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The History of the Reign of Ferdinand and Isabella The Catholic, V2 by William H. Prescott

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In order to guard against these impending evils, Ferdinand caused more
than a thousand houses, or rather huts, to be erected, with walls of earth
or clay, and roofs made of timber and tiles; while the common soldiers
constructed cabins by means of palisades loosely thatched with the
branches of trees. The whole work was accomplished in four days; and the
inhabitants of Baza beheld with amazement a city of solid edifices, with
all its streets and squares in regular order, springing as it were by
magic out of the ground, which had before been covered with the light and
airy pavilions of the camp. The new city was well supplied, owing to the
providence of the queen, not merely with the necessaries, but the luxuries
of life. Traders flocked there as to a fair, from Aragon, Valencia,
Catalonia, and even Sicily, freighted with costly merchandise, and with
jewelry and other articles of luxury; such as, in the indignant lament of
an old chronicler, "too often corrupt the souls of the soldiery, and bring
waste and dissipation into a camp."

That this was not the result, however, in the present instance, is
attested by more than one historian. Among others, Peter Martyr, the
Italian scholar before mentioned, who was present at this siege, dwells
with astonishment on the severe decorum and military discipline, which
everywhere obtained among this motley congregation of soldiers. "Who would
have believed," says he, "that the Galician, the fierce Asturian, and the
rude inhabitant of the Pyrenees, men accustomed to deeds of atrocious
violence, and to brawl and battle on the lightest occasions at home,
should mingle amicably, not only with one another, but with the Toledans,
La-Manchans, and the wily and jealous Andalusian; all living together in
harmonious subordination to authority, like members of one family,
speaking one tongue, and nurtured under a common discipline; so that the
camp seemed like a community modelled on the principles of Plato's
republic!" In another part of this letter, which was addressed to a
Milanese prelate, he panegyrizes the camp hospital of the queen, then a
novelty in war; which, he says, "is so profusely supplied with medical
attendants, apparatus, and whatever may contribute to the restoration or
solace of the sick, that it is scarcely surpassed in these respects by the
magnificent establishments of Milan." [14]

During the five months which the siege had now lasted, the weather had
proved uncommonly propitious to the Spaniards, being for the most part of
a bland and equal temperature, while the sultry heats of midsummer were
mitigated by cool and moderate showers. As the autumnal season advanced,
however, the clouds began to settle heavily around the mountains; and at
length one of those storms, predicted by the people of Baza, burst forth
with incredible fury, pouring a volume of waters down the rocky sides of
the sierra, which, mingling with those of the vega, inundated the camp of
the besiegers, and swept away most of the frail edifices constructed for
the use of the common soldiery. A still greater calamity befell them in
the dilapidation of the roads, which, broken up or worn into deep gullies
by the force of the waters, were rendered perfectly impassable. All
communication was of course suspended with Jaen, and a temporary
interruption of the convoys filled the camp with consternation. This
disaster, however, was speedily repaired by the queen, who, with an energy
always equal to the occasion, caused six thousand pioneers to be at once
employed in reconstructing the roads; the rivers were bridged over,
causeways new laid, and two separate passes opened through the mountains,
by which the convoys might visit the camp, and return without interrupting
each other. At the same time, the queen bought up immense quantities of
grain from all parts of Andalusia, which she caused to be ground in her
own mills; and, when the roads, which extended more than seven leagues in
length, were completed, fourteen thousand mules might be seen daily
traversing the sierra, laden with supplies, which from that time forward
were poured abundantly, and with the most perfect regularity, into the
camp. [15]

Isabella's next care was to assemble new levies of troops, to relieve or
reinforce those now in the camp; and the alacrity with which all orders of
men from every quarter of the kingdom answered her summons is worthy of
remark. But her chief solicitude was to devise expedients for meeting the
enormous expenditures incurred by the protracted operations of the year.
For this purpose, she had recourse to loans from individuals and religious
corporations, which were obtained without much difficulty, from the
general confidence in her good faith. As the sum thus raised, although
exceedingly large for that period, proved inadequate to the expenses,
further supplies were obtained from wealthy individuals, whose loans were
secured by mortgage of the royal demesne; and, as a deficiency still
remained in the treasury, the queen, as a last resource, pawned the crown
jewels and her own personal ornaments to the merchants of Barcelona and
Valencia, for such sums as they were willing to advance on them. [16] Such
were the efforts made by this high-spirited woman, for the furtherance of
her patriotic enterprise. The extraordinary results, which she was enabled
to effect, are less to be ascribed to the authority of her station, than
to that perfect confidence in her wisdom and virtue, with which she had
inspired the whole nation, and which secured their earnest co-operation in
all her undertakings. The empire, which she thus exercised, indeed, was
far more extended than any station, however exalted, or any authority,
however despotic, can confer; for it was over the hearts of her people.

Notwithstanding the vigor with which the siege was pressed, Baza made no
demonstration of submission. The garrison was indeed greatly reduced in
number; the ammunition was nearly expended; yet there still remained
abundant supplies of provisions in the town, and no signs of despondency
appeared among the people. Even the women of the place, with a spirit
emulating that of the dames of ancient Carthage, freely gave up their
jewels, bracelets, necklaces, and other personal ornaments, of which the
Moorish ladies were exceedingly fond, in order to defray the charges of
the mercenaries.

The camp of the besiegers, in the mean while, was also greatly wasted both
by sickness and the sword. Many, desponding under perils and fatigues,
which seemed to have no end, would even at this late hour have abandoned
the siege; and they earnestly solicited the queen's appearance in the
camp, in the hope that she would herself countenance this measure, on
witnessing their sufferings. Others, and by far the larger part, anxiously
desired the queen's visit, as likely to quicken the operations of the
siege, and bring it to a favorable issue. There seemed to be a virtue in
her presence, which, on some account or other, made it earnestly desired
by all.

Isabella yielded to the general wish, and on the 7th of November arrived
before the camp, attended by the infanta Isabella, the cardinal of Spain,
her friend, the marchioness of Moya, and other ladies of the royal
household. The inhabitants of Baza, says Bernaldez, lined the battlements
and housetops, to gaze at the glittering cavalcade as it emerged from the
depths of the mountains, amidst flaunting banners and strains of martial
music, while the Spanish cavaliers thronged forth in a body from the camp
to receive their beloved mistress, and gave her the most animated welcome.
"She came," says Martyr, "surrounded by a choir of nymphs, as if to
celebrate the nuptials of her child; and her presence seemed at once to
gladden and reanimate our spirits, drooping under long vigils, dangers,
and fatigue." Another writer, also present, remarks that, from the moment
of her appearance, a change seemed to come over the scene. No more of the
cruel skirmishes, which had before occurred every day; no report of
artillery, or clashing of arms, or any of the rude sounds of war, was to
be heard, but all seemed disposed to reconciliation and peace. [17]

The Moors probably interpreted Isabella's visit into an assurance, that
the Christian army would never rise from before the place until its
surrender. Whatever hopes they had once entertained of wearying out the
besiegers, were therefore now dispelled. Accordingly, a few days after the
queen's arrival, we find them proposing a parley for arranging terms of

On the third day after her arrival, Isabella reviewed her army, stretched
out in order of battle along the slope of the western hills; after which,
she proceeded to reconnoitre the beleaguered city, accompanied by the king
and the cardinal of Spain, together with a brilliant escort of the Spanish
chivalry. On the same day, a conference was opened with the enemy through
the _comendador_ of Leon; and an armistice arranged, to continue until the
old monarch, El Zagal, who then lay at Guadix, could be informed of the
real condition of the besieged, and his instructions be received,
determining the course to be adopted.

The alcayde of Baza represented to his master the low state to which the
garrison was reduced by the loss of lives and the failure of ammunition.
Still, he expressed such confidence in the spirit of his people, that he
undertook to make good his defence some time longer, provided any
reasonable expectation of succor could be afforded; otherwise, it would be
a mere waste of life, and must deprive him of such vantage ground as he
now possessed, for enforcing an honorable capitulation. The Moslem prince
acquiesced in the reasonableness of these representations. He paid a just
tribute to his brave kinsman Cidi Yahye's loyalty, and the gallantry of
his defence; but, confessing at the same time his own inability to relieve
him, authorized him to negotiate the best terms of surrender which he
could, for himself and garrison. [18]

A mutual desire of terminating the protracted hostilities infused a spirit
of moderation into both parties, which greatly facilitated the adjustment
of the articles. Ferdinand showed none of the arrogant bearing, which
marked his conduct towards the unfortunate people of Malaga, whether from
a conviction of its impolicy, or, as is more probable, because the city of
Baza was itself in a condition to assume a more imposing attitude. The
principal stipulations of the treaty were, that the foreign mercenaries
employed in the defence of the place should be allowed to march out with
the honors of war; that the city should be delivered up to the Christians;
but that the natives might have the choice of retiring with their personal
effects where they listed; or of occupying the suburbs, as subjects of the
Castilian crown, liable only to the same tribute which they paid to their
Moslem rulers, and secured in the enjoyment of their property, religion,
laws, and usages. [19]

On the fourth day of December, 1489, Ferdinand and Isabella took
possession of Baza, at the head of their legions, amid the ringing of
bells, the peals of artillery, and all the other usual accompaniments of
this triumphant ceremony; while the standard of the Cross, floating from
the ancient battlements of the city, proclaimed the triumph of the
Christian arms. The brave alcayde, Cidi Yahye, experienced a reception
from the sovereigns very different from that of the bold defender of
Malaga. He was loaded with civilities and presents; and these acts of
courtesy so won upon his heart, that he expressed a willingness to enter
into their service. "Isabella's compliments," says the Arabian historian,
dryly, "were repaid in more substantial coin."

Cidi Yahye was soon prevailed on to visit his royal kinsman El Zagal, at
Guadix, for the purpose of urging his submission to the Christian
sovereigns. In his interview with that prince, he represented the
fruitlessness of any attempt to withstand the accumulated forces of the
Spanish monarchies; that he would only see town after town pared away from
his territory, until no ground was left for him to stand on, and make
terms with the victor. He reminded him, that the baleful horoscope of
Abdallah had predicted the downfall of Granada, and that experience had
abundantly shown how vain it was to struggle against the tide of destiny.
The unfortunate monarch listened, says the Arabian annalist, without so
much as moving an eyelid; and, after a long and deep meditation, replied
with the resignation characteristic of the Moslems, "What Allah wills, he
brings to pass in his own way. Had he not decreed the fall of Granada,
this good sword might have saved it; but his will be done!" It was then
arranged, that the principal cities of Almeria, Guadix, and their
dependencies, constituting the domain of El Zagal, should be formally
surrendered by that prince to Ferdinand and Isabella, who should instantly
proceed at the head of their army to take possession of them. [20]

On the seventh day of December, therefore, the Spanish sovereigns, without
allowing themselves or their jaded troops any time for repose, marched out
of the gates of Baza, King Ferdinand occupying the centre, and the queen
the rear of the army. Their route lay across the most savage district of
the long sierra, which stretches towards Almeria; leading through many a
narrow pass, which a handful of resolute Moors, says an eye-witness, might
have made good against the whole Christian army, over mountains whose
peaks were lost in clouds, and valleys whose depths were never warmed by a
sun. The winds were exceedingly bleak, and the weather inclement, so that
men, as well as horses, exhausted by the fatigues of previous service,
were benumbed by the intense cold, and many of them frozen to death. Many
more, losing their way in the intricacies of the sierra, would have
experienced the same miserable fate, had it not been for the marquis of
Cadiz, whose tent was pitched on one of the loftiest hills, and who caused
beacon fires to be lighted around it, in order to guide the stragglers
back to their quarters.

At no great distance from Almeria, Ferdinand was met, conformably to the
previous arrangement, by El Zagal, escorted by a numerous body of Moslem
cavaliers. Ferdinand commanded his nobles to ride forward and receive the
Moorish prince. "His appearance," says Martyr, who was in the royal
retinue, "touched my soul with compassion; for, although a lawless
barbarian, he was a king, and had given signal proofs of heroism." El
Zagal, without waiting to receive the courtesies of the Spanish nobles,
threw himself from his horse, and advanced towards Ferdinand with the
design of kissing his hand; but the latter, rebuking his followers for
their "rusticity," in allowing such an act of humiliation in the
unfortunate monarch, prevailed on him to remount, and then rode by his
side towards Almeria. [21]

This city was one of the most precious jewels in the diadem of Granada. It
had amassed great wealth by its extensive commerce with Syria, Egypt, and
Africa; and its corsairs had for ages been the terror of the Catalan and
Pisan marine. It might have stood a siege as long as that of Baza, but it
was now surrendered without a blow, on conditions similar to those granted
to the former city. After allowing some days for the refreshment of their
wearied forces in this pleasant region, which, sheltered from the bleak
winds of the north by the sierra they had lately traversed, and fanned by
the gentle breezes of the Mediterranean, is compared by Martyr to the
gardens of the Hesperides, the sovereigns established a strong garrison
there, under the commander of Leon, and then, striking again into the
recesses of the mountains, marched on Guadix, which, after some opposition
on the part of the populace, threw open its gates to them. The surrender
of these principal cities was followed by that of all the subordinate
dependencies belonging to El Zagal's territory, comprehending a multitude
of hamlets scattered along the green sides of the mountain chain that
stretched from Granada to the coast. To all these places the same liberal
terms, in regard to personal rights and property, were secured, as to

As an equivalent for these broad domains, the Moorish chief was placed in
possession of the _taha_, or district, of Andaraz, the vale of Alhaurin,
and half the salt-pits of Maleha, together with a considerable revenue in
money. He was, moreover, to receive the title of King of Andaraz, and to
render homage for his estates to the crown of Castile.

