Book XIX, Chapter XIV
This addresses the island of Margarita.
Translated by Annie Trentman ’22
It is not necessary to give more details or weight to what was said in the first and second chapters about the island of Margarita, because that is where its surroundings and settlements are declared. This island, like it has been said elsewhere, was discovered by the first Admiral Don Christopher Columbus, when he discovered the island of Cubagua, and he named this island Margarita, because the pearl fisheries are as close to the one as to the other. But this island is much larger with a circumference of thirty-five leagues more or less, and there is a good port and cove on the northern coast; near this coast to the east there are many smaller islands that are called the Testigos, and it is perpendicular to the island of the Caribs, called Santa Cruz, and on the horizon lies the island of Cubagua and the mainland, which has been addressed in the preceding chapters. It is a good and fertile island, and there are few Indians and some Christians, under the governorate of Doña Isabel Manrique, the wife of the aforementioned licenciado: the governorate was entrusted to Marcelo de Villalobo by His Imperial Majesty, his judge in the Audiencia Real of Santo Domingo, now deceased. And then it was left as agreed between the licenciado and His Imperial Majesty in the year 1524. After the death of the licenciado the governorate was left in the hands of his wife and heirs. There isn’t anything else to say about this island, other than it is also lacking in water like Cubagua, except for small ponds of poor quality. When they need to drink good water, they take it from the Cumaná river on the mainland. It is rich with trees, pastures for cattle, farming, and the Indians’ crops, like corn and other things they tend to grow.
Image retrieved from the John Carter Library at Brown University.