Pedro Menéndez de Avilés (1519-1574), Spanish general-captain and explorer, is best remembered for founding St. Augustine in 1565. He began his nautical pursuits at the age of fourteen and firmly established his career in the service of King Phillip II, conveying merchant ships from the new colonies to Spain. He was commissioned to purge Florida of the French occupation at Fort Caroline. Menéndez, a loyal Catholic, wished to rid the colony of these Huguenots heretics, serve his country, and find his son, Juan, who had previously shipwrecked off the Florida coast in 1561.
Menéndez’s attempt to attack Fort Caroline was thwarted as French vessels prevented him from landing. The French, led by Jean Ribault, took many men from the fort and pursued the Spanish; however, a hurricane wrecked the French ships near present day Daytona Beach. Menéndez then led 500 of his soldiers over land from St. Augustine approximately thirty miles north to attack and seize Fort Caroline. Once accomplished, Menéndez renamed the Spanish stronghold San Mateo. While returning to St. Augustine, he and his troops discovered nearly 200 Frenchmen who had survived the shipwreck. Menéndez negotiated their surrender then executed them, including Jean Ribault, near an inlet today known as “Matanzas” (or “slaughters”). Menéndez permitted some skilled Protestant workers and a few, claiming themselves Catholic, to survive and allowed them to go back toFrance. In 1567, Menéndez returned to Spain, where he was appointed governor of Cuba.
The following letters, culled from Charles E. Bennett’s narrative anthology Laudonniere & Fort Caroline, include a decree from Phillip II with instructions on Menéndez’s mission; warnings of continued French occupation in Florida; and a report of the Spanish expedition and victory. Translated in 1909 by Annie Averette, the original documents reside in the Archivos General de las Indias in Sevilla. Note: Scholarly readers are highly encouraged to consult the documents in Spanish, edited most recently by Juan Carlos Mercado, Cartas sobre la Florida (1555-1574).
Edited by Valerie Lanham, University of South Florida, St. Petersburg
Bennett, Charles E. Laudonniere & Fort Caroline: History and Documents.Tuscaloosa: U Alabama P, 2001. Print.
Milanich, Jerald T. Florida Indians and the Invasion from Europe.Gainesville: U P of Florida, 1995. Print.
Mauncy, Albert C. Menendez: Pedro Menendez de Aviles, Captain General of the Ocean Sea. St. Augustine: St. Augustine Historical Society, 1983.
Deagan, Kathleen (ed.). America‘s Ancient City: Spanish St. Augustine 1565-1763. Spanish Borderlands Sourcebooks 25. New York: Garland Press, 1991.
Menéndez, Pedro de Avilés. Cartas sobre la Florida (1555-1574). Ed. Juan Carlos Mercado. Madrid: Iberoamericano, 2002.
Pedro de Menéndez de Avilés. “Decree to the King” [Archivo General de Indias, 1565]. Transl. A.M. Brooks and Annie Averette, in The Unwritten History of St. Augustine, ed. A.M. Brooks (St. Augustine, 1909). Reprinted in Charles E. Bennett (ed.), Laudonnière and Fort Caroline (Tuscaloosa: U Alabama P, 2001). 125-39.
Royal Decree. To our officers who reside in the City of Seville in charge of the India contracts:
I have named the captains, as you will see from the description shown by General Eraso, that they may enlist the 1,400 men who are to go to Florida in the Armada which we have ordered equipped, instructing them immediately upon their arrival what they are to do, and notify me of their safe arrival. You must be immediately notified when the men are gathered together, and as it is expedient with each captain, you are to send a responsible person that he may pay each man one month’s salary in advance from the treasury on the day he enlists. It will cost, we suppose, upwards of 11,000 ducats, that they may go provided according to instructions received. You are to give each captain a copy of the order sent, that he may be sure of his men — who, receiving this aid, neither he nor they be deceived. I also command that according to these orders you instruct the paymasters so that they may well understand that each soldier is to have the money in his own hands so that there be a good understanding between us. This is paid to them as it will be a long and arduous campaign, and so that they may work with more zest and the town be established quickly. See that the captains go at this work with diligence and haste, and you must immediately see and attend to where you are to lodge these people and from there embark them. Send with them a person of trust to guide and lodge them and to see that they are well provided with food and all necessaries for their money. Keep them well together without disorder or vexation to the people of the land. Inform me of how you have provided for them and you will have served me.
Bosque en Segovia
August 15, 1565.
