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A relation of the ports, harbors, forts and cities in the west Indies which have bene surveied, edified, finished, made and mended, with those which have bene builded, in a certaine survey by the king of Spaine his direction and commandement: Written by Baptista Antonio, surveyour in those parts for the said King. Anno 1587.

Santa Marta.

FIRST Santa Marta the principall Citie of the Bishopricke or Dioces of the coast of Tierra firma, or the firme land, lieth in 10. degrees and 1/2, the city being situated upon a sandy bay adjoyning unto the sea side, conteineth in it about 30. housholds; all the houses being made of canes, and covered over with Palmito trees, and some of them be covered with tyle.

They have traffike with none, but with the Indians of the said country, which doe bring unto the Citie for to sell earthen Pots and Pipkins, and Coverlits of Cotton wooll, and great earthen Jarres. Also they doe traffique to Cartagena . It is a countrey which hath but small store of cattel, because it is all mountainous, and hath small store of people. There is a very good harbour before the said towne, invironed with mighty hils & great rocks, which reach even unto the sea side, the which hie land doth greatly succour the harbour, as also two Ilands which lie about 3/4 of a league on the North side: so that although they be subject to Easterly winds, and that with great stormes, yet they doe no great harme to goe on land. Within this Harbour there is a place which is called La Caldera, where in times past they were woont to trimme and carene their Shippes. As touching the Harbour, there is no cause to fortifie it, nor to make any account of it, by reason there is no trade nor traffique to this place from any other places, according as I have certified your Majestic thereof. And also because here are but few dwellers or inhabitants, and loosing every day so many as it doeth, by reason that it is every day robbed and spoyled by the enemie. But if your Majestie would command that the fleete of Nova Hispania might direct their course to this Harbour being in their way, and here to water and refresh themselves, all the Pilots doe say that the Fleete may proceede on their Voyage from this place, still going before the winde, and so goe to the Cape of Saint Anthony which lieth on the Iland of Cuba, and from thence goe their direct course to Nova Hispania; and by this meanes the Fleete should have no occasion to passe so many dangers as they doe, by reason of the Huricanos or stormy windes which many times do come upon them, when they are upon the coast of Hispaniola: and this is the cause that there are so many ships cast away, as your Majestie doeth well know.

And as concerning this course according as I have certified your Majestie, they shall come into no danger at all, nor shall make any further way about; so by this meanes both the Fleetes may come from Spaine in company, and then come to S. Marta, and the Fleete of Nova Hispania may come into this Harbour, and the Fleete which doeth goe unto the firme land, may goe directly to Cartagena as they doe. Then your Majestie may send to fortifie the said Harbour, and the fortification must be thus: That on the morro or mount which is in the entring in of the said harbour, there be built a litle Fort, and so to plant some small quantitie of ordinance. And hard by on the South side, there to build a litle Towre, and another Sconce, where wee may plant some more ordinance. So by this meanes not onely the Shippes may ride heere in securitie, but also it will bee a defence for those which dwell heere in the Towne: and the better to effect this purpose, there is hard by the Towne great store of Lyme, Stone , Sande, and Tymber, if occasion should serve.

Cartagena .

CARTAGENA is a Citie, and the principall place of the Bishopricke; it lyeth fourtie leagues from Santa Marta: it standeth in scant 11. degrees. The sayd Citie is situated upon a sandy banke or bay like unto an Iland: it hath about 450. dwellers therein. There are very faire buildings therein: as concerning their houses, they are made of stone, and there are three Monasteries, of which two of them are of Friers which are within the city, the one called Santo Domingo, and the other called Santo Augustin, and the other which is called Saint Francis, which standeth without the citie about 30. paces off. And for to goe unto the said Frierie, you must goe upon a Causey made of stone, and water on both sides. This citie hath great trade out of Spaine, and out of The new kingdome of Granada , and out of the Ilands there adjoyning, from Peru , and from all the coast of this firme land, and of the fishing of the pearles of Rio de la Hacha, and of Margarita: it is a very sound countrey.

