13th of April, 1521

Saturday following a scaffolding was made in the open space, fitted with tapestry and palm branches, because the king had promised our captain to become Christian on Sunday. He told him not to be afraid when our artillery fired on that day, for it was the custom to load it on those feasts without firing stones or other balls.


12th of April, 1521

The following Friday we showed them a shop full of our merchandise, which was of various strange sorts, at which they were surprised. For metal, iron, and other big goods they gave us gold, and for the other small and sundry goods they gave us rice, pigs, goats, and other provisions. They gave us ten weights of gold for fourteen pounds of iron: each weight is a ducat and a half. The captain-general would not allow a large quantity of gold to be taken, so that the sailors should not sell what belonged to them too cheap from thirst for gold, and lest by that means he might be constrained to do likewise with his merchandise, for he wished to sell it better.


10th of April, 1521

Wednesday morning, because the night before one of our men had died, the interpreter and I, by order of the captain, went to ask the king for a place where we might bury the deceased. We found the king accompanied by a good many people, and, after paying him due honour, we told him of the death of our man, and that the captain prayed him that he might be put into the ground. He replied that if he and his people were ready to obey our master, still more reason was there for his land and country being subject to him. After that we said we wished to consecrate the grave in our fashion and place a cross on it. The sovereign said that he was content, and that he would worship that cross as we did. The deceased was buried in the middle of the open space of the town, as decently as possible, and performing the above-mentioned ceremonies to set them a good example, and in the evening we buried another. This done, we brought a good quantity of merchandise into the town of this king, and placed it in a house, and he took it under his charge and promised that no one would do harm or injury to the king. Four of our men were chosen to despatch and sell this merchandise. These people live with justice, and good weight and measure, loving peace, and are people who love ease and pleasure.[178] They have wooden scales, after the fashion of those of north of the Loire,[179] for weighing their merchandise. Their houses are made of wood and beams and canes, founded on piles, and are very high, and must be entered by means of ladders; their rooms are like ours, and underneath they keep their cattle, such as pigs, goats, and fowls. The young people sound bag-pipes,[180] made like ours, and call them Subin.[181]

In this island of the king’s there is a kind of animal carrying a shell called carniolle, fine to look at, which cause the whale to die. For the whale swallows them alive; then, when they are inside its body, they come out of their shell and go and eat the whale’s heart: and the people of this country find this animal alive inside the whale. These animals, the carniolles, have the teeth and skin black, and their shell is white. Their flesh is good to eat, and they call them Laghan.[182]


9th of April, 1521

Tuesday morning following the King of Mazzava, with the Moor, came to the ship, and saluted the captain on behalf of the King of Zzubu, and said that the king was preparing a quantity of provisions, as much as he could, to make a present of to him, and that after dinner he would send two of his nephews, with others of his principal people, to make peace with him. Then the captain had one of his men armed with his own armour, and told him that all of us would fight armed in that manner, at which the Moorish merchant was rather astonished; but the captain told him not to be afraid, and that our arms were soft to our friends and rough to our enemies; and that as a cloth wipes away the sweat from a man, so our arms destroy the enemies of our faith. The captain said this to the Moor, because he was more intelligent than the others, and for him to relate it all to the King of Zzubu.

