The Netherlands had been fighting Spain for liberty since 1568, with England and France for allies. In 1579 the southern Catholic provinces yielded to Alexander Farnese, but the seven northern provinces in 1581 proclaimed their complete independence, and, with varying fortunes, fought on, toward the twelve years' truce agreed upon in 1609.
During this long war the Netherlands, through various East India companies, acquired profits and possessions in the orient. Encouraged by amazing success there, they turned inquiring eyes north, to Greenland, south to Brazil, and they by no means overlooked the Caribbean, in the west.
Henry IV of France became interested in the possibilities of conquest and of revenues which he saw were open in distant quarters of the world. Together, experienced Dutchmen and the French king considered establishing a French East India Company. To protect the Dutch East India Company in which the government as government was concerned, from the rivalry thus threatened, the Netherlands' states-general in 1606
p598 conceived a plan of diverting Henry's attention from the east, by suggesting, through their French ambassador, François Aerssens, and François Francken, the establishment of a West India Company. Francken had repeatedly discussed this with the able navigator and merchant, William Usselincx, with Linschoten, and the learned Plancius. Oldenbarnevelt (universally acknowledged political leader of the United Netherlands) was ready to adopt a plan of a West India Company with Holland capital and French support, as he saw an opportunity of inflicting injury in Spanish America.2
That such a project existed was known to the archduke, Albert, who represented Spain in the loyal southern provinces. Prior to November of 1606 he informed3 Philip that "among Hollanders and merchants" there existed a scheme to raise an armada of seventy or eighty ships and six thousand men, the king of France contributing along with them, "up to a total of eighty thousand ducats and a thousand francs a day". This armada was to attack Puerto Bello and Cartagena, and especially the island of Cuba. The principal objective was Havana, in seizing which port it was intended to cripple Spanish colonial commerce irremediably. The expedition was to clear for Indies in the spring of 1607.
"But in 1607 practical difficulties", presenting themselves to the Dutch,
seemed too great to warrant the execution of this plan. Merchants were afraid to risk their capital; the increasing hope of peace (with Spain) decided Oldenbarnevelt and other statesmen not to add to their (already serious) difficulties in East India (any further complications in the Spanish West Indies). The matter was dropped, to the great annoyance of the zealous Usselincx, who thought that this company promised "the greatest traffic in the world".4
Philip, however, was not immediately convinced that the danger of a West Indian Company was not imminent.
p599 He referred the archduke's warning to the council for war in the Indies.5 Cedulas were despatched6 to Governor Valdes, at Havana warning him of Dutch designs on that part.º His attention was called to the harbor of Matanzas where, the crown was informed, this enemy got supplies (as the French had very long been doing), from an estate which Valdes was asked to consider removing farther inland. Don Pedro seems to have felt livelier alarm lest invaders come into his capital by a nearer route, via Chorrera, where, he said,7 Maldonado's saw mill and sugar estate exposed the road to the town. Conclusion of the truce of 1609 quieted this alarm: the West India Company was not to materialize until twelve years later.
Article V of that truce contained a general stipulation
that there should be mutual freedom of trade (between Spaniards and Netherlanders). In the Spanish dominions within Europe, the inhabitants of those provinces could not trade without the king's express permission, but outside of them should be allowed full freedom of entry. In a secret article, this permission herein mentioned was expressly given by the deputies from the enemy (Spain) in the name of the king and the archdukes, "on condition that the trade be free and assured."8
These agreements can have affected Dutch traders in Indies very little: both before and after the conclusion of the truce, they p600 sailed westward out of Netherland ports to carry spoons, forks, knives, wines, cheese, butter, and negroes to Indies, and returned thither with hides, sugar, tobacco, and dyewood — or did not return, as their luck may have run. No matter what rights they may have acquired under the truce of 1609, to Spaniards in Cuba they, like all other foreigners, remained pirates (heretics and enemies), that is, persons with whom business must, unfortunately, be done more or less surreptitiously.9
p601 Their activities gave the king of Spain no rest at all. When he bought ship-building materials of them and admitted their vessels to Havana to deliver same, the materials not only turned out to be unsatisfactory, but a clerk aboard, who was said to be an old pirate, made the most of the opportunity offered him by the freighter's stay there, to sound and chart that harbor!10 Behind every such incident his majesty descried great governmental designs to seize and hold ports or islands of the Caribbean, especially Havana. Nor were his fears unjustified: Dutch commerce had built the Netherlands an empire in the orient.
Usselincx, whose dream it was that it should do as much in the occident, revived the project for a West India Company,
and carried it so far by 1614 that the estate of Holland finally gave ear to his representations. But the opposition of Oldenbarnevelt and the East India Company again caused the failure of his plans, and Usselincx went back to the Beemster . . . And not alone Usselincx had turned his attention to the west . . . The East India Company itself was continually seeking a shorter route to India by way of the western hemisphere.
Now it was that Hudson, in the service of that company sought the northwest passage; and found instead his river and his bay.
The publication of a placard of the states-general in 1614, wherein a forty years' commercial monopoly in the localities was offered to those who should discover "any new passages, ports, lands or localities," aroused a still greater zeal for discovery in the west. A Company of New Netherland was founded. This established Fort Nassau and another fort on the island of Manhattan at the mouth of the Hudson, while the American coast was further explored and the voyages thither continually increased."11
The king of Spain, however, was less disturbed by these humble beginnings of mighty matters in the north, than he was by events on the southern continent and around the smaller, p602 neglected islands of the Caribbean, which lie in a curving line from Florida to the Orinoco. Holland and Zealand owners, banded into companies, even before the truce had sent out "more than two hundred ships"12 on business cruises; a damaging proportion of them frequented the shores of Brazil, Guayana,º Araya — the coasts of the Caribbean and all its islets; whereon, along with their friends, the French and English, the Dutch were becoming permanently at home.
As the twelve years' truce between Spain and the Netherlands wore on, both parties to it came to realize that it would not be renewed, nor converted into a peace. So, too, war with England threatened Philip: it was in 1617 that Sir Walter Raleigh was permitted to undertake his expedition to the Orinoco. Informed of this, and fearing further aggression, the crown in 161813 reinforced the garrisons of Porto Rico and Santo Domingo; Havana was to get any surplus men, and it was at this time, too, that Santiago de Cuba received a garrison of twelve and certain arms and munitions.14
Because it was believed15 (in January, 1619) that the Dutch contemplated aggression against Havana, Alonso de Sotomayor was sent16 there with arms, munitions and biscuit. The governor17 was instructed18 to lay in still more supplies, and to arm the townspeople — at their expense — adding as many of them as he might see fit to the forts' garrisons. He was warned not to rely upon Havana's strength, nor upon the difficulties an enemy must overcome to attack the place, nor on the existing truce, because the preparations which were being made in the Netherlands indicated that to capture so important a place, the Dutch were ready to undertake and to risk, anything. All Indies were advised that a project against Havana was afoot, and of the p603 possibility that, failing there, the Dutch would endeavor to console themselves elsewhere.19
In 1620 the council for war in the Indies expressed the opinion20 that
given the state of affairs in Germany, England and Holland . . . a small occasion will suffice for the Hollanders to disregard what is left of the truce, and for the English to break the peace,
which small occasion the council thought they were likely to discover in the despatch of Spanish auxiliary armies to Germany.
Whether a definite plan to attack Havana was formulated in the Netherlands, at this time, or not, certainly the West India Company was shaping up. Oldenbarnevelt had fallen from power and the indefatigable Usselincx believed that his removal opened opportunity to his designs on Spanish possession of the west. Usselincx therefore returned in the autumn of 1618 from Zealand, whither he had fled to escape his creditors, and came to Holland to act as adviser to the states of that province and to the states-general, in the matter of the new company and its charter. He could not even now carry out all of his plans, nor impose what he considered essential ideas,21 wherefore he withdrew p604 from the business, to which he had given all his years and all his means.
The truce with Spain expired in 1621. The West India Company was chartered on June 3 of that year. It was not22 simply a commercial corporation; it was also a political association formed to injure an enemy, to stanch the source of his power, and perhaps to develop its own and the Netherlands' revenues and empire in that enemy's territory, at his expense. In the orient the Dutch had already demonstrated not only the defects, but also the ruthless efficiency of such an institution. The king of Spain was not unaware of them.
Neither was he unadvised as to what were supposed to be this West India Company's piratical intentions, at the very commencement of its career. Via England, where its organization was resented because it might interfere with English designs on Guiana, he was informed some months before its chartering that the company's purpose was to capture that year's galleons.
In September, 1621, from Brussels, the infanta Isabel sent23 Philip IV a map, and details, said to come from a reliable source, of what she was assured were the company's designs on Havana via Matanzas. Havana was the objective, for the Dutch reckoned it to be the vital center of the Indies trade. Because they believed the place to be strongly held, they considered that it would be unwise to attack it directly, even with all their might; instead, they planned to seize Matanzas bay, fortify it, establish a permanent colony there, whence, the intervening woodlands having been destroyed by fire, the Dutch would attack Havana from land, on which side they understood that it was weak. Whoever presented this scheme to the company, displayed accurate and appreciative acquaintance with Matanzas bay, the lay of its fertile lands and its fresh waters, its climate and the fact that Spaniards had not improved any of these natural advantages. It was held that from Matanzas as a strongly fortified base, the company would be able to play havoc with the Spanish shipping frequenting Havana, i.e., p605 with all of it, from the southern continental shore of the Caribbean, from the Isthmus, from Mexico. They would be aided, it was said, by the Spaniards' erroneous supposition that navigation was not feasible from Matanzas through the Bahama channel; the Dutch claimed to have learned better, by experience.
