CANADA HISTORY - DOCUMENTS EXPLORERS

1497 Letter from Bristol merchant John Day to the Lord Grand Admiral of Castile


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They found tall trees of the kind masts are made and other small trees and the country is very rich in grass.

They found a trail that went inland, they saw a site where fire had been made, they saw manure of animals which they thought to be farm animals, and they saw a stick half a yard long pierced at both ends, carved and painted with brazil (a red dye), and by such signs they believed the land to be inhabited.

Since he (Cabot) was with just a few people, he did not dare advance inland beyond the shooting distance of a cross-bow and, after taking in fresh water, he returned to his ship.

All along the coast they found many fish like those which in Iceland are dried in the open and sold in England and other countries and these fish are called in English stock-fish. Thus following the shore, they saw two tracks running on land one after the other.

But they could not tell if they were human beings or animals and it seemed to them that there were fields where they thought there might be villages and they saw a forest whose foliage looked beautiful.

It is considered certain that the cape of the said land was found and discovered in the past by the men from Bristol who found Brasil, as your Lordship well knows. It was called the Island of Brasil and it is assumed and believed to be the mainland that the men from Bristol found.


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