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and was terminated by hanging up the cazique, who defended his people with a bravery that deserved a better fatę.
But his treatment of Anacoana, a female cazique, was still more treacherous and cruel. The province anciently called Xaragua, which extends from the fertile plain where Leogane is now situ. ated, to the western extremity of the island, was subject to her authority. She, from that partial fondness with which the women of America were attached to the Europeans, had always courted the friendship of the Spaniards, and done them good offices. But some of the adherents of Roldan, having settled in her country, were so exasperated at her endeavouring to restrain their excesses, that they accused her of a design of throwing off the yoke, and destroying the Spaniards.
Ovando, though he knew that little credit was due to such profligate characters, marched without further enquiry towards Xaragua, with three hundred foot, and seventy horsemen. To prevent the Indians from taking alarm at this hostile appearance, he gave out that it was his sole intention to visit Anacoana, to whom his countrymen had been so much indebted, and to regulate with her the mode of levying the tribute payable to the king of Spaio.
Anacoana, in order to receive this illustrious guest with due honour, assembled the principal men in her dominions, to the number of three hundred, and advancing at their head, accom. panied by a vast crowd of the lower rank, she welcomed Ovando with songs and dances, and conducted him to the place of her residence. There he was entertained for several days, with all the kindness of simple hospitality, and amused with games and spectacles usual among the natives, upon occasions of mirth and festivity.
Amidst the security which this inspired, Ovando was medi. tating the destruction of his unsuspicious and generous entertainer, and her subjects; and the manner in which he executed his scheme, discovered such meanness and barbarity, as must shock every lover of humanity:
Under colour of shewing the Indians an European tournament, he advanced with his troops in battle array. The infantry took possession of all the avenues which led to the village, while the horsemen encompassed the house in which Anacoana and her chiefs were assembled. These inovements were beheld with admiration, without any mixture of fear : until, upon a signal, the Spaniards drew their swords, and rushed upon the Indians, who were defenceless, and astonished at an act of treachery, which exceeded their conception. Anacoana was instantly secured; all her attendants who were in the house, were seized and bound. Fire was set to the house ; and without examination, all those unhappy persons, the most illustrious in their own country, were consumed in the flames. Anacoana was reserved for a more ignominious fate. She was carried in chains to St. Domingo; and, after the formality of a trial before Spanish judges, she was condemned upon the evidence of those very men who had betrayed her, to be publicly hanged.
The Indians overawed and humbled by the destruction of their chief and principal men, submitted to the Spanish yoke. Ovando distributed them among his friends on the island. The exactions of their oppressors no longer knew any bounds. But barbarous as their policy was, and fatal to the natives, it produced considerable consequences, by calling forth the exertion of a whole nation, pointing it in one direction.
The working of the mines was carried on with amazing success. During several years the gold brought into the royal smelting houses in Hispaniola, amounted annually to sixty thousand pesos, above one hundred thousand pounds sterling : an immense sum at that time.
Although Ovando had treated the Indians with cruelty and treachery, he governed the Spaniards with wisdom and justice : he established equal laws, and executed them impartially ; he endeavoured to turn the attention of the Spaniards to industry, more useful than searching the mines for gold. Some slips of the sugar cane having been brought from the Canaries by way of experiment, were found to thrive with such encrease in the rich and warm soil of Hispaniola, that the cultivation of them became an object of commerce : and, in a few years, the manufacturing this commodity became the great object of the inhabitants, and most certain source of their wealth.
But notwithstanding this prosperous appearance of the colony, a calamity impended, which threatened its dissolution. The natives, on whose labour the Spaniards depended, wasted so fast, that the extinction of their whole race appeared to be inevitable. When Columbus discovered Hispaniola, the number of the inhabitants was computed to be at least a million. They were now reduced to sixty thousand in the space of fifteen years. This amazing consumption of the human species, was the effect of several concurring causes. The inactive indolence in which they were used to pass their days, as it was the effect of their debility, contributed to encrease it ; their food afforded but little nourishment, and taken in such small quantities, as was not sufficient to invigorate a languid frame, and render it equal to the efforts industry required.
