Discovery of the wild Coast
Columbus was the first to reach land to the west--one of the islands of the Bahamas--on 12 October, 1492, convinced that he had reached one of the islands of eastern Asia. It is understandable why so many Marranos came to the New World. The discovery of new continents took place at the very time when Spain and Portugal were persecuting the Jews and "New Christians" (outward Christians who, in private, observed Judaism). In the same month in which the Spanish King and Queen ordered all professing Jews to be expelled from their dominions, Columbus wrote in his journal, "They gave me the order to prepare an expedition of suitable men to seek new territories."
A substantial number of those involved in the New World explorations were Marranos. Indeed, there is some evidence pointing to a Marrano origin for Columbus. There is no doubt, however, that there were many Marranos in his expeditions. It was due to the persuasion of two influential Marranos, Luis de Santagel, the royal treasurer, and Gabriel Sanchez, treasurer of Aragon, that the Queen took Columbus` plan seriously. One of the few "authentic" Cristians involved in the plans was the royal secretary, Juab de Coloma, whose wife was of Marrano origin. Both the expeditions physician and the interpreter, Luis de Torres, were Marranos or of Marrano parentage, and the first crew member who sighted land was a Marrano, Rodrigo de Triago.
The Marranos, on their part, feeling that they had much to gain by gambling for a new-found freedom, were ready for any risk. Their hope that in the territories of the New World they would be far from the ever-present eye of the Inquisition, and would be free to practice their faith. Moreover, both the Spanish and Portuguese monarchs gave certain concessions to those Marranos willing to settle in the new World, and even negotiated franchises with those who would battle with the Indians and annex new territories for the Crown. In the year 1509, in the city of Seville, an agreement was completed between the New Christians and the Spanish Crown by which, in payment of the sum of 20,000 ducats, they were free to travel to the newly discovered colonies and to carry on trade for two years. There were many such contracts entered into.
The Marrano, Fernando Noronha negotiated with the King of Portugal on behalf of a group of Marranos in 1506. These chose to go to Brazil where, for one year, they would be freed from taxation on a territory of a thousand quintales which they would cultivate. In the second year they would pay one sixth of the normal tax. The Marranos actually were the first to cultivate sugar plantations in the New World. An Island 300 miles from Belem, in Brazil, today bears the name of its founder, Fernando Noronha.
Columbus was followed by Vespucci, Cabot, and many others, each proposing to himself to reach the land of spices, that is, India.
The successful voyages of Christopher Columbus increased Vespucci's desire to take a part in the general European movement to seek a western passage to the Indies. Having obtained three ships from Ferdinand, King of Castille, Vespucci was able to undertake his first voyage. Accordingly, he set sail from Cadiz on 10 May, 1497, sailing toward the Fortunate Islands, and then laying his course towards the west. After twenty-seven or thirty-seven days, on 6 or 10 April, he touched the mainland (Guiana or Brazil?), and was well received by the inhabitants. In this first voyage he may have entered the Gulf of Mexico and coasted along a great portion of the United States, as far as the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Then he returned to Spain, and landed at Cadiz on 15 October, 1498.
On 16 May, 1499, Vespucci sailed from Cadiz on his second voyage, with Alonzo de Ojeda and Juan de la Cosa (1460-1510 spanish navigator and cartograher, owner of the "Santa Maria"). He directed his course to Cape Verde, crossed the Equator, and saw land, on the coast of Brazil, at 4° or 5° S., possibly near Aracati. From there, he coasted along the Guianas and the continent, from the Gulf of Paria to Maracaibo and Cape de la Vela; he discovered Cape St. Augustine and the River Amazon, and made notable observations of the sea currents, of the Southern Cross and other southern constellations. He returned to Spain in September, 1500. There two expeditions were undertaken in the service of Spain; the third and the fourth, in that of Portugal. In consequence of the long fatigues of his second voyage, Vespucci was taken ill of the quartan ague. When his health was re-established, he wrote an account of his voyage to Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco de' Medici.
On 14 May, 1501, he sailed from Lisbon to Cape Verde, and thence westward, until, on 1 January, 1502, he came to a gulf at 13° S., to which he gave the name of Bahia de Todos Santos, and upon the shores of which the city of Bahia now stands. From there he coasted along South America, as far as the Plata. On his return, he discovered the island of South Georgia, at 54° S., and 1200 miles east of Tierra del Fuego. He arrived at Lisbon on 7 September, 1502. On his fourth voyage, he sailed with Gonzal Coelho from Lisbon, on 10 June, 1503, touched land at the Cape Verde Islands, and bent his course towards the Bay of All Saints. At Cape Frio, having found great quantities of brazil-wood, he established an agency, exactly on the Tropic of Capricorn. Thereafter, he coasted along the continent, nearly to the Rio de la Plata, and then returned to Lisbon, where he arrived on 18 June, 1504. Vespucci made a fifth voyage with Juan de la Cosa, between May and December, 1505; they visited the Gulf of Darien, and sailed 200 miles up the Atrato River. During that voyage, they collected gold and pearls, and received information of there being a great abundance of those substances in that region. This voyage was repeated by the two navigators in 1507. Of these two expeditions, however, there is no special account by Vespucci. It should be added that, in 1506, Vespucci was busy in Spain, fitting out the expedition of Pinzon, which was abandoned in March, 1507.
Soon after the discovery was "El Dorado" the famous land of Gold known by every sailer and adventurer. Thousands of "Golddigger" flooded the area and had to go through privation, misery and disease. The "Wild Coast" remained for many years a disirable property for many people. Spain was the first country to take this tropical area between Orinoco- and Amazonriver under his flag. On the 23.April 1593 Domingo de Vera took property of this area for King Philip 2 of Spain. After the Spaniards came the Dutch, English, French and he Portugees.
On 6.2.1595 Sir Walter Raleigh (1552-1618) came with 3 ships on his search for El Dorado to the coast of Guiana. To get an impression of this time we will listen now to his famous books:
Book 1: On Thursday, the sixth of February, in the year 1595, we departed England, and the Sunday following had sight of the north cape of Spain, the wind for the most part continuing prosperous; we passed in sight of the Burlings, and the Rock, and so onwards for the Canaries, and fell with Fuerteventura the 17. of the same month, where we spent two or three days, and relieved our companies with some fresh meat. From thence we coasted by the Grand Canaria, and so to Teneriffe, and stayed there for the Lion's Whelp, your Lordship's ship, and for Captain Amyas Preston and the rest. But when after seven or eight days we found them not, we departed and directed our course for Trinidad, with mine own ship, and a small barque of Captain Cross' only; for we had before lost sight of a small galego on the coast of Spain, which came with us from Plymouth. We arrived at Trinidad the 22. of March, casting anchor at Point Curiapan, which the Spaniards call Punta de Gallo, which is situate in eight degrees or thereabouts. We abode there four or five days, and in all that time we came not to the speech of any Indian or Spaniard. On the coast we saw a fire, as we sailed from the Point Carao towards Curiapan, but for fear of the Spaniards none durst come to speak with us. I myself coasted it in my barge close aboard the shore and landed in every cove, the better to know the island, while the ships kept the channel. From Curiapan after a few days we turned up north-east to recover that place which the Spaniards call Puerto de los Espanoles(Now Port of Spain)and the inhabitants Conquerabia; and as before, revictualling my barge, I left the ships and kept by the shore, the better to come to speech with some of the inhabitants, and also to understand the rivers, watering-places, and ports of the island, which, as it is rudely done, my purpose is to send your Lordship after a few days. From Curiapan I came to a port and seat of Indians called Parico, where we found a fresh water river, but saw no people. From thence I rowed to another port, called by the naturals Piche, and by the Spaniards Tierra de Brea. In the way between both were divers little brooks of fresh water, and one salt river that had store of oysters upon the branches of ehe trees, and were very salt and well tasted. All their oysters grow upon those boughs and sprays, and not on the ground; the like is commonly seen in other places of the West Indies, and elsewhere. This tree is described by Andrew Thevet, in his France Antarctique, and the form figured in the book as a plant very strange; and by Pliny in his twelfth book of his Natural History. But in this island, as also in Guiana, there are very many of them.
At this point, called Tierra de Brea or Piche, there is that abundance of stone pitch that all the ships of the world may be therewith laden from thence; and we made trial of it in trimming our ships to be most excellent good, and melteth not with the sun as the pitch of Norway, and therefore for ships trading the south parts very profitable. From thence we went to the mountain foot called Annaperima, and so passing the river Carone, on which the Spanish city was seated, we met with our ships at Puerto de los Espanoles or Conquerabia.
This island of Trinidad hath the form of a sheephook, and is but narrow; the north partis very mountainous; the soil is very excellent, and will bear sugar, ginger, or any other commodity that the Indies yield. It hath store of deer, wild porks, fruit, fish, and fowl; it hath also for bread sufficient maize, cassavi, and of those roots and fruits which are common everywhere in the West Indies. It hath divers beasts which the Indies have not; the Spaniards confessed that they found grains of gold in some of the rivers; but they having a purpose to enter Guiana, the magazine of all rich metals, cared not to spend time in the search thereof any further. This island is called by the people thereof Cairi, and in it are divers nations. Those about Parico are called Jajo, those at Punta de Carao are of the Arwacas(Arawaks)and between Carao and Curiapan they are called Salvajos. Between Carao and Punta de Galera are the Nepojos, and those about the Spanish city term themselves Carinepagotes.(Carib-people) Of the rest of the nations, and of other ports and rivers, I leave to speak here, being impertinent to my purpose, and mean to describe them as they are situate in the particular plot and description of the island, three parts whereof I coasted with my barge, that I might the better describe it.
Meeting with the ships at Puerto de los Espanoles, we found at the landing-place a company of Spaniards who kept a guard at the descent; and they offering a sign of peace, I sent Captain Whiddon to speak with them, whom afterwards to my great grief I left buried in the said island after my return from Guiana, being a man most honest and valiant. The Spaniards seemed to be desirous to trade with us, and to enter into terms of peace, more for doubt of their own strength than for aught else; and in the end, upon pledge, some of them came aboard. The same evening there stale also aboard us in a small canoa two Indians, the one of them being a cacique or lord of the people, called Cantyman, who had the year before been with Captain Whiddon, and was of his acquaintance. By this Cantyman we understood what strength the Spaniards had, how far it was to their city, and of Don Antonio de Berreo, the governor, who was said to be slain in his second attempt of Guiana, but was not.
While we remained at Puerto de los Espanoles some Spaniards came aboard us to buy linen of the company, and such other things as they wanted, and also to view our ships and company, all which I entertained kindly and feasted after our manner. By means whereof I learned of one and another as much of the estate of Guiana as I could, or as they knew; for those poor soldiers having been many years without wine, a few draughts made them merry, in which mood they vaunted of Guiana and the riches thereof, and all what they knew of the ways and passages; myself seeming to purpose nothing less than the entrance or discovery thereof, but bred in them an opinion that I was bound only for the relief of those English which I had planted in Virginia, whereof the bruit was come among them; which I had performed in my return, if extremity of weather had not forced me from the said coast.
I found occasions of staying in this place for two causes. The one was to be revenged of Berreo, who the year before, 1594, had betrayed eight of Captain Whiddon's men, and took them while he departed from them to seek the Edward Bonaventure, which arrived at Trinidad the day before from the East Indies: in whose absence Berreo sent a canoa aboard the pinnace only with Indians and dogs inviting the company to go with them into the woods to kill a deer. Who like wise men, in the absence of their captain followed the Indians, but were no sooner one arquebus shot from the shore, but Berreo's soldiers lying in ambush had them all, notwithstanding that he had given his word to Captain Whiddon that they should take water and wood safely. The other cause of my stay was, for that by discourse with the Spaniards I daily learned more and more of Guiana, of the rivers and passages, and of the enterprise of Berreo, by what means or fault he failed, and how he meant to prosecute the same.
While we thus spent the time I was assured by another cacique of the north side of the island, that Berreo had sent to Margarita and Cumana for soldiers,meaning to have given me a cassado(Cachado(cachada)=a blow) at parting, if it had been possible. For although he had given order through all the island that no Indian should come aboard to trade with me upon pain of hanging and quartering (having executed two of them for the same, which I afterwards found), yet every night there came some with most lamentable complaints of his cruelty: how he had divided the island and given to every soldier a part; that he made the ancient caciques, which were lords of the country, to be their slaves; that he kept them in chains, and dropped their naked bodies with burning bacon, and such other torments, which I found afterwards to be true. For in the city, after I entered the same, there were five of the lords or little kings, which they call caciques in the West Indies, in one chain, almost dead of famine, and wasted with torments. These are called in their own language acarewana, and now of late since English, French, and Spanish, are come among them, they call themselves captains, because they perceive that the chiefest of every ship is called by that name. Those five captains in the chain were called Wannawanare, Carroaori, Maquarima, Tarroopanama, and Aterima. So as both to be revenged of the former wrong, as also considering that to enter Guiana by small boats, to depart 400 or 500 miles from my ships, and to leave a garrison in my back interested in the same enterprise, who also daily expected supplies out of Spain, I should have savoured very much of the ass; and therefore taking a time of most advantage, I set upon the Corps du garde in the evening, and having put them to the sword, sent Captain Caulfield onwards with sixty soldiers, and myself followed with forty more, and so took their new city, which they called St. Joseph, by break of day. They abode not any fight after a few shot, and all being dismissed, but only Berreo and his companion,(The Pprtuguese captain Alvaro Jorge) I brought them with me aboard, and at the instance of the Indians I set their new city of St. Joseph on fire. The same day arrived Captain George Gifford with your lordship's ship, and Captain Keymis, whom I lost on the coast of Spain, with the galego, and in them divers gentlemen and others, which to our little army was a great comfort and supply.
We then hasted away towards our purposed discovery, and first I called all the captains of the island together that were enemies to the Spaniards; for there were some which Berreo had brought out of other countries, and planted there to eat out and waste those that were natural of the place. And by my Indian interpreter, which I carried out of England, I made them understand that I was the servant of a queen who was the great cacique of the north, and a virgin, and had more caciqui under her than there were trees in that island; that she was an enemy to the Castellani in respect of their tyranny and oppression, and that she delivered all such nations about her, as were by them oppressed; and having freed all the coast of the northern world from their servitude, had sent me to free them also, and withal to defend the country of Guiana from their invasion and conquest. I shewed them her Majesty's picture, which they so admired and honoured, as it had been easy to have brought them idolatrous thereof. The like and a more large discourse I made to the rest of the nations, both in my passing to Guiana and to those of the borders, so as in that part of the world her Majesty is very famous and admirable; whom they now call Ezrabeta cassipuna aquerewana, which is as much as 'Elizabeth, the Great Princess, or Greatest Commander.' This done, we left Puerto de los Espanoles, and returned to Curiapan, and having Berreo my prisoner, I gathered from him as much of Guiana as he knew. This Berreo is a gentleman well descended, and had long served the Spanish king in Milan, Naples, the Low Countries, and elsewhere, very valiant and liberal, and a gentleman of great assuredness, and of a great heart. I used him according to his estate and worth in all things I could, according to the small means I had.
I sent Captain Whiddon the year before to get what knowledge he could of Guiana: and the end of my journey at this time was to discover and enter the same. But my intelligence was far from truth, for the country is situate about 600 English miles further from the sea than I was made believe it had been. Which afterwards understanding to be true by Berreo, I kept it from the knowledge of my company, who else would never have been brought to attempt the same. Of which 600 miles I passed 400, leaving my ships so far from me at anchor in the sea, which was more of desire to perform that discovery than of reason, especially having such poor and weak vessels to transport ourselves in. For in the bottom of an old galego which I caused to be fashioned like a galley, and in one barge, two wherries, and a ship-boat of the Lion's Whelp, we carried 100 persons and their victuals for a month in the same, being all driven to lie in the rain and weather in the open air, in the burning sun, and upon the hard boards, and to dress our meat, and to carry all manner of furniture in them. Wherewith they were so pestered and unsavoury, that what with victuals being most fish, with the wet clothes of so many men thrust together, and the heat of the sun, I will undertake there was never any prison in England that could be found more unsavoury and loathsome, especially to myself, who had for many years before been dieted and cared for in a sort far more differing.
If Captain Preston had not been persuaded that he should have come too late to Trinidad to have found us there (for the month was expired which I promised to tarry for him there ere he could recover the coast of Spain) but that it had pleased God he might have joined with us, and that we had entered the country but some ten days sooner ere the rivers were overflown, we had adventured either to have gone to the great city of Manoa, or at least taken so many of the other cities and towns nearer at hand, as would have made a royal return. But it pleased not God so much to favour me at this time. If it shall be my lot to prosecute the same, I shall willingly spend my life therein. And if any else shall be enabled thereunto, and conquer the same, I assure him thus much; he shall perform more than ever was done in Mexico by Cortes, or in Peru by Pizarro, whereof the one conquered the empire of Mutezuma, the other of Guascar and Atabalipa. And whatsoever prince shall possess it, that prince shall be lord of more gold, and of a more beautiful empire, and of more cities and people, than either the king of Spain or the Great Turk.
