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A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 03 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 652 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels Volume 03.

Among the many motives which induced the admiral to settle a colony in this place, he considered that many might be inclined to go from Spain to settle in the new discovered country, when it was known that some persons were already there; he likewise considered that the caravel which remained could not conveniently accommodate the crews of both vessels, and the people he meant to leave were perfectly satisfied with their lot, being much encouraged by the mildness and affability of the natives.  Likewise, though he had resolved to carry over some of the Indians, and such other things worth notice, as had been found in the country, in testimony of his discovery and its value; he thought it might add greatly to the reputation of his discoveries, and be a convincing proof of the excellence of the country, when it was known that several of his men had settled there with their own free will.

The fort was surrounded by a ditch, and though built of wood, was quite sufficient for the defence of its intended garrison against the natives.  It was finished in ten days, as a great number of men were employed in its construction.  The admiral gave it the name of La Villa de Navidad, or the town of the Nativity, because he came to that port on Christmas day.  On the morning of the 29th December, a very young but ingenious lad, who was nephew to the cacique, came on board the caravel; and as the admiral was still eager to know whence the Indians had their gold, he used to ask this question of every one by signs, and now began to understand some words of the Indian language.  He accordingly inquired of this youth about the mines, and understood that he informed him, “That at the distance of four days journey to the eastwards there were certain islands, called Guarionex, Macorix, Mayous, Fumay, Cibao, and Coray, in which there was abundance of gold.”  The admiral wrote down these words immediately; but it was evident he as yet knew little of the language, for it was known afterwards that these places, instead of separate islands, were provinces or districts in Hispaniola, subject to so many different lords or caciques. Guarionex was chief of the vast royal plain, formerly mentioned under the name of Vega real, one of the wonders of nature, and the youth meant to say that Cibao, which abounded in gold, belonged to the dominion of Guarionex.  Macorix was another province, which afforded little gold.  The other names belonged to other provinces, in which the admiral omitted some letters and added others, not knowing well how to spell them properly:  and it appeared to him, that the kings brother, who was present, reproved the lad for telling these names.  At night the cacique sent on board a large gold mask to the admiral, desiring in return a basin and pitcher, which were perhaps of brass or pewter, and were immediately sent to him, it being believed they were wanted as models by which to make others of gold.

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