The principal navigations, voyages, traffiques, and discoveries of the English nation, by Richard Hakluyt

A relation of the Hauen of Tecuanapa, a most conuenient place for building of ships, situate vpon the South sea not farre from Nicaragua, which was sent vnto the viceroy of Mexico or to the king of Spaine: wherein are described the riuers of Ometepec, Tlacamama, and Tlacolula falling into the said Hauen, with the townes, people, and mountaines adioyning to the said riuers, and other things fit for the building and victualling of ships.

The Port and small harbour of Tecuanapa hath in the driest time of Sommer in the chanell little lesse then one fathome at low water, and at full sea one fathome and an halfe: in the time of raine, with the increasing of the land-water it hath three fathoms and more. It lyeth toward the West, and there the Bishopricks of Guaxacan and Tlarcali are separated. From hence toward the point called Punta de Intla and Dordaci there is a Bay 2. leagues distant, which though it be no special harbour, yet vpon an extremity ships may come and ride there, as in times past they haue done. This Bay on the right hand toward the North maketh a lake somewhat large towards the midst of the chanell, and in some parts deepe, but specially on the side of Cuahintla, but on either side it is but shallow. As you passe betweene the sea and certaine great and large woods of orenge trees, and trees of other nature which grow along the sea coast, which are of no great bredth, al the countrey appeareth very open: howbeit on the side of Cuahintla the mountaines haue many creeks and a small lake called Tulaningo, and the countrey cannot be trauelled, except you take the way betweene the sea and the end of this lake, which may be about two leagues of sandy way. And on the North side there is another small creeke. And going by the sands side one quarter of a league, you come to the way that leadeth vnto Quacapotla a mansion of Intla.

The riuer of Ometepec being the principal riuer which commeth to this hauen hath his head in the mountaines of Xicayan de Touer about 24 leagues from this hauen from diuers brooks which come out of the mountaines of Cacatepec, and beneath a towne called Suchistlahuaca litle more then 3. leagues all the brooks ioyne together: and from that place you may passe downe to the sea with Canoas and Lighters; and you might come farther but for the fall of a furious streame or current which runeth between two great rocks, passing from Cocahulapa a mansion of Ometepec vnto Yanguitle a mansion of the said Ometepec. These inconueniences being past (which in my iudement may be about one league) the Riuer is more nauigable, so that you may sayle in the same about 12. leagues. During the space of which 12 leagues, about a league and a halfe distance from the waters side, and in many other parts of the same riuer it hath great quantitie of woods which vse to grow in hot soiles, fit for ship-timber, as Huber-trees, and Suchicuhitil, whereof they of Nicaragua make great profit. Also there be white okes and Tehegurtes in great quantitie, and many other kinds of timber: and in the mountaines there be firre-trees, okes, and cork-trees, which easily may bee caried downe the riuer, because they may be cut some 2, 3, 4, and 5. leagues from the riuer, and may be brought downe to the waters side with the seruice and helpe of those that dwell in the townes thereabout.

At the head of these brooks where the riuer beginneth is the towne which is called Xicaian, belonging to the heires of Francis de Touer y de Guillen, containing about 350 Indians of rude speech and of little policie, being 24. leagues from the sea, little more or lesse. The place it selfe is hot, although the mountaines round about be cold.

Aionapa. A little from this is the towne of Aioanapa possessed by the heirs of Perez Gomez, hauing in it about 300. Indians of the selfe same speach and qualitie. The countrey is more subiect to heate then cold; yet hath it neere it cold countrey and mountaines. It is distant from Xicaian de Touer 4. leagues, and from the sea 20. leagues.

Sixe leagues downeward toward the South is the towne of Suchistlahuaca on the said riuer, and the inhabitants are of the same speach and qualities. The countrey is more subiect to heate then cold. It is in the charge of Gonzaluo Fernandez a citizen of Mexico, and hath about 150. Indians, and is 15. leagues distant from the sea.