This Citie hath a very good Harbour, and sufficient to receive great store of Ships: this said Harbour hath two entrances in, the one of them lyeth halfe a league from the Citie, where all the Ships doe enter into the sayd Harbour: the mouth or entring in of the sayde Harbour is 1400. yardes or paces in bredth, and very deepe water. The other entring in which is called La boca chica, or litle mouth, lieth a league beyond this place to the westwards. It is 900. yards in bredth, and in the entring in thereof there lieth a channel in the midst of it, which is 200. yards broad, and 20. or 15. fadome water, some places more, some lesse. And to enter into the Harbour you must go through this channel, and the land doth double in and out. And at the entring in of the sayde Harbour, after you have past this Channell, you must beare up to the shoareward neere unto the Iland of Cares, and looke how much is overplus more than the two hundred yardes of the Channell, all the rest are certaine ledges of Rockes, covered with two or three foote water upon the toppe of them, some places more, and some lesse. So the ships which must enter in at the mouth, must bring very good Pilots with them, which must be very skilfull: yet all this will not serve, but they must carry their Boate before, and sound with their Lead to know where the best place of the Channell lyeth for them to goe in, so it will be small hinderance to any shippe that shall enter, neither yet danger at all of sinking.

There are three places about the sayde Citie, where the Enemie may give an attempt by Land. The one of them is where the enemie did enter in and landed, which is a sandy Bay, and on the other side of the Bay is the Sea, and on the other side a great Lake which goeth towards the Harbour. The sandy bay or banke, on the one side is 500. yardes broad, all sandy ground without any trees. So that the enemie which giveth the assault in this place must bee constrayned to march all alongst this sandie Bay, the enemie lying open these 500. yardes, which reach untill you doe come to the trench: And on the backside other 500. yardes, till you doe come unto the Citie.

The sayde sandie bay or banke is 130. yardes broad, where the trench is builded. And in this place this Citie hath bene taken by the enemie twise. Wherefore heere wee have driven in a great many of woodden stakes, which goe downe into the sea 50. yardes deepe: and this wee have done, because this is a very dangerous and filthy coast. And below in the bottom of the Valley there we have builded a little Sconce, where we may plant 3. or 4. peeces of ordinance. And likewise wee have made a deepe ditch, which doeth answere to both parts of the sea; so on this side the Citie is very strong and sufficient. For this was the place whereof the Citizens were most afrayde.

The other entring is lower downe by the sayde sandy Bay, which is called Cienaga , or The fenne del Roreado. This is another place which is on the sayd sandy bay, which is 300. yardes broad from the one place downe to the sea. And on the other side there lyeth the Cienaga , which is a certaine plat of ground that is overflowen with water all the yeere long. So that the enemie which shall come this way to winne the Citie, must come marching over land a good way upon a sandie banke or Bay, where the Sea lyeth on the one side, and a grove or boske of wood on the other side, and through a plat of ground which is overflowen with water, but not all covered. So in this place wee have made a Fort or Sconce with certaine Flanckers belonging therunto. And I have caused a deepe ditch to be digged of 60. foote in bredth, so that the Sea doeth come to that plat or place which is overflowen. And in this order we have stopt this passage, so that the Citie standeth in maner like unto an Iland. There is 2600. yardes distance from this place to the other trench where the enemie Francis Drake did land last.

The entring in of this Harbour is by the bridge and Causey which doeth goe from the Citie to S. Francis; the sayd Causey is 300. yardes in length, and 12. yardes in bredth: and the water is on both the sides of the saide Causey : so this is the strongest place of all the rest of the three places. Also in this place there is order taken to make a draw bridge, and upon the top of the said bridge to build a platforme, and plant ordinance upon it: and on both sides of the bridge there are certaine trenches made, where our men may be close kept.

At the point of this land called ycacos, which is in the entring in of the harbour towards S. Anna, we have made a Fort of timber fouresquare of 300. foote every way, and trencht, where wee may plant 15. or 16. peeces of ordinance, and keepe 50. men in garison, and behinde the bourdes on the backside of the timbers, a Barricado of earth or mudde wall being foure foote in thicknesse, and behinde the mud-wall, sand: so this Fort will bee of great importance for safegard of this Harbour, because all the Shippes which doe enter into this Harbour doe come close to this place where it is strongest, so that sometimes one may cast a stone into the ships when they are comming in: and when any ship of warre or Pirate will give any attempt to enter into this Harbour, there is order given that the two galleys shall go forth, and put themselves behinde the Fort with their prows to the sea, and so shooting at their enemies in the forepart of the ship, and then the Fort answering likewise with their ordinance at the side of the shippe, and at their tackling, so the enemie being in the Harbour all unrigged, they must of necessitie be constrained to lye hovering within the Harbour, or els they must drive upon the rockes called the Ismo, or els upon those rocks which are covered with the sea at the Iland of Cares.

