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Nueva Guinea

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Spanish Transcription 

/139/ Relación que Migel Rojo de Brito da de la Nueva Guinea

Partí de Bachan a 17 del mes de mayo de 1581 en dos caracoas de yndios vasallos del reyzuelo de Bachan nuestro amigo, a mi costa, en las quales llevaba 140 hombres naturales de una ysla que llaman obe la qual está de Bachan para el sur obra de dos leguas y de otra ysla que llaman Tapa; junto a ésta los quales me entregó el dicho reyzuelo para que en todo me sirviesen y acompañasen. Y fui con ellos caminando al sur y tomé la dicha ysla obe donde me proveí de bastimentos y mejoré de gente dejando los munchachos tomando hombres de fuerça para la boga y de aquí camino del susueste tiene una ysla que llaman Tape y luego al mismo rumbo tomé otra que llaman Tapalba, las quales ambas son despobladas y yslas pequeñas. En ellas hallé muncho pescado, cangrejos de la tierra que son muy excelentes, e fui caminando al leste tomé la ysla de Tamilonga la qual tiene un volcán que se parece de lejos ni más ni menos como las yslas de Basas. En esta ysla hay una poblaçión de obra de çien indios que me dieron la obediencia y le hice botar una caracoa a la mar con la qual me acompañaron todo este tiempo e por estas partes anduve. De esta ysla de Tamilonga camino del leste partí con tres caracoas hallé las yslas de Boo que son munchas y despobladas, en ellas hallé muncho género de pescado y puercos de monte much indigo, gunpowder and ink, which supplies all of Java and Minangkabau; 20,000 tinajas of this indigo are produced yearly, and indigo and rockrose are very cheap. It abounds in sappanwood, which is Brazilwood, with which the whole of India, China and Japan are supplied. It has a great deal of white benzoin in brick-size pieces, as well as an abundance of coarse piece goods—by comparison fine piece goods are worth much in Siam. It abounds in timber for building carracks and galleys, more than in other lands of our time.

/139v/ y de estas yslas de Boo al mismo rum- bo leste tomé una ysla que llaman Labey la qual hallé poblada de un reyzuelo acompañado de obra de dos mil hombres que también me dio la obediençia y se espantó de ver gente blanca porque sola noticia tenía de nosotros más nunca nos había visto. Estas yslas están una de otras casi un día de camino y de aquí me llevaron a una ysla que llaman Mesol en la qual hallé un rey acompañado de quatro o çinco mil hombres que me recibió como cosa extraña y nunca vista; éste me tuvo en un pueblo obra de treinta días haciéndome mun- cho regalo, dándome preseas de oro e reconocimiento de amistad y preguntándole si había por aquella parte más yslas y gente me llevó camino del lesnordeste a unas yslas que llaman de Baygeo las quales hallé pobladas y en ellas un rey que por la misma manera que el pasado me recibió haciéndome munchos regalos y echándome una cadena de oro al cuello de la caracao en que yo venía que pesaría 90 ducados. Esta ysla que se llama Maçol es una ysla cumplida y en munchas partes tiene serranía, tendrá de box 40 leguas en el cabo de la qual por la parte del nordeste tiene su población çituada en una laguna de agua salada y tendrá en la boca anchura de una lança y luego entrando para dentro se hace en toda torno de media legua en la qual tiene hechas sus casas sobre grandes vigas metidas en el agua. Habrá en este pueblo obra de 4U hombres que obedecen a un rey que tienen elegido ellos llaman suntien. Tiene munchos indios por la tierra adentro que les hacen sus sementeras y huertas de 

/140/ landan que es un pan que ellos comen que es muy semejante a bizcocho y de muncha sustançia. Aquí me traían muncho oro labrado y por labrar para solo quería comprar preguntando yo a aquel rey donde había aquel oro me respondía que todoss los añoss mandaba juntar a su gente a una ysla que llaman Cerdeña que está junto a la ysla de Seyron en la qual habrá çinco mil hombres que son todos mercaderes y muy ricos y con la gente que cautivan mis vasallos por ellos rescatan oro y campanas y munchas mantas y que también llevan a vender estas campanas a la Nueva Guinea a quien ellos llaman Botan que quiere decir tierra firme. Un reino que está en una punta de tierra firme el qual se llama one tuco de oro y así poseen muncho como digo porque en toda esta gente no vi persona como no fuese esclavo que no trajese en sus orejas oro a su usança que cada uno podía pesar más de una onza e por esta cudicia son éstos de Maçol muy dados a hurtar por lo qual hacen unas embarcaçiones muy ligeras que cada jornada andan más de doce leguas, y traen en ellas quatro órdenes de remos una por adentro en el cuerpo del navío tres por fuera. Y andando yo en ellas por ninguna manera podía tener en pie por ser muy ligeros y a cada bogada hurtan el cuerpo al hombre. Estos de Maçol en ninguna parte hurtan sino es en la ysla de Sardenha que dicha tengo estará está [sic] de Moçol por la parte del sur 30 leguas poco más o menos y lo hacen de tal manera que va una armada de treinta e quarenta navíos y ninguno dellos vuelve sin hacer presa. La primera que la toma rescata los cautivos y se vuelve para su tierra y no hay año que no tome 70 u 80 serdanhos y por

/140v/ el precio que se rescatan una vez por el mismo precio se rescatan quantas veces fueren cautivos sin le quitar de preçio nada y si no tienen con qué rescatar se los matan por la qual traiçión porque no pasen este trance quando no tienen con qué se rescatar piden a otros serdanhos ricos que los compren y así quedan por esclavos. Y los mismos serdanhos me dijeron yendo con este rey treinta caracoas para hacer con ellos pases con tal condiçión que habían de quedar los de serdenha por vassallos de este dicho rey y por le tener yo así aconsejado, lo qual cometiéndoles yo el dicho pacto me respondieron que no había serdanho que no hubiese sido cautivo çinco veces y quanto tuviéremos velas con que podamos ir a buscar nuestra vida por las mercançías no queremos ser vasallos pues podemos con nuestra hacienda comprar nuestras libertades, a lo qual este rey papúa res- pondió que en quanto ellos tuviesen remos y calavales que son las armas de que ellos usan acá ni a los suyos no les faltará oro ni qué vestir a su costa dellos. Y así nos partimos de Serdenha y fuimos a tener a una ysla y lugar que llaman Daro el qual está en tierra firme de Seyron, en él hice a este rey hacer paces por ser yndios que me dieron nuevas de portugueses de la ysla de Ban- da y quedó este rey papúa de se las guardar en quanto viviere y desde este lugar mandar rescatar los cautivos que tomaren en Serdenha porque en ello le es de grande ganancia. Tiene esta ysla de Serdena de box ocho leguas e por la parte del sur tiene su pueblo situado al luengo de la playa y en un otero una cerca de piedra

/141/ puesta que ellos tienen por ffuerça en la qual tienen algunas garitas con munchos versos. Tiene este pueblo partida en ocho principales las quales cada uno tiene tantos hombres que le obedecen y así el de una soa [sic] no puede ser juez en la otra. Y todos los años van dos principa- les destos con gente en sus navíos a hacer sus mercançías y queda la demás gente en guarda y defençión de la tierra y quando se vuelven a recoger los que fueron van luego los otros que les cave de entrar y así se gobiernan sin tener los unos de los otros ninguna diferençia. Tienen éstos de Serdenha quatro depositarios en cuyo poder tienen lo que traen y recogen el oro y hacienda, la qual juntan allí para las necesidades y bien común de todo este pueblo y todas las veces que vienen de fuera los navíos dan un tanto que meten en este depósito y quando tienen alguna necesidad o guerra con algunas provinçias como fue la que tuvieron con las yslas de Banda pagan gente que hallan por un cierto preçio. En la ysla de Siron por la banda del norueste y con éstos hacen armada para se defender y ofender algunas veces con ella. También tienen este tesoro para que si los de Maçol cautivan algún honrado de Serdenha y no tiene pusible para se rescatar lo sacan del depósito y lo rescatan porque no se pierda del pueblo aquella persona y no pase detrimento su honra. Los de esta ysla de Serdenha me han dicho que se espantaban como no se tenía noticia de su ysla con muncha riqueza que tienen tienen munchos versos que entre todos habrá 600 con sus cámaras de metal que es lo que ellos tienen por grandezas sin saber usar dellas.

