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.
the king to make slaves of freemen.  Velasquez assented to the justice of our objections, and gave us all the assistance in his power in regard to provisions.  We accordingly laid in a store of hogs at three crowns each, there being no oxen or sheep at that time in Cuba, and a quantity of cassava bread, as flour was not to be had for biscuits.  With these sorry provisions, and some trifling toys and ornaments to barter with the Indians, we assembled at a port named Agaruco, on the north side of Cuba, eight leagues from the town of St Christopher, the inhabitants of which removed two years afterwards to the Havanna.  Our chief pilot was Antonio de Alaminos of Palos, and two others named Comacho de Triana, and Juan Alvarez.  We got also a priest, named Alonso Gonzales to go with the expedition; and appointed a soldier named Bernardino Iniguez as veedor, to take care of his majesties rights in case of procuring any gold during the voyage.

Having provided ourselves in necessaries as well as we could, and recommended ourselves to God and the Holy Virgin, we sailed from the port of Agaruco on the 8th of February 1517.  In twelve days we passed Cape St Antonio in the land of a tribe of savages called Guanatareyes, after which we sailed to the westwards at random, being entirely ignorant of the shallows, currents, or prevailing, winds in these seas.  We were in most imminent danger during our voyage for two days and two nights in a violent storm; but the wind subsided, and in twenty-one days after leaving Cuba, we came to a coast which had never been before discovered.  On nearing the shore, we saw a large town about two leagues inland, which we named Grand Cairo, as it exceeded any of the towns in Cuba.  Our bark was sent forwards to examine the coast.  Five canoes came off to us on the morning of the 4th March.  These boats of the Indians resemble troughs, being hollowed out of a single trunk of a tree, and many of them are large enough to contain fifty men.  We invited the people by signs to come on board, and above thirty of them came aboard Cordovas ship without shewing the smallest apprehension, where they were treated with such provisions as we had, and each of them received a string of green glass beads.  Having examined the vessels with much admiration, they went to the shore, promising by signs to return next day with a greater number of canoes, in order to bring us all on shore.  All these Indians had close cotton dresses, having a narrow cloth round their waists, being more decent than the natives of Cuba, where the women only use this piece of dress.  Next day the same chief came off with twelve large canoes, inviting our captain to go on shore, repeating frequently con-escotoch, con-escotoch, which we understood to mean, come to our town, and from this circumstance we named the place Punta de Cotoche.  We resolved to accept the invitation, but using the precaution to go in a body at one embarkation,

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