THE TRINIDAD HISTORICAL SOCIETY.
Publication No. 84.
Diego Lopez de Escobar Governor of Trinidad to the King.
January, I637. 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.
Being in this city on my return from the expedition after
the destruction of the enemy and when the men had recovered
from their sickness and seeing how little security there was in
view of the alliance which existed between the Indians and
the Dutch of the Island of Tabaco ; I called together the few
elderly men who had remained here and other Captains of
experience and I urged on them the great importance for the
service of His Majesty and for the welfare of this Island of
driving away so powerful and near an enemy as the Dutch of
the Island of Tabaco who had on their side all the Indians of
this Island. They were all of opinion that it would be of
great advantage to do so but that the number of men was too
small and that there were too few Spaniards in the contingent
from Margarita and that this year foodstuffs had been scarce
I therefore expedited matters and decided to obtain all
provisions available and I ordered Captain Vicente de
Vrresti vecino of this town, planter, to procure funds and
other supplies which he duly did as was to be expected of him.
As I saw this Government in such peril with its many enemies
and as I was informed that all the danger came from the
enemies in the Island of Tabaco I resolved with the protection
of God to take the field in person with the few men I had as
done in the last expedition.
On the 20th November of this year 1636 I left the harbour
of this town with eight pirogues ill equipped as we had no
Indians. The following were the commanders Captains
Cristoval de Vera, Agustin de Santiago, Alonzo de Aguilar,
Pedro de Padilla, Don Juan de Xara Quemada, Miguel
de Goliz, Gaspar Sanchez and Vicente de Vrresti and they
carried 90 men including Spaniards, Mestizos, Mulattos
God was pleased to give us good weather up to the place
from which I was to undertake the crossing from this Island
to the Island of El Tabaco which is the most dangerous in
these regions. Don Fernando de Berrio a former Governor of
this Island on one occasion when he attempted to cross when
half way over lost his pirogues and other vessels with him;
he managed to turn back as all his vessels had been scattered
by bad weather.
I remained at this place 7 days waiting for good weather as
it was then unfavourable. But in view of the fact that the
Indians employed as oarsmen were running away thus
depriving me of that assistance and making me consider
having to leave behind two of our vessels on that account and
that among the men were many Mulattos and Mestizos and
some Negros all belonging to a class prone to giving trouble,
easily changeable in temperament and having little constancy
and that my supplies were being exhausted I ventured with
trust in God across the passage and Your Majesty being well
served we arrived all well and without even the loss of an oar
in spite of our equipment.
We arrived on St. Andrew's day at night without being
seen in the part of the Island behind the town and fort of the
enemy. In the morning I marshalled my men and began the
march leaving 20 men as a guard for the vessels with the
Alferez Alonzo de Montes, a person worthy of great confidence,
The whole of that day I travelled through numerous
swamps and bush paths full of mud, water and thorns. As
evening closed in we came across three Flemings, an Indian
and a Negro who were in the woods cutting timber ; although
we surrounded them the Indian and Negro managed to
escape. Knowing that they were going to give notice of our
approach I hastened forward and attacked the first fort with
all the men. It was occupied by French, Dutch and English
but we took it and some of them escaped to the principal fort
near the sea shore. We found in this fort 6 pieces of artillery,
muskets, arquebuses, some pistols, bows and arrows and all
kinds of ammunition. Not delaying there I ordered Alonzo
de Aguilar to march with a body of men to prevent the enemy
getting in any supplies of food ; I sent Pedro de Padilla with
another body for the same purpose and another with Lorenco
Galindo directing them to take possession of the countryside.
When they had attracted the attention of those in the fort
they were to impress them with our great military strength,
in which as we learnt afterwards they were successful and
That night we captured all the buildings between the
two forts so that we could lay siege to the second fort and when
we saw how few men we had I ventured on the ruse of dividing
my men into four troops of sixteen men each to go marching
in sight of the fort in four different directions at wide intervals
from one another among the trees thus creating the impression
that I was accompanied by a large number of men. In this
I was successful as they admitted afterwards.
I halted within musket shot of the fort and ordered
Captain Pedro de Padilla to advance with 1i men, Miguel
de Goliz with 12 others, tile Alferez Alonzo de Aguilar 'vith a
similar number and Lorenco Galindo with another it: and to
lay siege to the fort on the land side with instructions that as
their men were few they were not to be exposed in the open
I then placed some sentinels about the countryside so that the
enemy might believe this was an advance guard and come to
the conclusion that I had with me a large body of men.