/141v/ Navegan éstos de Serdenha en sus navíos loss los quales hacen muy buenos como juncos javos por todas las yslas de Timor por la banda adentro y por las donde se coge el palo oloroso que llaman sándalo, y por todo el reino de Valedon sacan muncho oro y mantas y por todo el reino de Bima donde se halla muncho oro y ámbar y cera e por la mayor parte de la Xava mayor; y también tienen comercio con los de las yslas de Marzeo y con las de Boran donde rescatan muncho oro y mantas y algodón hylado. También tienen comercio con el Tambuco donde traen muncho hierro y lo llevan a vender a la Nueva Guinea en un reino que llaman Magusia y allí lo truecan por un palo que se llama masol lo qual venden después a los xavos que lo tienen en muncho para sus enfermedades porque lo muelen y se untan el cuerpo con ello y los sanos también por lo qual se gastan muncho todos los años. De aquí retorné a recoger a la ysla de Maçol y de ahí me fui a las yslas del rey de Boyseo, las quales son munchas y pobladas y en la que él reside se llama Boron. Tendrá de box quince leguas, hay en ella muncho landa, gallinas, puercos de monte; podrá tener este lugar mil hombres que todos obedecen al dicho rey. Éste me recibió muy bien y con muncho amor diciéndome munchas veces que deseaba muncho estuviera yo en su tierra para le enseñar las construmbres de nuestra santa fe católica que era él gentil y vivía como bestia y así su gentilidad le prohibía no comiese puerco y porque se lo mandé comer lo comió luego y me pidió que pues teníamos por insignia la

/142/ cruz le quisiese poner yo una en su pueblo para adorar en ella así como nosotros hacemos, lo qual mandé yo hacer por dos maestros muy grande y hermosa y se la arbolé en su pueblo. A lo largo de la playa disparando los versos y arcabuces que yo llevaba de que el dicho rey recibió muncho contento y alegría y su mujer y hijos en tanto lloraban de placer. También le di una bandera que yo llevaba con la cruz de cristo para que quando tuviese algunas refriegas con los de la misma ysla digo con los de la Nueva Guinea la arbolase por su quadra que nuestro señor le defendería y le daría victoria con lo qual quedó muy satisfecho; y luego aprestó su armada y se fue conmigo camino del lesuest. Y tomamos una ysla que se llama Garan la qual hallamos despoblada por causa de una serpiente que en ella anda, la qual ha comido la mayor parte de los naturales que allí vivían en esta isla. Varamos el armada la qual era de trece caracoas estuvimos aquí concertándonos y haciendo bastimentos para la chusma de Landa y pescado y por aves aquí muncho lo qual acabado echamos el armada a la mar y nos fuimos camino del lesueste. Y hallamos una ysla pequeña la qual se llama onelor y en ella había obra de doscientas personas y nos dieron la obediençia y algunas prendas en reconocimiento de vasallaje lo qual el rey mandó que se me diese a mí y que yo era el general de aquella armada y gente. Y de esta misma ysla camino del leste un día de camino dimos en el reino de one que es en tierra firme de la Nueva Guinea de la banda del sur y

/142v/ podrá estar en medio grado poco más o menos; destos también nos dieron la obediençia algunos lugares que tenía ruin defensa y por estar situado por el agua a lo largo de la playa y algunos pueblos que estaban en parte dificultosa nos resistían y con todo lo que se resistían trajimos uno a la obediencia por muertes de algunos de nuestra compañía con flechas, porque es el arma que usan y están diestros en ellas y no hay por toda esta tierra otra arma sino son flechas y dardos y sin yerba ninguna. La gente de esta provincia son todos negros como los de Gui- nea y son todos mercaderes porque van a un reino que está debajo de la equinoçial el qual se llama Segat donde hay un pueblo que hay en él una gran feria y rescate de negros que éstos de one compran aquí y llevan a vender a Serdenha y como los de Serdenha son muy ricos los compran y los meten en la ysla de Çitan para la granjería de sus huertas en ella tienen y es cierto que hay indio serdenho que tiene mil esclavos negros y le hacen éstos muncha landa a modo del bizcocho y lo tienen junto para lo vender a los xavos y con ello rescatan la nuez moscada en masa y en banda y porque los carguen de bastimento. Tienen también éstos de one muncho oro labrado que traen en las orejas y en el pescuezo, preguntando yo de dónde cogían aquel oro res- pondieron que por aquella banda y costa adelante de la banda del sur estaba un reino que llaman Efia y junto a éste están dos reinos muy poderosos de

/143/ gente, una provincia que llaman Ugar en que hay muncho e fino oro. Y diciendo yo al rey de Baygeo que fuésemos en busca de esta gente dijeron los de one que corríamos muncho riesgo por tener munchas embarcaçiones y muy ligeras y que si hubiese quarenta o cinquenta que se le podría tomar el pueblo aunque era muy grande porque de oír los arcabuces habrán todos de huir. Y que este oro de Ugar lo van a buscar por la tierra dentro y que también halla muncho oro en ríos y que demás de esta provinçia más allá hay otras que también lo tienen que no saben si lo compran en Ugar o si lo tienen en la tierra. Y que todo este reino de Ugar es nombrado por rico de oro y el mis- mo rey de Baygeo que siempre oyó decir de Ugar que tienen en él muncho oro, está en otra provincia que queda entre Ugar y one que se llama Sufia que hay en ella más de 40 U hombres son todos negros como los de Guinea; aquí vienen los de Serdenha a comprar el palo que llaman masor que es lo que tiene valor en la Xava y lo rescatan a trueque de hierro y espadas que se llaman talisad las quales éstos después venden por otras provinçias y así son los más destos de la banda del sur todos mercaderes. También tienen éstos de Sufia muncho oro porque lo traen por las orejas y pescuezo como he dicho. Por estas y otras partes el bastimento que hay es landa que lo hacen muy bueno y tal que puede pasar por pan y es duro para bizcocho y pone muncha sustancia. Hay munchas gallinas y puercos de monte y hay muncho género de pescado muy bueno y tiene asimismo algunas cabras y 

