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Véronique Benei

The corsair, the bishop, the governor and the runaways:
Negotiating slavery in early eighteenth century Santa Marta, New Granada

[28/03/2014]

Résumés

L’histoire d’un corsaire excommunié par l’évêque de Santa Marta après que quatre noirs ont fugué de son navire en revendiquant leur statut d’hommes libres, permet de montrer comment la pratique du corso au dix-huitième siècle a impliqué et contribué au maintien d’une économie locale nécessaire et illégale, dans laquelle les esclaves étaient une marchandise particulièrement prisée. Sont ensuite documentés les espaces compétitifs de pouvoir et d’autorité –séculière et religieuse- dans cette colonie espagnole, en particulier quant au commerce des esclaves et à l’esclavage. Pour terminer, est analysée la stratégie déployée par les fugitifs, en explorant les manières dont les esclaves négociaient leur statut dans la Nouvelle Grenade, comparé aux autres colonies des Caraïbes.

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Notes de l’auteur

This article is part of a wider project exploring the history and memory of slavery in Santa Marta, Colombia. The bulk of the research was made possible by a generous grant from the ESRC, RES-062-23-2562. Warmest thanks are due to the personnel of the Archivo General de Indias for their efficient assistance, to Judith Ballesteros, Jorge Elias Caro, Luis Miguel Glave, William Ospina, Alvaro Ospino Valiente, Wilfredo Padilla, Rafael González Paredes for clarification of particular points, to Franklin Knight for his insightful suggestions on a preliminary draft, as well as to the two anonymous referees for their detailed and pointed comments on how to further improve this piece.

Texte intégral

  • 1 Santa Marta - Expediente sobre el fomento que se ha hecho, Año 1730, Archivo General de Indias, Sev (...)

1Things could not have fared worse for Don Juan Jose Campuzano Polanco on that fateful day of 28 September 1729. Freshly injured in battle at sea, with limited resources and in poor health the once flamboyant corsair had just learnt of his excommunication from Catholic Church as he landed again at the port of Riohacha (north of the then Province of Santa Marta, New Granada).1 Greeted by the local vicar to the sound of church bells, the native of Santo Domingo was notified of the sentence cast by the bishop of Santa Marta, Don Antonio Monroy y Meneses. Seeing his orders had been ignored, the prelate had resorted to the utmost form of punishment available to him: expelling Don Jose from the Community of the Christians.

  • 2 Ibid., folios recto 8-reverso 11.
  • 3 Curaçao at the time was one of the main ports of entry into the Caribbean for West African slaves. (...)

2A few months earlier, the corsair had disembarked in the port of Santa Marta with a cargo of African slaves seized from an English sloop off the coast of the Isla Española.2 Four of the black men had run away from the ship and found refuge at the episcopal palace, claiming free status. An opinionated bishop had taken the matter in his own hands sending for official evidence from the baptismal records in Curaçao.3 If these men were indeed free, mention of this would appear in their baptism certificates. Meanwhile, the prelate had demanded that before next setting sail, the corsair release the one black he had kept in fetters in the forecastle of his boat, and that he pay a provisional fine of 200 pesos until arrival of the documentary proofs. Don Jose had ignored the request, and incurred the bishop’s almighty wrath.

  • 4 Véronique Benei, ‘Olvido y memoria en Santa Marta, Colombia: El punto ciego de la esclavitud’, Revi (...)
  • 5 Arturo Bermúdez Bermúdez, Piratas en Santa Marta, Bogotá, Tipografía Hispana Ltda, 1978; Ernesto Re (...)

3There is a peculiar denial in Santa Marta today about the past existence of slavery in the locality. Inasmuch as slavery appears as the ‘blind spot’ of Samaria history, unravelling the background to the corsair’s story and his setbacks with the bishop in relation to four African runaways sheds light on this otherwise largely invisible past.4 Three main lines of enquiry constitute this article, with the notion of ‘negotiation’ running as a guiding thread. The first line is historiographical, pertaining to local and wider eighteenth century Caribbean scholarship. It is concerned with the business sense of ‘negotiation’. Contrary to the usual imbalance found in studies of corsairs, privateers and pirates sailing along the coasts of Nueva Granada and portrayed as attackers and looters5, this corsair’s story provides a different understanding of corso and shows how its practice revolved around, and contributed to the sustenance of an illegal and necessary local economy in which slaves were a sought-after commodity.

4The second line of enquiry relates to ‘negotiation’ between the competing sites of power and authority –secular and religious- in eighteenth century Spanish colonies. It documents attempts made by the bishop and the governor, Don Josef de Andía (in his post from 1726 to 1731), not so much to settle matters by discussion and mutual agreement as to assert rivalling claims to legitimacy in representing the government. That the whole affair was triggered by the flight from the corsair’s ship of several black men seeking refuge with the prelate, demanding recognition of their rights to freedom begs the question of where the final authority –i.e. temporal or ecclesiastical- lay in matters of slavery and status.

5In the third line of enquiry, ‘negotiation’ entails analysing the strategy deployed by the fugitives and exploring the ways in which slaves coped with and succeeded in managing their status in eighteenth century Santa Marta and New Granada. At issue here is that the four runaways should seek the bishop’s protection. Whether they were free men or slaves, what does their turning to him rather than the governor suggest about the practical modalities of these respective powers in Santa Marta at the time? Were the fugitives aware of the role priests played in the practice of coartación, and also more generally as moral arbiters and if so, did they hope to gain the prelate’s support in their endeavours to (re)gain their freedom?

I. Of unstable categories and moral economies of corso and contraband

  • 6 Kris E. Lane, Pillaging the Empire. Piracy in the Americas, 1500 – 1750, Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe, (...)
  • 7 Restrepo Tirado, Historia de la provincia. Unlike Cartagena, Santa Marta was never the object of ex (...)

6In many texts of the 20th and 21st centuries, the meaning of the Spanish term ‘corsario’ is found to be equivalent to the English one of ‘pirate’, despite the existence of the English words ‘corsair’ and ‘privateer’. The difference between a ‘corsair’/’privateer’ and a ‘pirate’ is often seen as a subtle one and a matter of positioning only. All western European nations with imperial pretensions had their own mercenaries serving them across the oceans.6 ‘Corsairs’ and ‘privateers’ were shipowners who fitted out a vessel with their personal fortune for purposes of carrying out trade and plunder, supported by official licences (cartas de corso in Spanish). These would be obtained from a European nation authorizing the said activities in its name. Thus the same deed might be deemed piracy on one side, and privateering on another. The famous English sea captain ‘Sir’ Francis Drake was a highly revered ‘privateer’ in England, knighted by Queen Elizabeth I while in Spanish records he is listed among the many ‘pirates’ attacking Santa Marta, and in local memory is remembered for his attacks and raids on the city in 1585 and 1596 respectively, reducing it to ashes the second time.7

  • 8 Expediente sobre el fomento, tira 3.

