press Publishing, 1987, pp. 199-221. Columbus visited four main islands before reaching Cuba on 28 October. He called these islands San Salvador, Santa María de la Concepción, Fernandina, and Isabela. If the first island is assumed to be Watlings, the others are Rum Cay, Long Island and Crooked Island; if the first island is Samana Cay, the others are Crooked Island, Long Island and Fortune Island. The Watlings theory is supported by S.E. Morison, Admiral of the Ocean Sea, Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1942. The Samana Cay theory was first proposed by Gustavus V. Fox in 1882 and was endorsed by Joseph Judge in the November 1986 issue of the National Geographic. All landfall theories involve stretching the evidence of the text to some degree.
32. layout text The original inhabitants of the Bahamas were Tainos, members of the Arawak cultural and linguistic group.
33. layout text Columbus assumed, along with his contemporaries, a correlation between skin colour and latitude. The idea derived from Aristotle via Pierre D'Ailly's Imago Mundi.
34. layout text Columbus is quick to form the notion that these people are preyed upon by another, superior, culture in the vicinity (identified as cannibals on 23 November) and the theory governs much of his decision-making for the rest of the first voyage (see Peter Hulme, 'Columbus and the Cannibals' in Colonial Encounters, London and New York: Methuen, 1986, pp. 13-43).
35. layout text Both Watlings and Samana Cay are 3-4o south of the latitude of Ferro, but Columbus is speaking in general terms.
36. layout text The native word 'canoa' is not used in the text at this point, but appears only in Las Casas's marginal note. The word used by Columbus to describe the Indian dugout, 'almadía', is of Arabic origin and was normally used to refer to a raft rather than a boat made from a single piece of wood.
37. layout text Or possibly: 'that they did not know the way'.
38. layout text Some authorities prefer to translate 'laguna' as 'lagoon'; the Samana Cay theory requires this interpretation.
39. layout text It should not be forgotten that 'cielo' also means 'sky'.
40. layout text This reconnoitre of the island is carried out in the ship's boat ('batel'), as Columbus makes clear later when he returns to the flagship.
41. layout text Columbus evidently has in mind the possibility of improving the defences of this fortified site by cutting a channel across the isthmus connecting it to the rest of the island.
42. layout text On 12 October he had mentioned six captives.
43. layout text Either Rum Cay (if the previous was Watlings) or Crooked Island (if Samana Cay).
44. layout text The Spanish text is corrupt at this point, but the meaning may be deduced from the context.
45. layout text Since this is much greater than they could have seen, it may be that Las Casas mistranscribed the original which may have read '28 miles'.
46. layout text Long Island.
47. layout text Tobacco, although Columbus does not mention smoking until 6 November.
48. layout text 9.00 am.
49. layout text Again, the original may have read '20 miles', since 20 leagues was further than they could have seen.
50. layout text The name of this island appears in four different spellings: Samaot, Samoet, Saomete, and Saometo. See note .
51. layout text Maize, although Columbus does not use the word in the Journal.
52. layout text Since there is no such plant, Columbus must have been mistaken either in his observation or his interpretation, or both.
53. layout text This is the first occasion on which Columbus refers to the native inhabitants as 'Indians'.
54. layout text Columbus names this island Isabela on 19 October, making it either Crooked Island or Fortune Island (see note ), or both.
55. layout text Hammocks, although Columbus does not use the native word 'hamaca' until 3 November.
56. layout text Las Casas's marginal note points out that these were straw crowns, not chimneys; the Indians left other openings in the roof to allow smoke to escape.
57. layout text Columbus is recording at second hand at this point, but what the men saw could not have been dogs, which were unknown in the New World at this time. Las Casas explains in the Historia (I.42) that they were more like hounds than mastiffs, and that they did not bark but emitted a grunt through the windpipe. The Indians bred them for food, and their popularity with the Spaniards seems to have led to their extinction.
58. layout text The MS reading 'Yslabela', may be a pun ('isla bella') or a slip of the pen.
