Page:Narrative of the Proceedings of Pedrarias Davila (Haklyut, 34).djvu/50

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NARRATIVE OF

by the Catholic king of glorious memory, embarked at Seville, with nineteen ships and fifteen hundred men—the most distinguished company that had yet set out from Spain.[1] The first land of the Indies at which he arrived was the island of Dominica. This island has a very large and beautiful harbour.[2] The land is for the most part hilly and wooded. Here he disembarked with his troops, and desired to find out whether there were any inhabitants. Some of the Spaniards, entering the woods, met with Indians armed with poisoned arrows, who were wandering about in the forests which surrounded the camp, watching for an opportunity to kill a stray Spaniard. These Indians

show that the character thus sketched by an enemy was but slightly exaggerated. Navarrete Coll., p. 384.

  1. Pedrarias was accompanied by a bishop of the new colony named Juan de Quevedo, Gaspar de Espinosa as alcalde mayor, the Bachiller Enciso as alguazil mayor (an old enemy of Vasco Nuñez), and Gonzalvo Hernandez de Oviedo, the famous historian, as veedor or inspector of gold foundries. Oviedo afterwards resided with his wife and family in Hispaniola, paying occasional visits to Spain. In 1526 he published his Sumario, and in 1535 his Historia General de las Indicas, which contains a detailed account of the Darien expedition of Pedrarias. The first part, is published in the collection of Ramusio.
  2. Dominica was discovered by Columbus during his second voyage, in 1493. Dr. Chanca, the physician to the fleet of Columbus, in his letter to the chapter of Seville, says:—"On Sunday, the 3rd of November, we saw lying before us an island, and soon on the right hand another appeared: the first was high and mountainous on the side nearest to us; the other flat and very thickly wooded. As soon as it became lighter, other islands began to appear on both sides, so that on that day there were six islands to be seen lying in different directions, and most of them of considerable size. We directed our course towards that which we had first seen" (Dominica, so called from having been discovered on a Sunday), "and reaching the coast, we proceeded more than a league in search of a port where we might anchor, but without finding one. All that part of the island which we could observe, appeared momitainous, very beautiful, and green even up to the water, which was delightful to see, for at that season there is scarcely anything green in our own country. One vessel remained all that day seeking for a harbour, and at length found a good one, where they saw both people and dwellings."