HomeOpinionLa Dragontea and Catatumbo

La Dragontea and Catatumbo

La Dragontea, a ten-song epic poem composed by Lope de Vega (1598), narrates the clash between the English led by the famous privateer Francis Drake and the Spanish from the area currently occupied by Colombia and Panama. The poet and playwright of the Spanish Golden Age ventures into the epic genre about a historical event that he knows from the sources and testimonies of others, in which he turns a feat of colonial resistance against the plundering of an enemy nation into a feat of national exaltation. and religious.
The central plot of La Dragontea revolves around Francis Drake's last expedition to the Indies, the English defeat and the death of the mythical privateer. The English headed towards Panama with the aim of establishing a permanent colony and thereby threatening the Spanish possessions in America. Desperate due to the lack of provisions, they landed in every Spanish town they saw, but the news of their presence had already spread throughout the Caribbean. They had left Plymouth on August 28, 1595.

On their journey to the isthmus, they passed near Lake Maracaibo. It has been repeated, as a result of a pilgrim exegesis, that the epic of the Phoenix of the Ingenuities alludes to a frustrated incursion by the buccaneer into the lake thanks to the fact that the fleet was revealed by the rabid luminosity of the atavistic rays of Catatumbo, specifically, the octaves 44 and 46 of Canto IV. Octave 44 says: that “a frigate saw the English fire, / and that afterwards it was among the fleet: / following it, they did not give it any peace, nor did it stop by hastening its flight, / it came from Maracaybo, and over the cape of “La Vela left the English brave.” At the end of 46 he notes: “cursing the flames that reveal / what the wings of the night cover.”
In reality, it refers to the miscalculation of the filibusters when they passed through Puerto Rico on November 22, 1595 and set fire to three Spanish ships. Only the Magdalena continued burning with immense flames that illuminated the entire space for several hundred meters around, leaving the clumsy English barges exposed. The adventure that began months ago culminated in the death of his two bosses, Francis Drake and John Hawkins, one from dysentery and the other from a firearm.

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