ALS to the Duke of Medina Sidonia, in which he gives news of the movements of various fleets.
PINEDO Francisco de (1699.)
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Manuscript in ink. Bifolium with address panel. 3pp. Folio. Some pale stains not affecting legibility. Veracruz, 13th November,
A fantastic survival. Darien, in modern Colombia, frequently suffered from pirate raids and at the end of the seventeenth century. It was also the site of a curious attempt at colonization. William Paterson - founder of the Bank of England - tried to establish a colony for Scots eager to escape English persecution at home. This colony ("Caledonia") with a capital ("New Edinburgh") was established in 1698 on an offshore island in the Gulf of Darien.
Since it was a potential danger to Spanish shipping, it was attacked by the Spaniards with the result that Paterson's experiment failed after only two years. Partly as a result of all this, Spanish naval forces were reorganised and strengthened in an effort at imperial defence, but the financial cost of the strategy took a heavy toll on the Spanish economy. Having delivered news on various fleets, Pinedo reports on Spanish efforts to resist the efforts of Scotch colonisation: "Don M. de Zevala left this port [Veracruz] with the ships under his command, to exterminate the Scotch at Dariel [Darien] and these ... demolished the fort they had built there, and leaving the place unfit for occupation returned to the Island of San Thomas to continue their practice of piracy in America."
He continues: "A fleet appeared at Penzacola which proved to be a war fleet of French ships intent upon colonizing the place. They found Don Andres de Arriola in possession, who behaved admirably and having built fortifications on land the present whereabouts of this squadron are not known(!). Some English residents are established at La Mobila, twenty leagues from Penzacola, in the Golf of Mexico. It is the place where the fleets pass, and they are in touch with another colony they have founded ... near Campeachy ... God help us, and guard your Excellency's person."
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