Nuevo Méjico after the Españoles
the de Córdoba Expedition to the Don
Juan Pérez de Oñate y Salazar Juan de Oñate Expedition
thanks again to all the sources available on the Internet
area of Nuevo Méjico
or New Mexico in today’s United States of America became the
historical homeland of my progenitors, the de
Riberas, from 1598 C.E. onward. The
family members were subjects of the Imperio
Español or Spanish Empire. The
assumption here is that the reader understands the implications of that
was to become el Imperio
Español. This is to say
that she was under a single supreme authority the Catholic Monarchs the
joint title used in history for Queen Ysabel
and King Fernando
II de Aragón.
They were both from the
House of Trastámara a dynasty of
kings in the Iberian Peninsula which first governed in Castilla beginning in 1369 C.E., before
expanding its rule into Aragón,
Navarra and Naples. It
would continue to grow into an extensive group of states or countries. Just
as the “Roman Empire” had begun small and became large, so did el
Imperio Español. It
would encompass kingdoms, realms, domains, and territories by whatever
means necessary including war. This
would include acquisitions of other European states in the
Mundo or Old World and the
exploration, annexation, and conquest of entities in the New World or Nuevo Mundo.
During his first voyage in 1492 C.E., Cristóbal Colón or Christopher
Columbus reached the Nuevo
Mundo landing on the island in the Bahamas archipelago that Columbus named "San
Salvador," instead of arriving in Japan as he had intended. Over
the course of Columbus’ last three voyages he visited the Greater and Lesser Antilles or Antillas, as well as
the Caribbean coast of Venezuela
and Central America. He
claimed it all for the Crown of Castilla.
Later other Españoles would explore areas of the Nuevo
being charged with various crimes while under his governorship of the Nuevo
Mundo, Columbus and his brothers were arrested and imprisoned upon their
return to Spain from the third voyage.
They lingered in jail for six weeks before busy King Ferdinand
ordered their release. Not
long after, the king and queen summoned Columbus
and his brothers to the Alhambra
palace in Granada.
There the royal couple heard the brothers' pleas; restored their
freedom and wealth; and, after much persuasion, agreed to fund Columbus' fourth voyage. However,
the door to Columbus' role as
governor was firmly closed and in the end he didn’t receive what was
agreed upon. This would
become a pattern for great men doing great deeds for the Crown.
Their great deeds were only remembered for a short time.
These men would fall from grace, losing all they had worked and
suffered for. Their
positions and power would soon be given to the favorites of the Crown.
The Francisco Hernández de Córdoba Expedition
1517 C.E., conquistador Francisco Hernández
de Córdoba had led an expedition of three ships and a small army of
approximately 110 soldiers. He
had petitioned the Gobernador
Cuba, Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar
(1465 C.E. in Cuéllar, España-ca. June 12, 1524 C.E.
in Santiago de Cuba),
to lead an expedition to look for new lands and slaves.
This first documented Spanish exploration of the mainland west of
by three Cuban pobladores, de Córdoba
was one of the three. It
also included two other leaders of the expedition López
Cayzedo, and Cristóbal Morantes.
sailed west in three ships (naos or caravels) on February
8, 1517 C.E. with Capitán
and the pilot Antón
Alaminos (Palos de la Frontera, 1482 C.E.-1520
Departing from Santiago de
Cuba, they passed Cabo San
Antonio at the westernmost tip of Cuba
12 days later. They would
soon cross the 66 leagues (about 200 miles) of the Yucatán
Channel in nine days. By March 4, 1517 C.E., after surviving a fierce a two day storm, they
sighted the coast of the Yucatán
and Mayan stone buildings. The
Córdoba Expedition had
discovered a large, well-built city, the first true city the Españoles had
yet encountered in the Americas.
soon made landfall probably at Isla
Mujeres near Cabo Catoche.
Díaz del Castillo and Pedro
Mártir de Anglería or Martyr
describe idols of goddesses named Aixchel
and Ixhunié ("ix" being Yucatec
for "woman"). Fray
Diego de Landa Calderón
(November 12, 1524 C.E.-April
29, 1579 C.E.)
reports they saw a "building of stone, such as to astonish them;
and they found certain objects of gold which they took." With
them was also the sailor, Blas
excited by the great potential of this discovery, Los Españoles
messengers to the local Maya.
Fatefully, the Spaniards understood the Mayas'
sign language as greetings and invitations to enter the city and landed
on the shore expecting hospitality.
Unfortunately for them, the shipwrecked Spanish sailor Gonzalo
Guerrero awaited the party.
C.E., a ship containing several hundred Spaniards sailing north from
an early colony started by Columbus
at Panama on its way to Santo
Domingo foundered off the northern coast of the Yucatán
Peninsula at Cabo Catoche
or Cape Catoche. Most
of the Spaniards who made it to shore were captured by the local Maya
and later sacrificed. 15 men
managed to escape in a lifeboat. The
spared only a handful to remain as slaves, all but
two men, Gonzalo Guerrero and Gerónimo
de Aguilar who had washed ashore managed to survive being
sacrificed or worked to death in slavery by the Mayans. Gonzalo Guerrero became as slave, but earned his freedom after
proving himself in battle. He
learned Mayan and married a Mayan princess, Zazil
Há and had three children. He
tattooed his face and pierced his ears in the fashion of the Mayans.
He became a Mayan chief (Cacique) mayor of the Mayan town of Chetumal. While Aguilar
remained rigidly loyal to his king and religion, Guerrero
had a profound change of heart. He
offered his services as a warrior and tactician to the local cacique.
living among the Maya, he had
turned against the Españoles and
convinced the Natives to attack them on
sight. The Maya
ambushed the Españoles,
who had to fight their way back to their ships, but by then the conquistadores
had seen enough gold in the town and on their adversaries to excite
then explored the waters off the Yucatán
and landed near the town of Champotón,
losing many Españoles
killed in battle. The party
returned to Cuba, where de Córdoba died of his wounds.
The Expedition proved that there were vast lands to the west,
populated by natives, and possibly held much treasure.
It was the early explorations in the Caribbean like that
of de Córdoba that would establish important precedents for exploration,
conquest, settlement, and crown rule by the Monarchs.
The mechanisms of governance which had been instituted would have
lasting effects upon subsequent regions. However
at that time, the Caribbean islands and areas around the Caribbean
region were not of major importance to España
politically, strategically, or financially until the conquest and
annexation of the Azteca
Empire in 1521 C.E. The many
different and varied indigenous societies of Mesoamerica which would
eventually be brought under control of España such as Méjico and Peru would be of
unprecedented complexity and wealth.
These newly controlled indigenous cultures represented
important opportunities and potential threats to the power of the Crown
of Castilla. The
complexity of arrangements with the conquerors and the wealth which was
being obtained allowed them to act independently of the effective
control of the Crown. These
societies could provide Hernán
Cortés and the other conquistadors
with bases from which they could become autonomous and independent of
the Crown. In relation to
this issue, by 1524 C.E., the
Holy Roman Emperor and el Rey
de España, Carlos V or
King of Spain, Charles V, created the Council of the Indies. This
institution of the Crown would oversee its interests in the Nuevo
Mundo. The creation of the Council
would become an extremely important advisory body to the monarch just as
the councils appointed by the monarch with particular jurisdictions in
central Iberia had.
1565 C.E. and 1587 C.E., the 16th-Century
C.E., many Spanish cities were established in North and Central
would attempt to establish missions in what is now the southern United
States including Georgia and South Carolina. Settlement
efforts were successful in the region of present-day Florida. There the city
of San Agustín
or Saint Augustine was founded in 1565
C.E. It is the oldest
European city in the United States.
his arrival, Don António de Mendoza y Pacheco (1495 C.E.-July 21, 1552 C.E.)
was the first Viceroy or Virrey
of Nuevo España
or New Spain, serving from April
17, 1535 C.E. to November 25,
1550 C.E. He was also
Virrey of Peru, from September
23, 1551 C.E. to July 21,
1552 C.E. Don
Mendoza was born at Alcalá
la Real (Jaén, España), the son of the Second Conde de
Tendilla, Íñigo López de
Mendoza y Quiñones and Francisca
Pacheco. He was married
to María Ana de Trujillo de Mendoza.
Don Mendoza took
to the duties entrusted to him by the King seriously and vigorously
encouraged exploration of España's
new mainland territories. It
was he that commissioned the expeditions of Francisco
Vásquez de Coronado from 1540C.E.-1542 C.E., into the present day American Southwest. Mendoza
also commissioned Juan Rodríguez
Cabrillo’s exploration up the Pacific Ocean in 1542 C.E.-1543 C.E. Cabrillo
sailed far up the coast, becoming the first European to see present day California, United States. The
Virrey also sent Ruy López de Villalobos to the Spanish East Indies in 1542
C.E.-1543 C.E. As these new
territories became controlled, they were brought under the purview of
the Virrey of Nuevo España.
Vásquez de Coronado’s
Expedition to Nuevo Méjico
would change the lives of my family, the de
España’s Nuevo Méjico
would be visited
many times before permanent settlement. The
first was an accident of fate. The
next visits were spurred by greed.
1526 C.E. Pánfilo
December 25, 1526 C.E.,
Carlos V or Charles V, Holy
Roman Emperor, also known as Carlos
I of España granted Pánfilo de Narváez a license to claim land for España on the North American Continent on what is now the Gulf
Coast of the United States.
It is believed that de
Narváez was born in Castilla
(in either Cuéllar or Valladolid)
España in 1470 C.E. He
was a relative of the first Spanish Gobernador
of Cuba, Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar.
António Velázquez de Narváez was his nephew.
Bartolomé de las Casas,
16th-Century C.E. Spanish
historian, social reformer, and Dominican Fray described him as "a man of authoritative personality, tall
of body, and somewhat blonde inclined to redness."
Expedition’s intent was to establish colonial settlements and
garrisons in La Florida. The
contract provided for a one year timeframe to raise an army, exit España,
found and colonize at least two towns of one hundred people each, and
garrison two additional forts along the coast.
juncture, what should strike the reader is the fact that this was the Early-16th-Century C.E., there were no telephones, computers,
Internet, trucks, trains, and aircraft with which to conduct the
business at-hand, for which the proposed expedition only had one yare to
prepare and execute. I’m
sure that the Non-Spanish historians and commentators have dealt with
this trifling issue. Oh,
On June 17, 1527 C.E., the Expedition was ready and departed España
from the port of Sanlúcar de
Barrameda at the mouth of the Guadalquivir
River. Among the force were
approximately 450 troops, officers, and slaves. Another
150 members of the Expedition were sailors, wives (Spanish laws stated
that married men could not travel without their wives to the Indies),
and servants. The crew
included members from España,
Portugal, Greece, and Italy.
Fortunately for the Expedition, de Narváez had earlier taken part in the Spanish conquest of
Jamaica in 1509 C.E. By 1511
C.E., he had also been in Cuba
participating in its conquest under the command of Diego
Velázquez de Cuéllar. De
Narváez also led expeditions into the eastern end of the island
with Bartolomé de las Casas
and Juan de Grijalva.
He had the experience necessary.
De las Casas’
extensive writings, the most famous being a
short account of the destruction of the Indies and Historia de
Las Indias, chronicled the first decades of colonization of the West
Indies and focused particularly on the alleged atrocities committed by
the pobladores against the indigenous peoples. De
las Casas, an eye witness, reported that Narváez
had presided over the infamous massacre of Caona.
While at the village, the
Spanish troops put to death all natives who had come to greet them with
offerings of food.
or de Grijalba was born around
1489 C.E. in Cuéllar, Crown of Castilla on
January 21, 1527 C.E. in Nicaragua.
He was a Spanish conquistador, and relation of Diego
Velázquez. He went to Hispaniola
in 1508 C.E. and later to Cuba
in 1511 C.E.
one of the earliest explores of the shores of Méjico. According to Pedro
Mártir, there were 300 people with him. The
main pilot was Antón de Alaminos.
The other pilots were Juan Álvarez (also known as el
Manquillo), Pedro Camacho de
Triana, and de Grijalva. Other members
included Francisco de Montejo y
(c. 1479 C.E. in Salamanca-c. 1553 C.E. in
Pedro de Alvarado y
Contreras (Badajoz, Extremadura, España,
ca. 1485 C.E.-Guadalajara, Nuevo España, July
4, 1541 C.E.),
Juan Díaz (1480 C.E.-1549 C.E.),
born in Sevilla,
and was a 16th-Century C.E. conquistador and the chaplain of the 1518 C.E. Grijalva
Expedition, the Itinerario (itinerary route) of which he wrote.
He was one of the first Españoles
explored the named Isla de
Sacrificios near Veracruz
in Méjico, where the expedition found evidence of human sacrifice, Francisco
Peñalosa born in Talavera de la Reina in
the province of Toledo. He
spent most of his career in Sevilla,
serving as the Musician/Composer or maestro di capilla, though he
also spent time in Burgos, and
three years in Rome at the papal chapel (1518
C.E.-1521 C.E.) and died in Sevilla,
Alonso de Ávila (Ciudad Real 1486 C.E.-Nueva Galicia 1542
Alonso Hernández, Julianillo,
Melchorejo, and António
embarked in the port of Matanzas,
Cuba, with four ships in April
Mártir de Anglería
was an Italian-born historian of España and
its discoveries during the Age of Exploration. Mártir
was born on February 2, 1457 C.E.
and died in October 1526 C.E.
He was formerly known in English as Peter Martyr of Anglería. De
Anglería wrote the first accounts of explorations in Central and
South America in a series of letters and reports, grouped in the
original Latin publications of 1511
C.E. to 1530 C.E. His Decades
are of great value in the history of geography and discovery. His
De Orbe Novo (1530
C.E.) written about the Nuevo
Mundo, describes the first contacts of Europeans and Indigenous,
Native-American civilizations in the Caribbean and North America, as
well as Mesoamerica. It
includes the first European reference to India rubber.
was born at Lake Maggiore in Arona
in Piedmont and later named for the nearby city of Angera.