But because there may arise many doubts, and how this empire of Guiana is become so populous, and adorned with so many great cities, towns, temples, and treasures, I thought good to make it known, that the emperor now reigning is descended from those magnificent princes of Peru, of whose large territories, of whose policies, conquests, edifices, and riches, Pedro de Cieza, Francisco Lopez, and others have written large discourses. For when Francisco Pizarro, Diego Almagro and others conquered the said empire of Peru, and had put to death Atabalipa, son to Guayna Capac, which Atabalipa had formerly caused his eldest brother Guascar to be slain, one of the younger sons of Guayna Capac fled out of Peru, and took with him many thousands of those soldiers of the empire called orejones(Orejones = 'having large ears,' the name given by the Spaniards to the Peruvian warriors, who wore ear-pendants) and with those and many others which followed him, he vanquished all that tract and valley of America which is situate between the great river of Amazons and Baraquan, otherwise called Orenoque and Maranon.(Baraquan is the alternative name to Orenoque, Maranon to Amazons)
The empire of Guiana is directly east from Peru towards the sea, and lieth under the equinoctial line; and it hath more abundance of gold than any part of Peru, and as many or moe(more) great cities than ever Peru had when it flourished most. It is governed by the same laws, and the emperor and people observe the same religion, and the same form and policies in government as were used in Peru, not differing in any part. And I have been assured by such of the Spaniards as have seen Manoa, the imperial city of Guiana, which the Spaniards call El Dorado, that for the greatness, for the riches, and for the excellent seat, it far exceedeth any of the world, at least of so much of the world as is known to the Spanish nation. It is founded upon a lake of salt water of 200 leagues long, like unto Mare Caspium. And if we compare it to that of Peru, and but read the report of Francisco Lopez and others, it will seem more than credible; and because we may judge of the one by the other, I thought good to insert part of the 120. chapter of Lopez in his General History of the Indies, wherein he describeth the court and magnificence of Guayna Capac, ancestor to the emperor of Guiana, whose very words are these:
"Todo el servicio de su casa, mesa, y cocina era de oro y de plata, y cuando menos de plata y cobre, por mas recio. Tenia en su recamara estatuas huecas de oro, que parescian gigantes, y las figuras al propio y tamano de cuantos animales, aves, arboles, y yerbas produce la tierra, y de cuantos peces cria la mar y agua de sus reynos. Tenia asimesmo sogas, costales, cestas, y troxes de oro y plata; rimeros de palos de oro, que pareciesen lena rajada para quemar. En fin no habia cosa en su tierra, que no la tuviese de oro contrahecha; y aun dizen, que tenian los Ingas un verjel en una isla cerca de la Puna, donde se iban a holgar, cuando querian mar, que tenia la hortaliza, las flores, y arboles de oro y plata; invencion y grandeza hasta entonces nunca vista. Allende de todo esto, tenia infinitisima cantidad de plata y oro por labrar en el Cuzco, que se perdio por la muerte de Guascar; ca los Indios lo escondieron, viendo que los Espanoles se lo tomaban, y enviaban a Espana."
That is, "All the vessels of his house, table, and kitchen, were of gold and silver, and the meanest of silver and copper for strength and hardness of metal. He had in his wardrobe hollow statues of gold which seemed giants, and the figures in proportion and bigness of all the beasts, birds, trees, and herbs, that the earth bringeth forth; and of all the fishes that the sea or waters of his kingdom breedeth. He had also ropes, budgets, chests, and troughs of gold and silver, heaps of billets of gold, that seemed wood marked out(Rather, 'split into logs) to burn. Finally, there was nothing in his country whereof he had not the counterfeit in gold. Yea, and they say, the Ingas had a garden of pleasure in an island near Puna, where they went to recreate themselves, when they would take the air of the sea, which had all kinds of garden-herbs, flowers, and trees of gold and silver; an invention and magnificence till then never seen. Besides all this, he had an infinite quantity of silver and gold unwrought in Cuzco, which was lost by the death of Guascar, for the Indians hid it, seeing that the Spaniards took it, and sent it into Spain."
And in the 117. chapter; Francisco Pizarro caused the gold and silver of Atabalipa to be weighed after he had taken it, which Lopez setteth down in these words following:-'Hallaron cincuenta y dos mil marcos de buena plata, y un millon y trecientos y veinte y seis mil y quinientos pesos de oro.' Which is, 'They found 52,000 marks of good silver, and 1,326,500 pesos of gold.' Now, although these reports may seem strange, yet if we consider the many millions which are daily brought out of Peru into Spain, we may easily believe the same. For we find that by the abundant treasure of that country the Spanish king vexes all the princes of Europe, and is become, in a few years, from a poor king of Castile, the greatest monarch of this part of the world, and likely every day to increase if other princes forslow the good occasions offered, and suffer him to add this empire to the rest, which by far exceedeth all the rest. If his gold now endanger us, he will then be unresistible. Such of the Spaniards as afterwards endeavoured the conquest thereof, whereof there have been many, as shall be declared hereafter, thought that this Inga, of whom this emperor now living is descended, took his way by the river of Amazons, by that branch which is called Papamene.(The Papamene is a tributary not of the Amazon river but of the Meta, one of the principal tributaries of the Orinoco) For by that way followed Orellana, by the commandment of Gonzalo Pizarro, in the year 1542, whose name the river also beareth this day. Which is also by others called Maranon, although Andrew Thevet doth affirm that between Maranon and Amazons there are 120 leagues; but sure it is that those rivers have one head and beginning, and the Maranon, which Thevet describeth, is but a branch of Amazons or Orellana, of which I will speak more in another place. It was attempted by Ordas; but it is now little less than 70 years since that Diego Ordas, a Knight of the Order of Santiago, attempted the same; and it was in the year 1542 that Orellana discovered the river of Amazons; but the first that ever saw Manoa was Juan Martinez, master of the munition to Ordas. At a port called Morequito,(Probably San Miguel) in Guiana, there lieth at this day a great anchor of Ordas his ship. And this port is some 300 miles within the land, upon the great river of Orenoque. I rested at this port four days, twenty days after I left the ships at Curiapan.
The relation of this Martinez, who was the first that discovered Manoa, his success, and end, is to be seen in the Chancery of St. Juan de Puerto Rico, where of Berreo had a copy, which appeared to be the greatest encouragement as well to Berreo as to others that formerly attempted the discovery and conquest. Orellana, after he failed of the discovery of Guiana by the said river of Amazons, passed into Spain, and there obtained a patent of the king for the invasion and conquest, but died by sea about the islands; and his fleet being severed by tempest, the action for that time proceeded not. Diego Ordas followed the enterprise, and departed Spain with 600 soldiers and thirty horse. Who, arriving on the coast of Guiana, was slain in a mutiny, with the most part of such as favoured him, as also of the rebellious part, insomuch as his ships perished and few or none returned; neither was it certainly known what became of the said Ordas until Berreo found the anchor of his ship in the river of Orenoque; but it was supposed, and so it is written by Lopez, that he perished on the seas, and of other writers diversely conceived and reported. And hereof it came that Martinez entered so far within the land, and arrived at that city of Inga the emperor; for it chanced that while Ordas with his army rested at the port of Morequito (who was either the first or second that attempted Guiana), by some negligence the whole store of powder provided for the service was set on fire, and Martinez, having the chief charge, was condemned by the General Ordas to be executed forthwith. Martinez, being much favoured by the soldiers, had all the means possible procured for his life; but it could not be obtained in other sort than this, that he should be set into a canoa alone, without any victual, only with his arms, and so turned loose into the great river. But it pleased God that the canoa was carried down the stream, and certain of the Guianians met it the same evening; and, having not at any time seen any Christian nor any man of that colour, they carried Martinez into the land to be wondered at, and so from town to town, until he came to the great city of Manoa, the seat and residence of Inga the emperor. The emperor, after he had beheld him, knew him to be a Christian, for it was not long before that his brethren Guascar and Atabalipa were vanquished by the Spaniards in Peru: and caused him to be lodged in his palace, and well entertained. He lived seven months in Manoa, but was not suffered to wander into the country anywhere. He was also brought thither all the way blindfold, led by the Indians, until he came to the entrance of Manoa itself, and was fourteen or fifteen days in the passage. He avowed at his death that he entered the city at noon, and then they uncovered his face; and that he travelled all that day till night thorough the city, and the next day from sun rising to sun setting, yere(Ere) he came to the palace of Inga. After that Martinez had lived seven months in Manoa, and began to understand the language of the country, Inga asked him whether he desired to return into his own country, or would willingly abide with him. But Martinez, not desirous to stay, obtained the favour of Inga to depart; with whom he sent divers Guianians to conduct him to the river of Orenoque, all loaden with as much gold as they could carry, which he gave to Martinez at his departure. But when he was arrived near the river's side, the borderers which are called Orenoqueponi('On the Orinoco.' Poni is a Carib postposition meaning 'on.') robbed him and his Guianians of all the treasure (the borderers being at that time at wars, which Inga had not conquered) save only of two great bottles of gourds, which were filled with beads of gold curiously wrought, which those Orenoqueponi thought had been no other thing than his drink or meat, or grain for food, with which Martinez had liberty to pass. And so in canoas he fell down from the river of Orenoque to Trinidad, and from thence to Margarita, and so to St. Juan del Puerto Rico; where, remaining a long time for passage into Spain, he died. In the time of his extreme sickness, and when he was without hope of life, receiving the sacrament at the hands of his confessor, he delivered these things, with the relation of his travels, and also called for his calabazas or gourds of the gold beads, which he gave to the church and friars, to be prayed for.
This Martinez was he that christened the city of Manoa by the name of El Dorado, and, as Berreo informed me, upon this occasion, those Guianians, and also the borderers, and all other in that tract which I have seen, are marvellous great drunkards; in which vice I think no nation can compare with them; and at the times of their solemn feasts, when the emperor carouseth with his captains, tributaries, and governors, the manner is thus. All those that pledge him are first stripped naked and their bodies anointed all over with a kind of white balsamum (by them called curca), of which there is great plenty, and yet very dear amongst them, and it is of all other the most precious, whereof we have had good experience. When they are anointed all over, certain servants of the emperor, having prepared gold made into fine powder, blow it thorough hollow canes upon their naked bodies, until they be all shining from the foot to the head; and in this sort they sit drinking by twenties and hundreds, and continue in drunkenness sometimes six or seven days together.(The substance of this report is in the end of the 'Navigation of the Great River of Maranon,' written by Gonzalo Fernando de Oviedo to Cardinal Bembo) The same is also confirmed by a letter written into Spain which was intercepted, which Master Robert Dudley told me he had seen. Upon this sight, and for the abundance of gold which he saw in the city, the images of gold in their temples, the plates, armours, and shields of gold which they use in the wars, he called it El Dorado.
After the death of Ordas and Martinez, and after Orellana, who was employed by Gonzalo Pizarro, one Pedro de Orsua, a knight of Navarre, attempted Guiana, taking his way into Peru, and built his brigandines upon a river called Oia, which riseth to the southward of Quito, and is very great. This river falleth into Amazons, by which Orsua with his companies descended, and came out of that province which is called Motilones('Friars' -Indians so named from their cropped heads) and it seemeth to me that this empire is reserved for her Majesty and the English nation, by reason of the hard success which all these and other Spaniards found in attempting the same, whereof I will speak briefly, though impertinent in some sort to my purpose. This Pedro de Orsua had among his troops a Biscayan called Aguirre, a man meanly born, who bare no other office than a sergeant or alferez(: Al-faris (Arab.), horseman, mounted officer) but after certain months, when the soldiers were grieved with travels and consumed with famine, and that no entrance could be found by the branches or body of Amazons, this Aguirre raised a mutiny, of which he made himself the head, and so prevailed as he put Orsua to the sword and all his followers, taking on him the whole charge and commandment, with a purpose not only to make himself emperor of Guiana, but also of Peru and of all that side of the West Indies. He had of his party 700 soldiers, and of those many promised to draw in other captains and companies, to deliver up towns and forts in Peru; but neither finding by the said river any passage into Guiana, nor any possibility to return towards Peru by the same Amazons, by reason that the descent of the river made so great a current, he was enforced to disemboque at the mouth of the said Amazons, which cannot be less than 1,000 leagues from the place where they embarked. From thence he coasted the land till he arrived at Margarita to the north of Mompatar, which is at this day called Puerto de Tyranno, for that he there slew Don Juan de Villa Andreda, Governor of Margarita, who was father to Don Juan Sarmiento, Governor of Margarita when Sir John Burgh landed there and attempted the island. Aguirre put to the sword all other in the island that refused to be of his party, and took with him certain cimarrones(Fugitive slaves) and other desperate companions. From thence he went to Cumana and there slew the governor, and dealt in all as at Margarita. He spoiled all the coast of Caracas and the province of Venezuela and of Rio de la Hacha; and, as I remember, it was the same year that Sir John Hawkins sailed to St. Juan de Ullua in the Jesus of Lubeck (1567-68) for himself told me that he met with such a one upon the coast, that rebelled, and had sailed down all the river of Amazons. Aguirre from thence landed about Santa Marta and sacked it also, putting to death so many as refused to be his followers, purposing to invade Nuevo Reyno de Granada and to sack Pamplona, Merida, Lagrita, Tunja, and the rest of the cities of Nuevo Reyno, and from thence again to enter Peru; but in a fight in the said Nuevo Reyno he was overthrown, and, finding no way to escape, he first put to the sword his own children, foretelling them that they should not live to be defamed or upbraided by the Spaniards after his death, who would have termed them the children of a traitor or tyrant; and that, sithence he could not make them princes, he would yet deliver them from shame and reproach. These were the ends and tragedies of Ordas, Martinez, Orellana, Orsua, and Aguirre. Also soon after Ordas followed Jeronimo Ortal de Saragosa, with 130 soldiers; who failing his entrance by sea, was cast with the current on the coast of Paria, and peopled about S. Miguel de Neveri. It was then attempted by Don Pedro de Silva, a Portuguese of the family of Ruy Gomez de Silva, and by the favour which Ruy Gomes had with the king he was set out. But he also shot wide of the mark; for being departed from Spain with his fleet, he entered by Maranon or Amazons, where by the nations of the river and by the Amazons, he was utterly overthrown, and himself and all his army defeated; only seven escaped, and of those but two returned.
Book 2: After him came Pedro Hernandez de Serpa, and landed at Cumana, in the West Indies, taking his journey by land towards Orenoque, which may be some 120 leagues; but yere he came to the borders of the said river, he was set upon by a nation of the Indians, called Wikiri, and overthrown in such sort, that of 300 soldiers, horsemen, many Indians, and negroes, there returned but eighteen. Others affirm that he was defeated in the very entrance of Guiana, at the first civil town of the empire called Macureguarai. Captain Preston, in taking Santiago de Leon (which was by him and his companies very resolutely performed, being a great town, and far within the land) held a gentleman prisoner, who died in his ship, that was one of the company of Hernandez de Serpa, and saved among those that escaped; who witnessed what opinion is held among the Spaniards thereabouts of the great riches of Guiana, and El Dorado, the city of Inga. Another Spaniard was brought aboard me by Captain Preston, who told me in the hearing of himself and divers other gentlemen, that he met with Berreo's campmaster at Caracas, when he came from the borders of Guiana, and that he saw with him forty of most pure plates of gold, curiously wrought, and swords of Guiana decked and inlaid with gold, feath-ers garnished with gold, and divers rarities, which he carried to the Spanish king.
After Hernandez de Serpa, it was undertaken by the Adelantado, Don Gonzalez Ximenes de Quesada, who was one of the chiefest in the conquest of Nuevo Reyno, whose daughter and heir Don Antonio de Berreo married. Gonzalez sought the passage also by the river called Papamene, which riseth by Quito, in Peru, and runneth south-east 100 leagues, and then falleth into Amazons. But he also, failing the entrance, returned with the loss of much labour and cost. I took one Captain George, a Spaniard, that followed Gonzalez in this enterprise. Gonzalez gave his daughter to Berreo, taking his oath and honour to follow the enterprise to the last of his substance and life. Who since, as he hath sworn to me, hath spent 300,000 ducats in the same, and yet never could enter so far into the land as myself with that poor troop, or rather a handful of men, being in all about 100 gentlemen, soldiers, rowers, boat-keepers, boys, and of all sorts; neither could any of the forepassed undertakers, nor Berreo himself, discover the country, till now late y by conference with an ancient king, called Carapana,(Carapana (= Caribana, Carib land) was an old European name for the Atlantic coast near the mouth of the Orinoco, and hence was applied to one of its chiefs. Berrio called this district 'Emeria.') he got the true light thereof. For Berreo came about 1,500 miles yere he understood aught, or could find any passage or entrance into any part thereof; yet he had experience of all these fore-named, and divers others, and was persuaded of their errors and mistakings. Berreo sought it by the river Cassanar, which falleth into a great river called Pato: Pato falleth into Meta, and Meta into Baraquan, which is also called Orenoque. He took his journey from Nuevo Reyno de Granada, where he dwelt, having the inheritance of Gonzalez Ximenes in those parts; he was followed with 700 horse, he drove with him 1,000 head of cattle, he had also many women, Indians, and slaves. How all these rivers cross and encounter, how the country lieth and is bordered, the passage of Ximenes and Berreo, mine own discovery, and the way that I entered, with all the rest of the nations and rivers, your lordship shall receive in a large chart or map, which I have not yet finished, and which I shall most humbly pray your lordship to secrete, and not to suffer it to pass your own hands; for by a draught thereof all may be prevented by other nations; for I know it is this very year sought by the French, although by the way that they now take, I fear it not much. It was also told me yere I departed England, that Villiers, the Admiral, was in preparation for the planting of Amazons, to which river the French have made divers voyages, and returned(Brought back) much gold and other rarities. I spake with a captain of a French ship that came from thence, his ship riding in Falmouth the same year that my ships came first from Virginia; there was another this year in Helford, that also came from thence, and had been fourteen months at an anchor in Amazons; which were both very rich.