After dinner, the nephew of this king, who was a prince,[175] with the King of Mazzava, the Moor, the governor, and the chief of police,[176]and eight of the principal men, came to the ship to make peace with us. The captain-general was sitting in a chair of red velvet, and near him were the principal men of the ships sitting in leather chairs, and the others on the ground on mats. Then the captain bade the interpreter ask the above-mentioned persons if it was their custom to speak in secret or in public, and whether the prince who was come with them had power to conclude peace. They answered yes, that they would speak in public, and that they had the power to conclude peace. The captain spoke at length on the subject of peace, and prayed God to confirm it in heaven. These people replied that they had never heard such words as these which the captain had spoken to them, and they took great pleasure in hearing them. The captain, seeing then that those people listened willingly to what was said to them, and that they gave good answers, began to say a great many more good things to induce them to become Christians. After many other subjects, the captain asked them who would succeed the king in their country after his death. They answered that the king had no son, but several daughters, and that this prince was his nephew, and had for a wife the king’s eldest daughter, and for the sake of that they called him prince. They also said that when the father and mother were old they took no further account of them, but their children commanded them. Upon which the captain told them how God had made heaven and earth and all other things in the world, and that He had commanded that everyone should render honour and obedience to his father and mother, and that whoever did otherwise was condemned to eternal fire. He then pointed out to them many other things concerning our faith. The people heard these things willingly, and besought the captain to leave them two men to teach and show them the Christian faith, and they would entertain them well with great honour. To this the captain answered that for the moment he could not leave them any of his people, but that if they wished to be Christians that his priest would baptise them, and that another time he would bring priests and preachers to teach them the faith. They then answered that they wished first to speak to their king, and then would become Christians. Each of us wept for the joy which we felt at the goodwill of these people, and the captain told them not to become Christians from fear of us, or to please us, but that if they wished to become Christian they must do it willingly, and for the love of God, for even though they should not become Christian, no displeasure would be done them, but those who became Christian would be more loved and better treated than the others. Then they all cried out with one voice, that they did not wish to become Christians from fear, nor from complaisance, but of their free will. The captain then said that if they became Christians he would leave them the arms which the Christians use, and that his king had commanded him so to do. At last they said they did not know what more to answer to so many good and beautiful words which he spoke to them, but that they placed themselves in his hands, and that he should do with them as with his own servants. Then the captain, with tears in his eyes, embraced them, and, taking the hand of the prince and that of the king, said to him that by the faith he had in God, and to his master the emperor, and by the habit of St. James which he wore, he promised them to cause them to have perpetual peace with the King of Spain, at which the prince and the others promised him the same. After peace had been concluded, the captain had refreshments served to them. The prince and the King of Mazzava, who was with him, presented to the captain on behalf of his king large baskets full of rice, pigs, goats, and fowls, and desired the captain to be told he should pardon them that their present was not as fine as was fitting for him. The captain gave to the prince some very fine cloth and a red cap, and a quantity of glass and a cup of gilt glass. Glasses are much prized in this country. To the other people belonging to the Prince he gave various things. Then he sent by me and another person to the King of Zzubu a robe of yellow and violet silk in the fashion of a Turkish jubbeh, a red cap, very fine, and certain pieces of glass, and had all of them put in a silver dish, and two gilt glasses.

When we came to the town we found the King of Zzubu at his palace, sitting on the ground on a mat made of palm, with many people about him. He was quite naked, except that he had a cloth round his middle, and a loose wrapper round his head, worked with silk by the needle. He had a very heavy chain round his neck, and two gold rings hung in his ears with precious stones. He was a small and fat man, and his face was painted with fire in different ways. He was eating on the ground on another palm mat, and was then eating tortoise eggs in two china dishes, and he had four vessels full of palm wine, which he drank with a cane pipe.[177] We made our obeisance, and presented to him what the captain had sent him, and told him through the interpreter that it was not as a return for his present which he had sent to the captain, but for the affection which he bore him. That done, his people told him all the good words and explanations of peace and religion which he had spoken to them. The king wished to detain us to supper, but we made our excuses and took leave of him. The prince, nephew of the king, conducted us to his house, and showed us four girls who played on four instruments, which were strange and very soft, and their manner of playing is rather musical. Afterwards he made us dance with them. These girls were naked except from the waist to the knees, where they wore a wrap made of the palm tree cloth, which covered their middles, and some were quite naked. There we made a repast, and then returned to the ships.


8th of April, 1521

Monday morning our clerk went with the interpreter to the town of Zzubu, and the king, accompanied by the principal men of his kingdom, came to the open space, where we made our people sit down near him, and he asked whether there was more than one captain in all those ships, and whether he wished that the king should pay tribute to the emperor, his master, to which our people answered, no, but that the captain only wished to trade with the things which he had brought with the people of his country, and not with others. Then the king said that he was content, and as a greater sign of affection he sent him a little of his blood from his right arm, and wished he should do the like. Our people answered that he would do it. Besides that, he said that all the captains who came to his country had been accustomed to make a present to him, and he to them, and therefore they should ask their captain if he would observe the custom. Our people answered that he would; but as the king wished to keep up the custom, let him begin and make a present, and then the captain would do his duty.


