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Indians of Jamaica and Southern Coast of Cuba

In the month of May 1494, the island of Jamaica was first discovered by Columbus. The native inhabitants appeared to be of a very different character from the timid and gentle islanders with whom former intercourse had been held. A crowd of canoes, filled with savages gaudily adorned with plumes and paint, opposed the landing of the Spaniards. These were pacified by the Indian interpreters on board; but upon landing, the next day, the throng of natives on shore exhibited such decidedly hostile intentions, that it became necessary to intimidate them. A few discharges from the Spanish cross-bows sufficed to put them to flight. The ferocity of a savage dog, brought on shore by the whites, added greatly to their terror. Cruise Along the Southern Coast of Cuba There was no difficulty in allaying the apprehensions of these Indians, and the usual friendly intercourse was soon established. During a cruise along the southern coast of Cuba, which occupied the succeeding months of June and July, the islanders seen were as gentle and tractable as those upon the northern shores of the island. The means of communication now afforded by the Indian interpreters gave new interest to every conference. The wondering crowd of natives would gather with the most eager interest around these their fellow-countrymen, to listen to the tales of gorgeous spectacles and unheard-of wonders witnessed by themselves in the distant country of the whites. There was enough of the novel and wonderful before the eyes of the ignorant islanders, in the ships, appearance, conduct, and costume of the Spaniards, to prevent incredulity, as they listened to the narrations...

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