THE TRINIDAD HISTORICAL SOCIETY.
Publication No. 185.
Letter from Sancho de Alquiza to the King.
I3TH JUNE, 1612.
Source :-Additional Mss. 36320. British Museum. Published
by courtesy of the Trustees of the BritishMuseum. Translated
from the Spanish.
I prohibited the sowing of tobacco in Guayana for the
whole year because while I was in Trinidad. Don Fernando
de Berrio and the inhabitants of Guayana, though aware
that it was wrong, sold this-year's crop of Tobacco to the
enemy saying that it was seized by 1,ooo or 1,500 of them
as Your Majesty will see more fully from the report of the
enquiry. It is certain that next year in October and November
the said ships and others will be in Guayana; not finding
tobacco which they expect, they will not attack the town
as they did this year pouring 150 shot into the town which
had none to answer them with. Although this was done
during the day, trade was carried on by night and the person
who did this was Don Fernando himself and his associates.
Directly I entered Guayana I made an ambuscade against
a couple of ships that I found in the river. I passed across
their bows and was perceived so that they went a league
further down the river. So I made one in the place to
which they went and when a boat reached the shore some
Flemings were killed and one was captured who begged me
for the love of God to spare his life and to let him know what
I wanted from the ship. I asked him for four pieces of
artillery, 200 shot and io cwt. of powder.
They would not give from the ship more than two cast
iron guns of 15-16 cwt. and 24 shot and considering how
unimportant it was to hang a Fleming but how important
to have two pieces for the coming year in view of what
might occur, I gave the Fleming his life and took the guns and
put them in fortifications where they will be of great service
and the town was much pleased therewith.
May Your Majesty be pleased to provide a remedy for
this matter since it is of great importance seeing that the river
is such that they can go right up to the New Kingdom by it.
The Flemings know the shoals of the river better than our
people owing to the care with which they have taken soundings
and if they were to take possession of this land it would be
very injurious to the New Kingdom of Granada for they
would daily fortify themselves in settlements.
In the Island of Trinidad this year not an ounce of tobacco
is bartered with my consent nor shall it be bartered in future
for they have been severely threatened. I assure you that
the same thing shall be done in Guayana for I am leaving
two very able men as Lieutenants ; one is Don Juan de Tostado
and the other Don Antonio de Moxica, very excellent soldiers,
to whom in justice Your Majesty ought to grant honours
for their zealous services.
Some Negroes that I captured from an English ship,
have assured me that there are 40 houses of English and
Flemings in the settlement which I reported to be on the
River Guayapoco and that there will be about 80 men in it;
and they occupy themselves in sowing and cultivating tobacco.
If longboats are sent to punish the Caribs as I have asked
Your Majesty, then the same might be done to these heretics
and it would be of great importance for on their way back
to their country, they pass Trinidad and this Island of
Margarita and take in plunder all they can find.
May God preserve Your Majesty as He is able and as
The Island of Margarita,
i3thJune, 1612. SANCHO DE ALQUIZA.