We Have Always Been Warriors

Nicholas Ovando's treachery and cowardice
Baby Warocuya the orphan
Cacike Anacaona hangs (in actuality she was garroted)
Statue of Cacike Enriquillo Americas first Rebel

Enriquillo's Rebellion

 by Jorge Baracutei Estevez



Part I


Cacike Maniocatex struggled through the flames as he tried to throw his baby son, Warocuya, out the window space of the Caney.  Choking on the thick smoke and almost unable to see, an intense anger raged through him as he realized that the Spaniards had lied yet again, this time with dire consequences for those who had trusted them. In 1503, grand Cacike Anacaona, at the behest of Governor Nicholas Ovando, and trying to establish peace with the Spaniards, agreed to this treacherous meeting.

Finally, Maniocatex who was  rumored to be Cacike Caonabo's son, was able to get the baby through the opening. The caneyba (grandhouse) was now fully consumed in flames. The Spaniards had set fire to all the entrances and exits. All the leaders were consumed in the flames, burned alive. Those that were able to run out of the Caney were cut down in a volley of arrows from Spanish crossbows, swords, lances and musket fire.

The Spaniards now turned their attentions to the villagers and warriors. However, unlike the romantic and dehumanizing versions of historywhich that usually depict Taino Indians as docile, cowardly people unable to defend themselves. The reality is, we were great warriors. Governor Ovando, who had entered the valley with 300 well equipped cavalry men, lost 50 well-armed, heavily armored soldiers that day. That was a heavy toll considering they were fighting people that did not possess iron or steel.

The ambush battle was in the Spaniards favor that day. At the end of the, Cacike Anacaona was ordered Garroted. All the Bohio's (homes) were on fire. People fled to the mountains and into caves. The horrible sounds of the severly injured and dying could be heard across the valley. Countless others were held prisoner. Throuh the flames, smoke, and screams the distinct sound of a baby crying could be heard. A Spanish priest rushed over and picked up the baby Warocuya. Too young to know his father had been burned alive , that all the cacike of the chiefdom had been butchered, that the people had lost their lands and crops and that the great Cacike Anacaona would soon hang.  The priest nor any of the Spaniards on the other hand could not have imagined that this dirtied, helpless Taino baby,  inadvertently  reborn in those flames of battle, would one day bring the entire island and its Spanish citizens to its knees.


Part II

 The child awoke as the caravan of horses, carts and cannons made their way to Santo Domingo a three-day journey in those roadless days. The priests must have given the child preferential treatment, he was after all the son of the great warrior, Cacike Maniocatex, himself son of the great Cacike Caonabo. He was also nephew of Cacike Anacaona and her late brother the powerful Cacike Bohechio.  Indeed, Warocuya was of royal blood destined to be Cacike himself one day.

In modern translations of the Tainan languages Warocuya translates to “Our Light”. Considering that all the leadership of Maguana had been slain in this Chiefdom, he must have represented some hope to his people, someone to pull them out of servitude and tribute. In retrospect, it was indeed a fitting name.  For the priests however this Indio name was not acceptable!  He was baptized into the Catholic faith and Christened Enrique Bejo. Most however chose to use the diminutive Enriquillo (lil Henry) a name that he would carry until his death.

 As a child, Enriquillo learned to read and write.  He loved riding horses and became an excellent horseman. He also enjoyed learning to shoot the musket. He also learned Spanish war tactics which would one day come in very handy. Although he was raised in a happy environment, he was oblivious to the realities, trials and tribulations of the other Taino or Ciguayo, Macorix, Siboney and African peoples of his homeland. Or he may have heard countless, horrible rumors.

 Isolated in the monastery, he probably also heard of his peoples “devil worshipping. Of their devotion to idols they called CEMI which had “hideous demonic” faces.  In time, he learned that as a Cacike he was to be entrusted (encomendado) to a Spaniard. That he and his people would live in the Encomienda (Ranch) in full servitude where they would work long hard days and pay tribute in exchange for good old Christian spiritual teachings

 Under this system, a Spaniard would be granted 50 or more Indians, and given a huge tract of land. Naturally he was expected to pay taxes.  The Indians on the other hand were allowed to live in their villages under their cacike, except for when they had to work, which was always of course.