59. layout text Most authorities agree that Columbus anchored on Friday night off the southern end of Fortune Island. For this to be so, the text has to be assumed to be corrupt at this point, with 'güeste' being an error for 'sueste', and 12 leagues being an error for 12 miles.
60. layout text It is not clear how this cape relates to the one he had previously named Cabo Hermoso, although some authorities take it to be the southern point of Crooked Island. There is no explanation for the change of position from 19 to 20 October.
61. layout text Probably the north-western cape of Crooked Island, the 'isleo' being that referred to at the beginning of the entry for 19 October.
62. layout text *ü**
63. layout text Aloe is a shrubby succulent plant of the family Liliaceae, native to Africa, whose juice is used as a purgative. It is not a native of the Caribbean. Columbus almost certainly confused this with the agave (family Agavaceae), which is.
64. layout text i.e. Cuba.
65. layout text First mention of Haiti, the island Columbus will call 'Española'. 'Bofío' or 'bohío' was in fact the Arawak word for 'house', which Columbus evidently mistook to be the name of the island.
66. layout text The Chinese city of Hang-chou, or Hangchow (Che-kiang province), described by Marco Polo as 'without doubt the finest and most splendid city in the world...capital of the whole province of Manzi, a great repository of his [the Great Khan's] treasure and the source of such immense revenue that one who hears of it can scarcely credit it'. Ronald Latham, ed. and trans., The Travels of Marco Polo, London: The Folio Society, 1968, pp. 179-87.
67. layout text i.e. Japan, known to Columbus, as he implies in the entry for 24 October, through the wonderful account given by Marco Polo. As with the other islands, Columbus gives Cuba a new name (Juana), but he uses the Indian name for Cuba much more readily than with the others. A possible reason for this is suggested in Las Casas's marginal note to the entry for 30 October (see note ).
68. layout text The text reads literally 'with the boat on the poop deck', but Morison interprets this as 'a bonaventure mizzen on the poop, contrived out of the boat's mast and sail' (Admiral of the Ocean Sea, pp. 251-2).
69. layout text A line of cays, sometimes called the Ragged Islands, which mark the edge of the Great Bahama Bank, and which Columbus named the Islas de Arena (27 October).
70. layout text This explanation is probably attributable to Las Casas, as in the entry for 13 October (see note ). The word 'canoa' does not appear without its gloss until the entry for 28 November.
71. layout text Now known as Columbus Bank.
72. layout text Bahía Bariay (province of Holguín).
73. layout text See note .
74. layout text This clear indication that Cuba is an island is interesting in the light of Columbus's conclusion (reached as early as 1 November) that Cuba was the Chinese mainland, with Española subsequently being taken to correspond to Japan. No doubt because of this, Cuba was not circumnavigated until 1508. It is perhaps worth noting for the purposes of comparison that Cuba is a very large island, extending some 11o E-W, making it longer than the British Isles, with slightly less than half the surface area.
75. layout text Río Jururú. Columbus's scheme for naming rivers seems to follow either the planets or the days of the week: Luna/lunes = Moon/Monday; Mares/martes = Mars/Tuesday.
76. layout text Puerto Gibara. For the Spanish name see previous note.
77. layout text See note .
78. layout text Las Casas comments in the margin that they must have been skulls of manatees. There was no livestock on the islands at this time.
79. layout text The Teta de Bariay. The Peña de los Enamorados, or Lovers' Leap, is in Granada.
80. layout text The Silla de Gibara.
81. layout text Punta Uvero.
82. layout text Las Casas's marginal notes suggests that the Indians were referring to a province called Cubanacan. The final syllable of this word may help to explain why Columbus used the Indian name Cuba rather than his own coining 'Juana': he thought the name made it clear that this was the territory of the Gran Can. In the Historia (I.44) Las Casas explains that the suffix 'nacan' meant 'in the middle of'.
83. layout text Given that Columbus's actual position was around latitude 21oN, there have been many attempts to explain this faulty reckoning. Morison argues that Columbus picked the wrong star when estimating his position (Admiral of the Ocean Sea, p. 258), and Fuson thinks that he read the wrong scale on the quadrant (Log, p. 43); but the error would have been so self-evidently absurd to an experienced navigator that it can only really be the result of scribal error, as Las Casas implies here and in the Historia, I.44.
