By Kimberly Hursh and Allison Bigelow
In June, 1617, having been released from the Tower of London in March of the previous year, Walter Ralegh set sail from Plymouth, England, to the fabled land of El Dorado. In the first of many failures that would ultimately define the expedition, the fleet got only as far as County Cork, Ireland, where Ralegh’s men waited out a storm for the next two months. With a geographic imagination fueled by inter-imperial rivalry, Ralegh mapped stories of ancestral Inca gold, said to have been hidden by creator-gods like Wiracocha and an unnamed a deity covered in gold dust (“El dorado”), onto real spaces in Spanish America (Staller and Stross, 24). He sought counsel from Francis Bacon, the renowned natural historian and then-solicitor general who warned Ralegh in no uncertain terms that an attack on Spain’s silver galleons, or its mineral deposits on the mainland, would be understood as pure and indefensible piracy. Still, Ralegh convinced King James I/VI to support the expedition, and the fleet set sail from Ireland in late August, arriving in November at the Cayenne River, some 700 miles south of its intended destination. In the late afternoon of January 2, 1618, in San Tomé de la Guayana, Spanish tobacco growers, colonial officials, ordinary foot-soldiers, and their indigenous and African servants looked out across the banks of the Orinoco River to see two English ships and several smaller vessels dropping anchor opposite their town. This was the small fleet of Lawrence Keymis, a commander who sailed under Ralegh, who hoped to raise his own prospects in the eyes of the English court with a discovery on the scale of Cortez or Pizarro. After sounding the Orinoco, the English laid siege to the city, burned its primary buildings, looted its treasury, and took prisoner indigenous women, native men, and Spanish colonial officials.
For the next month English sailors and soldiers battled with Spanish squadrons, solicited friendships with indigenous communities, and reconnoitered the land, hoping to defeat the first, form alliances with the second, and discover the hidden wealth of the third. Spanish and English accounts of the timing of the sack vary, but according to the testimonies translated here, the English ships anchored around dusk, and the town’s artillerymen fired three shots in warning. Governor Palomeque, Antonio Berrío’s replacement as of 1615, attempted to secure the city, sending Captain Gerónimo de Grados with ten men to defend the walls, while at the same time leading eight men himself to defend the main plaza and the Iglesia Mayor. The English entered the town sometime after and succeeded in breaking through Grados’ line, where they engaged in the main plaza with Grados and Palomeque’s small forces. Ralegh’s eldest son, Wat, is said to have led the charge, and he was killed almost immediately. The superior numbers of the English overcame the Spanish, and Palomeque and two of his lieutenants, Arias Nieto and Juan Luís Monje, were killed and their dead bodies stripped naked. The residents of the town fled, with the exception of a crippled priest, three indigenous, Spanish-speaking women captured by the English, and a number of indigenous, mestizo, and black slaves.
By English accounts, Ralegh’s mission amounted to nothing more than a series of failures. Exhausted by twenty-nine days of fighting, with no mineral deposits or other sources of colonial wealth to show for their efforts, by March of 1618 most of the remaining English men departed for other parts of the New World. Ralegh, having lost his son, stayed in the Caribbean, fully convinced that he had somehow missed the mine that the 110-year old cacique Topiawari had informed him of during his first voyage to the region, nearly twenty-five years earlier. In Ralegh’s telling of that encounter, printed in his Discoverie of the Large, Rich and Bewtiful Empire of Guiana, the friendship was solidified by a formative exchange of English material objects and indigenous bodies. Ralegh gave the cacique emblems of Queen Elizabeth I, a virgin leader like those of the Amazons of the “Orenoque” region, hoping that they will align with the English because of their similar veneration of virginal rulers, and Topiawari sent a son, Cayoworaco, to accompany Ralegh on his return to England, one of the many indigenous peoples who crossed the Atlantic in the colonial period (Kupperman) and helped to create what the kinds of “entangled” European empires that characterized the early modern Atlantic world (Gould). But by June of 1618, defeated, disgraced in the eyes of the Crown, and grieving over the loss of his son, Ralegh returned home, where he was denounced for having violated the Treaty of London, a peace agreement negotiated between England and Spain in 1604. Ralegh argued that because Guayana was English territory he had not broken the spirit of the accord, but the English state disagreed. Beginning in October, the Privy Council conducted an investigation to determine the nature of the attack, and after interrogating sailors who had served alongside Ralegh, he was executed that year.
Spanish sources understood the attack differently, and they conducted their own investigation into the matter. If English documents suggest half-hearted investment on the part of the monarchy, followed by an eager absolution of responsibility, Spanish sources show just how seriously Philip III took the threat of imperial rivalry in a region celebrated for its potential agricultural and mineral wealth. On August 29, 1618, Spanish colonial officials in San Tomé de la Guayana, present-day Ciudad Bolívar in eastern Venezuela, arrived at the fort to conduct witness interviews with townspeople who had been held hostage by the English during Ralegh’s sack of the city. The military captain Diego Martín de Baena, who had arrived in July with 25 or 30 soldiers to reinforce the Spanish troops in San Tome, was now tasked with this investigation. What were the English looking for, and what did they take? What military maneuvers did they use? Where did they go? Who did they talk to? How did the governor respond, and how did the people behave? These were the types of questions put to witnesses who had survived the attack and escaped from English captivity.
The testimonies of two of those witnesses, 49-year old Spanish treasurer García de Aguilar Truxillo and a Spanish-speaking Arawak woman, Juliana de Moxica, who was in her early 20s, remain extant and are translated here into English from the Spanish. In their depositions before colonial officials, Aguilar Truxillo and Moxica relate in great detail their very different experiences. Although these depositions were circumscribed by imperial legal protocols, such as the list of questions that was submitted to both witnesses (“interrogatorio”), and notaries who translated the speech of everyday life into learned conventions, Juliana de Moxica and García de Aguilar nevertheless use different vocabularies to describe the same events and people in different ways. As treasurer, Aguilar has access to highly valuable information, but Juliana’s position within the English camp, and as a cook and the bilingual wife of an American-born soldier, allows her to access and control information flows that connected colonial officials, Spanish-speaking English soldiers, enslaved Africans, and Arawak communities. In San Tomé, as in other colonial outposts, indigenous women acted as go-betweens who managed the networks of information to which they were privy precisely because of their marginalized positions as women, and their hybrid positions as culturally and linguistically bilingual women (Metcalf; Kaygay, 5). In this case, Juliana de Moxica and her fellow intermediaries were responsible for daily tasks like food preparation and clothes washing, ways of knowing and nodes of activities that brought them into private homes, public marketplaces, and to the riverbanks of the Orinoco, the arterial heart of the region.
Taken together, these two testimonies reveal new insight into larger questions of inter-imperial rivalry in the Atlantic world, as well as the local particularities of colonial society, including rich descriptions of the household goods, weapons, and religious artifacts that wealthy landowners deposited in the Royal Treasury, along with a range of currencies, descriptions of indigenous foodways, and colonial designs on natural resources – maritime, mineral, and agricultural. To this better understanding of the material cultures and patterns of everyday life of inland Venezuela and Colombia, the testimonies also document the kinds of information networks that connected Spanish- and non-Spanish speaking indigenous, African, and mixed-race peoples to the currents of colonial power. We present these testimonies, in a Spanish-language transcription and a new translation into English, with the hope that students and scholars of the Early Americas Digital Archive will use them to find new ways of reading the colonial past.
This manuscript unfolds over several chronological frames. First, it tells the story of an English attack on a Spanish fort in January, 1618, according to witnesses who testified on August 29 and September 6 of that year. After taking depositions in San Tomé, royal notary Joan de Alcalá appended these two statements to the declaration of Geronimo de Grados, a 56-year old man who had led the Spanish charge on the night of the attack. Grados delivered his statement (“información”) on April 18, 1618, almost immediately after the English had been driven from the city. Unlike the other two witnesses, he was not held prisoner during the siege; in recognition of his military service he was appointed as interim governor while officials of the Real Audiencia of Santa Fe de Bogatá, then led by don Juan de Borja, found a replacement for governor Diego Palomeque y Acuña, who had died during the attack. They ultimately decided upon Fernando de Berrío y Oruña, a wealthy landholder who had served as governor from 1598-1612, at which point he removed to his private encomienda, as he explained in a letter that was read before the Council of the Indies on 4 December, 1619, “por no poderme sustentar en ella conforme a mi calidad” (because I could not sustain myself there in a way that accorded with my station; Venezuela Papers, Vol. VIII, British Library Western Manuscripts Collection, Add MS 36321, p. 123). Berrío, having successfully negotiated a new salary, was persuaded to return to public life, and he served as governor from 1619-1622, the year of his death.
This manuscript thus sits amid substantial changes in colonial Spanish political leadership along the Orinoco. As Berrío petitioned for the crown to recognize his service in defending Spain’s American territories and preventing rival empires from settling in the lands, colonial officials were faced with a dilemma. On the one hand, Guayana would remain vulnerable for as long as the governorship was unoccupied; on the other, the reward for realizing what Berrío called “este descubrimiento del dorado” (this discovery of El Dorado) was difficult to overlook. The real demands of governance along the Orinoco River competed with the potential payoff of gold mines in the interior, creating a political vacuum in eastern Venezuela.
When witnesses testified to governor’s response to the English attack, the Real Audiencia placed those statements within a larger debate over the proper management and right governance of a region that belonged alternately to the jurisdiction of Santa Fe de Botogá and the Audiencia de Santo Domingo. The licenciado Antonio de Quiroga assembled testimonies from April, August, and September of 1618 and sent them to the Real Audiencia of Santa Fe, where oydores gathered on the afternoon of Friday, 21 December, to review the case. After reading the statements, along with Berrío’s petition, they ruled on 18 January, 1619, to release $2,000 ducados from the Royal Treasury, one-half of Berrío’s new salary. On 22 June of that year, royal notary Lope de Berunco Clavijo copied and corrected the documents to prepare a true copy (“se saco de los originales con los quales se corrigio y va verdadero,” BL Add MS 36321, p. 117).
Clavijo’s notarized copy is not the only extant version of the manuscript, however; the document circulated in three different forms in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. In 1627, Fray Pedro Simón, a Franciscan priest then ministering to the people of the Nuevo Reyno de Granada, compiled a volume that was dedicated to Felipe IV and published by Domingo de la Yglesia in Cuenca under the title Primera parte de las noticias historiales de las conquistas de tierra firme en las Indias Occidentales (First part of the historical notices of the conquests of Terra Firme in the West Indies). Simón’s 671-page history, purchased by John Carter Brown in 1852 and currently held at the John Carter Brown Library in Providence, Rhode Island (USA), glosses the testimonies of García de Aguilar and Juliana de Moxica in the twenty-fifth chapter (pp. 642-645).
The eighteenth-century turn toward independence inspired a new account of Guayana. Book II, chapter 12 (pp. 185-193) of Fray Antonio Caulín’s Historia corográfica de la region de Orinoco (Corographic history of the region of Orinoco), dedicated to Carlos III and published in Madrid in 1779 by Juan de San Martín, official printer to the Secretary of State, includes an extensive description of the attack led by Keymis and attributed to Ralegh (“Gualtéro Reáli”). While this account mentions the military excellence of the alcalde García de Aguilar, Juliana de Moxica is never named. Instead, Caulín notes that García de Aguilar and his fellow captain, Juan de Lezama, were warned of the English attack “by an Indian woman who came from the direction where they had taken women, children, and sick people, which was the Caroní region” (“advertidos por una India del rumbo que habian tomado las mugeres, niños y enfermos, que fue el de Caroní,” p. 187). By the eighteenth-century telling of the story, then, during an era in which nationalist sentiment and regional identities were both uniting and dividing emerging republics of the Americas, Juliana de Moxica’s testimony had been erased from the printed record.
In the late nineteenth century, however, the documents surfaced again, this time in the context of a geopolitical dispute between English Guiana and the sovereign state of Venezuela. As reports of mineral wealth emerged once more, Venezuela challenged the legitimacy of British dominion in the Orinoco valley. In 1897, the Venezuelan government formally disolved diplomatic relations with England, and a five-person panel was convened to determine whether the mineral-rich lands belonged to Venezuela or English Guiana. Two judges from the United Kingdom represented English interests, while two judges from the United States represented Venezuela. (A fifth judge, a Russian academic of French heritage was considered neutral.) The late-nineteenth century border dispute thus placed the colonial conflict over Guayana in a new context: the seventeenth-century English-Spanish rivalry was now triangulated through the United States, a former British colony in North America that was keen to express its own emerging imperial power in the western hemisphere. Following a two-year study, the panel resolved on 3 October, 1899, to grant full possession to Venezuela (Cleveland, Toro).
Colonial documents from Spanish archives, primarily the Archivo General de Indias, in Sevilla, and the Archivo General de Simancas, in Valladolid, provided an important evidentiary standard in the case. In 1897, under the supervision of Pedro Torres Lanzas, then serving as director of the AGI, certified copies of key documents, including the testimonies of García de Aguilar Truxillo and Juliana de Moxica, were prepared for James Henry Reddan, a consular official stationed in Ciudad Bolívar on behalf of Great Britain. The original files were archived in Estante 54, Caja 4, Legajo 9 of the AGI. At the conclusion of the boundary arbitration, the English copies were stored in the British Museum before being transferred to the British Library, both in London. Today, those copies have been collected into a bound edition of manuscripts known as the Venezuela Papers, held as part of the Western Manuscripts Collection at the BL. As we worked from that copy, we tried to locate the original manuscript. Unfortunately, we were unable to do so. The AGI updated its classification system after the copies were made, meaning that Estante 54 no longer exists as a repository. Manuel Álvarez Casado of the AGI helpfully pointed us to the manuscript collection of the Audiencia de Santo Domingo, 187, the new home of the documents once filed under Estante 54. Based on dates contained within the manuscript, though, Álvarez Casado doubted that we would find the testimonies in that document. Citing a possible error in the transcription of the BL copies, he suggested instead the 604-folio compendium filed under the Audiencia de Santa Fe, 23, R.6, N.32, dated in 1638.
Over the course of the semester, we worked through that 600-page file to try to locate the original testimonies. Allison Bigelow, of the Department of Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese at the University of Virginia, reviewed pages 1-302 and Kimberly Hursh, of the Corcoran Department of History at UVa, worked with pages 303-604. Unfortunately, we were unable to find the testimonies in that file. In other records, however, we found supporting evidence from García de Aguilar Truxillo in the form of a letter that he sent to royal officials in Spain, on 25 April, 1612, as part of his duties as alcalde (AGI, Santo Domingo 179, R.3, N.62). In Santo Domingo 187 we found several other letters from colonial officials, including the governors of Cumaná, such as Diego de Arroyo Daza (R.6, N.36, 13 June 1620; R.6, N.39, 14 October 1621; R.6, N.40, 1 April 1623; R.6, N.41, 15 April 1623) and Juan de Haro (R.5, N.32, 15 January 1618; R.5, N.33, 20 June 1618). A search for Antonio de Quiroga returned three results: a letter to colonial officials, sent on behalf of the Audiencia de Santa Fe on 12 June, 1619 (Santa Fe, 66, N. 108), a compilation of legal proceedings (“informaciones”) prepared in 1627 (Santa Fe, 133, N. 57), and a summary of judicial findings and surveys (“jueces y comisión de vista”), also prepared for the Audiencia de Santa Fe (Santa Fe, 193, N. 40). Although our first efforts were unsuccessful, we hope that by sharing our work with the community of students and scholars at the Early Americas Digital Archive, new light might be shed on this important manuscript.
Ours is not the first time that this document has been translated into English, but there are several features that distinguish our work from the earlier translation of Vincent T. Harlow, a distinguished professor of English imperial history. In 1932, Harlow printed a run of some 775 copies of his translation of the Venezuela Papers. Following the boundary dispute by some 30 years, Harlow’s work, printed as Ralegh’s last voyage: being an account drawn out of contemporary letters and relations, both Spanish and English, of which the most part are now for the first time made public, concerning the voyage of Sir Walter Ralegh, knight, to Guiana in the year 1617 and the fatal consequences of the same (London: Argonaut), which included a reproduction of the plan of San Tomé, copied from the Spanish archive of Simancas, found a ready market among Anglophone readers. But the translation – like all translations – was a product of its time, and Harlow’s rendering of culturally-specific racial, ethnic, and gender classifications reflect the historical moment in which he worked. Thanks in large part to the excellent work of earlier scholars, we have a better understanding of the complexities of race and slavery in the early Americas. Whereas Harlow translated “mestizo” as “half-caste,” and “yndio puro” as “pure bred Indian” (202-3), we preferred “pure Indian,” and we have left the term “mestizo” in the original Spanish, with an explanatory note and a list of sources for further reading, written by Shaun Casey. What Harlow Englishes as “Guatemala Indian” (197), from the expression “Indio guatian del nuevo reino de granada,” we leave as “a Guatian Indian from the Nuevo Reino de Granada.” These terms are particularly important because one indigenous man tries to call himself “mestizo” when he enters the English camp, and he is nearly killed for it. Only when enslaved Africans insist that the man is an Indian do the English allow him to live; as one Spanish-speaking English sailor tells Juliana de Moxica, the English wanted to kill Spaniards, but they did not aim to hurt Indian women or men. Finally, Harlow translates two terms for indigenous boats – “piraguas” and “curiaras” as “war-canoes of Chaguanese Indians.” We find no evidence in the manuscript of military or war-like action on the part of the Chaguanes peoples in this passage, though they are certainly keen to capitalize on English-Spanish conflicts by confiscating material goods from the homes of Spanish residents. We have thus left both terms in the source language, as they are Hispanized forms of Carib words, and Katherine Lara’s translation (“there came a large number of piraguas and curiaras of Chaguanes Indians”) is followed by explanatory notes on the boats and the Chaguanes community.
