THE TRINIDAD HISTORICAL SOCIETY.
Publication No. 170.
A Report by the Council of the Indies to the King.
Source :-British Museum. Additional Mss. 36320.
Published by the courtesy of the Trustees of the British Museum.
Translated from the Spanish.
29th July, 1615.
The Royal Audiencia of the New Kingdom of Granada
made a contract and agreement with Captain Antonio de
Berrio respecting the exploration and settlement of the
district called El Dorado. Among other things it gave
him the Government of those provinces for two lives. In 1586
His late Majesty was pleased to approve and ordered
these arrangements to be sanctioned.
Upon this the said Berrio entered on this work and
founded in the Island of Trinidad the Town of San Josef
de Oruna and up the River Orinoco, that of San Thome.
He died in 1597 and was succeeded by Don Fernando
de Berrio, his son, who made some attempts at settlement
of little permanence or importance.
After that the Council heard that he and all the settlers
there lived in such licence that they gave free entry to the
ships of the enemy of different nations with whom they
openly traded, thus contravening the strict prohibition
laid down by Your Majesty. The result was serious loss
and troubles which can be well imagined as well as other
excesses which they committed.
Although the Audiencias of the Indies have been ordered
by Cedula to send every five years to hold a residencia on
those Governors who hold office for life, this had not been
done in the case of Don Fernando de Berrio. It was
therefore thought right not to defer it any longer and a
Commission was sent on the 23rd March, 1611, to Sancho
de Alquiza for this purpose.
The Council of the Indies here repeats the reports of the
Governor of Margarita, the Cabildo of Trinidad and
Don Juan Tostado about the Flemings and the Caribs.
In consequence of the reports of Sancho de Alquiza,
Don Fernando de Berrio was condemned to perpetual
deprivation of his Government by the Council on
2oth November, 1614. On the application and prayer from
Don Fernando supported by the Governor of Margarita,
the Cabildo of Trinidad, the Cura of Trinidad and by Juan
Tostado, this penalty was reduced to exclusion from his
provinces save by licence from Your Majesty.
The enemies are still frequenting these coasts and there
is danger of the enemy fortifying themselves at Trinidad
as there are only 70 Spaniards at San Josef.
The Governor of Trinidad is to receive a salary of
3,000 ducats, 2,ooo to be paid from Cartagena and I,ooo
With regard to this appointment the following have been
suggested : Sancho de Alquiza served Your Majesty since
the expedition of Felipe Estroci and afterwards was engaged
with that to England. Then he went to the Indies as a Captain
of a Galleon under Bernardino de Avellenada and Marcos
de Ambaru. He commanded a ship in the expedition to
Bretana and afterwards was at Havana. He was Captain
and Sergeant Mayor at Cartagena then going to Spain.
He returned to the Indies as Governor of Venezuela in 1604.
He then took the residencia of the Governor of Trinidad
and returned to Cartagena where he is now living.
Diego Palameque de Acuna has had 20 years service. He
commanded a company in the campaign in Ireland. He was
then attached to Don Luis Fajardo in the Fleet and in 1609
was in charge of the Infantry.
The King endorsed this report and selected Don Diego
Palameque de Acuna for this post as Governor of Trinidad.