After having navigated sixty leagues by the said course, in twelve degrees latitude, and a hundred and forty-six of longitude, on Wednesday, the 6th of March, we discovered a small island in the north-west direction,and two others lying to the south-west. One of these islands was larger and higher than the other two. The captain-general wished to touch at the largest of these three islands to get refreshments of provisions; but it was not possible because the people of these islands entered into the ships and robbed us, in such a way that it was impossible to preserve oneself from them. Whilst we were striking and lowering the sails to go ashore, they stole away with much address and diligence the small boat called the skiff, which was made fast to the poop of the captain’s ship, at which he was much irritated, and went on shore with forty armed men, burned forty or fifty houses, with several small boats, and killed seven men of the island; they recovered their skiff. After this we set sail suddenly, following the same course. Before we went ashore some of our sick men begged us that if we killed man or woman, that we should bring them their entrails, as they would see themselves suddenly cured.
(In the Milan Edition here begins Book II.)
Wednesday, the twenty-eighth of November, 1520, we came forth out of the said strait, and entered into the Pacific sea, where we remained three months and twenty days without taking in provisions or other refreshments, and we only ate old biscuit reduced to powder, and full of grubs, and stinking from the dirt which the rats had made on it when eating the good biscuit, and we drank water that was yellow and stinking. We also ate the ox hides which were under the main-yard, so that the yard should not break the rigging: they were very hard on account of
Pigafetta’s Map of Magellan’s Straits.
the sun, rain, and wind, and we left them for four or five days in the sea, and then we put them a little on the embers, and so ate them; also the sawdust of wood, and rats which cost half-a-crown each, moreover enough of them were not to be got. Besides the above-named evils, this misfortune which I will mention was the worst, it was that the upper and lower gums of most of our men grew so much that they could not eat, and in this way so many suffered, that nineteen died, and the other giant, and an Indian from the county of Verzin. Besides those who died, twenty-five or thirty fell ill of diverse sicknesses, both in the arms and legs, and other places, in such manner that very few remained healthy. However, thanks be to the Lord, I had no sickness. During those three months and twenty days we went in an open sea, while we ran fully four thousand leagues in the Pacific sea. This was well named Pacific, for during this same time we met with no storm, and saw no land except two small uninhabited islands, in which we found only birds and trees. We named them the Unfortunate Islands; they are two hundred leagues apart from one another, and there is no place to anchor, as there is no bottom. There we saw many sharks, which are a kind of large fish which they call Tiburoni. The first isle is in fifteen degrees of austral latitude, and the other island is in nine degrees. With the said wind we ran each day fifty or sixty leagues, or more; now with the wind astern, sometimes on a wind or otherwise. And if our Lord and his Mother had not aided us in giving us good weather to refresh ourselves with provisions and other things, we should all have died of hunger in this very vast sea, and I think that never man will undertake to perform such a voyage.
When we had gone out of this strait, if we had always navigated to the west we should have gonewithout finding any land except the Cape of the Eleven Thousand Virgins, which is the eastern head of the strait in the ocean sea, with the Cape of Desire at the west in the Pacific sea. These two capes are exactly in fifty-two degrees of latitude of the antarctic pole.
The antarctic pole is not so covered with stars as the arctic, for there are to be seen there many small stars congregated together, which are like to two clouds a little separated from one another, and a little dimmed, in the midst of which are two stars, not very large, nor very brilliant, and they move but little: these two stars are the antarctic pole. Our compass needle still pointed a little to its arctic pole; nevertheless it had not as much power as on its own side and region. Yet when we were in the open sea, the captain-general asked of all the pilots, whilst still going under sail, in what direction they were navigating and pointing the charts. They all replied, by the course he had given, punctually [pricked in]; then he answered, that they were pointing falsely (which was so), and that it was fitting to arrange the needle of navigation, because it did not receive so much force as in its own quarter. When we were in the middle of this open sea we saw a cross of five stars, very bright, straight, in the west, and they are straight one with another.
During this time of two months and twelve days we navigated between west and north-west (maestral), and a quarter west of north-west, and also north-west, until we came to the equinoctial line, which was at [a point] one hundred and twenty-two degrees distant from the line of repartition. This line of delimitation is thirty degrees distant from the meridian, and the meridian is three degrees distant from the Cape Verd towards the east. In going by this course we passed near two very rich islands; one is in twenty degrees latitude in the antarctic pole, and is called Cipanghu; the other, in fifteen degrees of the same pole, is named Sumbdit Pradit. After we had passed the equinoctial line we navigated between west, and north-west and a quarter west, by north-west. Afterwards we made two hundred leagues to westwards, then changed the course to a quarter of south-west, until in thirteen degrees north latitude, in order to approach the land of Cape Gaticara, which cape (under correction of those who have made cosmography), (for they have never seen it), is not placed where they think, but is towards the north, in twelve degrees or thereabouts.
