Front Cover
 Title Page
 Carta de Cristoval Colon al escribano...
 Literal translation of the first...

Group Title: The Spanish letter of Columbus to Luis de Sant' Angel, : escribano de racion of the kingdom of Aragon, dated 15 February 1493;
Title: The Spanish letter of Columbus to Luis de Sant' Angel
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00023268/00001
 Material Information
Title: The Spanish letter of Columbus to Luis de Sant' Angel escribano de racion of the kingdom of Aragon, dated 15 February 1493;
Physical Description: xiv, p. facsim. 4 p. 18 p. : ; 22 x 18 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Columbus, Christopher
Kerney, M. P ( Michael P )
Quaritch, Bernard, 1819-1899
Publisher: G. Norman and Son, printers
Place of Publication: London
Publication Date: 1893
Subject: Discovery and exploration -- Spanish -- America   ( lcsh )
Genre: non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Statement of Responsibility: reprinted in reduced facsimile, and tr. from the unique copy of the original edition (printed by Johann Rosenbach at Barcelona early in April 1493) lately in the possession of Bernard Quaritch.
General Note: The preface is by Michael Kerney.
General Note: The original is now in the Lenox branch of the New York Public Library. cf. Lenox Library, The letter of Columbus, 1892, p. viii.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00023268
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 000611495
notis - ADE0682
oclc - 01219363
lccn - 19018709

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover
    Title Page
        Title Page 1
        Title Page 2
        Page iii
        Page iv
        Page v
        Page vi
        Page vii
        Page viii
        Page ix
        Page x
        Page xi
        Page xii
        Page xiii
        Page xiv
        Preface 13
        Preface 14
        Preface 15
        Preface 16
    Carta de Cristoval Colon al escribano de ragión Luis de Sant Angel
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
    Literal translation of the first edition of Columbus Spanish letter to Luis de Sant Angel
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
Full Text

Price 40 cents






(Barcelona, April, 1493)



+-~----- ---

The Kelmscozt Press


Af ons (ofben egenb. 3 vols. 4to. richly illustrated,
by W. MORRIS and BURNE JONES. Boards, /Io. los.
BERNARD QUABITCH, 15 Piccadilly, London.

arfon'z ?ecugeff of fe Zisiories of tro~e. 2 vols.
4to. With Woodcut Capitals and other Embellish-
ments. Vellum, IO. IOs.
A new Edition of this, the first book printed in the English
BERNARD QUABITCH, 15 Piccadilly, London.

fof*t e is ieor e of lena f e fo9e. I vol. 4to.
Woodcut Capitals, by MORRIS. Vellum. Subscription.
price, 3. 3s.
BERNARD QUARITCH, 15 Piccadilly, London.

(Saucer'B Vorfts. In 2 vols. folio. With about ffty
illustrations by BURNE JONES. In Boards. Now in
preparation. Subscription price not yet fixed.
BERNARD QUARITOH, 15 Piccadilly, London.








Escribano de Racion of the Kingdom of Aragon







in the possession of






"THE greatest event which has happened since the creation of
the world (leaving aside the incarnation and death of Him who
made it) is the discovery of the Indies." Thus said Lopez de
Gomara, in dedicating his history to Charles V, three hundred
and forty years ago. The eloquent Spaniard was, of course,
unable to realise the full import of his words, which seem to have
been touched with the spirit of prophecy. Even the centuries
behind him contained facts which he did not know, and which
are hardly understood in our own days. There is some ground
for believing that certain parts of the North American continent
were visited, eight hundred years back, by Norsemen sailing
from Iceland and Greenland, but we have slender means of
verifying the uncritical narratives in which the story is related.
Nothing came of the achievement. It began and ended like
a flash of lightning, leaving the Western horizon as dark as
before. Systems of civilisation, not very unlike our own earlier
developments, grew up, and flourished, and died (or survived)
beyond the further shores of the Atlantic while Abelard, William
of Ockham, Roger Bacon, and Albertus Magnus gave their
powerful intellects to the discussion de omni scibili, and died
unaware of the existence of the vast regions of the West. We
must not, however, allow that the Middle Ages were so densely
ignorant as many writers have asserted. Numberless surprises
for modern students lie in the perusal of forgotten books, the
contents of which lend peculiar force to the phrase of the Bible-
"There is nothing new under the sun."
A work called the Image dou Monde (a different book from the
Imago Mundi of Pierre d'Ailly) was written towards the middle
of the thirteenth century, in which one of the subjects discussed,
is the spherical form of the earth and the possibility of making

its circuit. The conclusion arrived at, is a conditional negative:
the feat, although possible,-the time being calculated at three
years, and the circumference of the earth at twenty-two thousand
miles-would not be practicable by reason of physical difficulties
and the changes of climate.
In the first half of the fourteenth century, the world was
made acquainted, by Marco Polo, with lands beyond the ken of
Ptolemy, and men who studied geography learned that an ocean
bounded Asia on the East, as an ocean bounded Europe on
the West. With this knowledge, a spirit of exploration was
evoked which became incarnate, soon after the beginning of the
fifteenth century, in Prince Henry of Portugal. The efforts of
the Portuguese in that century, to reach and turn the southern
limit of Africa, so as to win by sea a passage to the golden shores
of India-lost since the time of Alexander the Great, save in the
glimpses afforded by Arab merchants and by Marco Polo-
stimulated so keenly the desire for geographical discovery, that
its fascination has not yet become inoperative.
Under the influence of that spirit, a Genoese mariner whom
we call Christopher Columbus, set his heart upon traversing the
ocean which he imagined lay between Europe and Cathay, in
order to find a Western passage to India, as the Portuguese
were seeking the Eastern. His hopes were not realized, for he
found what he had not sought; but his efforts were crowned with
the achievement so enthusiastically lauded in the first sentence of
this preface, when he discovered the West Indies on Thursday,
October iith, 1492.
One of the chapters of the Historia de los Reyes Catolicos, by
Andres Bernaldez, a man acquainted personally with Columbus,
begins as follows:-In the name of God Almighty. There was a
man of Genoa, a dealer in printed books, trading in this land of
Andalusia, whom they called Christoval de Colon, a man of very
high intellect without much book-learning, very skilful in the art
of Cosmography and of the divisions of the world; who perceived,
by what he read in Ptolemy, and in other books, and by his own
discernment, how and in what wise is formed the world into which
we are born and in which we move. This he placed within the

sphere of the heavens, so that it touches them upon no side, nor
has aught of firmness to rest upon, but is only earth and water
globed by heat within the hollow vault of the sky. And he con-
sidered of the way by which regions of much gold might be found,
and esteemed that this world and firmament of earth and water is
wholly traversable in circuit, as John of Mandeville relates; and
he who should have shipping at his need, and should be willing to
hold on his course by sea and by land, would assuredly be able
to pass by the West in a straight line from San Vicente, and
return by Jerusalem to Rome and to Seville; which would be the
girdling of the whole earth and round of the globe. And he
made, by his wit, a Mapa-mundi, and studied much therein; and
judged that from whatever part of the ocean he should begin his
passage, he could not fail to meet land, and he deemed, because
he saw this, that regions of much gold would be found. Glad
with his notion, and knowing that the King Don John of Portugal
took much delight in discovery, he repaired thither to win his
inclinations; and narrating the import of his reflexions, no credit
was yielded him, because the King of Portugal had very eminent
and well-trained mariners who esteemed not Colon, and who
assumed that in the world there were no greater discoverers than
they. Whereupon Christoval Colon betook himself to the court
of the King Don Fernando and the Queen Dofia Isabel, and made
to them a relation of his ideas, to which they likewise gave but
little heed. And he discoursed with them, and said that he was
sure of what he told them; and explained to them the Mapa-
mundi, so that he made them long to know of those lands.
Quitting him, they summoned wise astrologers and astronomers,
and courtiers skilled in cosmography, from whom they took
advice. And the opinion of most of them, upon hearing the
discourse of Christoval Colon, was that he spoke truth; insomuch
that the King and the Queen became strongly trustful in him,
and ordered that three ships should be given him at Seville,
manned and victualled for the time that he required; and sent
him, in the name of God and of our Lady, forth to make
In this chapter of Bernaldez, who proceeds to narrate the

events of the voyage as told by Columbus himself in the document
written to the sovereigns-that source being indicated by several
passages in the text-there is no allusion to certain circum-
stances which must be supplied from the Historia de las Indias
of Bartolomb de las Casas, who was likewise a friend of the
Admiral. He states that the result of the conference with
philosophers, cosmographers, and astrologers, was a flat con-
tradiction of the project of Columbus, and that "all in one
voice said that it was complete folly and vanity." Dismissed
and disappointed, Columbus quitted Granada and took the road
for Cordova in order to carry his schemes to the French court.
Here we may go on in the words of Las Casas:-
Amongst other persons who gave him aid at court, and
desired that his task should be fulfilled and promoted, was
Luis de Santangel, the Escribano de Raciones. He was as much
grieved and saddened by this second and final rejection, without
any hope, as though he had personally suffered it in some
matter little less than life itself. Seeing Cristobal Colon thus
dismissed, and being unable to endure the damage and disparage-
ment which he deemed the sovereigns would incur, by losing the
great benefits and riches which Cristobal Colon promised, if his
words came true, and by letting another Christian king obtain
them; as well as the degradation of their royal authority-which
was so much esteemed in the world-through the lack of spirit to
venture so trifling a cost for a gain so infinite; he, trusting in
God, and in his intimacy with the sovereigns, or their estimation
of his fidelity and of the desire which they knew he had to serve
them, went boldly to the Queen, and spoke to her thus. Lady,
the desire which I have ever had to serve the King my Lord, and
your Highness, insomuch that if it were necessary I would die
for your royal service-has constrained me to appear before your
Highness, in order to speak upon a matter which is no concern
of mine, and which I am aware lies outside of the duties or limits
of my office I have wondered much that your Highness
did not accept an empire such as this Columbus has offered
this business is of such a quality that if what your Highness
thinks difficult or impossible, should be proposed to another King

