BECK index

COLUMBUS
and His Four Voyages

by Sanderson Beck

This screenplay has been published in the book 4 SCREENPLAYS. For ordering information, please click here.

EXTERIOR ON THE BECHALLA AT SEA - DUSK

A battle is raging between a Portuguese warship and the Genoese merchant ship Bechalla.

Super:

1476

The Portuguese use grappling hooks and chains to fasten the ships together as soldiers board Bechalla and engage in hand-to-hand combat, primarily with swords. CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS is wounded in the side but manages to fight off his adversary. As he does, a grenade is thrown onto Bechalla, killing his adversary and starting a terrible fire. As flames engulf both ships, men jump into the sea. Columbus does so also, and finding an oar floating nearby he uses it to float as he swims away toward shore, which is six miles away. As dusk turns to night he has gained some distance from the ships. He looks back to see the enflamed ships sink into the sea.

DURING TITLES: Columbus swims with the oar toward shore. Finally he staggers onto the beach, collapses in exhaustion, and falls asleep.

EXT. BEACH NEAR CAPE ST. VINCENT - DAWN

Columbus is sleeping in the same place when he is discovered by TWO FISHERMEN.

FIRST FISHERMAN
Is he alive?

Columbus wakes up and rolls over.

COLUMBUS
Yes, I am alive.

SECOND FISHERMAN
Look, he has a wound in his side.

COLUMBUS
Where am I?

FIRST FISHERMAN
Cape St. Vincent.

COLUMBUS
Isn’t that where Prince Henry the Navigator
had his school?

FIRST FISHERMAN
Yes, mapmakers and navigators
are found all around here.
Where are you from, young man?

COLUMBUS
Genoa.

FIRST FISHERMAN
You’re not the first Genoese adventurer to land here.

SECOND FISHERMAN
Let’s get you to a physician.
Can you walk?

COLUMBUS
I swam, and I can walk.
I want to talk with the navigators.

SECOND FISHERMAN
First the physician, and then the navigators,
or your adventures may end before they begin.

They help Columbus up, and they walk together with him leaning on their shoulders.

INTERIOR SHOP IN CAPE ST. VINCENT - DAY

Columbus and his brother BARTOLOMÉ COLUMBUS are seated at a table working on maps and navigation charts.

COLUMBUS
We know so little about the Atlantic Ocean.
Look at the blank space on this chart.

BARTOLOMÉ
Spain explored and colonized the Canary Islands.

COLUMBUS
That is the western limit of Ptolemy’s geography.

BARTOLOMÉ
The Portuguese discovered the Azores beyond that,
and each voyage down the African coast
goes a little farther south toward the “torrid zone.”

COLUMBUS
If it weren’t for superstitious fears
of a torrid zone at the equator
or of falling into oblivion on the open sea,
we could find out if Africa could be circumnavigated.
Then all the way to India would be open.

BARTOLOMÉ
That’s what the Portuguese are after all right.

COLUMBUS
I’ve been to the Gold Coast of Africa,
and I know the torrid zone is inhabitable.
I’ve also been west of Ireland to Thule,
which I calculate is 73 degrees north latitude,
not 63 degrees as is shown on this chart.
The Scandinavians call it Iceland,
and I’ve heard rumors of land to the west of there.

BARTOLOMÉ
No one ever has been west of Thule.

COLUMBUS
The Norsemen say they went to Vinland centuries ago.
I’m curious what’s out there.
I’ve been studying the travels
of Marco Polo and John Mandeville in Asia.
Now since I agree with the great geographers
that the world is round like a ball,
I wonder how far west it would be
to Zipango and Cathay.

BARTOLOMÉ
At mass yesterday you seemed more curious
about Doña Felipa.

COLUMBUS
She does attract me very much,
but how do I court a woman in a convent?

BARTOLOMÉ
(Laughing)
You’re the older brother, Christopher;
you’re supposed to explain it to me.
I’ve heard they call it “eating iron” or “gargling.”
You stand on the sidewalk and shout into her window.

COLUMBUS
I doubt if I’ll be very good at it,
but she is of a good family and a pleasant person.

EXT. WINDOW OF CONVENTO DOS SANTOS IN LISBON - EVENING

Columbus on the street is trying to talk to DONA FELIPA at her
second-story window.

COLUMBUS
I am not a musician nor a poet,
but I am a sea captain and a good mapmaker;
I’ve talked with your mother, and she approves;
so beautiful Doña Felipa, will you marry me?

DONA FELIPA
I come from a sea-faring family, but I have no dowry.
Yet if you’ll take me as I am,
I will marry you, Christopher Columbus.

COLUMBUS
I am so happy! When shall it be?

DONA FELIPA
In the chapel a week from Sunday.

COLUMBUS
I’ll go straight to confession to prepare myself.

He blows her a kiss.

INT. PERESTRELLO HOME IN LISBON - DAY

Columbus, Doña Felipa, and her mother DONA ISABEL PERESTRELLO are sitting around a table drinking wine.

DONA FELIPA
My father died on the island of Porto Santo
many years ago.

ISABEL PERESTRELLO
Yes, my husband helped to colonize the island
and was captain there for thirty years.
My son Bartolomé took over the captaincy in 1473,
but he ruined the island with rabbits.

COLUMBUS
Rabbits?

ISABEL PERESTRELLO
He brought with him a litter of rabbits,
and they soon multiplied
and ate every green thing there.
Everyone had to move to Madeira.

DONA FELIPA
I inherited some land on Porto Santo.

COLUMBUS
You know I am extremely interested
in the western islands.

ISABEL PERESTRELLO
Let me show you my husband’s maps and charts.

She opens a closet and pulls out several rolled parchments.

COLUMBUS
Yes, I’d really like to see them.
(To Doña Felipa)
Would you like to go there?

DONA FELIPA
If you want to. Certainly.

Columbus begins to examine the maps on the table.

EXT. WEST COAST OF PORTO SANTO - SUNSET

Columbus and Doña Felipa, who is carrying a baby in her arms, are walking along the shore. He shows her a piece of carved wood.

COLUMBUS
Look at this, Felipa;
this was probably carved by an iron tool,
and a sailor found it floating east
to the western Azores.

DONA FELIPA
More tales of mythical islands in the west?

COLUMBUS
Tree stumps and bamboo foreign to these islands
have washed ashore here; we’ve seen them.

DONA FELIPA
What are you dreaming about, Christopher?

COLUMBUS
I showed you the letter from Toscanelli;
he is a great scholar, and he says
the Asian islands could be reached by sailing west.

DONA FELIPA
It’s so unknown. Who would take such a risk?

COLUMBUS
I want to.

DONA FELIPA
How could you do it?

COLUMBUS
Portugal has the best sailors
and the most interest in exploration.
I could ask King John.

DONA FELIPA
Well, little Diego, I guess we’re going back to Lisbon.

INT. COURT OF KING JOAO II - DAY

KING JOAO II sits on the throne with the Maritime Commission seated on his left—CAZADILLA who is Bishop of Ceuta, the physician RODRIGO, and the mathematician JOSEPH VIZINHO. To the King’s right are seated the COUNT OF VILLA REAL and other courtiers. Columbus and Bartolomé stand in the middle, facing the King.

KING JOAO
Let us hear the report of the Maritime Commission
on the proposed enterprise of Christopher Columbus
to sail west on a voyage of discovery.

Cazadilla stands up to address the King and court.

CAZADILLA
These adventures tend to distract the attention,
drain the resources, and divide the power of the nation,
already too much weakened by recent war and pestilence.
While such forces are scattered abroad
on remote and unprofitable expeditions,
they expose themselves to easy attack
from our active enemy, the King of Castile.
Royal greatness does not arise from extensive dominions,
but from the wisdom and ability
by which a monarch governs.
In the Portuguese nation it would be madness
to launch bold projects
without first considering the means.
The King already has sufficient undertakings in hand
of proven and certain advantage to the realm,
without engaging in others of a wild, chimerical nature.
If we wish employment for the active valor of our nation,
the war against the Moors of Barbary is sufficient,
wherein our triumphs are of solid advantage,
tending to cripple and enfeeble those neighboring foes,
who have proven themselves
so dangerous when holding power.

COUNT OF VILLA REAL
Your royal highness, if I may reply.
(The King nods.)
Portugal is not in its infancy but engages in discoveries,
nor are our princes so poor as to lack the means.
Even granting those proposed by Columbus are conjectural,
why should we abandon those began by our late Prince Henry
on solid foundations and prosecuted with happy prospects?
Crowns are enriched by commerce, fortified by alliance,
and acquire empires by conquest.
The views of a nation must be extended with its prosperity.
Portugal is at peace with all the princes of Europe.
It has nothing to fear from an extensive enterprise.
It would be the greatest glory for Portuguese valor
to penetrate into the secrets and horrors of the ocean sea,
so formidable to the other nations of the world.
Thus occupied, it would escape the idleness
engendered in a long interval of peace—
idleness, that source of vice, that silent file, which,
little by little, wears away the strength of a nation.
It is an affront to the Portuguese name
to menace it with imaginary perils,
when it has proven itself so intrepid in encountering
those which were most certain and tremendous.
Great souls are formed for great enterprises.
I am surprised this undertaking is opposed by a prelate,
so religious and eminent as the Bishop of Ceuta
when the ultimate object is to augment the Catholic faith
and to spread Christian holiness from pole to pole,
reflecting glory on the Portuguese nation,
and yielding empire and lasting fame to its princes.
Although I am merely a soldier for your majesty,
I dare to prophesy as I feel inspiration from heaven
that to whatever prince should achieve this enterprise
will come more success and lasting renown
than has ever been obtained by a sovereign.

KING JOAO
What of the specific merits of Columbus’s proposal?

VIZINHO
After much study and consultation we have concluded
that his estimates of the distance
from the Canary Islands to China
or even the island of Zipango, if it exists,
are far short of what is probable.
Even Toscanelli, upon whom he relies,
suggests that it is five thousand miles to Cathay.
Columbus would have the circumference of the world
be far less than the calculations
of the ancient authorities Eratosthenes and Ptolemy.
We figure it would require a voyage
of at least one hundred days on the open sea
beyond the sight of any land.
Sailors fear being out of sight of land
for even a few days.
I’m afraid the mathematics of Columbus is sadly lacking,
and the whole venture is impractical.

RODRIGO
And what is the destination?
Some far-off mythical kingdoms
described in the romantic travel narratives of Marco Polo?!
This enterprise is highly speculative and extremely risky.
We have the prospect of reaching India
by extending our African expeditions further south
and then to the east, if there is a passage.
For Columbus to reach India by going west,
he would have to travel thousands of miles to Zipango,
a thousand or two more to Cathay,
and then thousands more to India.

COLUMBUS
Your highness, all of these distances
would not be encompassed in a single voyage.
Good evidence exists there are islands east of Zipango,
particularly Antillia, which is mapped by Toscanelli.
I believe I could reach them in thirty or forty days.

KING JOAO
We agree that the African explorations
are worthwhile and full of hope,
and we shall continue to pursue them.
As for the westward expedition of Columbus
we are not prepared to venture on such a foolhardy risk.
Yet we wish him the best of fortune
if he should ever make his gallant voyage.

INT. SHOP IN CAPE ST. VINCENT - DAY

Bartolomé is working on a map at the table. Columbus comes barging in angrily.