After going and taking the course to the fifty-second degree of the said Antarctic sky, on the day of the Eleven Thousand Virgins [October 21], we found, by a miracle, a strait which we called the Cape of the Eleven Thousand Virgins, this strait is a hundred and ten leagues long, which are four hundred and forty miles, and almost as wide as less than half a league, and it issues in another sea, which is called the peaceful sea; it is surrounded by very great and high mountains covered with snow. In this place it was not possible to anchor with the anchors, because no bottom was found, on which account they were forced to put the moorings of twenty-five or thirty fathoms length on shore. This strait was a round place surrounded by mountains, as I have said, and the greater number of the sailors thought that there was no place by which to go out thence to enter into the peaceful sea. But the captain-general said that there was another strait for going out, and said that he knew it well, because he had seen it by a marine chart of the King of Portugal, which map had been made by a great pilot and mariner named Martin of Bohemia. The captain sent on before two of his ships, one named St. Anthony and the other the Conception, to seek for and discover the outlet of this strait, which was called the Cape de la Baya. And we, with the other two ships, that is to say, the flagship named Trinitate, and the other the Victory, remained waiting for them within the Bay, where in the night we had a great storm, which lasted till the next day at midday, and during which we were forced to weigh the anchors and let the ships go hither and thither about the bay. The other two ships met with such a head wind that they could not weather a cape which the bay made almost at its extremity; wishing to come to us, they were near being driven to beach the ships. But, on approaching the extremity of the bay, and whilst expecting to be lost, they saw a small mouth, which did not resemble a mouth but a corner, and (like people giving up hope) they threw themselves into it, so that by force they discovered the strait. Seeing that it was not a corner, but a strait of land, they went further on and found a bay, then going still further they found another strait and another bay larger than the first two, at which, being very joyous, they suddenly returned backwards to tell it to the captain-general. Amongst us we thought that they had perished: first, because of the great storm; next, because two days had passed that we had not seen them. And being thus in doubt we saw the two ships under all sail, with ensigns spread, come towards us: these, when near us, suddenly discharged much artillery, at which we, very joyous, saluted them with artillery and shouts. Afterwards, all together, thanking God and the Virgin Mary, we went to seek further on.
After having entered inside this strait we found that there were two mouths, of which one trended to the Sirocco (S.E.), and the other to the Garbin (S.W.). On that account the captain again sent the two ships, St. Anthony and Conception, to see if the mouth which was towards Sirocco had an outlet beyond into the said peaceful sea. One of these two ships, named St. Anthony, would not wait for the other ship, because those who were inside wished to return to Spain: this they did, and the principal reason was on account of the pilot of the said ship being previously discontented with the said captain-general, because that before this armament was made, this pilot had gone to the Emperor to talk about having some ships to discover countries. But, on account of the arrival of the captain-general, the Emperor did not give them to this pilot, on account of which he agreed with some Spaniards, and the following night they took prisoner the captain of their ship, who was a brother of the captain-general, and who was named Alvar de Meschite; they wounded him, and put him in irons. So they carried him off to Spain. And in this ship, which went away and returned, was one of the two above-mentioned giants whom we had taken, and when he felt the heat he died. The other ship, named the Conception, not being able to follow that one, was always waiting for it, and fluttered hither and thither. But it lost its time, for the other took the road by night for returning. When this happened, at night the ship of the captain and the other ship went together to discover the other mouth to Garbin (S.W.), where, on always holding on our course, we found the same strait. But at the end we arrived at a river which we named the River of Sardines, because we found a great quantity of them. So we remained there four days to wait for the other two ships. A short time after we sent a boat well supplied with men and provisions to discover the cape of the other sea: these remained three days in going and coming. They told us that they had found the cape, and the sea great and wide. At the joy which the captain-general had at this he began to cry, and he gave the name of Cape of Desire to this cape, as a thing which had been much desired for a long time. Having done that we turned back to find the two ships which were at the other side, but we only found the Conception, of which ship we asked what had become of her companion. To this the captain of the said ship, named John Serrano (who was pilot of the first ship which was lost as has been related), replied that he knew nothing of her, and that he had never seen her since she entered the mouth. However, we sought for her through all the strait, as far as the said mouth, by which she had taken her course to return. Besides that, the captain-general sent back the ship named the Victory as far as the entrance of the strait to see if the ship was there, and he told the people of this ship that if they did not find the ship they were looking for, they were to place an ensign on the summit of a small hill, with a letter inside a pot placed in the ground near the ensign, so that if the ship should by chance return, it might see that ensign, and also find the letter which would give information of the course which the captain was holding. This manner of acting had been ordained by the captain from the commencement, in order to effect the junction of any ship which might be separated from the others. So the people of the said ship did what the captain had commanded them, and more, for they set two ensigns with letters; one of the ensigns was placed on a small hill at the first bay, the other on an islet in the third bay, where there were many sea wolves and large birds. The captain-general waited for them with the other ship near the river named Isles: and he caused a cross to be set upon a small island in front of that river, which was between high mountains covered with snow. This river comes and falls into the sea near the other river of the Sardines.
