Boudewijn Hendrikszoon ( 15.. - 1626)
In Spanish colonial documents he is sometimes referred to as Boudoyno
Enrico or Baudobino Enriquo. He left the Netherlands in February 1625
as the commander in charge of a fleet of 14 vessels and 2 yachts . It set sail for Bahia that had recently been taken by Piet Heyn .
After a terrible journey they arrived in the Caribbean in the Autumn of
1625 to find that the Portuguese had already recaptured Bahia again in
April 1625 It had been occupied by the Dutch only a few months after
Piet Heyn had left for Africa.
Hendrikszoon judged it unlikely that he could retake it again and set sail again with his fleet
on 1 August after having joined up with several other vessels. On 14
August he sent the yacht Duyfken home to report on his progress. His
fleet arrived at the island Bequia (island south of St. Vincent) on 29
August. After taking in refreshments he set sail again on 10 September.
The course he set took him passed Dominica (12th) and he put in at the Virgin Island Gorda
on 19 September to refresh his crew and refit his remaining vessels.
During the voyage his fleet was split up by a storm. He arrived with 13
vessels at Gorda, but was joined by the 4 remaining: vessels Geele
Sonne, Goude Sonne, de Vlissinghen and a hired vessel.
Hendrikszoon resolved to attack and capture Puerto Rico
to make it a base of operations for the Dutch in the Caribbean. On
Wednesday, 25 September, he arrived at its harbour. Despite heavy
shooting by the cannon of the Castle San Felipe del Morro, that
overlooked the harbour and the city of San Juan, he managed to sail
into it and land his troops.
Most of the inhabitants of San Juan were able to leave the city in time
because the Dutch vessels had such difficulty navigating through the
harbour. After landing his troops he took the empty city of San Juan.
Afterwards he laid siege to the Castle Morro
and raided the coasts of the island. He did not succeed in taking the
Citadel that dominated the city, however. He spent over 1 month trying
to take the Citadel during which many of his men were killed. Malaria
and other diseases also ravaged the Dutch forces during their stay. In
the end he was forced to give up the siege and left on 2 November 1625.
After Hendrikszoon left the harbour of San Juan he sailed to the bay of
San Francisco (20 miles from San Juan on the coast of Porto Rico) where
he spent an entire month repairing his damaged vessels. During his stay
he sent some men to get supplies and water but they were prevented from
doing so by the inhabitants of San German. 2 vessels, Koninginne Hester
and Jonas, were loaded with prizes that were captured and sent home to
the Netherlands (they arrived there in May of 1626).
5 vessels were sent to Sant Domingo to attack and plunder it, but being
forwarned, the Spaniards managed to defend themselves very well. After
having failed they returned to the fleet again at the island Saona.
The fleet set out west along the coast of Santo Domingo but fierce
winds drove it back to the bay of San Francisco where it arrived on 2
January 1626. They did managed to capture two Spanish merchants though.
After transporting the cargo aboard their own vessels they set fire to
them. The crew were sent ashore on Santo Domingo.
While again repairs were made to the vessels two hundred men were sent
ashore to scout out the area for supplies etc. They could not find much
and returned to the fleet. On 16 January the fleet set sail for the
Leeward island Dominica where it arrived on 16 February. The fleet was
split up and sent to scout the area. Afterwards the fleet went on and
sailed past Guadeloupe, Martinique, Santa Lucia and Granada.
They sailed past de Cabo de Tres Puntas (North-East coast of Venezuela) and arrived near the Island Margarita on 22 February.
They decided to attack the castle from the Land-side (which was less
well defensible) and after a fierce battle it was taken. On 27 February
the fleet sailed away again to the island Cubagua. After exploring the
island the fleet went to a harbour near the city of Cumana
where they arrived at the beginning of April. The soldiers that were
sent on land were attacked by Spanish soldiers. Several were killed and
7 were taken prisoner. They went on to the Island Aves (near Bonaire)
where they resupplied their vessels with wood and meat (from captured
sheep) and set fire to some houses. The day before leaving the island
on 17 April 11 prisoners were set free on the island.
After capturing a rich Spanish merchant vessel,
laden with tobacco and wine, the fleet set out for Hispaniola and from
there went on to the West point of the island. On 29 April they were
joined there by two vessels that were commanded by Captain Lucifer and Geleyn Stapels.
The fleet set sail again on 3 May and was forced, by currents and the
wind, to sail along the Northern coast of Jamaica instead of along the
Southside. During the stay of the fleet at Jamaica they were joined by
vessels under the command of Captain Bankert. He had been sent earlier
on a reconnaissance mission to Hispaniola. While in the area he had
taken three prizes near the island Mona.
The fleet set sail on 15 May. It sailed past the Cayman Islands arrived
near the Isles de Pinas. Several small Spanish vessels were captured
and from a prisoner Hendrikszoon learned that both fleets from Honduras
New Spain had not yet arrived at Havana. He decided to wait around in
the hope of finding either fleet. On 13 June the fleet arrived at Porto
de Cabannas (West of Havana). They captured dozens of pigs near the
area and destroyed the pigfarm where they were kept. The fleet left the
harbour again on 17 June. During the slow voyage along the northern
coast of Cuba 4 more Spanish vessels were captured. Hendrikszoon was
waiting for the Spanish treasure fleet to attempt to capture it. When
the fleet arrived at Havana the found the harbour guarded by 7 Spanish
vessels. Apparantly the people thought Hendrikszoon intended to attack
the harbour but this was not the case. His men refused to attack
because they were low on provisions and wanted to return home.
On 26 June Boudewijn Hendrikszoon became ill and came down wih a fever. After less than a week he died on 2 July.
The fleet sailed along for a while but the crew on board the vessels
increasingly began to insist on returning to Holland. Finally the
commanders of the fleet gave in and on 12 June the fleet set sail for
home. In August of 1626 the fleet arrived there. In the end the spoils
were insufficient to recoup the West India Company for their losses and
for the fitting out of his fleet.
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For this text I drew heavily on:
- Laet, Joannes de
- Historie ofte jaerlijck verhael van de verrichtinghen der Geoctroyeerde
West-Indische Compagnie, zedert haer begin tot het eynde van 't jaer
sesthien-hondert ses-en-dertich / begrepen in derthien boecken ende met
verscheyden koperen platen verciert ; beschreven door Joannes de Laet. - Tot
Leyden : by Bonaventuer ende Abraham Elsevier, 1644
- Newton, A.P.
- European nations in the West Indies, 1493-1688 / A.P. Newton
. - London, 1933. - Reprinted in 1966
- Wright, I.A.
- Nederlandse Zeevaarders op de eilanden in de Cara´bische zee en aan
de kust van Columbia en Venezuela gedurende de jaren 1621-1648(9): documenten
hoofdzakelijk uit het Archivo General de Indias te Sevilla / Bijeengebracht en
uitgegeven door Irene A. Wright ; met vertalingen der documenten door C.F.A. van
Dam. = Utrecht : Kemink en Zoon N.V., 1934-35. - (Werken uitgegeven door het
Historisch Genootschap. Derde Serie)
. - No. 63: Dl 1: 1621-1641. - No. 64: Dl 2: 1635-1648(9)