This shadow of royalty could not long amuse the mind of the unfortunate
prince. He pined away amid the scenes of his ancient empire; and, after
experiencing some insubordination on the part of his new vassals, he
determined to relinquish his petty principality, and withdraw for ever
from his native land. Having received a large sum of money, as an
indemnification for the entire cession of his territorial rights and
possessions to the Castilian crown, he passed over to Africa, where, it is
reported, he was plundered of his property by the barbarians, and
condemned to starve out the remainder of his days in miserable indigence.

The suspicious circumstances attending this prince's accession to the
throne throw a dark cloud over his fame, which would otherwise seem, at
least as far as his public life is concerned, to be unstained by any
opprobrious act. He possessed such energy, talent, and military science,
as, had he been fortunate enough to unite the Moorish nation under him by
an undisputed title, might have postponed the fall of Granada for many
years. As it was, these very talents, by dividing the state in his favor,
served only to precipitate its ruin.

The Spanish sovereigns, having accomplished the object of the campaign,
after stationing part of their forces on such points as would secure the
permanence of their conquests, returned with the remainder to Jaen, where
they disbanded the army on the 4th of January, 1490. The losses sustained
by the troops, during the whole period of their prolonged service, greatly
exceeded those of any former year, amounting to not less than twenty
thousand men, by far the larger portion of whom are said to have fallen
victims to diseases incident to severe and long-continued hardships and
exposure. [23]

Thus terminated the eighth year of the war of Granada, a year more
glorious to the Christian arms, and more important in its results, than
any of the preceding. During this period, an army of eighty thousand men
had kept the field, amid all the inclemencies of winter, for more than
seven months; an effort scarcely paralleled in these times, when both the
amount of levies, and period of service, were on the limited scale adapted
to the exigencies of feudal warfare. [24] Supplies for this immense host,
notwithstanding the severe famine of the preceding year, were punctually
furnished, in spite of every embarrassment presented by the want of
navigable rivers, and the interposition of a precipitous and pathless

The history of this campaign is, indeed, most honorable to the courage,
constancy, and thorough discipline of the Spanish soldier, and to the
patriotism and general resources of the nation; but most of all to
Isabella. She it was, who fortified the timid councils of the leaders,
after the disasters of the garden, and encouraged them to persevere in the
siege. She procured all the supplies, constructed the roads, took charge
of the sick, and furnished, at no little personal sacrifice, the immense
sums demanded for carrying on the war; and when at last the hearts of the
soldiers were fainting under long-protracted sufferings, she appeared
among them, like some celestial visitant, to cheer their faltering
spirits, and inspire them with her own energy. The attachment to Isabella
seemed to be a pervading principle, which animated the whole nation by one
common impulse, impressing a unity of design on all its movements. This
attachment was imputable to her sex as well as character. The sympathy and
tender care, with which she regarded her people, naturally raised a
reciprocal sentiment in their bosoms. But when they beheld her directing
their counsels, sharing their fatigues and dangers, and displaying all the
comprehensive intellectual powers of the other sex, they looked up to her
as to some superior being, with feelings far more exalted than those of
mere loyalty. The chivalrous heart of the Spaniard did homage to her, as
to his tutelar saint; and she held a control over her people, such as no
man could have acquired in any age,--and probably no woman, in an age and
country less romantic.

* * * * *

Pietro Martire, or, as he is called in English, Peter Martyr, so often
quoted in the present chapter, and who will constitute one of our best
authorities during the remainder of the history, was a native of Arona
(not of Anghiera, as commonly supposed), a place situated on the borders
of Lake Maggiore in Italy. (Mazzuchelli, Scrittori d'ltalia, (Brescia,
1753-63,) tom. ii. _voce_ Anghiera.) He was of noble Milanese extraction.
In 1477, at twenty-two years of age, he was sent to complete his education
at Rome, where he continued ten years, and formed an intimacy with the
most distinguished literary characters of that cultivated capital. In
1487, he was persuaded by the Castilian ambassador, the count of Tendilla,
to accompany him to Spain, where he was received with marked distinction
by the queen, who would have at once engaged him in the tuition of the
young nobility of the court, but, Martyr having expressed a preference of
a military life, she, with her usual delicacy, declined to press him on
the point. He was present, as we have seen, at the siege of Baza, and
continued with the army during the subsequent campaigns of the Moorish
war. Many passages of his correspondence, at this period, show a whimsical
mixture of self-complacency with a consciousness of the ludicrous figure
which he made in "exchanging the Muses for Mars."

At the close of the war, he entered the ecclesiastical profession, for
which he had been originally destined, and was persuaded to resume his
literary vocation. He opened his school at Valladolid, Saragossa,
Barcelona, Alcalá de Henares, and other places; and it was thronged with
the principal young nobility from all parts of Spain, who, as he boasts in
one of his letters, drew their literary nourishment from him. "Suxerunt
mea literalia ubera Castellae principes fere omnes." His important
services were fully estimated by the queen, and, after her death, by
Ferdinand and Charles V., and he was recompensed with high ecclesiastical
preferment as well as civil dignities. He died about the year 1525, at the
age of seventy, and his remains were interred beneath a monument in the
cathedral church of Granada, of which he was prior.

Among Martyr's principal works is a treatise "De Legatione Babylonica,"
being an account of a visit to the sultan of Egypt, in 1501, for the
purpose of deprecating the retaliation with which he had menaced the
Christian residents in Palestine, for the injuries inflicted on the
Spanish Moslems. Peter Martyr conducted his negotiation with such address,
that he not only appeased the sultan's resentment, but obtained several
important immunities for his Christian subjects, in addition to those
previously enjoyed by them.

He also wrote an account of the discoveries of the New World, entitled "De
Rebus Oceanicis et Novo Orbe," (Coloniae, 1574,) a book largely consulted
and commended by subsequent historians. But the work of principal value in
our researches is his "Opus Epistolarum," being a collection of his
multifarious correspondence with the most considerable persons of his
time, whether in political or literary life. The letters are in Latin, and
extend from the year 1488 to the time of his death. Although not
conspicuous for elegance of diction, they are most valuable to the
historian, from the fidelity and general accuracy of the details, as well
as for the intelligent criticism in which they abound, for all which,
uncommon facilities were afforded by the writer's intimacy with the
leading actors, and the most recondite sources of information of the

This high character is fully authorized by the judgments of those best
qualified to pronounce on their merits,--Martyr's own contemporaries.
Among these, Dr. Galindez de Carbajal, a counsellor of King Ferdinand, and
constantly employed in the highest concerns of state, commends these
epistles as "the work of a learned and upright man, well calculated to
throw light on the transactions of the period." (Anales, MS., prólogo.)
Alvaro Gomez, another contemporary who survived Martyr, in the Life of
Ximenes, which he was selected to write by the University of Alcalá,
declares, that "Martyr's Letters abundantly compensate by their fidelity
for the unpolished style in which they are written." (De Rebus Gestis,
fol. 6.) And John de Vergara, a name of the highest celebrity in the
literary annals of the period, expresses himself in the following emphatic
terms. "I know no record of the time more accurate and valuable. I myself
have often witnessed the promptness with which he put down things the
moment they occurred. I have sometimes seen him write one or two letters,
while they were setting the table. For, as he did not pay much attention
to style and mere finish of expression, his composition required but
little time, and experienced no interruption from his ordinary
avocations." (See his letter to Florian de Ocampo, apud Quintanilla y
Mendoza, Archetypo de Virtudes, Espejo de Prelados, el Venerable Padre y
Siervo de Dios, F. Francisco Ximenez de Cisneros, (Palermo, 1653,)
Archivo, p. 4.) This account of the precipitate manner in which the
epistles were composed, may help to explain the cause of the occasional
inconsistencies and anachronisms, that are to be found in them; and which
their author, had he been more patient of the labor of revision, would
doubtless have corrected. But he seems to have had little relish for this,
even in his more elaborate works, composed with a view to publication.
(See his own honest confessions in his book "De Rebus Oceanicis," dec. 8,
cap. 8, 9.) After all, the errors, such as they are, in his Epistles, may
probably be chiefly charged on the publisher. The first edition appeared
at Alcalá de Henares, in 1530, about four years after the author's death.
It has now become exceedingly rare. The second and last, being the one
used in the present History, came out in a more beautiful form from the
Elzevir press, Amsterdam, in 1670, folio. Of this also but a small number
of copies were struck off. The learned editor takes much credit to himself
for having purified the work from many errors, which had flowed from the
heedlessness of his predecessor. It will not be difficult to detect
several yet remaining. Such, for example, as a memorable letter on the
_lues venerea_, (No. 68,) obviously misplaced, even according to its
own date; and that numbered 168, in which two letters are evidently
blended into one. But it is unnecessary to multiply examples.--It is very
desirable, that an edition of this valuable correspondence should be
published, under the care of some one qualified to illustrate it by his
intimacy with the history of the period, as well as to correct the various
inaccuracies which have crept into it, whether through the carelessness of
the author or of his editors.

I have been led into this length of remark by some strictures which met my
eye in the recent work of Mr. Hallam; who intimates his belief, that the
Epistles of Martyr, instead of being written at their respective dates,
were produced by him at some later period; (Introduction to the Literature
of Europe, (London, 1837,) vol. i. pp. 439-441;) a conclusion which I
suspect this acute and candid critic would have been slow to adopt, had he
perused the correspondence in connection with the history of the times, or
weighed the unqualified testimony borne by contemporaries to its minute


[1] Zurita, Anales, tom. iv. fol. 351, 352, 356.--Mariana, Hist. de
España, tom. ii. lib. 25, cap. 12.--Pulgar, Reyes Católicos, part. 3,
cap. 95.

[2] Ferreras, Hist. d'Espagne, tom. viii. p. 76.--Pulgar, Reyes Católicos,
cap. 98.--Zuñiga, Annales de Sevilla, p. 402.--Cardonne, Hist. d'Afrique
et d'Espagne, tom. iii. pp. 298, 299.--Carbajal, Anales, MS., año 1488.

[3] Conde, Dominacion de los Arabes, tom. iii. pp. 239, 240.--Pulgar,
Reyes Católicos, cap. 100, 101.--During the preceding year, while the
court was at Murcia, we find one of the examples of prompt and severe
exercise of justice, which sometimes occur in this reign. One of the royal
collectors having been resisted and personally maltreated by the alcayde
of Salvatierra, a place belonging to the crown, and by the alcalde of a
territorial court of the duke of Alva, the queen caused one of the royal
judges privately to enter into the place, and take cognizance of the
affair. The latter, after a brief investigation, commanded the alcayde to
be hung up over his fortress, and the alcalde to be delivered over to the
court of chancery at Valladolid, who ordered his right hand to be
amputated, and banished him the realm. This summary justice was perhaps
necessary in a community, that might be said to be in transition from a
state of barbarism to that of civilization, and had a salutary effect in
proving to the people that no rank was elevated enough to raise the
offender above the law. Pulgar, cap. 99.

[4] Ialigny, Hist. de Charles VIII., pp. 92, 94.--Sismondi, Hist. des
Français, tom. xv. p. 77.--Aleson, Annales de Navarra, tom. v. p. 61.--
Histoire du Royaume de Navarre, pp. 578, 579.--Pulgar, Reyes Católicos,
cap. 102.

In the first of these expeditions, more than a thousand Spaniards were
slain or taken at the disastrous battle of St. Aubin, in 1488, being the
same in which Lord Rivers, the English noble, who made such a gallant
figure at the siege of Loja, lost his life. In the spring of 1489, the
levies sent into France amounted to two thousand in number. These efforts
abroad, simultaneous with the great operations of the Moorish war, show
the resources as well as energy of the sovereigns.

[5] Pulgar, Reyes Católicos, ubi supra.

[6] Bernaldez, Reyes Católicos, MS., cap. 91.--Zurita, Anales, tom. iv.
fol. 354.--Bleda, Corónica, fol. 607.--Abarca, Reyes de Aragon, tom. ii.
fol. 307.

Such was the scarcity of grain that the prices in 1489, quoted by
Bernaldez, are double those of the preceding year.--Both Abarca and Zurita
mention the report, that four-fifths of the whole population were swept
away by the pestilence of 1488. Zurita finds more difficulty in swallowing
this monstrous statement than Father Abarca, whose appetite for the
marvellous appears to have been fully equal to that of most of his calling
in Spain.

[7] Peter Martyr, Opus Epist., lib. 2, epist. 70.--Pulgar, Reyes
Católicos, cap. 104.

