Guyana's Western Border

From 1614 to 1628

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[16 February 1614]

In the city of San Josephe de Ornna, Island of Trinidad, on the 16th February, 1614, Don Juan Tostado, Lieutenant-General in this island for the Governor Sancho de Alguisa, for the King our Lord, declared that forasmuch as in the month of August of the year 1613 he sent to the Corentin River twelve soldiers under Captain Melchor Cortes, whom he appointed Chief, in order that they might go on His Majesty's service to the assistance of the Lieutenant of Guyana, in whose district certain Dutch Lutherans, rebels against the Royal Crown, were settled, and to make war upon them and dislodge them. For from this beginning of settlement, if it be not inter-rupted, very serious mischief might arise, seeing that it is on the mainland. And God our Lord was pleased to grant that the succour and help which his Honour sent was of such avail that the Dutch fort was taken and burnt, with all who were in it, and they took from them a patched and a launch, and destroyed many plantations of tobacco, which had been sown, so that the said set-tlement was entirely devastated and destroyed.

And whereas it is fitting to render an account to His Majesty of what is contained herein, I have ordered and do order that the statement declarations be taken of the Captain and soldiers who were sent for the said purpose, and that they relate in detail all that occurred. And thus I provide, order, and sign.

By his command:

JUAN DE ANDRANDA, Notary Public,
and of the Corporation
(Two seals)



And forthwith on the day, month, and year aforesaid, for the purpose of the said report, and before me the present Notary, the said Lieutenant caused to appear before him Captain Mel-chor Cortes, citizen of this said city, who took, and was admitted, upon his oath in due legal form by a sign of the Cross which he made with has right hand, and having taken the oath he promised to tell the truth in what he might know and might be questioned, and being examined according to the tenor of the foregoing heading of "Auto," and whatsoever he was asked in addition, he declared as follows:

That it is true that he went from this city by order of the said Don Juan Toastado, Lieu-tenant-General, as Captain and Chief of twelve soldiers whom he took, under his orders, from the said city, with arms and munitions and all else needful to an undertaking so arduous as that on which they were proceeding in His Majesty's service. And he went from this city in the month of August last with the men and solders and everything else requisite, and embarked in the port of this city to go on a voyage of notorious danger from the sea, the Caribs and other enemies.

And that he spent in this voyage about sixty days, the distance being so great and the sea very boisterous; and that when this witness reached the said rivers the Captain and Lieutenant Antonio de Muxica had not yet arrived; so he waited for him in the mouth of Vauruma, which is a river, and he arrived at the end of forty days; so they went from there together, taking the aforesaid twenty-two soldiers, with everything necessary and a Father, and they spent about two months in going from there to the place in which the Dutch were settled, for those coasts are very bad and difficult to navigate.

And that when they reached the place in which the said Dutch were posted, they obtained information from the Indian natives respecting the condition of the settlement and the fort which they had built for their defence; and taking suitable guides for the purpose, namely, an Indian women who fled from the service of the Dutch, they arrived at the place by night, having landed at half-a-league from the fort so as not to be heard, and discovering the fort which the Dutch had built for their defence, and seeing that it was impossible for them to get in owing to the large force by which it was guarded, after having attempted it at several points they were perceived by those inside, and they commenced to fight one with another. They then admonished them peaceable to surrender, and they would not submit on any condition, but defended themselves courageously with the assistance of the Carib folk, who like wise fought with equal courage, until it became evident that they were doing great damage to the Spanish troops from the fort, owing to the large number of Caribs who were helping them; so it was necessary to set fire to the fortress, and its covering being to straw or palm it burnt freely, and all who were in it perished. They had four swivel guns and two small bronze pieces, with which and their muskets they defended themselves; and when the fort was burnt out they found inside it six men dead and burnt of those who were seen there, for everything was burnt up by the great fire, so that whether they were six or more it was clear that they had all perished therein, and they did damage to the Spanish troops.

And there was found burnt a very large quantity of booty, axes, knives, cutlasses, and other things, with which they kept the Carib race at their disposal, whose daughters they used to marry. And that likewise two other Dutchmen were captured who they said were away from the fort in other parts on another river at four days distance; these Captain Muxica took with him alive. And it was found that they had sown a great quantity of tobacco, which seems to have been their principal object. And a vessel and a launch which they had in the harbour were also burnt. And in these fights and actions eight of the men whom this witness took with him were wounded, and he himself was one of them; and of those under Captain Muxica he does not re-member more than that they were the ones most severely wounded through the Caribs having fought so valiantly and being so numerous that on all sides they endeavoured to prevent the dis-lodgement of the said Dutch, on account of the great advantage they derived from them.

And from the Dutch who were captured it was ascertained that they were expecting ships for the export of the tobacco which had been sown, and that which they meant to obtain from the Carib natives. And in what was done until their return to this city, five months and two days were spent; and for his part, he considers that, as shown, a great service was rendered to God our Lord, and to His Majesty's Royal Crown. For, if they had settled there regularly, as they had resolved to do, it would be a great injury to the friendly Aruac natives to have the Dutch and Caribs so close to them. And that this is the truth, and what took place as far as he remembers, under obligation of the oath which he has taken, and that it is well known to the other soldiers who were in his company, and having heard it, he affirmed and ratified it and signed it with his name, saying that he is about 32 years of age, and that the generalities of the law do not affect him beyond the statement of what occurred, which he has made to the best of his recollection, and has signed it with his name.



Before me:
JUAN DE ANDRADA, Notary Public.
(Three seals)

(Archivo General de Indias, Seville)

[16 June 1614]


Trinidad, June 16, 1614

The barterers are driven away from this [island]. But 60 leagues from that Government in Terra Firma, in Santo Thomé de la Guayana, which they call the River Orinoco, they are now located, the which parts are frequented by foreign ships.

(Archivo de Simancas)

[Undated, but believed to have been written in early July 1614]


And Joan Diaz de Mansilla, Vicar of the Island of Trinidad, in a communication of the 30th June, 1614, to His Majesty, gives an account of the trustworthy information he received, that from the River Guayapoco (Wiapoco) to that of the Orinoco, in a distance of 200 leagues, there are four settlements of "Flamencos", to which some remedy must be applied. . . . The re-ports sent [to the Court of Spain] by parties therein interested, all prepared for their own special ends,. . . . are grossly exaggerated, and merit little confidence.

(Archivo de Simancas)

[7 October 1614]

The Lieutenant-Governor of the Island of Trinidad, in a letter of the 16th June of this year, wrote to His Majesty that there was a great want of arms and ammunition for the defence of the country, and that it would be well if fifty muskets and 10 cwt. of powder, with six of gun-matches and as many of lead, could be sent out in the ship thither bound. It having been decided in the Council of War to provide for this necessity, an order on the Commander in-chief of Artil-lery to deliver the said arms and ammunition in Cadiz to the person you shall name is herewith sent to your Excellency the arms and ammunition to be delivered at the same price as they cost His Majesty. And in case there should be no powder to spare in that place, an order has been sent to Malaga for its delivery there, of which I am to inform you, that you may take steps for receiv-ing it there. It is ordered that the price of the arms and ammunition be paid out of any money which may have come in the said ship, or from the proceeds of the sale of her merchandise; or, in default of both these, from any of His Majesty's funds, as a loan, until the money is sent from the said island, which they are to be enjoined to remit at the first opportunity, with the cost of freightage and other expenses, to make full satisfaction to His Majesty's Treasure for what ever loan may be due to it.

Your Excellency shall advise us of what has been done herein, and of the departure of the said ship, that there may be time to prepare the despatches she is to carry.

God preserve your Excellency many years as I desire.

Your Excellency is to inform me if a Royal Order is necessary, that it may be dispatched forthwith.

October 7, 1614

[December 1614]

No. 1. Don Bernardo de Vargas, Governor of Margarita, in a letter to His Majesty of the 10th July, 1613, reported that he had information (as also confirmed by another from an inhabi-tant of Trinidad, of which he sent the original) that in the country of the friendly Indians, the Aruacas, not far from Margarita, on the coast of the mainland, some English had settled, with the favour of the Caribs, with the intention of cultivation tobacco, and begged leave of His Majesty to allow him to leave a Lieutenant in his place while he went to subdue the Caribs, and drive the English from their settlement.

No. 2. In a letter of the 12th July of the same year he gives information of the settlements which are being made in the Island of Trinidad and coast of San Thomé of Guiana, where, with the friendship of the Caribs, they are extensively cultivating tobacco, and that they should be driven out before they make fortifications, on account of the injury which may be caused to the surrounding villages; for which reason it would be well if the galleons which were going there in 1614 went to the said island and left there fifty soldiers, with arms and ammunition; that with fifty others used to and well acquainted with the coast they might attack them by land - with the command of the Governor, who is to be made aware of the undertaking - the said soldiers to be paid by the inhabitants of the two cities, and if the matter were delayed, more expense and preparations would be necessary to drive them out.

No. 3. The Corporation of Trinidad, in a letter of the 30th June, 1613, having given His Majesty an account of the state of things in that island, where they are always persecuted by enemies, say, further, that at that time a privateer was in the port attempting to anchor, and threatening them that when other ships they were expecting should arrive they would lay waste the city.

And that at this time Antonio de Muxica, Lieutenant of Santo Thomé de Guayana, in a letter of the 25th June, asked their assistance in ejecting the English, who were making settle-ments on the rivers in union with the Caribs, and sowing tobacco. And because of the mischief they do, the Indian Chiefs came with a letter from the said Lieutenant (which is with the en-closed) to ask for help, because the Flemish and Caribs steal the friendly Indians and carry them to their settlements to employ them in cultivating tobacco. That in the Florentines (Corentine) there are more than fifty married Dutch, who commit insolent robberies which must be put a stop to; and there being but few people in that island, they dispatched Captain Andres Garcia Pardo to get what arms and ammunition he could from Margarita.

No. 4. Antonio de Muxica Buitron, Lieutenant of Guiana, in the absence of Sancho de Alguisa, in a letter of the 30th May 1614, says that the insolence and ill-treatment which the Aruacas suffered from the Flemish and Caribs were such that he proceeded to the river called Corentine, 200 leagues from that city, where the Flemish and Caribs have a fortress with artillery and swivel guns, taking with him 34 musketeers and 300 friendly Indians. Arriving at nearly midnight, he summoned them to surrender three or four times. They only replied with jeers and ridicule, seeing which the Spaniards set fire to the fort, so that not one of the Flemish escaped, but all were burned. It would be well to free our coasts of them entirely, for, from the River Marañon to the Orinoco, there are three or four more of their settlements, and their plantations are very considerable. They have possessed themselves of the mouths of these two rivers and are making themselves masters of the produce and possessions of the natives, which is a serious mat-ter, and also makes it necessary that the City of Guiana should have sufficient men, pieces of ar-tillery, and ammunition for its defence.

No. 5. In another letter of the same day he sent the plan of the fort in which the Flemish were. And in the Council of the 24 July, 1604 [? 1614], it was ordered that the letters relating to the English settlements on those coasts should be laid before the next Council of War.

On the 9th September in the Council it was decided to lay the matter at once before the Council of War so far as concerned the arms.

