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.
he had been carried away alive.  Having sought him in vain for an hour, we returned on board with the water, to the infinite joy of our companions, who were quite beside themselves on its arrival.  One man leapt into the boat immediately on its getting along-side, and never ceased drinking till he died.  We next proceeded to a certain low island called los Baxos de los Martyres, where our commanders ship struck on a sunken rock, and took in so much water that she was near sinking; indeed we greatly feared that our utmost exertions at the pump could not bring her into port.  When two of our sailors, who were from the Levant, were called upon to aid in pumping, they calmly replied facetelo vos, or Do it yourselves, when we were almost exhausted by fatigue, and the ship on the very point of going down.  We compelled them, however, to fall to, and by the blessing of GOD we got safe to the harbour then called Puerto de Carenas, where the city of Havanna has been since built.  Our captain went immediately to his estate near Spiritu Santo, where he died in ten days, and three soldiers died of their wounds at the Havanna, and the rest dispersed to their different homes or avocations.

Immediately after our arrival, an express was sent to Velasquez the governor of Cuba, informing him that we had discovered a country having houses of stone and lime, where the inhabitants were decently clothed, cultivating maize, and possessing gold; and the fame of our discovery was soon spread through the island, by the soldiers and mariners who had returned from the expedition.  On producing the figures and idols which we had brought over, it was believed that they had been brought to that country by a Jewish colony, flying after the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus and Vespasian[2].  The name of Yucutan, which that country we discovered acquired at this time, was occasioned by the following mistake. Yuca in the language of the country is the name of the plant used in the islands for bread, there named cazabi, and tale in the same language signifies the heap of earth on which it is planted.  When the two prisoners whom we brought from thence were shewn this plant in Cuba, they immediately recognized it, saying Yucu-tal, which was supposed to signify their country, and has ever since been applied by the Spaniards to that part of America, but pronounced Yucutan.  They alleged likewise that their country produced gold, or at least they were so understood, but this has since been found not to be the case.  All that we soldiers got by this discovery, was to come back poor and wounded, and thankful that we had saved our lives, having lost seventy out of our small number during the expedition.  Diego Velasquez wrote an account to his patron, the bishop of Burgos, of all the particulars of this discovery, and the expences he had incurred, by which he obtained fame and credit from his majesty; but nothing was said in favour of us poor soldiers, who had expended our property, and risked our lives in the expedition.

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