Tuesday, May 10, 2005

The Diary of Cristopher Columbus (1492)

Admiral Columbus, or El Almirante, as appointed by Fernando and Isabel, King and Queen of Spain. The many hazards involved in such a perilous trip are told in very illustrative style in his (attributed) Diario del Almirante (in English, courtesy of King's College) or in its original version in Spanish .


Favorite, intriguing entry:

Wednesday, October 17, 1492 - five days after the Discovery:

"They, the houses, were all like tents, very high and with good chimneys, but of all the villages I have seen, I have not seen one which had more than 12 or 15 houses. Here they found that the married women wore cotton breeches, but not the young girls, except some who were already about eighteen years old. And there were mastiffs and small dogs there, and they found a man who had in his nose a piece of gold about the size of half a castellano, on which they saw letters. I rebuked them for not bartering for it, and giving whatever he asked, in order to see what it was and whose money this was, and they replied that he dared not barter it with them."

A piece of gold on which they saw letters? So much for native iliteracy!

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