Christopher Columbus wrote of mermaids in his diary

The day before, when the Admiral was going to the Rio del Oro, he said he saw three mermaids who came quite high out of the water but were not as pretty as they are depicted, for somehow in the face they look like men. He said that he saw some in Guinea on the coast of Manegueta.
—From the Diary of Christopher Columbus, January 9, 1493

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