Espejo Expedition, 1582-1583

Discussion in 'Primary Documentation' started by Nativearizonan, Mar 11, 2016.

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  1. Mar 11, 2016 #1

    Nativearizonan

    Nativearizonan

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    I just finished reading the Expedition into New Mexico Made by Antonio De Espejo 1582-1583, as Revealed in the Journal of Diego Perez De Luxan, a Member of the Party The 1929 translation I read was by Hammond and Rey.

    This would have been just another pre-colonial expedition to the Pueblos of NM, except it includes the first account of Europeans entering the Verde Valley in the vicinity of where I live. There are a lot of interesting things to be found in it, however. The handful of Spaniards were armed with harquebuses, and the writer was a soldier rather than a priest or scribe.

    Early on, they stopped for a week along the lower Rio Grande, which they called the Rio del Norte. During this week they "all made stocks for their harquebuses from this tornillo wood (screwbean mesquite) because the wood was very suitable for it. It seems like an odd thing to do several days into a journey and far away from civilization, but they must have felt the existing stocks were not suitable in some way.

    When they arrived at the pueblos, Luxan said "they wear shoes of tanned buffalo leather and tanned deerskins after the fashion of boots". I would assume that meant high top pueblo style moccasins, and these natives had no horses and had not yet been colonized. At another pueblo he says "the dress of the men consists of some blankets, a small cloth for covering their privy parts, and other cloaks, shawls and leather shoes in the shape of boots."

    He does mention deerskin jackets at one of the pueblos, but most of the clothing was cotton, except at the Zuni Pueblos, where "the blankets which the men and women wear are of agave fiber, so well carded that it resembles flax."

    The food they were given included lots of turkeys, maize, beans, calabashes (squash), and even potatoes and "other vegetables" along with a variety of wild foods.

    A Hopi guide evidently took them to the mines at Jerome, AZ, which they were not excited about because they contained mainly copper and very little silver. They named the first creek they came to in the Verde Valley the Rio de las Parras, because of the numerous parrots they found here at the time. The translator felt this was Sycamore Creek, but I think by the description it was probably Dry Beaver Creek, which is always flowing during the spring and has a large riparian area year around. It may have flowed year around back then, as well. They camped near a stream that ran into a large cienega and found an abandoned pueblo. I think this would have been lower Oak Creek near present Cornville, which has three large ruins and a large flat area that would have been a cienega (marsh) at the time. It would have been the right distance from their next stop, which was a cienega they named San Gregorio, near the mine. This would have been either Peck's Lake, near Clarkdale, or the farmland around Cottonwood, AZ.
     
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  2. Mar 13, 2016 #2

    tenngun

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    Much overlooked time. Even in a work such as ' Men t o match my mountains" or the Explorarars or 'Euopean discovery of America" it's under reported.
     
  3. Mar 13, 2016 #3

    Nativearizonan

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    It is interesting to think about groups of matchlock armed Europeans coming through here before there was even a failed colony at Roanoke, and decades before Jamestown or Plymouth.

    The harquebuses were used a lot, mainly for ceremonies where they would fire a volley after raising a cross and claiming a village for the King. They also used them for scaring off natives that would sneak up at night and shoot arrows at the horses. The largest event which included the harquebuses was a punitive mass execution at Puala pueblo, where two priests from a previous expedition had remained and been murdered. The first time Espejo and company went through it, they had a priest with them, and the people acted friendly. The second time they came to it, the party has spilt up and the priest had gone back towards Mexico with the other group. Nine Spaniards, one of whom was wounded in a previous fight, arrived at the pueblo, found most of the people gone, and decided to burn it down when they were refused food they asked for:

    Strange indeed.
     
  4. Mar 16, 2016 #4

    tenngun

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    Guns had to seem like magic, how do you fight some one with the power of a god?
    In contrast Walkers expedition to California the Piutes accosted Walkers party. In an attempt to end the standoff peaceably Walker showed his guns to the Indians, They weren't impressed, they had never seen guns, or so Walker thought. Walker set up some beaver dollars as targets and shot them, showing the holes to the Indians, again they were not impressed and attacked Walkers men. Walker drove them off with gun fire, killing about 18 according to Walker, 500 according to Meek.
    The pueblos were impressed by the Spanish other peoples too some not so much. I wonder why.
     