He studied under Juan Borromeo, the count of Arona.
At the age of twenty, he
went to Rome and was introduced to a world of powerful men, the
hierarchy of the Catholic Church. After
meeting the Spanish ambassador in Rome, Mártir
accompanied him to Zaragoza
España in August of 1487
C.E. By 1488 C.E., he was lecturing at Salamanca
on the invitation of the University. Later,
Mártir would become chaplain
to the court of Ferdinand and Isabella.
C.E., Mártir's main task
was the education of young nobles of the Spanish court. By
1501 C.E., he was sent to
Egypt on a diplomatic mission. While
there, he dissuaded the Sultan from taking vengeance on the Christians
in Egypt and Palestine for the defeat of the Moors in Spain. Mártir would later describe his voyage through Egypt in the
“Legatio Babylonica,” which he published in the 1511
C.E. edition of his Decades. He
was awarded the title of maestro
de los caballeros (master of knights) for the success of the
C.E. Mártir was given the
post of cronista or
chronicler, in the newly formed Council of the Indies. That
commission by Carlos V, Holy
Roman Emperor, was to describe what was occurring in the explorations of La Nueva Mundo. By
1523 C.E., Carlos had made Mártir
Count Palatine. In 1524 C.E., he was once again called to serve the Council of the
Indies. Mártir was invested by Pope Clement VII, having been proposed by Carlos
V, as Abbot of Jamaica. Mártir
was never visit the island, but as abbot he directed construction of
its first stone church. He
died in Granada in 1526 C.E.
sailed along the coast of Méjico
and discovered the island Cozumel
or the Island of the Swallows, after rounding the Guaniguanico
in Cuba. It is located
in the Caribbean Sea off the eastern coast of Méjico's Yucatán Peninsula.
would arrive on May 1st, at the Tabasco
region in southern Méjico.
He would be the first Spanish explorer to encounter Moctezuma
II's delegation. One of
those natives would join the Grijalva
party, being baptized as Francisco,
and became an interpreter on Cortes'
Díaz del Castillo would later write about the travels of Juan
de Grijalva. Grijalva
died in Nicaragua on January
21, 1527 C.E.
The men’s names in
paragraph above, in and of themselves say little. These
were interesting, multi-faceted, men with great strengths and complex
pasts and why we took these cardboard figures and fleshed them out. It
is hoped that by adding this additional information on men like De las Casas, Mártir,
and Grijalva the reader can
gain a greater understanding of these Spaniards and their capabilities. España was a great
empire with very learned subjects. They
were not just conquerors. Unfortunately,
British, Anglo-American, Northern European, and other non-Spanish
historians and commentators paint with a broad brush and miss the
details necessary to give a fair assessment of these Spanish explorers,
who they insist on portraying as only one dimensional “Conquistadores”
1519 C.E., the Gobernador of Cuba, Diego
Velázquez de Cuéllar, authorized Hernán Cortés to lead an expedition into Méjico. Later, he would
determine that Cortés'
loyalty was to himself. He
then attempted to recall the expedition shortly after its embarking. Cortés
disobeyed and proceeded with the expedition which would eventually
result in the defeat of the Azteca
(Aztec) Empire. After Narváez
arrived in Méjico from Cuba,
he was named Gobernador of Méjico by Velázquez
who had sent him along with 1400 men on 19 ships to arrest Cortés.
disembarked at Veracruz (Veracruz de Ignacio de la Llave).
had left behind Capitán Gonzalo de Sandoval
with a small garrison before setting out for the Azteca
capital of Tenōchtitlan. They
had arrived together in La Nueva
España earlier, in 1519 C.E.
He managed to capture some of Narváez's
troops and sent them forward to Tenōchtitlan
alerting Cortés of the coming danger. Narváez
had been unable to defeat the garrison and left for Totonac,
a town in Cempoala (Zempoala), where he established a camp.
soon arrived that Narváez was
and a contingent of his troops (As few as 250 men) returned to the
coast. On May
27, 1520 C.E., Cortés’
small army, under the cover of a driving rain, moved against Narváez's encampment at Cempoala or Zempoala. He rapidly gained control of
the artillery positions and the horses before entering the city.
Narváez with a
contingent of musketeers and crossbowmen took a position at the main
temple of the city of Cempoala
awaiting an attack.
was de Sandoval, the youngest
of the Tenientes of Cortés, who seized the messengers of Pánfilo de Narváez after demanding their surrender. He
then sent them as prisoners to Cortés.
He would later arrive at Totonac with reinforcements. Cortés
then managed to set fire to the main temple, driving out Narváez and his soldiers. In
the ensuing battle, it was de
Sandoval who captured Narváez.
was badly wounded and lost an eye during that battle.
Afterwards, he was taken prisoner and spent two years at the
garrison at Veracruz before
being sent back to España. Once
defeated, Narváez’ men were promised gold by Cortés if they would join his army and return to
They agreed and later
participated in the conquest of the Azteca
Empire. Unfortunately, a
deadly outbreak of smallpox spread from Narváez's
party to the native population of La
Nueva España and killed many.
the subjugation of Moctezuma II (c.
1466-June 29, 1520 C.E.) or also Moteuczoma,
(Moctezuma the Young),
who was the ninth tlatoani or ruler of
placed de Sandoval in command at Villa
Rica de Veracruz as alguacil mayor or Chief Constable.
aforementioned notes have been provided to ensure the reader has a
greater understanding of these Españoles.
Too often, non-Spanish
historians and commentators offer cardboard cut-out caricatures of these brave
and gallant men. They were
not just conquistadores
they were in fact flesh and blood human beings. In
short, they had lives before the conquest of Méjico.
At about a
week's journey or 850 miles into the Atlantic, the fleet’s first stop
was made at the Islas Canarias.
There the expedition took on
needed supplies such items as water, wine, firewood, meats, and fruit. The
fleet proceeded to continue its journey and make stops at La Española
or Hispaniola and Cuba.
arrived in Santo Domingo, La
Española in August of 1527
C.E. The expedition was
there to purchase horses, as well as two small ships for exploring the
coastline. During their
stay, members of the expeditionary force began deserting. Approximately
100 men deserted in that first month at Santo
Domingo. Narváez was only
able to purchase one small ship. He
then set sail once again.
would sail four of his six ships to the Gulf of Guacanayabo a bay along the southern coast of Cuba, bordered by Granma
and Las Tunas provinces.
He had sent his other two
ships under the command of Cabeza
de Vaca and Capitán Pantoja to Trinidad or
Trinity to acquire additional supplies and seek additional crew members.
The ships arrived in Trinidad about October 30th.
Shortly after their arrival a hurricane hit. The
storm sank both ships. 60
men died, one fifth of the horses drowned, and the new supplies acquired
in Trinidad were destroyed.
need to regroup, Narváez sent
the four remaining ships under command of Cabeza
de Vaca to Cienfuegos. It
is the capital of Cienfuegos
Province, a city on the southern coast of Cuba.
After staying ashore at the Gulf of Guacanayabo nearly
four months, he had recruited men and purchased more ships.
Narváez sailed one of
his two new ships to Cienfuegos
and arrived on February 20, 1528
C.E., with a few more recruits. This
would bring the expedition’s strength to about 400 men and 80 horses. The
other ship he had sent on to La Habana or Havana. By
this time, the winter layover had caused a depletion of supplies. Narváez
was planning to restock once the fleet arrived in La Habana on its way to the La
Florida (flowery land) or Florida coast.
two days after leaving Cienfuegos,
every ship in the fleet ran aground in the region of Archipiélago
de los Canarreos
the Canarreos shoals just off
the coast of Cuba. They
remained there unable to free themselves for two to three weeks. It
was not until the second week of March, that a storm created large seas
allowing them to escape the shoals. Once
on their way, they battled more storms while rounding the western tip of
Cuba and attempting to make their way to La Habana. The
expedition neared La Habana
and was close enough to see the masts of ships in port. However,
the winds blew the entire fleet into the Gulf of Méjico and it was unable to reach La Habana.
By then, the
men had depleted the already meager supplies. Understanding
his predicament, Narváez
decided his only course of action was to press on with the journey to along
the northwestern Gulf coast just north of Cortés'
La Nueva España colony
and establish the Expedition’s required colonies. The
fleet spent the next month attempting to reach the Mexican coast. However,
they could not overcome the Gulf Stream's powerful current.
On 12th day of April, 1528 C.E., the expedition spotted land north of
what is now Tampa Bay, La
Florida. The decision
was made to turn south and look for what the pilot described as a great
harbor. They then traveled
for two days. One of the five remaining ships was lost during that two
After the fleet
spotted a shallow bay, Narváez
ordered entry. It was just
north of the entrance to Tampa
Bay that the fleet passed into Boca
Ciega Bay and spotted buildings set upon earthen mounds. These
they saw as encouraging signs of habitation, food, and water. The
natives have been identified as members of the Tocobaga
or Safety Harbor Culture. Los Españoles then dropped anchor and went ashore. It
was near the Río de las Palmas, at what is known as the Jungle Prada
Site in present day Saint Petersburg, where Narváez
landed his 300 men.
way to a nearby village, the Españoles
traded items such as glass beads, brass bells, and cloth for fresh fish
and venison. There was little wealth among the people, but they were
peaceful. That night the
villagers abandoned their homes and fled the strangers. Several members
of the expedition spent the next day exploring the empty village.
then ordered the remainder of the company to debark and establish a
camp. The following day, the
royal officials assembled ashore to perform a formal declaration of Narváez as royal Gobernador
of La Florida. He
read the Requerimiento or "requirement" a "demand"
which was a written declaration of sovereignty and war. Read
by Spanish military forces, it asserted their sovereignty, a
dominating control. It
stated to any natives listening that their land belonged to Carlos
V of España by order of
the Catholic Pope. It also
provided that the natives had the choice of converting to Christianity.
Later, Narváez and some other officers would discover Old Tampa
Bay after some exploration. Once
they returned to camp, Miruelo,
the pilot, was ordered to take a brigantine and search for the great
harbor he had talked about. If
he was unsuccessful, he was to return to Cuba.
was never to hear from him or any of the crew again.
thereafter, Narváez took
another party inland, where they found a village. There
los Españoles found a little
food and gold. The Natives
explained that there was far more of both in Apalachee to the north. Los
Españoles returned to their base camp and made plans to head north.
Narváez made his fateful decision on May 1,
1528 C.E., to split his forces into one of land and a second into
sea contingent. It was his
plan to have an army of 300 soldiers march to the north overland. It
was also his intent to have the ships, with the remaining 100 people,
sail up the coast and rendezvous with them. He
thought incorrectly that the mouth to Tampa
Bay was a short distance to the north. Unfortunately,
it was to the south.
1532 C.E. Álvar Núñez Cabeza
It was Álvar Núñez Cabeza
de Vaca who argued against the Narváez
This was no small matter.
While de Vaca was
attached to this expedition as the expedition’s treasurer, he was not
simply an administrator. He
was born around 1490 C.E.
into a Spanish hidalgo family,
in the town of Jerez de la
Frontera, Cadiz, España. De Vaca was appointed chamberlain for the house of a noble family in
his teen years. He later
participated in the conquest of the
Canarias where he was appointed a Gobernador.
C.E., he had enlisted in the Spanish army. He
served in Italy (with distinction), España,
and Navarra or Navarre. He
had received several medals’ of honor.
De Vaca also became a
political figure in España.
In 1527 C.E., Núñez joined
the La Florida Expedition of Pánfilo
de Narváez during which he served as treasurer and marshal.
However, records indicate that he also had a military role as one
of the chief officers on the Narváez
Expedition, noted as sheriff or marshal.
suggestion was voted down by the other officers. Narváez
then wanted de Vaca to lead the sea force. De
Vaca refused, as he felt it was a matter of honor, since Narváez had implied that he was a coward.
For two long,
hard weeks the men marched before finding a village north of the
Withlacoochee River. By that
time they were near starvation. The
men held the natives captive for three days and ate from the corn
fields. They then sent two
exploratory parties downstream on both sides of the river to attempt to
locate their ships. Narváez
ordered the party to continue northward to Apalachee when he saw no
signs of the ships.
would learn what became of the ships several years later. The
Pilot, Miruelo, had returned
to Old Tampa Bay and found
that all of the ships were gone. He
then sailed to La Habana to
pick up a fifth ship that had been supplied. Miruelo
then returned to Tampa Bay. The
small fleet of ships headed north for some time unable to find the party
on land. The commanders of the other ships decided to return to Tampa
Bay. After meeting, the
fleet again searched for the land party. The
search would go on for nearly a year before they departed for Méjico.
A member of that naval
force, Juan Ortiz, had been
captured and enslaved by the Tocobaga. He
lived at Uzita, the chief town
near the mouth of the Little Manatee River on the south side of Tampa Bay, La Florida for
nearly twelve years before being rescued by
Hernándo de Soto's Expedition. It
is in the area of Hillsborough County that is now Ruskin, Florida.
The territory of Uzita is reported to have extended from the Little Manatee River to Sarasota
were part of the Safety Harbor culture.
In 1528 C.E.,
as the party of Españoles
neared the Timucua
territory their scouts reported their coming. At
the time of European contact, the territory occupied by speakers of Timucuan
dialects occupied about 19,200 square miles (50,000 km) from Northeast
and North Central La Florida
through Southeast Georgia. This
was the home of 50,000 to 200,000 Timuacans.
It stretched from the Altamaha River and Cumberland Island in present-day Georgia as far
south as Lake George in Central Florida,
and from the Atlantic Ocean west to the Aucilla
River in the Florida
Panhandle. It continued
though to the Gulf of Méjico.
