THE DISCOVERY OF GUIANA
By Sir Walter Raleigh
Sir Walter Raleigh may be taken as the great typical figure of the age of Elizabeth. Courtier and statesman, soldier and sailor, scientist and man of letters, he engaged in almost all the main lines of public activity in his time, and was distinguished in them all.
His father was a Devonshire gentleman of property, connected with many of the distinguished families of the south of England. Walter was born about 1552 and was educated at Oxford. He first saw military service in the Huguenot army in France in 1569, and in 1578 engaged, with his half-brother, Sir Humphrey Gilbert, in the first of his expeditions against the Spaniards. After some service in Ireland, he attracted the attention of the Queen, and rapidly rose to the perilous position of her chief favorite. With her approval, he fitted out two expeditions for the colonization of Virginia, neither of which did his royal mistress permit him to lead in person, and neither of which succeeded in establishing a permanent settlement.
After about six years of high favor, Raleigh found his position at court endangered by the rivalry of Essex, and in 1592, on returning from convoying a squadron he had fitted out against the Spanish, he was thrown into the Tower by the orders of the Queen, who had discovered an intrigue between him and one of her ladies whom he subsequently married. He was ultimately released, engaged in various naval exploits, and in 1594 sailed for South America on the voyage described in the following narrative.
On the death of Elizabeth, Raleigh's misfortunes increased. He was accused of treason against James I, condemned, reprieved, and imprisoned for twelve years, during which he wrote his "History of the World," and engaged in scientific researches. In 1616 he was liberated, to make another attempt to find the gold mine in Venezuela; but the expedition was disastrous, and, on his return, Raleigh was executed on the old charge in 1618. In his vices as in his virtues, Raleigh is a thorough representative of the great adventurers who laid the foundations of the British Empire.
RALEIGH'S DISCOVERY OF GUIANA
The Discovery of the large, rich, and beautiful EMPIRE Of GUIANA; with a Relation of the great and golden CITY of MANOA, which the Spaniards call EL DORADO, and the PROVINCES of EMERIA, AROMAIA, AMAPAIA, and other Countries, with their rivers, adjoining. Performed in the year 1595 by Sir WALTER RALEIGH, KNIGHT, CAPTAIN of her Majesty's GUARD, Lord Warden of the STANNARIES, and her Highness' LIEUTENANT-GENERAL of the COUNTY of CORNWALL.
To the Right Honourable my singular good Lord and kinsman CHARLES HOWARD, Knight of the Garter, Baron, and Councillor, and of the Admirals of England the most renowned; and to the Right Honourable SIR ROBERT CECIL, KNIGHT, Councillor in her Highness' Privy Councils.
For your Honours' many honourable and friendly parts, I have hitherto only returned promises; and now, for answer of both your adventures, I have sent you a bundle of papers, which I have divided between your Lordship and Sir Robert Cecil, in these two respects chiefly; first, for that it is reason that wasteful factors, when they have consumed such stocks as they had in trust, do yield some colour for the same in their account; secondly, for that I am assured that whatsoever shall be done, or written, by me, shall need a double protection and defence. The trial that I had of both your loves, when I was left of all, but of malice and revenge, makes me still presume that you will be pleased (knowing what little power I had to perform aught, and the great advantage of forewarned enemies) to answer that out of knowledge, which others shall but object out of malice. In my more happy times as I did especially honour you both, so I found that your loves sought me out in the darkest shadow of adversity, and the same affection which accompanied my better fortune soared not away from me in my many miseries; all which though I cannot requite, yet I shall ever acknowledge; and the great debt which I have no power to pay, I can do no more for a time but confess to be due. It is true that as my errors were great, so they have yielded very grievous effects; and if aught might have been deserved in former times, to have counterpoised any part of offences, the fruit thereof, as it seemeth, was long before fallen from the tree, and the dead stock only remained. I did therefore, even in the winter of my life, undertake these travails, fitter for bodies less blasted with misfortunes, for men of greater ability, and for minds of better encouragement, that