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Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 665 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels Volume 02.

In 1417, in the reign of John II. of Castile, and while his mother the lady Catharine was regent of the kingdom, Ruben de Bracamonte, the admiral of France, craved a grant of the Canary Islands, and the title of king, for his kinsman John de Betancourt; which being conceded, he departed from Seville with an armament to attempt the conquest.  The principal motive of this enterprize was to make a perfect discovery of Madeira, of which Macham had before given so much information; yet he went to the Canaries, where he carried a friar named Mendo as bishop, who had received that dignity from Pope Martin V. He reduced Lancerota, Fuerteventura, Gomera, and Ferro; whence he sent into Spain many slaves, and considerable quantities of honey, wax, camphire, hides, orchill, figs, dragons-blood, and other merchandize, of which he made good profit.  This armament is said to have likewise discovered Porto Santo.  The island first occupied by Betancourt was Lancerota, where he built a castle of stone for the better defence of the new settlers.

In the year 1418, John Gonzales Zarco, and Tristram Vaz Teixera, gentlemen of the household to Don Henry, perceiving the great desire of their master to discover new countries, requested and obtained a bark to proceed to the coast of Africa; where they were overtaken by a violent tempest, and driven into a haven of the island now called Porto Santo, where they remained two years.  In 1420, they discovered the island of Madeira, where they found the chapel, tomb, and stone on which Macham had engraved his name.  Others write, that a Castilian had informed Don Henry of having made the discovery of Porto Santo; and that he sent Bartholomew Perestrello, John Gonzales Zarco, and Tristram Vaz Teixera, purposely in search of that island, according to the signs and directions indicated by the Castilian; and that these persons afterwards discovered Madeira in 1420, where they found the memorial and monument left by Macham the Englishman.

Betancourt, who begun the conquest of the Canaries, was slain in a war with the natives, leaving one Menante his heir; who afterwards sold the islands to one Peter Barba of Seville.  But others say, that John de Betancourt went to France to procure reinforcements, to enable him to complete his conquests, and left the command of Lancerota with his nephew; who, hearing nothing of his uncle, and being unable to continue the contest with the natives, sold the Canaries to Don Henry, for an estate in the island of Madeira.

It is related that, in 1424, Don Henry sent a squadron with some land forces, under Don Ferdinando de Castro, on purpose to make a conquest of these islands; but, being repulsed by the bravery of the natives, de Castro prudently desisted from the enterprize and returned home; and that Don Henry afterwards resigned his claim to these islands in favour of the crown of Castile.  The Castilian writers, however, assert that both Don Henry and the king of Portugal refused to give up these

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