No. 6. Don Juan Tostado, who, in the absence of Sancho de Alguisa, governs the Island of Trinidad, in a letter of the 16th June, 1614, relates that he hanged several Flemish, whom he had captured in a small vessel, and delivered one of them to Don Geronimo de Portugal in 1613, and that he has persecuted and given such ill-welcome to those that have attempted to reconnoi-tre that port that they have never returned. For this reason the traffic has been ousted from all points of this island, and 60 leagues from that Government on the mainland at Santo Thomé which is called the River Orinoco of Guiana, will be (the centre of) the traffic and the resort of foreign ships; and the Lieutenant of that place shall give an account of the state of things there. In June of 1613 he of Guiana, on account of having, while disarmed and (sailing) for a run along the coast, encountered the Caribs and Flemings, sent to ask the assistance of the Corporation of Trinidad to go the occupy the settlement of the Flemings who had fortified themselves and were sowing tobacco, on one of the rivers of his jurisdiction, and having received notice thereof on the coast, thereupon they hastened back and assisted him with twelve soldiers under a captain, with-out any expense to His Majesty. These were the most suitable for the occasion that were to be had, and with twenty-two more whom the Lieutenant of Guiana took with him they burnt the fort of the Flemish and Caribs, and destroyed it. For this reason the fifty men and more asked for by the Governor of Margarita for this undertaking were not necessary, and it would seem that he asked for them more on account of the profit which might accrue to himself than for any other reason.

They also report that about twenty days ago some natives of the island brought news that they had seen a number of Carib pirogues on the southern side of the island in company with some Flemish vessels, which are those that the Flemish in the fort were expecting in order to load them with the tobacco they had prepared. They are now seeking revenge, and it is feared that time will aggravate their intention, and there are neither arms nor ammunition in the city for its defence, nor for that of the island. They therefore beseech your Majesty to send directly fifty muskets and 10 cwt. of powder, lead, and gun-matches, which will be sufficient for some time, for which a ship is sent, that the succour may arrive without delay; and the ship being prepared in this country it is loaded with produce, the returns of which are to provide the inhabitants with clothing.

It is proved by the information of six witnesses that this island is generally surrounded by the Flemish and Caribs both by sea and land, so that the inhabitants live in constant want of many things which they cannot go and fetch for fear of the enemy, the Caribs even coming as far as the city to rob and ill-treat them, which comes of their strong alliance with the Flemish, always moving together as they did when they attacked the Aruacas, taking many of them prisoners, and carrying off their wives. And with the help of the soldiers given to the Lieutenant of Guiana, their fort was burnt and all perished except two, who were distant from the spot who gave information that they were waiting for ships to load with tobacco, and other produce which they had prepared. These are the ships which the natives saw near the island in company of the Caribs, so that the city is in a tumult, and in great danger of being taken by the enemy, unless His Majesty commands them to be assisted with guns, powder, gun-matches, and lead, that the in-habitants and passing soldiers may be provided with arms when occasion demands.

Another report of five witnesses from the same island says that the captain and corporal who went with the twelve soldiers, and the others joined with them, burnt all the Flemish who were in the fort near the River Corentine, captured a long-boat and tender, and tore up all the tobacco they had planted, so that their settlement was laid waste, and what was done on this occasion made a very great effect.

And on the 29th August, in the Council of War, Don Francisco de Tejada was instructed to inquire into the contents of the papers, particularly from Don Francisco Verrio.

And that he should learn whether Sancho de Alquisa was charged to eject the English from those parts.

No. 7. Juan Diaz de Mansilla, parish priest and vicar of the Island of Trinidad, in a letter of the 30th June, 1614 advises that he has been informed for certain, that from the river called Guayapoco, as far as the Orinoco, a distance of 200 leagues, there are four Flemish settlements which should be remedied. And that the reports that have been sent were made by persons inter-ested for their own particular ends, for the evil done by the Caribs is notorious. He says that Don Juan Tostado is not well looked upon in the island, because of the vexations and molestations he has caused the inhabitants; that there are many more worthy to be Governor, and entire credit should not be given to his reports. To gain the good-will of several who praise him, he has al-lowed them to keep some of the chief Indian women, like prisoners for two or three years, in their houses which prevents them from receiving instruction in our holy faith, an evil which ought to be remedied.

No. 8. In a letter of the 2nd September, 1614, the "Casa" made known what had been heard from the ship which came from that island, and sent its declaration, and stated that the Governor's Lieutenant writes to them that there are no longer any Flemish ships to be seen, as they have been frightened by his treatment of them, and also because there is nothing in that is-land but tobacco. The port being open and without defence, the inhabitants feared that no ship would come from Spain before the Flemish had built fortresses and defences. They determined to prepare and send the said ship, laden with tobacco to bring them back linen and clothing, and because of their great want of arms and ammunition to defend the country. It is therefore thought fitting to send back the ship with all speed, with the things they ask for.

And in pursuance of the decision in the Council on the 9th September, the "Casa" was instructed that the ship should be dispatched with all possible speed, that, being provided with what is needed, it may set sail when ordered, and the matter be laid before the Council of War.

No. 9. And the "Casa," in a letter of the 20th September, 1614, say that in conformity with the Order of the Council that they should send fifty muskets, 10 cwt. of powder, 6 of gun-matches, and the same of lead, to the island, they cane to an agreement and took the necessary funds from the coffers of deposit for the casting of artillery; and the purchasing and dispatching of them was committed to Don Phelipe Manrrique, and with these arms the ship should sail un-der convoy of the mainland fleet, and he should therefore arrange for her setting out, and a Royal Order was sent to the Governor of the island to remit the money at the risk of the Royal Exchequer, with freightage and costs for the satisfaction of the debt to the said coffers.

And in the Council of the 9th December 1614, it was commanded to bring the letters of this Judge, that an answer might be sent to them.

(Archivo General de Indias, Seville)

[4 April 1615]

In the Hague, in Holland, there appeared Pedro Luis, a naval Captain resident in Flush-ing, with his son, Jan Pietersz Alas (?Alorst), both returned from the West Indies from the shores of Viapoco, where they have built two houses and cultivated tobacco.

The said Pedro voyaged up the Amazon for a matter of 100 leagues, and on his return brought with him great quantities of red dye, tobacco, and different spices, and from the information he obtained from the settlers there, in this country, and further distant, there are numerous inhabitants and tribes, where much greater profit can be made by men of business, which information moved him to return with all the ships to Viapoco to supply the new settlement which they hold there, as also to further explore the said River Amazon in search of its resources.

And to this end he united with the burgomaster of Flushing Jan de Moor, as also with two of the Admiralty, one named Angelo Lennes, and the other, Senor de Lodesteyn, through whom he obtained the consent of the States of Holland for the establishment of the said colony and settlement, not withstanding the said large and general settlement which the said States have the intention of establishing in those parts of America, unless war intervenes, as many persons wish and believe to be inevitable.

In the same way the Company, for the commerce by sea, urge the said States to come to their assistance to enable them to take all information and to explore the extent and breadth of the said River Amazon, from which the said States will derive great profit in the course of time.

The aforesaid Captain and his son report, as a fact, that a man named Teodoro Claesius, an Anabaptist, formerly resident at the town of Leyden within Amsterdam, transported his set-tlement and its inhabitants with all their property from the coast of Caena (Cayenne) to the coasts of Surinam, and that the greater part of them are with Indian women. On this coast there is the finest letterwood, and it is agreed to be the best to be found anywhere.

Further the said Captain's son states that the French have built a fort two degrees from the line which fort is impregnable and in which they have twenty-four brass, several iron guns, and he asserts that it was constructed by order of the French King, and many French ships arrive there everyday.

In the same manner, a man named Tomas Rey has made a notable fort in the mouth of the River Amazon, where he makes great profits, which shows that if commerce were carried on here with good order, the benefit derived from it would, in the course of time, be of greater con-sideration than that derived from the East Indies.

Alas says and affirms that a certain Englishman founded settlements on the River Viapoco before Jan Pietersz. To explore the river, he had himself guided by twenty savages, with some canoes, from Viapoco up the river, past sixty-eight falls of the river, from where he discov-ered a perfectly level country, after which they came to a deep and extensive stretch of water which they would have navigated in order to reach the celebrated town of Manoa; but the sav-ages who live on the coasts of this river fled - they are called Noruacas (Arwacas) - and thus the cassava and all other provisions failed them, and he and his company were obliged to return without going further, and the said Jan Pietersz wishes to undertake the enterprise, and to explore the country by the same route with the help of the said States of Holland, as aforesaid.

(Archivo General de Indias, Seville, Simancas, Patronato). ["Consulta" of the Council of Portugal to King Philip III of Spain, concerning the enterprise of the Maranon and of the events which took place there with the French, who were attempting to establish themselves in this place (with very rare documents), year 1615].

[24 May 1615]

His Majesty has directed me to remit to you the inclosed report touching the Indies, that it may be laid before the Council, that they may discuss the measures to be taken. God Preserve you.

(Signed) THE DUKE
The Palace, May 24, 1615

The President of the Indies.


Inclosure: Information touching the West Indies, April 4, 1615 [Document No. 21 above]

(Archivo General de Indias, Seville)

[24 May 1615]

Palace, 24th May, 1615

To the President of the [Council of the] Indies.

I am commanded by His Majesty to transmit to you the inclosed document for the special consideration of the Council.

There recently arrived in The Hague, Holland, Peter Lewis, Captain of a naval "Armada," native of Vlossingen (Fliesingen), with his son, John Peter Alost, both returned from the West Indies, from the banks of the Viapoco (Wiapoco), where they have founded a settlement. . . . They returned with a large cargo of tobacco, anatto-wood, and other valuable commodities. . . .

They now intend to form a Company, and obtain the consent of the States-General, and this notwithstanding the large and flourishing settlements the States pretend to have founded in these parts of America.

His Majesty has seen the Report and map on which the ports from the River Amazon to the Island of Santa Margarita are marked, and where, according to the news that has been re-ceived, the Dutch intend to colonize (herewith inclosed*), and His Majesty has commanded me to send them to your Excellency, so that they may be considered in the Council of the Indies, etc.

[* Document No. 21 above]

(Archivo General de Simancas; also, Archivo de Indias, Seville)

[27 June 1615]

Valladolid, June 27, 1615

It is to he noted, in the first place, that all the names that are marked on the said map, de-noted by a light red colour, are the same as they are called by the savage Indians, and are the most important rivers which the Dutch, in the course of time, intend to colonize, beginning above the River Amazon and continuing to the Island of Margarita.

The small rivers, noted on the said map with black ink, are so narrow and shallow that large vessels cannot enter them, only small craft. The rivers marked in light red as well as those in black, that are not navigable, and without any point at the capes, are those which are not suffi-ciently known to enable one to say how far one may penetrate the interior of the country in the direction of the south, although by the Rivers Orinoco and Wiapoco they have navigated around the equinoctial line more than 40 leagues, and particularly in the Orinoco, even so far as the Caroni, and in the Wiapoco to the third fall or cataract of the said river. . . . And there are twelve other rapids to pass if they wish to reach a sea (lake?) which leads to Manoa, principal city of Guayana, where the brother of Atabalipa founded his kingdom, and is more abundant in gold than any other part of the world.

The above-named captain has navigated and surveyed the small river at one time or an-other to the distance of 4 leagues, in conformity with the instructions received from his superiors in 1599, during which time he signed the true map, which he kept with the greatest secrecy, and it is a copy of this map, taken from the original, which is here inclosed, and by means of which they have begun to deliberate upon the founding of the said Colonies referred to in the foregoing Report, etc.

