Quick side note: I am not a historian and some pieces of information in this may be inaccurate to what the sources I have linked say. The sources are in spanish and I have loosely translated their titles.
“The ship seemed to plunge below the waves, dunking into the abyss to then reappear with the passengers’ heads still intact and above sea level. The seas were choppy that day; the descent of looming clouds and an all encompassing notion that no one was safe. Moreover, from what was recorded, the passengers depicted grand waves towering man’s churches and currents wavering with no accordance to the wind. Nothing was in their hands that day. It was said to be September time, when the sun was nearing its highest and the clouds approached the docks slowly like creeping barrages, preparing to pummel the coast. Unnerving local sailors, the sea was by all accounts unmeasurable. The tides pulled folk into its vast body and struck the coasts of Mexico and the Caribbeans. The damage the storm brought was unspeakable; sea defences were riven, and the sailors and dockers at their stations were fraught as they tried to get supplies across to small, surrounding towns of Ponce in Puerto Rico overwhelmed by the storm. Other accounts suggest the hurricane caused several deaths and constituted the ruin of Ponce.” Aitana rose from her laptop, peering out the glass corridor windows to see still waters and no token to a hurricane. Aitana missed her home of Argentina, but Ponce, Puerto Rico had museums and libraries with the archives of the earliest settlers of Puerto Rico. A few clouds were in the sky, but didn’t heed in unnerving her. Aitana placed her laptop on the glass table, taking one last swig of her coffee before pacing quickly back and forth between bookshelves, computer archives, scanners, even a local or two querying her in her at work state. Gripping the spine of a book, Aitana ran a finger over the imprinted words La Historia de Puerto Rico y sus colonos. “Are you researching the history of Puerto Rico? I could help you.” Aitana peeked over the book to see a woman with orange sunglasses and bunches of dark, curly hair spilling over the sides of her shoulders. “Sorry, didn’t mean to break you from your work. I’m Paola.” Reaching a hand out, Aitana took her hand, “I’m Aitana, I’m from Argentina. I came here recently to research Puerto Rico and it’s archives on hurricanes and weather patterns.” Paola scrunched up her nose, “Hurricanes? Are you a geography student?” Aitana held the book to her chest, “Yeah, I’m using the data from old records to compare it to the data nowadays; investigating and finding the implication that there is no one contributor to the increase in number of storms.” Paola looked deeply at the book with her umber eyes, drawing the book out of Aitanas hands, “And La Historia de Puerto Rico y los colonos is where you’ve started? In 1508, Hurricane San Roque was recorded by Ponce; there is a vast collection of chronicles by Antonio de Herrera that encompass the primeval recorded history of Puerto Rico. It could hold accounts of the hurricane.” Aitana narrowed her eyes, “And you’re a history student?” Passing the book back to Aitana, Paola chuckled, “Of course. I’m completing my combined honours: history and economics. ” Aitana gazed up at the ceiling, books were all around her, “So how old are you?” “22,” Paola said. “20,” Aitana returned.
The two covered the aisles, searching the computer archives to find accounts comprising notes under the titles: hurricanes, Puerto Rico, Dominica and Mexico. An archive listed sighted events from 1508 onwards with death counts and the destruction it brought to towns. Hovering a hand over the print button, Aitana selected the pages she needed and glanced at Paola, her hair loosely falling from behind her ear. Leaning forward, Paola pressed PRINT, her eyes then deeply fixating on the archive as she translated, “Hurricane San Roque caused several deaths, damaging Ponce,” she narrowed her eyes, “1508.” Reading over what she translated, Aitana widened her eyes, her soft, brown eyes turning to Paola, “How much have you researched Puerto Rico?” “I’m going to the printer,” Paola ignored the question.
With a stack of papers in hand, Paola recited what she translated earlier as Aitana wrote them into her essay. Paola held a paper in each hand in intense concentration; filing back and forth between papers she threw them back on the glass coffee table, scribbling down dates with incoordination “Accounts read like the perception of the world changes,” Paola had Aitanas attention, “When a hurricane devastates a country, there is irrevocable change in its peoples lives.” Picking up the notes she’d made, she read aloud, “unnamed storms and named storms such as San Francisco of 1526 and Santa Ana of 1530 are accounted for the several deaths and damage to towns. Santa Ana affected the entire island of Puerto Rico which had an estimated 3,100 dwellers.” Paola slumped and turned to face Aitana, “these hurricanes have affected me and my family and friends, taking countless lives as these storms slowly become more frequent.”
Resources I referred to for the book.
Accounts by Antonio de Herrera: https://archive.org/details/generaldehechosd01herr/page/n9/mode/2up
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