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This webpage reproduces an article in the
English Historical Review
Vol. 19, No. 73 (Jan. 1904), pp1‑25

The text is in the public domain:
George Edmundson died in 1930.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!

p1 The Dutch on the Amazon and Negro
in the Seventeenth Century

Part II. — Dutch Trade in the Basin of the Rio Negro

Commercial intercourse between the Dutch settlers on the Essequibo and the native tribes of the far interior began very early in the seventeenth century. Evidence exists in the well-known narrative of Padre Christoval de Acuña1 which proves that already in 1639 Dutch wares, brought by traders from the north, were found in the possession of Indians living in the delta which divides the Amazon from the Negro. The passage runs thus: —

Thirty-two leagues from the mouth of the river Cuchigara there is another on the north side, called by the natives Basururu,2 which divides p2the land into great lakes, where there are many islands, which are peopled by numerous tribes. The land is high. . . . In general they call all the natives who inhabit this broad region Carabuyanas, but more precisely the tribes into which they are divided are as follows: the Caraguanas, &c. . . . These Indians use bows and arrows, and some of them have iron tools, such as axes, knives, and mattocks. On asking them carefully, through their language, whence these things came, they answered they bought them of those Indians who in this direction are nearer the sea, and that these received them from some white men, like ourselves, who use the same arms, swords, and arquebuses and who dwell upon the sea coast. They added that these white men could only be distinguished from ourselves by their hair, which is all yellow. These are sufficient signs that they are the Hollanders, who have possession of the mouth of the Rio Dulce,3 or Felipe. These Hollanders, in 1638, landed their forces in Guiana, in the jurisdiction of the new kingdom of Granada, and not only got possession of the settlement, but the affair was so sudden that our people were unable to take away the most holy sacrament, which remained captive in the hands of its enemies. As they knew how much this capture was valued among catholics, they hoped for a large ransom for it. When we left these parts the Spaniards were preparing some good companies of soldiers, who, with Christian zeal, were ready to give their lives to rescue their Lord, with whose favour they will doubtless attain their worthy desires.

In this passage it will be noticed that Acuña, though himself, as his whole narrative shows, entirely ignorant of the geography of the country lying to the north of the river Amazon, evidently reports with great accuracy the information gathered from the natives. The iron wares which they possessed are brought to them by other Indians in that — i.e. northern — direction, nearer the sea. These Indians, as will be shown later, were Caribs from the district of north-west Guiana, lying between the lower river Essequibo and the Orinoco. These Caribs were for the greater part of two centuries not only the close allies but the commercial emissaries of the Dutch in their dealings with the tribes of the interior. The name by which the Dutch were known to the Caribs, and by their agency to all the Indians of Guiana, was Parana-Ghiri,4 meaning 'men from the sea.' When Acuña writes that the iron goods came from 'white men who dwelt upon the sea coast,' p3he was reproducing the literal translation made by his interpreter of a word which, in the mouth of the speakers, signified Dutchmen. The reference to the raid upon Santo Thome, of which an account was given in the English Historical Review for 1901,5 is a touch which leaves no possibility of doubt that the narrator identified 'these fair-haired white men' with the colonists of Essequibo.

This is further borne out, and moreover the route of communication indicated, by a passage in the Jesuit father's next section. After speaking of the tribes who inhabit the Rio Negro, he adds —

And the first inhabitants of a branch that this river throws off, by which, according to my informants, it finds exit into the Rio Grande, in whose mouth the Hollanders are living, are the Guaranaquazanas.

He then proceeds to recommend that the spot at which this branch discharges itself into the Rio Negro should be fortified,

so that the passage to the enemy to all this new world shall remain entirely closed, that without doubt cupidity will essay one day. I do not hesitate to affirm that the Rio Grande, into which this branch of the Negro discharges itself, is the Dulce or the Felipe.

Amidst much that is vague and obscure in this paragraph, in which Acuña confesses to his inability to distinguish between the various rivers upon whose mouths he had heard of Dutch settlements,6 the fact distinctly emerges that the branch of the Rio Negro to which he is referring is that known later by the name of the Rio Branco, and that the communication of which he speaks is that between the head waters of this river and those of the Rupununi, a tributary of the Essequibo. The position of this 'branch' is indeed identified by the fact that the Guaranaquazanas were still living at the mouth of the Branco in 1775,7 and amidst all his confusion p4of nomenclature the father lets it be clearly understood that he believes the northern river to be the Dulce, or Essequibo.

The evidence of Acuña may therefore be conveniently summarised in the two following statements: —

(1) That the Dutch of Essequibo carried on a trade in iron goods and other wares with the natives of the interior which extended as far as the banks of the Rio Negro.

(2) That this trade followed the Rupununi-Branco route and was conducted by the agency of Indians who dwelt near the coast.

We will now take each of these statements and see whether they can be substantiated by evidence from other sources: —

(1) In Major John Scott's 'Description of Guiana'8 the writer states that he derived much of his information from two men 'who happened to be prisoners to the author in his voyage to Guiana, 1665,' when he commanded an English invading force, and whom he describes as 'the two greatest travailers that ever were in Guiana of Christians.' The one was Matthias Matteson, of whom mention has already been made.9 'The other,' to quote Scott's words, 'was one Hendrickson, a Switz by nation, that had served some Dutch merchants in those parts twenty-seven years in quality of a factor with the upland Indians of Guiana.' Of the upland Indians he says —

The Occowyes, Shawhauns, and Semicorals are great, powerful nations that live in the uplands of Guiana, either under the line or in south latitude, and there hath none soe conversed with them as to make a judgment of their numbers, but its most certaine they are setled in a most fertile country, and cover a vast tract of land, beginning at ye Mountains of the Sun on the west and south, and extending themselves to Rio Negro, 500 miles south and east; a famous river there empties itself into the Great Amazones. They had constant warr with some nations on the islands in the Amazones, and are often gauld by the willey Careebs, who often when they are ingaged abroad visett their townes to their noe small prejudice.

It will be observed that, according to Scott, the activities of this Hendrickson, as factor to the upland Indians, began in 1637 or 1638, at a date earlier, therefore, than Acuña's visit to the Basururú. The Dutch merchants that he served must have been Jan de Moor and Company, for these were the only private firm of merchants privileged to trade in the colony of Essequibo.10 The names of the tribes with whom he had relations, under the disguise of the Englishman's spelling, convey but little information. Under the form 'Occowyes,' indeed, it is not difficult to recognise p5the Ackawois or Accuways, the widely extended group of tribes who are spread over the middle or forest region of Guiana. With regard to the 'Shawhauns,' Scott says in his 'Description of the River Amazones,'11 'It is most certaine that there is both gold, silver, and emerald in many of the countries on or adjacent to the Amazones, as at Swanis, near the source of the Black River.' The 'Shahauns' and the 'Swanis' are but different ways of transcribing 'Suanes,' a tribe living between the Amazon and the Negro, whose name may be found in Delisle's map12 of 1700 between two sites marked village d'or and mines d'or. The 'Semicorals' are more difficult to identify, but it appears not to be unlikely that the word may be a corruption of Kenicarus or Cenicarus,13 the name by which the apparelled Indians of the Parimé, spoken of by many early writers, were known. If this is the case these tribal names would seem to have been chosen as representative of three different zones of Hendrickson's trading: the first, that of the 'Occowyes,' between the Upper Essequibo, Mazaruni, and Rupununi; the second, that of the 'Semicorals,' in the Branco basin; the third, that of the 'Shawhauns,' in the delta of the Negro.

While Scott's account Hendrickson carries back the beginning of his service as factor for Jan de Moor & Co. to 1638, there is reason to believe that this was not the first time that the Switzer had acted as factor in Essequibo. In 1627, as we have mentioned,14 Admiral Lucifer, when taking out colonists to the river Wiapoco, found three survivors of Captain Oudaen's settlement at Corupá; one of these, a Dutchman, had almost forgotten his mother tongue, and another, the spokesman of the fugitives, apparently not a Dutchman, was Jan Hendrickson. It may be assumed that Lucifer carried this man back with him to report to the West India Company's directors the destruction of their Amazon colony. They reached Flushing on 25 Oct. In the minutes of the Zeeland chamber15 for 10 April 1628 may be found a resolution that the ship 'Armuyden' be commissioned to p6carry out thirty-five men to various places on the wild coast of Guiana, the final destination being Essequibo. On 17 April the minutes record, 'Jan Hendrickson Benckelaer engaged to lie on the wild coast as assistant for three years;' and under date 26 April 1632, 'Benckelaer coming from Essequibo shall be paid his wages.' Everything points to the identity of this Jan Hendrickson with the man rescued on the Wiapoco, the surname of 'Benckelaer,' as was not uncommon in the early seventeenth century, being given to him on account of his birthplace and to distinguish him from others with the same patronymic. Benckelaer apparently means a 'man of Bencken,' and the only places bearing that name are in Switzerland.16 The man's previous experience on the Amazon would naturally lead to his employment in pushing on trade with the inland tribes living in the direction of that river, such as we find him, according to Scott, actually engaged upon. Moreover the incentive which induced him to seek for the post of factor on the Essequibo may have come from accounts given to him of precious stones to be found in the upper reaches of that river. For Hendrickson had a predecessor in the exploitation of the far interior of Guiana.

