Spanish Exploration continues in the Territories

The military post established by Melchior Diaz in the Sonora Valley, at or near the Corazones (Ures), having been captured and destroyed by the Indians before Coronado ‘s return, the limits of New Spain remained the same as before his expedition, Culiacan being its farthest northern limit. The discovery of the rich silver mines of Zacatecas was made about the year 1542, which gave an impetus to mining in every part of New Spain, owing to which there was no further attempt made to explore the country discovered by Coronado for forty years, or until about 1580, when Antonio de Espejo organized an expedition at his own expense to search for three Franciscan fathers who were supposed to have been killed by the Indians. Accompanying this expedition was Fra Beltran. It is more than probable that Espejo, in making this expedition, was not entirely controlled by a desire to be of service to his church. He was a miner who had acquired great wealth in that vocation, and, like all prospectors, was ever ready to embark upon new enterprises which promised a reasonable return.

Espejo was a native of Cordova, Spain, and a resident of the city of Mexico. He was at Santa Barbara when he organized this expedition, and, with fourteen men, he penetrated the wilds of New Mexico, going through the Zuni villages and from thence to the Moqui villages, an account of which is contained in Bell’s “New Tracks in North America,” which seems to have been copied by Bancroft, and is as follows:

“Twenty four leagues westward from Acoma, they arrived at Zuni, by the Spaniards called Cibola, containing great numbers of Indians. Here were three Christian Indians, left by Coronado in 1540. They informed Espejo that ‘three score days’ journey from this place there was a mighty lake, upon the banks whereof stood many great and good towns, and that the inhabitants of the same had plenty of gold, as shown by their wearing golden bracelets and earrings.’ They said that Coronado intended to have gone there, but having travelled twelve days’ journey, he began to want water, and returned. Espejo, desirous of seeing this rich country, departed from Cibola, and having travelled twenty-eight leagues west, found another great province of about fifty thousand souls. As they approached a town called Zaguato, the multitude, with their caciques, met them with great joy, and poured maize upon the ground for the horses to walk upon, and they presented the captain with forty thousand mantles of cotton, white and colored, and many hard towels with tassels at the four corners, and rich metals which seemed to contain much silver. Thence traveling due west forty-five leagues, they found mines, of which they had been informed, and took out with their own hands rich metals containing silver. The mines, which were on a broad vein, were in a mountain easily ascended by an open way to the same. In the vicinity of the mines, there were numerous Indian pueblos. Hereabout they found two rivers (probably the Colorado Chiquito and Rio Verde) of a reasonable bigness, upon the banks whereof grew many vines, bearing excellent grapes, and great groves of walnut trees, and much flax, like that of Castile. Captain Espejo then returned to Zuni.”

I may be permitted to remark that the Moquis, having increased from a population of 4,000 at the time of Coronado’s expedition in 1511, to 50,000 in 1581, was apparently an extremely prolific race, hardly excelled by the record made by the Jews during their Egyptian captivity.

The mines which Espejo discovered are supposed to have been somewhere near the base of the San Francisco mountains and not far from the present city of Prescott.

Espejo returned to New Spain in 1583, and undoubtedly his report of the country through which he passed gave rise to the expedition of Juan de Oñate.

Juan de Oñate, the colonizer of New Mexico, was born in Zacatecas, Mexico, of a wealthy family, who owned at Zacatecas, some of the richest mines in the world. His father was a conquistador, Don Christobal. Don Juan married Dona Isabel, daughter of Juan de Tolosa, a granddaughter of Cortes, and great granddaughter of Montezuma. Of his explorations Lummis, in his “Spanish Pioneers,” gives the following account:

“Despite the ‘golden spoon in his mouth,’ Oñate desired to be an explorer. The Crown refused to provide for further expeditions into the disappointing north; and about 1595, Onate made a contract with the viceroy of New Spain to colonize New Mexico at his own expense. He made all preparations and fitted out his costly expedition. Just then a new viceroy was appointed, who kept him waiting in Mexico with all his men for over two years, ere the necessary permission was given him to start. At last, early in 1597, he set out with his expedition, which had cost him the equivalent of a million dollars, before it stirred a step. He took with him four hundred colonists, including two hundred soldiers, with women and children, and herds of sheep and cattle. Taking formal possession of New Mexico, May 30, 1598, he moved up the Rio Grande to where the hamlet of Chamita now is (north of Santa Fe), and there founded in September of that year, San Gabriel de los Españoles (St. Gabriel of the Spaniards), the second town in the United States.

