Spanish ocupation in old providence island

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Spanish Occupation of the Island of Old Providence, or Santa Catalina, 1641-1670 Author(s): Donald Rowland Source: The Hispanic American Historical Review, Vol. 15, No. 3 (Aug., 1935), pp. 298-312 Published by: Duke University Press Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2506336 Accessed: 18/09/2009 23:18
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SPANISH OCCUPATION OF THE ISLAND OF OLD PROVIDENCE, OR SANTA CATALINA, 1641-16701 Students of colonial Hispanic American history are well aware that in a number of cases Spain occupied certain areas in order to keep them from falling into the hands of another nation. Its colonization of Santa Catalina Island in the seventeenth century was an incident typical of this policy of defensiveexpansion. The international contest for control in the Caribbean was at its height in this period. As Spain had weakened, its enemies had begun to encroach upon its commercial and territorial monopoly. Freebooters and smugglers made inroads on its trade. Settlers established themselves upon many of the smaller islands which Spain had neglected in the rush toward the greater riches of continentalAmerica. Lack of resources prevented Spain from maintaining a continuous and effective policy of defense2 but it was still capable of energetic action in an emergency. Such an occasion arose in connection with an island of the western Caribbean known at the time as Santa Catalina. Here an English colony was established in December, 1629. One of the commercial associations common to the period, the "Company of Adventurers to the Island of Providence", was back of the project.3 The settlement was at first founded both
'The manuscript materials upon which this study is mainly based were obtained in the Archivo General de Indias in Seville while the writer held a Research Fellowship of the Native Sons of the Golden West. In view of the fact that most of the citations listed are to Spanishdocuments, the Spanish name for the island in question, Santa. Catalina, has been used rather than the English title of Old Providence. 2 Cf. R. D. Hussey, "Spanish Reaction to Foreign Aggression in the Caribbean about 1680 ", in THE HISPANIC AMERICAN HISTORICAL REvEw (August, 1929), IX. 286-303. 3 The story of the Providence Co-Inpany has been ably recounted by Arthur P. Newton in his ColonizingActivities of the English, Puritans (New Haven, 1914),

SPANISH

OCCUPATION

OF THE

ISLAND

OF OLD PROVIDENCE

299

from a desire to utilize the natural resources of the island and to afford an asylum for Puritans who wished to escape from, religious and political difficulties in England. Later, interest developed in illicit trade with Spanish colonials and with natives. Eventually,...
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