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Carapana, a man very wise, subtle, and of great experience,
being little less than an hundred years old. In his youth
he was sent by his father into the island of Trinidad, by
reason of civil war among themselves, and was bred at a
village in that island, called Parico. At that place in his
youth he had seen many Christians, both French and
Spanish, and went divers times with the Indians of Trinidad
to Margarita and Cumand, in the West Indies, for both
those places have ever been relieved with victual from
Trinidad: by reason whereof he grew of more under-
standing, and noted the difference of the nations, com-
paring the strength and arms of his country with those
of the Christians, and ever after temporised so as whoso-
ever else did amiss, or was wasted by contention, Carapana
kept himself and his country in quiet and plenty. He
also held peace with the Caribs or cannibals, his neigh-
bours, and had free trade with all nations, whosoever else
had war.

Berreo sojourned and rested his weak troop in the town
of Carapana six weeks, and from him learned the way and
passage to Guiana, and the riches and magnificence thereof.
But being then utterly unable to proceed, he determined to
try his fortune another year, when he had renewed his pro-
visions, and regathered more force, which he hoped for as
well out of Spain as from Nuevo Reyno, where he had left
his son Don Antonio Ximenes to second him upon the first
notice given of his entrance; and so for the present em-
barked himself in canoas, and by the branches of Orcnoque
arrived at Trinidad, having from Carapana sufficient pilots
to conduct him. From Trinidad he coasted Paria, and so
recovered Margarita ; and having made relation to Don
Juan Sarmiento, the Governor, of his proceeding, and per-
suaded him of the riches of Guiana, he obtained from thence
fifty soldiers, promising presently to return to Carapana, and


so into Guiana. But Berreo meant nothing less at that time ;
for he wanted many provisions necessary for such an enter-
prise, and therefore departed from Margarita, seated himself
in Trinidad, and from thence sent his camp-master and his
sergeant-major back to the borders to discover the nearest
passage into the empire, as also to treat with the borderers,
and to draw them to his party and love; without which, he
knew he could neither pass safely, nor in any sort be relieved
with victual or aught else. Carapana directed his company
to a king called Morequito, assuring them that no man could
deliver so much of Guiana as Morequito could, and that his
dwelling was but five days' journey from Macureguarai, the
first civil town of Guiana.

Now your lordship shall understand that this Morequito,
one of the greatest lords or kings of the borders of Guiana,
had two or three years before been at Cumand and at Mar-
garita, in the West Indies, with great store of plates of
gold, which he carried to exchange for such other things as
he wanted in his own country, and was daily feasted, and
presented by the governors of those places, and held amongst
them some two months. In which time one Vides, Governor
of Cumand, won him to be his conductor into Guiana, being
allured by those croissants and images of gold which he
brought with him to trade, as also by the ancient fame and
magnificence of El Dorado; whereupon Vides sent into
Spain for a patent to discover and conquer Guiana, not
knowing of the precedence of Berreo 's patent; which, as
Berreo affirmeth, was signed before that of Vides. So as
when Vides understood of Berreo and that he had made en-
trance into that territory, and foregone his desire and hope,
it was verily thought that Vides practised with Morequito to
hinder and disturb Berreo in all he could, and not to suffer
him to enter through his seignory, nor any of his companies;
neither to victual, nor guide them in any sort. For Vides,
Governor of Cumand, and Berreo, were become mortal
enemies, as well for that Berreo had gotten Trinidad into his
patent with Guiana, as also in that he was by Berreo pre-
vented in the journey of Guiana itself. Howsoever it was,
I know not, but Morequito for a time dissembled his dispo-
sition, suffered ten Spaniards and a friar, which Berreo had


sent to discover Manoa, to travel through his country, gave
them a guide for Macnreguarai, the first town of civil and
apparelled people, from whence they had other guides to
bring them to Manoa, the great city of Inga; and being
furnished with those things which they had learned of
Carapana were of most price in Guiana, went onward, and
in eleven days arrived at Manoa, as Bcrreo afhrmeth for
certain; although I could not be assured thereof by the lord
which now governeth the province of Morcquito, for he
told me that they got all the gold they had in other towns
on this side Manoa, there being many very great and rich,
and (as he said) built like the towns of Christians, with
many rooms.

