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5 October 1942

5 October 1942



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5 October 1942

October 1942

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War at Sea

German submarine U-582 sunk with all hands south west of Iceland

German submarine U-619 sunk with all hands south west of Ireland



LMUD Presents: This Day in Susanville History – October 5, 1942

Widespread violations of price ceilings in the Susanville area were reported to the Lassen county war price and ration board this week by Rationing Administrator Landon W. Owen.

Citing numerous instances of violations, Owen blamed the lack of interest by the general public in regard to the prices they pay, for failure of the price ceilings to stabilize the cost of living in this area.

“Public apathy and failure of merchants to observe the letter of the law have resulted in price increases amounting in some cases to 50 percent,” Owen declared.

“Only a few of the consumers have taken the trouble to report violations or suspected violations to this office,” Owen asserted, “and as a result this cost of living is steadily rising. It is up to the consumer to see that he is not being overcharged, and he should demand to know the ceiling price on an article before he purchases it.”


What Was the First Camp?

The first of these camps was Dachau, built in 1933, just months after Adolf Hitler was appointed chancellor of Germany. It was strictly a concentration camp at first, but in 1942, the Nazis built extermination facilities there.

Auschwitz, on the other hand, was not built until 1940, but it soon became the largest of all the camps and was both a concentration and a death camp right from its construction. Majdanek was also large and it too was both a concentration and death camp.

As part of Aktion Reinhard (Operation Reinhardt), three more death camps were created in 1942—Belzec, Sobibor, and Treblinka. The purpose of these camps was to kill all the Jews remaining in the area known as the "Generalgouvernement" (part of occupied Poland).


5 October 1942 - History

In late 1941, it was clear that the German military was overrunning Europe and that the United States' involvement was imminent. To train U.S. soldiers to fight the German Afrikakorps, 18,000 square miles in the southeastern California and western Arizona desert was selected to prepare the men on the hazards and difficulty in fighting a desert war. In early 1942, Patton said in a speech to his troops:

" The war in Europe is over for us. England will probably fall this year. Our first chance to get at the enemy will be in North Africa. We cannot train troops to fight in the desert of North Africa by training in the swamps of Georgia. I sent a report to Washington requesting a desert training center in California. The California desert can kill quicker than the enemy. We will lose a lot of men from the heat, but training will save hundreds of lives when we get into combat. I want every officer and section to start planning on moving all our troops by rail to California ."

The massive training area stretched from Indio eastward 150 miles to an area 60 miles west of Phoenix, and from Yuma northward 300 miles to Searchlight, Nevada.

The area was selected for a number of reasons

1. Over 98% of the land was state or federally owned (only 1.5% was held privately).

2. The land was remote and rugged, and largely uninhabited which made for an excellent large scale training area.

3. An existing aqueduct system (running from the Colorado River to Los Angeles) could easily supply the troops with water.

4. The terrain and weather resembled that found in North Africa.

5. The massive area was already supplied by three railroads that could be utilized by the Army to deliver daily rations- Union Pacific in the north, Santa Fe in the center portion, and Southern Pacific in the south.

Patton commanded the Desert Training Center from March-August, 1942, at which time he was dispatched to North Africa to fight the Germans. Afterwards, DTC was run under various commanders until its close in 1944.

The training ground was divided into three areas Maneuver Area "A" covered 10,200 miles in southeastern California and the southern tip of Nevada Area "B" covered 6,300 miles in western Arizona Area "C" covered an additional 1,500 square miles in northwestern Arizona.

Thirty miles east of Indio was Camp Young, the DTC's headquarters facility. Camp Young worked as the administrative camp and oversaw all the operations of the other divisional camps. The camps in California (Area A) are: Camp Coxcomb, Camp Iron Mountain, Camp Granite, Camp Rice, Camp Ibis, Camp Pilot Knob, Camp Essex and Camp Clipper.

Additionally, there were four airfields that gave air support to Army divisions within the Desert Training Center Rice Army Airfield, Blythe Army Airfield, Desert Center Army Airfield, and Thermal Army Airfield. These airfields flew reconnaissance and dive-bombing missions in coordination with Army divisions training at DTC.

The camps in Arizona (Area B) are Camp Hyder, Camp Horn, Camp Bouse and Camp Laguna.

There were also a number of Quartermaster Supply Depots and Railroad Sidings at Freda, Goffs, Cadiz, Danby, Fenner and Glamis in California, and at Araby, Dateland, Bouse, Wickenburg and Yuma in Arizona.

