Account of the voyage home, from Hispaniola to Lisbon.
On Friday the 4th of January 1493, Columbus took his departure from the harbour of the Nativity, steering to the eastwards, towards a very lofty mountain like a pavilion or tent, bare of trees, which they named Monte Christo, or Christ’s Mount. This mountain is four leagues from the Nativity, and eighteen leagues from Cabo Santo, or the Holy Cape. That night he anchored six-leagues beyond Monte Christo. Next day he advanced to a small island, near which there were good salt pits, which he examined. He was much delighted with the beauty of the woods and plains in this part of the island, insomuch that he was disposed to believe it must be Cipango, or Japan; and had he known that he was then near the rich mines of Cibao, he would have been still more confirmed in that opinion. Leaving this place on Sunday the 6th of January, and continuing his voyage, he soon descried the caravel Pinta coming towards him in full sail. Both vessels returned to the anchorage at Monte Christo, where Martin Alonzo Pinzon endeavoured to excuse himself for having parted company. Though far from being satisfied, the admiral pretended to be convinced by his excuses; yet believed that Pinzon had procured a considerable quantity of gold during his separation, keeping half to himself, and giving the other half to his crew, to secure their silence. To a considerable river which falls into the sea near Monte Christo, the admiral gave the name of Rio de Oro, or Golden River, because the sand had the appearance of gold. Wednesday the 9th, hoisting sail, the admiral came to Punta Roxa, or Red Cape, thirty leagues east from Monte Christo, where they procured tortoises as large as bucklers, which went there on shore to lay their eggs in the sand. The admiral affirmed that he saw three mermaids at this place, and that he had seen others on the coast of Guinea. He described them as having some resemblance to the human face, but by no means so beautiful as they are usually represented. From Punta Roxa, he proceeded to Rio de Garcia, or the river of Grace, where Martin Alonzo Pinzon had been trading, and which is likewise called by his name. At this place, he set four Indians on shore who had been taken away by Pinzon.
On Friday 11th January, he came to a cape called Belprado, from the beauty of the coast, whence they had a view of a mountain covered with snow, which looked like silver, whence it was named Monte de Plata, or Silver Mountain; and to a harbour in its neighbourhood, in the shape of a horse shoe, the admiral gave the name of Puerto de Plata, or Silver Port. Running ten leagues farther along the coast, assisted by the current, he passed several capes or head-lands, which he named Punta del Angel, or Angel Point, Del Yerro, or Mistake Point, El Redondo,