84. layout text Zaiton, now Chang-chou (Fu-kien province), the Chinese port described by Marco Polo as 'the port for all the ships that arrive from India laden with costly wares and precious stones of great price and big pearls of great quality...the total amount of traffic in gems and other merchandise entering and leaving this port is a marvel to behold...it is one of the two ports in the world with the biggest flow of merchandise...the revenue accruing to the Great Khan from this city and port is something colossal' (Travels, pp. 200-201). Note that Columbus has already come to a conclusion about the equivalence of Cuba and China from which he never subsequently deviates.
85. layout text Las Casas (Historia, I.45) points out that cinnamon was never found in the Caribbean, although the wild pepper of the area ('ají') could be confused with the oriental variety they were seeking.
86. layout text This word usually occurs in the Journal in the form 'niames', and is used by Columbus to describe several species of root vegetables until 16 December, when he says that the Taino word is 'ajes'. 'Niame' or 'ñame' (English 'yam') is the Spanish form of a term brought back by the Portuguese from the Guinea coast where it refers to species of the genus Dioscorea; 'aje' refers to the species Manihot esculenta, known in English variously as manioc, yuca or cassava, though Columbus uses it also to refer to the sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas), as does Las Casas in his marginal note. See Fuson, Log, pp. 233-235.
87. layout text The mastic with which Columbus was familiar was from the small evergreen tree Pistacia lentiscus. What they found on Cuba was probably the gumbo-limbo (Bursera simaruba). See Fuson, Log, p. 103.
88. layout text In the Historia (I.46) Las Casas expands on the effects of tobacco, saying that it drugs the body and stops the Indians from feeling tired. He says that the Spaniards also caught the habit, and that when told it was a sin, they replied that they were powerless to stop. For his part, he says, he could not see what pleasure or profit they found in it.
89. layout text The nightingale (Erithacus) is not a native of the New World, but the term is often applied loosely to the mockingbird (Mimus).
90. layout text The background and significance of Columbus's decision to sail SE rather than NW, which had been his plan up to this point, is discussed by Peter Hulme, Colonial Encounters, pp. 28 ff.
91. layout text Great Inagua Island.
92. layout text Puerto Naranjo.
93. layout text Puerto Samá.
94. layout text See note .
95. layout text Pliny the Elder discusses the characteristics and properties of gum-producing trees in his Historia naturalis, Book XIII, but does not give the information in quite the way Columbus supposes.
96. layout text Cabo Lucrecia.
97. layout text At this point, Columbus seems to be assuming that Cabo Lucrecia is the easternmost cape of Cuba, and that the area to the south across Nipe Bay is a separate island, i.e. Bohío or Española.
98. layout text Bahía de Tánamo.
99. layout text Columbus does not appear to have returned to Puerto del Príncipe on Saturday 24th. See note .
100. layout text Mandioc or yuca, which the Indians grated and pressed to remove the poisonous element, cyanogenetic glycoside, before making it into bread which they called 'caçabi' (26 December), hence 'cassava'.
101. layout text Probably an 'hutía', a large rodent of the Capromyidae family, native to the Antilles and Northern Venezuela. Badgers are not found in the Caribbean.
102. layout text Probably a trunkfish or coffer fish.
103. layout text The coconut palm was not a native of the Caribbean at this stage, but there was a local nut, juglans insularis.
104. layout text Morison, Admiral of the Ocean Sea, p. 265, comments on the accuracy of this observation, that low tide in Tánamo corresponds almost exactly to high tide in Huelva.
105. layout text This is Las Casas's comment, as Florida was not discovered until 1513.
106. layout text First mention of cannibals; for a full discussion of the background to this topic, see Hulme, Colonial Encounters, ch. 1.
107. layout text The assumption that a belligerent character correlates with intelligence accounts for Columbus's increasing interest in what lies to the E, on the Island he will call Española.