They were the largest
indigenous group in that area and consisted of about 35 chiefdoms, some
the head of thousands of tribal members.
On June 18, 1528 C.E., the Timucua
decided to meet the Españoles
as they came near. Using
hand signs and gestures, Narváez
was able to communicate with their chief, Dulchanchellin.
He explained that they were
headed to Apalachee territory. As
the Apalachee were his enemies, Dulchanchellin
was pleased by this plan. After
exchanged gifts, the expedition followed the Timucua
into their territory and crossed the Suwannee River.
The Españoles arrived at a Timucua
village on June 19, 1528 C.E.
The chief sent the
expedition provisions of maize as a gesture of friendship. That
same night, an arrow was shot at one of Narváez's
men near a watering hole. The
next morning, the Españoles
found that the Timucua had
deserted their village. Narváez's
expedition set out again for Apalachee. They
soon understood that they were being followed by hostile Indians. Narváez
quickly laid a trap for the pursuing hostiles and captured several. They
were soon used as guides. After
this, the expedition had no further contact with the Timucua.
territory was entered by the expedition on June
25, 1528 C.E. They soon
found a community of forty houses which they believed to be the capital.
But it was only a small
outlying village of a much larger tribal culture. The
Españoles took the community
and several hostages, including the village's cacique. After occupying the
village, the Españoles found
none of the gold or other riches Narváez
was expecting. But they did
find a great deal of maize.
warriors began attacking the Expedition soon after Narváez
took the village. Their
first attack was with a force of 200 warriors. These
used burning arrows to set fire to the houses the Europeans had
occupied. The experienced
warriors soon quickly dispersed, losing only one man. The
following day, a second force of 200 warriors attacked from the opposite
side of the village. The
force quickly dispersed after losing one warrior. The
Apalachee would change to rapid assaults after their two direct attacks.
As the Españoles
started moving deeper into their territory, the warriors continued to
harass them. During combat
the Apalachee were able to get off five or six arrows with their bows in
the time it took the Españoles
to load a crossbow or harquebus. The
warriors would then fade into the woods. For
the next several weeks, they harassed the Españoles
continuously in what later become known in warfare as guerrilla tactics
or guerilla in Spanish, which is an irregular soldier or a terrorist. Guerra
is skirmishing warfare in Spanish, Italian and Portuguese; the French
spell it guerre. Moving forward,
Narváez dispatched three
scouting missions in search of larger, wealthier towns. All
three returned with disappointing news. By
now, Narváez’s health was
failing. He was also
frustrated by his misfortune. He
next ordered his expedition to head southward. At
this point, Narváez had both
Apalachee and Timucua
captives. Both tribal
members told him that the Aute,
an Apalachee village, had a great deal of food, and the village was
located near to the sea. Unfortunately,
to get to the Aute, the Españoles had to cross a large swamp.
were not attacked for the first two days before reaching the village. However,
the stealthy Apalachee attacked them with showers of arrows during their
swamp crossing while they were up to their chests in water. The
crossing had left the Españoles
nearly helpless as they could use neither their horses, nor quickly
reload their heavy weapons. They
also found that their heavy armor weighed them down in water. Soon
after finally regaining solid ground, los
Españoles drove off the warriors. For
two more weeks, they continued their difficult trek through the swamp,
under intermittent attack by the Apalachee.
many of whom were starving, wounded and/or sick, finally arrived at Aute.
The village was by then
deserted and portions had been burnt. Fortunately,
they were able to harvest enough corn, beans, and squash from the
village gardens to feed their party. After
some days, Narváez dispatched
de Vaca to find an opening to the sea. Unfortunately,
he was unable to locate a path to the sea. However,
after half a day's march along the Wakulla
River and Saint Marks River de
Vaca located some shallow, salty water filled with oyster beds. After
two additional days of scouting, no better results were produced. The
disappointed men would return to Narváez
with the news that no path to the sea was located.
Many of the
horses were by then used carrying the sick and wounded. It
was at this point that the Españoles
realized they were struggling to survive. Narváez
made a desperate decision to return to the oyster beds for the food, as
members of his expedition had begun to consider cannibalism as a means
for survival. During the
march, some of the members of the party talked about stealing their
horses and abandoning the expedition. Narváez
was by then too ill to take action. It
was de Vaca who learned of the
plan and convinced them to stay.
I have provided the reader with the details of the
fighting, battles, and skirmishes against the Indigenous with the
purpose of dispelling the notion often set forth by non-Spanish
historians and commentators that the Españoles
only won militarily due to their superior armaments and protective
battle armor. It is clear
that neither was of value under these environmental conditions.
What should also be noted here is that it is Spanish
bravery and perseverance which allowed them to overcome being cut-off
from outside help, without food and supplies, and without proper
determinants of geography and environment. It
was all of these factors that decisively affected the nature or outcomes of
the success of the Spanish expedition, and over these they had no
control. I’m positive that
have been glossed over or treated as an aside by the non-Spanish
historians and commentators.
On August 4, 1528 C.E., after a few days stuck near the shallow waters,
a member of the expedition conceived a plan to reforge weapons and armor
to manufacture tools for the building of new boats to sail to Méjico. The party
soon began on the work. By September
20th, the exhausted men had finished building five boats. This
was a sign of Spanish ingenuity under the worst of circumstances.
The Españoles had traversed hostile environments, lacked of proper
information for exploration routes, and received misinformation about
the riches and food held at their ultimate destinations. In
addition, they were ravaged by disease and suffering from starvation. To
make matters worse, the Españoles
had been attacked by the very tribes they intended to conquer.
In the end, only 242 of the party had survived. On
September 22, 1528 C.E., about 50 men would be carried by each of
the thirty to forty feet long, shallow draft boats, with sail, and oars.
Unfortunately, for the
pummeled Spaniards, their problems had only just begun.
Later, the expedition would be further reduced to about 80
survivors by storms, thirst, and starvation. The
party would next be forced by a hurricane onto the western shore of a
barrier island. Some
historians believe they had landed on present-day Galveston, Texas or Tejas
(Then a part of Nuevo España of el Imperio
Español). For the next
four years, de Vaca and what
was left of his party would survive in the Indigenous world of South Tejas.
the end of those four years, in 1532
C.E., only four members of the original expedition had survived. They
were Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca,
Alonso del Castillo Maldonado,
Andrés Dorantes de Carranza,
and Estevanico, a Moorish
slave. The unlucky survivors
decided to leave and head west and then gradually south hoping to reach
an outpost of el
Imperio Español in Méjico.
They would become the first
men of European and Africa decent to enter into Southwestern areas of
North America (present day Southwestern United States and Northwest Méjico). Historians
have had difficulty determining their precise route. However,
it is supposed that they made their way across present-day Tejas and possibly Nuevo Méjico,
Arizona, Méjico's most northerly provinces, near the Pacific Coast before
changing their course and traveling inland.
By July 1536 C.E., while near Culiacán
in present-day Sinaloa, the
four survivors encountered a party of Españoles
then on a slavery expedition for La
Nueva España. De Vaca later wrote that his countrymen were "dumbfounded at
the sight of me, strangely dressed and in the company of Indians. They
just stood staring for a long time." The
Spanish slavery expedition gave aid and comfort to the survivors and
accompanied them to Méjico City. Estéban
or Estevanico would later serve as a guide for other
expeditions. De Vaca returned to España
and wrote a full account of the ordeal, describing at great length the
many indigenous peoples encountered. He
would later serve the colonial government in South America.
I decided to offer the
aforementioned to educate the Anglo Saxon, Northern European, and other
Non-Spanish historians and commentators who would forget the reality of
the situation or if mentioned, treat it as an aside. Let
me make the point one more time. Given
the period in history and the available technology there could be no
plans for assistance. These Españoles were alone, cut-off, and on their own. This
meant that they had to be brave, courageous, resolute, and above all
competent. I’m sure
that the non-Spanish historians and commentators would apply these last
characteristics to non-Spanish explorers only, to the exclusion of the
Españoles. After all,
these sole surviving four men out of an original three hundred, who
continued to persevere and survive this arduous journey surely
couldn’t, have had the kind of courage accorded only to non-Spaniards.
After all, for non-Spanish
writers of history, these men were only blood thirsty destroyers of the
civilization of the Noble Savage, and nothing else.
1539 C.E. The Fray Marcos de Niza
was born c. 1495 C.E.,
however, the birthplace of de Niza
is unknown. He was either
French or Italian, most likely the former. In
his youth he lived at Nice, Savoy (Present-day France) in the Duchy of
Savoy (French Savoie). It
is a cultural region in Rhône-Alpes, France, which comprises roughly
the territory of the Western Alps between Lake Geneva in the north and Dauphiné
in the south. The land of
Savoy emerged as the feudal territory of the House of Savoy during the 11th-Century C.E.-14th-Century
C.E. This historical
territory is shared by the modern countries of France, Italy, and
Switzerland. He died on March 25, 1558 C.E., in la
was a friar of the Catholic Franciscan Order. After
becoming a Franciscan, Fray Marcos
had immigrated to the Nuevo Mundo
(Americas) in 1531 C.E.,
going to Santo Domingo as a
missionary and later and served in Peru,
Guatemala, and Méjico
city. While at Culiacán,
he was reported to have freed Indian slaves from regions to the
1539 C.E., he was ordered by
the Virrey of la Nueva Espania, António de
Mendoza, to lead an investigative expedition across the desert to
the cities of Cibola or Cevola
(1539). Why? Because
reports made by Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca and three companions had raised hopes
of fabulous riches to the north. Mendoza
was already preparing a larger, military expedition to be headed by Francisco
Vásquez de Coronado.
1539 C.E., Fray Marcos de Niza was to
be dispatched with Estéban the Moroccan-Berber companion of Cabeza
de Vaca in his ill fated wanderings to explore in advance. Once
prepared, Fray Marcos
left Culiacán, a city in
northwestern Méjico, in March 1539 C.E.
He had been authorized by the Spanish government to conduct a
preliminary exploration of the country north of Sonora
to determine the truth of these reports. Estéban acted
as the expedition's guide. Fray Marcos,
Estéban, and the expedition set out with great hopes of discovering the fabled Quivira
and its streets of gold. He
would then cross south-eastern Arizona
near present-day Lochiel. His
party penetrated Zuni lands searching for the Seven Cities of Copala, Cevola, or Cibola.
When the Expedition approached the
Zuni pueblo of Hawikuh in western Nuevo Méjico
to what is today southern Arizona, Estéban and several companions went ahead scouting the country.
A system of signals was devised so they could report to the Fray
about what they had found. If
it was of little important, they were to send back a Christian cross the
size of a man's palm. If
important, the signal would be one of larger crosses. One
can only image Fray Marcos'
surprise. The messengers
returned bearing a cross the size of a man. They
also reported that Estéban had learned of a place called Cibola
and that he had been told this Cibola
was but one of seven magnificent cities. Fray Marcos would rush
forward, anxious to glimpse the marvelous sight which had prompted the
report. However, shortly
thereafter the Fray met
several of Estéban's companions who would report that their colorful guide had
Fray Marcos learned of Estéban’s
death, he continued pressing on. The
party was under escort by friendly Mexican Indians.
It is reported that Fray Marcos saw Hawikuh
from a neighboring hillside. It
is suggested that he saw the sun shining on the dwellings which made
them appear like gold and silver. It
was this sighting that must have given him such a distorted impression
of the Hawikuh site. Fray Marcos believed he
had seen one of the "Seven Cities."
Legend had originally located them on an Atlantic island. However,
by that time in history, they were now thought to be westward.
Fray Marcos' report offers
that he was determination to see the city of Cibola
for himself. The news of Estéban’s death had not deterred him. Marcos
continued on until he came within sight of a settlement which he
describes as being larger than the city of Méjico. What he saw
was only Cibola, but from a
distance. He also commented
that his Indian guides had told him this Cibola
was the least of the seven great cities. Unfortunately
for him, the Fray offered mere
hearsay in his report, Descubrimiento de las siete ciudades.
But by September
1539 C.E., he would
return to Culiacán. One
can only infer that the others in the party were driven by gold and what
it could buy them on their return to civilization. They
would all be very disappointed. Fray Marcos was made
provincial superior of his order for Méjico before the second trip to Zuni.
returning to Méjico,
Fray Marcos described the
place as larger than Méjico
City, with houses 10 stories high whose doors and fronts were made of
turquoise. With this report,
Mendoza needed no more convincing. The
Coronado expedition, with the Fray
as guide, would depart early in 1540
C.E. They reached Hawikuh on July 7th and
captured it. But the
soldiers were enraged on finding nothing but a poor Indian village. They
cursed the Fray so vehemently that Coronado,
not wishing to have the blood of a churchman on his hands, sent him back
City. The accompanying
message stated, "Fray Marcos
has not told the truth in a single thing that he said."
would become provincial of his order for Méjico
in 1541 C.E. The rest of
the friar's career proved uneventful. He
apparently became stricken with paralysis and lived first at
Xalapa or Jalapa
and then in a monastery at Xochimilco.
Bishop Juan de Zumárraga would give him aid until his own death in 1548
C.E. Nothing more is
known other than that the friar died on March
25, 1558 C.E.
It had been the hearsay in the Fray’s report which had led Francisco
Vázquez de Coronado y
Luján to make his famous expedition in the year of 1540
C.E., to the Zuni Pueblo, in present-day Nuevo Méjico.
To make matters worse, Fray
Marcos was to guide that
expedition and the realities of it that proved to be a great
disappointment. He would
return in 1541 C.E., to the
capital in shame. For a time
would be able to exercise the highest office of the Franciscans, in the
Vázquez de Coronado y Luján
Don Francisco Vázquez de Coronado y
explore Nuevo Méjico from 1540
C.E.-1542 C.E. The Coronado
Expedition consisted of 250 horsemen, 70 foot soldiers, 300 native
allies, and over a thousand servants and dependents from Culiacán.