I placed Juan de Xaraquemada with Io men to guard a
stream below the fort from which they obtained their water
and selected this spot as my headquarters having with me
Captain Cristoval de Vera, Captain Vicente de Vrresti and
Captain Agustin de Santiago being always certain that we
could obtain the surrender of the fort by controlling the water
supply. They began to use their artillery and it was due to
the grace of God that no damage was done.
They were so surprised at our rapid and close approach
that ti-ey decided to treat for surrender. They beat their
drums on the side where Captain Galindo was stationed and
in order to confer hostages were exchanged.
The enemy came to me to arrange the terms. I had
already learnt from Captain Lorenco Galindo who had been
in the fort and hid seen a great deal of artillery and a large
number of men that they were strong and well fortified. On
the other hand I had only 70 men most of them boys and mere
shadows and very few Spaniards so that if the enemy started
to wound and kill my men only the Spaniards would hold the
position with me while the enemy numbered more than 150,
were in a good state of defence, fortified with plenty of
That I had been able to approach the fort so near was due
to ingenuity and ruse. Had the enemy known how few we
were they wouldhave waited for us in the open country which
they could easily have done being double our number.
In view of all these circumstances I received them to
arrange terms which were that the Captain who was in
command in the absence of the one sent a prisoner to Holland,
his son and the Justicia Mayor should leave with their swords
and their baggage but that all the others should leave without
arms or o::-a, ,.-' and that they should be given assistance to
go either to Holland or to St. Christopher. These were the
terms of the agreement but they did not want to surrender the
fort on that day but fearing accident with a lapse of time
I told them that the agreement would be withdrawn and
they seeing my resolution thereupon agreed.
I marched in person with only 18 men being accompanied
by Padre Antonio Rodriguez, a monk of the order of
St. Francisco as Chief Chaplain and Captains Vicente
de Vrresti, Cristoval de Vera, Don FelipeMoran, Agustin
de Santiago, Don Juan de Xaraquemada, Don Isidore Alonzo
de Valdiniesso, Cristoval Cortesia, Don Luis de Quinones,
Don Juan Picheco de Viloria, Don Juan de Quinones,
'Gil Gonzales Curiel and other persons of importance and all
Spaniards and went into the fort and took possession of the
strongest and most important parts of it. Having done this
I ordered the rest of my men to come in which till then I had
refrained from doing for fear that if the enemy saw how few
we were they might have changed their minds and attacked
us. I placed three guards of men and took away from the
enemy all their arms even the knives. I also took possession
of the powder magazine with a fair quantity of powder.
It was necessary to do this and to keep our men on the
alert with arms in their hands day and night and gun matches
ready lighted because soon after there was a great outcry and
uproar from the enemy who said that they had surrendered
shamefully. I endeavoured quietly to prevent them breaking
the peace and took away to my quarters the Governor and
the Justicia Mayor after which everything quieted down.
I treated them well and invited the officers to my table.
In the fort were Englishmen, Dutchmen, Frenchmen,
Irishmen and a few Flemings, also a large number of Negros
taken there by order of the Prince of Orange to provide the
country with labour.
The Governor surrendered his commission from the
Prince of Orange and three flags. There were 28 pieces of
artillery large and small, rifles, pistols, and all kinds of firearms,
a large amount of munitions, gunpowder and gun matches
and all kinds of shot, combustible balls and other devices for
firing and some swords but the artillery especially was good.
Provisions for the soldiers were fairly plentiful and they
left well supplied. There was no money of any kind nor was
there any merchandise. All that the soldiers removed were
household effects, clothes and shirts which are so badly
needed here. Nothing was taken from the enemy soldiers
but they were compelled to adhere to the terms laid down
and this particularly as regards the Governor, JusticiaMayor
and the son of the former Governor who are the three who
remain in my hands to be sent to Spain to Your Majesty as
they have requested and that they may give account to
Your Majesty of the designs of the enemy in the Indies and
of the events which occurred at the capture of the Island of
Tabaco. There was nothing else of value except the arms
and ammunition of which there was a large amount.