and should prove successful, as this man says-and to any one
who cares to understand, he gives good reasons for it-the result
would be a manifest lessening of the credit of your Highness, and
an injury to your kingdom. Further, Lady, since what he
asks for now is nothing but a million [of maravedis], and as it
may be said that your Highness lets him go in order not to expend
such an amount, this would indeed be of ill report; and it is in
no wise fitting that your Highness should draw back from an
enterprise so great, even though it were much more uncertain."
The Catholic Queen, then, recognizing the good intention, and
the zeal in her service, of Luis de Santangel, said that his desire
was very pleasing to her, as well as his counsel, which she thought
good to take, but that the matter must be deferred for a time
until there should be more ease and leisure, as he could see in
what straits they were already by reason of those wars which had
been so protracted. However, if it seem to you, Santangel,"
said the Queen, "that this man cannot brook any longer delay,
I am willing to raise, upon my own private jewels, the money
which he needs for fitting out his expedition, and arrangements
therefore may immediately be set in course." Luis de Santangel
went upon his knees, and kissed the hands of the Queen, in
gratitude for the confidence in his judgment which she evinced
by agreeing to an affair which was held so doubtful, and which
every one opposed. And he added, Most serene Lady, there is
no need that, for this, your Highness's jewels should be pawned:
it will be but a small service I shall render to your Highness, and
to the King, my Lord, in lending the million from my own house,
but let your Highness order Columbus to be sent for, who has, I
believe, already gone." The Queen at once commanded that an
officer of the court should post after Cristobal Colon, to say that
she bade him return, and should bring him back. The alguacil
found him two leagues from Granada, at the bridge of Pinos.
Columbus returned with the officer, and was joyfully received by
Santangel. When the Queen knew that he was come, she
straightway gave order to the Secretary, Juan de Coloma, that
he should with all speed apply himself to making out the letters
of commission, and all such warrants as Columbus should think

necessary and require for his whole voyage and discovery .
In conclusion, this work, so heroic and stupendous in its nature
and vastness, had to be begun with the aid of a million (of
maravedis) lent by a servant of the sovereigns, a man of no great
wealth; whereas no eyes have seen,.no ears have heard, no heart
has imagined, anything like the treasures which have since then
poured into Castile from the Indies, and been lavished away by
the Kings of Castile.-So far Las Casas.
Furnished with his commission, Columbus started for Palos,
and there entered into negotiations to obtain the services of the
three brothers Pinzon, rich and renewed mariners. The million
lent by Santangel proved insufficient for the purpose in view, and
Martin Alonso Pinzon advanced another half-million to the new
Admiral; with which Columbus was enabled to complete all his
arrangements. Three caravels were fitted out. In the Capitana,
Columbus himself took the command with forty men; Martin
Alonso Pinzon went as commander, with his brother Francisco as
captain, in the Pinta, the fastest sailer of the three; and Vicente
Yafiez Pinzon sailed in the Nina.
Early in the morning of the 3rd August, 1492, they weighed
anchor and started from the little island of Saltes, opposite
Huelva, in the port of Palos; and early in the morning of
Friday, the I2th October, they sighted Guanahani, which is
generally considered identical with Watling Island in the Bahamas.
The voyage had thus occupied seventy-one days; and the state-
ment in Columbus' printed letter that it was thirty-three days is
usually supposed to be a blunder. Such is not the case. He
reckoned only from the time of quitting the known outposts of
Christendom, and his calculation of thirty-three days began when
his ships, lying becalmed on the 7th September between Teneriffe
and Gomera in the Canary Islands, were enabled to start on the
following day with a N.E. wind, which bore them out into the
ocean. Thus twenty-two days of September and eleven of
October constituted what he regarded as the duration of his
passage from land to land, from Christendom to the Indies.
All the circumstances of the voyage are familiar to the world.
The chief authority is Columbus' own diary carefully written day

by day in the form of a letter to Ferdinand and Isabella. The
original has long disappeared, but Las Casas, about 1520, made
an abridged copy of it, occasionally giving the exact text, when
he considered it impressive. This transcript still exists, and was
published by Navarrete in 1825 (Coleccion, Tomo I). We also
find it embodied in the Historia de las Indias of Las Casas, a
great and invaluable work printed for the first time in 1875. Clear
evidence is afforded by an examination of the text that Columbus
never failed in the duty of writing his daily record, notwithstand-
ing all the mental and physical difficulties that encompassed his
enterprise. Under such circumstances, it is easy to account for
the blanks that occur here and there in the transcript made by
Las Casas. The handwriting of the great Genoese, at the most
favourable moments, was not very clear, as we can see by the
facsimiles of holograph letters in the Cartas de Indias. What it
must have been on ship-board in a boisterous ocean, we may
imagine from the errors which appear in the various printed texts
of the letter now republished, which we give in a reduced facsimile
from the recently discovered unique copy of the first impression.
That letter seems to have originated in the following manner.
On the return of Columbus, a terrible storm arose when
he was approaching the Azores. From the night of the 12th
February, until after sundown on the 14th, he was driven and
tossed about under bare poles, with constant expectation of
shipwreck. Fearing that the sovereigns would never learn the
extent of his services, and dreading that his boys at Cordova
would be left beggars in a strange land, the orphans of a dis-
credited foreigner, he resolved to commit his story to the seas.
He took a sheet of parchment and traced upon it as much as he
could write about his great discovery; then wrapping it in a piece
of cloth, well secured, he placed it in a barrel which was flung
into the ocean. From the state of the sea, and the words todo
lo que pudo," we may conclude that the account was a very brief
one, and would have been well-nigh illegible if it had ever reached
the sovereigns to whom it was addressed. It is said by Ferdinand
Columbus that he wrote the same letter in duplicate, and placed
the second copy in another barrel, which was retained on board

to await the moment of the ship's dissolution; but this statement
is not found in Las Casas, and is probably a distortion of the fact
that Columbus wrote the two letters about to be referred to. We
may confidently assert that, under the circumstances, Columbus
could hardly have managed to write more than a few lines; and
that consequently the barrel-letter need not be confounded with
any extant piece of his composition. It is, however, very likely
that the experience of the i4th of February would have set him
thinking in regard to the desirability of multiplying the record of
his voyage. From Wednesday morning (the I3th) till the night
of Sunday (the 17th) he was unable to take any repose, and it was
probably during the hours of night, when all active attention to
the business of navigation was necessarily interrupted, that he
applied himself to writing that compendium of his diary which we
know as the letter of Columbus. However rapidly he might
write, such a piece of work, regarded even as a transcript, must
have occupied nine or ten hours at least, probably more. The
likelihood is, that the night of the I4th and the morning of the
15th were given to the writing of the Carta al Escribano de
Racion-our present letter; and that on the I7th and I8th,
when the sea was a little calmer, he made or caused to be made
a transcript or second copy of it, which he addressed to the
Treasurer Sanchez. The latter was, as a matter of course, more
neatly and correctly written than the former: the violence of the
storm had abated, and there was more leisure to improve the
roughness of the original, as well as avoid its defects. This is
easily observable in comparing the text of the Sanchez letter, as
printed for the first time by Varnhagen in 1858, with that of the
present reproduction. Although, however, the fair copy of an
author's draught composition is usually superior to its original,
yet the Sanchez letter has not entirely escaped the fate of most
copies; for there are some small matters, which have been pointed
out elsewhere, in which its text is inferior to the other. Among
the typographical blunders in our Santangel first edition, one small
error may be particularised as showing that it followed an ill-
written original. Columbus makes a statement twice-once near
the beginning, and once near the 'end-that his outward voyage

(from the Canaries) had occupied thirty-three days. In our
facsimile it will be seen that the printer blundered; and gave in
the first instance ueinte," in the second "xxxiii." The cause
of the error (which was corrected in the [Naples?] reprint
preserved in the Ambrosian library at Milan) is easily traceable.
If we examine the writing of Roman numerals by Columbus in
the facsimiles given in the Cartas de Indias, we see at once that
Columbus must have used xxxiii." in the first place, and perhaps
written the number in words in the second place. In his writing,
"xxxiii.' would, to inexpert eyes, look like veynt," and was so
read by the printer. This can easily be tested by any one who
chooses to examine the facsimiles of the writing of Columbus,
and takes the trouble to imitate his method of forming the
numerals in question.
The words which express the date of the Santangel letter show
that on the 15th February Columbus thought himself close to one
of the Canary Islands; on the I7th he discovered that the land
he saw was Santa Maria in the Azores, and he specified the fact
correctly in dating the Sanchez letter on the i8th, when he was
anchored close to the island and had sent a boat ashore. The
weather continued very bad, with occasional mitigations, till the
22nd when an improvement set in. In the evening of the 23rd,
he set sail for Spain. On the night of March 2nd, his vessel was
again in great danger not far from the coast outside Lisbon; on
the night of March 3rd a still more terrible storm arose in which
nearly all hope of safety was abandoned; and on the morning of
the 4th, he succeeded, much to the wonder of himself and the
inhabitants of the coast, in entering the mouth of the Tagus. He
then wrote to the King of Portugal, asking permission to enter
Lisbon. On the 8th he had a letter from the King, who was at
Paraiso, nine leagues away, requesting his presence there. He
was received with much courtesy by the monarch, notwithstanding
the ill-will of the Portuguese officials who had already begun to
show hostility. On the IIth he took leave of the King, on the
12th he decided not to make his way by land to Castile, notwith-
standing the proffer of facilities from Dom Joao; and returned
that night to his ship. At 8 o'clock on the following morning,
2 a


