The Letters of Pedro Menendez Aviles

Letter VI (Havana, December 16, 1565)

Royal Catholic Majesty.

At this moment a particular friend of mine has arrived from Cam-
peachy, a man of character and veracity, and he tells me as a certain
fact, that Pedro de las Roclas arrived at Puebla de los Angeles in the
month of October last ; and that, one month before, of the four ships of
Your Majesty’s fleet that went to China two had returned to the port
of la Navidad, whence they sailed, and that their return voyage was of
seventy days’ sailing; that they carried a great quantity of gold dust ;
it is said that they certainly had a million ; and that the crews of the
Captain-ship and of the other ships had built a fort on an island near
China, and that they had planted guns on it and put in a garrison and
they say that it is the richest land that, up to this day has been dis-
covered ; and that, in order to return to the port of la Navidad, whence
they took their -departure, they made their course to the north as far as
.50 degrees, back of Florida. I have thought fit to advise Your
Majesty of this, because I hold it to be very certain news ; and also to
warn Your Majesty that, if there is intelligence that the French are
arming for these parts, there may be some danger to the fleet of New
Spain, which will bring much money and have but a small force, and it
will be well that Estevano de las Alas embark here with some armed
vessels of the fleet, which can very easily be done, and Estevano de las
Alas is a very good man who has served Your Majesty on the seas for
many years, and will know how to serve you well, whom all who sail
in this trade with the Indians, love, fear and respect ; for, although he
who came as Admiral of the fleet is a very excellent gentleman, he is
young, and has had very little experience at sea, nor any of fighting at
sea, and has never sailed, except one other time to New Spain with
Pedro de las Roclas his uncle. Finding myself here it seemed to me
well to notify Your Majesty of this, that you may make such provision
as you may see fit.

May Our Lord protect and increase Your Majesty’s Royal Catholic
Person with increase of greater kingdoms and realms as Christianity
requires, and as we, Your Majesty’s servants desire. From Havana
16*.^. of December, in the year 1565. Your Majesty’s humble servant
kisses Your Royal hands.

Pedro Menendez.

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