If we had not found this strait the captain-general had made up his mind to go as far as seventy-five degrees towards the antarctic pole; where at that height in the summer time there is no night, or very little: in a similar manner in the winter there is no day-light, or very little, and so that every one may believe this, when we were in this strait the night lasted only three hours, and this was in the month of October.
The land of this strait on the left hand side looked towards the Sirocco wind, which is the wind collateral to the Levant and South; we called this strait Pathagonico. In it we found at every half league a good port and place for anchoring, good waters, wood all of cedar, and fish like sardines, missiglioni, and a very sweet herb named appio (celery). There is also some of the same kind which is bitter. This herb grows near the springs, and from not finding anything else we ate of it for several days. I think that there is not in the world a more beautiful country, or better strait than this one. In this ocean sea one sees a very amusing chase of fish, which are of three sorts, of an ell or more in length, and they call these fish Dorades, Albacores, and Bonitos; these follow and pursue another sort of fish which flies, which they call Colondriny, which are a foot long or more, and are very good to eat. When these three sorts of fish find in the water any of these flying fish, immediately they make them come out of the water, and they fly more than a cross bow-shot, as long as their wings are wet; and whilst these fishes fly the other three run after them under the water, seeing the shadow of those that fly: and the moment they fall into the water they are seized upon and eaten by the others which pursue them, which is a thing marvellous and agreeable to see.
Vocables des Geants Pathagonians.
|Milan Edition.||Milan Edition.|
|Le chef||– Her . . idem.||Les oreilles||– Sane . . id.|
|Yeulx||– Ather . . oter.||Les esselles||– Salischin . . id.|
|Le nez||– Or . . id.||La mamelle||– Othen . . oton.|
|Les silz||– Occhechl . . id.||La poitrine||– Ochy . . ochii.|
|Paupieres des yeulx||Sechechiel . . id.||Le corps||– Gechel.|
|Aux deux narines||Orescho . . id.||Le vit||– Scachet . . sachet.|
|La bouche||– Xiam . . chian.||Le couillons||– Scancos . . sachancos.|
|Les leures||– Schiane . . schiaine.||Le con||– Isse . . id.|
|Les dentz||– Phor . . for.||Le foutre||– Johoi.|
|La langue||– Schial . . id.||Les cuisses||– Chiaue . . id.|
|Le menton||– Sechen . . secheri.||Le genouil||– Tepin . . id.|
|Les cheueulx||– Ajchir . . archiz.||Le cul||– Schiachen . . schiaguen.|
|Le visaige||– Cogechel.||Les fesses||– Hoy . . hoii.|
|La gorge||– Ohumer . . ohumez.||Le braz||– Mar . . riaz.|
|La copa* (le cou)||Schialeschin.||Le poulse||– Ohoy . . holion.|
|Les epaulles||– Peles.||Les jambes||– Choss . . id.|
|Le coude||– Cotel.||Les piedz||– Teche . . ti.|
|La main||– Chene.||Alcalcagno*||– There . . tire.|
|La paulme de la main||Canneghin.||La chenille du pied||Perchi . . id.|
|Milan Edition.||Milan Edition.|
|Le doit||– Cori . . id.||La plante ou sole du pied||Cartschem . . caotschoni.|
|Les ongles||– Colim . . colmi.||Nous –||– Chen.|
|Le cueur||– Chol . . tol.||Si ou ouy||– Rei.|
|Le grater||– Ghecare . . id.||L’or –||– Pelpeli . . id.|
|Homo sguerzo*||– Calischen . . id.||Petre lazure||– Secheghi . . sechey.|
|Au jeune||– Calemi . . id.||Le soleil||– Calexchem . . id.|
|L’eau||– Oli . . holi.||Les estoilles||– Settere . . id.|
|Le feu||– Ghialeme . . gialeme.||La mer||– Aro . . id.|
|La fumée||– Jaiche . . giache.||Le vent||– Om . . oni.|
|La fortune (storm)||Ohone . . id.||A la pignate*||– Aschame . . id.|
|Le poisson||– Hoi . . id.||A demander||– Ghelhe . . gheglie.|
|Le manger||– Mecchiere . . id.||Vien icy||– Haisi . . hai.|
|Une escuelle||– Elo . . etlo.||Au regarder||– Conne . . id.|
|A combatre||– Oamaghei . . ohomagse.||A aller||– Rhei . . id.|
|Alle frezze*||– Sethe . . seche.||A la nef||– Theu . . id.|
|Ung chien||– Holl . . id.||A courir||– Hiam . . tiam.|
|Ung loup||– Ani . . id.||Al struzzo veelo*||Hoihoi.|
|A aller loing||– Schien.||A ses œufs||– Jan.|
|A la guide||– Anti.||La pouldre d’herbe||Qui.|
|Aladorer||– Os . . id.||Mangent||– Capac . . id.|
|Ung papegault||– Cheche.||Le bonnet||– Aichel . . id.|
|La caige doyseau||Cleo . . id.||Coulernoire||– Amet . . oinel.|
|Al missiglion*||– Siameni . . id. (oyster)||Rouge||– Theiche . . faiche.|
|Drap rouge||– Terechai . . id.||Jaulne||– Peperi . . id.|
|Al cocinare*||– Ixecoles . . irocoles.||Le diable grand||Setebos . . id.|
|La ceincture||– Cathechin . . id.||Les petitz diables||Cheleule . . id.|
|Une oye||– Chache . . cache.||†|
*The Italian words mixed up in the French MS. show that this MS. was written by Pigafetta, and not translated from his Italian. †None of these words resemble those given by the Jesuit, Falkner, from the language of the Moluche tribe. All these words are pronounced in the throat, because they pronounce them thus.
