6th of September, 1522

At last, when it pleased Heaven, on Saturday the 6th of September of the year 1522, we entered the bay of San Lucar; and of sixty men who composed our crew when we left Maluco, we were reduced to only eighteen,[282]and these for the most part sick. Of the others, some died of hunger, some had run away at the island of Timor, and some had been condemned to death for their crimes.

From the day when we left this bay of San Lucar until our return thither, we reckoned that we had run more than fourteen thousand four hundred and sixty leagues, and we had completed going round the earth from East to West.


21st of December, 1521

Saturday, the 2lst December, day of St. Thomas the Apostle, the King of Tadore came to the ships and brought us the two pilots, whom we had already paid, to conduct us out of these islands. They said that the weather was then good for sailing at once, but, having to wait for the letters of our companions who remained behind, and who wished to write to Spain, we could not sail till midday. Then the ships took leave of one another by a mutual discharge of bombards. Our men accompanied us for some distance with their boat, and then with tears and embraces we separated. Juan Carvalho remained at Tadore with fifty-three of our men; we were forty-seven Europeans and thirteen Indians.

The king’s governor[248] came with us as far as the island of Mare: we had hardly arrived there when four prahus laden with wood came up, which in less than an hour we got on board. We then took the south-west course.

In all the above-mentioned islands of Maluco are to be found cloves, ginger, sagu, which is their bread made of wood, rice, cocoa-nuts, plantains, almonds larger than ours, sweet and bitter pomegranates, sugar-canes, oil of cocoa and of sesame, melons, cucumbers, pumpkins, comilicai,[249] which is a refreshing fruit the size of a water-melon, another fruit like a peach called guave, and other eatable vegetables. They also have goats and fowls, honey produced by bees not larger than ants, which make their hives in trunks of trees. There are also parrots of many kinds, and amongst them there are white ones called Catara, and red ones called Nori, which are the most sought after, not so much for the beauty of their plumage, as because they talk more clearly. One of these is sold for a bahar of cloves.

It is hardly fifty years since the Moors conquered Maluco and dwelt there. Before that, these islands were inhabited only by Gentiles, who did not care for the cloves. There are still some families of them who have taken refuge in the mountains, where the cloves grow.

The island of Tadore is in 0 deg. 27 min. North latitude, and 161 deg. west of the line of demarcation;[250] it is 9 deg. 30 min. distant from the first island of this archipelago, named Zamal, to the south-east and a quarter south. The island of Tarenate is in 0 deg. 40 min. of N. latitude. Mutir is exactly under the equinoctial line. Machian is in 0 deg. 15 min. S. latitude, and Bachian in 1 deg. of the same latitude. Tarenate, Tadore, Mutir, and Machian, are like four high and pointed mountains,[251] upon which the clove trees grow. Bachian is not visible from these four islands, but it is a larger island than any of those. Its clove mountain is not so high nor so pointed as those of the other islands, but it has a larger base.


(Book IV of the Milan Edition.)

Return from the Moluccas to Spain

Pursuing our voyage, after having taken in wood at the islet of Mare, we passed between the following islands:—Caioan, Laigoma, Sico, Giogi, Cafi, Laboan [252]Toliman, Titameti, Bachian, Latalata, Jabobi, Mata, and Batutiga. They told us that in the island of Cafi the people were small and dwarfed like the Pigmies; they have been subjected by force by the King of Tadore. We passed outside of Batutiga to the west, and we steered between west and south-west, and we discovered some islets to the south, on which account the pilots of Maluco said it would be better to cast anchor so as not to drift at night among many islets and shoals. We, therefore, altered our course to south-east, and went to an island situated in 2 deg. S. latitude, and fifty-three leagues from Maluco.

This island is named Sulach;[253] its inhabitants are Gentiles, and have not got a king. They eat human flesh; both men and women go naked, except a piece of the bark of a tree of two fingers’ breath before their natural parts. There are many other islands around here inhabited by anthropophagi. These are the names of some of them:—Silan, Noselao, Biga, Atulabaon, Leitimor, Tenetum, Gonda, Kailaruru, Mandan and Benaia.[254] We left to the east the islands named Lamatola and Tenetum.

