Christopher Columbus - 3nd Voyage

Map of Christopher Columbus - 3nd Voyage

On May 30, 1498, Christopher Columbus left Sanlúcar, Spain with six ships for his third trip to the New World. He was accompanied by Bartolomé de Las Casas, who would later publish partial transcripts of Columbus' logs.

Columbus sailed to the Portuguese island of Porto Santo, then spent some in Madeira with the Portuguese captain João Gonçalves da Camara. He arrived at Gomera in the Canary Islands on June 19. At this point, the fleet split into two squadrons: three ships sailed directly for Hispaniola with supplies for the colonists there; but the other three, commanded by Columbus, were on a mission of exploration to find any lands south of the known islands in the Indies.

The Admiral sailed first to the Cape Verde Islands, where he was unsuccessful in his attempts to obtain cattle. He sailed southwest from the Cape Verdes on July 4, but by the 13th they had made only 120 leagues. After drifting eight days in the Doldrums, winds returned on the 22nd, and Columbus set course west. By the morning of July 31 water was running short, so the Admiral decided to steer directly for Dominica, the island he had discovered on his second voyage. After changing course to north by east, he sighted an island at noon that day. Because the island had three hills, Columbus named it Trinidad, after the Holy Trinity.

The fleet obtained water on the south coast of Trinidad, and saw the coast of South America. Columbus explored the waters between South America and Trinidad from August 4th to August 12th. He explored the mainland of South America, including the Orinoco River.

Columbus noticed the volume of water brought to the sea by the Orinoco River opposite Trinidad. He called the place Boca del Drago, or Dragon's Mouth, because of the way the waters were churned up. He realised that the enormous volume of fresh water was evidence of a continent, rather than in island. Columbus landed, his crew were the first recorded Europeans to set foot on South American soil. The natives were friendly and gladly exchanged pearls for European trinkets.

A few days later, the admiral, setting sail again, and reached the Island of Margarita, where he found the natives fishing for pearls, of which he obtained three bags by barter.

Columbus's health was poor at this time, and he now ordered the fleet to sail for Hispaniola on a northwest by north course. They arrived off southern Hispaniola on August 19, 1498.

Columbus returned to Hispaniola on August 19 to find that many of the Spanish settlers of the new colony were discontented about the lack of easy riches available. During his absence his brother Bartholomew had abandoned Isabella and established his head-quarters at Santo Domingo. Bartholomew had to contend with several Indian uprisings, which he subdued partly by force, partly by wise temporizing.

A number of returned settlers and friars lobbied against Columbus at the Spanish court, accusing him of mismanagement. The king and queen sent the royal administrator Francisco de Bobadilla in 1500, who arrived August 23 1498.

The admiral was directed to hand over to Bobadilla the forts and all public property on the island. After five years the administrative capacity of Columbus had proved unsatisfactory. The viceregal authority of Columbus was indefinitely suspended, and the office was reduced to a mere title and finally fell into disuse

Within a few days after the landing of Bobadilla, Diego and Bartholomew Columbus and later Christopher himself, were imprisoned and put in irons. Bobadilla charged them with being rebellious subjects and seized their private property to pay their personal debts. Early in October, 1500, the three brothers, still in fetters, were placed on board ship, and sent to Spain, arriving at Cadiz at the end of the month. Their treatment while aboard seems to have been considerate; Villejo, the commander, offered to remove the manacles from Columbus's hands and relieve him from the chains, an offer, however, which Columbus refused to accept

The news of the arrival of Columbus as a prisoner was received with astonishment by the monarchs, who saw that Bobadilla had abused the trust placed in him. The people also saw the injustice, and everything was done to relieve Columbus from his humiliating condition and assure him of the royal favour, that is, everything except to reinstate him as Governor of the Indies.

Although he regained his freedom, he did not regain his prestige and he lost his governorship. As an added insult, the Portuguese had won the race to the Indies: Vasco da Gama returned in September 1499 from a trip to India, having sailed east around Africa.

Translated original Log Voyage 3


Christopher Columbus 1492 till his death