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The Iland of Canaria.

THE Iland of Canaria is almost equal in length and bredth, containing 12 leagues in length, touching the which as principall and the residue, the Spanyards holde opinion, that they discovered the same in their navigation toward America , but the Portugals say, that their nation first found the sayd Ilands in their navigation toward Aethiopia and the East Indies. But truth it is that the Spanyards first conquered these Ilands, with divers English gentlemen in their company, whose posterity this present day injoyeth them. Some write that this Iland was named Canaria by meane of the number of dogs which there were found: as for example, Andrew Thevet sayth, that one Juba carried two dogs from thence: but that opinion could I never learne by any of the naturall people of the countrey, although I have talked with many in my time, and with many of their children. For trueth it is, that there were dogs, but such as are in all the Northwest lands, and some part of the West India, which served the people in stead of sheepe for victuall. But of some of the conquerors of those Ilands I have heard say that the reason why they were called the Canaria Islands is, because there grow generally in them all fouresquare canes in great multitude together, which being touched will cast out a liquor as white as milke, which liquor is ranke poison, and at the first entry into these Ilands some of the discoverers were therewith poisoned: for many yeeres after that conquest the inhabitants began to plant both wine and sugar, so that Canaria was not so called by sugar canes.

The people which first inhabited this land were called Canaries by the conquerors, they were clothed in goat skinnes made like unto a loose cassocke, they dwelt in caves in the rocks, in great amity and brotherly love. They spake all one language: their chiefe feeding was gelt dogges, goates, and goates milke, their bread was made of barley meale and goates milke, called Gofia, which they use at this day, and thereof I have eaten divers times, for it is accounted exceeding holesome.

Touching the originall of these people some holde opinion, that the Romans which dwelt in Africa exiled them thither, aswell men as women, their tongues being cut out of their heads, for blasphemy against the Romane gods. But howsoever it were, their language was speciall, and not mixed with Romane speech or Arabian.

This Iland is now the principallest of all the rest, not in fertility, but by reason it is the seat of justice and government of all the residue. This Iland hath a speciall Governour for the Iland onely, yet notwithstanding there are three Judges called Auditours, who are superiour Judges, and all in one joyntly proceed as the Lord Chanceller of any realme.

To this city from all the other Ilands come all such by appeale, as have sustained any wrong, and these good Judges do remedy the same. The city is called Civitas Palmarum, it hath a beautifull Cathedrall church, with all dignities thereunto pertaining. For the publike weale of the Iland there are sundry Aldermen of great authority, who have a councell house by themselves. The city is not onely beautifull, but the citizens curious and gallant in apparell. And after any raine or foule weather a man may goe cleane in Velvet slippers, because the ground is sandy, the aire very temperate, without extreame heat or colde.

They reape wheat in February, and againe in May, which is excellent good, and maketh bread as white as snow. This Iland hath in it other three townes, the one. called Telde , the second Galder, and the third Guia. It hath also twelve sugar houses called Ingenios, in which they make great quantity of good sugar.

The maner of the growth of sugar is in this sort, a good ground giveth foorth fruit nine times in 18 yere: that is to say, the first is called Planta, which is layd along in a furrow, so that the water of a sluce may come over every roote being covered with earth: this root bringeth foorth sundry canes, and so consequently all the rest. It groweth two yeeres before the yeelding of profit, and not sixe moneths, as Andrew Thevet the French man writeth.

Then are they cut even with the ground, and the tops & leaves called Coholia cut off, and the canes bound into bundels like faggots, and so are caried to the sugar house called Ingenio, where they are ground in a mill, and the juyce thereof conveyed by a conduct to a great vessell made for the purpose, where it is boiled till it waxe thicke, and then is it put into a fornace of earthen pots of the molde of a sugar loafe, and then is it carried to another house, called a purging house where it is placed to purge the blacknesse with a certaine clay that is layd thereon. Of the remainder in the cauldron is made a second sort called Escumas, and of the purging liquor that droppeth from the white sugar is made a third sort, and the remainder is called Panela or Netas, the refuse of all the purging is called Remiel or Malasses: and thereof is made another sort called Refinado.

When this first fruit is in this sort gathered, called Planta, then the Cane-field where it grew is burned over with sugar straw to the stumps of the first canes, and being husbanded, watred and trimmed, at the end of other two yeeres it yeeldeth the second fruit called Zoca. The third fruit is called Tertia Zoca, the fourth Quarta Zoca, and so orderly the rest, til age causeth the olde Canes to be planted againe.

This Iland hath singular good wine, especially in the towne of Telde , and sundry sorts of good fruits, as Batatas, Mellons, Peares, Apples, Orenges, Limons, Pomgranats, Figs, Peaches of divers sorts, and many other fruits: but especially the Plantano which groweth neere brooke sides, it is a tree that hath no timber in it, but groweth directly upward with the body, having marvelous thicke leaves, and every leafe at the toppe of two yards long and almost halfe a yard broad. The tree never yeeldeth fruit but once, and then is cut downe; in whose place springeth another, and so still continueth. The fruit groweth on a branch, and every tree yeeldeth two or three of those branches, which beare some more and some lesse, as some forty and some thirty, the fruit is like a Cucumber, and when it is ripe it is blacke, and in eating more delicate then any conserve.

This Iland is sufficiently provided of Oxen, Kine, Camels, Goats, Sheepe, Capons, Hens, Ducks, and Pidgeons, and great Partridges. Wood is the thing that most wanteth : and because I have particularly to intreat of the other sixe Ilands, I leave further inlarging of Canaria, which standeth in 27 degrees distant from the Equator.

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