When these ten Spaniards were returned, and ready
to put out cf the border of Arotnaia,* 1 the people of More-
quit o set upon them, and slew them all but one that swam
the river, and took from them to the value of 40,000 pesos
of gold; and one of them only lived to bring the news to
Berreo, that both his nine soldiers and holy father were
benighted in the said province. I myself spake with the
captains of Morcquito that slew them, and was at the place
where it was executed. Berreo, enraged herewithal, sent
all the strength he could make into Aromaia, to be revenged
of him, his people, and country. But Morcquito, suspecting
the same, fled over Orenoque, and thorough the territories
of the Saima and Wikiri recovered Cumand, where he
thought himself very safe, with Vides the governor. But
Berreo sending for him in the king's name, and his mes-
sengers finding him in the house of one Fajardo, on the
sudden, yere he was suspected, so as he could not then be
conveyed away, Vides durst not deny him, as well to avoid
the suspicion of the practice, as also for that an holy father
was slain by him and his people. Morcquito offered
Fajardo the weight of three quintals in gold, to let him
escape; but the poor Guianian, betrayed on all sides, was
delivered to the camp-master of Berreo, and was presently

After the death of this Morcquito, the soldiers of Berreo
spoiled his territory and took divers prisoners. Among

81 The district below the Caroni river.


others they took the uncle of Morequito, called Topiawari,
who is now king of Aromaia, whose son I brought with me
into England, and is a man of great understanding and
policy; he is above an hundred years old, and yet is of a very
able body. The Spaniards led him in a chain seventeen days,
and made him their guide from place to place between his
country and Emeria, the province of Carapana aforesaid,
and he was at last redeemed for an hundred plates of gold,
and divers stones called piedras hijadas, or spleen-stones.
Now Berreo for executing of Morequito, and other cruelties,
spoils, and slaughters done in Aromaia, hath lost the love
of the Orenoqueponi. and of all the borderers, and dare not
send any of his soldiers any further into the land than to
Carapana, which he called the port of Guiana; but from
thence by the help of Carapana he had trade further
into the country, and always appointed ten Spaniards to
reside in Carapana's town, 82 by whose favour, and by being
conducted by his people, those ten searched the country
thereabouts, as well for mines as for other trades and

They also have gotten a nephew of Morequito, whom
they have christened and named Don J nan, of whom they
have great hope, endeavouring by all means to establish
him in the said province. Among many other trades, those
Spaniards used canoas to pass to the rivers of Barema,
Pawroma, and Disseqnebe, 3 * which are on the south side
of the mouth of Orenoque, and there buy women and
children from the cannibals, which are of that barbarous
nature, as they will for three or four hatchets sell the sons
and daughters of their own brethren and sisters, and for
somewhat more even their own daughters. Hereof the
Spaniards make great profit ; for buying a maid of twelve
or thirteen years for three or four hatchets, they sell them
again at Margarita in the West Indies for fifty and an
hundred pesos, which is so many crowns.

The master of my ship, John Douglas, took one of the
canoas which came laden from thence with people to be
sold, and the most of them escaped; yet of those he brought,

32 The Spanish settlement of Santo Tome de la Guyana, founded by
Berrio in 1591 or 1592, but represented by Raleigh as an Indian pueblo.

33 Essequibo.


there was one as well favoured and as well shaped as ever
I saw any in England; and afterwards I saw many of
them, which but for their tawny colour may be compared
to any in Europe. They also trade in those rivers for
bread of cassavi, of which they buy an hundred pound
weight for a knife, and sell it at Margarita for ten pesos.
They also recover great store of cotton, Brazil wood, and
those beds which they call hamacas or Brazil beds, wherein
in hot countries all the Spaniards use to lie commonly,
and in no other, neither did we ourselves while we were
there. By means of which trades, for ransom of divers of
the Guianians, and for exchange of hatchets and knives,
Berreo recovered some store of gold plates, eagles of gold,
and images of men and divers birds, and dispatched his
camp-master for Spain, with all that he had gathered,
therewith to levy soldiers, and by the show thereof to draw
others to the love of the enterprise. And having sent
divers images as well of men as beasts, birds, and fishes,
so curiously wrought in gold, he doubted not but to persuade
the king to yield to him some further help, especially for that
this land hath never been sacked, the mines never wrought,
and in the Indies their works were well spent, and the gold
drawn out with great labour and charge. He also de-
spatched messengers to his son in Nuevo Reyno to levy all
the forces he could, and to come down the river Orenoque
to Emeria, the province of Carapana, to meet him; he
had also sent to Santiago de Leon on the coast of the
Caracas, to buy horses and mules.

