Another auction of enslaved Africans seized by Santo Domingo’s colonial authorities (1575)
[On the left margin: auction of the slaves] r [In] the very noble and loyal city of Santo Domingo of the port of this Española island on the sixteenth day of the month of December, in the year fifteen seventy five, the very illustrious gentleman licenciado Françisco de Vera president of this Real Audiencia and gentlemen contador Rruy Fernandes de Fuenmayor and factor Juan Cavallero de la Puebla while at the door of the Casas Reales began to sell the Blacks seized from Françisco Revolo, which were sold before Santiago de Valmaçeda, notary of His Majesty, and hawked by Pedro Basques, town crier. And the gentleman treasurer was not at the auction because he was in prison at the Royal Jail. The [Blacks] were sold on credit of a year and a half [payable] at every third [of the term], by the end of every six months, the third part of the said [slaves], presenting depositary to the satisfaction of the gentlemen officers within the third day and, if no depositary is given, the payment is to be understood as complied with, and the two thirds of it should be paid in fine gold and the other third in good currency. They were sold in the following way and manner
r Sold at the auction was a Black girl nearly dead, very skinny, of Angola land, branded on the right arm with this fR mark, [sold] to Juan Lebron de Qui
During the sixteenth century, when a non-Spanish ship was spotted by the colonial authorities without a Spanish trading license off the coasts of La Española, its presence was considered illegal, and its cargo would be seized and sometimes auctioned.
The practice of confiscation and auctioning probably had an added local incentive in a colony and a century where the social elite seemed always hungry for more slaves. This was the case of the cargo of dozens of enslaved Africans brought into the port of Santo Domingo by Francisco Revolo in 1575. The auction was held in front of the Casas Reales and it was led by the President of the Audiencia and other officials. The slaves were sold on credit with eighteen months for buyers to complete payments, made in installments every six months. Two thirds of the price was to be paid in fine gold and the other third in currency. The slaves seem to have been taken away immediately by their respective buyers.