« PreviousContinue »
nooks and corners, and as much of the information could be obtained only from Spanish books and documents, careful translation was necessary. Where possible, the workers on this book have gone back to the times when the historical incidents were in the making, and in the case of later events, to see and talk with people who were on the spot and knew personally of the occurrences related. Mistakes may have crept in; a book covering a scope of four hundred years would be a positive wonder without any, yet the publisher believes that the authenticity in general of the information herein contained will stand the test.
The workers on this volume realized that its readers will embrace many different classes, therefore anecdotes and incidents, all strictly true, have been introduced to illustrate a little of the humorous, and also, of the tragic side of Isthmian history. Another earnest effort was made to bring the book down to the year of Our Lord, 1908, and the work in this respect speaks for itself. It is the only publication now in print that covers the recent and very important change in plans at the Pacific end of the canal, and of the decision to widen the canal locks; it is the only work that contains a continuous narrative of the great Isthmian waterway since it has been in American hands, and it is the only book that gives the story of the circumstances leading up to, and culminating in the secession of Panama from the Republic of Colombia from every point of view. There has been no attempt to "throw cold water," or disparage, but rather to present the information in a wholly dispassionate and matter-of-fact way. The publisher and his assistants however, believe that in reviewing the past three years of canal history, supported
by facts and figures, and by a personal knowledge of the general situation, the book will serve a purpose in dispelling and dismissing many a doubt and delusion that may have existed, or may still exist in the minds of some, regarding the extent and progress of the canal undertaking.
A work of this kind necessarily involves considerable outside assistance. The publisher takes this occasion to thank the many who have contributed to the book by affording all information that lay in their power. He is especially indebted to the members of the Isthmian Canal Commission, Panama Railroad officials, Mr. W. G. Tubby, Mr. H. G. Prescott, Don Jose Augustin Arango, Don Ricardo Arango, Don Ricardo Arias, Don Melchor Lasso de la Vega, Don E. T. Lefevre, Don Samuel Boyd, Senor Donaldo Velasco and others. He is also indebted to The Star & Herald Co., Mr. J. Gabriel Duque, its Director, Mr. Carl von Lindeman, its Manager, and its staff of employes for the excellent typographical work on the book, as well as to the management for the opportunity for research afforded by the early files of the paper. Cordial thanks are also extended to Senor Guillermo Andreve and Senor Donaldo Velasco for the loan of several half-tone illustrations appearing on the pages of the Pilot and Guide.
Just a word to the advertisers. Your confidence was invited, and although you made it known to the publisher that you had often been fooled in the past, notwithstanding the prospectus of the present work attracted your attention. The publisher believes he has kept faith with you in every respect. It is seldom that a work of this kind. opens its pages to advertisers, in fact, had such an oppor
tunity been afforded in the United States, advertising agencies would have taken every available inch of space. The publisher thanks you for your patronage and trusts that the 1909 edition will see you again represented.
UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS
THE CASTLE OF GOLD.
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 by contrary 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 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
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.