Most of the men who trained with their units prior to arriving at Desert Training Center had enjoyed running water, showers, and swamp-cooled barracks. However, the purpose at Desert Training Center was to introduce the men to the harsh desert conditions found in real combat. There was dust and dirt that made its way into every article of clothing, weapons and equipment. Aside from the snakes, scorpions and cactus, men had to endure the below-freezing winter temperatures as well as the sweltering 115 degree summer days.

The role of DTC was to train men in combat conditions. The majority of their time was spent in the field on maneuvers for days and weeks on end. The large size of the training area made it possible for the infantry and armor divisions at each camp to make 1-3 week long excursions into the desert using live ordinance (from small arms to heavy artillery and tank rounds) without the risk of running into each other. These long excursions were to simulate life at the front line, and the men were given a daily amount of water to drink, ate rations, slept in sleeping bags on the rocky desert floor, and were lucky to have enough water left over to wash their face.

Maneuvers typically consisted of divisions (roughly 15,000 men each in size) fighting each other in mock battles. Instead of utilizing paved public roads, few of which ran through the DTC area anyway, the infantry and armored divisions traveled overland, making their own roads and paths through the barren desert. Even though most of the remnants and debris left behind was cleaned up at war's end, today one can still see the traces of full divisions moving over the desert in the forms of tank tracks, food cans, gas and oil cans, glass bottles, brass shell casings, etc. In the areas of mock battles one can still see foxholes, rock embankments, trenches and concrete bunkers.

A typical training schedule for a division was:

Week 1 -individual and squad training.

Week 2 -company or battery training

Week 3 -battalion training

Week 4 -regimental training

Weeks 5--7 -divisional field exercises

Weeks 8-13 -corps maneuvers

At any given time there were approximately 180,000 soldiers training at the various camps during their 3-4 month training. There were over 38,000 vehicles jeeps, trucks, half-tracks and tanks. Each division's mechanics was responsible for the maintenance of the vehicles and when that division left, the vehicles were then passed off to the new division arriving at camp. By the time the DTC drew to a close, most were in deplorable condition.

After the German defeat in North Africa in May 1943, desert training was no longer a necessity as combat moved onto the European continent. As a result, all of the camps were closed by April, 1944. Once closed, Army Quartermaster units were sent in to dismantle the tents and other camp fixtures, and to clean up the left behind trash and debris. All of the equipment and vehicles were then loaded onto trains and taken away.

Of the 87 divisions the Army formed during WWII, 20 divisions (13 infantry and 7 armored) trained at Desert Training Center.


Second Battle of El Alamein

Although General Claude Auchinleck had stopped Rommel in his tracks during the First Battle of El Alamein in early July 1942, Churchill was becoming increasingly impatient with progress in the Western Desert. In early August that year, he arrived in Cairo and handed over command to General Bernard Montgomery. Auchinleck left for India.

Montgomery restructured the 8th Army, bringing in new divisions and generals and lifting the army's morale with his bold fighting talk - declaring among other things that he would 'hit Rommel for six out of Africa'. He also improved relations between the army and the Desert Air Force, ensuring a more unified attack plan.

Rommel attempted an attack between 30 August and 7 September (the battle of Alam Halfa), but the 8th Army held its ground, largely due to the excellent cooperation between the army and the air force. Montgomery did not make a counter-attack - he knew that reinforcements were on their way and he was biding his time.

Rommel knew that a major attack was inevitable, and did his best to prepare for it. He was a master of mobile warfare, but he had to change his preferred tactics due to a lack of fuel and transport. He chose to shelter his force behind a deep and complex minefield - dubbed 'the Devil's Gardens' by the Germans - backed by strong anti-tank gun positions.

But things were not going well on the German side. Rommel was plagued by illness and departed for hospital in Germany on 23 September, leaving General Georg von Stumme in command of a depleted Panzerarmee.

Montgomery planned his attack in two phases. The first, Operation Lightfoot, would consist of a powerful artillery bombardment followed by an attack by the infantry divisions of 30th Corps in the north, and 13th Corps in the south. They would open paths in the minefield through which the armoured divisions of 10th Corps would pass.

The bombardment started on the night of 23 October, but crumbling the German defences proved more difficult than expected. There was heavy fighting and the 8th Army slowly ground its way forward.

On 25 October, Rommel returned from Germany to take command, after Von Stumme died of a heart attack during battle.

On the night of 1 November, Montgomery launched the second phase of his attack, Operation Supercharge, which was designed to break through the last part of the German defences. The infantry units cleared the way for the armoured divisions, and Rommel, his army depleted and his petrol almost finished, decided the battle was lost.