thereby, if it were possible, I might recover but the moderation of excess, and the least taste of the greatest plenty formerly possessed. If I had known other way to win, if I had imagined how greater adventures might have regained, if I could conceive what farther means I might yet use but even to appease so powerful displeasure, I would not doubt but for one year more to hold fast my soul in my teeth till it were performed. Of that little remain I had, I have wasted in effect all herein. I have undergone many constructions; I have been accompanied with many sorrows, with labour, hunger, heat, sickness, and peril; it appeareth, notwithstanding, that I made no other bravado of going to the sea, than was meant, and that I was never hidden in Cornwall, or elsewhere, as was supposed. They have grossly belied me that forejudged that I would rather become a servant to the Spanish king than return; and the rest were much mistaken, who would have persuaded that I was too easeful and sensual to undertake a journey of so great travail. But if what I have done receive the gracious construction of a painful pilgrimage, and purchase the least remission, I shall think all too little, and that there were wanting to the rest many miseries. But if both the times past, the present, and what may be in the future, do all by one grain of gall continue in eternal distaste, I do not then know whether I should bewail myself, either for my too much travail and expense, or condemn myself for doing less than that which can deserve nothing. From myself I have deserved no thanks, for I am returned a beggar, and withered; but that I might have bettered my poor estate, it shall appear from the following discourse, if I had not only respected her Majesty's future honour and riches.
It became not the former fortune, in which I once lived, to go journeys of picory (marauding); it had sorted ill with the offices of honour, which by her Majesty's grace I hold this day in England, to run from cape to cape and from place to place, for the pillage of ordinary prizes. Many years since I had knowledge, by relation, of that mighty, rich, and beautiful empire of Guiana, and of that great and golden city, which the Spaniards call El Dorado, and the naturals Manoa, which city was conquered, re-edified, and enlarged by a younger son of Guayna-capac, Emperor of Peru, at such time as Francisco Pizarro and others conquered the said empire from his two elder brethren, Guascar and Atabalipa, both then contending for the same, the one being favoured by the orejones of Cuzco, the other by the people of Caxamalca. I sent my servant Jacob Whiddon, the year before, to get knowledge of the passages, and I had some light from Captain Parker, sometime my servant, and now attending on your Lordship, that such a place there was to the southward of the great bay of Charuas, or Guanipa: but I found that it was 600 miles farther off than they supposed, and many impediments to them unknown and unheard. After I had displanted Don Antonio de Berreo, who was upon the same enterprise, leaving my ships at Trinidad, at the port called Curiapan, I wandered 400 miles into the said country by land and river; the particulars I will leave to the following discourse.
The country hath more quantity of gold, by manifold, than the best parts of the Indies, or Peru. All the most of the kings of the borders are already become her Majesty's vassals, and seem to desire nothing more than her Majesty's protection and the return of the English nation. It hath another ground and assurance of riches and glory than the voyages of the West Indies; an easier way to invade the best parts thereof than by the common course. The king of Spain is not so impoverished by taking three or four port towns in America as we suppose; neither are the riches of Peru or Nueva Espana so left by the sea side as it can be easily washed away with a great flood, or spring tide, or left dry upon the sands on a low ebb. The port towns are few and poor in respect of the rest within the land, and are of little defence, and are only rich when the fleets are to receive the treasure for Spain; and we might think the Spaniards very simple, having so many horses and slaves, if they could not upon two days' warning carry all the gold they have into the land, and far enough from the reach of our footmen, especially the Indies being, as they are for the most part, so mountainous, full of woods, rivers, and marishes. In the port towns of the province of Venezuela, as Cumana, Coro, and St. Iago (whereof Coro and St. Iago were taken by Captain Preston, and Cumana and