It may not be amiss to specify the names of the most distinguished
cavaliers who usually attended the king in these Moorish wars; the heroic
ancestors of many a noble house still extant in Spain.

Alonso de Cardenas, master of Saint Jago.
Juan de Zuñiga, master of Alcantara.
Juan Garcia de Padilla, master of Calatrava.
Rodrigo Ponce de Leon, marquis duke of Cadiz.
Enrique de Guzman, duke of Medina Sidonia.
Pedro Manrique, duke of Najera.
Juan Pacheco, duke of Escalona, marquis of Villena.
Juan Pimentel, count of Benavente.
Fadrique de Toledo, son of the duke of Alva.
Diego Fernandez de Cordova, count of Cabra.
Gomez Alvarez de Figueroa, count of Feria.
Alvaro Tellez Giron, count of Ureña.
Juan de Silva, count of Cifuentes.
Fadrique Enriquez, adelantado of Andalusia.
Alonso Fernandez de Cordova, lord of Aguilar.
Gonsalvo de Cordova, brother of the last, known afterwards as the Great
Luis Porto-Carrero, lord of Palma.
Gutierre de Cardenas, first commander of Leon.
Pedro Fernandez de Velasco, count of Haro, constable of Castile.
Beltran de la Cueva, duke of Albuquerque.
Diego Fernandez de Cordova, alcayde of the royal pages, afterwards
marquis of Comaras.
Alvaro de Zuñiga, duke of Bejar.
Iñigo Lopez de Mendoza, count of Tendilla, afterwards marquis of
Luis de Cerda, duke of Medina Celi.
Iñigo Lopez de Mendoza, marquis of Santillana, second duke of Infantado.
Garcilasso de la Vega, lord of Batras.

[8] Zurita, Anales, tom. iv. fol. 360.--Conde, Dominacion de los Arabes,
tom. iii. p. 241.--Peter Martyr, Opus Epist., lib. 2, epist. 70.--Estrada,
Poblacion de España, tom. ii. fol. 239.--Marmol, Rebelion de Moriscos,
lib. 1, cap. 16.

[9] Pulgar, Reyes Católicos, cap. 106, 107.--Conde, Dominacion de los
Arabes, tom. iii. cap. 40.--Peter Martyr, Opus Epist., epist. 71. Pulgar
relates these particulars with a perspicuity very different from his
entangled narrative of some of the preceding operations in this war. Both
he and Martyr were present during the whole siege of Baza.

[10] Bernaldez, Reyes Católicos, MS., cap. 92.--Cardonne, Hist. d'Afrique
et d'Espagne, tom. iii. pp. 299, 300.--Bleda, Corónica, p. 611.--Garibay,
Compendio, tom. ii. p. 664.

Don Gutierre de Cardenas, who possessed so high a place in the confidence
of the sovereigns, occupied a station in the queen's household, as we have
seen, at the time of her marriage with Ferdinand. His discretion and
general ability enabled him to retain the influence which he had early
acquired, as is shown by a popular distich of that time.

"Cardenas, y el Cardenal, y Chacon, y Fray Mortero,
Traen la Corte al retortero."

Fray Mortero was Don Alonso de Burgos, bishop of Palencia, confessor of
the sovereigns. Don Juan Chacon was the son of Gonsalvo, who had the care
of Don Alfonso and the queen during her minority, when he was induced by
the liberal largesses of John II., of Aragon, to promote her marriage with
his son Ferdinand. The elder Chacon was treated by the sovereigns with the
greatest deference and respect, being usually called by them "father."
After his death, they continued to manifest a similar regard towards Don
Juan, his eldest son, and heir of his ample honors and estates. Salazar de
Mendoza, Dignidades, lib. 4, cap. 1.--Oviedo, Quincuagenas, MS., bat. 1,
quinc. 2, dial. 1, 2.

[11] Cardonne, Hist. d'Afrique et d'Espagne, tom. iii. p. 304.--Pulgar,
Reyes Católicos, cap. 109.--Peter Martyr, Opus Epist., lib. 2, epist. 73.
--Bernaldez, Reyes Católicos, MS., cap. 92.

[12] Conde, Dominacion de los Arabes, tom. iii. cap. 40.--Mariana, Hist.
de España, tom. ii. lib. 25, cap. 12.--Pulgar, Reyes Católicos, cap. 111.

[13] Pulgar, Reyes Católicos, cap. 112.--Ferreras, Hist. d'Espagne, tom.
viii. p. 86.

[14] Bernaldez, Reyes Católicos, MS.--Peter Martyr, Opus Epist., lib. 2,
epist. 73, 80.--Pulgar, Reyes Católicos, cap. 113, 114, 117.--Garibay,
Compendio, tom. ii. p. 667.--Bleda, Corónica, p. 64.

The plague, which fell heavily this year on some parts of Andalusia, does
not appear to have attacked the camp, which Bleda imputes to the healing
influence of the Spanish sovereigns, "whose good faith, religion, and
virtue banished the contagion from their army, where it must otherwise
have prevailed." Personal comforts and cleanliness of the soldiers, though
not quite so miraculous a cause, may be considered perhaps full as

[15] Peter Martyr, Opus Epist., lib. 2, epist. 73.--Pulgar, Reyes
Católicos, cap. 116.

[16] Pulgar, Reyes Católicos, cap. 118.--Archivo de Simancas, in Mem. de
la Acad. de Hist., tom. vi. p. 311.

The city of Valencia lent 35,000 florins on the crown and 20,000 on a
collar of rubies. They were not wholly redeemed till 1495. Señor Clemencin
has given a catalogue of the royal jewels, (see Mem. de la Acad. de Hist.,
tom. vi. Ilustracion 6,) which appear to have been extremely rich and
numerous, for a period anterior to the discovery of those countries, whose
mines have since furnished Europe with its _bijouterie_. Isabella,
however, set so little value on them, that she divested herself of most of
them in favor of her daughters.

[17] Bernaldez, Reyes Católicos, MS., cap. 92.--Pulgar, Reyes Católicos,
cap. 120, 121.--Ferreras, Hist. d'Espagne, tom. viii. p. 93.--Peter
Martyr, Opus Epist., lib. 3, epist. 80.

[18] Peter Martyr, Opus Epist., lib. 3, epist. 80.--Conde, Dominacion de
los Arabes, tom. iii. p. 242.--Carbajal, Anales, MS., año 1489.--Cardonne,
Hist. d'Afrique et d'Espagne, tom. iii. p. 305.

[19] Pulgar, Reyes Católicos, cap. 124.--Marmol, Rebelion de Moriscos,
lib. 1, cap. 16.

[20] Conde, Dominacion de los Arabes, tom. iii. cap. 40.--Bleda, Corónica,
p. 612.--Bernaldez, Reyes Católicos, MS., cap. 92.--Marmol, Rebelion de
Moriscos, lib. 1, cap. 16.

[21] Peter Martyr, Opus Epist., lib. 3, epist. 81.--Cardonne, Hist.
d'Afrique et d'Espagne, tom. iii. p. 340.--Pulgar, Reyes Católicos, loc.
cit.--Conde, Dominacion de los Arabes, tom. iii. cap. 40.

[22] El Nubiense, Descripcion de España, p. 160, not.--Carbajal, Anales,
MS., año 1488.--Cardonne, Hist. d'Afrique et d'Espagne, tom. iii. p. 304.
--Peter Martyr, Opus Epist., lib. 3, epist. 81.--Conde, Dominacion de los
Arabes, tom. iii. pp. 245, 246.--Bernaldez, Reyes Católicos, MS., cap. 93.

[23] Zurita, Anales, tom. iv. fol. 360.--Abarca, Reyes de Aragon, tom. ii.
fol. 308.

[24] The city of Seville alone maintained 600 horse and 8000 foot under
the count of Cifuentes, for the space of eight months during this siege.
See Zuñiga, Annales de Sevilla, p. 404.




The Infanta Isabella Affianced to the Prince of Portugal.--Isabella
Deposes Judges at Valladolid.--Encampment before Granada.--The Queen
Surveys the City.--Moslem and Christian Chivalry.--Conflagration of the
Christian Camp.--Erection of Santa Fe.--Capitulation of Granada.--Results
of the War.--Its Moral Influence.--Its Military Influence.--Fate of the
Moors.--Death and Character of the Marquis of Cadiz.

In the spring of 1490, ambassadors arrived from Lisbon for the purpose of
carrying into effect the treaty of marriage, which had been arranged
between Alonso, heir of the Portuguese monarchy, and Isabella, infanta of
Castile. An alliance with this kingdom, which from its contiguity
possessed such ready means of annoyance to Castile, and which had shown
such willingness to employ them in enforcing the pretensions of Joanna
Beltraneja, was an object of importance to Ferdinand and Isabella. No
inferior consideration could have reconciled the queen to a separation
from this beloved daughter, her eldest child, whose gentle and uncommonly
amiable disposition seems to have endeared her beyond their other children
to her parents.

The ceremony of the affiancing took place at Seville, in the month of
April, Don Fernando de Silveira appearing as the representative of the
prince of Portugal; and it was followed by a succession of splendid
_fêtes_ and tourneys. Lists were enclosed, at some distance from the
city on the shores of the Guadalquivir, and surrounded with galleries hung
with silk and cloth of gold, and protected from the noontide heat by
canopies or awnings richly embroidered with the armorial bearings of the
ancient houses of Castile. The spectacle was graced by all the rank and
beauty of the court, with the infanta Isabella in the midst, attended by
seventy noble ladies, and a hundred pages of the royal household. The
cavaliers of Spain, young and old, thronged to the tournament, as eager to
win laurels on the mimic theatre of war, in the presence of so brilliant
an assemblage, as they had shown themselves in the sterner contests with
the Moors. King Ferdinand, who broke several lances on the occasion, was
among the most distinguished of the combatants for personal dexterity and
horsemanship. The martial exercises of the day were relieved by the more
effeminate recreations of dancing and music in the evening; and every one
seemed willing to welcome the season of hilarity, after the long-
protracted fatigues of war. [1]

In the following autumn, the infanta was escorted into Portugal by the
cardinal of Spain, the grand master of St. James, and a numerous and
magnificent retinue. Her dowry exceeded that usually assigned to the
infantas of Castile, by five hundred marks of gold and a thousand of
silver; and her wardrobe was estimated at one hundred and twenty thousand
gold florins. The contemporary chroniclers dwell with much complacency on
these evidences of the stateliness and splendor of the Castilian court.
Unfortunately, these fair auspices were destined to be clouded too soon by
the death of the prince, her husband. [2]

No sooner had the campaign of the preceding year been brought to a close,
than Ferdinand and Isabella sent an embassy to the king of Granada,
requiring a surrender of his capital, conformably to his stipulations at
Loja, which guaranteed this, on the capitulation of Baza, Almeria, and
Guadix. That time had now arrived; King Abdallah, however, excused himself
from obeying the summons of the Spanish sovereigns; replying that he was
no longer his own master, and that, although he had all the inclination to
keep his engagements, he was prevented by the inhabitants of the city, now
swollen much beyond its natural population, who resolutely insisted on its
defence. [3]

It is not probable that the Moorish king did any great violence to his
feelings, in this evasion of a promise extorted from him in captivity. At
least, it would seem so from the hostile movements which immediately
succeeded. The people of Granada resumed all at once their ancient
activity, foraying into the Christian territories, surprising Alhendin and
some other places of less importance, and stirring up the spirit of revolt
in Guadix and other conquered cities. Granada, which had slept through the
heat of the struggle, seemed to revive at the very moment when exertion
became hopeless.

Ferdinand was not slow in retaliating these acts of aggression. In the
spring of 1490, he marched with a strong force into the cultivated plain
of Granada, sweeping off, as usual, the crops and cattle, and rolling the
tide of devastation up to the very walls of the city. In this campaign he
conferred the honor of knighthood on his son, prince John, then only
twelve years of age, whom he had brought with him, after the ancient usage
of the Castilian nobles, of training up their children from very tender
years in the Moorish wars. The ceremony was performed on the banks of the
grand canal, under the battlements almost of the beleaguered city. The
dukes of Cadiz and Medina Sidonia were prince John's sponsors; and, after
the completion of the ceremony, the new knight conferred the honors of
chivalry in like manner on several of his young companions in arms. [4]

In the following autumn, Ferdinand repeated his ravages in the vega, and,
at the same time appearing before the disaffected city of Guadix with a
force large enough to awe it into submission, proposed an immediate
investigation of the conspiracy. He promised to inflict summary justice on
all who had been in any degree concerned in it; at the same time offering
permission to the inhabitants, in the abundance of his clemency, to depart
with all their personal effects wherever they would, provided they should
prefer this to a judicial investigation of their conduct. This politic
proffer had its effect. There were few, if any, of the citizens who had
not been either directly concerned in the conspiracy, or privy to it. With
one accord, therefore, they preferred exile to trusting to the tender
mercies of their judges. In this way, says the Curate of Los Palacios, by
the mystery of our Lord, was the ancient city of Guadix brought again
within the Christian fold; the mosques converted into Christian temples,
filled with the harmonies of Catholic worship, and the pleasant places,
which for nearly eight centuries had been trampled under the foot of the
infidel, were once more restored to the followers of the Cross.

