From The Log of Christopher Columbus.


He entered the boat in the morning and went to see the islands which he had not seen, in the direction of the south-west: he saw many others very fertile and very delightful and between them the sea was very deep. Some of them were divided by streams of fresh water, and he believed that that water and those streams came from springs which proceeded from the tops of the mountain ranges on the islands. Going onward from here he found a very beautiful river of fresh water and it flowed very cold through the dry part of the island: there was a very pretty meadow and many palms, much taller than those he had seen. He found large nuts like those of India, I believe he says, and large rats, also like those of India, and very large craw-fish. He saw many birds and smelled a powerful odour of musk {almazique}, and believed that there must be some there. To-day, of the six youths whom he took in the river of Mares and whom he ordered should go on the caravel Nina, the two oldest ones fled.


He proceeded in the boats again with many people from the ships and went to place the great cross which he had ordered made of the said two timbers at the mouth of the entrance of the said Puerto del Principe, in a sightly place and free from trees: It was very high and commanded a very beautiful view. He says that the sea rises and falls there much more than in any other harbour which has been seen in that country, and that it is not very wonderful by reason of the many islands, and that the tide is the reverse of ours, because there when the moon is to the south-west quarter south, it is low tide in that harbour. He did not start from there as it was Sunday.


He started in a calm before sunrise, and after mid-day it blew some to the east and he navigated to the north-north-east; at sunset the Puerto del Principe was to the south-south-west, and was about seven leagues from him. He saw the island of Babeque exactly to the east, about sixty miles distant. He sailed slowly all this night to the north-east; he went about sixty miles and until ten o'clock in the day, Tuesday, another twelve, which are in all eighteen leagues, and in the direction of the north-east quarter north.


Babeque or the islands of Babeque were to the east-south-east, from which direction the wind blew, which was contrary. And seeing that it did not alter and the sea was changing, he decided to make a short excursion to the Puerto del Principe, from whence he had come, which was at a distance of twenty-five leagues. He did not wish to go to the small island which he called Isabella which was at a distance of twelve leagues where he might have gone to anchor that day, for two reasons: one reason, because he perceived two islands to the south which he wished to see, the other that the Indians he was carrying, whom he had taken in Guanahani which he called San Salvador which was eight leagues from Isabella, might not get away from him, of whom he says he has need, in order to bring them to Castile, etc. They had understood, he says, that on finding gold the Admiral would allow them to return to their country. He arrived at the place of the Puerto del Principe: but he could not make it because it was night and because the currents caused him to decline to the north-west. He came back again and turned his prow to the north-east with a strong wind: it calmed and the wind changed at the third quarter of the night, and he turned his prow to the east, quarter north-east: the wind was south-south-east and it changed at dawn entirely to the south, and touched upon the south-east. At sunrise he marked the Puerto del Principe, and it was south-west of him and almost in the quarter of the west, and it was about 48 miles distant from luni, which are twelve leagues.


At sunrise he navigated to the east with the wind south. He made little headway on account of the contrary sea: until the hour of vespers he had gone twenty-four miles, Then the wind changed to the east and he went to the south, quarter south-east and at sunset lie had gone twelve miles. There the Admiral found himself forty-two degrees from the equinoctial line in the direction of the north as in the harbour of Mares: but here he says that he has abandoned the use of the quadrant until he reaches land in order to repair it. So that it appeared to him that he could not be so far distant, and he was right, because it was not possible for these islands to be only in {lacuna} degrees. He was moved to believe, he says, that the quadrant was correct by seeing that the North Star was as high as in Castile, and if this is true he had drawn very near to, and was as high as the coast of Florida: but,--where then, are now these islands which he had under consideration. He was persuaded to believe this because it was very warm: but it is clear that if he was on the coast of Florida that it would not be warm but cold: and it is also manifest that in forty-two degrees in no part of the earth is it believed to be warm without it might be for some cause per accidens, which I do not believe is known up to the present time. On account of this heat which the Admiral says he suffered there, he argues that in these Indies and in the place where he was, there must be a great deal of gold. This day Martin Alonso Pinzon went away with the caravel Pinta without the will and command of the Admiral, through avarice, he says, thinking that an Indian whom the Admiral had ordered placed on the caravel, could show him much gold, and so he went away without waiting and without its being on account of bad weather, but because he wished to do so. And the Admiral says here, "He has done and said many other things to me."


