From The Log of Christopher Columbus:


He did not go out of this harbour on account of there not being a breeze from land so he could get out. He would have liked to have gone out in order to go to another better harbour, because that harbour was somewhat exposed, and because he wished to observe the conjunction of the moon with the sun which he expected to take place the 17th of this month, and the opposition of the moon with Jupiter and conjunction with Mercury, and the sun in opposition with Jupiter, which is the cause of great winds. He sent the boat to land on a beautiful beach that the sailors might get "ajes" to eat and they found certain men with bows and arrows with whom they stopped to talk and they bought two bows and many arrows from them, and begged one of them to go and speak with the Admiral on the caravel: and he came and the Admiral says that he was very much more ugly in the face than the other Indians they had seen: his face was all smutted with charcoal although everywhere the Indians were accustomed to stain themselves different colours. He wore his hair very long and drawn back and tied behind and afterward placed in a "rebecilla" of parrots' feathers, and he was naked like the others. The Admiral judged that he must have been one of the Caribs who eat men and that the gulf which he had seen yesterday divided the land and that this was an island by itself. The Admiral asked him about the Caribs and he made signs to the east, near there, which the Admiral says he saw yesterday before he entered that hay: and the Indian told him that there was a great deal of gold in that country, pointing out the poop of the caravel which was very large and indicating that there were pieces as large as that. He called gold tuab and did not understand it by caona as it was called in the first part of the island nor by nozay as it is called in San Salvador and in the other islands. On Espanola they call copper or a base quality of gold tuob. That Indian told of the island of Matinino and said that it was all settled by women without men and on it there was a great deal of tuob which is gold or copper, and that it is farther to the east of Carib. He also told of the island of Goanin, where there is a great deal of tuob. The Admiral says that he had been told of these islands by many persons some days before. The Admiral says further that in the islands they had passed the inhabitants were in great fear of the Carib and in some they called it Caniba, but in Espanola they called it Carib. And that they must he a very bold people since they go to all the islands and eat the people they are able to capture. He says that he understood some words and by this he says that he learned other things, and that the Indians he had with him understood more, although he found the languages different on account of the great distances of the lands from each other. He ordered that the Indian should be given something to eat and he gave him pieces of green and red cloth and very small glass beads which they like very much, and he sent him to land again and told him to bring gold if he had it which he suspected on account of some little things which he wore. As the boat reached land there were behind the trees fully fifty-five men naked and wearing their hair very long as the women wear it in Castile. On the back part of their heads they wore head-dresses of the plumes of parrots and other birds, and each one carried his bow. The Indian in the boat went on land and made the others lay aside their bows and arrows and a piece of stick which is like a lacuna very heavy, which they carry in place of a sword These Indians then came to the boat and the people from the boat landed and began to buy the bows and arrows and the other arms, because the Admiral had ordered them to do so. Having sold two bows they did not wish to give any more, but rather they prepared to attack the Christians and capture them. They went running to get their bows and arrows where they had laid them aside, and returned with cords in their hands, he says, to bind the Christians. On seeing them come running toward them the Christians, who were ready as the Admiral always advised them to be on guard, attacked the Indians and gave one of them a great cut in the buttock and wounded another on the breast with an arrow. When they saw that they were able to gain little although the Christians were only seven and they were fifty and over, they took to flight until not one remained, one leaving his arrows here and another his bow there. The Admiral says that the Christians would have killed many of them if the pilot who went as captain of them had not prevented it. The Christians then returned to the caravel with their boat and the Admiral having learned of the affair, said that in one way it troubled him and in another it did not, that they might be afraid of the Christians; because without doubt {he says} the people in that place do evil, and he believed they were from the island of Carib and that they eat men: and if the boat which he left with thirty-nine men in the fortress and Villa de la Navidad comes to that place, they may be afraid to do them any harm. And if they did not belong to the Caribs at least they must be inhabitants of lands fronting them and they have the same customs and must be a people free from fear, not like the others on the other islands who are cowards and without arms, except reason {fuera de razon}. The Admiral says all this and that he wished to take some of them. He says that they made many fires according to the custom on that island of Espanola.