A similar policy produced similar results in the cities of Almeria and
Baza, whose inhabitants, evacuating their ancient homes, transported
themselves, with such personal effects as they could carry, to the city of
Granada, or the coast of Africa. The space thus opened by the fugitive
population was quickly filled by the rushing tide of Spaniards. [5]

It is impossible at this day to contemplate these events with the
triumphant swell of exultation, with which they are recorded by
contemporary chroniclers. That the Moors were guilty (though not so
generally as pretended) of the alleged conspiracy, is not in itself
improbable, and is corroborated indeed by the Arabic statements. But the
punishment was altogether disproportionate to the offence. Justice might
surely have been satisfied by a selection of the authors and principal
agents of the meditated insurrection;--for no overt act appears to have
occurred. But avarice was too strong for justice; and this act, which is
in perfect conformity to the policy systematically pursued by the Spanish
crown for more than a century afterwards, may be considered as one of the
first links in the long chain of persecution, which terminated in the
expulsion of the Moriscoes.

During the following year, 1491, a circumstance occurred illustrative of
the policy of the present government in reference to ecclesiastical
matters. The chancery of Valladolid having appealed to the pope in a case
coming within its own exclusive jurisdiction, the queen commanded Alonso
de Valdivieso, bishop of Leon, the president of the court, together with
all the auditors, to be removed from their respective offices, which she
delivered to a new board, having the bishop of Oviedo at its head. This is
one among many examples of the constancy with which Isabella,
notwithstanding her reverence for religion, and respect for its ministers,
refused to compromise the national independence by recognizing in any
degree the usurpations of Rome. From this dignified attitude, so often
abandoned by her successors, she never swerved for a moment during the
course of her long reign. [6]

The winter of 1490 was busily occupied with preparations for the closing
campaign against Granada. Ferdinand took command of the army in the month
of April, 1491, with the purpose of sitting down before the Moorish
capital, not to rise until its final surrender. The troops, which mustered
in the Val de Velillos, are computed by most historians at fifty thousand
horse and foot, although Martyr, who served as a volunteer, swells the
number to eighty thousand. They were drawn from the different cities,
chiefly, as usual, from Andalusia, which had been stimulated to truly
gigantic efforts throughout this protracted war, [7] and from the nobility
of every quarter, many of whom, wearied out with the contest, contented
themselves with sending their quotas, while many others, as the marquises
of Cadiz, Villena, the counts of Tendilla, Cabra, Ureña, and Alonso de
Aguilar, appeared in person, eager, as they had borne the brunt of so many
hard campaigns, to share in the closing scene of triumph.

On the 26th of the month, the army encamped near the fountain of Ojos de
Huescar, in the vega, about two leagues distant from Granada. Ferdinand's
first movement was to detach a considerable force, under the marquis of
Villena, which he subsequently supported in person with the remainder of
the army, for the purpose of scouring the fruitful regions of the
Alpuxarras, which served as the granary of the capital. This service was
performed with such unsparing rigor, that no less than twenty-four towns
and hamlets in the mountains were ransacked, and razed to the ground.
After this, Ferdinand returned loaded with spoil to his former position on
the banks of the Xenil, in full view of the Moorish metropolis, which
seemed to stand alone, like some sturdy oak, the last of the forest,
bidding defiance to the storm which had prostrated all its brethren.

Notwithstanding the failure of all external resources, Granada was still
formidable from its local position and its defences. On the east it was
fenced in by a wild mountain barrier, the _Sierra Nevada_, whose snow-clad
summits diffused a grateful coolness over the city through the sultry
heats of summer. The side towards the vega, facing the Christian
encampment, was encircled by walls and towers of massive strength and
solidity. The population, swelled to two hundred thousand by the
immigration from the surrounding country, was likely, indeed, to be a
burden in a protracted siege; but among them were twenty thousand, the
flower of the Moslem chivalry, who had escaped the edge of the Christian
sword. In front of the city, for an extent of nearly ten leagues, lay
unrolled the magnificent vega,

"Fresca y regalada vega,
Dulce recreacion de damas
Y de hombres gloria immensa,"

whose prolific beauties could scarcely be exaggerated in the most florid
strains of the Arabian minstrel, and which still bloomed luxuriant,
notwithstanding the repeated ravages of the preceding season. [8]

The inhabitants of Granada were filled with indignation at the sight of
their enemy, thus encamped under the shadow, as it were, of their
battlements. They sallied forth in small bodies, or singly, challenging
the Spaniards to equal encounter. Numerous were the combats which took
place between the high-mettled cavaliers on both sides, who met on the
level arena, as on a tilting-ground, where they might display their
prowess in the presence of the assembled beauty and chivalry of their
respective nations; for the Spanish camp was graced, as usual, by the
presence of Queen Isabella and the infantas, with the courtly train of
ladies who had accompanied their royal mistress from Alcalá la Real. The
Spanish ballads glow with picturesque details of these knightly tourneys,
forming the most attractive portion of this romantic minstrelsy, which,
celebrating the prowess of Moslem, as well as Christian warriors, sheds a
dying glory round the last hours of Granada. [9]

The festivity, which reigned throughout the camp on the arrival of
Isabella, did not divert her attention from the stern business of war. She
superintended the military preparations, and personally inspected every
part of the encampment. She appeared on the field superbly mounted, and
dressed in complete armor; and, as she visited the different quarters and
reviewed her troops, she administered words of commendation or sympathy,
suited to the condition of the soldier. [10]

On one occasion, she expressed a desire to take a nearer survey of the
city. For this purpose, a house was selected, affording the best point of
view, in the little village of Zubia, at no great distance from Granada.
The king and queen stationed themselves before a window, which commanded
an unbroken prospect of the Alhambra, and the most beautiful quarter of
the town. In the mean while, a considerable force, under the marquis duke
of Cadiz, had been ordered, for the protection of the royal persons, to
take up a position between the village and the city of Granada, with
strict injunctions on no account to engage the enemy, as Isabella was
unwilling to stain the pleasures of the day with unnecessary effusion of

The people of Granada, however, were too impatient long to endure the
presence, and, as they deemed it, the bravado of their enemy. They burst
forth from the gates of the capital, dragging along with them several
pieces of ordnance, and commenced a brisk assault on the Spanish lines.
The latter sustained the shock with firmness, till the marquis of Cadiz,
seeing them thrown into some disorder, found it necessary to assume the
offensive, and, mustering his followers around him, made one of those
desperate charges, which had so often broken the enemy. The Moorish
cavalry faltered; but might have disputed the ground, had it not been for
the infantry, which, composed of the rabble population of the city, was
easily thrown into confusion, and hurried the horse along with it. The
rout now became general. The Spanish cavaliers, whose blood was up,
pursued to the very gates of Granada, "and not a lance," says Bernaldez,
"that day, but was dyed in the blood of the infidel." Two thousand of the
enemy were slain and taken in the engagement, which lasted only a short
time; and the slaughter was stopped only by the escape of the fugitives
within the walls of the city. [11]

About the middle of July, an accident occurred in the camp, which had like
to have been attended with fatal consequences. The queen was lodged in a
superb pavilion, belonging to the marquis of Cadiz, and always used by him
in the Moorish war. By the carelessness of one of her attendants, a lamp
was placed in such a situation, that, during the night, perhaps owing to a
gust of wind, it set fire to the drapery or loose hangings of the
pavilion, which was instantly in a blaze. The flame communicated with
fearful rapidity to the neighboring tents, made of light, combustible
materials, and the camp was menaced with general conflagration. This
occurred at the dead of night, when all but the sentinels were buried in
sleep. The queen and her children, whose apartments were near hers, were
in great peril, and escaped with difficulty, though fortunately without
injury. The alarm soon spread. The trumpets sounded to arms, for it was
supposed to be some night attack of the enemy. Ferdinand, snatching up his
arms hastily, put himself at the head of his troops; but, soon
ascertaining the nature of the disaster, contented himself with posting
the marquis of Cadiz, with a strong body of horse, over against the city,
in order to repel any sally from that quarter. None, however, was
attempted, and the fire was at length extinguished without personal
injury, though not without loss of much valuable property, in jewels,
plate, brocade, and other costly decorations of the tents of the nobility.

In order to guard against a similar disaster, as well as to provide
comfortable winter quarters for the army, should the siege be so long
protracted as to require it, it was resolved to build a town of
substantial edifices on the place of the present encampment. The plan was
immediately put in execution. The work was distributed in due proportions
among the troops of the several cities and of the great nobility; the
soldier was on a sudden converted into an artisan, and, instead of war,
the camp echoed with the sounds of peaceful labor.

In less than three months, this stupendous task was accomplished. The spot
so recently occupied by light, fluttering pavilions, was thickly covered
with solid structures of stone and mortar, comprehending, besides
dwelling-houses, stables for a thousand horses. The town was thrown into a
quadrangular form, traversed by two spacious avenues, intersecting each
other at right angles in the centre, in the form of a cross, with stately
portals at each of the four extremities. Inscriptions on blocks of marble
in the various quarters, recorded the respective shares of the several
cities in the execution of the work. When it was completed, the whole army
was desirous that the new city should bear the name of their illustrious
queen, but Isabella modestly declined this tribute, and bestowed on the
place the title of _Santa Fe_, in token of the unshaken trust, manifested
by her people throughout this war, in Divine Providence. With this name it
still stands as it was erected in 1491, a monument of the constancy and
enduring patience of the Spaniards, "the only city in Spain," in the words
of a Castilian writer, "that has never been contaminated by the Moslem
heresy." [13]

The erection of Santa Fe by the Spaniards struck a greater damp into the
people of Granada, than the most successful military achievement could
have done. They beheld the enemy setting foot on their soil, with a
resolution never more to resign it. They already began to suffer from the
rigorous blockade, which effectually excluded supplies from their own
territories, while all communication with Africa was jealously
intercepted. Symptoms of insubordination had begun to show themselves
among the overgrown population of the city, as it felt more and more the
pressure of famine. In this crisis, the unfortunate Abdallah and his
principal counsellors became convinced, that the place could not be
maintained much longer; and at length, in the month of October,
propositions were made through the vizier Abul Cazim Abdelmalic, to open a
negotiation for the surrender of the place. The affair was to be conducted
with the utmost caution; since the people of Granada, notwithstanding
their precarious condition, and their disquietude, were buoyed up by
indefinite expectations of relief from Africa, or some other quarter.

The Spanish sovereigns intrusted the negotiation to their secretary
Fernando de Zafra, and to Gonsalvo de Cordova, the latter of whom was
selected for this delicate business, from his uncommon address, and his
familiarity with the Moorish habits and language. Thus the capitulation of
Granada was referred to the man, who acquired in her long wars the
military science, which enabled him, at a later period, to foil the most
distinguished generals of Europe.

The conferences were conducted by night with the utmost secrecy, sometimes
within the walls of Granada, and at others, in the little hamlet of
Churriana, about a league distant from it. At length, after large
discussion on both sides, the terms of capitulation were definitively
settled, and ratified by the respective monarchs on the 25th of November,
1491. [14]

The conditions were of similar, though somewhat more liberal import, than
those granted to Baza. The inhabitants of Granada were to retain
possession of their mosques, with the free exercise of their religion,
with all its peculiar rites and ceremonies; they were to be judged by
their own laws, under their own cadis or magistrates, subject to the
general control of the Castilian governor; they were to be unmolested in
their ancient usages, manners, language, and dress; to be protected in the
full enjoyment of their property, with the right of disposing of it on
their own account, and of migrating when and where they would; and to be
furnished with vessels for the conveyance of such as chose within three
years to pass into Africa. No heavier taxes were to be imposed than those
customarily paid to their Arabian sovereigns, and none whatever before the
expiration of three years. King Abdallah was to reign over a specified
territory in the Alpuxarras, for which he was to do homage to the
Castilian crown. The artillery and the fortifications were to be delivered
into the hands of the Christians, and the city was to be surrendered in
sixty days from the date of the capitulation. Such were the principal
terms of the surrender of Granada, as authenticated by the most accredited
Castilian and Arabian authorities; which I have stated the more precisely,
as affording the best data for estimating the extent of Spanish perfidy in
later times. [15]

The conferences could not be conducted so secretly, but that some report
of them got air among the populace of the city, who now regarded Abdallah
with an evil eye for his connection with the Christians. When the fact of
the capitulation became known, the agitation speedily mounted into an open
insurrection, which menaced the safety of the city, as well as of
Abdallah's person. In this alarming state of things, it was thought best
by that monarch's counsellors, to anticipate the appointed day of
surrender; and the 2d of January, 1492, was accordingly fixed on for that

Every preparation was made by the Spaniards for performing this last act
of the drama with suitable pomp and effect. The mourning which the court
had put on for the death of Prince Alonso of Portugal, occasioned by a
fall from his horse a few months after his marriage with the infanta
Isabella, was exchanged for gay and magnificent apparel. On the morning of
the 2d, the whole Christian camp exhibited a scene of the most animating
bustle. The grand cardinal Mendoza was sent forward at the head of a large
detachment, comprehending his household troops, and the veteran infantry
grown grey in the Moorish wars, to occupy the Alhambra preparatory to the
entrance of the sovereigns. [16] Ferdinand stationed himself at some
distance in the rear, near an Arabian mosque, since consecrated as the
hermitage of St. Sebastian. He was surrounded by his courtiers, with their
stately retinues, glittering in gorgeous panoply, and proudly displaying
the armorial bearings of their ancient houses. The queen halted still
farther in the rear, at the village of Armilla. [17]

