Commentary No. 064
Date: 1527, June 28. Valladolid, Spain.
Theme: In a letter to María de Toledo, vicerein of La Española, the Spanish King (Charles V) mentions a previous information received from the vicerein about an uprising of blacks and natives in La Española.
Source: PARES, Portal de Archivos Españoles—Archivo General de Indias, INDIFERENTE,421,L.12, F.135R-135V-2-Imagen Núm: 2 / 2
By June 28, 1527, the King of Spain had been informed by vicerein María de Toledo of an “uprising of the blacks” (“levanctamiento de los negros”) in La Española, probably a rebellion of enslaved blacks rather than a general rebellion of black people, that must have been serious enough as to merit a mention by Toledo in a prior correspondence. Toledo apparently had also suggested measures to “remedy” the situation, while arguing that “because there is no authority that primarily deals with it, nothing is done nor provided there [in La Española] as it would be convenient.”
In response to the concern the King announced in his letter that he had just appointed Licenciado Ramirez, bishop of Santo Domingo and La Vega, as president of the Audiencia and that the latter would be departing from Spain to La Española soon to deal with the issue.
We do not know yet the exact time when this rebellion of black slaves took place, but considering the lapse of communication between the colony and the metropolis, it could have been sometime in the winter of 1526-1527 or earlier. As we will see, the King referred again to this event in another letter to María de Toledo sent in the following month of July.