October 28, 1492
After leaving San Salvador Christopher
Columbus followed the directions given by the native peoples
of the small island and traveled to Cuba
on October 28. By the time he landed on its shores he was
certain that it was the large island which the native peoples
referred to as Colba. Unsure of exactly where to find the
island, and the gold which he believed it held, Columbus had
captured a handful of Tainos and ordered them to guide him
where he needed to go.
Columbus was very impressed with the beauty
and nature of the large island. He was astounded at its splendor
and wrote at length about Cuba in his journal and in letters
to Spain. Despite finding very little gold on the island,
Columbus was infatuated.
Sunday, 28 October 1492
. . . I have never seen anything
so beautiful. The country around the river is full of trees,
beautiful and green and different from ours, each with flowers
and its own kind of fruit. There are many birds of all sizes
that sing very sweetly, and there are many palms different
from those in Guinea or Spain. Some are of medium height without
any bark at the base, and the leaves are very large. The Indians
cover their houses with these leaves. The land is very level.
I took the small boat ashore
and approached two houses that I thought belonged to fishermen.
The people fled in fear. In one of the houses we found a dog
that did not bark, and in both houses we found nets made of
palm threads; cords; fishhooks made of horn; harpoons made
from bone; and other fishing materials. There were many fire
hearths; and I believe that many people live together in each
house. I ordered that not one thing be touched, and thus it