An abstract taken out of certaine Spaniards letters concerning Guiana and the countries lying upon the great river Orenoque : with certaine reports also touching the same.
An advertisement to the Reader.THOSE letters out of which the abstracts following are taken, were surprised at sea as they were passing for Spaine in the yeere 1594. by Captaine George Popham: who the next yeere, and the same that Sir Walter Ralegh discovered Guiana , as he was in a voyage for the West Indies, learned also the reports annexed. All which, at his returne, being two moneths after Sir Walter, as also so long after the writing of the former discourse, hearing also of his discoverie : he made knowen and delivered to some of her Majesties most honourable privie Councell & others. The which seeing they confirme in some part the substance, I meane, the riches of that countrey: it hath bene thought fit that they should be thereunto ad joyned. Wherein the Reader is to be advertised, that although the Spaniards seeme to glorie much of their formall possession taken before Morequito the Lord of Aromaya, and others thereabouts, which throughly understood them not at that time, whatsoever the Spaniards otherwise pretend: yet, according to the former discourse, and as also it is related by Cayworaco, the sonne of Topiawary now chiefe Lord of the said Aromaya, who was brought into England by Sir Walter Ralegh, and was present at the same possession and discoverie of the Spaniards mentioned in these letters; it appeareth that after they were gone out of their countrey, the Indians then having farther consideration of the matter, and more then conjecture of their intent, having knowen and heard of their former cruelties upon their borderers and others of the Indians elsewhere: At their next comming, there being ten of them sent and imployed for a farther discovery, they were provided to receive and entertaine them in an other maner of sort then they had done before; that is to say, they slew them and buried them in the countrey so much sought. They gave them by that meanes a full and complete possession, the which before they had but begunne. And so they are minded to doe, to as many Spaniards as come after. Other possession they have had none since. Neither doe the Indians meane, as they protest, to give them any other. One other thing to be remembred is that in these letters the Spaniards seeme to call Guiana and other countries neere it, bordering upon the river of Orenoque, by the name of Nueva Dorado, because of the great plentie of golde there in most places to be found. Alluding also to the name of El Dorado which was given by Martinez to the great citie of Manoa, as is in the former treatise specified. This is all I thought good to advertise. As for some other matters, I leave them to the consideration and judgement of the indifferent Reader.
Letters taken at sea by Captaine George Popham. 1594.
Alonso his letter from the Gran Canaria to his brother being commander of S. Lucar, concerning El Dorado.THERE have bene certaine letters received here of late, of a land newly discovered called Nuevo Dorado, from the sonnes of certaine inhabitants of this citie, who were in the discovery: they write of wonderfull riches to be found in the said Dorado, and that golde there is in great abundance: the course to fall with it is fiftie leagues to the windeward of Margarita.
Alonsos letter from thence to certaine Marchantes of Sant Lucar concerning El Dorado.SIRS, we have no newes worth the writing, saving of a discovery lately made by the Spaniardes in a new land called Nuevo Dorado, which is two dayes sayling to the windward of Margarita: there is golde in such abundance, as the like hath not bene heard of. Wee have it for certaine in letters written from thence by some that were in the discoverie, unto their parents here in this citie. I purpose (God willing) to bestow tenne or twelve dayes in search of the said Dorado, as I passe in my voyage towards Carthagena, hoping there to make some good sale of our commodities. I have sent you therewith part of the information of the said discoverie, that was sent to his Majestie.
