Fantastic early map of the Caroline Islands, Mariana Islands, Guam, Yap, Palau, and neighboring islands, based upon the work of the Jesuit Missionary Antonio Cantova.
In the Lettres Edifiantes et Curieuses is a letter and chart from Padre. Juan Antonio Cantova, a missionary at Guahan, addressed to the King of Spain's confessor in 1722, which gives the most up to date account of the region which had been published to date. The letter is reportedly based upon Cantova's interview with 2 groups of natives who arrved by boat in Guaham (Guam) after having been blown off course by a storm. Cantova succeeded in learning their language, and obtained and account of their islands, which then consisted of 5 provinces, as detailed on the map. The following is the Encyclopedia Britannica translation of the account published in 1824.
The Carolinas are divided into five provinces. Beginning at the east, the first is named Cittac; the principal island, Hogolen, much larger than Guahan; its inhabitants negroes, mulattoes, and whites. There are eighteen principal islands in this province, besides a multitude of smaller ones. The second province consists of twenty-six islands, of which Uicc and Lamurree are the principal ones. The third province consists of a group of islands, of which Fuis is the principal, and is very populous and fertile; but the chief of the group resides at Mogmog, and all the proas which approach this island lower their sails in token of respect to this chief. Of the fourth province, Yap is the principal island, about 120 miles in circuit, very populous, and fruitful. The fifth province is the most westerly, and is named Panleu (the Palaos, or Pellew Islands), of which there are seven principal islands. It is remarkable that the inhabitants of these islands so far differ from the Carolinians in general, and from the account given of them in the romance of Mr Keates, drawn up by that ingenious gentleman from the documents furnished by Captain Wilson, that they are represented as a most barbarous race; both men and women going entirely naked, and feeding on human flesh. We are told by the naturalist of Kotzebue's expedition, that a Spaniard, who had lived nine months on the Pellew Islands, and whom they met with at Cavité, gave him a horrible account of the natives: that they were wholly without shame; that husbands lend their wives for a mere trifle; that the women are without modesty; and that they certainly eat human flesh; a great part of which was confirmed by a native of the Carolinas, who had been at the Pellew Islands.
Cantova farther learned from the islanders, that to Polynesia, the eastward were a great number of other islands, the inhabitants of which pay adoration to the shark; that most of them are negroes, and of savage dispositions. It is supposed that Cantova returned with these islanders in the year 1722, though no account of any such voyage is on record; but, in 1731, he embarked for the islands of the third province, in company with another father, of the name of Walter, from which the former never returned. The latter, however, returned to procure certain articles of which they stood in need, was driven to the Philippines, re-embarked in 1732, and was wrecked. Walter again embarked in May 1733, with forty-four persons. On the ninth day, they approached the island, and fired cannon to inform Cantova of their arrival, but no boat appeared. Standing within a musket-shot of the shore, they observed that their former habitation had disappeared, as well as the cross which had been erected near the sea shore. Four small canoes at length approached the vessel, bringing cocoa-nuts. On inquiring after Cantova and his companions, the islanders were evidently embarrassed, and said they were gone to Yap. Being fearful, by their manner, that the good father had fallen by the hands of the barbarians, and willing to be satisfied on this head, they seized one of the islanders, upon which the rest swam ashore. After the strongest assurances that no harm should be done to him, provided he would tell the truth, he confessed that shortly after the departure of Walter, the natives put the Father Cantova to death and all his companions, fourteen in number. Cantova, it seemed, from this man's account, went, with his interpreter and two soldiers, to the Island Mogmog, to baptize, while the rest remained at Falalep. He had scarcely set his foot on shore when he was surrounded and pierced through and through with lances, the natives crying out that he was come to take away the old law, and give them a new one. They gave his body a decent burial, but the bodies of his companions were put into a canoe, which was then turned adrift upon the ocean. The same people then went over to the island of Falalep, and put to death the remainder of the companions of Cantova.
Since that time, little or no information has been procured respecting the Carolinas, with the exception of that which is contained in the narrative of Mr Keates, from the materials of Captain Wilson, who, when commander of the Antelope packet, in the service of the East India Company, was wrecked on Oroolong, one of the Pellew Islands. Whatever their general character may be, the crew of the Antelope found them a friendly, hospitable, and humane people. They were stout, well-made, rather above the middle size, and their colour approaching to a deep brown; their hair long, some wearing it loose, and others turned up. The men were entirely naked; the women contented themselves with two little aprons or fringes, made of the fibres of the cocoa-nut husk, about ten inches deep and seven wide, one of which was worn before, and the other behind. Both sexes were tattoed ; the men had one ear perforated, the women both, and they wore beads, tor-. toise-shell, or leaves, as suited their fancy ; the car tilage of the nose was also bored, and a little sprig or blossom of some plant was generally stuck in the hole; their teeth were dyed black by a paste prepared of certain herbs, which, it is pretended, caused severe sickness for five days, the time required to complete the operation.
Fish and cocoa-nuts are the chief articles of food, but the islands afford an abundant supply of yams, plantains, oranges, lemons, bread-fruit, carambola, and the areca nut; the sugar-cane grew wild. Ño quadruped, except rats, was found on the islands; of birds, the pigeon was the most abundant, and the domestic fowl ran wild in the woods. The natives were wholly unacquainted with the use of salt. Their usual beverage was the milk of the cocoa-nut. Their houses were of bamboo and plank, raised upon stones from the ground. The husk of the cocoa-nut supplied them with nets and cordage, and the tortoiseshell with hooks to catch fish. Their knives were made of mother-of-pearl, shells, or split bamboo; the cocoa-nut served them for cups, the plantainleaf for plates, and the fibres of this plant for mats to sleep on. Their weapons were spears of wood, darts, and slings. Their boats were canoes, made of the trunks of large trees, and some of them sufficiently capacious to hold from twenty to thirty persons. In the day time they seemed to live as much in the water as on shore, and both sexes were admirable swimmers. The women mixed freely with the other sex, and their conduct was not strictly inquired into by their husbands. They seemed to have little sense of any religious duties, except in the ceremonies attending the burial of the dead, which takes place in spots set aside for that purpose, and with great solemnity; but they have some faint notion that the soul survives the body. Their graves very much resembled those in a country church-yard of England, some having earth heaped up in the same manner, and others covered with flat tombstones, and protected by fences of wicker work.
The larger of the Pellew Islands are of a moderate height, rising into beautiful hills, well clothed with forest trees. The natural history still remains unknown, but being about the same parallel, and of the same formation with the numerous group visited by Kotzebue, the plants and animals are in all probability much the same. The smaller islands are the productions of the coral-making animals, with which the larger are also surrounded to a great distance from their shores.