THE TRINIDAD HISTORICAL SOCIETY.
Publication No. 82.
Diego Lopez de Escobar, Governor of Trinidad to the King.
November, 1636. St. Joseph.
Source :-Relacion de los Particulares Servicios que ha hecho
a Vuestra Magestad Don Diego Lopez de Escobar
Governador y Capitan General de la Isla de la Trinidad
y de las Provincias del Dorado, hijo del Capitan Diego
Lopez de la Fuente en el ano de 1636. Published in 1637.
Translated from the Spanish.
Having anchored in the port of this Island of 1 rinidad on
the 22nd of last June, I assumed my governorship on the
23rd of the same month and on studying the conditions that
might be advantageous to the service and welfare of Your
Majesty, I became aware of the miserable state in which
things were, with the natives in rebellion and the Spanish
forces so reduced that between young and old I could not
muster 40 men who belonged to the Island itself and of these
barely 3o who could bear arms.
In the course of a few days after the establishment of my
government I was informed through an Indian of the Arbaca
nation who had run away on account of the bad treatment he
had received at the hands of the rebels who wanted to kill him
that in this Island of Trinidad there was a settlement of
Dutchmen in league with the rebel Indians more than a
thousand strong and that they had formed an alliance and
had agreed to attack this town in this year 1636 with the
assistance expected from Holland and from the Island of
Tabaco adjacent to this Island. The Indian had been sent
by Juan de Penaluer vecino of this town. I had also been
warned to the same effect by Don Juan de Eulate, Governor
of the Island of Margarita.
In view of this I immediately sent Captain Cristoval
de Vera to the Town of Guayana to bring me over with the
least possible delay 2o men with as many vessels as he could
collect with any equipment that he could obtain.
At the same time I sent Captain Agustin de Santiago in a
vessel to the Island of Margarita to seek from the Governor
Don Juan de Eulate, assistance in men to be sent as quickly
as the circumstances would permit ; it being understood
that the expenses and additional freightings of vessels which
would be necessary I would pay for from my purse as there
was not one real in Your Majesty's treasury to meet all these
eventualities which were presenting themselves.
The Governor Don Juan de Eulate provided the men but
they could not come at that time because he was short of
vessels and he asked that some be sent equipped to take them
over. At this time Captain Cristoval de Vera arrived frcm
Guayaca with 20 men and three vessels with 50 Indians.
[ immediately ordered an additional vessel to be obtained in
this Island and ,ent for the assistance which Don Juan
de Ealate had ready to give.
In the midst of these happenings six Indians from the
Arbaca nation which belonged to the league of rebels, came
as spies to find out what was happening here. They did inot
act openly but I was kept fully informed of their movements
and I detaindc them until the assistance referred to should
arrive so that whether willingly or under constraint they
should tell me the whole truth and serve me as guides. I
called upon the principal of them by name Curiguao to
confess what was happening amongst the rebel Indians and
in the scttlemcen ofthe Dutch. his lie did and his statements
were in ag'rc ment with those from other Indians. He was
examined by the \lferez Alonzo de Montes, a very reliable
person. It turned out to be true that they had come to find
out what was happening in this place so I detained them
under careful watch until the help I expected from Margarita
These men came and consisted of o4 men naked and mere
shadows, mostly youths and without arms. They were not
able and did not know how to carry an arquebuz but there
were among them 8 valuable Spaniards in charge of
Captain Lorenco Galindo.
I joined the two reinforcements of soldiers from Guayana
and Margarita with those of this town. With the Captains and
the Commanders of the reinforcements I held a Council at
which I came to the decision to start in person to endeavour
to retrieve some of what was lost in spite of the fact that the
men I got from Margarita were of so little value.
Sir, this is an island of great size, fertile with good rivers ;
everything that is sown bears such as cacao, sweet cane for
making sugar, ginger, tobacco ; and there is wood for dyeing
and for building vessels which can be done in any manner
desired because the wood is of high quality. In addition to this
it is in easy communication with all the Windward Islands,
Puerta Rica, Santo Domingo, Margarita, Cumana, Caracas
and other places on the mainland.
It has a circumference of more than 50 leagues and it is
between the Ioth and I2th parallels of latitude. It is very
suitable for the schemes of the Dutch on account of its many
harbours with good anchorage on the northern coast and
particularly at a place called Maracas which if it were
occupied by the enemy would cost Your Majesty a greal deal
to dislodge them on account of its great strength. The Island
is within call of all passing ships engaged in trade with
Margarita and Tierra Firmc.
The same conditions exist on the southern coast and all
these places are extremely well supplied with fish, game and
I hastened the assembling of munitions and supplies for
the present expedition and when everything was collected
I decided to divide my forces into two troops, one to proceed
by sea and the other by land so as to surround the enemy on
all sides. I dispatched by land Captain Agustin de Santiago
and Captain Pedro de Vargas with 4'2 men and 60 friendly
Indians with two of the spies already mentioned to serve as
guides. They had orders and directions to proceed to the
place where was situated the fort and settlement of the enemy
at the point of this Island on the east coast near Punta de la
Galera contiguous to the Island of Tabaco which is a well
inhabited place where both Dutch and Indians carry on their
commerce and trade and from which they get their supplies in
vessels which come frequently from Holland and take away
their produce and leave behind much merchandise and
articles of food. They have as their friends, on account of
their hatred of the Spaniards, all the Indians of this Island
as well as those of the River Orinoco and other parts.