On a larger scale, our translation preserves many of the unorthodox expressions that mark Juliana de Moxica as a bilingual Spanish-Arawak speaker. Harlow’s translation streamlines repetitive, seventeenth-century Spanish into concise, contemporary-sounding English, as in one section where Juliana de Moxica explains her interaction with Spanish-speaking English sailors: “who knew Spanish and talked with her” (201). Our version is admittedly less manageable: “according to what this witness knew from the Spanish-speaking English [ladinos] that spoke with this witness.” Likewise, Harlow’s more streamlined translation of geographic places, such as a spot “near the headland known as Aramaia’s Point” (193), facilitates comprehension but collapses important elements of the original text. In our translation, Allie Soroka opts for the longer “They went about discovering them by the point that they call Aramaia” to highlight the collective naming of space (“that they call”) and the windy narrative structure that performs the act of discovery (“they went about discovering”) as it was recalled and remembered by the speaker.
By preserving the discursive particularities of witness testimonies and standard legal expressions (“this witness knows”), our translation allows readers to identify moments of overlap and divergence in the stories told by García de Aguilar and Juliana de Moxica, and to read between the lines of legal discourse to hear witnesses speak in their own words. Our translation maintains the oral nature of testimony, including repetition, grammatical errors, unorthodox expressions, and discrepancies. We consider those markers of orality to be one of the strengths of our work; such moments allow important insight into the legal weight of spoken words, and the porous borders between speech and writing as evidentiary standards in colonial courts. They also afford a glimpse into the broader relationship between imperial law and everyday life as it unfolded in the colonies. In the example above, readers can see how Juliana de Moxica uses the same word to classify Spanish-speaking English men (ladinos) that colonial officials used for indigenous witnesses (ladino, ladina).
Because we have opted for a translation that reflects the discursive patterns of the period, our readers can see how these witnesses explain colonial transmissions of knowledge. Both García de Aguilar and Juliana de Moxica report on a Portuguese boy who was kidnapped by the English; García de Aguilar identifies him as “fourteen years old, more or less,” while Juliana de Moxica describes him in terms of visible changes to his body, “he was a boy whose first fine hairs were budding above the lip” (“que hera moço que le apuntaua el boso.”) These subtle differences also index the different relationship that each witness had to the boy. In her testimony, Juliana de Moxica refers to the Spanish as “los españoles,” as does García de Aguilar. But she uses a different word, “cristianos,” to describe how the Portuguese boy talks about Spaniards, offering a small glimpse into Iberian relations as they were filtered through an Arawak woman. Spanish speakers identify themselves by language and ethnicity, and bilingual agents like Juliana de Moxica follow this pattern. However, the Portuguese boy invokes a shared religious worldview to describe Spanish people in the region. These small differences are only appreciated with a translation that closely follows the language of the source text. We made these decisions as a group, with a collective methodology that we describe below.
The translation here presented was prepared in Fall, 2014, by undergraduate students in an upper-division seminar on colonial translation offered in the Department of Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese at the University of Virginia. For the first half of the semester, we studied the movements of indigenous, African, and European interpreters in four accounts of colonial encounter: Colón, Cabeza de Vaca, Díaz del Castillo, and the many histories of the conquest of New Spain related in Miguel León Portilla’s edited volume, Visión de los vencidos. These texts allowed us to understand the nature of colonial translation, the agencies of interpreters, and the habits of mind that shaped the colonial period. In the second half of the semester, after UVa archivist David Whitehall generously oriented us to rare books research in the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, we took a hands-on approach to colonial translation. We divided the pages of MS 36321 evenly, with each student taking responsibility for the transcription, translation, and annotation of one folio page. Kimberly Hursh, a PhD candidate in colonial Latin American history, translated a portion of the manuscript, conducted additional research, recorded minutes from translation workshops, and collaborated heavily in the writing of this introduction. For her excellent work, we are immensely grateful.
Over the course of the next six weeks, we came together to workshop ideas, strategies, and challenges, and to establish a consistent approach throughout the manuscript. Generally, we worked to strike a balance between clarity to our readers and fidelity to the text, debating when and how to translate historically-specific terms or leave them in the source language, when to clarify the text and when to preserve its original ambiguities, and when to add explanatory footnotes to guide our readers. We brainstormed ways to translate a particular term, such as “yndias ladinas,” and we used a process of elimination to work through three possibilities: to leave the term in the original Spanish (“yndias ladinas”), leave it in Spanish but write it with modern orthography (“indias ladinas”), translate it partially (“Indian ladinas,” “ladina Indians,”) or translate the concept (“Spanish-speaking Indian women”). This slow process of consensus building forced us to think carefully about our approach to the translation of historical documents, and the ways in which interlocking genres of legal discourse, history, and imaginative fiction shaped our practices of translation. When we could find an English equivalent for the Spanish, we translated the names of institutions in full (e.g., “Caja Real” as “Royal Treasury”). When we were unable to convey the cultural specificities of the original phrase, we left terms in the source language and provided sources for further reference in an accompanying footnote (e.g., Iglesia Mayor, alcalde, Real Hacienda). We took special care with the many Carib and Arawak words that find their way into the document, sometimes through colonial officials who describe indigenous fishing and navigational practices, and sometimes through indigenous peoples themselves. Those considerations are detailed below.
New light in Orinoco
One of the most striking elements of the manuscript is its yoking together the testimonies of an established colonial official and a young Arawak woman. The larger question of English-Spanish rivalry and imperial fashioning in the geographic imaginary of El Dorado has been studied in great detail (Oramas 1947), and recent scholarship has enlivened this longstanding area of inquiry (Sellin and Carlisle 2011; Britton 2011; Voigt 2009; Schmidt 2008; Fuchs 2001; Lovera 1991; Lemmon 1986). While a shared desire for control of natural resources animated both the English and the Spanish imperial projects, the nature of these interconnected empires goes beyond material goods. As the English simultaneously admired and rejected Spanish precedent in the Americas, both groups produced what Elijah Gould calls “interconnected,” “intertwined” reciprocal processes through which they defined themselves (766). In the spatial imaginary of imperial modeling, English apologists suggested that Spanish cruelty toward the Indians justified a new kind of empire. Early-seventeenth century Spanish reports from London showed how this popular idea circulated within the Stewart monarchy, as Ralegh, then imprisoned in the Tower, made it known that his indigenous informants were reluctant to reveal El Dorado’s mineral wealth “por miedo de los Españoles” or “because they feared the Spanish” (Biblioteca Nacional, Madrid, MSS/18684/18, “Documentos sobre Walter Raleigh y sus piraterías en la Guayana,” pp. 10-11). Meanwhile, multiple translations of Bartolomé de las Casas’s Brevissíma relación de la destrucción de las Indias (Antwerp, 1579; Lyon, 1582; London, 1583; Amsterdam, 1596) allowed a critique designed for an internal audience of royal readers to be enlisted in a range of political disputes, from the revolt of the Dutch republics against the Spanish monarchy to the colonization of the New World.
Largely absent from this established historiography on the Black Legend as it developed along the Orinoco, however, are the voices of indigenous Arawak and Carib peoples who brokered alliances with rival European empires – English, Spanish, Dutch, French, and Portuguese alike. Printed histories have always shown the movement of language and power across imperial lines in the contested region of Guayana, as demonstrated by texts like William Hamilton’s translation of Blaise Françoise de Pagan’s report of Ralegh’s expeditions (1660), and Spanish diplomatic reports on the English traffic in books, such as the prints of Theodor de Bry (“El libro de Theodoro de Brye haze mencion de todo esto como me lo ha dicho el Raley”) and Jan Janszoon Orliers’s Les lauriers de Nassau (Leyden, 1612), which the Spanish ambassador cites as evidence of Ralegh’s maritime incursions into Cadiz and America (“quien esta conocido por el mayor Marinero desta Corona como assaz lo aueriguan sus hazanas en las Indias, y quando dio en Cadis, como lo declara la historia llamada, Des lauriers de Nassau con otro historiador frances,” BN Madrid, MSS/18684/18, p. 4v). However, the oral transmission of knowledge has not been as readily apparent. This manuscript sheds important light on the agencies of indigenous women and men who managed sensitive transfers of information in an area whose political and linguistic boundaries were as fluid as the region’s alluvial mineral deposits. In addition to Spanish, English, Portuguese, Arawak, and Carib language and ethnic groups in Guayana, the manuscript references four other indigenous communities of the region: Morca, Chaguanes, Camahuya, and Guatian. Where possible, we have provided additional information on these communities, as well as sources for further reading.
Because the same notary recorded both of the testimonies here presented, and because the witnesses responded to some of the same questions of the interrogatorio, this manuscript allows us to compare how García de Aguilar Truxillo and Juliana de Moxica described the same people, places, and events in different ways. We also see, in this new English translation, how indigenous women gained access to English networks of information and how they transmitted messages to Spanish officials. While García de Aguilar was held prisoner in the church, Juliana de Moxica and her friend, identified only as Inés, were tasked with preparing arepas, or maize cakes, sometimes filled with meat or vegetables, for the English sailors. These two Arawak women effectively became the only source of food for the English and the prisoners; by controling the production and distribution of food, Juliana de Moxica and Inés became information hubs because everyone – English, indigenous, African, Spanish – came to see them. In her testimony, Juliana de Moxica reveals how these information networks operated.
In his testimony, meanwhile, García de Aguilar confirms what he learns from Juliana de Moxica and Inés. One such moment occurs in his response to the fourth question of the interrogatorio, when he describes two indigenous men who were taken prisoner, Cristóbal and Pedro Criollo. Cristóbal is identified as a Morca Indian who had served the Governor Diego Palomeque on his encomienda. Although García de Aguilar offers nothing other than “yndio morca,” Juliana de Moxica testifies that Cristóbal is from the Nuevo Reino de Granada (present-day Colombia), and specifically from the Valle de Somagoso (Sagamoso), some 34 miles from Tunja, as the crow flies. More interestingly, she testifies that Cristóbal tries to pass as a mestizo when he circulates among the English. Three enslaved Africans told the English that Cristóbal was entirely indigenous, or “yndio puro.” While García de Aguilar and Juliana de Moxica tell different versions of Cristóbal’s story, they provide the same details about the three enslaved Africans who went voluntarily from their masters, the widow Mencia Ruiz and the military official Pedro de Padilla. They also offer similar testimonies on the fate of Pedro Criollo, an indigenous man who had been held in chains by his master, the military captain Joan Ximénez. Once Cristóbal and Pedro de Padilla found themselves behind English lines, their fates diverged: Cristóbal was thrown in a boat, never heard from nor seen again, while Pedro Criollo walked unchained. While García de Aguilar reports that Pedro de Padilla was “well dressed,” Juliana de Moxica provides more elaborate testimony: he wore a hat and new shoes that a Spanish resident had left in his house when he fled, and he had the English call him “don Pedro” as he sat around their table. The details of their testimonies suggest that Juliana de Moxica had better access to information regarding the prisoners and their movements. García de Aguilar confirms in his own words that he learned these stories from the Indian women who had fled the English enemy (“supo este testigo de las yndias que se huyeron del enemigo”), although he does not name her.
Native women were not the only source of information for colonial officials, though. In the fifth question, García de Aguilar explains what he learned from an Arawak man (“un yndio que vino de la dicha ysla de nación aruaca”) who was held prisoner on an English ship manned by a general named “Guatarreal,” or Walter Ralegh. English sources, such as the DNB entries for Ralegh and Keymis, insist that Ralegh stayed on the shores of the Essequibo River, while Keymis sailed up the Orinoco to attack the Spanish settlement. In his Second voyage to Guiana, Keymis noted the mobility of the Arawak people, and their ability to cultivate alliances with Spanish settlers, dismissively calling the community “a vagabound nation of Indians, which finding no certaine place of abode of their owne, do for the most part serue and follow the Spaniardes” (B2v). García de Aguilar, meanwhile, testified that the Arawak informant came from the Island of Trinidad with the captain Cristóbal de Cárdenas to inform the governors of Trinidad, Margarita, Cumaná, and Caracas of English activity in the region, including the English fleet’s having launched three boats that sailed from San Tomé to Mayquiagua, a Carib community that sat some 70 leagues outside of the Spanish military complex. Juliana de Moxica again provides more specific details: she names the man as the same Pedro Criollo who was taken by the English with Cristóbal, an “indio guatian,” and three indigenous women, including her. She is identified as the wife of American-born Spanish soldier Luis de Arce, while her companions are both named as servants of colonial officials. One is a servant of the Franciscan father Francisco de Leuro, and the other of the military captain Cristóbal de Cárdenas. Juliana de Moxica testified that Pedro Criollo went by boat to inform Ralegh of the death of his son, and that she knew this because Pedro Criollo had told her so.
These examples suggest how the English invasion of San Tomé allowed some indigenous people to take advantage of an upended social order and to position themselves with greater benefit within colonial society, sometimes by joining the English willingly, and sometimes by reporting to the Spanish what they had learned in their captivity. At other moments in their testimonies, we hear from García de Aguilar and Juliana de Moxica how indigenous, mixed-race, and African people moved between and among English captors and Spanish colonials, including military officials, government agents, and religious leaders. These stories of movement allow us to better understand the complex interactions of race and religion along the Orinoco River. More broadly, they suggest how indigenous women and men collaborated and competed with Spanish colonial officials and English imperial agents to control the flow of information in a place where the eastern edges of the Andes meet elaborate river networks that flow into the Atlantic world.