He would have liked to send this night to search for the houses of those Indians to take some of them, believing that they were Caribs, and was prevented by the strong east and north-east wind which blew and by the high sea: but when day came, they saw many Indians on land. The Admiral ordered the boat to go to land with people well prepared, and the Indians then all came to the stern of the boat and especially the Indian who the day before had come to the caravel, and to whom the Admiral had given the articles of barter. With this Indian, he says there came a King who had given the said Indian some beads {cuentas} to give to the people in the boat in sign of security and peace. This King with three of his people entered the boat and came to the caravel. The Admiral ordered that honey and biscuit should be given them to eat and he gave the King a red cap and beads and a piece of red cloth and to the others also pieces of cloth, and the King said that to morrow he would bring a gold mask saying that there was a great deal of gold there in Carib and Matinino. Then the Admiral sent them to land well pleased. The Admiral says further, that the caravels were leaking badly at the keel and he complains a great deal of the calkers who calked them very badly in Palos and says that when they saw that the Admiral had noticed their poor work, and desired to constrain them to mend it, they fled. But notwithstanding the great quantity of water which the caravels were taking, he confides in our Lord who brought him there to lead him back in his pity and mercy, for his High Majesty well knew how much controversy he had before he was able to start from Castile as no other was favourable to him except God because He knew his heart, and after God their Highnesses favoured him, and all the others had opposed him without any reason whatever. And he says further as follows: "And they have been the cause that the Royal Crown of your Highnesses does not possess one hundred millions more revenue than it has. since I came to serve them, which is now seven years ago, the 20th day of January this very month and furthermore the accumulation which would have been the natural increase. But that powerful God will remedy everything." These are his words.


He says that he wishes to depart because nothing is gained by remaining here now on account of the disagreements which have taken place. He must mean the trouble with the Indians. He says also that to-day he has learned that all the bulk of the gold was in the vicinity of the Villa de la Navidad of their Highnesses, and that on the island of Carib there was a great deal of copper and in Matinino, although it would be difficult to obtain it in Carib because he says the people eat human flesh: and he says the island of the Caribs appeared from where he was and that he had determined to go there, since it is on his course and to the island of Matinino which he says was all inhabited by women without men, and he says he wished to see both these islands and to take some of the inhabitants. The Admiral sent the boat to land and the king of that country 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," all with their bows and arrows. After they had traded everything with the Indians he says there came four youths to the caravel and they appeared to the Admiral to give such good account of all those islands which lay toward the east on the same course that the Admiral had to follow, that he determined to take them to Castile with him: He says they had no iron or other metal there which could be seen, although in a few days much cannot be learned in regard to a country both on account of the difficulty of the language which he understood only by intuition and as the Indians did not learn what was asked of them in a short time. The bows of these people he says were as large as those of France and England: the arrows are just the same as the spears of the other peoples he had seen up to that time, which are made from the stalks of the canes when they go to seed, which are very straight and a yard and a half or two yards long, and then they put in the end a piece of sharp stick, a palm and a half long, and at the end of this little stick some insert a fish's tooth and most of them place there an herb, and they do not shoot as in other places, but in a certain manner which cannot do much harm. There was a great deal of cotton there, very fine and long and there is a great deal of mastic and it appeared to him that the bows were of yew-trees and that there is gold and copper: also there is a great deal of "aji," which is their pepper, which is worth more than our pepper, and none of the people eat without it as it is found to be very salutary. Fifty caravels can be loaded with it each year on that island of Espanola. He says that he found a great deal of grass in that bay the same as they found in the gulf when they came to make the discovery, on which account be believed there were islands to the east in a straight line from where he began to find them; because he is certain that that grass grows in shallow water near the land and he says that if it is so, these Indies were very near the islands of Canary: and for this reason he believed that they were distant less than four hundred leagues.