These words were given me by that giant whom we had in the ship, because he asked me for capac, that is to say bread, since they thus name that root which they use for bread, and oli that is to say water. When he saw me write these names after him, and ask for others he understood (what I was doing) with my pen in my hand. Another time I made a cross and kissed it in showing it to him; but suddenly he exclaimed Setebos! and made signs to me that if I again made the cross it would enter into my stomach and make me die. When this giant was unwell he asked for the cross, and embraced and kissed it much, and he wished to become a Christian before his death, and we named him Paul. When these people wish to light a fire they take a pointed stick and rub it with another until they make a fire in the pith of a tree which is placed between these sticks.
Departing thence, we found in fifty-one degrees less one-third (50°40′ S.), in the Antarctic, a river of fresh water, which was near causing us to be lost, from the great winds which it sent out; but God, of his favour, aided us. We were about two months in this river, as it supplied fresh water and a kind of fish an ell long, and very scaly, which is good to eat. Before going away, the captain chose that all should confess and receive the body of our Lord like good Christians.
Departing thence as far as forty nine degrees and a half in the Antarctic heavens (as we were in the winter), we entered into a port to pass the winter, and remained there two whole months without ever seeing anybody. However, one day, without anyone expecting it, we saw a giant, who was on the shore of the sea, quite naked, and was dancing and leaping, and singing, and whilst singing he put the sand and dust on his head. Our captain sent one of his men towards him, whom he charged to sing and leap like the other to reassure him, and show him friendship. This he did, and immediately the sailor led this giant to a little island where the captain was waiting for him; and when he was before us he began to be astonished, and to be afraid, and he raised one. finger on high, thinking that we came from heaven. He was so tall that the tallest of us only came up to his waist; however he was well built. He had a large face, painted red all round, and his eyes also were painted yellow around them, and he had two hearts painted on his cheeks; he had but little hair on his head, and it was painted white. When he was brought before the captain he was clothed with the skin of a certain beast, which skin was very skilfully sewed. This beast has its head and ears of the size of a mule, and the neck and body of the fashion of a camel, the legs of a deer, and the tail like that of a horse, and it neighs like a horse. There is a great quantity of these animals in this same place. This giant had his feet covered with the skin of this animal in the form of shoes, and he carried in his hand a short and thick bow, with a thick cord made of the gut of the said beast, with a bundle of cane arrows, which were not very long, and were feathered like ours, but they had no iron at the end, though they had at the end some small white and black cut stones, and these arrows were like those which the Turks use. The captain caused food and drink to be given to this giant, then they showed him some things, amongst others, a steel mirror. When the giant saw his likeness in it, he was greatly terrified, leaping backwards, and made three or four of our men fall down. After that the captain gave him two bells, a mirror, a comb, and a chaplet of beads, and sent him back on shore, having him accompanied by four armed men. One of the companions of this giant, who would never come to the ship, on seeing the other coming back with our people, came forward and ran to where the other giants dwelled. These came one after the other all naked, and began to leap and sing, raising one finger to heaven, and showing to our people a certain white powder made of the roots of herbs, which they kept in earthen pots, and they made signs that they lived on that, and that they had nothing else to eat than this powder. Therefore our people made them signs to come to the ship and that they would help them to carry their bundles. Then these men came, who carried only their bows in their hands; but their wives came after them laden like donkeys, and carried their goods. These women are not as tall as the men, but they are very sufficiently large. When we saw them we were all amazed and astonished, for they had the breasts half an ell long, and had their faces painted, and were dressed like the men. But they wore a small skin before them to cover themselves. They brought with them four of those little beasts of which they make their clothing, and they led them with a cord in the manner of dogs coupled together. When these people wish to catch these animals with which they clothe themselves, they fasten one of the young ones to a bush, and afterwards the large ones come to play with the little one, and the giants are hid behind some hedge, and by shooting their arrows they kill the large ones. Our men brought eighteen of these giants, both men and women, whom they placed in two divisions, half on one side of the port, and the other half at the other, to hunt the said animals. Six days after, our people on going to cut wood, saw another giant, with his face painted and clothed like the abovementioned, he had in his hand a bow and arrows, and approaching our people he made some touches on his head and then on his body, and afterwards did the same to our people. And this being done he raised both his hands to heaven. When the captain-general knew all this, he sent to fetch him with his ship’s boat, and brought him to one of the little islands which are in the port, where the ships were. In this island the captain had caused a house to be made for putting some of the ships’ things in whilst he remained there. This giant was of a still better disposition than the others, and was a gracious and amiable person, who liked to dance and leap. When he leapt he caused the earth to sink in a palm depth at the place where his feet touched. He was a long time with us, and at the end we baptised him, and gave him the name of John. This giant pronounced the name of Jesus, the Pater noster, Ave Maria, and his name as clearly as we did: but he had a terribly strong and loud voice. The captain gave him a shirt and a tunic of cloth, and seaman’s breeches, a cap, a comb, some bells, and other things, and sent him back to where he had come from. He went away very joyous and satisfied. The next day this giant returned, and brought one of those large animals before mentioned, for which the captain gave him some other things, so that he should bring more. But afterwards he did not return, and it is to be presumed that the other giants killed him because he had come to us.