Oñate was remarkable not only for his success in colonizing a country so forbidding as this then was, but also as an explorer. He ransacked all the country round about, travelled to Acoma and put down a revolt of the Indians and, in 1600, made an expedition into Nebraska.

In 1604, with thirty men, he marched from San Gabriel across that grim desert to the Gulf of California, and returned to San Gabriel in April, 1605. By that time the English had penetrated no farther into the interior of America than forty or fifty miles from the Atlantic coast.

In 1605 Oñate founded Santa Fe, the City of the Holy Faith of St. Francis, about whose age a great many foolish fables have been written. The city actually celebrated the three hundred and thirty-third anniversary of its founding twenty years before it was three centuries old.

In 1606 Oñate made another expedition to the far northeast, about which expedition we know almost nothing; and in 1608, he was superseded by Pedro de Peralta, the second governor of New Mexico.

Oñate was of middle age when he made this very striking record. Born on the frontier, used to the deserts, endowed with great tenacity, coolness and knowledge of frontier warfare, he was the very man to succeed in planting the first considerable colonies in the United States at their most dangerous and difficult points.”

The following account is condensed from Bancroft, and taken from all accessible authorities, mainly from a book published in 1610, and from documents obtained in modern times from the Spanish archives, and, as Bancroft says: “Now utilized practically for the first time in writing the history of New Mexico.”

From this account it appears that Oñate was not the unselfish hero that Lummis describes, but was not without selfish motives in his patriotic desire to colonize and conquer the territory which had heretofore been explored by Coronado and Espejo, and to extend the dominion of the church.

According to Gregg’s resume of the memorial made by Oñate to the Crown, Oñate offered to raise 200 men, and to supply at his own expense livestock, implements, merchandise, and one year’s provisions for the colony. In return he asked for himself the titles of governor, etc., for five lives; 30 leagues of land with all the vassals thereon; a salary of 8,000 ducats annually, and exemption from the crown tax for working mines; for his family hereditary nobility and liberal encomiendas; for his army, arms and ammunition; for his officers, repartimientos of native laborers for his colony, a loan of 20,000 pesos from the royal treasury, and for the spiritual wellbeing of all, 6 friars and the fitting church accoutrements. He also asked for instructions respecting the forcible conversion of gentiles and the collection of tribute. Gregg does not indicate what demands were granted or declined in the marginal note, nor is it apparent whether this was the original arrangement, or the final one, as modified by a new viceroy. It is stated in the N. Mex. Mem. 1889, that Velasco accepted the offer by indorsing the several articles of the petition in marginal notes. Villagra (the poet-historian of the expedition), says that Oñate got 4,000 dollars in money; Torquemada and Calle add also 6,000 dollars as a loan. (Marginal note, Bancroft’s ”Arizona and New Mexico,” pp. 1167). Concerning which Bancroft says: “Oñate’s petition and contract are not extant; but the former with marginal notes of approval and dissent was seen by Gregg at Santa Fe; and his brief resume, confirmed by incidental allusions in other documents, shows that the contract did not differ materially from the earlier ones that have been described. The empresario agreed to raise a force of 200 men or more at his own expense; but seems to have been furnished by the king with a considerable quantity of arms and ammunition, and even a sum of money, being also authorized to confiscate the property of Bonilla and other adventurers (who had preceded him into New Mexico without the authority of the Crown) if he could catch them. He was made governor, adelantado, and captain-general of the territories to be colonized; and his somewhat extravagant claims for honors, titles, lands and other emoluments, were freely granted by Velasco so far as the royal instructions would permit.”