COLUMBUS
Do you know what I just found out?

BARTOLOMÉ
No. What?

COLUMBUS
On the advice of the Bishop of Ceuta,
the King used our plans, maps, and charts we gave him
to send two ships westward from the Azores
to try to discover Antillia.

BARTOLOMÉ
How could they have, without anyone knowing?

COLUMBUS
They gave out they were going
to the Cape de Verde Islands.
Well, they just returned.

BARTOLOMÉ
What did they find?

COLUMBUS
(Contemptibly)
Hmph! After a few days they ran into a storm,
and turned around and came back.
May God take them!

BARTOLOMÉ
The King doesn’t have much use for Genoese, does he?

COLUMBUS
With this insult and Felipa having died,
there is nothing to keep me here in Portugal.

BARTOLOMÉ
Where will you go?

COLUMBUS
To Spain to present my proposal there.
I swear by San Fernando,
I’m going to find a way to do this!

INT. SMALL HOUSE IN CORDOBA - MORNING

Columbus and his mistress, BEATRIZ ENRIQUEZ DE HARANA, are in bed when the sounds of cavalry riding through the streets awaken them.

BEATRIZ
They must be going off to fight the Moors again.

COLUMBUS
These incessant battles keep the King and Queen
from seriously considering my expedition,
and the Talavera committee
has delayed their investigation.
I’m so tired of their ignorant dogma
masquerading as learned authority.

BEATRIZ
But you’ve convinced some of them.
Cardinal Mendoza is on your side at court.

COLUMBUS
At least the Portuguese are willing to explore
and understand scientific cosmography.

BEATRIZ
Maybe you ought to go back to Portugal.

EXT. SMALL HOUSE IN CORDOBA - MORNING

Some YOUTHS have been watching the cavalry ride by.

FIRST YOUTH
This is where the crazy Columbus lives.

SECOND YOUTH
(Shouting)
Hey Columbus! When are you going to sail away
to the west off the end of the earth?!

THIRD YOUTH
(Shouting)
Yeah, don’t you know India is to the east?!

They laugh and walk off.

INT. SMALL HOUSE IN CORDOBA - MORNING

Beatriz and Columbus react to the voices.

BEATRIZ
Don’t let them bother you.

COLUMBUS
I’ve been laughed at by so many people, even in the court.
I think I will go back to Portugal.
By San Fernando, I’ll make them eat their words.

BEATRIZ
I believe in you. Give me a kiss.

They embrace passionately.

INT. SHOP IN CAPE ST. VINCENT - DAY

Columbus and Bartolomé are seated at the table talking.

COLUMBUS
Now that Dias has rounded Africa
at the Cape of Good Hope,
the Portuguese have found a route to India.
They won’t even consider my proposal anymore.

BARTOLOMÉ
What can we do now?

COLUMBUS
I’ll return to Spain and tell Fernando and Isabel
that the way to compete with Portugal
for the Indies trade
is by going west across the Atlantic.

BARTOLOMÉ
I’ll go to England to offer our plans
to Henry the Seventh.

COLUMBUS
Good. May God grant us success!

INT. LA RABIDA MONASTERY - DAY

A meeting is in progress with Columbus, FRIAR JUAN PEREZ, GARCIA FERNANDEZ, MARTIN ALONZO PINZON, VICENTE YANEZ PINZON, FRANCISCO PINZON, and other mariners of Palos. Numerous conversations are going on as Columbus talks to Friar Juan Perez.

COLUMBUS
I want to thank you for taking good care of my son Diego
here at the monastery for the past few years.

FRIAR JUAN PEREZ
We have been glad to provide him with some education.

COLUMBUS
If I can’t get a response here in Spain,
I must take my project to France
where my brother Bartolomé
now has connections in court.

FRIAR JUAN PEREZ
Give us one more chance.

He raises his voice to gain the attention of the meeting.

FRIAR JUAN PEREZ (Cont’d.)
We all heard the proposal
and present plight of Columbus.
Now the question is: What are we going to do?
I am willing to travel to the court on his behalf.
As I formerly was Queen Isabel’s confessor,
I believe I will be heard sympathetically.

Martin Pinzon stands and makes a gesture requesting recognition.

FRIAR JUAN PEREZ (Cont’d.)
Yes, Captain Pinzon.

MARTIN PINZON
I will accompany you and pay the expenses of the journey,
and more than that, I will provide and captain
one of the ships for the expedition.
I’m not afraid of a long voyage to unknown parts!

His statement is greeted with cheers and backslapping.

COLUMBUS
I am gratified and encouraged by this spirit,
and I eagerly anticipate our expanding prospects.
May we sail within a year!

More cheering.

INT. SPANISH COURT IN SANTA FE - DAY

KING FERNANDO and QUEEN ISABEL are presiding on equal thrones. Columbus stands before them. Among those attending the court are Friar Juan Perez, LUIS DE ST. ANGEL, ALONZO DE QUINTANILLA, MARCHIONESS OF MOYA, ARCHBISHOP DEZA, and PRIOR TALAVERA.

KING FERNANDO
Now that the war for Granada against the Muslims
has been gloriously victorious in driving the infidels out,
we pause in our celebrations to weigh and decide on
the long-standing petition of Christopher Columbus.
Let us hear the conclusions of the Talavera committee.

TALAVERA
For all we know from our investigation of these plans,
the western ocean may be endless and unnavigable,
or a possible voyage to Asia would require three years;
supplies could hardly last anywhere near that long.
Saint Augustine doubts there are antipodes opposite us;
and if there are, the ships could not get back.
Of the five zones of the earth,
only three are inhabitable.
We doubt lands of any value
could still remain undiscovered
so many centuries after the divine creation.
Thus we conclude that this project is vain, impractical,
and resting on grounds too weak to merit royal support.

DEZA
Your eminences, with all respect to the learned prior,
I have also served on this committee,
and I contend that master Columbus may know more about
navigating the Atlantic Ocean from his experience
than Saint Augustine who lived a thousand years ago.

QUEEN ISABEL
What do you say, Columbus?

COLUMBUS
The great Aristotle and the prophet Esdras both indicate
one could navigate from Spain to the Indies in a few days.
I have navigated the coast of Africa, the Canary Islands,
the Azores, and as far north and west as Iceland.
The Portuguese in Dias’ voyage around Africa,
have proven that ships can pass the equator
and return from the southern hemisphere.
I have no fear of the antipodes.

KING FERNANDO
What would you require to make this expedition
and what gain could we expect from your voyage?

COLUMBUS
I ask to be appointed Admiral of the Ocean Sea
and Viceroy over all countries I discover,
with one-tenth of all gains, either by trade or conquest.

Many in the court are taken aback, and resentful murmurs are heard.

COLUMBUS (Cont’d.)
Marco Polo described palaces made of gold in Zipango.
Trade routes there and to the Indies could be lucrative.
The Grand Khan of China has often requested
the Holy See to send missionaries of the Christian religion.
What a great work of conversion could be done in the Orient,
saving thousands, perhaps millions, of souls!
It is my fervent hope the riches gained from my discoveries
would be dedicated to winning back
the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem from the infidels.
Most agree that I take a great personal risk.
Therefore my rewards and honors ought to be commensurate.

QUEEN ISABEL
You are gallant to risk your life in such a noble venture.

KING FERNANDO
But what else are you putting in?

COLUMBUS
I am willing to provide one of the three ships
and one-eighth of the expense
in exchange for one-eighth of the profit.

KING FERNANDO
Our treasuries are drained from the recent war.
Reluctantly we must decline your offer.

COLUMBUS
Then I must go to France with my enterprise.

INT. QUEEN ISABEL’S CHAMBER - DAY

St. Angel, Quintanilla, Friar Juan Perez, and the Marchioness of Moya are pleading with the Queen.

QUINTANILLA
For seven years Columbus has pursued this project in Spain.
Much of the time he has resided with me.
I know he is a man of faultless character and strong will.
If anyone can accomplish such a lofty goal, he is the man.

ST. ANGEL
Consider how little he is asking.

QUEEN ISABEL
But the titles and privileges he wants—Viceroy!

ST. ANGEL
But that is only if he succeeds in his mission;
and if he does succeed, he will deserve it.

FRIAR JUAN PEREZ
Think of the glory to God and His Catholic Church
to extend our precious faith so grandly!

ST. ANGEL
What a triumph it would be for expanding Spain!
But what if France or Portugal
should gain these dominions?

MARCHIONESS OF MOYA
You really don’t lose much, even if he fails.

QUEEN ISABEL
I do like the man, but Fernando is suspicious.
As Queen of Castile, I will sponsor the enterprise.
I will even pledge my jewels
to raise the necessary funds.

ST. ANGEL
Your majesty is generous,
but I can advance you the funds
from the treasury of Aragon.

EXT. COUNTRY ROAD IN GRANADA - DAY

Columbus is riding a mule with his few belongings. A COURIER rides up behind him on a horse.

COURIER
Master Columbus, you must return to Santa Fe.

COLUMBUS
Why should I?

COURIER
The Queen has agreed to your terms.

COLUMBUS
By San Fernando, is it true?!

COURIER
Please come right away.

Columbus turns the mule around and starts back.

INT. SPANISH COURT IN SANTA FE - DAY

The scene is the same as before, but the mood has changed, as have attitudes toward Columbus.

QUEEN ISABEL
We give you with the articles of agreement,
letters from us for you to present
to the Grand Khan and the kings of India,
and a proclamation for the raising of three ships
with all work, crews, and supplies required.
May God speed your noble purpose!

Columbus bows and receives the documents.

INT. ST. GEORGE CHURCH IN PALOS - MORNING

Columbus and Friar Juan Perez are addressing a large meeting of mariners and sailors, including the Pinzon family.

FRIAR JUAN PEREZ
This proclamation from King Fernando and Queen Isabel
commands the town of Palos
to provide two ships owed to them
for the upcoming expedition
of Admiral Christopher Columbus.
A third ship owned by Martin Pinzon
will also be fitted out.
Crews for all three
are to be paid standard seaman’s wages
with four months paid in advance.
Who will sign on?

TOWNSPERSON #1
What is the destination?

TOWNSPERSON #2
Yeah, we’ve heard rumors this voyage
aims to sail west to the Indies.
Is that true?

COLUMBUS
Yes, it is.

Silence for a moment and then an uproar.

TOWNSPERSON #1
Well, you’re not taking me off the edge of the world!

TOWNSPERSON #3
He’s crazy! They’ll never come back.

TOWNSPERSON #4
Has anyone ever discovered any land west of the Azores?

COLUMBUS
Not yet, but we will.

MARTIN PINZON
I’m staking my ship, my life, and my fortune on this voyage.
Who’s got the courage and the adventure to go with us?
My brothers Vicente and Francisco are coming.

FRIAR JUAN PEREZ
Also, those under criminal prosecution may join this voyage.

TOWNSPERSON #3
Yeah, they’re desperate for a crew.
You’re not taking me.

He and about half the people leave the room.

EXT. SANTA MARIA, PINTA, AND NINA AT DOCK - ALMOST DAWN

The crews are going aboard amid affectionate and frantic farewells from families and friends. Columbus says goodbye to Friar Juan Perez.

Super:

First Voyage
Palos, Spain
August 3, 1492

COLUMBUS
Thank you for the confession
and the beautiful mass, father.

