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pedition. These demands almost frustrated his designs, and Columbus had again turned his back upon the Spanish court, when, through the wise counsels of friends, the queen's objections were overcome, and the warmest impulses of her nature aroused. “I will assume the undertaking,” she said, when opposed by her husband and his counselors, “for my own crown of Castile, and am ready to pawn my jewels to defray the expense of it, if the funds in the treas.
ury shall appear inadequate.” All preliminaries being arranged, the queen lost no time in fitting out two vessels,” and Columbus, aided chiefly by the wealthy and enterprising family of the Pinzons, equipped a third. With this feeble squadron, manned with timid mariners, Columbus left the little port of Palos, upon the Tinto River, in Andalusia, on Friday, the third of August, 1492, and, spreading his sails to an easterly breeze, navigating the pleasant seas of the Old World. After various delays at the Canary Islands, they passed and lost sight of Ferro, the most westerly one of the group, on Sunday, the ninth of September. Now Europe was left behind, and the broad Atlantic, mysterious and unknown, was before them. As the space widened between them and their homes, the hearts of the mariners failed; and when, on the thirteenth, the commander and his pilots discovered the variations of the magnetic needle, misgivings arose in the stout hearts of the explorer and his friends, the Pinzons. They were now six hundred miles westward of the Canaries, in an unknown sea. It was a phenomenon unknown to the world of science, and Columbus tried in vain to satisfy himself respecting the cause. He could not long conceal the fact from his seamen. It filled them with consternation and awe; for they believed they were entering another world, subject to the influence of laws unknown and dreadful. Columbus quieted their apprehensions by telling them that the needle did not point to the north star, but to an invisible point around which that star revolved
A SPANish CARAVEL.
turned his prow toward the waste of waters in the direction of the setting sun. He had no reliable chart for his guidance, no director in his course but the sum and stars, \ and the imperfect mariner's comView or PALos.” pass, then used only by a few in
* The vessels furnished by Isabella were only caravels, light coasting ships, without decks, and furnished with oars like the ancient galleys. The picture here given is from a low relief sculpture, on the tomb of Fernando Columbus, a son of the navigator, in the Cathedral of Seville. Such a vessel would be considered quite inadequate to perform a coasting voyage at the present day. The larger vessel, with a deck, fitted out by Columbus and his friends, was called the Santa Maria; the caravels were named respectively Pinta and Miña. Martin Alonzo Pinzon commanded the Pinta, and Vincent Yanez Pinzon the Miña. Garcia Fernandez, the physician of Palos, accompanied the expedition as steward. The whole number of persons that embarked was one hundred and twenty. The whole expenditure of the queen in fitting out the caravels amounted to only seventeen thousand florins, or between eight and nine thousand dollars.” These were small preparations for an exploring expedition of such vast extent and importance.
The descendants of the Pinzons are still quite numerous in the vicinity of Palos. When Mr. Irving visited that town in 1828, he saw the ruins of a family mansion which belonged to one of the two Pinzons who sailed with Columbus on his first voyage. Mr. Irving was accompanied in his visit to Palos, the monastery of Ribida, and other localities in the vicinity, by Juan Fernandez Pinzon, a descendant of one of the compan- THE PINzoN MANsion. ions of Columbus.
* The pile of buildings in this view, standing upon the bluff, is the ancient Church of St. George. For some misdemeanor, the people of Palos were obliged to serve the crown for one year with two armed car
* This is the amount given by Muñoz, one of the most reliable of Spanish authors. Others have named a much higher sum. Dr. Robertson rates the amount at £4000 sterling, or about $20,000, but does not give his authority.
daily. Thus he explained a phenomenon now well known; and his companions, relying upon his astronomical knowledge, received his theory as truth, and their alarm subsided. For several days after this event they were wasted pleasantly by the trade winds, which blow continually from east to west. The air was balmy, and soon vast fields of sea-weeds, and an occasional petrel upon the wing, heralded an approach to land; but head winds and days of profound calm deferred the joyful consummation of their hopes; and the seamen, wearied and home-sick, resolved to retrace their path, and seek the shores of Spain. Even the little land birds that came upon the spars, and sung merrily their welcome to the New World, and then left at evening for their distant perches in the orange groves, failed to inspire the mariners with confidence in the truth of their commander's reasonings, and open mutiny manifested itself. With gentle words, promises of rewards, and threats of punishment against the most refractory, Columbus kept them from actual violence for several days. One evening, just at sunset, Martin Alonzo Pinzon, mounted on the stern of the Pinta, shouted, “Land ' land ' Señor, I claim the reward ” Along the southwestern horizon was stretched an apparent island. Columbus, throwing himself upon his knees, with all the crews, chanted Gloria in Excelsis.” In the morning the island had vanished, for it was nothing but a cloud. For a fortnight longer they floated upon an almost unruffled sea, when land birds came singing again, and green herbage floated by ; but days passed on, and the sun, each evening, set in the waves. Again the seamen mutinied, and Columbus was in open defiance with his crew; for he told them that the expedition had been sent by their sovereigns, and, come what might, he was determined to accomplish his purpose. They were on the point of casting him into the sea, when, just at sunset, a coast-fish glided by; a branch of thorn, with berries upon it, floated near; and a staff, artificially carved, came upon the waters to tell them of human habitations not far off. The vesper hymn to the Virgin was now sung, and Columbus, after recounting the blessings of God thus far manifested on the voyage, assured the crews that he confidently expected to see land in the morning. On the high poop of his vessel he sat watching until near midnight, when he saw the glimmer of moving lights upon the verge of the horizon Fearing his hopes might have deceived his vision, he called Pedro Gutierrez, gentleman of the king's bed-chamber, and also Rodrigo
avels. They were under this penalty when Columbus made his arrangement with Isabella, and they were ordered to fit out the two caravels for the expedition. In the porch of the old Church of St. George, Columbus first proclaimed this order to the inhabitants of Palos. Mr. Irving, who visited Palos in 1828, says of this edifice, “It has lately been thoroughly repaired, and, being of solid mason-work, promises to stand for ages, a monument of the discoverers. It stands outside of the village, on the brow of a hill, looking along a little valley to the river. The remains of a Moorish arch prove it to have been a mosque in former times. Just above it, on the crest of the hill, is the ruin of a Moorish castle.”