St. Josepho by us) we found not the value of one real of plate in either. But the cities of Barquasimeta, Valencia, St. Sebastian, Cororo, St. Lucia, Laguna, Maracaiba, and Truxillo, are not so easily invaded. Neither doth the burning of those on the coast impoverish the king of Spain any one ducat; and if we sack the River of Hacha, St. Martha, and Carthagena, which are the ports of Nuevo Reyno and Popayan, there are besides within the land, which are indeed rich and prosperous, the towns and cities of Merida, Lagrita, St. Christophoro, the great cities of Pamplona, Santa Fe de Bogota, Tunxa, and Mozo, where the emeralds are found, the towns and cities of Marequita, Velez, la Villa de Leiva, Palma, Honda, Angostura, the great city of Timana, Tocaima, St. Aguila, Pasto, [St.] Iago, the great city of Popayan itself, Los Remedios, and the rest. If we take the ports and villages within the bay of Uraba in the kingdom or rivers of Darien and Caribana, the cities and towns of St. Juan de Rodas, of Cassaris, of Antiochia, Caramanta, Cali, and Anserma have gold enough to pay the king's part, and are not easily invaded by way of the ocean. Or if Nombre de Dios and Panama be taken, in the province of Castilla del Oro, and the villages upon the rivers of Cenu and Chagre; Peru hath, besides those, and besides the magnificent cities of Quito and Lima, so many islands, ports, cities, and mines as if I should name them with the rest it would seem incredible to the reader. Of all which, because I have written a particular treatise of the West Indies, I will omit the repetition at this time, seeing that in the said treatise I have anatomized the rest of the sea towns as well of Nicaragua, Yucatan, Nueva Espana, and the islands, as those of the inland, and by what means they may be best invaded, as far as any mean judgment may comprehend.
But I hope it shall appear that there is a way found to answer every man's longing; a better Indies for her Majesty than the king of Spain hath any; which if it shall please her Highness to undertake, I shall most willingly end the rest of my days in following the same. If it be left to the spoil and sackage of common persons, if the love and service of so many nations be despised, so great riches and so mighty an empire refused; I hope her Majesty will yet take my humble desire and my labour therein in gracious part, which, if it had not been in respect of her Highness' future honour and riches, could have laid hands on and ransomed many of the kings and caciqui of the country, and have had a reasonable proportion of gold for their redemption. But I have chosen rather to bear the burden of poverty than reproach; and rather to endure a second travail, and the chances thereof, than to have defaced an enterprise of so great assurance, until I knew whether it pleased God to put a disposition in her princely and royal heart either to follow or forslow (neglect, decline, lose through sloth) the same. I will therefore leave it to His ordinance that hath only power in all things; and do humbly pray that your honours will excuse such errors as, without the defence of art, overrun in every part the following discourse, in which I have neither studied phrase, form, nor fashion; that you will be pleased to esteem me as your own, though over dearly bought, and I shall ever remain ready to do you all honour and service.
TO THE READER
Because there have been divers opinions conceived of the gold ore brought from Guiana, and for that an alderman of London and an officer of her Majesty's mint hath given out that the same is of no price, I have thought good by the addition of these lines to give answer as well to the said malicious slander as to other objections. It is true that while we abode at the island of Trinidad I was informed by an Indian that not far from the port where we anchored there were found certain mineral stones which they esteemed to be gold, and were thereunto persuaded the rather for that they had seen both English and Frenchmen gather and embark some quantities thereof. Upon this likelihood I sent forty men, and gave order that each one should bring a stone of that mine, to make trial of the goodness; which being performed, I assured them at their return that the same was marcasite, and of no riches or value. Notwithstanding, divers, trusting more to their own sense than to my opinion, kept of the said marcasite, and have tried thereof since my return, in divers places. In Guiana itself I never saw marcasite; but all the rocks, mountains, all stones in the plains, woods, and by the rivers' sides, are in effect thorough-shining, and