THE TRINIDAD HISTORICAL SOCIETY.
Publication No. 120.
A Report by the Governor of Margarita to the Audiencia.
December 4th, 1637.
Source :-Additional Mss. 36324. British Museum.
Published by courtesy of the Trustees of the British Museum.
Translated from the Spanish.
To the Audiencia of San Domingo from Don Juan de
Eulate, Governor of Margarita.
In this town of the Assumption in the Island of Margarita
on the 4th of December, 1637, Don Juan de Eulate, Governor
and Captain General for His Majesty, stated that he had
received a letter from the Cabildo of the Island of Trinidad
dated the i7th November of this year reporting that the
Dutch enemy on the 14th October of this year burned and
sacked the town of San Josef de Oruna, the principal settlement
of the Spaniards in the said Island of Trinidad, bringing
for this purpose with them a number of Indians; Caribs,
Aruacas and Nepuyos.
In order to report to His Majesty (may God preserve
him) in his Council of the Indies, it is proper to ascertain
from the persons who brought this report the manner in which
the enemy burned and sacked the said town and a few months
before, that of San Thome de la Guayana and the state of
these two settlements as well as any information they may
have as to the enemy and what force they have in that country
so that when it has been considered His Majesty may signify
his pleasure as to what should be clone.
A copy of lie letter from the Cabildo of Trinidad should
be added to these papers as well as that from the Cabildo
of this town when it is decided what assistance could be given
and the rest that appears therefrom with evidence of the
assistance sent from this town and so it was ordered and
DON JUAN DE EULATE.
FRANCISCO GONCALEZ DE BARRIONUEVO,
ANNEXURE I.-Declaration of MIOUEL DE MORILLAS.
In the town of the Assumption in this Island of Margarita
on the 4th December of the same year and for the same
purpose, the said Governor and Captain General ordered
to appear before him Captain Miguel de Morillas, Alcalde
Ordinario of the Island of Trinidad, then in this Island of
Margarita, whose oath was taken according to law and having
made oath le promised to speak the truth and being asked
as to the substance of the above letter said :
That what he knows of the matter is that on the
22nd July of this year, St. Mary Magdalene's Day, the
Governor Don Diego Descobar being occupied with the
transfer of the settlement of the town of San Thome de la
Guayana to another site higher up the River Orinoco from
the place where the town was situated, which seemed a more
healthy site and better adapted for the safety and preservation
of the said settlement, and the greater part of the inhabitants
having been already transferred to the said new settlement
where they had begun to build ranches and the said Governor
Don Diego Descobar having remained in the first settlement
with some few of the inhabitants, for the whole population
is small ; on the said day of the Magdalene at 4 o'clock
in the morning, the Dutch enemy with a number of Indians
of the Carib and other tribes attacked the said place, burned
the houses and plundered all that remained there;
consequently the said Governor and the few remaining
inhabitants were obliged to withdraw, the forces of the
enemy being large and they themselves numbering only
12-14 men as witness heard said, for at that time the witness
was in the Island of Trinidad where he received news of
the above-mentioned events.
As to what occurred in the said Island of Trinidad, this
witness said that it was he who brought the letter from the
Cabildo of the said Island to the said Governor narrating
what had happened.
It was a fact that on the 14.h day of October of this
same year, being Wednesday, carly in the morning the
enemy attacked the town of San Josef de Oruna in the said
Island of Trinidad with twenty pirogues, bringing with
them great numbers of Carib Indians and .ruacas and
Nepuyos, the latter being natives of the Island of Trinidad.
They assaulted the said town and burned the houses, plundered
the contents and burned the principal Church, although
the few inhabitants of the place, about 28-30 in number,
defended themselves and resisted the enemy as long as possible,
they could not contend with so large a force as that brought
by the enemy. Nevertheless when the enemy were leaving
the town they were attacked and many of them killed ; while
of the inhabitants only one was killed namely Juan Gallardo,
with Captain Santiago and others wounded.
This settlement has few people in it and the enemy are
settled at the mouth of the rivers .\macura, Essequibo and
Berbis so the enemy has declared publicly that as on that
occasion they had been unable to destroy all. they must
return to complete the destruction. In consequence of this,
he had come to this Island to secure help and the said
Governor and the Cabildo of this town are arranging
assistance for them having collected many subscriptions
among the inhabitants to help with clothes and other
necessaries for themselves and for divine worship in lihe
Holy Church which was burned and plundered by ihe
The state of the said settlement is such that if His
Majesty does not order people to be sent there to populate
the settlements and means of sustenance for them, there
is no doubt that those now there will perish by the hand of
the enemy who will take possession of the land and settle
it and give great trouble to all these coasts and to the New
Kingdom of Granada by passing up the Orinoco and to lie
Government of Caracas.
