please I need an essay, you will find the instructions below in the first attachment and there are some sources.Written Reflection #1
For this written reflection you will synthesize information from the last three classes. You will write a 2,
000 – 2,500 word reflection that addresses the question below. This assignment is to be handed in (not emailed) on WEDNESDAY JULY 6. You must use your notes, the textbook and the primary sources
discussed in class.
Synthesis requires you to compile information to come to a conclusion.
You must compose a response that develops a position on the issue and incorporates perspectives
from at least six of the primary sources we read for this topic (cite them appropriately using MLA
You must also draw upon background knowledge taken from your reading and from class
discussion (Textbook information must be cited correctly using MLA format).
What ideas about society and government emerged during the era known as the Enlightenment?
Explain the link between these ideas and ideas that developed during the pre-Enlightenment era
(Ancient Greeks to 1700). Support all your claims with appropriate and substantial evidence from
the primary sources examined in class.
Your essay will be evaluated using the following criteria:
A+: This essay exhibits a complex and nuanced understanding of the time period. It illustrates understanding of historical
context and causation. It uses the sources appropriately and effectively to support the strong, lucid historical argument
being made. Sources are cited correctly. The essay accounts for historical interpretation and contrasting views and makes
connections that illustrate thorough engagement with the material.
A and A-: This essay exhibits a thorough understanding of the time period. It illustrates an understanding of historical context
and causation. It uses the sources appropriately and effectively to support the historical argument being made.
Sources are cited correctly. The essay accounts for historical interpretation and contrasting views and makes
connections that illustrate appropriate engagement with the material.
B+: This essay exhibits an understanding of the time period. It illustrates an understanding of historical context and causation.
It uses the sources appropriately to support the historical argument being made. Sources are cited correctly. The essay
accounts for historical interpretation and makes connections that illustrate a high-level of engagement with the material.
B and B-: This essay exhibits an understanding of the time period. It illustrates an understanding of historical context and
causation. It uses the sources appropriately to support the historical argument being made. Sources are cited correctly. The
essay accounts for historical interpretation and makes connections that illustrate appropriate engagement with the material.
C+: This essay exhibits an understanding of the time period. It illustrates an understanding of historical context and causation.
It uses the sources appropriately to support the historical argument being made. The essay makes connections that illustrate
appropriate engagement with the material.
C and C-: This essay exhibits an understanding of the time period. It illustrates some understanding of historical context. It
uses the sources appropriately to support the historical argument being made. The essay illustrates engagement with
the material, but lacks sophistication in its argument.
D: This essay lacks coherency. It fails to illustrate, or has limited, understanding of historical context. It uses the sources in an
indirect manner. The essay does not account for historical interpretation and makes few connections that illustrate
appropriate engagement with the material.
F: The essay is not completed.
Written Reflection #1
A Brief Summary of Plato’s Ideal State
The good life is possible only in and through society (State). Society is a natural institution. Man is essentially a social and political
animal. The State exists for the sake of the good life. Now according to Plato, the aim of the good society is neither freedom, nor
economic well-being. Rather, the aim of the good society is justice. A true State, therefore, must be conformed to justice (the Ideal of
which exists in the World of Forms). And so the state does not decide what is just. Justice is an object of knowledge, that is, it is one
of the forms. That is why the Statesman must be a Philosopher. If not, he will only lead the state downwards toward self-destruction.
Justice in the state is analogous to justice in the individual, and the state must be structured after the pattern of justice in the
individual. The soul has three parts, according to Plato:
Justice in the individual exists when the lower appetites are subject to governance of reason. This is the state of peace or pax
(harmony), and peace in the city state is analogous to peace in the individual (Socrates’ self-rule). Freedom means knowing what we
ought to do (wisdom), and having the ability to do what we ought to do. In other words, it is only when the appetites are subject to
reason that I can do what I ought to do. The unjust man cannot control his anger, or moderate his passion for money, etc. So, for
Plato, justice is a kind of order, a harmony between reason and the appetites. A just man will not allow his anger to move him to do
something that is irrational. In this way, only the just man is truly free. So too, only the state that is just is truly free.
Thus, the just state looks like the following:
Points to Note
Censorship is necessary in the context of education. For the good of the State, all poetry and drama that depicts the gods as
indulging in gross immorality (violating oaths and treaties) will be censored. The notion of an absolute right to free artistic
expression is, for Plato, absolute nonsense.