Allison Bigelow, Mawusi Bridges, Shaun Casey, Julia Colopy, Eleanor Daugherty, Taylor Dorr, Mary Catherine Gibbs, Carly Gordon, Rebecca Graham, Alison Haulsee, Brynna Heflin, Kimberly Hursh, Lindsey Jones, Katherine Lara, Nathaniel Menninger, Sierra Prochna, Kyle Reitz, Blake Selph, Alexandra Soroka, Julia Sroba, Nora Zahn, Mary-Rolfe Zeller, Emily Zhang
Archivo General de Indias, Sevilla
Biblioteca Nacional, Madrid
British Library, London
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[p. 67] En la cuidad de santo thome provincia de la guayana a veynte y nueve dias del mes de agosto de mill y seyscientos y diez y ocho para la dicha yinformacion el dicho capitan diego martin de baena ante el dicho teniente de governador presento por testigo al capitan garcia de aguilar truxillo alcalde hordinario y tesorero de la real hacienda del rey nuestro señor desta ciudad y vezino della El qual aviendo jurado en forma de derecho y siendo examinado al tenor del dicho ynterrogatorio de preguntas en presencia del dicho teniente y [p. 67v] del dicho capitan diego martin de baena que para ello se hallo presente dixo lo siguiente:
- A la primera pregunta de dicho ynterrogatorio dixo este testigo que lo que save desta pregunta es que viernes que se contaron doce del mes de henero pasado deste presente año a la ora de las once del dia poco menos aviendo tenido el governador Diego Palomeque y Acuña en aqual punto aviso de que benian navios el rio arriba y estando aperciviendo soldados y un caudillo para yr a reconocerlos fueronse descubriendose por la punta que llaman de aramaia que esta dos leguas deste cuidad el rio abajo de [p. 68] Orinoco belas que heran nueve belas que fueron dos navios grandes de a cien toneladas poco más o menos y una carabela y quatro lanchas y dos lanchones los quales se fueron metiendo hacia una encenada que llaman de aruco que esta una legua mas debajo de esta ciudad. Y luego que llegaron echaron la gente en tierra y bolbieran a hacerse a la vela con los navios y la carabela dexando las lanchas en el dicho sitio y vinieron navegando hacia esta ciudad hasta ponerse casi enfrente desta ciudad de Santo Thome de donde se le disparo las dos piesas de artillería que estaban en esta ciudad la una [p. 68v] pieça dos veces conque por entonces se detuvieron dando fondo y no pasaron de allí y esto seria una ora despues de anochecido y luego el dicho gobernador tuvo nueba de dos hombres de a cavallo que ymbio a reconocer por tiera como venia el enemigo marchando la buelta desta ciudad por tierra y por ser negocio tan de repente el dicho gobernador no pudo aser más prevensiones de las que hizo que fue poner quatro hombres en la artillería y dos en la playa del rio por si el enemigo echava gente de los navios en tierra y diez a la entrada de esta ciudad dos tiros de mosquetes por donde el enemigo venia marchando [p. 69] por ser montaña para estorbarles la entrada y quatro hombres de a cavallo que andavan en la çabana a la vista del enemigo para ver por donde venia y rrepartio su gente en dos esquadras o mas para entrar por otras partes y con el restante de la gente que serian hasta diez y seys o diez y ocho hombres con sus armas de fuego el dicho governador se estuvo en su plaҫa de armas aguardando el suceso del enemigo que tenia con la gente que le avia salido al camino a guardar y estorvarles la entrada y teniendo el dicho governador segundo aviso de uno de los de a cavallo como el enemigo venia y a cerca de la [p. 69v] cuidad se fue a aguardarle con los dichos soldados que tenia consigo hasta la yglesia maior que es por donde el enemigo entro y estando alli con la dicha gente echa una media luna llego el capitan geronimo de grados que estava por cavo de los diez hombres de la emboscada diciendo señor governador el enemigo nos a rrompido la emboseada y biene con la mayor gente suya por la casa de clemente bernal y es mucha gente la que biene y entonces dixo el dicho governador a este testigo vaya vuestra merced con ocho compañeros por la otra parte de la yglesia que yo boy siguiendo al [p. 70] capitan grados con los demas compañeros y llegando a las espaldas de la Yglesia nos encontramos todos con el enemigo a donde se estuvo peleando hasta venir a las manos de donde por ser grande la fuerça del enemigo nos obligo a retirarnos assia el cuerpo de guardia y que todo esto sucedió desde las nueve de la noche hasta las dose della que siempre se estuvo peleando con el enemigo hasta que nos gano la ciudad y se apodero y estuvo en ella veynte y nueve días naturales Y esto es la verdad y lo que sabe desta pregunta como persona que se hallo entonces en esta ciudad ________________________________ [p. 70v]
- A la segunda pregunta dixo que desde que se aparto este testigo por la otra parte de la yglesia no vio unas al dicho Gobernador mas de quanto embistiendo todos con el enemigo, derromania y no parecio mas y en esta ocasión en el dicho encuentro por la parte donde este testigo estava mataron los enemigos al capitan Arias Nieto y al capitan juan rruyz monje y assimismo hirieron a otros dos soldados los cuales estan ya sanos de las heridas y que despues de haverse ydo el enemigo yngles de esta ciudad y viniendo a reedificar esta ciudad hallamos el cuerpo del dicho gobernador y del [p. 71] capitan juan ruyz monje amarrados uno con otro pies con caveza en un hoyo junto a la yglesia major que es por la parte por donde el dicho governador embirtio con el enemigo el qual una cuchillada en la caveza que le hendio la caveza hasta las caveza que le hendio la caveza hasta las quyadas por el lado isquerierdo y esto saue entre tertigo porque ayudo a desenterrar el dicho cuerpo donde entava medio cubierto y conocio por la filosomia del rostro ser el dicho governador y por la entatura del cuerpo que hera un hombre muy corpulento mas que ninguno de los desta ciudad y esto rresponde a esta pregunta_____________[p. 71v]
- a la tercera pregunta dixo que dice lo que dicho tiene en la pregunta antes desta cerca de los muertos que hubo en la toma de esta ciudad y que en quanto a lo que se hizo del padre francisco de leuro este testigo saue quedo en su casa tullida de pies y manos que no tenia unas de la estatua de la muerte y despues de las yndias que estubieron en poder del enemigo que la una hera del del dicho padre francisco de leuro supo como el enemigo de avia parrado de su propia cassa a otra y le curaban con mucho cuydado y este testigo saue como el enemigo [p. 72] quemo la casa adonde estava el dicho padre francisco de leuro y todas las demas cassas desta ciudad y se quemo en ella y esto save por averlo oydo al capitan joan de lezama que fue el que hallo quemado en la cassa y le hizo enterrar y esto rresponde a esta pregunta —————
- A la quarta pregunta dixo que lo que save desta pregunta es que este testigo como tesorero de la Real Hazienda save avia en la Real caxa en moneda acuñada hasta seiscientos rreales y una varreta de oro del cavo y cola y un tejuelo unos pedacitos que todo ello montava hasta dos mill reales [p. 72v] y mas estava en la dicha rreal caxa empeñada por prenda una cadena de oro que no se acuerda por que tanta cantidad estava ny lo que pesava mas de aver oydo dezir al capitan geronimo de grados cuya era la dicha cadena estaba en prenda de mill y trescientos reales y que pesava ella mill y seyscientos reales de oro y ansimismo estaba un aguamanil y una fuente de plata en prendas no se acuerda por la cantidad que estava de prendas ni lo que pesavan mas de que lo tenia metido en la rreal caxa francisco venegas y ansimesmo estavan en prendas trece o catorce [p. 73] marcos de plata labrada en piezas por prendas que devia doña andrea maria de berrio a la rreal caxa por una escriptura de mayor quantia y mas estaba en la rreal caxa en prendas una tachuela del capitan bernave de brea en quarenta o cinquenta reales y que no se acuerda lo que pesava la dicha tachuela y asimesmo estava en la real caxa en prendas una aguila de oro engastada en un barrueco guarnecida de esmeraldas no se acuerda por que cantidad estava ni lo que pesava mas de que hera de francisco vanegas ansimismo tenia la real caxa docientas hachas en un caxon e por otra parte [p. 73v] treinta hachas de fierro y docientas bainas de cuchillos carniceras y mas tenia la rreal caxa veynte mosquetes y quatro arcabuzes y seys cañones desguarnecidos y diez barriles de polvora llenos hasta mill balas de mosquetes y arcabuzes y hasta un quintal de cuerda de españa y mas dos piessas de artilleria que estavan en el fuerte a las rriveras deste rio orinoco y quatro pedreros de los quales pedreros estavan la noche que el enemigo tomo dicha ciudad puestos en sus puertos y plaça de armas y que ansi mesmo tenia la caxa real [p. 74] hasta diez y ocho o diez y nueve vales de las condenaciones que hizo el governador diego palomeque a los vezinos de esta ciudad en la residencia que les tomo los quales entiende apelaron para el consejo y les hizo con los dichos vales asegurar la real caxa los quales dichos vales montarian hasta cantidad de setecientos o ochosientos reales que no se acuerda bien que tanto hera mas de lo que dicho tiene en esta pregunta y que todo lo que dicho tiene en esta pregunta el enemigo yngles se lo llevo y este testigo como tesorero juntamente con el contador de la Real Hacienda aquel día que parecio el enemigo le [p. 74v] requisieron al dicho Governador en presencia de testigos y del escrivano les diera favor y ayuda para poner la caxa real en cobro el qual respondio esso esta a mi cargo y yo soy el dueño dello no tienen vuestras mercedes que ver en esto que yo soy el dueño dello traiganmela a mi casa y se la llevaron y el dicho governador la metio en su aposento y que sabe que el archivo donde estaban los papeles del cavildo y demas mercedes estava en cassa del dicho governado en una caxa encerrada con dos cerraduras con sus llabes la una llave tenia el dicho governador y la otra el escrivano [p. 75] de cavildo y que este testigo y su compañero no se atrevieron a llevar la caxa real y ponerla en cobro sin horden suya por una condicion aspera que tenia el dicho gobernador y asimesmo se llevo el enemigo todos los papeles que tenia el escrivano en su escriptorio sin escapar ninguno ni cossa de hacienda de su cassa que sy no fue lo que tenia puesto el y su muger e hijos no sacaron otra cossa y que save este testigo que sy no fueron cuatro o seys personas que sacaron alguna ropa de su bestir que fueron los siguientes. El capitan geronimo de grados, ana perez viuda, joan de trillo, el capitan joan de lezama. el capitan cebrian frontino [p. 75v] hernan gomez francisco vanegas fernan claros, francisco granados, el capitan pedro sandos y que estos fue mas lo que dexaron que lo que sacaron y que todos los demas vecinos no sacaron cossa ninguna mas que tan solamente sus personas libres y lo que llevavan puestos ellos y sus mugeres y hijos que seria en joyas rropa de vestir plata labrada y rropa blanca y alajas de cassa y tabaco hasta doscientos quintales porque el demas tabaco que cada uno tenia aquella noche que entro el enemigo en esta ciudad lo quemo en las cassas que quemo aquella noche que era desde donde se le arcabuzeaba [p. 76] y que montaria todo lo suso dicho mas de quarenta mil ducados en lo qual entran los hornamentos y rropa de los conventos sant francisco y santo domingo y la yglesia mayor que todo se lo llevo hasta las campanas de las dichas yglesias que eran las seys las quatro grandes y las dos pequeñas y assimesmo save este testigo se fueron con el dicho enemigo dos negras esclavos de mencia rruiz viuda y otro de pedro de padilla menor del capitan cebriano frontino y estos se fueron voluntariamente de poder de sus amos al enemigo despues de aver sus amos de los dichos negros retirado a la campana [p. 76v] con los demas compañeros y asimesmo save este testigo que tres yndias ladinas quedaron aquella noche que se tomo esta ciudad con el enemigo que la cogieron que la una dellas era del servicio del padre francisco de leuro que quedo en la cama y otra del servicio del capital cristoval de cardenas y la otra esta cassada con luys de arce soldado criollo de las yndias y un yndio guatian del nuevo reyno de granada de la encomienda del governador don fernando de oruña de qual quedo tullido y el y las yndias estan oy dia en esta ciudad y las dichas yndias las tubieron forciblemente sirbiendose [p. 77] dellas hasta que de alli a doce dias se huyeron del enemigo y se fueron a donde estaban los españoles y ansimismo saue que se fueron dos yndios ladinos con el enemigo el uno forcible y el otro voluntario porque el uno que se llamava cristoval yndio morca del reyno era del servicio del governador diego de palomeque y estaba dentro del aposento reservado que alli le auia dexado y el otro llamado pedro criollo del servicio del capitan joan ximenez estaba preso con una cadena en cassa del dicho governador porque aquel dia que parecieron las uelas en el rio el dicho yndio les auia dicho que se holgava porque [p. 77v] agora se iba con los yngleses y el dicho su amo temeroso dello lo dixo al dicho governador el qual le mando echar en la dicha cadena el qual dicho yndio despues que el enemigo tomo esta ciudad supo este testigo de las yndias que se huyeron del enemigo como el dicho yndio pedro criollo andava suelto entre los yngleses y muy bien vestido y que el otro yndio cristoval [p. 78] mas no save este testigo si los enemigos lo llevaron o le mataron y ansi mesmo save este testigo que luego al tercer dia de quando entro el enemigo en esta ciudad que fue el domingo por la mañana dieron fondo otros dos navios grandes del enemigo el uno mayor que el otro sigun vimos todos hera la capitana porque trajo bandera enarbolada y siempre la tubo y le hicieron grandes salvas que se dispararian de salvas mas de treinta piessas de todos los dichos navios al tiempo que dieron fondo y ansimesmo save este testigo que quando el dicho governador ymbio a ver si echava la gente en tierra el [p. 78v] enemigo los que fueron a verlo le dixeron que benian marchando por tierra cantidad de quinientos hombres y segun este testigo vio aquella noche seria la dicha cantidad y esto save y rresponde a esta pregunta
- A la quinta pregunta dixo que sabe que dentro de seys dias poco mas o menos que entro el enemigo en esta ciudad salieron tres lanchas della el rio de orinoco arriba y supo este testigo llegaron hasta los asientos del principal mayquiagua de nacion cariba que estara setenta leguas de esta ciudad poco mas o menos y oyo decir a los naturales deste rrio como yban sondandolo y hablando [p. 79] a los yndios diciendoles que ya avian muerto a los españoles que ellos eran ya señores desta tierra y que ellos tenian muchas achas y cuchillos para darles y que tardaron en el dicho viage con los dichas lanchas en yda y buelta desde esta ciudad tres semanas poco mas o menos y que en el ynter que estas tres lanchas fueron el rio arriba fue otra el rio abajo y que entiende este testigo fue a dar aviso a los otros navios que estavan en la ysla trinidad y lo tiene por cierto porque de un yndio que vino de la dicha ysla de nación aruaca que fue con el capitán cristoval de cardenas a dar el avisso a la trinidad y margarita [p. 79v] cumana y caracas y de como el enemigo avia tomado esta ciudad lo supo este testigo por que el dicho yndio dixo a este testigo que teniendole presso en el navio el general que se llamava guatarreal avia visto como llego una lancha dandole aviso de lo subcedido y que el dicho general oyendolo lloraba por la muerte de su hijo y assi mismo sabe que en el ynter que las lanchas fueron el rio arriba y baxo yban y benian cantidad de piraguas y curiaras de indios chaguanes que fueron de la nacion que metio a el enemigo en esta tierra losguales yban cargadas con sus baxeles de todo lo que tenian [p. 80] los becinos en sus casas que el enemigo no avia hecho caso sabelo este testigo porque lo oyo decir a yndios que los toparon cargados y este testigo los bio venir por el dicho rio arriba dos o tres bezes hasta esta ciudad y esto rresponde a esta pregunta.
