during the summer of invenezuela, the rebel lope de aguirre wrote several letters addressed to his political enemies on both sides of the atlantic. the most important of these documents was the letter sent to philip ii, king of spain. in this letter, aguirre incorporated legal terminology while simultaneously adopting a burlesque and prophetic tone to effectively address the spanish possession of america. contrary to the predominant image of aguirre as an irrational being in the documents and the historiography of that period, this paper shows the rhetorical logic of aguirre′s famous letter. therefore, the letter is best understood as an attempt to justify a political position.