7Even in the Spanish-speaking context of Nueva Granada history, the word ‘corsario’ today is often associated with the meaning of an illegal tradesperson using force to appropriate the resources and goods of another entity or institution, whether ship, garrison or town. Yet, Jose Campuzano did not come to Santa Marta to loot and rob her; he was welcomed there by none other than the province’s governor. In allowing him his very first entry into the port Don Josef de Andía granted the seafarer his clear support in view of ‘the extermination of foreign traders on this coast’, as he wrote to French-born King Philip V of Spain on 28 May 1729. The corsair had seized an English paquebot off the coast of Santo Domingo, and done ‘all the formalities in view of its legitimacy in order to fit the ship out for the purpose of privateering and for cleansing our coasts from illicit trade with the foreigners, in conformity with His Majesty’s orders’8.

  • 9 Alvaro Ospino, Santa Marta vista por los viajeros, Santa Marta, Bastianos Editores, 2005, pp. 165-9

8The governor’s invitation must be seen in the century-old context of havoc wreaked by pirates’ continuous visitations, and the city’s consequent sorry state of affairs.9 For, the dissolution of French piracy did not mitigate the attacks of their Dutch and English counterparts. The last –failed- such attack occurred just the year before Don Campuzano made his first appearance into the port of Santa Marta. Thus Don J. de Andía’s determination towards securing the corsair’s assistance against potential attacks from the sea can be understood in this climate of ever relative stability and volatile peace in the area until the end of the eighteenth century.

  • 10 Santa Marta 15 de Noviembre de 1729, El gobernador Don Joseph Andía informa con autos, AGI, Legajo (...)

9The privateer’s presence was also financially invaluable: that year, his contribution met the economic needs of the town’s garrison. It was a recurrent cause of complaint in governors’ correspondence, that the monies meant for the soldiers’ upkeep were delayed by several months or years in reaching their destination. When Campuzano Polanco landed in Santa Marta in mid-1729, the taxes yielded by his catches provided for five months of the garrison’s daily upkeep.10 Don Josef thus encouraged ‘those residents’ with capital to invest it in ‘meet[ing] the risen costs of the armament in compliance with the Royal order of your majesty of 12 April 1721’.

  • 11 Ibid., folio 2.

10 Thus the economic rationale of corso benefitted both those who conducted its activity, and the localities chosen for its conduct. Each catch brought into a port was subject to the payment of a registry and authentication tax, conferring immediate economic returns onto the province. The amount produced to the Real Hacienda for the three catches made by Campuzano in 1729 was in excess of 8,000 pesos!11 Conversely, the corsair was equally motivated by his own economic gains. With each patent, he secured the right to legally attack any ship alien to Spanish interests and dispossess them from both vessel and cargo, retaining for his own use or selling either into the port town as he pleased.

11To many localities otherwise deserted by official commerce, corso often provided the only avenue for acquiring particular kinds of goods from the Old World, not least of them African slaves. These were considerable economic commodities at the time, as the Spanish Americas were transitioning from bullion to mercantilist economy, and featured among the prize captures by corsairs, pirates, privateers, and buccaneers. Such utmost value placed upon slaves in this transitional economy needs highlighting, as Santa Marta found itself in an economic quagmire throughout most of the colonial period.

  • 12 Even the governors reporting on corruption were–in their own words- forced to resort to illegal com (...)
  • 13 Alfonso Múnera, ‘Ilegalidad y frontera’, in Adolfo Meisel Roca (dir.), Historia económica y social (...)
  • 14 Grahn (1985), Laurent (2003), MacFarlane (2002), Navarrete Peláez (2007), de la Pedraja (1977), Rip (...)

12From early beginnings, the town was outdone by its rival Cartagena (founded 1533), already become the official port of trade in the sixteenth century. Most of the slaves entering that part of the continent officially landed in Cartagena. By the early eighteenth century, Santa Marta had been relegated to the status of backwaters. Governors successively complained about the absence of Spanish merchant vessels.12 Between 1700 and 1763, only one such ship arrived in the town’s port!13 Meanwhile, smuggling and contraband with foreign ships had become routine, and illegality and corruption a way of life.14 Thus the long overdue arrival on 25 May 1729 of a legally authorised ship with a cargo of goods into the port of Santa Marta was cause for relief among the population.

  • 15 Two marks were officially required when marking slaves: the coronilla real, and the monogram of the(...)

13We can now turn to the events of September 1729 and their underlying issues. The statements written by the governor and the corsair concur with the bishop’s in that he welcomed into his episcopal abode four black men who had run away from the corsair’s boat. These men refused being branded as slaves and claimed to be free, just as the other fugitive caught and put in shackles in the forecastle of the vessel for opposing to being marked with la coronilla (the royal insignia).15 While the prelate was undeniably concerned about the status and fate of the runaways (see further), there was another side to his misgivings about the corsair’s activities.

  • 16 Documento Santa Marta año de 1730 copia de costa, Fecha 1730, AGI, Legajo Santa Fe, 1743, tira 1, f (...)

14Don Antonio de Monroy was preoccupied by corso. Some of his predecessors in the clergy had made a fortune out of it. But, he was different. Hailing from the Mercedarian order, the bishop had chosen to live in austerity. Unlike his colleagues, he was no easy prey for the ‘base matters’ (bajezas) of this world, from ‘small doubloons to hard pesos, jewels, petty pearls and little blacks that have sent and will send some to hell’, as he wrote on 17 September 1730 in his long, detailed reply to the governor.16 What particularly ailed the friar were the iniquities resulting from the abuses of corso when its practice was left uncontrolled in the very hands of corsairs, in collusion with governors and local elites. The prelate denounced the abuses suffered by some families at the hands of regal officers, as he had observed on many occasions. His diatribe also focused on the commerce that had turned the port town of Riohacha, some hundred miles further north, into the centre of illegal trade in the whole of New Granada.

  • 17 Navarrete Peláez, ‘De las “malas entradas”’; Miranda Vázquez, La gobernación de Santa Marta, p. 51; (...)