It is to be noted that the map recently published in Amsterdam, designed and drawn by Peter Plazio (Plancius), Minister and Principal Cosmographer, author of all the works of naviga-tion on the East and West Indies, and resident in Amsterdam, is a forgery, specially made on purpose, so that in sailing along the coast, the ports and principal harbours between the Wiapoco and the Orinoco may not be discovered.

[27 June 1615]

His Majesty has seen the report and map from the ports of the River Amazon to the Is-land of Santa Margarita, which we are advised the Dutch have the intention of settling; and he directs me to remit the same to you, to be laid before the Council of the Indies, that they may take information of the contents of the account of the said map, and all the is said in it, and may decide upon the measures to be taken.

God preserve you.

(Signed) THE DUKE
Valladolid, June 27, 1615

The President of the Indies

[June 1615]

First, we are advised that all the names on the said map written in red are the names given by the Indian savages, and are the principal rivers which the Dutch intend to settle, in the course of time, beginning from above the course of time, beginning from above the Amazon to the Island of Margarita; all the capes are likewise marked and indicated in red, and as they are known on the Spanish maps.

The small rivers marked in black on the said map are so small that they are not navigable for big ships, but only for sloops or light craft.

The rivers marked in red or in black which are not finished off, and have no mark at the end, are those which have not been fully explored, and it is not known how far they penetrate into the country southwards, although the Orinoco and the Viapoco have been navigated past the equator for more than 40 leagues, especially the Orinoco which has been navigated to the River Caroni.

The Viapoco has been explored to the third fall of the river, each one occupying a space of 300 feet; the falls have to be surmounted by dragging up the shore the boats or canoes which are used to navigate the river from one fall to the other. The savages assert that there are twelve similar falls to be surmounted before reaching a large lake which leads to Manoa, the principal town of the Kingdom of Guiana.

Here it was that the brother of Atavalipa established his kingdom, and here gold is found in greater abundance than in any other part of the world.

The aforesaid Captain journeyed for 4 leagues up the smaller rivers at various times in obedience to the order given him by his superiors in the year 1599.

Since then a true map has been drawn up, which they have kept secret as long as possible, from which original map the one we send has been copied, and it is from this map that they have begun to put into practice the plan of the colonies aforesaid, of which we will treat further on. Respecting this matter, we are advised that the map newly published in Amsterdam is the work of Peter Plancius, Minister and principal cosmographer, author of all the works on the navigation of the East and West Indies, a resident of Amsterdam.

The map has been purposely falsified, to prevent entrance to the rivers and principal ports of the Viapoco and Orinoco, concealing also the river Caena (Cayenne), already peopled by Anabaptists, where the said Captain, with eighty persons, resided for eight months, and from where is exported (?) annatto and tobacco, and where there is great abundance of all kinds of flesh meat, fish, pineapples and other delicious fruit.

As regards the commerce of the East Indies, we are advised, on good authority, that those who are intrusted with the expenditure of the said Dutch commerce represented in the Council of the States of Holland at the Hague towards the end of the month of December 1615, that the expenditure of the said commerce from the year 1597 to that time, during the war, had amounted to 10,000,000 florins, so that they could no longer maintain it, in spite of the assistance rendered them by the said States, sending to their relief, at various times, three or four men-or-war manned and fully equipped.

Therefore, they urge the said States to take the war and the commerce into their own hands in the same manner as His Catholic Majesty has done in Portugal.

No definite resolution was come to, and the matter was remitted to the first Council to be held after the arrival to the Ambassadors of the Confederate Kings and Princes, of which we will take information in due course, and advise you of the result.

Teodoro Claessen, resident in Amsterdam outside the old "Haarlemmer Poort," at the sign of the "Town of Leyden", is establishing a settlement on the River Viapoco, and another on the River Caena (Cayenne), which have been started with 100 men divided between the two set-tlements, which are situated two degrees one from the other. Here the settlers collect a species of silk found on the tobacco plant, and "letterwood", red with black spots.

The said Claessen started on the 30th December, 1614, for The Hague of Holland to peti-tion the States to undertake the establishment of a colony in the ports of the West Indies, towards which, once started, he and his company of Anabaptists would contribute 200,000 ducats. The said States would grant him nothing in the matter, but ordered him by word of mouth to have recourse to Reynor or Paulo, burgomaster of Amsterdam, who would give him a fair hearing. The latter told him by word of mouth that the States could take no decision in the matter until it was seen whether or no the truce were to continue; but that when the Ambassadors of the Confederate Kings and Princes resolved as to the cessation or continuation of the war of Juliers (the fighting round Juliers), a decision would be arrived at as to the breaking up or the continuation of the universal truce.

To which the said Teodoro replied that a year might be wasted in this discussion, to which the burgomaster answered that he should bear in mind the short space of seven weeks which Admiral Diego de Heserque took to fit out a fleet of twenty-six ships for the accomplish-ment of his purpose in the Straits of Gibraltar in 1609. Teodoro insisted for the States of the said islands to provide him with artillery, powder, and all warlike stores to supply the two colonies aforesaid, but he was told that this was unnecessary until it was seen whether or no the truce was to come to an end.

This information was obtained by the aforesaid from Teodoro himself, and this is all that has been said concerning the establishment of colonies in the West Indies.

The Admiral and chiefs of the fleet alluded to remain in possession of the money for the crew and provisions, until it is known whether or not the truce is to last.

It is also worthy of note that in Pernambuco, close to Brazil, there is a very rich monas-tery possessing ten millions of gold, in gold and precious stones, which those who have under-taken the populating of America have the intention of sacking on the first arrival, under the pre-text that it is situated past the equator, and they mean to do the same to a very rich monastery close to Truxillo, past the Island of Margarita and the coast of Havannah, as far as the said Cap-tain can remember.

In the year 1614 twenty Biscayans went to the northern part round Greenland for the whale fisheries, being hired by men of Amsterdam from San Juan de Luz, a French possession, the French King having prohibited, under pain of death, any of his subjects to venture on this fishery out of his kingdom.

These men returned on the eve of All Saints laden with the products of the said whales, with twelve ships, and profits of five to one over and above all expense, and every year this navigation and commerce is to be carried on by the said Biscayans, for without their help it can-not be undertaken.

(Archivo General de Indias, Seville)

[29 July 1615]

The Audiencia of the New Kingdom of Granada made a contract and agreement with Captain Antonio de Berrio respecting the exploration and settlement of the district called El Do-rado. Among other things they gave him the government of those provinces for two lives, and his late Majesty was pleased to approve, and ordered the arrangement to be sanctioned in 1586; thereupon the said Berrio entered on the work and founded in the Island of Trinidad the town of San Joseph Oruna, and inland that of Santo Thomé. He died in 1597 and was succeeded by Don Fernando de Berrio, his son, who made some attempts at settlement of little permanence or im-portance. After that the Council heard that he and all the settlers there lived in such license that they gave free entry at the ports to the enemy's war-ships of different nations, with whom they openly traded, thus contravening the strict prohibition laid down by your Majesty. The result was serious loss and inconveniences, which may be imagined, beside many other excesses which they committed. And although the Audiencias of the Indies have been ordered by Cedulas to send every five years to call for an account from the Governors who held their offices for life, this had not been done in the case of Don Fernando de Berrio; it was therefore thought right not to defer it any longer, and Commission was sent on the 23rd March 1611, to Sancho de Alquiza to do so…

The Governor of Margarita, the Corporation of Trinidad, and the Vicar and Don Juan Tostado, who is governing the island on the nomination of Sancho de Alquiza and Antonio de Moxica, in whose charge he left that part of the Government called Guayana, write to your Maj-esty in letters dated 1613 and 1614, that all those coasts are visited by great numbers of Flemish and English ships, who, with the help of the Carib Indians, with whom they have made friends, are making some settlements, and that in particular they have three or four from the River Ma-ranon to the Orinoco, where they are engaged in considerable tobacco plantations, and that, with the mouths of the two rivers which they have already taken, they are making themselves masters of the possessions and fruits of the natives, and rob the friendly Indians, and do much other damage, to such an extent that if careful measures are not taken to endeavour to stop all this, it may be feared that they will shortly make themselves masters of the whole of that territory, which is better adapted for tobacco farms and other plantations and undertakings than others in the Indies.

All these matters were considered and discussed very carefully at the Council, as well as the anxiety which must be caused by the fact that these enemies are making every effort to ex-tend their possessions and strike root throughout the Indies wherever they can, in order to have farms and other trade, and while deriving great profit and advantage therefrom, do your Majesty and your vassals all the injury possible; moreover, when they are present there, further and greater evils might result if they are aided by the Carib Indians, as they are now are, and they would be to windward of all the Indies, so that with quite a small fleet they could do very great damage, besides that fact that by allowing foreign nations so ill-affected to Spain to have settlements in territory which belongs to your Majesty, we suffer in reputation, and we are obliged to consider the remedy and the great need of some one to defend the Island of Trinidad, as there is only on Spanish settlement there, and that so small that there are not more than sixty men who can bear arms, so that it can easily be taken.

(Archivo General de Indias)

[12 December 1615]


Don Felipe de Biamonte y Navarra,

My Governor and Captain-General of the Island of San Juan de Puerto Rico.

Considering how conducive it is to my service that I appoint a person for the Island of Trinidad and Guayana to govern that country and maintain it in defence, I have, therefore, ap-pointed, as my Governor and Captain-General, Diego Palomeque de Acuna, who will, with all dispatch, go to serve me in that Post.

And as it has been understood that in the region of Guayana the enemy have made some settlements in which they are planting a very great quantity of tobacco, and to which ships go very commonly to be laden therewith, and on the way they traffic and do all the other injury they are able.

And although the said Governor is commanded to try to dislodge [them] from there, by taking from them the said settlements, and he is relied upon to do all in his power for that object, and as it may happen that with the forces in the country he may not be able to put into execution a matter of such importance, it has appeared to me well to command you, as I now order and command you, to place a garrison of fifty men there, there, that will be sent in the fleet of New Spain next year, 1616. The number of three hundred effective men which belongs to the garrison will be filled up, and you will be able, without causing any want there, to send to Trinidad from seventy to eighty soldiers; you will send them when the said Governor requests you, sending you this despatch by means of a person of confidence, that with them and the men of the country he may be able to bring together he may try to do me this service, by taking the necessary measures to extirpate the enemy from every point of that island on which they have taken footing.

And this expedition being ended he will return them to you at once, as I now by this or-der command him to do, without detaining them any longer. The expenses of those that are to be sent will be defrayed from the account of the subsidy of the garrison, as such is my pleasure.

(Signed) I, THE KING,

By command of the King our Sovereign,
(Signed) Juan Ruiz De Contreras.
And Countersigned by the Council of War of the Indies.
El Pardo, December 12, 1615

It agrees with the entry in the Register.
(Signed) Juan Baptista De Uberoaga.

[18 September 1618]


To the Chief Magistrate and Government of the City of Santo Thomé de la Guayana.