/143v/ búfanos bravos. Y hay munchas riveras de agua y de luengo desta tierra firme desta banda del sur va corriendo una cordillera de yslas todas pequeñas y todas pobladas de gente, alguna negra y entra amulatada, donde dicen que en algunas yslas hay gente blanca y de cabellos rubios e sardos porque significan tenían salpicas pardas e bermejas por el rostro. Y que también éstos tienen oro y sándalos por aquí hallé las conchas que nace el aljófar en muncha cantidad por lo que parece y no debe de faltar por aquí si lo supiesen buscar. También por aquí entraban los yndios y negros por el monte y traían pedazoss de panales de miel y venían como bestias mordidas de las abejas por lo qual es claro de ver que aquí hay cera. De aquí nos tornamos yo y el rey de Bayseo y ffuimos co- rriendo la costa camino dell este y pasamos por la provincia de Sesat donde nos hicieron una emboscada de más de 3U hombres en una ensenada que está por allí, el desembarcadero de aquel pueblo en el agua está la cinta todos almagrados y con munchas plumas de gallo en las cabezas así de la manera que lo usan en Guinea. En esta emboscada los negros arrojaban munchas flechas y dardos y del primer arcabuzazo que se tiró de nuestros navíos echaron todos a huir por el monte como si el diablo fuera tras ellos; y de ahí habrá de media hora vinieron a mirar lo que hacíamos desde lejos, todavía cogimos al que con la bala del arcabuz herimos por una pierna y lo metieron en mi navío y luego vinieron los negros a la playa con munchas cañas de rua y 

/144/ gallinas a pedirnos el negro herido y que querían nuestra amistad. Y el rey de Bayseo habló con ellos y los hizo traer una campana de quatro palmos de largo que ellos estimaban muncho y la dieron en reconocimiento de nuestra amistad. De aquí nos fuimos adelante corriendo la misma costa por la banda del norte y en una punta por estar la chusma cansada de haber bogado todo aquel día dimos fondo y echamos gente en tierra que nos coge un poco de pescado y detrás de esta punta de la otra banda 160 embarcaçiones de remos los quales estaban en tierra comiendo y holgándose como después supimos y parece que vieron el humo del fuego que los nuestros hacían se embarcaron todos y vinieron luego a la mar de subiendo la punta y tanto reconoçieron nuestros navíos y estuvieron parados como hombres que se querían determinar luego se vinieron hacia nosotros en una media luna trayendo en cada cuerno treinta e cinco navíos y todo lo demás compuesto no como bárbaros sino como gente diestra y de razón, lo que me puso espanto y temor fue por los ver tantos que cubrían la mar lo qual me dijo el rey de Bayseo que no tuviese pena porque era aquélla gente flaca. Y así nos fuimos para ellos por la misma orden quel tiempo nos enseñaba; y arremetiendo con ellos disparando dos versos y dos arcabuces que yo llevaba se lanzaron todos en la mar sin quedar ninguno en sus navíos. Fue tan grande el miedo que recibieron que después el rey de Bayseo se metió en un baroto pequeño y los hizo embarcar porque sabía muy bien la lengua; y me trujo el rey y señor de aquella armada con

/144v/ algunos parientes y principales me vinieron a abrazar por los pies y viniendo primero pidiendo que escondiese los versos apuntados para ellos porque tenían temor que tornasen a hacer otra vez fuego. Yo les aseguré y les hice el mejor recibimiento que pude estaban tan espantados de ver nuestro modo que estuvieron más de media hora como mudos sin hablar palabra. Esta gente son negros çafres como los de Guinea y más negros y son de una provinçia que está poco menos de un grado de la banda del norte serían en esta armada siete mil hombres los quales se salían a holgar y desechar la tristeza que temían por la muerte de su reina que parece ser aquélla su constumbre. Esta provinçia se llama Apaa y es muy poblada de gente, los quales todos andan desnudos en cueros salvo algunos prinçipales que traen algunas mantas coloradas y negras. No vi a éstos oro ni plata ni hacen caudal dello por lo qual me parece no lo pasen; huélganse muncho con el hierro, su riqueza son campanas respondían que iban a hurtar a una ysla que llaman Degele y que por la gente que cautivaban les dan las campanas. Y que estos degele traen muncho oro como el que yo les enseñé quando les pregunté si tenían de aquello y que ellos no lo querían porque muncho mejor era el hierro lo uno por ser mayor y lo otro porque es servicio de munchas cosas y el oro no les servía de nada. Tienen éstos en su tierra munchas palmas, gallinas, puercos hacen sus sementeras de arroz

/145/quando andan embarcados traen por su bastimento landa. Las yslas que dicen Degeve están por el nordeste algunas setenta leguas conforme a las jornadas que ellos andan e yo anduve con ellos. Y más delante de estas Degeve dicen que hay otras munchas poblaçiones; éstos de Apaa me dieron nueva de tres hombres blancos que estaban en esta tierra firme de la Nueva Guinea y que eran munchos más que murieron y que ahora que no había más que tres. Y preguntándoles yo qué vestido traían mandó este rey buscar en su navío un baquerrelo y un sombrero viejo que había muncho que lo tenía mostrándome que aquél era vestido dellos y que estos tres estaban casados; mande les preguntar si les dieron ellos aquel vestido respondió el rey que peleando con algunos navíos de un rey su enemigo le tomaron dos navíos en los quales halló esta ropa a que la gente que cautivó en ellos le dijeron que más allá de su tierra en la misma costa estaban estos hombres; y después que yo volví al Maluco supe como eran éstos de aquéllos levantados de san Gerónimo porque también éstos dieron nueva que habían poblado una ysla de gente con barbas complidas por la qual razón éstos son los barbudos a do fue a tener san Gerónimo. En la carta la pintan tan lejos de la tierra fierme de la Nueva Guinea y conforme a lo que los negros dicen que van allá algunos en sus navíos está muncho más cerca y habiendo tanto golfo como lo pintan en las cartas no puede ser en ninguna manera por lo que el rey de Baygeo se ynformó de estos

/145v/ negros y, con otros que hallamos, supo cómo por esta banda del norte se usa también oro mas le parece que muncho más hay por la banda del sur porque los más dellos lo traen generalmente. Este reino de Apaa hay unos árboles cuya causa los negros quitan y la ponen al sol y les sirve para munchas enfermedades a lo menos si el dolor de estómago me hallaba yo muy bien con él, tiene un color muy bueno como de canela y un ardimiento muy singular y quando se come abrasa la cara como si corriese buyo. Éste debe de ser muy estimado en tierras frías y se podría tener por dioja porque en el olor y sabor lo parece esta tierra por donde anduve con ser debajo de la equinoçial y quando muncho un grado, es muy templada y de muy buenos aires, el sol no quema sino cuando anda empinado sobre la cabeza. Todas las noches cae tanto rocío que hasta las nueve del día aún no tienen el sol acabado de consumir con lo qual me allegué siempre muy reçio y bueno. Por haber más de dos meses que andábamos por éstas y la chusma muy cansada nos tornamos con la proa al hues norueste, tomamos una ysla despoblada donde cogimos muncho pescado y langostas como las de España y de aquí corriendo una cordillera tomamos la de Noton que es del rey de Baygeo a donde estuvimos más de un mes holgándonos y sus vasallos que allí tienen trayéndonos munchas frutas, gallinas y cabras y muncho género de pescado, con determinaçión  

