Saturday, November 29, 2014

Spain gloats as England’s fledgling colony starves.

     Word of Jamestown’s ttroubles made the Spanish gleeful. On June 14, 1610, the Spanish ambassador in London, Don Alonso de Velasco, wrote to King Philip III of Spain. Some of Jamestown’s news was old, but he put in all he had heard, aiming to please the king. His letter repeats the cannibalism stories with grisly relish, and sees little hope for Virginia’s survival:

... the Indians hold the English surrounded in the strong place which they had erected there, having killed the larger part of them, and the others were left so entirely without provisions that they thought it impossible to escape, because the survivors eat the dead, and when one of the natives died fighting, they dug him up again, two days afterwards, to be eaten. The swine which they carried there and which commenced to multiply, the Indians killed, and almost all who came in this vessel died from having eaten dogs, cat skins, and other vile stuff. Unless they succor them with some provisions in an English ship which they met close to the Azores, they must have perished before this....Thus it looks as if the zeal for this enterprise was cooling off, and it would on that account be very easy to make and end of it altogether by sending out a few ships to finish what might be left in that place, which is so important for pirates.
         From Chesapeake Bay, pirates could prey on Spanish galleons, laden with gold and silver from mines in Spain’s New World colonies. No starvation there.

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