Fifteen days later we saw four other giants, who carried no arrows, for they had hid them in the bushes, as two of them showed us, for we took them all four, and each of them was painted in a different way. The captain retained the two younger ones to take them to Spain on his return; but it was done by gentle and cunning means, for otherwise they would have done a hurt to some of our men. The manner in which he retained them was that he gave them many knives, forks, mirrors, bells, and glass, and they held all these things in their hands. Then the captain had some irons brought, such as are put on the feet of malefactors: these giants took pleasure in seeing the irons, but they did not know where to put them, and it grieved them that they could not take them with their hands, because they were hindered by the other things which they held in them. The other two giants were there, and were desirous of helping the other two, but the captain would not let them, and made a sign to the two whom he wished to detain that they would put those irons on their feet, and then they would go away: at this they made a sign with their heads that they were content. Immediately the captain had the irons put on the feet of both of them, and when they saw that they were striking with a hammer on the bolt which crosses the said irons to rivet them, and prevent them from being opened, these giants were afraid, but the captain made them a sign not to doubt of anything. Nevertheless when they saw the trick which had been played them, they began to be enraged, and to foam like bulls, crying out very loud Setebos, that is to say, the great devil, that he should help them. The hands of the other two giants were bound, but it was with great difficulty; then the captain sent them back on shore, with nine of his men to conduct them, and to bring the wife of one of those who had remained in irons, because he regretted her greatly, as we saw by signs. But in going away one of those two who were sent away, untied his hands and escaped, running with such lightness that our men lost sight of him, and he went away where his companions were staying; but he found nobody of those that he had left with the women because they had gone to hunt. However he went to look for them, and found them, and related to them all that had been done to them. The other giant whose hands were tied struggled as much as he could to unfasten himself, and to prevent his doing so, one of our men struck him, and hurt him on the head, at which he got very angry; however he led our people there where their wives were. Then John Cavagio, the pilot who was the chief conductor of these two giants, would not bring away the wife of one of the giants who had remained in irons on that evening, but was of opinion that they should sleep there, because it was almost night. During this time the one of the giants who had untied his hands came back from where he had been, with another giant, and they seeing their companion wounded on the head, said nothing at that moment, but next morning they spoke in their language to the women, and immediately all ran away together, and the smallest ran faster than the biggest, and they left all their chattels. Two of these giants being rather a long way off shot arrows at our men, and fighting thus, one of the giants pierced with an arrow the thigh of one of our men, of which he died immediately. Then seeing that he was dead, all ran away. Our men had cross-bows and guns, but they never could hit one of these giants, because they did not stand still in one place, but leaped hither and thither. After that, our men buried the man who had been killed, and set fire to the place where those giants had left their chattels. Certainly these giants run faster than a horse, and they are very jealous of their wives.
When these giants have a stomach-ache, instead of taking medicine they put down their throats an arrow about two feet long; then they vomit a green bile mixed with blood: and the reason why they throw up this green matter is because they sometimes eat thistles. When they have headaches they make a cut across the forehead, and also on the arms and legs, to draw blood from several parts of their bodies. One of the two we had taken, and who was in our ship, said that the blood did not choose to remain in the place and spot of the body where pain was felt. These people have their hair cut short and clipped in the manner of monks with a tonsure: they wear a cord of cotton round their head, to this they hang their arrows when they go a-hunting….
