The Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus

By Washington Irving | Go to book overview

On the evening of Saturday, the 2d of November, Columbus was convinced, from the color of the sea, the nature of the waves, and the variable winds and frequent showers, that they must be near to land; he gave orders, therefore, to take in sail, and to maintain a vigilant watch throughout the night. He had judged with his usual sagacity. In the morning a lofty island was descried to the west, at the sight of which there were shouts of joy throughout the fleet. Columbus gave to the island the name of Dominica, from having discovered it on Sunday. As the ships moved gently onward, other islands rose to sight, covered with forests, while flights of parrots and other tropical birds passed from one to the other.

The crews were now assembled on the decks of the several ships, to return thanks to God for their prosperous voyage, and their happy discovery of land, chanting the Salve Regina and other anthems. Such was the solemn manner in which Columbus celebrated all his discoveries, and which, in fact, was generally observed by the Spanish and Portuguese voyagers.


CHAPTER II.
TRANSACTIONS AT THE ISLAND OF GUADALOUPE.

[ 1493.]

The islands among which Columbus had arrived were a part of that beautiful cluster called by some the Antilles, which sweep almost in a semicircle from the eastern end of Porto Rico to the coast of Paria on the southern continent, forming a kind of barrier between the main ocean and the Caribbean Sea.

During the first day that he entered this archipelago, Columbus saw no less than six islands of different magnitude. They were clothed in tropical vegetation, and the breezes from them were sweetened by the fragrance of their forests.

After seeking in vain for good anchorage at Dominica, he stood for another of the group, to which he gave the name of his ship, Marigalante. Here he landed, displayed the royal

____________________
hour, and then disappeared, with a great flash of lightning, which blinded the people."—Herrera, decad. ii. lib. iv. cap. 10.

-212-

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