appear marvellous rich; which, being tried to be no marcasite, are the true signs of rich minerals, but are no other than El madre del oro, as the Spaniards term them, which is the mother of gold, or, as it is said by others, the scum of gold. Of divers sorts of these many of my company brought also into England, every one taking the fairest for the best, which is not general. For mine own part, I did not countermand any man's desire or opinion, and I could have afforded them little if I should have denied them the pleasing of their own fancies therein; but I was resolved that gold must be found either in grains, separate from the stone, as it is in most of the rivers in Guiana, or else in a kind of hard stone, which we call the white spar, of which I saw divers hills, and in sundry places, but had neither time nor men, nor instruments fit for labour. Near unto one of the rivers I found of the said white spar or flint a very great ledge or bank, which I endeavoured to break by all the means I could, because there appeared on the outside some small grains of gold; but finding no mean to work the same upon the upper part, seeking the sides and circuit of the said rock, I found a clift in the same, from whence with daggers, and with the head of an axe, we got out some small quantity thereof; of which kind of white stone, wherein gold is engendered, we saw divers hills and rocks in every part of Guiana wherein we travelled. Of this there have been made many trials; and in London it was first assayed by Master Westwood, a refiner dwelling in Wood Street, and it held after the rate of twelve or thirteen thousand pounds a ton. Another sort was afterward tried by Master Bulmar, and Master Dimock, assay-master; and it held after the rate of three and twenty thousand pounds a ton. There was some of it again tried by Master Palmer, Comptroller of the Mint, and Master Dimock in Goldsmith's Hall, and it held after six and twenty thousand and nine hundred pounds a ton. There was also at the same time, and by the same persons, a trial made of the dust of the said mine; which held eight pounds and six ounces weight of gold in the hundred. There was likewise at the same time a trial of an image of copper made in Guiana, which held a third part of gold, besides divers trials made in the country, and by others in London. But because there came ill with the good, and belike the said alderman was not presented with the best, it hath pleased him therefore to scandal all the rest, and to deface the enterprise as much as in him lieth. It hath also been concluded by divers that if there had been any such ore in Guiana, and the same discovered, that I would have brought home a greater quantity thereof. First, I was not bound to satisfy any man of the quantity, but only such as adventured, if any store had been returned thereof; but it is very true that had all their mountains been of massy gold it was impossible for us to have made any longer stay to have wrought the same; and whosoever hath seen with what strength of stone the best gold ore is environed, he will not think it easy to be had out in heaps, and especially by us, who had neither men, instruments, nor time, as it is said before, to perform the same.
There were on this discovery no less than an hundred persons, who can all witness that when we passed any branch of the river to view the land within, and stayed from our boats but six hours, we were driven to wade to the eyes at our return; and if we attempted the same the day following, it was impossible either to ford it, or to swim it, both by reason of the swiftness, and also for that the borders were so pestered with fast woods, as neither boat nor man could find place either to land or to embark; for in June, July, August, and September it is impossible to navigate any of those rivers; for such is the fury of the current, and there are so many trees and woods overflown, as if any boat but touch upon any tree or stake it is impossible to save any one person therein. And ere we departed the land it ran with such swiftness as we drave down, most commonly against the wind, little less than an hundred miles a day. Besides, our vessels were no other than wherries, one little barge, a small cock-boat, and a bad galiota which we framed in haste for that purpose at Trinidad; and those little boats had nine or ten men apiece, with all their victuals and arms. It is further true that we were about four hundred miles from our ships, and had been a month from them, which also we left weakly manned in an open road, and had promised our return in fifteen days.
