Method of Securing the Ports and Populations of All the Coasts of the Indies


In the second half of the 17th century, rampant piracy threatened the economic and commercial interests of Spain in the West Indies. Piracy also introduced a complicating factor in the ongoing struggle among Spain, France, and England for preeminence in the Caribbean. This book, published around 1694, offers recommendations, apparently addressed by Governor Sebastien de Roteta of Trinidad to King Charles II, on fortifying Spanish ports in the West Indies against pirate attack. The book is in two parts, with a printed iron cross appearing at the head of the first page of each. Part one deals with the demography of the region and discusses the disruptions to navigation and trade caused by piracy. Part two discusses the history of piracy in the region, said to have begun in 1655 and to have continued for the following roughly "forty years." It notes that the ports of Iamayca del Caymiro (Jamaica) and Tortuga Island were bases for pirate activity. This section also describes economic activities in the network of West Indies islands. The final five pages are devoted to a description of the Barlovento Islands (present-day Netherlands Antilles), with notes on locations, demographics, and crops.

Last updated: February 20, 2014