On 2 November, Rommel warned Hitler that his army faced annihilation. The Allies intercepted his message and Montgomery had the deciphered note in his hands by the next morning.

On 2 November, Rommel warned Hitler that his army faced annihilation. The Allies intercepted his message and Montgomery had the deciphered note in his hands by the next morning.

Hitler ordered Rommel to 'stand and die', but the Panzerarmee had already begun to retreat by the time the order was received. At midday on 4 November, Rommel's last defences caved in and that evening he received orders from Hitler to withdraw.

The Second Battle of El Alamein was a turning point in the North African campaign. It ended the long fight for the Western Desert, and was the only great land battle won by the British and Commonwealth forces without direct American participation. The victory also persuaded the French to start cooperating in the North African campaign.


Treaties and collusion

Detail of the Israeli national flag © The end of the Second World War in 1945 had brought a period of rapid change. The creation of the state of Israel in 1948 was followed by the first Arab-Israeli War, and a renewed upsurge of Arab nationalism made the Middle East a volatile region.

The United States had emerged from World War Two as a global superpower and, as a former colony itself it was committed to overseeing the decolonisation of the globe. Furthermore, the spread of communism fostered by the Soviet Union was seen by the US as a threat to western democracy.

A secret agreement was made that Israel should attack Egypt as a pretext for an Anglo-French invasion of Suez.

In an attempt to strengthen security in the Middle East against Soviet influence, Britain, Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Pakistan signed a treaty known as the Baghdad Pact in 1955. But Egypt, which was looking to the Soviet Union for armaments, refused to sign. Iraq later withdrew and the pact, which was renamed the Central Treaty Organisation, became ineffective in preventing the Cold War from reaching the Middle East.

In January 1956, Guy Mollet was elected prime minister in France and promised to bring peace to Algeria, a French colony, in the throes of a nationalist uprising. But the presence of a million French settlers there made a withdrawal from Algeria politically impossible and his attempts to resolve the situation escalated the violence.

Meanwhile, Israel, greatly concerned about Egypt’s rearmament and involved in a series of border clashes with Egypt, was purchasing aircraft and weapons from France. The French government had been meeting secretly with Israel and invited Britain to join the negotiations.

In October 1956, Mollet, Eden and Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion met at Sevres near Paris and concluded a secret agreement that Israel should attack Egypt, thereby providing a pretext for an Anglo-French invasion of Suez.


Mechanical Fuze Setter

5"/38 (12.7 cm) Mark 24 pedestal mount on USS Hornet CV-12. Note the fuze setting machine. Photograph copyrighted by Shirley Sachsen and used here by her kind permission.

The photograph at right shows a Mechanical Fuze Setter on the side of the gun platform. These were installed on those mounts lacking integral hoists and were used to set the time fuzes on AA projectiles. Up to three projectiles could be inserted nose-down into the slots on this machine. At the bottom of each slot there is a nose cup with a pawl that engages a lug on the projectile's time fuze ring. The Fuze Setter crewman watches a dial on the Mechanical Fuze Setter that has two pointers and a scale representing fuze time in seconds. The Fire Control System, such as the Mark 37 GFCS, moves the first pointer, which represents the calculated fuze setting needed to engage the target aircraft. The Fuze Setter crewman then rotates a control wheel on the Mechanical Fuze Setter until the second pointer matches the first pointer (again, this is where the command "match pointers and shoot" comes from). The Mechanical Fuze Setter rotates the nose cups per the position of the second pointer, thus moving the time fuzes on the projectiles to the desired setting. Having three slots allows enough time for each successive shell to be set to the proper time setting before the shell man picks it out of the machine and places it into the loading tray on the gun. This method of fuze setting also allows the time fuzes to be continually updated by the Fire Control System until the moment they are plucked from the machine, thus ensuring the best possible setting for each individual shell (a "deadtime" to allow for the interval between when a shell is plucked from the Mechanical Fuze Setter and when it is fired out of the gun is automatically included in the fire control calculations).


U.S.S. LEXINGTON

USS Lexington (CV-2) was a pre-World War II-era aircraft carrier. She was built in 1921 in Massachusetts and in 1928 began operating off the coast of California. She spent thirteen years in largely quiet operations, until Dec. 7, 1941, the day of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

Lexington was at sea as part of Task Force 12, transporting aircraft from Hawaii to Midway, when she was given orders to return to the waters off Hawaii to search out Japanese ships. She spent the next month operating near Oahu to block enemy attacks.