When one of them dies, ten or twelve devils appear and dance all round the dead man. It seems that these are painted, and one of these enemies is taller than the others, and makes a greater noise, and more mirth than the others: that is whence these people have taken the custom of painting their faces and bodies, as has been said. The greatest of these devils is called in their language Setebos, and the others Cheleule. Besides the above-mentioned things, this one who was in the ship with us, told us by signs that he had seen devils with two horns on their heads, and long hair down to their feet, and who threw out fire from their mouths and rumps. The captain named this kind of people Pataghom, who have no houses, but have huts made of the skins of the animals with which they clothe themselves, and go hither and thither with these huts of theirs, as the gypsies do; they live on raw meat, and eat a certain sweet root, which they call Capac. These two giants that we had in the ship ate a large basketful of biscuit, and rats without skinning them, and they drank half a bucket of water at each time.
We remained in this port, which was called the port of St. Julian, about five months, during which there happened to us many strange things, of which I will tell a part. One was, that immediately that we entered into this port, the masters of the other four ships plotted treason against the captain-general, in order to put him to death. These were thus named: John of Carthagine, conductor of the fleet; the treasurer, Loys de Mendoza; the conductor, Anthony Cocha; and Gaspar de Casada.However, the treason was discovered, for which the treasurer was killed with stabs of a dagger, and then quartered. This Gaspar de Casada had his head cut off, and afterwards was cut into quarters; and the conductor having a few days later attempted another treason, was banished with a priest, and was put in that country called Pattagonia. The captain-general would not put this conductor to death, because the Emperor Charles had made him captain of one of the ships. One of our ships, named St. James, was lost in going to discover the coast; all the men, however, were saved by a miracle, for they were hardly wet at all. Two men of these, who were saved, came to us and told us all that had passed and happened, on which the captain at once sent some men with sacks full of biscuit for two months. So, each day we found something of the ship of the other men who had escaped from the ship which was lost; and the place where these men were was twenty-five leagues from us, and the road bad and full of thorns, and it required four days to go there, and no water to drink was to be found on the road, but only ice, and of that little. In this port of St. Julian there were a great quantity of long capres, called Missiglione; these had pearls in the midst. In this place they found incense, and ostriches, foxes, sparrows, and rabbits a good deal smaller than ours. We set up at the top of the highest mountain which was there a very large cross, as a sign that this country belonged to the King of Spain; and we gave to this mountain the name of Mount of Christ.
We remained thirteen days in this country of Verzin, and, departing from it and following our course, we went as far as thirty-four degrees and a third towards the antarctic pole; there we found, near a river, men whom they call “cannibals,” who eat human flesh, and one of these men, great as a giant, came to the captain’s ship to ascertain and ask if the others might come. This man had a voice like a bull, and whilst this man was at the ship his companions carried off all their goods which they had to a castle further off, from fear of us. Seeing that, we landed a hundred men from the ships, and went after them to try and catch some others; however they gained in running away. This kind of people did more with one step than we could do at a bound. In this same river there were seven little islands, and in the largest of them precious stones are found. This place was formerly called the Cape of St. Mary, and it was thought there that from thence there was a passage to the Sea of Sur; that is to say, the South Sea. And it is not found that any ship has ever discovered anything more, having passed beyond the said cape. And now it is no longer a cape, but it is a river which has a mouth seventeen leagues in width, by which it enters into the sea. In past time, in this river, these great men named Canibali ate a Spanish captain, named John de Sola, and sixty men who had gone to discover land, as we were doing, and trusted too much to them.
Afterwards following the same course towards the Antarctic pole, going along the land, we found two islands full of geese and goslings, and sea wolves, of which geese the large number could not be reckoned; for we loaded all the five ships with them in an hour. These geese are black, and have their feathers all over the body of the same size and shape, and they do not fly, and live upon fish; and they were so fat that they did not pluck them, but skinned them. They have beaks like that of a crow. The sea wolves of these two islands are of many colours, and of the size and thickness of a calf, and have a head like that of a calf, and the ears small and round. They have large teeth, and have no legs, but feet joining close on to the body, which resemble a human hand; they have small nails to their feet, and skin between the fingers like geese. If these animals could run they would be very bad and cruel, but they do not stir from the water, and swim and live upon fish. In this place we endured a great storm, and thought we should have been lost, but the three holy bodies, that is to say, St. Anselmo, St. Nicolas, and Sta. Clara, appeared to us, and immediately the storm ceased.