108. layout text Cayo Moa Grande. On November 24, Columbus passed it sailing E-W when looking for a harbour that evening, but was unable to enter 'because the wind was strong and the sea very rough'.
109. layout text This sentence seems confusing, as he is now some way E of Tánamo Bay, the 'Mar de Nuestra Señora'; but if it is taken to refer to the events of 14 November, the sense is clear: '[The last time he passed the Isla Llana] he eventually reached the Mar de Nuestra Señora...' This reading contradicts the statement made in the entry for 14 November to the effect that Columbus returned to Puerto del Príncipe on Saturday 24th, since it is clear that the harbour he investigates today is Puerto Moa Grande or Santa Catalina, as he calls it.
110. layout text Punta de Mangle.
111. layout text Arbutus unedo, a small tree with dark, scaly bark and greenish-yellow leaves, producing white flowers and edible berries.
112. layout text Puerto de Jaragua.
113. layout text Puerto Moa Grande, presumably named after St. Catherine during the previous day, November 25, which was her feast day, although the act of naming is not recorded.
114. layout text Punta Guarico.
115. layout text Almost certainly an error for '6 miles'; 60 miles was more than they could see and is not consistent with the itinerary which follows.
116. layout text Punta Plata.
117. layout text Bahía Cañete and Bahía Yamanigue.
118. layout text El Yunque.
119. layout text Puerto Baracoa, later named Puerto Santo (1 December).
120. layout text Las Casas (Historia, I.48) comments that the wax probably came from Yucatán.
121. layout text Las Casas (Historia, I.48) agrees with this assessment and specifically excludes the possibility of cannibalism.
122. layout text This cape is referred to in the entry for 4 December as 'Cabo del Monte'.
123. layout text Río Miel.
124. layout text Punta del Fraile.
125. layout text This cape, not previously named, is referred to in the entry for 3 December.
126. layout text Cape Maisí.
127. layout text After two false alarms, Columbus finally sights the island which he understands the Indians call 'Bohío', and he will call 'Española' (now Haiti and the Dominican Republic), see note .
128. layout text First mention of the naming of Cuba, in honour of the Infante don Juan, only son of the Catholic Monarchs.
129. layout text Port St. Nicolas; Columbus changes the name to Puerto de San Nicolao (Nicolás?) later in the day, in honour of the Saint whose feast day it was.
130. layout text Cap à Foux.
131. layout text Grande Pointe, part of the Haut Piton.
132. layout text Pointe Jean-Rabel.
133. layout text Las Casas wrongly gives the impression that the inlet is the Tortuga channel separating Tortuga (Ile de la Tortue) from Española. The Spanish is suspect at this point. The sense is that he called the island Tortuga, and that this sentence is unrelated to the previous one.
134. layout text This is the harbour he had called Puerto María earlier in the day. In his marginal note Las Casas claims not to understand the change of name. Having seen its size and importance later in the day, Columbus possibly felt that it warranted naming after the saint whose feast day it was.
135. layout text Some scholars detect in this name a reference to the Golden Chersonese, Ptolemy's name for the Malay Peninsula, but it seems unlikely that cape Cheranero, which must be quite small for it to be only 2 leagues from Puerto de San Nicolás, could bear any close relationship to such an important peninsula, or that Columbus would use such an important name on a relatively insignificant feature.
136. layout text Port à l'Écu. The distance ought possibly to be six miles, not leagues.
137. layout text Baie des Moustiques.
138. layout text Generally contracted to 'Española' or, in English, 'Hispaniola', a convenient shorthand for Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
139. layout text Not so, as Great Inagua lies N by W of his present position.
140. layout text Española is 29,418 square miles in area, to Cuba's 42,827, making Cuba nearly one and a half times larger.
141. layout text In fact the province around Cap Haïtien.
142. layout text It is interesting to note, in the light of the supposed cannibal practices of the Caribs, that Columbus consistently denies that the Caniba eat their victims (cf. the entry for 23 November).
143. layout text Trois Rivières.
