From The Log of Christopher Columbus:


He went this night to the east quarter of the north-east, twelve leagues: by day he ran to the east quarter north-east, twenty-three leagues and a half.


He went this night on his course to the east, quarter north-east, twenty-eight leagues, and in the day he ran twenty leagues.


After sunset he navigated on his route to the east. A hurricane came upon him which split all his sails, and he saw himself in great danger, but God willed that they should be delivered from it. They drew lots to send a pilgrim {he says} to Santa Maria de la Cinta in Huelva, who was to go in his shirt, and the lot fell to the Admiral. They all made a vow also to fast the first Saturday after, on bread and water. He went about sixty miles before the sails were split. Then they went with bare masts on account of the great tempest of wind and sea which rolled over them from two directions. They saw indications of being near to land, and found themselves quite near to Lisbon.


Last night they experienced a terrible tempest, and they thought they would be lost from the seas which came from two directions, and the winds which it appeared would raise the caravel in the air, and the water from the sky and the lightnings from many directions. It pleased our Lord to sustain them and they went thus until the first watch when our Lord showed them land, the sailors seeing it: and then in order not to approach the land until they might know it and see if there was any harbour or place to save themselves, he raised the "papahigo" as there was no other remedy and they sailed some distance although with great danger, putting to sea, and thus God guarded them until day, and he says that it was with infinite labour and fright. Day having come he recognised the land, which was the Rock of Cintra, which is near the river of Lisbon, where he determined to enter as he was not able to do anything else: so terrible was the tempest which prevailed in the village of Cascaes, which is at the entrance of the river. He says the people of the village were offering prayers for them all the morning and after he was inside the river the people came to see him, through wonder as to how they had escaped. and thus at the hour of tercia he came to stop at Rastelo, inside the river of Lisbon, where he learned from the sea-faring people, that there was never a winter with so many tempests, and that twenty-five ships had been lost in flanders, and others were there which had not been able to go out for four months. Then the Admiral wrote to the King of Portugal, who was nine leagues from there, that the Sovereigns of Castile had ordered him not to fail to enter the harbours of his Highness to ask what he might need in return for his money: and he asked the King to give him authority to go with the caravel to the city of Lisbon, as some dishonest persons thinking that he carried a great deal of gold and he being in a depopulated despoblado harbour, might undertake to commit some dishonest action: and also that his Highness might know that he did not come from Guinea but from the Indies.


To-day Bartholomew Diaz of Lisbon, the Patron of the large ship of the King of Portugal which was also anchored in Rastelo and which was better furnished with artillery and arms {the Admiral says} than any ship he ever saw, came with a small vessel armed to the caravel, and told the Admiral to enter the small vessel in order to go and give account to the factors of the King and to the Captain of the said ship. The Admiral replied that he was the Admiral of the Sovereigns of Castile, and that he did not render such accounts to such persons, nor would he get off from the ships or vessels where he was, unless he was obliged to by force of arms. The Patron replied that he might send the Master of the Caravel: the Admiral replied that he would neither send the Master nor any other person unless it was by force, because he considered it the same to allow a person to go as to go himself, and this was the custom of the Admirals of the Sovereigns of Castile to die rather than to give up their people. The Patron moderated his demands, and said that since he had formed that determination that it should be as he wished; but that he begged him to order the letters from the Sovereigns of Castile shown to him, if he had them. It pleased the Admiral to show them to him and then the Patron returned to the ship and related the matter to the Captain, who was called Alvaro Dama, who came to the caravel in great state with kettle-drums and trumpets and pipes, making a great display: and he talked with the Admiral and offered to do everything that he ordered him to do.


Having learned that the Admiral came from the Indies so many people came from the city of Lisbon to-day, to see him and to see the Indians, that it was a wonderful thing to see them and the way they all marvelled giving thanks to our Lord and saying that through the great faith of which the Sovereigns of Castile possessed and their desire to serve God, his High Majesty had given them all this.


To-day an exceedingly large number of people came to the caravel and many knights, among them the factors of the King, and they all offered infinite thanks to our Lord for such great good and increase of Christianity, which our Lord had given to the Sovereigns of Castile, which he says they attributed to the fact that their Highnesses labored and applied themselves for the increase of the Religion of Christ.