/146/ de nos juntar con el rey de Moçol y hacer una jornada en busca de estos tres españoles que arriba he dicho. Estando en este tiempo que digo en esta ysla Noton con el rey baygeo por ser él muy curioso en preguntar munchas cosas era también leve en me contar algunas que le estimaba por extrañas, entre las quales fue preguntarme si entre nosotros había gente que no tenía fuego y comían el pescado crudo yo les respondí que no hay. Y le pregunté que con qué se alumbraban y él me respondió que había en aquella ysla donde éstos vivían unos animales que era de grandura de gatos grandes y que éstos de noche venían a comer y que en la frente traen una piedra la qual traen abierta con un capillo y quando vienen de noche a buscar la desabren con la claridad della lo buscan y sienten algo cúbrenla con el capillo y así quedan a oscuras y que los de estas yslas los espían y con sus arcos y flechas los matan y quitan la piedra que les sirve de lumbre. Pregunté le si había de aquellas piedras munchas y díjome que no había cassa que no hubiese siete u ocho y que tomaban un bejuco y lo abrían por medio de la punta y metían allí la piedra y la tomaban de noche y andaban de luengo de los arrecifes buscan de marisco con la claridad de la piedra. Díjele que por qué no tenía un par de aquellas piedraas respondiome que moxor [sic] era su lumbre porque quando quería la apagaba y encendía. Preguntele si fue el hallar los suyos a esta ysla de donde

/146v/ tenía noticia della, díjome que en vida de su padre toparon los suyos yendo a buscar una embarcaçión toparon un navichuelo en el qual venían çinco yndias y de esta ysla le dijeron esto maravillándose de nuestra lumbre y le dieron relaçión. En esta ysla le dijeron había un río que venía de un volcán que ella tiene a donde se halla muncho y fino oro y que por este respecto aprestó su padre dos navíos y los envió con dos destas yndias y hasta hoy no han parecido más, sospechan que los comió la mar y la razón es porque los navíos son pequeños y muy delgados y que así los hacen para ser ligeros y como las corrientes son muy grandes parece que algún remolino de agua los cogió e quebró y así se perdió la gente porque de otra manera se supiera dellos. Díjele si quería que fuésemos allá y que haríamos embarcaçiones fuertes con que fuésemos seguros respondiome que piloto que supiese allá no le había porque las quatro yndias que quedaron en su pueblo eran muertas por no ser aconstrumbrados al uso suyo y así no duraban dos años. Preguntele si sería lejos díjome que no y conforme a lo que me dijo demora esta ysla al nordeste y debe destar por allí cerca de las yslas Dejeve por la qual razón si carbon [sic] cosa hay en el mundo lo son éstos porque el rey de Baygeo en todas las cossa que conmigo había tratado leall e siempre muy verdadero 

/147/ y no ynteresaba en esto cosa alguna. A este rey de Baygeo está su majestad en obligación de le hacer merced por el muncho celo que tiene de lo servir haciéndose vasallo suyo sin nadie lo costreñía esto, y quando venía ocaçión contra la majestad del rey don Phelipe nuestro señor y el muncho mundo que posee como era señor de la mejor gente del mundo que era la naçión española e que ahora nuevamente çucedió en el reino de Portugal por donde juntó otro Nuevo Mundo a su real corona, y me ha respondido que se tenía por muy dichoso pues en su vida vino a ser vasallo de un rey tan poderoso que plega a dios le diese vida para que un hijo suyo que tenía le dejase enseñado a servir a tal gente como nosotros éramos; que en nuestras constumbres bien dábamos a entender quien nuestro rey podía ser. Esto todo trataba conmigo con naguatato que yo había llevado desde la ysla de Tamilonga mas el tiempo adelante lo excusé porque aprendí la lengua y la tomé muy bien y con brevedad. Hallaba tantas razones en este buen rey que si no me acordara de lo muncho que convenía al servicio de dios y de su majestad ynformarle de estas cosas me quedaría con él por algunos días. La gentilidad de éstos tiene ciertas çeremonias que fácilmente se pueden quitar. Tienen a sus antepasados por dioses y así les guardan los huesos, quando andan embarcados los llevan metidos en una caja y cuando comen les dan de comer y beber y quando van

/147v/ a pelear comen un çierto palo y dicen que no pueden ser heridos por la virtud dello. También traen otro palo consigo para si encontraren vientos lo desviaran con él. Tienen otras gentilidades destas, este rey no tiene más de una sola mujer y así manda que se use en su reino. Es gente desinteresada y afable andan siempre sirviendo con la boca llena de risa lo que no tienen los de las yslas del Maçol que son muy yntere- sables y dados a lujuria y a hurtar, y quando los llevé a la Nueva Guinea que fueron tres navíos de Maçol todo era pedirme que fuera a hurtar a Serdena. Y porque me acordaba que convenía al serviçio de dios y de su majestad tener éstos más conocimiento de nosotros les aconsejé que muy cerca de Cerdenha está la una fortaleza de su majestad a donde ellos fuesen a dar la obediençia porque la buena voluntad que ellos me mostraban tenernos no lo podía yo pagar, mas que aquí les sería satisfecho y agradecido. Y también porque ellos viesen nueva fuerça y la manera y uso della y viesen nuestra artillería que es lo que ellos más se admiran; y viesen nuestras yglesias y constumbres de nuestra fe y todo les había de agradar muncho porque siendo yo un solo por-tugués y otro que llevé conmigo les agradábamos tanto y también para que con testigos pudiese tirar algún premio de este pequeño serviçio a que su magestad tengo comentado 

/148/ sin ningún rrefuxio ni contrariedad. Me dijo el rey de Baygeo que por quanto era lejos quería ir con dos embarcaçiones para que toda la demás de su gente quedase en guarda y defensión de sus yslas, no viniesen los de Apaa sobre ellos por la afrenta que recibieron en la peleça que tuvieron con nosotros quando se echaron a la mar porque luego había de correr la nueva de como yo era fuera de aquellas yslas. Y así partimos con cinco navíos para la ysla de Maçol a donde el rey echó dos y con siete nos fuimos camino de Serdenha y luego cogimos la ysla de Siron e corriendo la costa de ella por la banda del norueste hallamos por allí munchos pueblos de quinientos y seiscientos hombres cada uno hasta que llegamos al pueblo de Atula, donde hallé nuevas que el rreboanze capitán del rey de Terrenate andaba en la mar con una gruesa armada de caracoas y que con ella fue a la fortaleza que su majestad tiene en Anbohina [a] hacer una emboscada en la qual matara algunos yndios cristianos; por lo qual de aquí adelante fui con una centinela, y tanto avante como el pueblo de Avaa de nos amaneció y aclara la mañana vinos hacia contra el pueblo de Beranita munchos navíos y luego envié yo de los míos los más ligeros y metí en cada uno dos yndios ladinos que fuesen a reconocer si eran aquellos navíos de bastimentos y si era armada que echasen a huir para

