William Ayers (or Harris)
New World Celt-Irish
In 1492, an Irishman undoubtedly familiar with English seagoing activities sailed with Columbus on the Santa Maria.
Columbus’s crew sighted land on October 12, 1492 in the Bahamas; the exact island is the subject of much debate. He arrived in Cuba on October 28. While sailing on the northern coast of Cuba, the captain of the Pinta, Martin Alonso Pinzón, took off on his own, searching for an island called "Babeque". The natives of the area had told him that it was a land of many riches and plenty of gold. Columbus continued with his other two ships, and sailed southeast and discovered Española on December 5th.
Columbus reached Acul Bay (Cap Haitien, the capital of Haiti) on December 22. He was greeted by 1,000 people with a
gift of gold from their chief and an invitation to his village on Caracol Bay. The Tainos were friendly. In fact, the word taino meant "good" or "noble" in their language. The Tainos had no weapons, except for small spears. They were generous, too. They traded and gave what they had with good will. Columbus even describes the gentleness of these people in his journal. But Columbus was mostly interested in their gold. He had noticed that many Indians wore gold jewelry. He tried hard to discover the source of the gold.
But on Christmas Eve, the Santa Maria ran aground on a reef. Today, all that is left of the ship is an anchor on display in
the National Museum of Haiti in Port-au-Prince. Columbus took the accident as an omen from God to make a settlement and to build a fort with the remains of the Santa Maria in the chief's village, naming it La Villa de Navidad.
Since all of his men could not fit on the Niña, he left a group of 39 at La Navidad, on January 2nd, of 1493, and continued his explorations along the coast of Española, headed towards Spain. Farther down the coast he ran into the Pinta. He hoped to return to Spain hoping to mount another expedition to rescue the men that he was leaving behind in La Navidad. The Pinta and Nina returned home in January, leaving those thirty-nine crewmembers in the New World.
Within a short time of his departure, these settlers began fighting among themselves, with some of them getting killed. They also offended the natives by forcibly taking 3 or 4 of their wives or sisters each, and forcing them to work as their servants. After several months of these abuses, a tribal chief named Caonabo attacked the settlement and killed the remaining Spaniards.
Columbus and his younger brother Diego set out from Spain again in 1493. After a smooth voyage, they landed on a wooded, mountainous island that Columbus named Dominica.
From the Virgin Islands, the explorer moved north to Borinquen (Puerto Rico), where he anchored at Anasco Bay (south of Rincon). Next Columbus headed for his colony at La Navidad, but when Columbus and the fleet arrived at Caracol Bay, La Navidad the next spring with a large expedition, he and the Spaniards were shocked to find that the settlement they had left behind was empty and had been burned to the ground. There were no survivors. Like the first landfall and so many other questions regarding Columbus, the location of La Navidad is still a mystery. However, it is probably located in a field near the small village of En Bas Saline east of Cap Haitien.
An archeological team has been excavating the site and believes it has indeed uncovered La Navidad. For Columbus, the tragedy of La Navidad marked the beginning of a long series of misfortunes from which he never recovered.
List of Officers and Sailors in the First Voyage of Columbus in 1492: the list of the crew of the three ships, list only 87 names; but, some historians believe that there may have been up to 120 men. Most of the crew were experienced Spanish sailors from the vicinity of Palos.
Those who were left in Hispaniola, and perished, most of them murdered by the natives: Among them was Guillermo Ires, [qy. William Ayers, or William Harris?], of Galney [i.e. Galway], Ireland. (From The Discovery Of America by John Fiske published in 1892. This list is taken from Captain Caesreo Fernaudez Duro's learned monograph)