This was about the year 1595. The contract signed, Don Juan secured the support of the highest officials and most influential men of Mexico, Nueva Galicia and Nueva Vizcaya and invoked the aid of his four brothers and his four nephews, the Zaldivars, with other active friends, and began to recruit an army, by no means a long and difficult task. Captain Vicente Zaldivar was made sargento mayor, and unfurled his enlistment banner in the grand plaza of Mexico with a salute of artillery. The scenes of ’30 and ’40 under Guzman and Coronado were repeated; recruits came from all directions, attracted by the favorable terms offered and the hope of wealth and fame in the north. The ranks were soon full. Success was assured, and preparations were made for an early departure when a change of viceroys occurred, the Count of Monterey succeeding Velasco. Oñate ‘s brilliant prospects and the unusual powers granted him created jealousy; his foes and rivals at once banding together, had more influence over the new viceroy than over the old one. Before he reached the capital, Monterey asked for a delay, but after Velasco had explained the matter by letter, consented to a completion of the arrangements. Arriving and taking possession of his office on November 5th, Monterey proceeded leisurely to investigate the adelantado’s fitness for his position and the truth of certain charges made against him. The exact nature of the charges is not explained, but soon everyone not interested in the enterprise itself, seems to have had something to say against Don Juan. The leader of the opposition, Pedro Ponce de Leon, wishing to undertake the conquista, wrote the king on December 20th, asking that ratification of Oñate’s project be delayed until new information was obtained. The poet’s narrative of these and similar complications, says Bancroft, is confirmed by documents from the Spanish archives.

Eventually the viceroy approved his predecessor’s contract with certain modifications, insisting particularly that Oñate should not, as he demanded, be independent of the audiencia in the administration of justice, or of the viceroy in war and finance, which seems to have been a proper curtailment of his powers, for had the demands of Oñate been complied with, he would have been an absolute despot in the country over which he was appointed to rule.

Preparations were now actively renewed for the march, but when the modifications alluded to became known to some members of the colony, whose privileges were more or less curtailed, a new storm of complaints gathered, of which Oñate ‘s foes did not fail to take advantage. To escape these, he made haste to begin his march northward. ”In June, 1596, Lope de Ulloa y Lemos was commissioned by Monterey to make a visita general, or inspection and inventory. Ulloa was also instructed to remove the army from the settlements on account of certain complaints of disorderly conduct, and he began his inspection in July, appointing Francisco de Esquivel as assistant or comisario,” which caused a delay, but the viceroy had sent a friendly letter, assuring the governor that the visita was a mere formality, and soon the force moved on, a part to the Caxco, or Taxco, mines in Durango, and the rest still farther to the San Bartolome Valley.

A year had now passed since the contract was signed and the colony had been considerably reduced during the delay. A courier was daily expected with orders to march, and at last he came on the 9th of September, with a sealed packet for Ulloa, which the general and his army thought was an order to advance. Their disappointment can well be imagined when the packet was found to be, instead of an order to march, a royal order directing the suspension of the entrada until the receipt of further instructions, which was caused by the viceroy’s letter of the past December and the negotiations with Ponce de Leon. Enclosed was the viceroy’s letter of August 12th to Ulloa, instructing that officer to make known the king’s will, and to order Oñate, under the severest penalty, including the revocation of all past concessions, to make no further advance. In October came a repetition of this order. The governor promised to obey, although his expenses for the expedition, thus far, had been 500,000 ducats. Concealing the bad news from his army, he joined in their festivities, having no thought of giving up his enterprise. His friend Juan Guerra, came to his assistance, and generously offered to bear a portion of the heavy expense entailed by this new delay, which was destined to last over a year. It was, unquestionably, a preconcerted plan of his enemies, by delays and unusual obstructions to cause the forfeiture of his contract. One visita followed another, and to protests against the delay on the part of Onate and bis friends, the viceroy always replied that he could not act without royal orders. Concerning this delay and its causes, Bancroft says:

”The adelantado’s foes wished of course to break up the expedition altogether, and at times such was the policy of the government as well, but at other times there seemed to be a desire to keep the force together until Ponce de Leon or some other royally favored individual could be in some way given the command. Padre Duran became discouraged and left the company with most of his friars in spite of all remonstrances. But amid all troubles, Oñate, if we may credit his somewhat partial biographer (Villagra, the poet), stood firm as a rock, sustained by his friends, and by the influence of Dona Eufemia, the beautiful wife of Alferez Penaloza, who publicly harangued the men, urging them to imitate the fortitude of their leader. Some were mutinous, and bent on going to New Mexico in spite of the king’s prohibition; but cutting off the head of their leader checked the ardor of this party.”

In 1597, came orders to get ready to start and to submit to the final visita. In September, Juan Frias de Salazar was commissioned as visitador, Esquivel retaining his position as comisario, and in December, when the army was reunited at the Santa Barbara mines, the final inspection began.

Here let me remark that there seems to have been as much politics in New Spain at this time as there was in Arizona at any time during her territorial vassalage, which, as we proceed, will be found to be “going some.” Every viceroy appointed was surrounded by a clique of enemies, endeavoring at all times to accomplish his overthrow; the same with the governors. This may account for the fact that the viceroy instructed Salazar, secretly, to deal as leniently as possible with Oñate, disregarding small deficiencies, for the records show there was a deficiency in both supplies and men, of the latter only 130 remaining. To cover this deficiency, it was decided that the viceroy should raise 80 men at Oñate’s expense, Juan Guerra and his wife. Ana de Mendoza, becoming sureties, and about this number were indeed sent north the next year.

The final inspection was concluded on the 20th of January, 1598, and the army started northward six days later, and on the 30th reached the Conchos. They remained in camp on the Conchos for a week, getting rid of the visitador, who is said to have departed without bidding the colonists goodbye, and also having to part with Padre Marquez, their confessor. Arrangements having been made for a new band of 10 Franciscans, these friars, under Padre Alonzo Martinez, as comisario, came north with Captain Farfan and his party, who had escorted Padre Marquez on his return, and joined the army soon after the start.

It would seem that Oñate was somewhat of a nepotist, his relatives occupying the principal positions in the command. Don Christobal de Oñate, son of Don Juan, a youth of ten years, accompanied the expedition as teniente de gobernador y Capitan-General; Juan de Zaldivar was master of the camp, and Don Vicente, his brother, was sargento mayor. There were 83 wagons in the train, and 7,000 head of cattle.

From the Conchos, Oñate proceeded north to the Rio Bravo. Two exploring parties were sent out in advance to find a way for the wagons. The progress of the wagons was naturally slow, but there were no adventures or calamities. This was the first exploration of northern Chihuahua. On the 20th of April, the expedition reached the Rio Grande, and on the last day of the month, a few leagues up the river on the western bank, Onate, with all the complicated and curious ceremonies deemed essential in such cases, took formal possession for God, the King and himself, of New Mexico and all the adjoining provinces. These ceremonies were accompanied with imposing religious ceremonies, including mass in a chapel built for the occasion, and a sermon by the padre comisario. On the 4th of May, 1598, 25 miles above the point where they first reached the Rio Grande, the Spaniards were shown by the natives a ford, which the army crossed to the eastern bank. Bancroft says:

”I have no doubt that this ‘ford of the river of the north’ was the original El Paso del Norte, a name that has been retained ever since for the locality where the river leaves the territory which is now New Mexico.”