Wednesday in the night he navigated to the south quarter south-east with the wind east, and it was almost a calm: at the third quarter it blew north-north-east. He was yet going toward the south in order to see that country which lay in that direction from him and when the sun rose he found himself as far distant as on the past day because of the contrary currents, and the land was a distance of forty miles from him. This night Martin Alonso followed the course to the east in order to go to the island of Babeque, where the Indians say there is a great deal of gold, and he was going in sight of the Admiral and might have been at a distance of sixteen miles. The Admiral went in sight of land all night and he caused some of the sails to be taken in and burned a torch all night, because it appeared to him that Martin Alonso was returning to him; and the night was very clear and there was a nice little breeze by which to come to him if he wished.


The Admiral navigated toward land all day, always to the south with a light wind, and the current never permitted him to reach land, but rather he was as far from it to-day at sunset as he was in the morning. The wind was east-north-east and favourable to go to the south, but it was light: and beyond this cape there was another land or cape which also extends to the east which the Indians he was carrying called Bohio, and which they said was very large and had upon it people who had an eye in the forehead and others which were called cannibals of whom they showed great fear. And as soon as they saw that they were taking that course, he says that they could not talk, as they said cannibals ate them and they are a people who are very well armed. The Admiral says he well believes there was some truth in it, although since they were armed they must be an intelligent people, and he believed that they had captured some of the other Indians and that because they did not return to their own country, they would say that they ate them. They believed the same in regard to the Christians and the Admiral, when some of them first saw them.


He navigated all that night and at the hour of "tercia" he made land off the level island, in that same place where he had put into harbour the past week when he was going to the island of Babeque. At first he did not dare to land because it appeared to him that the sea broke heavily in that opening in the mountain ranges. And finally he arrived at the Mar de Nuestra Senora where the many islands were, and he entered the harbour near the mouth of the entrance to the islands, and he says that if he had known this harbour before and had not occupied himself in seeing the islands of the Sea of Our Lady {Mar de Nuestra Senora} that it would not have been necessary for him to turn backward although he says that he considers it time well employed in having seen the said islands. So that on arriving at land he sent the boat and tried the harbour and found it a very good bar, six fathoms deep and sometimes twenty, and clear, and all with a sandy bottom: he entered it, turning the prow to the south-west, and afterwards turning to the west, leaving the flat island toward the north, which with another near to it makes a bay in the sea, in which all the ships of Spain could be contained, and could be safe from all the winds without anchorage. And this entrance on the south-eastern part which may be entered by placing the prow to the south-south-west, has an outlet to the west, very deep and very wide: so that whoever might come from the sea on the northern part can pass between the said islands and obtain knowledge of them, as it is the direct passage along this coast. These said islands are at the base of a great mountain which extends lengthwise from east to west, and is exceedingly long and higher and longer than any of all the others which are upon this coast where there is an infinite number, and a rocky reef extends outside along the said mountain like a bar, which reaches as far as the entrance. All this is on the south-eastern part and also on the side of the flat island there is another reef, although this is small, and thus between both there is great width and great depth of water as has been said. Then at the entrance on the south-eastern side, inside in the same harbour, they saw a large and very beautiful river, and with more water than they had seen until that time and the water of which was fresh as far as the sea. It has a bar at the entrance but afterwards inside it is very deep, eight or nine fathoms. The land is all covered with palms and has many groves like ours.