  5. Mar 16, 2016 #5

    Nativearizonan

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    Maybe the Paiutes Walker met had not seen a gun, but they most likely had heard about them. The Spaniards brought them into the region over 200 years earlier, and there were some successful revolts, even by the peaceful pueblo indians during that time.

    One difference too, Walker and his men were not wearing arrow proof armor. The wounded member of Espejo's party was reportedly hit by a thick hail of arrows, from a large number of natives up a steep slope from him, but was only wounded in the cheek and the arm.

    Spanish armor played a big part in their seeming invincibility.
     
  6. Mar 16, 2016 #6

    tenngun

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    And lots of armor was shinny. Some fireblued. Spanish petite nobles, gentleman adventurers who made up the conquistadores were giants competed to the peublos. The Spanish were tall and robust, the peublos short and slim. Lots of things hard for us to get a handle on.
     
  7. Mar 22, 2016 #7

    crockett

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    Those coming up from Mexico get short changed in the history books. We Americans coming from Eastern States seldom read their accounts and I wonder whether in today's Mexico their accounts are read very much because they explored what is now the U.S.
    I haven't read too much so far but what has impressed me is the poor weapons or maybe not any weapons and facing the same hostile environment those from the Eastern U.S. later faced. Pretty gutsy bunch all in all. I like the fact some of their journals are being translated. New source of information.
     
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  8. Mar 23, 2016 #8

    tenngun

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    We create history in our own image. After TWBS new englanders wrote US history and ignored the south. I was close to 20 before I learned Jamestown came before Plymouth.
    The Spanish government was afraid of the unrestrained settlement, and encouraged villages set up one each peons, priest,petty nobles, patrones and soldiers. Dealing with complex civilizations of central Mexico Spanish settlement worked well. California was almost utopia before the Spanish came, and Spain fit in well. The wild warrior tribes of northern Mexico then the Great Plains and desard southwest stoped Spain's plans. Royalty didn't know how to respond, culturely the people didn't know how to take matters in to thier own hands, the church feared people being in a place they could take faith in to thier own hands. After two centuries of religious wars it was cautious. The battle dosnt go to the best guns but to those who used guns best.
     
  9. Apr 27, 2016 #9

    BillinOregon

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    That's a tough book to find at a reasonable price online. I will check with my library.
     
  10. Apr 30, 2016 #10

    Nativearizonan

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    I got lucky and found a like new republished 1967 copy from Arno Press in NY, for a reasonable price; and they only had the one copy at the time. The collectable first editions are really up there in price.
     
  11. Nov 22, 2018 #11

    RobRBraron

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    Parrots in the Verde Valley.....I wonder if they were native or if they were feral offspring of the Macaws that that were imported up from Central America by the traders of Pre-Columbian America.
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2018
  12. Nov 23, 2018 #12

    Nativearizonan

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    I would guess they were Thick Billed Parrots, which adapt to colder conditions and were once native to both Arizona and New Mexico:

    [​IMG]

    https://abcbirds.org/bird/thick-billed-parrot/

    I don't think Macaws from Central American can stand the cold winters in N. Central AZ, without being brought inside during the coldest periods.
     
  13. Nov 23, 2018 #13

    RobRBraron

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    That's kind of what I thought. However, I was talking to a ranger at Montezuma's Castle last summer who told me that they have found remains of Macaws and some other South/Central American species among the debris found in the litter at some of their digs. I don't think most folks realize just how extensive the pre Columbian trades were!
     
  14. Nov 23, 2018 #14

    Nativearizonan

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    There is plenty of archeological evidence for pueblo indians to have traded and raised Macaws in AZ and NM, but these pueblo cultures were all gone from the Verde Valley by the time of the Espejo Expedition.
     
  15. Nov 27, 2018 #15

    Einsiedler

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    Greetings Nativearizonan,

    You may enjoy reading Herbert Eugene Bolton’s translation of the Mendoza diary delineating his expedition to the Concho River valley of Texas from the Spanish settlement at El Paso del Norte. Circa 1680-85.
    I had a copy but I believe archaeologist son ended up with it in his library. I believe my xerox copy came out of either the Barker collection or the Castaneda collection at Univ. Of Texas. I can’t remember.

    He (Mendoza) mentions that upon entering a Jumano village in the Trans-Pecos area that the chieftan fired salutes to them with just an old harquebus barrel. Touching it off with a burning ember. Your mention of the stock making incident above prompted my memory.

    Altogether an interesting study!

    Have a great day!
     

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