From the 5th to the 20th, the army marched slowly up the river on the eastern side for fifteen and a half leagues, where Captain Aguilar joined them upon his return from an advance exploration, having reached the first pueblos and entered one against the orders of his chief, who pardoned him at the intercession of his men. Fearing the natives might run away with all their food supplies, Oñate with the Zaldivars, Villagra, padres Salazar and Martinez, and fifty men, started on the 22d, and after journeying about 25 leagues in six days, reached the first group of the pueblos, the southernmost group, which is now named Socorro, occupying three pueblos of which the names of only two are given, to wit: Teipana and Qualacu. The natives extended a welcome to Oñate and his troop, and furnished them with supplies of maize, which desirable ”socorro” was sent back to the main camp. It was the middle of June when Onate and his advance party left what may be regarded as the first group of towns.

The next advance was seven leagues up the river to a small pueblo called Nueva Seville, where they remained a week, while the Zaldivars were exploring the Abo pueblos. The Abo pueblo ruins are located about latitude 34° 30″, twenty-five or thirty miles east of the river. Seville was not far from the junction of the Rio Puercos, according to Bancroft.

On the 22d of June, they advanced four leagues to an abandoned pueblo, which they named San Juan Bautista. Here the general heard of two Mexican Indians left by Castaño, and started northward on the 25th in search of them, reaching Puruai, named San Antonio, in a journey of 16 leagues, where the friars were lodged in a newly painted room. In the morning, they beheld on the walls lifelike portraits of the murdered priests, Rodriguez and Lopez, murdered seventeen years before. The two Mexicans, Tomas and Cristobal, were brought in from another pueblo, and were thereafter used as interpreters by the Spaniards.

Before the end of June, they visited other pueblos and established their headquarters at Guipui, or Santo Domingo. On the 7th of July, seven Indian chiefs, representing thirty-four pueblos, visited the Spaniards at Santo Domingo, acknowledging the supremacy of their new masters, temporal and spiritual. Tomas and Cristobal acted as interpreters and explained minutely “the material prosperity and eternal happiness that must result from being ‘good,’ and submitting cheerfully to Felipe II, and God, as contrasted with present disaster and future damnation, inseparably connected with refusal; and the chiefs, disposed to be friendly or fearing the strangers’ guns and horses, even if they had some lingering doubts respecting the political and doctrinal theories presented, humbly kneeled and swore the required allegiance, as was duly recorded in a ponderous document.”

On July 9th, the army left the pueblo, and two days later reached San Juan, identical, or nearly so, with the pueblo still bearing that name, near the junction of the Rio Grande and the Rio Chama, just above latitude 36°, where, from the courtesy extended by the natives, the town was called San Juan de los Caballeros, and was, for several years, the Spanish capital, or center of operations. The name San Gabriel was applied by the friars to their establishment here, or, more probably, to another pueblo not far distant. It is not my intention to give the entire route of Oñate through New Mexico, but suffice it to say that upon Oñate’s return from another exploration through the different pueblos, on the 11th of August, work was begun on the ditches required to bring water for the city of San Francisco, “which it was determined to found, some 150O Indians assembling to aid in the labor.” It is believed that the city was at or near the immediate vicinity of San Juan, and not at Santa Fe, where the city was really built in later years. Bancroft also says: “I find not the slightest reason to date the founding of Santa Fe from 1598.” The last of the colonists arrived at San Juan de los Caballeros on the 18th of August.

From August 23d to September 7th, a church was built, which was dedicated on the 8th with great ceremonies, terminating with a sham battle between Christians and Moors, which is probably the first church ever erected in New Mexico. Here, at a general meeting of the native chiefs, including not only those who had before submitted, and who came to renew their formal submission, but many others, after a full explanation of the system by which the Almighty was represented in New Mexico, en lo temporal through the king by Oñate, and en lo spiritual through the pope by the padre comisario, “They also expressed the joy with which they would receive the friars at their pueblos as spiritual teachers and masters, after listening to the cheering assurance that if they refused or disobeyed the padres, they would all be burned alive, besides burning later in hell.” Villagra, however, says that while they submitted cheerfully to the king, they told the padre comisario that so far as the new faith was concerned, they had no objection to adopting it, if, after proper instructions, they found it desirable. Thereupon Padre Martinez proceeded to apportion the pueblos among his colaborers.