Three hours before day he started from the gulf which he called the Golfo de las Flechas, with a land breeze, then with a west wind, turning his prow to the east quarter north-east, to go, he says, to the Isla de Carib where were the people whom all the inhabitants of all those islands and countries feared so greatly; because, he says, they cross all those seas in their canoes without number and he says they eat the men they are able to capture. He says one of the four Indians he had taken yesterday in the Puerto de las Flechas had showed him the course. After having gone, in his opinion, sixty-four miles, the Indians indicated to him that the island lay to the south-east. He wished to follow that course and ordered the sails trimmed, and after they had gone two leagues the wind again blew, very favourably to go to Spain. He noted that the people began to grow sad on account of departing from the straight course, as both caravels were taking a great deal of water and they had no help save in God. He was obliged to leave the course which he believed was taking him to the island and he returned to the direct course for Spain--north-east quarter east, and he went thus until sunset forty-four miles, which are twelve leagues. The Indians told him that on that course he would find the island of Matinino, which he says was inhabited by women without men, and the Admiral says he would much like to carry five or six of them to the Sovereigns. But he doubted whether the Indians knew the course well or not, and he was not able to delay on account of the danger from the water which the caravels were taking. But he says he was certain there was such an island, and that at a certain time of year the men came to these women from the said Isla de Carib, which he says was ten or twelve leagues from them, and if they gave birth to a boy they sent him to the island of the men and if to a girl they kept her with them, The Admiral says that those two islands could not have been distant from where he had started, fifteen or twenty leagues, and he believed they were to the south-east, and that the Indians did not know how to point out the course. After losing from sight the cape which he called San Theramo, on the island of Espanola, which lay sixteen leagues to the west, he went twelve leagues to the east, quarter north-east. Very good weather prevailed.


Yesterday at sunset the wind calmed some. He went during fourteen ampolletas {sand glasses}, which are each a half hour or a little less, until the passing of the first quarter, at the rate of about four miles an hour, which are twenty-eight miles. Then the wind revived, and he went thus during all that quarter which are ten "ampolletas" and then another six until sunrise, at the rate of eight miles per hour, and so he went in all about eighty-four miles which are twenty-one leagues to the north-east quarter east, and until sunset he went more than forty-four miles to the east, which are eleven leagues. Here a pelican came to the caravel and then another, and he saw a great deal of grass of the kind which is in the sea.


He navigated with little wind this night to the east quarter south-east forty miles, which are ten leagues: and then to the south-east quarter east thirty miles, which are seven and one-half leagues, until sunrise. After sunrise he navigated all day with little wind east-north-east and north-east and east more and less, turning the prow sometimes to the north and sometimes to the quarter of the north-east and to the north-north-east, and thus counting both he believed he went about sixty miles, which are fifteen leagues. Little grass appeared in the sea: but he says that yesterday and to-day the sea appeared coagulated with tunny-fish and the Admiral believed that from there they must go to the tunny-fisheries of the Duke of Conil and Caliz. A fishing-bird which is called the frigate-pelican which went around the caravel and then went away to the south-south-east, caused the Admiral to believe that there were some islands near there. And he said that the island of Carib and the island of Matinino and many other islands, lay to the east-south-east of the island of Espanola.


He went this night fifty-six miles to the north, quarter north-east, and sixty-four to the north-east, quarter north. After sunrise he navigated to the north-east with a strong wind east-south-east and then to the quarter of the North, and he went about eighty-four miles which are twenty-one leagues. He saw the sea coagulated with small tunny-fish. There were pelicans, ring-tails, and frigate-pelicans.


The wind calmed this night and at intervals gusts of wind blew, and he went in all about twenty miles to the north-east. After sunset he went about eleven miles to the south-east, then to the north-north-east thirty-six miles which are nine leagues. He saw an infinite number of small tunny-fish. The breezes he says were very soft and sweet the same as in Seville in April or May, and the sea, he says, God be given many thanks, was very calm all the time. Frigate-pelicans and "petrels" and many other birds appeared.


Yesterday after sunset he navigated to the north quarter north-east, with the wind east and north-east. He went about eight miles an hour until midnight which would be fifty-six miles. Then he went to the north-north-east at the rate of eight miles an hour, and this would be in all the night one hundred and four miles, which are twenty-six leagues, to the quarter of the north inclining to the north-east. After sunrise he navigated to the north-north-east with the same east wind, and at times to the quarter of the north-east and he went about eighty-eight miles in eleven hours which was the duration of the day, which make twenty-one leagues, deducting one which he lost because he fell off to the leeward toward the caravel Pinta, to speak her. He found the winds cooler, and he expected, he says, to find them more so each day the more he went to the north, and also because the nights were longer on account of the narrowing of the sphere. Many ring-tails and "petrels" appeared, and other birds; but not as many fish, {he says} because the water was colder. He saw a great deal of grass.