Philip II to Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, Knight of the Order of Santiago and our Governor of the Province of Florida:
Know — We have understood that from the Kingdoms of France and England many war vessels have been sent out with a great number of sailors and soldiers, with intent of going to that Province, and that now again they are arming and equipping vessels for the same purpose at Havre-de-Grace and other Ports of said Kingdoms of France and England. You may do everything to defend yourselves and capture the Forts they have built and thrust them from the land, that you may hold it in peace. You might overlook the damage they have done to navigation. We have arranged for and ordered 1,500 infantrymen to join you and those you have with you, and we send them with the fleet and also all the necessaries—and we have provided as Captain-General of the fleet Captain Sancho de Archimiaga, an expert and experienced man of the sea, ordering him to go to said Province, and in joining you, he gives you protection by sea as well as by land. Your flag alone must float, as our Captain-General, and all undertakings must be done under your flag. And for all enterprises to be undertaken by land we have appointed a Field Marshal and five Captains to be under him, and that both they and the infantry are to be directly under you as our Captain-General and Governor, because this is our will, and we have expressly ordered it. Your person must be carefully guarded. With your experience both by land and sea we are perfectly satisfied; still, that you may the better succeed, and that there may be conformity and good will, as it is important, in affairs between you and said Captain Archimiaga and the Field Marshal and the other Captains accompanying him, as they are men of much experience in war, it is our will, and so we order you, that in all things occurring on sea as well as on land concerning the war, you will call these Captains and consult with them, more especially Captain Archimiaga and the Field Marshal—that in this way alone must you decide upon questions of war—because thus it suits us and our service. I trust in them to look into matters and provide all that is deemed advisable in such undertakings — and they will follow and obey you as our Captain-General. Let it be in such a way that there be good will and intelligence between you — no dissensions or quarrels, which would be a great drawback, but that you will proceed with mildness and consideration, as I feel assured you will, proceeding to free those lands, and give no quarter to the enemy to take root in them — and if it were possible, and there should be no notable inconvenience, you will divide the fleet. Captain Juan Zurita and his company of Artillery go with the Infantry, as you will see. Of their success you will see to it, and give an account.
Madrid, September 8th, 1565.
Pedro de Menéndez to Philip II:
That what he sends Your Majesty is what he declares to know of the coast and lands of Florida, and of the corsairs who it is said have gone to populate it and seize the vessels coming from the Indias, and of the damage they may do, and the remedy to be used in cases where they should have settled. Give them no quarter, and appropriate the coast and lands so that they can be the more easily turned out — that Your Majesty can send to spread the Gospel, prevent the damages that can be done the vessels coming from the Indias is as follows: That while in Sevilla last May, he knew and understood positively from persons coming from the Canary Islands that they had been on the Island of Teneriffe and Port Garachico with a Portuguese named Mimoso, who is a pilot on the run of the Indias, and has a wife and home in France, that he has become a pirate, seizing the vessels of Your Majesty. He carried four men-of-war, and it was said he was going to settle the coast of Florida; that two other large vessels were awaiting him, as soon as he took on water and provisions in that port, and he saw them [the pirates] there in a small vessel without disembarking for five or six hours, where some of the people who wish to be under them came to speak to them. He then returned to his vessel and set sail to return to theIndias. Also, that he [Menendez] heard in Sevilla and in this court of Your Majesty that the English had gone out with a fleet to the coast of Florida to settle and to await the vessels from the Indias — and about a month ago he learned that five large English galleons with heavy artillery had passed about the end of December along the coast of Gaul and the tempest had driven them into the harbor of Ferrol, where they were anchored for a day and a half without landing, but the fishermen had gone on board to speak to them, and he says: If the above be true, and the English, French, or any other nation should feel disposed to go and settle any part of Florida, it would be very damaging to these kingdoms, because on said coast of Florida and in said strait of the Bahamas, they could settle and fortify themselves in such a way, that they could have galleons and vessels of war to capture the fleets and other private vessels that came from the Indias, and pass through there, as they would run great risk of being captured.