From this towne vnto the towne of Ometepec are 6 leagues. The place is very hot, and in the same gouernment, and is situate betweene certaine hils one league from the riuer: he and his followers haue vnder them about 700. Indians, which speake the Ayacastecan, Amusgan, and Niciecan tongues, and this place is from the sea nine leagues.

From this towne vnto Ihualapa are two great leagues: it is in the gouernment of the heires of Laurence de Castro, of the foresaid temperature, and the people vse the said language, and are of the like stature: and it standeth three leagues from the riuer, and from the sea ten leagues.

These are the best townes, and of the best traffique that are vpon all this coast. The Indians are rich in Cacao and victuals, and in these townes doe the Indians of Niciecan principally trade. And in the towns of Ihualapa the chiefe Aguazil of the prouince is resident for the most part of the yeere.

More lowe beneath the riuer of Tlacolula, about a league or a league and an halfe from the towne of Ometepec is the towne called Pio, which was wont to be a towne of Tlacolula, and was a frontier towne against the Mexicans. There be in it about 50. Indians of the ancient inhabitants: one Grauiel de Chiauez a citizen of Mexico hath the gouernement thereof: it is 4. leagues from Ihualapa, and 6. from the sea.

A little below this is the towne of Huehuatlan in the selfe same gouernement standing one league from the riuer on certaine high hils: it hath 10. Indians, and is from the sea 5. leagues.

And one league from this towne stands the towne of Cuahacapotla a mansion of Antla or Intla: it hath to the number of 15. Indians; it standeth one league and a halfe from the riuer, and 4. leagues, from the mouth thereof.

At the fountaines or heads of the rest of the brooks is the towne of Cacatepec being in the gouernment of Raphael de Treyo: he and his tenants haue vnder them some 700. Indians of Niciecan: it is from the sea some 22. leagues.

The riuer which is called Tlacamama commeth from the mountains of Atoyaque and Amusgos, which are some 17. leagues from the sea. There it maketh a formed riuer, so big, that it is nauigable to the sea with canoas and lighters: I say from a litle below Tolistlahuaca a mansion of Xicaian. It is nauigable 8 moneths in the yeere, and the other 4. not, because that the sands of the plaines do soke and drink vp the water in such wise, that there remaineth so little, that there is no passage: howbeit in small lighters timber may bee brought downe this riuer one league from the place where it is cut, vnto the place that I haue spoken of; whereas bigger vessels may bee made; for nigh vnto that place other brooks and running waters doe ioyne and meet, which make it a maine riuer. It hath nigh vnto it in the mountaines of Atoyaque, Cacatepec, and Amusgos many woods of pine-trees, cork-trees, and okes of great bignesse: and beneath those mountaines in the warme countrey, neere vnto the riuers there is much timber of those sorts which I mentioned before to be about the riuer of Ometepec, which may easily be cut and carried downe vnto Tecuanapa in the time before specified.

This riuer hath likewise townes adioyning to it; the first at the foote of the mountaines is the town of Atoiaque belonging to the king, and to the heires of Pronetto: their language is Niciecan, the countrey hot, the people politique, and it is from the sea 15. leagues. It hath about 200. Indians.

One league from this towne, and 14. from the sea is the towne of Xicaian belonging likewise to the king, and to the heires of Pronetto. They are Niciecan people and very comely, and in a hot countrey. It hath by account 300. Indians. There are resident in it the Vicar and Iustice; it is from the riuer a league and a halfe.

A league from this towne, and 14. from the sea is situate the mansion of Pinotespan subiect to Tututepec, which hath with the manors subject vnto it 500. Indians.

Two leagues from the towne, and one from Xicayan, and 13. from Tecuanapa, and 3. from the riuer is the towne of Tlacamama: the people are very comely, and politique. It containeth some 100. Indians, and belongeth to the king.

More toward the South 5. leagues from the riuer, and two from this towne, and 14. from the sea is the towne called Pinotespan del Rey: They are handsome people, but of slow speach: this towne conteineth about 100. Indians like the former. They be wealthie, because they make great quantitie of salte; for they haue a lake in which salte groweth vnder the water, (a thing repugnant to nature, that two contraries doe grow and are conserued together) whereout they take it in breaking it with stones vpon the ground vnder the water.