he set sail towards Seville, and early on the 15th he crossed the
bar of Saltes and entered the port of Palos. According to his
own statement the return voyage had occupied twenty-eight
days; in which calculation he included only the space of time
between the i8th or 19th January, when he knew that he was in
the vicinity of Matinino, and the 16th February, when he found
himself close to the Azores. From the latter date onwards, his
progress was a stormy and dangerous one, and cost him twenty-
three days (as he calculates) beating about this sea." His
reckoning is evidently meant to comprise the time from the I8th
of February when he had anchored in the Azores to the 13th
of March when he quitted Lisbon for Palos. It had been
his intention to write to Ferdinand and Isabella from Lisbon
(adonde acorde escrivir a sus Altezas) and we have no proof that
he did not send some message announcing his return. But it is
very improbable that he did so, when we know that he changed
his mind on the subject of accepting Dom JoAo's aid in travelling
by land to Castile, and that he was prudently distrustful of his
Portuguese friends. It is quite certain that he did not send off
the Santangel letter till he reached Seville, since its postscript is
dated March I4th. A fortiori, he would assuredly not have sent
his important journal-letter to the sovereigns; and it is not likely,
since he deferred the transmission of the Santangel epistle, that
he would have risked the despatch of the improved copy of it
which he had addressed to Sanchez. We have, besides, a reason
in the date affixed to the Latin version of the latter, for supposing
that it was still in his hands on March I4th.
With regard to the persons to whom Columbus addressed his
compendious Letter, we have already seen good reason why his
friend Luis de Santangel should have been considered a worthy
recipient. As for Gabriel Sanchez, the Treasurer of Aragon, it
must have been his official position which prompted the navigator
to send him the second copy, or fair transcript. His good-will
was a matter of no small moment to Columbus in connexion with
he expected muy poquita ayuda que sus Altezas me daran."
His rank as a royal minister was higher than that of Santangel,
and his power to influence the King greater. Santangel had

already been a successful intermediary with the Queen; Sanchez
might be won over to perform an equally useful office with the
King. However well-disposed Isabella might be, however large
her independence in dealing with the states of Castile, Ferdinand
was, after all, the real arbiter in their united councils. That
Sanchez was personally a stranger to Columbus, and a man with
whom he wished to ingratiate himself, would have been a reason
for addressing to him the fair copy, more carefully transcribed
than the original written three days earlier and addressed to
Santangel. Hence we find that the Sanchez text is better than
the other, but in a few instances the Santangel letter is decidedly
As already shown, the primary existing authority, in point of
fulness and detail, for the history of the first voyage of Columbus,
is his own Diary, in so far as it was partly transcribed and partly
abridged by Las Casas. But this transcript was never published
until 1825, although Herrera and others made use of it in the
sixteenth century. The primary authority, in point of publication
to the world, is the Santangel letter written by Columbus on the
I5th of February, 1493, printed, as we have reason to conclude,
in the April of that year at Barcelona, and here published in
reduced facsimile. The place of secondary authority must be
assigned to the Sanchez letter (written by Columbus on the i8th
of February, 1493), not in its original form-since the Spanish text
was printed for the first time in 1858-but in the Latin version
which appeared in 1493, and which was frequently reprinted and
translated afterwards. Although the Santangel letter had been
twice printed,-in its princeps state at Barcelona, and in a second
edition elsewhere (of which the Ambrosian quarto is the only
extant specimen)-before the publication of the Sanchez letter in
Latin; those two editions must have been carefully suppressed
by authority. Otherwise we could not account for the singular
fact that no allusion is made to them by any of the writers of the
sixteenth century, and that their very existence was unknown till
the second edition was discovered about thirty years ago in the
Ambrosian library at Milan, and the first was found three years ago
in Spain. There is no date of impression or printer's name upon

either; but the type of the Spanish folio is that which was used by
Johann Rosenbach at Barcelona in 1493-94. The Spanish quarto
is evidently later, as is shown by various technical peculiarities
of correction and error; but they both naturally preceded the
editions of the Latin translation which was printed out of Spain-
as was also indeed the Spanish quarto. The Spanish scholar
Asensio, in a book upon Columbus published in 1891, asserts that
the Ambrosian quarto emanated from a Seville press, and concludes
that it was printed there when the discoverer had reached that
city on his way from Palos to Barcelona. He forgets that
Columbus was not a professional author, and that nothing would
'have induced him to put the letter in type before it had been
delivered to the gentleman to whom it was addressed. It was a
private communication, and can only have been given to the press
by Santangel or one of his intimate friends then in attendance on
the King and Queen at Barcelona. If the Ambrosian quarto was
really printed at'Seville, it must have been some weeks later than
the Barcelona impression. But internal evidence shews that the
quarto was printed in Italy, there being numerous instances of
the substitution of the initial j in words requiring i or y. The
Spaniards frequently used i for j, but never in any case converted
an initial i into j, the two letters being differently sounded in
Spain while in Italy they were homophonous.
During the last three or four years certain quartos (three in
number) have made their appearance in the world, produced by
typography, and purporting to be fifteenth century editions of the
Spanish text. There is, however, no appearance of antiquity
about them, and they are evidently clumsy attempts to reproduce
the Ambrosian quarto with sufficient inexactness to pass as
variant editions.
It is frequently asserted that Columbus never learned that
Cuba was an island, or anything other than the coast of Cathay.
But the statement made in this letter (on the 19th and zoth lines
of the facsimile), shows clearly enough that he had heard and
believed it to be an island, as his Indian prisoners had informed

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bi ao en lilt i lr voo cfatio cRa po la yl fabrep conto atclant duas patc2
.lao s (t aq co lia na lo4 iluftr ill'iloso Rtf iRcita imos fiorince me ,oic
j yo ofale nmiuyiucb.h3 gihopoblacas c3 gentrcintlnezto :YoeLs roodf
e tcoinatiopolftioa pO fut t1t5 a 3con prego't I uo0l a rreal tltoildi f ifon nicfu
c c6trdibo 21la prilcra q yofalleptc nioubre lau faltluoota comanoracicn oi oraml Itag
tar ct qual itiarauillofl4umet too elto anoadoloo idioe la llanuti glanaba'n 2lla (eguoa
pure nonbre la itla a fanta inara occoncepion ali trctra ferandiala l qu.ira la ifla bdel
ala quita la 3fl9.2 uana e aft a caon va n nobre ie1 o Iaua'ido 0o flegne &la au .aita g
ui io la cofla eaa.ap niccite ylafalle tatn Gran q penfe qu- fetia tierr.i firine la poakitc de
cartaro y colnono faile alfvilas 7 luguareo tcla cofta oda mar falio p:qucila poblaciontts
con lacnte t das niul.nopooia baucr fabia po: qut lueo fiitn to oo: aidatn o a n eo
late pot eldicbo caliniop :ro o odeo trar gr~dde liudadee o vil lao al cabo fl nlicbae
Igilia viftoq bo bailia ironadci iK que la colta me ltuait alfetribn deadbdeml voluntad
c:a carrari. potq d vriciiao tra a ecarnaJo yo tenia pzopofito r baeer dd al[ antihe7 thibi
d vifo nmedi adetlit edctTnineQKo moagudardarototieporbolii anras fall fiaada~atr
to n adode ebie doe bobrc po la ticrra para fabczfi bauia lRc" o grcdc Cmidada, iidoai
ti tree ioanadao fballa6 ifinitae poblaciteo peaudiao i gite f(iu nie!o mas no orfa.l.d.lg
imnttto po: Io qual fcbolnic6 yo entrida barto a uorJe idioa 1 ii tmoia oildos coino .toti
ualimite Clia ntirra era 1ta e atfi feui la cota della at orite cltito ificte lcgiae ift oSde fi
iarfiu :oel qual cabo vi orra 31la st orite oiftictao efta oei o ocbo Ieaiio ala qiUtllu o
p ifc nomubre l fpfiiola y fai ali I f egli la parreod fRcetrion aft como ota tiana at orfcafti.'
CrXlviii rade lteg as pot linta rect ddl onit afi com io oda iuanaa lqu.ll t(odielaa otra,
(6fozftiaffli aotn eattalao graoo f dta enetrano en lla ay miiucbos puetios cmlai(oollti
tiar fi cparaci6 oe otros.A o fcpa en crlftanos y farroo rrioe ybuenoo y' ralnoeo q (B itara
villa lai tihrge olla f6 altaa y dla may ii scda fierraoy inOtaiias altniiaeO fi (6paracit
ie la isla. jet fmr toas4friinofliniao oc mil (icburaea today iadabdets f I liaa ot waeola
a inil iitancrai tialas i parten I Ule ta ci dlo'igopozoakbo 4 ialmas piatrolafoia fgit(a
pur copbioc~6 Ls w rt voc a I ta btrifocifoolo pe ha c fpnJaia oedlU telaiaor
noo oelloo o'fruito' i ocWt1 ntrite.rc ino ftGiw ffailaao I cicasa tl rai old'aolotf.p
xarcoo olltil mancre ent ac iMcpnitnobrc potillit oae to ~oWi a pa biao'e rt o iS
oclo wnainera' ii oniradon v lan p& la oifo8itdao ftnrnof odti mfna aefico o I ,
otzoo arboles y frutos eier a en cll ar plmarea anarauillna t calnpiin gra5oifi~ma eay IS
tl. II ucm as manttrast auto rfrutae mrtuy s tcifae oia traiT I nucba m~ Msrant
tl~etayg te ift tabilaBomtao Xapafiola ca marauia laftirraortas muaiiaorlyfae Ia
lae caiiipliao y la tiitta taln frntnofas ygr mda para plantar zt brar pTac p r ganaaUoe actst
Pa'nttlt para btoifioa oe C villa digarct loo puerto od cl m.naqit no bauna elmci finl
vifta deloe rieo nid cborrgilanteO ba Iabela gulo6t C I to aso s qa itetraie oa ioalo i
lo ffiatoo c lewuas ay granicO iffr ciao st1eloao la a iEIe I en n llla nnabo f it
naae yt rIcsa0otw osL tt:U a y.imocai foI ov a i oaao q be
fall oo~bbansio:ml bautio noticia anson tovo itwbbrimgtefi com
fil IlnaoiC lo o i bann qut algunag nIugaIe f.ke obita V foii o itgni so inafoia oe y
ina:o v11vi (t ,fotgoo quttpa tUo fran dilot ntienoitCKi Ilacq e lU arao nflikc
lt ilo opot qlue o INl t bltn ifFnte I dte yfrofaiefanz falbo qut t mar oitr"
}ntwau lla no in oriuni Od fala de lag c l.~ iaequanooCtpao 6a ant'
it aponiiatlcaboon pWta o goo tcno. ul) Bfl0 ailas que nMi vyf "'"
h1 o tbianl acraoow tAn I~ml c alia ti.aJ1v ab yUcfa -.n a

