Caribbean, Sixteenth Century
Ciguayo and Tamayo
Inspired by Enriquillo, Ciguayo recruits ten or twelve others and rises in rebellion. They attack the Spaniards on their estates and in the mines. Fear and panic spread. The Spaniards pursue him to a gorge where he is hiding. Later, Spanish priest Bartolome de las Casas writes: He fought like a mad dog, as if he wore armour from head to toe…a Spaniard passed a lance half through his body and even then he fought like a Hector. Finally, when he was bleeding and losing strength, all the Spaniards rushed up and put an end to him.
The Spaniards find it easier to kill Indians than to kill the spirit of rebellion. No sooner is Ciguayo dead than Tamayo organizes another band to carry on the rebellion. The Spaniards don’t even feel safe in their towns now. How is it that four thousand Spaniards are afraid of only two hundred fifty natives? The first priest ordained in the Americas writes: This can only be attributed to the Divine Judgment, which wished to prove to us three things: first that the Indians did not lack courage…even though they were naked and very peace loving; secondly, that if only they had weapons like ours, and horses and arquebuses, they would not have been exterminated from the face of the earth as we exterminated them; thirdly, that that was an indication of the condemnation of such deeds, and of the punishments we shall suffer in the life to come for the heinous sins committed against God and against our fellow men, if we do not repent in this life.
Quoted in Eric Williams, Documents of West Indian History, 1:93-94
Pedro Alvarado: “In the name of the King of Spain I require you to acknowledge the supremacy of the Pope and the Crown over these lands or else we have the right to attack and you will suffer war and enslavement.”
The indigenous send back the reply: “We do not know either of them.”
Jonathan Fried, et. Al., eds., Guatemala in Rebellion, 9-10