As the column under the grand cardinal advanced up the Hill of Martyrs,
over which a road had been constructed for the passage of the artillery,
he was met by the Moorish prince Abdallah, attended by fifty cavaliers,
who, descending the hill, rode up to the position occupied by Ferdinand on
the banks of the Xenil. As the Moor approached the Spanish king, he would
have thrown himself from his horse, and saluted his hand in token of
homage, but Ferdinand hastily prevented him, embracing him with every mark
of sympathy and regard. Abdallah then delivered up the keys of the
Alhambra to his conqueror, saying, "They are thine, O king, since Allah so
decrees it; use thy success with clemency and moderation." Ferdinand would
have uttered some words of consolation to the unfortunate prince, but he
moved forward with dejected air to the spot occupied by Isabella, and,
after similar acts of obeisance, passed on to join his family, who had
preceded him with his most valuable effects on the route to the
Alpuxarras. [18]

The sovereigns during this time waited with impatience the signal of the
occupation of the city by the cardinal's troops, which, winding slowly
along the outer circuit of the walls, as previously arranged, in order to
spare the feelings of the citizens as far as possible, entered by what is
now called the gate of Los Molinos. In a short time, the large silver
cross, borne by Ferdinand throughout the crusade, was seen sparkling in
the sunbeams, while the standards of Castile and St. Jago waved
triumphantly from the red towers of the Alhambra. At this glorious
spectacle, the choir of the royal chapel broke forth into the solemn
anthem of the Te Deum, and the whole army, penetrated with deep emotion,
prostrated themselves on their knees in adoration of the Lord of hosts,
who had at length granted the consummation of their wishes, in this last
and glorious triumph of the Cross. [19] The grandees who surrounded
Ferdinand then advanced towards the queen, and kneeling down saluted her
hand in token of homage to her as sovereign of Granada. The procession
took up its march towards the city, "the king and queen moving in the
midst," says an historian, "emblazoned with royal magnificence; and, as
they were in the prime of life, and had now achieved the completion of
this glorious conquest, they seemed to represent even more than their
wonted majesty. Equal with each other, they were raised far above the rest
of the world. They appeared, indeed, more than mortal, and as if sent by
Heaven for the salvation of Spain." [20]

In the mean while the Moorish king, traversing the route of the
Alpuxarras, reached a rocky eminence which commanded a last view of
Granada. He checked his horse, and, as his eye for the last time wandered
over the scenes of his departed greatness, his heart swelled, and he burst
into tears. "You do well," said his more masculine mother, "to weep like a
woman, for what you could not defend like a man!" "Alas!" exclaimed the
unhappy exile, "when were woes ever equal to mine!" The scene of this
event is still pointed out to the traveller by the people of the district;
and the rocky height, from which the Moorish chief took his sad farewell
of the princely abodes of his youth, is commemorated by the poetical title
of _El Ultimo Sospiro del Moro_, "The Last Sigh of the Moor."

The sequel of Abdallah's history is soon told. Like his uncle, El Zagal,
he pined away in his barren domain of the Alpuxarras, under the shadow, as
it were, of his ancient palaces. In the following year, he passed over to
Fez with his family, having commuted his petty sovereignty for a
considerable sum of money paid him by Ferdinand and Isabella, and soon
after fell in battle in the service of an African prince, his kinsman.
"Wretched man," exclaims a caustic chronicler of his nation, "who could
lose his life in another's cause, though he did not dare to die in his
own. Such," continues the Arabian, with characteristic resignation, "was
the immutable decree of destiny. Blessed be Allah, who exalteth and
debaseth the kings of the earth, according to his divine will, in whose
fulfilment consists that eternal justice, which regulates all human
affairs." The portal, through which King Abdallah for the last time issued
from his capital, was at his request walled up, that none other might
again pass through it. In this condition it remains to this day, a
memorial of the sad destiny of the last of the kings of Granada. [21]

The fall of Granada excited general sensation throughout Christendom,
where it was received as counterbalancing, in a manner, the loss of
Constantinople, nearly half a century before. At Rome, the event was
commemorated by a solemn procession of the pope and cardinals to St.
Peter's, where high mass was celebrated, and the public rejoicing
continued for several days. [22] The intelligence was welcomed with no
less satisfaction in England, where Henry the Seventh was seated on the
throne. The circumstances attending it, as related by Lord Bacon, will not
be devoid of interest for the reader. [23]

Thus ended the war of Granada, which is often compared by the Castilian
chroniclers to that of Troy in its duration, and which certainly fully
equalled the latter in variety of picturesque and romantic incidents, and
in circumstances of poetical interest. With the surrender of its capital,
terminated the Arabian empire in the Peninsula, after an existence of
seven hundred and forty-one years from the date of the original conquest.
The consequences of this closing war were of the highest moment to Spain.
The most obvious, was the recovery of an extensive territory, hitherto
held by a people, whose difference of religion, language, and general
habits, made them not only incapable of assimilating with their Christian
neighbors, but almost their natural enemies; while their local position
was a matter of just concern, as interposed between the great divisions of
the Spanish monarchy, and opening an obvious avenue to invasion from
Africa. By the new conquest, moreover, the Spaniards gained a large extent
of country, possessing the highest capacities for production, in its
natural fruitfulness of soil, temperature of climate, and in the state of
cultivation to which it had been brought by its ancient occupants; while
its shores were lined with commodious havens, that afforded every facility
for commerce. The scattered fragments of the ancient Visigothic empire
were now again, with the exception of the little state of Navarre,
combined into one great monarchy, as originally destined by nature; and
Christian Spain gradually rose by means of her new acquisitions from a
subordinate situation, to the level of a first-rate European power.

The moral influence of the Moorish war, its influence on the Spanish
character, was highly important. The inhabitants of the great divisions of
the country, as in most countries during the feudal ages, had been brought
too frequently into collision with each other to allow the existence of a
pervading national feeling. This was particularly the case in Spain, where
independent states insensibly grew out of the detached fragments of
territory recovered at different times from the Moorish monarchy. The war
of Granada subjected all the various sections of the country to one common
action, under the influence of common motives of the most exciting
interest; while it brought them in conflict with a race, the extreme
repugnance of whose institutions and character to their own, served
greatly to nourish the nationality of sentiment. In this way, the spark of
patriotism was kindled throughout the whole nation, and the most distant
provinces of the Peninsula were knit together by a bond of union, which
has remained indissoluble.

The consequences of these wars in a military aspect are also worthy of
notice. Up to this period, war had been carried on by irregular levies,
extremely limited in numerical amount and in period of service; under
little subordination, except to their own immediate chiefs, and wholly
unprovided with the apparatus required for extended operations. The
Spaniards were even lower than most of the European nations in military
science, as is apparent from the infinite pains of Isabella to avail
herself of all foreign resources for their improvement. In the war of
Granada, masses of men were brought together, far greater than had
hitherto been known in modern warfare. They were kept in the field not
only through long campaigns, but far into the winter; a thing altogether
unprecedented. They were made to act in concert, and the numerous petty
chiefs brought in complete subjection to one common head, whose personal
character enforced the authority of station. Lastly, they were supplied
with all the requisite munitions, through the providence of Isabella, who
introduced into the service the most skilful engineers from other
countries, and kept in pay bodies of mercenaries, as the Swiss for
example, reputed the best disciplined troops of that day. In this
admirable school, the Spanish soldier was gradually trained to patient
endurance, fortitude, and thorough subordination; and those celebrated
captains were formed, with that invincible infantry, which in the
beginning of the sixteenth century spread the military fame of their
country over all Christendom.

But, with all our sympathy for the conquerors, it is impossible, without a
deep feeling of regret, to contemplate the decay and final extinction of a
race, who had made such high advances in civilization as the Spanish
Arabs; to see them driven from the stately palaces reared by their own
hands, wandering as exiles over the lands, which still blossomed with the
fruits of their industry, and wasting away under persecution, until their
very name as a nation was blotted out from the map of history. [24] It
must be admitted, however, that they had long since reached their utmost
limit of advancement as a people. The light shed over their history shines
from distant ages; for, during the later period of their existence, they
appear to have reposed in a state of torpid, luxurious indulgence, which
would seem to argue, that, when causes of external excitement were
withdrawn, the inherent vices of their social institutions had
incapacitated them for the further production of excellence. In this
impotent condition, it was wisely ordered, that their territory should be
occupied by a people, whose religion and more liberal form of government,
however frequently misunderstood or perverted, qualified them for
advancing still higher the interests of humanity.

It will not be amiss to terminate the narrative of the war of Granada with
some notice of the fate of Rodrigo Ponce de Leon, marquis duke of Cadiz;
for he may be regarded in a peculiar manner as the hero of it, having
struck the first stroke by the surprise of Alhama, and witnessed every
campaign till the surrender of Granada. A circumstantial account of his
last moments is afforded by the pen of his worthy countryman, the
Andalusian Curate of Los Palacios. The gallant marquis survived the close
of the war only a short time, terminating his days at his mansion in
Seville, on the 28th of August, 1492, with a disorder brought on by
fatigue and incessant exposure. He had reached the forty-ninth year of his
age, and, although twice married, left no legitimate issue. In his person,
he was of about the middle stature, of a compact, symmetrical frame, a
fair complexion, with light hair inclining to red. He was an excellent
horseman, and well skilled indeed in most of the exercises of chivalry. He
had the rare merit of combining sagacity with intrepidity in action.
Though somewhat impatient, and slow to forgive, he was frank and generous,
a warm friend, and a kind master to his vassals. [25]

He was strict in his observance of the Catholic worship, punctilious in
keeping all the church festivals and in enforcing their observance
throughout his domains; and, in war, he was a most devout champion of the
Virgin. He was ambitious of acquisitions, but lavish of expenditure,
especially in the embellishment and fortification of his towns and
castles; spending on Alcalá de Guadaira, Xerez, and Alanis, the enormous
sum of seventeen million maravedies. To the ladies he was courteous, as
became a true knight. At his death, the king and queen with the whole
court went into mourning; "for he was a much-loved cavalier," says the
Curate, "and was esteemed, like the Cid, both by friend and foe; and no
Moor durst abide in that quarter of the field where his banner was

His body, after lying in state for several days in his palace at Seville,
with his trusty sword by his side, with which he had fought all his
battles, was borne in solemn procession by night through the streets of
the city, which was everywhere filled with the deepest lamentation; and
was finally deposited in the great chapel of the Augustine church, in the
tomb of his ancestors. Ten Moorish banners, which he had taken in battle
with the infidel, before the war of Granada, were borne along at his
funeral, "and still wave over his sepulchre," says Bernaldez, "keeping
alive the memory of his exploits, as undying as his soul." The banners
have long since mouldered into dust; the very tomb which contained his
ashes has been sacrilegiously demolished; but the fame of the hero will
survive as long as anything like respect for valor, courtesy, unblemished
honor, or any other attribute of chivalry, shall be found in Spain. [26]

* * * * *

One of the chief authorities on which the account of the Moorish war
rests, is Andres Bernaldez, Curate of Los Palacios. He was a native of
Fuente in Leon, and appears to have received his early education under the
care of his grandfather, a notary of that place, whose commendations of a
juvenile essay in historical writing led him later in life, according to
his own account, to record the events of his time in the extended and
regular form of a chronicle. After admission to orders, he was made
chaplain to Deza, archbishop of Seville, and curate of Los Palacios, an
Andalusian town not far from Seville, where he discharged his
ecclesiastical functions with credit, from 1488 to 1513, at which time, as
we find no later mention of him, he probably closed his life with his
labors. Bernaldez had ample opportunities for accurate information
relative to the Moorish war, since he lived, as it were, in the theatre of
action, and was personally intimate with the most considerable men of
Andalusia, especially the marquis of Cadiz, whom he has made the Achilles
of his epic, assigning him a much more important part in the principal
transactions, than is always warranted by other authorities. His Chronicle
is just such as might have been anticipated from a person of lively
imagination, and competent scholarship for the time, deeply dyed with the
bigotry and superstition of the Spanish clergy in that century. There is
no great discrimination apparent in the work of the worthy curate, who
dwells with goggle-eyed credulity on the most absurd marvels, and expends
more pages on an empty court show, than on the most important schemes of
policy. But if he is no philosopher, he has, perhaps for that very reason,
succeeded in making us completely master of the popular feelings and
prejudices of the time; while he gives a most vivid portraiture of the
principal scenes and actors in this stirring war, with all their
chivalrous exploit, and rich theatrical accompaniment. His credulity and
fanaticism, moreover, are well compensated by a simplicity and loyalty of
purpose, which secure much more credit to his narrative than attaches to
those of more ambitious writers, whose judgment is perpetually swayed by
personal or party interests. The chronicle descends as late as 1513,
although, as might be expected from the author's character, it is entitled
to much less confidence in the discussion of events which fell without the
scope of his personal observation. Notwithstanding its historical value is
fully recognized by the Castilian critics, it has never been admitted to
the press, but still remains ingulfed in the ocean of manuscripts, with
which the Spanish libraries are deluged.