15The cause of Don Antonio’s resentment towards illegal traders and their flourishing commerce illuminates the nitty gritty of local trade in the area at the time, where the boundaries between legal and illegal were constantly blurred. Many ‘embarkations (…) not only of sloops and brigantines, but also of ships and high tonnage (…) enter[ed] this miserable port of Rio del Hacha and its coves each month’. Furthermore, silver and gold were traded with foreigners in exchange for goods. Thus, the bishop argued, ‘the government of Rio Hacha […] would benefit to four or six people who get their royalties and others get paid their usuras and monopolios […] [while] we the majority of poor people that belong to this place, we would have a hard time and this might cause us much harm’. The friar exemplified how flour, clothes, and fruit, in Rio del Hacha were at 10 [pesos] per barrel when the corsair attempted to sell them at 25, ‘these being English’… He also denounced the involvement of alcaldes and other members of the royal government in cahoots with the privateer. Importantly, the prelate’s accusations concerned the illegal introduction of slaves, as was common in the area (more of which later).17

  • 18 Edward P. Thompson, The making of the English working class, Hardmondsworth, Penguin Books, 1963; J (...)

16More than corso or illicit trade per se, Don Antonio objected to the absence of any regulation thereof. At stake was an implicit moral economy18, that he voiced on behalf of other members of ‘the poor’: illegality being a forced way of survival in this part of New Granada, its activities were deemed moral as long as practised in tacit accordance with a view of redistributive justice. The community at large should benefit from merchant trafficking, by being able to secure goods else unavailable through the official, meagre channels of commerce afforded by scarce Spanish vessels. Hence more on the basis of this moral understanding of redistributive justice than on official grounds of illegality did the bishop severely criticize the abuses and excesses of such commerce. Further evidence lies in the abrupt transition to his conclusion: ‘[The corsair] must hand over the black that he extracted from the forecastle with the order of whosoever, he must hand in the penalty of 200 pesos, and let [him] just go to Rome for absolution; and until then he will not have any more work in any port of my province’ (italics mine).

Privateering, excommunication and respectability in Spanish colonial society

  • 19 Documento Santa Marta, tira 1, folios 2-5.

17Why should excommunication be of such import to the privateer that, upon being informed of the ecclesiastical interdict levelled against him, he should come running to Santa Marta to plead for mercy? Part of the answer lies in the prelate’s words: being cast out of the community of Roman Catholics had several consequences, one of which economic. Business in Spanish colonies could offficially be conducted by and among Catholics only. Thus, in their interceding letters, the governor and the corsario explicitly invoked the motive of authorising inquiry about two new catches made by Don Jose and brought into the port of Riohacha.19 But there were other reasons why ‘the state in which his soul found itself’, to use the bishop’s sarcastic phrase, should have mattered to the privateer: these were religious and social, and inform on sociological aspects of privateering.

  • 20 Emilio Rodríguez Demorizi, Familias Hispanoamericanas, Vol. 1, Trujillo, Dominican Rep., Montalvo, (...)
  • 21 Torres Agudo, ‘Los Campuzano-Polanco’; Victoria Stapells Johnson, Corsarios de Santo Domingo 1718-1 (...)
  • 22 Stapells Johnson, Corsarios, p. 43.

18Whether in Europe or in the New World shipowners often came from wealthy backgrounds. Their very position of power enabled them to fit out ships and start privateering activities. Campuzano Polanco is a case in point, hailing from a highly respectable family in Santo Domingo. His illustrious ancestors were deemed ‘limpios y cristianos viejos’ who had fought in major constitutive battles on the Isla Española.20 The successive generations had become powerful holders of elite positions in the capital and around the island.21 Born around 1680, Don Jose started as a soldier in the presidio of Santo Domingo, from 1717 to 1719. After serving in the company of Sergeant Major Don Juan Perez Caro, the enterprising young man sought better economic prospects for himself. Aided by his family, he equipped his first vessel, a sloop (balandra) named El Firme thus opening a new chapter of his life as a privateer.22

  • 23 Documento Santa Marta 20 de Octubre, tira 5, p. 2. Also Torres Agudo, ‘Los Campuzano-Polanco’, p. 2 (...)
  • 24 Stapells Johnson, Corsarios, p. 42-3.

19In his campaigns, he roamed the seas from Florida, to Jamaica and the coasts of Caracas and Coro, each time emboldened by a new catch. Having caught close to fifty ships from various European nations Don Juan Jose was conferred on 7 March 1726 the military title of lieutenant colonel (theniente coronel) of the milicias of the towns of Monte Plata, Bayaguana and the villas of Higüey and El Seibo by his native island’s governor, colonel Francisco de la Rocha-Ferrer, in reward for ‘cleansing the coasts of Santo Domingo and its vicinity from illicit trade’.23 The privateer had been ‘serving the Spanish crown’ for thirteen years. He was now ready to move further to the coasts of Rio Hacha, Cartagena and Portobelo. By the time he landed in Santa Marta, Don Jose was an experienced, mature seafarer in his late forties, celebrated as ‘undoubtably one of the most active corsairs of the first third of the eighteenth century’ and ‘well known for his audacity and for his deep knowledge of the coasts and seas around Santo Domingo and Tierra Firme’.24

  • 25 Documento Santa Marta, tira 1, folios 2-5.
  • 26 Stapells Johnson, Corsarios, p. 42-51.

20His respectability and fame, however, are a matter for debate. The prelate portrayed him as a doubtful character of reprehensible morality and claimed to be in receipt of ‘letters of numerous ports [in which Don Jose appears to] be a pirate in disguise with the title of corsario and servant of the King’.25 Elsewhere he is described as a cruel, merciless, dishonest and unscrupulous character, both in his capacity as captain towards his own crew, and towards those of the enemy vessels he seized. His misdemeanour was not limited to being at sea: on land, he even threatened a fiscal of the Audiencia in Santo Domingo to avoid legal prosecution.26

  • 27 Enriqueta Vila Vilar y Remedios Tasset Carmona, ‘La muerte como motor económico de la iglesia barro (...)

21Furthermore, news of excommunication travelled far and wide, and was not to be taken lightly, for economic as well as spiritual, religious, social, and political reasons. The importance of Catholic faith as a pillar of colonial society and respectability in the Spanish-speaking Christian world was still paramount, including in Santo Domingo. Even if the epoch was no longer one ‘of crispation before death’, the notion and importance of soul salvation remained central throughout the eighteenth century.27 Excommunication also affected the status of the penitent’s family. Often the interdict entailed a real quarantine, including of all the people interacting with him or her. The penalty thus carried implications for respectability, social recognition, and one’s positioning into the wider networks of Caribbean economic and political power. Hence, the zeal with which the unfortunate corsair hurried back to Santa Marta, begging for the bishop’s mercy. In this he had the support of the governor and other influential secular elite of the town involved in every step of the economic process of corso, from granting licenses to providing garantees and retailing goods.

II. Of ecclesiastical and temporal powers, and their respective jurisdictions

  • 28 Expediente sobre el fomento, tira 3, p. 7.
  • 29 Tira 1, folio reverso 2.