To-day the Admiral received a letter from the King of Portugal by Don Martin de Norona, in which letter the King begged him to come where he was, since the weather was not suitable for the departure of the caravel: and he did so in order to avoid Suspicion, although he did not wish to go and he went to sleep at Sacanben: the King ordered his factors to give the Admiral and his people everything they needed for the caravel without money, and that everything should be done as the Admiral wished.


To-day he left Sacanben, to go where the King was, which was at the valley of Paraiso, nine leagues from Lisbon: as it rained he was not able to reach there until night. The King ordered that he should he received with great honour by the principal persons of his house, and the King also received him with great honour, and showed him much favour, and ordered him to be seated and talked with him very well, and told him that he would order everything done which would be of use to the Sovereigns of Castile and to their service, and more fully than as if it were for his own service. And he showed that he felt great pleasure that the voyage had terminated favourably, and that it had been made; although he understood that in the capitulation between the Sovereigns and himself, that this conquest belonged to him. The Admiral replied to this that he had not seen the capitulation and did not know anything other than that the Sovereigns had commanded him not to go to the Mine nor to any part of Guinea, and that this had been proclaimed in all the ports of Andalusia before he started on the voyage. The King graciously responded that he was certain that mediators would not be necessary in this matter. He gave him as a host the Prior of Clato, who was the most important person who was there, from whom the Admiral received many honours and favours.


To-day after mass the King repeated to the Admiral that if he needed anything it would be given to him at once: and he talked with the Admiral a great deal about his voyage, and always ordered him to he seated and paid him great honour.


To-day the Admiral took leave of the King. who told him some things to say to the Sovereigns on his part, showing great kindness toward him all the time. The Admiral departed after eating and the King sent Don Martin de Norona with him, and all those cavaliers came to accompany him, and paid him honours for quite a length of time. Then he came to a monastery of San Antonio, which is near a place which is called Villafranca, where the Queen was staying; and he went to present his homage to her and to kiss her hands, because she had sent to say that he must not go away until she saw him: and with her was the Duke and the Marquis, and the Admiral received great honour. The Admiral took leave of her at night and went to sleep at Llandra.


To-day as he was about to start from Llandra for the caravel, a squire from the King arrived, who offered him on the part of the King, if he wished to go to Castile by land, to go with him, and procure lodgings and beasts of travel for him and everything he might need. When the Admiral parted from this squire, the squire sent him a mule for himself and another for his pilot, whom he had with him, and he says he learned that the squire had ordered that twenty small short swords {espadines} should be given to the pilot; and he says that it was said that this was all done that the Sovereigns might learn of it. He reached the caravel in the night.


To-day at 8 o'clock in a high sea and with the wind north-north- west, he raised the anchors and set sail to go to Seville.


Yesterday after sunset, he pursued his course to the south and before sunrise he found himself off the Cape of San Vincent, which is in Portugal. Then he navigated to the east to go to Saltes, and he went all day with a light wind until the present, when he is off Furon.


Yesterday after sunset he navigated on his course until day, with a light wind, and at sunrise he was off Saltes, and at the hour of mid-day with the tide rising, he entered by the bar of Saltes until he was inside the harbour from which he had departed August 3 of the past year; and thus he says that this writing is now finished, excepting that he intended to go by sea to Barcelona in which city he was informed that their Highnesses were staying and this was in order to make them a relation of all his voyage which our Lord had permitted him to make, and for which He had inspired him. For certainly besides that, he knew and held to it firmly and strongly without scruple, that His Exalted Majesty does all good things, and that everything is good except sin and that nothing can be estimated or thought which is not with His consent. "This voyage I know says the Admiral has miraculously proved it to be so, as can be learned from this writing by the many remarkable miracles which have been shown on the voyage and for me, who have been stick a long time in the Court of Your Highnesses, with the opposition and against the advice of so many of the principal persons of your house, who were all against me, treating this matter as a hoax. I hope in our Lord that it will be the greatest honour for Christianity, although it has been accomplished with such ease {que asi ligeramente haya jamas aparecido}." These are the final words of the Admiral Don Christopher Columbus in regard to his first voyage to the Indies, and his discovery of them.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.