After I had thus learned of his proceedings past and
purposed, I told him that I had resolved to see Guiana, and
that it was the end of my journey, and the cause of my
coming to Trinidad, as it was indeed, and for that purpose
I sent Jacob Whiddon the year before to get intelligence:
with whom Berreo himself had speech at that time, and re-
membered how inquisitive Jacob Whiddon was of his pro-
ceedings, and of the country of Guiana. Berreo was stricken
into a great melancholy and sadness, and used all the argu-
ments he could to dissuade me; and also assured the gentle-
men of my company that it would be labour lost, and that they
should suffer many miseries if they proceeded. And first


he delivered that I could not enter any of the rivers with
any bark or pinnace, or hardly with any ship's boat, it was
so low, sandy, and full of flats, and that his companies were
daily grounded in their canoes, which drew but twelve inches
water. He further said that none of the country would come
to speak with us, but would all fly; and if we followed them
to their dwellings, they would burn their own towns. And
besides that, the way was long, the winter at hand, and that
the rivers beginning once to swell, it was impossible to stem
the current; and that we could not in those small boats by
any means carry victuals for half the time, and that (which
indeed most discouraged my company) the kings and lords
of all the borders of Guiana had decreed that none of them
should trade with any Christians for gold, because the same
would be their own overthrow, and that for the love of
gold the Christians meant to conquer and dispossess them
of all together.

Many and the most of these I found to be true ; but yet I
resolving to make trial of whatsoever happened, directed
Captain George Gilford, my Vice-Admiral, to take the Lion's
Whelp, and Captain Caidfield his bark, [and] to turn to the
eastward, against the mouth of a river called Capuri, whose
entrance I had before sent Captain Whiddon and John Doug-
las the master to discover. Who found some nine foot
water or better upon the flood, and five at low water; to
whom I had given instructions that they should anchor at
the edge of the shoal, and upon the best of the flood to thrust
over, which shoal John Douglas buoyed and beckoned 3 * for
them before. But they laboured in vain; for neither could
they turn it up altogether so far to the east, neither did the
flood continue so long, but the water fell yere they could
have passed the sands. As we after found by a second ex-
perience : so as now we must either give over our enterprise,
or leaving our ships at adventure 400 mile behind us, must
run up in our ship's boats, one barge, and two wherries.
But being doubtful how to carry victuals for so long a time
in such baubles, or any strength of men, especially for that
Berreo assured us that his son must be by that time come
down with many soldiers, I sent away one King, master of

31 Beaconed, i. e. placed a beacon or signal upon the buoy.


the Lion's Whelp, with his ship-boat, to try another branch
of the river in the bottom of the Bay of Guanipa, which was
called Amana, to prove if there were water to be found for
either of the small ships to enter. But when he came to
the mouth of Amana, he found it as the rest, but stayed not
to discover it thoroughly, because he was assured by an
Indian, his guide, that the cannibals of Guanipa would assail
them with many canoas, and that they shot poisoned arrows;
so as if he hasted not back, they should all be lost.

In the meantime, fearing the worst, I caused all the car-
penters we had to cut down a galego boat, which we meant
to cast off, and to fit her with banks to row on, and in all
things to prepare her the best they could, so as she might
be brought to draw but five foot: for so much we had on
the bar of Capnri at low water. And doubting of King's
return, I sent John Douglas again in my long barge, as well
to relieve him, as also to make a perfect search in the bot-
tom of the bay; for it hath been held for infallible, that
whatsoever ship or boat shall fall therein can never disem-
boque again, by reason of the violent current which setteth
into the said bay, as also for that the breeze and easterly
wind bloweth directly into the same. Of which opinion I
have heard John Hampton of Plymouth, one of the greatest
experience of England, and divers other besides that have
traded to Trinidad.

