11th of February, 1522

Tuesday night (between it and Wednesday,) on the 11th of February of 1522, we left the island of Timor, and entered upon the great sea named Laut Chidol [280] and taking a west-south-west course, we left to the right and to the North, from fear of the Portuguese, the island of Zumatra, anciently named Taprobana; also Pegu, Bengala, Urizza, Chelim, where are the Malabars, subjects of the King of Narsinga: Calicut which is under the same king; Cambaya in which are the Guzeratis; Cananor, Goa, Armus, and all the other coast of India major.

In this kingdom dwell six classes of persons, that is to say: Nairs, Panicals, Franas, Pangelins, Macuas, and Poleas. The Nairs are the chiefs; the Panicals are the townspeople; these two classes live and converse together. The Franas collect the wine from the palm trees and the bananas. The Macuas are fishermen; and the Poleas sow and harvest the rice; these last always dwell in the fields, and never enter the city, and when it is desired to give them anything, it is placed on the ground and they take it. When they go along the roads they always cry out, po, po, po, that is take care of yourself; and we were told that a Nair who had been accidentally touched by a Polea, not to survive such a disgrace, had himself killed.

In order to double the Cape of Good Hope, we went as far as 42° South latitude, and we remained off that cape for nine weeks, with the sails struck on account of the Western and North-western gales which beat against our bows with fierce squalls. The Cape of Good Hope is in 34° 30′ South latitude, 1600 leagues distant from the Cape of Malacca, and it is the largest and most dangerous cape in the world.

Some of our men, and among them the sick, would have liked to land at a place belonging to the Portuguese called Mozambique, both because the ship made much water, and because of the great cold which we suffered; and much more because we had nothing but rice and water for food and drink, all the meat of which we had made provision having putrified, for the want of salt had not permitted us to salt it. But the greater number of us, prizing honour more than life itself, decided on attempting at any risk to return to Spain.


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.