The geographical and historical dictionary of America and the West Indies [volume 1]




[tration, (among savages), but that the extraordinary beauty of the unfortunate victim contributed to her destruction. These heroic effusions constituted a branch of solemnities, called arietoes ; consisting of hymns and public dances, accompanied with musical instruments made of shells, and a sort of drum, the sound of which was heard at a vast distance. It is pretended that among the traditions publicly recited, there was one of a prophetic nature, denouncing ruin and desolation by the arrival of strangers completely clad, and armed with the lightning of heaven.

6. Religious rites. — Like all other unenlightened nations, these poor Indians were indeed the slaves of superstition. Their general theology (for they had an established system, and a priesthood to support it), was a medley of gross folly and childish traditions, the progeny of ignorance and terror. Historians have preserved a remarkable speech of a venerable old man, a native of Cuba, who, approaching Christopher Columbus with great reverence, and presenting a basket of fruit, addressed him as follows. “ Whether you are divinities,” observed he, or mortal men, we know not. Y ou are come into these countries with a force, against which, were we inclined to resist it, resistance would be folly. We are all therefore at your mercy ; but if you are men, subject to mortality like ourselves, you cannot be unapprised, that after this life there is another, wherein a very different portion is allotted to good and bad men. If therefore you expect to die, and believe with us, that every one is to be rewarded in a future state, according to his conduct in the present, you will do no hurt to those who do none to you.” This remarkable circumstance happened on the 7th of July 1494, and is attested by Pet. Martyr, Dccad. i. lib. iii. and by Herrera, lib. ii. c. 14. If it be asked how Columbus understood the cacique, the answer is, that he had carried with him to Spain, in his former voyage, several of the Indians ; one of whom, a native of Guanahani, who had remained with him from October 1492, had acquired the .Spanish language. This man, whose name was Didacus, served him, on this and other occasions, both as a guide and interpreter. Their notions of future happiness seem however to have been narrow and sensual. They supposed that the spirits of good men were conveyed to a pleasant valley, which they called coycha ; a place of indolent tranquillity, abounding with delicious fruits, cool shades, and murmuring rivulets ; in a country where drought never rages, and the hurricane is never felt. In this si at of bliss (the Elysium of antiquity), they believed that their greatest enjoy-

ment would arise from the company of their departed ancestors, and those persons w'ho were dear to them in life. Although, like the Caribes, our islanders acknowledged a plurality of gods, like them too they believed in the existence of one supreme, invisible, immortal, and omnipotent Creator, whom they named Jocahuna. But unhappily, with these important truths, these poor people blended the most puerile and extravagant fancies, which were neither founded in rational piety, nor productive of moral obligation. They assigned to the supreme Being a father and mother, whom they distinguished by a variety of names, and they supposed the sun and moon to be the chief seats of their residence. Their system of idol-worship was, at the same time, more lamentable than even tliat of the Caribes ; tor it would seem that they paid divine honours to stocks and stones converted into images, which they called zemi ; not regarding these idols as symbolical representations only of their subordinate divinities, and useful as sensible objects, to awaken the memory and animate devotion, but ascribing divinity to the material itself, and actually worshipping the rude stone or block which their own hands had fashioned. Their idols were universally hideous and frightful, sometimes respresenting toads and other odious reptiles ; but more frequently the human face horribly distorted ; a proof that they considered them, not as benevolent, but evil powers ; as objects of terror, not of admiration and love. To keep alive this sacred and awful prejudice in the minds of the multitude, and heighten its influence, their bohitos or priests appropriated a consecrated house in each village, wherein the zemi was invoked and worshipped. Nor was it permitted to the people at large, at all times to enter, and on unimportant occasions approach the dread object of their adoration. The bohitos undertook to be their messengers and interpreters, and by the efficacy of their prayers to avert the dangers which they dreaded. The ceremonies exhibited on these solemnities were well calculated to extend the priestly dominion, and confirm the popular subjection. In the same view, the bohitos added to their holy profession the practice of physic, and they claimed likewise the privilege of educating the children of the first rank of people ; a combination of influence which, extending to the nearest and dearest concerns both of this life- and the next, rendered their authority irresistible. Religion was here made the instrument of civil despotism, and the will of the cacique, if confirmed by the priest, was impiously pronounced the decree of heaven. Columbus relates, that some of his people enteringj

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[unexpectedly into one of their houses of worship, found the cacique employed in obtaining responses from the zemi. By the sound of the voice which came from the idol, they knew that it was hollow, and dashing it to the ground to expose the imposture, they discovered a tube which was before covered with leaves, that communicated from the back part of the image to an inner apartment, whence the priest issued his precepts as through a speaking trumpet ; but the cacique earnestly entreated them to say nothing of what they had seen, declaring that by means of such pious frauds, he collected tributes, and kept his kingdom in subjection. Happily, however, the general system of their superstition, though not amiable, was not cruel. We find among them but few of those barbarous ceremonies which filled the Mexican temples with pollution, and the spectators with horror.