Thousands upon thousands died at the hands of their Encomenderos. While many succumbed to old world diseases the Spaniards carried, others died because they were simply worked to death. A Spaniard who lost Indians could simply replenish his “stock” by capturing more in the bush. Scores of Spaniards searched the countryside with huge mastiff dogs capturing wild or escaped Indians.  Some kept some house servants. One report states that at dinner time, they would be told to go under their masters table to be fed table scraps like dogs!

 Enriquillo however was, at least for a while, very lucky. His encomendero was Don Francisco de Valenzuela, a gentle soul with a good heart. This man, learned to love Enriquillo as if he were his own son and treated him as such.  Valenzuela treated them all fairly. So it was, Enriquillo and his people lived quite happily, but nothing is ever after, nothing.  Life was good, except that Cacike Enriquillo had made a deadly enemy, Don Francisco’s son, Andres, a womanizing drunkard.

  On one fine day as Enriquillo worked in the fields he caught a glimpse of a beautiful young Indian woman. She was grand-daughter to Anacaona. Her skin was fairer than the other Indian girls, but she kept her hair Indian style.  She must have some Spanish ancestry he thought. Enriquillo fell in love instantly!  Her name was Mencia and she was indeed a mixed blood Indian. Mixed blood Indians were not rare in these days, in fact more than half had mixed ancestry. It is well known that during this time period 40% of all recognized Spanish wives were Taino women. One can only imagine the number of concubines they kept as well.  Mencia was special. After making his Yuca (courting) on Mencia, they were wed and Cacike Enrique Bejo, a man some described as neither ugly nor handsome was the happiest man alive……

 Soon after Don Francisco de Valenzuela, who had been a teacher and father to Enriquillo died. The cacike must have been heart broken. He must have also been terrified. Enriquillo’s enemy, the younger Valenzuela wasted no time in exacting his anger on the young chief.

Andres Valenzuela began beating Enriquillo daily, for the slightest of offenses. Young Valenzuela, the Christian, son of a wealthy man could not contain his jealousy of this “lowly Indian” any longer. He was determined to make Enriquillo pay! The dark passenger on his soul took full control. It was probably during this time he began questioning the Spaniards and their motives. In doing so he awakened his cemi.





Taino Indians under the Encomienda System. Just a pretty name for indentured servitude...….Slavery by another name.



Andres Valenzuela was envious of Enriquillo his entire life. How could this “dirty” Indian win his father’s favor? It wasn’t that his father actually preferred Enriquillo over his own flesh and blood at all really.  Enriquillo simply had a better work ethic and tried hard to please the elder Valenzuela sr. whereas Andres was argumentative and unmotivated.  The Cacike was also athletic and skilled, Andres was out of shape and fond of drink and loose women.

In a way Andres’s relationship with his father was similar to the Taino story of their supreme being, Yaya, and his relationship with his son Yayael.  The son, mischievous and troublesome, the Father, provider, righteous. In the Taino story, Yayael dies and his body is placed inside a hanging gourd leaving his father and mother to mourn their loss.

Andres Valenzuela may have grieved his father for a bit but he could not wait to take his revenge on Enriquillo, mistreatment began immediately. Summoning Enriquillo to complain about some made up transgression. Enriquillo was beaten senseless.  The younger Valenzuela realized however that if he killed his prized “possession” he would not continuing inflicting pain and exacting his revenge.

One day as Enriquillo worked in the fields Andres noticed how skillfully the Indio rode his horse. Although Enriquillo was not handsome in the European sense, he was radiant in the Indian way. His proud gaze defied his violent past. Surely deep in the recesses of his mind there were memories of his people being burned and murdered and yet he looked so gallant on his steed he loved so much. Valenzuela summoned the Cacike and informed him he would be using his horse.  Enriquillo thought to complain, but feared his master would use that as a pretext to hurt him. He passed the reins onto Andres hands who had an evil grin on his face. The Cacike could not sleep all night thinking of his horse…

In the morning Andres Valenzuela summoned Enriquillo and informed him that his horse had broken its leg and had to be shot. The Cacike was to dispose of the butcher the carcass and use the meat to feed the dogs. Afterward he was to report for work! The rage that passed through Enriquillo’s body was so intense he began to shake uncontrollably. He began to cry, he loved his horse as if it were a human being. It was also a matter of prestige. It was rare to see an Indian on a horse during this time period. Such was the bond he held with his Horse. The bond between Indian warrior and the horse would be repeated often in the Americas. Some in 200 years later the entire Comanche Indian nation would also adopt the horse and become one with the animal.