Education: must be for everyone. Education in morality and philosophy is the most important (the true and the good). This
will be most conducive to the good society.
Private Property: Auxiliaries must possess no private property, but receive all necessities from their fellow citizens. They are
never to handle gold and silver. If they are allowed to begin amassing property, they will very soon turn to tyrants.
Community of Wives and children: In the two upper classes, there is to be no private ownership and no family life. Marriage
relations of citizens of these classes should be under the control of the State. Family and private property are not to be
abolished on the artisan level.
Wisdom (Prudence): The wisdom of the State resides in the small class of rulers or Guardians.
Fortitude (Courage): The courage of the State resides in the Auxiliaries.
Temperance: The temperance of the State consists in the due subordination of the governed to the governing.
Justice: The justice of the State involves the harmony of all the parts (classes). Everyone attends to his own business without
interfering with anyone else’s.
An individual person is just when all the elements of the soul (concupiscible appetite, irascible appetite, will, intellect) function
properly in harmony and due subordination of the lower to the higher. So too, the State is just (a just society) when all the classes and
individuals in them perform their due functions in the proper way.
Source: http://fmmh.ycdsb.ca/teachers/F00027452/F00027453/platoste.html (July, 2012)
Venus of Willendorf
c. 24,000-22,000 BCE
Votive statues from Tell Asmar, Mesopotamia: 2,700 BCE
Antiochos, copy of Phidias: Athena of the
Parthenos Athena type. Pentelic marble, Greek
copy from the 1st century BC after the original
from the 5th century BC.
Discobolus. Marble, Roman copy after a bronze
original of the 5th century BC. From the Villa
Adriana near Tivoli, Italy.
Magna Carta (Translation)
[Preamble] Edward by the grace of God King of England, lord of Ireland and duke of Aquitaine sends
greetings to all to whom the present letters come. We have inspected the great charter of the lord Henry, late
King of England, our father, concerning the liberties of England in these words:
Henry by the grace of God King of England, lord of Ireland, duke of Normandy and Aquitaine and count of
Anjou sends greetings to his archbishops, bishops, abbots, priors, earls, barons, sheriffs, reeves, ministers
and all his bailiffs and faithful men inspecting the present charter. Know that we, at the prompting of God
and for the health of our soul and the souls of our ancestors and successors, for the glory of holy Church
and the improvement of our realm, freely and out of our good will have given and granted to the
archbishops, bishops, abbots, priors, earls, barons and all of our realm these liberties written below to hold
in our realm of England in perpetuity.
 In the first place we grant to God and confirm by this our present charter for ourselves and our heirs in
perpetuity that the English Church is to be free and to have all its rights fully and its liberties entirely. We
furthermore grant and give to all the freemen of our realm for ourselves and our heirs in perpetuity the
liberties written below to have and to hold to them and their heirs from us and our heirs in perpetuity.
 If any of our earls or barons, or anyone else holding from us in chief by military service should die, and
should his heir be of full age and owe relief, the heir is to have his inheritance for the ancient relief, namely
the heir or heirs of an earl for a whole county £100, the heir or heirs of a baron for a whole barony 100
marks, the heir or heirs of a knight for a whole knight’s fee 100 shillings at most, and he who owes less will
give less, according to the ancient custom of (knights’) fees.
 If, however, the heir of such a person is under age, his lord is not to have custody of him and his land
until he has taken homage from the heir, and after such an heir has been in custody, when he comes of age,
namely at twenty-one years old, he is to have his inheritance without relief and without fine, saving that if,
whilst under age, he is made a knight, his land will nonetheless remain in the custody of his lords until the
 The keeper of the land of such an heir who is under age is only to take reasonable receipts from the
heir’s land and reasonable customs and reasonable services, and this without destruction or waste of men or
things. And if we assign custody of any such land to a sheriff or to anyone else who should answer to us for
the issues, and such a person should commit destruction or waste, we will take recompense from him and
the land will be assigned to two law-worthy and discreet men of that fee who will answer to us or to the
person to whom we assign such land for the land’s issues. And if we give or sell to anyone custody of any
such land and that person commits destruction or waste, he is to lose custody and the land is to be assigned
to two law-worthy and discreet men of that fee who similarly will answer to us as is aforesaid.