Although, as I am persuaded, Guiana cannot be entered that way, yet no doubt the trade of gold from thence passeth by branches of rivers into the river of Amazons, and so it doth on every hand far from the country itself; for those Indians of Trinidad have plates of gold from Guiana, and those cannibals of Dominica which dwell in the islands by which our ships pass yearly to the West Indies, also the Indians of Paria, those Indians called Tucaris, Chochi, Apotomios, Cumanagotos, and all those other nations inhabiting near about the mountains that run from Paria thorough the province of Venezuela, and in Maracapana, and the cannibals of Guanipa, the Indians called Assawai, Coaca, Ajai, and the rest (all which shall be described in my description as they are situate) have plates of gold of Guiana. And upon the river of Amazons, Thevet writeth that the people wear croissants of gold, for of that form the Guianians most commonly make them; so as from Dominica to Amazons, which is above 250 leagues, all the chief Indians in all parts wear of those plates of Guiana. Undoubtedly those that trade [with] Amazons return much gold, which (as is aforesaid) cometh by trade from Guiana, by some branch of a river that falleth from the country into Amazons, and either it is by the river which passeth by the nations called Tisnados, or by Caripuna.
I made enquiry amongst the most ancient and best travelled of the Orenoqueponi, and I had knowledge of all the rivers between Orenoque and Amazons, and was very desirous to understand the truth of those warlike women, because of some it is believed, of others not. And though I digress from my purpose, yet I will set down that which hath been delivered me for truth of those women, and I spake with a cacique, or lord of people, that told me he had been in the river, and beyond it also. The nations of these women are on the south side of the river in the provinces of Topago, and their chiefest strengths and retracts are in the islands situate on the south side of the entrance, some 60 leagues within the mouth of the said river. The memories of the like women are very ancient as well in Africa as in Asia. In Africa those that had Medusa for queen; others in Scythia, near the rivers of Tanais and Thermodon. We find, also, that Lampedo and Marthesia were queens of the Amazons. In many histories they are verified to have been, and in divers ages and provinces; but they which are not far from Guiana do accompany with men but once in a year, and for the time of one month, which I gather by their relation, to be in April; and that time all kings of the borders assemble, and queens of the Amazons; and after the queens have chosen, the rest cast lots for their valentines. This one month they feast, dance, and drink of their wines in abundance; and the moon being done they all depart to their own provinces. They are said to be very cruel and bloodthirsty, especially to such as offer to invade their territories. These Amazons have likewise great store of these plates of gold, which they recover by exchange chiefly for a kind of green stones, which the Spaniards call piedras hijadas, and we use for spleen-stones;(Stones reduced to powder and taken internally to cure maladies of the spleen) and for the disease of the stone we also esteem them. Of these I saw divers in Guiana; and commonly every king or cacique hath one, which their wives for the most part wear, and they esteem them as great jewels.
But to return to the enterprise of Berreo, who, as I have said, departed from Nuevo Reyno with 700 horse, besides the provisions above rehearsed. He descended by the river called Cassanar, which riseth in Nuevo Reyno out of the mountains by the city of Tunja, from which mountain also springeth Pato; both which fall into the great river of Meta, and Meta riseth from a mountain joining to Pamplona, in the same Nuevo Reyno de Granada. These, as also Guaiare, which issueth out of the mountains by Timana, fall all into Baraquan, and are but of his heads; for at their coming together they lose their names, and Baraquan farther down is also rebaptized by the name of Orenoque. On the other side of the city and hills of Timana riseth Rio Grande, which falleth into the sea by Santa Marta. By Cassanar first, and so into Meta, Berreo passed, keeping his horsemen on the banks, where the country served them for to march; and where otherwise, he was driven to embark them in boats which he builded for the purpose, and so came with the current down the river of Meta, and so into Baraquan. After he entered that great and mighty river, he began daily to lose of his companies both men and horse; for it is in many places violently swift, and hath forcible eddies, many sands, and divers islands sharp pointed with rocks. But after one whole year, journeying for the most part by river, and the rest by land, he grew daily to fewer numbers; from both by sickness, and by encountering with the people of those regions thorough which he travelled, his companies were much wasted, especially by divers encounters with the Amapaians (Amapaia was Berrio's name for the Orinoco valley above the Caura river). And in all this time he never could learn of any passage into Guiana, nor any news or fame thereof, until he came to a further border of the said Amapaia, eight days' journey from the river Caroli,(The Caroni river, the first great affluent of the Orinoco on the south, about 180 miles from the see) which was the furthest river that he entered. Among those of Amapaia, Guiana was famous; but few of these people accosted Berreo, or would trade with him the first three months of the six which he sojourned there. This Amapaia is also marvellous rich in gold, as both Berreo confessed and those of Guiana with whom I had most conference; and is situate upon Orenoque also. In this country Berreo lost sixty of his best soldiers, and most of all his horse that remained in his former year's travel. But in the end, after divers encounters with those nations, they grew to peace, and they presented Berreo with ten images of fine gold among divers other plates and croissants, which, as he sware to me, and divers other gentlemen, were so curiously wrought, as he had not seen the like either in Italy, Spain, or the Low Countries; and he was resolved that when they came to the hands of the Spanish king, to whom he had sent them by his camp-master, they would appear very admirable, especially being wrought by such a nation as had no iron instruments at all, nor any of those helps which our goldsmiths have to work withal. The particular name of the people in Amapaia which gave him these pieces, are called Anebas, and the river of Orenoque at that place is about twelve English miles broad, which may be from his outfall into the sea 700 or 800 miles.
This province of Amapaia is a very low and a marish ground near the river; and by reason of the red water which issueth out in small branches thorough the fenny and boggy ground, there breed divers poisonful worms and serpents. And the Spaniards not suspecting, nor in any sort foreknowing the danger, were infected with a grievous kind of flux by drinking thereof, and even the very horses poisoned therewith; insomuch as at the end of the six months that they abode there, of all their troops there were not left above 120 soldiers, and neither horse nor cattle. For Berreo hoped to have found Guiana be 1,000 miles nearer than it fell out to be in the end; by means whereof they sustained much want, and much hunger, oppressed with grievous diseases, and all the miseries that could be imagined, I demanded of those in Guiana that had travelled Amapaia, how they lived with that tawny or red water when they travelled thither; and they told me that after the sun was near the middle of the sky, they used to fill their pots and pitchers with that water, but either before that time or towards the setting of the sun it was dangerous to drink of, and in the night strong poison. I learned also of divers other rivers of that nature among them, which were also, while the sun was in the meridian, very safe to drink, and in the morning, evening, and night, wonderful dangerous and infective. From this province Berreo hasted away as soon as the spring and beginning of summer appeared, and sought his entrance on the borders of Orenoque on the south side; but there ran a ledge of so high and impassable mountains, as he was not able by any means to march over them, continuing from the east sea into which Orenoque falleth, even to Quito in Peru. Neither had he means to carry victual or munition over those craggy, high, and fast hills, being all woody, and those so thick and spiny, and so full or prickles, thorns, and briars, as it is impossible to creep thorough them. He had also neither friendship among the people, nor any interpreter to persuade or treat with them; and more, to his disadvantage, the caciques and kings of Amapaia had given knowledge of his purpose to the Guianians, and that he sought to sack and conquer the empire, for the hope of their so great abundance and quantities of gold. He passed by the mouths of many great rivers which fell into Orenoque both from the north and south, which I forbear to name, for tediousness, and because they are more pleasing in describing than reading.
Berreo affirmed that there fell an hundred rivers into Orenoque from the north and south: whereof the least was as big as Rio Grande,(The Magdalena) that passed between Popayan and Nuevo Reyno de Granada, Rio Grande being esteemed one of the renowned rivers in all the West Indies, and numbered among the great rivers of the world. But he knew not the names of any of these, but Caroli only; neither from what nations they descended, neither to what provinces they led, for he had no means to discourse with the inhabitants at any time; neither was he curious in these things, being utterly unlearned, and not knowing the east from the west. But of all these I got some knowledge, and of many more, partly by mine own travel, and the rest by conference; of some one I learned one, of others the rest, having with me an Indian that spake many languages, and that of Guiana (The Carib) naturally. I sought out all the aged men, and such as were greatest travellers. And by the one and the other I came to understand the situations, the rivers, the kingdoms from the east sea to the borders of Peru, and from Orenoque southward as far as Amazons or Maranon, and the regions of Marinatambal,(North coasts of Brazil) and of all the kings of provinces, and captains of towns and villages, how they stood in terms of peace or war, and which were friends or enemies the one with the other; without which there can be neither entrance nor conquest in those parts, nor elsewhere. For by the dissension between Guascar and Atabalipa, Pizarro conquered Peru, and by the hatred that the Tlaxcallians bare to Mutezuma, Cortes was victorious over Mexico; without which both the one and the other had failed of their enterprise, and of the great honour and riches which they attained unto.
Now Berreo began to grow into despair, and looked for no other success than his predecessor in this enterprise; until such time as he arrived at the province of Emeria towards the east sea and mouth of the river, where he found a nation of people very favourable, and the country full of all manner of victual. The king of this land is called Carapana, a man very wise, subtle, and of great experience, being little less than an hundred years old. In his youth he was sent by his father into the island of Trinidad, by reason of civil war among themselves, and was bred at a village in that island, called Parico. At that place in his youth he had seen many Christians, both French and Spanish,and went divers times with the Indians of Trinidad to Margarita and Cumana, in the West Indies, for both those places have ever been relieved with victual from Trinidad: by reason whereof he grew of more understanding, and noted the difference of the nations, comparing the strength and arms of his country with those of the Christians, and ever after temporised so as whosoever else did amiss, or was wasted by contention, Carapana kept himself and his country in quiet and plenty. He also held peace with the Caribs or cannibals, his neighbours, and had free trade with all nations, whosoever else had war.
Berreo sojourned and rested his weak troop in the town of Carapana six weeks, and from him learned the way and passage to Guiana, and the riches and magnificence thereof. But being then utterly unable to proceed, he determined to try his fortune another year, when he had renewed his provisions, and regathered more force, which he hoped for as well out of Spain as from Nuevo Reyno, where he had left his son Don Antonio Ximenes to second him upon the first notice given of his entrance; and so for the present embarked himself in canoas, and by the branches of Orenoque arrived at Trinidad, having from Carapana sufficient pilots to conduct him. From Trinidad he coasted Paria, and so recovered Margarita; and having made relation to Don Juan Sarmiento, the Governor, of his proceeding, and persuaded him of the riches of Guiana, he obtained from thence fifty soldiers, promising presently to return to Carapana, and so into Guiana. But Berreo meant nothing less at that time; for he wanted many provisions necessary for such an enterprise, and therefore departed from Margarita, seated himself in Trinidad, and from thence sent his camp-master and his sergeant-major back to the borders to discover the nearest passage into the empire, as also to treat with the borderers, and to draw them to his party and love; without which, he knew he could neither pass safely, nor in any sort be relieved with victual or aught else. Carapana directed his company to a king called Morequito assuring them that no man could deliver so much Guiana as Morequito could, and that his dwelling was but five days' journey from Macureguarai, the first civil town of Guiana.
Now your lordship shall understand that this Morequito, one of the greatest lords or kings of the borders of Guiana, had two or three years before been at Cumana and at Margarita, in the West Indies, with great store of plates of gold, which he carried to exchange for such other things as he wanted in his own country, and was daily feasted, and presented by the governors of those places, and held amongst them some two months. In which time one Vides, Governor of Cumana, won him to be his conductor into Guiana, being allured by those croissants and images of gold which he brought with him to trade, as also by the ancient fame and magnificence of El Dorado; whereupon Vides sent into Spain for a patent to discover and conquer Guiana, not knowing of the precedence of Berreo's patent; which, as Berreo affirmeth, was signed before that of Vidas. So as when Vides understood of Berreo and that he had made entrance into that territory, and foregone his desire and hope, it was verily thought that Vides practised with Morequito to hinder and disturb Berreo in all he could, and not to suffer him to enter through his seignory, nor any of his companies; neither to victual, nor guide them in any sort. For Vides, Governor of Cumana, and Berreo, were become mortal enemies, as well for that Berreo had gotten Trinidad into his patent with Guiana, as also in that he was by Berreo prevented in the journey of Guiana itself. Howsoever it was, I know not, but Morequito for a time dissembled his disposition, suffered ten Spaniards and a friar, which Berreo has sent to discover Manoa, to travel through his country, gave them a guide for Macureguarai, the first town of civil and apparelled people, from whence they had other guides to bring them to Manoa, the great city of Inga; and being furnished with those things which they had learned of Carapana were of most price in Guiana, went onward, and in eleven days arrived at Manoa, as Berreo affirmeth for certain; although I could not be assured thereof by the lord which now governeth the province of Morequito, for he told me that they got all the gold they had in other towns on this side Manoa, there being many very great and rich, and (as he said) built like the towns of Christians, with many rooms.
When these ten Spaniards were returned, and ready to put out of the border of Aromaia,(The district below the Caroni river) the people of Morequito set upon them, and slew them all but one that swam the river, and took from them to the value of 40,000 pesos of gold; and one of them only lived to bring the news to Berreo, that both his nine soldiers and holy father were benighted in the said province. I myself spake with the captains of Morequito that slew them, and was at the place where it was executed. Berreo, enraged herewithal, sent all the strength he could make into Aromaia, to be revenged of him, his people, and country. But Morequito, suspecting the same, fled over Orenoque, and thorough the territories of the Saima and Wikiri recovered Cumana, where he thought himself very safe, with Vides the governor. But Berreo sending for him in the king's name, and his messengers finding him in the house of one Fajardo, on the sudden, yere he was suspected, so as he could not then be conveyed away, Vides durst not deny him, as well to avoid the suspicion of the practice, as also for that an holy father was slain by him and his people. Morequito offered Fajardo the weight of three quintals in gold, to let him escape; but the poor Guianian, betrayed on all sides, was delivered to the camp-master of Berreo, and was presently executed.
After the death of this Morequito, the soldiers of Berreo spoiled his territory and took divers prisoners. Among others they took the uncle of Morequito, called Topiawari, who is now king of Aromaia, whose son I brought with me into England, and is a man of great understanding and policy; he is above an hundred years old, and yet is of a very able body. The Spaniards led him in a chain seventeen days, and made him their guide from place to place between his country and Emeria, the province of Carapana aforesaid, and he was at last redeemed for an hundred plates of gold, and divers stones called piedras hijadas, or spleen-stones. Now Berreo for executing of Morequito, and other cruelties, spoils, and slaughters done in Aromaia, hath lost the love of the Orenoqueponi, and of all the borderers, and dare not send any of his soldiers any further into the land than to Carapana, which he called the port of Guiana; but from thence by the help of Carapana he had trade further into the country, and always appointed ten Spaniards to reside in Carapana's town,(The Spanish settlement of Santo Tome de la Guyana, founded by Berrio in 1591 or 1592, but represented by Raleigh as an Indian pueblo) by whose favour, and by being conducted by his people, those ten searched the country thereabouts, as well for mines as for other trades and commodities.
They also have gotten a nephew of Morequito, whom they have christened and named Don Juan, of whom they have great hope, endeavouring by all means to establish him in the said province. Among many other trades, those Spaniards used canoas to pass to the rivers of Barema, Pawroma, and Dissequebe,(Essequibo) which are on the south side of the mouth of Orenoque, and there buy women and children from the cannibals, which are of that barbarous nature, as they will for three or four hatchets sell the sons and daughters of their own brethren and sisters, and for somewhat more even their own daughters. Hereof the Spaniards make great profit; for buying a maid of twelve or thirteen years for three or four hatchets, they sell them again at Margarita in the West Indies for fifty and an hundred pesos, which is so many crowns.