Having run ten leagues from Sulach in the same direction, we went to a rather large island named Buru, in which we found plenty of victuals, such as pigs, goats, fowls, sugar-canes, cocoa-nuts, sagu, a certain food of theirs made of bananas called kanali,and chiacare, which here they call Nanga.[255]The chiacare are fruit like water-melons, but knotty on the outside; inside they have some small red fruit like plums, they have not got a stone in the middle, but instead of that have a certain pith like a white bean, but larger, they are tender to eat like chestnuts. We found here another fruit which externally is like a pine cone, and it is yellow, but white inside; on cutting, it is something like a pear, but much softer and better tasted. Here it is called comilicai. The inhabitants of this island are Gentiles, and have no king: they go naked like those of Sulach. The island of Buru is in 3 deg. 30 min. S. latitude, and seventy-five leagues from Maluco.

To the east of this island, at a distance of ten leagues, there is another one larger, and which borders on Giailolo, and it is named Ambon.[256] It is inhabited by Moors and Gentiles, but the former are on the sea shore, and the others in the interior; these are also anthropophagi. The products of this island are the same as those of Buru. Between Buru and Ambon, there are three islands surrounded by reefs named Vudia, Kailaruru and Benaia. To the south of Buru, at a distance of four leagues, is another small island named Ambalao.

At thirty-five leagues from Buru, south and a quarter south-west, is Bandan, with thirteen other islands. In six of them grow mace and nutmeg. Zoroboa is the largest of them, Chelicel, Saniananpi, Pulai, Puluru, and Rasoghin, the other six are Unuveru, Pulanbaracan, Lailaca, Mamica, Man, and Meut. In these islands nutmegs are not found, but only sagu, rice, cocoanuts, bananas, and other fruits, and they are near one another. The inhabitants of these are Moors, and have no king. Bandan is in 6 deg. of S. latitude, and 163 deg. 30 min. longitude from the line of demarcation. As this island was a little out of our course, we did not go to it.

Leaving the island of Buru in the direction south-west and a quarter west, about eight degrees of latitude,[257]we arrived at three other islands near each other named Zolot,[258] Nocemamor, and Galian. Whilst we sailed amidst these islands, a great storm fell upon us, for which we made a vow of a pilgrimage to our Lady della Guida. We put the ship before the storm and made for a rather high island, which afterwards we learned was named Mallua, but before we could reach it, we had to struggle much with the squalls of wind which descended from the mountains and with the currents. The inhabitants of this island are savages, and more beasts than men; they eat human flesh; they go naked, except the usual piece of bark to cover their natural parts. But when they go to fight they wear on the back, the breast, and the flanks, pieces of buffalo hide, ornamented with shells,[259] and boars’ tusks, and tails of goat skins, hanging before and behind. They wear the hair raised high up by means of cane combs with long teeth, which go through it. They wrap up their beards with leaves, and enclose them in cases or tubes of reed, a thing which seemed to us very ridiculous. In one word these were the ugliest men we had seen in these Indies. Both their bows and arrows are made of reeds, and they carry their food in bags made of leaves. When their women saw us they came towards us with their bows drawn, but when we had given them some presents we soon became friends.

We passed fifteen days in this island in caulking the ship whose sides had suffered. We found here goats, fowls, wax, cocoanuts, and pepper. For a pound of old iron they gave fifteen pounds of wax or of pepper.

There are two kinds of pepper here, the long and the round. The long pepper is like the flower of the hazel tree in winter; its plant is like ivy, and like it clings to trees; its leaves are like those of the mulberry tree; it is called luli. The round pepper grows like the other, but its fruit is in ears like Indian corn, and the grains are pulled off in the same manner; it is called lada. The fields here are full of pepper plants.

Here we took a man to conduct us to some island where we could find plenty of victuals.

The island of Mallua is in 8 deg. 30 min. S. latitude, and 169 deg. 40 min. longitude from the line of demarcation.

