Joseph Niver ’19: Book III, Chapter II (On adelantado Bartholomew’s Battle and Victory against King Guarionex)

Of adelantado Bartholomew’s battle and victory against King Guarionex and other fourteen caciques or kings, and how Roldan Ximenez rejected the authority and company of the adelantado and the first admiral.

Translated by Joseph Niver ’19

Around the same time Caonabo was besieging captain Hojeda (according to some), or after the siege ended (affirmed by others), Cacique Guarionex summoned all the Indians or caciques that he could, more than fifteen thousand men, to attack adelantado Bartholomew and the Christians that were with him in the city of la Vega and throughout that region. As was told to me, the Indians attacked because they grew outraged at the encroaching  Christians and didn’t want in any case their continued presence on the island, and because they didn’t want their lordship disturbed nor destroyed, and it appeared to them that they were being matched, as because their rites and ceremonies and vices didn’t seem good to the Christians, who spoke ill of them. It appeared to them the opportune time for their evil goal, given the few Christians that were left in the entire island and the sicknesses and labors that I’ve said, and because before others came back with the admiral, who was awaited every day, they could drive away and end those who it seemed had already some knowledge of the land, and they could be warned of the reinforcements, or in part to damage them, in the company of the Christians who would return. To execute this, their army gathered and they moved to search for the Christians.

The adelantado, assured of what has been said, didn’t wait nor want to deal with fortifying said small town nor give cause that they might set fire to or lay siege to it during the night. As a good knight and skilled captain, he left for the countryside and galloped through the night such that he arrived near the realm of King Guarionex, and at second watch, or almost at midnight, with up to five hundred men (between the healthy and sick), he attacked the enemy from two flanks with such fury and vigor that he scattered them. As the Indians were a savage and crude people and not skilled in war, compared to the Christians, many of them were killed and the others taken prisoner, although many escaped under cover of night. King Guarionex was imprisoned with fourteen other kings or caciques, those most principal in this battle, which took place near where the village of Bonao was founded. This victory was such a marked thing and of such favor for the Christians that, even more than increase their credit and force in the reputation and memory of the Indians, it gave the latter cause to cease their evil deeds and rebellions. They began to be more domestic and to communicate more with the Christians and to cast aside the thoughts of war; although in truth the people of this island are those of least force that has been seen in all the Indies and the Main, and they had the most calm and peaceful way of living. Notwithstanding, as I have said, there was no lack of wars and discords between these peoples, but not as continued and bloody as in other parts.

Returning to the story, it is known that after the adelantado had this victory it seemed to him that there were many reasons to release Guarionex under the best terms he understood, thus perpetuating the peace and friendship between the Christians and the Indians. And the order was given and he was freed. From this point onward he welcomed the Christians and treated them well when they passed through his lands or traveled there. Others say that Guarionex couldn’t be found in this battle, that he was represented by his captain general, the Cacique Mayobanex, and that he and others were later released. After the war continued, Guarionex’s wife was captured and he had to make peace with and be a friend to the Christians in order to free her. After the adelantado had these victories, it seemed that his demeanor had changed, because from then forward he carried himself very rigorously with the men, in such a manner that some were unable to tolerate him, especially Roldan Ximenez, who had been the admiral’s alcalde mayor. The adelantado didn’t give him the courtesy or treatment that he thought he deserved, nor did Roldan approve of the manner in which justice was carried out. This caused bad words to be said and the adelantado treated him badly, and some say that he put or wanted to put his hands on him. He was angered in such a way that he left his company and went inland with seventy men, mad and incensed from his conversation with the Christians, proclaiming and saying the injustices that the adelantado and the admiral had committed (or that by his anger he wished to blame them for). Determined to not leave the service of the Catholic Monarchs, Roldan made his protests to not be under the rule of the admiral nor of the adelantado for any period of time, and he went to the province of Xaragua, to the lands and lordship of King Behechio, and he was there for some time until after the Commissioner Francisco de Bobadilla came to govern the island and land, as will be told going forward.