/148v/ la parte donde ellos venían porque así tuviese yo tiempo para me recoger. Porque los dos navíos que yo llevé del Maluco eran muy pesados por haber casi un año que andaban en el agua y la chusma cansada y trabajada de bogar y si fueron los dos que conociesen el armada se hicieron la vuelta de la mar y los terrenates que están veinte e çinco caracoas fueron en su alcance la qual viendo yo me volví cogendo su alcance digo la tierra para que no tuviesen vista de mí y me metí en un pueblo que se llama Sabay el qual es vasallo del rey de Bachan a donde hallé un primo suyo que se llama Quilmontere del qual recibí muy buen tratamiento. Y como fue no se volvieron los dos navíos que yo envié a reconocer el armada la vuelta de tierra y al otro día por la mañana fueron a dar conmigo en el dicho pueblo a donde estuvimos doce días de aquí despedí a los dos reyes de Baygeo y de Maçol para sus tierras diciéndoles que yo quería ir a la fortaleza a buscar portugueses para volver otra vez a la Nueva Guinea con todos tres por la relación de los de Apaa y de que así estuviese aparejados con sus navíos para hacer esta jornada. Preguntome el rey de Baygeo que quántas lunas había de tardar yo le aseguré que tres o quatro a más tardar y así se despidió de mí los ojos llenos de agua dándole yo un ferreruelo de escarlarta se fue muy satisfecho 

/149/ y muy triste por mi ausencia. Porque se han hecho de consejo capitán de anbino tuvo nuevas que yo estaba en la contracosta de Çiron como contaba por una carta que tengo e tenía nuevas por cartas del Maluco como había más de un año que yo salí de Ban en dos caracoas, me tenían por muerto por hasta entonces no sabían de mí lo escribió a Diego de Asanbuja lo qual sabido mandó luego al rey de Ban que enviase una caracoa en mi busca la qual me halló en el pueblo de Tolimanta cerca de este otro de Savaya donde tenía un fuerte hecho de madera por tener nuevas que venía sobre mí el rreboanze para estorbar que los portugueses no tomasen esta contracosta de Anboyno. Y de aquí me vine al Maluco habiendo 19 meses que había salido de la donde al presente hallé a Diego de Açanbuxa capitán mayor que entonces era de Tidore, al qual presenté un esclavo de la Nueva Guinea y oro labrado y por labrar y este palo mose y el otro palo que parece canela y la concha del aljófar lo qual tuvo en muncho y me dijo que dello avisaría a su majestad por lo qual me pareció ser más conviniente hacerlo yo por mi persona pues por mis propios ojos vi e pisé la tierra para que su real majestad conforme a lo que viere que conviene más a su real servicio disponga a lo que le pareciere, por lo qual le dio esta relación verdadera sin acrecentar ni poner cosas alguna más de la verdad. Tiene esta tierra de la Nueva Guinea por la parte e camino por donde anduve 

​/149v/ munchas bajas e coronas de arena e piedra y munchas restingas y corrientes por entre las yslas porque son munchas. También hay munchas rolleras de agua porque no pueden por este camino ir navíos de alto bordo a la Nueva Guinea de la banda del sur; de aquí se puede hacer una contratación para la Nueva España de las cosas que he dicho y de munchos esclavos porque son como los de Guinea, y sería muy fácil y breve. Los vientos que aquí corren son éstos: oesudestes, que son los que sirven para ir a buscar altura; pueden llevar de por aquí la nuez moscada y masa porque las yslas de banda de la Nueba Guinea sesenta leguas poco más o menos hacia el sur y con una orden que yo daré se puede pasar por aquí con lo qual concluyo.

Luis Barandica Martínez. El Códice Boxer. Edición moderna de un manuscrito del siglo XVI. 2019. 

English Translation

Miguel Roxo de Brito’s Account of New Guinea

I left Bacan on May 17th, 1581, with two kora-kora of Indians, vassals of our friend, the kinglet of Bacan, at my own expense. The ships were manned by 140 natives from an island called Obi, which lies about two leagues to the south of Bacan, and by natives from a neighboring island called Tapat. These people were supplied to me by the said kinglet to serve and accompany me in all things. I headed south with them and landed on the said island of Obi, where I took on provisions and better men, leaving the boys behind and taking on strong men for rowing. And from here following a south by south-east course there is an island called Tapa, and farther on the same course I landed at another one called Tapaeba, both of which are small, uninhabited islands with plenty of fish and indigenous crabs, which are excellent. Heading eastward, I landed at the island of Tobalai, which has a volcano; from a distance it looks exactly like the islands of Varas. This island is populated by about 100 Indians who made obeisance to me. I had them launch a kora-kora into the sea, in which they have accompanied me all this time and throughout these regions. From Tobalai I headed eastward in the kora-kora and found the Boo Islands, which are numerous and uninhabited and where there is a great variety of fish and wild

[139v] boar. And from these Boo Islands, continuing on an easterly course, I landed on an island named Torobi, which I found to be inhabited by a kinglet and about 2,000 men, who also made obeisance to me. This kinglet was frightened at the sight of white people because he had only heard of us but never seen us. These islands are about one day’s travel apart.18 From here they took me to an island named Misool, where I found a king and 4,000 to 5,000 men. The king received me, finding me to be a most extraordinary sight to behold. He kept me in a village for about a month and treated me most generously, giving me gold valuables in recognition of our friendship. When I asked him if there were any more islands and people in that area, he set me on an east by north-east course to some islands called Waigeo, which I found to be inhabited, and on them there is a king who received me in the same way as the previous one, giving me many gifts and hanging a gold chain that must have weighed ninety ducats from the prow of the kora-kora I had come in. This island, called Misool, is spacious and mountainous in many places. It is approximately forty leagues in circumference, and its village is located at its north-east end on a salt-water lagoon whose mouth is roughly as wide as the throw of a spear. Once inside the opening, the entire lagoon is half a league around, in which their houses have been built on big poles planted in the water. There are approximately 4,000 men in this village under the rule of a king whom they have elected. They call him Suntien. There are many Indians in the interior who have cultivated fields and 

[140r] landang gardens, which is their bread, very similar to biscuits and quite wholesome. Here they brought me a good amount of wrought and unwrought gold in case I wanted to buy it. When I asked the king where this gold came from, he replied that every year he gathered his people together and sent them to an island called Seram Laut, which lies off of Seram and where there are roughly 5,000 men, all of whom are very wealthy merchants. My vassals secured the release of the people who had been taken prisoner in exchange for gold and gongs and many piece goods. They also take these gongs to New Guinea, which they call Botan, meaning ‘mainland’, to sell them in exchange for gold in a kingdom at one end of the mainland called Onin. And thus they possess much gold, as I have stated, for I did not see a single one among all of them, unless it was a slave, who did not routinely wear a gold piece in his ears, each one possibly weighing more than an ounce. And because of this lust for gold these men from Misool are much given to plunder, and to that end they build very light vessels that travel more than twelve leagues per day and which hold four banks of oarsmen, one inboard and three on the outside. While I travelled in them I was completely unable to remain standing because they are so light that a man’s body is tossed aside with each oar stroke. These men from Misool only make raids on the island of Seram Laut, which, as I have stated, lies 30 leagues to the south of Misool, more or less. And they do this by sending a fleet there of thirty to forty ships, none of which comes back empty-handed. The first to land ransoms the captives and returns to their country. And not a year goes by in which they fail to take seventy to eighty inhabitants of Seram Laut captive