The master of my ship, John Douglas, took one of the canoas which came laden from thence with people to be sold, and the most of them escaped; yet of those he brought, there was one as well favoured and as well shaped as ever I saw any in England; and afterwards I saw many of them, which but for their tawny colour may be compared to any in Europe. They also trade in those rivers for bread of cassavi, of which they buy an hundred pound weight for a knife, and sell it at Margarita for ten pesos. They also recover great store of cotton, Brazil wood, and those beds which they call hamacas or Brazil beds, wherein in hot countries all the Spaniards use to lie commonly, and in no other, neither did we ourselves while we were there. By means of which trades, for ransom of divers of the Guianians, and for exchange of hatchets and knives, Berreo recovered some store of gold plates, eagles of gold, and images of men and divers birds, and dispatched his camp-master for Spain, with all that he had gathered, therewith to levy soldiers, and by the show thereof to draw others to the love of the enterprise. And having sent divers images as well of men as beasts, birds, and fishes, so curiously wrought in gold, he doubted not but to persuade the king to yield to him some further help, especially for that this land hath never been sacked, the mines never wrought, and in the Indies their works were well spent, and the gold drawn out with great labour and charge. He also despatched pessengers to his son in Nuevo Reyno to levy all the forces he could, and to come down the river Orenoque to Emeria, the province of Carapana, to meet him; he had also sent to Santiago de Leon on the coast of the Caracas, to buy horses and mules.
After I had thus learned of his proceedings past and purposed, I told him that I had resolved to see Guiana, and that it was the end of my journey, and the cause of my coming to Trinidad, as it was indeed, and for that purpose I sent Jacob Whiddon the year before to get intelligence: with whom Berreo himself had speech at that time, and remembered how inquisitive Jacob Whiddon was of his proceedings, and of the country of Guiana. Berreo was stricken into a great melancholy and sadness, and used all the arguments he could to dissuade me; and also assured the gentlemen of my company that it would be labour lost, and that they should suffer many miseries if they proceeded. And first he delivered that I could not enter any of the rivers with any bark or pinnace, or hardly with any ship's boat, it was so low, sandy, and full of flats, and that his companies were daily grounded in their canoes, which drew but twelve inches water. He further said that none of the country would come to speak with us, but would all fly; and if we followed them to their dwellings, they would burn their own towns. And besides that, the way was long, the winter at hand, and that the rivers beginning once to swell, it was impossible to stem the current; and that we could not in those small boats by any means carry victuals for half the time, and that (which indeed most discouraged my company) the kings and lords of all the borders of Guiana had decreed that none of them should trade with any Christians for gold, because the same would be their own overthrow, and that for the love of gold the Christians meant to conquer and dispossess them of all together.
Many and the most of these I found to be true; but yet I resolving to make trial of whatsoever happened, directed Captain George Gifford, my Vice-Admiral, to take the Lion's Whelp, and Captain Caulfield his bark, [and] to turn to the eastward, against the mouth of a river called Capuri, whose entrance I had before sent Captain Whiddon and John Douglas the master to discover. Who found some nine foot water or better upon the flood, and five at low water: to whom I had given instructions that they should anchor at the edge of the shoal, and upon the best of the flood to thrust over, which shoal John Douglas buoyed and beckoned(Beaconed, i. e. placed a beacon or signal upon the buoy) for them before. But they laboured in vain; for neither could they turn it up altogether so far to the east, neither did the flood continue so long, but the water fell yere they could have passed the sands. As we after found by a second experience: so as now we must either give over our enterprise, or leaving our ships at adventure 400 mile behind us, must run up in our ship's boats, one barge, and two wherries. But being doubtful how to carry victuals for so long a time in such baubles, or any strength of men, especially for that Berreo assured us that his son must be by that time come down with many soldiers, I sent away one King, master of the Lion's Whelp, with his ship-boat, to try another branch of the river in the bottom of the Bay of Guanipa, which was called Amana, to prove if there were water to be found for either of the small ships to enter. But when he came to the mouht of Amana, he found it as the rest, but stayed not to discover it thoroughly, because he was assured by an Indian, his guide, that the cannibals of Guanipa would assail them with many canoas, and that they shot poisoned arrows; so as if he hasted not back, they should all be lost.
In the meantime, fearing the worst, I caused all the carpenters we had to cut down a galego boat, which we meant to cast off, and to fit her with banks to row on, and in all things to prepare her the best they could, so as she might be brought to draw but five foot: for so much we had on the bar of Capuri at low water. And doubting of King's return, I sent John Douglas again in my long barge, as well to relieve him, as also to make a perfect search in the bottom of the bay; for it hath been held for infallible, that whatsoever ship or boat shall fall therein can never disemboque again, by reason of the violent current which setteth into the said bay, as also for that the breeze and easterly wind bloweth directly into the same. Of which opinion I have heard John Hampton,(Captain of the Minion in the third voyage of Hawkins) of Plymouth, one of the greatest experience of England, and divers other besides that have traded to Trinidad.
Book 3 : I sent with John Douglas an old cacique of Trinidad for a pilot, who told us that we could not return again by the bay or gulf, but that he knew a by-branch which ran within the land to the eastward, and he thought by it we might fall into Capuri, and so return in four days. John Douglas searched those rivers, and found four goodly entrances, whereof the least was as big as the Thames at Woolwich, but in the bay thitherward it was shoal and but six foot water; so as we were now without hope of any ship or bark to pass over, and therefore resolved to go on with the boats, and the bottom of the galego, in which we thrust 60 men. In the Lion's Whelp's boat and wherry we carried twenty, Captain Caulfield in his wherry carried ten more, and in my barge other ten, which made up a hundred; we had no other means but to carry victual for a month in the same, and also to lodge therein as we could, and to boil and dress our meat. Captain Gifford had with him Master Edward Porter, Captain Eynos, and eight more in his wherry, with all their victual, weapons, and provisions. Captain Caulfield had with him my cousin Butshead Gorges, and eight more. In the galley, of gentlemen and officers myself had Captain Thyn, my cousin John Greenvile, my nephew John Gilbert, Captain Whiddon, Captain Keymis, Edward Hancock, Captain Clarke, Lieutenant Hughes, Thomas Upton, Captain Facy, Jerome Ferrar, Anthony Wells, William Connock,,and above fifty more. We could not learn of Berreo any other way to enter but in branches so far to windward as it was impossible for us to recover; for we had as much sea to cross over in our wherries, as between Dover and Calice, and in a great bollow, the wind and current being both very strong. So as we were driven to go in those small boats directly before the wind into the bottom of the Bay of Guanipa, and from thence to enter the mouth of some one of those rivers which John Douglas had last discovered; and had with us for pilot an Indian of Barema, a river to the south of Orenoque, between that and Amazons, whose canoas we had formerly taken as he was going from the said Barema, laden with cassavi bread to sell at Margarita. This Arwacan promised to bring me into the great river of Orenoque; but indeed of that which he entered he was utterly ignorant, for he had not seen it in twelve years before, at which time he was very young, and of no judgment. And if God had not sent us another help, we might have wandered a whole year in that labyrinth of rivers, yere we had found any way, either out or in, especially after we were past ebbing and flowing, which was in four days. For I know all the earth doth not yield the like confluence of streams and branches, the one crossing the other so many times, and all so fair and large, and so like one to another, as no man can tell which to take: and if we went by the sun or compass, hoping thereby to go directly one way or other, yet that way we were also carried in a circle amongst multitudes of islands, and every island so bordered with high trees as no man could see any further than the breadth of the river, or length of the breach. But this it chanced, that entering into a river (which because it had no name, we called the River of the Red Cross, ourselves being the first Christians that ever came therein), the 22. of May, as we were rowing up the same, we espied a small canoa with three Indians, which by the swiftness of my barge, rowing with eight oars, I overtook yere they could cross the river. The rest of the people on the banks, shadowed under the thick wood, gazed on with a doubtful conceit what might befall those three which we had taken. But when they perceived that we offered them no violence, neither entered their canoa with any of ours, nor took out of the canoa any of theirs, they then began to show themselves on the bank's side, and offered to traffic with us for such things as they had. And as we drew near, they all stayed; and we came with our barge to the mouth of a little creek which came from their town into the great river.
As we abode here awhile, our Indian pilot, called Ferdinando, would needs go ashore to their village to fetch some fruits and to drink of their artificial wines, and also to see the place and know the lord of it against another time, and took with him a brother of his which he had with him in the journey. When they came to the village of these people the lord of the island offered to lay hands on them, purposing to have slain them both; yielding for reason that this Indian of ours had brought a strange nation into their territory to spoil and destroy them. But the pilot being quick and of a disposed body, slipt their fingers and ran into the woods, and his brother, being the better footman of the two, recovered the creek's mouth, where we stayed in our barge, crying out that his brother was slain. With that we set hands on one of them that was next us, a very old man, and brought him into the barge, assuring him that if we had not our pilot again we would presently cut off his head. This old man, being resolved that he should pay the loss of the other, cried out to those in the woods to save Ferdinando, our pilot; but they followed him notwithstanding, and hunted after him upon the foot with their deer-dogs, and with so main a cry that all the woods echoed with the shout they made. But at the last this poor chased Indian recovered the river side and got upon a tree, and, as we were coasting, leaped down and swam to the barge half dead with fear. But our good hap was that we kept the other old Indian, which we handfasted to redeem our pilot withal; for, being natural of those rivers, we assured ourselves that he knew the way better than any stranger could. And, indeed, but for this chance, I think we had never found the way either to Guiana or back to our ships; for Ferdinando after a few days knew nothing at all, nor which way to turn; yea, and many times the old man himself was in great doubt which river to take. Those people which dwell in these broken islands and drowned lands are generally called Tivitivas. There are of them two sorts; the one called Ciawani, and the other Waraweete.
The great river of Orenoque or Baraquan hath nine branches which fall out on the north side of his own main mouth. On the south side it hath seven other fallings into the sea, so it disemboqueth by sixteen arms in all, between islands and broken ground; but the islands are very great, many of them as big as the Isle of Wight, and bigger, and many less. From the first branch on the north to the last of the south it is at least 100 leagues, so as the river's mouth is 300 miles wide at his entrance into the sea, which I take to be far bigger than that of Amazons. All those that inhabit in the mouth of this river upon the several north branches are these Tivitivas, of which there are two chief lords which have continual wars one with the other. The islands which lie on the right hand are called Pallamos, and the land on the left, Hororotomaka; and the river by which John Douglas returned within the land from Amana to Capuri they call Macuri.
These Tivitivas are a very goodly people and very valiant, and have the most manly speech and most deliberate that ever I heard of what nation soever. In the summer they have houses on the ground, as in other places; in the winter they dwell upon the trees, where they build very artificial towns and villages, as it is written in the Spanish story of the West Indies that those people do in the low lands near the gulf of Uraba. For between May and September the river of Orenoque riseth thirty foot upright, and then are those islands overflown twenty foot high above the level of the ground, saving some few raised grounds in the middle of them; and for this cause they are enforced to live in this manner. They never eat of anything that is set or sown; and as at home they use neither planting nor other manurance, so when they come abroad they refuse to feed of aught but of that which nature without labour bringeth forth. They use the tops of palmitos for bread, and kill deer, fish, and porks for the rest of their sustenance. They have also many sorts of fruits that grow in the woods, and great variety of birds and fowls; and if to speak of them were not tedious and vulgar, surely we saw in those passages of very rare colours and forms not elsewhere to be found, for as much as I have either seen or read.
Of these people those that dwell upon the branches of Orenoque, called Capuri, and Macureo, are for the most part carpenters of canoas; for they make the most and fairest canoas; and sell them into Guiana for gold and into Trinidad for tabacco, in the excessive taking whereof they exceed all nations. And notwithstanding the moistness of the air in which they live, the hardness of their diet, and the great labours they suffer to hunt, fish, and fowl for their living, in all my life, either in the Indies or in Europe, did I never behold a more goodly or better-favoured people or a more manly. They were wont to make war upon all nations, and especially on the Cannibals, so as none durst without a good strength trade by those rivers; but of late they are at peace with their neighbours, all holding the Spaniards for a common enemy. When their commanders die they use great lamentation; and when they think the flesh of their bodies is putrified and fallen from their bones, then they take up the carcase again and hang it in the cacique's house that died, and deck his skull with feathers of all colours, and hang all his gold plates about the bones of this arms, thighs, and legs. Those nations which are called Arwacas, which dwell on the south of Orenoque, of which place and nation our Indian pilot was, are dispersed in many other places, and do use to beat the bones of their lords into powder, and their wives and friends drink it all in their several sorts of drinks.
After we departed from the port of these Ciawani we passed up the river with the flood and anchored the ebb, and in this sort we went onward. The third day that we entered the river, our galley came on ground; and stuck so fast as we thought that even there our discovery had ended, and that we must have left four-score and ten of our men to have inhabited, like rooks upon trees, with those nations. But the next morning, after we had cast out all her ballast, with tugging and hauling to and fro we got her afloat and went on. At four days' end we fell into as goodly a river as ever I beheld, which was called the great Amana, which ran more directly without windings and turnings than the other. But soon after the flood of the sea left us; and, being enforced either by main strength to row against a violent current, or to return as wise as we went out, we had then no shift but to persuade the companies that it was but two or three days' work, and therefore desired them to take pains, every gentleman and others taking their turns to row, and to spell one the other at the hour's end. Every day we passed by goodly branches of rivers, some falling from the west, others from the east, into Amana; but those I leave to the description in the chart of discovery, where every one shall be named with his rising and descent. When three days more were overgone, our companies began to despair, the weather being extreme hot, the river bordered with very high trees that kept away the air, and the current against us every day stronger than other. But we evermore commanded our pilots to promise an end the next day, and used it so long as we were driven to assure them from four reaches of the river to three, and so to two, and so to the next reach. But so long we laboured that many days were spent, and we driven to draw ourselves to harder allowance, our bread even at the last, and no drink at all; and our men and ourselves so wearied and scorched, and doubtful withal whether we should ever perform it or no, the heat increasing as we drew towards the line; for we were now in five degrees.
The further we went on, our victual decreasing and the air breeding great faintness, we grew weaker and weaker, when we had most need of strength and ability. For hourly the river ran more violently than other against us, and the barge, wherries, and ship's boat of Captain Gifford and Captain Caulfield had spent all their provisions; so as we were brought into despair and discomfort, had we not persuaded all the company that it was but only one day's work more to attain the land where we should be relieved of all we wanted,and if we returned, that we were sure to starve by the way, and that the world would also laugh us to scorn. On the banks of these rivers were divers sorts of fruits good to eat, flowers and trees of such variety as were sufficient to make ten volumes of Herbals; we relieved ourselves many times with the fruits of the country, and sometimes with fowl and fish. We saw birds of all colours, some carnation, some crimson, orange-tawny, purple, watchet, (Pale blue) and of all other sorts, both simple and mixed, and it was unto us a great good-passing of the time to behold them, besides the relief we found by killing some store of them with our fowling-pieces; without which, having little or no bread, and less drink, but only the thick and troubled water of the river, we had been in a very hard case.
Our old pilot of the Ciawani, whom, as I said before, we took to redeem Ferdinando, told us, that if we would enter a branch of a river on the right hand with our barge and wherries, and leave the galley at anchor the while in the great river, he would bring us to a town of the Arwacas, where we should find store of bread, hens, fish, and of the country wine; and persuaded us, that departing from the galley at noon we might return yere night. I was very glad to hear this speech, and presently took my barge, with eight musketeers, Captain Gifford's wherry, with himself and four musketeers, and Captain Caulfield with his wherry, and as many; and so we entered the mouth of this river; and because we were persuaded that it was so near, we took no victual with us at all. When we had rowed three hours, we marvelled we saw no sign of any dwelling, and asked the pilot where the town was; he told us, a little further. After three hours more, the sun being almost set, we began to suspect that he led us that way to betray us; for he confessed that those Spaniards which fled from Trinidad, and also those that remained with Carapana in Emeria, were joined together in some village upon that river. But when it grew towards night, and we demanded where the place was, he told us but four reaches more. When we had rowed four and four, we saw no sign; and our poor watermen, even heart-broken and tired, were ready to give up the ghost; for we had now come from the galley near forty miles.
At the last we determined to hang the pilot; and if we had well known the way back again by night, he had surely gone. But our own necessities pleaded sufficiently for his safety; for it was a dark as pitch, and the river began so to narrow itself, and the trees to hang over from side to side, as we were driven with arming swords to cut a passage thorough those branches that covered the water. We were very desirous to find this town hoping of a feast, because we made but a short breakfast aboard the galley in the morning, and it was now eight o'clock at night, and our stomachs began to gnaw apace; but whether it was best to return or go on, we began to doubt, suspecting treason in the pilot more and more; but the poor old Indian ever assured us that it was but a little further, but this one turning and that turning; and at the last about one o'clock after midnight we saw a light, and rowing towards it we heard the dogs of the village. When we landed we found few people; for the lord of that place was gone with divers canoas above 400 miles off, upon a journey towards the head of Orenoque, to trade for gold, and to buy women of the Cannibals, who afterwards unfortunately passed by us as we rode at an anchor in the port of Morequito in the dark of the night, and yet came so near us as his canoas grated against our barges; he left one of his company at the port of Morequito, by whom we understood that he had brought thirty young women, divers plates of gold, and had great store of fine pieces of cotton cloth, and cotton beds. In his house we had good store of bread, fish, hens, and Indian drink, and so rested that night; and in the morning, after we had traded with such of his people as came down, we returned towards our galley, and brought with us some quantity of bread, fish, and hens.
