TilI: TI1NIDAD HISTORICAL SOCIETY.
Publication No. 112.
7he Treasurer of Cumana to the King of )Sain.
Source : Additional Mss. 36317. British Museum.
Published by courtesy of the Trustees of the British AMuseum.
Translated from the Spanish.
18th April, 1596.
I had the honour to transmit to Your Majesty on the
15th October of the past year, 1595, a despatch with two
duplicates by three different routes -through the Governor
of Cartagena, the Governor of Margarita and the Bishop
of San Juan de Puerto Rico in which I gave Your Majesty
a report of this province on all matters of interest relating
to the royal service in compliance with Your Majesty's
corrmands as con\veed to me by royal order and as to that
which I am to do in furtherance thereof and I am continuing
the work as it presents itself, praying God for his helping grace.
At the beginning of the month of November of the said
year, I595, Captain Phelipe de Santiago, Lieutenant of the
Governor Francisco de Vides, departed from this City for
the Island of Trinidad entrusted with the commission of
settling it, for which object he took with him a number
of soldiers, stores and all necessities for the settling and
defence of the ne\s town and the Island.
On Im side I have given every assistance in my power
towards the settling of that Island and of the new town so
that it might be carried into effect as quickly as possible on
account of its great importance in your Majesty's service
and that the said Island may not icmain deserted but inhabited
and in a manner capable of resisting and defending itself
against the great number of enemy privateers which generally
surround it, as well English as (aribs.
Among other things with which I charged and instructed
Captain Phelipe de Santiago for Your Majesty's service was
that he should without loss of time ascend the banks of the
River Orinoco and apprehend the two Englishmen whom
Gua-terral (Sir Walter Ralegh) left there last year 1595,
when he had the intention of returning and settling it, for
the purpose of becoming acquainted with the country and the
best sites and learning the language of the Indians.
In like manner I instructed him that he should warn
the Indian Chiefs on those banks not to admit nor receive
any stranger henceforward in these territories except Spaniards
in your Majesty's service.
According to a report which I have received from the said
Captain Phelipe de Santiago, lie fulfilled his commission
by going directly to the said banks of the Orinoco, ascending
it as far as the Province of MIoriquito where he took out of
the power of the Indians one of tle two Englishmen above
referred, named Francisco Espari and learnt that the other
had been devoured by a Jaguar. He gave the Indians the
The young Englishman informed him that Guat-erral
departed with the intention of returning to the said River
during the month of March of the present year and the Indians
declared that they were awaiting him during the time of
the moon of the said month of March.
But as it appears that he had suffered considerably after
leaving there and had a much less number of men and forces
than when he sailed from the Orinoco owing to the victory
we gained over him, I trust in the Lord that his designs of
carrying out his injurious purposes may be frustrated.
On the said River Orinoco, Captain Phelipe de Santiago
and the Governor Antonio de Berrio met each other and a
serious difference arose as to the duty each claimed of settling
the Island of Trinidad. Finally Antonio de Bcrrio remained
with his people on the River while Captain Phelipe de Santiago
proceeded with his expedition to the said Island of Trinidad
where in the beginning of the month of January of the present
year, he founded a settlement on the bank of a River called
Caroni three leagues distant fliom the sea and from the port
they call Dc Espana". He named it San Phelipe de Montes
as may more particularly seen fiom the documents of proof
in the possession of the Governor Francisco de Vides,
At the beginning of the following month of March
Captain Andres de Belasco left with more men and arms
and other necessary provisions for the said settlement and
the place will be so fortified that they can make a good
resistance against the enemies who may attack that coast
and they will clear it of Caribs.
I have appointed to the said town of Santiago, Phelipe
de Montes as Treasurer, an able man capable of taking my
place in the administration and collection of the Royal
Revenues belonging to Your Majesty in the Island of Trinidad.
It appears to me to be of the utmost importance to Your
Majesty's service that the River Orinoco should be settled
so I have considered it well to push that matter forward to
control the navigation of that river because of the communication
which might exist between it and the New Kingdom of
Granada as well as the neighboring provinces since whatever
may be brought from Spain will go by that route. The gold
and silver and any other produce there may be, will he brought
down the said river to Trinidad from which there would be a
very good passage to Spain. It is the most suitable place
in these parts and it is so far to Windward that there is no
need to disembark.
Sunmagry. -This settlement in Trinidad is important for
the conquest and settlement ofGuayana, Caura and El Dorado.
He expects Guat-erral to carry out his "mal yntento". He
complains that Cumana requires more Spaniards. He stands
in fear of the enemies and corsairs and especially Guat-erral
who was angry and irritated on account of the loss which
lie had suffered in the victory at Cumana in 1595.
Cumana, ROQUE DE MONTES.
81th April, 1596.