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The Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus


Washington Irving.

Venient annis
Sæcula seris, quibus Oceanus
Vincula rerum laxet, et ingens
Pateat tellus, Typhisque novos
Detegat Orbes, nec sit terris
Ultima Thule.

Seneca: _Medea_.

Author's Revised Edition.

Vol. II.


Contents of Volume II.

Book XI.

I. Administration of the Adelantado.--Expedition to the Province of
II. Establishment of a Chain of Military Posts.--Insurrection of
Guarionex, the Cacique of the Vega
III. The Adelantado Repairs to Xaragua to receive Tribute
IV. Conspiracy of Roldan
V. The Adelantado repairs to the Vega in relief of Fort Conception.
--His Interview with Roldan
VI. Second Insurrection of Guarionex, and his Flight to the Mountains
of Ciguay
VII. Campaign of the Adelantado in the Mountains of Ciguay

Book XII.

I. Confusion in the Island.--Proceedings of the Rebels at Xaragua
II. Negotiation of the Admiral with the Rebels.--Departure of Ships
for Spain
III. Arrangement with the Rebels
IV. Another Mutiny of the Rebels; and Second Arrangement with them
V. Grants made to Roldan and his Followers.--Departure of several of
the Rebels for Spain
VI. Arrival of Ojeda with a Squadron at the Western part of the Island.
--Roldan sent to meet him
VII. Manoeuvres of Roldan and Ojeda

Book XIII.

I. Representations at Court against Columbus.--Bobadilla empowered to
examine into his Conduct
II. Arrival of Bobadilla at San Domingo.--His violent Assumption of
the Command
III. Columbus summoned to appear before Bobadilla
IV. Columbus and his Brothers arrested and sent to Spain in Chains

Book XIV.

I. Sensation in Spain on the Arrival of Columbus in Irons.--His
Appearance at Court
II. Contemporary Voyages of Discovery
III. Nicholas de Ovando appointed to supersede Bobadilla
IV. Proposition of Columbus relative to the Recovery of the Holy
V. Preparations of Columbus for a Fourth Voyage of Discovery

Book XV.

I. Departure of Columbus on his Fourth Voyage.--Refused Admission to
the Harbor of San Domingo--Exposed to a violent Tempest
II. Voyage along the Coast of Honduras
III. Voyage along the Mosquito Coast, and Transactions at Cariari
IV. Voyage along Costa Rica.--Speculations concerning the Isthmus at
V. Discovery of Puerto Bello and El Retrete.--Columbus abandons the
search after the Strait
VI. Return to Veragua.--The Adelantado explores the Country.
VII. Commencement of a Settlement on the river Belen.--Conspiracy of the
Natives.--Expedition of the Adelantado to surprise Quibian.
VIII. Disasters of the Settlement.
IX. Distress of the Admiral on board of his Ship.--Ultimate Relief of
the Settlement.
X. Departure from the Coast of Veragua.--arrival at Jamaica.--Stranding
of the Ships.

Book XVI.

I. Arrangement of Diego Mendez with the Caciques for Supplies of
Provisions.--Sent to San Domingo by Columbus in quest of Relief.
II. Mutiny of Porras.
III. Scarcity of Provisions.--Stratagem of Columbus to obtain Supplies
from the Natives.
IV. Mission of Diego de Escobar to the Admiral.
V. Voyage of Diego Mendez and Bartholomew Fiesco in a Canoe to
VI. Overtures of Columbus to the Mutineers.--Battle of the Adelantado
with Porras and his Followers.

Book XVII.

I. Administration of Ovando in Hispaniola.--Oppression of the Natives.
II. Massacre at Xaragua.--Fate of Anacaona.
III. War with the Natives of Higuey.
IV. Close of the War with Higuey.--Fate of Cotabanama.


I. Departure of Columbus for San Domingo.--His Return to Spain.
II. Illness of Columbus at Seville.--Application to the Crown for a
Restitution of his Honors.--Death of Isabella.
III. Columbus arrives at Court.--Fruitless Application to the King for
IV. Death of Columbus.
V. Observations on the Character of Columbus.



The Life and Voyages of Columbus

Book XI.

Chapter I.

Administration of the Adelantado.--Expedition to the Province of Xaragua.


Columbus had anticipated repose from his toils on arriving at Hispaniola,
but a new scene of trouble and anxiety opened upon him, destined to impede
the prosecution of his enterprises, and to affect all his future fortunes.
To explain this, it is necessary to relate the occurrences of the island
during his long detention in Spain.