On both sides of this river we passed the most beautiful country that ever mine eyes beheld; and whereas all that we had seen before was nothing but woods, prickles, bushes, and thorns, here we beheld plains of twenty miles in length, the grass short and green, and in divers parts groves of trees by themselves, as if they had been by all the art and labour in the world so made of purpose; and still as we rowed, the deer came down feeding by the water's side as if they had been used to a keeper's call. Upon this river there were great store of fowl, and of many sorts; we saw in it divers sorts of strange fishes, and of arvellous bigness; but for lagartos (Alligators and caymans) it exceeded, for there were thousands of those ugly serpents; and the people call it, for the abundance of them, the River of Lagartos, in their language. I had a negro, a very proper young fellow, who leaping out of the galley to swim in the mouth of this river, was in all our sights taken and devoured with one of those lagartos. In the meanwhile our companies in the galley thought we had been all lost, for we promised to return before night; and sent the Lion's Whelp's ship's boat with Captain Whiddon to follow us up the river. But the next day, after we had rowed up and down some fourscore miles, we returned, and went on our way up the great river; and when we were even at the last cast for want of victuals, Captain Gifford being before the galley and the rest of the boats, seeking out some place to land upon the banks to make fire, espied four canoas coming down the river; and with no small joy caused his men to try the uttermost of their strengths, and after a while two of the four gave over and ran themselves ashore, every man betaking himself to the fastness of the woods. The two other lesser got away, while he landed to lay hold on these; and so turned into some by-creek, we knew not whither. Those canoas that were taken were loaded with bread, and were bound for Margarita in the West Indies, which those Indians, called Arwacas, proposed to carry thither for exchange; but in the lesser there were three Spaniards, who having heard of the defeat of their Governor in Trinidad, and that we purposed to enter Guiana, came away in those canoas; one of them was a cavallero, as the captain of the Arwacas after told us, another a soldier and the third a refiner.
In the meantime, nothing on the earth could have been more welcome to us, next unto gold, than the great store of very excellent bread which we found in these canoas; for now our men cried, Let us go on, we care not how far. After that Captain Gifford had brought the two canoas to the galley, I took my barge and went to the bank's side with a dozen shot, where the canoas first ran themselves ashore, and landed there, sending out Captain Gifford and Captain Thyn on one hand and Captain Caulfield on the other, to follow those that were fled into the woods. And as I was creeping thorough the bushes, I saw an Indian basket hidden, which was the refiner's basket; for I found in it his quicksilver, saltpetre, and divers things for the trial of metals, and also the dust of such ore as he had refined; but in those canoas which escaped there was a good quantity of ore and gold. I then landed more men, and offered five hundred pound to what soldier soever could take one of those three Spaniards that we thought were landed. But our labours were in vain in that behalf, for they put themselves into one of the small canoas, and so, while the greater canoas were in taking, they escaped. But seeking after the Spaniards we found the Arwacas hidden in the woods, which were pilots for the Spaniards, and rowed their canoas. Of which I kept the chiefest for a pilot, and carried him with me to Guiana; by whom I understood where and in what countries the Spaniards had laboured for gold, though I made not the same known to all. For when the springs began to break, and the rivers to raise themselves so suddenly as by no means we could abide the digging of any mine, especially for that the richest are defended with rocks of hard stones, which we call the white spar, and that it required both time, men, and instruments fit for such a work, I thought it best not to hover thereabouts, lest if the same had been perceived by the company, there would have been by this time many barks and ships set out, and perchance other nations would also have gotten of ours for pilots. So as both ourselves might have been prevented, and all our care taken for good usage of the people been utterly lost, by those that only respect present profit; and such violence or insolence offered as the nations which are borderers would have changed the desire of our love and defence into hatred and violence. And for any longer stay to have brought a more quantity, which I hear hath been often objected, whosoever had seen or proved the fury of that river after it began to arise, and had been a month and odd days, as we were, from hearing aught from our ships, leaving them meanly manned 400 miles off, would perchance have turned somewhat sooner than we did, if all the mountains had been gold, or rich stones. And to say the truth, all the branches and small rivers which fell into Orenoque were raised with such speed, as if we waded them over the shoes in the morning outward, we were covered to the shoulders homeward the very same day; and to stay to dig our gold with our nails, had been opus laboris but not ingenii. Such a quantity as would have served our turns we could not have had, but a discovery of the mines to our infinite disadvantage we had made, and that could have been the best profit of farther search or stay; for those mines are not easily broken, nor opened in haste, and I could have returned a good quantity of gold ready cast if I had not shot at another mark than present profit.
This Arwacan pilot, with the rest, feared that we would have eaten them, or otherwise have put them to some cruel death: for the Spaniards, to the end that none of the people in the passage towards Guiana, or in Guiana itself, might come to speech with us, persuaded all the nations that we were men-eaters and cannibals. But when the poor men and women had seen us, and that we gave them meat, and to every one something or other which was rare and strange to them, they began to conceive the deceit and purpose of the Spaniards, who indeed, as they confessed took from them both their wives and daughters daily . . . But I protest before the Majesty of the living God, that I neither know nor believe, that any of our company, one or other, did offer insult to any of their women, and yet we saw many hundreds, and had many in our power, and of those very young and excellently favoured, which came among us without deceit, stark naked. Nothing got us more love amongst them than this usage; for I suffered not any man to take from any of the nations so much as a pina (Pine-apple) or a potato root without giving them contentment, nor any man so much as to offer to touch any of their wives or daughters; which course, so contrary to the Spaniards, who tyrannize over them in all things, drew them to admire her Majesty, whose commandment I told them it was, and also wonderfully to honour our nation.
But I confess it was a very impatient work to keep the meaner sort from spoil and stealing when we came to their houses; which because in all I could not prevent, I caused my Indian interpreter at every place when we departed, to know of the loss or wrong done, and if aught were stolen or taken by violence, either the same was restored, and the party punished in their sight, or else was paid for to their uttermost demand. They also much wondered at us, after they heard that we had slain the Spaniards at Trinidad, for they were before resolved that no nation of Christians durst abide their presence; and they wondered more when I had made them know of the great overthrow that her Majesty's army and fleet had given them of late years in their own countries.
After we had taken in this supply of bread, with divers baskets of roots, which were excellent meat, I gave one of the canoas to the Arwacas, which belonged to the Spaniards that were escaped; and when I had dismissed all but the captain, who by the Spaniards was christened Martin, I sent back in the same canoa the old Ciawani, and Ferdinando, my first pilot, and gave them both such things as they desired, with sufficient victual to carry them back, and by them wrote a letter to the ships, which they promised to deliver, and performed it; and then I went on, with my new hired pilot, Martin the Arwacan. But the next or second day after, we came aground again with our galley, and were like to cast her away, with all our victual and provision, and so lay on the sand one whole night, and were far more in despair at this time to free her than before, because we had no tide of flood to help us, and therefore feared that all our hopes would have ended in mishaps. But we fastened an anchor upon the land, and with main strength drew her off; and so the fifteenth day we discovered afar off the mountains of Guiana, to our great joy, and towards the evening had a slent (Push) of a northerly wind that blew very strong, which brought us in sight of the great river Orenoque; out of which this river descended wherein we were. We descried afar off three other canoas as far as we could discern them, after whom we hastened with ourbarge and wherries, but two of them passed out of sight, and the third entered up the great river, on the right hand to the westward, and there stayed out of sight, thinking that we meant to take the way eastward towards the province of Carapana; for that way the Spaniards keep, not daring to go upwards to Guiana, the people in those parts being all their enemies, and those in the canoas thought us to have been those Spaniards that were fled from Trinidad, and escaped killing. And when we came so far down as the opening of that branch into which they slipped, being near them with our barge and wherries, we made after them, and yere they could land came within call, and by our interpreter told them what we were, wherewith they came back willingly aboard us; and of such fish and tortugas (Turtles) eggs as they had gathered they gave us, and promised in the morning to bring the lord of that part with them, and to do us all other services they could. That night we came to an anchor at the parting of the three goodly rivers (the one was the river of Amana, by which we came from the north, and ran athwart towards the south, the other two were of Orenoque, which crossed from the west and ran to the sea towards the east) and landed upon a fair sand, where we found thousands of tortugas' eggs, which are very wholesome meat, and greatly restoring; so as our men were now well filled and highly contented both with the fare, and nearness of the land of Guiana, which appeared in sight.
In the morning there came down, according to promise, the lord of that border, called Toparimaca, with some thirty or forty followers, and brought us divers sorts of fruits, and of his wine, bread, fish, and flesh, whom we also feasted as we could; at least we drank good Spanish wine, whereof we had a small quantity in bottles, which above all things they love. I conferred with this Toparimaca of the next (Nearest) way to Guiana, who conducted our galley and boats to his own port, and carried us from thence some mile and a-half to his town; where some of our captains garoused (Caroused) of his wine till they were reasonable pleasant, for it is very strong with pepper, and the juice of divers herbs and fruits digested and purged. They keep it in great earthen pots of ten or twelve gallons, very clean and sweet, and are themselves at their meetings and feasts the greatest carousers and drunkards of the world. When we came to his town we found two caciques, whereof one was a stranger that had been up the river in trade, and his boats, people, and wife encamped at the port where we anchored; and the other was of that country, a follower of Toparimaca. They lay each of them in a cotton hamaca, which we call Brazil beds, and two women attending them with six cups, and a little ladle to fill them out of an earthen pitcher of wine; and so they drank each of them three of those cups at a time one to the other, and in this sort they drink drunk at their feasts and meetings.
That cacique that was a stranger had his wife staying at the port where we anchored, and in all my life I have seldom seen a better favoured woman. She was of good stature, with black eyes, fat of body, of an excellent countenance, her hair almost as long as herself, tied up again in pretty knots; and it seemed she stood not in that awe of her husband as the rest, for she spake and discoursed, and drank among the gentlemen and captains, and was very pleasant, knowing her own comeliness, and taking great pride therein. I have seen a lady in England so like to her, as but for the difference of colour, I would have sworn might have been the same.
The seat of this town of Toparimaca was very pleasant, standing on a little hill, in an excellent prospect, with goodly gardens a mile compass round about it, and two very fair and large ponds of excellent fish adjoining. This town is called Arowocai; the people are of the nation called Nepoios, and are followers of Carapana. In that place I saw very aged people, that we might perceive all their sinews and veins without any flesh, and but even as a case covered only with skin. The lord of this place gave me an old man for pilot, who was of great experience and travel, and knew the river most perfectly both by day and night. And it shall be requisite for any man that passeth it to have such a pilot; for it is four, five, and six miles over in many places, and twenty miles in other places, with wonderful eddies and strong currents, many great islands, and divers shoals, and many dangerous rocks; and besides upon any increase of wind so great a billow, as we were sometimes in great peril of drowning in the galley, for the small boats durst not come from the shore but when it was very fair.
The next day we hasted thence, and having an easterly wind to help us, we spared our arms from rowing; for after we entered Orenoque, the river lieth for the most part east and west, even from the sea unto Quito, in Peru. This river is navigable with barks little less than 1000 miles; and from the place where we entered it may be sailed up in small pinnaces to many of the best parts of Nuevo Reyno de Granada and of Popayan. And from no place may the cities of these parts of the Indies be so easily taken and invaded as from hence. (Raleigh regarded the occupation of 'Guiana' as a step towards the conquest of New Granada and Peru) All that day we sailed up a branch of that river, having on the left hand a great island, which they call Assapana, which may contain some five-and-twenty miles in length, and six miles in breadth, the great body of the river running on the other side of this island. Beyond that middle branch there is also another island in the river, called Iwana, which is twice as big as the Isle of Wight; and beyond it, and between it and the main of Guiana, runneth a third branch of Orenoque, called Arraroopana. All three are goodly branches, and all navigable for great ships. I judge the river in this place to be at least thirty miles broad, reckoning the islands which divide the branches in it, for afterwards I sought also both the other branches.
After we reached to the head of the island called Assapana, a little to the westward on the right hand there opened a river which came from the north, called Europa, and fell into the great river; and beyond it on the same side we anchored for that night by another island, six miles long and two miles broad, which they call Ocaywita. From hence, in the morning, we landed two Guianians, which we found in the town of Toparimaca, that came with us; who went to give notice of our coming to the lord of that country, called Putyma, a follower of Topiawari, chief lord of Aromaia, who succeeded Morequito, whom (as you have heard before) Berreo put to death. But his town being far within the land, he came not unto us that day; so as we anchored again that night near the banks of another land, of bigness much like the other, which they call Putapayma, over against which island, on the main land, was a very high mountain called Oecope. We coveted to anchor rather by these islands in the river than by the main, because of the tortugas' eggs, which our people found on them in great abundance; and also because the ground served better for us to cast uur nets for fish, the main banks being for the most part stony and high and the rocks of a blue, metalline colour, like unto the best steel ore, which I assuredly take it to be. Of the same blue stone are also divers great mountains which border this river in many places.
The next morning, towards nine of the clock, we weighed anchor; and the breeze increasing, we sailed always west up the river, and, after a while, opening the land on the right side, the country appeared to be champaign and the banks shewed very perfect red. I therefore sent two of the little barges with Captain Gifford, and with him Captain Thyn, Captain Caulfield, my cousin Greenvile, my nephew John Gilbert, Captain Eynos, Master Edward Porter, and my cousin Butshead Gorges, with some few soldiers, to march over the banks of that red land and to discover what manner of country it was on the other side; who at their return found it all a plain level as far as they went or could discern from the highest tree they could get upon. And my old pilot, a man of great travel, brother to the cacique Toparimaca, told me that those were called the plains of the Sayma, and that the same level reached to Cumana and Caracas, in the West Indies, which are a hundred and twenty leagues to the north, and that there inhabited four principal nations. The first were the Sayma, the next Assawai, the third and greatest the Wikiri, by whom Pedro Hernandez de Serpa, before mentioned, was overthrown as he passed with 300 horse from Cumana towards Orenoque in his enterprise of Guiana. The fourth are called Aroras, and are as black as negroes, but have smooth hair; and these are very valiant, or rather desperate, people, and have the most strong poison on their arrows, and most dangerous, of all nations, of which I will speak somewhat, being a digression not unnecessary.
There was nothing whereof I was more curious than to find out the true remedies of these poisoned arrows. For besides the mortality of the wound they make, the party shot endureth the most insufferable torment in the world, and abideth a most ugly and lamentable death, sometimes dying stark mad, sometimes their bowels breaking out of their bellies; which are presently discoloured as black as pitch, and so unsavory as no man can endure to cure or to attend them. And it is more strange to know that in all this time there was never Spaniard, either by gift or torment, that could attain to the true knowledge of the cure, although they have martyred and put to invented torture I know not how many of them. But everyone of these Indians know it not, no, not one among thousands, but their soothsayers and priests, who do conceal it, and only teach it but from the father to the son.
Book 4 :Those medicines which are vulgar, and serve for the ordinary poison, are made of the juice of a root called tupara; the same also quencheth marvellously the heat of burning fevers, and healeth inward wounds and broken veins that bleed within the body. But I was more beholding to the Guianians than any other; for Antonio de Berreo told me that he could never attain to the knowledge thereof, and yet they taught me the best way of healing as well thereof as of all other poisons. Some of the Spaniards have been cured in ordinary wounds of the common poisoned arrows with the juice of garlic. But this is a general rule for all men that shall hereafter travel the Indies where poisoned arrows are used, that they must abstain from drink. For if they take any liquor into their body, as they shall be marvellously provoked thereunto by drought, I say, if they drink before the wound be dressed, or soon upon it, there is no way with them but present death.
And so I will return again to our journey, which for this third day we finished, and cast anchor again near the continent on the left hand between two mountains, the one called Aroami and the other Aio. I made no stay here but till midnight; for I feared hourly lest any rain should fall, and then it had been impossible to have gone any further up, notwithstanding that there is every day a very strong breeze and easterly wind. I deferred the search of the country on Guiana side till my return down the river.
The next day we sailed by a great island in the middle of the river, called Manoripano; and, as we walked awhile on the island, while the galley got ahead of us, there came for us from the main a small canoa with seven or eight Guianians, to invite us to anchor at their port, but I deferred till my return. It was that cacique to whom those Nepoios went, which came with us from the town of Toparimaca. And so the fifth day we reached as high up as the province of Aromaia, the country of Morequito, whom Berreo executed, and anchored to the west of an island called Murrecotima, ten miles long and five broad. And that night the cacique Aramiary, to whose town we made our long and hungry voyage out of the river of Amana, passed by us.