And put case that in this place we can doe no good by this meanes, and that the enemie will venture to come in with their long boates & Pinnesses through this narrow mouth; then we are to have in a readinesse 4. Frigats to ayde and helpe the gallies, & to row with oares, and so to go to the narrow mouth, and there to stay in the channell. And forasmuch as the entring in is so dangerous, according as I have certified your Majestie, there can no ship come into this harbour, but we must needes sinke them; so that these defences shall not onely bee annoyance to the enemie, but also animate and encourage the inhabitants of this citie : for they have beene and are in such feare of the enemie, and pirates, that if wee had not made these fortifications, strengthened the citie in this order, and put some souldiers in garison, the citizens would have fledde, and forsaken this citie: for all the perswasions made to them by the governour coulde not perswade them to the contrary, but they would bee gone, if it had not beene for this fortification, and yet for all this wee have much to doe to make them to stay here: so nowe by reason of these souldiers which shall come hither, the people of the citie have taken heart of grasse : so I have tolde them that your majestie will command that this citie and the harbour shall be better fortified and made stronger, and all this which I have caused to be builded, is with that money which I have borowed of the citizens.

As touching the safegard and defence of this harbour, if your majestie so please, here may we builde a very faire and strong castle with foure bulwarks, on the poynt of the Ycacos which doth lie on the side where the citie is builded, because all the shippes which doe come to this harbour, must come close abord this shore, so neere, that wee may cast a stone into them, and so overtake any ship. So likewise if the shippes will goe on the other shore, then they doe goe in greater danger, because of those shoalds and ledges of rockes, and so are often cast away. And forasmuch as those ships which here doe arrive are brought hither by Easterly winds, and sometimes with those winds which come out from the sea, and therefore perforce must give a good birth off, otherwise they cannot enter into this harbour, therefore of necessity they must come so close to the shore: And on the other side where the Island of Cares standeth, there may wee builde another tower foure-square, and plant some foure or five pieces of ordinance, and this will serve for the night, if occasion be offered that any small shippe or barke should come in here, or any pinnesse in the night, to doe any harme, or to attempt to burne any Fleete which shoulde ride here at an anker within this harbour: so the fort beeing on the one side, and the tower on the other side, keeping good watch, there can no shippe nor barke come into this harbour, but they will bee espied.

In the narrow mouth at the entring in the other way towardes the Island of Cares, where the channell doth runne neere the shore, as I have already certified your majestie, there may another castle be made, and there foure or five pieces of ordinance planted, and some sixe or eight men to keepe watch and ward: this being done, your majestie shall have this citie very well fortified, by reason it is of such importance for the service of your majestie, and the trade of all Spaine and Peru , and all the Indies: for this is the principall fort of all this countrey.

Over against this point of the Ycacos, in the Isle of Cares, hard by the water side, there are great store of stones, free stones, and other stones to make lyme, and wood to burne the stones withall for the lyme, and great part of the stones doe lie about the water: so the wood will cost but the cutting of it downe, and the working of it, and with little paines taking it will bee brought to good perfection, for wee have already made triall thereof, for there was never building that went to decay after it hath bene made, nor perished by the sea: so the charge hereof will be but litle or nothing.

And for to put this in practise to build a fort, it is needefull that your majestie should send hither and to many other places, where any fort shall bee made, some store of Negros, and to this place would be sent 150 Negros brought from Guyney: and if the Negros of Havana are not to bee imployed there, nor those which are in Sant Juan de Ullua, it may please your majestie to cause them to bee sent for to this place, for most of them be artificers, some masons, bricklayers, smithes and sawyers, and to send some masons from Spaine to teach our men these occupations. And after these fortifications are ended and all furnished, then the Negros may be solde to great profit, for a Negro that is of any occupation is sold here for 600. and 700. pezos.

Nombre de Dios.