[140v], each time charging the same price as the first; they pay the same undiminished price every time they are captured. And if they do not have enough to pay their ransom, they are killed. Because of this villainy, if they lack the wherewithal to pay their ransom, they ask other wealthy people from Seram Laut to purchase them to escape this plight, and thus they become slaves. This was told to me by the very inhabitants of Seram Laut themselves. The King [of Misool] took thirty kora-kora to make peace with the people of Seram Laut on the condition that they become vassals of the said king. I had counseled him thus, but when I tried to have them commit to this agreement, they replied that there was not a person from Seram Laut who had not been taken captive five times, [saying] “and as long as we have ships with which we can earn our living through trade, we refuse to be vassals, for we can purchase our freedom with our money.” To which this Papuan king responded that as long as his people had oars and kalawai, which are their usual weapons, nei- ther he nor his men would ever be found lacking gold or clothing at the people [of Seram Laut’s] expense. And so we departed from Seram Laut and landed on an island and town named Waru, which lies off the mainland of Seram. Here I obliged the King to make peace because these Indians gave me news of Portuguese who were on the island of Banda. And this Papuan king agreed to keep the peace as long as he lived; he also agreed to command that all captives ever taken at Seram Laut should be ransomed from this town in order to bring them great profit. This island of Seram Laut measures eight leagues around and on the southern side lies its town, which lies along beach. A stone fence has been erected on a hill

[141r] which is used as a fort; it has sentry boxes that house a number of versos. This town is allocated to eight chiefs, each of which is assigned a number of men that answer to him, and so the leader of one division cannot act as judge in another. Each year two of the chiefs go off in their ships with some of their people to trade while the rest stay behind to guard and defend the country. And when those who had left returned home, those next in line set out, and this is how they govern themselves with no differences among them. In Seram Laut there are four depositories who hold in trust everything that is brought to them. And they collect the gold and goods and gather them into one place for the needs and common well-being of the entire village. And each time their ships return from abroad they contribute a certain amount to the fund. And when a particular need arises or when they go to war, as they did against the islands of Banda, they pay the people from the north-west coast of the island of Seram a certain fee, and with them fit out a fleet to defend themselves with it, and sometimes to go on the offensive. And this fund is also used if the inhabitants of Misool take an honored citizen hostage who lacks the wherewithal to pay his own ransom, in which case they draw on the fund to ransom him so that this person is not lost to the village and his honor remains intact. The inhabitants of this island of Seram Laut have told me that they are amazed that their island is not better known, considering their wealth. They have many versos, close to 600 all told, complete with powder chambers; they keep them for prestige, not knowing how to use them.

[141v] The inhabitants of Seram Laut sail in their ships, which are as good as Javanese junks, to all the inner islands of Timor and to those islands where they collect that fragrant wood they call sandalwood, and throughout the kingdom of Bali from whence they bring much gold and piece goods, and throughout the kingdom of Bima, where there is found much gold, amber and wax, and throughout most of greater Java. And they trade with the inhabitants of the islands of Makassar and the islands of Butung, where they barter for much gold and piece goods and cotton yarn. They also trade with Tobungku, from where they bring much iron which they take to New Guinea to sell in a kingdom called Mangussa, 

where they exchange it for a kind of wood called massoia. They then sell it to the Javanese, who prize it as treatment for the illnesses; they grind it and smear it on their bodies, even those who are well, spending a lot of of money on it every year. From here I returned home to the island of Misool, from whence I departed for the islands of the king of Waigeo, which are numerous and are inhabited. The island where he resides is called Boron. It measures about fifteen leagues in circumference and on it there is an abundance of landang, chicken and wild boar. In this town there reside about 1,000 men who are under the rule of the said king. The latter received me very well and very lovingly, telling me many times that he longed for me to stay in his country to teach him the ways of our Holy Catholic faith, for he was a Gentile and lived as he dressed, and thus his Hinduism forbade him to eat pork. But when I ordered him to eat it, he did so without delay. And since we had the cross as our emblem, he requested

[142r] that I set one up in his town to worship it the way we do. And so I ordered a large and beautiful one to be fashioned by two craftsmen and I raised it on the beach of his town while shooting off the versos and harquebuses that I had with me, which said king received with great satisfaction and joy while his wife and children wept with pleasure. I also gave him a flag with the cross of Christ that I had with me so that whenever he had skirmishes with people from the same island, or rather with those from New Guinea, he could raise it at his residence and our Lord would defend him and grant him victory; this pleased him very much. He then fitted out his fleet and set out with me to the east by south-east, and we landed on an island called Garau, which we found to be deserted because a serpent that lives there had consumed most of the natives. We beached the fleet, consisting of thirteen kora-kora, and spent some time making plans and provisioning the crew with landang and fish, of which there was an abundance. That done, we put the fleet out to sea, heading south by south-east and landing on a small island called Onelor, where there were approximately 200 people. And they made obeisance to us and gave us jewels as a token of their vassalage, which the king ordered be given to me because I was the general of that fleet and those people. And from this same island, we traveled due east and reached the kingdom of Onin, which is on the south- ern coast of New Guinea, 

[142v] about half a degree south. And some of these towns also made obeisance to us. They were very poorly defended because they were located next to the water along the beachfront. And some towns that were situated in less accessible areas fought back. And even though they fought back, we brought one of them into submission at the cost of a few of our men being killed by arrows, which is their customary weapon and with which they are very proficient. There are no other weapons in all of this land except arrows and spears, none of them poisoned. All the people in this province are Negritos like those of Guinea and all of them are merchants; they go to a kingdom just below the equator called Sekar where there is a town with a huge slave market. These people from Onin purchase slaves here and take them to Seram Laut to sell. And because the inhabit- ants of Seram Laut are very wealthy, they purchase them and take them to the island of Kidang to work their gardens. And it is no exaggeration that there are Indians from Seram Laut who own 1,000 black slaves, and these slaves make a lot of landang biscuits for them and gather it together to sell to the Javanese; the latter trade it for nutmeg and mace in Banda, because the Bandanese are wanting in foodstuffs. These inhabitants of Onin also have much wrought gold that they wear in their ears and around their necks. When I asked them where they got this gold from, they told me that farther down the southern coast was a kingdom called Offin, and that next to it were two other very powerful kingdoms 

[143r] in a province called Ogar, in which there is an abundance of fine gold. And when I told the King of Waigeo that we should go in search of these people, the people from Onin said that this would be very risky because they had many swift ships, and that if we had forty or fifty ships we could take the town, even though it was very big, because as soon as they heard the harquebuses they would all flee. They added that the people of Ogar search for this gold in the interior and that they also find a lot of gold in rivers, and that beyond this province there are other peoples who also possess it, but they did not know if they buy it in Ogar or if they find in their own land. They added that this entire kingdom of Ogar is famous for being rich in gold. And the King of Waigeo himself, who always heard that Ogar had much gold, is in another province that lies between Ogar and Onin, called Offin, in which there are more than 40,000 men; they are all black, like those in Guinea. The people of Seram Laut come here to buy a kind of wood they call massoia, which is prized in Java, and they trade it for iron and a kind of sword called a kris, which the Offinese in turn sell in other provinces. And thus most of these people on the southern coast are traders. These people of Offin also have much gold; they wear it in their ears and around their necks, as I have stated earlier. Here and in other regions the staple food is landang, which is of very high quality and which can pass for bread; it is hard enough to be used as biscuit, and it is very filling. There is much chicken and a lot of wild boar and a wide variety of very good fish. They also have some goats

[143v] and wild buffalo and there are many small streams.