The next day we arrived at the port of Morequito, and anchored there, sending away one of our pilots to seek the king of Aromaia, uncle to Morequito, slain by Berreo as aforesaid. The next day following, before noon, he came to us on foot from his house, which was fourteen English miles, himself being a hundred and ten years old, and returned on foot the same day; and with him many of the borderers, with many women and children, that came to wonder at our nation and to bring us down victual, which they did in great plenty, as venison, pork, hens, chickens, fowl, fish, with divers sorts of excellent fruits and roots, and great abundance of pinas, the princess of fruits that grow under the sun, especially those of Guiana. They brought us, also, store of bread and of their wine, and a sort of paraquitos no bigger than wrens, and of all other sorts both small and great. One of them gave me a beast called by the Spaniards armadillo, which they call cassacam, which seemeth to be all barred over with small plates somewhat like to a rhinoceros, with a white horn growing in his hinder parts as big as a great hunting-horn, which they use to wind instead of a trumpet. Monardus(Monardes, Historia Medicinal (1574)) writeth that a little of the powder of that horn put into the ear cureth deafness.
After this old king had rested awhile in a little tent that I caused to be set up, I began by my interpreter to discourse with him of the death of Morequito his predecessor, and afterward of the Spaniards; and yere I went any farther I made him know the cause of my coming thither, whose servant I was, and that the Queen's pleasure was I should undertake the voyage for their defence, and to deliver them from the tyranny of the Spaniards, dilating at large, as I had done before to those of Trinidad, her Majesty's greatness, her justice, her charity to all oppressed nations, with as many of the rest of her beauties and virtues as either I could express or they conceive. All which being with great admiration attentively heard and marvellously admired, I began to sound the old man as touching Guiana and the state thereof, what sort of commonwealth it was, how governed, of what strength and policy, how far it extended, and what nations were friends or enemies adjoining, and finally of the distance, and way to enter the same. He told me that himself and his people, with all those down the river towards the sea, as far as Emeria, the province of Carapana, were of Guiana, but that they called themselves Orenoqueponi, and that all the nations between the river and those mountains in sight, called Wacarima, were of the same cast and appellation; and that on the other side of those mountains of Wacarima there was a large plain (which after I discovered in my return) called the valley of Amariocapana. In all that valley the people were also of the ancient Guianians.
I asked what nations those were which inhabited on the further side of those mountains, beyond the valley of Amariocapana. He answered with a great sigh (as a man which had inward feeling of the loss of his country and liberty, especially for that his eldest son was slain in a battle on that side of the mountains, whom he most entirely loved) that he remembered in his father's lifetime, when he was very old and himself a young man, that there came down into that large valley of Guiana a nation from so far off as the sun slept (for such were his own words), with so great a multitude as they could not be numbered nor resisted, and that they wore large coats, and hats of crimson colour, which colour he expressed by shewing a piece of red wood wherewith my tent was supported, and that they were called Orejones and Epuremei; that those had slain and rooted out so many of the ancient people as there were leaves in the wood upon all the trees, and had now made themselves lords of all, even to that mountain foot called Curaa, saving only of two nations, the one called Iwarawaqueri and the other Cassipagotos; and that in the last battle fought between the Epuremei and the Iwarawaqueri his eldest son was chosen to carry to the aid of the Iwarawaqueri a great troop of the Orenoqueponi, and was there slain with all his people and friends, and that he had now remaining but one son; and farther told me that those Epuremei had built a great town called Macureguarai at the said mountain foot, at the beginning of the great plains of Guiana, which have no end; and that their houses have many rooms, one over the other, and that therein the great king of the Orejones and Epuremei kept three thousand men to defend the borders against them, and withal daily to invade and slay them; but that of late years, since the Christians offered to invade his territories and those frontiers, they were all at peace, and traded one with another, saving only the Iwarawaqueri and those other nations upon the head of the river of Caroli called Cassipagotos, which we afterwards discovered, each one holding the Spaniard for a common enemy.
After he had answered thus far, he desired leave to depart, saying that he had far to go, that he was old and weak, and was every day called for by death, which was also his own phrase. I desired him to rest with us that night, but I could not entreat him; but he told me that at my return from the country above he would again come to us, and in the meantime provide for us the best he could, of all that his country yielded. The same night he returned to Orocotona, his own town; so as he went that day eight-and-twenty miles, the weather being very hot, the country being situate between four and five degrees of the equinoctial. This Topiawari is held for the proudest and wisest of all the Orenoqueponi, and so he behaved himself towards me in all his answers, at my return, as I marvelled to find a man of that gravity and judgment and of so good discourse, that had no help of learning nor breed.
The next morning we also left the port, and sailed westward up to the river, to view the famous river called Caroli, as well because it was marvellous of itself, as also for that I understood it led to the strongest nations of all the frontiers, that were enemies to the Epuremei, which are subjects to Inga, emperor of Guiana and Manoa. And that night we anchored at another island called Caiama, of some five or six miles in length; and the next day arrived at the mouth of Caroli. When we were short of it as low or further down as the port of Morequito, we heard the great roar and fall of the river. But when we came to enter with our barge and wherries, thinking to have gone up some forty miles to the nations of the Cassipagotos, we were not able with a barge of eight oars to row one stone's cast in an hour; and yet the river is as broad as the Thames at Woolwich, and we tried both sides, and the middle, and every part of the river. So as we encamped upon the banks adjoining, and sent off our Orenoquepone which came with us from Morequito to give knowledge to the nations upon the river of our being there, and that we desired to see the lords of Canuria, which dwelt within the province upon that river, making them know that we were enemies to the Spaniards; for it was on this river side that Morequito slew the friar, and those nine Spaniards which came from Manoa, the city of Inga, and took from them 14,000 pesos of gold. So as the next day there came down a lord or cacique, called Wanuretona, with many people with him, and brought all store of provisions to entertain us, as the rest had done. And as I had before made my coming known to Topiawari, so did I acquaint this cacique therewith, and how I was sent by her Majesty for the purpose aforesaid, and gathered also what I could of him touching the estate of Guiana. And I found that those also of Caroli were not only enemies to the Spaniards, but most of all to the Epuremei, which abound in gold. And by this Wanuretona I had knowledge that on the head of this river were three mighty nations, which were seated on a great lake, from whence this river descended, and were called Cassipagotos, Eparegotos, and Arawagotos; (The Purigotos and Arinagotos are still settled on the upper tributaries of the Caroni river. No such lake as that mentioned is known to exist) and that all those either against the Spaniards or the Epuremei would join with us, and that if we entered the land over the mountains of Curaa we should satisfy ourselves with gold and all other good things. He told us farther of a nation called Iwarawaqueri, before spoken of, that held daily war with the Epuremei that inhabited Macureguarai, and first civil town of Guiana, of the subjects of Inga, the emperor.
Upon this river one Captain George, that I took with Berreo, told me that there was a great silver mine, and that it was near the banks of the said river. But by this time as well Orenoque, Caroli, as all the rest of the rivers were risen four or five feet in height, so as it was not possible by the strength of any men, or with any boat whatsoever, to row into the river against the stream. I therefore sent Captain Thyn, Captain Greenvile, my nephew John Gilbert, my cousin Butshead Gorges, Captain Clarke, and some thirty shot more to coast the river by land, and to go to a town some twenty miles over the valley called Amnatapoi; and they found guides there to go farther towards the mountain foot to another great town called Capurepana, belonging to a cacique called Haharacoa, that was a nephew to old Topiawari, king of Aromaia, our chiefest friend, because this town and province of Capurepana adjoined to Macureguarai, which was a frontier town of the empire. And the meanwhile myself with Captain Gifford, Captain Caulfield, Edward Hancock, and some half-a-dozen shot marched overland to view the strange overfalls of the river of Caroli, which roared so far off; and also to see the plains adjoining, and the rest of the province of Canuri. I sent also Captain Whiddon, William Connock, and some eight shot with them, to see if they could find any mineral stone alongst the river's side. When we were come to the tops of the first hills of the plains adjoining to the river, we beheld that wonderful breach of waters which ran down Caroli;and might from that mountain see the river how it ran in three parts, above twenty miles off, and there appeared some ten or twelve overfalls in sight, every one as high over the other as a church tower, which fell with that fury, that the rebound of water made it seem as if it had been all covered over with a great shower of rain; and in some places we took it at the first for a smoke that had risen over some great town. For mine own part I was well persuaded from thence to have returned, being a very ill footman; but the rest were all so desirous to go near the said strange thunder of waters, as they drew me on by little and little, till we came into the next valley, where we might better discern the same. I never saw a more beautiful country, nor more lively prospects; hills so raised here and there over the valley ; the river winding into divers branches; the plains adjoining without bush or stubble, all fair green grass; the ground of hard sand, easy to march on, either for horse or foot; the deer crossing in every path; the birds towards the evening singing on every tree with a thousand several tunes; cranes and herons of white, crimson, and carnation, perching in the river's side; the air fresh with a gentle easterly wind; and every stone that we stooped to take up promised either gold or silver by his complexion. Your Lordship shall see of many sorts, and I hope some of them cannot be bettered under the sun; and yet we had no means but with our daggers and fingers to tear them out here and there, the rocks being most hard of that mineral spar aforesaid, which is like a flint, and is altogether as hard or harder, and besides the veins lie a fathom or two deep in the rocks. But we wanted all things requisite save only our desires and good will to have performed more if it had pleased God. To be short, when both our companies returned, each of them brought also several sorts of stones that appeared very fair, but were such as they found loose on the ground, and were for the most part but coloured, and had not any gold fixed in them. Yet such as had no judgment or experience kept all that glistered, and would not be persuaded but it was rich because of the lustre; and brought of those, and of marcasite withal, from Trinidad, and have delivered of those stones to be tried in many places, and have thereby bred an opinion that all the rest is of the same. Yet some of these stones I shewed afterward to a Spaniard of the Caracas, who told me that it was El Madre del Oro, that is, the mother of gold, and that the mine was farther in the ground.
But it shall be found a weak policy in me, either to betray myself or my country with imaginations; neither am I so far in love with that lodging, watching, care, peril, diseases, ill savours, bad fare, and many other mischiefs that accompany these voyages, as to woo myself again into any of them, were I not assured that the sun covereth not so much riches in any part of the earth. Captain Whiddon, and our chirurgeon, Nicholas Millechamp, brought me a kind of stones like sapphires; what they may prove I know not. I shewed them to some of the Orenoqueponi, and they promised to bring me to a mountain that had of them very large pieces growing diamond-wise; whether it be crystal of the mountain, Bristol diamond, or sapphire, I do not yet know, but I hope the best; sure I am that the place is as likely as those from whence all the rich stones are brought, and in the same height or very near.
On the left hand of this river Caroli are seated those nations which I called Iwarawaqueri before remembered, which are enemies to the Epuremei; and on the head of it, adjoining to the great lake Cassipa, are situated those other nations which also resist Inga, and the Epuremei, called Cassipagotos, Eparegotos, and Arawagotos. I farther understood that this lake of Cassipa is so large, as it is above one day's journey for one of their canoas, to cross, which may be some forty miles; and that thereinto fall divers rivers, and that great store of grains of gold are found in the summer time when the lake falleth by the banks, in those branches.
There is also another goodly river beyond Caroli which is called Arui, which also runneth thorough the lake Cassipa, and falleth into Orenoque farther west, making all that land between Caroli and Arui an island; which is likewise a most beautiful country. Next unto Arui there are two rivers Atoica and Caura, and on that branch which is called Caura are a nation of people whose heads appear not above their shoulders; which though it may be thought a mere fable, yet for mine own part I am resolved it is true, because every child in the provinces of Aromaia and Canuri affirm the same. They are called Ewaipanoma; they are reported to have their eyes in their shoulders, and their mouths in the middle of their breasts, and that a long train of hair groweth backward between their shoulders. The son of Topiawari, which I brought with me into England, told me that they were the most mighty men of all the land, and use bows, arrows, and clubs thrice as big as any of Guiana, or of the Orenoqueponi; and that one of the Iwarawaqueri took a prisoner of them the year before our arrival there, and brought him into the borders of Aromaia, his father's country. And farther, when I seemed to doubt of it, he told me that it was no wonder among them; but that they were as great a nation and as common as any other in all the provinces, and had of late years slain many hundreds of his father's people, and of other nations their neighbours. But it was not my chance to hear of them till I was come away; and if I had but spoken one word of it while I was there I might have brought one of them with me to put the matter out of doubt. Such a nation was written of by Mandeville, whose reports were holden for fables many years; and yet since the East Indies were discovered, we find his relations true of such things as heretofore were held incredible.(Mandeville, or the author who assumed this name, placed his headless men in the East Indian Archipelago. The fable is borrowed from older writers (Herodotus)) Whether it be true or no, the matter is not great, neither can there be any profit in the imagination; for mine own part I saw them not, but I am resolved that so many people did not all combine or forethink to make the report.
When I came to Cumana in the West Indies afterwards by chance I spake with a Spaniard dwelling not far from thence, a man of great travel. And after he knew that I had been in Guiana, and so far directly west as Caroli, the first question he asked me was, whether I had seen any of the Ewaipanoma, which are those without heads. Who being esteemed a most honest man of his word, and in all things else, told me that he had seen many of them; I may not name him, because it may be for his disadvantage, but he is well known to Monsieur Moucheron's son of London, and to Peter Moucheron, merchant, of the Flemish ship that was there in trade; who also heard, what he avowed to be true, of those people.
The fourth river to the west of Caroli is Casnero: which falleth into the Orenoque on this side of Amapaia. And that river is greater than Danubius, or any of Europe: it riseth on the south of Guiana from the mountains which divide Guiana from Amazons, and I think it to be navigable many hundred miles. But we had no time, means, nor season of the year, to search those rivers, for the causes aforesaid, the winter being come upon us; although the winter and summer as touching cold and heat differ not, neither do the trees ever sensibly lose their leaves, but have always fruit either ripe or green, and most of them both blossoms, leaves, ripe fruit, and green, at one time: but their winter only consisteth of terrible rains, and overflowing of the rivers, with many great storms and gusts, thunder and lightnings, of which we had our fill ere we returned.
On the north side, the first river that falleth into the Orenoque is Cari. Beyond it, on the same side is the river of Limo. Between these two is a great nation of Cannibals, and their chief town beareth the name of the river, and is called Acamacari. At this town is a continual market of women for three or four hatchets apiece; they are bought by the Arwacas, and by them sold into the West Indies. To the west of Limo is the river Pao, beyond it Caturi, beyond that Voari, and Capuri (The Apure river) which falleth out of the great river of Meta, by which Berreo descended from Nuevo Reyno de Granada. To the westward of Capuri is the province of Amapaia, where Berreo wintered and had so many of his people poisoned with the tawny water of the marshes of the Anebas. Above Amapaia, toward Nuevo Reyno, fall in Meto, Pato and Cassanar. To the west of those, towards the provinces of the Ashaguas and Catetios, are the rivers of Beta, Dawney, and Ubarro; and toward the frontier of Peru are the provinces of Thomebamba, and Caxamalca. Adjoining to Quito in the north side of Peru are the rivers of Guiacar and Goauar; and on the other side of the said mountains the river of Papamene which descendeth into Maranon or Amazons, passing through the province Motilones, where Don Pedro de Orsua, who was slain by the traitor Aguirre before rehearsed, built his brigandines, when he sought Guiana by the way of Amazons.
Between Dawney and Beta lieth a famous island in Orenoque (now called Baraquan, for above Meta it is not known by the name of Orenoque) which is called Athule (Cataract of Atures) beyond which ships of burden cannot pass by reason of a most forcible overfall, and current of water; but in the eddy all smaller vessels may be drawn even to Peru itself. But to speak of more of these rivers without the description were but tedious, and therefore I will leave the rest to the description. This river of Orenoque is navigable for ships little less than 1,000 miles, and for lesser vessels near 2,000. By it, as aforesaid, Peru, Nuevo Reyno and Popayan may be invaded: it also leadeth to the great empire of Inga, and to the provinces of Amapaia and Anebas, which abound in gold. His branches of Casnero, Manta, Caura descend from the middle land and valley which lieth between the easter province of Peru and Guiana; and it falls into the sea between Maranon and Trinidad in two degrees and a half. All of which your honours shall better perceive in the general description of Guiana, Peru, Nuevo Reyno, the kingdom of Popayan, and Rodas, with the province of Venezuela, to the bay of Uraba, behind Cartagena, westward, and to Amazons southward. While we lay at anchor on the coast of Canuri, and had taken knowledge of all the nations upon the head and branches of this river, and had found out so many several people, which were enemies to the Epuremei and the new conquerors, I thought it time lost to linger any longer in that place, especially for that the fury of Orenoque began daily to threaten us with dangers in our return. For no half day passed but the river began to rage and overflow very fearfully, and the rains came down in terrible showers, and gusts in great abundance; and withal our men began to cry out for want of shift, for no man had place to bestow any other apparel than that which he ware on his back, and that was throughly washed on his body for the most part ten times in one day; and we had now been well-near a month every day passing to the westward farther and farther from our ships. We therefore turned towards the east, and spent the rest of the time in discovering the river towards the sea, which we had not viewed, and which was most material.