7th of April, 1521

Sunday, the 7th of April, about midday, we entered the port of Zzubu, having passed by many villages. There[171] we saw many houses which were built on trees. On approaching the principal town the captain-general commanded all his ships to hang out their flags. Then we lowered the sails in the fashion in which they are struck when going to fight, and he had all the artillery fired, at which the people of this place were greatly frightened. The captain sent a young man whom he had brought up,[172] with the interpreter to the king of this island Zzubu. These having come to the town, found a great number of people and their king with them, all alarmed by the artillery which had been fired. But the interpreter reassured them, saying that it was the fashion and custom to fire artillery when they arrived at ports, to show signs of peace and friendship; and also, to do more honour to the king of the country, they had fired all the artillery. The king and all his people were reassured. He then bade one of his principal men ask what we were seeking. The interpreter answered him that his master was captain of the greatest king in the world, and that he was going by the command of the said sovereign to discover the Molucca islands. However, on account of what he had heard where he had passed, and especially from the King of Mazzava, of his courtesy and good fame, he had wished to pass by his country to visit him, and also to obtain some refreshment of victuals for his merchandise. The king answered him that he was welcome, but that the custom was that all ships which arrived at his country or port paid tribute, and it was only four days since that a ship called the Junk of Ciama,[173] laden with gold and slaves, had paid him his tribute, and, to verify what he said, he showed them a merchant of the said Ciama, who had remained there to trade with the gold and slaves. The interpreter said to him that this captain, on account of being captain of so great a king as his was, would not pay tribute to any sovereign in the world; and that if he wished for peace he would have peace, and if he wished for war he would have war. Then the merchant above-mentioned replied to the king in his own language, “Look well, oh king,[174] what you will do, for these people are of those who have conquered Calicut, Malacca, and all greater India; if you entertain them well and treat them well you will find yourself the better for it, and if ill, it will be so much the worse for you, as they have done at Calicut and Malacca.” The interpreter, who understood all this discourse, said to them that the king, his master, was a good deal more powerful in ships and by land than the King of Portugal, and declared to him that he was the King of Spain and Emperor of all Christendom, wherefore, if he would not be his friend and treat his subjects well, he would another time send against him so many men as to destroy him. Then the king answered that he would speak to his council, and give an answer the next day. Afterwards the king ordered a collation to be brought of several viands, all of meat, in porcelain dishes, with a great many vessels of wine. When the repast was over, our people returned, and related all to the captain; and the King of Mazzabua, who was on board the captain’s ship, and who was the first king after him of Zzubu, and the lord of several isles, wished to go on shore to relate to the king the politeness and courtesy of our captain.


31st of March, 1521

On Sunday, the last day of March, and feast of Easter, the captain sent the chaplain ashore early to say mass, and the interpreter went with him to tell the king that they were not coming on shore to dine with him, but only to hear the mass. The king hearing that sent two dead pigs. When it was time for saying mass the captain went ashore with fifty men, not with their arms, but only with their swords, and dressed as well as each one was able to dress, and before the boats reached the shore our ships fired six cannon shots as a sign of peace. At our landing the two kings were there, and received our captain in a friendly manner, and placed him between them, and then we went to the place prepared for saying mass, which was not far from the shore. Before the mass began the captain threw a quantity of musk rose water on those two kings, and when the offertory of the mass came, the two kings went to kiss the cross like us, but they offered nothing, and at the elevation of the body of our Lord they were kneeling like us, and adored our Lord with joined hands. The ships fired all their artillery at the elevation of the body of our Lord. After mass had been said each one did the duty of a Christian, receiving our Lord. After that the captain had some sword-play by his people, which gave great pleasure to the kings. Then he had a cross brought, with the nails and crown, to which the kings made reverence, and the captain had them told that these things which he showed them were the sign of the emperor his lord and master, from whom he had charge and commandment to place it in all places where he might go or pass by. He told them that he wished to place it in their country for their profit, because if there came afterwards any ships from Spain to those islands, on seeing this cross, they would know that we had been there, and therefore they would not cause them any displeasure to their persons nor their goods; and if they took any of their people, on showing them this sign, they would at once let them go. Besides this, the captain told them that it was necessary that this cross should be placed on the summit of the highest mountain in their country, so that seeing it every day they might adore it, and that if they did thus, neither thunder, lightning, nor the tempest could do them hurt. The kings thanked the captain, and said they would do it willingly. Then he asked whether they were Moors or Gentiles, and in what they believed. They answered that they did not perform any other adoration, but only joined their hands, looking up to heaven, and that they called their God, Aba. Hearing this, the captain was very joyful, on seeing that, the first king raised his hands to the sky and said that he wished it were possible for him to be able to show the affection which he felt towards him. The interpreter asked him for what reason there was so little to eat in that place, to which the king replied that he did not reside in that place except when he came to hunt and to see his brother, but that he lived in another island where he had all his family. Then the captain asked him if he had any enemies who made war upon him, and that if he had any he would go and defeat them with his men and ships, to put them under his obedience. The king thanked him, and answered that there were two islands the inhabitants of which were his enemies; however, that for the present it was not the time to attack them. The captain therefore said to him that if God permitted him to return another time to this country, he would bring so many men that he would put them by force under his obedience. Then he bade the interpreter tell them that he was going away to dine, and after that he would return to place the cross on the summit of the mountain. The two kings said they were content, and on that they embraced the captain, and he separated from them.