NOMBRE de Dios is builded upon a sandy Bay hard by the sea side, it is a citie of some thirtie housholdes or inhabitants: their houses are builded of timber, and most of the people which are there be forreiners, they are there to day and gone to morrow: it is full of woods and some places of the land are overflowen with water continually by reason of much raine which doth fall upon the hils. It is a very bad harbour, neither is there any good water: and it is subject to Northerly winds and Easterly windes, which continually doe blow upon this coast: many of the great ships which doe come to this place doe unlade halfe their commodities betweene the two ledges of rockes, for that there is but little water in the harbour: and after that a ship hath unladen halfe of her goods, then shee goeth to the second rocke, as it doth appeare by the platforme, but the small ships come neere unto another rocke on the West side. If the winde chance to come to the North and Northwest, and that it overblowe, then such great ships as then be in the roade must of force more themselves with sixe cables a head, especially in a storme, and yet nevertheless sometimes they are driven ashore and so cast away, and all because they dare not vier cable ynough, because of so many shelves and rockes which are in both those places: also the shippes doe roule very much in the harbour, by reason in foule weather the Sea will bee mightily growen, which is the cause that their cables do oftentimes breake, and their ruthers are unhanged, the cause thereof is by reason the shippes doe ride but in little water, yet goeth there a great sea.

The citie is builded and situated very well if it were a good harbour, it standeth upon the Eastside upon a rocke where they may builde a very good fort, according to the platforme for the safegard of this harbour: but seeing it is but a bad haven and shallow water, therefore I doe thinke that it is not needefull for your majestie to be at any charges in fortifying that place, but onely a trench to be made of earth or clay, so that these townesmen may defend themselves from danger of 3. or 4. ships.

The citie of Panama is eighteene leagues from Nombre de Dios, the wayes are exceeding bad thitherwards; yet notwithstanding all the silver is brought this way to Nombre de Dios, as well your majesties treasure as other marchandize; so likewise the most part of those commodities which are caried to Peru , and the rest of the marchandize are carried to the river of Chagre which is some 18 leagues from this citie and it is brought up by this river within five leagues of Panama unto an Inne or lodge called Venta de Cruzes, and from this place afterwards they are transported to Panama upon Mules. The high way which goeth from Nombre de Dios to Panama may be very wel mended, only to remoove this way and to stop it quite up, and so to make it againe upon the side of a mountaine. This citie lieth in nine degrees and one tierce, and if your majestie will give order that this citie should be plucked downe and newly builded againe in Puerto Bello, then you are to make a new way through the mountains of Capira, by reason it may not be frequented and because the high wayes are very bad: with little charges they may be broken and so shut up, and the channell of this harbour may bee stopt with the timber of those old ships which are laid up here every yeere, and then afterwards may be cast a great number of stones into the same, and so by this meanes to damme up the harbour: and here is great want of stones to ballast the shippes : wherefore they are faine to goe to an Iland three leagues from Cartagena called Isla de los Bastimentos, and this is a thing very needefull for this Countrey, as by experience I have seene.

Puerto Bello.

PUERTO Bello lieth five leagues from Nombre de Dios Westward: It is a very good harbour and sufficient to receive great store of ships, and hath very good ankering, and fresh water: for neere the shore you shall find some sixe fathome water, and in the middest of the same harbour you shall find twelve fathome, very good and cleane ground or sand, without eyther banks or rockes. There are twelve small rivers or brookes of water which doe belong to this harbour, and so doe meete all together: so that the fleete may at all times provide themselves of fresh water so much as shall serve their turnes. And like wise there is in this place great store of timber to build shippes, and stones to ballast shippes. Also the harbour hath no danger at all in comming in, but onely when the wind is Westerly, which is seldome seene upon this coast. The windes which doe most blowe upon this coast are Northerly windes, and they are more dangerous and hurtfull then the Easterly windes are. Within this harbour there lieth a small creeke safe from all winds that can blow. This creek is about five hundred yards long, and so many in breadth, and in the entring in of this creekes mouth it is some 300. yardes broad, and foure fathome and a halfe of water: and entring further in, sixe fathome, all oaze and muddie ground: so that if a ship should chance to strike or come aground, shee could take no harme being soft oaze; also it doth ebbe and flow according as I have certified your majestie already.