This plan against Matanzas, and Havana, having been laid24 before the council for war in Indies — in the words, it was said, of the Dutch themselves — the council recommended that the governor25 be ordered to inspect Matanzas, in company with engineers and other intelligent persons, and send a map of the port and plans for fortifications there, these fortifications to be provided with guns and garrison from Havana at small expense; but, the council added, in recommending that the governor send a map of all the island as well, and report on other ports, it was no lack of fine harbors which had deterred, or would deter, the Dutch from such a project as this described. The council believed that they might make their choice of even better locations than Matanzas. The real difficulty — indeed, the impossibility — of such a scheme, lay in cost of maintenance, once a base were established. The Spaniards believed that the English experience in Virginia and Bermuda had demonstrated as much: Philip was assured that these outposts had through many years cost England dear without returning any profit whatsoever.26 The cedula to Venegas was duly issued, ordering him to inspect, map, and report on Matanzas.27
No sooner had the council so comfortably disposed of this alarm than the ambassador, Cardinal de la Cueva, sounded it again, from Brussels, in reporting28 that Count Maurice was p606 secretly and rapidly arming three vessels in Zealand, intended for some enterprise in Indies; he, too, mentioned Matanzas.
Former Governor Pereda, then in Brussels, on being consulted in the matter, and shown a Dutch map of Cuba, called29 attention to the fact that he had previously expressed fears for Matanzas. Nevertheless, he believed that the enemy would not find it easy to attack Havana overland from as far away as that harbor; he knew the intervening country to be rough, wooded, threaded only by narrow trails. He thought that the saddles the Dutch were said to be carrying along, would be of little service on the ponies which were all the mounts they would find. Heat and mosquitoes would trouble them. One great advantage the Spaniards possessed: they were acclimatized, whereas the Dutch were not. Pereda foresaw that sickness would fight on the Spaniards' side. Without depleting the ordinary garrisons, Havana could muster six hundred men armed with arquebuses, pikes, and very few muskets. Thirty-five or forty horsemen would be available, mounted on "reasonably" good animals, and armed with lances and targets. The east could send up not more than two hundred men, who would be badly armed, but valuable in their acquaintance with the country. He believed that a great danger lay in the negroes of the island, slaves, and cimarrones "who all desire liberty". If they joined the enemy they would be useful as guides and in building fortifications, at no cost to his supplies, since they would continue to live on bananas, cazabe, and wild cattle. Pereda thought it unnecessary to describe "the inquietude and notable damage" which would result if the Dutch fortified themselves at Matanzas, forming a base there for naval operations. Fleets and armadas en route to Spain must pass that harbor. He called attention to the facility with which it could be reached from both Virginia and Bermuda, and they from it.
Some persons believed30 that it was Count Maurice's intention to attack Morro Castle, at Havana, or the promontory of the same name at Santiago de Cuba. Venegas was warned.31 He p607 replied32 that Morro castle at Havana was by reason of its position almost impregnable; moreover, it now possessed fifty bronze guns, eighteen to ninety-seven hundred weight, and a garrison of two hundred soldiers. It commanded the country for two leagues around. There were at Havana two other forts, and still other soldiers, to a total fighting force of eight hundred well trained men; thirty of them, cavalry. He was not inclined to fancy that Count Maurice would attack with three ships out of Zealand. Surely it must be Morro at Santiago which was threatened.
Again, in August of 1622, the crown referred to the council for war in Indies further advice from Flanders33 that the Dutch purposed establishing a strong naval base in Indies. In November following, Venegas was warned34 again: Count Maurice's three vessels had become six 600‑ton ships, three 300‑ton ships, three caravels and four supply ships. The governor was told to be on guard, but not to alarm the country or to occasion unnecessary expense. Venegas replied35 that neither was this expedition enough to reduce his majesty's forts at Havana, and since the land in itself offered little bait (in gold, silver, or jewels), he still felt sure that the Dutch would waste no time, men, or powder on Cuba.
In Spain, in the spring of 1623, the idea nevertheless persisted36 that the enemy's objective in Indies was Matanzas. The Dutch expedition was now described as twenty vessels, approximately two thousand men, with building tools among their baggage. It was reported to have sailed on April 29th — for Havana, for Matanzas, for Cape San Antonio, or for San Miguel (ten or twelve leagues from Panama), or for the salt beds of Araya. In fact, this first fleet of the West India Company, under Lhermite and Willekens, held its course straight for p608 South America.37 On May 26, 1623, Venegas was warned38 again: to expect at San Anton, or Havana, or Matanzas, the Prince of Orange's fleet (it was so designated), consisting of twenty large vessels, forty guns, and one hundred and fifty men each, outside the crew. The crown expected Venegas39 to have inspected Matanzas ere this. He was ordered to keep Havana well protected, but at the same time to defend that neighboring port.
Through 1624, fear of the Dutch did not abate. It considerably disturbed the usual course of Spanish traffic from Indies. Normally, there were still the two fleets a year from Spain, one to Mexico, and one to Tierra Firme. The galleons of the guard accompanied the latter. The former, being less protected, was especially liable to be forbidden to sail at all, in times of danger.40 It had been the rule for these two fleets to meet in Havana harbor and recross the Atlantic together, for mutual protection. A couple of galleons from Honduras carrying very valuable cargoes also made Havana their rendezvous. This arrangement occasioned delay, especially to the merchants of Mexico, whose fleet was usually the first to arrive at Havana. It therefore became usual for them to leave their more precious cargo and specie in Havana's forts, to be picked up, at one p609 period by Texeda's frigates41 and later by the galleons of the guard, when they came by, escorting the Tierra Firme fleet, the Mexican fleet meanwhile proceeding on its way home alone: twenty, thirty or more convoyed by a capitana and an almiranta and each pretty well able to defend itself.
When the armada de averia to guard the Indian trade routes was established, at Seville's expense, in return for Seville's monopoly of Spain's colonial trade,42 it consisted of eight galleons and three shallops. In 1611 scarcity of money eliminated two galleons. To cover this weakness in numbers it was ordered in 1612 that the Mexican fleet should again await the galleons in Havana and cross with them, but, presently, the risk of danger from enemies seeming less expensive than the certain delay to the merchant fleet, it again became usual for the vessels from Mexico to come on without waiting for the galleons, for which, however, they left their more valuable cargo in Havana.
These galleons of the guard, which loaded Peruvian silver and gold at the Isthmus, and at Havana picked up still more gold and silver from Mexico and Honduras, had succeeded Texeda's frigates to the romantic title of "plate fleet". Though they continued to convoy merchantmen to and from the mainland, it was a matter of discussion whether they should be so handicapped or not, in their chief duty, which was to fetch themselves with the plate safe home. The king in Spain was always well pleased to learn that his Mexican merchant fleet had cleared, or arrived, safely; but it was for the armada of these galleons of the guard, and for the cargo they carried, that he appropriated six or eight hundred ducats a year, or more, to buy candles and prayers. "God bring them safe home", was his annual petition. When the Almighty was pleased to permit storm or enemies to p610 interfere with the granting of this prayer, his most Catholic majesty was divided between surprise and resentment; when his desires were granted he accepted that indication of divine favor with relief and complacency.43 To capture this armada was supposed to be the grand desideratum of the Dutch.
Early in 1625, because of rumor that this enemy purposed attacking the Mexican fleet in the of La Tortuga, the governor at Havana was ordered44 to patrol the sea from San Anton to Tortuga, and to advise that fleet, and the armada, if hostile sails were seen. No plate was sent from Peru that year, for the viceroy there believed that the enemy was out in force upon the Pacific. Havana rejoiced when the Honduras galleons came in, safe.45
On November 7, 1625, the acting governors46 of Havana first heard that the Dutch had landed on Porto Rico (September 25) and were besieging Governor Juan de Haro in his castle there. The West India Company achieved a great success in the conquest of Bahia, or San Salvador, in Brazil, seat of the Portuguese p611 government, where the vice-admiral, Pieter Pieterzoonº Heyn, distinguished himself uncommonly;45º but Bahia had been recovered in this year of 1625 by a Spanish-Portuguese armada, under don Fadrique de Toledo, and so ousted from there, the Dutch had descended upon Porto Rico. On November 16 two vessels with men, munitions and supplies left Havana47 to relieve Haro. Havana at once appealed to Mexico for more powder and biscuit.48
On November 16 — the very day Havana's reinforcements were despatched — the enemy left Porto Rico. It was understood49 that his plan was to careen his ships, come on to Cuba, and attack the fleet off Cuban coasts. Up to late March, 1626,50 Havana had no news of him; in April it was said51 that he had sacked La Margarita. In May or very early June, fourteen or more sail were reported52 from Saint Philip's keys, near the Isle of Pines. There the Dutch captured a frigate whose escaping crew they insulted with a Spanish epithet ("Bellacos españoles!") called after them, with a foreign accent. This enemy squadron sailed under a tricolor flag, striped red, white, and blue. On June 14 the Dutch were at Cabañas.
A slave named Matheo Congo brought the news to Havana, telling how, at eight o'clock on the morning of that day, enemy frigates and launches had entered that harbor.53 Spaniards and negroes who were building a ship there for Juan Perez Oporto, and the owners and workmen of nearby cattle ranches, all fled toward the town. The Dutch burned the unfinished vessel and killed hogs and hens. They then sailed on, and lay to off Havana, a menacing aggregation of about twenty-three sail.
p612 Here their commander died, on July 2.54 His admiral, a Fleming, succeeded. But the crews and soldiers of the squadron were already in a stage of dissatisfaction bordering upon mutiny even before their superior officer's death; though arms, munitions, and artillery were still plentiful aboardship, food was scarce and the time for which the men had signed on, was up. They had been held in check only by prospect of capturing the Mexican fleet: their commander had been determined not to return with as little as had been accomplished prior to his arrival off Havana — for Porto Rico and La Margarita taken, Cumana, Araya, Jamaica, Caracas, and Grand Cayman visited, had yielded no considerable profit, nor had the six frigates captured off Cuba.