 The keeper, for as long as he has the custody of the land of such (an heir), is to maintain the houses,
parks, fishponds, ponds, mills and other things pertaining to that land from the issues of the same land, and
he will restore to the heir, when the heir comes to full age, all his land stocked with ploughs and all other
things in at least the same condition as when he received it. All these things are to be observed in the
custodies of archbishoprics, bishoprics, abbeys, priories, churches and vacant offices which pertain to us,
save that such custodies ought not to be sold.
 Heirs are to be married without disparagement.
 A widow, after the death of her husband, is immediately and without any difficulty to have her marriage
portion and her inheritance, nor is she to pay anything for her dower or her marriage portion or for her
inheritance which her husband and she held on the day of her husband’s death, and she shall remain in the
chief dwelling place of her husband for forty days after her husband’s death, within which time dower will
be assigned her if it has not already been assigned, unless that house is a castle, and if it is a castle which
she leaves, then a suitable house will immediately be provided for her in which she may properly dwell
until her dower is assigned to her in accordance with what is aforesaid, and in the meantime she is to have
her reasonable necessities (estoverium) from the common property. As dower she will be assigned the third
part of all the lands of her husband which were his during his lifetime, save when she was dowered with
less at the church door. No widow shall be distrained to marry for so long as she wishes to live without a
husband, provided that she gives surety that she will not marry without our assent if she holds of us, or
without the assent of her lord, if she holds of another.
 Neither we nor our bailiffs will seize any land or rent for any debt, as long as the existing chattels of the
debtor suffice for the payment of the debt and as long as the debtor is ready to pay the debt, nor will the
debtor’s guarantors be distrained for so long as the principal debtor is able to pay the debt; and should the
principal debtor default in his payment of the debt, not having the means to repay it, or should he refuse to
pay it despite being able to do so, the guarantors will answer for the debt and, if they wish, they are to have
the lands and rents of the debtor until they are repaid the debt that previously they paid on behalf of the
debtor, unless the principal debtor can show that he is quit in respect to these guarantors.
 The city of London is to have all its ancient liberties and customs. Moreover we wish and grant that all
other cities and boroughs and vills and the barons of the Cinque Ports and all ports are to have all their
liberties and free customs.
 No-one is to be distrained to do more service for a knight’s fee or for any other free tenement than is
due from it.
 Common pleas are not to follow our court but are to be held in a certain fixed place.
 Recognisances of novel disseisin and of mort d’ancestor are not to be taken save in their particular
counties and in the following way. We or, should we be outside the realm, our chief justiciar, will send our
justices once a year to each county, so that, together with the knights of the counties, that may take the
aforesaid assizes in the counties; and those assizes which cannot be completed in that visitation of the
county by our aforesaid justices assigned to take the said assizes are to be completed elsewhere by the
justices in their visitation; and those which cannot be completed by them on account of the difficulty of
various articles (of law) are to be referred to our justices of the Bench and completed there.
 Assizes of darrein presentment are always to be taken before our justices of the Bench and are to be
 A freeman is not to be amerced for a small offence save in accordance with the manner of the offence,
and for a major offence according to its magnitude, saving his sufficiency (salvo contenemento suo), and a
merchant likewise, saving his merchandise, and any villain other than one of our own is to be amerced in
the same way, saving his necessity (salvo waynagio) should he fall into our mercy, and none of the
aforesaid amercements is to be imposed save by the oath of honest and law-worthy men of the
neighbourhood. Earls and barons are not to be amerced save by their peers and only in accordance with the
manner of their offence.
 No town or free man is to be distrained to make bridges or bank works save for those that ought to do
so of old and by right.
 No bank works of any sort are to be kept up save for those that were in defense in the time of King
H(enry II) our grandfather and in the same places and on the same terms as was customary in his time.
 No sheriff, constable, coroner or any other of our bailiffs is to hold pleas of our crown.
 If anyone holding a lay fee from us should die, and our sheriff or bailiff shows our letters patent
containing our summons for a debt that the dead man owed us, our sheriff or bailiff is permitted to attach
and enroll all the goods and chattels of the dead man found in lay fee, to the value of the said debt, by view
of law-worthy men, so that nothing is to be removed thence until the debt that remains is paid to us, and the
remainder is to be released to the executors to discharge the will of the dead man, and if nothing is owed to
us from such a person, all the chattels are to pass to the (use of) the dead man, saving to the dead man’s
wife and children their reasonable portion.