Before sunset he entered the boat and went to see a cape or point of land to the south-east of the small flat island, a matter of a league and a half because it appeared to him that there must be some good river there. Then at the entrance of the cape on the south-eastern part, at a distance of two cross-bow shots, he saw a large stream of very fine water flowing, which descended from a mountain and made a great noise. He went to the river and saw in it some glittering stones with spots on them of the colour of gold, and he remembered that in the river Tejo {Tagus}, at the foot of it near the sea, gold was found and it appeared to him that there certainly must be gold here and he ordered certain of those stones to be gathered to carry them to the Sovereigns. While they were in this place the ship-boys cried out saying that they saw pines. He looked toward the mountain ranges and saw them the pines, so large and wonderful that he could not exaggerate their height and straightness, like spindles, both thick ones and slender ones. From these he knew that ships could be made and a great quantity of timber and masts for the largest vessels of Spain. He saw oak-trees and strawberry-trees and a good river and the materials necessary for saw-mills. The land and the breezes were more temperate than up to the present time, on account of the height and beauty of the mountain ranges. He saw along the beach many other stones of the colour of iron, and others which some said were from silver mines, all of which were brought by the river. There he got a lateen yard and mast for the mizzen of the caravel Nina. He reached the mouth of the river and entered a bay at the foot of that cape on the south-eastern side which was very large and deep and which would contain a hundred ships without any cables or anchors and eyes never saw such another harbour. The chains of mountains were very high, from which many delightful streams descended: and all the ranges were covered with pines and everywhere there were the most diverse and beautiful thickets of trees. There were two or three other rivers which lay behind him. He praises all this highly to the Sovereigns and shows that he experienced inestimable joy and pleasure in seeing it, and especially the pines, because as many ships as desired could be built there by bringing the necessary implements, except wood and fish of which there is an enormous quantity there. And he affirms that he has not praised it a hundredth part as much as it deserves and that it pleased our Lord to continually show him something better and always in what he had discovered up to the present time he had been going from good to better, as well in the trees and forests and grasses and fruits and flowers, as in the people and always in a different manner and in one place the same as in another. The same was true in regard to the harbours and the waters. And finally he says that when he who sees it wonders at it so greatly, how much more wonderful it will seem to those who hear of it, and that no one will be able to believe it until he sees it.


At sunrise he weighed the anchors from the harbour of Santa Catalina where he was, inside the low island, and navigated along the coast in a rather light wind south-west in the direction of the Cabo del Pico, which lay to the south-east. He reached the cape late because the wind calmed, and having arrived he saw to the south-east, quarter east, another cape which might have been sixty miles distant and near there he saw another cape which was about south-east of the ship, quarter south, and it appeared to him that it might have been twenty miles distant, which he named Cabo de Campana and which he could not reach in the day-time because the wind calmed again altogether. He went during that entire day about thirty-two miles which are eight leagues. Within that distance he noted and marked nine very distinct harbours which all the seamen considered wonderful, and five large rivers, because he went near to the land all the time in order to see everything well. All that country consists of very high and beautiful mountains and they are not dry or rocky but are all accessible and there are most beautiful valleys. And the valleys as well as the mountains were covered with tall and verdant trees, so that it was a pleasure to look at them, and it appeared that there were many pines. And also beyond the said Cabo del Pico on the south-eastern side, there were two small islands which were each about two leagues around and in them there were three wonderful harbours and two large rivers. On all this coast he saw no town whatever from the sea. It might have been that there were people and there are signs of them, because whenever they went on land they found signs of habitations and many fires. He thought that the country he now saw in the south-east direction from the Cabo de Campana was the island which the Indians called Bohio: it appears so to him because the said cape is separated from that land. All the people that he has found up to the present time, he says are in great tear of the people of Caniba or Canima, and they say they live on this island of Bohio. This island must be very large, as it appears to him, and he believes that the people on it to and take the other Indians and their lands and houses, as they are very cowardly and do not know about arms. And for this cause it appeared to him that those Indians he was taking with him were not accustomed to settle on the coast of the sea, on account of being near this country. These Indians, he says, after they saw him take the course to this country, could not speak, fearing that they were to be eaten, and he was not able to free them from fear, and they said that the people there had only one eye and the face of a dog and the Admiral believed that they lied: and the Admiral felt that they must belong to the domains of the Great Khan, who captured them.