FRIAR JUAN PEREZ
May you live up to the meaning of your name,
Christopher Columbus—Christ-bearing colonizer!

COLUMBUS
All aboard for the Indies!

More sobs are heard, as Columbus boards the Santa Maria.

COLUMBUS (Cont’d.)
Cast away!

The ramps are removed, anchors lifted, and the three ships start to put out to sea.

EXT. THE SANTA MARIA AND THE PINTA AT SEA - DAY

Columbus is boarding the Pinta which has put up a distress signal.

COLUMBUS
What is the trouble, Captain?

MARTIN PINZON
The rudder is broken and unhung.

COLUMBUS
Can you get it tied up?

MARTIN PINZON
Yes, Admiral, we’re working on it now.
I believe the owners contrived this
so that their vessel would have to be left behind.

COLUMBUS
Never mind that.
We reach the Canary Islands tomorrow.
There we’ll get another ship or repair it.
I’m sure you can manage it into port, captain.

MARTIN PINZON
My navigators doubt we’re near the Canaries.

COLUMBUS
I’m sure we’ll see them tomorrow.

MARTIN PINZON
Yes, sir.

INT. SAN SEBASTIAN CASTLE - EVENING

Columbus is dining elegantly and privately with the beautiful DONA BEATRIZ DE PERAZA.

COLUMBUS
Doña Beatriz, how did you come to govern this island?

DONA PERAZA
As a maid of honor to Queen Isabel,
I became a close friend of the King,
if you take my meaning.

COLUMBUS
Yes.

DONA PERAZA
So the jealous Queen married me off to Hernan Peraza
who as Captain and governor of this island
had been charged with murdering a rival conquistador.
He was pardoned for taking me back to the Canaries.
I have to say he was a cruel governor.
When he seduced a native girl,
there was an uprising; and he was killed.
My two children and I were rescued from this castle,
and eventually I returned to govern.
Dealing with the natives can be a nasty business.
Some of these islands are still in their control.

COLUMBUS
You’re quite a lady!

DONA PERAZA
I hope you’ll come back to visit
and tell me the stories of your adventures.

COLUMBUS
We’re ready to sail in the morning.
Thank you for this elegant dinner.

He stands up from the table. She stands and walks over to him, putting her arm around his waist.

DONA PERAZA
Stay with me tonight.

COLUMBUS
I’d like that.

He returns the embrace and kisses her.

EXT. SANTA MARIA ON THE OPEN SEA - MORNING

The Pinta and Niña are within sight. Columbus is about to give his orders to JUAN DE LA COSA, master of the Santa Maria.

Super:

Canary Islands
September 8

JUAN DE LA COSA
Sir, the men are jittery about seeing the fire and smoke
coming out of the mountain of Tenerife.

COLUMBUS
It’s just an erupting volcano.

JUAN DE LA COSA
They say it’s a dangerous omen.

COLUMBUS
Ezekiel wrote, “Yea, the isles that are in the sea
shall be troubled at thy departure.”
No one deserted ship at the Canaries.

JUAN DE LA COSA
Yes, sir, the men have confidence in the captains,
if not in this mysterious and audacious voyage.
Your navigation to the Canaries was perfect.
What about those three Portuguese ships
that are hovering around the islands?
Do you think they might try to capture us?

COLUMBUS
Not where we’re going.
After three days in the Canary calms,
this wind from the northeast suits our purpose.
Master of the ship, set the course for due west,
nothing to the northward, nothing to the southward.

JUAN DE LA COSA
Aye, aye, sir!

Juan de la Cosa goes off to repeat the command to the pilot. As the men scurry around the ship and up the riggings to put the orders into effect, many lamentations and groans of fear are heard. Columbus calls their attention.

COLUMBUS
Men of the Santa Maria!
We are embarked on a voyage of great discovery.
I realize that many of you are afraid,
because you don’t know where you are going.
Let me tell you.
We are headed for the islands of the Indian seas,
the great regions of Cathay,
and the rich island of Zipango.
We are bound to find gold so abundant
that they line the roofs of their palaces with it.
Many precious stones and jewels are we likely to find.
So take heart,
and trust in the Lord who guides our way!

EXT. THE SANTA MARIA DECK - NIGHT

Columbus consults with Juan de la Cosa about the compass.

JUAN DE LA COSA
The compass needle no longer points to the pole star.

COLUMBUS
Yes, I’ve been noticing that for several days.
I believe it’s because the pole star moves like the stars,
but in a smaller circle about true north.

JUAN DE LA COSA
The men fear such mysterious changes.
I will tell them your explanation.
The east wind has been consistent, hasn’t it?

COLUMBUS
Excellent!
Since leaving the Canary Islands we’ve made
about three hundred sixty leagues to the west.
Actually I believe the distance is a little greater,
but I do not want to frighten the men.

JUAN DE LA COSA
Let’s see, at about three miles to the league,
that is well over a thousand miles.
No one has ever gone that far from land before.
How many leagues before you expect landfall?

COLUMBUS
If we don’t find undiscovered islands,
I’m sure we’ll reach Zipango
by seven hundred fifty leagues.

JUAN DE LA COSA
Some of the men greatly fear this steady east wind
will prevent us from being able to return.

COLUMBUS
I doubt it’s the same in all seasons and latitudes.

JUAN DE LA COSA
At least the birds that occasionally come aboard
give us some consolation
that land cannot be too far away.

COLUMBUS
The Lord sends His messengers.
Good night, Juan.

JUAN DE LA COSA
Good night, sir.

EXT. PINTA AND SANTA MARIA AT SEA - DAY

The ships have come close together so that Martin Pinzon and Columbus can converse by shouting back and forth. Some of the sailors are swimming in the sea.

Super:

September 25

MARTIN PINZON
I’ve looked over your chart.
We must be near Zipango now.

COLUMBUS
Yes, unless the prevailing currents
have taken us off track.
Throw the chart back, and I’ll plot our position.

Pinzon has a seaman tie the chart to a rope and throw it across to the Santa Maria, as he goes to the stern. The chart is retrieved and laid out before Columbus, the pilot PERALONSO NINO, and other mariners. They begin to study it, when a shout rings out from the Pinta.

MARTIN PINZON
Land! Land! Sir, I claim the reward!

Pinzon is pointing to the southwest. Seamen quickly mount the masthead and the rigging, pointing in the same direction. Columbus falls on his knees in prayer.

COLUMBUS
Thanks be to God!

MARTIN PINZON
Glory to God in the highest!

This “Gloria in excelsis” is repeated by the crews of both ships.

COLUMBUS
Alter the course to the southwest.

JUAN DE LA COSA
Aye, aye, sir. To the southwest!

EXT. THE SANTA MARIA DECK - DAWN

Columbus has been watching all night. He speaks to Juan de la Cosa, the royal controller RODRIGO SANCHEZ, and PEDRO GUTIERREZ.

COLUMBUS
I’d say that “island” was another tropical cloud formation.
If we don’t see land by noon,
we’ll return to our westward course.
Spread the word that if a man cries land
and none is found in three days, he forfeits his chance
for the reward of ten thousand maravedis.

EXT. THREE SHIPS ON THE OPEN SEA - DAY AND NIGHT

Several days and nights pass with no sight of land. Columbus watches anxiously. Most of the crew members are in despair.

EXT. THE PINTA OUT IN FRONT - SUNRISE

Martin Pinzon talks to his brother Francisco.

MARTIN PINZON
Is it really land?

FRANCISCO PINZON
They’re sure it is.

MARTIN PINZON
Then hoist the flag and discharge the gun.

They do so.

EXT. THE SANTA MARIA AND THE NINA - SUNRISE

Great excitement occurs when they hear the gun. The crews look to the west.

EXT. THE SANTA MARIA - EVENING

Juan de la Cosa and the BOATSWAIN talk to several SEAMEN.

Super:

October 7

BOATSWAIN
False hopes dashed again!
How long do we have to go along with this madness?

SEAMAN #1
We’re chasing dreams and mirages.

SEAMAN #2
Even if we turned back now, we’d be lucky to make it.

JUAN DE LA COSA
That’s true.
We’ve come seven hundred and fifty leagues already.

SEAMAN #1
And not a sign of land except weeds, logs, and birds.

BOATSWAIN
Do you think we could persuade the Admiral to turn back?

JUAN DE LA COSA
I doubt it.
He believes he’s near the island of Zipango now.

SEAMAN #3
What if we threw him overboard?

SEAMAN #2
We could say he fell over while looking at the stars.

BOATSWAIN
Talk to the others about it.
See how they feel.

The Admiral’s steward, PEDRO DE TERREROS, calls to them.

TERREROS
Master Juan de la Cosa, the Admiral wants you.

Juan de la Cosa leaves the group and goes to the Admiral on top of the castle.

COLUMBUS
I’ve watched the flights of these birds to the southwest.
Juan, I know that the Portuguese discovered
many islands in the Azores by following the birds.
I want you to change the course to west-southwest.

JUAN DE LA COSA
Yes, sir.

INT. SANTA MARIA CAPTAIN’S CABIN - DAY

Columbus, Martin Pinzon, and Vicente Pinzon are engaged in a heated debate.

Super:

October 10

MARTIN PINZON
So we think the time has come
to take advantage of this southerly breeze to head back.

COLUMBUS
You’d give up now!
The birds are becoming more numerous every day.
I know we’re near land.

VICENTE PINZON
That’s what we’ve thought for a long time.
Every crew is near mutiny.

MARTIN PINZON
Either we order a return, or they’ll demand it.

COLUMBUS
Will you give me three more days?

Martin and Vicente look at each other.

MARTIN PINZON
All right. Three days.

COLUMBUS
But we go due west.

MARTIN PINZON
Whatever you say for three days,
but if we don’t see land by then, we go east.

EXT. SANTA MARIA DECK - EVENING

Juan de la Cosa approaches Columbus on behalf of the crew.

JUAN DE LA COSA
Sir, the men are desperate to turn back.
If you go on further, I think there will be a mutiny.

COLUMBUS
I’ll speak to them.
Men of the Santa Maria!
You have been a superb crew
on a daring and noble voyage.

BOATSWAIN
Admiral, it’s time to turn back.
We will not sail any further west.
Isn’t that right, men?

CREW
(All at once)
Yeah. That’s right. Let’s go home.

COLUMBUS
Without any gold?
As failures, because of lack of courage?
We have a duty to God and our Queen.

SEAMAN #2
We’ve heard enough promises.
Now do you give the order to turn around, or do we?

COLUMBUS
I will not give that order.
I am determined to carry out
my mission to find the Indies.
You can kill me and my loyal officers,
but if you go back to Spain without us, you’ll all hang.
I understand your fear of starving on the open sea,
but I believe we are near land.
Our best chance is to persevere.
I will promise you
if we do not sight land in three days,
we will turn back.

SEAMAN #1
That’s good enough for me.

The crew reluctantly accepts this.

EXT. SANTA MARIA DECK - AFTERNOON

The crew watches the sea attentively and becomes excited as they see fresh weeds, a branch of thorns with berries, and a spear floating by.

SEAMAN #4
Look how green those leaves are!

SEAMAN #1
Look at that branch; land must be near.

BOATSWAIN
I see a staff; someone get it.

A sailor dives into the water and retrieves the spear.