I have been informed of your letter of the 26th January of this year, in which you relate what happened in the taking of your city, and the death of the Governor Diego Palomeque de Acuna, and how badly situated the inhabitants thereof have thereby reminded: And I am particu-larly grateful to such good and loyal subjects, that, being so few and unguarded, you defended the place valiantly. And thus I charge you to continue to do on all other occasions that may pre-sent themselves, for besides the fact of yourselves being interested in fulfilling such glorious ends, the greatest of all is that of the Catholic religion opposed to heretical enemies, and its cause will not remain without satisfaction, for the matter is now being treated with the earnestness it demands.

And in regard to whatever may happen to you in this respect for the future, you will cor-respond with the Governors of Puerto Rico and Cumana, whom I have commanded to help you with men; and now for the present the Governor of Puerto Rico will send you 8 cwt. of powder, twenty muskets, and as many arquebuses with their equipment, and 2 cwt. of gun-matches and four of lead, which is what has appeared necessary in conformity with the number of men that has remained, and of these arms and munitions you will make use with the greatest care, preserv-ing them in some public place where they may be at hand at the time of necessity, or delivering them to the account and care of those persons that appear the best for the defence.

(Signed) I, THE KING.

By command of the King our Sovereign,
(Signed) Juan Rutz De Contreras
And Countersigned by the Council of War.

It agrees with the entry in the register.
(Signed) Juan Baptista Uberoaga
San Lorenzo el Real
September 18, 1618

[3 June 1621]


The States-General of the United Netherlands to all who shall see or hear these presents read, Greeting:

Be it known that we, having taken into consideration that the prosperity if this country and the welfare of its inhabitants principally consist in the navigation and commerce which from time immemorial has been carried on with good fortune and great blessing from out of this same country with all countries and kingdoms;

And being desirous that the aforesaid inhabitants not only be maintained in their naviga-tion, commerce, and trade, but also that their commerce should increase as much as possible, es-pecially in conformity with the Treaties, Alliances, Conventions, and Agreements formerly made concerning the commerce and navigation with other Princes, Republics, and nations, which Trea-ties we intend shall be punctually kept and observed in all their parts;

And we, finding by experience that without the common help, aid and means of a Gen-eral Company no profitable business can be carried on, protected an maintained in the parts here-after enumerated, on account of the great risks from the sea pirates, extortions, and other things of the same kind, which are incurred upon such long and distant journeys;

We, therefore, being moved by many different and pregnant considerations, have, after mature deliberation of the Council and for very pressing causes, decided that the navigation, trade, and commerce in the West Indies, Africa, and other countries hereafter enumerated, shall henceforth not be carried on otherwise than with the common untied strength of the merchants and inhabitants of these lands, and that to this end there shall be established a General Company which, on account of our great love for the common welfare, and in order to preserve the inhabi-tants of these lands in full prosperity, we shall maintain and strengthen with our assistance, fa-vour and help, so far as the present state and condition of this country will in any way allow, and which we shall furnish with a proper Charter, and endow with the privileges and exemptions hereafter enumerated to wit:

(I) That for a period of twenty-four years no native or inhabitant of this country shall be permitted, except in the name of this United Company, either from the United Netherlands or from any place outside them, to sail upon or to trade with the coasts and lands of Africa, from the Tropic of Cancer to the Cape of Good Hope, not with the countries of America and the West Indies, beginning from the southern extremity of Newfoundland through the Straits of Magellan, Le Maire, and other straits and channels lying thereabouts, to the Strait of Anjan, neither on the North nor on the South Sea, nor with any of the islands situated either on the one side or the other, or between them both; nor with the Australian and southern lands extending and lying be-tween the two meridians, reaching in the east to the Cape of Good Hope, and in the west to the east end of New Guinea, inclusive. And therefore whoever shall venture, without the consent of this Company, to sail upon or trade with any places within the limits granted to the said Com-pany, shall do so at the risk of losing the ships and merchandise which shall be found upon the aforesaid coasts and districts, which it shall be competent to immediately seize on behalf of the said Company, and to hold as confiscated property at the disposal of the same. And in case such ships or merchandise should be sold or taken to other lands or ports, the underwriters and share-holders may be sued for the value of the said ships and merchandise; with this exception only, that those ships which, before the date of this Charter, have sailed from these or other lands to any of the aforesaid coasts, shall be permitted to continue their trade until they have disposed of their cargoes, and until their return to this country, or until the expiration of their Charter, if they have been granted any before this date, but no longer.

Provided, however, that after the 1st July 1621, the day and time of the commencement of this Charter, no one shall be permitted to send any ships or merchandise the districts com-prised in this Charter, even if it were before the day on which the Company was finally estab-lished; but we shall duly provide against those who wittingly and fraudulently seek to frustrate our good intentions for the commonweal; it being understood that the salt trade to Pointe de Re shall be permitted to be continued upon the conditions and instructions laid down, or to be laid down, by us in that matter without being otherwise connected with this Charter.

(II) That henceforth the aforesaid Company shall be permitted to make in our name and authority, within the limits set forth above, contracts, leagues, and alliances with the Princess and natives of the lands therein comprised; they may also build there some fortresses and strong-holds, appoint Governors, soldiers, and officers of justice, and do everything necessary for the preservation of the places and the maintenance of good order, police, and justice; they shall likewise, for the furtherance of trade, dismiss and discharge them and nominate others to their places, according as they shall deem advisable for the circumstances of the case; they may further encourage the population of fertile and uninhabited districts, and do everything that the welfare of the land and the profit and increase of trade shall require; and the representatives of the Company shall successively communicate to us an hand over such contracts and alliances as they shall have made with the aforesaid Princes and nations, together with the situation of the for-tresses, strongholds, and settlements taken by them.

(III) In the event of their choosing a Governor-General, and drawing up instructions for him, the same will have to be approved and the Commission granted by us. And further, such Governor-General, as also other Vice-Governors, Commanders, and officers shall be bound to take an oath of loyalty to us and to the Company. . .

(XLV) All which privileges, liberties, and exemptions together with the assistance above mentioned in all their points and articles we have freely granted, allowed, promised, and ascribed to the aforesaid Company, and do hereby freely grant, allow, and ascribe with full knowledge of the matter, promising to allow them to enjoy the same in peace and tranquility. We likewise order that the same shall be kept and observed by all Magistrates, officers, and subjects of these United Netherlands without doing anything contrary to the same, directly or indirectly, either within or without the said United Netherlands, upon pain of being punished therefor, both in person and property, as disturbers of the common welfare of these lands and transgressors of our orders. Promising besides that we shall maintain and uphold the Company in the contents of this our Charter by all Treaties of Peace, alliances, and understandings with the neighbouring Princes, kingdoms, and countries, without suffering anything to be done or negotiated that might tend to diminish its value. Wherefore we expressly charge and command all Governors, Justiciaries, of-ficers, Magistrates and inhabitants of these United Provinces to permit and suffer the said Com-pany and Commissioners to enjoy peaceably, and without any disturbance, the entire effects of this Charter, license, and privilege, ignoring all other matters ordered to the contrary. And in or-der that none may plead ignorance of this, we have ordered the summary of the contents of this Charter to be publicly proclaimed and placarded wherever necessary, such being in our opinion, to the advantage and a service of this country.

Given under our Great Seal.

Signature of our Notary, in the Hague, June 3, 1621:
(Signed) J. MAGNUS

By order of their Mightiness the Lords the States-General:
(Signed) C. AERSSEN

(Having a seal of red wax and white silk cord.)

(Translated from Dutch text)

[9 June 1621]


The States-General of the United Netherlands to all who shall hear these presents read, Greeting:

Whereas we, after mature deliberation in Council, for the well-being of these provinces and the welfare of the inhabitants of the same, have caused to be established here in these Neth-erlands a Company to carry on trade and Commerce with the West Indies, Africa, and other places hereafter set forth, and have granted to the same many liberties, privileges and rights, to-gether with assurance of our particular aid and favour, as is more fully dwelt upon in the Letters of Charter given by us;

We, therefore, for the better furtherance of the same, have prohibited and forbidden, as we now hereby prohibit and forbid any natives or inhabitants of this country, as well as natives or inhabitants of any other kingdom or country, to visit, traffic, or carry on, directly or indirectly, except in the name and on behalf of this United Company, any trade whatsoever for a period of twenty-four years, beginning the 1st July next, with the coasts and countries of Africa, from he Tropic of Cancer to the Cape of Good Hope, and with the countries of America, beginning with the south end of Terra Nova, through the Straits of Magellan, Le Maire, or other straits and channels lying thereabouts, to the Straits of Anjan, either in the North Sea or the South Sea, and with any islands on either side or lying in between, together also with Australian and southern countries extending and lying between both meridians, and reaching from the Cape of Good Hope in the east to the east end of New Guinea, inclusive, in the west.

Desiring and ordering that all other natives and inhabitants who shall act in a contrary manner, or who shall be found to have so done, shall forfeit their vessels and merchandise, which shall immediately be seized and held at the disposal of the aforesaid Company.

And in case such vessels and goods should thereafter be sold or brought to other coun-tries or harbours, we have ordained and decreed, and do hereby ordain and decree, that the own-ers thereof, and the shareholders therein, living in this country or having property here, shall be answerable for the value of the same and liable to be sued therefor, excepting only those who, by the aforesaid Charter, have permission to sail for salt, in pursuance of a Regulation framed for that purpose, or those who shall have departed from this or other countries before the present date and the 1st July next in order to trade within the limits of the aforesaid Charter, to whom, in order that they perform their business and return to this country in freedom and safety, we have granted a period of one whole year, commencing with the aforesaid 1st July next. That also, at the earliest opportunity, steps shall be taken to make and appoint Directors, in pursuance of our Resolutions passed for that purpose, of which all persons living in this country, and all other Princes, Potentates, and Republicans shall be informed by public notices, in order that within a period of five months from the aforesaid 1st July they may come to the said Company and sign for such sins if money as they shall think fit to place in the same, at the same time applying for such information as has been ordered to be given them respecting the advantages and privileges of the aforesaid Company. And that, thereupon, there shall be elected, made, and appointed from the fittest, most experienced, and largest shareholders, the Directors of the aforesaid Company, in conformity with the aforesaid Charter. And, for we desire that all the aforesaid shall continue firm and binding, and be maintained and observed in the law as well as outside it, we have requested the States and Stadholders of the respective Provinces of Gelderland, Zutphen, Holland, and West Vriesland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Vriesland, Over-Yssel, and of Groningen and Ommelanden, together with their Councillors or Deputies, as well as the Chancellor, President and Officers of Justice of the aforesaid lands, and further charged and ordained, as we hereby charge and ordain, all Boards of Admiralty, all Admirals, Commandants, Colonels, Majors, and Captains on sea and on land: as also all Justiciaries and Officers, so to keep and enforce this, and to conform thereto in laying down the law, without any abatement. And in order that no one may pretend ignorance hereof, we request an command all authorities, Magistrates, Officers, and Justiciaries within these United Netherlands, whom it may in any way concern, to make known these presents on all sides by Proclamation and publication wherever Proclamation and publication is wont to be made: since we have found that the same is for the welfare of the country and the good inhabitants thereof. This done and enacted in the Assembly of the States-General, in the Hague, the 19th June, in the year of our Lord 1621.