 No constable or his bailiff is to take corn or other chattels from anyone who not themselves of a vill
where a castle is built, unless the constable or his bailiff immediately offers money in payment of obtains a
respite by the wish of the seller. If the person whose corn or chattels are taken is of such a vill, then the
constable or his bailiff is to pay the purchase price within forty days.
 No constable is to distrain any knight to give money for castle guard if the knight is willing to do such
guard in person or by proxy of any other honest man, should the knight be prevented from doing so by just
cause. And if we take or send such a knight into the army, he is to be quit of (castle) guard in accordance
with the length of time the we have him in the army for the fee for which he has done service in the army.
 No sheriff or bailiff of ours or of anyone else is to take anyone’s horses or carts to make carriage,
unless he renders the payment customarily due, namely for a two-horse cart ten pence per day, and for a
three-horse cart fourteen pence per day. No demesne cart belonging to any churchman or knight or any
other lady (sic) is to be taken by our bailiffs, nor will we or our bailiffs or anyone else take someone else’s
timber for a castle or any other of our business save by the will of he to whom the timber belongs.
 We shall not hold the lands of those convicted of felony save for a year and a day, whereafter such land
is to be restored to the lords of the fees.
 All fish weirs (kidelli) on the Thames and the Medway and throughout England are to be entirely
dismantled, save on the sea coast.
 The writ called ‘praecipe’ is not to be issued to anyone in respect to any free tenement in such a way
that a free man might lose his court.
 There is to be a single measure for wine throughout our realm, and a single measure for ale, and a
single measure for Corn, that is to say the London quarter, and a single breadth for dyed cloth, russets, and
haberjects, that is to say two yards within the lists. And it shall be the same for weights as for measures.
 Henceforth there is to be nothing given for a writ of inquest from the person seeking an inquest of life
or member, but such a writ is to be given freely and is not to be denied.
 If any persons hold from us at fee farm or in socage or burgage, and hold land from another by knight
service, we are not, by virtue of such a fee farm or socage or burgage, to have custody of the heir or their
land which pertains to another’s fee, nor are we to have custody of such a fee farm or socage or burgage
unless this fee farm owes knight service. We are not to have the custody of an heir or of any land which is
held from another by knight service on the pretext of some small serjeanty held from us by service of
rendering us knives or arrows or suchlike things.
 No bailiff is henceforth to put any man on his open law or on oath simply by virtue of his spoken word,
without reliable witnesses being produced for the same.
 No freeman is to be taken or imprisoned or disseised of his free tenement or of his liberties or free
customs, or outlawed or exiled or in any way ruined, nor will we go against such a man or send against him
save by lawful judgement of his peers or by the law of the land. To no-one will we sell or deny of delay
right or justice.
 All merchants, unless they have been previously and publicly forbidden, are to have safe and secure
conduct in leaving and coming to England and in staying and going through England both by land and by
water to buy and to sell, without any evil exactions, according to the ancient and right customs, save in time
of war, and if they should be from a land at war against us and be found in our land at the beginning of the
war, they are to be attached without damage to their bodies or goods until it is established by us or our chief
justiciar in what way the merchants of our land are treated who at such a time are found in the land that is at
war with us, and if our merchants are safe there, the other merchants are to be safe in our land.
 If anyone dies holding of any escheat such as the honour of Wallingford, Boulogne, Nottingham,
Lancaster or of other escheats which are in our hands and which are baronies, his heir is not to give any
other relief or render any other service to us that would not have been rendered to the baron if the barony
were still held by a baron, and we shall hold such things in the same way as the baron held them, nor, on
account of such a barony or escheat, are we to have the escheat or custody of any of our men unless the man
who held the barony or the escheat held elsewhere from us in chief.
 No free man is henceforth to give or sell any more of his land to anyone, unless the residue of his land
is sufficient to render due service to the lord of the fee as pertains to that fee.
 All patrons of abbeys which have charters of the kings of England over advowson or ancient tenure or
possession are to have the custody of such abbeys when they fall vacant just as they ought to have and as is
 No-one is to be taken or imprisoned on the appeal of woman for the death of anyone save for the death
of that woman’s husband.