f izi NccOey O ICr e'UCSv 1 tk arfi v6an a gi rsr o bita p tftno pot quta nr
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Do M ta toqDO e nfl p?'i COma Otca cofae nlncbae lirccditt u atrtkm tl noii man
ao- A tacncofoe finreiiitom:croarn Kquctodpuee qenefeguran yPi.cm ulinc' deicefon
tanti inigafla o ran tibcrteo ado 4 tialique nolorcridnnmb iad 41o vivrcfe beiovocoratint
t~gnn pid~aogdn ijane oi04 oDno mrse cawtdan laprona cad~o.'naicfrnu triL, iamoz jtl
onrian too Coara3aoi T quieti fca oofa 0u;0o: qulie fCeODCocb jrro tuegopoz quot qumc
to cofica at qua! quicra minre 'jue fee 4 fekactpoatctt 0ei e6rcnwe-o oikisi noftofe a c
cm cofoe tan fiik coo pevew0 DC cfcuatttaa zotaa O Ypcaa30s VC Vlio~oto P 7tCiit*,ftn
Stto :boil 'jue qluo ilovs cfto poati tkegar toe parcktia bauct taindo: ioya ad iniino. que
fe accrra ba-cr vn marinczopoo vnj agngcra oc ozo opdbparee caftdlanoe r neaio:7a10os
m ao rctrasO nO410p Mhca vati 11"uco '"AseYa paoz btlacaeg ncueasaunah pot dlae tow
quanta t niam bafi quc fude ooovi trcf lcafttlanoo cazo a o via anzot o Dog oD algoa6fola
0o 1`41a 4oe pevoios dlose aros zotocactas pipis tomrmainumn v anun04 toi'is camso bdfi
ns af qte qu e pmredo mal:ao lotfirai y ioa To graciofie ind c6fasi benwas q yo forun pa:
rjue roinen amnot F allU a odtofe far1 c mthanoo quc hfidlinan al inlomcccrnct te f-.1 a9t ra a
y ac to:s la naci caufttlana: epaecuri ocaintur oc noo oar cia-3 cofae quc twcn en abnnD5
ct 'jt l oe fo noeClThriavy no conocian 1i4una fera ni niolatr flithi qe quroooo maCr 4 toe
fucree yezc.lb ri'oiiktczrta y ctan firu i fme iuc yao ftoenawioae yFcntvoima Et cucl yaittat
caehlfaieto ,iiirecebian ntooo caboa nefpUeo'Ctbducr poino cii1tnu y ell na Pzacee PoiZ4
(fan ignaranteo faitno acrtnup'til igeica y 6brce quc nneotnii roz)en aquctdle amarcs 'jte ts
marauilla Lbuaea cutou quiloae an oafat allio PO2ijai Ca viuc: gcre udfian nilneniian
Ues usmloo yfaugoquc It l euneolaNee aa pri a i t Ki bnllcrojnepfoz3g agunaesa loo po
ra clut rrptaiuftn ynt ovicf notia vdo 't aqvcma crunqudIoe peRe eal fot quc utugo itidirb
7notvaetloaquando poe Itcnuaoofias:yflce ban aproccbstrnooubooy cnamia oe Iraigo
4flifpti cRpzopcfitoi rogo act cietlopoz iiiucha covafaalio t4 eum bouido comrigo y dtoo
aaun ten pdnuose atonunciarto anoont yo tlcgama y toe omos nnoaean comaido decefa E
cafqaLW iWas ecrcanas 0a booee stlra ttreir :velat aucr lritc etlcieto gl todoe btbrce
come mogter dcfpnos oebtncrdcora.&Ir-guzo rrn oo vcmi n6 cadatn gmyndentpeqniio
ytodoo trey'an atgu dicamEr ydebeuer quedaanan vi on witoz inauniltfo cllee ticn codas
hocyfn nimir ,,mcbue mcnoue eenterm defuRce deriono deltas inmaoms dellas inmoree yet
punae :inuucbas (6 mayres 'ut bib tth dedze" co(bo bitooa :of6tan aabdee pozque i6
debun rota nadezto man buna fufi itotr b c~lao an!.rjo paiquc ovu quetto CS cafa Dcr.e
cr c6 eftast Wvcpau toous oqudlasiflao l- in ninrabteeiyqrotc the xrc adcriae:uogumm
otfino canoas abviflo cx F itrrtr ebtF eulia ytada Ft r do furallo oodae efia1 Wans no
video mucba ovueticded dcla feeobui r a Sent,- nit L iao coftinbroe tit 0112 tcnge g tuo que
Iadm ft onziendwn 4 efcofa muw 'toular para to que cfpczao 4 mtninnrtnfas altres para IQ
ctuaifact ddlosta nutfla fantaft etal qunt 115v dihj1:c(ros :ya mr Mtome yabouia 46do
c.vii leguanepoil tol. eaPt a nurpoz ladcreeba liijatafiJdro toreutw por 2O ifta fuanalfeidd
quai tcbio pacdo otfir que dim i11 tlminior 'ut ingtnterra y ecfin (untan pot qucRdt ded
tag c vii.rcioteu qltda dMja pane dcipo-rt, ci p iui) rp ibob unbadad:b.Un dc
1w Ots Ulaman nnz:wabims e nofE/ iagitee'cata tee ij'kaf pwuiliao tiopucoal nter, v),16stit
mino 6c. Lo. t;.kgPaa ftuse putd erntoamer ddlos keioo qu yo rogo tos Cnfebw torao 0
ase yf te Ma oran cfpaigbal vcjcure tine maI esut ta tfpafia w defnc codluva pox wfta Or
inarfiltt 6fie roniac n nitca pace en one v naqaa anoatm. dxrvti gSw.iomte aepo: tee
fe t b v ccirict a onauef eh' en pare ncfcar:e %e paerpaotmicmacrcrnla qual ptitfto
'aeftn1g tonc 0 poiraia pi rue altrcae ftowse (can mavinbe alh6ftn o 1,11cnw

tfypaoto es5ir Ftod.as la tego po de ue alte ~ o qual ddla pucn oirpcnucr omo y tauct
ptanmc1ee comeo oeoa 1Rytos oe caltil ca e 1tadpariola c1 dlugar imas contibe iimcior
'comarcapaa lse 5~;u al ad ozow yco tratio aft ocl tra fine otaqua co mo D a qucUa
Calla odgranan cat -c'aum gr3no ttato cganinoa bctoiilao pelffcli cc vta villa gran
ic a quat palpre bre la villa onaauiao:eyu dll bft cb fcla y foItaPla quct a aoftaebo
tas dar oc to )o ac baoa ybDcosaootidla itc qucabaftapaa fcmcantc fcdbo c6 annaf
7 artdlanase ituallas poetmaz den aio yfftJa finadho dda mar ntodae arteo para facr
otae ygrandcanftad c di1Rt dec quell nera ie anto grado qufe prcoaua deicnllamar T
tcacrpoi brnmano ba( qutl e iiiem fcd la voltad aboFtatoerc la gictdndoo fuios nofab
Squtfean annis t andan odinudoscomo yabe dicdo f6 oo nlae rcmanofoe quc ayditci niado
afiqucroltainte lagaSte quC alla queda c par ocfttr tcda aquidl iarOa coyfllafipdigro
tfue pcfciiag I'abltudofcrcgir antodaeetac iflno mc pareccquctodoeloe 6brc4 fcancotc
.os c6 wvia itgcr i afitmaioral o'Rcy oan fata: r.note: la nm~erce nmepatecequc trabad
piae que lo 6brce ui btpooido ciatsndr fitctlien ibicnceptopce quem pateteo vra i qllo
Qiue vno tenia todoJ basiau pane at erpecial al ofaotmcouce en ftie Iaflu fafta aqui
no bcballado 6biree itoltrudo c6nto inucboe petauamn imtao airtce eRoda g"tte [nmy itndo
acatanmteto iu f negio Ipeto oaii~.iaio ddoerayoffolares ce verded qtd i fclttun'qi g aud fucrca pudto quceodi
dfrintaocdlia lifiaiiqtu tioeirccficei grade Aene laaspdfd quy ;ibiOttie graridec:iaymia
a fuerca d fio dte puierno: mta~elloo o fufri' poda coltunbre qu bc l6a apda tela voiatnda
(Oinm c6 cfptaacae mcbase f incalienitc citienolia fia:aque inollnioes obc ballado ninoti
ia faito oe vnayfla que ea aqui cta fa fgnd al currauda celao pydiaio cepoblad.a oeVla
sitt qte tictu at 0oo0 laas ylaa poz inltui fetOcei o quallee coiae atic Vinaut cRoo tie
tnucbas canaus c6la quale coa' t6daie laolie ca idia zobr iytoilni quanto pnedcndlos
-ol*fmi atfnefomt eo lo, e to oe falao qtcune acucoftujbrctrar 1oo cabellow Intgocomn
olnigareu e vIfan atIcoe flecba s ode mitme e i nao ot cfiao c5 vn palllo akabo poottcc
to o fie a q no tiat f(6fesec eune iftod otiow pliebloeeoi'f6 coatialido grado couardce
ins po no ioe telgo en Iuoat inao que aloe:ottoa eltoo fo aquclloo q tiaraa clas II ;groe
dcmatiloaano q oa lapriatea fie a particlldo aDfpaiia pam lo id Id ic q fe fallea laquttl O0 oy
btbracniguo:dlae ao vt9crcrcio fetkaulfaluo arcoe frcebaci conto lo fobre didoe oc cafiaf
FlctannlUatobigan c6launce ac raimbr ocquEtiac miudr orau fla mIcfegtrau nmaypo: qIla
epaliiola ctque las prouus no acntnigicabcllo. !n eRa ay ot0 fi cuat ycdft~a y oduas
t ras tigo onligoa itoopara afhtunatto:ctddat~fol6 blabtrod0 foIulllte quc'afecho cRtc
VgCjue fuc eri oc6lda que pucd tfuealtao qy tloletdercozo quanto ouitini nefecr con
mua pqaoqitspfti s e ou altcae ncoantI goza .pcranrtya lgco6 quitofue alte3as noifri
(argar alhnlelb qoulta Iu3nStrahtarg r;:odla qual faRa- o no i la fallt o lfaho ei gre
ea on la yfaoa b t F alnoto la uattoi noltaio q higiifialoe quZto minnouran corgarr cs
dauciaquatol~mdr.nncnrgargtErcraU;trostdcarr F.cteitfalaDo roybaruo.y cane
is t otriae mial coft fe friiecia fa-ze'qtcba~ill folloote gfire que~Oco lia cro po:qutc yo
ItonttteDt&riaioo tiit col eu qI;iTe dcbt+o (ie aii iaool hgastoenalegar folintceitc at la
VilI DCniuja3 r, 1l. r art- '0r1 rSbi.c. ailtao fa ataCob nntcbo nt fictae.
(filonaaioe lafiitr citiora3otiil.itcgetRtocebait&ttelarcuoooanntloftiot
d iualeroa ai cij ilo qautla itanti olictonrutc CofCas~'lcpalr it inpolibce:ydha
fegiaoncram ftet iuna pozi b I qurthlae tc:Ir *r taatoo q tfcpto toOo iv oN
ltcDnre finall~(girtilta faluo c6praoienoo a rtait6 qtiu loe oit~ce lo ilHas fldcbauan ut
stoiana utinpotfible qcpobrpoiiur" do ai que pIe nBclo:1Rco(Ml oid ftaD.vic
terua 2 liiacdoe ria luRfitoe rcy :cretyu caf^ re'iioo uambosfe itatorflbl ooEtoran