BOATSWAIN
Look, men, this wood has been carved into a spear.

The mood of the whole crew has changed to eager expectation.

EXT. SANTA MARIA DECK - EVENING

The officers and crew are singing “Salve Regina.” As it ends, Columbus addresses them.

COLUMBUS
Men of the Santa Maria, let us give thanks to God
who gave us many signs of success
when our hopes were dim.
The gentle eastern breeze has carried us far;
but when your fears told you it was perpetual
and we’d never get back home,
the winds changed to tell us it isn’t.
When the seas became too calm,
a great wave comforted us.
When you thought we were lost on an ocean desert,
birds came to sing their cheerful songs
from the yard-arms.
Now every day we see greener branches floating by.
I tell you we are about to find a promised land.
Now I believe we might see land tonight.
Keep a sharp watch so that we don’t run aground,
and to whomever spies land first
I’ll add a doublet of velvet to the reward.

EXT. SANTA MARIA CASTLE - NIGHT

Columbus is watching and sees a light far ahead. He calls below.

COLUMBUS
Pedro! Come here; I think I saw a light.

Pedro Gutierrez comes up on the castle to look. This time they both see it.

GUTIERREZ
There! I see it!

COLUMBUS
Get Sanchez up here.

Gutierrez leaves and returns with Rodrigo Sanchez.

COLUMBUS
It comes and goes.
It could be someone fishing by torch behind waves
or walking on a mountainside.

SANCHEZ
I don’t see anything.

COLUMBUS
But we saw it.
It means not only land, but that it’s inhabited.

EXT. SANTA MARIA CASTLE - NIGHT

The three men are still watching four hours later, but Gutierrez and Sanchez are falling asleep. They hear a gunshot from the Pinta.

COLUMBUS
That’s it! The Pinta has seen the land!
I knew it. I knew we would find it.

EXT. SHIPS ANCHORED NEAR ISLAND BEACH - MORNING

Three boats are rowing ashore with the captain of each ship, Columbus, Martin and Vicente Pinzon, each bearing the royal banner with an “F” and a “Y.” Columbus is dressed in elegant scarlet. The men are armed, and some of them wear armor.

Super:

October 12

On the shore some GUANAHANIANS are excitedly looking at the ships and the approaching boats. They are all completely naked. Many are painted, some on their faces and others on their bodies as well; but few have spears. They are adults under the age of thirty, and one of them is a woman. As the boats approach the beach, they run to the trees. During the following ceremonies, they gradually come near. Columbus is the first to step out onto the land. He kneels on the dry sand and kisses the ground, weeping tears of joy. As the others come ashore, they all kneel also. Sanchez and RODRIGO DE ESCOBEDO, who writes down the proclamations and oaths, are next to Columbus with the others encircling him. He rises.

COLUMBUS
Lord God, eternal and omnipotent,
your sacred word created heaven and earth and the sea.
As your humble servant I name this island San Salvador
and take possession of it
for the most Catholic Sovereigns Isabel and Fernando.
By their royal command I am Admiral of the Ocean Sea
and Viceroy of all lands we discover.
I ask you all to swear obedience to my commands.

They all swear and make the sign of the cross. Then they throng around Columbus, embracing him and kissing his hands.

BOATSWAIN
I swear I’ll follow you anywhere.

SEAMAN #2
I’ll do anything you say.
Forgive us for doubting you.

SEAMAN #4
Make me a knight.

The natives, who had prostrated themselves also in adoration, now shyly approach the Spaniards to examine and touch their shiny armor, clothes, and beards. Columbus gently shows them his sword. A native grasps the blade and cuts his hand.

COLUMBUS
No, this end.

He orders his men.

COLUMBUS (Cont’d.)
Bring me the gifts.

A small chest of trinkets is brought to him and opened. He begins to give the natives little red caps and strings of glass beads which they put around their necks. One native brings a skein of cotton, and Columbus trades a hawks’ bell for it. Some parrots are presented to the Spaniards.

EXT. SANTA MARIA IN HARBOR - MORNING

Numerous canoes of varying sizes bring natives carrying parrots or cassava bread. Some canoes are overturned; but the natives swim around easily, turn them right side up, and bail them out with gourds. Columbus and the crew watch.

COLUMBUS
Bring that Indian with the nose ornament to my cabin.

INT. SANTA MARIA CAPTAIN’S CABIN - MORNING

A Seaman brings in the native. Columbus is talking with JUAN DE TORRES.

COLUMBUS
Can you understand the language
of the Indians we took?

TORRES
Not at all. I tried Hebrew and even Arabic.
I don’t think they understand a word.

Columbus picks up a hawks’ bell and offers it to the native, pointing at the golden ornament in his nose with desire. The native likes the sound of the bell and trades the ornament for it. Going out on the deck with the native, Columbus tries to find out where the gold comes from by gesturing.

COLUMBUS
Where did you get this?

The native is puzzled, but smiles as he leaves. Columbus hands the gold to Torres.

COLUMBUS (Cont’d.)
Try to find out where they get the gold.

TORRES
Yes, sir.

EXT. NINA AND CANOES AND SANTA MARIA - MORNING

The canoes are leaving now. One of the captured natives on the Niña breaks free of his guard, jumps into the sea, and swims toward a canoe of natives.

VICENTE PINZON
He’s escaping! After him with the boat.

The men get into the boat; but they cannot catch the canoe before it reaches shore. The natives run away, but the crew brings back the canoe.

COLUMBUS
Let’s put out to sea, southwest to the next island.

EXT. SANTA MARIA DECK NEAR LAND - DAY

Juan de la Cosa approaches Columbus with a CAPTURED NATIVE.

JUAN DE LA COSA
We’ve captured this Indian and his canoe.

The native offers his ball of cotton to Columbus. Columbus puts a colored cap on his head, green beads around his neck, and hawks’ bells in his ears. The native is surprised and happy.

COLUMBUS
Put him back in his canoe and let him keep his cotton.
Also release the other canoe.
We must treat these people well
for the sake of those who will come after us.

EXT. A CAPE OF HAITI - DAY

Columbus and some of his men have placed a large cross on a prominent place near the shore. A group of native HAITIANS appear. When they see the Spaniards, they start to run away. Three Spaniards run after them.

COLUMBUS
Don’t hurt them!

After a chase, they catch a beautiful young woman who is naked except for a gold nose-plug. SEAMAN #5 carries her back in his arms.

SEAMAN #5
Look what I’ve got!

COLUMBUS
Give her a dress.
Then I will see her in my cabin.

INT. SANTA MARIA CAPTAIN’S CABIN - DAY

Columbus is talking with Torres, Escobedo, and the native DIEGO who wears a simple loincloth.

TORRES
I call him Diego.
He is our best interpreter so far.

COLUMBUS
Cuba is a beautiful island.
They grow fields of food they call maize,
and they smoke an herb called tobacco;
but there seems to be no gold there.

TORRES
This island he calls Hayti or Bohio,
and I think it has much gold.

Seaman #5 brings in the Haitian woman in a dress. Columbus gives her the beads from around his neck and other trinkets. She is very pleased and gives Columbus the gold nose-plug.

COLUMBUS
This is a good sign there is gold on this island.

SEAMAN #5
I think she wants to stay
with the other women aboard, sir.

COLUMBUS
No, we must let her go with these gifts
to tell the Indians we are friendly.
Take her ashore.

SEAMAN #5
Aye, aye, sir.

He takes her out.

COLUMBUS
We learned in Africa that interpreters are happier
if they are accompanied by women.
We already took seven women and three children.
But too many women aboard
will cause troubles with our own men.
I also let one of their husbands join them.

ESCOBEDO
These Indians are so generous and kind.
They may have little, but they give it all away.

COLUMBUS
And with such a willing heart, too.
I’m sending a few men ashore
with an Indian interpreter.

TORRES
Shall we send Diego, sir?

COLUMBUS
No, I want him here with us to learn our language.
Send an Indian from Cuba.
And make sure the men give something in exchange
whenever they receive a gift.

Juan de la Cosa comes in and speaks to Columbus.

JUAN DE LA COSA
Admiral, two of our Indians have jumped ship
and are swimming to the shore.

COLUMBUS
Let them go; we will replace them with others.

EXT. HAITIAN VILLAGE - DAY

Montage of nine Spaniards and their CUBAN interpreter being welcomed warmly and treated hospitably by the HAITIANS, who set before them cassava bread, fish, roots, and various fruits. They do some trading, and many parrots are shown to them.

EXT. SANTA MARIA DECK - NIGHT

Columbus and Juan de la Cosa talk as they sail along the coast.

JUAN DE LA COSA
Where are we going now, Admiral?

COLUMBUS
To meet with the cacique, Guacanagari,
who is the chief of this whole area.

JUAN DE LA COSA
Do you think we’ll meet up with the Pinta
one of these days?

COLUMBUS
I hope so.
Martin Pinzon apparently
wants to lead his own expedition.
Oh, but what a beautiful Christmas Eve this is!

JUAN DE LA COSA
Nice and calm tonight.

COLUMBUS
I watched all night last night,
because I know these shoals can be dangerous.
But it looks quiet enough now for me to get some sleep.

JUAN DE LA COSA
Then good night, sir.

COLUMBUS
Good night.

Columbus retires. Juan de la Cosa walks over to the HELMSMAN.

JUAN DE LA COSA
Steady as she goes.
Call me if there is a change in the wind.

He goes below.

HELMSMAN
Hey boy, come over here.

A SHIP-BOY gets up off the deck where he was resting and walks over to the tiller.

HELMSMAN
I’m falling asleep. Just hold the tiller steady.

SHIP-BOY
That’s against the Admiral’s orders.

HELMSMAN
Don’t worry; he’ll never know.

The boy takes his place as the Helmsman lays down to sleep. Time passes. Then amid louder sounds of surf, the ship runs onto a reef.

SHIP-BOY
Help! The rudder is aground!

Columbus is the first to respond on deck, followed by Juan de la Cosa and other crew who were sleeping on the deck.

COLUMBUS
The bow is aground, but we’re drawing water aft.
Haul in the boat.
Juan, take the anchor astern and try to warp her off.

Seaman #1 hauls the boat in. Seaman #2 and the Boatswain get the anchor. These men, Seaman #3, Seaman #4, and Juan de la Cosa get in the boat and row to the nearby Niña.

COLUMBUS
Where are they going? That’s treachery!

EXT. NINA - NIGHT

Vicente Pinzon greets the boat with indignation.

VICENTE PINZON
You cowards! Get back to the Santa Maria.

They start to row the boat back, following Niña’s boat which already has been sent to help.

EXT. SANTA MARIA DECK - NIGHT

COLUMBUS
Cut away the main mast!

Sailors begin sawing and chopping at the mast.

COLUMBUS (Cont’d.)
If we lose some weight, we might float her off.
I’m afraid we’re taking too much water.
We’ll have to abandon ship.
Use the two boats to ferry the crew over to the Niña.

The mast timbers overboard, but the ship only sinks a little more with all the water leaking in. Columbus orders Gutierrez.

COLUMBUS
Pedro, at dawn take a message to Guacanagari
that my planned visit is delayed by this shipwreck.

GUTIERREZ
Aye, aye, sir.

