The Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus

By Washington Irving | Go to book overview

BOOK XI.

CHAPTER I.
ADMINISTRATION OF THE ADELANTADO—EXPEDITION TO THE
PROVINCE OF XARAGUA.

[ 1498.]

Columbus had anticipated repose from his toils on arriving at Hispaniola, but a new scene of trouble and anxiety opened upon him, destined to impede the prosecution of his enterprises, and to affect all his future fortunes. To explain this, it is necessary to relate the occurrences of the island during his long detention in Spain.

When he sailed for Europe in March, 1496, his brother, Don Bartholomew, who remained as, took the earliest measures to execute his directions with respect to the mines recently discovered by Miguel Diaz on the south side of the island. Leaving Don Diego Columbus in command at Isabella, he repaired with a large force to the neighborhood of the mines, and, choosing a favorable situation in a place most abounding in ore, built a fortrees to which he gave the name of San Christoval. The workmen, however, finding grains of gold among the earth and stone employed in its construction, gave it the name of the Golden Tower.*

The Adelantado remained here three months, superintending the building of the fortress, and making the necessary preparations for worldng the mines and purifying the ore. The progress of the work, however, was greatly impeded by scarcity of provisions, having frequently to detach a part of the men about the country in quest of supplies. The former hospitality of the island was at an end. The Indians no longer gave their

____________________
*
Peter Martyr, decad. i. lib. iv.

-391-

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