Book X, Chapter V
Of the cotton plants of this Island of Hispaniola.
Translated by Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert
There is a lot of wild cotton in this Island of Hispaniola. But the best cotton is planted by hand in the farms, being whiter and taller, with some plants growing to two estados or more; their roots dig deep into the soil, and they continue to produce cotton without anyone having to tend to them. However, since in this island they are not given to planting and cultivating cotton, not as much of it is produced as in the time of the Indians, who were more attentive to it. The Christians do not involve themselves much in this type of farming, even though it is a very good crop and could yield as much as desired. And although the cotton in the Mainland is usually shorter than the one we have here, over there they plant many fields of cotton every year and harvest it; hence, whatever else can be said about cotton will be left for the second part of this Natural and General History of the Indies.
 Unit of length taken from a man’s average height; it was used to estimate height or depth and was roughly equivalent to seven feet. [EE]
Image: Engraved illustration from William McKenzie’s National Encyclopaedia published between 1891 and 1901.