The old pilot from Maluco related to us, whilst sailing, that in this neighbourhood there was an island named Aruchete, the inhabitants of which, men and women, are not more than one cubit high, and they have ears as large and as long as themselves, so that when they lie down one serves them for a mattress, and with the other they cover themselves.[260] They are shorn and naked, their voices are shrill, and they run very swiftly. They dwell under ground, live on fish and a certain substance which grows between the bark and the wood of a tree, which is white and round like coriander comfits, and which is named ambulon. We would have gone there willingly, but the shoals and currents did not allow of it.


19th of December, 1521

He came with them early the next morning. These men dived under water with their hair loose, thinking that their hair, attracted by the water which penetrated into the ship, would indicate to them the leak, but though they remained more than an hour in the water, they did not find it. The king, seeing that there was no remedy for it, said with lamentation, “Who will go to Spain to take news of me to the king our lord?” We answered him that the “Victoria” would go there, and would sail at once to take advantage of the east winds, which had already commenced. The “Trinity,” meanwhile, would be refitted and would wait for the west winds and go to Darien, which is on the other side of the sea, in the country of Diucatan.[247] The king approved our thoughts, and said that he had in his service two hundred and twenty-five carpenters who would do all the work under the direction of our men, and that those who should remain there would be treated as his own children, and he said this with so much emotion that he moved us all to tears.

We, who were on board the “Victoria,” fearing that she might open, on account of the heavy cargo and the long voyage, lightened her by discharging sixty hundred weight of cloves, which we had carried to the house where the crew of the “Trinity” were lodged. Some of our own crew preferred to remain at Maluco rather than go with us to Spain, because they feared that the ship could not endure so long a voyage, and because, mindful of how much they had suffered, they feared to die of hunger in mid-ocean.


18th of December, 1521

Wednesday morning everything was prepared for our departure from Maluco. The Kings of Tadore, of Giailolo, and of Bachian, and a son of the King of Tarenate had come to accompany us as far as the island of Mare. The ship “Victoria” made sail and stood out a little, waiting for the ship “Trinity”; but she had much difficulty in getting up the anchor, and meanwhile the sailors perceived that she was leaking very much in the hold. Then the “Victoria” returned to anchor in her former position. They began to discharge the cargo of the “Trinity” to see if the leak could be stopped, for it was perceived that the water came in with force as through a pipe, but we were never able to find out at what part it came in. All that day and the next we did nothing else but work at the pumps, but without any advantage. Hearing this, the King of Tadore came at once to the ships, and occupied himself with us in searching for the leak. For this purpose he sent into the sea five of his men, who were accustomed to remain a long time under the water, and although they remained more than half-an-hour they could not find the fissure. As the water inside the ship continually increased, the king, who was as much affected by it as we were, and lamenting this misfortune, sent to the end of the island for three other men, more skilful than the first at remaining under water.


17th of December, 1521

Tuesday, we presented to the king some pieces of artillery; that is some arquebuses which we had taken as prizes in the Indies, and some of our swivel-guns with four barrels of powder. We took on board each ship eighty barrels of water. Wood we were to find at the island of Mare, where the king had already five days ago sent a hundred men to prepare it, and near which we were to pass.

This day, the King of Bachian, with the consent of the King of Tadore, came on shore, preceded by four men holding up daggers in their hands, to make alliance with us: he said, in the presence of the King of Tadore and of all his suite, that he would always be ready for the service of the King of Spain, that he would keep in his name the cloves left in his island by the Portuguese, until another Spanish squadron arrived there, and he would not give them up without his consent. He sent through us to the King of Spain a present of a slave and two bahars of cloves. He would have wished to have sent ten bahars, but our ships were so heavily laden, that we could not receive any more.

He also gave us for the King of Spain two most beautiful dead birds. These birds are as large as thrushes; they have small heads, long beaks, legs slender like a writing pen, and a span in length; they have no wings, but instead of them long feathers of different colours, like plumes: their tail is like that of the thrush. All the feathers, except those of the wings, are of a dark colour; they never fly, except when the wind blows. They told us that these birds come from the terrestrial Paradise, and they call them “bolon dinata” that is divine birds.