The next day following we left the mouth of Caroli, and arrived again at the port of Morequito where we were before; for passing down the stream we went without labour, and against the wind, little less than a hundred miles a day. As soon as I came to anchor, I sent away one for old Topiawari, with whom I much desired to have further conference, and also to deal with him for some one of his country to bring with us into England, as well to learn the language, as to confer withal by the way, the time being now spent of any longer stay there. Within three hours after my messenger came to him, he arrived also, and with him such a rabble of all sorts of people, and every one loaden with somewhat, as if it had been a great market or fair in England; and our hungry companies clustered thick and threefold among their baskets, every one laying hand on what he liked. After he had rested awhile in my tent, I shut out all but ourselves and my interpreter, and told him that I knew that both the Epuremei and the Spaniards were enemies to him, his country and nations: that the one had conquered Guiana already, and the other sought to regain the same from them both; and therefore I desired him to instruct me what he could, both of the passage into the golden parts of Guiana, and to the civil towns and apparelled people of Inga. He gave me an answer to this effect: first, that he could not perceive that I meant to go onward towards the city of Manoa, for neither the time of the year served, neither could he perceive any sufficient numbers for such an enterprise. And if I did, I was sure with all my company to be buried there, for the emperor was of that strength, as that many times so many men more were too few. Besides, he gave me this good counsel and advised me to hold it in mind (as for himself, he knew he could not live till my return), that I should not offer by any means hereafter to invade the strong parts of Guiana without the help of all those nations which were also their enemies; for that it was impossible without those, either to be conducted, to be victualled, or to have aught carried with us, our people not being able to endure the march in so great heat and travail, unless the borderers gave them help, to cart with them both their meat and furniture. For he remembered that in the plains of Macureguarai three hundred Spaniards were overthrown, who were tired out, and had none of the borderers to their friends; but meeting their enemies as they passed the frontier, were environed on all sides, and the people setting the long dry grass on fire, smothered them, so as they had no breath to fight, nor could discern their enemies for the great smoke. He told me further that four days' journey from his town was Macureguarai, and that those were the next and nearest of the subjects of Inga, and of the Epuremei, and the first town of apparelled and rich people; and that all those plates of gold which were scattered among the borderers and carried to other nations far and near, came from the said Macureguarai and were there made, but that those of the land within were far finer, and were fashioned after the images of men, beasts, birds, and fishes. I asked him whether he thought that those companies that I had there with me were sufficient to take that town or no; he told me that he thought they were. I then asked him whether he would assist me with guides, and some companies of his people to join with us; he answered that he would go himself with all the borderers, if the rivers did remain fordable, upon this condition, that I would leave with him till my return again fifty soldiers, which he undertook to victual. I answered that I had not above fifty good men in all there; the rest were labourers and rowers, and that I had no provision to leave with them of powder, shot, apparel, or aught else, and that without those things necessary for their defence, they should be in danger of the Spaniards in my absence, who I knew would use the same measures towards mine that I offered them at Trinidad. And although upon the motion Captain Caulfield, Captain Greenvile, my nephew John Gilbert and divers others were desirous to stay, yet I was resolved that they must needs have perished. For Berreo expected daily a supply out of Spain, and looked also hourly for his son to come down from Nuevo Reyno de Granada, with many horse and foot, and had also in Valencia, in the Caracas, two hundred horse ready to march; and I could not have spared above forty, and had not any store at all of powder, lead, or match to have left with them, nor any other provision, either spade, pickaxe, or aught else to have fortified withal.
When I had given him reason that I could not at this time leave him such a company, he then desired me to forbear him and his country for that time; for he assured me that I should be no sooner three days from the coast but those Epuremei would invade him, and destroy all the remain of his people and friends, if he should any way either guide us or assist us against them. He further alleged that the Spaniards sought his death; and as they had already murdered his nephew Morequito, lord of that province, so they had him seventeen days in a chain before he was king of the country, and led him like a dog from place to place until he had paid an hundred plates of gold and divers chains of spleen-stones for his ransom. And now, since he became owner of that province, that they had many times laid wait to take him, and that they would be now more vehement when they should understand of his conference with the English. And because, said he, they would the better displant me, if they cannot lay hands on me, they have gotten a nephew of mine called Eparacano, whom they have christened Don Juan, and his son Don Pedro, whom they have also apparelled and armed, by whom they seek to make a party against me in mine own country. He also hath taken to wife one Louiana, of a strong family, which are borderers and neighbours; and myself now being old and in the hands of death am not able to travel nor to shift as when I was of younger years. He therefore prayed us to defer it till the next year, when he would undertake to draw in all the borderers to serve us, and then, also, it would be more seasonable to travel; for at this time of the year we should not be able to pass any river, the waters were and would be so grown are our return.
He farther told me that I could not desire so much to invade Macureguarai and the rest of Guiana but that the borderers would be more vehement than I. For he yielded for a chief cause that in the wars with the Epuremei they were spoiled of their women, and that their wives and daughters were taken from them; so as for their own parts they desired nothing of the gold or treasure for their labours, but only to recover women from the Epuremei. For he farther complained very sadly, as it had been a matter of great consequence, that whereas they were wont to have ten or twelve wives, they were now enforced to content themselves with three or four, and that the lords of the Epuremei had fifty or a hundred.
And in truth they war more for women than either for gold or dominion. For the lords of countries desire many children of their own bodies to increase their races and kindreds, for in those consist their greatest trust and strength. Divers of his followers afterwards desired me to make haste again, that they might sack the Epuremei, and I asked them, of what? The answered, Of their women for us, and their gold for you. For the hope of those many of women they more desire the war than either for gold or for the recovery of their ancient territories. For what between the subjects of Inga and the Spaniards, those frontiers are grown thin of people; and also great numbers are fled to other nations farther off for fear of the Spaniards.
After I received this answer of the old man, we fell into consideration whether it had been of better advice to have entered Macureguarai, and to have begun a war upon Inga at this time, yea, or no, if the time of the year and all things else had sorted. For mine own part, as we were not able to march it for the rivers, neither had any such strength as was requisite, and durst not abide the coming of the winter, or to tarry any longer from our ships, I thought it were evil counsel to have attempted it at that time, although the desire for gold will answer many objections. But it would have been, in mine opinion, an utter overthrow to the enterprise, if the same should be hereafter by her Majesty attempted. For then, whereas now they have heard we were enemies to the Spaniards and were sent by her Majesty to relieve them, they would as good cheap have joined with the Spaniards at our return, as to have yielded unto us, when they had proved that we came both for one errand, and that both sought but to sack and spoil them. But as yet our desire gold, or our purpose of invasion, is not known to them of the empire. And it is likely that if her Majesty undertake the enterprise they will rather submit themselves to her obedience than to the Spaniards, of whose cruelty both themselves and the borderers have already tasted. And therefore, till I had known her Majesty's pleasure, I would rather have lost the sack of one or two towns, although they might have been very profitable, than to have defaced or endangered the future hope of so many millions, and the great good and rich trade which England may be possessed of thereby. I am assured now that they will all die, even to the last man, against the Spaniards in hope of our succour and return. Whereas, otherwise, if I had either laid hands on the borderers or ransomed the lords, as Berreo did, or invaded the subjects of Inga, I know all had been lost for hereafter.
Book 5 :After that I had resolved Topiawari, lord of Aromaia, that I could not at this time leave with him the companies he desired, and that I was contented to forbear the enterprise against the Epuremei till the next year, he freely gave me his only son to take with me into England; and hoped that though he himself had but a short time to live, yet that by our means his son should be established after his death. And I left with him one Francis Sparrow, a servant of Captain Gifford, who was desirous to tarry, and could describe a country with his pen, and a boy of mine called Hugh Goodwin, to learn the language. I after asked the manner how the Epuremei wrought those plates of gold, and how they could melt it out of the stone. He told me that the most of the gold which they made in plates and images was not severed from the stone, but that on the lake of Manoa, and in a multitude of other rivers, they gathered it in grains of perfect gold and in pieces as big as small stones, and they put it to a part of copper, otherwise they could not work it; and that they used a great earthen pot with holes round about it, and when they had mingled the gold and copper together they fastened canes to the holes, and so with the breath of men they increased the fire till the metal ran, and then they cast it into moulds of stone and clay, and so make those plates and images. I have sent your honours of two sorts such as I could by chance recover, more to shew the manner of them than for the value. For I did not in any sort make my desire of gold known, because I had neither time nor power to have a great quantity. I gave among them many more pieces of gold than I received, of the new money of twenty shillings with her Majesty's picture, to wear, with promise that they would become her servants thenceforth.
I have also sent your honours of the ore, whereof I know some is as rich as the earth yieldeth any, of which I know there is sufficient, if nothing else were to be hoped for. But besides that we were not able to tarry and search the hills, so we had neither pioneers, bars, sledges, nor wedges of iron to break the ground, without which there is no working in mines. But we saw all the hills with stones of the colour of gold and silver, and we tried them to be no marcasite, and therefore such as the Spaniards call El madre del oro or 'the mother of gold,' which is an undoubted assurance of the general abundance; and myself saw the outside of many mines of the spar, which I know to be the same that all covet in this world, and of those more than I will speak of.
Having learned what I could in Canuri and Aromaia, and received a faithful promise of the principallest of those provinces to become servants to her Majesty, and to resist the Spaniards if they made any attempt in our absence, and that they would draw in the nations about the lake of Cassipa and those of Iwarawaqueri, I then parted from old Topiawari, and received his son for a pledge between us, and left with him two of ours as aforesaid. To Francis Sparrow I gave instructions to travel to Macureguarai with such merchandises as I left with them, thereby to learn the place, and if it were possible, to go on to the great city of Manoa. Which being done, we weighed anchor and coasted the river on Guiana side, because we came upon the north side, by the lawns of the Saima and Wikiri.
There came with us from Aromaia a cacique called Putijma, that commanded the province of Warapana, which Putijma slew the nine Spaniards upon Caroli before spoken of; who desired us to rest in the port of his country, promising to bring us unto a mountain adjoining to his town that had stones of the colour of gold, which he performed. And after we had rested there one night I went myself in the morning with most of the gentlemen of my company over-land towards the said mountain, marching by a river's side called Mana, leaving on the right hand a town called Tuteritona, standing in the province of Tarracoa, of which Wariaaremagoto is principal. Beyond it lieth another town towards the south, in the valley of Amariocapana, which beareth the name of the said valley; whose plains stretch themselves some sixty miles in length, east and west, as fair ground and as beautiful fields as any man hath ever seen, with divers copses scattered here and there by the river's side, and all as full of deer as any forest or park in England, and in every lake and river the like abundance of fish and fowl; of which Irraparragota is lord.
From the river of Mana we crossed another river in the said beautiful valley called Oiana, and rested ourselves by a clear lake which lay in the middle of the said Oiana; and one of our guides kindling us fire with two sticks, we stayed awhile to dry our shirts, which with the heat hung very wet and heavy on our shoulders. Afterwards we sought the ford to pass over towards the mountain called Iconuri, where Putijma foretold us of the mine. In this lake we saw one of the great fishes, as big as a wine pipe, which they call manati, being most excellent and wholesome meat. But after I perceived that to pass the said river would require half-a-day's march more, I was not able myself to endure it, and therefore I sent Captain Keymis with six shot to go on, and gave him order not to return to the port of Putijma, which is called Chiparepare, but to take leisure, and to march down the said valley as far as a river called Cumaca, where I promised to meet him again, Putijma himself promising also to be his guide. And as they marched, they left the towns of Emperapana and Capurepana on the right hand, and marched from Putijma's house, down the said valley of Amariocapana; and we returning the same day to the river's side, saw by the way many rocks like unto gold ore, and on the left hand a round mountain which consisted of mineral stone.
From hence we rowed down the stream, coasting the province of Parino. As for the branches of rivers which I overpass in this discourse, those shall be better expressed in the description, with the mountains of Aio, Ara, and the rest, which are situate in the provinces of Parino and Carricurrina. When we were come as far down as the land called Ariacoa, where Orenoque divideth itself into three great branches, each of them being most goodly rivers, I sent away Captain Henry Thyn, and Captain Greenvile with the galley, the nearest way, and took with me Captain Gifford, Captain Caulfield, Edward Porter, and Captain Eynos with mine own barge and the two wherries, and went down that branch of Orenoque which is called Cararoopana, which leadeth towards Emeria, the province of Carapana, and towards the east sea, as well to find out Captain Keymis, whom I had sent overland, as also to acquaint myself with Carapana, who is one of the greatest of all the lords of the Orenoqueponi. And when I came to the river of Cumaca, to which Putijma promised to conduct Captain Keymis, I left Captain Eynos and Master Porter in the said river to expect his coming, and the rest of us rowed down the stream towards Emeria.
In this branch called Cararoopana were also many goodly islands, some of six miles long, some of ten, and some of twenty. When it grew towards sunset, we entered a branch of a river that fell into Orenoque, called Winicapora; where I was informed of the mountain of crystal, to which in truth for the length of the way, and the evil season of the year, I was not able to march, nor abide any longer upon the journey. We saw it afar off; and it appeared like a white church-tower of an exceeding height. There falleth over it a mighty river which toucheth no part of the side of the mountain, but rusheth over the top of it, and falleth to the ground with so terrible a noise and clamour, as if a thousand great bells were knocked one against another. I think there is not in the world so strange an overfall, nor so wonderful to behold. Berreo told me that there were diamonds and other precious stones on it, and that they shined very far off; but what it hath I know not, neither durst he or any of his men ascend to the top of the said mountain, those people adjoining being his enemies, as they were, and the way to it so impassable.
Upon this river of Winicapora we rested a while, and from thence marched into the country to a town called after the name of the river, whereof the captain was one Timitwara, who also offered to conduct me to the top of the said mountain called Wacarima. But when we came in first to the house of the said Timitwara, being upon one of their said feast days, we found them all as drunk as beggars, and the pots walking from one to another without rest. We that were weary and hot with marching were glad of the plenty, though a small quantity satisfied us, their drink being very strong and heady, and so rested ourselves awhile. After we had fed, we drew ourselves back to our boats upon the river, and there came to us all the lords of the country, with all such kind of victual as the place yielded, and with their delicate wine of pinas, and with abundance of hens and other provisions, and of those stones which we call spleen-stones. We understood by these chieftains of Winicapora that their lord, Carapana, was departed from Emeria, which was now in sight, and that he was fled to Cairamo, adjoining to the mountains of Guiana, over the valley called Amariocapana, being persuaded by those ten Spaniards which lay at his house that we would destroy him and his country. But after these caciques of Winicapora and Saporatona his followers perceived our purpose, and saw that we came as enemies to the
Spaniards only, and had not so much as harmed any of those nations, no, though we found them to be of the Spaniards' own servants, they assured us that Carapana would be as ready to serve us as any of the lords of the provinces which we had passed; and that he durst do no other till this day but entertain the Spaniards, his country lying so directly in their way, and next of all other to any entrance that should be made in Guiana on that side. And they further assured us, that it was not for fear of our coming that he was removed, but to be acquitted of the Spaniards or any other that should come hereafter. For the province of Cairoma is situate at the mountain foot, which divideth the plains of Guiana from the countries of the Orenoqueponi; by means whereof if any should come in our absence into his towns, he would slip over the mountains into the plains of Guiana among the Epuremei, where the Spaniards durst not follow him without great force. But in mine opinion, or rather I assure myself, that Carapana being a notable wise and subtle fellow, a man of one hundred years of age and therefore of great experience, is removed to look on, and if he find that we return strong he will be ours; if not, he will excuse his departure to the Spaniards, and say it was for fear of our coming.
We therefore thought it bootless to row so far down the stream, or to seek any farther of this old fox; and therefore from the river of Waricapana, which lieth at the entrance of Emeria, we returned again, and left to the eastward those four rivers which fall from the mountains of Emeria into Orenoque, which are Waracayari, Coirama, Akaniri, and Iparoma. Below those four are also these branches and mouths of Orenoque, which fall into the east sea, whereof the first is Araturi, the next Amacura, the third Barima, the fourth Wana, the fifth Morooca, the sixth Paroma, the last Wijmi. Beyond them there fall out of the land between Orenoque and Amazons fourteen rivers, which I forbear to name, inhabited by the Arwacas and Cannibals.
It is now time to return towards the north, and we found it a wearisome way back from the borders of Emeria, to recover up again to the head of the river Carerupana, by which we descended, and where we parted from the galley, which I directed to take the next way to the port of Toparimaca, by which we entered first.
All the night it was stormy and dark, and full of thunder and great showers, so as we were driven to keep close by the banks in our small boats, being all heartily afraid both of the billow and terrible current of the river. By the next morning we recovered the mouth of the river of Cumaca, where we left Captain Eynos and Edward Porter to attend the coming of Captain Keymis overland; but when we entered the same, they had heard no news of his arrival, which bred in us a great doubt what might become of him. I rowed up a league or two farther into the river, shooting off pieces all the way, that he might know of our being there; and the next morning we heard them answer us also with a piece. We took them aboard us, and took our leave of Putijma, their guide, who of all others most lamented our departure, and offered to send his son with us into England, if we could have stayed till he had sent back to his town. But our hearts were cold to behold the great rage and increase of Orenoque, and therefore [we] departed, and turned toward the west, till we had recovered the parting of the three branches aforesaid, that we might put down the stream after the galley.