 Enriquillo withdrew within. Perhaps he was in a state of depression or feeling sorry for his lot in life. whatever the case, his loving wife Mencia was able to calm him down, soothe his mind a bit. Things could not get any words?........And then, just like that, they did.

Part IV


 Mencia was worried, she was summoned to Andres Valenzuela’s house. She could not understand why he had summoned her as he had house servants to cook and clean for him. In the back of her mind, she knew. She had heard the stories of Andres drunk brawls, racists rants and how he took Indian women, some of them young girls and did all kinds of deviant acts on them. She also knew that if something happened to her, she would have to keep quiet. As kind and gentle as Enriquillo was, he was also of warrior blood, cut from a different cloth than most men. She had every reason to be afraid…..,

As she entered the master's house, she could smell the alcohol in the air. He was so drunk he was almost unintelligible. He began telling her that he felt bad for her, married to an Indian and never knowing what a real Spanish nobleman was like. She looked away towards the door, hoping this nightmare would end,   but it continued. Come here! He yelled, “come put your hands on my hairy chest, not bare like that dirty Indian you’re married to.  I am a real man”.

“Don Andres, you are drunk, you are forgetting I too am Indian” she said. “You are only half monkey he scowled the other half is as white as any woman in Castilla. Besides, you’re all whores anyway”, He retorted. With that he pulled on her and warned her that if she did not succumb, her husband would pay.  He began raping her as she screamed in desperation. A few feet away, outside the house which was guarded by Andres Valenzuela’s men, stood Enriquillo listening to his wife getting defiled by this disgusting Spaniard. If he tried anything, she could be killed. So many ideas raced through his mind. The one thing that did not run, were tears. Enriquillo knew that in the morning, when the sun killed the stars, he would escape and seek justice!

Running swiftly, Enriquillo walked up to Lieutenant Governor of San Juan de la Maguana, Pedro de Vadillo. He complained to the governor of the mistreatment at the hands of Andres Valenzuela and demanded justice. Little did he know this man was just as evil as his encomendero!

The governor, snarled at he cacike and reminded him that he was just an Indian, nothing more, maybe less. He warned him to desist in his whining and complaining. To show him he meant business, he threw Enriquillo in jail for 3 days! Upon his release, Andres Valenzuela beat Enriquillo mercilessly. 

The proud Cacike decided then to travel to the Real Audiencia (Spanish Court) he was sure to get Justice there. Having gathered supplies for the journey, they set off.


The journey did not take as long as expected as they had made haste. If they were caught before reaching Santo Domingo, Capital City of the island, surely, they would be punished. They reached the Real Audiencia shortly before the afternoon.  The Audiencia was the first Spanish court in the New World.

The Court heard Enriquillo's complaints and concerns and strangely agreed with the Cacike. They gave him a letter of support that he was to show the Governor and Valenzuela. Relieved and elated, Enriquillo, who had the Audacity to seek Justice, went away happy.

When Enriquillo handed the Courts letter to Governor Vadillo he realized he had made a mistake. Vadillo began cursing him and his people. It was odd for Vadillo had many children with Indian women and generally got along well with Indians. Why did he hate Enriquillo so much? Perhaps he was good friends with Andres Valenzuela?

Enriquillo did not react, he and his wife and some others that had accompanied them headed back to their rancheria in total disgust. They always understood that Indians were below whites in this society, but the realization that they had absolutely no basic human rights must have been earth-shattering. Most of these people were either very young or not yet born when the Spaniards were massacring their peoples. They had all heard the stories of the destruction of the Macorix and Ciguayo peoples. The thousands upon thousands of rapes and murders that were now just long forgotten whispers in the night....or so they thought, until this day.


Enriquillo the Cacike of Encomienda Valenzuela and his people were now vagabonds headed to definite nowhere, but a place called nowhere was better than being a slave.  

Stopping at the Encomienda late that night, his people were ready to flee like SIMMARA which means "flee like an arrow" in the Taino language. This word would be adopted by the Spaniards and used to describe their worst nightmares.....Cimmaron-The Runaway Slave.