After that we had passed the equinoctial line, towards the south, we lost the star of the tramontana, and we navigated between the south and Garbin, which is the collateral wind [or point] between south and west; and we crossed as far as a country named Verzin, which is in twenty-four degrees and a half of the antarctic sky. This country is from the cape St. Augustine, which is in eight degrees in the antarctic sky. At this place we had refreshments of victuals, like fowls and meat of calves, also a variety of fruits, called battate, pigne (pine-apples), sweet, of singular goodness, and many other things, which I have omitted mentioning, not to be too long. The people of the said place gave, in order to have a knife, or a hook for catching fish, five or six fowls, and for a comb they gave two geese, and for a small mirror, or a pair of scissors, they gave so much fish that ten men could have eaten of it. And for a bell (or hawk’s-bell) they gave a full basket of the fruit named battate; this has the taste of a chestnut, and is of the length of a shuttle. For a king of cards, of that kind which they used to play with in Italy, they gave me five fowls, and thought they had cheated me. We entered into this port the day of Saint Lucy [13th December], before Christmas, on which day we had the sun on the zenith, which is a term of astrology. This zenith is a point in the sky, according to astrologers, and only in imagination, and it answers to over our head in a straight line, as may be seen by the treatise of the sphere, and by Aristotle, in the first book, De Cœlo et Mondo. On the day that we had the sun in the zenith we felt greater heat, as much as when we were on the equinoctial line.
The said country of Verzin is very abundant in all good things, and is larger than France, Spain, and Italy together. It is one of the countries which the King of Portugal has conquered [acquired]. Its inhabitants are not Christians, and adore nothing, but live according to the usage of nature, rather bestially than otherwise. Some of these people live a hundred, or a hundred and twenty, or a hundred and forty years, and more; they go naked, both men and women. Their dwellings are houses that are rather long, and which they call “boy”; they sleep upon cotton nets, which they call, in their language, “amache.” These nets are fastened to large timbers from one end of their house to the other. They make the fire to warm themselves right under their bed. It is to be known that in each of these houses, which they call “boy,” there dwells a family of a hundred persons, who make a great noise. In this place they have boats, which are made of a tree, all in one piece, which they call “canoo.” These are not made with iron instruments, for they have not got any, but with stones, like pebbles, and with these they plane and dig out these boats. Into these thirty or forty men enter, and their oars are made like iron shovels: and those who row these oars are black people, quite naked and shaven, and look like enemies of hell. The men and women of this said place are well made in their bodies. They eat the flesh of their enemies, not as good meat, but because they have adopted this custom. Now this custom arose as follows: an old woman of this place of Verzin had an only son, who was killed by his enemies, and, some days afterwards, the friends of this woman captured one of the said enemies who had put her son to death, and brought him to where she was. Immediately the said old woman, seeing the man who was captured, and recollecting the death of her child, rushed upon him like a mad dog, and bit him on the shoulder. However, this man who had been taken prisoner found means to run away, and told how they had wished to eat him, showing the bite which the said old woman had made in his shoulder. After that those who were caught on one side or other were eaten. Through that arose this custom in this place of eating the enemies of each other. But they do not eat up the whole body of the man whom they take prisoner; they eat him bit by bit, and for fear that he should be spoiled, they cut him up into pieces, which they set to dry in the chimney, and every day they cut a small piece, and eat it with their ordinary victuals in memory of their enemies. I was assured that this custom was true by a pilot, named John Carvagio, who was in our company, and had remained four years in this place; it is also to be observed that the inhabitants of this place, both men and women, are accustomed to paint themselves with fire, all over the body, and also the face. The men are shaven, and wear no beard, because they pluck it out themselves, and for all clothing they wear a circle surrounded with the largest feathers of parrots, and they only cover their posterior parts, which is a cause of laughter and mockery. The people of this place, almost all, excepting women and children, have three holes in the lower lip, and carry, hanging in them, small round stones, about a finger in length. These kind of people, both men and women, are not very black, but rather brown, and they openly show their shame, and have no hair on the whole of their bodies. The king of this country is called Cacich, and there are here an infinite number of parrots, of which they give eight or ten for a looking-glass; there are also some little cat-monkeys having almost the appearance of a lion; they are yellow, and handsome, and agreeable to look at. The people of this place make bread, which is of a round shape, and they take the marrow of certain trees which are there, between the bark and the tree, but it is not at all good, and resembles fresh cheese. There are also some pigs which have their navel on the back, and large birds which have their beak like a spoon, and they have no tongue. For a hatchet or for a knife they used to give us one or two of their daughters as slaves, but their wives they would not give up for anything in the world. According to what they say the women of this place never render duty to their husbands by day, but only at night; they attend to business out of doors, and carry all that they require for their husband’s victuals inside small baskets on their heads; or fastened to their heads. Their husbands go with them, and carry a bow of vergin, or of black palm, with a handful of arrows of cane. They do this because they are very jealous of their wives. These carry their children fastened to their neck, and they are inside a thing made of cotton in the manner of a net. I omit relating many other strange things, not to be too prolix; however, I will not forget to say that mass was said twice on shore, where there were many people of the said country, who remained on their knees, and their hands joined in great reverence, during the mass, so that it was a pleasure and a subject of compassion to see them. In a short time they built a house for us, as they imagined that we should remain a long time with them, and, at our departure thence, they gave us a large quantity of verzin. It is a colour which proceeds from the trees which are in this country, and they are in such quantity that the country is called from it Verzin.