After dinner we all returned in our dress coats[162], and we went together with the two kings to the middle of the highest mountain we could find, and there the cross was planted. After that the two kings and the captain rested themselves; and, while conversing, I asked where was the best port for obtaining victuals. They replied that there were three, that is to say, Ceylon, Zzubu,[163] and Calaghan, but that Zzubu was the largest and of the most traffic. Then the kings offered to give him pilots to go to those ports, for which he thanked them, and deliberated to go there, for his ill-fortune[164] would have it so. After the cross had been planted on that mountain, each one said the Paternoster and Ave Maria, and adored it, and the kings did the like. Then we went down below to where their boats were. There the kings had brought some of the fruit called cocos and other things to make a collation and to refresh us. The captain, being desirous to depart the next day in the morning, asked the king for the pilots to conduct us to the above-mentioned ports, promising him to treat them like themselves, and that he would leave one of his own men as a hostage. The first king said that he would go himself and conduct him to this port, and be his pilots but that he should wait two days, until he had had his rice gathered in and done other things which he had to do, begging him to lend him some of his men so as to get done sooner. This the captain agreed to.

This kind of people are gentle, and go naked, and are painted. They wear a piece of cloth made from a tree, like a linen cloth, round their body to cover their natural parts: they are great drinkers. The women are dressed in tree cloth from their waists downwards; their hair is black, and reaches down to the ground; they wear certain gold rings in their ears. These people chew most of their time a fruit which they call areca, which is something of the shape of a pear; they cut it in four quarters, and after they have chewed it for a long time they spit it out, from which afterwards they have their mouths very red. They find themselves the better from the use of this fruit because it refreshes them much, for this country is very hot, so that they could not live without it. In this island there is a great quantity of dogs, cats, pigs, fowls, and goats, rice, ginger, cocos, figs, oranges, lemons, millet, wax, and gold mines. This island is in nine degrees and two-thirds north latitude, and one hundred and sixty-two longitude[165] from the line of demarcation: it is twenty-five leagues distant from the other island where we found the two fountains of fresh water. This island is named Mazzava.

We remained seven days in this place; then we took the tack of Maestral, passing through the midst of five isles, that is to say, Ceylon, Bohol, Canighan, Baibai, and Satighan.[166] In this island of Satighan is a kind of bird [167] called Barbastigly, which are as large as eagles. Of these we killed only one, because it was late. We ate it, and it had the taste of a fowl. There are also in this island doves, tortoises, parrots, and certain black birds as large as a fowl, with a long tail. They lay eggs as large as those of a goose. These they put a good arm’s length[168] under the sand in the sun, where they are hatched by the great heat which the heated sand gives out; and when these birds are hatched they push up[169] the sand and come out. These eggs are good to eat. From this island of Mazzabua[170] to that of Satighan there are twenty leagues, and on leaving Satighan we went by the west; but the King of Mazzabua could not follow us; therefore we waited for him near three islands, that is to say. Polo, Ticobon, and Pozzon. When the king arrived he was much astonished at our navigation, the captain-general bade him come on board his ship with some of his principal people, at which they were much pleased. Thus we went to Zzubu, which is fifteen leagues off from Satighan.


29th of March, 1521

The next day which was Good Friday, the captain sent on shore the before-mentioned slave, who was our interpreter, to the king to beg him to give him for money some provisions for his ships, sending him word that he had not come to his country as an enemy, but as a friend. The king on hearing this came with seven or eight men in a boat, and entered the ship, and embraced the captain, and gave him three china dishes covered with leaves full of rice, and two dorades, which are rather large fish, and of the sort above-mentioned, and he gave him several other things. The captain gave this king a robe of red and yellow cloth, made in the Turkish fashion, and a very fine red cap, and to his people he gave to some of them knives, and to others mirrors. After that refreshments were served up to them. The captain told the king, through the said interpreter, that he wished to be with him, cassi[154] cassi, that is to say, brothers. To which the king answered that he desired to be the same towards him. After that the captain showed him cloths of different colours, linen, coral, and much other merchandise, and all the artillery, of which he had some pieces fired before him, at which the king was much astonished; after that the captain had one of his soldiers armed with white armour, and placed him in the midst of three comrades, who struck him with swords and daggers. The king thought this very strange, and the captain told him, through the interpreter, that a man thus in white armour was worth a hundred of his men; he answered that it was true; he was further informed that there were in each ship two hundred like that man. After that the captain showed him a great number of swords, cuirasses, and helmets, and made two of the men play with their swords before the king; he then showed him the sea chart and the ship compass, and informed him how he had found the strait to come there, and of the time which he had spent in coming; also of the time he had been without seeing any land, at which the king was astonished. At the end the captain asked[155] if he would be pleased that two of his people should go with him to the places where they lived, to see some of the things of his country. This the king granted, and I went with another.