By order of the States-General
(Signed) C. AERSSEN

(Translated from Dutch text)

[21 July 1621]


Captain Juan de Lezama, Procurator-General of the City of Santo Thomé and Island of Trinidad of the Province of Guayana, says that in respect of the English pirate having entered into that city in the year 1618, and killed the Governor, and sacked the place, and left it in so much misery that the inhabitants are in no way able to defend themselves from the enemies with which all those coasts are very much infested, and having excited the natives of it, and caused them to rise in rebellion, and refuse to acknowledge the obedience which they had given to your Majesty, and allied themselves with the enemy, he entreated your Majesty might be pleased to command two forts to be built, and that men and necessary munitions should be sent for them, so that the (province) might be put in a proper state of defence.

And your Majesty was pleased to command that the Audienca of Santo Domingo and other persons should report upon it, and as it is notorious in this Royal Council how little defence that country has, and that the said enemy by means of it will be able to play the master, even to the new Kingdom of Granada, and His Majesty (who is now in heaven), by a "Cedula" of the 12th December of the past year, 1615, which is presented, commanded the Governor of Puerto Rico that whenever the Governor Diego Palomeque de Acuna should transmit the said "Cedula" he should forward from the said fortress of Puerto Rico seventy to eighty soldiers in charge of a competent officer, so that with them and the people of the place he might thence drive out the enemy, and that the men that might be sent should be paid out of the account of the subsidy.

And since it is ordered in a letter which your Majesty in like manner wrote to the said City of Santo Thomé on the 18th September, 1618, having received information of the entry of the enemy into it, that the Governors of Puerto Rico and Cumana are to be communicated with, and they have been commanded to assist it with men, and that the Governor of Puerto Rico is to send eight quintals of powder, two of gun-matches and four of lead, a copy of which is in like manner presented.

And the said letter was not received by the said city, and nothing whatever resulted therefrom; and seeing that it is now in greater necessity than then, as they are daily expecting the enemy, as he has arranged with the natives to return and sack the said city and fortify himself therein, it entreats your Majesty meanwhile, until the report be made as to whether the two forts already requested are to be built or not, to command the said Governor of Puerto Rico to send at once the eighty soldiers referred to, together with twenty more, which may bring the number of effective men up to 100, with arms and munitions, and those which your Majesty commanded to be brought to the said city from the before-mentioned fortress, the expenses of which were to be defrayed according to what was set forth in said "Cedula," in order that they may now defend this land, and that the natives in rebellion may be reduced and thereby brought to recognize your Majesty, for their want will not be felt in Puerto Rico, as that place is well fortified. In which it will deem itself favoured.

(Signed) Captain JUAN DE LEZAMA,
Procurator of Santo Tome and Island of Trinidad.

J.R. De Contreras, Secretary.
"Cedula" to the Governor directing him to carry out what has been ordered in the matter.

Council of 21st July, 1621

[9 August 1621]


To my Governor and Captain-General of the City of Santo Thomé de la Guayana.

In a despatch from Juan de Lezama, Procurator of the city, an account of the miserable condition in which the English enemy left that city in the year 1618 has been supplied to me, and it is stated that those coasts are very much infested [by the enemy]; and that the natives have thrown off the obedience which they had given me, allying themselves with the enemy.

And for its defence it is requested that two forts be built, and that the necessary men and munitions be supplied. And it is commanded that the Audienca of Santo Domingo and other persons report upon it, and by a "Cedula" of the 12th December, 1615, of the King, my father, who is in glory, the Governor of Puerto Rico was commanded, at the time that Diego Palomeque de Acuna was Governor of that city, that when he transmitted the said "Cedula" to him, he should send him from seventy to eight soldiers, in order that with them and the people of the place he might dislodge the enemy from there, and that the expenses of the said men that might be sent should be paid from the account of the subsidy.

And by a letter which was written to the city on the 18th September, 1618, after infor-mation had been received of the entry of the enemy, orders were given to correspond with the Governors of Puerto Rico and Cumana, who were ordered to send it help, and the Governor of Puerto Rico would send 8 cwt. of powder, forty muskets and arquebuses with their appendages, and 2 cwt. of gun-matches and 4 of lead, but this letter was not received by the city, nor were the above arrangements carried out, and today there is more necessity that then for every care, as they are daily expecting the enemy.

It entreats me in the meantime, until the report concerning the two forts be made, to command the said Governor of Puerto Rico to send at once the eighty soldiers with the addition of twenty more that would bring the number up to 100 with their arms and munitions with those that are ordered to be sent from that garrison, the expenses of which are to be paid in the manner indicated in the said "Cedula," for the defence of the city, and to reduce the rebellious natives; and it having been deliberated upon in my Royal Council of the Indies I Have agreed to give these presents, by which I command you to observe what had been ordered and commanded in this matter, as such is my pleasure.

Madrid, August 9, 1621.
(Signed) I, THE KING

By command of the King our Sovereign,
(Signed) Pedro De Ledesma.

To the Governor of the City of Santo Thomé de la Guyana.
He is to observe and fulfil what is commanded in reference to what is contained in this "Cedula."

[? 1621: Without date, but evidently closely connected with the next document.]


The City of Santo Thomé and Island of Trinidad, of the Province of Guayana and "Do-rado," represents that in the month of January 1618 Walter Raleigh, an English pirate, with ten ships and launches, ascended the River Orinoco to the said City of Santo Thomé, 40 leagues from the sea, and disembarked 500 men about a leagues from it, and the ships went up to its port.

And the Governor, Diego Palomeque, who with all diligence put it in a state of defence with the few soldiers he had, attacked him with very great courage. And there being nothing else to be done, he engaged him at 11 at night in order to defend the city, seeing himself in want of men, artillery and forces, they being very few, and the two forces began slaughtering each other, and the enemy remained in possession of the place for twenty-nine days, during which time he succeeded in attracting to himself the peaceful Guayana Indians nearest to the town, who at once rose in rebellion, doing much damage, in order to favour the enemy.

Captain Juan de Lezama remained governing as Alcalde ordinary, who, by all the means he could, tried to prevent the natives from communicating with the enemy. And he collected and closely united sixty and more Indians, with their arms, to who he explained how important it was to the service of your Majesty to drive the enemy out of the country. And that for the future there would be help and great defence. And with them and twenty-four soldiers, after twenty-six days, he attacked the enemy in the town from different points from midnight to daylight, and he killed many of their people. And having met the Indians with the enemy, they discovered to him all that he wished to learn of those in the interior. And on another day following, when a launch and small boat of theirs went to the plantations on the other side of the river, the said Captain and six soldiers, with thirteen or fourteen Indians, drew them into an ambush, and there killed fourteen English, on account of which they soon embarked, leaving the city, church, and monasteries burned to their foundations, and carrying away all there was in it, and having excited and raised all the native Indians in rebellion, at their pleasure, who dwell on the sea-coast, Aruacas, Chaguanes, and Caribs of that province, who renounced obedience to your Majesty.

The city was again begun to be rebuilt in the place where it was before, and on account of the straits in which it was, it was ordered that the said Captain Juan de Lezama should go to the Audiencia of the new Kingdom of Granada for the purpose of giving an account of the event, and request that the help of some soldiers should be sent for its defence. And this having been done, it was provided that, in regard to the soldiers, they should refer the matter to your Majesty, in your Royal Council of the Indies. And the Governor, Don Fernando de Berrio, was ordered to go to his Government, and on his arrival at the coast with forty-four soldiers he dispatched forty of them in the year 1619 to the Province of the Aruacas, which the enemy kept and keeps in rebellion on the sea-coast, to reduce them to their former obedience to your Majesty. Among these Indians there were six of the enemy's ships, trading and negotiating with them, and doing all in their power to dissuade them from acknowledging your Majesty's jurisdiction, and urging them to kill all the Spaniards of the town, for a mighty fleet would be sent by them to settle and fortify themselves therein.

There were five soldiers of the forty killed in the encounter they had with the Indians; and the enemy carried off to England one named Alonzo de Montes, who has come to this Court, and gives an account of all the designs of the enemy; and that they were only awaiting the end of the truce to return to the city and devastate it and fortify themselves therein, which ought not to be allowed.

It is now nine months since Captain Juan de Lezama informed the Council, and made a report on the matter, and begged that for its remedy 150 soldiers might be sent for its garrison; and that they should be drawn from the garrisons of Puerto Rico, the Havannah, Carthagena, and Santo Domingo, for thereby the city could be put in a state of defence at less cost, for in those places referred to they would not be missed, as they are fortified, and have places from where assistance may be quickly brought to them; and this has nowhere to look for help, on account of being so far distant from settled provinces, the nearest being Venezuela, distant 120 leagues.

And to put this city in a state of defence, and the interior of all those discovered prov-inces, it would greatly conduce to the service of your Majesty to built two castles in two places which are well adapted therefor; the first at a narrow part of the river 2 leagues from the city and the frontier of it, the second on an island in the middle of the river, which would prevent the en-emy from returning to plunder it, and would impede his passage, and prevent him from settling and fortifying himself, and ruling in all those provinces, to the new Kingdom of Granada and Government of Venezuela, by ascending the River Orinoco and the navigable rivers which flow into it, for he promised the natives he would return to it, and sounded the river for 100 leagues up, and made inquiries in regard to the navigation in the direction of those provinces and of Do-rado.

The Council has instructed the Governors of Santo Thomé, Cumana, Venezuela, Santo Domingo, Carthagena, Puerto Rico, and the Havannah to report on their resources and garrisons, so that there will be a long delay until they report, while it is important to provide a remedy and defence without loss of time; for if it is not done the enemy will be able to carry out his inten-tions without any risk, and when the native Indians, who are today obedient, see the little help and remedy given, they will say that they have been deceived, and that what was promised in the name of your Majesty by Captain Juan de Lezama was not carried out, as they said before he left the city for this Court, and having seen that he really did leave, they waited in confidence, and now knowing that his arrival has produced no effect, and that the rebellious Indians, their com-panions, have not been reduced, they, too, will rise and unite with the enemy on the first occa-sion, and will take possession of the city and the wives and children of those residents who died in its defence; and in case it be decided still to wait until some of the Governors of those parts report, there are in this Court those who have governed the Island of Margarita, Puerto Rico, and Carthagena, who, being great soldiers, and possessing much knowledge and information in re-gard to that region, will be able to do so if commanded by your Majesty.

The said Captain has already informed the Council that there will be great delay in awaiting the reports of the absent Governors in order to arrive at a decision on this matter, on account of the great distance, for the Governor of the Havannah is 800 leagues distant by sea, and some others 300 and 400, and some without any information of that country, and without means of getting any; and he submitted that, in view of these difficulties, it would be well to send Captain Martin de Vadillo, Chief of the galleys that were going to Carthagena, as a person entirely trustworthy, ordering him to put in at the City of Santo Thomé, for it was all in the same course, and examine the condition of it, and report thereon, and that from his opinion a Resolu-tion should be taken; and the Council ordered that he should report with the other Governors, and thus the delay is not remedied, and the harm will be caused that may be imagined.

At the same time, he called that attention of the Council to a "Cedula" of His late Maj-esty, forwarded to the Governor, Diego Palomeque, ordering the Governor of Puerto Rico to send to that province eighty soldiers of the garrison, the expenses thereof to be defrayed from the account of salary, for the purpose of scouring those coasts and clearing out the enemy therefrom, and without there being so much necessity for so doing as at present, and to a despatch which he wrote to the City of Santo Thomé, advising how the Governors of Puerto Rico and Cumana were ordered that the soldiers who might be requested for the help of the city should be given, which remained without effect; and that it was in a worse condition today than ever, as it had been robbed and pillaged, and was without artillery or soldiers, and the residents in great misery; and the enemy have now full knowledge of the navigation of the river, its entrances and outlets, and the Indians are in their power, whom they have made to rebel.