The story is interesting and shall be told at length as illustrative of the Dutch methods of trading with the Wild Coast, and of the importance of the Essequibo colony as early as 1625. We have seen17 how the French pères de famille, under Jesse des Forestes, after their unfortunate experience as colonists at Wiapoco, had, in the early summer of 1625, been taken on board the 'Vliegende Draeck' by Geleyn van Stabels, of Flushing, by order of the West India Company's directors. Stabels had been with Admiral Lucifer in the 'Arent,' convoying Captain Oudaen and his settlers to Corupá, and now he and his chief, as was the custom of the time, were coasting slowly along to their ultimate destination, Essequibo, calling as they went at the various river mouths. On 13 August the two ships were together at Seriname, and sailed thence on the 14th, the 'Arent' apparently direct for Essequibo, the 'Draeck,' however, stopping en route at Berbice and Demerary. The Demerary was reached on the 15th, and on the following day Stabels left in his long boat for the Essequibo to see the admiral and learn his wishes. Six days later the long boat returned with the instructions for the 'Draeck' to go to the Essequibo and fetch the remainder of the merchandise which the Admiral had left. Lucifer himself seems to have stayed at Fort Kijkoveral, which, according to Scott, was founded in 1616, while the 'Arent' had left possibly on a cruise to the mouth of the Orinoco. Again, after p7another interval of six days, the 'Draeck' returned to Demarary with the admiral on board, and then discharged him and the cargo on board the 'Arent,' which was proceeding straight home.18

It will be seen that Jesse des Forestes himself spent six days at Kijkoveral. While there, he tells us, he met a fellow countryman, with whom he naturally conversed. The passage of the journal which relates what passed between them is worth quoting.

I saw there a Frenchman that had spent three years there, who showed me a piece of rock crystal as big as two fists, through which one could see a man's features, so clear it was. He told me that he had taken it above the second fall of the river, where there was a mine of crystal, and that it was found at the foot of a mountain, where it consisted of very large stones that the force of the waters had torn away, and with which one could fill infinite canoes. He gave a piece of the stone that he had to Geleyn van Stabels, of Flushing.19

The possessor of the crystals was plainly a ligger, or trading factor, in the Dutch service, who had completed the usual three years' term of his engagement.20 He was doubtless a French refugee,21 Jesse des Forestes, himself and his companions, the pères de famille, and a servant of Jan de Moor & Co. It is important to observe that he claims to have himself explored the p8interior of the country and to have seen the crystal mine with his own eyes. This crystal mine, as later evidence from Dutch sources with high probability indicates,22 lies far to the south (in 3°20′ N. lat.), on the Calikko or Canuku Mountains, close to the river Takutú, and the personal exploitation of it by this Dutch factor shows that already before 1625 commercial and friendly relations had been established between the agents of the authorities at Kijkoveral and the tribes living in the Parimé (Branco) region.

It is in vain that we look through the meagre official records that have survived23 for reference to this far inland traffic of the colonists. They deal in the briefest manner only with the most necessary details of administration. The almost unintentional allusions to this traffic, however, in the two curiously interesting Sloane manuscripts24 not only furnish proof that it existed during a period of at least forty years before 1665, but also when read in the light thrown upon them by the statement of Acuña, afford reasonable evidence for supposing that its existence was continuous.

(2) We now turn to the second branch of our inquiry, which again divides itself into two heads. First, what was the route these Dutch traders followed; and secondly, who were the Indians, spoken of by Acuña, who acted as their agents? A passage, to be quoted directly, from Captain Keymis's25 narrative of his voyage to Guiana in 1596 will be found to suggest the answers to both queries.

It does not fall within my purpose to enter at length into any account of the mythical Lake Paytiti, of the golden city of Manoa, and of El Dorado, the Gilded King. It is sufficient to say that during the whole of the sixteenth century the legend of this treasure-house of the southern continent exercised a marvellous fascination over men's minds, and that adventurer after adventurer perished in the vain search for the mystic lake, which rumour placed now in one now in another of many widely separated localities within the vast area of the Amazon basin.26 The famous voyage of Sir Walter p9Raleigh to Guiana in 1595 was avowedly made in search for El Dorado, in the belief that the object of his quest was to be found in the Guiana hinterland. His converse with many natives in the course of his voyage confirmed him in this belief, which, through the publication of what may be styled his epoch-making Discovery of the Empire of Guiana, with a Relation of the Great and Golden City of Manoa, became rapidly, through many translations, diffused throughout Europe.27 But Raleigh, although he indicated that Manoa 'is founded upon a lake of salt water of 200 leagues long, like upon Mare Caspiã,' did not give any actual data for fixing the exact position of his imaginary inland sea. This was reserved for his lieutenant, Captain Keymis, under whose command a second expedition was despatched to the coast of Guiana in 1596. Keymis, on his return, likewise published an account of his voyage, which contained the passage above referred to.

The Indians, to show the worthiness of Dessekebe (Essequibo), for it is very large and full of islands in the mouth, do call it the brother of Orinoque (Orinoco); it lieth southerly in the land, and from the mouth of it upon the head they pass in twenty days; then taking their provisions, they carry it on their shoulders one day's journey; afterwards they return to their canoes, and bear them likewise to the side of a lake, which the Jaos call Roponowini, the Charibes Parime, which is of such bigness that they know no difference between it and the main sea. There be infinite numbers of canoes in this lake, and I suppose it is no other than that whereon Manoa standeth.

It is difficult to imagine the deep influence which the publication of this passage had upon the minds of geographers. Immediately the Dutchman Jodocus Hondius combined the descriptions of Raleigh and Keymis for the construction of his map entitled 'Nieuwe Caerte van het Goudrycke Landt Guiana, 1599.' In this map appears for first time that great lake 200 leagues long and 40 broad, bearing the name Parimé, or Foponowini,28 and he fixed its position as covering what is now known to be the Rupununi-Parimé (Branco) Savannah. For 150 years from this date every map of Guiana contains this lake, and it was not until the result of the scientific explorations of Alexander von Humboldt were made known at the beginning of the nineteenth century that the belief in the existence of such a lake was at last dissipated. His p10conclusions were finally verified by the great traveller Sir Robert Schomburgk, who spent some eight years (1835‑1844) in a personal investigation of the whole of Central Guiana. In a footnote to his edition of Raleigh29 Schomburgk gives the following explanation of Keymis's statement: —

From the southern foot of the Pacaraima Range extended the great savannahs of the Rupununi, Takutu, and Rio Branco or Parima, which occupy about 14,400 square miles, their average height above the sea being from 350 to 400 feet. These savannahs are inundated during the rainy season, and afford at that period, with the exception of a short portage, a communication between the Rupununi and the Pirara, a tributary of the Mahu or Ireng, which falls into the Takutu, and the latter into the Rio Branco or Parima.

The information which Keymis acquired in 1596 is thus shown to be on the whole marvellously accurate.30 Even the period of twenty days is incidentally mentioned by a recent traveller31 as that which it would normally take to proceed by canoe from the estuary of the Essequibo by way of the Rupununi to the Pirara portage.

Nowhere, not even in England itself, did the narratives of Raleigh and his lieutenant excite so much interest and such general attention as in the United Provinces. The idea of reaching the far-famed El Dorado by the route indicated by Keymis must henceforth have hovered before the eyes of the enterprising merchants, who were so eagerly on the look-out in the first decades of the seventeenth century for fresh avenues for profitable trade on the wild coast. It was not long in taking practical shape. The foundation of a settlement on the Essequibo in 1616, on an island 30 leagues inland, and at the point of junction of three rivers communicating with the far interior, and under the conduct of a man32 who in the Spanish service on the Orinoco had, p11according to Major Scott, already acquired 'the good likeing of the natives whose humours he perfectly understood,' is suggestive not of a plantation but of a trading post established for the opening up of traffic with the tribes of the hinterland. The firm of Zeeland merchants who sent out Groenewegen in 1616 were almost certainly the same as those in whose employment Hendrickson acted as 'factor with the upland Indians' from 1638 to 1665 (that is, Jan de Moor & Co.), and everything indicates that, from the first, commerce with the interior was a leading motive which prompted the enterprise.