He led his troops on the
Gulf of California across the
mountains and into the desert in search of the glorious Seven Golden
Cities of Cibola of gold which
he had heard described by guide Fray
Marcos de Niza. Discouraged
by the reality of the adobe pueblos, Coronado sent a
small force to the west, where progress to the sea was blocked by the
Grand Canyon. However,
his were the first Europeans to sight the Grand Canyon and the Colorado
River, among other landmarks.
Spanish forces wintered at Kuaua
Pueblo (present day Coronado
State Monument), and then set off to find Quivira
in the plains. The army
travelled the trackless prairie as far as present day Kansas, saw and
hunted bison, met the Wichita, and finally returned to
La Nueva España "disappointed, weary, and worn out. An
eyewitness, Pedro Reyes Castañeda, accompanied Don Francisco Vásquez de Coronado to Nuevo Méjico in 1540 C.E.-1542
C.E., and his work comprises the bulk of what we know of this
expedition. This Spaniard
wrote his observations about the journey. Doubtless,
these men were disappointed to have failed at finding that great prize,
the seven Golden Cities of Cibola.
were two Ribera/Rivera surnamed individuals with the Coronado Expedition: Blaque,
Tomas was from Escocia or
Scotland and was married to Francisca
de Rivera. Antonio de Ribera
was the second.
C.E. Francisco de Ibarra Explorer of Nuevo
1563 C.E.-1565 C.E., Francisco de Ibarra
(b. 1539 C.E.?- d.
1575 C.E.) explored Nuevo
Méjico. He was a
Spanish Vasco or Basque explorer and Gobernador of the Spanish province of New Biscay or Nueva
Vizcaya, in present-day Méjico.
Ibarra was born in Eibar, Guipúzcoa,
in the Basque Country of España.
He went to Méjico
as a young man, and upon the recommendation and financing of his uncle,
conquistador and wealthy mine owner Diego
de Ibarra, Francisco was
placed at the head of an expedition to explore northwest from Zacatecas in 1554 C.E. The
young de Ibarra
noted silver in the vicinity of present-day Fresnillo,
but passed it by. He
explored further and founded towns at San
Martín and Avino, where
the silver mines made him a mine owner in his own right.
1562 C.E., de Ibarra headed another
expedition to push farther into northwest Méjico.
In particular, he was
searching for the fabled golden city of Cibola.
He did not find the mythical
treasure, but explored and conquered what is now the Mexican state of Durango. De
Ibarra was then appointed Gobernador
of the newly formed province of Nueva
Vizcaya in 1562 C.E., and
the following year he founded the city of Durango
to be its capital.
1564 C.E., de Ibarra followed rumors of rich mineral deposits and crossed the Sierra
Madre Occidental in western Méjico
to conquer what is now southern Sinaloa.
silver veins in the new territory, and in 1565
C.E., de Ibarra founded
the towns of Copala and Pánuco.
under de Ibarra's direction explored north from Durango in 1567 C.E., and
founded the town of Santa Bárbara
in present-day Chihuahua to
mine the silver they found there. Francisco
de Ibarra died on June 3,
1575 C.E. in Pánuco, Sinaloa, one of the silver-mining cities that he founded. What
began simply as a search of gold became the ongoing settlement of the
most northern areas of Nueva España. The sites
would grow and become heavily populated.
1580 C.E., Francisco Sánchez Chamuscado (ca.
1512 C.E.-1582 C.E.), a Capitán in the Spanish army, was
exploring Nuevo Méjico. Sánchez
was called Chamuscado because
of his flaming red beard. He
was the military leader of the Rodríguez-Sánchez
Expedition, which left the Spanish outpost of Santa
Bárbara on June 6, 1581 C.E.,
to search for Indian settlements beyond the jurisdiction of Nueva Vizcaya. The
expedition crossed the Río Grande,
probably at La Junta de los Ríos,
and visited Jumano settlements
at a site near that of present Presidio.
There appears to be a debate
as to who was the actual leader of the Rodríguez-Sánchez
Expedition. Sánchez died on the return trip, sometime between January
31, 1582 C.E. and April 15,
1582 C.E., in Méjico at a
place called El Xacal, near
the site of modern Julimes, Chihuahua. Soon after
the evangelization would begin, the sword and shield had advanced before
began in Santa Bárbara in 1581
heard of an advanced civilization to the north. Given
official permission to evangelize, he set off with a small party under
the command of Capitán
Francisco Sánchez Chamuscado.
The party reached the vicinity of Socorro
in August. For the following
five months, they explored the Río
Grande pueblos. Leaving behind
two priests to continue religious conversion, the main party returned in
1582 C.E. The
two unprotected priests would be murdered. A
controversy would later arise because Chamuscado
had left them behind at their insistence, but unprotected.
was one of nine laymen selected to accompany the Rodríguez-Sánchez
Nuevo Méjico. He
along with two other men testified post-Expedition regarding the events
that transpired about the two of the priests which had been left behind
and were killed.
C.E.-1583 C.E. Don António de
1582 C.E. and 1583 C.E., caught up in the excitement caused by the returning Chamuscado-Rodríguez expedition el Español
Don António de Espejo
underwrote the costs of a second expedition. Espejo was born about 1540 C.E. in
Córdoba, España, and arrived in
Méjico in 1571 C.E.
along with the Chief Inquisitor, Pedro
Moya de Contreras, who was sent by the Spanish king to establish an
C.E., he led a small group to explore Nuevo
wealthy man, Espejo, financed
and assembled an expedition for the purpose of ascertaining the fate of
two priests who had remained behind with the Pueblos
when Chamuscado led his
soldiers back to Méjico. The
Expedition included fourteen soldiers, a priest, about 30 Indian
servants and assistants, and 115 horses. The
party departed from San Bartolomé,
near Santa Bárbara, on November 10, 1582 C.E.
followed the same route as the
Rodríguez-Sánchez Expedition, down the Conchos
River to its junction (La Junta)
with the Río Grande and then
up the Río Grande to the Pueblo villages.
the Conchos River, Espejo
encountered the Conchos
Indians, "naked people...who support themselves on fish, mesquite,
mescal, and lechuguilla (agave)."
Moving further downriver,
the party found Conchos
growing corn, squash, and melons. Espejo moved on leaving the Conchos
behind. He next encountered
the Passaguates "who were
naked like the Conchos"
who appeared to live a similar existence.
Expedition soon came upon the Jobosos
who were few in number, shy, and ran away from the Spaniards. Eventually,
the early Spanish in Nuevo Méjico
would become familiar with the Río
Grande Jumanos. The explorers
often describe any tattooed native as a Jumano.
would find five settlements of Jumanos
tribes with a population estimated at 10,000 members.
It is reported that they lived in low, flat roofed houses. The
Jumanos grew corn, squash, and beans. They
also and hunted and fished along the river. Espejo was given well-tanned deer and bison skins by them. There
are also reports that some were reported to have lived near the Salinas
east of the Manzano Mountains.
Explorers described two
other bands of Jumanos, who
they claimed may have been related. Therefore,
the record remains unclear. One
particular band appears to have been buffalo hunters in the Southern
plains of Tejas.
Another band was observed
living near La Junta de los Ríos, between the Río Conchas, or Pecos
River, and the Río del Norte
or Río Grande. The
Expedition left behind the Jumano
and passed through the lands of the Caguates
or Suma. These
spoke the same language as the Jumanos,
Tanpachoas or Manos.
La Junta of the Conchos and the Río Grande,
Espejo entered the territory
of the Patarabueyes.
The Indians attacked his horses and killed three. After
the attack, Espejo made peace
found the Río Grande
Valley well populated all the way up to the present site of El Paso, Tejas.
There he found tribes called
Otomoacos and Abriaches. Upstream from
El Paso, the expedition
traveled 15 days without seeing anyone.
February 1583 C.E., Espejo’s
party arrived at the territory of the Piros,
the most southerly of the Pueblo
villagers. From there the Españoles continued up the Río Grande. The
Pueblo villages were described
as "clean and tidy," with houses made of adobe
bricks and were multi-storied. Some
of the Pueblo towns were large. Espejo
described Zia as having 1,000 houses and 4,000 men and boys. The
Pueblos used irrigation for
farming, "with canals and dams, built as if by Spaniards." The
only Spanish influence noted by Espejo
among the Pueblos was their
desire for iron which they stole whenever and where ever possible. The
southernmost Pueblos used only clubs for weapons and a few "poor Turkish
bows and poorer arrows." Further
to the north, the Indians were better armed and fierce.
Expedition also explored the Verde
River valley of Arizona
looking for silver mines. He
visited the Zuni and Hopi where he
heard stories of silver mines further west. With
only four men and Hopi guides Espejo went in
search of those mines. It is
reported that his party reached the Verde
River in Arizona, most
probably in the area of Montezuma
Castle National Monument. There,
he located mines near present day Jerome, Arizona.
Unfortunately, he was
unimpressed with their potential. Among
the Hopi and the Zuni, he met several Spanish-speaking Mexican Indians who had been
left behind by, or escaped from, the Coronado
Expedition of 40 years earlier.
Espejo confirmed the killings
of the two priests in the Pueblo
of Puala, near present day Bernalillo.
When the Españoles approached the Pueblo, its inhabitants fled to the nearby mountains. The
their explorations, east and west of the Río
Acoma, the Españoles
that a people called Querechos
lived in the nearby mountains and traded with the local townspeople. The
Querechos were found to be Navajo.
of the Great Plains who were closely related to the Navajo during this period were also referred to as Querechos.
tired of the journey, several of the soldiers, Indian assistants, and
the priest decided to return to Méjico. Despite
Espejo's entreaties to stay,
the priest most probably offended by the high-handed tactics of Espejo toward the Pueblos
and their natives, left. Espejo
and eight of his soldiers would remain behind to search for silver and
other precious metals.
his small force skirmished with the Indians of Acoma, supposedly over their aiding in the escape of two Spanish
female slaves or prisoners. The
the women, but after a brief time, the Acoma
wounded a Spanish soldier while aiding her escape a second time. In
aiding in the escape of the women, the Acomans
and Españoles exchanged fire. This
was notice to the Españoles
the hospitality of the Pueblos
had come to an end. The
Spanish soon returned to the Río
Grande Valley where they
killed some Indians at a village when an altercation took place over the
Spanish being mocked and refused food.
then quickly departed the Río
Grande exploring eastward.
They journeyed through the Galisteo
Basin near the future city of La
Villa Real de la Santa Fé de San Francisco de Asís, means “Holy
Faith” (Santa Fé, )
and reaching the large pueblo
at Pecos, called Ciquique.
than return to the Río
Grande Valley, Espejo decided to make his way to Méjico
via the Pecos River which he
named "Río Grande
de Las Vacas" because of
the large number of bison the Españoles
while following the river downstream. After
descending the river about 300 miles from Ciquique
the soldados met Jumano Indians near Pecos,
Tejas who guided them across
country up Toyah Creek and
cross country to La Junta.
From there they followed the Conchos
River upstream to San Bartolemé, their starting place. They
arrived on September 20, 1583 C.E. They
soon learned that the priest and his companions had also returned
was the first European to traverse most of the length of the Pecos
River. On their return to Méjico, reports written by Espejo
and by expedition member, Diego Pérez de Luján, added to a
growing knowledge about the pueblo
people of Nuevo Méjico. Espejo
died in 1585 C.E. in La Habana,
was en route to Españia to attempt to get royal
permission to establish a Spanish colony in
1590 C.E. Gaspar
de Sosa Expedition
1590 C.E., King Felipe II (21 May 1527 C.E.-September 13, 1598
or Philip II of España was
still deciding on a course of action. Gaspar
of Nuevo León
northeastern La Nueva España, also thought that great riches could be discovered in Nuevo
Sosa was born about 1550
C.E. in Portugal. He is
believed by many authorities to have been a converso or
meant that he was acting as a Christian but secretly continued the
practice of Judaism. Castaño
appears in the history of northern Méjico about 1579 C.E. when along with Luis
de Carabajal y Cueva he was one of the early pobladores in what
became the Mexican state of Nuevo León. Carbajal
was Gobernador of the province and Castaño
had become Teniente-Gobernador.
Luis de Carvajal y de la Cueva
was a Spanish-Portuguese adventurer, slave-trader. It
is suggested that the Carabajal family did very well financially. The
two men appear to have made their fortunes capturing and selling Indian
slaves in concert with their group of more than sixty soldiers. It
was their practice to raid north along the
Río Grande. There
they captured hundreds of Indians which they sold into slavery. However,
the Spanish government wanted to discourage slavery of Indians in order
to subdue their unrest and this would have impacted the family’s
source of income.
was the head of a family of Jewish converts to Christianity or Conversos. The province
Nuevo León was very isolated and constant attack from hostile
Native-American tribes. In
order to attract Spanish pobladores the Crown exempted it from Blood
Purity Laws. This meant
lifting the requirement that only Old Christians (For three generations
or more) could settle the province.
It would appear that it became a destination for other Conversos,
including those related to the
de Sosa searched
for Indians in the area that were known to have knowledge of great
riches in that undiscovered area. While
testing their ore, he took a silver cup and threw it in with the test
ore. The rocks were found to
have a high silver content.
appears to have been both a flight from prosecution and an exploration. Castaño
was accompanied by the Spanish inhabitants of the town. The
future pobladores took with them a large number of livestock and
possessions in the wagon train. Oddly,
no Catholic priests accompanied Castaño
party unlike most expeditions. Perhaps
these Marranos wanted as little to do with the prying eyes of the Church
had spread of de Sosa's
unauthorized departure. The Virrey of
La Nueva España ordered Capitán
Juan Morlette to gather 40 soldiers and a priest and go in pursuit
of Castaño. He was to
arrest him, by force if necessary, and to affect the release of any
Indian slaves he encountered. Unfortunately,
the details of Morlette's
expedition to Nuevo Méjico are
mostly unknown. It is agreed
that rather than taking the Pecos River
route followed by Castaño, Morlette apparently followed the previous route of Chamuscado/Rodríguez and Espejo down
the Conchos River to its
junction with the Río Grande,
probably at La Junta de los Ríos
and then up the Río Grande to
the Pueblo Indian villages.