I embarked immediately and proceeded in person by sea
with four equipped pirogues under the command of
Captain Cristoval de Vera, the Alferez Miguel de Morillas,
the Alferez Alonzo de \guilar and Captain Pedro de Padilla
with 50 men to the place already referred to where we found
buildings well fortified and armed. However God assisted us
with his divine favour and we were successful in the fight ;
we captured all the Dutch except one while many of the
Just then there arrived a ship from Holland with men and
supplies in accordance with the prearranged plans to be
carried out against this town. Their landing was prevented
by the arrangements we had made on land and after displaying
the signals which had been agreed between them, they
weighed anchor and took a course to the westward skirting
the coast on the lookout for a-other spot where there was a
large fort with two redoubts of the same strength and defences
in a good position facing the sea.
Here there were other Dutchmen in occupation with
seven Indian chiefs and their men and people had joined
them. To these may be added the remaining body of Indians
of large number in the Island who were under their orders
Of this second settlement we had then no information.
In order to do that which was of the greatest advantage to
the service of Your Majesty and to prevent any landing frcm
this ship, I sent the Alferez Miguel de Morillas to follow
closely this vessel with one pirogue while I remained within
sight with the other three pirogues. He sent me information
as to its good sailing and its great tonnage and tlat it was
carrying a large number of men, all of which was in accordance
with the information already received. On account of what
I had gained from the Dutch prisoners I decided to follow
with two pirogues leaving the other at another point to
prevent landing of any men.
The ship anchored in front of the second settlement and
fort situated on the southern coast of the Island, it fired a gun
and sent a boat ashore. That very night I sent Captain
Cristoval de Vera, a person of great experience and long
service with 30 men to attack from the land side while I
followed by sea. The enemy had been already warned by
a man who had been landed from the ship that there were
armed Spaniards on the coast. For this reason they had
placed sentinels and spies at intervals along the road which
was very rough while the ascent to the fort was specially steep.
One of their spies was captured but another escaped to
warn the enemy and as it was night our men hastened to
attack them before they could arrange their measures of
defence. They put a strong resistance in the fight and we lost
only one soldier from musket shot and some were wounded.
The Dutch surrendered but the Indians escaped being helped
by the squalls of wind and rain in the night. The man who
had landled from the ship was taken and lie gave a full account
of how the ship had come over full of men to be landed at the
forts and settlements and to load the crops which they had
collected from the Indians. In the Island of Tabaco they had
had losses of foodstuffs for their sustenance and because the
products of this Island were of better quality and of greater
value in Holland, they had arranged an alliance with the
Indians of Trinidad to destroy the settlements of the Spaniards
and if not successful this year, the next year they expected
ten ships to complete the conquest.
Both the ship and himself came from the Island of Tabaco
which was now unprovided with men because many had died
of disease and on account of discord ; in fact the Governor
was sending him back in this ship to Holland as a prisoner
because of the many disagreements between them. There
were many nationalities and religions there and it would be
easy to attack the Island from any side and with the favour of
God they would obtain a great success which would be of
service to Your Majesty.
He said that he gave all this information because he was
an Englishman and a Catholic and that there were others
there in the same position who were oppressed b) the Dutch
Lutherans. A negro who had escaped from Tabaco to
Margarita had made similar statements to the Governor
Don Juan de Eulate who had sent this evidence to me.
I proceeded eastwards keeping the ship in sight so that
it might not lbe able to land any of the men it had brought as
reinforcements. Seeing themselves helpless, they set sail to
leave by the Pocas de los Dragos. We on our side had scored
a great success by the favour of God, for if they had landed
they would have united with the rebel Indians who during
these events were constantly assaulting us, laying ambushes
against us, fighting against us, taking possession of water
supplies with the intention of so harassing us that the ship
would be able to land the men it had brought as reinforcements.
At this time I despatched Miguel de Coliz to this town
with the Dutch and Indian prisoners, a duty which he carried
It is true that this Island was in great danger of being lost
to the great detriment of Your Majesty. I received reports
from the Governor of Caracas, Francisco Nuncz Melian with
depositions made by a Dutchman taken prisoner by him,
stating that the conquest of this Island and its Gom criment was
a matter frequently considered by the Dutch.
I report to Your Majesty accordingly as everything tended
to confirm that this evcjnt was to take place in September of
this year 1636, and this was proved true as the ship arrived
with the reinforcements required in October. God has been
pleased to grant us a great success ; we have destroyed the
two settlements which existed in this Island with their forts
and burnt and rased everything to the ground. We have
captured all the boats with which they traded and trafficked
and burnt all we could not remove. We have taken the
enemy prisoner and have punished the rebel Indians and our
greatest success was to prevent the landing of those who had
come to their assistance.
I then returned ordering Captain Agustin de Santiago
with his men to go overland punishing all the Indians he came
across destroying their food supplies ; this he did. On account
of the great rains which prevailed during this expedition
nearly all the men were ill and some of the wounded got much
worse. It was necessary to treat them in this town where
I arrived on the 20th October and when improved by the
grace of God we will prepare to go to Tabaco.
CRISTOVAL DE VERA.
VICENTE DE VRESSTI.
PEDRO DE VARGAS CONTRERAS.
ALONZO DE AGUILAR TRUXILLO.
MIGUEL DE MORILLAS.
JUAN DE XARA QUEMADA.