22Judging by the prelate’s comments about the corsair’s excessive pricing of goods sold to the local population, it was probably not the two men’s first brush.28 This time, as we have seen, the encounter was furnished by the black fugitives. Don Antonio not only granted them refuge in his episcopal abode. He also intervened in the governor’s jurisdiction, making a demand on Don Jose of ‘not embark[ing] the black […] he had kept at his satisfaction in the forecastle’ until the official documents sent for in Curazao and other ports to ascertain the veracity of their claims, arrived and be acted upon ‘in conscience and justice’.29 The flamboyant privateer, however, ignored the ‘offer’ (sic), moreover leaving at night. The news reached the episcopal palace at dawn. By midday, the ecclesiastical penalty was declared and recited by an attorney (apoderado).

23Whether Don Jose Campuzano Polanco thought of himself as untouchable by virtue of his respectable and powerful family back in Santo Domingo is unclear. At any rate, several months later, a rather changed corsair disembarked again in the northern port of RioHacha on that afternoon of May 1729. From legendary and intrepid conqueror of the Caribbean seas he had become a diminished man, frail and weathered by a battle just incurred with a Dutch boat carrying a cargo of slaves. The news of his excommunication dealt him a further blow, leaving him ever more disempowered and forced to appeal to ecclesiastical mercy, with the governor’s assistance.

  • 30 Navarrete Peláez, ‘De las “malas entradas”’, p. 168.

24The correspondence between the bishop and the governor of the Province of Santa Marta reveals how the depositories of both types of authority rivalled in their claims to legitimately represent the interests and principles of the Spanish Crown. True, it was not the first time in Spanish colonial history that the depositaries of lay and religious powers would be at loggerheads. Nor was it the first time in Santa Marta a prelate opposed a governor especially in matters of slave trade, given the role priests generally played as moral arbiters. In 1675, the then bishop had testified against his secular counterpart, a Vincente Sebastián Mestre for authorizing entry into the port of Santa Marta of a Dutch ship with a cargo of slaves and clothes.30

  • 31 Documento Santa Marta, tira 1, folios 2-5.

25Then as in the present case, the bishop trespassed into the governor’s temporal jurisdiction by arrogating the right to intervene in matters not of immediate spiritual import. Remarkably, the prelate acknowledged acting from the very site of his spiritual authority ‘which is not corruptible as the mundane one’, as he claimed at the end of his missive. In his wrath, he also dealt a public blow onto the governor’s authority and respectability. After the corsair returned to Santa Marta to plead for absolution, the prelate had the edict of excommunication publicised. However, he had the sentence affixed onto the governor’s own doors! In addition, a procession left the Cathedral with a cruz enlutada (lit. ‘cross in mourning’), to be nailed onto the same governmental doors. The prelate, it was believed at first, had mistaken the government houses for the corsair’s abode. The ‘mistake’ was in fact deliberate, as testified by the ensuing epistolary exchange.31 For the following two weeks starting 16 of September 1729 the representatives of religious and lay powers in Santa Marta opposed one another by means of missives, arguments and counter-arguments travelling between the episcopal palace and the government houses. But the governor’s pleas and arguments fell on deaf ears. In order to fully grasp the stakes and the formidable clash between religious and secular authorities, we must understand the powers each represented, often one at the expense of the other.

  • 32 Alfonso Múnera, ‘El Caribe colombiano en la república andina: Identidad y autonomía política en el (...)

26According to Intendente General Bartolome de la Tienda writing in 1734, the essence of domestic politics in New Granada was that each governor was omnipotent, irrespective of the size of his jurisdiction. ‘[P]robably in no other part of Latin America did this regional autonomy exhibit more extreme manifestations’.32 Yet governors’ almighty power had two serious contenders in the Crown itself and the Church. If the governor of Santa Marta was the foremost representative of the Crown in the province, he was often left without financial and military resources. Both public funds from the various successive Audiencias and licit avenues of commerce were scarce in the area. Consequently, the agents of the Spanish Crown meant to preserve Its interests were often found exerting themselves in illicit commerce.

  • 33 Ibid. Dussel et al. Historia general de la iglesia en América Latina, vol. 7: Colombia y Venezuela, (...)
  • 34 Eduardo Restrepo, Ibid., p. 316.

27The town and province of Santa Marta were no more favoured by religious institutions. The bishopric was throughout the seventeenth century a ‘transitional’ see owing to its meagre income (‘escasas rentas’) and often lay vacant: out of the twelve bishops who occupied this position, six were transferred, one never took his post and the other five died in the diocesis while on duty.33 In the face of forlornness from Church and Crown, then, the representatives of both authorities in Santa Marta clang ever so jealously to their respective jurisdictions while making every attempt to trespass on another’s. As a consequence, and given the ‘fueros que cada cual quería hacer predominar’, there was always major antagonism between ecclesiastical and civil powers in that particular province.34

  • 35 Miranda Vázquez, La gobernación, p. 116.
  • 36 Mena García, ‘Santa Marta durante la guerra’, p. 572.

28In this setting Church representatives appeared more concerned about the population’s welfare than their lay counterparts. Priests often fulfilled the practical role of protector to the town’s parishioners in this marginal frontier area. In the late seventeenth century bishop Don Fray Juan Vítores de Velasco brought his support –both spiritual and material- to the town’s inhabitants lest they should desert it. In 1698, he even extended his assistance towards protecting the city from further attacks when the governor refused to take any action.35 Similarly, in 1719, Don Antonio had rescued the town by ‘fabricat[ing], four leagues away […], a house made of palm with enough provisions so that women and children, in case of an invasion, could find refuge in it’.36 Thus in defying Governor Andía’s authority, the prelate drew on an ecclesiastical tradition of protecting the local population’s interests and wellbeing. Thus may be understood his relentlessness in keeping the cruz enlutada affixed onto the governor’s doors. Although issuing the interdict to the corsair, the friar considered the governor’s responsability in welcoming and even requesting the privateer’s help to supposedly fight foreign illegal trade.

  • 37 Ernesto Restrepo Tirado, Historia de la provincia de Santa Marta, p. 315-316.
  • 38 AGI, CONTRATACION,5475,N.1,R.44, 28 June 1726, ‘Expediente de información y licencia de pasajero a (...)
  • 39 Restrepo, Ibid., p. 359.
  • 40 Ibid., p. 360.
  • 41 Ibid., p. 362.
  • 42 Arturo E. Bermúdez Bermúdez, Materiales para la Historia de Santa Marta (Recopilación Histórica), S (...)