Acuña in the paragraph already quoted states that the Indians on the Basururú had received iron goods from white men by the agency of other Indians, who lived nearer the sea. Who these Indians were is suggested by the extract we have given from Captain Keymis. After describing the Pirara portage he says that the Indians bear their canoes to the side of a lake called by the Jaos Roponowini, and by the Charibes Parimé. The Parimé was really the name not of a lake at all, but of a river, that is, of that great arm of the Rio Negro, now known as the Rio Branco, into which travellers from the Essequibo and Rupununi after crossing the Pirara portage descend by a series of navigable tributaries. The Caribs, it is clear, were not only familiar with the portage, but with the communication with the Rio Negro that lay beyond.

This is entirely in accordance with all we know about the Caribs from other sources. The Caribs, in the opinion of those who speak with most authority on the subject,33 were, at the time of which we are treating, comparatively speaking, recent immigrants into Guiana. They were the most warlike and powerful of all the tribes, and yet, unlike the others, they occupied no distinct tract of the country which was specially their own. They are supposed to have originally inhabited the islands of the Caribbean Sea, and to have been driven thence to the mainland in the early days of European settlement in the West Indies. But, despite their warlike qualities, they made no attempt to subjugate the land which they had made their new home. Whether deterred by the near presence and menace of the white man or from other causes, when first known to history they are found scattered far and wide in small settlements among the other tribes, though far more thickly than elsewhere in the district between the Pomeroon and p12the Orinoco, the place, no doubt, where the first immigrants landed; but, though separated, these scattered communities were in constant communication with each other, the habit of the Caribs being to rove about in strong bands up and down the country, creating trade routes for themselves, and bartering goods and slaves either by good-will or by force. They, in fact, occupied a position apart among the other Indian natives, a position at once dominant and ubiquitous.

The following extracts34 from Charles de Rochefort's Histoire Naturelle et Morale des Antilles, published in 1658, have an important bearing upon our subject, for they show that even in the middle of the seventeenth century this wide diffusion of the Caribs had excited attention, and also indicate the source from which the writer drew his information: —

It is a thing out of all controversie there are certain savages who bear the name of Carribians in some quarters of the southerly part of America, where the Spaniards never had any commerce. For not only those of the same nation with our Islanders, who inhabit along those coasts of the Meridional America, and are neer neighbours to the Dutch Colonies of Cayenna and Burbica [Berbice], but also who live far within that Meridional Continent, beyond the sources of the most remarkable rivers, call themselves Caribbeans. . . . And to give a more particular account of these Colonies of the Caribbeans, which are in the Meridional Continent of America . . . The Dutch relations acquaint us, that, advancing yet further towards the Æquator, there lies, at 7 degrees from that line, the great and famous River of Essequeba, neer which are planted first the Arougues [Arrawaks] and next the Caribbians, who are continually at war with them, and have their habitation above the falls of that River, which descend with great violence from the mountains; and thence these Caribbians reach to the source of the same River, and are very numerous and possessed of a vast territory.

Thus this French author testifies, in 1658, that the Caribs were to be found dwelling along the river of Essequibo above the falls, and for an indefinite distance beyond, and he cites the relations of Dutch travellers as his authorities.

This leads us to examine next what is known as to the relations of the Dutch with the Caribs at this time. The records that have come down to us show them to have been of the closest kind, and unique in the history of the dealings of white colonists in America with the native races. The friendship between the two peoples, which continued unbroken for wellnigh two centuries, appears, from certain despatches of the Spanish lieutenant-general in Trinidad, to have been already thoroughly cemented in 1614. In one of p13them35 an account is given of the dislodgment by Captain Melchior Cortes of some Dutch settlers from a fort they had built on the river Corentine. Cortes states that the Dutch 'defended themselves courageously, with the assistance of the Carib folk, who likewise fought with equal courage.' In the fort, when captured, 'there was found burnt a very large quantity of booty — axes, knives, cutlasses, and other things with which they kept the Carib race at their disposal, whose daughters they used to marry.' In another, headed 'Razon del Estado de las cousas de la Isla de la Trinidad,'36 the following passage occurs —

It is proved by the information of six witnesses that this island is generally surrounded by the Flemish and Caribs both by sea and land . . . the Caribs even coming as far as the city to rob and ill-treat them, which comes of their strong alliance with the Flemish, always moving together.

Twenty-three years after this the documents which recount the attack made upon Santo Thomé de Guayana in 1637 (of which mention is made by Acuña) furnish abundant material for our purpose. For example, the cabildo (corporation) of Guayana, in a report dated February 1638,37 write —

This town is in a situation of great distress, with the enemy so near and powerful. The enemy hold seven towns on this coast, and all the Caribs are joined with them, and form a league and confederation with the object of destroying us, in order to occupy this river.

They then proceed to tell the story of the burning of Santo Thomé and the capture of the blessed sacrament, adding, 'The captain who has done this is called Captain Llanes, who speaks the Carib and Aruaca languages well.' Two years later, in a sworn deposition,38 an officer of the relieving force sent from New Granada, after speaking of the Dutch settlements and fortifications, continues —

Captain Llanes commanded in Essequivo, and besides their own forces they are further protected by 10,000 to 12,000 Caribs, in the vicinity of whom they frequent and who are their allies.

Reasons have already been given by me for holding that this 'Captain Llanes' could be no other than Aert Adriaensz Groenewegen,39 who first as head of the 'De Moor' settlers, then as p14commandeur for the Zeeland chamber, was for forty-eight years serving in Essequibo. According to Major John Scott he not only had very great influence and authority with the native tribes, but was one of the Dutch who married Carib wives.

This alliance, however, of the Dutch with the Caribs was one not for offensive and defensive purposes only, but for trade, and especially the trade in red slaves. Scott's remark that the Shawhauns and Semicorals, the Indian tribes of the Negro basin, with whom the factor Hendrickson trafficked, 'are often gauld by the willey [wily?] Careebs, who often when they are ingaged abroad visett their townes, to their noe small prejudice,' may be compared with the statement in a report of Major Diego Ruiz Máldonado in 1639:40 'The Caribs sell these Lutherans the Indian women they steal from the villages, and thereby they are in their service, and they also barter pirogues to enter the rivers.' Moreover in a letter of the governor of Guayana to the king in 1637 we read,41 'The trade and traffic [of the Dutch in Essequibo] are very great, and the Indians frequent them very willingly for the sake of the considerable articles of barter they give them; and that trade and still more is increasing daily . . . and they are making every effort to extend further.' If this statement is compared with the information given to Acuña in 1639 by the Indians of the mouth of the Negro that 'they bought [their iron tools] of those Indians who in this direction are nearer the sea, and that these received them from some white men, like ourselves . . . who dwell upon the sea coast,' and who 'could only be distinguished from ourselves by their hair, which is all yellow,' it will be seen that all the lines of evidence converge to show that the Dutch of Essequibo did carry on, through their factors, a regular barter trade with the tribes of the Negro basin, and by the agency of Caribs.42

The method by which this trade was actually carried on is well described by Padre Joseph Gumilla, a Spanish Jesuit, who, having been a missionary43 on the Dutch borderland during the third and fourth decades of the eighteenth century, could from personal knowledge speak with authority on the subject. After saying that before the Dutch founded their colonies the principal objects of the p15war among the native tribes was to capture the women and children he proceeds —

But since the Dutch established themselves on this coast the object of the war was changed, and now has no other aim than the commerce and profit that results from it, because the Dutch buy from the Caribs as many prisoners as they bring, and even pay them in advance. . . . The fleet of the Caribs go up stream, and they buy from friendly tribes all the captives that they have been able to make in their wars, that are as barbarous as they are unjust, the price of each captive being two axes, two choppers, some beads, or other similar trifles. . . . After they have collected as many head (piezas) as they can buy in those very remote tribes, who are distant as much as 600 leagues from the coast, they leave in possession of the chiefs the iron goods and beads that are left over, so that they (the chiefs) may within the year go on buying until their (the Caribs') return in the following year; and, to avoid all trickery, two or three Caribs remain in each one of those tribes to keep guard over the merchandise they called rescates,44 and had better have called captives, since they thus deprive so many innocent folk of liberty. On departing they protest to the chiefs 'that if on their return they find that the Caribs who have been left with them have received any injury or annoyance, that they will burn their villages and carry off all their wives and children,' so that the chiefs take much care of their guests. As soon as their business is concluded they turn their prows down stream until they arrive at the coast, where are the great part of their villages; when they have reached them they pass on to the Dutch colonies to pay their debts and to receive a fresh advance for the next voyage.45

It will be seen that these inland expeditions were carried out regularly and systematically, and that the Caribs, themselves the commissioned agents of the Dutch, were recognised by the widely scattered and distant tribes of the far interior that they visited as a kind of overlords.