 No county court is to be held save from month to month, and where the greater term used to be held, so
will it be in future, nor will any sheriff or his bailiff make his tourn through the hundred save for twice a
year and only in the place that is due and customary, namely once after Easter and again after Michaelmas,
and the view of frankpledge is to be taken at the Michaelmas term without exception, in such a way that
every man is to have his liberties which he had or used to have in the time of King H(enry II) my
grandfather or which he has acquired since. The view of frankpledge is to be taken so that our peace be held
and so that the tithing is to be held entire as it used to be, and so that the sheriff does not seek exceptions but
remains content with that which the sheriff used to have in taking the view in the time of King H(enry) our
 Nor is it permitted to anyone to give his land to a religious house in such a way that he receives it back
from such a house to hold, nor is it permitted to any religious house to accept the land of anyone in such
way that the land is restored to the person from whom it was received to hold. If anyone henceforth gives
his land in such a way to any religious house and is convicted of the same, the gift is to be entirely quashed
and such land is to revert to the lord of that fee.
 Scutage furthermore is to be taken as it used to be in the time of King H(enry) our grandfather, and all
liberties and free customs shall be preserved to archbishops, bishops, abbots, priors, Templars, Hospitallers,
earls, barons and all others, both ecclesiastical and secular persons, just as they formerly had.
All these aforesaid customs and liberties which we have granted to be held in our realm in so far as pertains
to us are to be observed by all of our realm, both clergy and laity, in so far as pertains to them in respect to
their own men. For this gift and grant of these liberties and of others contained in our charter over the
liberties of the forest, the archbishops, bishops, abbots, priors, earls, barons, knights, fee holders and all of
our realm have given us a fifteenth part of all their movable goods. Moreover we grant to them for us and
our heirs that neither we nor our heirs will seek anything by which the liberties contained in this charter
might be infringed or damaged, and should anything be obtained from anyone against this it is to count for
nothing and to be held as nothing. With these witnesses: the lord S(tephen) archbishop of Canterbury,
E(ustace) bishop of London, J(ocelin) bishop of Bath, P(eter) bishop of Winchester, H(ugh) bishop of
Lincoln, R(ichard) bishop of Salisbury, W. bishop of Rochester, W(illiam) bishop of Worcester, J(ohn)
bishop of Ely, H(ugh) bishop of Hereford, R(anulf) bishop of Chichester, W(illiam) bishop of Exeter, the
abbot of (Bury) St Edmunds, the abbot of St Albans, the abbot of Battle, the abbot of St Augustine’s
Canterbury, the abbot of Evesham, the abbot of Westminster, the abbot of Peterborough, the abbot of
Reading, the abbot of Abingdon, the abbot of Malmesbury, the abbot of Winchcombe, the abbot of Hyde
(Winchester), the abbot of Chertsey, the abbot of Sherborne, the abbot of Cerne, the abbot of Abbotsbury,
the abbot of Milton (Abbas), the abbot of Selby, the abbot of Cirencester, H(ubert) de Burgh the justiciar,
H. earl of Chester and Lincoln, W(illiam) earl of Salisbury, W(illiam) earl Warenne, G. de Clare earl of
Gloucester and Hertford, W(illiam) de Ferrers earl of Derby, W(illiam) de Mandeville earl of Essex, H(ugh)
Bigod earl of Norfolk, W(illiam) earl Aumale, H(umphrey) earl of Hereford, J(ohn) constable of Chester,
R(obert) de Ros, R(obert) fitz Walter, R(obert) de Vieuxpont, W(illiam) Brewer, R(ichard) de Montfiquet,
P(eter) fitz Herbert, W(illiam) de Aubigné, G. Gresley, F. de Braose, J(ohn) of Monmouth, J(ohn) fitz Alan,
H(ugh) de Mortemer, W(illiam) de Beauchamp, W(illiam) de St John, P(eter) de Maulay, Brian de Lisle,
Th(omas) of Moulton, R(ichard) de Argentan, G(eoffrey) de Neville, W(illiam) Mauduit, J(ohn) de Baalon
and others. Given at Westminster on the eleventh day of February in the ninth year of our reign.
We, holding these aforesaid gifts and grants to be right and welcome, conceed and confirm them for
ourselves and our heirs and by the terms of the present (letters) renew them, wishing and granting for
ourselves and our heirs that the aforesaid charter is to be firmly and inviably observed in all and each of its
articles in perpetuity, including any articles contained in the same charter which by chance have not to date
been observed. In testimony of which we have had made these our letters patent. Witnessed by Edward our
son, at Westminster on the twelfth day of October in the twenty-fifth year of our reign. (Chancery warranty
by John of) Stowe.