29Moreover, the bishop was always a domineering character and his attempts at overpowering governors were notorious. Already with Don Andía’s two predecessors the prelate had had protracted wars, motivated as much by their alleged ‘illicit commerce with foreigners’ as by their refusal to deviate from secular orders regarding religious matters.37 Yet things had started rather well with Don Josef de Andía y Rivero. After thirty-four years spent in the Regimiento de Lombardia, the ‘Capitán de Granaderos del primer batallón’ had set foot in Santa Marta as the governor on 9 December 1726, almost six months into being nominated to his new post.38 Seeking to ingratiate himself in his good books, the prelate had issued orders as soon as the captain had begun his journey toward Santa Marta so the clergy would give acciones de gracias a Nuestro Señor and toll the bells while keeping the city alight every night for nine days as a sign of rejoicing.39 The prelate’s enthusiasm was however shortlived. Upon arrival, the new governor ordered an enquiry into Don Antonio’s contravening the Real Patronato’s orders.40 From then on, relations deteriorated into acrimonious and incessant wars between the two men. Already in the years predating the corsair’s case, the governor’s sword had crossed more than once with the bishop’s staff. The latter had not only become virulent in his attacks against the former in his capacity as governor. He also launched vicious personal accusations of moral misconduct against him, referring to the public scandal of his alleged idyll with Doña Ana Teresa -one of the two daughters of Don Mozo de la Torre, an earlier governor- and her ensuing miscarriages and abortions.41 For his part, Governor Andía, rendered furious from being excomunicated at several points in time and from the constant attacks he suffered from the relentless bishop had gallows erected in front of the Seminario which served as the prelate’s abode, to punish whoever would visit the bishop.42

  • 43 Restrepo Tirado, Historia de la provincia, p. 380.
  • 44 Kathy Waldron, ‘The Sinners and the Bishop in Colonial Venezuela: The Visita of Bishop Mariano Mart (...)

30Thus beyond the two types of authority at work, the issue dividing the two men might well be one of morality and ideals. It has to be added that in many accounts, the bishop is qualified by ‘su despredimiento de los bienes temporales y su ardiente caridad’.43 He was also renowned for his utmost seriousness in fulfilling his religious and moral duty of pastoral care, to the point of persecuting those, high and low who strayed. Similar cases of overzealous bishops occurred elsewhere, as in colonial Venezuela.44 Importantly, they, too, observed and wrote on the usurious practices of merchants, and, as crucially, on the cruelty of hacendados toward their slaves.

III. The bishop and the slaves: Status, ideals, and pragmatics

  • 45 The governor Don Joseph Andía, tira 6, folio 1.

31This leads us to the third sense of negotiating, i.e. that of ‘coping with’ and ‘succeeding in managing’, here with reference to the runaways’ status of freedom as opposed to slavery. We need to ask why, if they were indeed free men, they sought the bishop’s protection instead of addressing their petition to the governor as the holder of temporal authority. After all, both the Crown and the Church had enacted dispositions towards protection of Indians and slaves. A first, immediate answer is that the governor had a vested interest in the corsair’s economic dealings and effectively declared the four men ‘legitimately slaves’.45 A second, less obvious answer is that, ecclesiastical powers were more often expected to comply with the protective dispositions. Whether the runaways were cognisant of this is however unknown.

  • 46 Orden a Pérez de Tolosa para que guarde las leyes de India etc, AGI, CARACAS, 1,L.1,F.108-R-111R (1 (...)

32Nevertheless, the role of the bishop in the preservation and protection of the runaways and their possible free status needs further attention. At play in the prelate’s actions is a convergence of several factors, some institutional, others individual and contingent. That Crown and Church worked together to ensure Indigenous and black slaves’ fair treatment and protection of their lives is evidenced in legal proceedings running through the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Thus a Real provisión ordered Juan Pérez de Tolosa, judge in residence in Venezuela and Cabo de la Vela (north of Santa Marta province) to examine the failure by the then bishop of Santa Marta to have the law preserving ‘los naturales, indios y negros que trabajan en las pesquerías de perlas’ complied with in totality.46

33This tradition of legitimate ecclesiastical intervention into secular matters may explain the bishop’s fight against the harsh treatments meted out to Indians and black slaves by their encomenderos and owners respectively. For, the privateer’s case was far from an isolated one, as the prelate knew. A month after taking up his functions at the bishopry of Santa Marta on 9 March 1716, he had gone on a visita pastoral of his diocesis, seeking to alleviate the fate of the indigenous people working in the encomiendas and subjected to excessive workloads. On this occasion, he forbade slaveowners from inflicting ‘inhuman chastisement’ upon their slaves under penalty of excommunication and various fines.

  • 47 Dussel, p. 199. Also Luis García Benitez, Reseña histórica de los Obispos que han regentado la Dióc (...)

34Accounting for Don Antonio’s role as a virulent defender of the subjugated was also his personal and institutional background. Hailing from Talavera, Spain, he belonged to the Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy. The congregation was founded in 1218 in the city of Barcelona to provide for the redemption of Christian captives from the Moors. It later spread to the rest of medieval Europe during its state of ongoing war with the expanding Moslem world, and to other parts of the world, especially Latin America. ‘Fray’ Antonio, then, probably had a particular sensitivity toward issues of captivity. To the service of his Order’s values, he put his renowned difficult personality and quarrelsome nature.47

  • 48 Navarrete Peláez, ‘De las “malas entradas”’; Miranda Vázquez, La gobernación, p. 51; Vila Vilar, As (...)
  • 49 Miranda Vázquez, La gobernación, p. 47-52.
  • 50 Ibid., p. 50-1.
  • 51 Leslie B. Rout, The African experience in Spanish America, Cambridge, University Press, 1976, p. 95

35The bishop had already acted as slaves’ protector in the past. The corsair’s case furnished him with the opportunity of a ‘crusade’ against the organisation of slavery as a form of trade and excessive subjugation. His accusations also concerned the illegal introduction of slaves, common in the area.48 Smuggling (‘contrabando ilicito’) was ‘one of the problems that occurred in Santa Marta with respect to blacks’ throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and still a major issue in the early eighteenth century although it was difficult to number owing to the high levels of contraband. In 1631, the then treasurer of the province, Juan de Orozco, wrote that at least three fourths of the blacks introduced into the province through Santa Marta went unregistered. He further complained that ‘there existed about 300,000 blacks that had not been evaluated (sin tasar)’49. Frequent across the Indias, ‘[the] commerce [of smuggling of slaves] in large measure filtered through Santa Marta and from there spread to other places’.50 A hundred years later, the Spanish colony of New Granada held one of the largest populations of slaves in mainland Spanish America.51

  • 52 Incidentally, the corsair and one of his brothers, Don Pedro, were later involved in a case of smug (...)

