Of the land animals that were brought from Spain to this Island of Hispaniola, which were not to be found here before.

Translated by Andrea Tellez ’21

There were no horses on this island of Hispaniola nor in any of these parts, and the first mares were brought from Spain; now there are so many that there is no need to bring any from elsewhere. There are so many horse ranches on this island that from here they have been taken to other islands that are populated by Christians, where they are now found in great numbers and abundance. From this island they have been taken to the Mainland, to New Spain, and to New Castile, and the breed raised here are to be found now in all other parts of the Indies; a foal or mare tamed on this island has come to be worth from three to five castellanos (gold pesos) or less.

Of the cows I say the same, as far as they already being innumerable, for it is well known that on this island there are large herds and cattle ranches, with one cow selling for one gold peso; and many have been speared and killed with the meat being left to rot so the hides can be sold and sent to Spain, and every year many ships sail loaded with these hides. There are men in this city and on the island with two, and three, and four, and five, and six, and seven, and eight, and nine, and ten thousand heads of cattle and even larger quantities. It is known that the widow of Diego Solano has around 20,000 heads of this cattle; and the bishop of Venezuela, Dean[1] of this Holy Church of Santo Domingo, has 25,000 heads or more, as I told in book III, chapter XI, and there are men with large numbers of bovine cattle below this number. Rams and sheep were brought as well, and now there are many flocks of this kind.

There have been large ranches of pigs on this island, and after the settlers took to sugar cane farming many gave up this kind of livestock because the pigs were so harmful to the cane fields; but still there are many, and the fields are full of wild animals, like wild cows and pigs, and many wild dogs that have gone to the mountains and are worse than wolves and do more harm. Likewise, many domestic cats that were brought from Castile have gone wild on the fields and are now innumerable; they call these cats cimarrones, which means fugitive in the language of this island. There are also many donkeys on this island of the breed that was brought from Spain, and mules that have been bred here have done very well; but because all these things have already been discussed in particular and I am not a friend of referring many times to the same thing, enough is said of these seven kinds of animal that were brought here from Castile, because the mules here were grown from the interbreeding of donkeys and mares. And as I told in another part of the story, I will remind the reader that in this city a cow costs two maravedis[2] per arrelde (four pounds) of beef; and they are killed every day that meat is eaten in this city of Santo Domingo of the island of Hispaniola.

White and dark rabbits have been brought to this city, and there are some in the houses of some private residents; but it is not useful breeding, as has been seen in their proliferation in the Canary Islands, and they are naturally harmful to crops. And if we consult what has been written by Pliny[3], a Spanish city was already abandoned because of the digging and proliferation of rabbits. Goats have been brought from Spain and the Canary Islands and from Cabo Verde, and there are some ranches of this livestock—the best tasting are the small ones from Guinea or from Cabo Verde and those islands; but there is not much of this livestock on these islands. However, of the other kinds that I mentioned above, like mares and horses, cows, sheep, and pigs, this and the other islands are full of them—like San Juan, Cuba, Jamaica, and most of the Spanish settlements; on the Mainland they have all of these, especially in New Spain, each of them in great quantity, and every day they increase wherever Christians settle.

[1] In a church context, a dean is a cleric holding certain positions of authority within a religious hierarchy. In the Catholic Church, a dean is a canon or clergyman that presides over a cathedral’s chapter. [English edition note.]

[2] Maravedí was the name of various Iberian coins between the 11th and 14th centuries and the name of different Iberian accounting units between the 11th and 19th centuries.

[3] Pliny, Book VIII, Chapter XXIX.