When he sailed for Europe in March, 1496, his brother, Don Bartholomew,
who remained as Adelantado, took the earliest measures to execute his
directions with respect to the mines recently discovered by Miguel Diaz on
the south side of the island. Leaving Don Diego Columbus in command at
Isabella, he repaired with a large force to the neighborhood of the mines,
and, choosing a favorable situation in a place most abounding in ore,
built a fortress, to which he gave the name of San Christoval. The
workmen, however, finding grains of gold among the earth and stone
employed in its construction, gave it the name of the Golden
Tower. [1]

The Adelantado remained here three months, superintending the building of
the fortress, and making the necessary preparations for working the mines
and purifying the ore. The progress of the work, however, was greatly
impeded by scarcity of provisions, having frequently to detach a part of
the men about the country in quest of supplies. The former hospitality of
the island was at an end. The Indians no longer gave their provisions
freely; they had learnt from the white men to profit by the necessities of
the stranger, and to exact a price for bread. Their scanty stores, also,
were soon exhausted, for their frugal habits, and their natural indolence
and improvidence, seldom permitted them to have more provisions on hand
than was requisite for present support. [2] The Adelantado found it
difficult, therefore, to maintain so large a force in the neighborhood,
until they should have time to cultivate the earth, and raise live-stock,
or should receive supplies from Spain. Leaving ten men to guard the
fortress, with a dog to assist them in catching utias, he marched with the
rest of his men, about four hundred in number, to Fort Conception, in the
abundant country of the Vega. He passed the whole month of June collecting
the quarterly tribute, being supplied with food by Guarionex and his
subordinate caciques. In the following month (July, 1496) the three
caravels commanded by Niņo arrived from Spain, bringing a reinforcement
of men, and, what was still more needed, a supply of provisions. The
latter was quickly distributed among the hungry colonists, but
unfortunately a great part had been injured during the voyage. This was a
serious misfortune in a community where the least scarcity produced murmur
and sedition.

By these ships the Adelantado received letters from his brother, directing
him to found a town and sea-port at the mouth of the Ozema, near to the
new mines. He requested him, also, to send prisoners to Spain such of the
caciques and their subjects as had been concerned in the death of any of
the colonists; that being considered as sufficient ground, by many of the
ablest jurists and theologians of Spain, for selling them as slaves. On
the return of the caravels, the Adelantado dispatched three hundred Indian
prisoners, and three caciques. These formed the ill-starred cargoes about
which Niņo had made such absurd vaunting, as though the ships were laden
with treasure; and which had caused such mortification, disappointment,
and delay to Columbus.

Having obtained by this arrival a supply of provisions, the Adelantado
returned to the fortress of San Christoval, and thence proceeded to the
Ozema, to choose a site for the proposed seaport. After a careful
examination, he chose the eastern bank of a natural haven at the mouth of
the river. It was easy of access, of sufficient depth, and good anchorage.
The river ran through a beautiful and fertile country; its waters were
pure and salubrious, and well stocked with fish; its banks were covered
with trees bearing the fine fruits of the island, so that in sailing
along, the fruits and flowers might be plucked with the hand from the
branches which overhung the stream. [3] This delightful vicinity was the
dwelling-place of the female cacique who had conceived an affection for
the young Spaniard Miguel Diaz, and had induced him to entice his
countrymen to that part of the island. The promise she had given of a
friendly reception on the part of her tribe was faithfully performed.

On a commanding bank of the harbor, Don Bartholomew erected a fortress,
which at first was called Isabella, but afterwards San Domingo, and was
the origin of the city which still bears that name. The Adelantado was of
an active and indefatigable spirit. No sooner was the fortress completed,
than he left in it a garrison of twenty men, and with the rest of his
forces set out to visit the dominions of Behechio, one of the principal
chieftains of the island. This cacique, as has already been mentioned,
reigned over Xaragua, a province comprising almost the whole coast at the
west end of the island, including Cape Tiburon, and extending along the
south side as far as Point Aguida, or the small island of Beata. It was
one of the most populous and fertile districts, with a delightful climate;
and its inhabitants were softer and more graceful in their manners than
the rest of the islanders. Being so remote from all the fortresses, the
cacique, although he had taken a part in the combination of the
chieftains, had hitherto remained free from the incursions and exactions
of the white men.

With this cacique resided Anacaona, widow of the late formidable Caonabo.
She was sister to Behechio, and had taken refuge with her brother after
the capture of her husband.

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