The Flemish general who succeeded to command studied Havana through his glasses, and showed a Spanish prisoner his maps of that place, and others, upon which the very streets were named. He admitted that it looked strong ("mucho fuerte") as against attack from sea; but he quarreled with the Spaniard for denying that he could take it by land. He did not, however, attempt the feat at this juncture. Instead, he moved on, to Matanzas.
On receipt of the news that the enemy had appeared at Cabañas, the alcaide of Morro castle (Aranda) started soldiers in that direction, under Lucas Maldonado; hearing that the Dutch had not remained in that western port, Maldonado and thirty men hurried to Matanzas, to defend that watering place. In a skirmish with the enemy the Spaniards captured a few prisoners, and may have prevented the Dutch from taking on water enough.
On July 11, 1626, the enemy set ashore fifty-two prisoners, whom they evidently did not desire to carry across the Atlantic and burned certain vessels they had, which presumably they did not consider fit for the crossing. They thereupon took their departure. Even from their own point of view, they had accomplished p613 nothing. Prisoners said that they had lost heavily — perhaps fifty per cent of their men — and they were sailing home poor, and on short rations of bread and soup. But they had harassed Havana by a "siege" of thirty-two days.55
Within a month after the Dutch had gone, the treasure galleons of the guard came into Havana with the Tierra Firme fleet. It would seem that the enemy had purposely avoided any encounter with these warships. Indeed, neither the Dutch the English, nor the French had any real desire to meet any Spanish armada. Their avoidance of any such engagement was attributed to cowardice; whereas, in fact, it was based on good business sense. Profit, not glory, was what the Dutch sought in Indies. It is the object of most offensive warfare, such as they were waging against the Spaniards in the New World. The galleons of the guard were too expensive to attack, unless scattered or in distress. The fleets, especially the comparatively unprotected Mexican fleet, were a different matter.56
In the spring of 1627, at the entrance to the channel, General Thomas Larraspuru sighted thirteen Dutch sail, which fled from his Armada; only by what the Spaniards considered a Godsent miscalculation did they fail to fall upon either or both of the two Mexican fleets, one sailing for Vera Cruz and the other leaving that port, at about this time.57 The governor at Havana58 feared lest the Dutch squadron which had shown Larraspuru its heels wait in some capacious comfortable port until he should depart, to commence, in the summer "some undertaking with which to offset the many misfortunes which had befallen the enemy and the thin picking he had found".59
Instead, in July, 1627, the divine protection, to which the escape of the Mexican fleets was ascribed, being for the moment p614 somewhat withdrawn, the Dutch attacked the two galleons which were, as usual, escorting a few merchantmen up from Honduras. This little fleet had long feared some such catastrophe. In response for an appeal for help to strengthen it, the governor at Havana had just reinforced it with a hundred musketeers from the garrison there, with munitions and ten pieces of ordnance (one piece bearing the august name of Charles V) despite all which the Dutch on July 8, 1627, took the almiranta and the treasure it carried. It cost a fight, which occurred off Coximar. The Spaniards came near to losing the capitana as well: certainly that galleon too was hard-pressed and went aground.60
Now, the year 1627 had been profitable for the Dutch: fifty-five vessels, large and small, had been captured, "and in the next year three great squadrons steered for the west."61
Havana was warned62 that the enemy had designs, perhaps on Pernambuco, perhaps on Bahia, but, failing these objects, might attack Santo Domingo or Porto Rico. In August of 162863 a Dutch fleet, of twenty-three ships, was off the Havana coast.
p615 It was commanded by Piet Heyn himself. Many of the fifteen warnings sent from Havana to the fleet, then due from Mexico, must have been intercepted by the enemy, since none of them reached their destination, and, therefore, in the dawn of September 8 this fleet sailed tranquilly into the midst of the enemy squadron, as it lay off Matanzas.64
The Dutch easily took nine vessels. The capitana and the almiranta made the shelter of Matanzas bay that night, followed by two fat merchantmen, preparing, they later said, to fight. When Benavides, commanding this Mexican fleet, presently took evidence to defend his judgment in so entering Matanzas harbor, one witness declared that Spanish prisoners watching events from aboard the enemy flagship, felt that his course was inspired by the Holy Ghost! Nevertheless, some of these fleeing vessels went on the shoals in that harbor and their passengers being ordered ashore, obeyed with alacrity. The intention was to burn the ships and what part of their cargo could not be landed, but, in the clear light of an unkind moon,a the enemy followed fast into the bay, firing as he came. The Dutch swarmed aboard the Spanish ships from small boats. Their appearance seems to have created a panic, for certainly the Spaniards hastily deserted the king's treasure65 and all the merchandise — departing in great disorder — and Piet Heyn found himself in possession of the four best vessels (and two shallops) which had constituted the strength and the wealth of the Mexican fleet. The thousand ducats which the king of Spain next month ordered66 spent in masses and charity, for the safety of the fleets and armadas, were spent in vain.
In capturing that fleet Piet Heyn had done what no seaman before him — not the boldest of them — had ever succeeded in doing.
Fabulous indeed were the captured treasures of silver, gold, pearls, indigo, sugar, Campeachy wood, and costly furs, which sold in the p616 Netherlands for no less than fifteen million guilders. The rejoicing over the news (there) was boundless, and Heyn himself showed some vexation at the excessive praises bestowed upon him for this easy victory, after his previous and more important exploits had been greeted with much less enthusiasm.67
The capture of the Mexican fleet is, indeed, what keeps his name alive to posterity.68
On September 18 or 19, Heyn disembogued.69 Nothing in all its history had so angered Cuba as his capture of the Mexican fleet. "Who," later cried70 one especially wrathful gentleman named Pedro Gutierrez Ortiz, voicing as great and lasting indignation in Spain,
who can hear of this and not seize high heaven itself in angry hands? Who, at the risk of a thousand lives, if he had them, would not avenge so grievous an affront? . . . The Hollander has so degraded us that commonly, in adjacent kingdoms, where formerly they called the Spaniards unchained lions, they now call us embroidered Marias with braided hair and padded legs!
As a matter of fact, Piet Heyn's capture of the Mexican fleet was a happy accident. Fortune never again so beamed upon Dutch adventures against Spanish West Indian traffic. Since success prefers to crown determined efforts specially directed to single definite objectives, it may be that the enemy's failure to repeat Piet Heyn's exploit was due to the fact that Dutch attacks on Spanish commerce became merely incidental, minor features of larger affairs in South America, on which the ambition of the Netherlands settled. Dutch squadrons which troubled Cuba in the decade ending with 1640, cleared from home for Brazil, for possession of which the Dutch were contending with the Portuguese; having done their business there, they returned via the Caribbean, in hopes to happen by the way upon Spanish ships under circumstances which would enable them to make the expenses of their expeditions, which were primarily directed, however, to Brazil. When, as part of the truce entered into between the lands and Portugal in 1641, hostilities abated in Brazil, and such expeditions were no longer necessary there, it was not found good business to despatch them especially against Spanish traffic in the Caribbean, particularly since peace with Spain again appeared possible and desirable upon the horizon of the United Netherlands. The period of Dutch influence upon Cuba's affairs dwindled away, but not before fear of the Dutch had erected fortifications at Havana,71 just as, previously, fear of the French and fear of the English had done.
Their adventures in Indies, around about 1628, heartened the Dutch, and, in corresponding degree, disheartened the Spanish, who found themselves paralyzed by lack of money. Try as he p618 would, his most Catholic majesty simply could not "raise the wind," which Piet Heyn had taken out of his sails at Matanzas!
The governor at Havana was demanding reinforcement "for the love of God": he wanted two hundred men, and firearms, powder, fuse and lead in proportion.72 He declared that more than seventy of his garrison of four hundred were useless. Remarking that as long as the Dutch found war profitable to them and costly to Spain, the king must reckon the Indies as his frontier, don Antonio Oquendo estimated Havana's effective force at about two hundred and fifty men, whereas it should be a thousand, and recommended the despatch thither of two or three hundred infantry, well equipped.73 Governor Cabrera asked an appropriation for the pay of additional men, and urged that Havana's situado for that year, which the Dutch had taken with the Mexican fleet that conveyed it, be made good from crown revenues passing in the armada, "for otherwise it will not be possible to maintain the garrison".74 His letter found the authorities in Spain in receipt of news from the north which inclined them to believe the governor's apprehensions justified.