t L dxilhanoad ocuc tonir alegtijy f acr g aeUt ft.ictaefar grada1 foIinse ea fanca tl
nidao c6 miucba oraoonc folinec pot it tango en alcaiticnto qeu banran cn to mnado fe
tantoo pimbloe a nuelra fncta fe 7y fpucepo lo0 biatce tporate it no folain~tc ala cipaf
mnio atodo loo d rftiantoo tcruan aqi ti rcngno F gatancda cfo fcgurtd fcbfo a fi anbust
.fccbi cnit cucal:a fobre liaofye oe caanna a xi oe fcbzczo afiio ZiJL cccclrisL
fata Ioqucmanoarfe za- 1Ztlirtc
iniman que venia bntto t la Cast

bidp )ac ddfti cfipto:y tcido n mar oc. allilla falio tanto *'ito 6 migo.lrl 7lldfitqtt
inebaf cbc ocfcairg.r loo nauio p6 con aqtti en ltepuato oetifbona of que facha nmayot
maraniUa odtinftde adodc acrdctfaiirafiiue aleas.tltodaelae PnoIe be b fipre baltL
oo los tpora(rcono cua iy ad5d5cyo fiA ar otiioiafr volust n Waiit fato quatae toaicun
oa imc iocCroido I4i olItaetofldo pot dfta !nar:ow3cn aqua Iodoe loe b6brco oda ,narqia
mae on ao m Uliyuentottnoa taniaeptridi sdtnauef t be qutotocmatotn
e Za Carta cbio Colom 2'dcaano racio
kc the ilao l alladao atXLa s 3now! ; JLSw~






(With the obvious typographical errors corrected.)

Porque s6 que avreis player de la grand vitoria que nuestro
Senior me ha dado en mi viaje, vos escrivo esta porlaqual sabreys
como en xxxiii dias pas6 d las Indias (con la armada que los
illustrissimos Rey e Reyna nuestros Sefiores me dieron) donde yo
fall muy muchas islas pobladas con gente sin numero; y dellas
todas he torado posesion por sus Altezas con pregon, y vandera
rreal estendida, y non me fue contradicho, A la primera que yo
fall, puse nombre Sant Salvador A comemoracion de Su alta
Magestad El qual maravillosamente todo esto ha dado: los Indios
la llaman Guanahani. A la segunda puse nombre La Isla de
Santa Maria de Concepcion; a la tercera, Fernandina; 4 la quarta
La Isabela; a la quinta La Isla Juana; e asi A cada una nombre
nuevo. Quando yo llegu6 a la Juana, segui yo la costa della al
Poniente, y la fall tan grande que pens6 que seria Tierra firme, la
provincia de Catayo; y como no fall asi villas y lugares en la
costa de la mar, salvo pequefias poblaciones con la gente de las
quales no podia haver fabla porque luego fuyan todos,-andava
yo adelante por el dicho camino, pensando de no errar grandes
ciudades 6 villas; y al cabo de muchas leguas, visto que no havia
inovacion, i que la costa me levava al Setentrion, de donde mi
voluntad era contraria porque el invierno era ya encarando, yo

tenia proposito de hazer d6l al Austro; y tanbien el viento me di6
adelante. Determine de no aguardar otro tiempo, y volvi atrAs
fasta un sefialado puerto, de donde enbi6 dos hombres por la tierra
para saber si havia Rey o grandes ciudades. Andovieron tres
jornadas, y hallaron infinitas poblaciones pequefias i gente sin
numero, mas no cosa de regimiento; por lo qual se bolvieron.
Yo entendia harto de otros Indios que ya tenia tomados, como
continuamente esta tierra era isla; e asi segui la costa della al
Oriente ciento i siete leguas fasta donde fazia fin; del qual cabo,
vi otra isla al Oriente, distinct de esta diez y ocho leguas a la
qual luego puse nombre La Espafiola. Y fui alli, y segui la parte
del Setentrion, asicomo de la Juana, al Oriente, clxxxviii grandes
leguas, por linea recta del Oriente, asicomo de la Juana; la qual
y todas las otras son fertilisimas en demasiado grado, y esta en
estremo. En ella, ay mfichos puertos en la costa de la mar, sin
comparacion de otros que yo sepa en Cristianos, y fartos rrios, y
buenos y grandes, que es maravilla. Las tierras della son altas,
y en ella muy muchas sierras y montafias altissimas sin compara-
cion de la Isla de Tenerife; todas fermosissimas de mil fechuras,
y todas andables y llenas de arboles de mil maneras i altas, i
parecen que llegan al cielo. I tengo por dicho que jams pierden
la foja, segun lo puedo comprehender que los vi tan verdes i tan
'hermosos, como son por Mayo en Espafia. Y dellos estavan
floridos, dellos con fruto, i dellos en otro termino segun es su
calidad; i cantava el ruisefor i otros paxaritos de mil maneras,
en el mes de Noviembre, por alli donde yo andava. Ay palmas
de seis o de ocho maneras, que es admiracion verlas por la
diformidad fermosa dellas; mas asicomo los otros arboles y
frutos e yervas. En ella ay pinares A maravilla, e hay campifias
grandissimas, y ay miel, i de muchas maneras de aves, y frutas
muy diversas. En las tierras ay muchas minas de metales, e ay
gente inestimable numero. La Espafiola es maravilla: las sierras
y las montafias y las vegas, i las campifias, y las tierras tan
fermosas y gruesas para plantar y senbrar, para criar ganados de
todas suertes, para hedificios de villas e lugares. Los puertos de
la mar aqui no havria crehencia sin vista, y de los rios muchos y
grades, y buenas aguas, los mas de los quales traen oro. En los

arboles y frutos e yervas, ay grandes differencias de aquellas de
la Juana. En esta ay muchas especierias, y grandes minas de oro
y de otros metales. La gente desta ysla y de todas las otras que
he fallado, y havido (ni aya havido) noticia, andan todos desnudos,
honbres y mugeres, asi como sus madres los paren, haunque
algunas mugeres se cobijan un solo lugar con una foja de yerva, o
una cosa de algodon que para ello fazen. Ellos no tienen fierro
ni azero ni armas ni so[n par]a ello, no porque no sea gente bien
dispuesta y de fermosa estatura salvo que son muy te [merosos] A
maravilla. No tienen otras armas, salvo las a[rm]as de las cafias
quando est[an] con la simiente A [la] qual ponen al cabo un
palillo agudo, e no osan usar de aquellas: que m[uchas] vezes
me [ha aca]escido embiar A tierra dos o tres hombres A alguna
villa para haver fabl[a, y] salir A [ellos dellos] sin numero; y
despues que los veyarn Ilegar, fuyan a no aguardar padre a hijo.
Y esto no porque a ninguno se aya hecho mal, antes a todo cabo
a donde yo aya estado y podido haver fabla, les he dado de todo
lo que tenia, asi pafio como otras cosas muchas, sin recebir por
ello cosa alguna; mas son asi temerosos sin remedio. Verdad es,
que despues que aseguran, y pierden este miedo, ellos son tanto
sin engafio y tan liberals de lo que tienen, que no lo creerian sino
l1 que lo viese. Ellos de cosa que tengan, pidiendosela, jams
dizen de n6; antes convidan la persona con ello, y muestran tanto
amor que darian los corazones; y quier sea cosa de valor, quier
sea de poco precio, luego por qualquiera cosica, de qualquiera
manera que sea, que seles d6 por ello, sean contents. Yo defend
que no seles diesen cosas tan ceviles como pedazos de escudillas
rotas, y pedazas de vidrio roto, y cabos de agugetas-haunque
quando ellos esto podian llegar, les parescia haver la mejor joya
del mundo. Que se acert6 haver un marinero por una agugeta
de oro de peso de dos castellanos y medio; y otros, de otras cosas
que muy menos valian, much mas. Ya, por blancas nuevas, davan
por ellas todo quanto tenian, haunque fuesen dos ni tres castellanos
de oro, o una arrova o dos de algodon filado. Fasta los pedazos
de los arcos rotos de las pipas tomavan, y davan lo que tenian,
como bestias; asi que me pareci6 mal. Yo lo defend, y dava yo
graciosas mil cosas buenas que yo levava, porque tomen amor, y

