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THE CASTLE OF GOLD.

sea

The famed Cathay of Columbus' dreams led that daring, but disappointed navigator to make a fourth and final attempt in the year 1502, to discover a short route to the East. After being buffeted about for days hy coutrary winds in the Caribbean Sea, his small and leaky boats threatening to go

to the bottom at any moment, he at last sighted land in the vicinity of Cape Gracias a Dios, Nicaragua. Doubling this cape on the 14th of September, in the year above-mentioned, he landed and explored a region to which he gave the name Cerabora. Here he ran across numerous specimens of gold ore, and by questioning the Indians, ascertained that the precious metal existed in large quantities in a district to the east of there called Veragua. He secured numerous ore samples, and obtained a rough description of the mines.

Continuing his voyage, he sailed along the coast of what is now Costa Rica, and Panama, passing on his way the famous Chiriqui Lagoon in the Province of Bocas del

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Toro, called by the Indians, Aburema, and which quite deceived Columbus for a time into believing that he had at last discovered the much sought for passage.

While voyaging down the coast he encountered numerous storms which imperiled his boats, and on one occasion forced him to seek shelter at a small island. Here he found fruits. fish and game in abundance, which led him to give the place the name of Puerto de Bastimento, meaning a place of supplies.

After a few days' rest at this point, Columbus ganized a small expedition, and on the 23rd of November left the haven, but was obliged to put in to the coast again three days later owing to a tempest which narrowly came to swamping his ships. This place he aptly termed Retrete, meaning a place of retreat. Here he stayed until the 5th of December, when he decided to turn back over his course.

He kept a westerly direction for fifteen days, which brought him on the 7th day of January, 1503, to the mouth of a river called in the Indian tongue Quiebra, but to which Columbus gave the name of Belen. This river to-day forms the natural boundary line between the Province of Colon, and that of Veraguas. Towards the interior could be seen a broken mountain range which Columbus named San Cristobal. Near this spot, a short while later, the Adelantado D. Bartolome Colon, founded the first establishment on Isthmian soil, but it did not endure long, being destroyed by the Indians under a chief named Quibian.

At this point Columbus again changed his plans and sailed back toward the east, stopping at the present site of Porto Bello (1), and going as far as the islands in the Mulatto Archipelago, which lie in the Gulf of San Blas.

After som further journeyings back and forth, ever on the look-out for a natural opening in the barrier before

(1) Variously spelled Puerto Belo, Portobelo, and Porto Bello.

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him, he decided to return, the bad state of his ships, making such action imperative.

History credits Columbus as having first set foot on the soil of what is now the Republic of Panama, on November 2nd., 1502, somewhere in the vicinity of the Chiriqui Lagoon. Thus we have two important dates in Isthmian history nearly coincidental as to the day and month; the discovery, and the declaration of independence of the Republic of Panama, Nov. 3rd., 1903.

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Accounts of the newly discovered country, and the samples of gold having in due time reached the court of Spain, the fanciful name of Castilla del Oro, or Castle of Gold was conferred upon all that region extending from Cape Gracias a Dios, to the Gulf of Urabá, and ir. the year 1510, Diego de Nicuesa was sent over from Santo Domingo to govern it. He took along with him colonists to the number of 700, but during the voyage a tempest arose, wrecked some of his ships, and caused the loss of 400 of his men, while the others were in desperate straits. In the tempest the ships became separated and some of them reached the coast near the mouth of the Belen River, while others brought up at the mouth of the Chagres River. After collecting his men, Nicuesa left the Belen River and went to the port of Bastimento, and when he had doubled Manzanillo Point, he shortly landed and said: “We will remain here in the name of God." This the site of the town of Nombre de Dios, called into prominence at the present time chiefly

time chiefly from its having been one of the earliest settlements on the Isthmus, and ono of the most unhealthful spots in Panama. In this enterprise Nicuesa perished miserably along with the bulk of his followers.

Before Nicuesa's time, two other hardy navigators had added considerably to the store of knowledge concern

was

Toro, called by the Indians, Aburema, and which quite deceived Columbus for a time into believing that he had at last discovered the much sought for passage.

While voyaging down the coast he encountered numerous storms which imperiled his boats, and on one occasion forced him to seek shelter at a small island. Here he found fruits, fish and game in abundance, which led him to give the place the name of Puerto de Bastimento, meaning a place of supplies.

After a few days' rest at this point, Columbus organized a small expedition, and on the 23rd of November left the haven, but was obliged to put in

in to the coast again three days later owing to a tempest which narrowly came to swamping his ships. This place he aptly termed Retrete, meaning a place of retreat. Here he stayed until the 5th of December, when he decided to turn back over his course.

He kept a westerly direction for fifteen days, which brought him on the 7th day of January, 1503, to the mouth of a river called in the Indian tongue Quiebra, but to which Columbus gave the

name of Belen. This river to-day forms the natural boundary line between the Province of Colon, and that of Veraguas. Towards the interior could be seen a broken mountain range which Columbus named San Cristobal. Near this spot,

a short while later, the Adelantado D. Bartolome Colon, founded the first establishment on Isthmian soil, but it did not endure long, being destroyed by the Indians under a chief named Quibian.

At this point Columbus again changed his plans and sailed back toward the east, stopping at the present site of Porto Bello (1), and going as far as the islands in the Mulatto Archipelago, which lie in the Gulf of San Blas. After som further journeyings back and furth, ever on the look-out for a natural opening in the barrier before

(1) Variously spelled Puerto Belo, Portobelo, and Porto Bello.

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him, he decided to return, the bad state of his ships, making such action imperative.

History credits Columbus as having first set foot on the soil of what is now the Republic of Panama, on November 2nd., 1502, somewhere in the vicinity of the Chiriqui Lagoon. Thus we have two important dates in Isthmian history nearly coincidental as to the day and month; the discovery, and the declaration of independence of the Republic of Panama, Nov. 3rd., 1903.

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Accounts of the newly discovered country, and the samples of gold having in due time reached the court of Spain, the fanciful name of Castilla del Oro, or Castle of Gold was conferred upon all that region extending from Cape Gracias á Dios, to the Gulf of Urabá, and ir. the year 1510, Diego de Nicuesa was sent over from Santo Domingo to govern it. He took along with hiin colonists to the number of 700, but during the voyage a tempest arose, wrecked some of his ships, and caused the loss of 400 of his men, while the others were in desperate straits. In the tempest the ships became separated and

some of them reached the coast near the mouth of the Belen River, while others brought up at the mouth of the Chagres River. After collecting his men, Nicuesa left the Belen River and went to the port of Bastimento, and when he had doubled Manzanillo Point, he shortly landed and said: “We will remain here in the name of God.” This the site of the town of Nombre de Dios, called into prominence at the present time chiefly from its having been one of the earliest settlements on the Isthmus, and ono of the most unhealthful spots in Panama. In this enterprise Nicuesa perished miserably along with the bulk of his followers.

Before Nicuesa's time, two other hardy navigators had added considerably to the store of knowledge concern

was

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