Westward they continued towards the Baoruco mountains where some of them were originally from. To understand this journey and how perilous these mountains were, roads were not built in this area until 1935! 

The Young Cacike's mind was now racing at full throttle every second. He may have not known how to play chess, but the ideas that crossed his mind were destined to keep his people safe and free for years to come. He knew his people could no longer live with the Spaniards. How things had changed! NO JUSTICE FOR INDIANS! They could never get justice. And he was determined to make them pay.

They reached the foothills of the Baoruco mountains in the early evening and immediately began looking for suitable caves of which there were plenty. The Taino Indians knew them all.

Map of Hispaniola's Mountain Ranges in Blue- Photo by Rachel Dominique Beavois

Part V 


The Baoruco mountains and the cloud forests that surround it were an excellent place to hide for his people. Indian people had been seeking refuge there since the onset of Spanish colonization.  The mountains were not as high as those in the Cibao region which rose between 9 and 10,000 feet, however these mountains were treacherous for those unfamiliar with them.

Enriquillo and his people spent the night securing areas where the elders and young children could hide safely. The women searched for watering holes, streams and plant foods. In the past, when on occasion crops did not due well due to weather, the people would go into the mountains in search of “Wayaro” (Guayaro) a wild tuber which grows on the root between 50 and 100 feet long. The tuber does not taste too good and not particularly nutritious, but in desperate times it does the trick.

Word spread quickly across the island. The Spanish colonists began to worry that this insurrection may inspire the rest of the Native population as well as the Africans, and that is exactly what happened.

A small group of the Cacike’s warriors armed with farming tools, set off to raid a nearby Spanish ranch. They captured the ranch with barely a struggle. They took as many provisions as they could carry, which was a lot as they also freed many more Taino and some Africans. Upon their return to their mountain hideout, they were welcomed by a relieved Cacike. Enriquillo was very pleased with the captured chickens, roosters, pigs and goats. He immediately ordered the tongues of all rooster be cut out so they could not cockle at dawn.

Every raid was more successful than the last. Each raid also brought more people to the fold. The Cacike did not know there were so many Indians on the island as they had been marginalized, never knowing the exact number of Indians still living on the island. His tribe was growing fast indeed.

The colonists, on the other hand, were now living the same terror that Indians had lived in when the bearded strangers from across the bagua (sea) first arrived.  Thirty years before the Spaniards arrived the people who lived at the Caizimu (Head) had received a vision, one that foretold of their worlds destruction at the hands of a clothed people who would arrive from the east. The Taino chieftains who lived when Columbus had arrived knew they would be the last Cacike.  At first they thought these invaders would be the Kalina people (Carib) but these Caribs were petty raiders who had no real power, at least not on the large islands. In order for the Caribs to invade he island of Kiskeya, they would have needed at least 50,000 warriors, numbers they simply could not sustain in a war campaign. The island of Kiskeya was simply to populated for these people to wage war on,  no, they were simple raiders who traveled to Boriken and Kiskeya to raid for women. besides the Kalina dressed similar to Taino, they were not fully clothed. The Spaniards did fit this description however and they did usher in the destruction of the Taino world.

Many Spanish colonists must have been aware of the irony: Once when there were millions of Taino, Ciguayo, Macorix and Ciboney a handful of Spaniards defeated the Indians with their superior weapons and diseases, and now a handful of Taino were terrifying the entire island’s Spanish residents. Indeed, the tables had turned.

The Young Cacike was now also joining in the raids which was remarkable. It is said that at night, he was the first sentinel, that he barely slept. Many Spanish patrols were sent in pursuit to find the Cacike and his people but they could not. Although the Spaniards knew the Indians were within an 80-mile radius, they simply could not find them. Each time they attempted to locate him he and all his people would simply vanish. Many thought the Indians and now some Africans who had joined the Cacike would run out of food and provisions, but instead the Indians were thriving!

The Spaniards never truly controlled the entire island. There were only about 27 Spanish settlements and outposts in the entire island of Hispaniola. With the Indians in full rebellion and so many escaping to Join Enriquillo or other Cacike’s who were also fighting, the residents requested more Indian servants be brought to the island. The year was 1513, when 2000 Coquetio Arawak Indians arrived as slaves to the Baoruco region to work the mines, now that the Taino preferred to fight than work as slaves. Interestingly the Spaniards did not consider forced Indentured servitude slavery.