Yesterday after sunset he navigated to the north-north-east with the wind east and veering to the south-east. He went eight miles an hour during five "ampolletas" and during three before the watch commenced, which were eight ampolletas: and thus he must have gone seventy-two miles, which are eighteen leagues. Then he went to the quarter of the north-east to the north six ampolletas which would be another eighteen miles. Then he went during four ampolletas of the second watch to the north-east, six miles an hour, which are three leagues to the north-east. Then until sunrise he went to the east-north-east during eleven ampolletas, six leagues an hour, which are seven leagues. Then to the east-north-east until eleven o'clock in the day, thirty-two miles. And then the wind calmed and be went no farther that day. The Indians swam. They saw ring-tails and a great deal of grass.


This night he experienced many changes in the winds, and having been on the alert for everything and having taken the precautions which good sailors are accustomed to take and must take, he says he went this night to the north-east quarter north about eighty-four miles, which are twenty-one leagues. He waited many times for the caravel Pinta which was sailing badly close to the wind because the mizzen helped her little, the mast not being good: and he says that if her captain, who is Martin Alonso Pinzon, had taken as much pains to provide himself with a good mast in the Indies, where there are so many and such good ones, as he did to separate himself from him thinking to fill the ship with gold, he would have made it good. Many ring-tails appeared and much grass: the sky was all disturbed these days: but it had not rained and the sea was very calm all the time as in a river, many thanks be given to God. After sunrise he went about thirty miles for a certain part of the day straight to the north-east, which are seven leagues and a half, and then the rest of the day he went to the east-north-east another thirty miles, which are seven and a half leagues.


He went during all this night, many changes which the wind made to the north-east considered, about forty-four miles, which were eleven leagues. From sunrise until sunset, he went to the east-north-east about fourteen leagues.


He navigated this night to the east-north-east, a part of the night which were thirteen ampolletas, nine leagues and a half: then he went to the north-north-east another six miles. The sun having risen, during all the day, as the wind calmed, he went to the east-north-east about twenty-eight miles, which are seven leagues. The sailors killed a tunny-fish tonina and a very large shark and he says that they were very necessary to him because he did not then have anything to eat except bread and wine and "ajes" from the Indies.


This night he went to the east, quarter south-east, fifty-six miles, which are fourteen leagues. After sunset he navigated at times to the east-south-east and at times to the south-east; he went about forty miles up to eleven o'clock in the daytime. Then he made another tack and then went "a la relinga," and until night he went toward the north twenty-four miles, which are six leagues.


Yesterday after sunset he went to the north-east and to the north and to the north quarter north-east, anti he went about five miles an hour and in thirteen hours that would be sixty-five miles, which are sixteen and one half leagues. From sunset until mid-day he went toward the north-east twenty-four miles, which are six leagues. and from that time until sunset he went about three leagues to the east-north-east.


All this night he navigated to the east-north-east, and went about thirty-six miles, which are nine leagues. From sunrise until sunset he went to the east-north-east twenty miles, which are five leagues. He found the winds temperate and soft. He saw ring-tails and "petrels" and much grass.


He navigated to the east-north-east and went during the night with the wind south and south-west about thirty-nine miles, which are nine and one half leagues. In all the day he went about eight leagues. The winds were very temperate as they are in Castile in the month of April: the sea was very calm. Fish which they call dorados came to the side of the ship.


During all this night he went seven leagues to the east-north-east. During the day he ran to the south quarter south-east, a distance of thirteen and a half leagues. He saw ring-tails and much grass and many tunny-fish {toninas}.


He navigated this night to the north, quarter north-east a distance of thirty miles and then to the north-east thirty-five miles, which are sixteen {sic} leagues. From sunrise until night he went to the east-north-east thirteen and a half leagues. They saw ring-tails and petrels.

Columbus's Log: February, 1493

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