THE TRINIDAI) HIST(ORCAL SOCIETY.
Publication No. 148.
Sancho de Alquiza to the King of Spain.
Source :-British iMulseum. Additional Mss. 36320.
Published by the courtesy of the Truslees of the British Museum.
Translated from the Spanish.
T'HE ISLAND OF MARGARITA,
.t/i, June, 1612.
From this Island I reported to Your Majesty that in
fulfilment of your orders I went to the Island of Trinidad
and the Province of Guayana to take the residencia upon
Don Fernando de Berrio, Governor of these Provinces, and
his ministers and office's and to investigate and punish
I there received information that there were in the Town
of Santo Thome eighteen vessels trading. On account
therefore of the risk there was in this matter and because the
navigation from this Island to that of Trinidad is more than
60 leagues to windward and infested by Carib pirates who
do great damage, I started from this Island on the i4th of
December last with three launches and a pirogue in which
I took thirty Spaniards and not more than 100 Indians and
Negroes as rowers.
I spent sixteen days on the voyage and arrived on the
29th of December at the said Island at which there is a Town
called San Joseph de Oruna containing as many as thirty-two
straw huts and about forty men.
I presented my commission to the Cabildo and having
begun to hold audience therein, the Procurator-General and
all the said residents, as I came from my lodging, read me a
petition confessing that for the past eight years they had
traded with French, Fleming and English and other nations ;
and they fell on their knees asking pardon of Your Majesty.
As this step was taken, it became unnecessary for me to
draw up a brief, and confessions were taken from all those
who were included in this act who declared upon oath that
the contents of the said petition were true and that they had
traded for the said period.
I reprimanded each one separately and some of them
made excuses. They alleged that they had suffered great
hardships and that overwhelmed thereby, they had been
driven to act thus. This procedure was pursued with all the
said residents in general for it appeared that there were no
others besides those with whom this course had been taken.
I forward their cases to Your lMajesty tfr decision.
Thirty days \ re spent on these investigations and at the
end 1 caused charges to be published against Don Fernando
de Berrio, his Lieutenants and other Officers on the 8th of
February of this year after completing the general interrogatory.
In accordance with the letters and instructions which
Your Majesty had ordered to be sent to me, I examined certain
witnesses by whom it seemed that the said Don Fernando
was seriously implicated; having traded and permitted
trade during the same period.
Since the To1wn of Santo Thome in ilhe said Province of
Guayana, is where the said Don Fcrnando resided and had
his dwelling during tle period of his government, the
investigation lad to be made therein. 1 therefore left a
representative in Trinidad to continue the investigations,
charges and excuses while 1 set out for the town of Guavana
which is more than o9 leagues distant, 30 by sea and 6o up
a river called the Orinoco.
As during the time I was in Trinidad, many ships had
come from the said nations and as it was reported that
18 ships had been at Guayana which was true as the enquiry
showed. I took with me forty Spaniards and 60 Indians and
Negroes and entered by the mouth of the river which is
I arrived at the Town of Santo Thome on the 23rd of
February and on the 24th, the day of St. Matthias, I caused
the official residencia to be published and the Procurator
General made it known to all the inhabitants of the said
Town about 40 in number.
From the inquiry there resulted thirty-eight charges
against Don Fernando of having traded, even after knowing
that I was in Trinidad, of having permitted trade, together
with other serious circumstances; of having permitted the
seizure and sale of Indians of that Province unjustly and
other things as appears therefrom. An excuse was made on
his behalf confessing to trading and permitting trade but
alleged that it was from the absolute necessity under which
he suffered during the 16 years that he exercised the
This was completed within sixty days from the date of
publication of the charges in the Island of Trinidad. I
sentenced the said Governor and he was condemned to pay
a fine and suffer perpetual deprivation of office. As some
of the charges were serious and as it seemed to me to deserve
the penalty of death, I refer these to Your Majesty for decision.
I alo refer to Your Majesty some charges against the Alcaldes
of both towns \wh1o \\ere all implicated.
Altcr completing the investigation, it appeared to me
inadvisable that Don Fernando should come from Santo
Domingo until Your Majesty should decide. I therefore
presented to the Cabildo ol the said town, the Cedula by
which Your Majesty orders me to continue the government
until you arc pleased to order otherwise, as I had not finished
yet the affairs of Trinidad and had to draw up the accounts
of Your Majesty's Ro\ al Treasury.
I returned thither together with the said men and boats.
I found in going and returning in the said River Orinoco and
on the coast of the said Island four vessels of the enemies and
great care and caution was necessary to avoid disaster.
All this I have done at my own cost spending therein
more than 3,000 ducats from my fortune and suffering many
labours and much sickness. The residencia and Commission
are completed and all else as Your Majesty had commanded.
As it has all to be put in proper official order, I am not sending
it on the present occasion but in order that Your Majesty
may know what has happened I send this short account. The
full report with the accounts will be sent by the next vessel.
May Our Lord preserve the Catholic Person of Your
Majesty as Christendom needs.
SANCHO DE ALQUIZA,
The Island of Margarita,
14th June, 1612.