The King of Bachian was a man of about seventy years of age Not only did the King of Bachian recognise the King of Spain as his Sovereign; but every king of Maluco wrote to him that he desired always to be his faithful subject.

One day the King of Tadore sent to tell our men, who dwelt in the magazine for the merchandise, that they should take care not to go out of the house by night, since there were certain men, natives of the country, who by anointing themselves, walk by night in the shape of men without heads: and if they meet anyone to whom they wish ill, they touch his hand and anoint his palm, and that ointment causes him soon to grow ill, and die at the end of three or four days. But if they meet three or four persons together they do not touch them, but make them giddy. He added that he had a watch kept to discover them, and he had already had several executed.

When they build a new house, before going to inhabit it, they make a fire round it, and give many feasts there. Then they fasten to the roof of the house a pattern or sample of everything that is to be found in the island, persuaded that by that means none of those things will be ever wanting to whoever inhabits the house.


17th of November, 1521

Sunday morning this same king came on board the ships and wished to see how we fought, and how we discharged the bombards, at which he was greatly pleased, for in his youth he had been a great warrior.

The same day I went on shore to see how the cloves grow, and this is what I observed. The tree from which they are gathered is high, and its trunk is as thick as a man’s body, more or less, according to the age of the plant. Its branches spread out somewhat in the middle of the tree, but near the top they form a pyramid. The bark is of an olive colour, and the leaves very like those of the laurel. The cloves grow at the end of little branches in bunches of ten or twenty. These trees always bear more fruit on one side than on the other, according to the seasons. The cloves are white when they first sprout, they get red as they ripen, and blacken when dry. They are gathered twice in the year, once about Christmas and the other time about St. John’s day, when the air in these countries is milder, and it is still more so in December. When the year is rather hot, and there is little rain, they gather in each of these islands from three to four hundred bahars of cloves. The clove tree does not live except in the mountains, and if it is transferred to the plain it dies there.[237] The leaf, the bark, and the wood, as long as they are green, have the strength and fragrance of the fruit itself. If these are not gathered when just ripe they get so large and hard that nothing of them remains good except the rind. It is said that the mist renders them perfect, and indeed we saw almost every day a mist descend and surround one or other of the above-mentioned mountains. Among these people everyone possesses some of these trees, and each man watches over his own trees and gathers their fruit, but does not do any work round them to cultivate them. This tree does not grow except in the five mountains of the five Maluco islands. There are, however, a few trees in Giailolo and in a small island between Tadore and Mutir named Mare, but they are not good.

There are in this island of Giailolo some trees of nutmegs. These are like our walnuts, and the leaves also are similar. The nutmeg, when gathered, is like the quince in form and colour, and the down which covers it, but it is smaller. The outside rind is as thick as the green rind of our walnuts, beneath which is a thin web, or rather cartilage, under which is the mace, of a very bright red, which covers and surrounds the rind of the nuts, inside which is the nutmeg properly so called.

There also grows in Tadore the ginger, which we need to eat green, instead of bread. Ginger is not a tree, but a shrub, which sends out of the earth shoots a span long like the shoots of canes, which they also resemble in the shape of the leaves, only those of the ginger are narrower. The shoots are good for nothing; that which makes ginger is the root. When green, it is not so strong as when it is dry, and to dry it they use lime, or else it would not keep.

The houses of these people are built like those already described, but are not so high above the ground, and are surrounded with canes after the fashion of a hedge. The women here are ugly, and go naked like the others, having only their middles covered with cloth made of bark. The men also are naked, and notwithstanding that their women are ugly, they are exceedingly jealous; and amongst other things which displeased them, was that we came ashore without cloaks,[238] because they imagined that might cause temptation to their wives. Both men and women always go barefoot.

Since I have spoken of cloth, I will relate how they make it. They take a piece of bark and leave it in water until it has grown soft; they then beat it with wooden clubs to extend it in length and breadth, as much as they please; thus it becomes like a veil of raw silk with filaments enlaced within it, so that it appears as if it was woven.

Their bread is made with the wood of a tree like a palm tree, and they make it in this way. They take a piece of this wood, and extract from it certain long black thorns[239] which are situated there; then they pound it, and make bread of it which they call sagu. They make provisions of this bread for their sea voyages.