144. layout text See note .
145. layout text i.e. the Indians asked the Spaniards not to return to the coast that night but invited them to stay with them as their guests.
146. layout text Literally '...they are whiter than the others and that among the others they saw two young women...', evidently a confusion of perspective, since the Admiral's men appear to praising the fair skin of the Indians they had just returned from visiting, not 'the others' on the other islands.
147. layout text In fact he was nearly 20oN.
148. layout text Fuson, Log, p. 135, identifies Punta Pierna as Pointe de la Vallée; Punta Lanzada as Pointe des Oiseaux; and Punta Aguda, the eastern end of Tortuga, as Pointe Est.
149. layout text Les Trois Rivières.
150. layout text Diego de Arana.
151. layout text First mention in the text of the Journal itself of these roots which Las Casas had earlier (4 November) identified as 'batatas'. However, the description given is the same as that for 'niames' (see the entry for 13 December and note ).
152. layout text The first mention of this word, which is retained in the translation because of the lack of an exact English equivalent. The island was divided into five main provinces each with its own cacique. The name of the local cacique is given as Guacanagarí in the entry for 30 December.
153. layout text Las Casas's marginal note suggests that this island, 'which never appeared', was Jamaica, even though Columbus's Indian guides always seem to site the island to the north of Española, in the vicinity of Great Inagua.
154. layout text Pointe des Icaques.
155. layout text Pointe Baril du Boeuf.
156. layout text Ile de Marigot.
157. layout text Pointe du Limbé.
158. layout text Mont Haut du Cap, above Cap Haïtien.
159. layout text On 5 December he had said that the nights were 15 hours long. Both figures are an over-estimate; the maximum length, including twilight, is never more than 13 hours.
160. layout text Baie d'Acul.
161. layout text Not so. Pico de Teide in Tenerife is 12,198 ft; the highest mountain on Española is Pico Duarte (Dominican Republic, Central Highlands) at 10,417 ft, but the northern range, which is all that Columbus has so far seen, barely reaches 4,000 ft.
162. layout text Las Casas comments (Historia, I.56) that Columbus took the fires to be warning signals, but that it was the Indians' custom to fire the fields, which they called 'sabanas' (from which the English word 'savannah'), in order to control the growth of grass and wildlife.
163. layout text Columbus also implies that he had visited England in a marginal note to his copy of Pierre d'Ailly's Imago Mundi, Louvain, 1483, f. 42r. The visit was probably made in or around 1477.
164. layout text Error for 5 miles.
165. layout text See note .
166. layout text Possibly the roots of Cyperus esculentus, which are eaten dried as nuts, or nowadays liquidised in the form of 'horchata'; or the fruit of Arachis hypogea, commonly known as the peanut and which the Tainos called 'maní'.
167. layout text See note .
168. layout text The Vega Real.
169. layout text Las Casas's marginal note identifies the cacique as Guacanagarí, named in the Journal on 30 December, chief of the Marién province where Columbus will establish the settlement of Navidad.
170. layout text Columbus notes the crossing of a language boundary.
171. layout text Possibly Rodrigo de Escobedo, described in the entry for 11 October as 'escribano de toda el armada' - 'secretary of the expedition'.
172. layout text A possible reference to cocoa.
173. layout text Previously (19 December) spelled 'Caribata'.
174. layout text Pointe Fort Picolet, on Cap Haïtien.
175. layout text Las Casas (Historia, I.58) explains that 'cacique' meant 'king', and that 'nitaino' meant 'caballero y señor principal', i.e. a nobleman, but subordinate to the king.
176. layout text The Cibao was the main gold-bearing area of the island, in the central highlands, and Columbus evidently took the initial syllable 'Ci-' to be related to the Cipango of Marco Polo's Travels.
177. layout text Ile des Rats.
178. layout text The sense appears to be that the Santa María missed the reefs, against which the sea could be heard breaking a league away, and drifted silently onto a sandbank. Columbus's flagship went aground off the beach of what is now Limonade Bord-de-Mer.