In the records of the eighteenth century there is abundant evidence that Dutchmen were accustomed to accompany the Caribs on these journeys, and probably this was always the case.46 It was so certainly in the expedition of 1661, an account of which p16has been preserved to us by the careful diligence of Scott. In the section of his 'Description of the Amazones' headed 'Of the Commodities,'47 that writer tells us the story of an exploration made by Captain Matteson48 from San Thomé of Guayana, at the head of a party of Spaniards and Spanish Indians, which penetrated, evidently in search of El Dorado, to some spot on the western part of the Great Parimé Savannah.49 This was in 1655. What happened later shall be told in Scott's own words.

In the year 1661 he (Matteson), being disengaged from the Spanish service, went to Desse Keebe (Essequibo), which is a great river on the north side of Guiana in 9 degrees of latitude, and sent to the Dutch there; and one Captain Groonwegle [Groenewegen], governor of that colonie, gladly joyned with him, and they attempted a voyage to the place he had been with ye Spaniards, and were a hundred leagues from the fort south-south-east, but a quarrel happened betwixt the Carreebs they had with them and other Indians there they must pass through,50 and being but fourteen Hollanders and 400 Careebs, did not dare to advance and leave an enemie in their back, returned again.

Matteson and his followers on this occasion would seem to have made their way considerably beyond the Pirara portage, probably to the river Takutú, possibly as far as the Brano (Parimé) itself. This expedition was one of the last enterprises of the veteran Commandeur Groenewegen, and must be looked upon as no mere trading voyage, but as a serious attempt, made officially, at the exploration of the Parimé Savannah, with a view to the exploitation of its reputed mineral wealth. The death of Groenewegen in 1664, followed as it was by the English conquest of Essequibo by Major p17John Scott in 1665, put a stop, however, for the time to any ambitious schemes in this direction, but probably scarcely interrupted the regular trading with the tribes of the interior.

The notice in General Byam's narrative that in August 1665 'one younker Hendryck, a Switts, was sent to still the Indians'51 may be taken to signify that the native tribes continued loyal to the Dutch, and that Hendrickson's service as a factor among them did not terminate with his captivity. The English conquest was, in fact, exceedingly short-lived and in all probability scarcely affected the operations of the inland traders, who would be able to keep up their communications with the coast through Berbice,52 which remained continuously in Dutch hands. A document exists in the Biblioteca Nacional at Lisbon which shows that in 1667 the presence of the Dutch in the district which lay to the west of what was then the Portuguese frontier fortress of Corupá (Gurupa) had excited the alarm of the governor of Maranhão. He speaks of 'their always making their way through that district from the north, treating and trading with the natives, a matter which demands serious consideration,' adding, 'Hence a captain should be very vigilant and careful in his guard of his majesty's fortress, which has been entrusted to him.'53

During the following nineteen years54 the archives have nothing to tell us about the commerce of the Dutch traders in the Negro. This is not wonderful, for the region which they frequented was a terra incognita to all Europeans save themselves, and their own object in their daring journeys to these remote tribes in the heart of an unknown continent was profit, not publicity. It was not until the adventurers came into contact with the Portuguese missionaries and slave-hunting troops (tropas de resgate) that their presence or their doings found a chronicler. A cursory glance at the history of Pará and Maranhão during the period between 1668 and 1686 at once accounts for the silence of the records of those colonies upon any other matters than those of the disorders of the country. It was a period of disturbance and anarchy, of acute disputes between the Jesuits and the inhabitants, ending, in 1684, in open rebellion.55 So far from advancing the Portuguese dominion further inland, even the fortress of Corupá (Gurupá) was allowed p18to fall into ruin.56 The appointment of an able and vigorous governor, Gomes Freire de Andrade, in 1684, in the very crisis of the revolt at São Luis, led to the speedy restoration of order, and then to measures being taken for the development and extension of the colony.57 He caused several expeditions to be equipped for the exploration of the Amazon and its tributaries, and for the pushing forward of missionary enterprise. He himself left a report upon these expeditions and their results for the information of his successor, Artur Saa de Menezes, who became governor in 1687. In this document he relates how one of these exploring parties had entered the Rio Madeira, and had found that the natives on the banks of that river were supplied by foreigners with iron goods. To use the governor's own words, 'these (foreigners) enter by the Rio Orinoco, that disembogues in the coast in which they live, and they come introducing themselves so far down the Madeira as to arrive at an encounter with our canoes.' He then adds, 'The Rio Negro also is frequented by the foreigners, and with so much greater boldness that it is rarely that they are not to be found in it, trafficking.'58 At this period then, when their possession of the Rio Negro was still unchallenged and undisturbed, we find that these enterprising Hollanders, not content even with that vast field for the barter of their wares, were pushing on their trade along the main stream of the Amazons,59 and into some at least of its great tributaries southwards.

But besides the presence of the Dutch two other causes contributed at this time to arouse the Portuguese to a sense of the insecurity of their hold upon the river Amazon. Their possession of the northern mouth of the Cabo de Norte was threatened by the French from Cayenne, and that of the Solimões60 by the astonishing success of the Spanish Jesuit missions among the Omaguas and Jurimaguas, under the direction of Padre Samuel Fritz.61 In 1689 p19Padre Samuel, having heard that a Portuguese troop of slave-raiders had ascended the river Solimões as far as the Cuchivaras (mouth of Purús), determined to go down stream to protest in person against what he regarded as an intrusion into the territory of the king of Spain. He did more than this, for, being in a weak state of health from severe attacks of fever, he not only joined the troop, but went down in their company to Belem to recruit, and to state his case before the governor in person. He reached Para more dead than alive, and was nursed in the Jesuit college for two months. The question of the boundary, which he had raised, was referred to the decision of the home government, and meanwhile the missionary was detained for eighteen months until a reply had been received from the king. The decision was that he should be allowed to return to his field of labour; and under the escort of a Portuguese troop, under the command of Antonio de Miranda, he started on 9 July 1691 on his long ascent, the record of which, as told by himself, accurately portrays the extent of Portuguese jurisdiction in the river at that date.

Padre Samuel, in the early days of September, visited a Mercenarian missionary settlement on the river Urubú, by whom he had been kindly treated on his descent two years before. This was the highest missionary settlement as yet founded.62 A new fort had been built at the mouth of the Tapajos, but though the king had commanded a fort to be erected at the mouth of the Negro it had not been begun. Fritz visited the Tarumas, the tribe living on the north side of the mouth of the Negro, and was received by them in the most friendly fashion. They begged him to remain and be their padre, as they had no love for the Portuguese. Having reached once more his mission of the Omaguas, Fritz set to work with redoubled energy to lay his views on the frontier when before the Spanish governor at Lima, and to resist to his utmost the advance of the Portuguese into what he held to be the domains of his most catholic majesty. This attitude of his, and the hold that he had p20won over the affections of the Indians, thoroughly alarmed the Portuguese authorities. Artur Saa de Menezes had been succeeded in 1691 as governor of Maranhão and Pará by Antonio Albuquerque Coelho de Carvalho, a man of enterprise and vigour. He at once took in hand the pressing need of strengthening the existing forts on the Amazon and erecting new ones, but was sorely hampered by the lack of funds and supplies. The records tell us that in February 169363 the construction of the guard house at the mouth of the Rio Negro was delayed for want of master masons, but there is evidence that it was begun in November of that year,64 and that it was completed and garrisoned shortly afterwards. From this time forward egress from the Rio Negro was closed to the Dutchmen.

Simultaneously with the building of the fort the attention of the government, stimulated doubtless by all that they had heard of the success of Samuel Fritz, was directed to the regulation and pressing forward of missionary effort. By a royal order, dated 13 March 1693,65 a division of missionary districts was made. In the region which we are specially considering the district of the Jesuits was placed to the south of the Amazon, those of the Mercenarians and Carmelites to the north. The Rio Negro and the delta that lay between the Negro and the Solimões, and both banks of the Solimões, fell to the Carmelites, who began from 1695 onwards to push forward along this last-named river,66 with a view to checking the further advance eastward of the Spanish mission under Padre Samuel Fritz. Not yet for some years was any mission settlement founded on the Rio Negro higher than that of the Tarumas, near the fort.