- A la sexta pregunta dixo que save está esta ciudad en su citio encima deste rio orinoco muy alegre ayroso y bistoso que se ve el rio abajo tres o quatro leguas y el rio arriba mas de una legua pero que esta todo abierto sin genero de fuerça ninguna y que save que esta tierra es muy fertil y que se cojen dos cosechas de mais al año la [p. 80v] una de ynbierno y la otra de verano que la de ynbierno se coge por septiembre y la otra de verano en março y la de ynbierno se siembra por todo el mes de mayo y la de verano se siembra por octubre y noviembre y que la cosecha de mais del verano es la mas fertil y mas abundante y que suele rendir por fanega si el año es fertil mas de trescientas fanegas y el ordinario a docientas a docientas y cinquenta y que de ganado bacuno ay al presente hasta quarto mill cavessas de ganado de rrexo y que las pesquerias son en todo el año y las mas abundantes es de verano y que si esta tierra tubiera sal en [p. 81] abundancia se podían sustentar todas las Yndias y que las dichas pesquerías se suelen hazer con barbarsco, chincorras y ançuelos y flecheria de los naturales y sabe este testigo que un muchacho con un ançuelo suele traer cada día veynte arrobas de pescado y que son tan grandes las pesquerías que ay que muchas vezes los naturales lo dexan perder por no cargado y que el pescado ahumado durara hasta quinze días y el salado durara todo el año y asi sabe este testigo que de verano es tanta la cantidad de tortugas que ay en las playas que si como tiene dicho ubiera sal para salarlas se podria sustentar sient pueblo como este y es mejor la carne que [p. 81v] aun la de vaca y que se puede sustentar con estar la tierra tan perdida como esta al presente mas de dosientos hombres vezinos como de ynffanteria y aviendo cuydado y un poco de diligencia se puede sustentar mucha mas gente lo qual que dicho tiene lo saue este testigo por auer veynte y dos años y unas que a asistido y asiste en esta ciudad y provincias lo qual que dicho tiene dixo ser verdad so cargo del juramento que ffecho tiene y en ello aviendole buelto a leer se affirmo y ratifico y siendo necesario lo dexia y dixo de nuevo y lo firmo de su nombre y dixo ser de [p. 82] hedad de quarenta y nueve años y lo firmo el dicho teniente de governador que presente estubo juntamente con el dicho capitan diego martin de baena, garcia de aguilar trujillo, geronimo de grados = Diego martin de baena paso ante my joan de alcala escrivano real —
Testigo = En la ciudad de santo tome a seys dias del mes de septiembre de mill y seys cientos y diez y ocho años para la dicha ynformacion el dicho capitan diego martin de baena ante el dicho teniente de governador y para que diga su dicho por la segunda pregunta [p. 82v] del dicho ynterrogatorio presento por testigo a Yuliana de moxica yndia ladina de nacion guayana y muger de luys de arce soldado de esta jornada y vezino de esta ciudad la qual aviendo jurado en forma de derecho y siendo examinada al tenor de la dicha pregunta del dicho ynterrogatorio dixo lo siguiente = que esta testigo la noche que tomo esta ciudad estaba con Ynes yndia del servicio del capitan cardenas con su rropilla que tenia orillas deste rrio orinoco entre unas peñas que estan orillas de el y quando en otro dia amanecio se fueron a casa del padre [p. 83] Francisco de leuro el qual no hallaron en su cassa porque la avian quemado la cassa y yendole buscando por la ciudad le hallaron en casa de francisco de santa cruz que la estavan alli curando los yngleses la qual cassa hera en la plaça donde asistian los enemigos y en la dicha cassa posaban los capitanes de el enemigo y esta testigo y la dicha ynes fue amarrada hablaron al dicho padre como estava el qual las hizo dar de almorzar a una yndia ladina del dicho padre francisco de luero, que era camarada de esta testigo y de su compañera y estubieron alli con el dicho padre en su [p. 83v] compañía y los dichos yngleses quando las vieron las llevaron al cuerpo de guardia donde estaba el general el qual quando las vio las dixo no tubieron temor que ellos no benian a hazer mal a las yndias ny yndios sino a los españolespor eso que les sirbieren que ellos se lo pagarian y ansi esta testigo y su compañera se detuvieron en compañía del dicho padre francisco de leuro y su compañera doze dias en los quales los dichos yngleses les hazian moler maiz y hazer arepas para que por que ellos comiesen y viendo que por que esta testigo y sus compañeras no les daban [p. 84] arepas en abundancia y liberalmente para comer ellos les dijeron las avian de meter en un aposento con el dicho padre francisco de leuro y los avian de quemar a todas y por este temor y miedo y que cada día les hazian amenazas un dia al poner del sol en achaque que iban por leña se huyeron del poder del enemigo dejando al dicho padre solo y no se atrevieron a sacar su rropa dellas por no ser sentidas de el enemigo y toda aquella noche estuvieron escondidas en el monte que esta fuera de esta ciudad y en otro día por la madrugada se fueron al hato del capitán gerónimo de grados [p. 84v] por no saber adonde estaban los españoles y allí supieron donde estaban y luego llego su marido de esta testigo que estaba con todos los españoles junto a el rio Caroní y trajo a esta testigo adonde ellos estaban para que los alcaldes las bieren y supiesen lo que hazía el enemigo en la ciudad y esta testigo dixo a los dichos alcaldes como el enemigo avia hablado con esta testigo y sus compañeras y lo que les avia preguntado y como se avian huydo de ellos y preguntandolas lo que hazía el enemigo y que las dezía esta testigo y sus compañeras se lo dixeron que es lo siguiente = que el enemigo tenia al padre francisco de [p. 85] leuro en casa de francisco de santa cruz curandole y que traia consigo el dicho enemigo un portugues que no supo su nombre mas de que hera moço que le apuntaua el boso el qual le dixo a esta testigo y sus compañeras que el se queria yr adonde estaban los cristianos y que no se atrevia porque no entendiesen los cristianos quando le bieren que hera yngles y le matasen y que el hera cristiano y ansi les pedia por amor de dios le llevasen consigo y sus compañeras no se atrevieron a traelle consigo por no ser sentidos del enemigo y que esta testigo supo de los yngleses como havian coxido junto a el convento de san [p. 85v] francisco de esta ciudad a un moçuelo portugeses el qual vio esta testigo que hera el que estava en casa de martin rodrigues vezino de esta ciudad y la dixeron como luego otro dia de mañana de como tomaran la ciudad le avian coxido que dezia andaua buscando los españoles al qual vio esta testigo le trayan por las casas desta ciudad amarrado las manos atrás con una cabuya y preguntandole les dixese donde avia oro de lo que tenian enterrado los españoles y andavan cabando las cassas buscando si lo tenian enterrado y que porque no queria el moço dezir donde estava el oro enterrado le daban con [p. 86] rrebenques encima de la rropa que traya puesta y que delante de esta testigo le embarcaron en uno de los navios de el enemigo y que asimesmo vio esta testigo como el dicho enemigo tenia en su poder a un yndio ladino llamado cristoval del servicio del gobernador diego palomeque al qual avia hallado en casa del dicho gobernador su amo y le prendio el enemigo y porque dezia el dicho yndio ser mestizo el enemigo le quiso ahorcar el qual dicho yndio hera del Reyno del Valle de somagoso segun an dicho los cristianos y entonces estando un poder del enemigo dos negros de mencia rruyz sus esclavos y [p. 86v] otro de pedro de padilla los quales se abian benido a el enemigo de poder de sus amos y el enemigo los bistio y andaban bestidos con los bestidos que tomaron a los españoles los quales dichos negros dixeron al enemigo que mentia el dicho yndio cristoval que no hera mestizo sino yndio puro y ansi no le ahorcaron y le llevaron a el navio y que ansi mesmo vio esta testigo tenia el dicho enemigo a un yndio llamado pedro criollo de el servicio de el capitán joan jimenez a el qual avia hallado el enemigo preso en casa del dicho gobernador a el qual solto de la prision y andava [p. 87] muy bestido con bestidos de los que dexaron los españoles en sus cassas y con sombrero y çapatos nuevos, que le dieron y sentandole a la mesa con ellos llamandole señor don pedro y el dicho yndio les dezia que les enseñaria adonde estaban los españoles y las mugeres que fuesen y los matasen y que le entregasen a su amo el capitan joan ximenez que el le queria matar y esta testiga y sus compañeras le riñeron mucho diziendole estaba borracho para que dizes nada al enemigo el qual respondio no son mis parientes los españoles y asi no se me da nada que los maten y que ansimesmo [p. 87v] vio esta testigo como estando orillas deste rrio orinoco cogiendo agua para bever ella y sus compañeras vio embarcar al dicho pedro yndio criollo en una lancha que yba a la ysla de la trinidad a dar aviso al general que estaba alli de la muerte de su hijo segun el dicho yndio pedro lo dixo a esta testigo y ansimesmo le dixo lo propio a esta testigo un yngles llamado don juan que hera capitan y muy ladino y que avian de benir a vengar la muerte de su hijo y de un capitán su amigo que ansimesmo vio a esta testigo que luego a otro dia que se tomo esta ciudad estaban [p. 88] en la plaza amortajados cinco yngleses para enterrarlos porque dezian eran personas graves y a los demas yngleses muertos los echavan en el rrio y les cortavan las cavezas diciendo a esta testigo que mirase si conocia aquellos muertos y esta estigo les dixo que no los conocia y ellos rrespondieron que heran españoles que de los suyos no avian muerto mas que un hijo del general y a un capitan que benia junto a el y que demas de lo que dicho tiene dixo esta estigo que luego a otro dia de quando se tomo a esta ciudad a la ora de las diez de el dia la persona que mandava la gente del enemigo envio a llamar a esta testigo [p. 88v] y a sus compañeras y mando las llevasen a ver los muertos que estavan en la plaça y esta testigo y sus compañeras fueron a berlos y vieron estava el governador diego palomeque muerto desnudo en queros y tenia una herida muy grande en la cabeza por un lado de ella que la tenia partida y otras heridas y como esta testigo y sus compañeras le vieron y conocieron comenzaron a llorar por el biendole de aquella muerte y el dicho general de los enemigos embio con un paje suyo a dezir a esta testigo y a sus compañeras que enterrasen aquellos muertos que estavan alli en la plaça [p. 89] y esta testigo y sus compañeras dixeron que ellas tenian que hazer sus arepas y que no podian ni sabian ni tenian con que que les enterrasen ellos y luego el dicho general les enbio a dezir que el los haria enterrar y vio esta testigo que luego otro dia que fue domingo hizieron un entierro muy grande con todos los yngleses que yban con sus armas de fuego y cinco banderas arrastrando y llevaban cinco cuerpos muertos amortajados los quales los llevavan encima de unas tablas sobre los ombres y anduvieron alrededor de la plaça con ellos desde el cuerpo de guardia y dieron buelta dos bezes a la plaza con los dichos [p. 89v] muertos y luego entraron con ellos en la yglesia mayor de esta ciudad adonde los enterraron en dos sepulteras que hicieron la una en la capilla mayor y la otra mas abaxo y en la de la capilla mayor enterraron al hijo del general y a uno de los capitanes y en la otra sepultura a los otros tres segun esta testigo lo supo de los yngleses ladinos que hablavan con esta testigo y que ansi mismo vio esta testigo al capital joan rruyz muerto debaxo del campanario de la yglesia mayor quando fue a ver al dicho governador muerto el qual estava tanbien en cueros y tenia una herida por los pechos y ansi [p. 90] mesmo oyo esta testigo dezir a los capitanes yngleses que posavan en la cassa donde estava el dicho padre francisco de leuro los quales le estaban diciendo al dicho padre que ellos trayan licencia de el rey de españa para saltar en esta tierra por cincuenta años por que avia en ella mucho oro para sacarlo y esta testigo oyo dezir a los dichos yngleses como avian de hablar a los chaguanes para que hablasen a todos los yndios caribes y camahuyas se juntasen y estuviesen apercividos para quando ellos biniesen porque no avian de hazer mas de llegar a su tierra y cargar de matalotage y bolverse luego a [p. 90v] esta tierra y matar a los españoles y quedarse ellos solos en esta tierra y esto es verdad y lo que sabe y a oydo y que ansi mesmo en el tiempo que esta testigo estubo en esta tierra en poder del enemigo bio yban y benian los chaguanes y se llevaban hachas y rropas y todo lo que hallaban en las casas de los españoles lo que no avian rrecogido los yngleses y los dichos yngleses por ser sus amigos se lo davan y consentian llevar y lo que dicho tiene dixo ser verdad so cargo del juramento que fecho tiene y en ello siendole buelto a leer se affirmo y rratifico y siendo necesario lo decia y dixo de [p. 91] nuevo y no lo firmo por no saver escrivir y dixo ser de hedad de veynte y quatro años poco mas o menos y firmado el dicho teniente de governador y el dicho capitan diego martin de baena que presente estuvo geronimo de grados diego martin de baena paso ante my joan de alcala escrivano rreal ——
In the city of Santo Thome, province of Guayana, on August 29th, 1618, for the aforementioned information the previously mentioned Captain Diego Martin de Baena in the presence of the aforementioned Lieutenant Governor presented as a witness the Captain Garcia de Aguilar Truxillo, alcalde ordinario and treasurer of the Real Hacienda of the King, Our Lord, in this city and householder of it. Who, having been sworn in the form of law and being examined in accordance with the questions in the aforementioned ynterrogatorio in the presence of the previously mentioned lieutenant and [end p. 67r] of the aforementioned Captain Diego Martin de Baena, who found himself present for this investigation, said the following:
- With regards to the first question from the ynterrogatorio this witness said that what he knows of this question is that Friday, which was numbered the twelfth of the past month of January of this present year, at the hour of eleven in the morning, or a little before, the governor Diego Palomeque y Acuña had been at that point where he warned them that there were boats that came from up river. Having perceived soldiers and a commander they went to reconnoiter them. They went about discovering them by the point that they call Aramaia, which is two leagues from this city beneath the [end p. 67v] Orinoco River. There were two large ships with sails, nine sails each, more or less around one hundred tons, and one caravel, and four boats, and two vessels that were destined for a cove which is one league below the city that is called Aruco. After they arrived, they cast the people out to the land and raised the sail once again. The caravel, leaving the vessels in this said location, embarked towards this city until it was almost before this city of Santo Thome. There, they fired at them the two pieces of artillery that were in the city. One piece [end p. 68] fired twice, causing them to halt and drop anchor so that they could not pass beyond there. This occurred an hour after dusk. Later, the aforementioned governor had news from two men of the cavalry who were sent to survey the land as to how the enemy would come in return and march through the land to this city. And because it was so sudden a matter the said governor could not take any more precautions than he had already made – which had been putting four men in charge of the artillery, and two on the riverbank in case the enemy cast people from the ships to the land, and ten men at the entrance of the city, two shots of a musket in the direction where the enemy came marching from [end 68v], because there was a mountain that way, to impede them from the entrance, and four men on horseback to the savannah within eyeshot of enemy to see where they were coming from. He divided his men in two or more troops in order to enter in other ways. With the remaining 16 or 18 men and their firearms that were left to guard and block the incoming men from the entrance, the aforementioned governor was in the Plaça de Armas awaiting the progress of the enemy against the men who had gone to to the path to guard and block the entrance. The aforementioned governor heeded the warning of one of those on horseback that the enemy was arriving. As the incoming men approached the [end p. 69] city, the fleet of previously mentioned soldiers accompanying the governor went to guard the Yglesia Mayor. This is where the enemy entered. It was there – with said people in a crescent-shape formation – when Captain Geronimo de Grados arrived as the leader of the ten men who were concealed in ambush. He said, “Señor Gobernador, the enemy broke through our flanks and came with their best men by way of the house of Clemente Bernal. Many men came.” And so the aforementioned governor said, “in accordance with this testimony, go Your Grace with eight comrades to the other part of the church while I follow [end p. 69v] captain Grados with the rest of the men.” And approaching the bulwark of the Church, we encountered the enemy where there was hand-to-hand fighting until the strength of the enemy forced us to retreat toward the guard room. All this happened from nine at night until midnight. There was constant fighting with the enemy until they won the city and it was seized. And they were in the city for twenty-nine days, from sunup to sundown. This is the truth and what is known of this question as a person that found himself then in this city. _______________ [end p. 70]
- To the second question he said that since this witness removed to the other part of the church he did not see any more of the aforementioned Governor, except when they all grappled with the enemy. He was stricken down and did not appear again. On this occasion in the aforementioned encounter near the part where this witness was the enemies killed captain Arias Nieto and captain Juan Rruyz Monje and also wounded another two soldiers who have already healed from their injuries. After the English enemy had left this city and coming to rebuild this city we found the body of the aforementioned Governor and of [end p. 70v] Captain Juan Ruyz Monje, tied up one foot with the other, with head in a hole next to the Yglesia Mayor. That is towards the place where the said governor was turned upside down by the enemy, and his head was knifed open, split open from the top of his head to the jaw. And the witness knows this because he helped unearth the said body, where the aforementioned body was half covered, and he knew by the physiognomy of the face that it was the previously said Governor, and by the size of the body, because he was was a very heavy man, more than any in this city. And this responds to this question_____ [end p. 71]
- To the third question he said what he has already mentioned in the question before this, with respect to the people who died in the taking of this city. And that as to what became of Father Francisco de Leuro, this witness knows he stayed at home, his feet and hands crippled, and that did not have more than a sign of death. And after, the Indian women who were held by the power of the enemy, one of whom was in the servitude of the said Francsico de Leuro, knew how the enemy had passed from his own house to another and cured him with much care. And this witness knows how the enemy [end p. 71v] burned the house where the aforementioned Father Francisco de Leuro was, and the rest of the houses of this city, and here is where they all burned down. This he knows from having heard it from Captain Joan de Lezama, whom he later found burned in the house, and he buried him and he responds to this question ———-
- To the fourth question, he said that what he knows of this question, is that this witness as treasurer of the Real Hazienda knows there had been in the treasury in coined money up to six hundred reales, and a bar of gold marked front and back and small marked pieces that in total add up to two thousand reales. [end p.72] And more, in the aforementioned treasury, in deposit, is a gold chain that he does not recall how large it was nor how much it weighed beyond what he heard from Captain Geronimo de Grados, to whom the aforementioned chain in deposit belonged, worth one thousand and three hundred reales. And that it weighs one thousand and six hundred reales of gold. And additionally, there was a silver hand-basin and a large silver plate in deposit that he did not remember the amount that was in deposit nor what they weighed beyond what Francisco Venegas had in the treasury. Also in deposit there were thirteen or fourteen [end p.72v] marks of milled silver pieces [of eight] as security for what Doña Andrea Maria de Berrio owed to the Royal Treasury according to an official notarial act. In deposit in the Royal Treasury there was a stud belonging to Captain Bernave de Brea for fifty or sixty reales and it is not certain what the said stud’s weight was. And, as well, deposited in the Royal Treasury there was an eagle made of gold mounted onto an irregular pearl and garnished with emeralds, it is not certain for what sum it was present nor what value it weighed but that it belonged to Francisco Vanegas. Additionally, the Royal Treasury had two hundred axes in one chest and in the other, [end p. 73v] thirty iron axes and two hundred sheaths for butcher’s knives. Moreover, the Royal Treasury had twenty muskets and four arquebuses and six dismantled cannons and ten powder kegs filled with up to one thousand arquebus and musket balls and up to a quintal of rope from Spain. Moreover, there were two artillery pieces that were in the fort at the riverbank of this Orinoco River and four pedreros of those pedreros that were, the night that the enemy took said city, stationed at its ports and plaça de armas, and furthermore the Royal Treasury had [end p. 73v] as many as eighteen or nineteen bills of debt recording the condemnations that the governor Diego Palomeque made to the householders of this city in the residence that he took from them. The witness understands that they appealed to the council and they made him use the aforementioned bills of debt to secure the Royal Treasury. The said claims amounted to as many as seven hundred or eight hundred reales. He does not recall well the amount beyond what he has already said in this question, and that the English enemy took it. And this witness, as treasurer, together with the accountant of the Real Hacienda that day that the enemy appeared [end p. 74], requested that the said governor in the presence of witnesses and of the scribe would give them favor and help to put the Royal Treasury in safekeeping – who responded this: “This is my duty and I am the lord of it. Your Graces are not involved in this matter, for I am the lord and master of it. Bring it to my house.” And they brought it to him and the said governor placed it in his chamber. And he knows that the archive where the papers of the local council and other rewards was in the house of the said governor in a box fastened with two locks, and that the said governor had the one key, and the scribe of the local council had the other [end 74v]. And that this witness and his companion did not dare take the Royal Treasury and put it in safe keeping without his order because of an unsettled condition that the said governor had. And likewise the enemy took all the papers the scribe had in his desk without a single one escaping, nor did anything from his own hacienda escape the enemy’s sight, save for what he was already wearing. And his woman and children did not take anything else. And that this witness knew that there were not more than four or six people that took some clothes from his wardrobe and they were the following. Captain Geronimo de Grados, Ana Pérez, widow, Joan de Trillo, Captain Joan de Lezama, Captain Cebrián Frontiño, Hernán Gómez, Francisco Vanegas, Hernán Claros, Francisco Granados, Captain Pedro Sandos, and that these were the people that left more than what they took. And all the other householders did not take anything at all and escaped with only their lives. They and their wives and children were wearing fine silver jewelry and white clothing and carried household stuffs and up to two hundred quintals of tobacco. Because the rest of the tobacco that each one had the night when the enemy entered this city was burned in the houses when the city was burned that night. That was around where they shot their arquebus [end p. 75v]. And that everything aforesaid amounted to more than forty thousand ducados. To this number must be added ornaments and clothing taken from the convents of San Francisco and San Domingo and the Iglesia Mayor. They took everything, even the bells of the aforementioned six churches, the four large and the two small. And likewise, this witness knows that two black slaves belonging to the widow Mencia Rruiz, and another belonging to Pedro de Padilla, the second-in-command to Captain Cebriano Frontino, went with the said enemy. And they went voluntarily from the power of their masters to the enemy, after the masters of the said blacks had retreated from the campaign with their other soldiers. And as such, this witness knows that three Spanish-speaking Indian women [ladinas] stayed with the English that night that the enemy took the city. They took one of them who was in the servitude of Father Francisco de Leuro, who was bed-ridden, and the other who was in the servitude of Captain Cristoval de Cárdenas. And the other woman was married to Luys de Arce, a Creole soldier of the Indies, and a Guatian Indian of the Nuevo Reyno of Granada of the encomienda of the governor Don Fernando de Oruña, who was benumbed. And today he and the Indian women are in that city. And the said Indian women were forced into servitude [end p. 76] by them until twelve days later when they fled from the enemy. They traveled to where the Spaniards were. Furthermore the witness knows that two Spanish-speaking Indian men [ladinos] left with the enemy, one forcibly and the other voluntarily. Because the first, who was named Cristobal, a Morca Indian of the Nuevo Reino, was in servitude to Governor Diego de Palomeque and remained within the private chambers where he had been left. The other, named Pedro Criollo in the servitude of Captain Joan Ximenez, was held in chains in the said governor’s house. Because the day the sails appeared in the river, the said Indian had told them to take repose because he would go with the Englishmen. His said master, fearing it, told the said governor who then ordered to condemn the said Indian to imprisonment after the enemy took the city. This witness learned from the Indian women who had fled from the enemy, how the said Indian Pedro Criollo had walked free and well-dressed among the Englishmen. And of the other Indian Cristobal, he heard said that the Englishmen threw him into the ships and never more was he heard from again. And likewise the witness knows that the same night the enemy took this city, a young Portuguese boy, fourteen years old, more or less, disappeared from the Spaniards and has not appeared [end p. 77] again. This witness does not know if the enemies took him or killed him. And likewise this witness knows that three days after the enemy entered this city, which was in the morning on Sunday, two more of the enemy’s large ships entered, one bigger than the next. According to what we saw, all were led by the same captain, which we knew because the fleet always had its flag raised. And they prepared large volleys that were fired in volleys of more than thirty pieces of artillery from all of the said ships at the time that they dropped anchor. Likewise the witness knows that when the aforementioned governor sent to see if the enemy had driven the people from the land, [end p. 78] those who went to see it told him that they came marching on land, a quantity of fifty men. And according to this witness what he saw that night would be the aforementioned quantity, and this he knows and responds to this question.