Every day there came from Tarenate many boats laden with cloves, but we, because we were waiting for the king, would not traffic for those goods, but only for victuals: and the men of Tarenate complained much of this.


13th of November, 1521

The next day the king sent his son named Mossahap to the island of the Mutir for cloves with which to freight our ships. We had spoken to the king that day of some Indians whom we had captured, and he entreated us to make a present of them to him, as he had the intention of sending them back to their native country, accompanied by five men of Tadore, who, on restoring them to their country, would praise and commend the King of Spain and make a good name for the Spaniards. We gave him the three ladies whom we had destined for the queen, as has been said above, and all the men except those of Burné: he very much appreciated this gift.

The king then asked another favour—that was, that we should kill all the pigs we had on board, for which he would give an ample compensation in fowls and goats. We gave him satisfaction in this, cutting their throats and hanging them up under the deck, so that the Moors should not have occasion to see them, since if by accident they see any pig they covered their faces not to see it or perceive its smell.

In the evening of the same day Pedro Alfonso,[234] the Portuguese, came in a prahu, but before he came on board the ships the king sent to call him, and said to him, that although he belonged to Tarenate he should take good care not to answer falsely to the questions we were going to ask him. He indeed, after coming on board, told us that he had come to India sixteen years ago, and of these years he had passed ten in Maluco; and it was just ten years since those islands had been discovered by the Portuguese, who kept the discovery secret from us. He then related to us that a year, less fifteen days, had elapsed since a large ship had come hither proceeding from Malacca, and had gone away laden with cloves; but that on account of the bad weather, she had been obliged to remain some months at Bandam. He added that her captain was Tristan de Meneses, a Portuguese, from whom, on asking what news there was in Europe, he had heard that a squadron of live ships had sailed from Seville to discover Maluco in the name of the King of Spain, and that the captain of this squadron was Ferdinand Magellan, a Portuguese, for which reason the King of Portugal, being angry that a subject of his should attempt to do a thing so opposed to him, had sent some ships to the cape of Good Hope, and others to the Cape Sta. Maria,[235] where the cannibals are, to impede their passage, but they had not fallen in with them. Having learned later that Magellan had passed by another sea, and was making for Maluco by way of the west, he had written to his Captain-Major of the Indies, named Diogo Lopez de Sequeira, to send six ships to Maluco against the Spanish squadron. But the captain-major, having at that time received information that the Grand Turk was planning an expedition against Malacca, was obliged to send against him sixty sail to the Straits of Mekkah, in the country of Jiddah, where, however, they only found a few galleys which had grounded near the beautiful and strong city of Aden, and they set fire to them.

This enterprise, added De Lorosa, had prevented the captain-major from immediately sending an expedition against Magellan; but a little later he had sent to Maluco a great galleon with two rows of cannon, commanded by Francisco Faria, a Portuguese: but neither did this one come, for on account of the shoals and currents which are near Malacca, and the contrary winds, it was unable to pass that promontory, and was compelled to turn back.

He also related that a few days before a caravel with two junks had come to these parts to get news of us. The junks had sailed to Bachian to load cloves, with seven Portuguese on board. These men, who did not respect the wives of the inhabitants, nor even those of the king, notwithstanding the warning they had received from the king himself, were all killed. The men of the caravel, on hearing of this, returned in haste to Malacca, abandoning the junks with four hundred bahars of cloves and as much merchandise as would have purchased another hundred bahars. He also related that every year many junks go from Malacca to Bandan to buy mace and nutmeg, and go thence to Maluco to purchase cloves. They make the voyage from Bandan to Maluco in three days, and employ fifteen in the voyage from Bandan to Malacca. He said, lastly, that since ten years back the King of Portugal had derived great profit from these islands, and he took especial care to keep these countries concealed from and unknown to the Spaniards. He related many other similar things, passing several hours in conversation with us: and we said and did so much, offering him a large salary, that we made him determine on coming with us to Spain.


