From The Log of Christopher Columbus.


To-day at sunrise the King of that country came to the caravel Nina, where the Admiral was, and almost crying told him not to feel bad because he would give him whatever he had, and that he had given two very large houses to the Christians who were on land and that he would give them more if it was necessary and as many canoes as would be needed to load and unload the ship and place the cargo on land, with as many people as he desired: and that he had done so yesterday without even a particle of bread being taken or any other thing: "They are so faithful (says the Admiral) and so little covetous of the property of others and in this respect that King was more just than all the others." While the Admiral was talking with him, another canoe came from another place bringing certain pieces of gold, which the Indians wished to give for a hawk's bell because they did not desire anything else as much as hawks' bells The canoe had not yet reached the side of the ship when they called and showed the pieces of gold, saying chuq chuq for hawks' bells, as they are in a likely state to become crazy for them. After having seen this the Indians on these canoes which were from the other places, in leaving, called to the Admiral and begged him to order a hawk's bell kept for them until the next day, for which they would bring four pieces of gold as large as the hand. The Admiral was pleased to hear this and then a sailor who came from land told the Admiral that the pieces of gold which the Christians who were on land were trading for nothing, were wonderful: for a leather strap they gave pieces which would he worth more than two castellanos, and that it was nothing then to what it would be at the end of a month. The King was delighted to see the Admiral pleased and he understood that he desired a great deal of gold and he told him by signs that he knew where there was a great amount of it near there, and that he must be of good cheer for he would give him as much gold as he wished. And the Admiral says that he gave him an account of it and in particular told him that they have it in Cipango which they call Civao, in such quantity that they do not value it at all and that they would bring it there, although also in the island of Espanola which they call Bohio and in that province of Caribata there is much more of it. The King ate on the caravel with the Admiral and afterward went with him on land where he paid the Admiral great honours, and gave him a repast of two or three kinds of "ajes" with shrimps, game and other viands which they had and their bread which they called cazavi. Then he took him to see some clumps of trees near the houses, and fully a thousand persons, all naked, went with him. The King was already wearing a shirt and a pair of gloves which the Admiral had given him, and he rejoiced more over the gloves than anything which had been given him. By his manner of eating, his honesty and his exquisite cleanliness, he showed himself to be of good birth. After having eaten, as they remained at the table some time, they brought certain herbs with which they rubbed their hands a great deal. The Admiral believed they did it to soften them, and they gave him water for his hands. After they had finished eating they took the Admiral to the beach, and he sent for a Turkish bow and a handful of arrows, and the Admiral made a man from among his company who was skilful in the exercise, shoot the arrows. And as the King did not know what arms are, as they do not possess them or use them, it appeared to him to be a great thing. Although he {the Admiral} says that the beginning was from a conversation they had about the people of Caniba, whom they call Caribs {Caribes}, who come to take them and who carry bows and arrows without iron, as in all those countries they have no knowledge of iron and of steel nor of any other metal, except of gold and copper, although the Admiral had seen but little copper. The Admiral told him by signs that the Sovereigns of Castile would order the Caribs destroyed, and that they would order them all brought to him with the hands tied. The Admiral ordered a lombard and a musket to be fired and seeing the effect of their force and what they penetrated, the King marvelled greatly. And when his people heard the shots they all fell to the ground. They brought the Admiral a large mask, which had great pieces of gold in the ears and eyes and in other places, which the King himself gave him, and which with other jewels of gold he placed on the head and around the neck of the Admiral: and they also gave a great deal to the other Christians who were with the Admiral. The Admiral derived great pleasure and consolation from these things which he saw and it tempered the trouble and affliction he had experienced and was feeling in losing the ship and he recognised that our Lord had caused him to run aground at that place that he might make a settlement there. And (he says), so many things came to hand here, that the disaster was really nothing other than a great good fortune. Because it is certain (he says) that if I had not run aground here, I should have kept out to sea without anchoring at this place, because it is situated here inside a large bay and in the bay there are two or three banks of shoals. Neither would I have left people here on this voyage, and even if I had desired to leave them I could not have given them a good enough outfit, nor enough ammunition and provisions and accoutrements for a fortress. And it is quite true that many of the people who are here have begged me that I would give them permission to remain. Now I have ordered a tower and fortress constructed and all in a very good manner and a large cellar, not that I believe this necessary with these people, because I consider it certain that with these people I have with me, I could subjugate all this island, which I believe is larger than Portugal and has double the people: but they are naked and without arms and cowardly beyond cure. But it is not that this tower should be built and it must be as it must be, being so far from your Highnesses and that they may know the people of your Highnesses and what they can do that they may obey them with love and fear, and thus they have blocks with which to construct the fortress and provisions of bread and wine for more than a year, and seeds for sowing, and the ship's boat and a calker, and a carpenter, and a gunner and a cooper and among them many men who desire greatly for the services of your Highnesses and to cause me pleasure, to learn of the mine where the gold is found. So that everything has happened much to the purpose that this beginning may be made. And more than all this when the ship ran aground it went so softly that it was hardly felt and there was neither wave nor wind." The Admiral says all this. And he further adds to show that it was a great good fortune and the determined will of God that the ship should run aground there that people might be left there,--that had it not been for the treachery of the Master and of the people, who were all or most of them from his country, in not wishing to cast the anchor at the stern to draw the ship off as the Admiral ordered them to do, that the ship would have been saved; and thus the country would not have been known (he says) as it was known during those days they remained there and as it will be known by the people he intended leaving there, as he was sailing all the time with the intention of making discoveries and not remaining anywhere more than a day unless it was because there was no wind, because he says the ship was very heavy and not fitted for the purpose of discovery. And the taking of such a ship he says was due to the people of Palos, who did not fulfil what the King and Queen had promised him, that is that he should he given ships suitable for that journey, and they did not do it. The Admiral concludes by saying that of all there was in the ship not a leather strap was lost, nor a board nor a nail, because the ship remained as sound as when she started except that she was chopped and split some in order to take out the butts and all the merchandise: and they placed all these on land, well guarded, as has been told. And he says that he hopes in God when he returns from Castile, as he intends, he will find a tun of gold for which those people he is to leave will have traded, and that they will have found the Mine of gold and the spices, and all that in such a quantity that before three years the Sovereigns will undertake and prepare to go and conquer the Holy Sepulchre (casa santa). "because (he says) I thus protested to your Highnesses that all the profit of this, my undertaking, should be spent in the conquest of Jerusalem, and your Highnesses smiled and said that it was pleasing to them, and that even without this, they had the inclination to do it." These are the words of the Admiral.


