Conabo's Capture

caonaboThus far, the regions where gold had been found, fell under the Maguana kingdom, governed by the respected Caonabo, who, apparently, was of Caribe origins. From the first altercations in the Vega Real, Caonabo organized a kind of confederation of caciques that achieved a resistance against the Christians, representing the largest obstacle in the incipient conquest.

Alonzo de Ojeda came up with an ingenious plan to get rid of Caonabo; he went to visit him making him believe that his lords had sent him a present of Vizcayan brass, "they called our brass and the other metals we brought from Castilla turey, because they were so precious as from the sky or celestial, since they called the sky turey."9 Ojeda flattered Caonabo until convincing him to retire with him to a river close to the village, where Caonabo could bathe and ride a horse like the Castilian Monarchs. Caonabo was very proud with his present from Vizcaya and shows it off. Ojeda separates him even more from the others that came with him, and helps the king onto a horse, he fits him with irons and handcuffs with pleasure and happiness... turns around, the nine Christians with him head back towards the Isabela, as if enjoying an outing, and slowly recede further and further from the Indians that look from far away because of their fear for horses."10

Caonabo was made prisoner with his "gift" and taken to the Isabela where the Admiral incarcerates him, receiving as well a great treasure in Indian artifacts, many of which where inlaid with gold.