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which Roldan impudently answered: “Your brother, the Admiral is dead, and we fully understand that our sovereigns have little care for us. Were we to obey you, we should die of hunger, and we are forced to hunt for provisions in the island. Moreover, the Admiral confided to me, as well as to you, the government of the island; hence, we are determined to obey you no longer.” He added other equally misplaced observations. Before the Adelantado could capture him, Roldan, followed by about seventy men, escaped to Xaragua in the western part of the island, where, as the Adelantado reported to his brother, they gave themselves over to violence, thievery, and massacre." While these disturbances were in progress, the Spanish sovereigns finally granted the Admiral eight vessels, which Columbus promptly ordered to sail from the town of Cadiz, a city consecrated to Hercules. These ships were freighted with provisions for the Adelantado. By chance they approached the western coast of the island, where Ximenes Roldan and his accomplices were. Roldan won over the crews by promising them fresh young girls instead of manual labour, pleasures instead of exertion, plenty in place of famine, and repose instead weariness and watching. During this time Guarionex, who had assembled a troop of allies, made frequent descents upon the plain, killing all the Christians he surprised, ravaging the fields, driving off the workmen, and destroying villages. Although Roldan and his followers were not ignorant that the Admiral might arrive from one day to another, they had no fears, since they had won over to their side the crews of the ships that had been sent on ahead. In - * Some of the principal colonists, including Valdiviesso and Diego de Escobar, favoured Roldan. The sketchy description of this notable rebellion here given may be completed by consulting Herrera, Dec. I., the midst of such miseries did the unfortunate Adelantado await from day to day the arrival of his brother. The Admiral sailed from Spain with the remainder of the squadron but instead of sailing directly to Hispaniola, he first laid his course to the south." What he accomplished during this new voyage, what seas and countries he visited, what unknown lands he discovered, I shall narrate, and I shall also explain at length the sequel of these disorders in the following books. Fare you well.
3, i.; Fernando Columbus, Storia del Almirante; Irving, Columbus and his Companions, book xi., caps iv., v., etc.
* This was the third voyage of Columbus, concerning which some of the best sources of information are as follows: Oviedo, Hist. Gen. de las Indias, lib. iii., 2, 4; Navarrete, tom iii., Lettera di Simone Verde a Mateo Curi; Fernando Columbus, op. cit.; Herrera, dec. i., 7; R. H. Major, Hakluyt Society, 1870, Select Letters of Columbus. vol. 1.-9
TO THE SAME CARDINAL LUDOVICO D'ARAGON
N the third day of the calends of June, 1498,'
Barrameda, which is situated at the mouth of the Guadalquivir not far from Cadiz. His fleet consisted of eight heavily freighted ships. He avoided his usual route by way of the Canaries, because of certain French pirates who were lying in wait for him. Seven hundred and twenty miles north of the Fortunate Isles he sighted Madeira, which lies four degrees to the south of Seville; for at Seville, according to the mariners' report, the north star rises to the 36th degree, whereas at Madeira it is in the 32d. Madeira was, therefore, his first stop, and from thence he despatched five or six ships loaded with provisions directly to Hispaniola, only keeping for himself one ship with decks and two merchant caravels. He laid his course due south and reached the equinoctial line, which he purposed to follow directly to the west, making new discoveries and leaving Hispaniola to the north on his starboard side. The thirteen islands of the Hesperides lie in the track of this voyage. They belong to the Portuguese, and all, save one, are inhabited. They are called the Cape Verde islands, and are distant only a day's sail from the western part of Ethiopia. To one of these islands the Portuguese have given the name of Bona Vista"; and each year numerous lepers are cured of their malady by eating the turtles of this island. The climate being very bad, the Admiral quickly left the archipelago behind, and sailed 480 miles towards the west-south-west. He reports that the dead calms and the fierce heat of the June sun caused such sufferings that his ships almost took fire. The hoops of his water barrels burst, and the water leaked out. His men found this heat intolerable. The pole star was then at an elevation of five degrees. Of the eight days during which they endured these sufferings only the first was clear; the others being cloudy and rainy, but not on that account less oppressive. More than once, indeed, did he repent having taken this course. After eight days of these miseries a favourable wind rose from the south-west, by which the Admiral profited to sail directly west, and under this parallel he observed new stars in the heavens, and experienced a more agreeable temperature. In fact, all his men agree in saying that after three days' sailing in that direction, the air was much cooler. The Admiral affirms that, while he was in the region of dead calms and torrid heat, the ship always mounted the back of the sea, just as when climbing a high mountain one seems to advance towards the sky, and yet, nevertheless, he had seen no land on the horizon. Finally, on the eve of the calends of July, a watcher announced with a joyful cry, from the crow's nest, that he saw three lofty mountains.” He exhorted his companions to keep up their courage. The men were, indeed, much depressed, not merely because they had been scorched by the sun, but because the water-supply was short. The barrels had been sprung by the extreme heat, and lost the water through the cracks. Full of rejoicing they advanced, but as they were about to touch land they perceived that this was impossible, because the sea was dotted with reefs, although in the neighbourhood they descried a harbour which seemed a spacious one. From their ships the Spaniards could see that the country was inhabited and well cultivated; for they saw well-ordered gardens and shady orchards, while the sweet odours, exhaled by plants and trees bathed in the morning dew, reached their nostrils. Twenty miles from that place, the Admiral found a sufficiently large port to shelter his ships, though no river flowed into it. Sailing farther on he finally discovered a satisfactory harbour for repairing his vessels and also replenishing his supply of water and wood. He called this land Punta del Arenal." There was no sign of any habitation in the neighbourhood of the harbour, but there were many tracks of animals similar to goats, and in fact the body of one of those animals, closely resembling a goat, was found. On the morrow, a canoe was seen in the distance carrying eighty men, all of whom were young, good-looking, and
*The date was May 30, 1498, and the number of ships under his command was six, instead of eight. Much delay had occurred in fitting out the fleet for the voyage, owing to the poor management of the royal functionaries, especially the Bishop of Burgos, whose enmity towards Columbus was from thenceforward relentless.
* Properly Boavista. A leper colony had been established here by the Portuguese.
* Alonzo Perez Nirando, a sailor from Huelva, made the joyous announcement, and the sailors sang the Salve Regina in thanksgiving. Columbus named the island Trinidad, having already decided to dedicate the first sighted land to the Holy Trinity. The three mountain peaks close together seemed to render the name all the more appropriate.
* The narrative at this point is somewhat sketchy, but the author, doubtless, faithfully recounted the events as they were reported to him. The ships approached the island from the east, and then coasted its shore for five leagues beyond the cape named by Columbus La Galera, because of it's imagined resemblance to a galley under sail. The next day he continued his course westwards, and named another headland Punta de la Playa; this was a Wednesday, August the first; and as the fleet passed between La Galera and La Playa, the South American continent was first discovered, some twenty-five leagues distant. Fernando Columbus affirms that his father, thinking it was another island, called it Isla Santa; but in reality Columbus named the continent Tierra de Gracia. Punta del Arenal forms the south-western extremity of the island and is separated by a channel, according to Columbus, two leagues broad.