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dred miles in circuit: it is filled with valleys, and fields, and plains, and is fertile beyond measure; so that even to the water's edge, as well as in the interior, it is covered with settlements, very extensive, and not more than a quarter of a league from each other. They have more canoes here, and larger, than in any other region hitherto discovered, each made in one piece, from the trunk of a tree; and each cacique in all that neighborhood has a large canoe, which he takes as much pride in using, as a nobleman here would take in keeping a large and beautiful ship. They have them wrought, from stem to stern, with various figures and paintings, so that their beauty is admirable. The Admiral measured one of the large ones, which was ninety-six feet long, and eight feet wide.
Of the Island of Jamaica. As soon as the Admiral approached the land, in this island of Jamaica, immediately there came out against him, a league into the sea, some seventy canoes, filled with men armed with darts, in warlike array ; but when they saw that the Admiral and his men, with their three caravels, went on their way without noticing them, they were frightened, and took to flight. He kept his caravels in order, and a herald came off to one of them, and people with him, to whom the Admiral gave clothing, and many other things which they prized very highly, and dismissed them. He anchored at a village, to which he gave the name of Santa Gloria, as showing his sense of the beauty of the glorious country; for the gardens of Valencia are not to be compared to any part of this whole island. They slept there that night, and the next morning, at daybreak, went to search for a secure harbor, for the purpose of cleaning and repairing the vessels. Having gone four leagues towards the west, they found a most excellent harbor, and the Admiral having sent a boat to explore the entrance, there came out against it two canoes, with many men in them, who threw a great many darts at the boat, but fled immediately, as soon as they saw signs of
resistance, though not so swiftly as entirely to escape chastisement.
The Admiral entered the harbor and anchored ; and so many Indians came down to the shore, that they completely covered it. They were painted with a thousand colors, but the greater part black, and all naked, according to their custom : they wore feathers of various sorts on their heads, and had their breasts and bellies covered with palm-leaves : they made a horrible screaming, and threw their darts, but could not reach the vessels. As it would be necessary to obtain water at this place, and timber for repairing the vessels, the Admiral saw that it would not be proper to let these men go, without such punishment for their boldness, as would make them more cautious in future. In order to let them know something of the arms of Castilians, they came near them with their cross-bows, and when they had made some good shots, and the Indians were becoming terrified, they leaped on shore, discharging their cross-bows as they went. When the Indians saw that the Castilians were coming upon them, they all took to flight, men and women, so that not one remained in the whole region ; and a dog, which had leaped from one of the vessels, followed them, and bit them, doing them great injury; for one dog, against the Indians, is worth ten men.
The next day, before sunrise, six of these Indians came to the shore, calling aloud, and saying to the Admiral that all the caciques begged him not to land, and that they would come to see him, and bring bread, and fish, and fruits. This message greatly pleased the Admiral, who pledged 10 them his friendship and his faith; and the caciques, with many Indians, came to him, and brought a great supply of provisions, with which the men were greatly refreshed, having abundance of everything, as long as they remained there; while the Indians were much pleased with the things which the Admiral gave them. And the vessels being repaired, and the men rested, they departed from this place.
Of a great number of Islands, which were Discovered.
The Admiral set sail, with his three caravels, and sailed twenty-four leagues towards the west, as far as the gulf Buen Tiempo; and the weather being unfavorable for following the coast of Jamaica, —respecting which island they had ascertained, that there was no gold in it, nor any other metal, though, for the rest, it is like a paradise, and richer than gold could make it,-he took advantage of the contrary wind to return to the continent of Juana, intending to follow its coast, which he had left, in order to ascertain whether it was a continent. They stopped in a very beautiful province, called Macaca, and anchored near a very extensive settlement, the cacique of which already knew of the Admiral and his caravels, before their arrival, having heard of his first voyage of discovery. Indeed, all the caciques of that country knew of it, and the whole country and the islands were in an uproar about so novel an affair, and about the ships, all saying that it was a people from heaven; and this, notwithstanding the Admiral had not sailed along the coast, but the other, on the northern side. On his arrival at this place, the Admiral sent as presents to the cacique some things which these people valued very highly; and the cacique sent refreshments, with a message, that they knew about the Admiral from hearsay, and about his father from Simon, an Indian, whom the Admiral had carried to Castile, and given to Prince John. The Admiral landed, and inquired of the cacique and the Indians of the place, whether the country was a continent or an island ; and the cacique and all the rest answered, that it was a vast country, of which nobody had seen the end, but that it was an island. These people of Juana are a very gentle race, and free from evil thoughts. There are great differences between them and the inhabitants of all the neighboring islands; and the same may be observed in the birds and other animals, which here are of a better breed, and more tame.
