Letters from Don Pedro de Zuniga, the Spanish Ambassador to England, to the King of Spain, 1607

Letters from Don Pedro de Zuniga, the Spanish Ambassador to England, to the King of Spain, 1607

September 22:

  • There was a ship going from Plymouth to Virginia that has returned & is planning to go back with more farmers & merchants wishing to set up shop
  • It’s a good site for privateers to attack our ships.
  • I’ve asked for an audience with the English king but was unable to go in my allotted time slot
    • I will try to set up another appointment to ask him about the Virginia colony. We are worried their presence will damage trade

October 5:

  • The King came to Hampton Court & I asked for an audience. I was told I could meet with him at some point but he was busy one day & sick another
  • So, I haven’t had a chance to say anything about Virginia but I’ve heard a ship has left with 120 men there.
  • Rumor has it that the King is afraid we’ll ask them to stop the voyage
  • They haven’t taken women yet which backs up the idea that these men are privateers

October 8:

  • I spoke with the Chamberlain who said I’d get an audience yesterday afternoon
    • I did get to meet with the king & he sends his condolences about your daughter’s death
    • I told him I came to offer continued friendship & hope that he’d understand that colonizing Virginia endangers the safety of Spanish Colonies in the Indies
      • He seemed to be well-informed about the Virginia voyages. But he said it was pretty far from our colonies. He said the treaties with us & France say that English colonists & sailors are forbidden from going near non-English settlements. He continued that Virginia’s soil is reported to be sterile & the colony might not amount to much
    • When I said English ships have been seen near our lands, he disavowed them & if they were there, they were doing so against his orders

October 18:

  • I sent a reminder to Hampton Court what the king had told me, that if English sailors go into forbidden territories they would be punished
  • But he doesn’t want to shut down the Virginia colony because he says it’s not close enough to our lands & there’s no proof they are privateers
    • There is political movement in England to grow the Virginia colony. There are plans to send 5-6 more ships from Plymouth to Virginia
  • However, we should keep in mind, the English are nervous about Catholic forces in Ireland. Just something to keep in mind if things go wrong in the new world

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