Late-March 1591 C.E., Morlette
and fifty soldiers located the group at Santo
Domingo Pueblo. He
arrested de Sosa and Castaño
without incident. Although Morlette
shackled Castaño, he apparently treated him with respect. After
40 days in which Morlette explored the Pueblo
region for himself, he escorted the party s back southward along the Río
Grande to Méjico. The expedition
was a failure.
March 5, 1593 C.E., Castaño
de Sosa was convicted of invasion of lands inhabited by peaceful
Indians, raising troops, and entry into the province of Nuevo
Méjico. He was
sentenced to six years of exile in the Philippines and performing such
duties as might be required by the
Gobernador there under penalty of death if he defaulted from his
sentence was appealed to the Council of the Indies and eventually
reversed. But it was too
late for him. He would be
killed in the Molucca Islands during the mutiny if Chinese slaves aboard his ship.
reported that Don Gaspar Castaño
de Sosa and his troop stopped to rest Sixty miles west of Pecos, Nuevo Méjico at
the Pueblo of Jémez. This is where
they were told of a great pueblo
in the mountain pass to the east. In
the language of the Jémez it was called it Pe-kush. The Españoles
heard the word as "Pecos.”
This was to be the future
home of my progenitors, the de
Riberas after 1695 C.E.
Sometime after 1590
C.E., Carabajal was arrested for religious heresy and "Judaizing."
C.E., the Spanish Inquisition in
charged and convicted Carabajal
of heresy, condemning him to six years’ exile from the colony. He
eventually died in prison before being sent away.
His sister and all her family were convicted for Judaizing and
burned at the stake. One of
a Carabajal’s nephews
committed suicide to avoid that fate.
The Inquisition was by then a very active institution in Nueva
C.E. Gaspar Pérez de Villagrá,
Historian, of the Juan Pérez de Oñate
y Salazar Expedition
to first colonized Santa Fé
de Nuevo Méjico
Pérez de Villagrá
was one of Juan Ante's
Tenientes and supporters who traveled with the Oñate
expedition into Nuevo Méjico.
He wrote a book entitled,
“A History of Nuevo Méjico
detailing the historical events of the Oñate
Expedition. It was published
in 1610 C.E. preceding the Pilgrims landing in America by ten years. His
book came fourteen years before the publication of Captain John
Smith’s historical book on the events that happened in Virginia during
Spanish ancestors did not find the legendary cities of gold they sought
and longed for. The sunlight
glistening off flecks of mica in distant adobe walls had fooled them. However,
these early explorers were impacted.
Pérez de Villagrá (1555
C.E.-1620 C.E.) was born in Puebla
de Los Ángeles,
Pérez de Villagrá,
his father, was a Spaniard. However,
his mother's identity and background remain unknown. De
Villagrá studied in Europe and received a bachelor of letters
degree from the University of Salamanca
by the early 1570s C.E. His
studies included Greek and Roman historians and rhetoricians. He
later moved to the Viceroyalty (Virreinato)
would serve as Capitán
legal officer under Don Juan Pérez
de Oñate y Salazar. This
was the Expedition that first colonized Santa
de Nuevo Méjico in 1598
C.E. between 1601 C.E. and 1603 C.E. He
would serve as the alcalde mayor of the Guanacevi
mines in what is now the Mexican state of Durango.
De Villagrá is best known for
his authorship of Historia de la
Nueva México, published in 1610
years after the 1580 C.E.,
Rodríguez-Sánchez Expedition this party began its trek with de
Villagrá as its official
historian. Four hundred
soldiers departed from the city of Méjico
to head north across the Río
Norte (Río Grande). It was led by Don
Juan Pérez de Oñate y Salazar a strong and determined Español.
It is possible that he
viewed himself as more the conquistador
than colonial official. He
was to eventually be recalled to the city of Méjico
in disgrace. The charges
were neglecting the isolated pobladores, alienating the Indians with his
cruelty, and squandered the resources of el
Imperio Español by searching
for gold, silver, and failing to find them.
1610 C.E., Pérez de Villagrá published his thirty-four-canto epic poem to chronicle the expedition. He
chronicled its goals, the expedition’s hardships, its courageous
soldiers, the warfare, and its resulting brutality. It
is acclaimed as the first epic poem created by Europeans in North
America. This historical
work about Nuevo Méjico was a
political device, as well as a literary account. It
is suggested that Villagrá's real intended audience was the king of España
and his control of the purse of el
Imperio Español. In
the Villagrá, Historia de la Nueva Méjico, 1610 C.E. translation, the
cantos are rendered in prose.
they failed to achieve their immediate goals, these explorers claimed
vast territories for España. This
historical event would define España’s
relationship with the Indigenous of the Southwest and with its European
rivals for the next two centuries.
Juan Pérez de Oñate y Salazar Juan de Oñate Expedition
year, 1998 C.E., marked the cuarto
centenario or 400th year anniversary of the first Spanish settlement
in La Provincia del Nuevo Méjico.
This expedition into the northern borderlands of Nueva España in the Americas was no easy undertaking.
this extremely difficult trek the first of my progenitors entered Nuevo
Méjico in 1598 C.E. with de Oñate.
was the son of a wealthy conquistador
from Zacatecas, Méjico. De Oñate was born either in 1550
C.E. or 1552 C.E., son of
Don Cristóbal de Oñate, a
wealthy rancher, silver mine developer, and the co-founder of Zacatecas. His mother
was Doña Catalina de Salazar.
de Oñate was one of the richest men in Zacatecas
because of his family’s silver mines. He
married Isabel de Tolosa Cortés
Moctezuma, the granddaughter
of Hernán Cortés and the
great-granddaughter of Moctezuma.
They had two children, a
son, Cristóbal de Naharriondo Pérez
de Oñate y Cortés Moctezuma and a daughter, María
de Oñate y Cortés Moctezuma.
1595 C.E., the Virrey awarded the Nuevo Méjico
expedition contract to Don Juan,
scion and soldier. He hoped
to discover new wealth and to enjoy a brilliant future as its Gobernador once officially granted the right to colonize. Here,
it must be stressed that from the outset, the plans plan for
colonization of Nuevo Méjico
included the introduction of not only soldiers to man the presidios,
but also frays building and maintaining Indian missions. There
were also to be hundreds civilian settlers or pobladores
entering the areas in successive waves.
were many delays in assembling the expedition. However,
by January 1598 C.E., de Oñate
was finally able to get his caravan of eighty-four heavily loaded wagons
and carts carrying baggage and provisions moving. Additionally,
the Expedition managed a large herd of seven thousand head of livestock
sheep, goats, cattle, and horses as they got underway. De
Oñate led one hundred and
twenty-nine men, many with their families and servants, and a small
group of ten Franciscans who joined the party later.
progenitors, the Varelas and
the Lucero de Godoys, arrived
with the Oñate Expedition in Nuevo Méjico in 1598 C.E.,
founding the northern frontier of La
Nueva España. However,
I shall not discuss those family branches at length due to the
complexity of dealing with each family line other than to list them
later in the body of this chapter.
a new route scouted by his nephew, Vicente
de Zaldívar, Oñate’s expedition struggled northward from Santa Bárbara along the upper Río
Conchos across the Chihuahuan
desert. Unlike previous
expeditions, this one did not follow the Conchos
to the Río Grande. It
headed straight across the sand dunes of the Chihuahua
desert. A vanguard, after four days without water, reached the Río
Grande on April 20th. Six
days later, the 400 soldiers and others were reunited. In
celebration of its survival a great feast was held.
their Entrada, while traveling
up the Río del Norte, General Juan de Oñate and
his pobladores encountered a terrain and climate not unlike that of arid
and semi-arid southern España.
In one place, the expedition
suffering from great thirst was providentially saved with a miraculous
downpour so heavy that very large pools were formed and more than seven
thousand head of cattle and mares of all kinds drank.
exhausted travelers finally reached the Río
Grande and ascended the river. On
the river, the expedition crossed it to the east side on May 4th, at a
site just west of present downtown El
Oñate called this operation "El
Paso del Río del Norte," an early use of the name El Paso. Near the upper
reaches of the river he established his headquarters, founded a church,
and formally founded the province of Nuevo
through the narrows near San Felipe
Pueblo, Gobernador de
Oñate arrived at the Pueblo
of Santo Domingo and, on July
7th, held a council with the Indians of the surrounding country. It
was assumed that the natives would be responsive to conversion in the
country to the far north. In a ceremony the native leaders swore
allegiance to the Spanish Crown or Corona
Church. Later expedition
member Gaspar Pérez de Villagrá (1555 C.E-1620
C.E.) wrote his epic poem
about the conquest.
de Oñate and his men entered
the first villages of the Pueblo
Indians, some fled at his approach while others demonstrated a
restrained friendliness. At
the adobe community of Teypama,
the headman provided the hungry newcomers with an abundance of corn. De
Oñate christened the place, Socorro,
meaning to help, aid, assist. This
he did in gratitude for the succor he had received from the Natives.
unknown reasons, Gobernador de Oñate
abandoned his plans for the new town. He
negotiated with San Juan Pueblo
to relocate to the west bank of the Río
Grande at a settlement to be called San
Gabriel, at an abandoned Tewa
Pueblo known as Yunque. At
this second site, 1599 C.E.-1600 C.E., Oñate
simply had to remodel and expand the existing Tewa structures. The
result was a plaza with some
four hundred dwellings that could easily be reconfigured into a U-shaped
villa with enough space to add
a church and a convento or
friary. This was the first
formal municipality west of the Mississippi, La
Villa of San Gabriel. It
should be noted that Spanish haciendas, large Spanish estates, or the main
houses for these ranches or ranchos
were also established in the vicinity.
August 11th, he gathered a labor force of 1500 Pueblo Indians to begin the construction of a major irrigation
canal. It was to provide for
agricultural needs of his planned capital city. First,
de Oñate reconstructed an
irrigation ditch in the area now known as Chamita
sufficient to irrigate the fields to be cultivated in the fertile valley
between the two rivers. Scholars agree that the San
Gabriel ditch was located at what is the present-day Acequia
de Chamita. This recognition probably establishes the Acequia de Chamita as the oldest, still functioning community ditch
of Iberian origin in Nuevo Méjico,
dating to around 1600 C.E. For
evidence of its antiquity, scholars often cite a report by Juan
de Torquemada, a Franciscan historian who visited the colony in 1612 C.E.-1613 C.E.,
where he observed the practice of irrigated agriculture: “San Gabriel… is situated at thirty-seven degrees latitude, and its
sides consist of two rivers, one of which has less water than the other.
The small one (the Río Chama) irrigates all the varieties of wheat, barley, and corn,
in cultivated fields, and other items that are planted in gardens,
because those lands produce cabbage, onions, lettuce and beets, and
other small vegetables than in this one:
producing many good melons and watermelons. The
other river is very large; they call it [Río]
del Norte, which provides a
lot of fish.”
remained as the capital city of the fledgling province until 1609 C.E.-1610 C.E. when Gobernador
Pedro de Peralta (c. 1584 C.E.-1666 C.E.)
the capital to a more strategic location at Santa
Fé. The construction of
an irrigation system was a primary and early public works project for a
Spanish community. Initially, two acequia
madres (main canals) were dug to irrigate cultivated fields on both
sides of the Río de Santa Fé, the river that passed through the center of the
new capital city. Eventually,
dozens of acequias would be
required to sustain the growing population at Santa
the next few years de Oñate
sent out exploring parties in all directions, but the results were
extremely disappointing. Everywhere
it was the same, a large Indian population living in adobe houses, some
of which were two stories high. Nuevo
Méjico was a distinct contrast to the Méjico
that Cortés settled. There
was no gold or silver, only a few fertile farms, and tenacious Indian
resistance in many areas. My
ancestors were to be at war with the Indigenous indefinitely.
better organize the Pueblos, de Oñate
introduced the office of petty Gobernador
(gobernadorcillo) and the
smaller governmental positions of Teniente-Gobernador,
sheriff (alguacil), irrigation
boss (mayordomo), and church
warden (fiscal). Each held a
one-year term of office after they were elected by a vote of the Pueblo people. This
municipal government handled minor political and judicial affairs. Later,
a council of elders (principales)
comprised of former Gobernador
and Teniente-Gobernador, was added to serve as an advisory committee.
Republica System, or municipal
domain, was used by España to
introduce the Pueblos to
Spanish civil government. These
republicas or municipal
domains were the only representative government positions available to
the citizens where they were allowed by the Spanish government to
participate directly in politics.
flaw in Native affairs for the Spanish system of governance was that the
Pueblo holy men of each pueblo
selected who was elected to these offices and then ruled through them. Currently
all pueblos still have a Gobernador
who leads the government of the Pueblos.
Españoles made strong attempts to influence the outcome of these
elections. They knew who
they wanted to lead the pueblo
governments and did everything in
their power to get that man elected.