36Thus the importance of the trade and presence of slaves in Santa Marta at the time of the affair was a significant matter for the bishop. Eighteenth century humanist thought and Enlightenment ideas had likely begun spreading within this branch of the clergy. Even if prelates also had slaves (whether this one did is unknown), they would be more favourably disposed to the idea of their good treatment and possible freedom. Humanist ideals may have combined with economic logics, illuminating the bishop’s relentlessness in punishing the corsair and the corrupt representatives of the Spanish Crown.52 His concern for and defence of the subjugated prompted him to act against the privateer’s treatment into slavery of potentially free people. In this the runaways were right to address their pleas to Don Antonio rather than the governor. Yet a question remains: if they were declared ‘slaves’, why did the runaways not escape altogether? For, slavery and subjugation also went with their counterpart, resistance and freedom. If New Granada was a main site for slaves, so was it of significant rebellion and desertion.

Runaways, resistance and strategies toward freedom

  • 53 ‘[E]l tráfico de esclavos tenía aquí uno de sus principales centros de distribución.’ Miranda Vázqu (...)

37Although this question cannot fully be answered it is important to raise, if only for historiographical reasons. Santa Marta has received comparatively little attention in English-speaking historical scholarship, whether in the area of ‘Caribbean’, or ‘slavery studies’. By contrast, historians have focused on Cartagena de Indias, the official trading port under the Corona. Yet, taking corso and illegal commerce into consideration offers a highly contrasted picture of Santa Marta’s role in the slave trade and the practice of slavery in New Granada. The first city founded by the Spaniards was at several points in time a ‘main centre for the distribution of slaves’.53 This has immediate bearing on the case under discussion. Indeed, the whole affair being triggered by four runaways claiming free status on the one hand confirms the importance of slavery as a constitutive motif in the local society of early 18th c. Santa Marta. On the other hand, it also calls for exploring the realities of runaways and the modalities of slave negotiation.

  • 54 Anthony MacFarlane, ‘Cimarrones and Palenques: Runaways and Resistance in Colonial Colombia’, in Ga (...)

38Already by the late sixteenth century, runaway slaves were a serious problem for Spanish society on the Caribbean coast, threatening the stability of slave society by establishing palenques. By the end of the seventeenth century and throughout the eighteenth century several well-established Maroon communities existed in the backlands of the provinces of Cartagena and Santa Marta. These communities were based on agriculture, with a well-defined political and military leadership, sometimes aligned according to African ethnic or tribal origins.54 This begs the question of why the fugitives in the corsair’s case should have sought the bishop’s protection instead of escaping pure and simple. Sadly no account of the facts through their own voices is available. In order to understand the runaways’ actions we need to turn to the strategies deployed by slaves at the time. The literature available for that period illuminates the amount of leeway and negotiation available to runaways and slaves in this Spanish colony, compared with those of the wider Caribbean.

  • 55 Arturo E. Bermúdez Bermúdez, Materiales, p. 321-322.
  • 56 Anthony MacFarlane, ‘Cimarrones and Palenques’, p. 136.

39Importantly, negotiation of and by slaves of their status was a significant and fairly common practice in the wider northwest coastal area already by the end of the 17th c. Runaways in eighteenth century Colombia all expressed a degree of resistance to their condition of enslavement. Yet the ways in which they did so deserve special attention. Increasingly, slaves began taking advantage of paternalistic legislation protecting them from maltreatment. Slaves actively negotiated their status with the authorities through the interstices allowed by the conflictive relations between the Spanish Crown and the Real Audiencia de Santa Fé. The two institutions particularly differed in their opinions about the treatment to be meted out to cimarrones (fugitives), that is, whether to castigate them or to pardon them when they asked for pardon. Thus in 1688 runaways belonging to a Domingo Criollo had fled from the province of Santa Marta to that of Cartagena owing to the persecution of the then governor of Santa Marta and to harassment from the Chimila Indians. Later persuaded by the Tenerife priest Miguel Del Toro they wanted to return. They asked to be allowed to do so under condition of being pardoned and given tierras de poblamiento. On 24 February 1688 the Real Audiencia granted their request. The governor eventually agreed to grant them some land close to the pueblo de Ciénaga, but finally the Real Audiencia opposed it.55 Arguably, the debates and discussions prompted by their case both contributed toward asserting the fugitives’ autonomy in the negotiation of their status and opened up a greater space for all parties to negotiate. This partly explains how flight progressively became a less chosen avenue, especially given the vagaries associated with it.56

  • 57 Ibid., p. 137-8.
  • 58 Ibid., p. 145-7.
  • 59 The rebellion that took place in 1768 on the ranchería belonging to the Count of Pestagua showed th (...)
  • 60 David L. Chandler, ‘Slave over Master in Colonial Colombia and Ecuador’, The Americas, 1982, vol. 3 (...)
  • 61 Alberto Abello Vives (ed.), Un Caribe sin Plantación. Memorias de la cátedra del Caribe colombiano, (...)

40Indeed, ‘without secure employment, the fugitive was forced into poverty and insecurity, constantly fearing exposure’. Colour implied slavery, and wandering blacks and mulattoes were treated with suspicion, especially in villages and small towns.57 By running away, a slave exposed him/herself to a life of suspicion, hardship and indigence. Individual escapes were the least preferred modality as it made it difficult to subsist on one’s own. Hence the appeal of fleeing together to establish communities, or join runaway communities already formed, away from the threatening context of white-dominated society. Importantly, flight was not necessarily motivated by bad treatment, but also the prospect of becoming independent peasants and prospectors in the market economy.58 How different from these slave runaways would the black men escaping from the corsair’s boat be, coming from several vessels seized by the corsair, as the bishop claimed? That flight towards freedom may in fact have appeared less of a desirable option59 might account for these men deciding to fight legally rather than accept their enslaved fate or run away as fugitives. Interestingly, they appealed to the church’s auspices both verbally and in writing (‘by dint of writings and exclamations’). Whether they applied to the protector of the slaves or approached the ecclesiastical authorities to write down their declarations, or even whether they knew how to write and prepared a document themselves, is not known. Nevertheless, their petition was convincing enough for the bishop to attempt to establish their status and may be interpreted as a thought out strategy to (re)gain freedom. This is congruent with the fact that colonial legislation in New Granada provided many avenues for slaves to ‘use the “system”–the paternalistic and rather lenient law and general milieu in which it existed and was enforced’.60 This possibility characterized New Granada, perhaps because of the absence of significantly large plantations and the predominance of an hacienda system, as compared with other contexts from the wider Caribbean.61

Conclusion: Making slavery visible in Santa Marta and beyond

41Focusing on the specific history of this (in)famous corsair and the black fugitives that ran away from his boat has illuminated the little known historiography of early eighteenth century Santa Marta. Three points deserve attention. First, real as well as perceived limitations of marginal frontier areas such as Santa Marta tended to exaggerate and exacerbate the personal differences of various imperial actors, especially the clergy, bureaucrats and free speculators of all kinds. Secondly, the debatable jurisdictions of state and church consequently overlapped in the colonies. Thirdly, and most importantly, the condition of slavery and freedom on such a frontier area was ambiguous.

