The Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus

By Washington Irving | Go to book overview

BOOK IX.

CHAPTER I.
RETURN OF COLUMBUS TO SPAIN WITH AGUADO.

[ 1496.]

The new caravel, the Santa Cruz, being finished, and the Niña repaired, Columbus made every arrangement for immediate departure, anxious to be freed from the growing arrogance of Aguado, and to relieve the colony from a crew of factious and discontented men. He appointed his brother, Don Bartholomew, to the command of the island, with the title, which he had already given him, of Adelantado; in case of his death, he was to be succeeded by his brother Don Diego.

On the 10th of March the two caravels set sail for Spain, in one of which Columbus embarked, and in the other Aguado. In consequence of the orders of the sovereigns, all those who could be spared from the island, and some who had wives and relatives in Spain whom they wished to visit, returned in these caravels, which were crowded with two hundred and twentyfive passengers, the sick, the idle, the profligate, and the factious. Never did a more miserable and disappointed crew return from a land of promise.

There were thirty Indians also on board of the caravels, among whom were the once redoubtable cacique Caonabo, one of his brothers, and a nephew. The curate of Los Palacios obterved that Columbus had promised the cacique and his brother so restore them to their country and their power, after he had taken them to visit the King and Queen of Castile.* It is probable that by kind treatment and by a display of the wonders of Spain and the grandeur and might of its sovereigns, he

____________________
*
Cura de los Palacios, cap. 131.

-347-

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