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Chapter 8


     This island contains about thirty leagues in circumference, more or less. It is 
     governed after the form of a little commonwealth, they having no king or sovereign
     prince among them. Neither do they entertain any friendship or correspondence with
     other neighbouring islands, much less with the Spaniards. They are in all bt a 
     small nation, whose number does not exceed sixteen or seventeen hundred persons. 
     They have among them some few negroes, who serve them in quality of slaves. These
     happened to arrive there, swimming, after shipwreck made upon that coast. For be-
     ing bound for Terra Firma, ina ship that carried them to be sold in those parts,
     they killed the captain and mariners, with design to return to their country. But 
     through their ignorance in marinery, they stranded their vessel hereabouts. Al-
     though, as I said before, they make but a small nation, yet they live divided, as
     it were, into two several provinces. Of these, the one sort employ themselves in 
     cultivating the ground, and making several plantations. But the others are so la-
     zy that they have not courage to build themselves huts, much less houses, to dwell
     in. They frequent chiefly the sea-coast, wandering disorderly up and down, without
     knowing, or caring so much as to cover their bodies from the rains, which are ve-
     ry frequent in those parts, unless it be with a few palm-leaves. These they put 
     upon their heads, and keep their backs always turned to the wind that blows. They
     use no other clothes than an apron, tied to their middle; such aprons are made of
     the rinds of trees, which they strongly beat upon stones till they are softened.
     Of these same they make use for bedclothes, to cover themselves when they sleep.
     Some make to themselves bed-clothes of cotton, but these are but few in number. 
     Their usual arms are nothing but azagayas, or spears, which they make fit for 
     their use with points of iron or teeth of crocodiles.
     They know, after some manner, that there is a God, yet they live without any re-
     ligion or divine worship. Yea, as far as I can learn, they believe not in nor ser-
     ve the devil, as many other nations of America do both believe, invoke and wor-
     ship him. Hereby they are not so much tormented by him, as other nations are. 
     Their ordinary food, for the greatest part, consists in several fruits; such as 
     are called bananas, racoven, ananas, potatos, cassava; as also crabs, and some 
     few fish of other sorts, which they kill in the sea with darts. As to their drink,
     they are something expert in making certain pleasant and delicate liquors. The 
     commonest among them is called achioc. This is made of a certain seed of palmtree,
     which they bruise, and afterwards steep or infuse in hot water, till it be sett-
     led at the bottom. This liquor being strained off has a very plesant taste, and 
     is very nourishing. Many other sorts of liquors they prepare, which I shalle omit
     for brevity. Only I shall say something, in short, of that which is made of pla-
     tanos. These they knead betwixt their hands with hot water, and afterwards put 
     into great calabashes, which they fill up with cold water, and leave in repose for

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