  • 62  Antonio Sánchez Valverde, Idea del valor de la isla Española y utilidades que de ella puede sacar (...)

42Beyond the local specifics of slavery, this case study also highlights how aspects of the slave trade and practice of slavery in Santa Marta were part of a wider Caribbean economic network, licit and illicit, wherein the category and reality of corso provided a major modality of livelihood for both corsarios and the port towns where they brought their catches. Thus, corso was the most legitimate side of an economy otherwise based on smuggling and contraband, giving rise to a way of life along the coast of Nueva Granada and beyond. In eighteenth century Santo Domingo, too, corso brought considerable relief to the otherwise miserable state of la Isla Española. There, too, a substantial amount of the ‘goods’ derived from the slave trade : ‘more than anything else, blacks were the most useful and appreciable’.62 Hence, this case illuminates the crucial–economic and ideological– part slavery and the slave trade played in the city today remembered as the first one founded by the Spaniards in Tierra Firme, as well as re-instates Santa Marta as a meaningful historiographical site on the historical map of Caribbean studies.

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Notes

1 Santa Marta - Expediente sobre el fomento que se ha hecho, Año 1730, Archivo General de Indias, Seville (hereafter AGI), Legajo Santa Fe, 1743, tira 3, folios 5-8.

2 Ibid., folios recto 8-reverso 11.

3 Curaçao at the time was one of the main ports of entry into the Caribbean for West African slaves. The slave trade in the eighteenth century was still dominated by the Dutch and the Portuguese.

4 Véronique Benei, ‘Olvido y memoria en Santa Marta, Colombia: El punto ciego de la esclavitud’, Revista Clio América (Universidad del Magdalena), 2011, Vol. 5(9), p. 112-35. Also Dolcey Romero Jaramillo, Esclavitud en la provincia de Santa Marta, 1791-1851, Santa Marta, Instituto de Cultura y Turismo del Magdalena, 1997; Jorge Elias Caro, ‘Aspectos socioeconómicos de la esclavitud en Santa Marta durante el siglo XIX’, in Elias Caro, J. (dir.), Santa Marta; Tony de la Cruz Restrepo, ‘La Santa Marta invisible de la Colonia: Anotaciones sobre la presencia de la población negra en Santa Marta’, in Revista Galería, Santa Marta: U del Magdalena, 2011.

5 Arturo Bermúdez Bermúdez, Piratas en Santa Marta, Bogotá, Tipografía Hispana Ltda, 1978; Ernesto Restrepo Tirado, Historia de la provincia de Santa Marta, Bogotá, Ministerio de Educación nacional, 1953; Trinidad Miranda Vázquez, La gobernación de Santa Marta (1570-1670), Seville, Escuela de Estudios Hispanoamericanos, 1976, p. 57-8 states part of the problems of the local population owed to external difficulties caused by ‘corsarios’.

6 Kris E. Lane, Pillaging the Empire. Piracy in the Americas, 1500 – 1750, Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe, Inc., 1994; Kenneth Andrews, The Spanish Caribbean: Trade and Plunder, 1530 – 1630, New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1978.

7 Restrepo Tirado, Historia de la provincia. Unlike Cartagena, Santa Marta was never the object of extensive fortifications and for centuries represented a perfect target for pirates of all nations.

8 Expediente sobre el fomento, tira 3.

9 Alvaro Ospino, Santa Marta vista por los viajeros, Santa Marta, Bastianos Editores, 2005, pp. 165-9.

10 Santa Marta 15 de Noviembre de 1729, El gobernador Don Joseph Andía informa con autos, AGI, Legajo Santa Fé 1743, tira 6, folio 3.

11 Ibid., folio 2.

12 Even the governors reporting on corruption were–in their own words- forced to resort to illegal commerce to pay for their own salaries.

13 Alfonso Múnera, ‘Ilegalidad y frontera’, in Adolfo Meisel Roca (dir.), Historia económica y social del Caribe colombiano, Bogotá, Ediciones Uninorte-Ecoe Ediciones, 1994, p. 136.

14 Grahn (1985), Laurent (2003), MacFarlane (2002), Navarrete Peláez (2007), de la Pedraja (1977), Ripoli (2006) and Vila Vilar (2001).

15 Two marks were officially required when marking slaves: the coronilla real, and the monogram of the asentistas. Lutgardo García Fuentes,El tráfico de negros hacia América’, in José Andrés Gallego (dir.), Tres grandes cuestiones de la historia de Iberoamérica, Madrid: Fundación Ignacio Larramendi & Fundación Mapfre Tavera, 2005, p. 12.

16 Documento Santa Marta año de 1730 copia de costa, Fecha 1730, AGI, Legajo Santa Fe, 1743, tira 1, folios 2-5.

17 Navarrete Peláez, ‘De las “malas entradas”’; Miranda Vázquez, La gobernación de Santa Marta, p. 51; Vila Vilar, Aspectos sociales, p. 175: between 1609 and 1640 only one in four slaves entering Santa Marta was registered.

18 Edward P. Thompson, The making of the English working class, Hardmondsworth, Penguin Books, 1963; James C. Scott, The Moral Economy of the Peasant: Rebellion and Subsistence in Southeast Asia, New Haven, Yale University Press, 1979, Weapons of the Weak: Everyday Forms of Peasant Resistance, New Haven, Yale University Press, 1985; Didier Fassin, ‘Les économies morales revisitées’, Annales HSS 2009, vol. 6, p. 1237-66.

19 Documento Santa Marta, tira 1, folios 2-5.

20 Emilio Rodríguez Demorizi, Familias Hispanoamericanas, Vol. 1, Trujillo, Dominican Rep., Montalvo, 1959, p. 61; Ruth Torres Agudo, ‘Los Campuzano-Polanco, una familia de la élite de la ciudad de Santo Domingo’, Nuevo Mundo Mundos Nuevos [online], Coloquios, Online 05.01.2007, consulted 11.02.2013. URL : http://nuevomundo.revues.org/3240 ; DOI : 10.4000/nuevomundo.3240.

21 Torres Agudo, ‘Los Campuzano-Polanco’; Victoria Stapells Johnson, Corsarios de Santo Domingo 1718-1779: Un estudio socio-económico, Lleida, Spain, Espai-Temps, 1992.

