De Orbe Novo, Volume 1 (of 2) eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 449 pages of information about De Orbe Novo, Volume 1 (of 2).

But we have strayed, O Most Holy Father, rather far from the regions of Veragua and Uraba, which are the chief themes of our discourse.  Shall we not first treat of the immensity and the depth of the rivers of Uraba, and of the products of the countries washed by their waters?  Shall I say nothing about the extent of the continent from east to west, or of its breadth from north to south, nor of anything that is reported concerning those regions as yet unknown?  Let us return, therefore, Most Holy Father, to Uraba, and begin by stating the new names which have been given to those provinces, since they have come under the authority of Christians.


The Spaniards decided to name Veragua, Castilla del Oro, and Uraba, Nueva Andalusia.  As Hispaniola had been chosen to be the capital of all the colonies of the islands, so likewise were the vast regions of Paria divided into two parts, Uraba and Veragua, where two colonies were established to serve as refuges and places of rest and reprovisionment for all those who traversed those countries.

Everything the Spaniards sowed or planted in Uraba grew marvellously well.  Is this not worthy, Most Holy Father, of the highest admiration?  Every kind of seed, graftings, sugar-canes, and slips of trees and plants, without speaking of the chickens and quadrupeds I have mentioned, were brought from Europe.  O admirable fertility!  The cucumbers and other similar vegetables sown were ready for picking in less than twenty days.  Cabbages, beets, lettuces, salads, and other garden stuff were ripe within ten days; pumpkins and melons were picked twenty-eight days after the seeds were sown.  The slips and sprouts, and such of our trees as we plant out in nurseries or trenches, as well as the graftings of trees similar to those in Spain, bore fruit as quickly as in Hispaniola.

The inhabitants of Darien have different kinds of fruit trees, whose varied taste and good quality answer to their needs.  I would like to describe the more remarkable ones.

The guaiana produces a lemon-like fruit similar to those commonly called limes.  Their flavour is sharp, but they are pleasant to the taste.  Nut-bearing pines are common, as are likewise various sorts of palms bearing dates larger than ours but too sour to be eaten.  The cabbage palm grows everywhere, spontaneously, and is used both for food and making brooms.  There is a tree called guaranana, larger than orange trees, and bearing a fruit about the size of a lemon; and there is another closely resembling the chestnut.  The fruit of the latter is larger than a fig, and is pleasant to the taste and wholesome.  The mamei bears a fruit about the size of an orange which is as succulent as the best melon.  The guaranala bears a smaller fruit than the foregoing, but of an aromatic scent and exquisite taste.  The hovos bears

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