5. Their arts . — Our islanders had not only the skill of making excellent cloth from their cotton, but they practised also the art of dyeing it with a variety of colours; some of them of the utmost brilliancy and beauty. The piraguas were fully sufficient for the navigation they were employed in, and indeed were by no means contemptible seaboats. We are told that some of these vessels Avere navigated with forty oars ; and Herrera relates, that Bartholomew Columbus, in passing through the gulf of Honduras, fell in with one that was eight feet in breadth, and in length equal to a Spanish galley. Over the middle was an awning,, composed of mats and palm-tree leaves ; underneath Avhich were disposed the women and children, secured both from rain and the spray of the sea. It Avas laden with commodities from Yucatan. These vessels Avere built either of cedar, or the great cotton-tree hollowed, and made square at each end like punts. Their gunnels Avere raised Avith canes braced close, and smeared over with some bituminous substance to render them Avatertight, and they had sharp keels. Our islanders far surpassed most other savage nations in the elegance and variety of their domestic utensils and furniture, their earthenware, curiously Avoven beds, and implements of husbandry. Martyr speaks Avith admiration of the Avorkmanship of some of the former of these. In the account he gives of a magnificent donation from Anacoana to Bartholomew Columbus, on his first visit to that princess, he observes, that among other valuables she presented him with 14 chairs of ebony beautifully wrought, and no less than 60 vessels of different sorts, for the use of his kitchen and table,


air of which Avere ornamented Avith figures of various kinds, fantastic forms, and accurate representations of living animals. The industry and ingenuity of our Indians therefore must have greatly exceeded the measure of their wants.]

Bishops who have presided in the island of Cuba.

1. Don Fray Juan de Ubite, a monk of the order of St. Francis ; elected first bishop in 1525, and although not placed in the catalogue of this church by Gil Gonzalez Davila, he certainly presided here as bishop.

2. Don Fray Bernardo de Mesa, of the order ofSt. Dominic, native of Toledo ; he died in 1538.

3. Den Fray Juan of Flanders, and native of this country, of the religious order of St. Dominic ; he left the bishopric from being appointed confessor to the queen of France, Dona Lconor ; succeeded by,

4. Don Fray Miguel Ramirez de Salamanca, native of Burgos, of the order of St. Dominic, master in his religion, preacher to the Emperor Charles V. collegian in the college of San Gregorio of Valladolid, regent in the university of Lobayna, and bishop of Cuba, in 1539.

5. Don F?'ay Diego Sarmiento, native of Burgos, a Carthusian monk, prior of the convent of Santa Maria de las Cuevas of Seville ; elected bishop in 1540 : he renounced the bishopric after having made the visitation of the whole island, and returned to Spain.

6. Don Fernando de Urango, native of Azpeitia in Guipuzcoa, collegian of the college of St. Bartholomew in Salamanca, master and professor of theology ; elected bishop in 1551; he died in 1536.

7. Don Bernardino de Villalpando ; he governed until 1569.

8. Don Juan del Castillo, native of La Orden in the bishopric of Burgos, collegiate of the college of Sigiienza, and of that of St. Bartholomew in Salamanca, professor of arts ; elected bishop in 1567 ; he goA^erned until 1580, Avhenhe renounced his functions, and returned to Spain.

9. Don Antonio Diaz de Salcedo, of the order of St. Francis, collegiate of St. Clement of Bolonia, renoAvned for his virtues and letters ; elected in 1580, through the renunciation of the former, and promoted to the church of Nicaragua in 1597.

10. Don Fray Bartolome de la Plaza, of the order of St. Francis, in the same year, until 1602.

11. Don Fray Juan Cabezas, of the order of St. Dominic, native of Zamora ; he studied laAvs and

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canons in Salamatica, passed over to the Indies as vicar of the province of Santa Cruz in the Spapish island, came to Spain at the general capitulation, and was elected bishop of Cuba in 1602 ; he attempted to translate the cathedral to the Havana, but did not succeed ; visited Florida, and was promoted to the mitre of Guatemala in 1610.