They entreat that the 80 soldiers be increased to 100, and that they be left for the guard and defence of the City of Santo Thomé until such time as it be determined whether a fort is to be established since it will not increase the expense to your Majesty, and that eight pieces of bronze and cast-iron artillery should be sent, with artillerymen.

The Council ordered that the Royal "Cedula" dispatched to the Governor of Puerto Rico should be carried out, but although the application has been renewed, no decision has yet been arrived at.

It may be held as certain that the enemy will be able to fortify themselves in this city or near it on account of the great delay, with the favour of the Indians, in such a manner that it will not be possible to defeat them or remedy that matter otherwise than with great expense to your Majesty.

In the meantime, they will invest all the ports and cities of those coasts, such as the Is-lands of Trinidad and Margarita, Cumana, Cumanagoto, Venezuela, Rio de la Hacha, Santa Mar-tha, Carthagena, Puerto Rico, Santo Domingo, and other places, as they are situated to the wind-ward of all of them, and they will interfere with their ships and the ships coming to these parts; and it will be necessary and very advisable to secure them, by fortifying the places that are not fortified, and this will cause very great expense to your Majesty. Moreover, the enemy will come to an understanding with all the multitude of the Carib nation, which dwells in those islands to the windward, such as those of Tobago, Granada, Matalino, and Dominica, and many more be-sides, and the sea-coast to the River Maranon, uniting with all the Caribs, natives of them, who are the great pirates and freebooters and cannibals of all those coasts, and both one and the other will cause great injury in the said cities and their ports.

With the help that is requested, a great number of natives in the said provinces of Guayana would be restored; and, in the contrary case, there would be no means of bringing them to a knowledge of the holy Catholic faith; and numbers of Spanish villages would remain unpeo-pled where there are very rich agricultural lands for cultivation and also for cattle breeding, with many other products, and a great quantity of gold in places, which would be extracted if they were settled; and the discovery of the Province of Dorado, so much desired, would not take place, as the way thereto is nearer and surer for it through the said Province of Guayana, con-cerning which there are new reports, which the Indians of the Penoles have furnished, a province which is near the said Dorado, according to a letter in the possession of Captain Juan de Lezama, from the City of Santo Thomé, and the Governor, Don Fernando de Berrio, to whom is confided the said discovery and settlement, cannot carry it out until has placed the city in a state of de-fence, so as not to leave it in danger, for a single ship of the enemy is enough to rob and ruin it, and as he must take as many soldiers as possible in his company for the discovery, in which he himself, his father, Governor Antonio de Berrio, and his uncle, the Adelantado Don Goncalo Ximenez de Quesada, have spent more than 300,000 ducats, and the expense incurred will have been without result, and the native Indians that have been converted to the Christian faith will go over to the enemy, becoming heretics and continuing their old bad ways, and all those souls will be dammed which might be saved by the Royal protection of your Majesty.

It will be very important to your Majesty's service that the Council of War examine this request for help which is petitioned for and implored, together with the papers that have been presented, dispatched, and forwarded by the Audiencia of the new Kingdom of Granada and from the City of Santo Thomé, with a map of the River Orinoco and its navigation, and where the forts referred to may be built. And in case it be still considered well to await the Governors' Report before establishing the fort, assistance ought to be sent in the meantime by dispatching 100 soldiers from Puerto Rico, whose expenses might be defrayed from the account of salary, or they might be sent from the Audiencia of the new Kingdom of Granada, sending from these parts eight pieces of artillery with artillerymen, so that the enemy may fear him who defends the entrance which he desires to pass, covetous of the gold there is in these provinces which he has discovered, and carrying away with him barrels full of earth to England, from which they have taken very rich specimens.

This city implores your Majesty very humbly to protect and help it, for it is of the great-est importance to your Majesty's service that, in accordance with its Petition, the two forts be built, and artillery and men supplied; to reduce the expense, the second fort will be taken in charge by the city, garrisoning it with people from its community, supplying the ordinary ex-penses and the ammunition, and placing it in defence; and if the inhabitants are in a position to do so they will take charge of both, in order the better to serve your Majesty, being loyal sub-jects.

And they beg your Majesty to be pleased to arrive at the decision which seems best to your Majesty without delay, etc.

(Archivo de Indias, Seville)


(1) Captain Juan de Lezama to the King.


Captain Juan de Lezama, Procurator-General of the Province of Guayana, says that it has come to his knowledge that some of the things, which, in the name of the said province, he has requested, have already been provided for by your Majesty, as a "Cedula" was given to the Governor Diego Palomeque de Acuna, in which the Governor of Puerto Rico was commanded to help him with eighty soldiers of the garrison on all occasions when there might be necessity of them, and your Majesty ordered a letter to be dispatched to the City of Santo Thomé de la Guayana in reply to the report that was made of the loss of that city and the death of the said Governor Palomeque, and of the great necessity in which it remained. The which said despatches did not reach the said city, and remained without effect. He entreats your Majesty, therefore, to order that, for the purpose of presenting them in this Royal Council, he may be granted copies of the said "Cedulas," and letter from the books of the Secretary's office; in which an obligation will be conferred on him.


(2) Minute by Fiscal

The Fiscal agrees they may be given him.

The Fiscal says it is granted by summons in Madrid on the 9th July, 1621.


(3) Copies of Cedula given to De Lezama.

(a) Cedula issued by the King of Spain, 12 December 1615 [Document No. 28 above].

(b) Cedula issued by the King of Spain, 18 September 1618 [Document No. 29 above].

(c) Cedula issued by the King of Spain, 9 August 1621 [Document No. 33 above].


(4) Further Letter of Juan de Lezama to the King of Spain, 21 July 1621 [Document No. 32 above]

[6 July 1622]

The report begins:

Madrid, July 6, 1622.

"Your Majesty has been pleased at various times to transmit to the Privy Council, with very special instructions under your Royal hand, several "Consultas" from the Councils of War and Portugal, and papers from various persons, some in reference to the great necessity of de-priving the Dutch of the commerce of these kingdoms, from every part, and others treating of the necessity and convenience of allowing them tacitly some participation in it, for the reasons ad-duced in the said papers, sent here from the Department of the Secretary of State. All these have been carefully and long considered by the Council, and the following was the result and vote of the meeting:"

Here follow the various opinions of the members of the Privy Council. These all concur in the Resolution adopted, namely, that every effort should be made on the part of Spain to de-prive the Dutch of their trade and commerce with the Spanish Empire and its colonial posses-sions; further, these opinions are unanimous in acknowledging the supremacy of the Dutch in America, but very particularly so in the West Indies and on the coasts of Guayana and Cumaná. The annexed extracts, taken from the Report of the Privy Council, will sufficiently establish the same: -

The Duke del Infantado "is well convinced that the greatest injury that can be inflicted on the Dutch is to deprive them absolutely and totally of their commerce." Here follow certain measures proposed by the Duke to affect that object; and he adds that "the principal merchants in Holland are Portuguese, who have entered into contracts with them (i.e., the Dutch) and lately supplied them with money." And he concludes by recommending that "the severe and repressive measures that were in force in 1602 to 1606 should be renewed."

Don Pedro de Toledo fully concurred in the views expressed by the Duke del Infantado, and stated that "he considered this matter an affair of the very highest importance for Spain;" and he acknowledges that "we have lost the salt pits of Araya on the coast of Cumaná;" and he further declares that "the English are united with the Dutch in the West Indies;" and in the proposals brought forward by him he avows that not only is the whole of the trade in the West Indies in the hands of the Dutch, but that they are masters of all the ports there; and concludes with the remark that "it is no easy matter to deprive them of all they possess, for all that can now be done in that respect."

Don Augustin Mexia observed that "since the conclusion of the Treaty of the Truce all the information received from those secret agents (i.e., in Holland), and even from La Señora Infanta, and from all those in Flanders, confirm the great necessity existing of taking effective measures to destroy the Dutch trade. But in his opinion, from the position in which we now find ourselves, that is by no means an easy matter to do, for they have it now so well secured and as-sured, particularly in that branch they are most concerned in at present, namely, salt, for they have it in Araya, and that coast well secure." And among the measures proposed to carry out the object referred to in the Report, Don Pedro de Toledo is of opinion that it would be more effec-tual to attack them at home, "for they are already so well introduced in the West Indies, and are daily increasing their limits in all those parts; and however much they may be deprived of the Spanish trade at home, it will in no way prevent them from frequenting those places, where they now have an important trade."

The Marquis de Aytona is in full accord with the other Privy Councillors; and ads that, "as the whole commerce belongs to Spain and her Empire, it is all the more necessary that it should be taken from the Dutch, as Spain is suffering very much owing to its loss."

The Duke de Montelon observes that "all the trouble and expense of the war in Flanders will be lost if the trade be not taken from the Dutch rebels;" and, among other things, he is of opinion that "the repressive measures that were taken in the years referred to by the Duke de In-fantado should be put in force immediately."

The Marquis de Montesclaros says that "it is absolutely and essentially necessary that the Dutch should be deprived of all trade and commerce with every part of the kingdoms and possessions of the Crown of Spain." And he further observes that "it is chiefly owing to this commerce that all the conquests and Treaties with the natives in the West Indies have been made by them (i.e., the Dutch), and that can certify that during only five years that the truces with Hol-land existed more enemies, and with greater forces, have entered and spread themselves over all parts of those seas, united with the natives of the islands and coasts of terra firma than in fifty years previously, and during that time they have gained and settled large territories in the north, Virginia, which they possess to-day, as also the Bermudas; and the coast of Araya, together with what they there possess; these three territories form a triangle, very prejudicial to the going and returning of your Majesty's 'Armadas' and fleets."

Here follow various propositions in respect of how the measures proposed were to be ef-fectually put in force; and also many references as to the necessity of immediate action; and to the various Treaties of Truce made with the "rebellious Dutch."

And Don Diego de Ibarra, in giving his vote, remarks that "it was very necessary to have heard and studied all those papers, with the Report that has been drawn up in reference to the various matters of which they treat, so that a fair general idea may be formed of them; but that, notwithstanding all they have heard, he is of opinion that each point treated of in those papers should be long and carefully deliberated on, so as to insure the best and most effective means being resolved on for carrying into effect the measures proposed; but considering that he feels he is of a contrary opinion to that they have been voting on, he would simply express his views, and what appeared to him best in regard to this affair. That unquestionably there was no measure that would be so beneficial against His Majesty's rebellious subjects as that of depriving them of their commerce, provided such could be done, as that was their great bulwark for the war they are car-rying on with His Majesty, and the great injuries, as has been represented they have caused in the Indies, which have been done during he time the truce existed; . . . . but that his impression is that another and a better means might be found of attacking them by us than by continuing the war and trying to deprive them of their commerce."