EXT. SANTA MARIA SHIPWRECK - DAY

The Haitians in their canoes are helping the Spaniards salvage everything from the wreck. Three native huts are used to store some items, and everything is carefully guarded by the Haitians. They cooperate perfectly with the Spaniards.

INT. NINA CAPTAIN’S CABIN - DAY

GUACANAGARI is dining with Columbus. Diego is interpreting. Guacanagari is warmly sympathetic to the disappointment of Columbus.

DIEGO
Guacanagari say, “He give you everything.”

Vicente Pinzon comes in.

VICENTE PINZON
Admiral, some Indians have come to trade gold.

They all get up and go out on deck.

EXT. NINA DECK - DAY

The Haitians have come aboard with pieces of gold.

HAITIANS
Chuque, chuque.

DIEGO
They want bells for dance.

VICENTE PINZON
I have some here we can trade.

As they trade, Guacanagari says something.

DIEGO
Guacanagari say, “Much gold at Cibao. All you want.”

COLUMBUS
He must mean Zipango.
Maybe our wreck was a blessing.
We can use the wood from the wreck to build a fort.
Since today is Christmas Day,
we’ll call this place Nativity.

EXT. VILLAGE NEAR NATIVITY - DAY

Columbus and many Spaniards are attending a banquet and party hosted by Guacanagari. The Spaniards are becoming more intimate with the naked women; during the scene, some couples walk off together. Columbus gives Guacanagari his cloth mantle, colored boots, and a large silver ring. Guacanagari feels and smells them.

GUACANAGARI
Turey! Turey!

COLUMBUS
Diego, what is “turey”?

DIEGO
Turey is heaven, good.
I told them that you are from heaven
so that they would not be afraid.

Diego points to the sky. Guacanagari takes off his coronet of gold and puts it on Columbus’s head.

COLUMBUS
Turey!
Diego, what is that?

He indicates a long net hanging between two trees.

DIEGO
Hamac, for sleep.

Pedro Gutierrez and Rodrigo de Escobedo approach.

GUTIERREZ
Admiral, we want to stay here.

ESCOBEDO
In fact, most of the men are asking to stay.

COLUMBUS
The Niña would be overcrowded.
I’ll think about it.

EXT. OUTSIDE FORT NATIVITY - DAY

The Spaniards are giving the Haitians a demonstration of their weapons. DIEGO DE ARANA uses the cross-bow to hit a tree from a distance of several yards. The Haitians watch in admiration and fear.

COLUMBUS
Now command the lombard to be fired.

Arana goes in the fort. Soon the cannon is fired, and a large stone breaks through the wall of the wrecked ship that is ashore and then strikes the sea at a distance. The soldiers also engage in a mock battle with swords. The Haitians become very afraid and bow down.

COLUMBUS
Diego, tell Guacanagari we will defend them
against their fierce enemies, the Caribs.
If the Caribs attack, our men will kill them all.

When Diego tells them, the Haitians become very happy and relieved. Columbus orders Arana.

COLUMBUS
Commander, assemble your men who are staying.
I want to speak to them.

Thirty-nine Spaniards line up.

COLUMBUS (Cont’d.)
As Viceroy I charge you
in the name of King Fernando and Queen Isabel
to obey the commands of Diego de Arana.
Gutierrez and Escobedo are to be next in command.
You are to show respect for Guacanagari and his chieftains.
We are greatly indebted to their kind generosity,
and your welfare will depend on good relations with them.
Avoid disputes and treat all the Indians
with gentleness and justice, especially their women.

A few laughs and snickers are heard.

COLUMBUS (Cont’d.)
That kind of misconduct has often caused troubles
and disasters in the intercourse with savage nations.
Don’t scatter yourselves around the island,
but keep together for your own safety.
The only tasks I give your commanders are
to procure gold and spices
and to find a safer harbor suitable for a settlement.
May God bless and watch over this
the first European settlement in the Indies.
Goodbye.

The men who are leaving affectionately bid farewell with embraces to those who are staying. Columbus and others also make a sorrowful parting from Guacanagari and the Haitians.

EXT. NINA DECK AT SEA - DAY

They spot the Pinta.

JUAN DE LA COSA
There is the Pinta, sir.

COLUMBUS
At last.

INT. PINTA CAPTAIN’S CABIN - DAY

Columbus is paying a visit to Martin Pinzon.

MARTIN PINZON
We just made it east against the wind,
while you were driven back; that’s all.

Columbus is skeptical and does not really believe him.

COLUMBUS
I’m willing to forget all that now.
I’m glad we’ll have two ships for the return voyage.
I understand you’ve taken on quantities of gold
and have six Indians aboard.

MARTIN PINZON
We have been successful in trading with the Indians.

COLUMBUS
Although the gold belongs to our royal majesties,
I’ll allow you to keep it on board;
but I insist that you release the Indians at once.

MARTIN PINZON
You’ve taken on Indians yourself.

COLUMBUS
We both already have enough interpreters and examples.
I will not allow you to have your own personal Indians.
Release them immediately,
or I will charge you with piracy before the Queen.

MARTIN PINZON
As you say.

EXT. HAITIAN BEACH - DAY

The Pinta pilot SARMIENTO and five Spaniards have landed a boat and approach a band of WARRIORS painted with charcoal and carrying spears, bows and arrows, and wooden swords.

Super:

January 13, 1493

One warrior walks over to them, and they give him gifts to take back to the others. The warriors put down their weapons except for two bows. The Spaniards trade for the two bows and some arrows. Suddenly the warriors run back and grab their weapons and some cords. Then they run toward the six Spaniards as though they are going to bind them. The Spaniards wound one warrior in the chest with an arrow and slash the buttocks of another with a sword. All the warriors then run away. Sarmiento commands his men.

SARMIENTO
Stop! Don’t follow them. Let them go.

INT. NINA CAPTAIN’S CABIN - DAY

Columbus is trading with the cacique MAYONABEX as Diego interprets. Mayonabex gives Columbus a string of shells with great ceremony.

DIEGO
The cacique sad, uh, fight.
No fight now. He bring gold crown, cotton.

COLUMBUS
Good. Let us have some biscuits and honey.

They begin to eat.

EXT. NINA DECK AT SEA - DAY

A Haitian man and Diego are pointing to the east as Columbus and Vicente Pinzon discuss the course.

DIEGO
Caribs’ island there.

COLUMBUS
The Caribs are warlike and cannibals.
We could explore there and then go to Mantinino.

VICENTE PINZON
What is Mantinino?

COLUMBUS
According to the stories,
that must be the Feminea Island
described by Marco Polo
where only women are allowed.

VICENTE PINZON
How do they reproduce?

COLUMBUS
Three months out of each year men go there.
The women raise the girls,
and the boys are given to their fathers
to be brought up by the Caribs as warriors.

VICENTE PINZON
The wind has turned fair for Spain.

COLUMBUS
The men are getting anxious
about the homeward passage.

VICENTE PINZON
Yeah, they’re tired of discovery.

COLUMBUS
I’m not; but you’re right. Let’s head for home.
Signal the Pinta our course is northeast by east.

EXT. NINA DECK AT SEA - TERRIBLY STORMY DAY

The ship is scudding without sails amid strong winds and rain. Columbus hands Juan de la Cosa a barrel.

COLUMBUS
I’ve enclosed a letter to our sovereigns
in wax inside here.
Toss it overboard.
If we go down, maybe somebody will find it.
I will put a second one high on the stern-castle
so that if the ship sinks, it will float.

JUAN DE LA COSA
Yes, sir.

VICENTE PINZON
A little more of this storm could kill us all.

COLUMBUS
Did you count the beans?

VICENTE PINZON
Yes, sir, one for each Christian aboard.

COLUMBUS
Whoever draws the bean with the cross carved on it
promises to go on a pilgrimage
to Santa Maria of Guadalupe.
Did everyone agree?

VICENTE PINZON
Yes. They’ve also sworn to march in penitence
to the nearest church of the Virgin,
if we live to see land.
They’re desperate and doubt we’ll survive.

COLUMBUS
I’ll draw the first bean.

He reaches into the hat held by Vicente and pulls out a bean with a cross carved on it.

COLUMBUS (Cont’d.)
I’ve been chosen.

EXT. NINA DECK ANCHORED AT SANTA MARIA ISLAND - DAY

Columbus and Vicente greet THREE AZOREANS who have brought fowls, bread, and other food.

COLUMBUS
Thank you for the provisions.
What island is this?

FIRST AZOREAN
Santa Maria.

VICENTE PINZON
The Azores!
You were the only one who predicted it, Admiral.

SECOND AZOREAN
Where have you been?

COLUMBUS
To the Indies and back.

SECOND AZOREAN
The Indies? How could you—?

COLUMBUS
We sailed west from the Canaries and went to Zipango.

THIRD AZOREAN
This is startling news!

COLUMBUS
Where is the nearest church dedicated to the Virgin?

FIRST AZOREAN
There is a chapel just over that hill.

COLUMBUS
Will you ask them to perform a mass for us?

FIRST AZOREAN
Certainly.

COLUMBUS
Have half the crew prepare for their penitential march.

VICENTE PINZON
That means no shoes nor pants, but just a shirt.
Yes, sir.

EXT. SANTA MARIA CHAPEL - DAY

Ten Spaniards march solemnly into the chapel wearing only long shirts.

INT. SANTA MARIA CHAPEL - DAY

The Spaniards are praying during the mass. GOVERNOR CASTANEDA and some TOWNSPEOPLE barge in and surround the ten Spaniards.

CASTANEDA
You are prisoners of King Joao of Portugal.

The Spaniards, having no means of defense, submit to arrest.

EXT. NINA ANCHORED AT SANTA MARIA - DAY

Castaneda and a few PORTUGUESE SOLDIERS have rowed next to the ship. On deck Columbus orders the rest of the crew.

COLUMBUS
Arm yourselves, but stay out of sight.

CASTANEDA
Columbus, will you come aboard
and go to land where we can talk.

COLUMBUS
Not until I know my men are safe.

CASTANEDA
Will you assure my safety to come aboard your ship?

COLUMBUS
Certainly.

However, the Portuguese stay in the boat.

CASTANEDA
What are you doing in Portuguese waters?

COLUMBUS
We were blown here by a storm.
Here are my papers from the Spanish Sovereigns.
I am Admiral of the Ocean Sea and Viceroy of the Indies,
which I have claimed in their name.

He shows some papers from the deck.

CASTANEDA
I govern here for Portugal.

COLUMBUS
Send back my men,
or Castile will see you are punished.

CASTANEDA
Castile means nothing to me.

COLUMBUS
By San Fernando, I ought to capture you for slavery!

The boat shoves off.

EXT. NINA ANCHORED AT SANTA MARIA - DAY

Five of the Spaniards, TWO CLERICS, and a NOTARY PUBLIC come aboard.

FIRST CLERIC
Let the Notary Public examine your papers,
and the other five men will be released.

Columbus shows his papers to the Notary Public.

NOTARY PUBLIC
These are in order.

INT. VALPARAISO COURT - DAY

Columbus is seated before King Joao II who is on his throne and surrounded by his COUNSELORS.

Super:

Valparaiso, March 9

COLUMBUS
So you see I did obey the orders of my Sovereigns
not to go to La Mina or the coast of Guinea,
and only the worst winter storms in years
drove me to the Azores and the coast of Portugal.