12. Dm Fray Alonso Enriquez de Armendariz, of the order of Nuestra Senora de la Merced, native of Navarra; was comendador of Granada, titular bishop of Sidonia, and nominated to Cuba in 1610; he wrote, by order of the king, a spiritual and temporal relation of his bishopric, and w’as promoted to that of Mechoacan in 1624.

13. Don Fray Gregorio de Alarcon, of the order of St. Augustin ; elected in the same year ; died in the voyage.

14. Don Leon de Cervantes, native of Mexico ; he studied in Salamanca, and was collegiate in the university of Sigiienza, school-master in the church of Santa Fe, in the Nuevo Reyno de Granada, bishop of Santa Marta, and promoted to this see in 1625, and from this to that of Guadalaxara, in 1631.

15. Don Fray Geronimo Manrique de Lara, of the order of Nuestra Sefiora de la Merced, twice comendador of Olmedo, difinidor of the province of Castille, and master in sacred theology ; elected bishop of Cuba in 1631 ; he died in 1645.

16. Don Martin de Zelaya Ocarriz, in 1645.

17. Don Nicolas de la Torre, native of Mexico, first professor of theology in its university, four limes rector of the same, canon of that metropolitan church, first chaplain of the college of Nuestra Senora de la Caridad, examiner-general of the archbishopric, and visitor-general of the convents ; presented to the bishopric of Cuba in 1646 ; died in 1652.

18. Don Juan de Montiel, until 1656.

19. Don Pedro de Reyna Maldonado, native of Lima, a celebrated writer, who governed until 1658.

20. Don Juan de Santa Matia Saenz de Manosca, native of Mexico, inquisitor of that capital ; elected in 1661, promoted to the church of Guatemala in 1667.

21. Don Fray Bernardo Alonso de los Rios, of the order of La Trinidad Calzada, until 1670.

22. Don Gabriel Diaz Vara and Caldron, until 1674.

23. Don Juan Garcia de Palacios, until 1680.

24. Don Fray Baltasar de Figueroa y Guinea, a Bernard ine monk, until 1683.

,25. Don Diego Ebelino dc Compostela, in 1685.

26. Don Fray Geronimo de Valdes, Basilican monk; elected, in 1703, bishop of Portorico, and promoted to this in 1706.

27. Don Fray Francisco de Yzaguirre, of the religious order of St. Augustin ; he governed until 1730.

28. Don Fray Gaspar de Molina y Oviedo, of the order of St. Augustin ; elected in 1730, promoted before he took possession of the bishopric of Malaga to the government of the cogncil, and afterwards to the purple.

29. Don Fray J uan Laso de la Vega y Cansino. of the religious order of St. P'rancis ; elected in the same year, 1730.

30. Don Pedro Agustin Morel de Santa Cruz ; he governed until 1753.

31. Don Santiago de Echavarria y Elquezaga, native of Cuba ; promoted to the bishopric of Nicaragua in 1753.

Governors and Captains-general who have presided in the island of Cuba.

1. Don Diego Velazquez, native of Cuellar, knight of the order of Santiago, a conqueror and settler of this island, nominated by the Admiral Christopher Columbus in 1511; he governed Avith great applause until his death, in 1524.

2. Manuel de Roxas, native of the same town as was his predecessor, on account of whose death he was nominated to the bishopric, and in remembrance of the great credit he had acquired in the conquest of the island, receiving his appointment at the hands of the audience of St. Domingo, and being confirmed in it by the emperor in 1525 ; he governed until 1538.

3. Hernando de Soto, who governed until 1539.

4. The Licentiate Juan de Avila, until 1545.

5. The Licentiate Antonio de Chaves, until 1547.

6. The Doctor Gonzalo Perez Angulo, until 1549.

7. Diego Mazariegos, until 1554.

8. Garcia Osorio, until 1565.

9. Pedro Melendez de Aviles, until 1568.

10. Don Gabriel de Montalvo, until 1576.

11. The Captain Francisco Carreno, until 1578.

12. The Licentiate Gaspar de Toro, until 1580.

13. Gabriel de Lujan, until 1584.

14. The militia colonel Juan de Texeda, until 1589.

15. Don Juan Maldonado Barrionuevo, until 1596.

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16. Don Pedro Valdes, who was the first who was invested with the captainship-general of the island, which he executed until 1601.