allende desto se fagan Cristianos;-que se inclinan al amor e
servicio de sus Altezas, y de toda la nacion Castellana; e pro-
curan de ajuntar de nos dar de las cosas que tienen en abundancia,
que nos son necessarias. Y no conocian ninguna seta nin idola-
tria, salvo que todos creen que las fuergas y el bien es en el cielo;
y creian muy firme que yo, con estos navios y gente, venia del
cielo; y en tal acatamiento me recebian en todo cabo, despues de
haver perdido el miedo. Y esto no procede porque sean ignorantes,
-salvo de muy sotil ingenio; y onbres que navegan todas aquellas
mares, que es maravilla la buena cuenta qu' ellos dan de todo-
salvo porque nunca vieron gente vestida ni semejantes navios. Y
luego que llegu6 a las Indias, en la primer isla que halle, tom6
por fuerza algunos dellos para que deprendiesen y me diesen
noticia de lo que avia en aquellas parties; e asi fue que luego
entendierony nos A ellos, quando por lengua o sefias. Y estos han
aprovechado much. Oy en dia los traigo, que siempre estan de
proposito que vengo del cielo, por much conversation que ayan
havido conmigo. Y estos eran los primeros a pronunciarlo donde
yo llegava, y los otros andavan corriendo de casa en casa, y a
las villas cercanas, con vozes altas: Venid venid A ver la gente
del cielo. Asi todos, honbres como mugeres, despues de haver
el corazon seguro de nos, venian, que no quedavan grande ni
pequefio, y todos trayan algo de comer y de bever que davan con
un amor maravilloso. Ellos tienen [en] todas las yslas muy
muchas canoas A manera de fustas de remo, dellas maiores,
dellas menores, y algunas y muchas son mayores que una fusta de
diez e ocho bancos. No son tan anchas porque son de un solo
madero, mas una fusta no ternA con ellas al remo porque van que
no es cosa de career; y con estas navegan todas aquellas islas que
son innumerables, y tratan sus mercaderias. Algunas destas
canoas he visto con lxx y lxxx [h] onbres en ella, y cada uno con
su remo. En todas estas islas no vide much diversidad de la
fechura de la gente, ni en las costumbres, ni en la lengua salvo
que todos se entienden; que es cosa muy singular para lo que
espero que determinaran sus Altezas para la conversation dellos
de nuestra santa fe, a la qual son muy dispuestos. Ya dixe como
yo havia andado cvii leguas por la costa de la mar, por la derecha

linea de Occidente & Oriente, por la isla Juana; segun el qual
camino puedo decir que esta isla es maior que Inglaterra y
Escocia juntas; porque, allende destas cvii leguas, me queda de
la parte de Poniente dos provincias que yo no he andado,-la una
de las quales llaman Avan, donde nacen la gente con cola-las
quales provincias no pueden tener en longura menos de 1 6 Ix
leguas, segun puedo entender destos Indios qu[e] yo tengo, los
quales saben todas las yslas. Esta otra Espafiola en cierco tiene
mas que la Espafia toda desde Co[libre en Cata]lufia por costa
de mar fasta Fuenteravia en Viscaya; pues en una quadra anduve
clxxxviii grandes leguas por recta linea de Occident [e] a Oriente.
Esta es para desear; e v[ista] es para nunca dexar. En la qual,
-puesto [que de to]das tenga tomada possession por sus Altezas,
y todas sean mas abastadas de lo que yo s6 y puedo dezir y todas
las tengo por de sus Altezas quales dellas pueden disponer como
y tan conplidame[n]te como de los reynos de Castilla-en esta
Espafiola, en el lugar mas convenible y meior comarca para las
minas del oro, y de todo trato asi de la tierra firme de acd, como
de aquella de alli del gran Can, donde havri grand trato e
ganancia, he tornado possession de una villa grande, a la qual
puse nonbre la villa de Navidad; y en ella he fecho fuerza y
fortaleza-que ya A estas horas estard del todo acabada-y he
dexado en ella gente que basta para semejante fecho, con armas y
artellarias, e vituallas por mas de un afio, y fusta y maestro de la
mar en todas artes para fazer otras: y grand amistad con el Rey
de aquella tierra en tanto grado que se preciava de me lamar y
tener por hermano. E aunque le mudase la voluntad a offender
esta gente, el ni los suios no saben que sean armas, y andan
desnudos. Como ya he dicho, son los mas temerosos que ay en
el mundo; asi que solamente la gente que alli queda es para
destruir toda aquella tierra; y es ysla sin peligro de sus personas
sabiendo se regir. En todas estas islas me parece que todos los
[h]onbres sean contents con una muger, i a su maioral, 6 rey,
dan fasta veynte. Las mugeres me parece que trabaxan mas que
los [h]onbres. Ni he podido entender si tenian bienes propios;
que me pareci6 ver que aquello que uno tenia, todos hazian parte,
en especial de las cosas comederas. En estas islas, fasta aqui, no

he hallado [h]onbres monstruos, como muchos pensavan; mas
antes es toda gente de muy lindo acatamiento, ni son negros
como en Guinea, salvo con sus cabellos correntios; y no se crian
donde ay inpeto demasiado de los rayos solares. Es verdad qu'
el sol tiene alli grand fuerga puesto que es distinta de la linea
equinocial veinte e seis grades. En estas islas donde ay montafias
grandes, ahi tenia fuerga el frio este ynvierno; mas ellos lo
sufren por la costumbre con la ayuda de las viandas que comen con
especias muchas y muy calientes en demasia. Asi que monstruos
no he hallado, ni noticia, salvo de una ysla que es aqui la segunda
. la entrada de las Yndias, que es poblada de una gente que tienen
en todas las yslas por muy ferozes, los quales comen care humana.
Estos tienen muchas canoas con las quales corren todas las yslas
de India, roban y toman quanto pueden. Ellos no son mas
difformes que los otros, salvo que tienen en costumbre de traer
los cabellos largos como mugeres, y usan arcos y flechas de las
mismas armas de cafias con un palillo al cabo por defecto de fierro
que no tienen. Son ferozes entire estos otros pueblos que son en
demasiado grado cobardes, mas yo no los tengo en nada mas
que a los otros. Estos son aquellos que tratan con las mugeres
de Matinino, que es la primera ysla partiendo d'Espafia para las
Indias que se falla; en la qual no ay honbre ninguno. Ellas no
usan exercicio femenil, salvo arcos y flechas, como los sobre
dichos de cafas; y se arman y cobijan con laminas de arambre
de que tienen much. Otra ysla me aseguran mayor que la Es-
paiola en que las personas no tienen ningun cabello. En esta ay
oro sin cuento, y destas y de las otras traigo co[n]migo Indios
para testimonio. E[n] conclusion, A fablar desto solamente que
sea fecho este viage que fue asi de cor[r]ida, que pueden ver sus
Altezas q[ue] yo les dar6 oro quanto [h]ovieren menester, con
muy poquita ayuda que sus Altezas me daran; agora [e] speciaria
y algodon quanto sus Altezas mandaran cargar, y almastica quanta
mandaran cargar-e de la qual fasta [h]oy no se ha fallado salvo
en Grecia en la ysla de Xio, y el Sefiorio la vende como quiere -; y
lignumaloe quanto mandaran cargar, y esclavos quantos mandaran
cargar,-y seran de los yd6latras; y creo haver fallado ruybarbo
y canela. E otras mil cosas de sustancia fallare que havran fallado

la gente que yo alli dexo. Porque yo no me he detenido [en]
ningun cabo en quanto el viento me aya dado lugar de navegar;
solamente en la villa de Navidad en quanto dex6 asegurado e bien
asentado. E A la verdad much mas ficiera si los navios me
sirvieran como razon demandava. Esto es harto: y [gracias d ?]
eterno Dios nuestro Sefior el qual da 6 todos aquellos que andan
su camino victoria de cosas que parecen imposibles-y esta sefiala-
damente fue la una; porque aunque destas tierras ayan fablado 6
escripto, todo va por conjecture sin alegar de vista; salvo com-
prendiendo A tanto que los oyentes los mas escuchavan e juzgavan
mas por fabla que por poca cosa dello. Asi que pues nuestro
Redemtor di6 esta victoria a nuestros illustrisimos Rey e Reyna,
e d s[us] reynos famosos, de tan alta cosa, donde toda la Chris-
tiandad deve tomar alegria, y fazer grandes fiestas, y dar gracias
solennes a la sancta Trinidad, con muchas oraciones solennes por
el tanto enxalcamiento que havran en tornandose tantos pueblos
a nuestra sancta fe, y despues por los bienes temporales que no
solamente a la Espafia mas A todos los Christianos, ternan aqui
refrigerio y ganancia. Esto segun el fecho, asi en breve.
Fecha en la caravela sobre las yslas de Canaria a xv de
Febrero, afio Mil. cccclxxxxiii.