AND in prosecution of the said possession, and the discoverie of the way and Provinces, the 27 of April of the said yeere, the master of the campe entred by little and little with all the campe and men of warre, more then two leagues into the in-land, and came to a towne of a principall, and conferring with him did let him understand by meanes of Antonio Bisante the Interpretor, that his Majestie and Antonio de Berreo had sent him to take the said possession. And the said frier Francis Carillo by the Interpretor, delivered him certain things of our holy Catholique faith, to all which he answered, that they understood him well and would become Christians, and that with a very good will they should advance the crosse, in what part or place of the towne it pleased them, for he was for the Governour Antonio de Berreo, who was his master. Thereupon the said master of the campe tooke a great crosse, and set it on end towarde the East, and requested the whole campe to witnesse it, and Domingo de Vera firmed it thus. “ It is well and firmely done. And underneath. Before me Rodrigo Caranza, Register of the armie.” THE first of May they prosecuted the said possession and discoverie to the towne on Carapana. From thence the said Master of the campe passed to the towne of Toroco whose principall is called Topiawary being five leagues farther within the land then the first Nation, and well inhabited. And to this principall by meane of the Interpretor they gave to understand that his Majestie and the said Corrigidor commanded them to take the possession of that lande, and that they should yeelde their obedience to his Majestie, and to his Corrigidor, and to the master of the campe in his name, and that in token therof he would place a crosse in the middle of his towne. Whereunto the said Cassique answered they should advance it with a very good will, and that he remained in the obedience of our lord the king, and of the said Governour Antonio de Berreo whose vassall he would be. The fourth of May we came to a Province above five leagues thence, of all sides inhabited with much people, the principall of this people came and met us in peaceable maner: and he is called Revato, he brought us to a very large house where he entertained us well, and gave us much Golde, and the interpreter asking him from whence that golde was, he answered, From a Province not passing a dayes journey off, where there are so many Indians as would shadowe the sunne, and so much Golde as all yonder plaine will not conteine it. In which Countrey (when they enter into the Borracheras or their drunken feasts) they take of the said Golde in dust and anoynt themselves all over therewith to make the braver shew; and to the end the Golde may cover them, they anoynt their bodies with stamped herbes of a glewy substance: & they have warre with those Indians. They promised us that if we would goe unto them, they would ayde us; but they were such infinite numbers, as no doubt they would kill us. And being asked how they gat ye same Gold, they told us they went to a certaine Downe or playne, and pulled or digged up the grasse by the roote: which done, they tooke of the earth, putting it in great buckets, which they caried to wash at the river, and that which came in powder they kept for their Borracheras or drunken feasts: and that which was in peeces they wrought into Eagles. The eight of May wee went from thence, and marched about five leagues: at the foote of a Hill wee found a principall called Arataco with three thousand Indians, men and women all in peace with much victuall, as Hennes and Venison in great abundance, and many sortes of wine. Hee intreated us to goe to his house, and to rest that night in his Towne, being of five hundred houses. The interpreter asked whence hee had those Hennes : he sayde they were brought from a mountaine not passing a quarter of a league thence, where were many Indians, yea so many as grasse on the ground, and that these men had the points of their shoulders higher then the Crownes of their heads, and had so many Hennes as was wonderfull; and if wee would have any, wee should send them Jewes harpes, for they would give for every one two Hennes. Wee tooke an Indian, and gave him five hundred Harpes; the Hennes were so many that hee brought us, as were not to be numbred. Wee sayde wee would goe thither; they tolde us they were now in their Borracheras or drunken feasts, and would kill us. Wee asked the Indian that brought the Hennes, if it were true; hee sayde it was most true. Wee asked him how they made their Borracheras or drunken feasts; hee sayde, they had many Eagles of golde hanging on their breasts, and Pearles in their eares, and that they daunced being all covered with Golde. The Indian sayde unto us, if wee would see them, wee should give him some Hatchets, and he would bring us of those Eagles. The Master of the Campe gave him one Hatchet (hee would give him no more because they should not understand we went to seeke golde) he brought us an Eagle that weighed 27. pounds of good Golde. The Master of the Campe tooke it, and shewed it to the souldiers, and then threw it from him, making shewe not to regard it. About midnight came an Indian and sayd unto him, Give mee a Pickeaxe, and I will tell thee what the Indians with the high shoulders meane to doe. The Interpreter tolde the Master of the Campe, who commanded one to be given him: hee then tolde us, those Indians were comming to kill us for our marchandize. Hereupon the Master of the Campe caused his company to bee set in order, and beganne to march. The eleventh day of May wee went about seven leagues from thence to a Province, where wee found a great company of Indians apparelled: they tolde us that if wee came to fight, they would fill up those Plaines with Indians to fight with us; but if wee came in peace, wee should enter and bee well entertained of them, because they had a great desire to see Christians: and there they tolde us of all the riches that was. I doe not heere set it downe, because there is no place for it, but it shall appeare by the information that goeth to his Majestie : for if it should heere bee set downe, foure leaves of paper would not containe it.