The valiant captain Juan Beltrán, a mulatto, son of a black man and an Indian woman
, is worthy of eternal memory for his great deeds among the Indians...
. He was very deferential toward the Spaniards, and very obedient and loyal to them.
With the Indians he was fearless; they stood in awe of him and respected him, to such a degree that the mere mention of his name was often enough to intimidate the Indians and put their forces to flight.
on several occasions,seeing themselves hard put to it, gave out that CaptainJuan Beltrán was coming to them, and thus they gained the victory; such authority did he have with them, and such respect and fear did they show him.
Accordingly for his sterling character and his bravery, Governor MartínGarcía de Loyola, in His Majesty’s name, presented him with 500 Indians and
gave him the title of Infantry Captain. He was a valiant governor and captainfor them. With his 500 Indians he built his fort two leagues from Villarica, and they were very obedient to him.
He made himself respected and feared in allthe neighboring provinces, into which he made long malocas or raids, bringing back great prizes. So long as he lived, Villarica was well defended and could rely on his aid and protection, until they finally killed him.
His loss wasthe end of the Spaniards, and they perished at the hands of the Indians. Merely to write his victories and heroic deeds against the Indians in His Majesty’s service and in defense of the Spaniards, would require an entire volume.
Despite the mythologizing tone of this account, this kind of warrior reputation was broadly associated with black conquistadors to an extent that suggests a consistent Spanish witnessing of African military prowess in the194 BLACK CONQUISTADORS