Also, that if last summer the French and English went to Florida as we are certain they did, and should have settled and built a fort in any port, and summered there, giving notice to their home government as to how they are situated, and should they be supplied this summer before we can raid upon them, and turn them out, it would be very difficult to do so on account of the friendship formed by them with the natives who would help them in such a way as to cause serious difficulty, and even should we finally succeed the natives would remain our enemies, and this would be extremely disadvantageous. Should they be supplied this summer the merchantmen which we expect from the Indias would also run great risk of being captured. Also, that it would be very annoying to have the above mentioned or others settle in Florida. Considering the proximity of the Islands of Santo Domingo, Porto Rico, and Cuba, where there are such vast numbers of Negroes and mulattoes of bad disposition, there being in each of these islands more than thirty Negroes to each Christian. And it is a land in which this generation multiplies with great rapidity. In the power of the French and English, all these slaves would be freed, and to enjoy their freedom would help them even against their own masters and lords and there would be an uprising in the land, and with the help of the Negroes it would be easy to capture us. As an example of this, take Jaques de Soria, France, who in the year fifty-three, with one boat of a hundred tons and eighty men, by simply freeing the Negroes, took and plundered the Islands of Margarita and Santa Marta, and burned Cartagena, plundered Santiago de Cuba and Havana, although at the time there were two hundred Spaniards there. They took the Fort with all it contained, and twelve pieces of bronze artillery and carried them all off. I consider these Negroes a great obstacle to having the French or English settle in Florida or to have them so near; even though they should not be in favor with these two nations, there is danger of an uprising as there are so many cunning and sagacious ones who desire this liberty that I feel sure the design of those who should settle in Florida is to domineer over those islands, and stop the navigation with the Indias, which they can easily do by settling in said Florida. Also he says: That on account of these dangers and many others, it seems to him it would be to the service of God Our Lord, and Your Majesty for the general good of your Kingdoms the Indies, to try and domineer over these lands and coasts, which on account of their position, if other nations should go on settling and making friends with the Indians, it would be difficult to conquer, especially if settled by French and English Lutherans, as they and the Indians having about the same laws, they would be friendly, and being near could rule and each year send out a thousand vessels to easily treat and contract with these lands which are said to be fertile and prolific for sugar plantations, which those nations so much need and are supplied from these Kingdoms. There might also be many cattle good for their tallow and wool and other necessities. What it seems to him that Your Majesty should do in the service of God and Your Majesty’s, and for the salvation of so many souls, and the aggrandizement of your kingdoms and your royal estates, is as follows:
As there are neither French nor English nor any other nation to disturb them [Spanish settlers], that Your Majesty should send five hundred persons, sailors, laborers, etc., and that among them should be one hundred master carpenters, blacksmiths, plasterers, and builders of mud walls, all with their implements and appurtenances for everything, with their arms of defense, such as arquebuses, cross-bows, etc. That among this number of five hundred people should be four Friars, four teachers, and twelve Christian children, so that the principal Indians would send their children to learn to read and learn the doctrine of Christianity. There should be three surgeons who would go about in small boats, canoes or rowboats with supplies for one year — go straight to Santa Elena and from there find all the paths, rivers and ports most suited and best, by land and water. [One should look to] see the condition of the land for planting and settle two or three towns in the best vicinity, build their fort, to be able to defend themselves against the Indians, that each of these forts should have artillery and ammunition. All this supply with the cost of the voyage will amount to eighty thousand ducats or more. There will be left vessels enough to carry a number of cattle. These [colonists] must be sent from Spain, because in the Indias we could not find suitable vessels nor head workmen of the necessary qualifications and the expedition could not give the desired results, besides the delay would cause much damage. It would be difficult to find the proper kind of people, and even if found the cost would be very much greater, as head workmen gain very large wages in those parts, as do also laborers and sailors. From Havana it would be still more impossible to bring them, as there are none to be obtained, and if they have to settle they must go a long way around, as they cannot enter the mouth of the Bahama Channel, it being as easy and quick to come from Spain as from Havana. It would be important that Your Majesty do this at your own cost and as briefly and with as secret a diligence as possible, and if Your Majesty is not well served in this, find someone in whom Your Majesty can place more confidence, confer with them and let them take charge of affairs—although it would be far better for Your Majesty to do this at your own cost, and with all brevity and secrecy which is the most important thing. Also, he says: That should there be French in this land or on the sea awaiting the merchant vessels from the Indias, it would be necessary to increase this squadron to four more galleons and one thousand men, principally marines—the cost of which for six months would be five hundred thousand ducats more or less.