At sunrise the King of that country came to the caravel and told the Admiral that he had sent for gold and that he wished to cover him all over with gold before he went away, and he begged him not to go away before. And the King ate with the Admiral, and a brother of his and another very near relative, which two told the Admiral that they wished to go to Castile with him. At this time news came that the caravel Pinta was in a river at the head of that island. Then the Cacique, who loved the Admiral so much it was wonderful, sent a canoe there in which the Admiral despatched a sailor. The Admiral was already preparing with as much haste as possible for the return to Castile.


In order to hasten the finishing of the construction of the fortress and to establish order among the people who were to remain there, the Admiral went on land, and it seemed to him that the King had seen him when he was going in the boat. The King entered his house quickly, dissembling, and sent one of his brothers to receive the Admiral, who conducted him to one of the houses which had been given to the Christians, and which was the largest and best in that village. In this house they had prepared a raised platform of the inner bark of the palm tree where they made the Admiral sit down. Then the brother sent one of his pages to say to the King that the Admiral was there, as though the King did not know that he had come, although the Admiral believed that he was dissembling to pay him much more honour. When the page told him, the Cacique (he says) came running to the Admiral and placed around his neck a large plate of gold which he was carrying in his hand. He remained there with the Admiral until afternoon consulting as to what he was to do.


At sunrise a nephew of the King, a very young boy, of good judgment and courage as the Admiral says came to the ship: and as the Admiral always endeavoured to learn where the gold was found, he questioned each one, as he already understood something by signs. And in that manner, that boy told him that at a distance of four days journeys to the east there was an island which was called Guarionex and others which they called Macorix and Mayonic and Fuima and Cibao and Coroay, in which there was an infinite quantity of gold. The Admiral wrote down these names and a brother of the King having learned that the nephew had told this quarrelled with him, according to what the Admiral understood. Also the Admiral had understood at other times that the King was trying to keep him in ignorance of the places where the gold was found and gathered, that he might not go to trade for it and buy it elsewhere. But there is so much of it and in so many places on this island of Espanola itself (says the Admiral) that it is wonderful. Night having already come, the King sent a large mask of gold and also sent to beg of the Admiral a hand-basin and a pitcher. The Admiral believed that he asked them of him so as to order others made, and therefore he sent them to him.


The Admiral went on land to eat, and arrived at the time when five Kings had come who were subjects of this King who was called Guacanagari. They all wore their crowns and were in very good state, so that the Admiral says to the Sovereigns that their Highnesses would take pleasure in seeing their manners. On reaching land, the King came to receive the Admiral and took him by the arms and conducted him to the same house where he went yesterday, where he had a raised platform and chairs in which the Admiral sat down: and then he took off his crown from his own head and placed it upon the Admiral's head, and the Admiral took from around his neck a collar of good blood-stones and very beautiful beads of fine colours, which appeared very good in all parts and placed it upon the King: and he took off a cloak of fine scarlet cloth which he had put on that day, and clothed the King with it: and he sent for some coloured buskins which he made him put on, and placed upon his finger a large silver ring because the Admiral had been told that this king had seen a silver ring which belonged to a sailor and had made many endeavours to obtain it. The King was very joyful and contented and two of those Kings who were with him, came to where the Admiral was with Guarionex and brought the Admiral two large gold plaques, each bringing one. At this time an Indian arrived saying that two days ago he had left the caravel Pinta to the east in a harbour. The Admiral returned to the caravel and Vicente Anos, the captain, said that he had seen rhubarb and that it was on the island of Amiga, which is at the entrance of the sea of Santo Tome, which is six leagues from there and that he had recognised the leaves and root. They say that rhubarb sends small branches out of the ground and bears fruits which appear like green mulberries almost dry and the stalk which grows from the root is as yellow and as fine as the best colour which can be found to paint, and under the ground the root grows like a large pear.


This day he occupied himself in ordering water and wood taken in readiness for the departure for Spain, in order to give speedy information to the Sovereigns, that they might send ships to discover what remained to be discovered: because the affair already appeared so great and of such importance that it is wonderful (said the Admiral) and he says that he would have liked not to depart until he had seen all that land which extends toward the east, and had gone all along the coast in order to learn also (he says) the distance from Castile to that country so as to bring there herds of cattle and other things. But as there remained to him only one ship, it did not appear a reasonable thing to expose himself to the dangers which might occur in making discoveries. And he complained that all that injury and inconvenience arose from the separation of the caravel Pinta.

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