Page:Narrative of the Proceedings of Pedrarias Davila (Haklyut, 34).djvu/56

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8
NARRATIVE OF

the officers who had a vote in the government, and the governor, they gave a share of the Indians; and, as they were appointed as captains by the favour of those who governed, from among their relations and friends, although they had committed many evil deeds, none were punished. In this manner the land suffered for a distance of more than a hundred leagues from Darien. All the people who were brought there, and there was a great multitude, were immediately sent to the gold mines, for they were rich in that land; and as they came from a great distance, and were worn out and broken down by the great burdens they had to carry, and as the climate was different from their own, and unhealthy, they all died. In these transactions the captains never attempted to make treaties of peace, nor to form settlements, but merely to bring Indians and gold to Darien, and waste them there.

About thirty leagues from Darien there was a province called Careta[1] and another, at a distance of five leagues

  1. "To the westward of Darien is a province called Careta, which is about twenty leagues distant. There are certain rivers in it which contain gold, according to Indian men and women who are in this town." Letter of Vasco Nuñez.

    It would appear that Careta was the name of the cacique, and that the province was called Coiba. Careta had hospitably entertained two Spanish fugitives from Nicuesa's party, who fled to Darien, and basely proposed to Vasco Nuiiez the invasion of their benefactor's territory. Accordmgly Vasco Nuñez marched to Coiba with 130 armed men, and was received most hospitably. He feigned to return to Darien, but in the dead of night he suddenly attacked the village, and took Careta and his family prisoners, seizing provisions enough to load two brigantines. Careta, when brought to Darien, offered his daughter to Vasco Nuñez as a pledge of his friendship if he was set at liberty, and the invader allowed him to depart. Vasco Nuñez fell in love with Careta's daughter, and retained an unswerving attachment for lier to the day of his death. He kept his word with her father, and invaded the country of his enemy the cacique of Ponca. When Vasco Nuñez set out, on September 1st, 1513, to discover the South Sea, he sailed from Darien to Coiba, the territory of his lady love's father, the cacique Careta, who furnished him with guides and warriors. Careta always remained a firm ally of his quasi son-in-law.