KING JOAO II
A fascinating tale of new discoveries in the west.
We believe those lands may belong to us
by the Treaty of Alcacovas which gave Portugal
rights to lands south of the Canaries.

COLUMBUS
I know nothing of that treaty.

KING JOAO II
We shall work it out
with Queen Isabel and King Fernando.
Please stay with the Grand Prior of Cato
while you are here.

COLUMBUS
Thank you for your kind treatment
and for providing all our expenses here in Portugal.

Columbus bows and goes out.

FIRST COUNSELOR
The arrogance of the man,
thinking he is Viceroy of all those lands!
I say we ought to have him assassinated
before he does any more mischief.

KING JOAO II
No, the damage has been done.
He’s just gloating that we rejected his offer.
But we will consider how to contest the new lands.

EXT. PALOS STREET TO THE CHURCH - DAY

Columbus, his crew, and ten Indians are being thronged and cheered by the PEOPLE OF PALOS as they parade toward the church; its bells are also heard.

INT. BARCELONA COURT - DAY

The thrones of King Fernando and Queen Isabel have been placed under a canopy of gold brocade. The court is full of NOBLES and DISTINGUISHED PEOPLE.

Super:

Barcelona, May 28, 1493

Six Indians enter first, painted colorfully and wearing golden ornaments and coronets. They are followed by some of the crew carrying cages of parrots and other exotic animals and plants. Finally Columbus enters; he is dressed much more elegantly than he was at Palos. Fernando and Isabel rise to greet him. Columbus kneels and kisses their hands.

QUEEN ISABEL
Please sit here.

She offers him a chair near her, and Columbus sits down.

QUEEN ISABEL (Cont’d.)
Now tell us all about your voyage and discoveries.

COLUMBUS
After we got out of the Canary calms,
we had good east winds most of the way....

DISSOLVE TO: Columbus completing his tale.

COLUMBUS (Cont’d.)
When I returned to Palos
I received your royal summons
and traveled the eight hundred miles across Spain
to your court here in Barcelona.
In summary, I believe much gold could be found
in the unexplored interior of Española,
and the Indians are so innocent and simple
that they will openly receive the doctrine of Christ.

QUEEN ISABEL
I am most concerned about the treatment of the natives.
We shall sponsor the baptism
of these six you brought here.
In your next voyage I charge you to be severe
in punishing anyone who violates those innocents.

KING FERNANDO
Certainly a second voyage is advantageous,
and we command that all preparations
go forward quickly at our expense.
We confirm your royal offices
and allow you to make appointments
to govern the lands you have discovered,
subject, of course, to our dismissal if necessary.

QUEEN ISABEL
Let us all give thanks to God
for these marvelous discoveries.

As she kneels, everyone else does also. After a moment of silence, the choir sings the Te Deum laudamus.

INT. SHRINE OF OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE - DAY

Columbus in penitential robe prays before a statue of the Virgin Mary.

EXT. ANCHORED MARIAGALANTE DECK - NIGHT

Columbus points out the land for FATHER BUIL.

Super:

Second Voyage
November 28, 1493

COLUMBUS
Fort Nativity is over there, Father.

FATHER BUIL
Do you think they’re all right?
One of those corpses found yesterday was bearded
and must have been a white man.

COLUMBUS
And one of them had his arms tied to a cross of sticks.

FATHER BUIL
An ominous sign.

COLUMBUS
Fire a cannon without a stone.

The SHIP-MASTER puts the order into effect.

SHIP-MASTER
Aye, aye, sir.

COLUMBUS
On the islands we discovered this voyage
the Carib men had gone somewhere on a war-party.
They could have attacked here.

The cannon is fired.

COLUMBUS (Cont’d.)
I’m sure the fort will respond.

FATHER BUIL
And if they don’t?

COLUMBUS
That would be a bad sign.

They and the crew look toward land anxiously. A canoe of Haitians comes aside the Mariagalante. Diego meets them and then comes over to Columbus.

DIEGO
Admiral, they no come aboard if no see Admiral.

They go over to the canoe. Father Buil shines a lamp on the face of Columbus, and the Haitians react positively and come aboard.

INT. MARIAGALANTE CAPTAIN’S CABIN - NIGHT

Diego comes in to Columbus and Father Buil, who is dozing off.

COLUMBUS
What did you find out?

DIEGO
Talk much. They say many white men die of sickness,
fights, attack by cacique Caonabo from Cibao.
Guacanagari wounded by Caonabo; village burned.
Guacanagari wants to visit you.

EXT. NATIVITY REMAINS - MORNING

Columbus, Father Buil, Diego, and other men are walking through the burned and wrecked remains of the fort. They see broken chests and utensils, spoiled provisions, and rags of European garments. Three Haitians lurk among the distant trees; but when they are seen, they run away.

COLUMBUS
Let’s see if the village was destroyed also.

EXT. BURNED DOWN VILLAGE - MORNING

Columbus, Father Buil, Diego, and the men walk through the destroyed village. Some Haitians approach them cautiously. Diego converses with them. As he reports to Columbus, his pronunciation of the names is not perfect, but close enough for identification.

DIEGO
They say, “Gutierrez and Escobedo go from fort
and nine men and women with them.
They go to Cibao, look for gold. Caonabo kill them.
Men go from fort for women—one man, five women.
Caonabo fight fort, kill Arana and white men,
wound Guacanagari and men, burn village.

EXT. VILLAGE OF GUACANAGARI - DAY

Columbus, Father Buil, Diego, DOCTOR CHANCA, and numerous CAVALIERS and ARMORED SOLDIERS visit Guacanagari who is found laying in a hamac. He greets Columbus with great emotion and tears. He shows his bound leg and the wounds of other Haitians. Guacanagari gives Columbus precious necklaces, a gold coronet, and three calabashes of gold dust. Columbus gives him glass beads, hawks’ bells, knives, pins, needles, small mirrors, and copper ornaments, which are especially valued.

COLUMBUS
I have a physician who can examine your leg.

Doctor Chanca removes the binding. No wound is apparent, but Guacanagari winces with pain at the touch of it.

FATHER BUIL
There is no wound. He is pretending.

DOCTOR CHANCA
The skin may have healed already.

FATHER BUIL
I think you ought to make an example of him.
All the Christians were murdered.

COLUMBUS
I trust this man.
His village was burned,
and the others’ wounds
were clearly made by Indian arrows.
Guacanagari is our best friend here.
If we turn against him,
every Indian on this island could become hostile to us.
Diego, invite him to come aboard ship with us.

EXT. MARIAGALANTE DECK - EVENING

Columbus and Diego are showing Guacanagari cattle, sheep, pigs, and horses, which he finds especially amazing. Then they show him some CARIB PRISONERS in chains; he is very frightened by them.

DIEGO
He no like Caribs.

They visit NINE NATIVE WOMEN and CATALINA, who is beautiful and dignified.

COLUMBUS
These women had been captured by the Caribs
and begged us to take them with us.

Guacanagari is very friendly with them and especially converses with Catalina.

DIEGO
He say, “Catalina is princess.”

INT. MARIAGALANTE CAPTAIN’S CABIN - NIGHT

Columbus, Father Buil, Diego, and Guacanagari converse.

DIEGO
Guacanagari say, “He no like you have village here;
bad place—sick.

Columbus puts an image of the Virgin around Guacanagari’s neck.

COLUMBUS
This is “turey,” Christian.

DIEGO
He no want Christian turey.

COLUMBUS
But this is a gift from me. Goodbye.

Guacanagari reluctantly accepts it and goes out with Diego.

FATHER BUIL
Did you notice how he rejected that
when he found out it was a Christian symbol?

COLUMBUS
I think the men we left set a very bad example.

FATHER BUIL
We should make him a prisoner while he is aboard.

COLUMBUS
I disagree. In fact I think he senses your ill will.

EXT. MARIAGALANTE DECK - NIGHT

The crew is asleep as the ten women sneak out of their quarters, climb down the side, and swim for shore. A SAILOR sees them.

SAILOR
The women are escaping. Man the boat!

Six sailors scramble into the boat and row after them. The women swim toward a fire light on the shore. The boat gets ashore in time to capture four women on the beach, but Catalina and the other five escape into the forest.

EXT. NORTHERN SHORE OF ESPAÑOLA - DAY

Columbus and his officers and counselors are checking out the land for a settlement, while Diego confers with some local Haitians.

DOCTOR CHANCA
There is a river over here for water.

COLUMBUS
The harbor is spacious.

Diego comes over to Columbus and points south.

DIEGO
They say, “Cibao mountains and gold over there.

COLUMBUS
Then this will be our first town in the Indies.
I name it Isabela in honor of our Queen of Castile.
Alonso Ojeda!

ALONSO OJEDA comes over.

OJEDA
Yes, sir.

COLUMBUS
I want you to prepare and lead an expedition
to the Cibao mountains in search of the gold mines.

OJEDA
With pleasure, sir!

INT. PARTIALLY BUILT GOVERNOR’S HOUSE IN ISABELA - DAY

Columbus in bed gives instructions to ANTONIO DE TORRES, while Doctor Chanca listens.

COLUMBUS
You shall be in command
of seven ships returning to Spain.
Take these letters personally to Queen Isabel.

DE TORRES
Yes, sir.

COLUMBUS
Emphasize that Ojeda’s expedition to the interior
indicates that the gold you take back
is only a sample of what we’ll soon have.
We need mining engineers.
Our supplies already are short.
The men require the food they’re used to;
the fruit here is not adequate for them.
We urgently need more medicines.
I am not the only one who is sick.

DOCTOR CHANCA
I have treated about four hundred men
for various diseases.

COLUMBUS
And we need more horses;
the Indians are in awe of them,
and the cavaliers will only work on horseback.
I hope our majesties will put the cavaliers on the payroll
so that I can have some control over them.
The Carib captives can be sold as slaves in Spain
where they can be taught Christianity.
This will save their souls and help pay our expenses.
Do you have any questions?

DE TORRES
Yes. I’m to head northeast until I catch the westerlies?

COLUMBUS
That’s correct; if you don’t go north,
you’ll have nothing but easterlies. Godspeed.

DE TORRES
Thank you, sir.

EXT. ISABELA TOWN SQUARE - DAY

Soldiers have BERNAL DIAZ under arrest before Columbus and his brother DIEGO COLUMBUS.

COLUMBUS
This paper in your handwriting
was found hidden in a buoy.
It states your plans to take over here
and to sail for Spain in the remaining five ships.
Do you deny it?

BERNAL DIAZ
No. This is a fool’s errand for your glory and profit.
Fermin Cedo says there is no gold here worth taking.

COLUMBUS
This is treason.
You are to be kept under arrest aboard ship
until you are returned to Spain for trial.
Others implicated in this mutiny
shall have only half rations for one month.
Take him away.

The soldiers escort Diaz toward the sea.

COLUMBUS (Cont’d.)
My brother Don Diego, I’m placing you in command
while I lead an expedition to the Cibao mountains.
The Spaniards will probably hate you
for being Genoese too,
but I know you’ll be loyal to me.

DIEGO COLUMBUS
I’ll do my best, sir.

COLUMBUS
I know you will.

EXT. ROYAL PLAIN TRAIL AND VILLAGE - DAY -

Columbus on horseback leads an impressive column of officers and cavaliers on the trail through a tropical forest and into a native village. As they enter the village, their drums and trumpets sound. Haitians bring them food and water, placing it on the ground. The Haitians keep away from the feared horses and place reeds across the doorways of their huts.