The local missionaries attempted the same thing.
area was divided into seven religious sections with one Franciscan friar
in charge of each district. Nuevo
Méjico’s government was divided into pueblo
governments and religious sections.
the new land had failed to measure up to the high hopes and expectations
of the pobladores, quarreling and dissension increased. Food
soon became scarce and desertions mounted. Charges
were brought against the Gobernador
accusing him of misconduct, mismanagement, ignoring the complaints of
the pobladores, and of misinforming the Crown about conditions in Nuevo
Méjico. In 1607
C.E., de Oñate resigned
his command and retired from the scene. He
then returned to España to
defend himself against his alleged misdeeds.
the absence of a new province from which to extract riches and a larger
base of Indigenous workforce, the Corona
española was hard pressed to stay in the areas. After
some hesitation, the Church had its way. The
Españoles decided to maintain
their foothold in Nuevo Méjico,
having received word that if it left it would be abandoning 7,000 Indian
converts. España after all was a Christian kingdom.
rush to judgment on De Oñate.
One assumes that he’s an easy target. Non-Spanish
historians and commentators lead the charge against anything and anyone
Spanish in the Nuevo Mundo.
Perhaps it’s a way to cover over those evil deeds done in the name of
their Protestant Monarchs and religions. Smoke
screens are often used during battles to hide from the enemy while
winning an advantage. In the
United States, anything European has become the target of choice by her
minority groups, which includes the Indigenous, Hispanics, Blacks, etc. To
keep these hounds of war at bay, those others of European descent find
it easy to throw the Españoles to each angry pack. This
is not to say the Españoles weren’t guilty of sins against the Indigenous. However,
if one begins entertaining such sins all Europeans must be charged and
judged by the same rules. The
English were not saints. The
Americans were often times unkind.
it is difficult to properly assess a 16th-Century
C.E. entrepreneur, soldier, explorer, conqueror, Gobernador by our 21st-Century
C.E. standards of conduct. Their
values are not ours. Our
values are not theirs. Here, I would suggest that today’s humans
ravaging and making our planet uninhabitable might also be discussed at
great length. We who point
the finger at figures of the past find it difficult to accept the burden
of hastening the demise of various species through destruction of our
planet in the present. Shouldn’t
we all stop for the moment and assess our own sins. He who is without,
right of conquest is no longer a position accepted by a world of states
with democratic principles and the rule of law. It
is only applied to lands already conquered and accepted as part of a
current state. Why?
Perhaps, to some small degree we as a species learned something
from our barbarous behavior. “To
the strong go the spoils,” is no longer considered de
rigueur. In fact it’s
for what De Oñate did, and
how he did it, there can be many departures from the notion the might
makes right. However, his
actions which improved resources and the availability of more food were
of some value. But these can
hardly be seen as a proper compensation for the loss of Native-American
freedom. Better living
conditions and the learning of new technologies cannot replace the loss
of a world you once loved and cherished. De Oñate’s failures are glaring in the light of what we know now.
But then, we of the 21th-Century C.E. were not faced with his mission, lack of
resources, and the ongoing resistance to his cause by both Españoles and Native-Americans. In
the end, we will all judge him based upon those ideals we hold closest
to our own hearts. One must
question whether we humans have arrived at the point of sainthood which
allows us to judge the past and not our own present.
1609 C.E., a new Gobernador,
Pedro de Peralta, was appointed. The
following year, Santa Fé was founded as the new capital. As
important as the water systems, was the King's Highway, an artery of
commerce and travel. The
“road to the interior,” el
camino de tierra adentro, was regarded as the interior country.
The length of the trail was defined by the Juan
de Oñate expedition in 1598
of what was later to be called the Camino
Real or Royal Road or King's Highway had their earliest beginnings
as Indian trails. Actually
the term was applied to all main government roads both in España and in the La Nueva
Mundo colonies. Later,
sections of the route were traversed by Spanish pobladores.
It remained the official
terminus of the far-flung Camino
Real. The following
three hundred years witnessed increased, varied traffic of trade goods
and representatives of different cultures traveled it.
They brought with them currents of change, which would forever
alter the face of this land. Largely
forgotten in modern times, Nuevo Méjico’s
Camino Real is now recognized and valued as a richly informative
cultural and historic resource. Of
the great highways leading north, this was the oldest, having been
extended by segments or sections throughout the 16th-Century
C.E. For a time it also
enjoyed the distinction of being the longest road in North America.
this time on, Nuevo Méjico
was tied to the outside world by that single thoroughfare “Camino Real.” It
descended the Río Grande
valley from Santa Fé, dropped
through the natural gate at El
Paso, and wended its way via the provinces of the old Virreinato
(Viceroyalty) of La Nueva España
to Méjico City, twelve
hundred miles to the south. When
one ponders a twelve hundred mile journey with constant attacks by
Natives and without the comfortable travel accommodations we have today
to obtain supplies, new recruits, and the latest information the shear
difficulty of it boggles the mind.
in 1609 C.E., an official
missionary caravan came north from Méjico
City every three or four years to re-supply the missions and sustain the
economy of this far flung province. In
practice this caravan was more than a missionary supply service it also
served as a vital but tenuous link between civilization at the heart of Nueva España at Méjico
City and that distant outpost of the Empire, Nuevo
is hard to imagine waiting in line for two minutes for a drink or food.
Can you imagine a three to four year wait? Nuevo
Méjico was incredibly distant for the Virreinato
of La Nueva España (Méjico
City). Every year Méjico City
must have seemed an even more distant place. Santa Fé and its people would eventually learn to cope as
strangers, first from Méjico
City and also from the land in which they lived. They
were left to fend for themselves and make daily decisions of survival,
some good and some bad.
1610 C.E., Santa Fé was established as the official capital and the end of the
King's Highway shifted to its plaza.
At that point, de Oñate had already resigned as Gobernador of Nuevo Méjico
and returned to Zacatecas. He
left behind a well-marked road as a monument to his pioneering
achievement. He is
remembered as the "Father of the Camino
Real." It would be
used for the benefit of everyone from that point forward.
general region designated as La
Provincia del Nuevo Méjico was expansive and its boundaries
indeterminate, loosely encompassing the territory north of Nueva
Viscaya (now the State of
Chihuahua in Méjico) with
no fixed boundaries east or west. The
first Spanish communities, however, were established along the more
confined Río del Norte
corridor north and south of Santa
Fé from Taos to Socorro either on
the present day Río Grande or
some of its tributaries. The
logic is flawless. Water is
the life blood of any community. Without
it, life ceases to exist.
the period of Spanish settlement, 1598
C.E.-1821 C.E., colonial
officials generally adhered to the ordinances set out in the Laws of the
Indies issued by the Corona española,
the Ordenanzas de Descubrimiento,
Nueva Población de las Indias
dadas por Felipe II en 1573
C.E. and codified in 1681
C.E. These were the
instructions governing the pacification, development, and permanent
occupation of newly discovered lands. The
ordinances in the Laws of the Indies provided the framework for pobladores
and provincial Gobernadors to
follow when selecting sites for occupation and development.
These included the requirement to locate settlements in areas
with abundant pasture lands, forests to supply wood and building
materials, lands with healthy and fertile soils for the cultivation and
harvesting of crops, and a plentiful water supply for drinking and
pobladores who accompanied Capitán
General Juan de Oñate, Gobernador
Don Diego de Vargas and other conquistadores,
originated from the central valley of Méjico.
There irrigation techniques
existed from pre-Hispanic times and were augmented by methods taken from
Iberian provinces such as Andalucía,
Extremadura, Aragón, Murcia, Islas
Canarias, and others. The
Españoles brought with them
their rich and diverse experiences with irrigation development in
Mesoamerica and the Islamic-Iberian Mediterranean world.
each successive wave of immigration to the arid and semi-arid climates
of northern La Nueva España,
the pobladores constructed
waterworks for the diversion, channeling, and distribution of water from
rivers and streams. These
included tomas de agua, presas de derivación, or dams, equivalents of the azudes
of the Iberian Peninsula as noted above; tanques or earthen reservoirs
equivalent to the balsas or albercas of
Islamic España; compuertas or wooden head gates equivalent to the partidores;
acequia madres and sangrías,
these latter ones equivalent to the brazales;
desagues or drains, equivalent to the escorredores
or azarbes; and canoas or aqueducts hand-hewn from mountain timbers. Water
circulating through the irrigation systems of the upper Río
Grande also permitted other uses, such as the diversion of acequia flows to power hundreds of village molinos or gristmills with horizontal waterwheels, a clear legacy of
peninsular milling culture.
friars at the Indian missions and successive waves of pobladores also transplanted Iberian civil and social institutions. The
isolation of this Nuevo Méjico
Hispano (A people of colonial Spanish descent in what is
today the United States who retained a predominantly Spanish culture.)
province, its early settlement, and the issuance of a series of land
grant concessions led to the rapid growth of towns and villages
scattered alongside the major streams and their tributaries from El
Paso del Norte to the San Luís
Valley in Colorado.
Santa Fé and beyond the
Spanish Southwest encompassed a vast territory rich in natural and
mineral resources, except water. When
Españoles first entered the Nuevo
Méjico region, known to them as northern Nueva España, they immediately realized that irrigation would be a
necessary. It was needed for
permanent communities, whether presidios,
missions, provincial government centers and civilian settlements. The
arid conditions already familiar to Mediterranean dwellers required
settlement policies that officials of the
and pobladores locate their
communities in the vicinity of watercourses and other natural resources
needed for permanent occupation.
settlement policy resulted in the building of communities alongside the Río
Grande and its many creeks, streams and tributaries, eventually
dispersing the population into semi-isolated plazas,
ranchos, villages (villas)
and other water-based communities. Access
to irrigation water served as the guiding principle, a land policy
implemented since the founding of the early villas:
San Gabriel in c.
Santa Fé in 1610
Santa Cruz de la Cañada
in 1695 C.E.
Albuquerque in 1706
the Nuevo Méjico Spanish
Period (1598 C.E.-1821 C.E.), it was in La
Provincia del Nuevo Méjico that Spanish settlement policies were
the most effective, particularly with regard to the establishment of
civilian settlement towns and associated agricultural. Throughout
the period of Spanish settlement, government officials for the most part
complied with the necessity of locating villas
in places where reliable water supplies and other natural resources
could support the permanent occupation of the province and thus secure
the northern borders of Nueva España.
planning reflected strongly the environmental realities of the
settlement region. It
considered the rough terrain, aridity, and high altitude limitations on
the growing seasons. These necessitated an integrated approach to
officials overcame these physical barriers by implementing a variety of
land grant policies, both to individuals and communities, on the Río
Grande watershed and it short but perennial streams. My
progenitors held or participated in both types of grants. In the case of
the communal land grants, pobladores
petitioning for lands were required to specify the physical
boundaries of the desired grant of land.
boundaries of the community land grants were not predetermined according
to any formal grid plan, and instead were established according to the
natural contours of the land, resulting in irregular shapes highly
adaptive to local topography, vegetation, soils, hydrology, and micro
Gobernador would next order an
inspection of the boundaries by the alcalde
mayor of the jurisdiction. The
Alcalde had to ascertain that
the land in question was not settled already, nor prejudicial to the
welfare of any existing Indian Pueblo
or other Spanish land grants in the vicinity. Part
of the investigation included an evaluation of the water supply needed
for irrigation and domestic uses, and for the watering of livestock. The
alcalde mayor also made sure
that the land, water, and other natural resources within the boundaries
of the grant would encourage the tilling of the land, the grazing of
cattle, and other elements needed for permanent settlement. Once
these conditions were met, the Gobernador
would confirm the grant and authorize the possession ceremony.
after confirmation and possession, the pobladores would begin the
process of forming their community. The
requirements defining a villa
and its physical design were not exact.
Given the terrain, they adapted to local conditions and the
availability of resources. These
community locations began to be placed where the river or stream was
diverted and a dam installed. The
technology used to construct the irrigation systems was a melding of
engineering and construction knowledge and local needs. Although
much of the design was transplanted from España
to the La Nueva Mundo,
irrigation practices by early Spanish explorers at many Pueblo
Indian villages were accommodated to each location. On
larger streams, such as, the Río
del Norte/Río Grande, the pobladores built wing dams. These
protruded into the river from one of the banks. The
structures used for diversion were usually sufficient to channel water
into ditches during the irrigation season when natural flows were
highest. However, those
streams with intermittent flows required the construction of dams across
the width of the watercourses. In
this way the structures contained portions of the flows and formed a
series of small reservoirs.
Españoles soon set out to
occupy and develop the northern frontiers of Nueva
España and spent much time examining not just lands for new
settlements, but even more importantly, the availability of reliable
water supplies. These they
understood were needed for domestic as well as irrigation development. These
early exploration maps and narratives of the region designated the
locations and named perennial rivers, creeks, and lakes. They
also described the minute details of water features such as tiny ponds,
dry arroyos, muddy watering holes, and miniscule springs.
pobladores also examined the
soil in areas contemplated for the huertas
(a fertile area, or a field in a fertile area) and labores (to labor, take pains,
endeavor) cultivated fields prior to appropriating water from a
stream or alternate source. This
they did to make certain that it was not too sandy or porous for ditch
construction and water conveyance. Finally,
they identified suitable places for the toma
or saca de agua, a location
along the banks of a river or stream where water could feasibly be
diverted by constructing a presa.
These engineering works for
the most part were by necessity low-level diversion structures.
the American territorial legislature in Nuevo
Méjico crystallized water law using the customs and precepts
already in place. For the
most part, these and other early rules have remained in force and are
similar to the ordenanzas or
ordinances or regulations adopted by the acequia
organizations of southern España.
This would suggest that the pobladores
were competent, well-educated, well-versed at engineering and
construction, and understood agriculture.