Indians continued pouring into the camps. They numbered in the hundreds now. Had they been fighting a conventional war, they surely would have been defeated easily. However, Enriquillo proved himself to be a master at Guerilla warfare.  He knew the Spanish mindset, understood their tactics and was using them against themselves. Raiding Parties went out daily. They could traverse the entire island via the long mountain ranges of the island and not be noticed.  While the Spaniards lived in fear and not enough hands to help them with their crops, life suddenly became harsh for them in this island paradise. Many began to leave. Besides their was promise of Gold and land on the mainland. News of cities filled with gold arrived constantly.

For the Taino, life had not been this good since the arrival of the Spaniards. The Raiding parties returned nightly, with bounty, livestock, wine, cheese, guns horses and most importantly, more Indians. This is how el indio Ciguayo and el Tamayo arrived in Cacike Enriquillo’s camp one day. These two men, proved to be just as powerful as the Cacike himself, however, whereas the Cacike was a thinker and a strategist, these two were ruthless. This combination proved to be devastating for the Spanish colonists.

Part VI

The Spaniards began amplifying their search. How frustrating! They knew exactly where the Indians were yet could not find them. Abandoned caves and makeshift villages is all that was left when the Spaniards, acting on tips, arrived with their weapons, horses and dogs.

Indian rebels attacked settlements and travelers. Visiting the closest of neighbors became an arduous, dangerous task.   To make matters worse (for the colonists), Mestizo people, usually treated better than Indians, but certainly not good enough to be Criollo (pure Spanish) were now joining Enriquillo.  Among Enriquillo’s people there were mestizo, mulatto, zambo (Black/Indio), Indians and Africans. Little did any of them know this was the future racial composition of the Taino people

Although many of the raids were in fact orchestrated by Enriquillo, the facts are is that he did not always participate in raiding and when he did, he would often spare the lives of those he attacked. In fact, on one occasion while Enriquillo was on a raid he came across a Spanish patrol. Much to the Cacike’s surprise, this patrol was headed by none other than Andres Valenzuela! The very man who precipitated this whole “insurrection”! Striking with precise lightning speed the Spanish patrol, most of whom were terrified, surrendered quickly. Much to Andres Valenzuela’s chagrin, the rebel that stood before him was the great Cacike Enriquillo.  The Cacike dismounted his horse, remembering no doubt his beloved mare that this coward that stood in front of him had killed. This man who had defiled his wife four years earlier…..Enriquillo beat him badly but did not take his life. The younger Valenzuela was humiliated. He would have to return back to town, not with news of Enriquillos capture or lifeless body, but instead, badly beaten, bruised and spared.

News of other rebels and their leaders had been reaching Enriquillo for some years now. He had inspired an island-wide Indian rebellion. Many colonists mistakenly believed that he was behind them all. After all his men would travel the entire countryside in search of bounty.  One leader, in particular,  was Tamayo, a Taino from the Cibao region. This man was so fierce that he carried a necklace made of Spanish ears! He believed the Spaniards used them to hear, but not to listen. He took many. Tamayo was driven by pure hatred and did not see the clearly as Enriquillo did. The Cacike knew they would eventually have to come to an agreement with the Spaniards. As much as he dreaded that day, he knew it would come. At the behest of a young man, Tamayo’s nephew, Enriquillo agreed to join forces with Tamayo. The two men met, Tamayo had a small force of some 20 men, 9 of which were Africans. Enriquillo arrived with one of his most trusted warriors, El Ciguayo. This man, was the embodiment of his ancestors, the Ciguayo people, who the Spanish considered the most warlike Indians they had ever encountered. He was totally loyal to the Cacike. For the next 10 years, the Spaniards would live in perpetual fear and the island would come to a commercial standstill                                                                                     

Cacique Enriquillo laying waste to the Spanish soldiers who were in hot pursuit of the chief. The Taino won ever battle and eventually the war

Negotiations with Indians?


Governor Pedro Vadillo was ordered to take 300 men into the Baoruco and find the Indians and bring back Enriquillo. This was the same Vadillo that had jailed Enriquillo for 3 days 4 years earlier. Little did he know at the time Another man, Iñigo Ortiz was also given command of another 300 soldiers. Along with Indian and African conscripts they set off into the Baoruco Valley.  more than 600 men all coming up empty-handed. 