It is remarkable that the war of Granada, which is so admirably suited in
all its circumstances to poetical purposes, should not have been more
frequently commemorated by the epic muse. The only successful attempt in
this way, with which I am acquainted, is the "Conquisto di Granata," by
the Florentine Girolamo Gratiani, Modena, 1650. The author has taken the
license, independently of his machinery, of deviating very freely from the
historic track; among other things, introducing Columbus and the Great
Captain as principal actors in the drama, in which they played at most but
a very subordinate part. The poem, which swells into twenty-six cantos, is
in such repute with the Italian critics, that Quadrio does not hesitate to
rank it "among the best epical productions of the age." A translation of
this work has recently appeared at Nuremberg, from the pen of C. M.
Winterling, which is much commended by the German critics.

Mr. Irving's late publication, the "Chronicle of the Conquest of Granada,"
has superseded all further necessity for poetry, and, unfortunately for
me, for history. He has fully availed himself of all the picturesque and
animating movements of this romantic era; and the reader who will take the
trouble to compare his Chronicle with the present more prosaic and literal
narrative, will see how little he has been seduced from historic accuracy
by the poetical aspect of his subject. The fictitious and romantic dress
of his work has enabled him to make it the medium for reflecting more
vividly the floating opinions and chimerical fancies of the age, while he
has illuminated the picture with the dramatic brilliancy of coloring
denied to sober history.


[1] Carbajal, Anales, MS., año 1490.--Bernaldez, Reyes Católicos, MS.,
cap. 95.--Zuñiga, Annales de Sevilla, pp. 404, 405.--Pulgar, Reyes
Católicos, part. 3, cap. 127.--La Clède, Hist. de Portugal, tom. iv. p.
19.--Faria y Sousa, Europa Portuguesa, tom. ii. p. 452.

[2] Faria y Sousa, Europa Portuguesa, tom. ii. pp. 452-456.--Florez,
Reynas Cathólicas, p. 845.--Pulgar, Reyes Católicos, cap. 129.--Oviedo,
Quincuagenas, MS., bat. 1, quinc. 2, dial. 3.

[3] Conde, Domination de los Arabes, tom. iii. cap. 41.--Bernaldez, Reyes
Católicos, MS., cap. 90.

Neither the Arabic nor Castilian authorities impeach the justice of the
summons made by the Spanish sovereigns. I do not, however, find any other
foundation for the obligation imputed to Abdallah in them, than that
monarch's agreement during his captivity at Loja, in 1486, to surrender
his capital in exchange for Guadix, provided the latter should be
conquered within six months. Pulgar, Reyes Católicos, p. 275.--Garibay,
Compendio, tom. iv. p. 418.

[4] L. Marineo, Cosas Memorables, fol. 176.--Pulgar, Reyes Católicos, cap.
130.--Zurita, Anales, tom. iv. cap. 85.--Cardonne, Hist. d'Afrique et
d'Espagne, tom. iii. p. 309.

[5] Pulgar, Reyes Católicos, cap. 131, 132.--Bernaldez, Reyes Católicos,
MS., cap. 97.--Conde, Dominacion de los Arabes, tom. iii. cap. 41.--Peter
Martyr, Opus Epist., lib. 3, epist. 84.--Garibay, Compendio, tom. iv. p.
424.--Cardonne, Hist. d'Afrique et d'Espagne, tom. iii. pp. 309, 310.

[6] Carbajal, Anales, MS., año 1491.

[7] According to Zuñiga, the quota furnished by Seville this season
amounted to 6000 foot and 500 horse, who were recruited by fresh
reinforcements no less than five times during the campaign. Annales de
Sevilla, p. 406.--See also Col. de Cédulas, tom. iii. no. 3.

[8] Conde, Dominacion de los Arabes, tom. iii. cap. 42.--Bernaldez, Reyes
Católicos, MS., cap. 100.--Peter Martyr, Opus Epist., lib. 3, epist. 89.--
Marmol, Rebelion de Moriscos, lib. 1, cap. 18.--L. Marineo, Cosas
Memorables, fol. 177.

Martyr remarks, that the Genoese merchants, "voyagers to every clime,
declare this to be the largest fortified city in the world." Casiri has
collected a body of interesting particulars respecting the wealth,
population, and social habits of Granada, from various Arabic authorities.
Bibliotheca Escurialensis, tom. ii. pp. 247-260.

The French work of Laborde, Voyage Pittoresque, (Paris, 1807,) and the
English one of Murphy, Engravings of Arabian Antiquities of Spain,
(London, 1816,) do ample justice in their finished designs to the general
topography and architectural magnificence of Granada.

[9] On one occasion, a Christian knight having discomfited with a handful
of men a much superior body of Moslem chivalry, King Abdallah testified
his admiration of his prowess by sending him on the following day a
magnificent present, together with his own sword superbly mounted. (Mem.
de la Acad. de Hist., tom. vi. p. 178.) The Moorish ballad beginning

"Al Rey Chico de Granada"

describes the panic occasioned in the city by the Christian encampment on
the Xenil.

"For ese fresco Genil
un campo viene marchando,
todo de lucida gente,
las armas van relumbrando.

"Las vanderas traen tendidas,
y un estandarte dorado;
el General de esta gente
es el invicto Fernando.
Y tambien viene la Reyna,
Muger del Hey don Fernando,
la qual tiene tanto esfuerzo
que anima a qualquier soldado."

[10] Bernaldez, Reyes Católicos, MS., cap. 101.

[11] Bernaldez, Reyes Católicos, MS., cap. 101.--Conde, Dominacion de los
Arabes, tom. iii. cap. 42.--Peter Martyr, Opus Epist., lib. 4, epist. 90.
--Pulgar, Reyes Católicos, cap. 133.--Zurita, Anales, tom. iv. cap. 88.

Isabella afterwards caused a Franciscan monastery to be built in
commemoration of this event at Zubia, where, according to Mr. Irving, the
house from which she witnessed the action is to be seen at the present
day. See Conquest of Granada, chap. 90, note.

[12] Peter Martyr, Opus Epist., lib. 4, epist. 91.--Bernaldez, Reyes
Católicos, MS., cap. 101.--Garibay, Compendio, tom. ii. p. 673.--Bleda,
Corónica, p. 619.--Marmol, Rebelion de Moriscos, lib. 1, cap. 18.

[13] Estrada, Poblacion de España, tom. ii. pp. 344, 348.--Peter Martyr,
Opus Epist., lib. 4, epist. 91.--Marmol, Rebelion de Moriscos, lib. 1,
cap. 18.

Hyta, who embellishes his florid prose with occasional extracts from the
beautiful ballad poetry of Spain, gives one commemorating the erection of
Santa Fe.

"Cercada esta Santa Fe
con mucho lienzo encerado
al rededor muchas tiendas
de seda, oro, y brocado.

"Donde estan Duques, y Condes,
Señores de gran estado," etc.

Guerras de Granada, p. 515.

[14] Pedraza, Antiguedad de Granada, fol. 74.--Giovio, De Vita Gonsalvi,
apud Vitae Illust. Virorum, pp. 211, 212.--Salazar de Mendoza, Crón. del
Gran Cardenal, p. 236.--Cardonne, Hist. d'Afrique et d'Espagne, tom. iii.
pp. 316, 317.--Conde, Dominacion de los Arabes, tom. iii. cap. 42.--L.
Marineo, Cosas Memorables, fol. 178.--Marmol, however, assigns the date in
the text to a separate capitulation respecting Abdallah, dating that made
in behalf of the city three days later. (Rebelion de Moriscos, lib. 1,
cap. 19.) This author has given the articles of the treaty with greater
fulness and precision than any other Spanish historian.

[15] Marmol, Rebelion de Moriscos, lib. 1, cap. 19.--Conde, Dominacion de
los Arabes, tom. iii. cap. 42.--Zurita, Anales, tom. ii. cap. 90.--
Cardonne, Hist. d'Afrique et d'Espagne, tom. iii. pp. 317, 318.--Oviedo,
Quincuagenas, MS., bat. 1, quinc. 1, dial. 28. Martyr adds, that the
principal Moorish nobility were to remove from the city. (Opus Epist.,
lib. 4, epist. 92.) Pedraza, who has devoted a volume to the history of
Granada, does not seem to think the capitulations worth specifying. Most
of the modern Castilians pass very lightly over them. They furnish too
bitter a comment on the conduct of subsequent Spanish monarchs. Marmol and
the judicious Zurita agree in every substantial particular with Conde, and
this coincidence may be considered as establishing the actual terms of the

[16] Oviedo, whose narrative exhibits many discrepancies with those of
other contemporaries, assigns this part to the count of Tendilla, the
first captain-general of Granada. Quincuagenas, MS., bat. 1, quinc. 1,
dial. 28. But, as this writer, though an eye-witness, was but thirteen or
fourteen years of age at the time of the capture, and wrote some sixty
years later from his early recollections, his authority cannot be
considered of equal weight with that of persons who, like Martyr,
described events as they were passing before them.

[17] Pedraza, Antiguedad de Granada, fol. 75.--Salazar de Mendoza, Crón.
del Gran Cardenal, p. 238.--Zurita, Anales, tom. iv. cap. 90.--Peter
Martyr, Opus Epist., lib. 4, epist. 92.--Abarca, Reyes de Aragon, tom. ii.
fol. 309.--Marmol, Rebelion de Moriscos, lib. 1, cap. 20.

[18] Marmol, Rebelion de Moriscos, ubi supra.--Conde, Dominacion de los
Arabes, tom. iii. cap. 43.--Pedraza, Antiguedad de Granada, fol. 76.--
Bernaldez, Reyes Católicos, MS., cap. 102.--Zurita, Anales, tom. iv. cap.
90.--Oviedo, Quincuagenas, MS., bat. 1, quinc. 1, dial. 28.

[19] Oviedo, Quincuagenas, MS., ubi supra.--One is reminded of Tasso's
description of the somewhat similar feelings exhibited by the crusaders on
their entrance into Jerusalem.

"Ecco apparir Gerusalem si vede,
Ecco additar Gerusalem si scorge;
Ecco da mille voci unitamente
Gerusalemme salutar si sente.

* * * * *

"Al gran placer che quella prima vista
Dolcemente spirò nell' altruì petto,
Alta contrizion successe, mista
Di timoroso e riverente affetto,
Osano appena d'innalzar la vista
Ver la città."

Gerusalemme Liberata,--Cant. iii. st. 3, 5.

[20] Mariana, Hist. de España tom. ii. p. 597.--Pedraza, Antiguedad de
Granada, fol. 76.--Carbajal, Anales, MS., año 1492.--Conde, Dominacion de
los Arabes, tom. iii. cap. 43.--Bleda, Corónica, pp. 621, 622.--Zurita,
Anales, tom. iv. cap. 90.--Marmol, Rebelion de Moriscos, lib. i. cap. 20.
--L. Marineo, and indeed most of the Spanish authorities, represent the
sovereigns as having postponed their entrance into the city until the 5th
or 6th of January. A letter transcribed by Pedraza, addressed by the queen
to the prior of Guadalupe, one of her council, dated from the city of
Granada on the 2d of January, 1492, shows the inaccuracy of this
statement. See folio 76.

In Mr. Lockhart's picturesque version of the Moorish ballads, the reader
may find an animated description of the triumphant entry of the Christian
army into Granada.

"There was crying in Granada when the sun was going down,
Some calling on the Trinity, some calling on Mahoun;
Here passed away the Koran, there in the cross was borne,
And here was heard the Christian bell, and there the Moorish horn;
_Te Deum laudamus_ was up the Alcala sung,
Down from the Alhambra's minarets were all the crescents flung;
The arms thereon of Aragon and Castile they display;
One king comes in in triumph, one weeping goes away."

[21] Conde, Dominacion de los Arabes, tom. iii. cap. 90.--Cardonne, Hist.
d'Afrique et d'Espagne, tom. ii. pp. 319, 320.--Garibay, Compendio, tom.
iv. lib. 40, cap. 42.--Marmol, Rebelion de Moriscos, lib. 1, cap. 20.

Mr. Irving, in his beautiful Spanish Sketch-book, "The Alhambra," devotes
a chapter to mementos of Boabdil, in which he traces minutely the route of
the deposed monarch after quitting the gates of his capital. The same
author, in the Appendix to his Chronicle of Granada, concludes a notice of
Abdallah's fate with the following description of his person. "A portrait
of Boabdil el Chico is to be seen in the picture gallery of the
Generalife. He is represented with a mild, handsome face, a fair
complexion, and yellow hair. His dress is of yellow brocade, relieved with
black velvet; and he has a black velvet cap, surmounted with a crown. In
the armory of Madrid are two suits of armor said to have belonged to him,
one of solid steel, with very little ornament; the morion closed. From the
proportions of these suits of armor, he must have been of full stature and
vigorous form." Note, p. 398.