It hath also the towne of Amusgos, which is in the gouernment of Fernando de Auila, which may be from Tecuanapa 18. leagues. They speake the Amusgan tongue. The countrey is hotte: it standeth on the highway from Nicieca: it hath 400. Indians, few more or lesse.

These are all the townes of account situate neere this riuer.

Neere vpon this riuer are two farmes, the one belonging to Pedro Brauo, and the other to him that maketh this relation vnto your Excellencie, which may be from the sea some 8. or 9. leagues all plaine ground. And in this territorie there is but one towne called Quesala situate vpon the riuer, and 6. leagues from the sea; which in times past hath beene a great towne, and now hath but three Indians onely, and it is from the farmes 3. leagues.

The mansion house of Don Mattheo is more toward the South, standing in a mountainous and waste countrey, which aboundeth with cattell being 3. leagues from the riuer; and as farre from Tecuanapa, as from the place where all the cattel is; and the sea that way is from it but one league.

A little below this mansion about 4. leagues, and 7. leagues from the sea, is a garden of Alonso Pedraza which beareth Cacao.

And 2. leagues from this garden, and 6. leagues from the sea standeth the towne of Cuahintlan belonging to the king a towne of 19 housholds, but very rich, for they gather much Cacao and the best in that countrey. They speake the Tlapanecan tongue. This towne hath the sea that way within halfe a league.

Huatulco or Guatulco in 15. deg and 50. minutes. And this coast from Cuahintlan to Tecuanapa, and the coast which runneth to Huatulco is a coast of much pearle, for in olde time the Indians gathered much pearle there.

And 2 leagues from Cuahintlan and 4. from Tecuanapa is a garden of Cacao in the landes of Francisco Maldonado, which is called Cacahu–Atoyaque.

These are the things worthy of relation from the head springs of this riuer of Tlacamama vnto the sea: and this foresaid riuer entreth into the riuer of Ometepec 5. leagues from Tecuanapa.

The riuer of Tlacolula springeth within the boundes of Chilsiztlahuaca subiect to Comastlahuaca a towne of Suchistlahuaca, neere which are many mountaines. This riuer is nauigable little more then 2. leagues before it entreth into the riuer of Ometepec, where it is 5. leagues from the sea.

Hard by it is the towne of Tlacolula abouenamed; and 3. leagues from it is the towne of Azoyoque an olde manour of Tlapa. The towne of Chilsiztlahuaca hath but 3. Indians; and the towne of Azoyoque hath more then 300. Indians. But because in this hauen must bee the building of ships, the prouince of Talpa and Tututepec may stand them in great stead; the prouince of Tututepec being neighbour to the riuer of Tlacamama, and the prouince of Tlapa to the riuer of Tlacolula. For they may, as I haue sayd, carrie the timber in lighters or rafts downe the riuers, and may vse the Indians in the townes thereabout to fell and draw the same out of the cold mountaines; for in the warm countreys the most is plaine ground, whereas with very fewe men and oxen it may be brought vnto the place where it should be imbarqued.

There may come flat bottomes, and canoas vnto the townes thereabout, and lade themselues with victuals: For they haue already come by that riuer to the rode of Ometepec, and made there prouision at the mansion of Don Mattheo, and at the farmes, at that time when his Maiestie did people the plaines which are betweene these riuers, conteining a large and voyde countrey sufficient for the erecting of 20. manours, being a countrey well furnished with water and pasture without any danger or perill, according to the description hereunto annexed.

This small harbour of Tecuanapa being seene and viewed, seemeth very commodious to build shippes in, by reason of the great abundance of mountaines full of good timber for that purpose, with the commodities of riuers, and with the seruice and victuals from the townes thereabout, which be very good for coast townes.

The desire of him that made this relations, hath bene with zeale to serue your excellencie; who therewithall desireth the Lord God to giue the successe.

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Last updated Friday, March 7, 2014 at 19:52