The Spanish Main is the mainland coast of the Spanish Empire around the Caribbean. It includes Florida, Mexico, Central America and the north coast of South America (New Andalusia.) It is also used as a general term for the seaways around the Spanish possessions in the Carribbean.Major loading ports are Cartagena de Indias in New Granada, Porto Bello on the Isthmus of Darien and Veracruz in New Spain (with wares brought by the Manila Galleons transported overland from Acapulco and Panama), and from there they are shipped to Spain by the treasure fleets via Havana.
This includes modern Venezuela and Guyana. Spanish nobles have made several bona-fide attempts at peaceful colonization here and many of the cities, such as Cumana and Caracas are thriving, self-sufficient ports. New Andalusia is not as important in the eyes of the Spanish Royal Court but a growing group of humanists in the church view it as a 'noble experiment.'
A large settlement and port on the north coast of Venezuela, Caracas is surrounded by verdant tropical forests and farmlands. Near the old settlement of Borburata, Caracas has in recent years become more and more important to the Spanish and is one of the preeminent trading ports on the Spanish Main. Caracas has a moderately sheltered deep harbor and a steady supply of fresh water from mountain streams and inland lakes.
Caracas was not officially settled but formed as much of the population of Borburata migrated there over the last few decades. Borburata was founded in 1525. Caracas is important to the economy of New Andalusia (Venezuela) and is steadily growing in power.
The easternmost anchor in New Andalusia for Spanish ships, Cumana boasts a deep natural harbor on a rocky coastline. Facing eastward, Cumana harbor is an ideal stopping point for ships of many flags returning from the eastern coast of South America.
Founded in 1503 by the Spanish as a self-supporting farming community, Cumana has become a center of conflict between the Dutch and the Spanish. The reason for this is that while Cumana was found to have less than ideal soils for crops, the land was ideal for the growing of tobacco. Cumana is the largest producing tobacco colony for the Spanish and is therefore heavily taxed to help pay the cost of colonization and escort ships. Dutch smugglers have taken advantage of this and routinely smuggle entire shiploads of tobacco out of Cumana.
Cumana's deep, clear harbor and rocky sea bottom is an ideal nesting ground for pearl oysters and Cumana boasts a massive pearl fishery waiting to be harvested but jealously guarded by The Spanish authorities.
aid in the protection of the
fisheries, protect the east of New Andalusia (Venezuela), and stop
smugglers, the Viceroyalty of New Granada (which oversees Venezuela)
has stationed a garrison at Cumana and built a pair of forts to guard
This is the region covering modern central America, Peru, Chile, and Colombia. The Capitol of New Granada is in Panama and other important and notable cities are Lima (built near an Inca city of some prominence) and Cartagenana. New Granada is the center of Spain's quest for native gold and silver and is the home of many very important nobles and clergymen.
central and prominent
region of the
Spanish colony of New Granada, Panama is home to three major
settlements: Nombre de Dios, Puerto Bello, and Panama. Panama is
ruled by the Viceroy of New Granada. The jungles and fens of
Panama are home
to the insidious mosquito which brings malaria. Hundreds die each
year of the disease. Any white man traveling through the Isthmus of
Panama has a chance of contracting Malaria.
City of Panama
the southern coast of the
Panama lies the city of the same name. Panama overlooks the Pacific
Ocean and was founded in 1519 by Pedro Arias Davila. It is a port for
Spanish treasure ships sailing from Peru and Chile to the Caribbean.
Ships are off loaded at Panama and the cargo is carried 50 miles
overland to Nombre de Dios, a seven day journey on foot, through
In 1671, Welsh Privateer Henry Morgan, under orders from Jamaican Governor Thomas Modyford, sacked and destroyed Panama with a force of 2,000 men and 36 ships.
East of Panama on the northwest coast of South America lies the citadel of Cartagena. Built into a deep sheltered harbor, Cartagena is home to the largest fortification in the New World at the time.
Cartagena lies 250 miles to the East of Panama and can be reached from there by land or sea.
is part of the colony of New
Granada and is answerable to the viceroyalty in Panama. It was
settled in 1533 and has never been completely taken, although a
number of raids on the fortress and the harbor have resulted in the
city becoming very heavily defended.
One of the early attacks came in 1551 when the French pirate Roberto Baal forced Governor Pedro de Heredia to flee. The pirates demanded an unspecified ransom and left upon payment.
In 1559 another French pirate, Martín Cote, arrived in Cartagena demanding a ransom to prevent a total destruction of the city. It is said Maridalo had put up a stiff resistance but the plunder taken by Cote was enormous.
In 1568, the English pirate, John Hawkins attempted to take the city but left after a week.
Francis Drake attacked the city in 1572. As he attacked a large number of Spaniards fled to Turbaco, a nearby village leaving the rest of Cartagena unprotected and helpless. The ransom for the city was estimated 107,000 ducats, an unknown amount of gems and jewels, 80 artillery pieces and other goods.
By the 1600s, the Spanish began improving the defenses of the city and many of the fortresses built at this time.
After Henry Morgan’s attack in 1668, which was a disappointment to his men, due to most of the population fleeing, it would not be till 1697 that the Baron of Pointis was able to break into the city. Slaves in the city revolted during Pointis attack which allowed to breech the city walls.
The Spaniards have spent literally tons of gold and built a series of walls, bastions and fortresses to defend the city. San Sebastian de Pastelillo Fort, in Manga neighborhood, and the Saint Philip of Barajas Castle. San Fernando and San José forts were located strategically at the entrance of the bay.Cartagena is the departure point for the flota, the Spanish 'plate fleet,' or treasure fleet. The flota carries the riches of The South American tribes to Europe late every summer. The treasure fleet sails for Cartagena west to the coast of New Spain and then north along the coast to Cape Catoche (The extreme northeast of the Yucatan), where it turns to east by northeast and sails for Havana, where it waits for the winds to change to favor sailing to Spain.
Cartagena is one of the two Spanish colonial cities that has a Slave market (the other Vera Cruz Mexico.) The first African slaves were brought by Pedro de Heredia were forced to open roads so the Spaniards could raid the tombs of the Sinu in search of silver and gold. They also were used for cutting sugar cane and building of fortresses.
The Spanish Inquisition has operated from Cartagena since 1610.
Cartagena is extremely wealthy and is home to a great many Spanish noblemen living in the New World.
Formerly the preeminent port on the north coast of Panama, Nombre de Dios was plundered repeatedly and a new port was built nearby in Puerto Bello.
An exit point for treasure heading towards Cartagena, Puerto Bello is a moderately sheltered and well fortified port on the north coast of Panama. Puerto Bello was at one time frequently attacked by pirates but has since been fortified by a garrison.