The king was informed that the West India Company's projects were four in number, three of them concerning ports wherein the Spanish were established, and the fourth contemplating the seizure of some comparatively unoccupied place, perhaps Jamaica.75 Certainly it was their intention to obtain a permanent foothold in the Caribbean from which to make continuous warfare upon Spain's colonial traffic.76 The company was said to be equipping great armadas, one of which, described as the finest that had been raised in the United Provinces, was to attack the treasure galleons as they left Havana. That port itself77 was to be taken — its castles were to p619 be "besieged by hunger" — are now the Dutch would indeed occupy the harbor of Matanzas. Dutch ships were said to be clearing from their ports one by one as though to meet at a rendezvous: Tenerife counted more than fifty sail as they went by.78 And the French, encouraged by all this, were reported to be arming eight ships for Indies!79
The council for war in Indies would have sent don Antonio Oquendo out with an armada.80 The council for Indies approved of the idea but declared that it must not be looked to for the money: it was bankrupt. It was the king who cried his council courage: "Now is no time to yield", he wrote late in 1630. "If the Indies are well cared for this coming year, it will compensate for all the damage done and bring our enemies to sue for peace."81
On January 11, 1629, Cabrera was ordered82 to lay in supplies of food and water, to call on Mexico for provisions if necessary, and, because it was understood that the Dutch might attack from the Chorrera, to permit no timber whatsoever to be cut in that vicinity. The council for war recommended83 that General Larraspuru be instructed to leave in Havana, from crown revenues aboard the galleons, the equivalent of the lost situado, and the crown so decreed. The council further recommended that men, and the arms and munitions which the governor wanted, be sent to him at once. The crown, agreeing, ordered84 the Marques de Leganes, captain general of artillery, to furnish two hundred muskets, two hundred arquebuses, two hundred hundred-weight of powder and one of fuse, for Havana. The Duke de Medina Sidonia was ordered to recruit two hundred men.
It was here (1629) that difficulties of a financial order arose, irritatingly. It was usual to bring over a good sum of money p620 annually from Mexico to pay for arms and munitions for Indies: Piet Heyn had carried that year's money off to Holland with other spoils of the Mexican fleet. Therefore the captain general of artillery asked85 the council for war to supply seven thousand two hundred ducats to cover the cost of the muskets, arquebuses, powder, and lead for Havana. The council recommended86 that the shipment be sent forward on credit, since the need was imperative and delay dangerous. The captain general of artillery, who had not a musket on hand to deliver, insisted87 that since he had to deal with northern factories who transacted business on spot cash basis, he must have cash, or nothing could be done. In March, 1629, the council threw up its hands.88 Governor Cabrera, who, in January, had been assured89 that the armada was bringing him arms and munitions, was told in April90 to send eight thousand six hundred ducats in "double silver" to pay for these means for Havana's defense — otherwise, they could not be provided.
The House of Trade, which was making ready a vessel to convey these supplies, and soldiers, to Havana, sent in an itemized bill showing nineteen thousand seven hundred and eighty seven ducats needed for the purpose.91
And the Duke de Medina Sidonia met with mutiny and desertion when he attempted to raise men for Cuba: they did not believe that they were being recruited for Indies.92
The council for war in Indies urged93 that the duke be advised that the two hundred men must be found — perhaps among those recruited for service aboard galleons of the guard, and that the House find money to clear the ship for Cuba regardless of previous warrants against artillery funds, because
p621 according to advices concerning the enemies' designs on the Indies, confirmed every day from various quarters, the relief of Havana is today one of your majesty's most imperative obligations, inasmuch as in holding this place we may remedy other damage if, because of our sins, God permit it to occur — damage which without Havana would be almost beyond your majesty's power to repair; and although Havana is strong and well defended even by its very situation, precisely for that reason if the enemy attempts to invade, it will be with great force by land and by sea, and cutting off all means of relief,
wherefore the council urged the king to take every possible measure to prevent a loss which would be so very difficult to retrieve.
Despite all this alarm, lack of funds continued to check action. The special vessel direct to Cuba could not be cleared, nor the two hundred men recruited. What arms and munitions were sent went with an armada under don Fadrique de Toledo. Since January (1629) the crown had been trying to get this armada off — "to punish the enemy and protect the mainland galleons and the Mexican fleets" — and it cleared, finally, in the following summer.94
As stated, Cabrera had been warned in January; at the end of May still another despatch was sent to him,95 advising that late news from Flanders confirmed previous reports: that the Dutch meant to besiege Havana, that vessels enough to constitute a powerful armada were slipping out of enemy harbors one by one, wherefore he would do well to prepare for attack from Matanzas, or from the Chorrera where, the king understood, the way had been opened by the clearing of the land for sugarcane fields.
Meanwhile, from June until mid-September of that year of 1629, enemy vessels patroled the Cuban north coast; the port of Havana was as good as closed. On August 22 "Perin Pettre" (Pater) stood off the city, with an armada said to consist of thirty sail, though only fourteen were seen.96
p622 Cabrera had summoned the militia from the interior: men arrived the first week in June. On one occasion a hundred were rushed in great haste to the Chorrera; they arrived there hot, a giant of a sergeant among them waded into the sea to cool off, and died very soon after the bath, but there were no further casualties.97
It was at this time that Cabrera threw up a trench from Punta to the old gun foundry (the Maestranza) despite objections, voiced by Pedro de Armenteros y Guzman, for instance, who thought that no enemy would attempt to land there, under the batteries of three forts, and that to man this trench left the inlet, Punta Brava and the Chorrera weakened. The work was done, however, and a redoubt built in which ordnance was placed. It was paid for out of the tax levied to raise funds for the armada de barlovento. To erect certain houses considered necessary, the citizens contributed.98
Meanwhile, the Mexican fleet for 1629 and the ships from Honduras came safe into Havana, and decided to lie there. That they were safe was glad news to Seville. The king ordered thanks given to "Our Lord for extending favor to us, and also for protecting us from harm".99 Don Fadrique de Toledo with his armada and the mainland fleet arrived in Havana on March 15, 1630. He had encountered only rumors of enemies about: after he had left the vicinity he heard that they had burned Santa Marta. He sent three galleons and a shallop out to strengthen still another Mexican fleet which he expected to find in Havana, waiting for him. It came in on April 3 and Don Fadrique presently got off to Spain with a very large and correspondingly valuable lot of shipping in his convoy.100 Cabrera expressed101 "a million thanks" for the arms and munitions p623 Don Fadrique had brought him: he hoped to persuade him to leave also some men and artillery. The governor believed that now he could put Havana into shape to defend itself, "with the help of God".
Apparently considerable such assistance was going to be necessary, for the Dutch had not departed from the neighborhood. In mid-May of 1630, when Don Fadrique and his fighting ships must have been still in Havana harbor, a despatch boat from Mexico was intercepted by enemies so close to Havana that what papers it carried were brought overland from Cabañas. Its news was that an enemy squadron of eighty sail was to be expected.102 In the following August General Larraspuru103 at Cartagena with the treasure galleons of that year, heard that these eighty sail were lying in wait for him: twenty-two were said to be off Havana then. He commended his voyage to "the Blessed Souls", and in the king's name promised them a thousand ducats for safety. He had 6,887,000 pesos worth of cargo in his keeping, of which 5,851,850 were specie and bullion.104 If the enemy continued to hang off Cuba he purposed abandoning the regular route home, avoiding San Anton by sailing east between Cuba and La Española, and although it would appear that at least two dozen enemy sail which had been off Havana, disembogued in September of 1630, Larraspuru appears to have considered it safer so to alter his course.105 His doing so, and the failure of the Mexican fleet to pass through on schedule, left Havana without the usual means of exporting its products that year.
On March 10, 1631, the governor106 at Havana was informed107 that eight enemy hulks had been seen off Cape Corrientes. He sent forth warnings, and urged Mexico to hurry along the six hundred hundred-weight of biscuit he had already sent for, p624 as the crown had bidden him to do, if he fell short, and, for good measure, he now asked for an additional thousand hundred-weight. On April 17 (it was Holy Thursday) the eight vessels of which he had heard appeared off Havana. They hung about for a month, and then shifted to Matanzas. The governor sent a hundred soldiers to that port under Captain Don Gonzalo Chacon de Narvaez. The enemy set thirty-seven prisoners ashore and departed. These persons said that the enemy squadron was twenty-six sail, though Havana had only seen eight, carrying eight hundred men of whose courage the Spaniards who had been among them thought very little indeed. They had plenty of ammunition but were short of food. On May 20, they reappeared off Havana and lingered until June 4. their presence, twenty-six ships made the port safely, including those bringing one thousand six hundred hundred-weight of biscuit from Mexico. Nevertheless, the governor felt real alarm when still other Spaniards who had been prisoners of the enemy arrived at the end of that month, to repeat assurance that eighty enemy sail were to be expected!108
Happily for his peace of mind, General Thomas Larraspuru with an armada came into port on August 24, 1631. He had not seen or heard of any but insignificant enemies. Having taken on water this armada went out again, to San Anton, to await the Mexican fleet, which had orders not to leave Vera Cruz until advised that the enemy had disembogued and a Spanish squadron stood ready to meet it at San Anton. Larraspuru was obliged to return to port to pass the equinox but again fared forth on October 2. The Mexican fleet did not come up until early December, and a storm knocked it to pieces. The Tierra Firme fleet arrived on December 12, and on February 24, 1632, Larraspuru left for Spain convoying fifty-eight sail (ten of which were to drop away to Indies ports on emerging from the channel). He was escorting over 8,211,683 pesos in cargo, of which 1,395,303 were the king's, in bullion and coin.109
p625 An armada under the Marques de Cadereyta made Havana on September 30, 1633. He had just cleaned the enemy out of San Martin. Vessels of a small squadron coming to reinforce him met Dutchmen off San Anton in , and Miguel Redin, admiral commanding them died in the fight (or soon after, of wounds) "in a manner becoming a and his blood". This squadron, minus the admiral's ship, made Havana between September 7 and 9. It was reported that the enemy had Campeche, and perhaps Truxillo. Governor Bitrian plumed himself that they kept away from Cuba because it was known that he was ready to receive them there becomingly.110
Early in 1638 the council for Indies was informed that "Peg-Leg the Pirate" had cleared for the West Indies — he was "Corniel Cornieles de Jol", according to the Spaniards' reading of his signature (Cornelis Corneliszoon Jol). Don Carlos de Ybarra was warned111 that he had left for Indies with ten ships, to join fourteen others pirating there; it was understood that Peg-Leg's intention was to convey certain relief to Pernambuco, where the Dutch were in sharp contest with the Portuguese for possession of Brazil, and then to come up to the Caribbean to encounter Ybarra's armada. The Spaniard was ordered to avoid the encounter, if possible; but if this were not possible, then to "punish" Jol. Timely receipt of a warning held the Mexican fleet at Vera Cruz, with 2,519,401 pesos aboard, of which 1,822, 772 were the crown's, but the armada — the priceless galleons — in August, off the west end of Cuba, fell in with Peg-Leg who was lying in wait, for them or for the fleet, with eleven ships of his own, reinforced by half a dozen hangers‑on — little birds of prey who scented possibilities of spoil. The armada, in obedience to Ybarra's orders, beat hasty retreat toward Mexico. The galleon Carmen, commanded by Sanchez de Urdanivia, fought a rear-guard action which, described by Urdanivia himself, stands forth among the more prosaic documents of the Archives of the Indies like a highly colored painting of a vigorous sea p626 fight, touched by a ray of sunlight falling into a darkened picture gallery!112
The enemy's capitana bore down upon Ybarra's, while the enemy's almiranta picked up the Spanish almiranta as her antagonist, and they interchanged broadsides and sweeping musketry fire. In advancing to this attack, the enemy almiranta passed close enough to the Carmen to enable Urdanivia to "offend" it with all his artillery and musketry. The enemy answered in kind. The Carmen then swung in, and prevented three supporting vessels which followed from joining in the attack upon the Spanish almiranta. Two hours Urdanivia fought these three vessels, at close quarters — so close that his rigging became entangled with theirs.