On Feb. 20, 1942, with plans to attack Rabaul, in New Guinea, Lexington was attacked by eighteen enemy planes, seventeen of which were shot and five of which were downed. That spring, Lexington and her fighter groups repeatedly thwarted Japanese ships and planes.

On May 8, Lexington was hit by two Japanese torpedoes and three bombs, causing the ship to list and catch fire. Though her crew managed to squelch the fires and right the ship, gasoline below decks caused an enormous explosion and raging fires that could not be put out. The order was given to abandon ship, and all the men on board were saved and transferred to other carriers. An American destroyer fired two torpedoes into the hull to sink her completely. Lexington was awarded two battle stars for her role in World War II.


Treaties and Agreements

Treaty of Amity and Commerce, 1782 .

On October 8, 1782, the Netherlands and the United States signed a Treaty of Amity and Commerce in The Hague.

Convention on Recaptured Vessels, 1782 .

On October 8, 1782, the Netherlands and the United States signed a convention governing recaptured vessels in The Hague.

Treaty of Commerce and Navigation, 1839 .

On January 19, 1839, the United States and the Kingdom of the Netherlands signed a Treaty of Commerce and Navigation negotiated by U.S. Secretary of State John Forsyth and the Dutch Chargé d’Affaires near the United States, Evert Marius Adrian Martini.

Convention on Commerce, 1852 .

On August 26, 1852, the United States and the Kingdom of the Netherlands signed a Convention on Commerce, designed to supplement the 1839 Treaty of Commerce and Navigation.

Convention on Consuls, 1855 .

A convention regulating the rights, duties, and privileges of U.S. and Dutch consuls in the Netherlands and the United States respectively was signed at The Hague on January 22, 1855.

Convention on Rights, Privileges, and Immunities of Consular Officers, 1839 .

On May 23, 1878, a Convention on the Rights, Privileges, and Immunities of Consular Officers was signed in Washington, D.C., by the U.S. Secretary of State William M. Evarts and the Dutch Minister Resident in the United States Rudolph Alexander August Eduard von Pestel.


5 October 1942 - History

The Diario of Christopher Columbus (October 11-15, 1492)

The only version of the diary of the first voyage that we have is the one transcribed by Bartolome de Las Casas in the 1530s. "Barring the unlikely discovery of the long-lost original Diario or of the single complete copy ordered for Columbus by Queen Isabella, Las Casas's partly summarized, partly quoted version is as close to the original as it is possible to come," note historians Oliver Dunn and James E. Kelley, Jr. The Las Casas manuscript also disappeared, but a single copy was discovered around 1790.

It should be noted that Las Casas is sometimes paraphrasing, rather than quoting, Columbus, and that Columbus often refers to himself in the third person or impersonally as "the Admiral" in his own writing.

He steered west-southwest. They took much water aboard, more than they had taken in the whole voyage. They saw petrels and a green bulrush near the ship. The men of the caravel Pinta saw a cane and a stick, and took on board another small stick that appeared to have been worked with iron, and a piece of cane, and other vegetation originating on land, and a small plank. The men of the caravel Nina also saw other signs of land and a small stick loaded with barnacles. With these signs, everyone breathed more easily and cheered up. On this day, up to sunset, they made 27 leagues.