And likewise the comming in and going out of this harbour is very good; and with all kinde of weather a shippe may set saile from this place except with a Westerly wind: and all this coast is very cleane where a shippe at all times may come to anker without the harbours mouth. This harbour is invironed round about with woods: and at the ende of this harbour there is certaine land which is overflowen with water: it may bee easily dryed up and walled round about, so this land will serve very well to feede cattell. For that is the chiefest thing which doth belong to any citie or towne, and of this pasture ground there is great want in Nombre de Dios, for there is no pasture at all to breede cattell, for all kinde of flesh which is spent in this place is brought from Panama: so towards the South there is a very good place, where the citie may bee newe built on a certaine plaine ground which lieth at the foot of certaine mountaines, which bee not very high; and in this place there runne three little rivers of fresh water very sweete and good, and here is good arable ground to till and to sow Maiz and other kinds of graine. Also in this circuite there are great stones to make lyme, and these stones must needes proove very good as I doe thinke, but we never had any triall thereof.

This harbour hath all things necessary to builde a citie, where your majestic may have your armies and fleetes of shippes to ride at an anker in safetie without danger of loosing: and it is a very healthful countrey, and where the citie shall be builded it is all stony ground: and forasmuch as the raine water which doth fall from the mountaines may doe hurt unto the citie, there at the foote of the mountaine wee will make a great pond to receive in all the water which doth fall from the mountaines, and so from thence to goe into the sea, as more at large your majestic may see by my platforme.

If it would please your majestie, it were good that the citie of Nombre de Dios might bee brought and builded in this harbour: it would not bee very chargeable unto the citizens by reason that all their houses are made of timber, and they may benefite themselves with the same againe, and likewise with the tyles of their houses: the greatest charge will bee to land timber and to cut downe the mountaine of wood.

If it please your majestie that the sayd citie of Nombre de Dios should bee builded in this harbour the first thing which must be finished is to make up this high way, and so to pull downe the Church which is in Nombre de Dios, and the Contractation house, and so newe build it in this harbour: and then to command all the fleetes of shippes from time to time to come and unlade their goods in this sayd Puerto Bello: And that those marchants and factors of Spaine which are lygers in Panama and Nombre de Dios, shall come to this harbour and builde anew their warehouses for receiving of their goods. So by these meanes in short time it will be greatly inhabited with people: also the fleete shall not passe so many dangers as they dayly doe in Nombre de Dios: neither will there so many people die as there dayly doe in Nombre de Dios: and the cause thereof is, that those labouring men which doe use to unlade those marchandize, are all the whole day wading in the water up to the armepits to bring the packs of cloth and other commodities aland; for there is no landing place where there can come any boates to land any goods close to the shore, so this wading and the parching of the Sunne is the cause why so many doe dye of a burning fever. There are but 60. dwelling houses in Nombre de Dios, and but thirtie dwellers which doe continually dwell there, and the rest doe goe to Panama after the fleete is gone, and then this Towne doeth remayne desolate, every man forsaking it because it is so full of diseases.

In the entring in of this harbour for the more securitie thereof and defence of the towne it is needefull to build upon the toppe of the mount which lyeth to the Northward, a little fort fouresquare that will hold foure or five pieces of ordinance, and to appoynt sixe men to watch and ward; and this beeing done wee shall have no occasion to make any more defence, by reason the countrey is full of rocks and filthy wayes, and all full of woods round about the harbour.

And so likewise on the other side to builde a little tower in maner of a fort, with eight pieces of ordinance and five and twentie souldiers to keepe it. And this will bee of more importance because it must be builded on the towne side. And a little beyond this place on the Northside there lyeth a creeke, where there is a very good ankering in eight fathome water: so this fort beeing builded in this place it will defend the harbour and offend the enemy: and will defend the coast along and a poynt of the land which doth runne from the East to the West, and reacheth to the Iland of Buena Ventura. And put case that the fort which is builded on the other side doth decay, or be taken by the enemy, with this other fort wee may defend the citie very well, if the enemy should chance to come into the harbour, and bee succoured and holpen by the citizens, and twenty musketters being planted upon a mount which lieth over the fort, will bee sufficient to defende us from a good many of our enemies, that shoulde come to assault us, because all the countrey is full of rockes and stones, and full of mountaines. So from this wood there may a way be made to goe to the citie, and to joyne with that way which shall goe to Panama; and this may bee done with small charges. This harbour doth lie in nine degrees and one tierce, and if occasion shoulde serve wee may stop up the way which doth goe to Capira, and the rest of the wayes which goe from Nombre de Dios to Venta de Cruzes, according as it is certified me by the Negros called Simerons; for they told me that this way would not bee very troublesome. Although in the Winter it is reported that here is good store of water in this place, which in the Sommer is all dryed up, and where these waters are, there we may builde a causey, to which purpose there are great quantities of stones and timber very serviceable: so this way may bee made with that treasure which your majestie doeth receive of the averages and customes of Nombre de Dios and Panama, which doth amount unto twelve or foureteene thousand pezos yeerely : and an order might be taken for the same, that the sayd money may serve for the building and reparing of these wayes.


