THE TRINIDAD HISTORICAL SOCIETY.
Publication No. 218.
A Report from the Council of the Indies to the King.
Source :-British Museum. Additional Mss. 36321.
Published by the courtesy of the Trustees of the British Museum.
Translated from the Spanish
The town of San Thome of the Province of Guayana and
the Island of Trinidad represent that in the month of
January, 1618, Guaterral, an English pirate with ten ships and
launches ascended the River Orinoco to the said town of
San Thome 40 leagues from the sea and disembarked 500 men
about a league from it while the ships went up to the port.
The Governor Don Diego Palameque with all diligence
put the town in a state of defence with the few soldiers that
he had and attacked the pirate with great courage. There
being nothing else to be done, he engaged him at eleven at
night in order to defend the town as he was in want of men
The two forces began slaughtering each other and the
enemy being many, remained in possession of the town for
twenty-nine days during which time he succeeded in
attracting to himself the peaceful Guayana Indians nearest to
the town who at once rose in rebellion doing much damage
in order to favour the enemy. The Indians with the enemy
discovered to them all they wished to learn of the country
and the interior.
Captain Juan de Lezama remained as Alcalde Ordinario
and by all the means possible tried to prevent the Indians
from communicating with the enemy. He collected and
close\ tiied ixil and more Indians with lheir arms to
whom h e expli\td 1 i io inport1)11an( it ,as in the service of
His Majest,, t driv. i lc cir\' ( itl of1 tlhe country and that
in the future the.' wouIld ie heW) lor pe Ilanent dIefence.
Aftcr tw\ int.-s:x days w\itll ilhese I w ans an and 2]. soldiers,
the Captain attacked the cuenm in tlih town from different
directions. 'I Th fight la;std from ir :idlighi( to daylight and
many ol their p> o _I, ',ere killed.
On an(thI r lay a launch Iand a small boal w('ent to the
plantations oIn ( e o other s. d ibh rxier. This Captain and
six soldier, t'i(.. 1( I enmc \ into a ama ihush and there killed
Soon aiftclr.ards llthe C min eiumnlrl-i..e leaving the Church
and MAimaster b)rut to thue oUmiaiiois and carrying every-
thing in the tovn. Thy rAised in i ,hellion all the Indians
who dwell on the sea coa-t, Aruaeas, Chlaguanes and (aribs
of that Pro\vinc: w\)ho renounicced ol cdicilce to His Majesty.
The' rcbuilk.ing of the it( n xwas; bxetn in lite same place
as ]b)clre. (0)i ;acotiut o, tlic Ie rgien needs of the people it
was dcicded iii C apt(ain Jin-in do Lezanma should go to the
Audiencia of the 'X(,' Kin'gdolm of G ranada for the purpose
of giving a report c t(he ev1e nts anid requesting lite help of
soldiers oIr tlli: defeicce.
This was done and lte Audiencia decided that as regards
the soldier>, tlie maite.r llhould be cireflred to IIis Majsty in
the Royal Colo ci f lthe Indies. M uanwhilc the Governor
Don Fernando de Berrio was ordered to go to his government.
-When this (.:;ovcnor reached the coast of lle Province of
Guayana. (i'1 h1:- 41 oldir, he dlispatched forty of them in the
year i6i9 to 1 ie' Province o' tlihe Arutntcas which ithe enemy
keeps in rebellion, in order to reduce them to obedience to
His Majesty. Among dhese Indians tl.ere were six of the
enemy's ships trading and negotiating with them and doing
all in their po\x er to dissuade the ihdians fitom acknowledging
His Majesty's juri:diction and urging them to kill the
Spaniards in lie towni of Sadn 'Thome as a mighty fleet would
be sent by ithie to settle ,umd fortify themselves therein.
There wl e 4 tilde .,h I tiheo killed in tile encounter
with thle Indii is and ti, tlltciny carri.ld fIf (, England one
Spaniard nani i Alon, s dc Montes xxio has returned to this
Court and ha- given an account of all lie designs of the
enemy. IThey are only waiting foi the end of the truce to
return to this o\\n of San, Thomc, devastate it and fortify
It is now nine months since Captain Juan de Lezama
notified the Council and reported upon this matter. He
b. --' .1 that 15o) soldiers might be sent for a garrison and that
they could be drawn from the garrisons of Havana, Cartagena
and Santo Domingo ; thus the town could be put into a
state ofl defence at little cost. In the places referred to the
soldiers would not be missed as they are fortified and can get
assistance easily from places near by while the town of
San Thome has nowhere to look for help as it is so far from
settled provinces, the nearest being \enezuela 120 leagues
DECISION OF THE COUNCIL.
