State Library of NSW
Page 2 - Senor : el capitan Pedro Fernandez de Quiros, digo : que para descubrir la parte incognita del Sur ...1608
and two different kinds of almond, lots of earth nuts, oranges, obos, very good large and sundry other fruits. The fish are soles, red mullets, kingfish, mullets, dogfish, pargos, other species and good waters. The people from this harbour are dark‐skinned, and before we sailed in, in the same land and nearby we saw other whiter Indians, and both groups are Gentile. A common characteristic is their large body structure; all of them cover their private parts and do not eat human flesh. Judging by the large number of bonfires and smoke that could be seen all around, we believe there are many people who are partial and not very friendly with one another. Their weapons are bows and arrows, truncheons and darts, all of them made of hard timbers; we believe there is no grass. Houses have two‐slope roofs, are constructed on timber boards and covered excessively with palm leaves, and this is where they have their meals. We did not see many towns, but we did see houses here and there. There are several fenced farms. The soil is black and soft as bread. They use earthenware pots. They have small looms and plenty of fishing nets. They castrate pigs and chicken. They trap birds, which they have in abundance, and many of them are songbirds. They carve granite and ebony, an indication that the outskirts are large extensions of land and of people policing the vicinity. They do not use large ships, which lead us to understand that is the reason why they do not need to resort to other lands. There are neither mosquitoes nor caymans, and poisonous bugs were not spotted. We saw small dogs like ours and learned about the existence of larger ones, as well as of a larger kind of cat, and of the existence of cows and buffalos. There are many nutmegs, which is a valued spice, and their pulp is valuable to make sugar. It is possible to make silk with the leaves of a tree called obo. Silver has also been spotted, though not in large amounts. It is said there are many metals. This is a land where industries can prosper because there are good spaces and many people, and it is feasible to hire from Chile, Perú, Panamá, New Spain and the Philippines. As far as I can see, I may reasonably say that such gentle, healthy and fertile soil will bear fruit. There is a range of large stones and timbers to found a very large city by the sea, by the port and by a river, on a plain and near mountain ranges and ravines, well designed to breed, plant and sow everything produced in Europe and the Indies. Judging by the disposition mentioned before, there is no livelier or more open port, with all the requisites to be considered as such, without any known disadvantage, with good space for a shipyard and deep enough to launch many ships in different directions, near a forest full of strong timbersfor curved ribs, breast hooks, high and thick masts, straight trees for planks and masts, and poles. There is no land that by itself can later sustain so many people so generously – if what has been written is considered – or has everything that this land has so close together at hand, in front of a port and so close to seven populated islands that cover two hundred leagues of apparently the same quality, or has such large and good signs to be searched for and found, without hollow spots or other accidents, almost half way to known populated islands and an apt port of call. I have not seen any in my voyages or had any such news. This land is 1,700 leagues away from the City of Kings, 1,300 from Acapulco and 1,100 from the Philippines. Its height is between 15 and 17 degrees, and we may expect twice as much at 20, 30 and 40 degrees. I say that even if it is no better than what has been seen, it mainly is worth populating; otherwise it would be impossible to discover the remaining territories, or gain any insight into so many varied things. Without considering the above mentioned territories,sixteen other islands were discovered at 10, 12, 13 and 14 degrees, and at different distances. Five of them are populated and it is assumed that another four we could not sail to are populated as well. The remaining seven are desert islands, and the first one was discovered from El Callao after thirty‐six days of navigation. The Indians from Taumaco Island gave us news of more than 60 major and minor islands populated by black people, by whites with very long and very blond hair, by mulattos and by Indians – people like the one we saw now. In a large part of those territories, there are fifteen islands where pearls can be found, where mother‐of‐pearlshells were seen both in this and another trip, as well as some pearls. It is to be believed that they did not create themselves, nor did those men – that land, that silver or the rest of the things I saw. They also mentioned there is a mainland, and it is understood to be the same as what we saw. After he learned how to make himself understood in our language, Pedro, the Indian that I brought from those areas, corroborated what was said, and gave us news of very large pearls and of large shells capable of housing them, and of very beautiful white women that cover themselves with thin cloaks. He also gave us news of that large land and of a very good port, of great rivers, high mountain ridges, many people, many kinds of food, and a large number of nutmegs. I say that even if Pedro and the other Indians had not given us such news, by necessity there have to be many large populated territoriesto the East and West of those I saw, as well as an unknown five‐thousand league long territory at eighty degrees of latitude. In short, there is a quarter of the whole Globe to be discovered there. I refer to documents on all this, and to a committee of mathematicians and practical people, for apart from what was said before, there is a lot to be said and noted, and we can find out there.