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THE TRINIDAD HISTORICAL SOCIETY.
Publication No. 75.
Cedula to all persons giving permission to wage war upon and enslave
the Caribs of Trinidad and other places.
23rd December, 1511 From Burgos, Spain.
Source :-Coleccion de Documentos Ineditos. Pacheco y Cardenas.
1864. Translated from the Spanish.
The King--To the Prince Don Carlos, my dear and well beloved
grandson, and to the Infantes, Prelates, Dukes, Marquises,
Maestres de los Ordenes, to my Councillors, Oidores of my
Audiencias, Alcaldes of my Palaces and Courts and Chancelleries,
to Commendadores and Sub-commendadores, Alcaldes of Castles
and Fortresses, to all Corregidores, Alcaldes, Alguacils, Judges
and Magistrates whatsoever of all cities, towns and places in
my Kingdom and Realms to each one of you whomsoever you
be, health and prosperity.
Know ye that I and Her Most Serene Highness, the
Queen my Mother (May the Holy Spirit be with her) knowing
the zeal which enthuses all those persons who are christians
and who have been and still are in the Islands of the Indies
and in Tierra Firme of the Mar Oceano to bring these lands
under the guidance of our Holy Catholic Faith, We had
ordered by our letters to those persons who by our orders
are in command of the said Islands and Tierra Firme that
they should not take nor capture any person of the Indians
on these said Islands and Tierra Firme to bring them to these
Kingdoms nor to carry them to any other places nor to do
them any damage or hurt to their persons nor to their goods
under pain of penalties prescribed in our said letter.
Know ye that it is our will and pleasure that anyone who
has taken from the said Indies and Islands any of the said
Indians that these should be at once put in complete freedom ;
this is done so that it may be easier and more readily possible
for them to become christians and to live as reasonable beings
and we have ordered our captains to go to the said Islands
and Tierra Firme of the Mar Oceano and to take with them
priests who shall preach and instruct these Indians in the
things of our Holy Catholic Faith so that they shall be brought
into our service ;
Further as in some of these Islands where they go to land
and be received, in the Island of San Bernardo and Isla Fucrte,
on the coast of Cartagena, the Island of Vari and ol DoniN nica
and Mantinino and Sanct Lucia and Sanct Viccntc and
Concebcion and the Island of Barbudos and Cabaco and
Mayo where are a people who are called Caribs who do not
wish and who refuse to listen nor will allows anm to settle
but defend their lands by arms and prevcnt any from landing
in the Islands where they are and in such rcsistcnce have
killed several christians and in this course the said Indians
of these said Islands have continued and also have made
war on the Indians of many other Islands near by and have
taken these Indians for eating and have eaten them ;
Furthermore these said Indians have made many attacks
and raids and it has happened but recently in the Island
of Sant Xoan that most of the Indians there faithlessly and
traitorously killed Don Cristobal de Sotomayor, Lieutenant
of our Captain in that Island and also Don Diego de Sotomayor,
his nephew and many other christians who were in the Island,
seeking them with loud shouts, burning the places where
they were and killing all the christians they could find,
rebelling against our authority and leading all the other
Indians in the said Island of Sant Xoan to rebel as they
had done and to make war against the christians and for
this purpose many of the said Caribs have come to the said
Island of Sant Xoan ;
Wherefore I, having been informed of what has happened,
for the service of God and my Realm, for the peace and
protection of my people who live and serve me in these said
Islands and Ticrra Firme do order that these Caribs be
punished for their crimes against my officers and people
and do instruct those of my Council that they shall arrange
and direct that which I have ordered and that you shall
exercise all zeal to reduce these Caribs to our Holy Catholic
Faith, to convert them to the christian fold and unite them
to the faithful and bring them to our obedience so that they
may live peacefully and trade with our settlers of the said
Island and that they shall cease to do as above related seeking
to defend themselves against being instructed and led to
belief in our 1-loly Catholic Faith and always making war
on our people and on the other Indians, killing many
christians who have gone to the said Island and as they are
obstinately fixed in their evil ways, cutting up and eating
the said Indians it is clearly necessary to issue my instructions
in this matter.
And I do so hereby and I therefore give licence and
permission to all those who are so ordered by me both in
the Islands and on Ticrra Firme of the Mar Oceana that
up to now are discovered and also on those Islands to be
discovered in the future that they may wage war against
the Caribs of the Islands ofTrynidad, of Vari and ofDomynica
and Mantinino and Sanct Lucia and Sanct Vicente and of
Conccbcion and the Barbudos and Cabaco and Mayo and
also that these Carib Indians may be captured and taken
co such port and Islands wheresoever and that these Indians
may be s-ld for profit without any punishment or penalty
for so doing and without paying any duty provided they
arc not taken nor sold outside the Indies;
You Our Justices, each and all are hereby ordered to
guide yourselves and comply fully with the above instructions,
to prevent and disallow anything contrary to them and make
them well and publicly known.
Given at Burgos, 23rd December, 1511.
I, THE KING.
By order of His High iess.