Yet another man, Juan Ortiz de Matienzo, was given a militia to find the Cacike and his people. He lived in San Juan de La Maguana for a year, getting to know its people, Spanish, Indian and African and to be closer to the base of operations.  Mr. Matienzo was forced to return to the Capital City of Santo Domingo empty-handed. He had gotten ill in his search for the Young Chief. Enriquillo had developed a fierce reputation, however many battles and ambushes attributed to him, were actually the exploits of Ciguayo and Tamayo.

President Ramírez de Fuenleal who had participated in the Muslim rebellion in Grenada said the following: 

“in truth, this war is not like what occurred in the past on this island nor of the character of those of New Spain and Cuba and other parts, because here it is war with Indians educated and raised among us, and they know our forces and customs and further use armor and have swords and lances.

The Cacike was not only feared and admired by his adversaries but also by his own people. None could recall another Cacike who left nothing to chance, who patrolled himself and joined in every battle possible

By 1528 however, the Spaniards had learned that full force with battalions was no way to fight these Taino. Instead, they began pursuing the Indian in smaller groups and finally began having some levels of success against these Taino.  In fact, Tamayo, the most feared Indian on the island after Enriquillo was captured during one raid along with 4 Indians and 3 Africans. They were hung. This must-have caught the Cacike by surprise somewhat. Thus Enriquillo agreed to a peace meeting.

San Miguel was ordered to make the gesture and make the peace with the Cacike.  Enriquillo's  The Cacike agreed to meet with Don Miguel under the condition that he came with no more than 7 men and was given a location where to wait. The location was a place where Enriquillo and his men could meet at close proximity but there was a precipice between them!  They were within shouting distance but could not harm one another. The Indian leader had outsmarted Don Miguel who had arrived with much, much more than the 7 men he had agreed to.  Not only that, but they came firing muskets and cannons, drumming and yelling and shouting loudly. Must have sounded like an early victory celebration. Just then the Cacike turned the tables......

Don Miguel: "Enriquillo, do you not want to come closer"?

Enriquillo: "I can hear you....can you hear me? "

Don Miguel: "Yes!  ..Yes, of course, I can hear you" will you come closer!

Enriquillo:  ah since you can hear me and I  can hear you.... there is no need to come closer!

The Spaniard must have been stunned upon realizing that he too, just like every other person sent in pursuit of the Cacike, was going home empty-handed.

Don Miguel offered Enriquillo lands for him and his people. They would also receive supplies such as livestock and equipment. However, they were told they must surrender all Indians and Africans that are not of your clan. 

This stipulation was one meant to dismantle Enriquillo, who did not take the bait. Many Indians fighting alongside him were from the mainland, others from nearby islands, even some Coquetio had joined in.  And of course Africans. If the Cacike agreed to these terms, he would be seen as a traitor to his own cause (and indeed many modern scholars see him in this light). Enriquillo chose to withdraw and not take this offer. He knew that in time he would have to accept. realistically speaking he could not maintain his campaign for much longer.

 History is rather odd. Some scholars, particularly Ultra Afro-Centrics from the Dominican Republic paint Enriquillo as a traitor, whereas others Such as Manuel de Jesus Galvan wrote the most romantic novel depicting the chief almost as the embodiment of the perfect Spaniard.  Both of these versions of Enriquillo are bad in my opinion. Enriquillo was a realist.  Only such a man could face the Spaniards the way he did and outwit them at every turn, but he also knew that his war was not sustainable. He would have to agree to the Spaniard's demands in order to live in peace. His decision would ultimately be more pragmatic and not based on abandoning is cause or beliefs. In fact, the maroons of Jamaica are often erroneously viewed by their countrymen as traitors! The maroons were forced to sign peace treaties with the British. Just as with the Spanish, the British demanded that any escaped Negro slaves had to be returned to authorities. The Maroons had to agree. Thus their countrymen have always harbored animosity and resentment towards the maroons. A  Acampong Maroon informant spoke to this author regarding this:

JE: Why do Jamaicans despise you?

Acampong  resident: because our ancestors signed treaties with the British and we promised to return all escaped African slaves back to them.