I sent with John Douglas an old cacique of Trinidad for
a pilot, who told us that we could not return again by the
bay or gulf, but that he knew a by-branch which ran within
the land to the eastward, and he thought by it we might fall
into Capnri, and so return in four days. John Douglas
searched those rivers, and found four goodly entrances,
whereof the least was as big as the Thames at Woolwich, but
in the bay thitherward it was shoal and but six foot water;
so as we were now without hope of any ship or bark to pass
over, and therefore resolved to go on with the boats, and the
bottom of the galego, in which we thrust 60 men. In the
Lion's Whelp's boat and wherry we carried twenty, Captain
Caulfield in his wherry carried ten more, and in my barge
other ten, which made up a hundred ; we had no other means

** Captain of the Minion in the third voyage of Hawkins.


but to carry victual for a month in the same, and also to
lodge therein as we could, and to boil and dress our meat.
Captain Gifford had with him Master Edward Porter, Cap-
tain Eynos, and eight more in his wherry, with all their
victual, weapons, and provisions. Captain Caulfield had
with him my cousin Butshead Gorges, and eight more. In
the galley, of gentlemen and officers myself had Captain
Thyn, my cousin John Greenvile, my nephew John Gilbert,
Captain Whiddon, Captain Keymis, Edward Hancock, Cap-
tain Clarke, Lieutenant Hughes, Thomas Upton, Captain
Facy, Jerome Ferrar, Anthony Wells, William Connock,
and above fifty more. We could not learn of Berreo any
other way to enter but in branches so far to windward
as it was impossible for us to recover; for we had as much
sea to cross over in our wherries, as between Dover and
Calice, and in a great bollow, the wind and current being
both very strong. So as we were driven to go in those
small boats directly before the wind into the bottom of the
Bay of Guanipa, and from thence to enter the mouth of
some one of those rivers which John Douglas had last dis-
covered; and had with us for pilot an Indian of Barema, a
river to the south of Orenoque, between that and Amazons,
whose canoas we had formerly taken as he was going from
the said Barema, laden with cassavi bread to sell at Mar-
garita. This Arwacan promised to bring me into the great
river of Orenoque ; but indeed of that which he entered he
was utterly ignorant, for he had not seen it in twelve years
before, at which time he was very young, and of no judg-
ment. And if God had not sent us another help, we might
have wandered a whole year in that labyrinth of rivers, yere
we had found any way, either out or in, especially after we
were past ebbing and flowing, which was in four days. For
I know all the earth doth not yield the like confluence of
streams and branches, the one crossing the other so many
times, and all so fair and large, and so like one to another,
as no man can tell which to take: and if we went by the
sun or compass, hoping thereby to go directly one way or
other, yet that way we were also carried in a circle amongst
multitudes of islands, and every island so bordered with high
trees as no man could see any further than the breadth of


the river, or length of the breach. But this it chanced, that
entering into a river (which because it had no name, we
called the River of the Red Cross, ourselves being the first
Christians that ever came therein), the 22. of May, as we
were rowing up the same, we espied a small canoa with three
Indians, which by the swiftness of my barge, rowing with
eight oars, I overtook yere they could cross the river. The
rest of the people on the banks, shadowed under the thick
wood, gazed on with a doubtful conceit what might befall
those three which we had taken. But when they perceived
that we offered them no violence, neither entered their canoa
with any of ours, nor took out of the canoa any of theirs,
they then began to show themselves on the bank's side, and
offered to traffic with us for such things as they had. And
as we drew near, they all stayed ; and we came with our
barge to the mouth of a little creek which came from their
town into the great river.