The Spaniards without attending to those peculiarities in the constitution of the Indians, imposed such tasks upon them, that many sunk under the fatigue, and ended their wretched days. Others in despair cut short their own existence with a violent hand. Diseases of various kinds compieated the desolation of the island. The Spaniards thus deprived of their slaves found it inipossible to extend their improvements, or even carry on the works which they had already begun.
Ovando in order to provide an immediate remedy for an evil so alarming, proposed to transport inhabitants of the Lucayo islands to Hispaniola, under pretence they might be civilized with more facility, and instructed to greater advantage in the christian faith, if they were united to the Spanish colony, and under the immediate inspection of the missionaries settled there.
Ferdinand deceived by this artifice, or willing to connive at an act of violence which policy represented as necessary,
assented to the proposal. Several vessels were fitted out for the Lucayos, the commanders of which informed the natives, with whose language they were now acquainted, that they came from a delightful country, in which their departed ancestors resided, by whom they were sent to invite them to partake of that bliss which they enjoyed. The simple people listened with wonder and credulity; and delighted with the idea of visiting their relations and friends in that happy region, followed the Spaniards with eagerness.
By this artifice, above forty thousand were decoyed into Hispaniola to mingle their groans and tears with its native inhabitants. The ardour with which the Spaniards pursued their operations in the mines, and the success attending their pursuit seemed to have engrossed their whole attention : no enterprize of any moment had been undertaken since the last voyage of Columbus. But the rapid decrease of the Indians rendered it impossible to acquire wealth with that facility as formerly; they began to form new schemes of aggrandizement, and the spirit of discovering new countries revived.
Juan Ponce de Leon, who commanded under Ovando in the eastern district of Hispaniola, passed over to the island of St. John de Puerto Rico, which Columbus had discovered in his second voyage, and penetrated into the interior part of the country. As he found the soil fertile, and expected from the information of the inhabitants, to discover gold mines in the mountains, Ovando permitted him to make a settlement. This was easily effected by that officer, who was eminent for his conduct and courage.
In a few years Puerto Rico was subject to the Spanish government; the natives were reduced to servitude, and treated with the same inconsiderate rigour as those of Hispaniola ; and were soon exterminated,
About this time, Juan Diaz de Solis, in conjunction with Vincent Yanez Pinzon, one of Columbus's original companions, made à voyage to the continent. They held the same course which Columbus had taken, as far as to the island of Guanicos; but, standing from thence to the west, discovered a new and extensive province, afterwards known by the name of Yucatan, and pro.ceeded along the coast of that country.
This led to discoveries of greater importance. Sebastian de Ocampo, by the command of Ovando, sailed round Cuba, and first discovered that this country, which Columbus once supposed to be a part of the continent, was a large island. This was one of the last occurrences of Ovando's administration.
Ever since the death of Columbus, his son Don Diego, had been employed in soliciting Ferdinand to grant him the offices of viceroy and admiral, in the New World, together with all the other immunities and profits, which descended to him by inheritance, in consequence of the original capitulation with his father. But, if these dignities and revenues appeared so considerable to Ferdinand, that at the expense of being deemed unjust as well as ungrateful, he had wrested them from Columbus, it is not surprising that he should withhold them from the son.
Don Diego, after wasting two years in fruitless solicitation, brought his suit against Ferdinand, before the council that managed Indian affairs, and that court with that integrity, which reflects honour upon its proceedings, decided against the king, and confirmed Don Diego's claim of the viceroyalty, and all the other privileges, stipulated in the capitulation.
The sentence of the council of the Indies, gave him a title to a rank so elevated, and a fortune so opulent, that he found no diffi. culty in concluding a marriage with Donna Maria, daughter of Don Ferdinand de Toledo, great commendator of Ļeon, and brother of the duke of Alva, a grandee of the first rank, and nearly related to the king. The duke and his family so warmly espoused the cause of their new ally, that Ferdinand could not resist their solicitations. He recalled Ovando, and appointed Don Diego his successor, in 1509 : in conferring this favour, he could not conceal his jealousy; for he allowed him only to assume the title of governor, and not that of viceroy, which had been adjudged to him.