It is to be known that it happened that it had not rained for two months before we came there, and the day that we arrived it began to rain, on which account the people of the said place said that we came from heaven, and had brought the rain with us, which was great simplicity, and these people were easily converted to the Christian faith. Besides the above-mentioned things which were rather simple, the people of this country showed us another, very simple; for they imagined that the small ships’ boats were the children of the ships, and that the said ships brought them forth when the boats were hoisted out to send the men hither and thither; and when the boats were alongside the ship they thought that the ships were giving them suck.
A beautiful young girl came one day inside the ship of our captain, where I was, and did not come except to seek for her luck: however, she directed her looks to the cabin of the master, and saw a nail of a finger’s length, *and went and took it as something valuable and new, and hid it in her hair, for otherwise she would not have been able to concealit, because she was naked,* and, bending forwards, she went away; and the captain and I saw this mystery.
Some Words of this People of Verzin.
|Millet||– Au mil||– Maize.|
|Flour||– Farine||– Huy.|
|A hook||– Ung haim||– Pinda.|
|A knife||– Ung coutteau||– Taesse||– Tarse.|
|A comb||– Ung peigne||– Chignap||– Chipag.|
|A fork||– Une forcette||– Pirarne.|
|A bell||– Une sonnette||– Itemnaraca||– Hanmaraca.|
|Good, more than good – Bon, plus que bon turn maraghatorn.|
Monday, the third of October of the said year, at the hour of midnight, we set sail, making the course auster, which the levantine mariners call Siroc, entering into the ocean sea. We passed the Cape Verd and the neighbouring islands in fourteen-and-a-half degrees, and we navigated for several days by the coast of Guinea or Ethiopia; where there is a mountain called Sierra Leona, which is in eight degrees latitude according to the art and science of cosmography and astrology. Sometimes we had the wind contrary and at other times sufficiently good, and rains without wind. In this manner we navigated with rain for the space of sixty days until the equinoctial line, which was a thing very strange and unaccustomed to be seen, according to the saying of some old men and those who had navigated here several times. Nevertheless, before reaching this equinoctial line we had in fourteen degrees a variety of weather and bad winds, as much on account of squalls as for the head winds and currents which came in such a manner that we could no longer advance. In order that our ships might not perish nor broach to (as it often happens when the squalls come together), we struck our sails, and in that manner we went about the sea hither and thither until the fair weather came. During the calm there came large fishes near the ships which they called Tiburoni (sharks), which have teeth of a terrible kind, and eat people when they find them in the sea either alive or dead. These fishes are caught with a device which the mariners call hamc, which is a hook of iron. Of these, some were caught by our men. However, they are worth nothing to eat when they are large; and even the small ones are worth but little. During these storms the body of St. Anselme appeared to us several times; amongst others, one night that it was very dark on account of the bad weather, the said saint appeared in the form of a fire lighted at the summit of the mainmast, and remained there near two hours and a half, which comforted us greatly, for we were in tears, only expecting the hour of perishing; and when that holy light was going away from us it gave out so great a brilliancy in the eyes of each, that we were near a quarter-of-an-hour like people blinded, and calling out for mercy. For without any doubt nobody hoped to escape from that storm. It is to be noted that all and as many times as that light which represents the said St. Anselme shows itself and descends upon a vessel which is in a storm at sea, that vessel never is lost. Immediately that this light had departed the sea grew calmer, and then we saw divers sorts of birds, amongst others there were some which had no fundament. There is also another kind of bird of such a nature that when the female wishes to lay her eggs she goes and lays them on the back of the male, and there it is that the eggs are hatched. This last kind have no feet and are always in the sea. There is another kind of bird which only lives on the droppings of the other birds, this is a true thing, and they are named Cagaselo, for I have seen them follow the other birds until they had done what nature ordered them to do; and after it has eat this dirty diet it does not follow any other bird until hunger returns to it; it always does the same thing.There are also fish which fly, and we saw a great quantity of them together, so many that it seemed that it was an island in the sea.
Tuesday, the 20th September of the said year, we set sail from St. Lucar, making the course of the south-west otherwise named Labeiche; and on the twenty-sixth of the said month we arrived at an island of great Canaria, named Teneriphe, which is in twenty-eight degrees latitude; there we remained three days and a half to take in provisions and other things which were wanted. After that we set sail thence and came to a port named Monterose, where we sojourned two days to supply ourselves with pitch, which is a thing necessary for ships. It is to be known that among the other isles which are at the said great Canaria, there is one, where not a drop of water is to be found proceeding from a fountain or a river, only once a day at the hour of midday, there descends a cloud from the sky which envelops a large tree which is in this island, and it falls upon the leaves of the tree, and a great abundance of water distils from these leaves, so that at the foot of the tree there is so large a quantity of water that it seems as if there was an ever-running fountain. The men who inhabit this place are satisfied with this water; also the animals, both domestic and wild, drink of it.