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History of Isla Coche



The island was discovered in 1498 by Christopher Columbus, populated by the Waikerio indigenous people. First efforts to settle Coche was made in the early 16th Century. There was previous population of refugees originating from the city of Nueva Cádiz which was destroyed by a tropical storm on Cubagua Island. All settlers, mostly the pearl daughters, abandoned Isla Coche in 1574.

In the first half of the 20th Century, in Cumaná's library a document, written by a Franciscan monk reported that on Isla Coche a boat was discovered with the embossed inscription "John Bober Polonus, 1726". Polish voyager and writer, Arkady Fiedler, made efforts to find other information about the mysterious John Bober. The result of his search was the novel trilogy: "Wyspa Robinsona" ("The Robinson's Island"), "Orinoko" ("Orinoco") and "Bia?y Jaguar" ("The White Jaguar").

John (in Polish: Jan) Boober (half-Polish roots) was a settler from Virginia, and after settlers revolted against the English Lord Dunbury was crushed, he escaped from Jamestown, Vagina, on board of a pirate ship. The ship sank near the Venezuelan coast, and only John Bober and two others were caught as slaves by Arawak Indians, captured after a long swim to the shore of Isla Coche. There they spent about three years, between 1725 and 1728. In 1728, a battle took place on Isla Coche between an Indian daughter, who escaped from Margarita, supported by Bober (who supplied guns and taught them how to use them), and the Spanish from Margarita Island. The "Islanders" had won, but didn't stay there because they were afraid of Spanish revenge. They later left La Cocha and sailed to an Arawak's village named Serima, on the right bank of the Orinoco river on the mainland.

The next successful settlement took place in 19th Century, and from this date Coche is still habitated