* Columbus agreed to give a silk waistcoat, besides the royal pension of thirty dollars, to the person who first discovered land.—Muñoz.
covery. They also saw the gleams of \o a torch. All night the overjoyed Co- ---, -lumbus watched. At dawn, beautiful wooded shores were in full view ; the perfumes of flowers came upon the light land breeze; and birds in gorgeous plumage hovered around the vessels, caroling morning hymns, which seemed like the voices of angels to the late despairoctober 12, ing seamen. In small boats
1492. they landed, the naked natives, who stood upon the beach in wonder, fleeing to the deep shadows of the forest in alarm. Columbus, dressed in gold-embroidered scarlet, bearing the royal standard, first stepped upon the == - E. shore. He was followed by the Pinzons, each bearing the banner of the enterprise." On reaching the land, they all fell upon their knees, kissed the earth, and, with tears of F o joy in their eyes, H chanted the Te Deum Laudamus. Rising from the ground, Columbus displayed the royal standard, drew his sword, and took possession of the land in the name of the Spanish sovereigns, giving the island the title of San Salvador.” With the most extravagant demonstrations of joy, his followers crowded around him. The most insolent in the mutinous displays were the most abject in making vows of service and faithfulness. All present took an oath of obedience to him as admiral and viceroy, and representative of Ferdinand and Isabella. The triumph of Columbus was complete.
LANDING of Columbus.”
BANNER or THE Expedi
Trox. The natives had beheld the approaching ships at dawn with fear and awe, regarding them as monsters of the deep. By degrees their alarm subsided, and they approached the Europeans. Each party was a wonder to the other. The glittering armor, shining lace, and many-colored dresses of the Spaniards filled the natives with admiration and delight; while they, entirely naked, with skins of a dark copper hue, painted with a variety of colors and devices, without beards and with straight hair, were objects of great curiosity to the Spaniards. They were unlike any people of whom they had knowledge. Not doubting that he was upon an island near the coast of Farther India, Columbus called these wild inhabitants Indians, a name which all the native tribes of America still retain. It is not within the scope of my design to relate, in detail, the subsequent career of Columbus in the path of discovery, nor of those navigators who succeeded him, and share with him the honor of making known our continent to the Old World. He was the bold pioneer who led the way to the New World, and as such, deserves the first and highest reward; yet he was not truly the first discoverer of the continent of North America. Eager in his search for Cathay, he coasted almost every island composing the groups now known as the West Indies, during his several voyages, but he never saw the shores of the Northern August, Continent. He did, indeed, touch the soil of South America, near the mouth of * the Oronoco, but he supposed it to be an island, and died in the belief that the lands he had discovered were portions of Farther India." Intelligence of the great discovery of Columbus, though kept concealed as much as possible by the Spanish court, for reasons of state policy, nevertheless went abroad, and aroused the ambition of other maritime powers. The story that Columbus had found vast and populous gold-producing regions in the Western Ocean excited the cupidity of individuals, and
* This was a white banner, emblazoned with a green cross, having on each side the letters F. and Y., the Spanish initials of Ferdinand and Ysabel, surmounted by golden crowns.
*The island on which Columbus first set his foot in the New World is one of the Lucayas or Bahama group, and was called by the natives Guanahana. The Spaniards and others still call it San Salvador; the English have given it the vulgar name of Cat Island. It lies between the twenty-fourth and twentyfifth degrees of north latitude, and the second and third degrees of longitude east of the meridian of Washington city, eighty or ninety miles northeast of Havana, Cuba. Muñoz, a learned Spanish writer, thinks Watling's Island, and not the one called San Salvador on our maps, was the first landing-place.
* This is copied, by permission of the author, from Irving's Life of Columbus. It is a fac-simile of a sketch supposed to have been made by Columbus, in a letter written by him to Don Raphael Xansis, treasurer of the King of Spain.