COLUMBUS
Respect the reed barriers to their homes.
We must not abuse their kindness.

EXT. FLAT HIGH PLAIN - DAY

Columbus and his men have dismounted. The Haitians bring gold nuggets and gold dust in calabashes to the Spaniards.

COLUMBUS
Here we will build Fort Saint Thomas
in honor of Fermin Cedo
and those who would not believe
there was gold here until they touched it.
All transactions for gold must be supervised
by the controller or his agents.
Any individual trading will be punished by whipping,
or the slitting of ears or the nose,
as some of you have already found out.
I place Pedro Margarit in command
of the building and defense of the fort.

EXT. ISABELA TOWN SQUARE - DAY

Columbus is arguing with a CACIQUE about ANOTHER CACIQUE, HIS BROTHER, and NEPHEW who are tied to poles. Many Spaniards are watching, as it is to be a public execution.

COLUMBUS
Ojeda caught them stealing shirts.

DIEGO
He say, “They help white men cross river. No kill.”

COLUMBUS
They are to have their heads cut off
as a punishment to show others.

Columbus brandishes his sword. The cacique gets down on his knees, crying to save his friends.

DIEGO
He say, “Please, no kill, no fight! Friends.”

COLUMBUS
Very well.
There’s no need to cause a war over shirts.
Give him back the gold necklace
so that they will know that gold cannot stop justice.

The natives hug the knees of Columbus in gratitude. The spectators begin to leave.

INT. PARTIALLY BUILT GOVERNOR’S HOUSE IN ISABELA - DAY

Columbus is conferring with his brother Diego.

DIEGO COLUMBUS
Is it wise to let Ojeda and Margarit
roam the countryside?

COLUMBUS
I think there’d be a mutiny here
if those cavaliers didn’t have something to do.
Load the munitions and reserve arms onto the flagship
so that mutineers cannot get them.
I’m taking three small ships on a voyage to Cuba
to look for Cathay and the Grand Khan.
You’ll be in command here again.

DIEGO COLUMBUS
Yes, sir.

EXT. NINA SAILING NEAR A COAST - DAY

Columbus looks at a coastline.

EXT. ISLAND BEACH - DAY

Columbus, Diego, and some Spaniards walk toward the NATIVES who run away, except for one. Diego shouts to him, and he waves to the others. The natives share their food with the Spaniards.

EXT. NINA DECK - MORNING

A JAMAICAN CACIQUE and his WIFE, TWO DAUGHTERS, and TWO SONS are boarding the Niña while his HERALD stands by in the canoe. The herald has various feather decorations and a white banner. The cacique and his wife wear marble beads, red and green stones, and gold and gold-alloy ornaments. His wife and beautiful eighteen-year-old daughter wear tiny aprons over their genitals. As they come aboard, they begin to talk with Diego. Columbus comes out of his cabin to see them. He looks tired and haggard.

DIEGO
Admiral, they want to go with us to Castile
and see the great king and queen.

COLUMBUS
What a sight they would be in the royal court!
I’m afraid they wouldn’t survive
the journey and the cold.
I’m sorry.
We have had to use cross-bows to make
some of the Indians submit to us.
I would like to conquer the Carib cannibals on San Juan,
but I am so tired. I’ll try to sleep a little.

INT. COMPLETED GOVERNOR’S HOUSE IN ISABELA - DAY

Columbus is waking up in bed, surrounded by Bartolomé, Diego Columbus, Doctor Chanca, and Ojeda.

COLUMBUS
My dear brothers, where am I?

DIEGO COLUMBUS
In Isabel.

DOCTOR CHANCA
You collapsed,
and we decided to bring the ships back here.
I warned you
that you were on the verge of a breakdown.

COLUMBUS
Bartolomé, it’s good to see you!
Where have you been and how did you get here?

BARTOLOMÉ
I was on my way from England to France
when I heard of your triumphant return to Spain.
The French king paid my way to Seville;
but when I arrived, you had already departed.
I took your sons, Diego and Fernando,
to serve as pages at the Spanish court.
Then I was given command
of three ships bringing supplies.

COLUMBUS
Under my viceroyalty, you shall be the Governor here
and are to be referred to as such.
Now Diego, tell me what has been happening.

As these events are described, some of them may be shown in flashback with voice over.

DIEGO COLUMBUS
Your orders for Margarit’s military tour were not obeyed.
Instead of going to the Cibao mountains,
he and his men lingered in the plain
taking advantage of the Indians’ hospitality.
Their treatment of the women was abominable,
and their lust was only surpassed by their greed for gold.
As they exhausted native food supplies,
they turned to pillage and rape.
I wrote Margarit, reprehending his conduct
and commanding him to proceed to the Cibao mountains.
His letters back were insolent, condescending, and defiant;
his men continued to oppress the Indians on the plain.
Then when he came back to Isabel,
he paid no attention to me or the council.
Father Buil, who really hates you, joined his cabal.
They took possession of the ships Bartolomé brought
and sailed back to Spain soon after that.
Margarit wanted medicine for that new carnal disease.

COLUMBUS
I can imagine what they’ll tell the court.

OJEDA
Not only would the Indians no longer supply us with food,
but they began to attack individuals and small groups.
The cacique Guatiguana put to death ten Spaniards
who had been living in his village
and burned a house
where forty-six Spaniards were lodged.
Then he besieged the fortress Magdalena.
However, the greatest cacique is Caonabo,
the one who attacked Fort Nativity.
He knows he cannot fight our army,
but he besieged us with ten thousand men
at Fort St. Thomas.
With the help of the Virgin Mary
I launched several attacks against his men,
and after a month they gave up the siege.
Believe me, we were close to starvation.

COLUMBUS
I understand.

Diego comes in with Guacanagari.

DIEGO
Admiral, Guacanagari is here to see you.

COLUMBUS
I’m glad to see you, my friend.

DIEGO
Guacanagari say, “Caonabo and great caciques plan
attack to Isabel, ask Guacanagari attack.”
Guacanagari say,
“He no attack Admiral, fight for Admiral.”
Caonabo kill one wife,
capture one wife of Guacanagari.

Columbus holds out his hands and clasps the hands of Guacanagari.

COLUMBUS
My faithful friend! Thank you!

Guacanagari and Diego go out.

BARTOLOMÉ
What do you propose we do?

COLUMBUS
First we must send a force to relieve Fort Magdalena
and attack Guatiguana, if the siege is still on.

OJEDA
It is, sir.

COLUMBUS
Who is the great cacique over that territory?

OJEDA
It is in the plain ruled by Guarionex.

COLUMBUS
Is he friendly?

OJEDA
We think so.

COLUMBUS
Then send for him so that we can explain
that our attack against Guatiguana
is only a punishment for his murdering Spaniards.

OJEDA
Yes, sir.

EXT. GOVERNOR’S HOUSE IN ISABELA - DAY

Diego leads GUARIONEX and HIS DAUGHTER into the house.

INT. GOVERNOR’S HOUSE IN ISABELA - DAY

Columbus is up and wearing a robe but is not fully recovered. His brothers Diego and Bartolomé are with him along with Ojeda. The interpreter Diego leads in Guarionex and his daughter.

DIEGO
Admiral, this is cacique Guarionex and his daughter.

COLUMBUS
Welcome. We want peace with your people.
Diego, did you explain about our attack on Guatiguana?

DIEGO
Yes, Guatiguana escape, but many warriors killed.
Guarionex no want death.

COLUMBUS
Tell him we want to build a fort in his territory.

DIEGO
He say, “Keep men in fort—they bad for women.”

COLUMBUS
Yes, we will try.

Diego whispers something to Columbus.

BARTOLOMÉ
What is that?

COLUMBUS
Diego wants to marry his daughter.

BARTOLOMÉ
It could strengthen our alliance.

COLUMBUS
All right, Diego. Ask the cacique.

Guarionex looks at his daughter who is embarrassed; she nods.

DIEGO
They accept.

COLUMBUS
Good.

The three natives go out.

COLUMBUS
Now what do we do about Caonabo?

OJEDA
Admiral, I have a strategy for bringing him here,
if I can have ten good men and an interpreter.

EXT. VILLAGE OF CAONABO - DAY

Ojeda, Diego, and ten soldiers are meeting with CAONABO and his CHIEFTAINS.

DIEGO
Caonabo say, “He see your courage and strength.
He listen to you.”

OJEDA
Tell Caonabo that if we become friends,
the Admiral has a wonderful gift for him.

DIEGO
“What gift?”

OJEDA
The large bell in the chapel at Isabel.

DIEGO
He say, “From turey. Bell command; white men come.
He want bell.”

OJEDA
Come with me to Isabela, and he can have it.

DIEGO
He come.

EXT. VILLAGE OF CAONABO - MORNING

Ojeda, Diego, and the soldiers are waiting on horseback as Caonabo leads a large force of warriors.

OJEDA
Ask him why he needs so many warriors
on a friendly visit.

DIEGO
He say, “Great chief not travel alone.”

OJEDA
Then let us begin our march.

EXT. TRAIL NEAR A STREAM - DAY

The soldiers and warriors are resting. Many of the warriors bathe in the stream. As Caonabo comes out of the stream, Ojeda greets him holding some shining steel manacles.

OJEDA
Now let Caonabo be decorated
with these precious ornaments.

Caonabo is pleased with the ceremony as Ojeda and Diego place the shackles on him.

OJEDA (Cont’d.)
I’ll let Caonabo ride with me.
Tie a rope around us to make sure he doesn’t fall off.

A soldier ties a rope around their waists, as the soldiers mount their horses. Then Ojeda makes ever widening circles with his soldiers following him. The warriors shrink back from the fearsome horses. The last circle takes them into the forest where they ride off on the trail.

INT. COURT OF CASTILLE - DAY

MARGARIT and Father Buil are standing before the throne of Queen Isabel and King Fernando.

MARGARIT
Admiral Columbus has abandoned Española
to explore unknown seas
and discover unprofitable lands,
leaving the island colony in confusion.
For all we know, he may have died.
We believe there is little gold in Española;
it is more of an expense than a profit.

FATHER BUIL
The rule of Columbus and his brothers
has been oppressive.
Spaniards have been saddled with excessive labor
even when weakened by sickness.
Rations have been cut for the slightest cause,
and severe punishment has been inflicted
on the common men,
while indignities have been heaped on the cavaliers.

KING FERNANDO
We have heard many similar complaints.
We appoint Commander Diego Carillo
to sail with the supplies
and see that they are distributed
under the supervision of the Admiral or his governor.
He is to investigate these grievances and report to us.
We also grant private voyages of discovery
and trade with the New World by native-born Spaniards,
subject to conditions which we shall specify.

INT. GOVERNOR’S HOUSE IN ISABELA - DAY

Caonabo can be seen in an adjacent room in chains. De Torres is reporting to Columbus, Bartolomé, and Diego Columbus.

DE TORRES
Our sovereigns commend your governing here.

COLUMBUS
You must have left Spain before
Margarit and Father Buil returned there.

DE TORRES
I know nothing of their being in Spain.
Queen Isabel requests that
you or your brother Bartolomé
return for the negotiations with Portugal
on a north-south line,
west of which shall belong to Spain.