The enemy now withdrew but only to choose an admiral to replace one they had lost in the combat (so prisoners taken said later), and to replace certain captains whose valor was not equal to the test of existing circumstances. The Dutch were lost to view for two days, but on the third resumed the attack with thirteen ships.
The enemy capitana renewed its duel with the Spanish, but soon dropped away, bested in the encounter. The Regla, the Sanctiagoº and the Carmen were the rear of the Spanish squadron and on them now fell the brunt of the Dutchmen's determination to get some profit out of this meeting, so that presently, according to its commander, the Carmen found itself engaging twelve enemy ships, alone, unaided by any other Spanish vessel, despite the fact that it was broad daylight and the roar of its guns and the rattle of its musketry were waking the echoes through the Organo mountains on the shore. Only when the Carmen, with masts broken and rigging down, seemed about to yield to the force of superior numbers, did the rest of the armada turn back, with evident intention to bring relief. Thereupon the Dutch withdrew.
p627 Inspection showed the Carmen to be beyond hope of saving. What plate it carried was transferred to another vessel, and with twenty dead and twenty-eight wounded aboard, it limped into Bahia Honda bay (three leagues away), where its artillery, munitions, copper and indigo were landed, and the wreck that was left of the ship itself, burned.
Its commander was blamed for the concentrated attack upon the Carmen. He resented this criticism bitterly; he said that he was the rear guard — a rear guard was necessary, given the plan of battle determined upon previous to the event — and no galleon disputed the place with his vessel nor sought to share its dangers. If to break out standards and pennants without orders to do so were an error, it was news to him that a commander needed specific instructions to permit him to make his ship "as ferocious and bizarre as his equipment allowed".
And if, as my general seems to think, the adornments of war and a disposition to fight were an invitation to the enemy to seek me out and attack me with especial earnestness — if in so dressing my galleon I erred against your majesty's best interests, a greater display and a greater fault would it have been to garland it with hencoops and litter its bridge and decks with corrals for live stock, as does sometimes happen upon this Indian route!
Ask Holland, he exclaimed, how the armada conducted itself that day, and how the galleon with the standards spread, bore it itself among the rest! The enemy had eyed that beflagged galleon close and long enough to report upon it accurately!
Peg-Leg set his prisoners ashore at Bahia Honda and left for home. He, or his hangers‑on, may have taken some of the smaller craft which were travelling in the armada's company, but he captured no galleons, nor any treasure of any account; and the fight had cost him dear. Nevertheless, he was back in two years, but fortune had indeed deserted the Dutch.
On September 4, 1640, thirty-six sails appeared off the Havana coast. The city had been warned and was in good shape to p628 resist any attack, for the governor113 had drilled the citizens, reinforced Coximar and the Chorrera, hurried provisions into Morro and anchored fire-boats at the entrance to the bay.114
On September 11 a violent storm scattered the enemy right and left.115 The first news Havana had of this disaster arrived on the 14th to the effect that a hundred-ton shallop was ashore three leagues from town. It was not a valuable prize, for its cargo was pitch and thatch. Next day came news of a four hundred ton hulk ashore still farther west; its thirty-two guns (a dozen bronze) and a hundred prisoners, fell into the hands of the party which Governor de Luna sent out after them. Farther on was wrecked still another hulk, which to the Spaniards' spoils added nineteen guns (six bronze), but only twenty-two men of the hundred and thirty who had been . The crew of still another, ashore at Herradura, was reported to be marching toward Havana, in a company numbering about a hundred and eleven men, a dozen or so having remained behind with what was left of their ship, said to have carried twenty-two guns (six bronze).
The governor sent out infantry to gather in these prisoners, and the artillery; and to burn the wrecks. The Spaniards regretted to have to burn the ship ashore at Herradura, for it was new and undamaged, but they were compelled to do so lest the enemy recover it, as they had already recovered two of its guns.
When the reckoning was taken, the Spaniards found themselves the richer by a windfall of seventy-two pieces of artillery a good proportion of which were bronze, to say nothing of cables, masts, sails, fifteen pounds of powder, a hundred muskets, and p629 over two hundred prisoners, whom the governor purposed sending at once to Spain along with certain other objectionable foreigners whom he had rounded up from all over the island.
Peg-Leg, for it was indeed he, coming up from Brazil as Cuba had been warned that he would, on September 20 or 21 sent a small boat under a white flag toward the port of Havana, to which the Spaniards sent out another like it, which brought in a letter in which Peg-Leg proposed an exchange of prisoners. He admitted that Governor de Luna had a larger number of his men than he of Spaniards, but still he had forty or fifty on hand — Franciscan priests, soldiers, civilians — and could, moreover, catch as many more as he chose, along those coasts. He promised to extend to the Spanish prisoners the same treatment the Spaniards meted out to the Dutch.
Governor de Luna replied courteously, condoling with Jol on the catastrophe which had befallen him, saying that his sympathy had moved him to hasten food to the wrecks, and men to bring the prisoners into Havana where, he said, they were comfortable and well treated. The governor said that he knew what in humanity was due to an enemy who has surrendered, and therefore he expected similar good treatment to be extended to the Spaniards in Jol's hands. He said that he would like to make the exchange suggested, but lacking orders to that effect he must now send his prisoners to Spain. This quaint letter ends with expression of Governor de Luna's hope that Jol may meet the Spanish armada well supplied with everything necessary that its victory over him may be the more brilliant, and terminates with the stereotyped form of conclusion: "May God guard you as I desire"!116
Peg-Leg moved on to Matanzas, where he did what damage he could. There he released certain of his prisoners (among them the Franciscan priests, from Florida). They reported that Jol's loss was six good men-o'‑war and a shallop. Although he was said to have intended to go on to Santiago, where he was assured he could disease twenty thousand arrobas of sugar, Peg- p630 Leg disembogued with twenty-four sail on October 17th, 1640, and with him vanished all real danger to Cuba from the Dutch.
The governor sent Don Pedro Salgado de Barros to Spain with news of the destruction of Peg-Leg's squadron on the Cuban coast. This messenger inadvertently put into a Portuguese port — and to his chagrin learned that the Duke of Braganza as John IV was in revolt against the king of Spain. The curtain had gone up upon another phase of Cuba's checkered history.117
The period which had passed left permanent monuments behind, for Havana and her governor had had (1633) an active procurator at court, named Simon Fernandez Leyton,118 who brought before the crown many matters in which Cuba was interested. As his principal mission he represented that it was necessary to open loopholes in Morro's landward walls, to repair the barracks, build drawbridges, etc., there; that it was necessary to repair La Fuerza; and that it was necessary to build a tower at the Chorrera and another at Coximar, each to four guns.119 His representations, together with former Governor Cabrera's opinion thereon, were seen in the council for war in Indies, in February, 1633, and the council recommended120 that the captain general of the next armada to sail that way be instructed to make an inspection along with the governor and royal officials of Havana, and report upon the work Havana wanted done. The council thought that pending the crown's action on this report what repairs those so inspecting considered "most necessary and inexcusable", might be made, Mexico to provide the money. The crown agreed to most of these recommendations, for under date of April 11, 1633, the Marqués p631 de Cadereyta and Don Carlos de Ybarra, admiral of the armada, were ordered to make the inspection, along with Bitrian, the treasurer and accountant of Cuba, "and other experienced and intelligent persons". The governor was instructed accordingly, under the same date.121 He was told to "dispose the minds of the vecinos toward aiding with their slaves and materials", in any work it might be deemed necessary to do at once; if these local resources were not sufficient, the crown would order the balance supplied from Mexico.