And all along this southern shore of the mainland there runs a string of islands, all of them small and inhabited by people, some of which who are black and some mulatto. Some of these islands reportedly have white people with red hair and freckles, meaning they had brown and red spots on their faces. They say that these islands also have gold and sandalwood. In this area I found the kind of shell that produces pearls, apparently in great quantity; if it was known how to harvest them, there would be plenty of them. Also in this area the Indians and Negritos would go into the jungle and bring back pieces of honeycomb. And they showed up looking like animals that had been stung by bees, certain evidence that there is wax in these parts. From here the King of Waigeo and I turned around and ran eastwards down the coast, passing the province of Sekar, where we were ambushed by more than 3,000 men in an inlet, which is the landing for that town; they stood up to their waists in the water, all of their bodies smeared with red ochre and wearing rooster feathers on their heads in the style of the Guineans who wear them. In this ambush the Negritos shot many arrows and threw spears; but at the first shot of a harquebus from our ships, they all bolted for the jungle as if the devil were chasing them. And about a half hour later they emerged to see what we were doing from a distance; even so, we gathered up one of them we had wounded in the leg with a harquebus ball85 and placed him in my ship. The Negritos then came onto the beach with many bamboo cylinders of tura and 

[144r] chicken, begging us to return the injured black men to them, and indicating that they desired our friendship. And the King of Waigeo spoke to them and made them bring us a gong that was four spans across that they valued very highly; and they gave it to us in as a token of our friendship. From here we ran down the same coast, now to the north. And because the crew was spent after a day of rowing, we threw anchor at a headland and landed the people on shore so they could catch us some fish. And on the other side of this headland there were 160 oared ships, whose occupants, as we later discovered, had gone ashore to eat and rest. And apparently they spotted the smoke from our fires, took to their ships, set out to sea and rounded the headland. As soon as they sighted our ships they hesitated like men who were trying to decide what to do. They then approached us in a crescent formation, with thirty-five ships on each arm and the rest ordered not as barbarians would be, but rather as skilled and rational people. What really amazed and frightened me was seeing so many of them that they covered the sea, to which the King of Waigeo responded that I should take heart because they were a timid people. And thus we went at them in the same order that experience had taught us, and charging while firing two versos and two harquebuses that I had with me, they all dove into the sea, not a single one remaining in his boat. So great was the fear that overtook them that the King of Waigeo climbed into a small baroto and talked them back into their ships, for he knew their language very well. And he brought the king and commander of their fleet to me,

[144v] along with a few of his relatives and chiefs. They came over and embraced my feet, but not before asking us to put away our versos that were aimed at them because they were afraid they would make fire again. I reassured them and received them the best I could. They were so amazed to see our ways that they remained speechless for more than half an hour. These people are uncivilized89 Negritos, like those from Guinea—indeed even darker. And they are from a province that lies a little less than one degree north of the equator. This fleet comprised approximately 7,000 men, who had gone to sea to rest and forget their sorrow over the death of their queen, which appears to be their custom. This province is called Wabau, and it isdensely populated; the people go about completely naked, with the exception of some of their chiefs who wear red and black cloth. I saw no gold or silver among them, nor do they hold it in high regard; it seems to me, therefore, that they do not prize it. They take great delight in iron. Their wealth lies in gongs. They responded that they were going to raid an island called Gebe, explaining that these people ransom the captives with gongs, and that the people of Gebe wear much gold similar to that which I showed them when I asked them if they had any. They said they didn’t want it because iron was much better; first, because it is stronger, and second, because it is useful for many things, while gold is good for nothing. They have many palms, chickens and pigs in their country. They cultivate rice, 

[145r] but when they set out to sea, they take landang for provisions. The islands they call Gebe lie seventy-five leagues to the north-east, judging from the number of days it takes them to get there, and I have gone with them. And beyond these islands of Gebe there are reportedly many other towns. These people from Wabau notified me that there were three white men on the mainland of New Guinea, that many more had died, and that now only these three remained. And when I asked them what sort of clothing they wore, this king ordered that a baqueruelo96 and an old hat be brought from his ship where he had kept them for a long time in order to demonstrate to me that this was the sort of clothing they wore; he also said that these three men were casados. I had them asked if the white men had given them this garment. The king answered that during a battle with some ships belonging to an enemy king, they captured two of his ships, and they found this clothing in them, and that the people that had captured in them told them that these men were staying on the same coast, beyond their country. And after I returned to the Maluku Islands, I learned that these men were from the group of mutineers from the San Gerónimo because they had also reported that people with full beards had settled on an island, confirming that these were the bearded men at the spot where the San Gerónimo made landfall. On the chart the island is depicted as being quite far from the mainland of New Guinea, and according to what some of the Negritos who go there in their ships say, it is much closer; there is no possibility that there is so much open sea as is depicted on the charts.

[145v] Negritos, and from other people we encountered, people also wear gold on the northern shore, though he thought that there is much more of it on the southern coast because most people wear it there as a rule. In this kingdom of Wabau there are some trees whose bark the Negritos peel off and dry in the sun and which they use to treat many illnesses—at least stomach aches; I must say it helped me feel much better. It has a very fine color, like cinnamon, and produces a very par- ticular burning sensation, and when chewed it makes one’s face burn the same way chewing betel does. It must be highly prized in cold countries and might be confused with tarragon, which it resembles in color and taste. This country through which we traveled has very temperate and healthy air, despite its location directly on the equator, or at the most one degree south of it. The sun does not burn unless it is directly overhead. Every night so much dew is deposited that the sun does not completely dry it up before nine o’clock in the morning, which I always found to be invigorating and pleasant. Because we had been travelling throughout these islands for more than two months by this time, and the oarsmen were exhausted, we aimed our bows towards the west by north-west. We landed on a deserted island where we caught much fish and lobsters like those from Spain. From here, after running down a string of islands, we landed at one called Noton, which belongs to the King of Waigeo, where we stayed longer than a month resting while the latter’s vassals brought us much fruit, chicken and goats, plus many varieties of fish. We decided

[146r] to meet with the King of Misool and take a journey in search of the three Spaniards whom I have already mentioned. During our stay on the island of Notan, the King of Waigeo was driven by curiosity to ask many questions. He also asked me a few more light-hearted questions about things he thought strange; for example, he asked if there were people among us who had no fire and who eat their fish raw. I responded that there are none such, and asked him what they used for light. He answered that there were some animals on that island where these people lived as big as large cats, and that at night they come around to feed, and that they have a stone set in their foreheads that they cover up with a hood, and when they come out in search of food at night, they uncover it and search for it by its light; and if they hear a sound, they cover it with their hoods shut out the light. And the inhabitants of these islands stalk them and kill them with their bows and arrows and remove the stones, which they use as lights. I asked him if there were many of these stones, and he told me that there was not a house that did not have seven or eight of them, and that they took a reed and split it at one end and placed the light in it and carried it around at night and hunted for shellfish along the reef by the light of the stone. I asked him why he did not have a couple of these stones. He replied that his light was better because he could turn it off and on at will. I asked him whether he himself or any of his people had ever been to that island, or 