179. layout text Juan de la Cosa, owner of the Santa María.
180. layout text Called Navidad (4 January), the site of the settlement is a matter of conjecture. Archaeologists from the University of Florida have been excavating in the vicinity of En Bas Saline, but without achieving definitive results (see Fuson, Log, pp. 231-2).
181. layout text The Pinta had left the other two vessels on 21 November and had not been seen since. Las Casas records (Historia, I.61) that Columbus sent a conciliatory letter to Martín Alonso Pinzón, overlooking his anger at having been deserted, and giving him the good news about the establishment of a settlement. Although Columbus was quick to see Divine Providence at work in the grounding of the Santa María, he must also have seen the re-appearance of the Pinta as a life-line, and was not anxious to antagonize Martín Alonso from a position of weakness (see the entries for 31 December and 3 January).
182. layout text Names of provinces, not islands (Las Casas, Historia, I.62). Guarionex was the cacique of the province which included the Cibao; Macorix was another province. Some of the other names had been garbled, according to Las Casas.
183. layout text Cornelian, a fine translucent red silica.
184. layout text Mistaken for a medicinal plant (genus Rheum) of Chinese origin. Rhubarb was imported into the West during the middle ages and used as a purgative due to the anthracene glycosides which it contains (and which give it its yellow colour, mentioned by Columbus at the end of the entry for 30 December).
185. layout text In fact, 26 December, unless Las Casas omitted to include the remark in his summary of the entry for 30 December.
186. layout text Las Casas records in the Historia (I.64) that he remembers seeing about a dozen or so Indians in Seville on Columbus's return, though he did not count them exactly.
187. layout text i.e. Punta Santa (Cap Haïtien), first named on 23 December.
188. layout text Pointe Yaquezi.
189. layout text Error for 3 miles.
190. layout text Siete Hermanos.
191. layout text Bahía de Manzanillo.
192. layout text Río Tapión.
193. layout text Cabra Island.
194. layout text The coloured stones were an outcrop of coral. Las Casas (Historia, I.64) expresses surprise that he did not mention the fine saltings to be found on this island.
195. layout text Punta Rucía.
196. layout text Las Casas's marginal note makes it clear that the winds from these directions are very strong, but that Columbus had not experienced them.
197. layout text Jamaica. Columbus investigated Jamaica in May 1494, during his second voyage.
198. layout text This legend is associated with the classical female warriors, the Amazons. Columbus would have been interested in this 'information' because it recalled a passage from Marco Polo about two islands, Masculina and Feminea, allegedly located in the Arabian Sea: 'The inhabitants [of Male Island] are baptized Christians, observing the rule and customs of the Old Testament. For when a man's wife is pregnant he does not touch her again till she has given birth. After this he continues to abstain for another forty days. Then he touches her again as he will. But I assure you that in this island the men do not live with their wives or with any other women; but all the women live on the other island, which is called Female Island. You must know that the men of Male Island go over to Female Island and stay there for three months, that is March, April, and May. For these three months the men stay in the other island with their wives and take their pleasure with them. After this they return to their own island and get on with their business...Male Island is about thirty miles distant from Female Island. According to their account, their reason for not staying all the year round with their wives is that if they did so they could not live. The sons who are born are nursed by their mothers in Female Island until they are fourteen years old, when they are sent to join their fathers in Male Island...' (Travels, p. 252). Morison (Admiral of the Ocean Sea, p. 315) records a similar Arawak myth, in which the women were left on an island called Matinino, where they lived an Amazon-like existence visited annually by the men. On 13 January Columbus equates the female island with Matinino, now Martinique.
199. layout text Río Yaque del Norte, or Río Santiago.
200. layout text Las Casas notes in the margin that, since the Río Yaque was still in its virgin state, it is quite possible that Columbus found as much gold as he says, although Las Casas suspects that much of it was fool's gold (iron pyrites) and that the Admiral thought that everything which glistened was gold.
201. layout text Error for 7 leagues.
202. layout text Las Casas comments (Historia, I.66) that in fact they were no more than four leagues from the gold-bearing area of the Cibao.