On October 6, 1633, the inspection was made.122 Governor Bitrian, the Marqués de Cadereyta, Don Carlos de Ybarra, Captain Damian de Vega, alcayde of Morro, Diego Diaz Pimienta accountant (the treasurer was too ill to be present), and various other persons, including three engineers (John Ydalgo, Juan Bautista Vandazo, Don Francisco de Tessa), looked Morro over and listed desirable repairs and alterations, to an estimated cost of 52,000 ducats. They inspected Fuerza and found 1750 ducats worth of work to be done. They recommended the building of towers at the Chorrera and Coximar, 20,000 ducats. Total, 73,750 ducats. Their report was duly forwarded to court. Some details in connection with it, which it was considered not desirable to entrust to writing, were to be reported verbally by the procurator. On May 30, 1634, the council for war in Indies approved this report and the matter came before his majesty. On October 19, 1634, the crown ordered123 the council's recommendations carried out. This order took the shape of a cedula124 dated January 30, 1635, bidding the governor125 do "what was urgent, and build the towers" (at the Chorrera and Coximar), which, if he considered them vitally necessary to Havana's safety, were to be erected simultaneously with other work. Mexico was ordered126 to deliver twenty thousand ducats and to furnish ten thousand yearly, to the total of 73,750 ducats which it had been estimated were required. p632 The governor was to use the money carefully and do only necessary work.
When the Dutch and the rebel Portuguese entered into a truce, the governor127 feared lest, united, they fall upon Havana. He felt a revived128 interest in the towers planned for the Chorrera and Coximar.
He inspected both sites.129 He found himself handicapped in executing the work, ordered in 1635, because Mexico had not sent the appropriation made for it. The governor despatched an emissary130 to Mexico for this money, who returned without it, or the munitions for which, also, he had asked. The crown repeatedly ordered131 the viceroy to remit.132
In view of his delay in complying with these orders, and alarmed by news from Brazil133 the governor was constrained to p633 call the citizens into consultation, and to tax them, each according to his ability to pay, thus raising money, ostensibly to wall the city. To take charge of the work he summoned Juan Bautista de Antoneli134 from Santiago de Cuba, the fortifications here being in such condition that they could well be finished in the engineer's absence. When Antoneli arrived he decided that the work to be done in Havana should begin by the erection of the two towers which the crown had approved, so long before, one at the Chorrera and one at Coximar.
The fort at the Chorrera, on a rocky islet,º where the river (now called the Almendares) comes into the sea, was built eighty feet square by forty high, five guns to play from a height of twenty feet, and six more from the top. It would seem that Antoneli was guided by plans which in July, 1641, General Luis Fernandez de Cordoba laid before the crown135 as embodying his ideas of what was wanted. The model was the style of tower which Spain had found useful against the Moors:
Two thirds solid and the other third hollow, for the lodging of some six or eight soldiers, and on top one or two small pieces, to prevent launches from entering the said inlet; and the entrance . . . as high up as the solid part goes, access by a rope ladder, for the greater safety of the whole.
For the rope ladder, at the Chorrera Antoneli substituted a draw bridge, and he built in a reservoir, storehouses, and barracks in such manner that the structure was reported to accommodate fifty men.
The fort at Coximar was similar — eighty feet square, but inasmuch as the rock upon which it stood was high, the walls were but fifteen feet to the guns on the seaward side; on the landward, they were thirty-five and there was a five foot moat.136
p634 The crown had appropriated 20,000 ducats for these towers.137 They cost 20,000 pesos each, and, Don Alvaro de Luna wrote on August 26, 1642, "they will be finished within four months without the expenditure of a real of your majesty's revenues. . . ." Before the end of May, 1643, the governor reported fort Santa Dorothea de Luna at the Chorrera done,138 and eleven guns in place. The fort at Coximar seems to have been finished well toward the end of the year 1643.
Four years before royal approval139 of this work extended in 1647, had arrived in Havana, came a cedula to the governor dated May 4, 1643, ordering140 that, for the good of his majesty's service, any Hollanders taken prisoners be neither molested nor maltreated, but rather exchanged to avoid irritation. These were black hours for Spain: this cedula was issued within a few days of the defeat at Rocroy. The immediate future held the Peace of Munster. The Dutch had won their fight. Havana's new forts, like her old ones, were monuments erected to dangers that had passed.
I. A. Wright
Archival Commissioner of the Dutch Government
1 Based on documents preserved in the General Archives of the Indies, Seville, Spain.
2 Petrus Johannes Blok, History of the People of the Netherlands (New York, G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1900), II, The War with Spain, pp296‑7.
3 A. de I., 147‑5‑16, Junta de guerra to crown.
5 See above, note 2. As "by all means the most important and efficacious opposition which may be offered to everything which the enemy can attempt and the most certain means to frustrate his designs", the council recommended the creation of a Caribbean squadron (armada de barlovento), the history of which the author has given in another article so entitled, published in La Reforma Social, New York, in 1919. Also, while turning to Alonso de Sotomayor for accurate information as to the condition of things in Havana, the council recommended that the crown appoint to the of Cuba, to succeed don Pedro de Valdes, at this juncture (October-November 1606) "suspended", as a consequence of Nuñez de Toledo's visita, some person who should be "very much of a soldier, made to defend places, entirely satisfactory in his administration of both military and civil affairs", who, with a hundred and fifty men to reinforce the garrison at Havana, should depart for Cuba at once, in fast vessels. Eventually, Ruiz de Pereda was chosen to succeed Valdes.
6 A. de I., 78‑2‑2, V.5, p70 r., cedula, November 20, 1606; 54‑2‑8, memorandum for a cedula, February 18, 1607.
7 A. de I., 54‑1‑16, Valdes to the crown, Havana, July 13, 1607.
8 Blok, History of the People of the Netherlands, III, The War with Spain, p311.
9 When Manso de Contreras finished his campaign against illicit trade between the colonists of Cuba and foreigners, the king had been assured (1607‑8) that the vecinos of the island said they would kill, or at least stone out of the res publica, any person who indulged in rescates, ever again. "It seems incredible," Manso de Contreras himself admitted, that the evil of illicit traffic should have been so completely eradicated. On April 14, 1612, Governor Pereda reported it as "most certain" that this nefarious business was reviving. On December 18, 1612, in writing of the prize money which proceeded from Valdes's campaigns against pirates, Governor Pereda said that through all these years Cuba's coasts were infested with "small pirate craft". They did damage to the king's subjects who lived by the coasting trade, for they were prone to pillage by sea; they also did damage to the king's revenues, for they captured the market when they came ashore, to barter. The English were abroad: of ten pirates captured on the Isle of Pines in the spring of 1612, seven were of that nationality. "For worthy reasons" the life of one was spared; the rest were executed. In Spain it was at this time (1611) considered best policy to placate the English, and orders were issued to spare the vessels of the king of Great Britain all cause for complaint, but if these orders were ever addressed to Cuba they at least arrived too late to svae the men in question. These pirates informed Pereda of the English colony of Virginia; that Jamestown existed was news to him. The Spaniards understood that the French were out with some sort of authority from their government: some said that they were cleared by the French authorities, but at their own risk. It would seem that French courts (1615) held that vessels taken west of the Terceras were lawful prizes. The crown could think of no remedies for the situation: no removal of causes was attempted — only the old superficial treatments of effects. In 1614, the president of the council was peremptorily ordered to put a stop to all communication between Spaniards in Indies and foreigners along the coasts: without awaiting further provocation, past infractions of the laws against such intercourse were to be punished, and those officials who might have prevented it, but had failed to do so, were to be deposed from office. Penalties against communication with enemies were to be increased, "in order to inspire terror in those concerned". Governor Pereda was most interested to learn who in Cuba were most concerned, in favoring these enemy traders: he knew that without encouragement it would not have been possible for them to linger off shore so long, so comfortably. Certainly they had friends on land. These friends, however, were not the merchants and traders of the island, with whose interests the illicit business which the colonists transacted with pirates constituted a ruinous competition.
10 A. de I., 147‑5‑17, Junta de guerra to the crown, April 30, 1612, etc. (see 143‑5‑5).
11 Blok, ut supra, III, The War with Spain, pp329‑330.
13 A. de I., 78‑2‑2, VII, p46 r., cedula, September 18, 1618.
14 A. de I., 78‑2‑2, VII, pp46 r., cedulas, September 18, 1618.
16 A. de I., 78‑3‑9, VII, pp143, 144, cedulas concerning Alonso de Sotomayor.
17 The governor was now Sancho de Alquiza, who had succeeded Pereda.
18 A. de I., 78‑2‑2, VII, p63, cedula, February 12, 1619.
19 The cedula addressed to Alquiza, and the arms, munitions, and supplies which Sotomayor brought, arrived in Havana after that governor's death. Quero was in command. He reported that he had put Havana into good shape and meant "to try to punish the enemy as advantageously as possible". He bade the governor of eastern Cuba mobilize men and supplies, to send to Havana if they were needed, and he informed Mexico of the situation, preparatory to calling upon the viceroy for help, if necessary. Quero stated that to enable him to provide for Havana's forts as ordered, 30,000 ducats would be required, whereas there was not "one single real" in the treasury. He purposed calling on passing armada generals for money.
20 A. de I., 147‑5‑18, Junta de guerra to the crown.
21 Usselincx was a stern Calvinist and enemy of all heretics and erring spirits, and he now desired not only a limitation of the power of the directors over the shareholders, better and completer accounts, the planting of colonies of freemen closely bound to the mother country, but also the promotion of civilization and Christianity among the natives, and especially a regular supervision by the state of the doings of the merchants "who have gain for their north star and greed for a compass, and who would believe the ship was keeping to its right course, if it were almost wrecked by profits." Little heed was paid his ideals. He disapproved of the scheme as finally agreed upon and entered the service of the king of Sweden, still in hopes from that northern court to realize his great plans.
22 Blok, ut supra, IV, pp3‑5.
23 A. de I., 147‑5‑8, September 24, 1621.
24 A. de I., 147‑5‑18, Junta de guerra to the crown, October 23, 1621.
25 Venegas had succeeded Alquiza, deceased. In 147‑5‑18, there is an undated memorandum of what appears to be an order in council to indite a cedula to Venegas.