[146v] where they had heard about it. He told me that while his father was alive his people had once gone in search of a boat and had chanced upon a small ship with five Indian women who had told him this about this island because they were amazed at their light. And they told him about this island. They told him that there was a river flowing down from a volcano in which much fine gold was found. And because of this news, his father fitted out two ships and sent them off with two of these Indian women. They have not been seen to to this day. They think the sea swallowed them because their ships are small and very thin—they are built like that for speed. And because the currents are very strong, it seems probable that they were sucked into a whirlpool and crushed and that that is how they died, because otherwise they would have been heard from. I asked him if he wanted us to go there, assuring him we would build strong boats in which we would travel safely. He replied that there weren’t any pilots who knew the way there because the four Indian women who had remained behind in his village had died—they had not been able to adapt to their ways and so had not even lived two years. I asked him if it was far away. He answered me in the negative, and according to what he said, this island sits to the north-east and must lie in the vicinity of Gebe. For this reason if there are carbuncles in the world, these are they, for I always found the King of Waigeo to be very forthright in everything we discussed

[147r] and he never had ulterior motives of any kind in this matter. His Majesty should be merciful to the King of Waigeo because of how zealously he wishes to serve Him, submitting to Him without being forced to do so. And whenever the occasion arose, he proclaimed the majesty of King Philip, Our Lord, and what a large portion of the world He possesses, and how He was ruler of the best people in the world, the Spanish nation that has recently inherited the kingdom of Portugal, thus adding another New World to His royal crown. He has stated to me how very fortunate he considered himself, for during his lifetime he has become the vassal of so powerful a monarch, and how he hoped that it might please God to grant him a long enough life so that one of his sons that he had could be taught to serve such a people as we are, for by our manners we clearly showed what kind of ruler our king was. He conveyed all of this to me through a nahuatatle I had brought with me to the island of Tobalai, but over time I had stopped using because I had learned the language myself and quickly developed good command of it. I found this good king to be in possession of such good sense that had I not remembered how making him more familiar with these things would be for the greater service of God and His Majesty, I would have stayed with him a few days. The Hinduism of these people has certain rituals which could easily be abolished. They consider their ancestors as gods and take their bones with them when they travel by sea; they carry them in a box and whenever they eat, they present them with food and drink. And when

[147v] they go into battle, they eat of a certain kind of wood, saying that its virtue makes them invulnerable. They also take a piece of wood with them so that if they encounter winds they can divert them with it. They have other Hindu customs besides. This king has only one wife, and he has ordered that this be the rule in his kingdom. They are a generous and friendly people. They are always obliging, and keep a smile on their face, unlike the people of Misool, who are very selfish and given to lust and theft. When I took the latter with me to New Guinea with three ships, they never ceased pleading with me to plunder Seram Laut. But because I remembered that it would add to the greater service of God and His Majesty if they had more knowledge of us, I informed them that there was a fortress of His Majesty’s very close to Seram Laut where they should go to make obeisance. For I could not repay the good will they had shown to have for us any better than by the way it would be repaid and recognized here, and also because they could see the new power and how it is used, and they could see our artillery, which is what most amazes them, and they could see our churches and our religious practices. And all of this would surely please them greatly, considering that they were already pleased with me, being just one Portuguese, and with one other Portuguese I had brought with me. And also so that with their testimony I might receive some compensation for this modest service I have rendered His Majesty. 

[148r] Without hesitation or objec- tion the King of Waigeo told me that because it was far away, he would rather go with two ships so that the rest of his people could stay behind to protect and defend his islands from an attack by the people from Wabau in retribution for the loss of face they endured in the skirmish they had with us when they dove into the sea, because news that I was away from those islands would spread quickly. And so we set out for the island of Misool with five ships, to which the King added two more; thus with seven we headed for Seram Laut and then reached the island of Seram. And while running down its north-western coast we came upon many towns, with 500 or 600 men, until arriving at the town of Atula, where I received news that Rubohongi, the captain of the king of Ternate, had been plying the sea with a formidable fleet of kora-kora and that with them had ambushed His Majesty’s fortress in Ambon and killed several Christian Indians. And thus from that moment on I travelled with a sentinel. And a little farther on, when the sun rose at dawn near the village of Anaade, we sighted many ships over against the town of Permata. I immediately sent my two fastest vessels, each with two Portuguese-speaking Indians, to reconnoiter and see if these were supply ships; if it was a fleet, they were to quickly turn back 

[148v] towards whence they came, thus giving me time to return home. For the two ships I had brought from the Maluku Islands were very sluggish after almost a year at sea, and the crew was worn-out from rowing. And the two vessels did indeed sight the fleet and turned back from the open sea. And twenty-five Ternatese kora-kora started chasing them. And when I saw this, I put about and took up the chase—I mean I headed back to shore so they would not catch sight of me. And I landed at a town called Suwai, which is a vassal to the King of Bacan, and there I met one of his nephews by the name of Kacili Menteri, who received me very well. And it turned out that the two ships I had sent beyond the headland to reconnoiter the fleet had not returned; and the next morning they met up with me in the said village, where we stayed for twelve days. At that point I sent the kings of Waigeo and Misool back to their countries, telling them that I wanted to go to the fortress in search of the Portuguese so that all three of us might return to New Guinea, on account of what the people of Wabau had reported, and that they should keep their ships in readiness for that jour- ney. The King of Waigeo asked me how many moons I would be gone, and I assured him it would only be three or four at most. And so he said goodbye to me with tears in his eyes, and I gave him a scarlet cape, which pleased him very 

[149r] much; but he was also very sad because of my departure because we had formed a bond. From what the King of Waigeo learned from these The captain of Ambon received notification that I was on the opposite coast of Seram, according to a letter which is in my possession. And he also received news in letters from the Maluku Islands that I had left Bacan with two kora-kora more than a year before. They believed I was dead because they had not heard from me since. He wrote this to Diogo de Azambuja, who when apprised of this immediately ordered the King of Bacan to send a kora-kora to find me; this vessel found me in the village of Tolimata, not far from this other village of Suwai, where he [the King of Bacan] had a fortress made of timber. He did this because he had received reports that Rubohongi was coming against me to prevent the Portuguese from occupying this opposite coast of Ambon. And from here I went to the Maluku Islands from whence I had departed nineteen months earlier. Here I met with Diogo de Azambuja, who at the time was the commanding general of Tidore. I presented him with a slave from New Guinea, wrought and unwrought gold, and massoia and that other variety of wood which is similar to cinnamon, and pearl shell, which he much appreciated. And he told me that he would advise His Majesty accordingly. It seemed more appropriate to me that I should do this in person since I had seen that country with my own eyes and had set foot in it, so that His Royal Majesty might do as he sees fit in accordance with what best suits His royal service. And therefore he gave him this accurate report, without adding anything or stating anything other than the truth. The land of New Guinea, at least as far as the regions and routes I travelled are concerned, 

[149v] has many shoals and sandbanks and rocks and numerous sandbars and currents among its islands, for they are many. There are also many whirlpools, which is why seagoing vessels cannot take this southern route to New Guinea. From here trade can be conducted with New Spain in the things I have mentioned and in many slaves, for they are like those of Guinea, and travel would be very easy and quick. The prevailing winds are west by south-westerly; they are useful for gaining latitude. From here nutmeg and mace can be taken, because the islands of Banda are about sixty leagues south of New Guinea, and one can get there according to sailing instructions I shall provide. And with that I close.

George Bryan Souza and Jeffrey Scott. The Boxer Codex: Transcription and Translation. 2016.

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