Translation by Professor Nicholas Vincent, Copyright Sotheby’s Inc. 2007
Letter to King Ferdinand of Spain, describing the results of the first voyage, Christopher Columbus
SIR: Since I know that you will be pleased at the great victory with which Our Lord has crowned my
voyage, I write this to you, from which you will learn how in thirty-three days I passed from the Canary
Islands to the Indies, with the fleet which the most illustrious King and Queen, our Sovereigns, gave to
me. There I found very many islands, filled with innumerable people, and I have taken possession of
them all for their Highnesses, done by proclamation and with the royal standard unfurled, and no
opposition was offered to me.
To the first island which I found I gave the name “San Salvador,” in remembrance of the Divine Majesty,
Who had marvellously bestowed all this; the Indians call it “Guanahani.” To the second, I gave the name
the island of “Santa Maria de Concepcion,” to the third, “Fernandina,” to the fourth, “Isabella,” to the
fifth island, “Juana,” and so each received from me a new name.
When I came to Juana, I followed its coast to the westward, and I found it to be so extensive that I
thought that it must be the mainland, the province of Cathay. And since there were neither towns nor
villages on the seashore, but small hamlets only, with the people of which I could not have speech
because they all fled immediately, I went forward on the same course, thinking that I could not fail to
find great cities or towns. At the end of many leagues, seeing that there was no change and that the
coast was bearing me northwards, which I wished to avoid, since winter was already approaching and I
proposed to make from it to the south, and as, moreover, the wind was carrying me forward, I
determined not to wait for a change in the weather and retraced my path as far as a remarkable
harbour known to me. From that point, I sent two men inland to learn if there were a king or great
cities. They travelled three days’ journey, finding an infinity of small hamlets and people without
number, but nothing of importance. For this reason, they returned.
I understood sufficiently from other Indians, whom I had already taken, that this land was nothing but
an island, and I therefore followed its coast eastward for one hundred and seven leagues to the point
where it ended. From that point, I saw another island, distant about eighteen leagues from the first, to
the east, and to it I at once gave the name “Espafiola.” I went there and followed its northern coast, as I
had followed that of Juana, to the eastward for one hundred and eighty-eight great leagues in a straight
line. This island and all the others are very fertile to a limitless degree, and this island is extremely so. In
it there are many harbours on the coast of the sea, beyond comparison with others that I know in
Christendom, and many rivers, good and large, which is marvellous. Its lands are high; there are in it
many sierras and very lofty mountains, beyond comparison with that of Tenerife. All are most beautiful,
of a thousand shapes; all are accessible and are filled with trees of a thousand kinds and tall, so that
they seem to touch the sky. I am told that they never lose their foliage, and this I can believe, for I saw
them as green and lovely as they are in Spain in May, and some of them were flowering, some bearing
fruit, and some at another stage, according to their nature. The nightingale was singing and other birds
of a thousand kinds, in the month of November, there where I went. There are six or eight kinds of palm,
which are a wonder to behold on account of their beautiful variety, but so are the other trees and fruits
and plants. In it are marvellous pine groves; there are very wide and fertile plains, and there is honey;
and there are birds of many kinds and fruits in great diversity. In the interior, there are mines of metals,
and the population is without number.
Espanola is a marvel. The sierras and the mountains, the plains, the champaigns, are so lovely and so
rich for planting and sowing, for breeding cattle of every kind, for building towns and villages. The
harbours of the sea here are such as cannot be believed to exist unless they have been seen, and so with
the rivers, many and great, and of good water, the majority of which contain gold. In the trees, fruits
and plants, there is a great difference from those of Juana. In this island, there are many spices and
great mines of gold and of other metals.
The people of this island and of all the other islands which I have found and of which I have information,
all go naked, men and women, as their mothers bore them, although some of the women cover a single
place with the leaf of a plant or with a net of cotton which they make for the purpose. They have no iron
or steel or weapons, nor are they fitted to use them. This is not because they are not well built and of
handsome stature, but because they are very marvellously timorous. They have no other arms than
spears made of canes, cut in seeding time, to the ends of which they fix a small sharpened stick. Of
these they do not dare to make use, for many times it has happened that I have sent ashore two or
three men to some town to have speech with them, and countless people have come out to them, and
as soon as they have seen my men approaching, they have fled, a father not even waiting for his son.
