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.
Learning from the Indians of his province, that the island of St Juan de Puerto Rico, called Borriquen by the natives, was very rich in gold, he was anxious to inquire into this circumstance personally.  For this purpose, he communicated the intelligence he had received to Obando, whose leave he asked to go over to that island, to trade with the natives, to inquire into the circumstance of its being rich in gold, and to endeavour to make a settlement.  Hitherto nothing more was known of that island than that it appeared very beautiful and abundantly peopled to those who sailed along its coasts.  Having received authority from Obando, Juan Ponce went over to Porto Rico in a small caravel, with a small number of Spaniards, and some Indians who had been there.  He landed in the territories of a cacique named Aguey Bana, the most powerful chief of the island, by whom, and the mother and father-in-law of the chief, he was received and entertained in the most friendly manner.  The cacique even exchanged names with him, by a ceremony which they call guaticos, or sworn-brothers.  Ponce named the mother of the cacique, Agnes, and the father-in-law Francis; and though they refused to be baptized, they retained these names.  These people were exceedingly good-natured, and the cacique was always counselled by his mother and father-in-law to keep on friendly terms with the Spaniards.  Ponce very soon applied himself to make inquiries as to the gold mines, which the natives of Hispaniola alleged to be in this island, and the cacique conducted him all over the island, shewing him the rivers where gold was found.  Two of these were very rich, one called Manatuabon and the other Cebuco, from which a great deal of treasure was afterwards drawn.  Ponce procured some samples of the gold, which he carried to Obando in Hispaniola, leaving some Spaniards in the island, who were well entertained by the cacique, till others came over to settle in the island.  The greatest part of the island of Porto Rico consists of high mountains, some of which are clothed with fine grass, like those of Hispaniola.  There are few plains, but many pleasant vales with rivers running through them, and all very fertile.  The western point of the island is only 12 or 15 leagues from the eastern cape of Hispaniola, so that the one may be seen from the other in clear weather from the high land of either cape.  There are some harbours, but none of them good, except that called Porto Rico, where the city of that name is situated, which is likewise an episcopal see.  This island is at least forty leagues long by fifty in breadth, and measures 120 leagues in circumference.  The south coast is in latitude 17 deg., and the north coast in 18 deg., both N. It formerly produced much gold, though not quite so pure as that of Hispaniola, yet not much inferior.


Don James Columbus is appointed to the Government of the Spanish Dominions in the West Indies.

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A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 03 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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