THE TRINIDAD HISTORICAL SOCIETY.
Publication No. 15.
Notarial Record of the Founding of the Town of San Josephe de Oruna.
(Extracted 3rd October, 1592.)
Source :-Additional Mss. 36316. British Museum.
Published by courtesy of the Trustees of the British Museum.
Translated from the Spanish.
Notarial record of the proceedings in the Island of
Trenydad, opposite to the entrance of the River Orinoco
and the very rich provinces of Guayana, Dorado and Manoa,
provinces situated between the two Rivers Pauto and
Papamene ; the government of which was entrusted by the
King Our Lord, to Antonio de Verrio, Governor and Captain-
General of these said provinces.
On the 15thMay, 1592, before me, Roderigo Carranca,
escribano Domingo de Vera, Maestro de Campo, in
consequence of instructions from Antonio de Berrio, came to
this Island on the i5th May, 1592, and landed his soldiers
and munitions in the port with Captain AlvaroJorge, Captain
Juan Marquez as Sergento Mayor, Captain Phelipe de
Santiago, Captain Dias Diego de Azevedo and Juan de Mexia
de Prado as Alferez.
Domingo de Vera gave notice that they had come to
find a site suitable for a settlement at the instance of Antonio
de Berrio who had notified His Majesty reporting how
important is this settlement. He related the efforts of Antonio
de Berrio to explore El Dorado and his expenditure of a
hundred thousand pesos of good gold and that he had lost
more than eighty men in his last voyage down the Orinoco.
He found it necessary to take possession of this Island so
as to bring the light of the Faith to the Indians to obstruct
the French and English corsairs who have been refitting and
refreshing there for fourteen years, to prevent the capture of
Indians and their sale as slaves in Margarita, to prevent the
attacks of the Caribs from Dominica, Granada, Matalino
and other islands and the killing and eating of the Indians
in this Island.
In the name of the King and of Antonio de Berrio, he
thereupon took possession of the Island of Trenydad so as to
settle it as the port and principal base from which to enter
and settle El Dorado.
Albaro Jorge. Felipe de Santiago.
Diego Diaz de Acevedo. Juan Marquez.
Juan Mexia de Prado.
Domingo de Vera then made a wooden cross, forty feet
high and placed it with his own hands assisted by Fray
Domingo de Santa Agueda, friar of the Order of St. Francis,
chaplain of this expedition.
Domingo de Vera then swept his sword around, cutting
down the plants and declared the Island to be taken for the
King and that he would defend it against any challenger,
armed or unarmed.
The soldiers and everyone shouted biba el rey.
Furthermore the said Domingo de Vera, Maestro de
Campo, declared that he held the Indians in the Island
and for fifty leagues around for repartimiento among the
conquerors and settlers of the Island, according to the order
given by His Majesty, with the Islands of Granada, Dominica,
Matalino, 'Tavaco and all others that may be within the
said fifty leagues which are similarly taken into possession
in the name of the King, Our Lord, and of the said Governor,
Antonio de Berrio, in due form for his royal realm and estate.
After this, further to secure the Island, Domingo de Vera
at this port of Cumucurape in the Island of Trenidad had
before him two caciques, Maycay and Paraco and explained
to them through the interpreter Antonio Vicente, that he
had taken possession of this Island in the name of the King
and of the Governor and that he was going to settle in it
one or two or more towns of Spaniards, that the Indians
were now vassals of the King, Don Philip and they should
give obedience to him and should yield to the Holy Faith
and that the Spaniards would protect them against the Caribs.
The two Caciques replied that they wished to give
obedience to the King through the Governor and the Maestro
de Campo and to live in peace. At this Domingo de Vera
directed that each of the two Indians should be decorated
with a military sash which he said was the formal
acknowledgment of possession.
Juan Marquez, Antonio Vicente,
Sergento Mayor. Interpreter.
Pedro de Tejada.
Domingo de Vera then proceeded up the River Caroni,
having been told that the Indians were peaceful and that
there was open savana land. He came to the higher land
where he met the Cacique Goanagoanare and as this was
a suitable place, he spoke to the Indians who agreed readily
and Goanagoanare granted an area on the highlands where
the Spaniards could settle.
The authority for this settlement in Trinidad was given
by Antonio de Berrio in Margarita on the 8th April, 1592.
Domingo de Vera named this place SanJosephe de Oruna
and called upon all to testify that this place is called Caroni
by the Indians, that it is upon the highlands of the River
Caroni and has for boundaries on the East, a high hill bare
of trees, on the South, a flat vega of the river, on the West
rolling hilly land and on the North a high mountain with
Domingo de Vera marked out the site of the church
which he named Nuestra Santa Fe de la Concepcion ; here
Fray Domingo de Santa Agueda then said Mass. Domingo
then marked out the site of the Governor's house, the Cabildo
and the prison.
Domingo de Vera then named as :
Aaldes Ordinarios Captain Diego Diaz de Acevedo.
C aptain Alvaro Jorge.
Alguacil Mayor ..Jusefe Nunez Brito.
Phelipe de Santiago.
Jhoan Mexia de Prado.
Rigidores Jusefe Nunez Brito.
Alonso de Medina.
Procurado-General ...Antonio Pinto Leal.
Mayordomo ...Pedro de Tejada.
Mayordoma Santa Englesia ...Alvaro Cabellero.
Alcalde de la Santa ...Pero Garcia Balenciano.
Domingo de Vera then announced that he left the
repartimiento of the Indians to be settled by Antonio de
Berrio and warned those present that no one was to make
a slave of the Indians of Trinidad nor to give them arms for
which they would be liable to the penalty of death.