This was the state of things when, early in 1695, the same Antonio de Miranda who had escorted Padre Samuel back to his mission in the autumn of 1691 was despatched on an expedition of inquiry up the Solimões, the objects of this expedition being to discover whether the Castilians were journeying about in the villages of the Cambebás, and, as report said, raising fortifications within the Portuguese dominions, and to ascertain, if possible, the exact position of the boundary mark set up by Pedro Teixeira. Before, however, proceeding to execute his main commission, Miranda sailed a short distance up the Negro, as far as the mouth of the river Anauinenas, where he parleyed with the headmen of that tribe, 'impressing upon them the advantage of maintaining p21good relations with the Portuguese by assisting in the service of that fort, which it had pleased his majesty to order to be constructed in those parts for their better security,67 and more to the same effect. His official report then proceeds as follows: —

After having made these parleys and delayed a sufficiently long time in these villages, I was inquiring whether along those their shores any Castilians or strangers were in the habit of passing and doing trade with them; and upon this particular they replied that Castilians had never come into their lands, and they were still less aware that any such had been fortifying themselves in the villages of the Cambebas, since they lay so distant that they had no reason for getting to know it; but entering sometimes into the houses of these Indians I saw various foreign articles, such as iron implements, knives, and other like commodities, and questioning from whence these things came to them they told me that the soldiers were in the habit of bringing them from the head waters of their river; and that such were in the habit of coming and trafficking with their gossips (compadres); and that by their contracts with the same Indians they used to distribute these commodities amongst them, the which they esteem the more because they are much better than ours, for which cause they never want any of ours, and any that they have they attach small value to. On this particular I warned them that they should not trade with the strangers that one presumes to be Hollanders, since your lordship so commanded it, and that as vassals of his majesty they ought to keep his laws and orders, which they promised to do; but it seems to me that never will they dispense with this convenience, unless they be prevented by other means, because, as they find the commodities of these strangers better than ours, they are always sure to stick to those they value most, and unless we put a stop to this commerce, by other means, it is impossible that they should ever cease to keep up their communication,68 which is much to our prejudice.

p22 About eighteen months later the governor, Antonio Albuquerque, himself made a journey of inspection into the interior, and he likewise makes a statement about the Dutch commerce to the following effect: —

In the Rio Negro they informed me that the Hollanders were in the habit of coming to traffick with the natives, ascending by the river Orinoco, which is below Cayana, and crossing by land some days' journey to this part of the river Amazon with a quantity of goods; these they expend liberally in bartering with the Indians for slaves, and with this object hide them from the missionaries and the head of the block-house.69

Thus, through the very fact that the Portuguese were at the close of the seventeenth century beginning to circumscribe the sphere of Dutch enterprise to the east and south of the mouth of the Negro, strong evidence comes to hand, testifying to both the extent and the regularity of the traffic which the Hollanders carried on in the lower reaches of that river, and to the intimate relations of good-will and friendship existing between the traders and the native tribes whom they supplied with goods.

Another remarkable piece of first‑hand evidence, of the same date as the preceding, reaches us on the authority of Padre Samuel Fritz,70 not only showing that this traffic was not confined to the Lower Negro, but also indicating the route and the manner in which the commodities travelled to their destination. Fritz writes: —

On 14 March (1695) I arrived at the settlement of Na Sra de las Nieves71 of the Jurimaguas. . . . Before my arrival the caciques of the Aizuares and Banomas72 had charged them of Na Sra de las Nieves to advise them when I should arrive at the place, since they wished to come to see and parley with me, and so a few days after my arrival at the first advice the said caciques set out, ascending from very remote parts, having some of them spent more than twenty days in arriving. Meanwhile I occupied myself in instructing the Jurimaguas in their tongue, which is quite different from that of the Omaguas. The caciques arrived. I explained to them also in part the mysteries of the Christian religion, and I gave them to understand how for love of them alone, that they should not go to hell, had I come from very distant lands, and I moved about amongst them with very great inconvenience, because they lived so far from one another in islands unsuitable for the erection of a fixed church. More than this, they already saw themselves so persecuted by the Portuguese p23that I had counselled them to transport73 themselves up stream to the neighbourhood of San Joaquin of the Omaguas, where I would assist and instruct them with much love, and they were agreeing with all that I said to them. . . . I perceived that, notwithstanding that all showed themselves desirous of following me up the river, they had many motives to keep them back from this resolution; and the principal is this, that living down there they easily and at little cost provide themselves with English iron goods from the river Orinoco, because they buy them with necklaces that they make of shells,74 that are more valued among those tribes than those of glass. With these necklaces the traders that they call 'Cavauri' go to lands of other heathen, and ransom captives; these they then convey by the Rio Negro to the Guaranaguas up to the place where the English arrive, because in a few days from these Guaranaguas travelling by land one arrives at the Pajonales and Rio Orinoco.

In this passage Fritz, whose personal acquaintance with the upper portion of the main stream of the Amazon was so exceptional, and whose writings and map added so much to geographical knowledge, shows himself to be as ignorant of the geography of the Rio Negro and of the vast region lying between that river and the sea as Governor Antonio Albuquerque Coelho de Carvalho and the rest of his contemporaries. He knew of no great river emptying itself northwards into the Caribbean Sea, except the Orinoco, and apparently he was unaware of the existence of the Dutch colonies on the coast. The statement that these goods were English was no doubt a mere inference on his part, as it may be regarded as certain that the natives, in this case, as in that of Acuña in 1639, spoke of the foreigners by some descriptive term signifying 'fair white men from the sea,' a translation into their own tongue of the Parana-Ghiri of the Caribs.

The place, however, to which these foreigners came with their goods for distribution can be identified with the spot afterwards occupied by the Portuguese settlement of Carvoeiro or Aricari. The following passage, from a description of the Amazons and Negro, published in 1770,75 makes this sufficiently clear.

The river Uaranacua (western mouth of the Rio Branco) borders on the settlement of Carvoeiro. It was inhabited formerly by Indians, of the Uaranacuacena and Parauaana nations. Less than half a day's voyage from it up stream there formerly was founded on its eastern bank a village of Indians that united themselves to the settlement of Carvoeiro, it being still on the bank of the river Cavauri or Caburi.

p24 And a glance at Fritz's own map76 enables us to see that he places the Indian tribe, whom he names 'Cavauri,' in that locality between the mouth of the Cuchivaras (Purús) and the Negro, where the Rio Caburi in reality flows. Thus the transit of goods took place between the Cavauri, who lived on the south side of the Negro, and the Guaranaguas or Uaranacuacenas, who lived half a day distant on the north side, at the mouth of the Branco. The last sentence of the quotation from Fritz is a reflexion of the dim and confused impression made upon him by the description by the Indians of the route by the Branco,77 the Pirara portage, and the Essequibo. We have here an excellent illustration of the way in which these Dutch factors made use not only of the Caribs, but of other native tribes in the far interior, as commercial travellers, commissioned to carry their axes, knives, and other barter goods still further afield.78

But one thing is needed to set the seal upon the deductions that have been drawn from the reports of the Portuguese governor of Pará and from the journal of the Spanish missionary of the Omaguas, a piece of confirmatory testimony from an official upon the Guiana coast. This is not wanting. The authorities that have been quoted from the side of the Amazon can be supplemented in a remarkable way by a passage from a despatch of Francisco de Menezes, governor of Trinidad, to the king, dated 29 Aug. 1784.79 This governor reports that he has received news of the return of a Carib expedition from the head waters of the Orinoco, whither they had voyaged in search of El Dorado, and that 'they (the Caribs) had gone to the settlements of the Dutch to ascend with them to the said head waters.' His conceptions of the geography of the river at the mouth of which his own governorship lay will be apparent from the following extract: —

I cannot refrain from submitting to your majesty's royal consideration the paucity of men, arms, and ammunition there is in this province for the purpose of being able to resist any attack that might be made by the natives by whom the Orinoco is so infested, wherein there are four settlements of Dutch fortified with forts and artillery, the one in the river of Berbice, another in that of Essequibo, another in that of Bauruma [Pomeroon], and another in that of Surinam, all affluents of the Orinoco. p25They have penetrated a good way into the interior of the country, and I have very trustworthy information that they have even forges for smelting metals established in the interior of the country, a matter which gives food for consideration, taken together with the reports of the said Caribs, for they said they were going in search of the Dutch at Berbice, in order to go up with them on their discovery.