The next day, they left this place, and sailed towards the north, bearing a little to the northwest, by the coast of the
country. About the hour of vespers, they saw at a distance that the coast turned towards the west, and they took that direction, in order to shorten the way, leaving the land on the right. At sunrise, the next morning, as they were looking from the topmast, they saw the sea covered with islands, twenty-four in the whole, and all green,
and covered with trees; – the most beautiful sight that the eye ever beheld. The Admiral chose to go towards the south, leaving these islands on his right; for, remembering to have read that this whole sea is filled with islands in this way, and that John de Mandeville says there are in the Indies more than five thousand islands, he determined to proceed, and not give up his exploration of the continent of Juana, till he had ascertained whether it was really an island or not. The farther they went, the more islands they discovered, so that, that day, they discovered a hundred and sixty-four: and God gave them constant good weather for navigating among these islands, so that the ships, as they ran through the waters, seemed to fly. On Whitsunday, 1494, they stopped at a place which was uninhabited, — but not from the inclemency of the sky, or the barrenness of the soil, — in the midst of a large grove of palm-trees, which seemed to reach from the sea-shore to the very heavens. Two springs of water came out of the ground, their outlets being large enough to admit a large orange. When the tide was on the flood, the water spouted up with considerable force; and it was so cold and so sweet, that there cannot be better in the world; and this coldness not harsh, like that of some waters, which injure the stomach, but, on the contrary, most salubrious.
Here they all rested themselves, upon the grass about these fountains, enjoying the charming fragrance of the flowers, and the melody of the songs of the birds, so many and so sweet, and the shade of the palm-trees, so tall and so beautiful, that the whole was a wonder. There were no people here, but there were signs that men had been there, the branches of the trees being cut. From this place the Admiral went, with his boats, to visit a river at the east, a league distant, the water of which they found so warm, that one could scarcely bear his hand in it. They proceeded up the river two leagues, without meeting with people or hab
itations; and everywhere the country was of the same beauty, and the fields very green, but abounding in grutas (?)* as red as scarlet; and everywhere the odor of the flowers, and the singing of the birds, were very sweet, as all might perceive. As the number of islands in this region was so great that he could not give to each a separate name, the Admiral called them all by the common name of the Garden of Arms.
On the day following, the Admiral being very desirous to find some one from whom he might obtain information, there came a canoe to hunt for fish : — for they call it hunting, and they hunt for one fish with another. They have fishes of a particular kind, which they hold by a line fastened to their tails, and which are like the conger-eel in shape, and have a large mouth armed with suckers, like the cuttle-fish. They are very fierce, like our ferrets, and when they are thrown into the water, they go to fasten themselves upon some of the fishes there, and do not let go their hold, till they are drawn out of the water. The fish is very light, and as soon as he has taken hold, the Indians draw him out by the string tied to his tail, which is very long, and immediately throw him into the water again ; and in this way, they take one every time. As these bunters were at a distance from the caravel, the Admiral sent his boats to them, contriving it so that they should not escape to land. As the boats came up to them, these hunters called out to the men, as unconcernedly as if they had known them all their lives, to stop, because one of the fishes had fastened upon a large turtle, and they must wait till they had got it into the canoe. These men, with four turtles, each of which was three cubits broad, they took on board to the Admiral ; and there they gave some account of these islands, and of their cacique, who was close at hand, and had sent them to hunt. They asked the Admiral to go on shore, and they would make for them a great feast, and would give them all four turtles apiece. He gave them many things that he had brought with him, with which they were much pleased; and he asked them if that country was very large, — to which they answered, that, towards the west, it had no end; and
* Grutas is caverns.
Should we read “ Grumas ?" clusters of grapes.