Pedro de Menéndez de Avilés to Philip II:
I wrote to Your Majesty from aboard the galleon San Salvador on September llth, this being the day she left Port. The duplicate of the letter goes in this, and later on I will send the other. While I was on the Bar in a sloop with two small boats with artillery and ammunition there came upon us four French galleons which had run us down with two or three small vessels to prevent us from landing here. Taking the artillery and provisions, although the weather was not propitious for crossing the Bar, I preferred to take the chance rather than surrender myself and one hundred and fifty persons, who were with me, into their power. Our Lord miraculously saved us. The tide was low, there being only one and a half scant fathoms of water on the Bar, and their vessel required one and a half long fathoms. They saw we had escaped them, as they spoke asking me to surrender, to have no fear. They then turned to search for the galleon, thinking we could not escape them. Two days out a heavy storm and tornado overtook them. It seemed to me they could not return to their Fort, running too great a risk of being lost, and to return to capture us they would have to bring a larger force and of the best they had. Thinking that their Fort would remain weak and it was the right time to capture it, I called a council of the captains, who agreed with me, and decided to attack the Fort by land. I therefore took five hundred men, three hundred arquebusiers, the rest pikemen, and with these few, taking our knapsacks and putting in each six pounds of biscuit and a measure of one and a half gallons of wine, with our arms and ammunition; each Captain and soldier — I was among the first setting the example, carrying this food and arms on my back. Not knowing the way, we hoped to get there in two days, it being distant about eight leagues or so, as we were told by two Indians who went with us as guides. Leaving this Fort of St. Augustine in the order above described and with determination on the eighteenth of September, we found the rivers so swollen from the copious rains that it was impossible to ford them and we were obliged, to take a circuitous route which had never been used before through swamp and unknown roads to avoid the rivers.
After walking until nine or ten o’clock at night, on the morning of the twentieth, which is the feast of San Mateo, we arrived in sight of the Fort. Having offered prayers to the Blessed Lord and His Holy Mother, supplicating them to give us victory over these Lutherans, it was agreed that with twenty ladders, which we carried, we would assail the Fort. His Divine Majesty had mercy upon us and guided us in such a way that without losing one man and with only one injured (who is now well), we took the Fort with all it contained, killing about two hundred and thirty men; the other ten we took as prisoners to the forest. Among them were many noblemen, one who was Governor and Judge, called Monsieur Laudonnier, a relative of the French Admiral, and who had been his steward. This Laudonnier escaped to the woods and was pursued by one of the soldiers who wounded him, and we know not what has become of him, as he and the others escaped by swimming out to two small boats of the three vessels that were opposite the Fort, with about fifty or sixty persons. I sent them a cannonade and call of the trumpet to surrender themselves, vessels, and arms. They refused, so with the artillery found in the Fort we sank one vessel; the others taking up the men went down the river where they had two other vessels anchored laden with provisions, being of the seven sent from France, and which had not yet been unloaded. It did not seem to me right to leave the Fort and pursue them until I had repaired three boats we found in the Fort. The Indians notified them of our actions. As they were so few they took the two best and strongest vessels and sank the other. In three days they had fled. Being informed of this by the Indians, I did not pursue them. Later from the Fort they wrote me that about twenty Frenchmen had appeared in the forest with no clothing but a shirt, and many of them were wounded. It was believed that Monsieur Laudonnier was among them. I have sent word that they make every effort to capture them and bring them to justice. In the Fort were found, among women, creatures, and children under fifteen years of age, about fifty persons. It causes me deep sorrow to see them among my people on account of their horrid religious sect, and I fear our Lord would punish me should I use cruelty with them. Eight or ten of the boys were born here.
These French have many friends among the Indians, who show much feeling at their loss, especially for two or three teachers of their hateful doctrine which they taught to the Indian chiefs, who followed them as the Apostles did our Lord. It is a thing of admiration to see how these Lutherans enchanted the poor savage people. I shall use every means to gain the good will of these Indians who were such friends to the French, and there is no reason, why I should break with them, and if 1 can live with them at peace it will be well; they are such traitors, thieves, and drunkards, that it is almost impossible to do so. These chiefs and the Indians, their enemies, all show friendship towards me, which I return and shall continue, unless their depredations increase that I may have to do otherwise.