Two statements here demand especial attention. First, it will be seen that, according to Francisco de Menezes, the rivers occupied by the Dutch on the Guiana coast were all affluents of the Orinoco. So extraordinary a blunder on the part of a high official so advantageously placed for knowing the facts at once explains, and to some extent justifies, the assumption of Fritz, Albuquerque, and others that the only trade route between the Rio Negro and foreigners on the North Sea was by way of the Orinoco. Secondly, the assertion is made on 'very trustworthy information' that the Dutch in 1694 were firmly established in the far hinterland of their Guiana colonies and were contemplating a further advance. Their recorded presence, therefore, in 1695 in the Negro and the Solimões need occasion no surprise. The facts reported by Antonio de Miranda and Samuel Fritz are the natural sequel to those contained in the despatch of Francisco de Menezes.

At this point the task, which we had proposed, of tracing out from slight and meagre notices, scattered here and there among the buried records of early colonisation on the Amazons and in Guiana, an account of the intercourse between the Dutch of Essequibo and the Indians of the Negro basin during the seventeenth century comes to a close. It has not been an easy task, for the region with which we have been dealing was (as previously stated) unknown during this period to any Europeans save the Dutch traders, and the allusions to their operations, in documents treating of other subjects, are usually hazy and indefinite, and often difficult of interpretation. It was to be expected that it should be so. The confident boldness, however, with which these factors penetrated so many hundreds of leagues inland, amidst countless dangers from the cataracts and rapids which barred their way, from disease, and still more from the hostility or the treachery of the untamed savages, who roamed along the river banks and in the savannahs of the interior, cannot but arouse our wonder, and it is only right that such extraordinary hardihood, accompanied as it must have been by marvellous skill in dealing with and conciliating the natives, should have some record in history. That it has not been possible to make it more complete is due not to lack of industry in research, but to lack of material. Considering the nature of the subject, one ought rather to be grateful that the archives have produced so much than surprised that they contained so little.

George Edmundson


The Author's Notes:

1 Nuevo Descubrimiento del Gran Rio de la Amazonas. Madrid, 1641. The Jesuit father Christoval de Acuña, by order of King Philip IV, accompanied the expedition of Pedro Teixeira on its return voyage from Quito to Pará as official historiographer. The translation is partly taken from Sir Clements Markham's Valley of the Amazons, pp108, 110, 111 (Hakluyt Society), but carefully compared with the Spanish original.

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2 The name of this river, like those of many others, has changed since the time of Acuña, the reason of this being that the original natives were entirely driven away or destroyed by the Portuguese slave-raiders. The Spanish missionary Samuel Fritz, ascending the river in 1691, recounts in his journal (MS. Bibl. Nac. de Evora) that he found the shore between the mouths of the Negro and Cuchiguara entirely deserted. The name, however, survived till 1755, when it occurs for the last time in a report of Governor Mendouça Furtado. It now bears the name Macracapuru. The description of this river by Lieut. Kerndon, U. S. Navy, in 1854 proves the identity: '4 Jan., at 7 P.M., we stopped at the village of Pescará, at the mouth of the Lake Macracapuru, forty-five miles from the mouth of the Purus (i.e. the eastern mouth). It is situated on an eminence 100 feet high. The entrance to the lake is bold and wide, quite 300 yards across. A man of Pescara told me it takes two days' journey to the opening of the lake; that the lake was very long and about three miles wide; that it was full of islands, and that no one knew its upper extremity.'

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3 Rio Dolce was the early name given to the river Essequibo. So it appears in the maps of Ortelius, 1587; of Mercator, 1595; Hondius, 1602, and others. Acuña had heard that the Dutch had had settlements on the Rio Felipe, at the mouth of the Amazon, and he evidently thought Felipe an alternative for Dolce. He speaks a little further on of 'Dulce o el Felipe.'

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4 See Schomburgk's edition of Raleigh's Guiana, notes, pp9 and 77. To this day it is the name by which the Dutch and their successors, the English, are known to the tribes of the Parimé-Rupununi savannahs.

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5 'The Dutch in Western Guiana,' ante, vol. XVI pp671‑3. The following from a report of the commander of the relief expedition mentioned by Acuña is given to make the reference absolutely clear: 'Escribiola el sargento maior Diego Ruiz Maldonado, en el biaxe que llevo el socorro a la Guiana por horden de Don Martin de Saabedra y Guzman, presidente, governador y capitan-general del Nuebo Reino de Granada. . . . El año de 1638 asalto el enemigo Olandes la Ciudad de Santeº Thomé de Guaiana, quemola y sus templos, llevose la custodia del santissimo sacramento, teniendole como prisionero en su fuerça de Esquibo con guardia. A el socorro y restauracion de lo perdido embio Don Martin de Saavedra y Guzman, un tercio de mas de duzientes ynfantes,' &c., 1638‑9. Biblioteca Nacional, Madrid. MS. H. 180.

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6 In the Spanish manuscripts which refer to the attack on Sante Thomé in 1637 the Dutch are described as being settled not only on the Essequibo but on the Amacuru within the mouth of the Orinoco. It was from Amacuru that the attacking force actually set out. Acuña confused these two settlements with one another, and with those other settlements at the mouth of the Amazon destroyed by Teixeira in 1628‑9. The Rio Dolce (Essequibo), Rio Felipe (northern mouth of Amazon), and Rio Grande (Orinoco) were to him one and the same river, i.e. the river colonised by the Dutch.

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7 F. X. Ribeiro de Sampaio, auditor intendente-general of the captaincy of Rio Negro, in his Diario da Viagem, 1775, section CCCXLI, speaking of the village of Carvoeiro, on the south bank of the Negro, says, 'This village consists of the Manoa, Paraviana, and Uaranácoacena tribes . . . opposite this village the river Uarancoa discharges itself. It was formerly occupied by the Uaranácoacena tribe.' The river Uaranacoa is one of the mouths of the Branco; the UaranácoacenẠare the Guaranaquazanás of Acuña.

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8 Brit. Mus., Sloane MS. 3662, fol. 37 verso; see ante, vol. XVI p641.

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9 Ante, vol. XVI p641, XVIII pp653 seq.

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10 Ante, vol. XVI pp669‑74.

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11 Bodleian Library, Rawlinson MS. A, 175.

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12 Venezuelan Atlas, no. 36. Acuña, describing the low-lying land between the mouth of the Japura and the Negro, its lakes, and connecting streams, says, 'Islands are formed which are peopled by many tribes, but that which is largest and most populous is the Island of Zuanas.' In Delisle's map of 1703 the name is written 'Zuanas.'

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13 These Indians, who wore clothes and hats, are mentioned by Raleigh, Keymis, Acuña, and others. Schomburgk, in his edition of Raleigh's Guiana, quotes in his note Hartzinck's Beschryving van Guiana as saying, 'The borders of Lake Parimé are inhabited by numerous natives; some are clothed,' and himself observes, 'We have little doubt that the clothed Indians alluded to by Hartzinck were Kenicarus or half-civilised Indians, who came from the river Branco.' See also Spix and Martius, Reise in Brasilien, III.1303 (1831).

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14 Ante, vol. XVIII pp659, 660; De Laet, Jaerlijck Verhael, pp112, 117.

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15 Rijk's Archief, The Hague, W. I. C., O. C., 'Resolutie Boeck. Kamer Zeeland.' Brit. Case Venez., app., I.64.

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16 There are two places named Benken, one to the west of the Lake of Zürich. General Byam in 1665 speaks of 'one younker Hendryck, a Switts' (infra p17).

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17 Ante, vol. XVIII pp656‑8.

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18 Brit. Mus., Sloane MS. 179, B; Brit. Case Venez., app., I.61: 'Le douzième d'Aoust, nous partismes de Soraname pour aller à Ezikebe. Le troisième nous arrivasmes à Seraname ou nous trouvasmes l'Aigle Noir Vice-Admiral de Lucifer qui avoit pris quelques bois de lettre que ses gens auoient coupés. Le quatorzième nous arrivasmes au droit de Berbise où nous envoyasmes la chaloupe our traicter. Le quinzième nous arrivasmes à Demelari. Le seizième notre chaloupe fut à Ezikebe pour porter notre maitre au bord de l'Amiral de sçavoir sa volonté . . . le vingt-deuxiesme notre chaloupe estant de retour, nostre navire fut à Ezikebe quererº le reste des marchandises que l'amiral y avait laissé. Le vingt-huitième nous retournasmes d'Ezikebe enclust [sic] à Demelari le 1, 2, et 3, nous debarquasmes l'Amiral et Dragen verd dans l'Aigle Noir qui devait retourner au pays.' That the vessels actually went to Kijkoveral is shown by the map accompanying this narrative, where their course among the islands and up the estuary is correctly marked, and their anchorage opposite the island of Kijkoveral. That they were then able, without apparent difficulty, to make their way so far up this stream is evidence that its navigation was familiarly known. Comp. ante, vol. XVI pp667‑8.