(Archivo General de Simancas)

[26 November 1622]


The States-General of the United Netherlands, to all who shall see or hear these presents read, Greeting:

Whereas, we, after mature deliberation in Council, did cause to be established here in these Netherlands some time ago, for the welfare of these provinces, a Company to carry on trade and commerce with the West Indies, Africa, and other places mentioned in our former Proclamations of the 9th June, 1621, and of the 10th June, 1622, prohibiting natives or inhabi-tants of these lands from navigating or negotiating within the said territories for a period of twenty-four years; and whereas we, persisting in the said Proclamations and prohibitions, have decided to renew the same:

We, therefore, have prohibited and forbidden, and do hereby prohibit and forbid, any natives or inhabitants of these lands, as well as any natives or inhabitants of any other kingdom or country, to sail or to trade, directly or indirectly, for the prescribed period of twenty-four years, within the aforesaid territories, except in the name and on behalf of the aforementioned Company, under the penalties laid down in the aforesaid Proclamations.

We also charge our Boards of Admiralty to allow no vessels to leave this country con-trary to these presents, without having them fully warned thereof, and of our injunction, so that they may not come to suffer any loss thereby. For it is our will and command that all natives and inhabitants who shall make bold to do the contrary, or shall be found to have done the same, shall forfeit their vessel and goods, which shall immediately be seized and held confiscate at the disposal of the aforesaid Company. And in case such vessels and goods should thereafter be sold or brought to other countries or harbours, we have ordained and decreed, and do hereby ordain and decree, that the owners thereof and the shareholders therein living in this country, or having property here, shall be answerable for the value of the same and liable to be sued therefore. And, for we desire that all the aforesaid shall continued firm and binding, and be maintained and ob-served in the law as well as outside it, we have requested the States and Stadholders of the re-spective Provinces of Gelderland and Zutphen, Holland and West Vriesland, Utrecht, Vriesland, Over-Yssel, and of Groningen and Ommelanden, together with their Councillor or Deputies, as well as the Chancellor, President, and Officers of Justice of the aforesaid lands, and further charged and ordained, as we hereby charge and ordain, all Boards of Admiralty, all Admirals, Commandants, Colonels, Majors and Captains, on sea and on land; as also all Justiciaries and Officers, so to keep and enforce this, and to conform thereto in laying down the law, without any abatement. And in order that no one may pretend ignorance hereof we request and command all authorizes, Magistrates, Officers, and Justiciaries within these United Netherlands, whom it may in any way concern, to make known these presents on all sides by proclamation and publication wherever proclamation and publication is wont to be made; since we have found that the same is for the welfare of the country and the good inhabitants thereof. Thus done and enacted in the Assembly of the States-General, in The Hague, this 26th day of November, in the year of our Lord, 1622.


By order of the States-General,
(Signed) C. AERSSEN
With an impression of the counter-seal of the States-General in red wax.

(Translated from the Dutch language)

[Last entry made on 9 September 1624]


As the Directors of the West India Company had resolved at entering on their admini-stration to send to visit the River Amazon and coast of Guiana, and having to that effect equipped a vessel named the "Pigeon," of 100 tons, commanded by Pieter Fredericss of Haarlem, they were begged by Jesse des Forest, who, with the permission of the States-General of the United Provinces, had enrolled several families desirous of inhabiting the said Indies, that they might be employed in the service of the said Company. But since the said Directors thought that instead of transporting the said families it would be better to send a certain number of heads of families in order, with the said Jesse des Forestes, to see the places and to choose themselves the place of their dwelling: there were chosen for that purpose. . . .

On Saturday, the 1st July, 1623, we embarked on the said vessel, the "Pigeon," to make the voyage to the Amazon.

On Friday, the 20th [October], at 6 o'clock in the morning, we weighed anchor, the wind being east and we running north-west. At noon we were in the latitude of 1 53". Two hours after we saw Cape North to west-north-west of us, a low and inundated land. We had spent thirty days since leaving Plymouth. We proceeded towards the coast which enters the Amazon, which runs south-south-west; the river has always 8, 7, or 5 fathoms of water. We saw towards the east the first island towards which we proceeded; being at its right we anchored about midway.

On Saturday, the 21st, we weighted anchor, hugging the coast of the island so closely that we could easily have thrown a stone upon it which made us pass along others, but not so close until having come to the right of the River [blank in the MS.] we crossed to the Island of Supno and proceeded towards the village. This village has three long houses built on high ground on the banks of the river. The Maraona Indians told us that the Spaniards were in the river, and that they had taken a Dutch vessel towards Sopanopoko, which made us follow them after having bartered for some provisions, but Pieter Janss ran aground upon a sand-bank, which is about two musket shots to the east of the village, which compelled us to anchor.

On Sunday Pieter Janss sent his long boat in the direction of Sapanopoko; at high tide we weighed anchor, but Pieter Janss immediately ran aground. . . .

On Saturday, the 16th [December, 1623], before the mouth of the Wyapoko.

On Sunday, the 17th, we anchored before Carippo in 3 fathoms.

On Monday, the 17th [sic, in reality the 18th December], we went into the River of Wanari with our long boat to see Henry Forster, an Englishman, who lived there with three ne-groes.

On Tuesday, we went from there to Commaribo, where we stayed the morrow.

On Thursday, the 21st, we returned to the ship.

On Friday, the 22nd, we were taken to see the falls of the River Wyapoko, with the long boat.

On Saturday, the 23rd, we entered the River Jiapoure to visit the dwellings of the Indi-ans, who brought us three pigs, a rabbit, and a partridge. All thought the place very good and suitable for planting a Colony. It is a flat and level site, raised 18 or 20 feet above the surround-ing marshes, and about half-a-league distant from the River Wyapoko. The part where the house are is bordered on one side by the River Jiapoure. . . .

On Sunday, the 24th, we went to the village of Weypoko, 6 leagues from Carippo; we found this village on a flat and rather high mountain; we also found there very good ground.

On Tuesday, the 26th, we reached the ship.

On Wednesday, the 27th, our master had the heads of families called one by one, asking them whether they had found a place to their liking. They replied that they had, and that they desired to come and live there with their families; there upon the master told them that he was instructed by the Directors to leave them there. . . .

The first day of the year 1624 our ship departed to return to Holland. . . . The 12th Au-gust we arrived at Soraname to go to Ezikebe.

On the 14th we arrived on the right of Berbice, where we sent the sloop to treat.

On the 15th we arrived at Demerary. The Coast after Soraname until near Coretine runs west and thence to Demerary N.W.

On the 16th our sloop went to Ezikebe to carry our master on board the Admiral to learn his wishes. . . .

The 22nd, our sloop having returned, our ship went to Ezikebe to fetch the remainder of the merchandise which the Admiral had left there.

On the 28th we returned from Ezikebe [word unintelligible] to Demerary. On the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd we discharged the Admiral from the ["Flying (?)] Drake" into the "Aigle Noir," which was to return home.

The 9th September we departed from Demerary, taking our course N.E. towards the Caribbean Islands.

Essequibo is situated on 7?N. of the line. This river is very wide at its mouth, and cred-ited with being even more than 10 leagues. The Indians believe that from it one can go to the Orinoco without entering the sea. It has its mouth divided into many channels, between which there are some large islands. The channel of the east coast runs S.W. between the continent and the islands, then it inclines S. for a space of 5 leagues, where it divides into two arms, and thence it runs S.W. for 2 leagues, when it at once divides. It is studded with islands, with many sand-banks, and even rocks near the fall. It is a river which a vessel has never entered without being grounded, for the sands there are so . . . . that you are touched before the lead warns you of it.

It is inhabited by Caribs and Aruakas. The Caribs inhabit the upper part of the river and the other the lower part. The Spaniards of San Thomé formerly traded there, but now they dare not go there. There is no place along the whole coast of Guiana where a larger quantity of oriane dye is to be found than there nor better. There is also fine letter-wood, but browner than at Ma-ruyne and Soraname. There is abundance of provisions, especially cassava and fruit. I have seen a Frenchman who lived there three years who showed me a piece of mountain crystal of the size of two fists, through which one could see the lineaments of the face of a man, so clear was it. He told me that he had taken it above the second fall of the river where there was a crystal mine, and that at the foot of the mountain where it was there were found some very large stones which the rush of the waters had torn away, with which one could load infinite canoes. He gave a part of the piece which he had to Gelein van Stabele, of Flushing.

To enter Eziquebe coming from Demerary one must run north-west until you have the east cape of the island, which is at the mouth west of you, in order to avoid the sands which are on the mainland, and thence you run towards the said island hugging it pretty closely, until hav-ing the extremity of it to the west of you, you run towards the east bank, passing through a chan-nel between some islands over a good depth of water as far as a cape formed by the mainland. From this cape you hug the continent very closely with a sandy bottom until you come to an is-land near the mainland on the eastern shore. . . .

(Translated from the Dutch language)

(The British Museum)

[October-December 1626]

October 8, 1626

The Burgomaster, Jan De Moor, and Messrs Godin and ten Haeff are deputed to commit to paper what fresh trading-places might be found within the limits of the Charter, and with which it is advisable for the Company to do business, in order that the Nineteen may pass Reso-lutions in accordance with their advice. . . .

November 26, 1626

The store-keepers are authorized to make up for the yacht "Arnemuyden" a cargo suit-able for the Amazon.

It is resolved to send twenty lads by the aforesaid yacht "Arnemuyden," and to land them in the Amazon, Wiapoco, or Isekepe, wherever the people of our Chamber should be found, in order to serve the Company there. And each of them shall be granted 2, 3, or 4 guilders per month according to their abilities. . . .

December 3, 1626

Confraters Boudaen, Courten, and the Burgomaster de Moor are authorized to draw up instructions concerning the manner in which the people for the Amazon or the rivers thereabouts are to be located. . . .

December 10, 1626

It is resolved to allow Jacob Canyn to come home from Isekepe in accordance with his request, and to fill up his place with another.

Also that the people applying to be placed upon some of the islands in the West Indies shall be transported without delay, to wit, a portion of those who are ready by the ship "Arne-muyden" that is to be dispatched as soon as possible, and the others by the vessels which are to depart under Lucifer's command at an early date.

The Burgomaster de Moor is authorized to make a formal agreement with the person of Claude Prevost, who offers to allow himself to be sent over with some people to the West Indies and that upon the conditions already laid before him. . . .

December 17, 1626

Johannes Beverlander is taken into the Company's service for three years to lie (trade) in the River of Isekepe, together with Jan Adriaenss van der Goes, and that for 21 guilders per month....

(Translated from the Dutch language)

[22 April 1627]

April 22, 1627

Messrs. Boudaen, Coorte, and De Moor rendered their report as to the colony petitioned for on the coast of West India in the River Berbice by Mr. Abraham van Peres, and in pursuance thereof a certain project, or contract, relating to this was presented, read, and its contents adopted.

(Translated from the Dutch language)

[July 1627]

July 1, 1627

Resolved, that the ship "Arent" shall go to the Amazon and the Wild Coast, in accor-dance with the instructions to be drawn up therefor. . . .

The Flushing members were authorized to buy four 4-pr. swivel-guns for the fort which Confrater van Pere intends to make in the River of Berbice on the Wild Coast.

July 5, 1627

Confraters Boudaen, Courten, and De Moor were deputed to treat with Mr. Abraham van Pere concerning his colony.

(Translated from the Dutch language)

[23 August 1627]

August 23, 1627

On the report of the above-named Commissioners, it was resolved to raise the wages of Jan van der Goes in Essequibo, after his first three years (for which he is bound to the Company), to 5 Flemish a-month, and to send the supplies asked by him as is set down in the request, to-gether with other necessaries, and to authorize him to retain five or six men out of the ship "Ar-ent," and that by next [ship] we shall send him thirty men, and caused a fort to be made. Mr. de Moor has undertaken to furnish all the aforesaid necessaries.