- In response to the fifth question he says that he knows that within six days, more or less, of when the enemy entered this city three boats left from there going upriver on the Orinoco and this witness knew they arrived at the seat of the chief Mayquiagua of the Carib nation that was more or less seventy leagues from this city. And he heard the enemy say to the natives of this river how they went sounding it and speaking [end p. 78v] to the Indians telling them that the Spaniards were already dead that they were already lords of this land. And that they had many axes and blades to give them and that they delayed the said voyage as the aforementioned vessel made the round trip from this town in three weeks, more or less. And in that interim, in which these three vessels were going upriver, the other was going downriver. And from what this witness understands, he was to give a notice to the other ships that were in the Island of Trinidad. He knows it for certain because of an Indian who came from the aforesaid Island, who was from the Arawak nation. That Indian went with captain Cristóbal Cardenas to give a notice to Trinidad and Margarita, Cumana, and Caracas of how the enemy took over this city. The witness knew because the aforementioned Indian told this witness that having him in prison in the ship, the general named Guatarreal saw how a boat arrived giving a notice of what was happening. And the aforementioned general hearing him, cried about his son’s death and he knew that in that interim in which the small vessels went up and down the river, there came a large number of piraguas and curiaras of Chaguanes Indians who were of the nation who let the enemy on this land. And they were loaded, with their hollows filled with everything [end p. 79v] that the householders had in their houses that the enemy had not noticed. This witness knows that because he heard him say to the Indians that they ran into them loaded up, and this witness saw them come two or three times to this city by the aforementioned upper part of the river, and this he responds to this question.
- To the sixth question he said that he knows that this city is in its bright, airy, spectacular place upon the Orinoco river which is seen from three or four leagues downstream and more than a league upstream. But that everything is open without any kind of reinforcement and that he knows that this land is very fertile and that two corn harvests are gotten every year; one in winter and the other in summer, and that the winter one is harvested in September and the other in summer is harvested in March and that the winter one is planted through the whole month of May and the summer one is planted through October and November. And that the harvest of corn in the summer is the most fertile and most abundant and that it usually yields, if the year is fertile, more than 300 fanegas and the ordinary harvest yields 200 to 250 fanegas. And in the herd of cattle there are presently up to 4,000 heads of beef cattle and that the fisheries are all year and the most abundant are in summer; and if this land had salt in [end p. 80v] abundance then it could sustain all of the Indies. The aforementioned fishings tend to be done with barbasco, nets and hooks along with spears of the natives. And this witness knows that a boy angling with just a hook customarily lands 20 arrobas of fish everyday. The fisheries are also so large that many times the natives let their catch go to waste by not carrying it back. Smoked fish will last for up to 15 days and salted fish will last all year long. The witness also knows that during the summer the amount of sea turtles is so high on the beaches that if there were enough salt for all of them, they could sustain 100 townes like this and turtle meat is better to do so than any other kind of meat, even beef. [end p. 81] Even in its most ruined state, as it is at present, the land can sustain more than 200 householders such as those in an infantry. If there were care and a little diligence it could sustain many more people than what was said before. The witness knows this all because of the 22 years and more that he has been residing in and still presently resides in this city and provinces. The witness claims all of the aforementioned as fact and states under oath, and having it read to him again, he affirmed and ratified it. And as was necessary, he said it again and the aforementioned witness signed his name and claimed he is [end p. 81v] forty-nine years of age. And it was signed by the said Lieutenant Governor, who was present with the aforementioned Captain Diego Martín de Baena, García de Aguilar Trujillo, Geronimo de Grados: Diego Martín de Baena passed before me, Joan de Alcala, royal notary —
Testimony: In the city of Santo Tome on the sixth day of the month of September of 1618 for the aforementioned information, the previously mentioned Captain Diego Martin de Baena in the presence of the aforementioned Lieutenant Governor, and to respond to the second question [end p. 82] of the aforementioned ynterrogatorio, presented as a witness Yuliana de Moxica, Indian ladina of the Guayana people and woman of Luys de Arce, soldier in this journey and householder of this city. Having sworn in form of law and being examined in accordance with the said question of the aforementioned ynterrogatorio, she said the following: that this witness, on the night that the city was taken, was with Ynes, Indian in servitude of Captain Cardenas, with the clothing that she had. They were on the banks of the Orinoco River between some rocks that formed the shore of the river, and they went at dawn of the next day to the house of Father [end p. 82v] Francisco de Luero, who was not found in his house because the house had been burned, and looking throughout the city, they found him in the house of Francisco de Santa Cruz. The English were there curing him in that house that was in the plaça where they attended to the enemy. The captains of the enemy stayed in the said house and this witness and the said Ynes were tied up there. They spoke to the Father and asked him how he was, and he made them prepare lunch for another Indian ladina, who was also a friend of this witness and of her companion, and who was of the said Father Francisco de Luero. It was there, with the Father in their [end p. 83] company, that the English, when they saw them, they brought them to the guard room where the general was, who when he saw them, told them to have no fear, that no harm would come to the Indian women or men but only to the Spaniards. It was because of this that they served them and for this that they would be paid. And so, this witness and her friend were detained twelve days in the company of Father Francisco de Leuro and his companion, during which time the English made them grind maiz and make arepas so that they could eat, and seeing that this witness and her friends did not give them [end p. 83v] arepas to eat liberally and in abundance, they said that they would set them in the chamber with the aforementioned father Francisco de Leuro, and that they would burn everything. And due to this worry and fear, each day they had threats. One day at the setting of the sun they went with the intent to collect firewood. They fled the power of the enemy, leaving the aforesaid father alone. They did not dare to take their clothes for fear the enemy would perceive them, and all of that night they were hidden on the mountain that was outside of the city. On another day in the morning, they went to the plot of land owned by Captain Geronimo de Grados [end p. 84]. Because they did not know where the Spaniards were, they went to that land, because the people there knew where they were. Then the husband of the witness arrived, and he was with all of the Spaniards next to the Caroni River. He showed the witness where they were so that the alcaldes saw them and knew what the enemy had done in the city. The witness said to the aforementioned alcaldes like the enemy had spoken with the witness and her friends. He had asked them this, and how they had escaped from them, asking them what the enemy did and what the witness said to them. Also, what her friends said to him is the following: that the enemy had the Franciscan father de [end p. 84v] Leuro in the house of Francisco de Santa Cruz, curing him, and that the said enemy brought with him a Portuguese boy. She did not know his name, only that he was a boy whose first fine hairs were budding above the lip, who said to the witness and her companions that he wanted to go where the Christians were and that he did not dare to because the Christians would not understand, that when they saw him they would think he was English, and they would kill him and that he was Christian. And so he asked them for the love of God to bring him with them. And nor did her companions dare to bring him with them, for fear of being discovered by the enemy. This witness knew that the English had collected together at the convent of San [end p. 85] Francisco of this city and that she had seen a Portuguese boy in the house of Martin Rodrigues, householder of the city. And they told her how then, another day, in the morning, when they had taken the city, they had collected he who said he had gone looking for the Spanish. This witness saw them bring him through the houses of the city, hands tied behind with agave. Interrogating him, he told them where there was gold that the Spanish had buried, and they went searching through the houses to see if they had indeed buried it. Because the boy did not want to say where the buried gold was, they hit him with [end p. 85v] short whips over the clothes that he was wearing. In front of this witness, they boarded one of the enemy ships and in this way the witness saw that the aforementioned enemy had under his control an Indian ladino named Cristoval, who had been in the servitude of Governor Diego Palomeque, whom she had found in the house of said governor, his master, and he was taken by the enemy. Because the aforementioned Indian said he was mestizo the enemy wanted to hang him. The said Indian was from the Reino de Valle of Sogamoso according to what the Christians had said. And then being under the power of the enemy, there came two blacks belonging to Mencia Rruyz, her slaves, and [end p. 86v] another of Pedro de Padilla, who had come to the enemy from the power of their master, and the enemy gave them clothes to wear. They were dressed in the clothing they took from the Spaniards. And the said black slaves told the enemy that the aforementioned Indian Cristoval lied and that he was not mestizo, but pure Indian and in this way they did not hang him. They took him to the ship and in this way this witness saw that the aforementioned enemy had an Indian named Pedro Criollo in the servitude of the Captain Joan Jimenez whom the enemy had found held in chains in the house of the governor, and who had been freed from prison and was [end p. 86v] dressed in garments that the Spaniards had left in their homes and with hats and new shoes, which they gave him, and they sat him down at the table with them, calling him señor Don Pedro. And the aforementioned Indian told them that he would show them where the Spanish were, and the women who were there, and they could kill them. And they should turn him over to his master Captain Joan Ximenez, because he wanted to kill him. And this witness and her companions chided him greatly, telling him he was drunk and for this reason, he should say nothing to the enemy. He responded saying “the Spanish are not my kin, it is no matter of mine that you kill them.” And in this way the witness, standing on the riverbank of the Orinoco River, was getting water to drink with her companions and she saw the aforementioned Creole Indian, Pedro, embark on the boat that was going toward the island of Trinidad to give notice to the general who was there of the death of his son. This is according to what the aforementioned Indian Pedro said to this witness. And likewise the same was said to this witness by an Englishman named Don Juan, who was a captain and very fluent in Spanish [muy ladino]. They had to come to avenge the death of his son. And likewise this witness saw that one day after the city was taken, there were [end p. 87v] in the plaza five Englishmen wrapped in cloth for burial because they were said to be men of distinction, and the rest of the dead Englishmen were thrown in the river and their heads were cut off. They asked this witness to look and see whether she knew those who were dead. And this witness told them that she did not know them. And they responded that they were Spaniards, and that none of theirs had been killed, more than one son of a general and one captain who was seen beside him. And that beyond what has been said this witness mentioned that later, the next day after that when this city was taken at ten of the clock in the morning the person who commanded the enemy sent for this witness [end p. 88] and for her companions and commanded they be brought to see the dead bodies that were in the plaza. And this witness and her companions went to see them and they saw that the governor, Diego Palomeque, was there, dead and naked. And he had a very large wound on one side of his head that was split open. And since this witness and some of her companions saw him and knowing it was him, they began to cry, seeing him with such a fate. And the aforementioned general of the enemy sent one of his pages to order this witness and her companions to bury those who were dead, there in the plaza. [end p. 88v] And this witness and her companions said that they had to make their arepas and that they could not do it, nor did they know how to bury the men, or even have the things that they would need. And then the aforementioned general sent them to say that that he would make them to be buried, and this witness saw that then, the next day, which was a Sunday, they made a very large burial with all of the English men who went with their firearms and five flags dragging on the ground and they brought five dead bodies wrapped in sheets, which they placed atop some planks and carried upon their shoulders. And they walked around the plaza with the dead bodies from the guard room and they marched two times around the plaza with the aforementioned [end p. 89] dead men. And then they entered the Iglesia Mayor of this city where they buried the bodies in two tombs that they made, the one in the Capilla Mayor and the other below it. And in the tomb of the Capilla Mayor they buried the son of the general and one of the captains, and in the other tomb they buried the other three, according to what this witness knew from the Spanish-speaking English [ladinos] that spoke with this witness. And in this way this witness saw that the Captain Joan Ruiz lay dead, beneath the bell tower of the Iglesia Mayor, when she went to see the aforementioned dead governor, who was also stripped naked and had a wound on his chest. And in this way [end p. 89v] this witness heard the English captains who stayed in the house where the aforementioned Father Francisco de Leuro had been, and they were saying to the priest that they had a license from the King of Spain to rove these parts for fifty years because there was a good deal of gold to take from there. And this witness heard the aforementioned English men say how they had to talk with the Chaguanes so that they would go talk to all of the Carib and Camahuya Indians so that they would gather together and be made ready so that when the English came they would need do little more than arrive to their land and load their provisions and then return to this land [end p. 90] to kill the Spaniards, leaving themselves only to rule. And this is true and what she knows and has heard and likewise in the time that this witness was in this land under the power of the enemy she saw that the Chaguanes came and went, and that they carried axes and clothes and all things that had been found in the houses of the Spaniards that the English had not yet taken. And because they were their friends, the aforementioned English gave them these things and consented for them to be taken. And what she has said she affirms to be true under the oath that she has taken. And having it read anew to her, she affirmed and ratified it, and being necessary she would say and did say so [end p. 90v] once more. And she did not sign because she does not know how to write. And she said she was of the age of 24 years old, a little more or less. And signed by the aforementioned lieutenant governor and the aforementioned captain Diego Martin de Baena, and with Geronimo de Grados present, Diego Martin de Baena passed the document before me, Joan de Alcalá, royal notary.