On the following morning mass was said at the fort in
order to offer thanks to God Our Lord and to His Glorious
Mother who had been so merciful to us and especially since
all these people had been following Luther for so many years.
There was firing of artillery and we celebrated the triumph as
best we were able but within three days giving the nec essary
orders we embarked in the pirogues not daring to stay longer
in the fort because of the risks with the enemy so numerous in
their own country and also as this place was often visited
by their ships.
We left many things behind because we were unable to
take them away as we were travelling in danger ; vessels
meant to carry 25 to 30 men were carrying more than 60
besides food for all.
We shipped all the munitions and arms and some small
pieces of artillery, the rest were broken into pieces and thrown
into the sea as there was no room for them in the pirogues
and to prevent the enemy who go there from salving them.
To have sent for them afterwards would have entailed more
expense than they were worth. I arrived at this decision with
the agreement of all the Captains and having embarked I
placed the men so as to be careful and watchful of the
numerous enemy. I sent Indians with some men to set fire
to the buildings and forts and having completed everything
we started on the voyage with the grace of God.
In order to travel in safety and to avoid danger from the
enemy with us, I gave orders that at the first attempt at
disorder they should be put to the sword, that the vessels
should keep well apart to prevent the enemy communicating
and plotting an attack and that the same orders were to be
kept in port.
We spent that night in crossing and met with some bad
weather which found us so overloaded with men, clothes
brought by our men and supplies that we were nearly
swamped and only crossed with great difficulty.
We sighted this Island of Trinidad and anchored at a very
small Island which is called Mono. From there I despatched
70 of the prisoners to Margarita to the Governor Don Juan
de Eulate so that lie might have them under his care as agreed
upon. For this purpo;e there was senr open credit with
Captain Valerio de la Cruz and they were provided with
They left in four vessels one in charge of Gaspar de Sanchez,
another of Miguel de Goliz, another of Lorenco Galindo and
another of Tomas Goncalez with the men that had come from
Margarita as their guard. I was anxious to send them away
and not bring them to this port and town. They would
have seen how few men were in it who did not reach 30 and
how utterly unprovided we were and finding themselves on
land might have started a rising in conjunction with the
Indians who are in rebellion and with their friends who used
to take supplies from this Island to them in Tabaco. Further-
more it was impossible to feed them for more than eight days
as I have carried on this expedition entirely at my cost.
His Majesty not having one real in the Treasury as is provided
by the certificate of the Royal Official.
When these prisoners had gone I went to the port of
Trinidad and arrived on the day of Our Lady of the
Conception and with her divine favour.
On account of the small number of men with me and
because the Governor of Margarita had asked for the return
of his men though they were but few, only :1 being left, I was
unable to proceed to make war on the Dutch who are settled
in La Guayana where they have three or four fortified places
with as their friends and allies all the Indians .'ho are of
many nations and so numerous that one cannot tell how
many they are. It is of great importance to Your Majesty
to go and punish the Indians in La Guayana pending the
arrival of reinforcements to wage war on the Dutch as some
of the provinces and towns of Your Majesty in these parts are
running great risks as the enemy can carry away a large
amount of goods as they have a big traffic by ships.
The said Governor of Margarita was not disposed to join
in this enterprise although he was spoken to on my behalf by
Captain Lorenco Galindo who urged how very important this
was for the service of Your Majest) and yet ttis sanm Goveinor
had written giving an account to the C. ucil of the settlement
by the enemy on the Essequibo which is in the territory of
I therefore resolved to proceed there myself as he would
not even send back to me the men who had gone as guards to
the vessels which carried the Dutch prisoners from Tabaco to
Margarita. I also wrote to him giving him the report that I
had received from the Governor of Caracas who told me that
the enemy having to leave and abandon his places in Brazil
desires to come and take possession of this Island and the rest
of Guayana for the advantages he can derive from them;
this was a confession from a Dutchman whom he had taken
prisoner. Your Majesty may therefore realise how important
it is to find a remedy for these things and also the state to
which they have reached.
In so far as concerns me whatever my duty and my office
demands I place at the service of Your Majesty with my life
CRISTOVAL DE VERA.
ALONZO DE AGUILAR TRUXILLO.
VICENTE DE VRRESTI.
DON JUAN DE XARAQUEMADA.