Which deals with the war between Captain Alonso of Hojeda and Cacique Caonabo, and the latter’s imprisonment and death.
Translated by Joseph Niver ’19
In the second book it was told how after Commissioner Mossen Pedro Margarite had left the fort of Santo Thomás, the admiral ordered captain Alonso de Hojeda to hold it, naming him mayor of it, and gave him fifty men with which to guard it, because it was located in a very important region where the rich mines of Cibao were located, as much as for the reputation and strength of the Christians. Also, how the admiral had left for Spain, and how the arrogant Indians, especially Caonabo, who was lord of that province, were not content with the new rule and vicinity of the fort. Caonabo and the ciguayos (as the Indian archers of the northern coast of the island were called) determined to attack the fort and burn it to the ground if they could. With arms in hand, and being more than five or six thousand men, they approached said fort and kept it under siege for thirty days without letting a single man from among the defenders leave. However, as the mayor was a cunning and determined knight he resisted the attackers in such a way that at the end of the time I mentioned they broke camp, and the Indians, being savage peoples and not warriors, disbanded and broke ranks such that the mayor dealt much damage to them. A cunning and diligent man as he was, he continued the war in all the ways that he could, with arms and, when advisable, with the cunning and caution that are typical of experienced captains. And even though some Christians died during the war, many more Indians were killed. In the end, Caonabo was imprisoned with a large number of his principals, since it was said that Hojeda hadn’t kept the assurances he had promised the cacique, or perhaps Caonabo had misunderstood him. So in that way the imprisonment of Caonabo resulted in the peace and subjugation of the entire island, but as Caonabo had a brother, a man of much strength and very dear to the Indians, Caonabo’s men joined with his brother. Not forgetting Caonabo’s imprisonment, the brother determined to free him by force of arms, with the purpose of taking as many Christians as he could prisoner, believing that he could exchange them for his brother and liberate the other principal Indians that were imprisoned by the Christians. He gathered more than seven thousand men for this purpose, the majority of them archers, and organized five battalions, which he positioned very close to the Spaniards. Alonso de Hojeda, captain of the Spaniards, with some cavalry and with the people he was able to take from the fort, leaving it guarded, and with some reinforcements that the adelantado Bartholomew had sent him (who in all were less than three hundred men), fought against the Indians. And God desired to favor our men and give them victory, and as the cavalry led the charge and attacked the Indian’s front line, they were made to retreat because they were startled at the strangeness of having never seen men on horseback fight the way they did. And in that way much havoc was wreaked on the enemies, and their principal leader, Caonabo’s brother, was imprisoned, along with many other Indians. This day Hojeda proved himself a brave soldier and zealous knight and a no less prudent captain.
After Caonabo and his brother were imprisoned, adelantado Bartholomew resolved to send them to Spain with other prisoners, some of the principal Indians; it seemed to him that it would be too much trouble to keep Caonabo imprisoned on this island or to release him, because of his status as a lord there, equally because there would always be new adherents to his cause and because he was a very zealous man and knowledgeable in war. The adelantado ordered that the Indians be taken in two caravels bound for Spain. But just as Caonabo and his brother learned that they would have to go before the Catholic King and Queen, his brother died after a few days, and Caonabo, going into the sea, also died after a few days at sea. And in that way the entire territory of Caonabo was pacified for the Christians. Anacaona, his wife and the sister of Cacique Behechio (who was lord in the western part of the island), left her husband’s territory to live in her brother’s, in the province known as Xaragua; there she was as obeyed and feared as a lady, just as Behechio was. More will be told of Anacaona going forward, for she was a great person and held in much esteem in these parts for being brave and of great energy and ingenuity, and the deeds of this woman were notable in good and in bad, as it will be told in due time.