 Santo Thome, also previously known as San Tomé de la Guayana, is now present-day Ciudad Bolívar located in eastern Venezuela. It was founded by Antonio Berrio, in 1586, on the shore of the Orinoco River. “The English, commanded by Walter Raleigh, sacked and destroyed it in 1617, and the Dutch, before the year 1579, instigated at the prohibition of a commerce of tobacco, which they used to carry on, presented themselves in a ship of war, under the pretense that they were merely about to recover some old debts; and accordingly, having disembarked about night-fall, pillaged and burnt the city. It was, however, shortly rebuilt, and its situation removed to the spot where it now stands, 10 leagues below the river Caroni, at its narrowest part.” Antonio de Alcedo, The Geographical and Historical Dictionary of America and the West Indies, trans. Aaron Arrowsmith (London: James Carpenter, 1812, p. 215)
 Captain Diego Martin de Baena was a military captain who led a company of men to reinforce the Spanish troops in San Tomé during the English attack. Afterward, he was charged with investigating what the English had learned during their time in the city. For a colonial-era account of his work, see Fernando de Berrio y Oruña, “Letter to the king, on his proceedings for relief of Sto. Thome after its destruction by the English and the death of Governor Palomeque y Acuña, on the importance of the city and of San Josefe de Oruña in Trinidad, etc.” British Library, Western Manuscripts, Add MS 36321, ca. 1619, p. 127r.
 Captain Garcia de Aguilar Truxillo occupied several roles during the early seventeenth century, including “procurador general,” “alcalde ordinario,” and “captain.” While leading a company of soldiers he was a witness to the death of the governor Diego Palomeque y Acuña. In addition to his testimony in this manuscript, García de Aguilar’s knowledge is recorded in Juan de Viloria y Quiñones’s “información” of 17 March 1619 (38r). British Library, Western Manuscripts Collection, Add MS 36321, “Information by Juan de Viloria y Quiñones, Governor of El Dorado, Guayana, and Trinidad, on affairs of Guayana and the murder of Diego Palomeque y Acuña, the Governor; San Joseph de Oruña.”
 Alcalde ordinario is the person who acted as a judge within a particular community, administering justice within the town’s jurisdiction. See the Nuevo diccionario histórico del español available online at http://web.frl.es/DA.html.
 Real hacienda was a type of treasury house. It was the institution responsible for administering tax collection and monitoring the financial interests of the Spanish Monarchy. For more information, see the digitized version of Herbert S. Klein and John TePaske’s careful studies of the Real Hacienda, from the sixteenth century through the nineteenth century, generously prepared by El Colegio de México and the Secretaría de Hacienda y Crédito Público. An extensive glossary of terms is available at http://realhacienda.colmex.mx/index.php/glosario
 Ynterrogoratorio: In the colonial era, the legal genre of the interrogoratorio allowed officials to document what witnesses’ “said” in their depositions. Oftentimes, this process involved breaking the law because the witness’ actual words, which were written by the notaries’ assistants, were later rephrased and “purified” – deleting verbiage or rustic babble, to insert better-sounding words for the witness’s own – by the notaries. For a discussion of the role of the interrogatorio in shaping depositions, see Kathryn Burns, Into the Archive: Writing and Power in Colonial Peru (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 2010), pp. 89-90.
 Diego Palomeque y Acuña was the governor of Guyana and Cumaná between 1615 and 1618, when he died while defending the city from the attacks of Walter Raleigh, an English privateer. Antonio de Alcedo, The Geographical and Historical Dictionary of America and the West Indies, trans. Aaron Arrowsmith (London, England: James Carpenter, 1812), p. 218. Before his death he was knifed by Captain Francisco de Salas at night, according to the “Information by Juan de Viloria y Quiñones, Governor of El Dorado, Guayana, and Trinidad, on affairs of Guayana and the murder of Diego Palomeque y Acuña, the Governor; San Joseph de Oruña,” 17 Mar. 1619, p. 41. British Library, Add MS 36321.
 Aramaia, know, today as Punta Aramaya, is northeast of Guayana City beneath the Orinoco River. It is used in most literature as a geographic point of reference. Paul R. Sellin, Treasure, Treason and the Tower: El Dorado and the Murder of Sir Walter Raleigh (Ashgate: Burlington, VT, 2011), p. 196.
 The Orinoco is a large river that flows throughout the major region of Venezuela, with its sources in the highlands. Its name originates from Guaraní, meaning a “place to paddle,” suggesting its navigability <http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/432619/Orinoco-River>. It has many small streams and is bordered by hills along much of its length, as well as savannahs and tropical forests along other parts. The large river basin curves rather consistently and some estuaries can only be accessed by vessels as small as canoes. Charles B. Hitchcock, William H. Phelps, Jr. and Felix A. Galavis, “The Orinoco-Ventuari Region, Venezuela,” Geographical Review, 37. 4 (Oct., 1947), pp. 525-566.
 “Lanchas,” in the original Spanish. This term best translates into “a boat with oars and sometimes a sail that is the largest type of service boat,” though we have here opted for the shorter form, “boat.” Guardia, Ricardo de la. Diccionario Maritimo Español (Madrid: Ministerio de Marina, 1921).
 “Lanchones,” in the original Spanish, or another large boat with oars that is principally used to carry and unload goods and materials similar to the function of a barge. Guardia, Ricardo de la. Diccionario Maritimo Español (Madrid: Ministerio de Marina, 1921).
 Little is known of this location. Aruco (8° 20′ 52″ N, 64° 19′ 35″ W) is located between the present-day cities of El Tigre and Ciudad Bolivar, in the Venezuelan states of Anzóategui and Bolivar respectively. Aruco sits on the north bank of the Orinoco River, 60 kilometers south of El Tigre and 89 kilometers west of Ciudad Bolivar <http://www.movable-type.co.uk/scripts/latlong.html>.
 The Plaza de Armas is a common square using a grid plan that is at once flexible — as it can take many forms in different locations — and standardized under the “Law of the Indies.” For example, the Plaza de la Constitución in Mexico City currently stands atop what was once the Plaza de Armas. Originally used as a market, parade ground, and a place of ceremonies, it is now the marker for the National Palace and Cathedral. In contrast, the Plaza de Armas of Santiago, Argentina, is currently more parklike and is central to the public life of the city. For more information on the Spanish grid system and the Plaza de Armas as an imperial marker of the urban landscape, see Jenkins, Eric J. To Scale: One Hundred Urban Plans (Oxon: Routledge, 2008), esp. pp. 102 and 164.
 Alternate spelling of “Iglesia Mayor,” the main church of the given town. For an overview of colonial planning and church positions within the urban grid, see Tibesar, Antonine S. “Review: Chronicle of Colonial Lima,” The Americas 32.2 (1975): 323-25.
 While there was no colonial-era term for a military tactic wherein the flanks move in a crescent shape (as originally worded), this term would today be a called a “pincer movement,” following the title given by the Times of London in 1918. For his assistance with specialized military terms, we thank Scott Dykes.
 Geronimo de Grados was a Spanish captain sent in 1619 to Essequibo to conquer the native people there in response to the slaying of six Spaniards. Some sources claim that this voyage was the last of the early Spanish voyages east of the Orinoco. See for instance The Counter Case of the United States of Venezuela before the Tribunal of Arbitration, Vol. 1. New York: Evening Post Job Printing, 1898. Google Books. Colonial English sources, however, claim that it was during this voyage that de Grados was captured by Englishmen and held for ransom. For this viewpoint, see Sir Walter Raleigh, Discoverie of Guiana (Aldershot, England: For the Hakluyt Society of London, 2006 ). What this manuscript and other Spanish accounts suggest, however, is that Gerónimo de Grados played an important role in the defense of San Tomé. Father Pedro Simón specifies that when women, children, and the sick fled the city, they took refuge in a site adjacent to de Grados’s land, called “La Zeiua,” or “La Ceiba.” For more information on this priest, see Joaquín Acosta’s biographical introduction, pp. i-ii, in Noticias historiales de las conquistas de tierra firme en las Indias (Bogotá: Mendardo Rivas, 1882).
 We were unable to find any reference to Clemente Bernal other than in father Pedro Simón’s partial gloss of these documents. In his Primera parte de las Noticias historiales de las Conquistas de tierra firme en las Indias Occidentales (Cuenca: Diego de la Yglesia, 1627), Simón briefly mentions that de Grados and his men stopped at the house of Clemente Bernal in a description similar to the present (639).
 Captain Arias Nieto was killed with Captain Geronimo de Grados in the battle against the English in 1618. Simón, Fray Pedro. Primera parte de las Noticias historiales de las Conquistas de tierra firme en las Indias Occidentales (Cuenca: Diego de la Yglesia, 1627), p. 640.
 Juan Rruyz Monje (sometimes written as “Monge” in colonial documents) was a captain in the service of the governor of Guyana in 1618. He was sent by horse with Mateo Pinto de Olivera to find the enemy and give warning of their arrival. He stayed in the port of Aruco and returned to Santo Tomé with the notice that he had seen the enemy disembarking with more than 500 men. Simón notes that Rruyz Monje split the enemies’ chests open with a pike-like weapon (chuço) or spear (partesano) and did not fall until he was under the steeple, where they found his dead, naked body after the fight. He was the only person buried with the governor in the church of the city. Simón, Fray Pedro. Primera parte de las Noticias historiales de las Conquistas de tierra firme en las Indias Occidentales (Cuenca: Diego de la Yglesia, 1627), pp. 637-644.
 Father Francisco de Leuro (sometimes written as “Fra-cisco” in colonial documents) was a clergyman in the town of Santo Tomé in 1618. He was assaulted by the enemy and found burned in his bed with his feet and hands tied together. He was found so crippled that he appeared as a statue, laying still in his bed for six months prior. Simón, Fray Pedro. Primera parte de las Noticias historiales de las Conquistas de tierra firme en las Indias Occidentales (Cuenca: Diego de la Yglesia, 1627), p. 642, 645. Simón further suggests that the indigenous woman who was then in his service was named Luisa de Fonseca, of the Nuevo Reyno de Granada (present-day Colombia), and that she was married to a black man named Antón Jorge (“muger de vn negro llamado Anton Iorge”), op. cit. p. 642.
 Captain Joan de Lezama was one of the alcaldes in this town. According to this source, he ordered Captain Geronimo de Grados and others to force the Indians to obedience. He was later sent to give notice about the invasion by the English and to bring troops to defend the city by el Cabildo a la Audiencia del Nuevo Reino. He also instructed Grados to go to Cumaná with reinforcements and orders to construct a fort in Santo Tome. Perera, Miguel Angel. La Provincia fantasma: Guayana siglo XVII: ecología cultural y antropología histórica de una rapiña 1598-1708 (Consejo de Desarrollo Científico y Humanístico: Universidad Central de Venezuela, 2003), pp. 82-89. Google Books.
 A “real” is ancient coin silver that the weight and value is 50 reales of double silver. See the Diccionario de la lengua española (Madrid: Real Academia Española, 2014) available online at http://lema.rae.es/drae/.
 The word “tejuelo” was used in the original text to refer to valuable, small marked pieces of metals, most likely gold or steel (Halse, Edward, A Dictionary of Spanish and Spanish-American Mining, Metallurgical, and Allied Terms, London: C. Griffin & Company, 1908, p. 322), Googlebooks. Other sources specify that a tejuelo can either be a small ingot of gold or bullion. On this point, see Vignale, Pedro Juan. La Casa Real de Moneda de Potosí (Buenos Aires: Editiones de Albatros, 1944), p. 50.
 In the original Spanish, “aguamanil.” According to seventeenth-century lexicographer John Minshew, Hēgemōn Eis Tas Glōssas· Id Est, Ductor in Linguas, The Guide into Tongues … With Their Agreement and Consent One with Another, as Also Their Etymologies, That Is, the Reasons and Deriuations of All or the Most Part of Wordes, in These Eleuen Languages (London: William Stansby and Melchisidec Bradwood, 1617), an “aguamanil” is a basin to wash one’s hands (7). Available on Nuevo Tesoro Lexicográfico de la lengua Española, http://ntlle.rae.es/ntlle/SrvltGUISalirNtlle. Walter Raleigh describes the term similarly in his Discovery of Guiana.
 According to Francisco de Rosal (1611), “fuente” is defined as a large plate or dish which was used to wash hands. Origen y etymología de todos los vocablos originales de la Lengua Castellana. Obra inédita de el Dr. Francisco de el Rosal, médico natual de Córdova, copiada y puesta en claro puntualmente del mismo manuscrito original, que está casi ilegible, e ilustrada con alguna[s] notas y varias adiciones por el P. Fr. Miguel Zorita de Jesús María, religioso augustino recoleto. Biblioteca Nacional, Madrid, MS 6929. Available on Nuevo Tesoro Lexicográfico de la Lengua Española, http://ntlle.rae.es/ntlle/SrvltGUILoginNtlle.
 Francisco Venegas was a maestre de campo, or an official level of superiority in the military that had control over various thirds, or military unit of the Spanish Empire. Anales de la instrucción pública (Bogotá: Ministerio de Educacion Nacional, 1881), p. 395. Google Books. See also the Diccionario de la lengua española (Madrid: Real Academia Española, 2014) available online at http://lema.rae.es/drae/.
 The mark (“marco” in Spanish) was originally a weight measurement for silver or gold, equaling eight ounces. The mark became the name of the German currency much later, when Germany unified in the 1870’s. See the OED (Oxford University Press, 2014, www.oed.com) definition n.2, 1-2.
 About Doña María Andrea de Berrío, there is next to no information. She is potentially the daughter of Governor Antonio de Berrío and his wife Doña María de Oruña, because they had ten children, three sons and seven daughters, of which only five names names could be found. Pablo Ojer, Don Antonio de Berrío: gobernador del Dorado (Caracas: Universidad Católica Andrés Bello, Facultad de Humanidades y Educación, Instituto de Investigaciones Históricas, 1960), p. 82. [
 For more information about notaries in colonial Spanish America, see Kathryn Burns, Into the Archive: Writing and Power in Colonial Peru (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 2010).
 “Tachuela” can also mean “a tack.” Whatever the use of the item in question was, it was certainly an ornamental piece of metal that would have value to the Royal Treasury.
 Captain Bernabé de Brea was the mayor of San Sebastián de los Reyes in the modern day state of Aragua, Venezuela. He was sent by the governor of Caracas to support Santo Thomé during the attack in 1618. Simón, Primera parte de las Noticias historiales de las Conquistas de tierra firme en las Indias Occidentales (Cuenca: Diego de la Yglesia, 1627), p. 661.
 “Barrueco,” in the original Spanish, or an irregular pearl. See the Diccionario de la lengua española (Madrid: Real Academia Española, 2014) available online at http://lema.rae.es/drae/. For more information on pearl classification in colonial Latin America see Warsh, Molly, “A Political Ecology in the Early Spanish Caribbean,” The William and Mary Quarterly, 71. 4 (October 2014), pp. 517-548.
 Francisco Vanegas Maldonado was a Maestro de Campo sent to assist the citizens of Santo Thomé during the attack. His position was that of a modern day field marshall, as the Spanish word for marshal, “mariscal,” was interchangeable with “maestro.” Spanish Military Dictionary: English-Spanish, Spanish-English (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Govt., 1950). For more information, see María del Rosario Falcó et al., Nuevos autógrafos de Cristóbal Colón y relaciones de ultramar (Madrid: Sucesores de Rivadeneyra, 1902), pp. 102, 4, 9, 11 and 13. Googlebooks. N.B. his name appears also as Francisco Venegas in this document.
 A quintal is a measure of weight equaling one hundred pounds. While its weight has varied historically in absolute terms, it has always been one hundred pounds; a pound was not standardized at this time and could be a varying number of ounces. For a larger discussion of the term see the entry in the Oxford English Dictionary.
 John Minsheu (1617) defines the Spanish pedrero as “a murdering peece to shoot stones” (Guide Into the Tongues, p. 139). The name “murdering piece,” also, more simply, “murderer,” refers to a small cannon with a short barrel. The pedrero is a historical type of cannon used typically to fire stones according to the Diccionario de la lengua española (2014), hence the name pedrero: “piedra” means stone, and “-ero” is a nominal suffix that denotes action, similar to the English “-er.” The translated word is the same, however, because the original Spanish word “pedrero” was adapted into English around the time of this document, with many variant spellings, such as “pederero” or “petterero.” The word first signified a small cannon used to shoot stones or even loose metal, but it later developed the connotation of use in siege and naval warfare, at which point it was what we know know in English as a swivel gun. See the Oxford English Dictionay (2014) for a fully etymological history.
 According to the Minsheu (London, 1617) dictionary indexed in the Nuevo Tesoro lexicográfico de la lengua española (p. 80), “dueño” is defined as “master.” The Oxford English Dictionary, definition 1A, offers various colonial-era synonyms for “master,” such as “director,” “leader,” “chief,” “commander,” “ruler,” and “governour.” Such terms come from many sources, such as Shakespeare’s King Lear and the King James Bible, which used the phrase “lord and master” as a pair. See the Oxford English Dictionary (2014, www.oed.com) and Minsheu, Guide into the Tongues, available on http://ntlle.rae.es/ntlle/SrvltGUILoginNtlle.