An Indian named Andres who was captured in the said
Island of Trinidad when the enemy withdrew and who had
been in the service of Captain Cristoval de Vera of Gua\anlia,
said that in those three settlements, the enemy have many
people and especially at Essequibo and Berbis. He could
not say what was the strength of their forces more than
it was large. All the Aruacas and Caribs were allied to
them and every year 2, 3 or 4 ships come there from Holland
bringing aid and taking back timber, cotton hammocks
This is what he knows and it is the truth as lie has sworn;
he signed this with his name saying that le was 30 years
of age. and that lie had no interest in saying aught but
MIGUEL DE MORILLAS.
JUAN IE EULATE.
FRANCISCO GONC(ALF!. DIE IARRIONUEVO,
ANNEXURE 2.-Declaration ofJAcINTo DE MENDOZA.
Next for the purpose of this same investigation, the said
Governor and Captain General ordered to appear before
him Lieutenant Jacinto de Mendoza, Regidor of the said
Island of Trinidad, who made oath according to law and
having done so promised to speak the truth and being asked
as to the substance of the letter declared :
That what he knows is that in July of this year on the
day of St. Mary Magdalene early in the morning, news
came to the said Island of Trinidad, that on the said day
at the said hour, the Dutch enemy had arrived with a large
force of Carib Indians and assaulted the town of San Thome
de la Guavana where at the time was the Governor Don Diego
Lopez Descobar and some few inhabitants. The rest though
equally few, were in a new settlement to which they were
transferring as the old one was unhealthy. The enemy's
forces and the numbers they brought with them were so
large that the said Governor and inhabitants were obliged
to withdraw and the said enemy burned the houses and
plundered the contents and carried them off, and also
plundered the principal Church and the Convent of
And this witness also knows that on the i4th October,
being St. Calixtus' Day, early in the morning the enemy
came with 20 pirogues up the River Caroni, and assaulted
the town of San Josef de Oruna, a settlement of Spaniards
on the said Island of Trinidad, with a great number of Carib
Indians and Aruacas and Nepuyos who are natives of the
same Island. Although the inhabitants of the said Island
who might number 28-30 tried to resist the attempts of the
said enemy, the) were unable to do so being overwhelmed
so the enemy burned and plundered the houses of the said
town and the principal Church. On this occasion one of
the inhabitants was killed named Juan Gallardo and the
enemy wounded the Captain Agustin dc Santiago, Don Juan
Lopcz de Albairren, cousin of the Governor Don Diego
Descobar, and others.
When the enemy w ithdrew they were heavily attacked
and many Indians and live Dutchmen were killed. This
the witness saw and he and another soldier and some Indians
in their service captured from the enemy fifteen slaves
belonging to the inhabitants who were being carried off
as well as an Indian named Andres whom they had captured
during the assault on the town of San Thome de la Guayana
and had brought as a guide.
This Indian declared and stated that the said enemy
were settled at Amacuro, Essequibo and Berbis, that they
have many people there and that they say they will not stop
until they settle in Guavana and in the Island of Trinidad
and from there capture this Island of Margarita and by
way of the Orinoco, enter the New Kingdom.
Therefore this witness with the Captain Miguel de
Morillas, Alcalde Ordinario of the said Island, came to this
Island with a letter from the Cabildo asking for help both
in soldiers and clothes and other necessaries as they had
been stripped of cxcrything. The inhabitants of Margarita
are helping them wiith great charity.
As to th: state of these setlemienits. li sas \hat lc hat e
already said, that if His Majesty doics not give orders for
help in men to be sent to the two settlements of Trinidad
and Guayana, he has no doubt that the enemy will carrv
out what has been said and what the Indian stated and that
they will settle on the Island of Trinidad and in the Orinoco.
This will occasion great injury to those coasts and to the
New Kingdom of Granada.
And this is the truth on the faith of the said oath and he
signed it and said that he was 34 years of age and that he
has no interest in saying aught but the truth.
JACINTO DE MENDOCA.
JUAN DE EULATE.
FRANCISCO GONCALEZ DE BARRIONUEVO,