On the 28th of September the Indians notified me that many Frenchmen were about six leagues from here on the coast, that they had lost their vessels and escaped by swimming and in boats. Taking fifty soldiers I was with them next morning at daylight, and, leaving my men in ambush, I took one with me to the banks of the river, because they were on one side and I on the other bank. I spoke to them, told them I was Spanish; they said they were French. They asked me to come over to them either alone or with my partner, the river being narrow. I replied that we did not know how to swim, but that they could safely come to us. They agreed to do so, and sent a man of some intellect, master of a boat, who carefully related to me how they had left their Fort with four galleons and eight small vessels, that each carried twenty-four oars with four hundred picked soldiers and two hundred marines and John Ribault as General and Monsieur LeGrange, who was General of the Infantry, and other good captains, soldiers, and gentlemen, with the intention of finding me on the sea, and if I attempted to land, to land their people on the small boats and capture me. That if they had wanted to land they could easily have done so, but they had not dared and wanted to return to their Fort. That they were overtaken by a hurricane and tempest and were wrecked about twenty or twenty-five leagues from here. That of the four hundred only forty had survived; that the others had perished or were killed by the Indians. That fifty were carried prisoners by the Indians; that John Ribault with his captain were anchored five leagues from there in the swamp without trees, and he had in the vessel with him two hundred persons, more or less, and they believed them to have perished with all the artillery and ammunition, which was a great deal and good. Part of it was with John Ribault and what they had was certainly lost. They were saved, and he asked for himself and companions safe passage to their Fort, since they were not at war with the Spaniards. I then told him how we had taken their Fort and hanged all those we found in it, because they had built it without Your Majesty’s permission and because they were scattering the odious Lutheran doctrine in these Provinces, and that I had [to make] war [with] fire and blood, as Governor and Captain-General of these Provinces, against all those who came to sow this hateful doctrine; representing to him that I came by order of Your Majesty to place the Gospel in these parts and to enlighten the natives in all that the Holy Church of Rome says and does so as to save their souls. That I would not give them passage; rather would I follow them by sea and land until I had taken their lives. He begged to be allowed to go with this embassy and that he would return at night swimming, if I would grant him his life. I did so to show him that I was in earnest and because he would enlighten me on many subjects. Immediately after his return to his companions there came a gentleman, a lieutenant of Monsieur Laudonnier, a man well versed and cunning to tempt me. After much talk he offered to give up their arms if I would grant their lives. I told him he could surrender the arms and give themselves up to my mercy, that I might do with them that which our Lord ordered. More than this he could not get from me, and that God did not expect more of me. Thus he returned and they came to deliver up their arms. I had their hands tied behind them and had them stabbed to death, leaving only sixteen, twelve being great big men, mariners whom they had stolen, the other four master carpenters and caulkers — people for whom we have much need, and it seemed to me to punish them in this manner would be serving God, our Lord, and Your Majesty. Hereafter they will leave us free to plant the Gospel, enlighten the natives, and bring them to obedience and submission to Your Majesty. The lands being extensive, it will be well to make them work fifty years — besides, a good beginning makes a good end, so I have hopes in our Lord that in all He will grant me prosperity and success, so that I and my descendants may give to Your Majesty those Kingdoms full and return the people Christians. My particular interest as I have written Your Majesty is this: We are gaining great favor with the Indians and will be feared by them, although we make them many gifts.
Considering what John Ribault had done, I find that within ten leagues of where he was anchored, three of the vessels of his company were lost; whether they were lost or not, they would have landed the people, unloaded what supplies they could, employed themselves in getting out the brass artillery and the upright posts and tackle, if not lost, of the three vessels, rig themselves as best they could, and if the vessel he was on was not lost he will make every effort to come by sea. Should he do so I await him, and with the help of God, he will be lost. He might also go inland with one of the Casiques, his friend, who lives thirty leagues from here, and is very powerful. Should this be the case I will seek him there, because it is not convenient that he and his companions should remain alive. Should he come by sea to the Fort I have the entrance to the Bar mined with two savage cannon and guns, so that should they succeed in making an entrance, we can sink them. A brigantine is kept in readiness to capture the people and I shall do all in my power to prevent his escape. The things found in the Fort were only four pieces of brass of about five tons, the cannon and guns which had come from France were dismounted and carried to the galleons when they went in search of me. There were found besides twenty-five bronze muskets and as much as twenty tons of powder and ammunition for these pieces, about one hundred and sixty barrels of flour, twenty casks of wine. The balance of the supplies had not been unloaded, as they were hesitating whether they should fortify this Port, fearing I should land here, which I could easily have done. Since their arrival they had spent most of their time in debaucheries over the joy felt at the news they had received that northeast of Santa Elena was a range of