This is quite unlike the Anglo-American depiction of these as
lowly, ignorant peasants.
were years 1610 C.E.-1680
C.E. of growth and expansion. Missions,
haciendas, and villas were
discuss Nuevo Méjico, one
must discuss the great Franciscan missions. The
official Latin name of the Orders of Friars Minor is the Ordo Fratrum Minorum. Saint
Francis of Assisi thus referred to his followers as "Fraticelli", meaning "Little Brothers." Franciscan
brothers are informally called friars or the Minorites.
sermon which Francis heard in 1209
C.E., on Mt 10:9 made such an impression on him that he decided to
devote himself wholly to a life of apostolic poverty. Clad
in a rough garment, barefoot, and, after the Evangelical precept,
without staff or scrip, he began to preach repentance. He
was soon joined by a prominent fellow townsman, Bernardo
di Quintavalle, who
contributed all that he had to the work, and by other companions, who
are said to have reached the number of eleven within a year. The
brothers lived in the deserted lazar-house of Rivo
Torto near Assisi; but they spent much of their time traveling through the
mountainous districts of Umbria,
always cheerful and full of songs, yet making a deep impression on their
hearers by their earnest exhortations. Their
life was extremely ascetic, though such practices were apparently not
prescribed by the first rule which Francis gave them (probably as early
as 1209 C.E. ), which seems
to have been nothing more than a collection of Scriptural passages
emphasizing the duty of poverty.
was called to a life of poverty and to the joyful freedom that comes
when the corruptible treasures of this life are not the object of our
life's energies or the measure of success. He
was also called to a life of humility, showing forth in his
non-violence, peace, and respect for creation. His
was a life of simplicity, where he put all of his hope in Jesus Christ. The
group was tonsured and Francis was ordained as a deacon, allowing him to
read Gospels in the church.
history of España's missions
in the American South and Southwest reveals much about España's strategy, contributions, and failures in these regions. The
expeditions of Francisco Vázquez de Coronado (1540
C.E.-1542 C.E.) and Juan de Oñate
(1598 C.E.) convinced Spanish
authorities that no wealthy Indian empires like that of the Aztecas
were to be found north of Méjico.
Consequently the Españoles
came to view the northern frontier of their empire as a defensive
barrier and as a place where pagan souls might be saved. In
what are now the states of La
Florida, Tejas, Nuevo Méjico, Arizona,
and California missions were founded to propagate the doctrines of the
Roman Catholic Church. To
protect these missions as well as the mines and ranches of Méjico from attack from the north, the Españoles established presidios
or fortified garrisons of troops.
priests had already founded a series of missions in La Florida after 1573 C.E.,
mainly along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. The
first missions in Nuevo Méjico were established by friars accompanying de
Oñate's expedition of 1598
C.E. During the next 100
years, Franciscan priests would found more than 40 additional missions,
most of them along the Río Grande.
Especially influential was Padre
Alonso de Benavides (c.1578
who directed the founding of ten missions between 1625 C.E. and 1629 C.E.
and thereafter promoted them ably in España.
C.E., missions had been established among most of the in Nuevo
varied enormously in their economic and religious success. Some
could not support themselves; others developed fertile fields and
vineyards and huge herds of cattle. Virtually
all successful religious conversion was among sedentary Indians. These
were easier to control and more adaptable to agriculture and herding. The
few attempts to convert such warlike nomads as the Apaches
and Comanches failed dismally.
This failure to inculcate these nomadic, warlike tribes with the
Judeo-Christian ethic would prove disastrous to the Españoles
and their villas.
seeking to introduce both Catholicism and European methods of
agriculture and husbandry, the missions encouraged the Indians to
establish their settlements close by, where the priests could give them
religious instruction and supervise their labor. Unfortunately
this arrangement exposed the Indians to the Europeans' diseases, against
which they had little immunity. An
epidemic in Nuevo Méjico, for instance, killed 3,000 Indians in 1640 C.E. Critics charge
also that the mission system destroyed much of the Indians' native
culture and turned them into an exploited and degraded labor force. This
value judgment, I leave to those with more knowledge than I.
However, I will say that missions and villas
also did much for the Indigenous. I
believe that the argument rests upon the practicality of the Spanish
economic system, with its use resources, water, and land.
With proper use, food became more abundant through crops and
domesticated animals. With
more food came healthier, growing populations. The
system also introduced newer, complimentary technology necessary to
support the economic system. From
these the Indigenous learned and applied that knowledge to the
betterment of their communities. But
with all of this came tribal competitiveness for land and expanded land
use. With expansion came
abuse and trauma. Both led
to Indigenous rebellion against the Spanish system.
Indeed, there were sporadic rebellions; the most spectacular was
led by an Indian named Popé
in 1680 C.E.; almost 400 Españoles
were killed, and the rest were temporarily driven from Santa Fé and northern Nuevo
question is, why?
the government was established, priests were assigned to each pueblo.
Since few exploitable resources had been found in this distant kingdom a
royal subsidy supported the Franciscan missionary efforts. A
basic fact was that life in a Spanish mission depended not on Española, but upon the success of that mission. Unfortunately, few
were successful and able to sustain the population of the mission. Most
failed due to disease. Native
hostility toward the Españoles
was another factor. Then
there was the inevitable inner turmoil which would arise under stressful
flooding took its toll.
can imagine how many worlds the good padres
found themselves balancing. There
was first the religious order, the community of priests and the church
hierarchy which had to be contended with. If
all of this wasn’t enough, the missions as the focal point of the
Spanish community had to build places of worship and hold services to
assure the local tribe, soldados, and new arrivals of pobladores.
were the soldados who were
there to protect and serve all surrounding Spanish and Native community.
These had to help in the
construction efforts as well as defend against hostiles.
The record attests that they were too few in number and without
adequate support. They had
limited armaments and secure facilities from which to defend. The
problem was only exacerbated by new pobladores
arriving and moving beyond manageable boundaries. Further
distances from the presidio
meant longer a time to get help in emergencies.
were the members of the local tribe, with its distinct needs and social
pressures of new roles and changing religious practices and norms. Their
world was turned upside down with tribal tradition competing with
Christianity and its social norms. Becoming
Spanish, if only in practice, was not an easy task. Old
ways died hard and religious practices die even harder.
other surrounding tribes brought with them another dimension of
problems. The Natives had
been at war with one another for quite some time. This
did not change because the Spaniards arrived. What
did occur was that the Spanish inadvertently gave the local tribe
leverage against their traditional Indigenous enemies. This
left the Spanish in the middle of an ongoing, centuries old war. They
were seen as taking sides. This
led to attacks upon the missions and presidios
by these angry tribes.
Padres would first establish
the mission area and construct huts or adobe
buildings for those Natives that were then brought to live in the
mission grounds in separate houses. Eventually
the Natives were converted to Christianity and worked on allotted tasks
to further the prosperity of the mission.
During the establishment of a mission, those tasks consisted of
building huts (houses), digging irrigation ditches, and planting crops. For
example, when Mission San António de Valero was first built religious services were held
in a hut.
first buildings of San Francisco
de Espada were huts made of mud, brush, and straw. Surviving
the weather and exposure was of the greatest importance to the newly
arrived padres. Without
outside help and delivery of traditional building supplies the missions
were on their own. They were
dependent upon local resources for materials. Simple, rapid building
techniques had to be used for housing. Later,
buildings were improved and/or replaced. These
were composed of adobe, and in
some cases replaced with stone.
was the issue at-hand. There
was no hope of obtaining outside help, nor was it expected from the
heart of Nueva España. Missions
had to be self-sustaining. The
population needed shelter, water, food, and clothing to support itself. Beyond
these basics, the missions needed protection.
Once adequate shelter was constructed there were many other needs
to be addressed.
A weaving room
was established for producing clothing and blankets from locally grown
cotton and wool. Native
homes were to be furnished with beds, chests, stones to ground grains,
and an assortment of cookware. Shortages
of supplies and clothing were prevalent.
cannot downplay the issue of food shortages. Another
example was the fields that were prepared and planted with corn, chili,
beans, and cotton at a ranch established to support and feed those at
Mission San António de Valero.
Other missions cultivated sugarcane, sheep, chickens, melons, and
pumpkins. It was that all
important staple of corn that filled the granaries and prevented
missions, soldados, and pobladores from famine. Granaries
were important because sending supplies to some missions, such as those
in East Tejas, took long
periods of time which worsened conditions for the pobladores
if crops failed or were submerged by floods.
mission life was also marred by epidemics. These
were brought on in part by nuisances such as flies and mosquitoes. There
was also the disease-ridden water which caused its many problems. One
such disease was Malaria. It
became a problem for people at Presidio Nuestra Señora de Loreto de la Bahía
(presidio La Bahía) at Goliad.
all of the aforementioned difficulties, missions became the most
effective method to control Spanish colonial life in Tejas.
For a mission to succeed, it
needed a stable, thriving, and healthy Native population. With
a well-trained and contented Native population many crops could be
grown, be well-tended, and the mission could remain self-sustaining. Here,
I must make several points that today are considered politically
padres toiled with great
urgency to convert and bring Spanish civilization, culture, and religion
to the Natives. This being
the case, they held few personal ambitions other than doing a good job
for their missions and for the Church hierarchy. This
close and personal involvement with the local tribe(s), tribal leaders
and members, and their families made the padres
the most trustworthy representatives of the Spanish government.
of working with the tribe was to help sustain the mission by actively
participating in agricultural duties. There
appears to be a modern-day misperception that the padres did little or no plowing, planting, and harvesting. The
record suggests otherwise. Part
of their job was to set an example of hard work, collaboration, and
commitment to the good health of the mission economy and its people. There
was also the need to train the Natives to become competent and capable
in the use of good agricultural practices.
also applied to other duties for mission sustainability such as cooking,
washing, and mending of clothing and bedding. The
padres often also acted as
doctors and nurses for the Natives. In
addition, they joined in the building of houses and churches. This
was another area in which the padres
taught the Natives. Construction
techniques and the use of tools and new materials were important to the
development of the overall community.
they assisted in the tending of livestock, another important food
source. The all important
horses, needed to be tended to and cared for. At
times horses helped work the fields by pulling plows. They
provided transportation and carried or pulled cargos and materials of
different types and sizes. Also,
they were all important to herding of the livestock.
must be mentioned again is the fact that befriending one native tribe
could create animosity with the other surrounding tribes. From
the very beginning of Spanish settlement, the Navajo
and other tribes had been aggressors. Later,
the Apaches followed a similar
course of action. In time,
the Comanches attacked Spanish
missions after seeing evidence of Apaches
holding friendly relations with the Españoles.
Such tribal rivalries even
caused the abandonment of some Spanish missions, the murder of padres, soldados, and pobladores.
At one mission, the Mission San
Francisco de los Tejas, native hostility became so alarming that Españoles
had to remove and bury the church bell and cannon, burned the mission,
and flee to safety. During
the Spanish Period, the presidio was
that place of safety.
missions, villas, and later the ranchos strongly
depended upon the presidio and
its soldados for protection. Presidios
were designed and built to house soldados
and their families. As
attrition, sickness, and death took its toll on Presidio
soldiers or soldados,
personnel had to be replaced rather than replenished. The
seat of the Virreinato of Nuevo España
was 1200 miles away and took 3 to 4 years to travel from and return to. As
time went on, the obvious solution was the creation and maintenance of a
local militia. Eventually and gradually, the presidios
were commanded by men who were previously merchants or rancheros.
In some cases they joined the military to benefit their careers. To
be sure, the majority became militia to protect and serve their villas.
Riberas were such men, “Soldados
de Cuera.” The soldados
de cuera or leather-jackets were a type of soldier who served
in frontier Spanish garrisons of northern Nueva España. They served in both cavalry
and infantry and were an all exclusive corps in el
Imperio Español. Soldados took their name from the multi-layered deer-skin cloak worn as protection
against Indian arrows. They
armed themselves with short muskets, a pair of pistols, a bow and
arrows, a short sword, a lance, and a bull-hide adarga (Shield). These
frontier soldados were
recruited from among the mestizo
population, Hispanicized Indians, and freed slaves. Most
of the officers were European-born, or the sons of Europeans (Creoles),
whereas very few of the enlisted men had this distinction. The
soldados de cuera manned the presidios
that stretched from Los Adeas,
Louisiana, in the East, across Tejas, Nueva España,
and Arizona, to the Pacific
Coast of Alta California in
militias were only citizen soldados
not regular military. They
were authorized to protect missions, pobladores,
and to assist in the establishment of new missions and settlements. They
would also aid the padres in
performing daily duties in the mission and accompany the padres to recapture runaway Natives. Some
Capitánes were storekeepers
for the presidio and took
advantage of the position by charging exorbitant prices for goods. In
the missions of East Tejas and
the presidio at Los Adaes, most of the soldados
wore rags because they could not afford the expensive goods sold by the
commandant. In these
instances, the Capitán was a dictator, also forcing soldiers to toil on his land.
spite of all these problems, successful missions emerged. In
design the missions reflected Gothic, Moorish, and Romanesque
architectural styles the various cultural influences brought by the Españoles.
Paintings on interior walls
sometimes depicted the southwestern landscape and the artistic
traditions of the Indians.
friars also brought rich furnishings for the churches they were
building. There were rich
priestly vestments such as chasubles, amices and albs, and churches
furnishing such as chalices, paintings and statues.
Music, not the
force of arms, proved to be a more persuasive means of soothing and
converting the Indians of the Nuevo
Mundo to Catholicism and Spanish rule. Plainchant
(plainsong) was taught by the friars as an integral part of the first
new mission liturgy and musicians were taught to play shawms (bassoons),
military snare drums, trumpets, and violins.
As early as 1630 C.E.,
there was a portable organ in the church at Senecu.
None of these instruments
survived the Pueblo Revolt of 1680 C.E.
such mission was Mission San José
in San António. A
day would begin with morning worship, breakfast and work before siesta,
additional work and evening worship. An
irrigation system, abundant fields and a granary were signs of success.
