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

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 756 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 03.
Omega[1].  Crossing the strait between Hispaniola and Cuba, which is eighteen leagues broad, he began to explore the southern coast of Cuba, where he discovered a large bay, which he named Puerto Grande[2], or Great Harbour, the mouth of which is an hundred and fifty paces wide.  He came to anchor here, and procured considerable quantities of fish, brought by the Indians in canoes.  On Sunday the 7th of May he proceeded along the coast, which he found everywhere provided with excellent harbours, high mountains, and numerous rivers.  As he kept everywhere as close as possible to the shore, infinite numbers of Indians resorted continually to the ships in their canoes, supplying the Spaniards freely with provisions, under the idea that they were come from heaven:  on these occasions the admiral always gave them toys, with which they went away perfectly satisfied.

He now returned towards the south-east, on purpose to explore another island named Jamaica, which some believe to have been the place so frequently mentioned by the Indians of Lucayo, under the name of Babeche or Bohio.  He accordingly reached the coast of Jamaica on Monday the 14th of May, and thought it the most beautiful of all the islands he had yet seen, and from it great numbers of canoes came off to the ships; yet on sending the boats to explore and sound a port, a great many armed canoes interposed to hinder the Spaniards from landing.  The admiral therefore made sail towards another place, which he named Puerto Bueno, or the Good Harbour, where a similar opposition was made by the natives.  Irritated by this unfriendly reception, the admiral ordered a flight of arrows to be discharged among the Indians from his cross-bows, by which six or seven of them were wounded, after which the rest of the natives came peaceably to the ships.  Next Friday, being the 18th May, he sailed along the coast to the westwards, so near the shore that many canoes continually followed the ships, bartering such things as they possessed for any baubles given them by the Spaniards.  The wind being always contrary, the admiral resolved to return to Cuba, that he might satisfy himself whether it were an island or continent.  At this time an Indian youth came on board, and expressed by signs an anxious desire to go along with the Christians; and though his parents and friends entreated him with tears not to leave them, he would not be prevailed on to stay, but went and hid himself in a private part of the ship, to avoid their importunity.

On returning to the coast of Cuba, he discovered a cape or point, which he called Cabo de Cruz, or Cape Cross; and continued to sail along the coast, accompanied by much rain, and a great deal of thunder and lightning.  In this course he was greatly perplexed by numerous shoals and islands, which increased in number the farther he went, some of the Islands being bare sand, while others were covered with trees. 

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