Of a storm and earthquake that suddenly struck the province of Cumaná on the Mainland, which destroyed the fortress or castle built by the Christians and mentioned in the prior chapter, and how people labored to build another castle.
Translated by Sofia Rodas ’20
In the year 1530, in September, at ten in the morning on a calm and tranquil day in the province of Cumaná, the ocean rose to the height of four stories in an instant, and the land emitted a horrible bellow, and it flooded as the ocean overwhelmed it. At that moment the ground also began to shake, and it continued for forty-five minutes. This tremendous earthquake destroyed the fortress I referenced in the previous chapter. The land split in various places, opening many wells that spouted a black water that reeked of sulfur. Many Indian towns were submerged, and many Indians died; some died buried in their homes and others were scared or frightened to death. A large fissure opened in the land, more than five leagues from the sea, and the gap was so large that one could see it from more than six leagues away. After the water returned to its bounds and the Christians had miraculously escaped the collapse of the fortress, the alcaide, to avoid being thrown out of the land and to keep it under the control of Their Majesties, gathered what people he could and built a bastion and repaired to the corner of the stronghold that remained standing. They stayed in that repaired bastion for fourteen months during which a new fortress was built near the fallen one. Then they moved to the new fortress, leaving the old one behind. This was in the year 1531. That fort is at present protecting the water supply for the Island of the Pearls, and defends the Cumaná River and part of that province, and the Indians do not dare go near it or start the rebellions which often erupted in the past.