In consequence of his great and continual sufferings, and the diseases he long laboured under, my father had not time to reduce his own notes and observations into historical order; and these having fallen to me, enable me to execute the present undertaking. Knowing that many others had undertaken to execute this task, I long delayed its performance. But, having read those other narratives, I found that they exaggerated many circumstances, had passed lightly over other matters of importance, and had even entirely omitted much that was deserving of particular notice. From these considerations I have been induced to publish this work; thinking it more becoming that I should undergo the censure of wanting skill, rather than to permit the truth respecting my noble father to remain in oblivion. Whatever may be the faults in this performance, these will not be owing to my ignorance of the truth; for I pledge myself to set down nothing which I do not find in his own papers or letters, or of which I have not actually been a witness.
In the following work, the reader will find a faithful record of all the reasons which induced the admiral to enter upon his great and glorious and successful enterprize, and will learn how far he personally proceeded in his four several voyages to the New World. He will see what great and honourable articles were conceded to him, before going upon his great discovery, by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, how basely all these were violated, and he most unworthily and inhumanly treated, after performing such unparalleled services; how far he established the affairs of Hispaniola, the first settlement of the Spaniards in the New World; and what care he took that the Indians should not be oppressed, but rather prevailed on by kind usage and good example, to embrace the Catholic faith. In this work, likewise, will be found a faithful picture of the manners and customs of the Indians, an account of their opinions and practices respecting religion, and every thing that can reasonably be looked for in a work like the present: The foundation for which was laid by the great discoverer, and the superstructure raised by me his own son, who possessed every advantage derivable from a liberal education and the possession of authentic original documents, to fit me for executing a work of such importance.
Of the Country, Original, and Name of Admiral Christopher Columbus; with other particulars of his Life previous to his arrival in Portugal.
It is a material circumstance in the history of a great man to make known his country and original, as those are best esteemed in the world who are derived from noble cities and born of illustrious parents. Wherefore some would have engaged me to prove that the admiral my father was honourably descended, although his parents, through the fickleness of fortune, had fallen into great poverty. Those persons required