PANAMA is the principall citie of this Dioces: it lieth 18. leagues from Nombre de Dios on the South sea, and standeth in 9. degrees. There are 3. Monasteries in this said city of fryers, the one is of Dominicks, the other is of Augustines, and the third is of S. Francis fryers : also there is a College of Jesuits, and the royall audience or chancery is kept in this citie.

This citie is situated hard by the sea side on a sandy bay: the one side of this citie is environed with the sea, and on the other side it is enclosed with an arme of the sea which runneth up into the land 1000. yards.

This citie hath three hundred and fiftie houses, all built of timber, and there are sixe hundred dwellers and eight hundred souldiers with the townesmen, and foure hundred Negros of Guyney, and some of them are freemen: and there is another towne which is called Santa Cruz la Real of Negros Simerons, and most of them are imployed in your majesties service, and they are 100. in number, and this towne is a league from this citie upon a great rivers side, which is a league from the sea right over against the harbour of Pericos. But there is no trust nor confidence in any of these Negros, and therefore we must take heede and beware of them, for they are our mortall enemies.

There are three sundry wayes to come to this citie, besides the sea, where the enemy may assault us. The one is at the bridge which is builded upon the river: and on the one side of this, there lieth a creeke : so on this side the citie is very strong, because it is all soft muddie ground, for in no way they cannot goe upon it. And right over against it there lyeth a river which is in maner like unto a ditch or moate; and on the other side of the River there lyeth a great Lake or Pond which is full of water all the Winter, and part of the Sommer, so that on this side the city is very strong, for with very small store of souldiers this place might bee kept verie well.

The greatest danger for the surprising of this citie is the way that doth come from Nombre de Dios : for all this way is playne ground and no woods: and 2000 yardes from this citie there lyeth a river called Lavanderas, where the women doe use to wash their linnen: and this river doth goe into the creeke, according as I have certified your majestie: and being once past this river, there is a causey which goeth directly unto them. The other way which doth go towards the citie is lower downe towards the sea at a stone bridge lying upon the way which goeth to the harbour of Perico. These two wayes cannot be kept nor resisted, because it is all plaine ground and medowes.

Upon the East side of this citie there are your majesties royall houses builded upon a rocke joyning hard to the Sea side, and they doe aswell leane towards the sea as the land. The royall audience or chancerie is kept here in these houses, and likewise the prison. And in this place all your majesties treasure is kept. There dwelleth in these houses your majesties Treasurer, the Lord President, and 3. Judges, and master Atturney. All these doe dwell in these houses, and the rest of your majesties officers : which are sixe houses besides those of the Lord President, the which are all dwelling houses, and all adjoyning together one by another along upon the rockes. And they are builded all of timber and bourdes, as the other houses are. So where the prison standeth and the great hall, these two places may bee very well fortified, because they serve so fitly for the purpose, by reason they are builded towardes the sea, and that there lye certaine small rocks, which at a lowe water are all discovered and drie, and some of them are seene at a high water. Right over these houses to the Eastwardes there lyeth an Island about five hundred yardes from these houses, and the Island is in forme of a halfe moone; and in this order it runneth all alongst very neere the maine land: so over against these houses there lyeth the harbour where all the shippes doe use to ride at an anker, after that they have discharged and unladen their marchandize. For when they have their lading aboord, there can come in none but small Barkes, and at a lowe water the shippes are all aground and drie, and so is all the space some thirtie yardes from those houses. Right over against them standeth the citie.

When newes were brought to this citie of those Pirates which were come upon this coast, the Lord President and Judges commanded that there should a sconce bee made, and trenched round about, made all of timber for the defence of this citie against the enemie, and to keepe your majesties treasure. So your officers caused Venta de Cruzes to be fortified, and likewise Chagre, and Quebrada, and fortified the garrison of Ballano: for all these are places where the enemy may land, and by this meanes spoyle all this countrey.