* Columbus returned to Europe in March, 1493. Ferdinand and Isabella bestowed upon him every mark of honor and distinction, and the nobles were obsequious in their attentions to the favorite of royalty. On the 25th of September, 1493, he left Cadiz, on a second voyage of discovery. He had three large ships and fourteen caravels under his command. His discoveries were principally among the West India Islands, where he founded settlements. He returned to Spain in June, 1496. Misfortunes had attended him, yet the sovereigns treated him with distinguished favor. On the 30th of May, 1498, Columbus sailed from San Lucar de Barrameda, with a squadron of six vessels, on a third voyage of discovery. He found the settlements which had been planted in great confusion, and civil war among the Spaniards and natives was rife in Hispaniola. In the mean while, intrigues against him were having due weight in the Spanish court. It was alleged that Columbus designed to found an empire in the New World, cast off all allegiance to Spain, and assume the title and pomp of king. He had already offended the conscientious Isabella by persisting in making slaves of the natives, and she readily gave her consent to send out a commissioner to investigate the conduct of the navigator. Bobadilla, a tool of Columbus's enemies, was intrusted with that momentous duty; and, as might have been expected, he found Columbus guilty of every charge made against him. Bobadilla seized Columbus, and sent him in chains to Spain. His appearance excited the indignation of the sovereigns, and they declared to the world that Bobadilla had exceeded his instructions; yet justice was withheld, through the influence of Ferdinand, and Columbus was not reinstated as viceroy of Hispaniola.
While these events were occurring, Wasco de Gama, a Portuguese navigator, had reached Calicut, in the East Indies, by doubling the Cape of Good Hope, and traversing the Indian Ocean. But Columbus still persevered in his determination to reach Asia by a western route. He induced Isabella to fit out a fourth expedition for him, and on the 9th of May, 1502, he sailed for Hispaniola. After many troubles and hardships, he returned to Spain in 1504. His patron and best friend, the queen, died that same year. Old age had made its deep furrows, and, in the midst of disappointment and neglect, the great discoverer died on the 20th of May, 1506, at the age of seventy. He never realized his grand idea of reaching India by a western route. The honor of that achievement was reserved for the expedition of Magellan, fourteen years after the death of Columbus. That navigator passed through the straits which bear his name, at the southern extremity of our continent, and launched boldly out upon the broad Pacific. He died on the ocean, but his vessels reached the Philippine Islands, near the coast of India, in safety. Magellan gave the name of Pacific to the pleasant ocean over which he was sailing.
many adventurers offered their services to sovereigns and men of wealth. Almost simultaneously, John Cabot, a Venetian by birth, and Amerigo Vespucci, a Florentine, sailed for the lands discovered by Columbus; the former under the auspices of Henry the Seventh of England, and the latter in the employment of Spanish merchants, with the sanction of Ferdinand. Although Cabot was an Italian, he had been long a resident of Bristol, then the chief commercial mart of England. The Northwestern seas were often traversed as far as Iceland by the Bristol mariners, and they had probably extended their voyages westward to Greenland in their fishing enterprises. Cabot seems to have been familiar with those seas, and the English merchants had great confidence in his abilities. He obtained a commission from Henry the Seventh, similar, in its general outline, to that given to Columbus by Ferdinand and Isabella. It empowered him and his three sons, their heirs or deputies, to discover and settle unknown lands in the Eastern, Northern, or Western seas, such lands to be taken possession of in the name of the King of England. He fitted out two vessels at his own expense, which were freighted by merchants of London and Bristol; and it was stipulated that, in lieu of all customs and imposts, Cabot was to pay to the King one fifth part of all the gains. With his son Sebastian, a talented young man of only twenty years, and about three hundred men, John Cabot sailed from Bristol in May, 1497. He directed his course to the northwest, until he reached the fifty-eighth degree of north latitude, when floating ice and intense cold induced him to steer to the southwest. Fair winds produced a rapid voyage, and he discovered land on the twenty-fourth of June, which he called PRIMA VISTA, because it was his first view of a new region. The exact point of this first discovery is not certainly known; some supposing it to have been on the coast of Labrador, and others the Island of Newfoundland or the peninsula of Nova Scotia. He touched at other points, but did not attempt a settlement; the climate seemed too rigorous, the people too fierce, and he returned to Bristol. Cabot was authorized to make a second voyage. He did not go in person, but fitted out vessels for the purpose. His son, Sebastian, was placed at the head of the expedition, and in May, 1498, the month in which De Gama reached Calicut, in the East Indies, by way of the Cape of Good Hope, he sailed for the New World with several ships. He visited the region first discovered by his father and himself, and called it NEwfoundLAND. It was not rich in gold and spices, but its shoals abounded with vast schools of codfish; and within a few years after his return to England a permanent fishery was established there. Cabot sailed along the whole coast of the present United States, beginning at latitude fifty-six degrees, and terminating at about thirty-six degrees, or Albemarle Sound. His provisions filing, he returned to England. He made another voyage in 1517, as far south as the