When I had landed, the king raised his hands to the sky, and turned to us two, and we did the same as he did; after that he took me by the hand, and one of his principal people took my companion, and led us under a place covered with canes, where there was a ballanghai, that is to say, a boat, eighty feet long or thereabouts, resembling a fusta. We sat with the king upon its poop, always conversing with him by signs, and his people stood up around us, with their swords, spears, and bucklers. Then the king ordered to be brought a dish of pig’s flesh and wine.[156] Their fashion of drinking is in this wise, they first raise their hands to heaven, then take the drinking vessel in their right hand, and extend the left hand closed towards the people. This the king did, and presented to me his fist, so that I thought that he wanted to strike me; I did the same thing towards him; so with this ceremony, and other signs of friendship, we banqueted, and afterwards supped with him.

I ate flesh on Good Friday, not being able to do otherwise, and before the hour of supper, I gave several things to the king, which I had brought. There I wrote down several things as they name them in their language, and when the king and the others saw me write, and I told them their manner of speech, they were all astonished. When the hour for supper had come, they brought two large china dishes, of which one was full of rice, and the other of pig’s flesh, with its broth[157] and sauce. We supped with the same signs and ceremonies, and then went to the king’s palace, which was made and built like a hay grange, covered with fig and palm leaves. It was built on great timbers high above the ground, and it was necessary to go up steps and ladders to it. Then the king made us sit on a cane mat, with our legs doubled as was the custom; after half an hour there was brought a dish of fish roast in pieces, and ginger fresh gathered that moment, and some wine. The eldest son of the king, who was the prince, came where we were, and the king told him to sit down near us, which he did; then two dishes were brought, one of fish, with its sauce, and the other of rice, and this was done for us to eat with the prince. My companion enjoyed the food and drink so much that he got drunk. They use for candles or torches the gum of a tree which is named Animé, wrapped up in leaves of palms or fig trees. The king made a sign that he wished to go to rest, and left with us the prince, with whom we slept on a cane mat, with some cushions and pillows of leaves. Next morning the king came and took me by the hand, and so we went to the place where we had supped, to breakfast, but the boat came to fetch us. The king, before we went away, was very gay, and kissed our hands, and we kissed his. There came with us a brother of his, the king of another island,[158] accompanied by three men. The captain-general detained him to dine with us, and we gave him several things.

In the island belonging to the king who came to the ship there are mines of gold, which they find in pieces as big as a walnut or an egg, by seeking in the ground. All the vessels which he makes use of are made of it, and also some parts of his house, which was well fitted up according to the custom of the country, and he was the handsomest man that we saw among these nations. He had very black hair coming down to his shoulders, with a silk cloth on his head, and two large gold rings hanging from his ears, he had a cloth of cotton worked with silk, which covered him from the waist to the knees, at his side he wore a dagger, with a long handle which was all of gold, its sheath was of carved wood.[159] Besides he carried upon him scents of storax and benzoin. He was tawny and painted all over. The island of this king is named Zuluan and Calagan, and when these two kings wish to visit one another they come to hunt in this island where we were.[160] Of these kings the painted king is called Raia Calambu, and the other Raia Siani.[161]


28th of March, 1521

Thursday, the 28th of March, having seen the night before fire upon an island, at the morning we came to anchor at this island; where we saw a small boat which they call Boloto, with eight men inside, which approached the ship of the captain-general. Then a slave of the captain’s, who was from Sumatra, otherwise named Traprobana, spoke from afar to these people, who understood his talk,[151] and came near to the side of the ship, but they withdrew immediately, and would not enter the ship from fear of us. So the captain seeing that they would not trust to us showed them a red cap, and other things, which he had tied and placed on a little plank,[152] and the people in the boat took them immediately and joyously, and then returned to advise their king. Two hours afterwards, or thereabouts, we saw come two long boats, which they call Ballanghai, full of men. In the largest of them was their king sitting under an awning of mats; when they were near the ship of the captain-general, the said slave spoke to the king, who understood him well, because in these countries the kings know more languages than the common people. Then the king ordered some of his people to go to the captain’s ship, whilst he would not move from his boat, which was near enough to us. This was done, and when his people returned to the boat, he went away at once. The captain gave good entertainment to the men who came to his ship, and gave them all sorts of things, on which account the king wished to give the captain a rather large bar of solid gold, and a chest[153] full of ginger. However, the captain thanked him very much but would not accept the present. After that, when it was late, we went with the ships near to the houses and abode of the king.