There are three sundry places where this citie may without difficulty be taken, and spoyled by the Pirates. The first is on the North seas in a certaine place which lyeth foureteene leagues from Nombre de Dios, the place is called Aele to the Eastwards, where once before certaine men of warre have entred into those seas. The other place is Nombre de Dios, although this is a bad place and naughtie wayes, and full of waters and a very dirtie way: for three partes of the yeere the countrey people doe travell upon those waters, and an other very badde way, which is the going up of certaine rockes and mountaines which they must climbe, called the mountaines of Capira, which are of height three quarters of a league, so in this place with very small store of souldiers wee can defend our selves from the fury of the enemie, so these dwellers doe say that in Sommer the wayes are very good without either dirt or water.

The other entrance is up the river of Chagre, which rivers mouth lyeth eighteene leagues from Nombre de Dios to the Westwards falling into the North sea , and this is the place which the citizens of Panama doe most feare, for they may come up this river to Venta de Cruzes, and so from thence march to this citie, which is but five leagues off. So up this river there goe boates and barkes which doe carry. 320. Quintals waight. These are they which carry the most part of the marchandize which doe come from Spaine to be transported to Peru , and from Venta de Cruzes it is carried to Limaret which is three leagues off that place, and the dwellers doe report that it is a very good way: and if any men of warre will attempt to come into these seas, they may very easily come up this river as farre as Venta de Cruzes, and from thence march unto this citie, and if the enemy will, they may bring their pinnesses ready made in foure quarters, and so taken in sunder, may afterwards set them together againe: as it is reported that Francis Drake hath used it once before when he came that voyage; and so he may attempt us both by sea and land. And forasmuch as the most part of these people are marchants, they will not fight, but onely keepe their owne persons in safetie, and save their goods; as it hath bene sene heretofore in other places of these Indies.

So if it will please your majesty to cause these houses to bee strongly fortified, considering it standeth in a very good place if any sudden alarms shoulde happen, then the citizens with their goods may get themselves to this place, and so escape the terrour of the enemy: and so this will be a good securitie for all the treasure which doth come from Peru . So all the Pirats and rebels, which have robbed in these parts, have gone about what they can to stoppe this passage, and so by this meanes to stoppe the trade of Spaine, and to set souldiers in this place, for to intercept and take your majesties treasure, whereby none might be caried intoSpaine. Therefore it behooveth your majestic to fortifie these places very strongly.

These places being fortified in this maner, your majesty shal have al your gold and silver brought home in safetie which commeth from Peru . And all those commodities which are laden in Spaine may come safe to this place. And if perchance any rebels should rise in these parts, which would rebel against your majesty, which God forbid, & if they should chance to joyn with any of these pirats, having this place so wel fortified, & Puerto Bello in ye North parts, & so to send some garrison your majestie needs not to feare: for here in this harbor are alwayes 10 or 12 barks of 60 or 50 tunnes apiece, which do belong to this harbor. So if any of these places shalbe intercepted, then your majestie hath no other place fitter then this to land your majesties souldiers, for then they have but 18. leagues to march by land, & presently they may be shipped to supply these places which shal stand in most need of them. In al the coast of Peru there is no harbour that hath any shipping but onely this place, and the citie of Lima , where there are some ships and barks. The harbour being thus open without any defence, a man of war may very easily come to this place, as I have certified your majestie, thorow the streits of Magellane, & arrive at that instant, when those barks, do come from Peru with your majesties gold & silver, for sometimes they bring 5 or 6 millions in those barks; so the enemy may come and take al their treasure, & not leese one man, because here is not one man to resist him, therefore this place being thus fortified, the treasure may be kept in the fort. There is a trench made round about your majesties houses which are builded of timber: the President and Judges did cause it to be made, for that here was newes brought that there were certaine men of warre, & pirats comming for these parts. So this trench is thus maintained until such time as your majesties pleasure is to the contrary, & in such wise that your souldiers may fight lying behind the trench; so there is order given to build a platforme upon the plaine ground, and so to plant such ordinance in those places, as shall be thought most convenient.