[22] Senarega, Commentarii de Rebus Genuensibus, apud Muratori, Rerum
Italicarum Scriptores, (Mediolani, 1723-51,) tom. xxiv. p. 531.--It formed
the subject of a theatrical representation before the court at Naples, in
the same year. This drama, or _Farsa_, as it is called by its
distinguished author, Sannazaro, is an allegorical medley, in which Faith,
Joy, and the false prophet Mahomet play the principal parts. The
difficulty of a precise classification of this piece, has given rise to
warmer discussion among Italian critics, than the subject may be thought
to warrant. See Signorelli, Vicende della Coltura nelle due Sicilie,
(Napoli, 1810,) tom. iii. pp. 543 et seq.

[23] "Somewhat about this time, came letters from Ferdinando and Isabella,
king and queen of Spain; signifying the final conquest of Granada from the
Moors; which action, in itself so worthy, King Ferdinando, whose manner
was, never to lose any virtue for the showing, had expressed and displayed
in his letters, at large, with all the particularities and religious
punctos and ceremonies, that were observed in the reception of that city
and kingdom; showing amongst other things, that the king would not by any
means in person enter the city until he had first aloof seen the Cross set
up upon the greater tower of Granada, whereby it became Christian ground.
That likewise, before he would enter, he did homage to God above,
pronouncing by an herald from the height of that tower, that he did
acknowledge to have recovered that kingdom by the help of God Almighty,
and the glorious Virgin, and the virtuous apostle St. James, and the holy
father Innocent VIII., together with the aids and services of his
prelates, nobles, and commons. That yet he stirred not from his camp, till
he had seen a little army of martyrs, to the number of seven hundred and
more Christians, that had lived in bonds and servitude, as slaves to the
Moors, pass before his eyes, singing a psalm for their redemption; and
that he had given tribute unto God, by alms and relief extended to them
all, for his admission into the city. These things were in the letters,
with many more ceremonies of a kind of holy ostentation.

"The king, ever willing to put himself into the consort or quire of all
religious actions, and naturally affecting much the king of Spain, as far
as one king can affect another, partly for his virtues, and partly for a
counterpoise to France; upon the receipt of these letters, sent all his
nobles and prelates that were about the court, together with the mayor and
aldermen of London, in great solemnity to the church of Paul; there to
hear a declaration from the lord chancellor, now cardinal. When they were
assembled, the cardinal, standing upon the uppermost step, or halfpace,
before the quire, and all the nobles, prelates, and governors of the city
at the foot of the stairs, made a speech to them; letting them know that
they were assembled in that consecrated place to sing unto God a new song.
For that, said he, these many years the Christians have not gained new
ground or territory upon the infidels, nor enlarged and set farther the
bounds of the Christian world. But this is now done by the prowess and
devotion of Ferdinando and Isabella, kings of Spain; who have, to their
immortal honor, recovered the great and rich kingdom of Granada, and the
populous and mighty city of the same name from the Moors, having been in
possession thereof by the space of seven hundred years, and more; for
which this assembly and all Christians are to render laud and thanks to
God, and to celebrate this noble act of the king of Spain; who in this is
not only victorious but apostolical, in the gaining of new provinces to
the Christian faith. And the rather for that this victory and conquest is
obtained without much effusion of blood. Whereby it is to be hoped, that
there shall be gained not only new territory, but infinite souls to the
Church of Christ, whom the Almighty, as it seems, would have live to be
converted. Herewithal he did relate some of the most memorable particulars
of the war and victory. And, after his speech ended, the whole assembly
went solemnly in procession, and Te Deum was sung." Lord Bacon, History of
the Reign of King Henry VII., in his Works, (ed. London, 1819,) vol. v.
pp. 85, 86.--See also Hall, Chronicle, p. 453.

[24] The African descendants of the Spanish Moors, unable wholly to
relinquish the hope of restoration to the delicious abodes of their
ancestors, continued for many generations, and perhaps still continue, to
put up a petition to that effect in their mosques every Friday. Pedraza,
Antiguedad de Granada, fol. 7.

[25] Carbajal, Anales, MS., año 1492.

Don Henrique de Guzman, duke of Medina Sidonia, the ancient enemy, and,
since the commencement of the Moorish war, the firm friend of the marquis
of Cadiz, died the 28th of August, on the same day with the latter.

[26] Zuñiga, Annales de Sevilla, p. 411.--Bernaldez, Reyes Católicos, MS.,
cap. 104.

The marquis left three illegitimate daughters by a noble Spanish lady, who
all formed high connections. He was succeeded in his titles and estates,
by the permission of Ferdinand and Isabella, by Don Rodrigo Ponce de Leon,
the son of his eldest daughter, who had married with one of her kinsmen.
Cadiz was subsequently annexed by the Spanish sovereigns to the crown,
from which it had been detached in Henry IV.'s time, and considerable
estates were given as an equivalent, together with the title of Duke of
Arcos, to the family of Ponce de Leon.




Early Discoveries of the Portuguese.--Of the Spaniards.--Columbus.--His
Application at the Castilian Court.--Rejected.--Negotiations Resumed.--
Favorable Disposition of the Queen.--Arrangement with Columbus.--He Sails
on his First Voyage.--Indifference to the Enterprise.--Acknowledgments due
to Isabella.

While Ferdinand and Isabella were at Santa Fe, the capitulation was
signed, that opened the way to an extent of empire, compared with which
their recent conquests, and indeed all their present dominions, were
insignificant. The extraordinary intellectual activity of the Europeans in
the fifteenth century, after the torpor of ages, carried them forward to
high advancement in almost every department of science, but especially
nautical, whose surprising results have acquired for the age, the glory of
being designated as peculiarly that of maritime discovery. This was
eminently favored by the political condition of modern Europe. Under the
Roman empire, the traffic with the east naturally centred in Rome, the
commercial capital of the west. After the dismemberment of the empire, it
continued to be conducted principally through the channel of the Italian
ports, whence it was diffused over the remoter regions of Christendom. But
these countries, which had now risen from the rank of subordinate
provinces to that of separate independent states, viewed with jealousy
this monopoly of the Italian cities, by means of which these latter were
rapidly advancing beyond them in power and opulence. This was especially
the case with Portugal and Castile, [1] which, placed on the remote
frontiers of the European continent, were far removed from the great
routes of Asiatic intercourse; while this disadvantage was not compensated
by such an extent of territory, as secured consideration to some other of
the European states, equally unfavorably situated for commercial purposes
with themselves. Thus circumstanced, the two nations of Castile and
Portugal were naturally led to turn their eyes on the great ocean which
washed their western borders, and to seek in its hitherto unexplored
recesses for new domains, and if possible strike out some undiscovered
track towards the opulent regions of the east.

The spirit of maritime enterprise was fomented, and greatly facilitated in
its operation, by the invention of the astrolabe, and the important
discovery of the polarity of the magnet, whose first application to the
purposes of navigation on an extended scale may be referred to the
fifteenth century. [2] The Portuguese were the first to enter on the
brilliant path of nautical discovery, which they pursued under the infant
Don Henry with such activity, that, before the middle of the fifteenth
century, they had penetrated as far as Cape de Verd, doubling many a
fearful headland, which had shut in the timid navigator of former days;
until at length, in 1486, they descried the lofty promontory which
terminates Africa on the south, and which, hailed by King John the Second,
under whom it was discovered, as the harbinger of the long-sought passage
to the east, received the cheering appellation of the Cape of Good Hope.

The Spaniards, in the mean while, did not languish in the career of
maritime enterprise. Certain adventurers from the northern provinces of
Biscay and Guipuscoa, in 1393, had made themselves masters of one of the
smallest of the group of islands, supposed to be the Fortunate Isles of
the ancients, since known as the Canaries. Other private adventurers from
Seville extended their conquests over these islands in the beginning of
the following century. These were completed in behalf of the crown under
Ferdinand and Isabella, who equipped several fleets for their reduction,
which at length terminated in 1495 with that of Teneriffe. [3] From the
commencement of their reign, Ferdinand and Isabella had shown an earnest
solicitude for the encouragement of commerce and nautical science, as is
evinced by a variety of regulations which, however imperfect, from the
misconception of the true principles of trade in that day, are
sufficiently indicative of the dispositions of the government. [4] Under
them, and indeed under their predecessors as far back as Henry the Third,
a considerable traffic had been carried on with the western coast of
Africa, from which gold dust and slaves were imported into the city of
Seville. The annalist of that city notices the repeated interference of
Isabella in behalf of these unfortunate beings, by ordinances tending to
secure them a more equal protection of the laws, or opening such social
indulgences as might mitigate the hardships of their condition. A
misunderstanding gradually arose between the subjects of Castile and
Portugal, in relation to their respective rights of discovery and commerce
on the African coast, which promised a fruitful source of collision
between the two crowns; but which was happily adjusted by an article in
the treaty of 1479, that terminated the war of the succession. By this it
was settled, that the right of traffic and of discovery on the western
coast of Africa should be exclusively reserved to the Portuguese, who in
their turn should resign all claims on the Canaries to the crown of
Castile. The Spaniards, thus excluded from further progress to the south,
seemed to have no other opening left for naval adventure than the hitherto
untravelled regions of the great western ocean. Fortunately, at this
juncture, an individual appeared among them, in the person of Christopher
Columbus, endowed with capacity for stimulating them to this heroic
enterprise, and conducting it to a glorious issue. [5]

This extraordinary man was a native of Genoa, of humble parentage, though
perhaps honorable descent. [6] He was instructed in his early youth at
Pavia, where he acquired a strong relish for the mathematical sciences, in
which he subsequently excelled. At the age of fourteen, he engaged in a
seafaring life, which he followed with little intermission till 1470;
when, probably little more than thirty years of age, [7] he landed in
Portugal, the country to which adventurous spirits from all parts of the
world then resorted, as the great theatre of maritime enterprise. After
his arrival, he continued to make voyages to the then known parts of the
world, and, when on shore, occupied himself with the construction and sale
of charts and maps; while his geographical researches were considerably
aided by the possession of papers belonging to an eminent Portuguese
navigator, a deceased relative of his wife. Thus stored with all that
nautical science in that day could supply, and fortified by large
practical experience, the reflecting mind of Columbus was naturally led to
speculate on the existence of some other land beyond the western waters;
and he conceived the possibility of reaching the eastern shores of Asia,
whose provinces of Zipango and Cathay were emblazoned in such gorgeous
colors in the narratives of Mandeville and the Poli, by a more direct and
commodious route than that which traversed the eastern continent. [8]

The existence of land beyond the Atlantic, which was not discredited by
some of the most enlightened ancients, [9] had become matter of common
speculation at the close of the fifteenth century; when maritime adventure
was daily disclosing the mysteries of the deep, and bringing to light new
regions, that had hitherto existed only in fancy. A proof of this popular
belief occurs in a curious passage of the "Morgante Maggiore" of the
Florentine poet Palci, a man of letters, but not distinguished for
scientific attainments beyond his day. [10] The passage is remarkable,
independently of the cosmographical knowledge it implies, for its allusion
to phenomena in physical science, not established till more than a century
later. The Devil, alluding to the vulgar superstition respecting the
pillars of Hercules, thus addresses his companion Rinaldo:

"Know that this theory is false; his bark
The daring mariner shall urge far o'er
The western wave, a smooth and level plain,
Albeit the earth is fashioned like a wheel.
Man was in ancient days of grosser mould,
And Hercules might blush to learn how far
Beyond the limits he had vainly set,
The dullest sea-boat soon shall wing her way.
Men shall descry another hemisphere,
Since to one common centre all things tend;
So earth, by curious mystery divine
Well balanced, hangs amid the starry spheres.
At our antipodes are cities, states,
And thronged empires, ne'er divined of yore.
But see, the Sun speeds on his western path
To glad the nations with expected light." [11]

Columbus's hypothesis rested on much higher ground than mere popular
belief. What indeed was credulity with the vulgar, and speculation with
the learned, amounted in his mind to a settled practical conviction, that
made him ready to peril life and fortune on the result of the experiment.
He was fortified still further in his conclusions by a correspondence with
the learned Italian Toscanelli, who furnished him with a map of his own
projection, in which the eastern coast of Asia was delineated opposite to
the western frontier of Europe. [12]

Filled with lofty anticipations of achieving a discovery, which would
settle a question of such moment, so long involved in obscurity, Columbus
submitted the theory on which he had founded his belief in the existence
of a western route to King John the Second, of Portugal. Here he was
doomed to encounter for the first time the embarrassments and
mortifications, which so often obstruct the conceptions of genius, too
sublime for the age in which they are formed. After a long and fruitless
negotiation, and a dishonorable attempt on the part of the Portuguese to
avail themselves clandestinely of his information, he quitted Lisbon in
disgust, determined to submit his proposals to the Spanish sovereigns,
relying on their reputed character for wisdom and enterprise. [13]

The period of his arrival in Spain, being the latter part of 1484, would
seem to have been the most unpropitious possible to his design. The nation
was then in the heat of the Moorish war, and the sovereigns were
unintermittingly engaged, as we have seen, in prosecuting their campaigns,
or in active preparation for them. The large expenditure, incident to
this, exhausted all their resources; and indeed the engrossing character
of this domestic conquest left them little leisure for indulging in dreams
of distant and doubtful discovery. Columbus, moreover, was unfortunate in
his first channel of communication with the court. He was furnished by
Fray Juan Perez de Marchena, guardian of the convent of La Rabida in
Andalusia, who had early taken a deep interest in his plans, with an
introduction to Fernando de Talavera, prior of Prado, and confessor of the
queen, a person high in the royal confidence, and gradually raised through
a succession of ecclesiastical dignities to the archiepiscopal see of
Granada. He was a man of irreproachable morals, and of comprehensive
benevolence for that day, as is shown in his subsequent treatment of the
unfortunate Moriscoes. [14] He was also learned; although his learning was
that of the cloister, deeply tinctured with pedantry and superstition, and
debased by such servile deference even to the errors of antiquity, as at
once led him to discountenance everything like innovation or enterprise.

