Hundreds of additional titles available for
online reading when you join Gateway to the Classics
THE FIRST LANDING OF COLUMBUS IN THE NEW WORLD
BY WASHINGTON IRVING (ADAPTED)
IT was on Friday morning, the 12th of October, that Columbus
first beheld the New World. As the day dawned he saw before
him an island, several leagues in extent, and covered with
trees like a continual orchard. Though apparently
uncultivated it was populous, for the inhabitants were seen
issuing from all parts of the woods and running to the
shore. They were perfectly naked, and, as they stood gazing
at the ships, appeared by their attitudes and gestures to be
lost in astonishment.
Columbus made signals for the ships to cast anchor and the
boats to be manned and armed. He entered his own boat,
richly attired in scarlet, and holding the royal standard;
while Martin Alonzo Pinzon and his brother put off in
company in their boats, each with a banner of the
enter-  prise emblazoned with a green cross, having on either side the
letters "F." and "Y.," the initials of the Castilian
monarchs Fernando and Ysabel, surmounted by crowns.
As he approached the shore, Columbus was delighted with the
purity and suavity of the atmosphere, the crystal
transparency of the sea, and the extraordinary beauty of the
vegetation. He beheld also fruits of an unknown kind upon
the trees which overhung the shores.
On landing he threw himself on his knees, kissed the earth,
and returned thanks to God with tears of joy. His example
was followed by the rest.
"Almighty and Eternal God," prayed
Columbus, "who by the energy of Thy creative word hast made
the firmament, the earth and the sea; blessed and glorified
be thy name in all places! May thy majesty and dominion be
exalted for ever and ever, as Thou hast permitted thy holy
name to be made known and spread by the most humble of thy
servants, in this hitherto unknown portion of Thine empire."
Columbus, then rising, drew his sword, displayed the royal
standard, and assembling around him the two captains and the
rest who had landed, he took solemn possession in the name
of the Castilian sovereigns, giving the island the name of