22 Stapells Johnson, Corsarios, p. 43.

23 Documento Santa Marta 20 de Octubre, tira 5, p. 2. Also Torres Agudo, ‘Los Campuzano-Polanco’, p. 23.

24 Stapells Johnson, Corsarios, p. 42-3.

25 Documento Santa Marta, tira 1, folios 2-5.

26 Stapells Johnson, Corsarios, p. 42-51.

27 Enriqueta Vila Vilar y Remedios Tasset Carmona, ‘La muerte como motor económico de la iglesia barroca’, in Congreso VIII de Asociación de Historiadores Latinoamericanistas de Europa (dirs.), Iglesia, religion y sociedad en la historia latinoamericana, 1492-1945, T. 2, Szeged, Hungary: Universidad Jozsef Attila, Centro de Estudios Históricos de América Latina, 1989, p. 77-92.

28 Expediente sobre el fomento, tira 3, p. 7.

29 Tira 1, folio reverso 2.

30 Navarrete Peláez, ‘De las “malas entradas”’, p. 168.

31 Documento Santa Marta, tira 1, folios 2-5.

32 Alfonso Múnera, ‘El Caribe colombiano en la república andina: Identidad y autonomía política en el siglo XIX’, Boletín Cultural y Bibliográfico, Bogotá, 1996, vol. 33 nb 41, p. 29-49.

33 Ibid. Dussel et al. Historia general de la iglesia en América Latina, vol. 7: Colombia y Venezuela, Salamanca, Ediciones Sígueme, 1981, p. 199.

34 Eduardo Restrepo, Ibid., p. 316.

35 Miranda Vázquez, La gobernación, p. 116.

36 Mena García, ‘Santa Marta durante la guerra’, p. 572.

37 Ernesto Restrepo Tirado, Historia de la provincia de Santa Marta, p. 315-316.

38 AGI, CONTRATACION,5475,N.1,R.44, 28 June 1726, ‘Expediente de información y licencia de pasajero a indias de José de Andia, capitán de granaderos, gobernador de Santa Marta, a Santa Marta’; AGI, JOSE DE ANDIA, CONTRATACION,5485,N.1,R.13, 9 March 1742, ‘Título de Gobernador de la Plaza y Presidio de Valdivia en el Reyno de Chile al Theniente Coronel Don Joseph de Andía’.

39 Restrepo, Ibid., p. 359.

40 Ibid., p. 360.

41 Ibid., p. 362.

42 Arturo E. Bermúdez Bermúdez, Materiales para la Historia de Santa Marta (Recopilación Histórica), Santafé de Bogotá, Fondo Mixto de Promoción de la Cultura y las Artes del Magdalena, 1997, p. 50.

43 Restrepo Tirado, Historia de la provincia, p. 380.

44 Kathy Waldron, ‘The Sinners and the Bishop in Colonial Venezuela: The Visita of Bishop Mariano Marti, 1771 – 1784’, in Asunción Lavrin (dir.), Sexuality and Marriage, p. 156.

45 The governor Don Joseph Andía, tira 6, folio 1.

46 Orden a Pérez de Tolosa para que guarde las leyes de India etc, AGI, CARACAS, 1,L.1,F.108-R-111R (1535-1604).

47 Dussel, p. 199. Also Luis García Benitez, Reseña histórica de los Obispos que han regentado la Diócesis de Santa Marta-Primera parte (1534-1891), Vol. 86, Bogota, Biblioteca de Historia Nacional, n.d.

48 Navarrete Peláez, ‘De las “malas entradas”’; Miranda Vázquez, La gobernación, p. 51; Vila Vilar, Aspectos sociales, p. 175.

49 Miranda Vázquez, La gobernación, p. 47-52.

50 Ibid., p. 50-1.

51 Leslie B. Rout, The African experience in Spanish America, Cambridge, University Press, 1976, p. 95.

52 Incidentally, the corsair and one of his brothers, Don Pedro, were later involved in a case of smuggling Negros from Coro (Venezuela) to Santo Domingo. It is possible that similar cases occurred before, feeding into the ‘unfavourable reports’ the prelate had on the corsair. AGI, Escribania 16B pieza 7, 1743, folios 11-142.

53 ‘[E]l tráfico de esclavos tenía aquí uno de sus principales centros de distribución.’ Miranda Vázquez: La gobernación de Santa Marta, p. 47. Also Veronique Benei, ‘Reflexiones sobre la importancia de la esclavitud en Santa Marta, de los siglos XVI a XIX’, in Jorge E. Elias Caro and Joaquin Viloria, Santa Marta: Desde los tiempos precolombinos hasta hoy. Santa Marta, Banco de la Republica de Colombia and Universidad del Magdalena, 2014, forthcoming.

54 Anthony MacFarlane, ‘Cimarrones and Palenques: Runaways and Resistance in Colonial Colombia’, in Gad Heumann (dir.), Out of the House of Bondage: Runaways, Resistance and Marronage in Africa and the New World, London, Frank Cass and Co Ltd, 1986, p. 131.

55 Arturo E. Bermúdez Bermúdez, Materiales, p. 321-322.

56 Anthony MacFarlane, ‘Cimarrones and Palenques’, p. 136.

57 Ibid., p. 137-8.

58 Ibid., p. 145-7.

59 The rebellion that took place in 1768 on the ranchería belonging to the Count of Pestagua showed that liberty was not a paramount aim for all slaves, but rather a last resort. Steinar A. Saether, ‘Identities and Independence in the Provinces of Santa Marta and Riohacha (Colombia), ca. 1750-ca. 1850’, PhD thesis, Warwick University, Department of History, 2001, p. 144.

60 David L. Chandler, ‘Slave over Master in Colonial Colombia and Ecuador’, The Americas, 1982, vol. 38(3) (Jan.), p. 315-26.

61 Alberto Abello Vives (ed.), Un Caribe sin Plantación. Memorias de la cátedra del Caribe colombiano, San Andrés, Universidad Nacional de Colombia- Observatorio del Caribe Colombiano, 2006.

62  Antonio Sánchez Valverde, Idea del valor de la isla Española y utilidades que de ella puede sacar su monarquía, Santo Domingo, Corripio, 1988, p. 215-6; cited in Torres Agudo, ‘Los Campuzano-Polanco’.

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Véronique Benei, « The corsair, the bishop, the governor and the runaways:
Negotiating slavery in early eighteenth century Santa Marta, New Granada
 », Nuevo Mundo Mundos Nuevos [En ligne], Débats, mis en ligne le 28 mars 2014, consulté le 18 novembre 2018. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/nuevomundo/66547 ; DOI : 10.4000/nuevomundo.66547

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Véronique Benei

(LAIOS/IIAC-CNRS/EHESS)
Research Director, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris
veronique.benei@ehess.fr
vbenei@msh-paris.fr

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