THE STORY OF CAMAQUIRI
Camaquiri (or Camaquire) was an indigenous king of Costa Rica, possibly of Huetar extraction, who lived in 1544 in the Suerre river basin, on the Caribbean side. Together with another indigenous king of the region, named Cocorí, he met with Diego Gutiérrez y Toledo, governor of the Province of Nueva Cartago and Costa Rica, who kindly received them and to whom they presented gold objects with a relatively low value of seven hundred ducats.
Subsequently, the governor was installed in an indigenous town to which he gave the name San Francisco. Upon arriving there on October 4, 1544, he asked both kings to come and see him. They went reluctantly, and the greedy governor, possibly inspired by the precedent of Atahualpa and Francisco Pizarro in Peru, arrested both kings, put a chain around Camaquiri’s neck and demanded a ransom from him for his freedom. The king gave him more than two thousand low quality gold ducats worked in the form of pigs, tigers, fish, birds and other species of animals. Gutiérrez y Toledo, dissatisfied, lit a large bonfire, met with Camaquiri alone and threatened him fiercely, telling him that if in four days he did not fill a basket of voluminous proportions with gold six times over, he would burn him at the stake. Camaquiri promised to do it, but the next night he escaped, taking advantage of the carelessness of those who guarded him. There is no further news of this monarch, the governor died a few weeks later at the hands of the natives.