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flourished in Europe. The soil seemed to be rich, but bore few marks of cultivation. The climate, even to Spaniards, felt warm 5 though extremely delightful. The inhabitants appeared in the simple innocence of nature, entirely naked. Their black hair, long and uncurled, floated upon their shoulders, or was bound in tresses around their heads. They had no beards, and every part of their bodies was perfectly smooth. Their complexion was of a dusky copper colour, their features fingular, rather than disagreeable, their aspect gentle and timid. Though not tall, they were well shaped, and active. Their faces, and several parts of their body, were fantastically painted with glaring colours. They were shy at first through fear, but soon became familiar with the Spaniards, and with transports of joy received from them hawks-bells, glass beads, or other baubles, in return for which they gave such provisions as they had, and some cotton yarn, the only commodity of value that they conld produce. Towards evening, Columbus returned to his ships, accompanied by many of the islanders in their boats, which they called canoes, and though rudely formed out of the trunk of a single tree, they rowed them with surprising dexterity: Thus, in the first interview between the inhabitants of the old and new worlds, every thing was conducted amicably, and to their mutual fatisfaction. The former, enlightened and am
bitious, formed already vaft ideas with respect to the advantages which they might derive from the regions that began to open to their view. The latter, fimple and undiscerning, had no foresight of the calamities and defolation which were approaching their country.
Columbus assumes the title of admiral and viceroy.'
Columbus, who now assumed the title and authority of admiral and viceroy, called the ifland which he had discovered San Salvador. It is better known by the name of Guanahani, which the natives gave to it, and is one of that large clufter of islands called the Lucaya or Bahama isles. It is situated above three thousand miles to the weft of Gomera, from which the squadron took its departure, and only four degrees to the south of it ; fo little had Columbus deviated from the westerly course, which he had chosen as the most proper.
Proceeds towards the south.. Columbus employed the next day in visiting the coasts of the island; and from the universal poverty of the inhabitants, he perceived that this was not the rich country for which he fought. But, conformably to his theory concerning the discovery of those regions of Asia which stretched towards the east, he concluded that San Salvador was one of the isles which geographers described as fituated in the vaft ocean adjacent to India t). Having observed that most of the people whom he had seen more small plates of gold, by way of ornament, in their nostrils, he eagerly inquired where they got that precious metal. They pointed towards the south, and made him comprehend by signs, that gold abounded in countries situated in that quarter. Thither he immediately determined to direct his course, in full confidence of finding there those opulent regions which had been the object of his voyage, and would be a recompence for all his toils and dangers. He took along with him feven of the natives of San Salvador, that, by acquiring the Spanish language, they might serve as guides and interpreters; and those innocent people considered it as a mark of distinction when they were selected to accom. pany him.
He saw several islands, and touched at three of the largest, on which he bestowed the names of St. Mary of the Conception, Fernandina, and Isabella. But as their soil , productions, and inhabitants nearly resembled those of San Salyador, he made no stay in any of them. He inquired every where for gold, and received uniformly for answer, that it was brought from the south. He followed that course, and soon discovered a country of valt extent, not perfect. t) Pet, Mart, epift. 135.
dy level, like those which he had already visite ed, but so diversified with rising grounds, hills, rivers, woods, and plains, that he was uncertain whether it might prove an island, or part of the continent. The natives of San Salvador, whom he had on board, called it Cuba; Con lumbus gave it the name of Juanna. He entered the mouth of a large river with his squadron, and all the inhabitants fled to the mountains as he approached the shore. But as he resolved to careen his ships in that place, he sent some Spaniards, together with one of the people of San Salvador, to view the interior parts of the country. They, having advanced above sixty miles from the shore, reported, upon their return, that the soil was richer and more cultivated than any they had hitherto discovered; that, besides many scattered cottages, they had found one village, containing above a thousand inhabitants ; that the people though naked, seemed to be more intelligent than those of San Salvador, but had treated them with the same respectful attention, kissing their feet, and honouring them as facred beings allied to Heaven;' that they had given them to eat à certain root, the tafte of which resembled roasted chesnuts, and likewise a singular fpecies of corn called maize, which, either when roasted whole, or ground into meal, was abundantly palatable; that there seemed to be no four-footed animals in the country, but a species of dogs, which
could not bark, and a creature resembling a rabbit, but of a much smaller fize ; that they had observed some ornaments of gold among the people, but of no great value u).
His conje&ures with regard to it. . These messengers had prevailed with some of the natives to accompany them, who informed Columbus, that the gold of which they made their ornaments was found in Cubanacan. By this word they meant the middle 'or inland part of Cuba; but Columbus, being ignorant of their language, as well as unaccustomed to their pronunciation, and his thoughts running continually upon his own theory concerning the discovery of the East Indies, he was led, by the resemblance of found, to suppose that they spoke of the Great Khan, and imagined that the opulent kingdom of Cathay, described by Marco Polo, was not very remote. This induced him to employ some time in viewing the country. He visited almoft every harbour, from Porto del Principe, on the north coast of Cuba, to the eastern extremity of the island; but, though delighted with the beauty of the scenes, which every where presented themselves, and amazed at the luxuriant fertility of the soil, both which, from their novelty, made a more lively impref. fion upon his imagination x), he did not find u) Life of Columbus, G. 24 - 28. Herrera, decad. I, lib. 1.
c. 14. x) See NOTE XIV.