203. layout text Punta Cabo Isabela.
204. layout text The 'mermaids' were manatees (Trichechus), large aquatic mammals native to the Caribbean; what he had seen in Guinea was the dugong or sea cow (Dugong dugon), another aquatic mammal native to the area from the Red Sea and Africa to Northern Australia.
205. layout text Where Martín Alonso Pinzón had been based for sixteen days. Pinzón called the river after himself; Columbus renamed it Río de Gracia, but it was always known subsequently as Río de Martín Alonso. It is now known as Río Chuzona Chico, and the harbour, Puerto Blanco or Puerto de Gracia.
206. layout text Punta Patilla.
207. layout text Isabel de Torres.
208. layout text Cabo Macorís. There is some doubt about the identification of place-names for the entries for 11 and 12 January. I follow Fuson, Log, pp. 170, 173, and agree with his identification of Puerto Rincón with the Golfo de las Flechas.
209. layout text Puerto de Plata.
210. layout text Punta Cabarete.
211. layout text Cabo de la Roca.
212. layout text Cabo Tutinfierno.
213. layout text Cabo Francés Viejo.
214. layout text Cabo Tres Amarras.
215. layout text Punta La Botella.
216. layout text Punta Pescadores.
217. layout text Cabo Cabrón.
218. layout text Puerto Escondido.
219. layout text Named on 16 January Cabo de San Theramo, now known as Cabo Samaná.
220. layout text Puerto Rincón. Fuson is more convincing in this identification than Morison, who locates the Golfo de las Flechas on the south side of Cape Samaná (Admiral of the Ocean Sea, pp. 311-12). Such a detour would have been against Columbus's expressed intentions to make headway to the east.
221. layout text As Las Casas's note says, the passage has been garbled. The conjunction was between Mars and Mercury, which Morison (Admiral of the Ocean Sea, p. 313) says was predicted in Regiomontanus's Ephemerides, an astronomical table Columbus carried with him.
222. layout text In fact a daub made from the seeds of the 'bija' tree (Bixia orellana).
223. layout text Las Casas identifies this man as a 'ciguayo'; Columbus had again correctly noted the crossing of a cultural boundary.
224. layout text See note .
225. layout text In fact an alloy of gold and copper ('guanin') smelted on the mainland.
226. layout text Note that Columbus no longer expresses doubts about their alleged cannbalism (see note ).
227. layout text The sense appears to be that if his plans had been approved seven years before, in 1485, the Crown would have had seven more years' worth of revenue from his discoveries.
228. layout text Columbus was probably mistaking the eastern end of Española, across the Bahía de Samaná, as a separate island.
229. layout text See note .
230. layout text Puerto Rincón. See note .
231. layout text See note .
232. layout text Identified by Las Casas as Cabo del Engaño, the easternmost cape of Española. San Theramo is a variant of San Erasmo or St. Elmo, one of the patron saints of sailors.
233. layout text The Duke of Medina Sidonia, who held the tunny-fishing concession from the Crown.
234. layout text In fact, thirty-two miles or eight leagues.
235. layout text In fact, eight and a quarter leagues.
236. layout text Cape St. Vincent in Portugal is 37o07'N; Santa Maria in the Azores, where he will fetch up on 18 February, is 37o09'N. His observation, without the aid of astrolabe or quadrant, was therefore extremely accurate.
237. layout text Vicente Yáñez Pinzón, brother of Martín Alonso, and captain of the Niña.
238. layout text Bartolomé Roldán, who served as assistant pilot.
239. layout text Pero Alonso Niño, brother of Juan Niño who owned the Niña. He had been pilot of the Santa María.
240. layout text Sancho Ruiz de Gama, pilot of the Niña.
241. layout text Casablanca.
242. layout text Lacuna in text; if he had been on the latitude of Casablanca, he would have been north of Madeira. Morison reckons that the Admiral's estimate was 175 miles SE three quarters S of his true position (Admiral of the Ocean Sea, p. 322). In general terms, they were further north and much further west than any of their estimates.