If it wil please your majestie, here we may make a sconce or fort toward the land side, & so trench it round about and build it with stone, because here is a place and al things readie for the same purpose; and by this meanes the citie would be securely kept: as for the sea there is no danger at al, by reason that the water doth ebbe & flow twise a day, and then when it is ebbing water it wil be all ozy & muddy ground and rocks, so that in no wise at a low water the enemy can wade over the mud to come to this city, and it reacheth from the Island til you come to the bridge called Paita. Two leagues from this city there lieth a harbor called Perico downe to the Westward: this is a very sure harbour by reason of 3. Islands which do joyne in maner of a halfe moone, they lie halfe a league from the maine, the Islands do enclose the harbor round about, the harbour is a very high land, & the Ilands are but reasonable high, there is good store of fresh water: also there hath never any ship bene cast away in this harbour, for there is 7. fathome water at ful sea, and 3 or 4 fathome at lower water, and very good ground for their ankering, and when they will trimme their ships, they may hale them ashore. All those ships and barks which come from Peru with gold, silver or any other kind of commodities, do first come to an anker in this harbour, and if they have a contrary weather they cannot come into the harbour of Panama; and for so much as the harbour hath no defence for the safegard of the ships, if a man of warre should chance to come into the harbour, all the barks with the treasure may be very easily taken. And likewise these barks & ships which do navigate in the South seas carrie not so much as one piece of ordinance or a rapier to defend them withall. From this place to Venta de Cruzes is not passing 5 leagues; so that if any pinnesse should happen to arrive there, no doubt but they might robbe and take al your treasure which is in those barks, by reason that from the shore they cannot be rescued nor holpen, because it is an Island and refuge for all ships and barks. If it would please your majestie here might some fort or defence bee made in the middlemost Island, and some ordinance planted, and this might bee made with little charges, because in the said Island there are all kinde of necessaries fit for that purpose, so by this meanes your majestic may have both the harbour and the citie very well kept.

And likewise there is another entring into the South sea which is called the river of Francisca, which lieth on this side of the Cabeca de Cativa, and this river doth come into another river which is called Caracol, and is five leagues from this citie; and once before these Simerons brought into this place certaine Frenchmen.

The river of Chagre.

THE river of Chagre lieth in 9. degrees and one tierce. The mouth of this river is in the North seas 18. leagues from Nombre de Dios, and 13. leagues from Puerto Bello: there is caryed up this river certaine quantitie of those merchandize which are unladen at Nombre de Dios which come from Spaine. From the mouth of this river to Venta de Cruzes are eighteene leagues. From this place where the barkes unlade their commodities, they are carried upon mules to Panama, which is but five leagues off from this place.

This river hath great store of water in the Winter. And the barkes which belong to this river are commonly of 320. Quintals that is of 16. tunnes in burthen: but in the Summer there is but small store of water: so then the barkes have much to doe to get up this river: and in many places these barks are constrained to unlade their commodities; and are drawen by mens strength and force a good way up the river, and therefore if it would please your majestic to command that all those goods may bee first unladen in Puerto Bello, and there to build a litle castle in the mouth of the said river, and at the foote of the castle to build a storehouse to unlade and keepe all the sayd goods, and there to build other barks of lesse burthen: then these would serve for Sommer, and the great barks for the Winter.

If it would please your majestie, there might a very good high way be made on the one side of the river, and so they might bee towed, for it may bee made and not with much cost because it is all plaine ground, and there is growing upon the sayd river great store of timber and trees which doe lie overthwart the said River; so that they are very cumbersome and great annoiance unto the said boates, aswell those that go up the said River, as also that doe come downe the said River.

And therefore if it might please your majestie to command, that Puerto Bello might be inhabited, and the towne made neerer the Rivers side, every thing would be a great deale better cheape, if the commodities were caryed up the River: for it is a great danger to cary them up by land, for it is daily seene that the mules do many times fall and breake their neckes with their lading upon their backs, as well the treasure as other kinde of commodities, because it is such a bad way. And your majestie might be at this charges and spend your revenewes of Nombre de Dios and Panama, which do yerely yield 12 or 14 thousand pezos, & this being once done it would be a great ayd and benefit to those, which doe trade and trafficke, and to those merchantes which doe send their goods over-land, and ease them much of paine and purse, because the other is a most filthy way, as any is in the world.

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