29th of July, 1521

[The Europeans attack a group of junks off Brunei, capturing four and killing several others.]

[Off the shores of Brunei, the expedition encounters a large armada of the prince of Luzon, who happens to be the Brunei sultan’s admiral. Captured, the prince of Luzon bribes Carvalho for his freedom; the expedition deposes Carvalho and places him behind bars. Espinosa is then named the new captain-general of the expedition, while Juan Sebastian Elcano assumes his former position as the captain of the Victoria. Later accounts identify the prince of Luzon as Rajah Matanda of Manila.]

[12- Brunei- Jolo Island- Kagayan Island- septentrional Celebes Islands – Tidore, Moluccas Islands
Departure on July 29, 1521- Arrival on November 8, 1521.]

[121] On Monday morning, 29 July, we saw more than one hundred praus divided into three squadrons and a like number of tunguli (which are their small boats) coming toward us. Upon catching sight of them, imagining that there was some trickery afoot, we hoisted our sails as quickly as possible, slipping an anchor in our haste. We were especially concerned that we might be caught in between certain junks that had anchored behind us on the preceding day. We immediately turned upon the latter, capturing four of them and killing many persons. Three or four of the junks sought flight by beaching. In one of the junks that we captured was the son of the king of the island of Luzon. He was the captain-general of the king of Brunei, and came with those junks from a large city named Laoe, which is located at the end of that island [Borneo] toward Java Major, which he had destroyed and sacked because it refused to obey the king [of Brunei] but [obeyed] the king of Java Major instead. João Carvalho, our pilot, released that captain and the junks without our consent, for a certain sum of gold, as we learned afterward. Had the pilot not given up the captain to the king, the latter would have given us whatever we had asked, for that captain was exceedingly feared throughout those regions, especially by the heathens, as the latter are very hostile to that Moorish king.

[122] In that same port there is another city inhabited by heathens, which is larger than that of the Moors, and built like the latter in salt water; on that account, the two peoples have daily combats together in that same harbour. The heathen king is as powerful as the Moorish king, but is not so haughty, and could be converted easily to the Christian faith.

When the Moorish king heard how we had treated the junks, he sent us a message by one of our men who was ashore to the effect that the praus were not coming to do us any harm, but that they were going to attack the heathens, and as a proof of that statement, the Moors showed him some heads of men who had been killed, which they declared to be the heads of heathens.

We sent a message to the king, asking him to please allow two of our men who were in the city for purposes of trade and the son of João Carvalho, who had been born in the country of Verzin, to come to us, but the king refused. That was the result of João Carvalho’s letting the above captain go.

We kept sixteen of the most important men [of the captured junks] to take them to Spain, and three women in the queen’s name, but João Carvalho claimed the latter for himself.

[123] Junks are their ships, and they are made in the following manner: the bottom part stands about two spans above the water and is of planks fastened with wooden pegs, which are very well made. Above that they are entirely made of very large bamboo, and one of those junks carries as much cargo as a ship . On both sides they use bamboos as counterweights; their masts are made of bamboo, and the sails are made of the bark of trees. Their porcelain is a sort of exceedingly white earth that is left for fifty years under the earth before it is worked, for otherwise it would not be fine. The father buries it for the son. If [poison] is placed in a dish made of fine porcelain, the dish immediately breaks.

The money used by the Moors in those regions is of bronze pierced in the middle in order that it may be strung, and on only one side of it are four characters, which are letters of the great king of China; and they call that money picis. They gave us six porcelain dishes for one cathil (which is equivalent to two of our pounds) of quicksilver; one hundred picis for one quire of writing

paper; one small porcelain vase for 160 cathils of metal; one porcelain vase for three knives; one bahar (which is equivalent to 203 cathils) of wax for 160 cathils of bronze; one bahar of salt for eighty cathils of bronze; one bahar of anime to caulk the ships (for no pitch is found in those regions) for forty cathils of metal. Twenty tahils make one cathil. There the people highly esteem metal, quicksilver, glass, cinnabar, wool cloth, linens, and all our other merchandise, although iron and spectacles more than all the rest. Those Moors go naked like the others. They drink quicksilver: the sick man drinks it to cleanse himself, and the well man to preserve his health.

[124] The king of Brunei has two pearls as large as two hen’s eggs, and they are so round that they will not stand still on a table; I know that for a fact, for when we carried the king’s presents to him, signs were made for him to show them to us. He said that he would show them next day. Afterward some chiefs said that they had seen them.

[125] Those Moors worship Muhammad, and his law states: do not eat pork; wash the buttocks with the left hand and do not to use that hand to eat; do not cut anything with the right hand; sit down to urinate; do not kill fowls or goats without first addressing the sun; cut off the tops of the wings of hens with the little bits of skin that stick up from under the wings and the feet and then split them down the middle; wash the face with the right hand, but do not clean the teeth with the fingers; and do not eat anything that has been killed unless by them. They are circumcised like the Jews.

[126] Camphor, a kind of balsam, is produced in that island, and it seeps between the wood and the bark, and the drops are as small as [grains of] wheat bran. If it is exposed it gradually evaporates; those people call it capor. Cinnamon, ginger, mirabolans, oranges, lemons, jackfruit, watermelons, cucumbers, gourds, turnips, cabbages, scallions, cows, buffaloes, swine, goats, chickens, geese, deer, elephants, horses, and other things are found there. That island is so large that it takes three months to sail round it in a prau. It lies in a latitude of five and one-fourth degrees toward the Arctic Pole, and in a longitude of 176 and two-thirds degrees from the line of demarcation, and its name is Borneo.

[Chart of Burne (Borneo), Loat (Loac?), and the scroll: ‘Where the living leaves are.’ (X)]

[Chart of Mindanao (XI)]

[Chart of Zzolo (Jolo), Subanin, Tagima (Basilan), Cavit (Cavite) and the scroll: ‘Where the pearls are born’ (XII)]

[127] Leaving that island, we turned back in order to find a suitable place to caulk the ships, for they were leaking. One ship ran on to some shoals of an island called Bibalon, because of the carelessness of its pilot, but by the help of God we freed it. A sailor of that ship incautiously snuffed a candle into a barrel full of gunpowder. He quickly snatched it out without any harm. Then pursuing our course, we captured a prau laden with coconuts on its way to Borneo. Its crew sought refuge on a small island. While we were capturing this one, three other praus escaped behind certain islets.

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