This is not because ill has been done to any one of them; on the contrary, at every place where I have
been and have been able to have speech with them, I have given to them of that which I had, such as
cloth and many other things, receiving nothing in exchange. But so they are, incurably timid. It is true
that, after they have been reassured and have lost this fear, they are so guileless and so generous with
all that they possess, that no one would believe it who has not seen it. They refuse nothing that they
possess, if it be asked of them; on the contrary, they invite any one to share it and display as much love
as if they would give their hearts. They are content with whatever trifle of whatever kind that may be
given to them, whether it be of value or valueless. I forbade that they should be given things so
worthless as fragments of broken crockery, scraps of broken and lace tips, although when they were
able to get them, they fancied that they possessed the best jewel in the world. So it was found for a
thong a sailor received gold to the weight of two and a half castellanos, and others received much more
for other things which worth less. As for new blancas, for them they would give everything which they
had, although it might be two or three castellanos’ weight of gold or an arroba or two of spun cotton.
They took even the pieces of the broken hoops of the wine barrels and, like savages, gave what they
had, so that it seemed to me to be wrong and I forbade it. I gave them a thousand handsome good
things, which I had brought, in order that they might conceive affection for us and, more than that,
might become Christians and be inclined to the love and service of Your Highnesses and of the whole
Castilian nation, and strive to collect and give us of the things which they have in abundance and which
are necessary to us.
They do not hold any creed nor are they idolaters; but they all believe that power and good are in the
heavens and were very firmly convinced that I, with these ships and men, came from the heavens, and
in this belief they everywhere received me after they had mastered their fear. This belief is not the
result of ignorance, for they are, on the contrary, of a very acute intelligence and they are men who
navigate all those seas, so that it is amazing how good an account they give of everything. It is because
they have never seen people clothed or ships of such a kind.
As soon as I arrived in the Indies, in the first island which I found, I took some of the natives by force, in
order that they might learn and might give me information of whatever there is in these parts. And so it
was that they soon understood us, and we them, either by speech or by signs, and they have been very
serviceable. At present, those I bring with me are still of the opinion that I come from Heaven, for all the
intercourse which they have had with me. They were the first to announce this wherever I went, and the
others went running from house to house, and to the neighbouring towns, with loud cries of, “Come!
Come! See the men from Heaven!” So all came, men and women alike, when their minds were set at
rest concerning us, not one, small or great, remaining behind, and they all brought something to eat and
drink, which they gave with extraordinary affection.
In all the islands, they have very many canoes, which are like rowing fustas, some larger and some
smaller; some are greater than a fusta of eighteen benches. They are not so broad, because they are
made of a single log of wood, but a fusta would not keep up with them in rowing, since their speed is an
incredible thing. In these they navigate among all those islands, which are innumerable, and carry their
goods. I have seen one of these canoes with seventy or eighty men in it, each one with his paddle.
In all these islands, I saw no great diversity in the appearance of the people or in their manners and
language. On the contrary, they all understand one another, which is a very curious thing, on account of
which I hope that their Highnesses will determine upon their conversion to our holy faith, towards which
they are very inclined.
I have already said how I went one hundred and seven leagues in a straight line from west to east along
the seashore of the island of Juana, and as a result of this voyage I can say that this island is larger than
England and Scotland together, for, beyond these one hundred and even leagues, there remain to the
westward two provinces to which I have not gone. One of these provinces they call “Avan,” and there
people are born with tails. These provinces cannot have a length of less than fifty or sixty leagues, as I
could understand from those Indians whom I have and who know all the islands.
The other island, Espanola, has a circumference greater than all Spain from Collioure by the seacoast to
Fuenterabia in Vizcaya, for I voyaged along one side for one hundred and eighty-eight great leagues in a
straight line from west to east. It is a land to be desired and, when seen, never to be left. I have taken
possession of all for their Highnesses, and all are more richly endowed than I know how or am able to
say, and I hold all for their Highnesses, so that they may dispose of them as they do of the kingdoms of
Castile and as absolutely. But especially, in this Espanola, in the situation most convenient and in the
best position for the mines of gold and for all trade as well with the mainland here as with that there,
belonging to the Grand Khan, where will be great trade and profit, I have taken possession of a large
town, to which I gave the name “Villa de Navidad,” and in it I have made fortifications and a fort, which
will now by this time be entirely completed. In it I have left enough men for such a purpose with arms
and artillery and provisions for more than a year, and a fusta, and one a master of all seacraft, to build
others, and I have established great friendship with the king of that land, so much so, that he was proud
to call me “brother” and to treat me as such. And even were he to change his attitude to one of hostility
towards these men, he and his do not know what arms are. They go naked, as I have already said, and
they are the most timorous people in the world, so that the men whom I have left there alone would
suffice to destroy all that land, and the island is without danger for their persons, if they know how to
In all these islands, it seems to me that all men are content with one woman, and to their chief or king
they give as many as twenty.