To put this town in a proper state of defence the Council
recommends two forts, the first at the narrow part of the
river two leagues from the town and the second on the island
in the middle of the river. These arrangements would be a
protection to all the inner provinces as well as the New
Kingdom of Granada and the Province of Venezuela.
San Thome, Cumana, Venezuela, Santo Domingo,
Cartagena, Porto Rico and the Havana were ordered to
report on their resources in men and supplies.
Captain Martin de Vadillo, Chief of the Galleys, was
ordered to put in at San Thomc and report while on his
voyage to Cartagena.
It was recorded that His late Majesty by a Cedula
forwarded to the Governor Don Diego Palamcque, ordered
the Governor of Porto Rico to send 80 soldiers of his garrison
to San Thome in order to search the coast and clear out the
enemy. This order had remained without effect. The
Council ordered that this Cedula be carried out at once.
The Council recorded that the islands especially occupied
by the Caribs are Tobago, Grenada, Matalino and Dominica.
I. The Cedula to the Governor of Porto Rico.
The King to Don Phelipe de Biamante y Navarra.
My Governor and Captain General of the Island of
San Juan de Porto Rico considering how conducive it is for
my service that I appoint a person for the Island of Trinidad
and the Province of Guayana to govern that country and
maintain it in defence, I have therefore appointed as my
Governor and Captain General Don Diego Palameque
de Acuna who will with all dispatch serve me in that post,
And as it has been understood that in the region of
Guavanna tie ci ,lmy has made some0 settlCemenlts in which
llhev ,a Iitla nii,' great Iqulantity ol tobacco and to which
ships go, commonly t) lie laden therewith and on the way
tIKe t 11 i ;, d dbo i all oflwC i]ijllv i pot ibl'.
And altlio('Ili tIhe said Governor is commanded to try
and dislodge thCe eemy ifrom there and lake from them the
said settlennts anmd he is iclicd upon 1o do all in his power
for that object
And as it mIny happen that with the forces in that country
le may not be .bl) to eff'cct a matter of such importance, it
has appeared t( meIt well to command you as I now order and
cornmanrd you, t. send a garrison of 50 men to that place to
be drawn ifom the( mcen to be sent to you in the fleet to
New Spain in hle year 1616. The number of 300 effective
men which corn irines your garrison will be filled up and you
will be able without causing any wanlt, to send to Trinidad
from 70 to I l soldiers.
You will sei d them whenever ihe said Governor requests
by sending this dispaich by means of a person (of confidence.
With thte a( .ind t c men now in that country the said Goxernor
may be able to try and do this service by taking necessary
measure to eij.dicate lhe enemy fiom every point of that
Island Con which tley may have taken a footing.
When this expedition is ended the Governor will return
these men to xou at once as I now order and command him
ti do w\itlioul dictlining them longer.
The expen e< of' lhe men sent are to be defrayed from the
account of thi subsidy for tihe garrison and such is my pleasure.
I, THE KING.
By command of the King Our Sovereign
JUAN RUIZ DE CONTRERAS.
Counicrsigned by tile Council of War for the Indies.
12th D1cember, i(ii5.
II. The Cedula to the Alcalde Ordinario of San Thome.
SAN LORENZO EL REAL,
i8th September, 1618.
To the Alcalde Ordinario of the town of San Thome
de la Guayana. The King has received the letter of
26th January, 1618, reporting the taking of the town and the
death of the Governor Don Diego Palameque de Acuna.
The King encourages the town to resist and informs them
that he has ordered the Governors of Porto Rico and of
Cumana to send men and the Governor of Porto Rico to send
8 cwt. of powder, 20 muskets and as many arquebuses with
equipment, 2 cwt. of gun matches and 4 cwts. of lead.
III. Report by Captain Juan de Lezama, Procurator General of
He reports the sacking of the town in 1618 with the
rebellion of the Indians and begs for the provision of two forts.
He notes the cedula of 12th December, 1615, and also
that of i8th September, 1618, about men from Porto Rico and
Cumana and munitions from the former; this was never
received by the town and nothing ever resulted therefrom.
He begs for an immediate order to the Governor of Porto Rico
to send Ioo men with supplies.
IV. The King decided to issue a cedula to the Governor
of Porto Rico ordering him to carry out what had been
decided. The King informed the Alcaldes of the town of
San Thome what had been done. This decision is dated
9th August, 1621.