National Geographic : 1927 Jan
THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE Photograph by Jacob Gayer A ROPE FACTORY AT MAY PEN Sisal, from which the rope is made, is grown in the immediate vicinity. It flourishes in these warm climates with little care (see, also, illustration, page 35). Making sure that his men would do nothing to violate the confidence of the Indians, Columbus soon established trade with them, and they brought him cassava, fish, and birds. His youthful son, Fer nando, took great interest in the barter ings, the records tell. Finally the food aboard and that sup plemented by the near-by Indians gave out, and after the last ration of biscuit and wine had been issued the Admiral's faithful follower, Diego Mendez, started out through the jungle on a trading ex pedition which netted a scant fare, but enough to keel away starvation, even if not sufficient to appease hunger. Columbus then called for volunteers to try for Haiti, some 200 miles away, in search of succor. All were silent but the gallant Mendez. He stepped into a small ship's boat and rowed away! Then sickness and body ills brought despair and mutiny. The brothers Por ras (Francisco, captain of the Santiago, and Diego, the accountant) led a revolt in which Juan Sanchez, the pilot Ledesma, Barba the gunner, and some fifty others joined. Though so ill with gout that he could not stand, Columbus endeavored to go out and quell the mutiny, his log tells us. But his adherents begged that the muti neers be permitted to go. They took most of the scanty stores, the ten canoes and started for Haiti; but, cowards that they were, they gave up the trip after forcing the Indians who accom panied them to swim ashore. IIS CUP OVERFLOWS A caravel heaves into sight! Is it the long-looked-for relief sent by Mendez? Alas, no! Only a sorry jest by Ovanda, who sent out Escobar in the hope he would find Columbus dead, and, if not, to tell him there were no ships available to carry them to Spain. Hearing that Porras and his mutineers were going about making enemies of the natives, Columbus sent the adelantado, Bartolome, either to pacify or to conquer the deserters. Bartolome took fifty loyal men and going against them captured the mutineers. Yet Columbus, with his usual clemency, granted pardon to all except the brothers Porras, whom he kept in chains.