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.

SECTION IV.

Narrative of the first voyage of Columbus, in which he actually discovered the New World.

All the conditions which the admiral demanded being conceded by their Catholic majesties, he set out from Granada on the 21st May 1492 for Palos, where he was to fit out the ships for his intended expedition.  That town was bound to serve the crown for three months with two caravels, which were ordered to be given to Columbus; and he fitted out these and a third vessel with all care and diligence.  The ship in which he personally embarked was called the St Mary; the second vessel named the Pinta, was commanded by Martin Alonzo Pinzon; and the third named the Nina, which had square sails, was under the command of Vincent Yanez Pinzon, the brother of Alonzo, both of whom were inhabitants of Palos.  Being furnished with all necessaries, and having 90 men to navigate the three vessels, Columbus set sail from Palos on the 3d of August 1492, shaping his course directly for the Canaries.

During this voyage, and indeed in all the four voyages which he made from Spain to the West Indies, the admiral was very careful to keep an exact journal of every occurrence which took place; always specifying what winds blew, how far he sailed with each particular wind, what currents were found, and every thing that was seen by the way, whether birds, fishes, or any other thing.  Although to note all these particulars with a minute relation of every thing that happened, shewing what impressions and effects answered to the course and aspect of the stars, and the differences between the seas which he sailed and those of our countries, might all be useful; yet as I conceive that the relation of these particulars might now be tiresome to the reader, I shall only give an account of what appears to me necessary and convenient to be known.

On Saturday the 4th of August, the next day after sailing from Palos, the rudder of the Pinta broke loose.  The admiral strongly suspected that this was occasioned by the contrivance of the master on purpose to avoid proceeding on the voyage, which he had endeavoured to do before they left Spain, and he therefore ranged up along side of the disabled vessel to give every assistance in his power, but the wind blew so hard that he was unable to afford any aid.  Pinzon, however, being an experienced seamen, soon made a temporary repair by means of ropes, and they proceeded on their voyage.  But on the following Tuesday, the weather becoming rough and boisterous, the fastenings gave way, and the squadron was obliged to lay to for some time to renew the repairs.  From this misfortune of twice breaking the rudder, a superstitious person might have foreboded the future disobedience of Pinzon to the admiral; as through his malice the Pinta twice separated from the squadron, as shall be afterwards related.  Having applied the best remedy they could to the disabled state of the rudder, the squadron continued its voyage, and came in sight of the Canaries at daybreak of Thursday the 9th of August; but, owing to contrary winds, they were unable to come to anchor at Gran Canaria until the 12th.  The admiral left Pinzon at Gran Canaria to endeavour to procure another vessel instead of that which was disabled, and went himself with the Nina on the same errand to Gomera.

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