Fard lo que mandareys.

Nema que venia dentro en la carta.

Despues desto escripto, estando en mar de Castilla, sali6 tanto
viento conmigo, sul y sueste, que me ha fecho descargar los navios;
pero cor[r]i aqui en este puerto de Lisbona [h]oy, que fue la
mayor maravilla del mundo, donde acord6 escrivir A sus Altezas.
En todas las Yndias he siempre hallado los temporales como en
Mayo. Adonde yo fuy en xxxiii dias, y volvi en xxviii, salvo qu'
estas tormentas me[h]an detenido xxiii dias corriendo por esta
mar. Dizen ac. todos los honbres de la mar q[ue] jams [h]ovo
tan mal ynvierno, no ni tantas perdidas de naves.

Fecha a quatorze dias de Marzo.

Esta carta enbi6 Colom al Escrivano de Racion, de las
Islas halladas en las Indias, contenida A otra de sus Altezas.


The preceding letter is on two folio leaves, or four pages, of which page I has
forty-seven lines, page 2 forty-eight lines, page 3 forty-seven, and page 4 sixteen
lines. The extra line on page 2 is almost illegible and seems to have undergone
an attempt at obliteration by the printer himself. Its substance (with two small
variations) is repeated on the first line of page 3. The Letter has no external
mark of the date of impression, or of the place where it was printed. However,
as already stated, the typographical character enables us to assert that Juan de
Rosenbach printed it at Barcelona. The assertion is rendered conclusive by a
number of Catalanisms in spelling which disfigure the text, and expose the hand
of a Catalonian type-setter.
Four leaves of contemporary paper are stitched with it, and have been no
doubt its companions for nearly four hundred years. Of those four leaves the
first and second are glued together, and the whole four, as we may perceive from
looking at the first of them, have served as "end-paper and "fly-leaves in a
book in which the Letter was preserved from the year 1497 until some curious
hand extracted it. There is writing on all the four leaves. The matter which
fills the third and fourth was written evidently in Bruges in 1497; the matter
contained in the first and second (pp. I-3) is in the same hand, but has a direct
Spanish interest.
The latter is a life of Saint Leocadia who was martyred in Toledo in A.D. 304.
It is headed thus:
Incipit Confessio Sancte Leochade Virginis qu obiit in civitate Tholetana
sub ydus Decembris sub Datiano preside.
The first words of the text are: In temporibus illis dum post corporeum
Salvatoris adventum."
The other two leaves are less imperfect than those, and are endorsed -
App ? intposita p. dnm Archiducem ad habitum Concilium.
It is a rather important document,-the Appellatio or Appeal presented to
the Archduke Philip sitting in public court in his hall at Bruges, on the 12th
May, 1497, by Johannes Rousselli, Lord of Hernetes, Procurator General or
Fiscal of his Highness, against the harsh and exorbitant imposition of imperial
taxes upon the people of the Low Countries. The mode adopted by certain
tyrannical officials to increase the revenue (and benefit themselves both directly
and indirectly) by enhancing levies and forestalment of dues, had terribly injured

the states and caused many persons to fly the country. Even the rightful heads
of ecclesiastical foundations had been in many places ejected by ignorant and
avaricious strangers; and the condition of things called for such resistance to
tyranny as St. Paul had prescribed.-Redress of grievances was promised by the
Archduke. His pledge and the proceedings of the Council were witnessed in
this formal document by
Gerardus Numan, Audientiarius,
Laurentius de Blitil, Grifiarius Ordinis Velleris,
Johannes de Longavilla
Bartholomeus Le Fevre
Hugo Le Cocq ordinary Secretaries,
Hugo Le Cocq
Johannes Le Borgne )
and many other counsellors and secretaries whose names are not given.
In connexion with this curious adjunct to the unique Columbus letter, we may
state that the Archduke Philip and his consort Juana visited Toledo in 1502, and
presented to the Cathedral, una reliquia grande de la gloriosa Virgen Leocadia,
Padrona de aquella ciudad. This statement, taken from the Primacia de Toledo
of Castegon y Fonseca, printed in 1645, helps to account for the conjunction of the
Leocadia legend and the Bruges Council decree in the manuscript leaves prefixed
to the Columbus letter.

This is a suitable occasion to mention the fact that the letter here given in
facsimile was in my possession for over two years, but has now taken a
permanent resting-place in the fittest home that could be found for it. It forms
part of the treasures in the great Lenox library of New York, where it will be
carefully preserved as the first printed document relating to the New World.






As I know that you will have pleasure of the great victory
which our Lord hath given me in my voyage, I write you this, by
which you shall know that, in twenty' days I passed over to the
Indies with the fleet which the most illustrious King and Queen,
our Lords, gave me: where I found very many islands peopled
with inhabitants beyond number. And, of them all, I have taken
possession for their Highnesses, with proclamation and the royal
standard displayed; and I was not gainsaid. On the first which
I found, I put the name Sant Salvador, in commemoration of His
high Majesty, who marvellously hath given2 all this: the Indians
call it Guanaham.3 The second I named the Island of Santa
Maria de Concepcion, the third Ferrandina, the fourth, Fair
Island,4 the fifth La Isla Juana; and so for each one a new name.
When I reached Juana, I followed its coast westwardly, and found
it so large that I thought it might be the mainland province of
Cathay. And as I did not thus find any towns and villages on
the sea-coast, save small hamlets with the people whereof I could
not get speech, because they all fled away forthwith, I went on
further in the same direction, thinking I should not miss of great
cities or towns. And at the end of many leagues, seeing that there
was no change, and that the coast was bearing me northwards,
1 veinte, typographical blunder for xxxiii. It is corrected in the Ambrosian
2 Andado in text, blunder for ha dado.
3 Guanaham, blunder for Guanahani.
Isla bella, blunder for Isabela,

whereunto my desire was contrary since the winter was already
confronting us,' I formed the purpose of making from thence to
the South, and as the wind also blew against me, I determined
not to wait for other weather and turned back as far as a port
agreed upon; from which I sent two men into the country to
learn if there were a king, or any great cities. They travelled for
three days, and found innumerable small villages and a number-
less population, but nought of ruling authority; wherefore they
returned. I understood sufficiently from other Indians whom I
had already taken, that this land, in its continuousness, was an
island; and so I followed its coast eastwardly for a hundred and
seven leagues as far as where it terminated; from which headland
I saw another island to the east, ten or" eight leagues distant from
this, to which I at once gave the name La Spafiola. And I pro-
ceeded thither, and followed the northern coast, as with La Juana,
eastwardly for a hundred and seventy3-eight great leagues in a
direct easterly course, as with La Juana. The which, and all the
others, are most strong' to an excessive degree, and this extremely
so. In it, there are many havens on the sea-coast, incomparable
with any others that I know in Christendom, and plenty of rivers
so good and great that it is a marvel. The lands thereof are high,
and in it are very many ranges of hills, and most lofty mountains
incomparably beyond the Island of Centrefrei ;6 all most beautiful
in a thousand shapes, and all accessible, and full of trees of a
thousand kinds, so lofty that they seem to reach the sky. And I
am assured that they never lose their foliage; as may be imagined,
since I saw them as green and as beautiful as they are in Spain
during May. And some of them were in flower, some in fruit,
some in another stage according to their kind. And the nightin-
gale was singing, and other birds of a thousand sorts, in the month
of November, round about the way that I was going. There are
palm-trees of six or eight species, wondrous to see for their

I Encarnado in original for encarado or encarando.
2 Ten or eight (diez o ocho) ought to be eighteen (diez e ocho).
a Should be "eighty."
4 Fortissimos, should be fertilisimos: most fertile.
Ought to be Tcncrifc.

beautiful variety; but so are the other trees, and fruits, and plants
therein. There are wonderful pine-groves, and very large plains
of verdure, and there is honey, and many kinds of birds, and
many various fruits. In the earth there are many mines of
metals; and there is a population of incalculable number.
Espafiola is a marvel; the mountains and hills, and plains, and
fields, and the soil, so beautiful and rich for planting and sowing,
for breeding cattle of all sorts, for building of towns and villages.
There could be no believing, without seeing, such harbours as are
here, as well as the many and great rivers, and excellent waters,
most of which contain gold. In the trees and fruits and plants,
there are great diversities from those of Juana. In this,1 there
are many spiceries, and great mines of gold and other metals.
The people of this island, and of all the others that I have found
and seen, or not seen,2 all go naked, men and women, just as their
mothers bring them forth; although some women cover a single
place with the leaf of a plant, or a cotton something which they
make for that purpose. They have no iron or steel, nor any
weapons; nor are they fit thereunto; not because they be not a
well-formed people and of fair stature, but that they are most
wondrously timorous.3 They have no other weapons than the
stems of reeds in their seeding state, on the end of which they
fix little sharpened stakes. Even these, they dare not use; for
many times has it happened that I sent two or three men ashore
to some village to parley, and countless numbers of them sallied
forth, but as soon as they saw those approach, they fled away in
such wise that even a father would not wait for his son. And
this was not because any hurt had ever done to any of them:-
on the contrary, at every headland where I have gone and been
able to hold speech with them, I gave them of everything which
I had, as well cloth as many other things, without accepting
aught therefor-; but such they are, incurably timid. It is true
that since they have become more assured, and are losing that
terror, they are artless and generous with what they have, to such

I i.e. Hispaniola. 2 y havido ni aya havido noticia.
3 A few lines are a little defective, and portions of words lost.

