THE TRINIDAD HISTORICAL SOCIETY.
Publication No. 21.
Despatch from Pedro de Salazar to the King of Spain.
Source :-Additional Mss. 36316 ff. 151 et. seq. Published by
courtesy of the Trustees of the British Museum and of the
ArgonautPress (Discovcric of Guiana, byDr.V. T. Harlow).
loth July, 1595.
On the fourth of April there arrived at this Island of
Trinidad, Monsieur Raeles, Count of Cornualla and Captain
of the Guard of the Queen of England with four English
vessels of two to three hundred tons manned with infantry
and with four lanchas and some other boats and anchored
in thli port called Port-of-Spain where they put ashore
two Iudians of that Island whom they had brought from
England and two others from Cumana familiar with the
T:iese called together many of the native Indians of the
Island who that day came aboard the flag ship and from them
the General gleaned information of the state of affairs in the
said Iland ; Where the Spaniards were stationed, whether
they were well treated by the Governor, what arms and
ammunition they had, what means they had of defending
the Island, how far the place was from that port and what
defensive works they had made upon the road.
When the Governor, Antonio de Berrio learnt of these
things and saw the friendship that had been formed with
the Indians within so short a time he considered that the
occasion demanded caution and sent his nephew Don Rodrigo
de la Hoz who with eight soldiers and 25 Indians went to
reconnoitre in order to discover what people they were who
had anchored in the port.
When the said John Rodrigo arrived at the shore there
presently came from the flag ship a boat with a white flag
of truce and informed them that they had not come with
the intention of doing harm but only in search of refreshing
and that he and his party might safely come into the boat
and go to see their General. Under this promise he embarked
withfoar soldiers and proceeded to the flag ship while the
remainder of the party remained on shore receiving what
had been brought in the boat.
When the said Governor failed to receive tidings of any
kind from his nephew he sent eight more soldiers who on
reaching the shore were invited to go on board the vessels
to amuse themselves and drink each others health. As they
were all good comrades they declined, so there on land
food and drink were produced and they being all as I have
described and it now being late the Governor sent other two
soldiers by the road which their companions had taken.
Then came another boat from the flagship which joined
the other and at a signal from the flagship the four soldiers
with Berrio's nephew and also the fourteen who were busy
eating, were stabbed with poinards and halberds.
Thus they were killed without being able to help or
defend each other. Presently there landed from the fleet
about one hundred and twenty men and that night
accompanied by native Indians and guided by those they
had brought from England they set out by the land road
in the direction of the place where the Governor Berrio was
about three leagues distant; and without the slightest
warning they fell upon the place at daybreak and slaughtered
all the Spaniards that they could lay their hands upon.
They captured the said Governor Berrio and one of
his Captains called Alvaro Jorge, and did not spare one
Spaniard on whom they could lay hands.
There escaped from this affray sixteen Spanish soldiers
and some women who hid themselves in the forest, also a
Franciscan friar, chaplain to the said Berrio. Some of these
found their way to the port of La Brea where there are friendly
Indians and from that place they came to this Island of
Margarita in a canoe.
On the 12th April the said maltreated Spaniards reached
this Island whereupon without loss of time the said Governor
Salazar manned a canoe with 20 Indian paddlers a leader
and six soldiers in order to discover the truth as to what
had occurred and as to the designs of the enemy. The one
Island is but distant 24 hours journey from the other and this
boat by order of the Governor proceeded to the Island of
Trinidad and had conversation with the friendly Indiars
and tried to find out where the Franciscan monk and the
various Spaniards and women were hidden.
The Indians confirmed the news as true ; sending them
to this Island and informing himself of what had taken
place he reported that the enemy with their ships and lanchas
had gone off in the direction of the port at the Punto del Gallo
where they were very busy felling many trees and making
defences and a fort and they had brought three pieces of
artillery, and that they said they had come to liberate all
the natives who must acknowledge the Queen of England
as their Sovereign Lady in evidence of which they had fixed
a very high pole bearing the arms of the said Queen.
On the 8th May the said Governor Salazar had information
from this said canoe which had arrived that the General had
treated the Governor Berrio very well, entertaining him with
banquets and persuading him to divulge the letters which
he had written to His Majesty saying that copies of them
had been taken among his papers describing the journey
and the riches of Guayana, because Her Majesty the Queen
wished to conquer the same and she would be disappointed
if he did not do it.