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19 Sloane MS. 179 B. Brit. Case Venez., app., I.62. Geleyn van Stabels is thus a link of connexion between the Frenchman and Jan Hendrickson.

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20 Brit. Case Venez., app., I.63‑5. Extracts from the proceedings of the Zeeland chamber. '17 Dec. 1626, Johannes Beverlander is taken into the company's service for three years to lie (liggen) in the River of Isekepe. 23 Aug. 1627, it was resolved to raise the wages of Jan van der Goes in Essequibo after his first three years (for which he is bound to the company). 13 April 1628, Jan van Woerden, of Flushing, is engaged for 20 guilders a month to lie in the Amazon for the space of three years. 17 April 1628, Jan Hendrickson Benckelaer is engaged to lie on the Wild Coast as assistant for the space of three years. Also Burger Graeff was engaged to lie on the Wild Coast for the space of three years.'

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21 If this Frenchman returned home, as is not improbable, in the ship of Geleyn van Stabels, he may be identical with Claude Prevost, with whom in 1626 De Moor made arrangements for taking out some colonists to Cayenne; but this is merely conjecture. Brit. Case Venez., app., I.63.

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22 Brit. Case Venez., app., IV.39. See the despatch of the W. I. C. directors to director-general, Essequibo, 9 Oct. 1769. 'So we come to your letter of 3 June last, containing an ample account of the various discoveries made by the postholder of Arinda, Gerrit Jannsen, in his journey to the Crystal Mine, otherwise called the Calikko Mountain.'

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23 No extant Dutch records refer to the beginnings of the settlement, and all the records for the period 1645‑1657 are lost.

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24 The manuscripts of Scott and Des Forestes, Sloane 3662 and 179B.

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25 Cayley's Life of Raleigh, I.159, 236, 283; Schomburgk's edition of Raleigh's Discovery of the Empire of Guiana, Intr., pp51‑2; Humboldt and Bonplan's Personal Narrative of Travels to the Equinoctial Regions of the New Continent, 1799‑1804, Eng. tr., V.794. Schomburgk remarks that from the date of the publication of this passage 'the isthmus which is formed by the rivers Rupununi and Parima became the classical soil of El Dorado de Parima.'

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26 See Markham's introduction to The Search for El Dorado, 1560‑1 (Hakluyt Society).

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27 An abridged Latin translation was published in Nuremberg, 1599, by Levinus Hulsius with five curious prints. The second of them represents 'Manoa o el Dorado' with part of the Essequibo River and the Indians carrying their boats and cargoes overland to the lake, as described by Keymis.

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28 On the lake is written a translation of Keymis's words, 'Dit Lac wordt van de Natie Canibales genaempt Parime, ende van de Jaos Fopono Wini;' so too the maps of same date of Hulsius and De Bry. See also later maps De Laet, 1624; Blaeuw, 1635, 1640‑2; Sanson, 1656; and others. Most of these have simply Parime Lacus; Sanson, Parime, or Roponowini. D'Anville in his great map of 1748 left it out for the first time on the authority of the Dutch explorer Nicolas Horstman.

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29 P. 76 A living traveller, Mr. im Thurn, in his interesting book Among the Indians of Guiana, thus writes: 'Below at my feet lay a vast and level plain . . . In the far distance the plain was bounded by the ridges of the Pacaraima Mountains, which were at that moment much hidden by dense white clouds. . . . Presently the sun began to shine with power, and lighted up each jutting fantastic point of this low-lying mist until the whole seemed a city of temples and towers, crowned with gilded spires and minarets. The level plain at my feet was the so‑called lake Amoocoo or Parima, and the glittering cloud-city was on the supposed site of the fabled golden city of El Dorado or Manoa' (p36).

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30 Exploracion oficial por la primera vez desde el Norte de la América del Sur, por F. Michelena y Rojas,' 1867. This author writes, 'It is in these parts that the valley of the Amazons communicates with that of Essequibo by means of the Avaricuru, a tributary of the Rupununi, which is united by a portage of a few hours' journey with Lake Amucu. . . . A short portage of 800 yards separates the basin of the Amazons from that of the Essequibo' (p419).

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31 Im Thurn, Among the Indians of Guiana, p31.

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32 Scott's 'Description of Guiana,' Sloane MS. 3662. For a full discussion of the authenticity of Scott's account of the foundation of the Essequibo colony and other matters relating to its early history see ante, vol. XVI p640 et seqq. One of the chief points established in that article is that the colony was undoubtedly founded by private enterprise, and that private enterprise had a large part in its development even in the period after 1624, when it passed under the administration of the Zeeland chamber of the Dutch West India Company. The firm of Jan de Moor & Co., whose beginnings are recorded in the Alás MS., had, as the records show, a privileged position to trade in the colony.

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33 Im Thurn, pp173‑5, &c.; Brett, The Indian Tribes of Guiana, pp315, 338, &c.

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34 Our extracts are taken from an English translation by John Davies of Kidwell, 1666, pp205 and 226. It has been compared with the original and is a faithful rendering.

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35 Brit. Case Venez., app., I.31.

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36 Ibid. p57.

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37 Ibid. pp102, 103; see also pp110, 111, 115, 120, 121, 124, 128.

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38 Deposition of Captain Don Francisco de Salazar. Arch. Gen. de Indias, Simancas, secular audiencia de Santa Fé. Salazar in his deposition makes the interesting statement that the object of the attack of Captain Llanes was to set free a Dutchman named 'Monsieur,' who had been taken at Tobago and was their governor. This was Cornelis, son of Jan de Moor. See ante, vol. XVI pp671‑2.

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39 Ante, vol. XVI pp571‑2. 'Llanes' is the mispronunciation by the Spanish Indians of 'Adriaenz,' the patronymic by which Groenewegen was generally known. Many of the Indians cannot pronounce the 'r' sound. Thus Rupununi becomes Apononi.

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40 Brit. Case Venez., app., I.120.

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41 Ibid. p107.

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42 The Caribs had colonies on the Branco, Negro, and Amazon, and even further south, from an early period. In Delisle's map of 1700, side by side with the Suanes (Shawhauns) are the Quarabes (Caribs). At one end of the Basururú we find the Caribans, at the other the Caripunas, local names for Caribs. In the following century the Caripunas of the Parimé savannah are constantly mentioned as the friends and agents of the Dutch. Schomburgk (Raleigh, p56) comments on the interchangeability of 'p' and 'b' in the Indian dialects. CarapanaCaribiana.

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43 He was for a number of years head of the Jesuit mission in Guiana.

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44 'Tropas de resgate,' was the regular Portuguese name for the expeditions sent up the Amazon to collect slaves. The word literally means 'rescues.' It was supposed that only captives taken in war and condemned to death — 'de corda' — were enslaved. 'Eram de corda, e como taes se diziam resgatados.' Azevedo, Os Jesuitas no Grão Pará, p66.

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45 Historia Natural, Civil y Geographica de las Naciones situadas en las Riberas del Rio Orinoco, por Padre Joseph Gumilla, 1741, tom. II pp72‑4.

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46 Brit. Case Venez., app., III p84. Gumilla himself in a report says, 'Se entremeten algunos Olandeses en las armadas de los Indios Caribes, pintados al uso de aquelles Barbaros con lo qual los animan,' p64. Another Spanish report: 'Los Olandese natibes en aquellas Colonias que acompanãn a los Carives los enseñan á manejar las armas.' Another, app. II p148: 'Algunos an estado mas de diezañosº entre los Caribes de fixo, haciendo dicho comercio de Poytos, y estos sin moverse los embian á Esquivo á sus apoderados quando les embian otros resgates para comprar mas á los Caribes, lo menos que estan es de un año, o dos hasta tres.'

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47 Bodleian Library, Rawlinson MS. A 175, f. 356.

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48 The story of this man's career for forty years, first in the Dutch, then the Portuguese, then in the Spanish service at Santo Thomé (for twenty-two years), has been already told (ante, vol. XVIII p653 seq.). In 1661 he re‑entered the Dutch service, and after his capture by Scott in 1665 that of England. He was lost in a hurricane with Lord Willoughby of Parham, 1666.

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49 Scott says, 'They marched eightie days east and east-south-east, partly by periagues, and most on foot till they came to a Colonie of Indians scittuate on a faire plaine not far from a great lake, and a mightie ridge of mountains from whence they brought a quantitie of gould and traded with the natives for some vessels and weapons of silver; and this Captain Mattison had several emeralds that he brought from thence. He was of opinion that they were not above fiftie leagues from the head of Dessekeebe.' Everything in this description points to Matteson having followed the river Caroni to its sources, and then made his way to the south-east of the celebrated Mount Roraima. Schomburgk (Raleigh, p29, note) says, 'There is near the source of one of the chief branches of the river Caroni, at Mount Roraima, a mineral substance (jasper), resembling in colour verde antique; it is of so hard a substance that it is used in lieu of flint by the natives, who besides carry on with it a trade of barter with the other tribes.'