26 This view with respect to Virginia is especially clear in a set of documents bearing on the subject, which Dr. Jameson has recently secured from the archives of Simancas and Seville. See "Spanish Policy toward Virginia, 1606‑1612," in the American Historical Review, vol. XXV, No. 3, by I. A. Wright.
27 A. de I., 78‑2‑2, VII, p143, October 28, 1621.
28 A. de I., 147‑5‑8, March 5, 1622.
29 A. de I., 147‑5‑8, March 4, 1622.
30 A. de I., 54‑2‑20, Juan de Cirica to the president of Indies, March 16, 1622.
31 A. de I., 78‑2‑2, VII, p152 r., March 27, 1622.
32 A. de I., 54‑1‑17, Venegas to the crown, August 12, 1622.
33 A. de I., 54‑2‑10, August 12‑13, 1622.
34 A. de I., 78‑2‑2, VII, p194, November 24, 1622.
35 A. de I., 54‑1‑17, Venegas to the crown, April 15, 1623.
36 A. de I., 147‑5‑8, Secretary Cirica to the Junta de guerra, March 30, 1623; memorandum, dated April 11, 1623; royal order, May 2, 1623.
37 A month after it had gone the council for war in Indies was still arguing to the crown that it would be impossible for the Dutch to take Havana, with its eight hundred or a thousand fighting men and three castles — impossible, if the governor in charge were a soldier. Venegas, now, the council described as an honorable gentleman — but a sailor. The council was assured and so assured the crown, that the enemy could not sustain a force of fifteen or twenty thousand men, for fifteen days, in Cuba: the climate would spoil their food, and the eating of it would breed sickness, which alone would suffice to destroy the invaders. It had been suggested that the Dutch might fortify themselves on Cape San Antonio. This notion the council dismissed, relying upon an informant who was certain that as good statesmen as the Dutch were would direct their attentions to more profitable regions.
38 A. de I., 78‑2‑2, VII, p203 r., May 26, 1623.
39 A. de I., 147‑4‑8, Venegas to the crown, September 5, 1622.
40 For instance, in 1606‑7, its omission incommoded Havana, and gave excuse for petitions to clear "loose vessels," i.e., which sailed independently of the fleets, with foodstuffs for that port.
41 The author has dealt with the interesting matter of these admirable frigates in a paper which was presented before the Congress of the Spanish Society for the Progress of Sciences at Seville in 1917, and printed in La Reforma Social (New York).
42 The author has shown the effect of this monopoly on Cuba in a paper entitled Rescates which was presented before the Congress for the Progress of Science at Bilbao in 1919, and published in The Hispanic American Historical Review (Washington), August, 1920.
43 On September 5, 1622, the armada and the mainland fleet it convoyed, twenty-seven or twenty-eight sail, under the Marqués de Cadereyta, were struck by a hurricane one day out from Havana. It is recorded that eight vessels, three of them treasure galleons, and five hundred persons, were lost. The almiranta, which was the galleon Margarita, was among these; she went down on Matacumbe keys off the Florida coast and her sunken hulk was for years thereafter a goal for pirates and for Spanish salvaging expeditions, seeking to recover the bullion and specie she took down. The Mexican fleet was also damaged by this storm. This bad luck was made the occasion, if it was not the cause, of a moratorium in Spain. In 1623 Oquendo's armada and the mainland merchantmen got into Havana on September 12, and after two attempts to leave which were defeated by bad weather, decided in early October to winter in that harbor. Eight frigates which came up from Honduras that year in company with the two regular galleons, arrived twelve days after the Mexican fleet had cleared, and were, therefore, held up with the mainland galleons for the winter. This armada left for Spain on April 9, 1624, and en route home two galleons were lost. On his arrival Oquendo and his subordinates were subjected to investigation because of this delay in Havana, and the loss of the two galleons in transit. All this occasioned hard times in .
44 A. de I., 147‑5‑18; 87‑5‑2, VII, p202 r., cedula, March 16, 1625.
45 A. de I., 54‑1‑17, Dr. Velazquez de Contreras to the crown, Havana, July 30, 1625.
46 Venegas had died. Aranda was gobernador de la guerra; Velazquez, gobernador de la paz. A. de I., 54‑2‑10, November 7, 1625.
47 Blok, ut supra, IV, p36. A. de I., 54‑2‑10, Cristobal de Aranda to the crown, Havana, January 5, 1626, 54‑1‑17, id. to id., January 28, 1626.
48 A. de I., 54‑1‑17, Dr. Velazquez to the crown, February 28, 1626. Florida later complained that the "relief" Havana furnished Porto Rico was afforded at her expense, in that the things sent had been intended for that northern colony. Mexico responded properly (as usual).
49 A. de I., 54‑1‑17, Cristobal de Aranda to the crown, March 28, 1626; 54‑2‑10, Dr. Velazquez to the crown, March 30, 1626.
50 A. de I., 54‑1‑17, Cristobal de Aranda to the crown, March 28, 1626.
51 A. de I., 147‑5‑19, Cristobal de Aranda to the crown, April 3, 1626.
52 A. de I., 54‑1‑17, an informacion.
54 The Spanish versions of his name, in the documents at Seville, are "Bodoyn", "Boydoyno Enrico", "Vaude Vin Enrique", "Pedro Petre Enriquez". He died of a fever which followed a cold caught in the rain at Cabañas, where he was first ashore.
55 The source for this account of the matter is the informacion cited, A. de I., 54‑1‑17. See also 54‑1‑17, Aranda to the crown, Sept. 6, 1626.
56 It is to be observed that Spanish galleons when engaged in transporting treasure, or convoying fleets, had just as little appetite for flight. Not cowardice, but policy, was at the bottom of the conduct of both parties.
57 A. de I., 54‑1‑17, Cabrera to the crown, April 19, 1627.
58 The governor was now don Lorenzo de Cabrera y Corbera.
59 A. de I., 54‑1‑17, Cabrera to the crown, April 19, 1627.
60 A. de I., 54‑2‑11; 141‑1‑12; 147‑5‑19; 54‑2‑10, Aranda to the crown, August 12, 1627. Picturesque details of this fight have been preserved. Governor Cabrera had sent infantry overland to relief of the Honduras ships. One of these infantrymen, named Francisco Isidro, saved the capitana's flag: he stabbed a Dutchman, who had just killed the Spanish color-bearer, wrapped the flag about his body, leaped overboard and swam ashore. Alvaro de la Cerda, cabo (in command), must have deserted his post, for Isidro pushed him to land on a piece of wreckage. He afterwards swam back to the capitana and brought shoreº three sailor friends of his who could not swim. Governor Cabrera, who, with other officials and soldiers, watched the struggle from the land, praised Isidro for his bravery, and he was given the flag he had saved as a trophy. The Dutch did not succeed in capturing the capitana; on July 12, battered and blood-stained, it limped into port. The enemy were six days off Coximar. The authorities in Havana quarreled hotly over the question whether or not to despatch a punitive expedition against them. The noes had it.
61 Blok, ut supra, IV, p36.
62 A. de I., 141‑1‑12, council to the crown, January 9, 1628; 54‑1‑17, Fonseca Betancur to Cabrera, Puerto Principe, January 26, 1628; 78‑2‑3, VIII, p121 r., cedula, June 20, 1628.
63 A. de I., 147‑5‑19.
64 A. de I., 147‑5‑19; 54‑1‑17.
65 The fleet had not yet reached Havana, to discharge any cargo.
66 A. de I., 141‑1‑12, council to crown, October 25, .
67 Blok, ut supra, IV, p37.
68 The school children of Holland, to a gay melody, still sing: "Piet Hein's name small, but his deeds are great — he has captured the silver-fleet!" No song records his capture of Bahia, although on his statue in Delft harbor it is written: "Gold before silver but honor before all", which was his motto. Two despatch boats conveyed to Holland news of his adventures at Matanzas and even before he arrived home the story of his great haul was in circulation in print and picture. While the writer was engaged upon this paper there was at Seville, occupied in investigation among papers referring to the Dutch, F. E. Baron Mulert, a special admirer of Piet Hein, who possesses an engraving of the time, depicting the capture of the Mexican ships in Matanzas bay. It is stated on the picture that the Dutch got thirty-six tons of silver.
69 A. de I., 54‑1‑17, an incomplete letter from Cabrera to the crown, Havana, September 30, 1628.
70 A. de I., 141‑1‑17, Pedro Gutierrez Ortiz to the crown, June 23, 1637. To enable Spaniards to recover lost repute, Pedro Gutierrez advocated an armada — an immense armada. He advised that all enemies captured be executed forthwith, in order "so to terrorize the world that, where it once stood, the name of Spain may stand again!"
71 And at Santiago de Cuba. The effect of Cornelis Corneliszoon Jol's visitation to Santiago on March 15, 1635, has been indicated in the author's Santiago de Cuba and its District (Madrid, 1918), and the matter is therefore omitted from this paper.
72 A. de I., 54‑1‑17, Cabrera to the crown, Sept. 30, 1628.
73 A. de I., 147‑5‑8, Oquendo to the crown, Lisbon, Oct. 11, 1630.
74 A. de I., 147‑5‑19, Junta de guerra to the crown, January, 1629; 78‑2‑3, VIII, pp133, 134 r., cedulas, January 22, 1629.
75 A. de I., 147‑5‑8, Junta de guerra to the crown, December 26, 1629. Such were the company's plans, according to the Infanta Isabel's informant.
