THE TRINIDAD HISTORICAL SOCIETY
Publication No. 77.
A letter from Alvaro Jorge and others to the King.
November 12th, 1594. St. Joseph.
Source :-Additional Mss. 36316. British Museum. Published
by courtesy of the Trustees of the British Museum. Translated
from the Spanish.
Sire, It is thirteen years since we set out on the discovery
of El Dorado suffering great dangers from death, hunger
and sickness and it is well known in all the Indies how
interminably we searched the Cordillera everywhere for
a way to pass, travelling innumerable leagues both by land
and water nor in all these parts could we find a camp for
the men where there was food to maintain us through the
winter till at last by the grace of God we came to this Island
of Trinidad where there is everything necessary and all
that we require can be provided by industry and diligence.
Through the prudence of the Governor Antonio de Berrio,
peace has been made with the Caribs of Tierra Firme, tLc
Aruacs and other nations.
The Governor sent 35 of our men to go to find the true
entrance to the lands of which Our Lord was pleased to
grant us the discovery. They went to the beginning of them
thanks to the ability of the Governor Antonio de Berrio;
a hundred thousand men could not have gone there and
attained this object because of the swampy lands which
extend over all this part of the coast of Tierra Firme extending
300 leagues along the coast and 40 leagues inland. It is
for this reason that the Captains who enter this way before
were lost; but now it is easy for our men to go there in
security and safety by the river as the Indians are friends,
in fact as easy as from San Lucar to Seville.
After this Island had been settled several months,
Francisco de Vides came to Cumana as Governor, stating
that Your Majesty had been pleased to grant him this Island
to settle. On this the Governor Antonio de Berrio wrote
asking him for 70 men and also wrote to Your Majesty to
order Vides to give the Island up.
This grant is very prejudicial to us who wish to go and
enjoy the riches of these provinces which he is not able to
do and he and the other Governors around here have done
us much harm. The Caribs have killed ii of us and we
have had to fight several times against the English and never
have they sent help but have left us with the intention that
little by little we should be wiped out. But we hold this
place as we have always held it with the help of God expecting
help from the New Kingdom which Don Fernando de Berrio,
elder son of the Governor Antonio de Berrio, has begun to
send May God in his great mercy have pity on our travails.
The help which Francisco de Vides has so far vouchsafed,
is to order thcMaese de Campo Domingo de Vera, whohad
arrived at Cumana, to leave that government at once on
penalty of his life ; and he took the Captains who had gone
to buy munitions and made them give security that they
would not collect men. At the end of three years during
which we have been able to maintain our settlement we have
sent to Your Majesty a large sum of gold from that which
we have got from the provinces.
If Francisco de Vides were to comply with the precise
cedula of Your Majesty and came to this Island with 25 men
all vecinos of Cumana by virtue of this cedula gained by
secret and devious ways, we should have to leave at once
and we beseech Your Majesty with all the humility of which
we are capable that after such services over such a long time
we should not be rewarded by sending such a man to disturb
and evict us. One who does not know us nor understands
how great have been our sacrifices under the Govclnor
Antonio de Berrio nor how much they have advanced the
interests of Your Majesty by taking and settling this Islard
by the devotion of the Governor Antonio de Berrio since
without it and the Indians who help us with the voyage,
we could not pursue the principal object as Your Majesty
will see by the reports carried by the Macse de CampoDomingo
de Bera whom we are sending to inform Your Majesty of
everything and to describe the grandeur of these provinces
as one of our campanions who has been there.
May God preserve Your Majesty for many cars as
Christianity has need.
San Josephe de Oruna, Island of Trinydad.
12th November, 1594.
ALEXANDRO DE CASTILLA.
DIEGO QIrINTERO PRINCIPLE.
GERONIMO LOPEZ DE YBLANES.
DON- RODERIGO DE LA -Hoz.
LUYS MACHUCA DE VARGAS.
DIEGO DE GUZMAN.
ANTONIO PINTO LEAL.
PEDRO DE ARRIOLA.
JUAN BAUTISTA DE LIEGA.
DON FERNANDO SAAVEDRA.
PHELIPE DE SANTIAGO.
PEDRO GARCIA BALENCIANA.
ANDRES DE BELCO.
FRANCISCO DE ORTEGA.
ALONSO DE MEDINA.
BARTOLOME DE TORRES.