After sunset, he steered his former course to the west. They made up about 12 miles each hour and, until two hours after midnight, made about 90 miles, which is twenty-two leagues and a half. And because the caravel Pinta was a better sailer and went ahead of the Admiral [Columbus] it found land and made the signals the Admiral had ordered. A sailor named Rodrigo de Triana saw this land first, although the Admiral, at the tenth hour of the night, while he was on the sterncasde, saw a light, although it was something so faint that he did not wish to affirm that it was land. But he called Pero Gutierrez, the steward of the King's dais, and told him that there seemed to be a light, and for him to look: and thus he did and saw it. He also told Rodrigo Sanchez de Segovia, whom the king and queen were sending as vee-dor [accountant or auditor) of the fleet, who saw nothing because he was not in a place where he could see it. After the Admiral said it, it was seen once or twice and it was like a small wax candle that rose and lifted up, which to few seemed to be an indication of land. But the admiral was certain that they were near land, because of which when they recited the Salve, which in their own way are accustomed to recite and sing, all being present, the Admiral entreated and admonished them to keep a good lookout on the forecastle and to watch carefully for land and to the man who first told him that he saw land he would later give a silk jacket in addition to the other rewards that the sovereigns had promised, which were ten thousand maravedis [copper coins] as an annuity to whoever should see it first. At two hours after midnight the land appeared, from which they were about two leagues distant. They hauled down all the sails and kept only the treo, which is the mainsail without bonnets, and jogged on and off, passing rime until daylight Friday, when they reached an islet of the Lucayos, which was called Guanahani in the language of the Indians. Soon they saw naked people and the Admiral went ashore in the armed launch, and Martin Alonso Pinzon and his brother Vicente Anes, who was captain of the Nina. The Admiral brought out the royal banner and the captains two flags with the green cross, which the Admiral carried on all the ships as a standard, with an F and a Y [for King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella], and over each letter a crown, one on one side of the ✠ and another on the other. Thus put ashore they saw very green trees and many ponds and fruits of various kinds. The Admiral called to the two captains and to the others who had jumped ashore and to Rodrigo Descobedo, the escrivano [clerk] of the whole fleet, and to Rodrigo Sanchez de Segovia and he said that they should be witnesses that, in the presence of all, he would take, as in fact he did cake, possession of the said island for the king and for the queen bis lords, making the declarations that were required, and which at more length are contained in the testimonials made there in writing. Soon many people of the island gathered there. What follows are the very words of the Admiral in his book, about his first voyage to, and discovery of, these Indies. I, he says, in order that they would be friendly to us because I recognized that they were people who would be better freed and converted to our Holy Faith by love than by force to some of them I gave red caps, and glass beads which they put on their chests, and many other things of small value, in which they took so much pleasure and became so much our friends that it was a marvel. Later they came swimming to the ships' launches where we were and brought us parrots and cotton thread in balls and javelins and many other things, and they traded them to us for other things which we gave them, such as small glass beads and bells. In sum, they took everything and gave of what they had willingly. But it seemed to me that they were a people very poor in everything. All of them go around as naked as their mother bore them and the women also, although I did not see more than one quite young girl. And all those that I saw were young people, for none did I see of more than 30 years of age. They are all very well formed, with handsome bodies and good faces. Their hair coarse—almost like the tail of a horse—and short. They wear their hair down over their eyebrows except for a little in the back which they wear long and never cut. Some of them paint themselves with black, and they are of the color of the Canarians [Canary Islanders], neither black nor white and some of them paint themselves with white, and some of them with red, and some of them with whatever they find. And some of them paint their faces, and some the whole body, and some of them only the eyes, and some of them only the nose. They do not carry arms nor are they acquainted with them, because I showed them swords and they took them by the edge and through ignorance cut themselves. They have no iron. Their javelins are shafts without iron and some of them have at the end a fish tooth and others of other things. All of them alike are of good-sized stature and carry themselves well. I saw some who had marks of wounds on their bodies and I made signs to them asking them what they were and they showed me how people from other islands nearby came there and tried to take them, and how they defended themselves and I believed and believe that they come here from tierra firme to take them by captive. They should be good and intelligent servants, for I see that they say very quickly everything that is said to them and I believe they would become Christians very easily, for it seemed to me that they had no religion. Our Lord pleasing, at the time of my departure I will take six of them from here to Your Highness in order that they may learn to speak No animal of any kind did I see on this island except parrots. All are the Admiral's words.

SATURDAY 13 OCTOBER [1492]