The next day we landed on the island of Assapano, which divideth the river from that branch by which we sent down to Emeria, and there feasted ourselves with that beast which is called armadillo, presented unto us before at Winicapora. And the day following, we recovered the galley at anchor at the port of Toparimaca, and the same evening departed with very foul weather, and terrible thunder and showers, for the winter was come on very far. The best was, we went no less than 100 miles a day down the river; but by the way we entered it was impossible to return, for that the river of Amana, being in the bottom of the bay of Guanipa, cannot be sailed back by any means, both the breeze and current of the sea were so forcible. And therefore we followed a branch of Orenoque called Capuri, which entered into the sea eastward of our ships, to the end we might bear with them before the wind; and it was not without need, for we had by that way as much to cross of the main sea, after we came to the river's mouth, as between Gravelin and Dover, in such boats as your honour hath heard.
To speak of what passed homeward were tedious, either to describe or name any of the rivers, islands, or villages of the Tivitivas, which dwell on trees; we will leave all those to the general map. And to be short, when we were arrived at the sea-side, then grew our greatest doubt, and the bitterest of all our journey forepassed; for I protest before God, that we were in a most desperate estate. For the same night which we anchored in the mouth of the river of Capuri, where it falleth into the sea, there arose a mighty storm, and the river's mouth was at least a league broad, so as we ran before night close under the land with our small boats, and brought the galley as near as we could. But she had as much ado to live as could be, and there wanted little of her sinking, and all those in her; for mine own part, I confess I was very doubtful which way to take, either to go over in the pestered (Crowded) galley, there being but six foot water over the sands for two leagues together, and that also in the channel, and she drew five; or to adventure in so great a billow, and in so doubtful weather, to cross the seas in my barge. The longer we tarried the worse it was, and therefore I took Captain Gifford, Captain Caulfield, and my cousin Greenvile into my barge; and after it cleared up about midnight we put ourselves to God's keeping, and thrust out into the sea, leaving the galley at anchor, who durst not adventure but by daylight. And so, being all very sober and melancholy, one faintly cheering another to shew courage, it pleased God that the next day about nine o'clock, we descried the island of Trinidad; and steering for the nearest part of it, we kept the shore till we came to Curiapan, where we found our ships at anchor, than which there was never to us a more joyful sight.
Now that it hath pleased God to send us safe to our ships, it is time to leave Guiana to the sun, whom they worship, and steer away towards the north. I will, therefore, in a few words finish the discovery thereof. Of the several nations which we found upon this discovery I will once again make repetition, and how they are affected. At our first entrance into Amana, which is one of the outlets of Orenoque, we left on the right hand of us in the bottom of the bay, lying directly against Trinidad, a nation of inhuman Cannibals, which inhabit the rivers of Guanipa and Berbeese. In the same bay there is also a third river, which is called Areo, which riseth on Paria side towards Cumana, and that river is inhabited with the Wikiri, whose chief town upon the said river is Sayma. In this bay there are no more rivers but these three before rehearsed and the four branches of Amana, all which in the winter thrust so great abundance of water into the sea, as the same is taken up fresh two or three leagues from the land. In the passages towards Guiana, that is, in all those lands which the eight branches of Orenoque fashion into islands, there are but one sort of people, called Tivitivas, but of two castes, as they term them, the one called Ciawani, the other Waraweeti, and those war one with another.
On the hithermost part of Orenoque, as at Toparimaca and Winicapora, those are of a nation called Nepoios, and are the followers of Carapana, lord of Emeria. Between Winicapora and the port of Morequito, which standeth in Aromaia, and all those in the valley of Amariocapana are called Orenoqueponi, and did obey Morequito and are now followers of Topiawari. Upon the river of Caroli are the Canuri, which are governed by a woman who is inheritrix of that province; who came far off to see our nation, and asked me divers questions of her Majesty, being much delighted with the discourse of her Majesty's greatness, and wondering at such reports as we truly made of her Highness' many virtues.
And upon the head of Caroli and on the lake of Cassipa are the three strong nations of the Cassipagotos. Right south into the land are the Capurepani and Emparepani, and beyond those, adjoining to Macureguarai, the first city of Inga, are the Iwarawakeri. All these are professed enemies to the Spaniards, and to the rich Epuremei also. To the west of Caroli are divers nations of Cannibals and of those Ewaipanoma without heads. Directly west are the Amapaias and Anebas, which are also marvellous rich in gold. The rest towards Peru we will omit. On the north of Orenoque, between it and the West Indies, are the Wikiri, Saymi, and the rest before spoken of, all mortal enemies to the Spaniards. On the south side of the main mouth of Orenoque are the Arwacas; and beyond them, the Cannibals; and to the south of them, the Amazons.
To make mention of the several beasts, birds, fishes, fruits, flowers, gums, sweet woods, and of their several religions and customs, would for the first require as many volumes as those of Gesnerus, and for the next another bundle of Decades. The religion of the Epuremei is the same which the Ingas, emperors of Peru, used, which may be read in Cieza and other Spanish stories; how they believe the immortality of the soul, worship the sun, and bury with them alive their best beloved wives and treasure, as they likewise do in Pegu in the East Indies, and other places. The Orenoqueponi bury not their wives with them, but their jewels, hoping to enjoy them again. The Arwacas dry the bones of their lords, and their wives and friends drink them in powder. In the graves of the Peruvians the Spaniards found their greatest abundance of treasure. The like, also, is to be found among these people in every province. They have all many wives, and the lords five-fold to the common sort. Their wives never eat with their husbands, nor among the men, but serve their husbands at meals and afterwards feed by themselves. Those that are past their younger years make all their bread and drink, and work their cotton-beds, and do all else of service and labour; for the men do nothing but hunt, fish, play, and drink, when they are out of the wars.
I will enter no further into discourse of their manners, laws, and customs. And because I have not myself seen the cities of Inga I cannot avow on my credit what I have heard, although it be very likely that the emperor Inga hath built and erected as magnificent palaces in Guiana as his ancestors did in Peru; which were for their riches and rareness most marvellous, and exceeding all in Europe, and, I think, of the world, China excepted, which also the Spaniards, which I had, assured me to be true, as also the nations of the borderers, who, being but savages to those of the inland, do cause much treasure to be buried with them. For I was informed of one of the caciques of the valley of Amariocapana which had buried with him a little before our arrival a chair of gold most curiously wrought, which was made either in Macureguarai adjoining or in Manoa. But if we should have grieved them in their religion at the first, before they had been taught better, and have digged up their graves, we had lost them all. And therefore I held my first resolution, that her Majesty should either accept or refuse the enterprise ere anything should be done that might in any sort hinder the same. And if Peru had so many heaps of gold, whereof those Ingas were princes, and that they delighted so much therein, no doubt but this which now liveth and reigneth in Manoa hath the same humour (Hakluyt reads 'honour.') and, I am assured, hath more abundance of gold within his territory than all Peru and the West Indies.
For the rest, which myself have seen, I will promise these things that follow, which I know to be true. Those that are desirous to discover and to see many nations may be satisfied within this river, which bringeth forth so many arms and branches leading to several countries and provinces, above 2,000 miles east and west and 800 miles south and north, and of these the most either rich in gold or in other merchandises. The common soldier shall here fight for gold, and pay himself, instead of pence, with plates of half-a-foot broad, whereas he breaketh his bones in other wars for provant (Provender, food) and penury. Those commanders and chieftains that shoot at honour and abundance shall find there more rich and beautiful cities, more temples adorned with golden images, more sepulchres filled with treasure, than either Cortes found in Mexico or Pizarro in Peru.
And the shining glory of this conquest will eclipse all those so far-extended beams of the Spanish nation. There is no country which yieldeth more pleasure to the inhabitants, either for those common delights of hunting, hawking, fishing, fowling, and the rest, than Guiana doth; it hath so many plains, clear rivers, and abundance of pheasants, partridges, quails, rails, cranes, herons, and all other fowl; deer of all sorts, porks, hares, lions, tigers, leopards, and divers other sorts of beasts, either for chase or food. It hath a kind of beast called cama or anta (The tapir) as big as an English beef, and in great plenty. To speak of the several sorts of every kind I fear would be troublesome to the reader, and therefore I will omit them, and conclude that both for health, good air, pleasure, and riches, I am resolved it cannot be equalled by any region either in the east or west. Moreover the country is so healthful, as of an hundred persons and more, which lay without shift most sluttishly, and were every day almost melted with heat in rowing and marching, and suddenly wet again with great showers, and did eat of all sorts of corrupt fruits, and made meals of fresh fish without seasoning, of tortugas, of lagartos or crocodiles, and of all sorts good and bad, without either order or measure, and besides lodged in the open air every night, we lost not any one, nor had one ill-disposed to my knowledge; nor found any calentura or other of those pestilent diseases which dwell in all hot regions, and so near the equinoctial line.
Where there is store of gold it is in effect needless to remember other commodities for trade. But it hath, towards the south part of the river, great quantities of brazil-wood, and divers berries that dye a most perfect crimson and carnation; and for painting, all France, Italy, or the East Indies yield none such. For the more the skin is washed, the fairer the colour appeareth, and with which even those brown and tawny women spot themselves and colour their cheeks. All places yield abundance of cotton, of silk, of balsamum, and of those kinds most excellent and never known in Europe,of all sorts of gums, of Indian pepper; and what else the countries may afford within the land we know not, neither had we time to abide the trial and search. The soil besides is so excellent and so full of rivers, as it will carry sugar, ginger, and all those other commodities which the West Indies have.
The navigation is short, for it may be sailed with an ordinary wind in six weeks, and in the like time back again; and by the way neither lee-shore, enemies' coast, rocks, nor sands. All which in the voyages to the West Indies and all other places we are subject unto; as the channel of Bahama, coming from the West Indies, cannot well be passed in the winter, and when it is at the best, it is a perilous and a fearful place; the rest of the Indies for calms and diseases very troublesome, and the sea about the Bermudas a hellish sea for thunder, lightning, and storms.
This very year (1595) there were seventeen sail of Spanish ships lost in the channel of Bahama, and the great Philip, like to have sunk at the Bermudas, was put back to St. Juan de Puerto Rico; and so it falleth out in that navigation every year for the most part. Which in this voyage are not to be feared; for the time of year to leave England is best in July, and the summer in Guiana is in October, November, December, January, February, and March, and then the ships may depart thence in April, and so return again into England in June. So as they shall never be subject to winter weather, either coming, going, or staying there: which, for my part, I take to be one of the greatest comforts and encouragements that can be thought on, having, as I have done, tasted in this voyage by the West Indies so many calms, so much heat, such outrageous gusts, such weather, and contrary winds.
To conclude, Guiana is a country that hath yet her maidenhead, never sacked, turned, nor wrought; the face of the earth hath not been torn, nor the virtue and salt of the soil spent by manurance. The graves have not been opened for gold, the mines not broken with sledges, nor their images pulled down out of their temples. It hath never been entered by any army of strength, and never conquered or possessed by any Christian prince. It is besides so defensible, that if two forts be builded in one of the provinces which I have seen, the flood setteth in so near the bank, where the channel also lieth, that no ship can pass up but within a pike's length of the artillery, first of the one, and afterwards of the other. Which two forts will be a sufficient guard both to the empire of Inga, and to an hundred other several kingdoms, lying within the said river, even to the city of Quito n Peru.
There is therefore great difference between the easiness of the conquest of Guiana, and the defence of it being conquered, and the West or East Indies. Guiana hath but one entrance by the sea, if it hath that, for any vessels of burden. So as whosoever shall first possess it, it shall be found unaccessible for any enemy, except he come in wherries, barges, or canoas, or else in flat-bottomed boats; and if he do offer to enter it in that manner, the woods are so thick 200 miles together upon the rivers of such entrance, as a mouse cannot sit in a boat unhit from the bank. By land it is more impossible to approach; for it hath the strongest situation of any region under the sun, and it is so environed with impassable mountains on every side, as it is impossible to victual any company in the passage. Which hath been well proved by the Spanish nation, who since the conquest of Peru have never left five years free from attempting this empire, or discovering some way into it; and yet of three-and-twenty several gentlemen, knights, and noblemen, there was never any that knew which way to lead an army by land, or to conduct ships by sea, anything near the said country. Orellana, of whom the river of Amazons taketh name, was the first, and Don Antonio de Berreo, whom we displanted, the last: and I doubt much whether he himself or any of his yet know the best way into the said empire. It can therefore hardly be regained, if any strength be formerly set down, but in one or two places, and but two or three crumsters (Dutch, Kromsteven or Kromster, a vessel with a bent prow) or galleys built and furnished upon the river within. The West Indies have many ports, watering places, and landings; and nearer than 300 miles to Guiana, no man can harbour a ship, except he know one only place, which is not learned in haste, and which I will undertake there is not any one of my companies that knoweth, whosoever hearkened most after it.
Besides, by keeping one good fort, or building one town of strength, the whole empire is guarded; and whatsoever companies shall be afterwards planted within the land, although in twenty several provinces, those shall be able all to reunite themselves upon any occasion either by the way of one river, or be able to march by land without either wood, bog, or mountain. Whereas in the West Indies there are few towns or provinces that can succour or relieve one the other by land or sea. By land the countries are either desert, mountainous, or strong enemies. By sea, if any man invade to the eastward, those to the west cannot in many months turn against the breeze and eastern wind. Besides, the Spaniards are therein so dispersed as they are nowhere strong, but in Nueva Espana only; the sharp mountains, the thorns, and poisoned prickles, the sandy and deep ways in the valleys, the smothering heat and air, and want of water in other places are their only and best defence; which, because those nations that invade them are not victualled or provided to stay, neither have any place to friend adjoining, do serve them instead of good arms and great multitudes.
The West Indies were first offered her Majesty's grandfather by Columbus, a stranger, in whom there might be doubt of deceit; and besides it was then thought incredible that there were such and so many lands and regions never written of before. This Empire is made known to her Majesty by her own vassal, and by him that oweth to her more duty than an ordinary subject; so that it shall ill sort with the many graces and benefits which I have received to abuse her Highness, either with fables or imaginations. The country is already discovered, many nations won to her Majesty's love and obedience, and those Spaniards which have latest and longest laboured about the conquest, beaten out, discouraged, and disgraced, which among these nations were thought invincible. Her Majesty may in this enterprise employ all those soldiers and gentlemen that are younger brethren, and all captains and chieftains that want employment, and the charge will be only the first setting out in victualling and arming them; for after the first or second year I doubt not but to see in London a Contractation-House (The whole trade of Spanish America passed through the Casa de Contratacion at Seville) of more receipt for Guiana than there is now in Seville for the West Indies.
And I am resolved that if there were but a small army afoot in Guiana, marching towards Manoa, the chief city of Inga, he would yield to her Majesty by composition so many hundred thousand pounds yearly as should both defend all enemies abroad, and defray all expenses at home; and that he would besides pay a garrison of three or four thousand soldiers very royally to defend him against other nations. For he cannot but know how his predecessors, yea, how his own great uncles, Guascar and Atabalipa, sons to Guiana-Capac, emperor of Peru, were, while they contended for the empire, beaten out by the Spaniards, and that both of late years and ever since the said conquest, the Spaniards have sought the passages and entry of his country; and of their cruelties used to the borderers he cannot be ignorant. In which respects no doubt but he will be brought to tribute with great gladness; if not, he hath neither shot nor iron weapon in all his empire, and therefore may easily be conquered.
And I further remember that Berreo confessed to me and others, which I protest before the Majesty of God to be true, that there was found among the prophecies in Peru, at such time as the empire was reduced to the Spanish obedience, in their chiefest temples, amongst divers others which foreshadowed the loss of the said empire, that from Inglatierra those Ingas should be again in time to come restored, and delivered from the servitude of the said conquerors. And I hope, as we with these few hands have displanted the first garrison, and driven them out of the said country, so her Majesty will give order for the rest, and either defend it, and hold it as tributary, or conquer and keep it as empress of the same. For whatsoever prince shall possess it, shall be greatest; and if the king of Spain enjoy it, he will become unresistible. Her Majesty hereby shall confirm and strengthen the opinions of all nations as touching her great and princely actions. And where the south border of Guiana reacheth to the dominion and empire of the Amazons, those women shall hereby hear the name of a virgin, which is not only able to defend her own territories and her neighbours, but also to invade and conquer so great empires and so far removed.
To speak more at this time I fear would be but troublesome: I trust in God, this being true, will suffice, and that he which is King of all Kings, and Lord of Lords, will put it into her heart which is Lady of Ladies to possess it. If not, I will judge those men worthy to be kings thereof, that by her grace and leave will undertake it of themselves.
Part of this text was taken from:
Source:Voyages and travels : ancient and modern, with introductions, notes and illustrations. New York : P. F. Collier and son, [c1910]; The Harvard classics, ed. by C. W. Ellot, vol. XXXIII
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