He soon repaired to Hispaniola, attended by his uncles, his wife, (whom the courtesy of the Spaniards honoured with the title of vice-queen) and a numerous retinue of persons of both sexes, descended of good families. He lived with a splendour and magnificence, hitherto unknown in the New World; and the family of Columbus seemed now to enjoy the honours and rewards due to his superior genius ; and of which he had been cruelly defrauded.
The colony acquired new lustre by the accession of so many inhabitants of a different rank and character, from those who had hitherto emigrated to America'; and many of the most illustrious families in the Spanish settlements, are descended from the persons who attended Don Diego at that time. Though it was above ten years since Columbus had discovered the main land of Ame. rica, the Spaniards had hitherto made no settlement in any part of it : but Alonzo de Ojeda, who had formerly made two voyages as a discoverer, by which he acquired considerable reputation, but no wealth ; his character for intrepidity and conduct, easily procured him associates, who advanced the money requisite to de. fray the charges of the expedition.
About the same time, Diego de Nicuessa, who had acquired a large fortune in Hispaniola, revived the spirit of his countrymen. Ferdinand encouraged both; and, though he refused to advance the smallest sum, was very liberal of titles and patents. He e. rected two governments on the continent ; one extending from the Cape de Vela, to the gulf of Darien; and the other from that to VOL. I.
Cape Gracios a Dios. The former was given to Ojeda, the latter to Nicuessa.
Ojeda fitted out a ship and two brigantines, with three hundred men; Nicuessa, six vessels, with seven hundred and eighty men. They sailed about the same time from St. Domingo, for their res pective governments. There is not in the history of mankind, any thing more singular or extravagant, than the form and ceremony they made use of in taking possession of the country. They endeavoured to convince the natives of the articles of the Christian faith, and in particular, of the jurisdiction of the pope over all the kingdoms of the earth ; and, that he had granted their country to the king of Spain : they required them to submit to his authority, and embrace the Catholic religion. If they refused to comply, Ojeda and Nicuessa, were authorised to attack with sword and fire; to reduce them, their wives, and children, to a state of servitude, and compel them by force to submit to the authority of the king, and jurisdiction of the church.
The Indians of the continent, spurned with indignation at p!Opositions so extravagant: they could not conceive how a foreign priest, of whom they had no knowledge, could have a right to dispose of their country; or how a prince, altogether a stranger to them, should claim the right of commanding them as his subjects. They turned to ridicule such extravagant proposals, and fiercely opposed the new invaders of their territories. "Ojeda and Nicuessa, endeavoured to effect by force, what they could not accomplish by persuasion.
They found the natives of the continent different from their countrymen in the islands ; they were fierce and brave. Their arrows were dipped in poison so deadly, that every wound was followed with certain death. In one encounter, they cut off se. venty of Ojeda's followers, and the Spaniards were, for the first time, taught to dread the inhabitants of the New World. Nothing could soften their ferocity. Though the Spaniards practised every art to soothe them, and gain their confidence, they refused to hold any intercourse. or exchange any friendly office; they considered them as enemies come to deprive them of their liberty, and independence.
Though the Spaniards received two considerable reinforce. ments, the greater part of those engaged in this unhappy enterprize, perished in less than a year. A few who survived, settled a feeble colony, at Santa Maria el Antigua, on the gulf of Darien, under the command of Vasco Nugnez de Balboa, who, in the most desperate extremities, displayed such courage and conduct, as gained him the confidence of his countrymen, and marked him out for a leader, in more splendid and successful undertakings. Nor was he the only adventurer, who will appear with lustre in more important scenes.
Francis Pizarro, who was one of Ojeda's companions, afterwards performed many extraordinary actions. Ferdinand Cortes, whose name became still more famous, had engaged early in