THE TRINIDAD HISTORICAL SOCIETY.
Publication No. 94.
Report of the Discovery of El Dorado by Domingo de Vera.
JVo Date. ? 1595. No place. ? Madrid.
Pacheco y Cardenas. Documentos Ineditos, Vol. 6, p. 561.
Translated from the Spanish.
For 70 years in those parts many Captains with many
people, horses and cattle have sought on many occasions to
find the entrance to these New Provinces because of the
reports by neighboring Indians of their great size, fertility and
riches. But without avail because of the surrounding
mountains which are very high and steep and of the large
rivers which surround it and which may more properly be
described as fresh water seas.
At last our Commander in the year 1593 conceded this
venture to me, the Maestro de Campo, as general of this
expedition. With 35 soldiers I found the way very easily
and without difficulty and got through into the lands which
in these parts are called Guayana, a matter of 35 leagues,
in which I saw many large settlements of Indians of good
disposition and well built who, both men and women,
went naked only covered in the parts which one does not
The country is healthy, temperate and pleasant. It is
fertile for the products of the Indies and above all is well
favoured and covered with eternal forest. There is much
game and fish and in all parts that I have seen, it is well suited
for recreation and pleasure. It is very rich in gold and the
Indians are ready to show me the place whence they get
it but I said that my journey was not to seek gold (so as not
to appear avaricious nor to let them know) but only to make
friends with the people of these lands. I only took 17 pieces
of worked gold which I sent to His Majesty and three battle
axes of stone which alone they showed me. Though these
people are barbarians they do not lack ability to give that
up if good priests were sent to them.
They told me that 7 days further on there is endless
quantity of gold ; that in these mines no one may take it
but the Caciques and their women and that it is collected
with great superstition, first fasting for 3 days. In the rivers
they find much gold being able to take it anywhere only
giving as tribute to the Cacique such nuggets as are as large
as the grain of maize or larger.
The people are amicable, courteous and liberal. They
treated and supplied us well. As I had but few people,
I returned to the Island of Trinidad whence I had gone
at the order of our Captain General and Governor,
Antonio de Berrio.
This province bounds on the one side with Tierra Firme
opposite to the Island of Trinidad, on another with the
Government of Cumana, Margarita and Venezuela and also
with the New Kingdom of Grenada and with the Government
of Popayan and Quito. It is one of the nearest lands which
have been discovered in the Indies so that one can go there
from Spain in less than 30 days.
Report on what may be expected by those who go on
It should be known that we go to settle and occupy these
provinces which are of the character described above and
that we shall pacify and conquer. Our General and Governor
is Antonio de Berrio, by faculty and authority granted
by His Majesty. He will divide the lands between us as
was done in Peru and New Spain which were settled in
If we pacify a province of 100 pueblos with I,ooo, 2,000
or io,ooo Indians more or less, these pueblos will be granted
to each according to his labour, merit and efficiency. These
pueblos will be granted for three lives which are those of the
conquistador, that of his son and his nephew. These supply
the rents which His Majesty and Ministers have decided and
published and are in conformity with the richness, abundance
or sterility of the lands.
The Indians for their labour will gain instruction in the
matters of Our Holy Faith and shelter and protection, as
though our children, so that they may recognize and appreciate
the great work which our Commander does in bringing them
to the obedience and protection of His Majesty. From this,
those who wish to go will learn that we intend to populate
these lands and not to depopulate them ; to develop them
and not to exploit them ; to control them and not
destroy them. Those who do not accept this are warned
that they will suffer the anger of God who has clearly shown
that those who rob and maltreat the Indians, perish in the
land they try to desolate and their riches, acquired by deceit
and tyranny, are lost in the sea and their families perish and
Of this at the present moment in the Indies, are obvious