There were also many shops such as a tailor, carpenter shop and a smithy
to produce extra goods and lower the mission's dependence on supply
lines. Such a mission was
rare and was the example all other missions strived to attain. Natives
would learn skills such as carpentry and cloth making and produce enough
food to help feed other neighboring missions. To
accomplish these tasks the friars introduced new hammers, mallets,
wedges, augers, chisels, saws, and new building techniques. Blacksmithing
was one of these important new technologies. Forges
were built and Indians taught to use tongs, sledges, vises, files, and
José de Solís, who visited
the mission in 1768 C.E.,
noted the productivity and cohesion of the native population where old
men produced arrows for the
soldados, young women spun yarn and made cloth, old women caught
fish, and boys and girls attended school. Natives
would also manage the ranch as mule drivers, shepherds and masons,
without any external help. Padres
would work with the Natives in the fields, giving them orders of what to
grow and where to build irrigation ditches.
from work, religious holidays and fiestas
were held. Games such as
horse racing, a bull fight and even a rodeo
were staged for the enjoyment of the mission and a break from
some missions, Natives chose their own government in periodic elections.
In Mission San
José, Natives would elect their Gobernador,
governing council, overseers, judges, Capitánes
and other minor officers who dealt with military concerns. Those
who failed to attend a prayer or work were tried and sentenced by Native
officials. In other
missions, those who failed to attend an assembly or misbehaved were
whipped by a Native assistant under the command of the Padres.
frequency of religious teachings also varied among the missions. In
Mission San Francisco de Espada,
Natives recited the Christian Doctrine before and after work. They
also received basic religious teachings twice a day and more complex
religious teachings three to four times a week.
there was hardship for the Españoles
and the Native-Americans. As
the years went by the region suffered greatly. A
small pox epidemic swept through the Pueblos
and three thousand Indians died.
year 1640 C.E., brought
continuing epidemics, killing more Indians.
addition, natural and man-made disasters struck and Nuevo Méjico was in the middle of a drought by 1650 C.E. Those same
drought conditions continued from 1665
C.E. through 1668 C.E.
leaving the Indians without crops to harvest. The
result was massive starvation leading to the deaths of hundreds of
Indians. Dead bodies were
scattered throughout the villas
and near the roads. These
droughts had a devastating effect on the economy of the region. Without
crops to use as trade goods the Spanish economy suffered. It
would take years for the economy based on trade to be re-established. It
only improved following the Spanish reconquest of Nuevo
already angry, desperate Indian population was about to reach its
limits. The Indians blamed
the missionaries because the Pueblo’s
couldn’t perform their rainmaking ceremonies. The
pueblos desperate from hunger,
illness, and helplessness began to think of revenge.
1675 C.E., the religious
persecution of forty-seven medicine men caused additional stress. Among
these medicine men, the Españoles
hanged three, one hung himself, and forty-three were flogged and
warriors from the North entered the apartment of Gobernador
Juan Francisco Trevio demanding the release of the medicine men. The
Gobernador consented to their
demands because his army was away chasing the Apache.
had taken over seventy-five years, but the Pueblo
communities had finally united. The
medicine man, Popé, realized
that the Españoles were
vulnerable and that the seeds for a violent revolt were being developed.
Five years later, Popé would lead the revolt.
the mass whipping the various leaders of the Pueblos had no one true leader. This was due to the fact that the Pueblo
communities discouraged individuals from demonstrating leadership
skills. Therefore, no
individual leader arose. The
whipping of the medicine men from all pueblos
changed this fact. Popé
of the San Juan Pueblo was
also flogged. Angered, he
gained the alliance of the other dissatisfied Pueblos
and the support of neighboring Apache
tribes. Continuing abuse and
persecution of the Pueblo
Indians fueled the rebellion until it occurred.
Church did what it could. In
1676 C.E., Father Francisco de Ayeta petitioned the Virrey to send more soldiers to the area. As
a result, fifty armed convicts were sent as soldiers to Nuevo
Méjico. He also
petitioned for a fort to be built, but the Virrey
referred the matter to the king. The
friar was also in charge of supplying the missions with provisions from La
Nueva España. In 1680
C.E., on a return trip to Nuevo
Méjico with supplies needed by the missions and Santa
Fé, he heard the reports of the Pueblo's
Pueblo Revolt of 1680 C.E. figures largely in the history of Nuevo Méjico. It
transformed the long-held view that Native-Americans could be controlled
and marginalized by the Españoles.
Over eighty years of Spanish rule, the Pueblo
Indian population of Nuevo Méjico
was undergoing rapid acculturation. Native
religious, political, and economic institutions underwent great change. As
others in the Empire, the native peoples or Pueblo
Indians under Spanish rule were required to pay tribute and work for
both secular and religious officials. They
were also asked to deny their religious beliefs and accept Christianity.
These requirements caused
increasing resentment among the Indians.
there were other factors that exacerbated the situation. The
surrounding Navajo and Apache tribes
raided the Pueblos subjecting
them to constant theft, injury and death. The
Españoles did their best to
defeat these Native-Americans. However,
they were extremely effective warriors. Famine,
brought on by drought worsened the situation. Non-native diseases also
took their toll.
in 1675 C.E., Gobernador Trevino ordered three Pueblo medicine men to be executed and others severely punished,
these actions became a rallying point for Indian anger and frustration. The
Indian leader Popé, one of those cruelly treated by Españoles, forged a secret alliance of all the pueblos. On an appointed
day, Indian warriors attacked all Spanish missions and towns, killing 21
priests and 400 pobladores. Then
the Capital, Santa Fé, was besieged. Gobernador
Otermin barely escaped with a band of pobladores,
while the Teniente-Gobernador
of Río Abajo fled south along the Camino
Real with many pobladores.
The two groups of
beleaguered and ill-prepared refugees met at Fray
Cristóbal and were given desperately needed supplies by a relief
column coming north. Continuing
southward, the twenty-four hundred Españoles
and Indian allies finally came to exhausted rest at La
Salineta. From there,
the group moved to El Paso,
where three new towns were established downriver from the Church of Our
Lady of Guadalupe. This defeat
of the Españoles by the local
Indians would begin a twelve-year period of exile.
family names listed below are part of the officially recognized
colonizing expeditions by the Corona
española, as listed in the original records of the journeys. During
the Spanish Period (1598 C.E.-1821 C.E.) there were five waves of colonization. Though
others traveled El Camino, their names are not listed since no records were kept. The
surnames and rich cultural heritage brought to Nuevo
Méjico by these travelers of El
Camino Real have survived more than 400 years, and can still be
found in the lineages of people of Hispanic origin in present day Nuevo
I have taken an opportunity to include other related family names of all
five waves of pobladores and
soldiers who entered Nuevo Méjico
during the Spanish period. Among
my family lines from all five waves of Spanish entry to Nuevo Méjico
are names such as Abendaño,
Archuleta, Baca, Barrios, Bernal,
Bustillo, Cáceres, Cadimo,
Losada, Lucero, Madrid,
Río, Robledo, Rodríguez,
of my lines the Varelas were
original pobladores with this group.
Later, my Ceballos (Ceballes) line intermarried with several of these families.
Abendaño By 1632 C.E. Ciudad
Rodrigo, Castilla, León, España Married into López
Cristóbal Baca Méjico City, NE Married Aoña
Ana Oritz y Pacheco
1617 C.E. Portugal Greigo-Bernal families
Pérez de Bustillo Méjico City, NE
Bustos / Paz Bustillos
Méjico City, NE
Ruíz Cáceres Isle of La Palma, Islas
Cadimo Salaícez de los Gallegos, Galicia,
Carvajal Victoria, Ayotepe,
Gómes Durán y Chávez Valverde de la
Extremadura Married Isabel de
Otero (branch of the Durán y Chávez/
family) 1759 C.E. de
la Peña 1783 C.E. Méjico City, NE
Cruz Barcelona, Cataluña
Cruz Sombrerete, NG
Luís Potosí, NE
Alvaro García Holgado
Unknown Married Juana de los
García de Noriega 1660
C.E. Zacatecas, NG
García Jurado Méjico City, NE
de la Riva Méjico City, NE
García de la Mora 1735 C.E. Villa de Pozuelo de
Godoy 1616 C.E. Méjico
González Lobón/González Bas Married into
Jaramillo Negrete Méjico City, NE
Gutiérrez García 1755 C.E. Aragón, España
Herrera Méjico City, NE, Married Ana
Cartaya, Andalucía, España
Holguín/Olguín y Villasana Fuente de Ovejuna, Extremadura, España Married to Catalina de Villanueva
López de Ocanto Méjico City, NE
López 1680 C.E.
López de Castillo 1628
C.E. Married into Archuleta and
López de García 1638
López Sombrano 1642 C.E. San Miguel, Culiacán,
López Gallardo Soldier Querétaro,
Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Andalucía, España
Márquez de Ayala Celaya, NE
Martín Serrano/Martínez Zacatecas, NG
de Monroy Méjico City, NE
Bartolemé de Montoya
Cantillana, Sevilla, España
Married to Doña María de
Morán Mora del Toro, España
Naranjo 1600 C.E.-1643 C.E.
Pérez de Bustillo Méjico City, NE
Pérez Granillo 1617 C.E. NG
C.E. Gaspar Pérez de Villagrá
(1555 C.E.-1620 C.E.) was born
in Puebla de Los Ángeles, Nueva España
Ramírez de Salazar 1626 C.E.
Ramírez Zacatecas, NG
Rivera/de Ribera served
with de Oñate.
It was Pedro de Rivera, Native
of the city of Zacatecas, of
medium stature, scanty black beard, 19 years of age. He
was the son of Francisco Miguel de
Rivera, with complete armor for himself and horse.
Robledo Maqueda, Castilla, La Mancha,
Rodríguez 1642 C.E. (surname passed on
to Nuevo Méjico families that came later)
Rodríguez Santa María la Real
Castilla, León, España
Rodríguez Military Drummer Guinea, Africa. Came
to El Paso
del Norte by 1689 C.E.
Salazar Hachero 1625 C.E.
Sedillo de Salazar Sombrerete,
Romero Corral de Almaguer, Castilla,
La Mancha, España
Romero Cruz Soldier Méjico
Tapia 1607 C.E.
Torres 1619 C.E.
Varela/Varlea/Jamarillo Compostela, Galicia,
Vásquez de Lara Soldier Villa de
Wave One 1598 – Expedition Led by Juan
Wave Two 1600 – Expedition Led by Two of de Oñate’s Finest Capitánes (unidentified)
Wave Three 1693 C.E.
Wave Four 1694 C.E.-Expedition Led by Capitán
Cristóbal Velasco and Fransico
Fifth Wave 1695 C.E.-Expedition Led by Cápitan
Juan Páez Hurtado
the many years the Españoles
learned the Native-American (Pueblo
and Non-Pueblo Indians)
languages in order to communicate. The
term "Pueblo" refers
to a group of people who share a common culture that have a similar
lifestyle. These were
farmers. The Españoles grouped these peoples into one and called them "Pueblos"
which means "Townsmen”. The
main linguistic families existing in Nuevo
Méjico were the Keresan, Zunian, Shoshonean, and Tanoan.
The Native-Americans learned
Spanish, but continued the use of their native languages.
Native-Americans had well-established societies, indigenous religious
practices, and a strong community life. Doubtless, the Españoles negatively impacted their society and cultures with the
introduction of European culture, religion, and the disruption of the
community norms. The Pueblos had no single leader. Dual
chieftainship meant that there were two chiefs with equal authority. The
Tewa had a chief for the
summer and one for the winter season.
Pueblo leadership would
also be changed by the Españoles.
"kiva" is the Pueblo
Indians’ ceremonial chamber which also served as lodging for visitors.
The Spanish priests were suspicious of the use of the Kiva, as they felt this led to worship of other gods.
Pueblo Indians at the time of
the first European contact was a well established Pueblo culture population between 40,000 to 50,000. Disease
would decimate this large population as would the change to farming and
ranching methods and locations.
a few of the original buildings are left including the one at Taos,
but the people are still referred to as "Pueblos.”
These walled habitations
made of adobe were large and complex.
However, with the changes to Pueblo
society, relocations, and other factors the old buildings were not
agriculture and animal domestication at the time of the Spanish’s
first arrival in Nuevo Méjico,
included domesticated dogs and turkeys maintained by the Pueblo
Indians. This would change
with the introduction of the Viejo
Mundo livestock such as cows, pigs, and sheep.
might say that the clash of two cultures was inevitable. Although
most historical accounts of pre-Pueblo
Revolt Nuevo Méjico were negative, Franciscans Gerónimo Zárate Salmerón and Alonso
de Benevides wrote optimistically concerning the area. Also,
in the story of María de Jesús de Ágreda,
or the Woman in Blue, events of the time are portrayed as better than
some of the negative descriptions which were written about the same
next villa to be founded after
Santa Fé was “La Villa Nueva de Santa Cruz de la Cañada de Españoles-Mexicanos del
Rey Nuestro Señor Carlos Segundo” in 1695
C.E. The expansion by Españoles
into new villas would continue with mixed results.
With the arrival of that fifth wave of Españoles in 1695 C.E., the expedition
led by Cápitan Juan Páez Hurtado
brings to a close this chapter. Nuevo Méjico was by then almost one
hundred years old and the Españoles
were there to stay. The Padres
had built their missions and Catholicism reigned supreme. The
soldados and their presidios
had become institutions of safety, security, and protection across the
pobladores had their Villas
situated along the banks of rivers, streams, tributaries providing the
water that would give the region life by aiding in the growth of crops
and animals necessary to feed the populations of Natives and Españoles. The ranchos
and haciendas dotted the landscape. The
Natives were by then a part of Nuevo
With the Pueblo
Revolt behind them, the Españoles, and in particular my de Riberas, looked forward to prosperous new life under the bright,
plentiful sun of Nuevo
11/24/2015 09:43 AM