JE: Oh! I can certainly see why they would harbor feelings like this towards your peoples. Why did your ancestors decide this?

Acampong resident: We fought the British day in, day out. Those who stayed on the plantation did not help us, in fact, they even acted as scouts for the "masters"! When we finally achieve success and are granted freedom, they (slaves) want to get for free what we fought for!

JE: Ahh and I can certainly understand that perspective. It helps me understand along which lines Enriquillo was thinking aside from self-preservation.

 It had now been 5 years since Don Miguel had offered the Cacike peace (more like demanded actually). The Cacike and his people had been fighting a war with Spain for 15 years. now, but  Warriors too grow weary. In any event. Two additional attempts had been made at peace to no avail. 

Two men were dispatched to attempt to calm the Cacike and perhaps convince him to surrender. One was Fray Remigio de Mejía, a priest who knew Enriquillo since he was a child. The other was a Cacike named Don Rodrigo. It is not clear what exactly happened, but Cacike Rodrigo was killed, possibly seen as a traitor and the priest was stripped of all his clothes as sent away naked!

By this time period, Enriquillo's fame grew exponentially, even when he was not involved. Insurrection and Enriquillo were two names that seemed to go together. Fact there were countless other cacike fighting in the endless mountains of Kiskeya. Cacike Murcio and others would go on fighting long after Enriquillo agreed to peace. Although often overshadowed by Indians, but African Cimarrons were quite busy and active as well. Enriquillo may have felt competition or perhaps it was due to increased Spanish patrols and attacks, but he stepped up his game and now, more people were being killed than ever. In one incidence a baby was killed which was rare for the Cacike and his men.

In 1533 the Real Audiencia asked the Crown to please step in for fear they would lose the island to the rebels. Their prayers were answered in the form of Francisco de Barrionuevo. Although many colonists doubted this man could do what locals had not, they nevertheless placed their faith in him. 

Barrionueva was on his way to the mainland to accept a post as Governor.  He must have been in such good spirits that instead of trying to trick the foxy Cacike, he instead tried to reason with him. Instead of using his own men, he secured the help of 35 or more battle-weary colonists and an equal number of Indian servants as well as two women who were related to Enriquillo. Both women were more than happy to help. Some speculate that many of Enriquillos people who stayed behind and did not venture into the Baoruco were actually spying for the Cacike and this is how he was able to keep one step ahead of the Spaniards.








Barrionueno and his men sailed from Santo Domingo to Barahona. Disembarked and slowly moved into the mountains. For two months they could find not a single trace of the Indians. By this time there were 4,000 People under Enriquillo alone, and yet not a single trace!

Exhausted by their lack of progress they send word to a nearby town for reinforcements, The townspeople were not only happy to do so but also sent an Indian that supposedly had deserted Enriquillo and was willing to escort the Barrionuevo to Enriquillos lair. 

* I find this suspect. I feel that it is possible some towns and their inhabitants may have been helping Enriquillo all along. The Cacike did not "hate" the Spaniards" for racial reasons and was himself a Catholic, after all, he was raised in a Franciscan monastery. This Indio may have been sent to lead them the precise spot where Enriquillo would meeting Barrionuevo".

They were to meet by the shores of Xaragua lake (Today Lago Enriquillo) the largest Saltwater lake in the Caribbean and also the lowest point in the basin.  Some canoes one of which carried young indio whose father was Spanish sailed up to where the Spaniards were. They agreed to take the message to Enriquillo,

Word was sent back that the Cacike had agreed. The next day the Historic meeting took place. Enriquillo, the young boy who was thrown out of a burning hut so long ago, was about to make history, for he was to become the first Indian Chief to sign a PEACE TREATY with a Foreign Power!

Barrionuevo explained the terms. Enriquillo agreed the accords and accepted peace. He agreed that any runaways would be returned to the Spaniards but he would keep all those in his service.  For each runaway, he would receive 4 shirts. We will never know if Enriquillo would have kept those terms, Maybe a case by case?

Enriquillo and his Taino people were also granted the lands promised to him, at least 4 villages. One village was Sabana Grande de Boya, and the other was Banique (Banica), both of which still stand today.



Partial Treaty Copy by Lynne Guitar
the child who would be a warrior King