COLUMBUS
My malady prevents my sailing,
and Bartolomé is needed here as Governor;
but we will send our other brother Diego
as our representative to the court.

DIEGO COLUMBUS
Yes, I can go.

COLUMBUS
I want the ships to return immediately
and take five hundred
of the best men and women captives
to be sold as slaves to help with expenses.
Governor, tell the men they can pick those they want
from the remaining captives, and then release the rest.

BARTOLOMÉ
Yes, sir.

COLUMBUS
Captain De Torres, I will prepare letters
for you to take to Spain. That’s all.

DE TORRES
Yes, sir.

De Torres goes out.

COLUMBUS
Caonabo’s brother, Manicaotex,
has taken over the leadership of the rebellion,
and his beautiful wife, Anacaona,
has brought in her brother, Behecio,
who rules the western part of the island.
Guacanagari will fight with us,
but his people are not strong warriors.
I’ve tried to break up their confederacy, but to no avail.
Now we must attack.
Governor, prepare our military forces.

BARTOLOMÉ
Yes, sir.

EXT. A PLAIN WITH SOME FOREST - DAY

Columbus, Bartolomé, and Ojeda consult on horseback as two hundred soldiers and twenty cavalry face hundreds of Indians led by MANICAOTEX, BEHECIO, and Guarionex. Guacanagari and his men are on the side of the Spaniards. The Spaniards also have bloodhounds.

BARTOLOMÉ
I suggest Ojeda’s cavalry charge their main body,
while half our troops attack to the right
and half to the left at the same time.
Let Guacanagari see what he can do on the left flank.

OJEDA
I like it.

COLUMBUS
It’s a good plan. Give the orders, Governor.

Bartolomé rides off to give the orders, while Ojeda joins the cavalry. Then at Bartolomé’s signal they attack, letting loose the bloodhounds. The Indians are especially terrified by the dogs and horses and begin to flee with yells and howling. Many are killed; some submit and are taken prisoners; a few climb up on rocks and precipices, making supplications. Guacanagari and his men just watch in awe and disgust.

INT. GOVERNOR’S HOUSE IN ISABELA - DAY

Guarionex and Manicaotex are suing for peace before Columbus, Bartolomé, and Diego.

DIEGO
Guarionex and Manicaotex say, “No more fight.”

COLUMBUS
Good. What about Behecio?

DIEGO
He go back to Xaragua with Anacaona.

COLUMBUS
This is what we require:
Every three months each man and woman
must give us one hawks’ bell full of gold dust,
and each cacique one half calabash of gold.
Then in exchange we give to each Indian
a copper metal to wear around the neck.
Indians without it will be
subject to arrest and punishment.

DIEGO
Guarionex say, “We have no gold.
We grow food for you.”

COLUMBUS
No. We need something we can sell.
In those territories where gold is not found,
a skein of cotton will suffice.

INT. COURT OF CASTILLE - DAY

Captain De Torres stands before Queen Isabel and King Fernando.

DE TORRES
The Admiral has returned to Española
and is in control of the government there now.
While he was gone searching for Cathay,
the conduct of the soldiers brought about a rebellion
by the Indians which he is seeking to resolve.
He has discovered the continent of Asia
and has sent specimens of gold, animals, and plants,
along with over two hundred Indians
who survived the voyage
who can be sold in the slave markets of Andalusia.

QUEEN ISABEL
That is a point that concerns me greatly.
I do not want those simple and innocent people made slaves.
We appoint a commission of learned and pious theologians
to determine whether such enslavement and sale
can be justified in the eyes of God.
If not, they are to be returned to their native country.
Since Commander Carillo is detained,
we name Juan Aguado to investigate
the government and conditions in Española.
We further order Bishop Fonseca to release
the gold belonging to Diego Columbus.
Is that understood?

FONSECA steps forward, somewhat humiliated.

FONSECA
Yes, your majesty.

INT. GOVERNOR’S HOUSE IN ISABELA - DAY

Columbus and Bartolomé confer.

COLUMBUS
All the Indians, even Guacanagari,
have destroyed their crops and fled to the mountains.

BARTOLOMÉ
Can they survive there?

COLUMBUS
On roots, I guess; they certainly survive
much better on the indigenous food here than we do.

BARTOLOMÉ
They’re trying to starve us out, so we’ll leave.

COLUMBUS
Apparently.

BARTOLOMÉ
What can we do?

COLUMBUS
Try to get the men to cultivate the soil, for one.
I’m going to take a small party of men
into the interior of the island
to try to rekindle friendly relations.
You’ll be in command here.

EXT. ISABELA TOWN SQUARE - DAY

JUAN AGUADO and the crew of a landing boat walk toward the town square where they are greeted by Bartolomé and many of the residents.

BARTOLOMÉ
Welcome to Isabela!
I am Bartolomé Columbus, Governor here.

AGUADO
My name is Juan Aguado.
I’ve been sent here by the King and Queen to investigate.
Where is the Admiral?

BARTOLOMÉ
He is in the interior.

AGUADO
Send for him.

BARTOLOMÉ
We don’t know where he is right now.
May I see your papers?

AGUADO
I will show them to no one but the Admiral.

BARTOLOMÉ
Then you have no authority here until you do.

AGUADO
In that case, I will have them proclaimed aloud
here in the public square. Sound the trumpet.

A TRUMPETER plays a brief call. Aguado hands his papers to an ASSISTANT for proclamation.

ASSISTANT
“Cavaliers, esquires, and other persons,
who by our orders are in the Indies,
we send to you Juan Aguado, our groom of the chambers,
who will speak to you on our part.
We command you to give him faith and credit.”

AGUADO
Men of Isabel, many complaints have been heard
by our sovereigns in the court of Castile.

Grumbles and voices out of the crowd of residents are heard.

CROWD
It’s about time!
I’ll say!

AGUADO
I’m here to listen to you, so we can put things in order.

CROWD
We can tell you!
We’re tired of Genoese rulers!
How do we get out of this hell hole?!

INT. GOVERNOR’S HOUSE IN ISABELA - DAY

Columbus greets the entering Aguado, who is heated up, prepared for an argument.

COLUMBUS
I understand you’ve been out looking for me.

AGUADO
Since you refused to come to me in Isabel,
I thought I’d go find you.

COLUMBUS
As you see, I haven’t refused.
I was in the mountains trying to persuade the Indians
not to starve themselves and us but return to village life,
which for the most part I have managed to do.
But I heard rumors from them there was a new admiral,
and I was going to be put to death. Is that true?

AGUADO
(Nonplused)
No, of course not.

COLUMBUS
What can I do for you?

Aguado hands him his papers.

AGUADO
I was sent to investigate your government.

COLUMBUS
I see.
As always I will fully obey the wishes of our sovereigns.
Please let me know how I can cooperate with you.

EXT. ISABELA TOWN AND HARBOR - HURRICANE DAY

Hurricane winds are destroying the ships in the harbor and flattening most of the huts and simple cottages.

INT. GOVERNOR’S HOUSE IN ISABELA - DAY

Columbus and Bartolomé confer.

BARTOLOMÉ
Three ships sank with all on board.
The rest of the ships were wrecked beyond repair,
except the Niña; we think it can be salvaged.

COLUMBUS
We’ll start the work right away.
Do you think we could build another ship
with the materials of the other wrecked ships?

BARTOLOMÉ
We can try.

COLUMBUS
The Indians have never seen such a storm.
They say it’s punishment for the crimes of the white men.
Some believe that we move the very air, water, and earth
to disturb their peaceful life.
Sometimes I feel so sad our discoveries have come to this.

BARTOLOMÉ
It’s not your fault the Spaniards rape and murder.

COLUMBUS
I try to control it, and I’m accused of harshness.
How amazing that the Niña alone survived!

A knock is heard.

COLUMBUS
Come in.

MIGUEL DIAZ enters with some nervousness.

BARTOLOMÉ
What do you want? Are you Miguel Diaz?

MIGUEL DIAZ
Yes, sir. I ask for your mercy.

BARTOLOMÉ
The man you fought has recovered.

MIGUEL DIAZ
(Sighing)
Oh, I’m so glad to hear that.

BARTOLOMÉ
Where have you been?

MIGUEL DIAZ
That’s what I’ve come to tell you, sir.
After the quarrel and the serious wound I inflicted,
I feared your severe punishment.
Five men joined me in the wild.
We went to the southern part of the island
where I met the beautiful Catalina, cacique of her village.
She liked me also, and we’ve been living together.
We want to make it a Christian marriage.
Of course I missed our Spanish settlement,
and she was afraid I would leave her.
So she showed me
where the richest gold mines are located,
which is near the fertile banks of the Ozema River
and also by a good harbor.
She hoped by enticing the Spaniards to settle near her
that I would stay with her.
In this way I hope I can earn your forgiveness.

COLUMBUS
Can you show us where these gold mines are?

MIGUEL DIAZ
Yes, sir.

COLUMBUS
If your story is true, you have your pardon.
Governor, take a party of men to explore those mines
and look for a good place for a new settlement.
Isabel has too many disadvantages.
I’m going to return to Spain with Aguado
as soon as the Niña is repaired and a new ship built.
I think the Queen needs a report directly from me.
You make the decisions concerning the new settlement.

EXT. NINA DECK AT SEA - LATE AFTERNOON

A large, strong native woman called THE AMAZON is weeping next to the dead body of Caonabo. Shipmaster ALONSO MEDEL reports to Columbus.

ALONSO MEDEL
Caonabo has died, sir.

COLUMBUS
He was the greatest cacique on Española.
What about the woman
who insisted on staying with him?

ALONSO MEDEL
The Amazon? She is grieving.
Sir, the men are starving.
A little cassava bread and water each day is not enough.
Some men are talking about
killing and eating the Indians,
especially the Amazon, who is a cannibal anyway.

COLUMBUS
That’s no reason.

ALONSO MEDEL
Others want to throw all the Indians overboard,
so food won’t be wasted on them.

COLUMBUS
I strictly forbid it; they are people just like us,
and soon they will become Christians, too.
We’re very near land. Take in the sails tonight.

ALONSO MEDEL
But sir, the pilot says we’re many leagues from land.
The men would rather be cast ashore than starve at sea.

COLUMBUS
I tell you tomorrow we will see Cape St. Vincent.
You have your orders.

ALONSO MEDEL
Yes, sir.

INT. NINA CAPTAIN’S CABIN - DAY

Alonso Medel bursts in on Columbus.

Super:

June 8, 1496

ALONSO MEDEL
Sir, it’s the coast of Portugal! I recognize it.

COLUMBUS
Thanks be to God!

ALONSO MEDEL
You were right, sir!
The men are amazed at your skill in navigating.

INT. SPANISH COURT AT BURGOS - DAY

Columbus in the robe of a Franciscan monk stands before the thrones of King Fernando and Queen Isabel and the court.

KING FERNANDO
We are glad that you are well.
As to your proposed third voyage,
we must take it under consideration.
At present we are occupied
arranging nuptials for our children with European royalty,
negotiating the rule of Naples,
and fighting the French on the northern frontier.

QUEEN ISABEL
Once more, welcome! And rest assured we’ll do what we can
to further the enterprises you have begun in the New World.

Copyright © 1996, 2008 by Sanderson Beck

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COLUMBUS and His Four Voyages - Part 2

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