17. Don Gaspar Ruiz de Pereda, until 1608.

18. Sancho de Alquiza, until 1616.

19. Don Francisco Venegas, until 1620.

20. The Doctor Damian Velazquez, until 1625.

21. Don Juan Bitriande Biamonte, until 1630, when he was removed to the presidency of Panama.

22. Don Francisco de Kiano y Gamboa, until 1634.

23. Don Alvaro de Luna y Sarmiento, until 1639.

24. The Colonel Don Diego Villalva, until 1647.

25. The Colonel Don Francisco Gelder, until 1650.

26. The Colonel Don Juan Montana, until 1656.

27. The Colonel Don Juan de Salamanca, until 1658.

28. The Colonel Don Rodrigo de Flores, until 1663.

29. The Colonel Don Francisco Orejo Gaston, until 1664.

30. The Colonel Don Francisco Ledesma, until 1670.

31. The Colonel Don Joseph de Cordoba, until 1680.

32. Don Diego Antonio de Viana, until 1687.

S3. The Colonel Don Severino Manzaneda,

until 1689.

34. Don Diego de Cordoba, until 1695.

35. The Colonel Don Pedro Benitez> until 1704.

36. The Brigadier Don Pedro Alvarez, until 1706.

37. Don Laureano de Torres, until 1708.

38. Don Luis Chacon, until 1712.

39. I’he Brigadier Don Vicente Raja, until 1716.

40. The Brigadier Don Gregorio Guazo, until 1718.

41. The Brigadier Don Dionisio Martinez de la Vega, formerly colonel of the regiment of Galicia, until 1724.

42. Don Diego Penalosa, until 1725.

43. The Brigadier Don Juan Francisco Guemes y Horcasitas, formerly colonel of the regiment of Granada, in 1734, until 1746, when he was promoted to the vice-royalty of Mexico.

44. The Brigadier Don Francisco Antonio Tineo, captain of the regiment of Spanish guards, an ofBcer of singular accomplishments ; he entered in the aforesaid year, and died a few days after his arrival.

45. The Brigadier Don J uan Francisco Cagigal, of t-he order of Santiago ; he was governor of the garrison of Cuba at the time that he was nominated, through the death of the predecessor, in 1747 ; he was intermediate viceroy of Mexico, in 1756.

46. The Brigadier Don Juan de Prado, inspector of the infantry, nominated in 1760 ; in his time the English besieged and took the Havana ; he was deposed from his situation, and made a member of the council of war, in 1763.

47. Don Ambrosio Funes de Villalpando, Count of Rida, a grandee of Spain, of the order of Santiago, lieutenant-general of the royal armies ; nominated to take possession of the place which had been surrendered by the English in the treaty of peace, and to fortify the post of the Cabana, which he effected, and returned to Spain in 1765.

48. The Brigadier Don Diego Manrique ; he died the same year, a short time after his arrival.

49. Don Pasqual de Cisneros, lieutenant-general of the royal armies, twice intermediate governor.

50. Don Antonio Maria Bucareli Bailio, of the order of San Juan, lieutenant-general of the royal armies, in 1766 ; promoted to the vice-royalty of Mexico in 1771.

51. The Marquis de la Torre, knight of the order of Santiago, lieutenant-general ; he came over here in the same year, being at the time governor of Caracas, and ruled until 1777, when he returned to Spain.

52. The Lieutenant-general Don Diego Joseph Navarro, who had been captain of grenadiers of the regiment of Spanish guards, and found* himself exercising the government of the garrison of Tarragena in Cataluua, when he was nominated to this, and in the same year that he left the former place ; this he kept until 1783, when he returned to Spain.

53. Don Joseph de Espeleta, brigadier and inspector of the troops of America ; nominated as intermediate successor in the aforesaid year.

Cuba, with the dedicatory title <rf Santiago, a capital city of the' former island (Cuba), founded by Diego Velazquez in 1511, with a good port defended by a castle, called the Morro, as is that of the Havana. It is the head of a bishopric suffragan to the archbishopric of St. Domingo, erected^ in 1518. It has a convent of the religious order of St. Domingo, and another of St. Francis ; it was at first populous and rich, and even at one time contained 2000 house-keepers, but since that a commerce was established in the Havana, through the excellence of its port, and that the captain-general and the bishop have fixed their.