On the 15th May the said Governor Salazar received
information that the General intended to deliver up the
said Governor Berrio to the Indians to be slain by arrows
and Captain Alvaro Jorge to be hanged if they did not
declare the way to Guayana, dragging tlem ashore with
Two days later the said General with the boats manned
by armed men and four canoes with Indian rowers and taking
with him the said Governor and Captain Alvaro Jorge
ascended the River Orinoco above the Guayana bend.
There Captain Phelipe de Santiago (who was of the
said Berrio's forces) coming with four canoes encountered
the enemy and lost two of them but escaped with the others
and seeing that all was lost made for this Island of Margarita
where he now is.
On the 8th June, there arrived here the said canoe which
the Governor Salazar had at the Island of Trinidad, reporting
that the English had been informed of how he and his
companions were going about in that Island and had been
searching for them and had also maltreated some Indians
who had hidden themselves. They reported that the General
had returned with his boats and people from the River
Orinoco very pleased.
The Governor sent two Indians spies who were in the
habit of going among the English ; they declared that although
they had frequently been aboard the flagship and other ships
they had not been able to see either the Governor Berrio
or Captain Alvaro Jorge nor knew anything about them.
They also reported that the said General had sent a vessel
to England from which it is presumed that the captives have
been sent there orare dead ; that the enemy are very
deliberate and watchful ; that there had come to the Port-of-
Spain two lanchas and taken soundings; that on a sandy
beach near to a fresh water supply they had driven in some
piles to build a fort; that the Indians had occupied the
place where Colonel Berrio had resided and that judging
by appearances they intended to settle there.
On the 12th June, the said Governor sent off a canoe
(piragua) to Trinidad to learn what was going on and on
the 15th the same canoe returned in haste having sighted
five sails twelve leagues out and they presumed they were
those from Trinidad as they were on the course from
On the 16th June, when the said Governor had made
all possible arrangements, there arrived at one o'clock in
the morning at the port of Pampatar in this Island, a long
boat like those of San Lucar; on their entering the port
the guard in the tower which had just been built began to
shout and call to arms, also firing two canon shots and
some musketry. But on finding tha the was discovered the
In the morning half league from the land, were five ships
flying many flags with many boats and tenders around them
showing signs that they were about to make a landing at
a port called Puerto Moreno. The Governor then mounted
a horse thither so that the enemy did not venture to attempt
Next day in the morning with their lanchas and sailing
boats they threatened the Rancheria where the pearl canoes
fish in order to take possession of it and burn it but it was
defended. Some of the enemy effected a landing; an
Englishman was taken and in the end three other persons
of their fleet.
The information gathered from them is given herewith.
They say that they were rewarded after the expedition up
the River Orinoco; that they carried away some plates of gold
given them by the Indians ; that on arrival at Guayana they
had a good deal of talk and became very friendly with the
Cazique Mariquite w1ho slowed them a place where the
gold was taken from; they brought away from the shore
with them four casks full to take to England for analysis.
They left two of the chief Englishmen there with the Cazique
as a sign of the Queen's authority and brought away with
them one of his sons saying that in the following year they
would return with 1,500 men to colonise all the country.
They also report that they have left a shield or Coat of Arms
of the Queen as a sign of possession and that within a year
they will be the Lords of the Indies.
They also give us news that they are conveying the
Governor Berrio to the Queen and that Francisco Draque
was in Londres fitting out a fleet of forty big ships and that
by the month of August they ought to be here in order to
winter in these parts ; that they will bring ten thousand
men with much munitions of war and food and that their
design is to take possession of Puerto Rico, Santo Domingo,
and Cartagena. But their principal object is to proceed
direct to Panama because in order to ascend the river they
are going to make many flat bottomed boats to bring with
them. And this we are assured beyond all doubt.
The other day the ships with their people went off towards
Cumana. Whatever more occurs will be duly reported.
On the 23rd June the said Governor Salazar sent off
a canoe with six soldiers to advise the Governor Roce and
on the 26th the said Governor had news that the enemy
had landed, that seven men were killed, that they had put
ashore Captain Antonio de Berrio and had then departed.