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50 These Indians were possibly the warlike Manoas of the Upper Negro. They were itinerant trader, like the Caribs, and frequented the Parimé. The imaginary city of Manoa on Lake Parimé no doubt derived its name from them. The Dutch records of 1723‑4 record hostile collisions between them and the Caribs even in the Upper Essequibo, where their trading parties had penetrated. See Brit. Case Venez., app., II.2, 3.

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51 Journall of Guiana, 1665‑7, Brit. Mus. Sloane MS. 3662.

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52 General Byam states (ibid.) that Essequibo was retaken by the Dutch in 1666 by a force from Berbice under the commandant Matthijs Bergenaar. A point on the Essequibo, not many miles from the mouth of the Rupununi, is connected by a frequented path of about ten miles with the Berbice.

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53 Archivo do Conselho Ultramarino Lembretes, 1668‑72. No. d'Ordem 589. Accusation brought by Governor Albuquerque Coelho de Carvalho against the captain of the fortress of Gurupá for negligence in his duty. 9 Jan. 1668.

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54 A raid upon the Omaguas is reported by a Spanish Jesuit missionary in 1681. See Rodriguez, El Marañon y Amazones, 1684, pp395, 399.

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55 Lucio d'Azevedo, Os Jesuitas no Grão Pará, Lisbon, 1901; cap. V, A Anarchia, p109, 1667‑8; Desordem Geral, p118, 1684; Revolução em São Luis, p120, 1685; Gomes Freire de Andrade restabelece a ordem, 1686; Southey, Hist. of Brazil, II.500‑633.

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56 Bibl. Nac. de Lisboa, Arch. Conselho. Ultr., Cartas de Maranhão, vol. I f. 69; Bibl. pub. d'Evora, cod. CXVI ff. 1‑7, Noticiario Maranhense.

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57 Domingo Teixeira, Vida de G. Freyre de Andrade. Lisbon, 1724.

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58 Bibl. Nac. de Lisboa. 'Entra destes pello Rio Orinoco que desagua na costa em que habitam e vem se introduzindo já tanto pello Madeira abaixo que chegão a encontrarse com as nossas canoas. . . . Tambem o Rio Negro he frequentado dos estrangeiros e con tanta mais demasia que raras vezes deixão de se achar nelle, comerciando.' Andrade imagines the Dutch must have come by the Orinoco, because he was ignorant of the very existence of Rio Branco.

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59 The account in Manoel Rodriguez's El Marañon y Amazonas of the raid on the Omaguas in 1681 renders it highly probable that the whole Amazon River between the mouths of the Madeira and of the Iça was visited at this period by the Dutch.

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60 Solimões is the Portuguese name for the Amazon between the mouths of the rivers Negro and Napo.

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61 This extraordinary man entered upon his labours among the Omaguas in 1686, and succeeded in converting them and the neighbouring tribes, Jurimaguas, Aizuares, and others, to Christianity. Such was the fascination he exercised over the minds of the Indians that in a very few years even the tribes living at the mouth of the Negro and on the Urubú received him as if he were more than a mortal man. The tale of his labours between 1689 and 1727 is told by himself in his journals and letters (though unfortunately a portion of these was lost through the upsetting of a boat), which are of the greatest value, as is also the map which he constructed of the Amazon River, and which was printed at Quito in 1707. A manuscript copy of a large part of these journals and letters lies in the Public Library of Evora, in Portugal, and was inspected personally by me in October 1901.

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62 The statements made by Ribeiro de Sampaio, ouvidor-general of the Rio Negro, in his Diario da Viagem, 1774‑5, on this subject are entirely inaccurate. Padre Frei Theodosio was, according to Samuel Fritz, who stayed with him both in 1689 and 1691, a missionary on the Urubú, and not among the Tarumas and Aroaquis, up the Negro.

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63 Bibl. Nac. de Lisboa, Archivo do Cons. Ultr., Cartas do Maranhão.

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64 Bibl. Nac. de Lisboa, Archivo do Cons. Ultr., 'Consultas,' no. 843; 'Requirimentos,' no. 68. This last document gives the names of the first two captains of the fort, Ambrosio Muniz Barreyos and Luis de Moraes Bitancour.

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65 Bibl. Pub. d'Evora, Cod. CXV ff. 2‑12.

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66 Bibl. Nac. de Lisboa, 'Consultas,' no. 843; despatches of Governor Albuquerque Coelho, 1697, with enclosures; Cartas do Maranhão, lib. I.

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67 Bibl. Nac. de Lisboa, 'Consultas,' no. 843; copy of report of Antonio de Miranda, Belem in Pará, 25 May 1695. The tribe, who were called Anavilhanos, lived in the islands which stud the broad stream of the Rio Negro, opposite the mouth of the Anauinenas. The Cambebas, to whom Miranda was sent, are the same as the Omaguas. Omagua is a Peruvian word, Cambeba a Tupi word, both signifying 'flat-head,' it being the custom of this tribe to deform in infancy the heads of their children.

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68 Bibl. Nac. de Lisboa, Cartas do Maranhão, lib. II ff. 41, 109, &c.; 'Requerimentos,' Arch. do Cons. Ultr., Rio Negro, 1775. The first missionary 'aldea' of the Portuguese in the Negro was that known as Santo Elias do Tarumas, dating from 1692. A rising of the natives in 1712 against the missionaries on the Urubú and Matary destroyed these mission stations, and apparently that of the Tarumas also, for in 1715 the captain of the fort makes the complaint that he can find no priest to administer the sacraments to his soldiers, since there are no missionaries nearer than four or five days' journey from the blockhouse. Before 1719 it had, however, been permanently restored, as the record exists of the confirmation of Frey Jeronymo Coelho, as head of the mission of Santo Elias dos Tarumas, on 22 May of that year. In the evidence brought before the court of inquiry into Portuguese claims on the Rio Branco, held by the ouvidor-general, F. X. Ribeiro de Sampaio, in 1775, it was stated by several witnesses that this Frey Jeronymo de Coelho, as missionary of the Tarumas, carried on trade with the Dutch during the year 1720 and onwards. At a later time, when the Dutch trade was driven from the Negro, the Tarumas, in their hatred to the Portuguese, abandoned their homes and settled under Dutch protection near the sources of the Essequibo, where a remnant of them still live.

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69 Antonio Albuquerque, in his entire ignorance of the geography of Guiana, and of the existence of such rivers as the Branco or the Essequibo, speaks of the latter as the Orinoco. He had clearly heard rumours of the Pirara portage.

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70 Bibl. Pub. d'Evora, Cod. CXV ff. 2‑15; 'Carta del Padre Samuel al Padre Diego Franco Altamirano, visitador de la provincia de Quito en que se refiere lo succedido en la mission de Omaguas, Jurimaguas, &c., desde Septiembre de 1693 hasta fines de Julio 1696.'

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71 A little below the mouth of the river Jutay.

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72 Tribes living lower down the Solimões by the mouth of the Jupura and beyond.

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73 A few years later (1702) these tribes did desert their homes and sought refuge high up the river under Spanish protection.

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74 'Abalorios que hacen de caracoles;' comp. Gumilla, II.72, quoted above, p15: 'E precio de cada cautivo, dos hachas, dos machetes, alguns cuchillos, alguns abalorios u otra friolera semejante.'

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75 Bras, Annexe, I.182; see also 'Diario da Viagem que fez Ribeiro de Sampaio, 1774‑5' (Brit. Mus., 702, e. 27), sections CCCXL. CCCXLI. The Guaranaquas, or Uaranacoenas, are the Guaranaquazanas of Acuña.

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76 This map represents the Rio Negro (which Fritz never entered) as having a course from north to south instead of from west to east. Not till D'Anville published his map, fifty years later (1748), are the Rio Negro and its tributaries correctly represented. His information came through the channel of the scientific French traveller De la Condamine, who, on his part, drew his knowledge largely from the itinerary and sketch map of the Dutch explorer Nicolas Horstman, 1739‑40.

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77 The Pajonales (or Paxonales) of Fritz are possibly the same as the Paxianas of the Portuguese, a tribe living up the Branco. This tribe was well known as traders.

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78 During the second and third decades of the eighteenth century the Dutch formed a close alliance for trading purposes with the powerful tribe of the Manoas, still higher up the Negro.

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79 Archivo General de Indias. Seville. MS.


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