(Translated from the Dutch language)

[22 April 1627]

Conditions and Articles upon which the Directors of the West India Company in the Zeeland Chamber have accorded and granted to Abraham van Peres, that he carry men to the number of 40, and 20 youths - in all, 60 individuals - as settlers, over to the coast of the mainland (called the Wild Coast) of West Indies, in the River Berbice, situate at the latitude of 6 degrees north.


11. The aforesaid colonists shall be at liberty to build a fort in the aforesaid river, at such convenient place as they shall think fit, to carry on their trade with the natives of the land, to fell forests, sow, plant, seek minerals, and, in general, to do all other things which they shall judge good and profitable for their colony; also to explore other rivers lying near, and transfer them-selves thither if they should think to find better profit there.

12. But they shall not be at liberty to come into the River Essequibo, nor into any other rivers where the Company, whether of this or of other Chambers, has its colonists or folk, whether many or few in number.

(Translated from the Dutch language)

[April 1628]

The yacht "Armuyden" to be provisoned for ten months, and for three months for as many colonists as are to go with it. This ship shall go to the Amazon, Wiapoco, Kiana, and so onward to Essequibo, manned with thirty-five men. The said ship shall carry over all the neces-saries for the colonists.

The yacht "Westcappel," on which thirty men shall be placed, shall also be provisioned for ten months, and for the colonists three months; and it shall carry over the colonists and neces-saries for Abraham van Pere to the River Berbice, together with the goods for Essequibo.

April 13, 1628

Jan van Woerden, of Flushing, is engaged for 20 guilders a month to lie in the Amazon for the space of three years, on condition that he shall hunt up three others beside himself to trade there together. . . .

April 17, 1628

Jan Hendrikszen Benekelaer is engaged to lie on the Wild Coast, as assistant, for the space of three years, at 18 guilders a-month.

Also presented himself Burger Graeff, and was engaged to lie on the Wild Coast for the space of three years, as assistant, wherever he may be needed, at 12 guilders a-month.

(Translated from the Dutch language)


Liberties and exemptions accorded and granted by the chartered West India Company to private individuals who on the Wild Coast of Brazil or the islands lying there and thereabout shall plant any colonies and [introduce?] cattle.
[22 November 1628]

1. All shareholders in the aforesaid Company, who shall have the inclination to plant any colonies on the Wild Coast and the islands lying near and about the same, shall have the right to send thither, in the ships of this Company which go thither, three or four persons to inspect the situation there, on condition that they, together with the officers and ship-folk, swear to the arti-cles in so far as these concern them, and that they pay for table-board and passage, both going and coming, 6 stivers per day, and those who may wish to take their meals in the cabin 12 stivers, and that they agree to carry arms in case of offence or defence in the same way as the other ship-folk, and if any ships are captured, they shall also receive their share pro rata together with the ship-folk, each according to his rank.

2. And if it should happen that more persons applied than the Company's ship or ships could conveniently accommodate, in that case preference will be given to those persons who shall have been the first to signify to the Company their request that they be carried over.

3. All those persons who to any Chamber in this county, or to the Commander and Council established yonder by the Company, shall signify their intention of planting on any river on the Wild Coast, or the islands thereabout, a Colony of sixty persons, shall be regarded as pa-trons of such colony, and shall obtain the privileges and immunities specified hereafter.

4. From the first moment that they shall have designated the place where they intend to plant their Colony, they shall have preference over all others to the [usage] and possession of such lands as they shall have selected there (but, if that place afterwards does not suit them, or if they were deceived in the selection of the ground, they shall be allowed to choose another local-ity upon addressing a Petition to the Commander and the Council there, or to the Company here at home), on condition that, on having come home to this country, they shall be required to send out thither one-third of the sixty persons within one year, and within the next three years thereaf-ter the full number, to be shipped from here, on penalty of losing the acquired privileges in case of evident neglect.

5. The Colony being planted, no other shall have the right to approach it within 7 or 8 [Dutch] miles, unless the condition of the land thereabout were such that the Commander and Council for good reasons ordain otherwise, who shall also decide and remove such questions as may arise concerning the limits; and the Colony which comes first to each river or island shall have the command on that river or island, under the supreme direction of the Commander and Council of that region, on condition that the Colonies which come later to that river or island shall have the right to appoint beside him one or more Councillors, in order jointly to care for the interests of the Colonies on that river or island.

6. And all the land lying within the aforesaid limits, with all that grows upon the surface, as well as the minerals, rivers, and springs thereof, they shall for ever possess as an everlasting hereditary fief, with the right of intermediate and inferior jurisdiction, taxes, tithes, fisheries, and mills, to the exclusion of all other persons; and, when death transfers it to other hands, seignorial dues shall be paid to this Company to the amount of 20 florins per Colony, each to pay to the Chamber at the place where he originally set sail.

7. Furthermore, all patrons who request this shall be granted venia testandi, or authoriza-tion to dispose by testament of the aforesaid fiefs.

8. The patrons shall also be at liberty to use for their own profit all the lands, rivers, and forests lying near, until such time as these become the property of the same or other patrons or of private individuals.

9. Those who send out these Colonies shall provide them with appropriate instructions, that they may be governed and ruled according to the form of government, both administrative and judicial, framed, or to be framed, by the Directors in session of the Board of Nineteen; which instructions they shall first submit to the Directors of the respective Chambers.

10. The patrons and colonists shall have the right to send all their folk and goods thither in the Company's ships, on condition that they take the oath and pay to the Company for trans-portation of the folk as in Article 1, and for freight of the goods one-tenth of what those goods have cost them, to be paid from the first return-cargoes that shall arrive here for them - herein not being included, however, the horses and cattle and other tools used for agriculture, which the Company shall carry over gratis when there is room in its ships, on condition that the patrons fit out at their expense the place therefor, and that they furnish everything needed for the sustenance of the animals; all this to hold good for the first six years, after expiration of which years such rules shall be set for carrying over the goods and all other necessaries as reason and circumstances shall then demand.

11. But, if it should not be convenient to the Company to send ships, or if there should be no place in the ships which go, in such case the patrons first having communicated their inten-tion to this Company, and having received the Company's written consent thereto, shall be al-lowed to send themselves ships or yachts thither, on condition that neither in going nor in coming shall they be allowed to run outside of their usual course, and that they give security therefor to the Company, and that they take on board an assistant, his table-board to be at the expense of the patrons and his wages to be paid by the Company; on penalty, in case of contravention, of losing all their acquired right and claim to ownership of the Colony.

12. All patrons of the Colonies in the rivers or on the islands shall be allowed, with yachts, barques, or sloops, to navigate and trade on the whole Wild Coast from the Amazon to the Orinoco, inclusive, and all the islands adjacent thereto, on condition that with the goods they have acquired by trade they first, if the winds and currents allow, put in at the chief Colony, or seat of Government, which the Company shall establish there, in order that, a proper inventory having been made, they be sent from there to the Fatherland; exception, however, being made for all victuals which they may have bought up for the sustenance of their Colonies - these they shall be at liberty to transport direct to their respective Colonies.

13. And if, in going out or coming home or in navigating the coast and islands aforesaid, they should come to capture any prizes, they shall be required to bring them or to have them brought to the Chamber at the place whence they sailed out, in order to receive from the Com-pany the prize-money; and the Company shall retain one third part thereof, the other two-third parts remaining theirs in return for their expenses and risk, all subject to the rules of the Com-pany.

14. The colonists shall hand over to the Company at a fair price the commodities they shall have gained by cultivation or trade; or, if they should not find this advisable, they shall be allowed to send them home in the Company's ships to their patrons or their agents, on condition they pay for freight of cotton 6 fl. per cwt., and for such other wares as are worth more than 50 fl. per cwt. 2 fl., for each 100 , and for goods shipped by the ton, namely, salt (ten double-tons per 100) and wood (counting 4,000 as a double-ton), 18 fl. per double-ton, it being understood that the ship-folk of the Company are required to remove the salt and put it on board.

15. The Company promises that for the ten years, beginning on the 1st January, 1628, it will not burden the colonists of the patrons with convoy, toll, excise, duties, or any other dues, and, after the expiration of ten years, at most with such convoy as is at present placed upon the goods here at home.

16. Also, that it will not induce any colonists of the patrons, husband, wife son, daugh-ter, man-servant, or maid-servant to leave their service; and that, even if any should desire to do so, it will not engage them; much less will it suffer them to desert from their patrons into some-body else's service, except upon a written permit form their patrons; this for the duration of such years as they are bound to their patrons by contract, after the expiration of which the patrons shall be at liberty to transport hither the colonists who do not want to continue in their service, and to release them only them. And when any colonist deserts to another patron, or runs away in violation of his contract, we promise, to the measure of our ability, to have him delivered into the hands of his patron or agent, in order that he be there proceeded against according to the circum-stances of the case and the law of the land.

17. From all judicial sentences pronounced by the patrons for sums about 50 fl., there shall be an appeal to the Company's Commander and Councillors there.

18. And as regards private persons who for themselves, or [as regards] others who in the service of their masters here at home, in lesser numbers than the patrons, shall go to live there as free people, they are allowed to choose and occupy, upon approval of the Directeur and Council there, as much land as they shall be able conveniently to work, and to retain it in full possession for themselves or their masters, on condition of paying seignorial dues of 10 stivers per acre.

19. They shall also have the right to catch all game and to fish in the district of their dwelling-place, subject to the orders of the Director and Council.

20. Whosoever, be it colonists of the patrons for their patrons, or free people for them-selves, or other private persons for their masters, finds a suitable locality for making salt-pans, is at liberty to occupy the same, and to work it in full ownership, to the exclusion of all others.

21. And if any one of these colonists by his exertions and application should come to discover any minerals, precious stones, crystals, marble, or anything or that sort, or any pearl fisheries, these shall remain the property of the patron or patrons of that Colony, on condition that to the finder there be assigned a premium such as the patron shall beforehand agree upon by contract with his colonists; and the patrons shall for the time of eight years be free from all fee to the Company, paying only for transportation 2 per cent, and after the aforesaid eight years for fee and freight one-eight part of the value here at home.

22. The patrons and colonists shall also take especial pains to find among themselves at the earliest date some resources wherewith to maintain a preacher and schoolmaster, in order that divine worship and religious zeal may not lose vigour in them, and in the meantime they shall send thither a comforter of the sick.

23. The Colonies, which in course of time shall be situated on the respective rivers or is-lands, shall have the right, namely, each river or island for itself, to designate one deputy, who shall report to the Commander and Council of that region, and shall further in the Council the interests of his colonists; of these deputies every two years one-half shall be replaced, and all the Colonies shall be required to send to the Commander and Council there, at least once in every twelve months, a pertinent report concerning their Colonies and adjacent lands.

24. The colonists shall not be at liberty to make there any cloth of wool, linen, or cotton, or to weave any other stuffs on penalty of being expelled and punished as perjurers at the discre-tion of the Company.

25. Lastly, the Company shall take pains to furnish the colonists with as many negroes as shall be possible, on the conditions to be formulated, without, however, being holden or bound thereto further or longer than it shall be pleased so to do.

(Translated from the Dutch language)

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