Yesterday at sunset be arrived near a cape which he called Campana and as the sky was clear and the wind light he did not wish to go to land to anchor although he had five or six wonderful harbours to the leeward, because he was detained more than he desired by the pleasure and delight he felt and experienced in seeing and gazing on the beauty and freshness of those countries wherever he entered, and as he did not wish to be delayed in prosecuting what he was engaged upon. For these reasons he remained that night beating about and standing off and on until day. And as the rapid currents that night had taken him more than five or six leagues farther to the south-east than he was at nightfall where the country of Campana had appeared to him: and beyond that point there appeared a great inlet which seemed to divide one country from the other, and made the appearance of an island in the middle: he decided to turn backward with the wind south-west, and he arrived where the opening had appeared to him, and he found that it was only a large bay and at the head of it on the south-eastern side was a point upon which there was a high and square mountain which appeared like an island. The wind changed to the north and he again took his course to the south-east in order to go along the coast and discover all that there might be there. And he saw then at the foot of that Cabo de Campana a wonderful harbour and a large river and a quarter of a league from there another river and a half league from there another river and another half league from there another river, and a league from there another river, and another league from there another river, and another quarter of a league from there another river, and another league from there another large river, from which latter river to the Cabo de Campana it was about twenty miles, and they lay south-east of him. And the greater part of these rivers had large mouths, wide and clear, with wonderful harbours for very large ships, without rocky or sandy bars or reefs. Coming thus along the coast in the direction of the south-east from the said last river he found a large village, the largest he had found until then, and he saw a great number of people come to the sea-shore crying out loudly, all naked and with their spears in their hands. He desired to speak with them and lowered the sails and anchored and sent the boats from the ship and the caravel in an orderly manner, that the Spaniards might not do and harm to the Indians or receive any front them, commanding them to give the Indians some trifles from their articles of barter. The Indians made an appearance of not allowing them to land and of resisting them. And seeing that the boats approached nearer to the land and that the Spaniards were not afraid, they withdrew from the sea. And believing that if two or three men got out of the boats they would not be afraid, three Christians landed telling them in their language not to be afraid, as they knew something of the language from conversation with the Indians they were taking with them. Finally they all started to flee so that neither a grown person nor child remained. The three Christians went to the houses which are made of straw and of the same shape as the others they had seen, and they found no one and nothing in any of them. They returned to the ships and spread the sails at mid-day to go to a beautiful cape which lay to the east, at a distance of about eight leagues. Having gone half a league along the same bay the Admiral saw in the direction of the south a very remarkable harbour and in the direction of the south-east some wonderfully beautiful countries, similar to a hilly tract of fruitful ground surrounded by mountains, and a great quantity of smoke and large villages appeared in it and the lands were highly cultivated. On this account he determined to go down to this harbour and try and see if he could have speech and intercourse with the people. He says that if he had praised the other harbours, this one was such that he praised it more, together with the countries and their surroundings and the temperate climate and the population: he says wonders about the beauty of the land and of the trees where there are pines and palms, and about the great plain which however is not entirely level {no es llanode llano} and extends to the south-south-east, but is full of low smooth mountains, the most beautiful thing in the world, and many streams of water flow out from it, which descend from these mountains. After having anchored the vessel the Admiral jumped into the boat to sound the harbour, which is shaped like a small hammer: and when he was facing the entrance to the south he found the mouth of a river which was wide enough for a galley to enter it and so situated that it could not be seen until it was reached, and in entering it a boat's length it was five fathoms and eight fathoms in depth. In going along this river it was a wonderful thing to see the groves and verdure and the very clear water and the birds and the agreeableness, so that he says it appeared to him that he did not wish to leave there. He went on, saying to the men he had in his company that in order to make a relation to the Sovereigns of the things they saw, a thousand tongues would not be sufficient to tell it nor his hand to write it, as it appeared to him that he was enchanted. He desired that many other prudent persons and of good credit should see it, so as to be certain. He says, that they did not praise these things less than he did. The Admiral further says these words here:

"How great will be the benefit which can be derived from here, I do not write. It is certain, Lords and Princes, that where there are such lands there must be an infinite quantity of profitable things: but I do not stop in any harbour because I would like to see the greatest number of lands that I can, so as to tell your Highnesses about them, and also do not know the language, and the people of these lands do not understand me nor do I or any other person I have with me, understand them: and these Indians I am taking with me, many times understand things contrary to what they are, neither do I trust much to them because they have attempted flight several times. But now, our Lord pleasing, I will see the most that I can, and little by little I will go investigating and learning, and will cause this language to be taught to persons of my house because I see that the language is all one up to the present: and then the benefits will be known, and one will labour to make all these peoples Christians as it can be done easily, because they have no sect nor are they idolaters, and your Highnesses will order a city and fortress to be built in these regions and these countries will be converted. And I certify to your Highnesses that it does not appear to me that there can be under the sun countries more fertile, more temperate in heat and cold, with a greater abundance of good and healthy waters, not like the rivers of Guinea which are all pestilent; because, praised be our Lord, until to-day, of all my people I have not bad a person who has had the headache or has been in bed from sickness, except one old man through pain from gravel, from which he has suffered all his life, and then he became well at the end of two days. I say this in regard to all three ships. So that it will please God that your Highnesses shall send learned men here, or they shall come and they will then see the truth of everything. And as previously I have spoken of the site of a village or fortress on the Rio de Mares on account of the good harbour and the surrounding territory: it is certain that all I have said is true, but there is no comparison between that place and this, neither with the Mar de Nuestra Senora: as here there must be large villages and an innumerable population inland and things of great profit: because here and in all the other countries I have discovered and which I hope to discover before I go to Castile, I say that Christendom will enter into negotiations, and Spain much more than the rest, to which all must be subject. And I say that, your Highnesses must not consent that any foreigner set foot here or trade but only Catholic Christians, since this was the beginning and the end of the proposition that it should be for the increase and glory of the Christian religion, and that no one should come to these regions who is not a good Christian." All are his words. He ascended the river there and found some branches and going around the harbour he found at the mouth of the river there were some very pleasant groves like a most delightful orchard, and there he found a raft or canoe made of a timber as large as a fusta with twelve benches for the rowers and very beautiful, stranded under a shed made of wood, and covered with great palm leaves, so that neither the sun nor the water could injure it and he says that there was the right place to build a village or city and fortress on account of the good harbour, good waters, good lands, good surroundings and great quantity of wood.


He remained in that harbour that day because it rained and was very dark and cloudy, although he could have run along the coast with the wind, which was south-west and would be at the stern a popa, but as he could not see the land well and not being acquainted with it, it was dangerous to the ships, and he did not start. The people of the ships landed to wash their clothes and some of them went inland a little ways and found large villages and empty houses because all the people had fled. They returned down along another river, larger than the one where they were, in the harbour.


As it rained and the sky was clouded they did not start. Some of the Christians reached another village near by in the direction of the north-west, and they found nothing and no one in the houses: and on the way they encountered an old man who could not flee from them: they took him and said to him that they did not wish to do him harm, and they gave him some trifles from the articles of barter and left him. The Admiral would have liked to see him to clothe him and talk with him, because he was greatly pleased with the felicity of that land and its disposition to make a settlement in it, and he judged that there must be large villages. They found in one house a cake of wax, which he brought to the Sovereigns and he says that where there is wax there must also be a thousand other good things. The sailors also found in one house the head of a man in a little basket covered with another little basket and fastened to a post of the house and in the same manner they found another in another village. The Admiral believed that they must be the heads of some principal persons of the family, because those houses were such that many people could take refuge in one alone, and they must be relations descended from one person alone.


He could not start because the wind was east, very contrary to his course. He sent eight men well armed and with them two Indians from among those he was taking with him to see the villages within the country and to talk with the inhabitants. They reached many houses and found nothing nor any one, as all had fled. They saw four youths who were digging in their fields, but as they saw the Christians they fled and they could not overtake them. They went a long distance, he says. They saw many settlements and very fertile ground and all cultivated and large streams of water and near one they saw a raft or canoe ninety-five palms long built of one single timber and very beautiful, and it would hold one hundred and fifty persons and they could navigate in it.

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