With these timid and exclusive views, Talavera was so far from
comprehending the vast conceptions of Columbus, that he seems to have
regarded him as a mere visionary, and his hypothesis as involving
principles not altogether orthodox. Ferdinand and Isabella, desirous of
obtaining the opinion of the most competent judges on the merits of
Columbus's theory, referred him to a council selected by Talavera from the
most eminent scholars of the kingdom, chiefly ecclesiastics, whose
profession embodied most of the science of that day. Such was the apathy
exhibited by this learned conclave, and so numerous the impediments
suggested by dulness, prejudice, or skepticism, that years glided away
before it came to a decision. During this time, Columbus appears to have
remained in attendance on the court, bearing arms occasionally in the
campaigns, and experiencing from the sovereigns an unusual degree of
deference and personal attention; an evidence of which is afforded in the
disbursements repeatedly made by the royal order for his private expenses,
and in the instructions, issued to the municipalities of the different
towns in Andalusia, to supply him gratuitously with lodging and other
personal accommodations. [16]

At length, however, Columbus, wearied out by this painful procrastination,
pressed the court for a definite answer to his propositions; when he was
informed, that the council of Salamanca pronounced his scheme to be "vain,
impracticable, and resting on grounds too weak to merit the support of the
government." Many in the council, however, were too enlightened to
acquiesce in this sentence of the majority. Some of the most considerable
persons of the court, indeed, moved by the cogency of Columbus's
arguments, and affected by the elevation and grandeur of his views, not
only cordially embraced his scheme, but extended their personal intimacy
and friendship to him. Such, among others, were the grand cardinal
Mendoza, a man whose enlarged capacity and acquaintance with affairs
raised him above many of the narrow prejudices of his order, and Deza,
archbishop of Seville, a Dominican friar, whose commanding talents were
afterwards unhappily perverted in the service of the Holy Office, over
which he presided as successor to Torquemada. [17] The authority of these
individuals had undoubtedly great weight with the sovereigns, who softened
the verdict of the junto, by an assurance to Columbus, that, "although
they were too much occupied at present to embark in his undertaking, yet,
at the conclusion of the war, they should find both time and inclination
to treat with him." Such was the ineffectual result of Columbus's long and
painful solicitation; and, far from receiving the qualified assurance of
the sovereigns in mitigation of their refusal, he seems to have considered
it as peremptory and final. In great dejection of mind, therefore, but
without further delay, he quitted the court, and bent his way to the
south, with the apparently almost desperate intent of seeking out some
other patron to his undertaking. [18]

Columbus had already visited his native city of Genoa, for the purpose of
interesting it in his scheme of discovery; but the attempt proved
unsuccessful. He now made application, it would seem, to the dukes of
Medina Sidonia and Medina Celi, successively, from the latter of whom he
experienced much kindness and hospitality; but neither of these nobles,
whose large estates lying along the sea-shore had often invited them to
maritime adventure, was disposed to assume one which seemed too hazardous
for the resources of the crown. Without wasting time in further
solicitation, Columbus prepared with a heavy heart to bid adieu to Spain,
and carry his proposals to the king of France, from whom he had received a
letter of encouragement while detained in Andalusia. [19]

His progress, however, was arrested at the convent of La Rabida, which he
visited previous to his departure, by his friend the guardian, who
prevailed on him to postpone his journey till another effort had been made
to move the Spanish court in his favor. For this purpose the worthy
ecclesiastic undertook an expedition in person to the newly erected city
of Santa Fe, where the sovereigns lay encamped before Granada. Juan Perez
had formerly been confessor of Isabella, and was held in great
consideration by her for his excellent qualities. On arriving at the camp,
he was readily admitted to an audience, when he pressed the suit of
Columbus with all the earnestness and reasoning of which he was capable.
The friar's eloquence was supported by that of several eminent persons,
whom Columbus during his long residence in the country had interested in
his project, and who viewed with sincere regret the prospect of its
abandonment. Among these individuals are particularly mentioned Alonso de
Quintanilla, comptroller general of Castile, Louis de St. Angel, a fiscal
officer of the crown of Aragon, and the marchioness of Moya, the personal
friend of Isabella, all of whom exercised considerable influence over her
counsels. Their representations, combined with the opportune season of the
application, occurring at the moment when the approaching termination of
the Moorish war allowed room for interest in other objects, wrought so
favorable a change in the dispositions of the sovereigns, that they
consented to resume the negotiation with Columbus. An invitation was
accordingly sent to him to repair to Santa Fe, and a considerable sum
provided for his suitable equipment, and his expenses on the road. [20]

Columbus, who lost no time in availing himself of this welcome
intelligence, arrived at the camp in season to witness the surrender of
Granada, when every heart, swelling with exultation at the triumphant
termination of the war, was naturally disposed to enter with greater
confidence on a new career of adventure. At his interview with the king
and queen, he once more exhibited the arguments on which his hypothesis
was founded. He then endeavored to stimulate the cupidity of his audience,
by picturing the realms of Mangi and Cathay, which he confidently expected
to reach by this western route, in all the barbaric splendors which had
been shed over them by the lively fancy of Marco Polo and other travellers
of the Middle Ages; and he concluded with appealing to a higher principle,
by holding out the prospect of extending the empire of the Cross over
nations of benighted heathen, while he proposed to devote the profits of
his enterprise to the recovery of the Holy Sepulchre. This last
ebullition, which might well have passed for fanaticism in a later day,
and given a visionary tinge to his whole project, was not quite so
preposterous in an age, in which the spirit of the crusades might be said
still to linger, and the romance of religion had not yet been dispelled by
sober reason. The more temperate suggestion of the diffusion of the gospel
was well suited to affect Isabella, in whose heart the principle of
devotion was deeply seated, and who, in all her undertakings, seems to
have been far less sensible to the vulgar impulses of avarice or ambition,
than to any argument connected, however remotely, with the interests of
religion. [21]

Amidst all these propitious demonstrations towards Columbus, an obstacle
unexpectedly arose in the nature of his demands, which stipulated for
himself and heirs the title and authority of Admiral and Viceroy over all
lands discovered by him, with one-tenth of the profits. This was deemed
wholly inadmissible. Ferdinand, who had looked with cold distrust on the
expedition from the first, was supported by the remonstrances of Talavera,
the new archbishop of Granada; who declared, that "such demands savored of
the highest degree of arrogance, and would be unbecoming in their
Highnesses to grant to a needy foreign adventurer." Columbus, however,
steadily resisted every attempt to induce him to modify his propositions.
On this ground, the conferences were abruptly broken off, and he once more
turned his back upon the Spanish court, resolved rather to forego his
splendid anticipations of discovery, at the very moment when the career so
long sought was thrown open to him, than surrender one of the honorable
distinctions due to his services. This last act is perhaps the most
remarkable exhibition in his whole life, of that proud, unyielding spirit,
which sustained him through so many years of trial, and enabled him at
length to achieve his great enterprise, in the face of every obstacle
which man and nature had opposed to it. [22]

The misunderstanding was not suffered to be of long duration. Columbus's
friends, and especially Louis de St. Angel, remonstrated with the queen on
these proceedings in the most earnest manner. He frankly told her, that
Columbus's demands, if high, were at least contingent on success, when
they would be well deserved; that, if he failed, he required nothing. He
expatiated on his qualifications for the undertaking, so signal as to
insure in all probability the patronage of some other monarch, who would
reap the fruits of his discoveries; and he ventured to remind the queen,
that her present policy was not in accordance with the magnanimous spirit,
which had hitherto made her the ready patron of great and heroic
enterprise. Far from being displeased, Isabella was moved by his honest
eloquence. She contemplated the proposals of Columbus in their true light;
and, refusing to hearken any longer to the suggestions of cold and timid
counsellors, she gave way to the natural impulses of her own noble and
generous heart; "I will assume the undertaking," said she, "for my own
crown of Castile, and am ready to pawn my jewels to defray the expenses of
it, if the funds in the treasury shall be found inadequate." The treasury
had been reduced to the lowest ebb by the late war, but the receiver, St.
Angel, advanced the sums required, from the Aragonese revenues deposited
in his hands. Aragon however was not considered as adventuring in the
expedition, the charges and emoluments of which were reserved exclusively
for Castile. [23]

Columbus, who was overtaken by the royal messenger at a few leagues'
distance only from Granada, experienced the most courteous reception on
his return to Santa Fe, where a definitive arrangement was concluded with
the Spanish sovereigns, April 17th, 1492. By the terms of the
capitulation, Ferdinand and Isabella, as lords of the ocean-seas,
constituted Christopher Columbus their admiral, viceroy, and governor-
general of all such islands and continents as he should discover in the
western ocean, with the privilege of nominating three candidates, for the
selection of one by the crown, for the government of each of these
territories. He was to be vested with exclusive right of jurisdiction over
all commercial transactions within his admiralty. He was to be entitled to
one-tenth of all the products and profits within the limits of his
discoveries, and an additional eighth, provided he should contribute one-
eighth part of the expense. By a subsequent ordinance, the official
dignities above enumerated were settled on him and his heirs for ever,
with the privilege of prefixing the title of Don to their names, which had
not then degenerated into an appellation of mere courtesy. [24]

No sooner were the arrangements completed, than Isabella prepared with her
characteristic promptness to forward the expedition by the most efficient
measures. Orders were sent to Seville and the other ports of Andalusia, to
furnish stores and other articles requisite for the voyage, free of duty,
and at as low rates as possible. The fleet, consisting of three vessels,
was to sail from the little port of Palos in Andalusia, which had been
condemned for some delinquency to maintain two caravels for a twelvemonth
for the public service. The third vessel was furnished by the admiral,
aided, as it would seem, in defraying the charges, by his friend the
guardian of La Rabida, and the Pinzons, a family in Palos long
distinguished for its enterprise among the mariners of that active
community. With their assistance, Columbus was enabled to surmount the
disinclination, and indeed open opposition, manifested by the Andalusian
mariners to his perilous voyage; so that in less than three months his
little squadron was equipped for sea. A sufficient evidence of the extreme
unpopularity of the expedition is afforded by a royal ordinance of the
30th of April, promising protection to all persons, who should embark in
it, from criminal prosecution of whatever kind, until two months after
their return. The armament consisted of two caravels, or light vessels
without decks, and a third of larger burden. The total number of persons
who embarked amounted to one hundred and twenty; and the whole charges of
the crown for the expedition did not exceed seventeen thousand florins,
The fleet was instructed to keep clear of the African coast, and other
maritime possessions of Portugal. At length, all things being in
readiness, Columbus and his whole crew partook of the sacrament, and
confessed themselves, after the devout manner of the ancient Spanish
voyagers, when engaged in any important enterprise; and on the morning of
the 3d of August, 1492, the intrepid navigator, bidding adieu to the Old
World, launched forth on that unfathomed waste of waters where no sail had
been ever spread before. [25]

It is impossible to peruse the story of Columbus without assigning to him
almost exclusively the glory of his great discovery; for, from the first
moment of its conception to that of its final execution, he was
encountered by every species of mortification and embarrassment, with
scarcely a heart to cheer, or a hand to help him. [26] Those more
enlightened persons whom, during his long residence in Spain, he succeeded
in interesting in his expedition, looked to it probably as the means of
solving a dubious problem, with the same sort of vague and skeptical
curiosity as to its successful result, with which we contemplate, in our
day, an attempt to arrive at the Northwest passage. How feeble was the
interest excited, even among those who from their science and situation
would seem to have their attention most naturally drawn towards it, may be
inferred from the infrequency of allusion to it in the correspondence and
other writings of that time, previous to the actual discovery. Peter
Martyr, one of the most accomplished scholars of the period, whose
residence at the Castilian court must have fully instructed him in the
designs of Columbus, and whose inquisitive mind led him subsequently to
take the deepest interest in the results of his discoveries, does not, so
far as I am aware, allude to him in any part of his voluminous
correspondence with the learned men of his time, previous to the first
expedition. The common people regarded, not merely with apathy, but with
terror, the prospect of a voyage, that was to take the mariner from the
safe and pleasant seas which he was accustomed to navigate, and send him
roving on the boundless wilderness of waters, which tradition and

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