12th of November, 1521

On Tuesday the 12th of November, the king had a house built in the city for our merchandise, and it was built in one day. Thither we carried all that we had to barter, and placed it in the custody of three of our men, and the trade began at once. It was carried out in this manner. For ten ells of red cloth of pretty good quality they gave a bahar of cloves. A bahar is four quintals[233] and six pounds. For fifteen ells of middling quality a bahar, for fifteen hatchets a bahar, for thirty-five glass cups a bahar; and the king in this manner had from us almost all our goblets: for seventeen cathils of cinnabar a bahar; the same for as much quicksilver. For twenty-six ells of common linen a bahar, and the same for twenty-five ells of finer linen; for a hundred and fifty knives a bahar; for fifty scissors a bahar; for forty caps a bahar; for ten Guzerat cloths a bahar; for three of their cymbals two bahars: for a quintal of bronze a bahar. Almost all our mirrors were broken, and the few that remained entire the king wished to have. Many of the above-mentioned goods had been obtained by us by the capture of the junks, which I have related; and the haste we were in to return to Spain caused us to sell our goods at a lower price than we should have done had we not been in a hurry.

Every day there came to the ships many boats laden with goats, fowls, plantains, cocoanuts, and other victuals, that it was a wonder to see. We supplied the ships with good water taken from a spring whence it issued hot, but if it remains only one hour in the open air it becomes very cold. They say that it comes out like that because it issues from the mountain of the cloves. It may be seen from this how those lied who said that fresh water had to be brought to Maluco from distant countries.


8th of November, 1521

Friday, the 8th November of 1521, three hours before sunset, we entered a port of the island called Tadore,[229] and having gone near the shore, we cast anchor in twenty fathoms, and discharged all our artillery. Next day the king came to the ships in a prahu, and went round them. We went to meet him with a boat to show him honour, and he made us enter his prahu, and sit near him. He was sitting under a silk umbrella, which sheltered him. In front of him was his son with the royal sceptre, there were also two men with gold vases to give him water for his hands, and two others with gilt caskets full of betel.

The king gave us a welcome, and said that a long time back he had dreamed that some ships were coming to Maluco from distant countries, and that to assure himself with respect to this, he had examined the moon, and he had seen that they were really coming, and that indeed they were our ships. After that he came on board our ships, and we all kissed his hand: we then conducted him to the poop, but he, in order to avoid stooping, would not enter the cabin except by the upper opening. We made him sit down on a chair of red velvet, and placed on him a Turkish robe of yellow velvet. In order to do him more honour we sat down before him on the ground. When he had heard who we were, and what was the object of our voyage, he said that he and all his people were well content to be the most faithful friends and vassals of the King of Spain; that he received us in this island as his own sons; that we might go on shore and remain there as in our own houses; and that his island for the future should not be named Tadore, but Castile, in proof of the great love he bore to the king our master. Then we presented to him the chair on which he sat, and the robe which we had put on him, a piece of fine linen, four ells of scarlet cloth, a robe of brocade, a cloth of yellow damask, a piece of the whitest Cambay linen, two caps, six strings of glass beads, twelve knives, three large mirrors, six scissors, six combs, some gilt goblets, and other things. We gave to his son an Indian cloth of gold and silk, a large mirror, a cap and two knives. To each of the nine chief men of his suite we made a present of a piece of silk, a cap and two knives; and to many others of his suite we made a present, to one of a cap, to another of a knife, until the king told us not to give any more presents. He then said that he had got nothing worthy to be sent as a present to our king, unless he sent himself, now that he considered him as his lord. He invited us to come closer to the city, and if any one attempted to come on board the ships at night, he told us to fire upon him with our guns. He came out of the stern cabin by the same way by which he had entered it, without ever bending his head. At his departure we fired all the cannon.

This king is a Moor, of about forty-five years of age. rather well made and of a handsome presence. He is a very great astrologer. His dress consisted of a shirt of very fine white stuff, with the ends of the sleeves embroidered with gold, and a wrapper which came down from his waist almost to the ground. He was barefooted; round his head he had a silk veil, and over that a garland of flowers. He is named Raja Sultan Manzor.