As soon as it dawned, many of these people came to the beach—all young, as I have said, and all of good stature—very handsome people, with their hair not curly but straight and coarse, like horsehair and all of them very wide in-the forehead and head, more so than any other race that I have seen so far. And their eyes are very handsome and not small and none of them are black, but of the color of the Canary Islanders. Nor should anything else be expected since this island is on an east-west line with the island of Hierro in the Canaries. All alike have very straight legs and no belly but are very well formed. They came to the ship with dugouts [canoes] that are made from the trunk of one tree, like a long boat, and all of one piece, and worked marvelously in the fashion of the land, and so big that in some of them 40 and 45 men came. And others smaller, down to some in which one man came alone. They row with a paddle like that of a baker and go marvelously. And if it capsizes on them then they throw themselves in the water, and they right and empty it with calabashes [hollowed out gourds] that they carry. They brought balls of spun cotton and parrots and javelins and other little things that it would be tiresome to write down, and they gave everything for anything that was given to them. I was attentive and labored to find out if there was any gold and I saw that some of them wore a little piece hung in a hole that they have in their noses. And by signs I was able to understand that, going to the south or rounding the island to the south, there was there a king who had large vessels of it and had very much gold. I strove to get them to go there and later saw that they had no intention of going. I decided to wait until the afternoon of the morrow and then depart for the southwest, for, as many of them showed me, they said there was land to the south and to the southwest and to the northwest and that these people from the northwest came to fight them many times. And so I will go to the southwest to seek gold and precious stones. This island is quite big and very flat and with very green trees and much water and a very large lake in the middle and without any mountains and all of it so green that it is a pleasure to look at. And these people are very gentle, and because of their desire to have some of our things, and believing that nothing will be given to them without their giving something, and not having anything, they take what they can and then throw themselves into the water to swim. But everything they have they give for anything given to them, for they traded even pieces for pieces of bowls and broken glass cups, and I even saw 16 balls of cotton given for three Portuguese ceotis [copper coins], which is a Castilian blanca [a copper coin worth half of a maravedi]. And in them there was probably more than an arroba [around 24 pounds] of spun cotton. This I had forbidden and I did not let anyone take any of it, except that I had ordered it all taken for Your Highnesses if it were in quantity. It grows here on this island, but because of the short rime I could not declare this for sure. And also the gold that they wear hung in their noses originates here but in order not to lose time I want to go see if I can find the island of Cipango. Now, since night had come, all the Indians went ashore in their dugouts.

SUNDAY 14 OCTOBER [1492]

As soon as it dawned I ordered the ships boat and the launches of the caravels made ready and went north-northeast along the island in order to see what there was in the other part, which was the eastern part. And also to see the villages, and I soon saw two or three, as well as people, who all came to the beach calling to us and giving thanks to God. Some of them brought us water others, other things to eat others, when they saw that I did not care to go ashore, threw themselves into the sea swimming and came to us, and we understood that they were asking us if we had come from the heavens. And one old man got into the ships boat, and others in loud voices called to all the men and women: Come see the men who came from the heavens. Bring them something to eat and drink. Many men came, and many women, each one with something, giving thanks to God, throwing themselves on the ground and they raised their hands to heaven, and afterward they called to us in loud voices to come ashore. But I was afraid, seeing a big stone reef that encircled that island all around. And in between the reef and shore there was depth and harbor for as many ships as there are in the whole of Christendom, and the entrance to it is very narrow. It is true that inside of this belt of stone there are some shallows, but the sea is no more disturbed than inside a well. And I bestirred myself this morning to see all of this, so that I could give an account of everything to Your Highnesses, and also to see where a fort could be made. And I saw a piece of land formed like an island, although it was not one, on which there were six houses. This piece of land might in two days be cut off to make an island, although I do not see this to be necessary since these people are very naive about weapons, as Your Highnesses will see from seven that I caused to be taken in order to carry them away to you and to learn our language and to return them. Except that, whenever Your Highnesses may command, all of them can be taken to Castile or held captive in this same island because with 50 men all of them could be held in subjection and can be made to do whatever one might wish. And later, near the said islet, groves of trees, the most beautiful that I saw and with their leaves as green as those of Castile in the months of April and May, and lots of water. I looked over the whole of that harbor and afterward returned to the ship and set sail, and I saw so many islands that I did not know how to decide which one I would go to first. And those men whom I had taken told me by signs that they were so very many that they were numberless. And they named by their names more than a hundred. Finally I looked for the largest and to that one I decided to go and so I am doing. It is about five leagues distant from this island of San Salvador, and the others of them some more, some less. All are very flat without mountains and very fertile and all populated and they make war on one another, even though these men are very simple and very handsome in body.

MONDAY 15 OCTOBER [1492]

I had killed time this night for fear of reaching land to anchor before morning, because of not knowing whether the coast was clear of shoals, and as soon as it dawned I spread sail and as the island was farther than five leagues, rather about seven, and the tide detained me, it was around noon when I reached the said island and I found that the face which is in the direction of San Salvador runs north-south and that there are in it five leagues and the other, which I followed, runs east-west, and there are in it more than ten leagues. And since from this island I saw another larger one to the west, I spread sail to go forward all that day until night because I would not yet have been able to reach the western cape of the island, to which island I gave the name Santa Maria de la Concepcion. And close to sundown I anchored near the said cape in order to find out if there was gold there, because these men that I have had taken on the island of San Salvador kept celling me that they wear very large bracelets of gold on their legs and on their arms. I well believe that all they were saying was a ruse in order to flee. Nevertheless, my intention was not to pass by any island of which I did not take possession, although if it is taken of one, it may be said that it was taken of all.