243. layout text The Pinta landed at Bayona (Galicia) and Martín Alonso proceeded at Their Majesties' request to meet Columbus at Palos where he died a few days later (March 1493).
244. layout text Church in Guadalupe (Cáceres, Extremadura) which became a centre of pilgrimage from the twelfth century onwards when a shepherd found an image of the Virgin which had been hidden during the Moorish domination.
245. layout text Place of pilgrimage in the province of Ancona, on the Adriatic coast of Italy. The Madonna di Loreto is a small image of the Virgin and Child housed in the Santa Casa, said to have been carried from Nazareth in 1291 and to have been the site of an appearance of the Virgin which attested to its sanctity.
246. layout text In Columbus's day Ancona was a semi-independent republic under papal control; in 1532 it came under direct papal rule and in 1860 became part of Italy.
247. layout text Moguer (Huelva) was the home town of the Pinzón family and many of the crew.
248. layout text Diego's mother, Felipa Perestrello e Moniz, had died before 1485; Hernando's mother, Beatriz Enríquez de Harana, did not die until c. 1521. Columbus may have discounted Beatriz because she was his mistress, or he may simply have been feeling particularly maudlin in the difficult circumstances of the return voyage.
249. layout text Columbus wrote at least two other accounts of the first voyage at about this point on the return journey; the so-called Carta a Luis de Santángel is dated 'on board ship, off the Canaries, 15 February, 1493'. This letter was published in the same year in Spanish (Barcelona: Pedro Posa), Latin (9 editions throughout Europe), and Italian (3 editions). A German edition and a second Spanish edition appeared in 1497. Columbus also wrote to Their Majesties 'on the sea off Spain, 4 March, 1493' in a letter recently discovered and published by Antonio Rumeu de Armas, Libro copiador de Cristóbal Colón, Madrid: Testimonio, 1989, vol. II, pp. 435-443.
250. layout text i.e. Joao da Castanheira, acting governor of the island.
251. layout text This assertion contradicts the evidence of many entries written in the Caribbean, e.g. 6-12 November.
252. layout text The Earthly Paradise was frequently held to be located in the Far East and is often represented on medieval maps. Columbus's interest in the location of paradise comes to the fore during the third voyage (1498) when he reports that he has located paradise in the vicinity of the Gulf of Paria.
253. layout text 9 o'clock in the evening.
254. layout text Outport of Lisbon, now a suburb of the city.
255. layout text i.e. Bartolomeu Dias, who discovered the Cape of Good Hope in 1488 and later sailed with the fleet which discovered Brazil in 1497.
256. layout text The king, Joao II, who had rejected Columbus's project before it was offered to the Spanish, had left Lisbon to avoid an outbreak of plague and was in residence at the Franciscan monastery of Santa Maria das Virtudes, north of Lisbon.
257. layout text The treaty of Alcáçovas (1479), confirmed by the Papal Bull Aeterni regis (1481), had drawn a line of demarcation across the Atlantic giving the Portuguese jurisdiction over any islands which might be discovered south of the Canaries and in the area of Guinea. The king suspected that Columbus's discoveries were made in contravention of the terms of this treaty, and Las Casas speculates (Historia, I.74) that he must have been very angry at having lost the opportunity of the newly-discovered lands, and was looking for an excuse to deprive the Spanish crown of them. The dispute gave rise to further agreements between the two states based on lines of longitude (the Bull Inter caetera, 1493, and the Treaty of Tordesillas of 1494 which fixed the boundary at 46o 30' W).
258. layout text Sao Jorge da Mina was a trading post established by the Portuguese in what is now Ghana in 1481.
259. layout text A priory belonging to the order of St. John of Jerusalem near the Portuguese-Spanish border mid-way between Lisbon and Cáceres.
260. layout text The Duke was Manuel, duke of Béjar, the Queen's brother and King of Portugal from 1495. The Marquis was probably don Pedro de Noroña, marquis of Villareal and father of don Martín de Noroña.
261. layout text A gold coin.




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