o the western world. This will serve to introduce future occurrences, and contribute towards the easier illustration of them. Beyond doubt, a notion was early entertained of territories lying to the westward of Europe and Africa. Some of the Greek historians make mention of an Atlantic island, large in extent, fertile in its soil, and full of rivers. These historians assert, that the Tyrians and Carthaginians discovered it, and sent a colony thither, but afterwards, from maxims of policy, compelled their people to abandon the settlement. Whether this was the largest of the Canary islands, as we may probably suppose, or not, is a matter of little importance with respect to our present purpose: it is enough that such a notion prevailed, and gained so much credit as to be made the grounds of future inquiry and adventure.
With the use of the compass, about the close of the fifteenth century, the great era of naval adventures commenced. Indeed the Tyrian fleet in the service of Solomon had made what was then es