a degree as no one would believe but him who had seen it. Of
anything they have, if it be asked for,' they never say no, but do
rather invite the person to accept it, and show as much lovingness
as though they would give their hearts. And whether it be a
thing of value, or one of little worth, they are straightways content
with whatsoever trifle of whatsoever kind may be given them in
return for it. I forbade that anything so worthless as fragments of
broken platters, and pieces of broken glass, and strap-buckles,
should be given them; although when they were able to get such
things, they seemed to think they had the best jewel in the world,
for it was the hap of a sailor to get, in exchange for a strap, gold
to the weight of two and a half castellanos, and others much
more for other things of far less value; while for new blancas2
they gave everything they had, even though it were [the worth
of] two or three gold castellanos, or one or two arrobas' of spun
cotton. They took even pieces of broken barrel-hoops, and gave
whatever they had, like senseless brutes ; insomuch that it seemed
to me ill. I forbade it, and I gave gratuitously a thousand useful
things that I carried, in order that they may conceive affection, and
furthermore may be made" Christians ; for they are inclined to the
love and service of their Highnesses and of all the Castilian nation,
and they strive to combine in giving us things which they have in
abundance, and of which we are in need.5 And they knew no
sect, nor idolatry; save that they all believe that power and good-
ness are in the sky, and they believed very firmly that I, with
these ships and crews, came from the sky; and in such opinion,
they received me at every place where I landed, after they had
lost their terror. And this comes not because they are ignorant:
on the contrary, they are men of very subtle wit, who navigate
all those seas, and who give a marvellously good account of every-
thing-but because they never saw men wearing clothes nor the

1 pidiendogela, for pidiendosela. 2 Copper-coins.
3 An arroba=25 Ibs. 4 se faran. for sefazan, or se fagan.
6 This sentence continues to be subjunctive after the word Christians," in
the Sanchez-letter of Varnhagen, and the word aiuntar, here translated com-
bine" is there ayudar=to aid.

like of our ships. And as soon as I arrived in the Indies, in the
first island that I found, I took some of them by force, to the intent
that they should learn [our speech] and give me information of
what there was in those parts. And so it was, that very soon
they understood [us] and we them, what by speech or what by
signs; and those [Indians] have been of much service. To this
day I carry them [with me] who are still of the opinion that I
come from heaven [as appears] from much conversation which they
have had with me. And they were the first to proclaim it wherever
I arrived; and the others went running from house to house and
to the neighboring villages, with loud cries of Come come to
see the people from heaven! Then, as soon as their minds
were reassured about us, every one came, men as well as women,
so that there remained none behind,1 big or little; and they all
brought something to eat and drink, which they gave with won-
drous lovingness. They have in2 all the islands very many canoes,
after the manner of rowing-galleys, some larger, some smaller;
and a good many are larger than a galley of eighteen benches.
They are not so wide, because they are made of a single log of
timber, but a galley could not keep up with them in rowing, for
their motion is a thing beyond belief. And with these, they
navigate through all those islands which are numberless, and ply
their traffic. I have seen some of those canoes with seventy, and
eighty, men in them, each one with his oar. In all those islands,
I saw not much diversity in the looks of the people, nor in their
manners and language; but they all understand each other, which
is a thing of singular towardness for what I hope their Highnesses
will determine, as to making them conversant with our holy faith,
unto which they are well disposed. I have already told how I
had gone a hundred and seven leagues, in a straight line from
West to East, along the sea-coast of the Island of Juana; accord-
ing to which itinerary, I can declare that that island is larger than
England and Scotland combined; as, over and above those
hundred and seven leagues, there remains for me, on the western
side, two provinces whereto I did not go-one of which they call

' cadavan for quedaban.

2 en omitted.

Avan, where the people are born with tails-which provinces
cannot be less in length than fifty or sixty leagues, according to
what may be understood from the Indians with me, who know all
the islands. This other, Espaiiola, has a greater circumference than
the whole of Spain from Colibre in Catalunya,1 by the sea-coast,
as far as Fuente Ravia in Biscay; since, along one of its four sides,
I went for a hundred and eighty-eight great leagues in a straight
line from West to East. This is [a land] to be desired,-and
once seen,2 never to be relinquished-in which (-although, indeed,
I have taken possession of them all3 for their Highnesses, and all
are more richly endowed than I have skill and power to say, and
I hold them all in the name of their Highnesses who can dispose
thereof as much and as completely as of the kingdoms of Castile-)
in this Espafola, in the place most suitable and best for its
proximity to the gold mines, and for traffic with the continent,
as well on this side as on the further side of the Great Can, where
there will be great commerce and profit,-I took possession of a
large town which I named the city of Navidad.4 And I have
made fortification there, and a fort (which by this time will have
been completely finished) and I have left therein men enough for
such a purpose, with arms and artillery, and provisions for more
than a year, and a boat, and a [man who is] master of all sea-
craft for making others; and great friendship with the King of
that land, to such a degree that he prided himself on calling and
holding me as his brother. And even though his mind might
change towards attacking those men, neither he nor his people
know what arms are, and go naked. As I have already said, they

SThe eleven letters in italics are omitted from the text.
2 The word vista deficient in consequence of a hole in the paper.
3 A few letters deficient in consequence of the paper being torn. It is curious
that the words from "have skill. down to "as completely] are printed
twice. In the first instance, the line which comprises them is extra-regular at
the bottom of page 2, and is so blurred and broken that its duplicate presenta-
tion (with a slight variant) at the top of page 3, seems to be a deliberate
Navidad is the same as Natividad; he reached the spot on Christmas-
day, 1492.

are the most timorous creatures there are in the world, so that
the men who remain there are alone sufficient to destroy all that
land, and the island is without personal danger for them if they
know how to behave themselves. It seems to me that in all those
islands, the men are all content with a single wife; and to their
chief or king they give as many as twenty. The women, it
appears to me, do more work than the men. Nor have I been
able to learn whether they held personal property, for it seemed
to me that whatever one had, they all took share of, especially
of eatable things. Down to the present, I have not found in those
islands any monstrous men, as many expected, but on the contrary
all the people are very comely; nor are they black like those in
Guinea, but have flowing hair; and they are not begotten where
there is an excessive violence of the rays of the sun. It is true
that the sun is there very strong, notwithstanding that it is twenty-
six degrees1 distant from the equinoctial line. In those islands,
where there are lofty mountains, the cold was very keen there,
this winter; but they endure it by being accustomed thereto, and
by the help of the meats which they eat with many and inordin-
ately hot spices. Thus I have not found, nor had any information
of monsters, except of an island which is here2 the second in the
approach to the Indies, which is inhabited by a people whom, in
all the islands, they regard as very ferocious, who eat human
flesh. These have many canoes with which they run through all
the islands of India, and plunder and take as much as they can.
They are no more ill-shapen than the others, but have the custom
of wearing their hair long, like women; and they use bows and
arrows of the same reed-stems, with a point of wood at the top,
for lack of iron which they have not. Amongst those other tribes
who are excessively cowardly, these are ferocious; but I hold
them as nothing more than the others. These are they who have
to do with the women of Matremonio3-which is the first island
that is encountered in the passage from Spain to the Indies-in

I Instead of grades = degrees, the text has (by a typographical error) grades.
2 The word en=lin precedes the second in the text.
I So in the text; it should be Matinino.

which there are no men. Those women practise no female
usages, but have bows and arrows of reed such as above
mentioned; and they arm and cover themselves with plates of
copper of which they have much. In another island, which they
assure me is larger than Espafiola, the people have no hair. In
this, there is incalculable gold; and concerning these and the
rest I bring Indians with me as witnesses. And in conclusion, to
speak only of what has been done in this voyage, which has been
so hastily performed, their Highnesses may see that I shall give
them as much gold as they may need, with very little aid which
their Highnesses will give me; spices and cotton at once, as much
as their Highnesses will order to be shipped, and as much as they
shall order to be shipped of mastic,-which till now has never
been found except in Greece, in the island of Xio,1 and the
Seignory2 sells it for what it likes; and aloe-wood as much as
they shall order to be shipped; and slaves as many as they shall
order to be shipped,-and these shall be from idolators. And I
believe that I have discovered rhubarb and cinnamon, and I shall
find that the men whom I am leaving there will have discovered a
thousand other things of value; as I made no delay at any point,
so long as the wind gave me an opportunity of sailing, except only
in the town of Navidad till I had left things safely arranged and
well established. And in truth I should have done much more if
the ships had served me as well as might reasonably have been
expected. This is enough; and [thanks to] eternal God our
Lord who gives to all those who walk His way, victory over
things which seem impossible; and this was signally one such, for
although men have talked3 or written of those lands, it was all by
conjecture, without confirmation from eyesight, importing just so
much that the hearers for the most part listened and judged that
there was more fable in it than anything actual, however trifling.
Since thus our Redeemer has given to our most illustrious King
and Queen, and to their famous kingdoms, this victory in so high
a matter, Christendom should take gladness therein and make

SChios, or Scio. Of Genoa.
3 By a typographical blunder, fallado is found in the text, instead offablado.

great festivals, and give solemn thank 'o the Holy Trinity for the
great exaltation they shall have by e conversion of so many
peoples to our holy faith; and next ft the temporal benefit which
will bring hither refreshment and profit, not only to Spain, but to
all Christians. This briefly, in accordance with the facts. Dated,
on the caravel, off the Canary Islands, the 15 February of the
year 1493.
At your command,


After having written this [letter], and being in the sea of
Castile, there rose upon me so much wind, South and South-West,
that it has caused me to lighten the vessels, however, I ran hither
to-day into this port of Lisbon, which was the greatest wonder in
the world; where I decided to write to their Highnesses. I have
always found the seasons like May in all the Indies, whither I
passed in thirty-three days, and returned in twenty-eight, but that
these storms have delayed me twenty-three days running about
this sea. All the seamen say here that there never has been so
bad a winter, nor so many shipwrecks.
Dated the I4th of March.

Columbus sent this letter to the Escrivano de Racion. Of the
islands found in the Indies. Received with another for. their


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