 According to Covarrubias (1611) “merced” is defined as a recognition of or payment for someone’s work. Covarrubias, Sebastián de. Tesoro de la lengua castellana o española (Madrid: Luis Sánchez, 1611) p. 1092, available on http://ntlle.rae.es/ntlle/SrvltGUILoginNtlle. For further reading on “merced” and its place in systems of royal patronage, see for instance Robert S. Chamberlain, “Probanza de méritos y servicios of Blas González, Conquistador of Yucatan.”
The Hispanic American Historical Review 28.4 (1948): 526-36.
 The word mujer, or muger (as written in the original manuscript), commonly signified “wife,” but it could also refer to any female relationship, such as the mother of a man’s illegitimate children. For that reason, we chose to keep it as woman because it could not be assumed that this pair was legally married. For more information on the institution of marriage in colonial Spanish America, see Patricia Seed, To Love, Honor, and Obey in Colonial Mexico: Conflicts Over Marriage Choice, 1574-1821 (Stanford, CA: Stanford UP, 1988) and Karen Vieira Powers, Women in the Crucible of Conquest: The Gendered Genesis of Spanish American Society, 1500-1600 (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2005).
 We have not had much luck in finding more information on this widow. The name “Ana Pérez” appears on a list of passengers to the Indies, when on 27 January, 1608, Ana Pérez of Sevilla departed for New Spain. This is unlikely to be the widow mentioned in this document, however. We hope that the digitization of this document might allow more information about these historical actors to come forth. AGI, Contratación 5302, “Relación de pasajeros,” 27-01-1608.
 Joan, or Juan, de Trillo was commander under Governor Diego Palomeque. He was sent by the governor to give notice and call upon those still residing in their estates in the city of Santo Tomé for the upcoming enemy attack. De Trillo distributed arms and ammunition to those that did not have any, as well. He and Martin Rodríguez were sent by the governor to patrol the beach on horseback and see if the enemy people had arrived. For more information on Commander Joan de Trillo, see Pedro Simón, Primera parte de las Noticias historiales de las Conquistas de tierra firme en las Indias Occidentales (Cuenca: Diego de la Yglesia, 1627), p. 637.
 There isn’t much information on Captain Cebrián Frontiño, except that he was one of three men sent by the governor to identify the enemy and confirm the number of people with him. According to father Pedro Simón’s gloss of the English attack on San Tomé, captain Juan Ruiz Monje watched the English disembark at the port of Aruco, and he reported to colonial officials on the movement of some 500 English troops. Hearing the news, Governor Diego Palomeque dispatched Cebrián Frontiño, Gabriel de Molina, and Mateo Pino to reconnoiter the land and report on English activity. Simón, Primera parte de las Noticias historiales de las Conquistas de tierra firme en las Indias Occidentales (Cuenca: Diego de la Yglesia, 1627), p. 638.
 We have not found anything on Hernán Gómez, Hernán Claros, Francisco Granados, or Pedro Sandos.
 Ducados were Spanish currency made of gold that the Spanish used until the end of the 16th century. One ducado was equivalent to 11 reales de vellón. For more information on the ducado visit the Diccionario de la lengua española (Madrid: Real Academia Española, 2014), available online at http://lema.rae.es/drae/.
 Beyond what is specified in the manuscript, little more is known about Mencia Ruiz, a widow who, with Pedro de Padilla, owned three enslaved Africans who found themselves among the English during the attack on Santo Tomé de Guayana. Simón, Fray Pedro, Primera parte de las noticias historiales de la conquista de Tierra Firme en las Indias Occidentales (Cuenca: Diego de la Yglesia, 660). For additional information on female slaveholders, see Kirsten Wood, Masterful Women: Slaveholding Widows from the American Revolution through the Civil War (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004). For women slaveholders in inter-imperial zones, such as the Anglo-Dutch corridor that connected New York, Maryland, and Barbados, see April Lee Hatfield, Atlantic Virginia: Intercolonial Relations in the Seventeenth Century (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004). On encomenderas in the colonial Andes, see Rocío Quispe-Agnoli, “Taking Possession of the New World: Powerful Female Agency of Early Colonial Accounts of Perú,” Legacy: A Journal of American Women Writers 28.2 (2011): 257–289, and Camilo Alexander Zambrano, “Encomienda, mujeres y patriarcalismo difuso: las encomenderas de Santafé y Tunja (1564-1636),” Historia crítica 44 (2011): 10-31.
 We have been unable to find anything definitive on this Pedro de Padilla, other than his mention in Simon (1627, p. 660), which is drawn from this manuscript. However, both Pedro de Padilla and Sebrian (Cebrian) Frontino write a letter to the king in 1637 as part of the Company of Guayana. In that letter, Padilla is identified as a military official. At this time, our best guess is that after the English attack on San Tomé, Pedro de Padilla became a more prominent member of the town, its military defenses, and its political infrastructure. However, we cannot make this claim with full certainty, and we hope that the digitization of this manuscript will allow historians and genealogists with insight into these characters to contribute to our understanding of the region. See “Carta del Cabildo de la Guayana” (Annex 2), in British Guiana Boundary. Arbitration with the United States of Venezuela. The Counter-Case on Behalf of the Government of Her Britannic Majesty and Appendix (London, Printed at the Foreign office, by Harrison and sons, 1898), pp. 102-105. Available on Googlebooks and archive.org.
 In the original Spanish, “menor del capitan cebriano frontino.” At this time, as in our own day, the second in command to a captain is often called lieutenant. Spanish lieutenants in the 17th and 18th centuries had anywhere from 53 to 94 subordinates beneath them, including sub-lieutenants, sergeants, corporals and soldiers. Because the term “lieutenant” (teniente) is used elsewhere in the manuscript, we have opted here for the looser translation of “second in command,” a term that preserves the importance of rank signified in the original without conflating the Spanish “teniente” and “menor.” For more information on military terms and ranks, see Rivas, Christine. “The Spanish Colonial Military: Santo Domingo 1701-1779.” Academy of American Franciscan History 60.2 (2003): 249-72.
 “Ladinas” refer to Spanish-speaking indigenous people. The term originated during the Roman period on the Iberian peninsula, where it referred to those locals who learned to speak Latin with skill and refinement. For more on the historical evolution of the term during the colonial period, see for instance Yanna Yannakakis, The Art of Being In-between: Native Intermediaries, Indian Identity, and Local Rule in Colonial Oaxaca. PhD. dissertation, University of Pennsylvania, 2008, p. 36. The term ladino implies a level of authority within indigenous communities due to bilingualism. In Alto Peru, ladinos were somewhat looked down upon by colonists, and their version of Spanish was considered more jargon and was less respected. In 1661, ladinos in colonial Oaxaca were cited as culprits for violence by Alonso de Cuevas Dávalos, the bishop of Oaxaca who had a reputation as a defender of Oaxaca’s Indians against abuses of the local officials and priests. Many ladinos in Oaxaca abandoned their Indian clothing and dressed like Spaniards, taking on a sword and total authority. They assumed a superior role and even subordinated other Indians. Oaxaca ladinos also were the ones who would arrange disagreements and uprisings. There were many Spanish prejudices against Oaxaca ladinos because of the perceived duplicity of the hispanized Indians, especially the ones that started rebellions. The term ladino connoted biculturalism and duplicity, and highly unfavorably at that. The term ladino also carried significant symbolic weight and served as a political weapon for Spaniards and native people who sought to attack the reputations of natives with a foot in both the Indian and Spanish worlds. Ladinos’ decision to dress like Spaniards reflected a desire to both distinguish themselves from other Indians and to maintain their claims to authority in a context where older claims no longer held the same meaning. Spaniard and Indians alike considered ladinos to be “civilized Indians” and both parties had a higher level of respect for ladinos than for non-Spanish speaking Indians. However, Indians also grew suspicious and resentful of ladinos, associating their cross-cultural mobility with trickery and taking advantage. From a Spanish perspective, ladino identity represented a threat to the colonial order. Due to the way they dressed and their cross cultural skills despite not being true Spaniards, ladinos were suspected by all to have ulterior motives and were considered dangerous. Moreover, the Spanish viewed their dialect as “prestigious” and thus looked down on ladinos for their indigenous dialect (Cerrón-Palomino, Rodolfo. “El contacto inicial quechua-castellano: la conquista del Perú con dos palabras.” Lexis XXXIV.2 (2010): p. 371-378.)
 This “servitude” described is more of a servitude-slavery. Indigenous people in the Americas were enslaved in large numbers by the Europeans. Without slavery, slave trading and other forms of unfree labor, European colonization in the New World would have been very limited. The Spanish were almost totally dependent on Indian free labor/slavery in their colonies. Even where unfree labor did not predominate, colonial production was geared toward supporting the slave plantation complex of the West Indies, where many Indians from Central and South America were shipped. Examples of slavery in colonial South America include Indians working in mines, plantations, apprentices for artisans and domestics. For a general overview of indigenous slavery, see Alan Galay, The Indian Slave Trade: The rise of the English Empire in the American South, 1670-1717 (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2002) and Galay, ed., Indian Slavery in Colonial America (Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 2009).
 Of this man minimal is known. Cárdenas was put in charge of guarding artillery in Santo Tomé from English attack by Diego Palomeque de Acuña, the governor of Guayana. Upon Palomeque’s death, Cárdenas, along with some other soldiers, was called upon to advise what would happen with the Arawak Indians in Caracas and on the islands of Trinidad and Margarita. Simón, Fray Pedro, and Temístocles Avella Mendoza. Estudios biográficos de la historia de América. N.p.: Imprenta de Vapor de Zalamea, 1888. Googlebooks.
 We have been unable to find much information on this soldier, other than what is mentioned in the document: that he was a criollo, or born in the Americas, and that he was married to Juliana de Moxica. We include some information on Luis de Arce (sometimes spelled “Arze”) in the footnote on Juliana de Moxica below.
 Guatian is assumed to be an indigenous tribe, possibly from a town called Guata which is near Chita, a town in present-day Colombia. Guata is very close to a tributary of the Orinoco River. This man is probably from a tribe on the eastern edge of the Andes, probably between the mountain range and the river tributary. See Juanita Buchholz, “De ‘Entre Ríos’ a un reino desmesurado. La capitulación genésica de la provincia de Guayana,” Tiempo y espacio 21.55: 2011.
 The encomienda was a Spanish legal system of land distribution. The encomienda to which this refers is called Chita, a town in present-day eastern Colombia, just west of the Cocuy cordillera. For more information on the region, see Joshua Rosenthal’s study of natural resources and nation building in the nineteenth century, Salt and the Columbian State (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2012, p. 18). For more information on the encomienda system in colonial Guayana, see for instance Julián Ruíz Rivera, Encomienda y mita en Nueva Granada en el siglo XVII (Sevilla, Escuela de Estudios Hispanoamericanos, 1975).
 Fernando de Oruña was a Spanish governor and explorer in colonial America. He owned the hacienda called Chita in present-day Colombia. He became the governor of Nueva Guipúzcoa del Dorado in the city of San José de Oruña on the Island of Trinidad. He ran policies similar to those of his father, the prior governor of the city, which facilitated the colonization of Guyana and the cultivation and trade of tobacco. Oruña performed more than 20 expeditions in the Guyanese territory in search of El Dorado. He was impeached in 1612 for neglecting to govern his territory during his pursuit of gold. However, upon the British attack described in this manuscript, in which the then-governor Diego Palomeque lost his life, Oruña acquiesced to colonial officials and resumed the governorship. In 1620 he was making a return voyage to Spain to resolve jurisdictional issues when his ship was captured by Algerian pirates. Oruña died in the prison infirmary in 1622. For more information see Sánchez Ramos, Valeriano, “Fernando de Berrío Oruña.” Diccionario Biográfico de Almería (2005).
 New work in the history of servitude and indigenous slaveries has reshaped our understanding of slavery in the early Americas. According to Brett Rushforth, slavery was a staple of native life, especially for men, for whom there was no honor more important than capturing slaves. Signs and names of captured slaves were etched into war clubs and tattooed into skin, and slavery was often used to perform a tribe’s or community’s ethnic identity. For example, slave raids maintained alliances by enforcing boundaries. Foreigners transformed this initial form of indigenous slavery, built upon the exchange of bodies and other goods, into a sustained slave trade. Slave populations climbed to the hundreds of thousands as owners maximized production and minimized the threat of their slaves – in other words, more work, more restraints. For a larger discussion of indigenous slavery, see Rushforth,
Bonds of Alliance: Indigenous and Atlantic Slaveries in New France (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2012).
 The Diccionario de la lengua española (23rd edition) defines “aposento” as the living quarters designated for the members of the Royal Entourage and their travels. Meanwhile, seventeenth-century dictionaries like Minshew’s Guide into the Tongues (London: Joanum, Brown, 1617), define “aposento” as a chamber, or lodging (p. 27). Available on the Nuevo Tesoro Lexicográfico de la Lengua Española, http://ntlle.rae.es/ntlle/SrvltGUILoginNtlle.
 In the original Spanish, “holgar,” which is defined by Minshew (1617, 111) as “to rest, to be quiet, to be glad.” Similarly, the OED defines the verb “rest” (I.1.a) as “to take repose, have a break from activity, and related senses.”
 In the original Spanish, “asientos,” which can denote a settlement, location, post, town, pueblo, encampment, or the like. The Oxford English Dictionary defines “seat” (definition 16.a) as “a place of habitation or settlement (of a tribe, people, etc.).” For more information on asientos as physical spaces, rather than providers’ contracts (“asientos de negros,” “asientos de minas”), visit the Diccionario de la lengua española (Madrid: Real Academia Española, 2014), available online at http://lema.rae.es/drae/.
 Mayquiagua here seems to indicate the name of a tribe’s chief, but we could not find any further information on the word. The closest word for which we found any data, “macagua,” has been shown to refer to precious stones discovered along the Orinoco that were used as a form of currency. Walter Koth, The Animism and Folklore of the Guiana Indians (Guyana: Caribbean Press, 2011 , 283). In Ralegh’s last voyage, Vincent T. Harlow suggests “Meyguiagua” as the proper spelling (London: Argonaut, 1932), p. 198, though we were unable to find any additional documentation with this name, either.
 ] Carib refers to a linguistic and cultural group of indigenous people who occupied parts of the Caribbean islands and northern portion of the South American continent when Colombus landed in 1492. For a discussion of the difficulties of classifying native communities with colonial sources, including distinctions between and conflations of Taíno, Carib, and Arawak peoples, see L. Antonio Curet, “The Taíno: Phenomena, Concepts, and Terms,” Ethnohistory 61:3 (Summer 2014), 467-496.
 Trinidad Island is an island located in the Atlantic Ocean and between 10°02′N–10°50′N and 60°55′W–61°56′W, an ancestral home of both Carib and Arawak Indians. In 1498, Cristopher Columbus landed on Trinidad, which led to the rise of Europeans who settled on the island. In 1595, Sir Walter Ralegh destroyed the Spanish settlements of San Jose de Oruma, the first European settlements there. Some two hundred years later, in 1797, Trinidad was controlled by the British. For more information on geography see, “Trinidad,” Columbia Gazetteer of the World Online, ed. James Jordan. New York: Columbia University Press, 2014. Available at http://www.columbiagazetteer.org. For more information on the history of Trinidad see http://www.smithsonianmag.com/travel/trinidad-and-tobago-history-and-heritage-17893991/
 Arawak tribes are found in the northeastern South America. Sir Walter Raleigh, the famed English explorer, identified the Arawak when he visited Trinidad in 1595. See Reid, Basil A., and R. Grant Gilmore. Encyclopedia of Caribbean Archaeology (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2014), p. 42.
 Margarita is an island in the Caribbean Sea, coast of Venezuela located in 11°01′N 63°53′W. See “Margarita Island,”Columbia Gazetteer of the World Online, ed. James Jordan. New York: Columbia University Press, 2014. Available at http://www.columbiagazetteer.org.
 Cumana is a city coast of northeastern Venezuela located in 10°28’N 64°10’W. See “Cumaná,” Columbia Gazetteer of the World Online, ed. James Jordan. New York: Columbia University Press, 2014. Available at http://www.columbiagazetteer.org.
 Today, the Venezuelan capital, located along the coast at 10°30’N 66°55’W. See “Caracas,” Columbia Gazetteer of the World Online, ed. James Jordan. New York: Columbia University Press, 2014. Available at http://www.columbiagazetteer.org.
 “Guatarreal” is one way that Spanish colonial officials spelled “Walter Ralegh,” an English explorer who, according to Mark Nicholls and Penry Williams’s entry in the Dictionary of National Biography, wanted to “establish England’s own source of wealth in the New World grew alongside his schemes to create a colonial empire on the north coast of South America” (Nicholls and Williams, ‘Ralegh, Sir Walter (1554–1618)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004. Electronic edition.) For more information on Spanish discussions of “Guatarreal,” see colonial documents housed at the Archivo General de Indias, Santo Domingo, 869, L.7, 48v-50v.