As we abode here awhile, our Indian pilot, called Ferdi-
nando, would needs go ashore to their village to fetch some
fruits and to drink of their artificial wines, and also to see
the place and know the lord of it against another time, and
took with him a brother of his which he had with him in
the journey. When they came to the village of these peo-
ple the lord of the island offered to lay hands on them, pur-
posing to have slain them both ; yielding for reason that this
Indian of ours had brought a strange nation into their ter-
ritory to spoil and destroy them. But the pilot being quick
and of a disposed body, slipt their fingers and ran into the
woods, and his brother, being the better footman of the
two, recovered the creek's mouth, where we stayed in our
barge, crying out that his brother was slain. With that we
set hands on one of them that was next us, a very old man,
and brought him into the barge, assuring him that if we
had not our pilot again we would presently cut off his head.
This old man, being resolved that he should pay the loss of
the other, cried out to those in the woods to save Ferdi-
nando, our pilot; but they followed him notwithstanding,
and hunted after him upon the foot with their deer-dogs, and
with so main a cry that all the woods echoed with the shout
they made. But at the last this poor chased Indian recovered


the river side and got upon a tree, and, as we were coasting,
leaped down and swam to the barge half dead with fear.
But our good hap was that we kept the other old Indian,
which we handfasted to redeem our pilot withal ; for, being
natural of those rivers, we assured ourselves that he knew
the way better than any stranger could. And, indeed, but
for this chance, I think we had never found the way either
to Guiana or back to our ships ; for Fcrdinando after a few
days knew nothing at all, nor which way to turn ; yea, and
many times the old man himself was in great doubt which
river to take. Those people which dwell in these broken
islands and drowned lands are generally called Tivitivas.
There are of them two sorts; the one called Ciawani, and the
other Warazveete.

The great river of Orenoque or Baraquan hath nine
branches which fall out on the north side of his own main
mouth. On the south side it hath seven other fallings into the
sea, so it disemboqueth by sixteen arms in all, between
islands and broken ground; but the islands are very great,
many of them as big as the Isle of Wight, and bigger, and
many less. From the first branch on the north to the last
of the south it is at least ioo leagues, so as the river's mouth
is 300 miles wide at his entrance into the sea, which I take
to be far bigger than that of Amazons. All those that in-
habit in the mouth of this river upon the several north
branches are these Tivitivas, of which there are two chief
lords which have continual wars one with the other. The
islands which lie on the right hand are called Pallamos, and
the land on the left, Hororotomaka; and the river by which
John Douglas returned within the land from Amana to
Capuri they call Macuri.

These Tivitivas are a very goodly people and very valiant,
and have the most manly speech and most deliberate that ever
I heard of what nation soever. In the summer they have
houses on the ground, as in other places ; in the winter they
dwell upon the trees, where they build very artificial towns
and villages, as it is written in the Spanish story of the
West Indies that those people do in the low lands near the
gulf of Uraba. For between May and September the river
of Orenoque riseth thirty foot upright, and then are those


islands overflown twenty fooj; high above the level of the
ground, saving some few ra/sed grounds in the middle of
them; and for this cause they are enforced to live in this
manner. They never eat of anything that is set or sown ;
and as at home they use neither planting nor other manu-
rance, so when they come abroad they refuse to feed of
aught but of that which nature without labour bringeth forth.
They use the tops of palmitos for bread, and kill deer, fish,
and porks for the rest of their sustenance. They have also
many sorts of fruits that grow in the woods, and great
variety of birds and fowls; and if to speak of them were not
tedious and vulgar, surely we saw in those passages of very
rare colours and forms not elsewhere to be found, for as
much as I have either seen or read.

Of these people those that dwell upon the branches of
Orenoquc, called Capuri and Macureo, are for the most part
carpenters of canoas; for they make the most and fairest
canoas, and sell them into Guiana for gold and into Trinidad
for tabacco, in the excessive taking whereof they exceed all
nations. And notwithstanding the moistness of the air in
which they live, the hardness of their diet, and the great
labours they suffer to hunt, fish, and fowl for their living, in
all my life, either in the Indies or in Europe, did I never be-
hold a more goodly or better-favoured people or a more
manly. They were wont to make war upon all nations, and
especially on the Cannibals, so as none durst without a good
strength trade by those rivers; but of late they are at peace
with their neighbours, all holding the Spaniards for a com-
mon enemy. When their commanders die they use great
lamentation; and when they think the flesh of their bodies
is putrified and fallen from their bones, then they take up
the carcase again and hang it in the cacique's house that
died, and deck his skull with feathers of all colours, and

Online LibraryHerodotusVoyages and travels; ancient and modern → online text (page 31 of 35)