It appears to me that the women work more than do the men. I have been able to learn if they hold
private property; it seemed to me to be that all took a share in whatever any one had, especially of
In these islands I have so far found no human monstrosities, as many expected, but on the contrary the
whole population is very well tried, nor are they negroes as in Guinea, but their hair is flowing and they
are not born where there is intense force in the rays of the sun. It is true that the sun there has great
power, although it is distant from the equinoctial line twenty-six degrees. In these islands, where there
are high mountains, the cold was severe this winter, but they endure it, being used to it and with the
help of meats which they consume with many and extremely hot spices. Thus I have found no monsters,
nor had a report of any, except in an island “Carib,” which is the second at the coming into the Indies,
and which is inhabited by people who are regarded in all the islands as very fierce and who eat human
flesh. They have many canoes with which they range through all the islands of India and pillage and take
whatever they can. They are no more malformed than are the others, except that they have the custom
of wearing their hair long like women, and they use bows and arrows of the same cane stems, with a
small piece of wood at end, owing to their lack of iron which they do not possess. They are ferocious
among these other people who are cowardly to an excessive degree, but I make no more account of
them than of the rest. These are they who have intercourse with the women of “Matini-no,” which is the
first island met on the way from Spain to the Indies, in which there is not a man. These women engage
in no feminine occupation, but use bows and arrows of cane, like those already mentioned, and they
arm and protect themselves with plates of copper, of which they have much.
In another island, which they assure me is larger than Espanola, the people have no hair. In it there is
incalculable gold, and from it and from the other islands I bring with me Indians as evidence.
In conclusion, to speak only of what has been accomplished on this voyage, which was so hasty, their
Highnesses can see that I will give them as much gold as they may need, if their Highnesses will render
me very slight assistance; presently, I will give them spices and cotton, as much as their Highnesses shall
command; and mastic, as much as they shall order to be shipped and which, up to now, has been found
only in Greece, in the island of Chios, and the Seignory sells it for what it pleases; and aloe, as much as
they shall order to be shipped; and slaves, as many as they shall order, and who will be from the
idolaters. I believe also that I have found rhubarb and cinnamon, and I shall find a thousand other things
of value, which the people whom I have left there will have discovered, for I have not delayed at any
point, so far as the wind allowed me to sail, except in the town of Navidad, in order to leave it secured
and well established, and in truth I should have done much more if the ships had served me as reason
This is enough. And thus the eternal God, Our Lord, gives to all those who walk in His way triumph over
things which appear to be impossible, and this was notably one. For, although men have talked or have
written of these lands, all was conjectural, without ocular evidence, but amounted only to this, that
those who heard for the most part listened and judged rather by hearsay than from even a small
something tangible. So that, since Our Redeemer has given the victory to our most illustrious King and
Queen, and to their renowned kingdoms, in so great a matter, for this all Christendom ought to feel
delight and make great feasts and give solemn thanks to the Holy Trinity, with many solemn prayers for
the great exaltation which they shall have in the turning of so many peoples to our holy faith, and
afterwards for the temporal benefits, because not only Spain but all Christendom will have hence
refreshment and gain.
This is an account of the facts, thus abridged.
Done in the caravel, on the Canary Islands, on the fifteenth day of February, in the year one thousand
four hundred and ninety-three.
At your orders.
After having written this, and being in the sea of Castile, there came upon me so great a south and
south-east wind that I was obliged to ease the ship. But I ran here to-day into this port of Lisbon, which
was the greatest marvel in the world, whence I decided to write to their Highnesses. In all the Indies, I
have always found weather like May. There I went in thirty-three days and I should have returned in
twenty-eight, save for these storms which have detained me for fourteen days, beating about in this
sea. Here all the sailors say that never has there been so bad a winter nor so many ships lost.
Done on the fourth day of March.
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