 Piragua is a dugout paddling canoe used by the Caribs of Guiana. Kerchove, René de. International Maritime Dictionary. 2d ed. Princeton, N.J.: Van Nostrand, 1961, p. 586.
 Curiaria is a South American dugout canoe. See “curiara, n.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, December 2014.
 Of the Chaguanes, an aboriginal community who lived Island of Trinidad and along the Orinoco River, little is known. On 9 June, 1623, Luis de Monsalve, governor of Trinidad and La Guayana, sent a letter to the King of Spain regarding the subjection of the Chaguanes, as well as the visit of Bernardo de Balbuena, author of the famous Grandeza mexicana (1604 ), then acting in his capacity as archbishop of Puerto Rico. On 12 October, 1625, the crown replied, requesting more information on the 1,000 members of the Chaguane community. The original versions of those letters are housed at the Archivo General de Indias in Sevilla (AGI, Santo Domingo, 870, L. 8, f. 11v-12r), while late-nineteenth century copies are currently held at the British Library in London, following their transfer from the British Museum. It was there were Chaguanas-born author V.S. Naipul, then a 34-year old who had lived in London for the past 16 years, read these letters while working on what he later called in his 2001 Nobel prize acceptance speech, “a history of Trinidad, a human history, trying to re-create people and their stories” (Anders Hallengren, Nobel Laureates in Search of Identity and Integrity: Voices of Different Cultures, Singapore: World Scientific, 2004, p. 5). That work was published as The Loss of El Dorado: A Colonial History (New York: Vintage, 1969), in which Naipaul writes movingly of a people whose rich existence is reduced to a single archival holding. The full text of Naipaul’s speech is available at: http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/2001/naipaul-lecture-e.html.
 A fanega is a measure of grain. In Spain, it is 1.58 bushels; in Mexico, 2.57 bushels; and in the Southern Cone, 3.89 bushels.
 This term identified here is often referred to as “barbasco” in colonial documents, almost always in reference to what we now know as Rotenone, a compound that diffuses in water, stuns fish, and allows hunters to spear fish or gather them in nets. A resin most likely harvested from Lonchocarpus urucu or a similar mullein plant, “barbasco” was employed by indigenous fishers in Northern South America, especially in the present-day regions of Ecuador, Colombia, and Venezuela, and today this potent poison is still used in communities like that of San José de Payamino, Ecuador. The term is often used in reference to a number of different plants in Latin America, but all share the same quality of toxicity toward fish in water. For more information on this plant compound and its use in indigenous fishing, see Kamen-Kaye, Dorothy, “Ichthyotoxic plants and the term ‘barbasco,’” Botanical Museum Leaflets Harvard University 25.2 (1977): 71-90, and Ray, David. E. “Pesticides derived from plants and other organisms.” Handbook of Pesticide Toxicology, Volume 2: Classes of Pesticides. Ed. Wayland J. Hayes and Edward R. Laws New York: Academic Press, 1991. 585-593.
 An arroba is a Spanish customary unit of weight equalling about 25 lbs (or 11.5 kg) in the Spanish colonies, according to the Diccionario de Autoridades (1726-1739), “Pesa de veinte y cinco libras de à diez y seis onzas cada una,” DAE, t. 1 (1726). Available online at http://web.frl.es/DA.html.
 It is believed that Juan de Alcalá was born in Cumaná in 1568. From 1600 to 1625, there are records of him in Santo Tomé de Guayana as the royal notary for the government. He served under this capacity for the administrations of Fernando de Berrío y Oruña, Sancho de Alquiza, Diego Palomeque de Acuña and again under Fernando de Berrío y Oruña when the latter replaced Diego Palomeque. Relatives of Juan de Alcalá include Juan y Jacinto Jiménez de Alcalá, their sister, Isabel de Alcalá, wife of Lucas Bravo de Acuña, and Don Juan de Alcalá, husband of Isabel Márquez Valenzuela. See: Tavera-Acosta, Bartolomé. Historia de Carúpano. Caracas: Casa de espcialdades, 1930, p. 21.
 Little more is known about Juliana de Moxica, other than what is presented in this manuscript: that she was approximately 24 years old in 1618, and that she was married to the criollo soldier Luis de Arce. About him, we know somewhat more. In 1641, he received an encomienda in Cumaná (AGI, Santo Domingo, 42, N. 57, 25 octubre 1641). Father Pedro Simón (1627) includes a partial explanation of her testimony in his “Primera parte de las noticias” chapter 25, pp. 642-645. She is once again described as the wife of Luis de Arce in the company of another Indian woman, Inés. Simón, Primera parte de las noticias historiales de las conquistas de Tierra firme en las Indias occidentales (Cuenca: Domingo de la Yglesia) suggests that another indigenous woman, Ventura, fled from San Tomé ahead of these women (642).
 It is important to note that the witness did not have a specific word to describe her people. She does not use the same phrase to refer to her nationality that the Spaniards used. This is in accordance with what historians have observed with the naming conventions of the Iroquois Nations. See: Jones, Eric. “An analysis of factors influencing sixteenth and seventeenth century Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) settlement locations.” Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 29.1 (2010): 1-14, 2.
 The original reads “soldado de este jornada.” The military connotation of “jornada” in this context is omitted in the seventeenth century definition, “leaving the home is the greatest journey” (“salir de casa es la mayor jornada”), provided by John Minshew, Guide into the Tongues (London, 1617), p. 116. According to The Oxford English Dictionary (II.4), the noun “journey” was used as early as the fourteenth century and as late as the seventeenth century to describe “a military expedition or campaign.” Therefore, we have chosen to translate “jornada” as “journey.”
 As far as we know, this document contains one of the first mentions of the preparation of arepas by an indigenous woman, and the naming of the maize cake as such. A corn bread now considered to be a national food by both Venezuelans and Columbians, arepas were first a food staple in indigenous communities. Traditionally prepared by women in markets and in households, they are made by soaking the corn kernels, removing the hulls, and then grinding the starchy part of the kernel into flour. The flour is mixed with water and the dough is then shaped into a flattened ball and cooked until the outside is done but the inside is still doughy. The doughy inside is removed through a slit and the pocket of the arepa is often filled with meats, vegetables, or cheese. Medellin, Roberto C., Ramiro Montelongo, and Manuel J. Rubio. “Methods for making arepas.” U.S. Patent 5,458,900, issued October 17, 1995. For a more general overview of maize culture along the Orinoco River in precolombian societies, see Anna Curtenius Roosevelt, Parmana: Prehistoric Maize and Manioc Subsistence Along the Amazon and Orinoco (New York: Academic Press, 1980). According to archaeological research, corn culture in Venezuela originated along the Middle Orinoco. See Agusto Oyuela-Caycedo, San Jacinto 1: A Historical Ecological Approach to an Archaic Site in Colombia (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2005). See also Alexandre Chevalier Aylen Capparelli and Raquel Piqué, eds., La alimentación en la América precolombina y colonial: una aproximación interdisciplinaria (Madrid: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, 2009).
 The Caroni River is a river located in southeastern Venezuela, in 8°20’N and 62°43’W. It is the second most important river in Venezuela, after the Orinoco River. It originates in the confluence of the Kuquenan and Yuruani Rivers and empties into the Orinoco, where the San Félix, to the south, serves as its most important tributary. See “Caroni River.” Columbia Gazetteer of the World Online, ed. James Jordan. New York: Columbia University Press, 2014. Available at http://www.columbiagazetteer.org.
 In the original Spanish, “cabuya,” which refers to several agave species of the Agavaceae family. These species are native to Central and South America and are characterized by a rosette of long, thick leaves. For more information on the cabuya plant, see Rojas-Rodríguez, Freddy Eduardo, Gerardo Bermúdez Cruz, and Quírico Jiménez Madrigal. Plantas Ornamentales Del Trópico. Cartago: Editorial Tecnológica de Costa Rica, 2008, pp. 594-597. For an eighteenth-century definition, see Esteban de Terreros y Pando’s Diccionario Castellano con las voces de ciencias y artes y sus correspondientes en las tres lenguaas francesa, latina e italiana (Madrid: La viuda de Ibarra, Hijos y Compañía, 1786). Available on Googlebooks or the Nuevo Tesoro Lexicográfico de la Lengua Española, http://ntlle.rae.es/ntlle/SrvltGUILoginNtlle.
 Harlow suggests that this man is Christoval Guayacunda, “who went back to England with Ralegh and witnessed his execution. Pedro Simon obtained much information from him on his return to New Granada in 1622” (Ralegh’s last voyage: being an account drawn out of contemporary letters and relations, both Spanish and English, of which the most part are now for the first time made public, concerning the voyage of Sir Walter Ralegh, knight, to Guiana in the year 1617 and the fatal consequences of the same [London: Argonaut, 1932]). According to the Diccionario de la Real Academia Española, the term “mestizo” first appeared in the 1530s and was used to describe individuals born to a father and mother of different races, usually one European (white) parent and one Indigenous (Indian) parent. Seventeenth-century lexicographers like John Minshew, in his Guide into the Tongues (London, 1617), also define “mestizo” as “mongrill” [mongrel], p. 127. Typically, mestizos were excluded from both Indian and Spanish castes, but they lived under Spanish authority and were often subjected to harsher punishments for the same crimes as Spaniards. Nevertheless, these caste distinctions were often fluid and did not have a set hierarchy. These distinctions also depended on physical appearance. Therefore, it is difficult to determine whether any mixed race or Indian individual would have received legal benefits for belonging to a specific caste. According to the testimony of the first witness in this manuscript (p. 77), Cristoval was described as Indian, not mestizo. This fluid classification is not limited to the Orinoco river, but rather was a common feature of Spanish imperial notarial cultures and legal caste systems. For more information, see Cope, R. Douglas. Limits of Racial Domination: Plebeian Society in Colonial Mexico City, 1660-1720 (Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 1994) and Ruth Hill, “Between Black and White: A Critical Race Theory Approach to Caste in the Spanish New World,” Comparative Literature 59.4 (Fall 2007): 269-93.
 This region was a part of the New Kingdom of Granada, or modern day Colombia. The village was discovered by Juan de San Martín in 1537 and was named Sogamoso by the Spanish after the name of Chief Sugamuxi. Indigenous legends and conquistador records show that Sogamoso was an important religious and economic village of the Muisca Indians. Indigenous stories illustrate that the Muisca Indians believed that two of their gods originated in the area, which was also home to the Templo del Sol (Temple of the Sun). Due to the wealth and gold in the temple, the Spaniards were particularly interested in this village and attacked in 1537. See: Fernández Piedrahíta, Lucas. Historia general de las conquistas del Nuevo Reino de Granada (Amberes [Antwerp]: Juan Baptista Verdussen, 1688), chapter 5 (“Marcha Quesada a Sogamoso, saquea la Ciudad, y quemase su Templo,” pp. 170-179).
 “Pariente”, according to the 1617 Minsheu dictionary in the Nuevo Tesoro (p. 137) is defined as “a cousin,” the English equivalent of “cousin,” as well (p. 145). Meanwhile, the Diccionario de la lengua española (Madrid: Real Academia Española, 2014) defines “pariente” as “a person that is said to be of each of the ascendants, descendants and collateral of the same family, either by blood or marriage” (“Respecto de una persona, se dice de cada uno de los ascendientes, descendientes y colaterales de su misma familia, ya sea por consanguinidad o afinidad”). We have interpreted “pariente” within this broader context, and translated it as “kin” for that reason.
 Earlier in the manuscript, Juliana de Moxica refers to Pedro as “el dicho yndio pedro criollo” (p. 86), whereas here is is called “al dicho pedro yndio criollo.” Although the phrase refers to the same person, the syntax challenged us as translators. In the first case, “el dicho yndio pedro criollo” sounds as if “Pedro Criollo” could have been a legal name used by colonial officials, whereas the second case, “al dicho pedro yndio criollo” suggests a more explicit connection to Pedro’s mixed-race ancestry. For more information on creole identities and classifications, see Ralph Bauer and José Antonio Mazzotti, Creole Subjects in the Colonial Americas: Empires, Texts, and Identities (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2009).
 In the original Spanish, “lo propio.” The Oxford English Dictionary describes “same” (definition B.4.a) as “the aforesaid person or thing. Often merely the equivalent of a personal pronoun; he, she, it, they. Now rare in literary use; still common in legal documents; also (with reference to things) in commercial language (where the is sometimes omitted).”
 This captain is Sir Walter Raleigh; for more information, see Sir Walter Ralegh’s Discoverie of Guiana (Aldershot, England: For the Hakluyt Society of London, 2006 ). See also Benjamin Schmidt’s introduction to Raleigh’s Discovery of Guiana: with Related Documents (Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2008).
 This was Walter Ralegh, “Wat,” the eldest son of Sir Walter Ralegh (1554-1618). For an extensive biographical overview, see Mark Nicholls and Penry Williams, “Ralegh, Sir Walter (1554–1618),” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Jan 2008).
 This is a generous interpretation of the Treaty of London, the peace accord negotiated by English and Spanish agents in 1604, effectively ending the First Anglo-Spanish war. Two of the thirty-four clauses of the treaty concern the rights of Spanish and English subjects to enter each others’ territories, but they are phrased in explicitly commercial terms. Under the tenth clause,” It was and is agreed, and in like manner settled, That it shall be lawful to come to the Ports of the said Princes, and remain there, and depart from thence with the same Liberty, not only with Merchant Ships, but also with all other Ships of War, fitted to restrain and resist the Force and Attempts of the Enemy, whether they shall be forc’d in by the Violence of a Storm, or come in to refit their Ships, or to buy Provisions,” while the twenty-first clause explains “That the said most Serene King of England, and the Archduke and Archdutchess, shall conjunctly and separately take care, that their Subjects be not precluded from any of their Ports, Kingdoms and Dominions, but may freely, and without Let or Impediment, go to all the said Ports, Kingdoms and Dominions, with their Ships, Merchandizes and Waggons, paying the ordinary Duty and Carriage, and return with equal Liberty, whenever they please, with other Merchandizes” (137, 142). The twenty-ninth clause explains how subjects who violate the peace agreement will be punished; this measure was ultimately used to try and convict Ralegh upon his return to London. For the English translation of the treaty, originally published as a two-column document in Latin and Spanish, see Samuel Whatley, Samuel, A General Collection of Treatys, Manifesto’s, Contracts of Marriage, Renunciations and Other Publick Papers, from the Year 1495 to the Year 1717. Volume II (London: J. J. and P. Knapton, 1732), pp. 131-147. For the bilingual edition, see Joseph Antonio Abreu y Bertodano, Coleccion de los tratados de paz, alianza, neutralidad, garantia … hechos por los pueblos, reyes y principes de España con los pueblos, reyes, principes, republicas y demás potencias de Europa …: desde antes del establecimiento de la monarchia gothica hasta el felix reynado del Rey N.S. D. Phelipe V (Madrid: por Diego Peralta, Antonio Marin y Juan de Zuñiga, 1740).
 Alternately written as “camahuya” and “camajuya” in colonial documents, the name refers both to the present-day island of Grenada, called Camahuya by the Carib-speaking or Kalinago peoples who seem to have settled there during the fourteenth or fifteenth centuries, and to the people themselves. See Jalil Sued-Badillo, Autochthonous Societies (London and Oxford: UNESCO, 2003) and B.W. Higman, A Concise History of the Caribbean (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010, pp. 48-49). For a discussion of the ways in which Camahuya or Kalinago peoples may have accommodated to new political realities after the arrival of the Spaniards in the Antilles, see Neil L. Whitehead, ed., Wolves from the Sea: Readings in the Anthropology of the Native Caribbean (Leiden: Koninklijk Instituut voor Taal, Land-en Volkenkunde Press, 1995). For a comprehensive account of the indigenous peoples of the region during Columbian encounter and in its centuries-long wake, see Arie Boomert, “Amerindian Encounters on and around Tobago (1498-ca. 1810),” Antropologica 97-98 (2002): 71-207. Available http://www.fundacionlasalle.org.ve/userfiles/ant_No_97-98_71-208.pdf.
 The original reads “y quedarse ellos solos en esta tierra.” Because of the military connotation of “quedar,” glossed by early modern polyglot John Minsheu as “to be conqueror” (“quedar el campo por alguno,”) we have translated the phrase as such. Minshew, Guide into the Tongues (London: Johanne Brown, 1617), p. 117. Available on the Nuevo Tesoro lexicográfico de la lengua española, http://ntlle.rae.es/ntlle/SrvltGUILoginNtlle.
 On the nuanced ways in which notaries shaped colonial legal cultures, see Kathryn Burns, Into the Archive: Writing and Power in Colonial Peru (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 2010).