mountains coming from the Zacatecas where there were great mines of silver. The Indians from those parts had brought them many pieces of silver to the amount of five and six thousand ducats. We found to the amount of three thousand ducats, more or less, in clothes and all kinds of valuables; some hogs, male and female; also sheep and asses; all this was ransacked by the soldiers; nothing escaped them. Besides the two vessels found in the Port, we found two near the Bar and two others they had stolen from the Indians, loaded with hides. Of these they had drowned the crews and the cargo had been given to an English vessel to carry it and sell it in England or France, and there remained with them two Englishmen. The French had no mariners by whom to [sail] these vessels. These two Englishmen were hanged when the Fort was captured by us. The Englishmen by whom they sent the cargo arrived in port at the Fort we have taken from them, the early part of August of this year, in a galleon of a thousand tons called the Queen of England, with three heavy tiers of artillery; all who saw her wondered and had never seen a vessel so heavily armed that drew so little water; the other three vessels were smaller. It was agreed between the English and French that as the French awaited help from France Monsieur Ludovic [Laudonniere], who was Governor here, should wait for them until the end of September; failing to return, he, Ludovic, was to go to France in search of them, and that by the month of April they would return with a large fleet, to await and capture the fleet of New Spain, which was forced to pass their Fort; that if aid came, for which they had written to France, they would advise the English who would come to this coast by the month of April. It was for this purpose that I found in the Fort a large vessel and seven small ones, and another five, one or two of which had been stolen, and the four they wished to send to France to have them equipped with men and provisions to join the English and themselves by April; that by that time John Ribault would have returned, and with the eight hundred men who remained he wished to go by January to Los Martyres, about twenty-five leagues from Havana, and there built a fort. They had reconnoitered and found it a very desirable port. This was agreed between them, and that before leaving France John Ribault was to obtain the order that they should fortify Los Martyres, a strait by which no vessel could enter or depart without being sighted by them. To keep there always in readiness six vessels, it being the best sea in the world for them. That from there they would take Havana, free all the Negroes; that they would then send to make the same offer to the Spanish of Porto Rico and all other colonies. All this information I gained from the skillful Frenchman to whom I granted life. They had with them six Portuguese pilots whom they hanged when no longer needed; two others had been killed by the Indians, and two were with Ribault. The River San Mateo, running by the Fort we captured, goes seventy leagues inland and turns to the southeast emptying into the bay of Juan Ponce, and from there to New Spain and the port of San Juan de Luca, where there is only upwards of fifty leagues. In the bay of Juan Ponce, they thought next year to build a fort on account of its proximity to New Spain, distant a hundred and fifty leagues and about the same distance from Honduras and as many more from Yucatan, and where with their six vessels they could navigate with ease. On this river are three large Indian towns. The Indians are great friends of the French who have been there three times in search of corn. These French landed there in great need of supplies, having only enough to carry them eight days. Corn they found scarce and took it almost by force. The Indians themselves are great thieves — a poor but brave people. All the Indians are not more friendly to them, than to us, and I will not consent to take a grain of corn from them, but prefer to give them of what I may have. I consider this country so vast and fertile and the danger from enemies and corsairs so great that they can appropriate to themselves the land lying north of here near New Foundland, of which they are already lords, and can be sustained by them with ease. Everything should be done to aid me instead of cutting me off, and Your Majesty must be undeceived and know that I am much better able than Your Majesty to enlarge and aggrandize these your Kingdoms. This Port is 29 1/2 degrees, and the San Mateo which we captured is at 30 and 1/4. The French and their pilots were mistaken. I have had it taken by the sun on land. From here to the Cape of Canaveral there are fifty leagues, three rivers, two ports; between here and Havana, one hundred miles, more or less, which are navigable in boats among the keys of Canaveral and Los Martyres, and from there to Havana. I agree to take the good field pieces which we have captured from the French, and one hundred men [and] go along the borders of the coast, the boats by sea, anchoring at night near land among the keys of Canaveral where the sea is as smooth as a river; with the boats they will be able to discover among the keys the best port and surroundings to build a fort. So that with the one in Havana and this one we can at all times guard against the enemy and their entering to fortify themselves. Nor should we expect fleets or boats of the Indians. With the people of Havana [and] Santo Domingo, and Pedro de la Roda, whom I shall have come to my assistance, I will have until the last of March to build it, then with these vessels [I will] go over to Havana and seek these people. Having discovered the Port, and on the arrival of Pedro de la Roda in Havana he will find his vessels which I do not propose to take out of that Port, also his men, so that he may return to Spain as strong as when he left there. That I shall place one hundred and fifty Spaniards in possession to guard against the Indians who are great warriors and whose good will we must gain. Then, by the 1st of April, I shall return to these two Forts, and in six or eight days I shall again take to the sea.
October 15, 1565