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De Orbe Novo, Volume 1 (of 2) eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 385 pages of information about De Orbe Novo, Volume 1 (of 2).

The Spaniards declare that there is not in the whole universe a more fertile region.  The Admiral ordered his work people to take with them the tools of their trades, and in general everything necessary to build a new city.  Won by the accounts of the Admiral and attracted by the love of novelty, some of the more intimate courtiers also decided to take part in this second voyage.  They sailed from Cadiz with a favourable wind, the seventh day of the calends of October in the year of grace 1493.[16] On the calends they touched the Canaries.  The last of the Canaries is called Ferro by the Spaniards.  There is no potable water on it, save a kind of dew produced by one sole tree standing upon the most lofty point of the whole island; and from which it falls drop by drop into an artificial trough.  From this island, Columbus put to sea the third day of the ides of October.  We have learned this news a few days after his departure.  You shall hear the rest later.  Fare you well.

[Note 16:  The sailing date was Sept. 25, 1493.]

From the Court of Spain, the ides of November, 1493.

BOOK II

TO THE VISCOUNT ASCANIO SFORZA, CARDINAL VICE-CHANCELLOR

You renew to me, Most Illustrious Prince, your desire to know all that treats of the Spanish discoveries in the New World.  You have let me know that the details I have given you concerning the first voyage pleased you; listen now to the continuation of events.

Medina del Campo is a town of Ulterior Spain, as it is called in Italy, or of Old Castile, as it is called here.  It is distant about four hundred miles from Cadiz.  While the Court sojourned there the ninth day of the calends of April, messengers sent to the King and Queen informed them that twelve ships returning from the islands had arrived at Cadiz, after a happy voyage.  The commander of the squadron did not wish to say more by the messengers to the King and Queen except that the Admiral had stopped with five ships and nine hundred men at Hispaniola, which he wished to explore.  He wrote that he would give further details by word of mouth.  The eve of the nones of April, this commander of the squadron, who was the brother of the nurse of the eldest royal princes, arrived at Medina, being sent by Columbus.  I questioned him and other trustworthy witnesses, and shall now repeat what they told me, hoping by so doing to render myself agreeable to you.  What I learned from their mouths you shall now in turn learn from me.

The third day of the ides of October the Spaniards left the island of Ferro,[1] which is the most distant of the Canaries from Europe, and put out upon the high seas in seventeen ships.  Twenty-one full days passed before they saw any land; driven by the north wind they were carried much farther to the south-west than on the first voyage, and thus they arrived at the archipelago of the cannibals, or the Caribs, which

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