76 A. de I., 147‑5‑8, March 20, 1629: according to warnings received from Cardinal de Cueva.
77 A. de I., 147‑5‑8, the king to the grand chancellor for Indies, March 31, 1629.
78 A. de I., 147‑5‑8, id. to id., May 9, 1629.
79 A. de I., 147‑5‑8, royal order, June 10, 1630; February 7, 1631.
80 A. de I., 147‑5‑8, April 24, 1630.
81 A. de I., 141‑1‑13, November 30, 1630.
82 A. de I., 78‑2‑3, VIII, p132 r., cedula, January 11, 1629.
83 A. de I., 147‑5‑19, Junta de guerra to the crown, January 12, 1629.
84 Ibid. and A. de I., 147‑5‑19, Junta de guerra to the crown, January 26, 1629.
85 A. de I., 147‑5‑19, Junta de guerra to the crown, January 26, 1629.
87 A. de I., 147‑5‑19, Junta de guerra to the crown March 5, 1629.
89 A. de I., 54‑1‑35, Castañeda and to the crown, Oct. 7, 1629.
90 A. de I., 78‑2‑3, VIII, pp137 r., 144, cedulas, April 27, 1629.
91 A. de I., 147‑5‑19, Junta de guerra to the crown, April 26, 1629.
94 A. de I., 141‑1‑12.
95 A. de I., 78‑2‑3, VIII, p149, cedula, May 28, 1629.
96 A. de I., 54‑1‑35, Castañeda and Armenteros to the crown, October 7, 1629; 54‑2‑11, Matheo Varona to the crown, Havana, November 3, 1629; 54‑1‑17, Fonseca Betancur, Bayamo, November 15, 1629.
97 A. de I., 54‑1‑35, Castañeda and Armenteros to the crown, October 7, 1629; 54‑1‑35, Pedro de Armenteros y Guzman to the crown, Oct. 7, 1629; and documents in 54-2-11.
98 A. de I., 54‑1‑35, Pedro de Armenteros y Guzman to the crown, Oct. 7, 1629.
99 A. de I., 147‑5‑19, council to crown, Dec. 3, 1629; 141‑1‑12, January 24, 1630, council to crown; 139‑6‑23, III, p112, cedula, February 3, 1630.
100 A. de I., 141‑1‑12; don Fadrique de Toledo to the crown, Havana, April 3, 1630.
101 A. de I., 54‑1‑17, Cabrera to the crown, Havana, April 26, 1630.
102 A. de I., 147‑5‑20.
103 A. de I., 141‑1‑12, Thomas Larraspuru to the crown, Cartagena, August, 1630.
104 Cheap insurance, as rates have been running.
105 A. de I., 54‑1‑17, Bitrian to the crown, January 21, 1631.
106 The governor was now Admiral Don Juan Bitrian de Biamonte y Navarra.
107 A. de I., 54‑1‑17, Bitrian to the crown, June 29, 1631.
108 A. de I., 54‑1‑17, Bitrian to the crown, June 30, 1631.
109 A. de I., 141‑1‑13, August-December, 1631.
110 A. de I., 54‑1‑17, Bitrian to the crown, October 13, 1633; 147‑5‑20.
111 A. de I., 141‑4‑8.
112 A. de I., 147‑5‑22; 141‑1‑16, two letters written by Sancho de Urdanivia, November 15 and 16, 1638, and the council's communication, dated January 14, 1639, referring these letters to the crown.
113 The governor was now Don Alvaro de Luna Sarmiento, who took possession of his office on September 15, 1639. He considered that the greatest menace to the colony's welfare was the enemy who infested the coasts: the lessee of the customs dues had collected only 5,000 pesos during immediately preceding years, whereas these collections had formerly been 18,000 per annum. Coastwise trade traveled in canoes, not even these vessels being safe. The pirates actually troubled business done ashore, for they had penetrated two and three leagues inland to plunder and burn.
114 A. de I., 54‑1‑17, Luna Sarmiento to the crown, September 15, 1639.
115 Ibid., and 54‑2‑11, Riaño to the crown, September 17, 1639.
116 A. de I., 54‑1‑17, Luna Sarmiento to the crown, September 17, 1639.
117 A. de I., 147‑5‑23, January 25, 1641. Further references to the Dutch around about Cuba exist, for instance: A. de I., 55‑1‑38, 54‑2‑11, Riaño to the crown, September 17, 1639; 147‑5‑23, January 1641; 141‑4‑49, February 7 (?), 1641; 78‑2‑3, XI, pp65, 68; 141‑1‑18, September 7, 1641 (?), etc., etc.
118 Fernandez Leyton was Portuguese by birth, a vecino of Havana, married to the daughter of a Spaniard; it had cost him 300 ducats "double silver" to get out naturalization papers which (November 2, 1627) entitled him to do business in Indies and Spain.
119 A. de I., 55‑5‑24, memorial, Captain Simon Fernandez Leyton, February 3, 1633.
120 A. de I., 55‑5‑24, May 30, 1634, a relacion.
121 A. de I., 78‑2‑3, IX, pp39, 41 r.; 147‑5‑20, cedula, April 11, 1633.
122 A. de I., 147‑5‑20; 55‑5‑24, Bitrian to the crown, October 12, 1633.
123 A. de I., 147‑5‑20, Junta de guerra to the crown, October 19, 1634.
124 A. de I., 78‑2‑3, IX, p121 r., cedula.
125 The governor was now Don Francisco de Riaño y Gamboa.
126 A. de I., 78‑2‑3, IX, p126 r.; 127 r.
127 The governor was Don Alvaro de Luna Sarmiento.
128 A. de I., 54‑1‑17, November 6, 1640, Luna Sarmiento to the crown.
129 Riaño had reported on May 25, 1635, that, recognizing the necessity of placing the Chorrera in a position not only to defend itself, but also to offend any enemy fleet seeking to anchor there, he and General Antonio de Oquendo, accompanied by veteran soldiers and engineers, made various inspections of the vicinity, and of Coximar, and drew up plans, which Captain Juan Alferez presented at court. These resuscitated interest in the projected work, but it was the fear which Luna Sarmiento expressed, lest the Dutch and Portuguese together attack, which finally built the forts — after all danger from the enemy (the Dutch) to whom they are a monument, had disappeared. "El socorro del español . . ."
130 A. de I., 54‑1‑17, Luna Sarmiento to the crown, September 15, 1639, and November 6, 1640; 54‑1‑18, id. to id., December 28, 1641. Juan de Esquivel was the emissary.
131 A. de I., 78‑2‑3, XI, pp62½, 69 r., 81 r., 82 r., cedulas, December 25, 1640, August 28, 1641, June 20, 1642.
132 Irregularities in the Mexican fleet service, the wintering of the fleets and armada in Vera Cruz in 1639 and their failure to call at Havana in passing, had created a serious situation for Cuba. Don Alvaro found the king's strongboxes about empty. The crown reminded armada generals of previous orders to leave from whatever treasure they had aboard whatever accounts showed to be due Cuba when they called. From Don Geronimo de Sandoval, presumably in 1639, the governor got 50,000 ducats on account, and in 1641 Diaz Pimienta left 105,000 ducats (239,000 pesos were then due, it appears). But it must be borne in mind that Havana had local revenues at disposal.
133 A. de I., 54‑1‑18, Luna to the crown, December 28, 1641; 55‑5‑24, August 26, 1642, id. to id. The crown's announcement of Portugal's rebellion did not reach Luna Sarmiento as it should; he got his first news of that event via Brazil, accompanied by alarming rumors that from Brazil the Dutch and Portuguese would attack Havana.
134 There were two brothers named Juan Bautista Antoneli, one of whom, commonly called Bautista Antoneli, came to Havana with Don Juan de Texeda, to build Morro and Punta castles, commencing in 1589. The Juan Bautista Antoneli here mentioned is this man's son, born out of wedlock in Cartagena but later legitimized; he was heir to his father's name, talents, bad bills against the government, and also to his title of king's military engineer. He had a son, also of the same name, who was born in Porto Rico circa 1634.
135 A. de I., 54‑2‑12.
136 Good descriptions of the towers are contained in the governor's and Antoneli's letters to the crown: A. de I., 55‑5‑24, August 26, 1642; June 1, 1643.
138 In fact, he reported one fort done before the end of 1642. A. de I., 54‑1‑18, Luna Sarmiento to the crown, January 5, 1643; id. to id., March 10, 1643; 55‑5‑24, id. to id., May 29, 1643.
139 A. de I., 55‑5‑24, Junta de guerra to crown, January 12, 1645; Geronimo de Sandoval's report, February 14, 1645; Fray Antonio Camaso's opinions, February 15, 1645, etc. Don Alvaro asked for powder, munitions, firearms, and a garrison of fifty for each of the new forts, including for each a captain, sergeant, drummer, fifer, chaplain, barber and four artillerymen. He reported that he had appointed Captain Pedro Henriquez de Noboa, former warden of Punta, to be warden at Coximar temporarily, and, similarly, he had selected Don Pedro Salgado for the fort at Chorrera. Salgado was assistant to Sergeant Major Lucas de Carvajal, whom the governor praised for the help he had given to the work of building the forts. The governor asked that his appointments be approved, and meanwhile from the other forts' garrisons he assigned men temporarily to both Coximar and the Chorrera. In 1647, Antonio Hurtado del Clavo went to court with a memorial showing why, and how, these forts were built. He had succeeded Pedro Salgado as Alvaro de Luna's choice for warden at Chorrera.
140 See also A. de I., 147‑5‑24, a document dated June 25, 1647; Junta de guerra to the crown, September 9, 1647; 78‑2‑24, XII, pp38 r., 42, 45 r., cedulas of September 17, 1647.
a On the evening of September 8, 1628 (N.S.), the moon was waning, five days past full. When the sun set she was thus fairly high up in the sky.
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