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28 Pages

INTRODUCTION

THE Caribbean Sea, the Spanish Main and the Gulf of :\Iexico were the scene of an important part of the struggle for world-supremacy in which Spain and England engaged through the I 6th century. In his Principal Navigations Richard Hakluyt has preserved to posterity the English version of that portion of the conflict. To assemble corresponding documents for her account of the matter Spain had no Hakluyt, but in the government offices of Seville and l\Iadrid the bureaucratic spirit of the time accumulated and conserved exhaustive records concerning every event. The multitudinous papers so collected have become the archives of Spain. Those referring to the Americas and to the islands of the Pacific have been segregated to form the General Archives of the Indies, at Seville. From the wealth of materials for history there available the documents herewith presented have been drawn. They set forth the Spanish version of the struggle in the Indies in its first two phases, which were reconnaissance and trade.