Others have devised that the same ore was had from Barbary, and that we carried it with us into Guiana. Surely the singularity of that device I do not well comprehend. For mine own part, I am not so much in love with these long voyages as to devise thereby to cozen myself, to lie hard, to fare worse, to be subjected to perils, to diseases, to ill savours, to be parched and withered, and withal to sustain the care and labour of such an enterprise, except the same had more comfort than the fetching of marcasite in Guiana, or buying of gold ore in Barbary. But I hope the better sort will judge me by themselves, and that the way of deceit is not the way of honour or good opinion. I have herein consumed much time, and many crowns; and I had no other respect or desire than to serve her Majesty and my country thereby. If the Spanish nation had been of like belief to these detractors we should little have feared or doubted their attempts, wherewith we now are daily threatened. But if we now consider of the actions both of Charles the Fifth, who had the maidenhead of Peru and the abundant treasures of Atabalipa, together with the affairs of the Spanish king now living, what territories he hath purchased, what he hath added to the acts of his predecessors, how many kingdoms he hath endangered, how many armies, garrisons, and navies he hath, and doth maintain, the great losses which he hath repaired, as in Eighty-eight above an hundred sail of great ships with their artillery, and that no year is less infortunate, but that many vessels, treasures, and people are devoured, and yet notwithstanding he beginneth again like a storm to threaten shipwrack to us all; we shall find that these abilities rise not from the trades of sacks and Seville oranges, nor from aught else that either Spain, Portugal, or any of his other provinces produce; it is his Indian gold that endangereth and disturbeth all the nations of Europe; it purchaseth intelligence, creepeth into counsels, and setteth bound loyalty at liberty in the greatest monarchies of Europe. If the Spanish king can keep us from foreign enterprises, and from the impeachment of his trades, either by offer of invasion, or by besieging us in Britain, Ireland, or elsewhere, he hath then brought the work of our peril in great forwardness.
Those princes that abound in treasure have great advantages over the rest, if they once constrain them to a defensive war, where they are driven once a year or oftener to cast lots for their own garments; and from all such shall all trades and intercourse be taken away, to the general loss and impoverishment of the kingdom and commonweal so reduced. Besides, when our men are constrained to fight, it hath not the like hope as when they are pressed and encouraged by the desire of spoil and riches. Farther, it is to be doubted how those that in time of victory seem to affect their neighbour nations will remain after the first view of misfortunes or ill success; to trust, also, to the doubtfulness of a battle is but a fearful and uncertain adventure, seeing therein fortune is as likely to prevail as virtue. It shall not be necessary to allege all that might be said, and therefore I will thus conclude; that whatsoever kingdom shall be enforced to defend itself may be compared to a body dangerously diseased, which for a season may be preserved with vulgar medicines, but in a short time, and by little and little, the same must needs fall to the ground and be dissolved. I have therefore laboured all my life, both according to my small power and persuasion, to advance all those attempts that might either promise return of profit to ourselves, or at least be a let and impeachment to the quiet course and plentiful trades of the Spanish nation; who, in my weak judgement, by such a war were as easily endangered and brought from his powerfulness as any prince in Europe, if it be considered from how many kingdoms and nations his revenues are gathered, and those so weak in their own beings and so far severed from mutual succour. But because such a preparation and resolution is not to be hoped for in haste, and that the time which our enemies embrace cannot be had again to advantage, I will hope that these provinces, and that empire now by me discovered, shall suffice to enable her Majesty and the whole kingdom with no less quantities of treasure than the king of Spain hath in all the Indies, East and West, which he possesseth; which if the same be considered and followed, ere the Spaniards enforce the same, and if her Majesty will undertake it, I will be contented to lose her Highness' favour and good opinion for ever, and my life withal, if the same be not found rather to exceed than to equal whatsoever is in this discourse promised and declared. I will now refer the reader to the following discourse, with the hope that the perilous and chargeable labours and endeavours of such as thereby seek the profit and honour of her Majesty, and the English nation, shall by men of quality and virtue receive such construction and good acceptance as themselves would like to be rewarded withal in the like.
THE DISCOVERY[*] OF GUIANA[+]
[+] The name is derived from the Guayano Indians, on the Orinoco.
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's 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 the 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 part is 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 (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 Portuguese 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 ("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 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 (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, whereof 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 through the city, and the next day from sun rising to sun setting, 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 (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 through 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 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; 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 Gomez 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.
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 ere 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, feathers 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 lately by conference with an ancient king, called 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 ere 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 ere 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 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 through 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 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 through 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 sea), 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 through 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 through 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 had 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 through 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, ere 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 messengers 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, 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) 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 ere 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 mouth 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.
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 hollow, 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, ere 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 ere 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.