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residences here, it has fallen into decay ; and although it is now reduced to a small town, the-4itle of Capital has not been taken from it. Its only inhabitants are those who own some estates in its district, and this forms a government subordinate to that of the Havana. [The damage done by the earthquake of October 1810, to the shipping at tlie Havana, was computed at 600,000 dollars.; the injury at St. Jago could not be correctly estimated, but the loss of the lives at both places was believed to be not fewer than 350. In long. 76° 3', and lat. 20° r.l

CUBAGUA, an island of the N. sea, near the coast of Tierra Firme, discovered by tiie Admiral Christopher Columbus. It is three leagues in circumference, and is barren, but has been, -in former times, celebrated for the almost incredible abundance of beautiful pearls found upon the coast, the riches of which caused its commerce to be very great, and promoted the building in it the city of New Cadiz; but at present, since the fishery is abandoned, this town has fallen entirely into decay, and the island has become desert. It is a little more than a league’s distance from the island of Margareta, in lat. 10° 42' n.

CUBAZ, a settlement of the province and captainship of San Vincente in Brazil ; situate between the rivers Pedroza and Recisto.

CUBIGIES, a settlement of the province and corregimiento of Riobamba in the kingdom of Quito.

CUBILLI, a lake of the kingdom of Quito, in the province and corregimiento of Alausi, near the paramo or mountain desert of Tioloma.

CUBZIO, a settlement of the corregimiento of Bogota in the Nuevo Reyno de Granada; situate ort the shore of the river Bogota, near the famous waterfal of Tequendama. Its climate is agreeable and fertile, and it abounds in gardens and orchards, in which are particularly cultivated white lilies, these meeting with a ready sale for ornamenting the churches of Santa Fe and the other neighbouring settlements.

CUCAITA, a settlement of the province and corregimiento of Tunja in the Nuevo Reyno de Granada ; situate in a valley which is pleasant, and of a cold and healthy temperature. It produces in abundance very good wheat, maize, truffles, and other fruits of a cold climate ; here are some fiocks of sheep, and of their wool are made various woven articles. It is small, but nevertheless contains 23 families and 50 Indians. It is a league and an half to the s. w. of Tunja, in the road which leads from Leiba to Chiquinquira and Velez, between the settlements of Samaca and Sora.

CUCHERO, San Antonio de, a settlement of the province and government of Guanuco in Peru ; situate at the source and head of the river Guallaga.

CUCHIGAROS, a barbarous nation of Indians, little known, who inhabit the shores of the river Cuchigara, which enters the Maranon, and is one of the largest of those which are tributary to the same. The natives call it Purus ; it is navigable, although in some parts abounding with large rocky shoals, and is filled with fish of different kinds, as also with tortoises ; on its shores grow maize and other fruits : besides the nation aforesaid, it has on its borders those of the Gtimaiaris, Guaquiaris, Cuyaeiyayanes, Curucurus, Quatausis, Mutuanis, and Curigueres ; these last are of a gigantic stature, being 16 palms high. They are very valorous, go naked, have large pieces of gold in their nostrils and ears ; their settlements lie two long months’ voyage from the mouth of the river.

CUCHILLO, San Pedro del, a settlement of the mission which is held by the religious order of St. Francis, in the precinct of New Mexico.

CUCHILLO, with the addition of Parado, another settlement of the missions of the province of Taraumara, and kingdom of Nueva Vizcaya ; situate on the shore of the river Conchos.

CUCHIN, a small river of the territory of Cuyaba in Brazil. It runs n. and enters the Camapoa; on its shore is a part called La Estancia, through which the Portuguese are accustomed to carry their canoes on their shoulders, in order to pass from the navigation of this latter river to that of the Matogroso.

CUCHIPIN, a small river of the same kingdom (Brazil) and territory as the two former. It rises in the mountains of the Caypos Indians, runs n. n» w. and enters the Taquari.

CUCHIPO, a river of the kingdom of Brazil, in the same territory as the former. It rises in the mountains, and runs w.

CUCHIRIHUAY, a settlementof the province and corregimiento of Chilques and Masques in Peru ; annexed to the curacy of Pampachucho.

CUCHIUARA, or Cuckiguara, an island of the province and country of Las Amazonas, in the part possessed by the Portuguese. It is in the river of its name, at the sama mouth by which it enters the Maranon.

CICHIUERO, a river of the province and government of Guayana or Nueva Andalucia. It rises in the sierra of Mataguaida, runs n. and enters the Ytari.

CUCHUMATLAN, a settlement of the king-

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