The number of pueblos represented was reported to be about 170, which Bancroft thinks was greatly exaggerated. After the general assembly and its attendant festivities, Vicente Zaldivar was sent with fifty men to explore the buffalo plains east, about which we are not, at present, concerned.

On the 23d of October, the general started from Puarai on a western tour, accompanied by Padre Martinez, and four days later received the obediencia of Acoma. The formal submission of the pueblo having been received, Oñate continued his march to Zuni and to Mohoqui, where formal submissions were rendered by the native chieftains on the 9th and 15th of November.

Of Oñate’s western exploration in what is now Arizona, we know little. He was everywhere hospitably entertained by the natives with great hunts to furnish diversion and game for their guests. A party under Captains Farfan and Quesada was sent out from Moqui in search of mines, which were found in a well watered country some thirty leagues westward, probably in the region previously explored by Espejo. They found salt deposits, and, according to Villagra, pearl oyster shells, which caused the belief that the coast was not far distant. The general had intended to reach the ocean on this tour, and had sent orders to Juan Zaldivar to turn over the command at San Juan to his brother, Vicente, as soon as the latter should arrive from the plains, and to join the general in the west with thirty men. Don Vicente returned from the plains on the 8th of November, and on the 18th Don Juan set out as ordered to join Oñate.

Through the efforts of Zutucapan, a patriotic chieftain at Acoma, a conspiracy was formed to test the invulnerability of the Spaniards by attacking them on their arrival, having first taken the precaution to scatter them where they would fall an easy prey. This was the condition of affairs at Acoma when Zaldivar and his companions approached the peñol. The natives met them with gifts and every demonstration of friendly feeling. They offered all the supplies that were needed, and next day the soldiers, not suspecting treachery, were sent in small parties to bring in the provisions from different parts of the pueblo. A loud shout from the Indians gave the first warning to the master of the camp of his peril. He wished to order a retreat, and thus, in his leader’s absence, avoid the responsibility of open war, but another officer, whose name is not mentioned, but who was severely blamed by Villagra and accused of subsequent cowardice, opposed him until it was too late and retreat was impossible.

A desperate hand to hand fight of three hours ensued, in which Zaldivar fell under the clubs of Zutucapan; the natives set up a cry of victory; five surviving Spaniards fled to the edge of the mesa and leaped down the cliff; four of them reached the plain alive. Three others had escaped from the peñol, and all joined Alferez Casas, who was guarding the horses. Captain Tabora was sent to overtake Oñate; others went to warn the padres at their different stations, while the rest bore the sad tidings back to San Juan. Solemn funeral rites for the dead were hardly completed when Tabora returned, with news that he could not find the Governor. Thereupon Alferez Casas and three companions, volunteered for the service, and, after many difficulties, met Oñate near Acoma. With the least possible delay, he called together the several bands of explorers, and marched his army carefully back to San Juan, where he arrived safely on December 21st.

“Formal proceedings were now instituted before Juan Gutierrez Bocanegra, appointed alcalde for the occasion, against the rebels, and after the friars had given a written opinion respecting the elements of a just war and the rights of victors over a vanquished people, it was decided that Captain Vicente de Zaldivar be sent against Acoma; that the inhabitants of the town must be forced to give up the arms of the murdered soldiers, to leave their peñol, and to settle on the plains; that the fortress must be burned, and that all who might resist must be captured and enslaved. Seventy brave men were selected for the service under officers including Captains Zubia, Romero, Aguilar, Far fan, Villagra and Marquez, Alferez Juan Cortez, and Juan Velarde as secretary. This army started on the 12th of January, 1599, and on the 21st arrived at Acoma, Villagra with twelve men, visiting Cia on the way for supplies.

“At Acoma, the followers of Zutucapan were exultant, and succeeded in creating a popular belief that their past victory was but the prelude to a greater success which was to annihilate the invaders and free the whole country. Gicombo, a prominent chieftain, who had neither taken part in nor approved the first attack, and had many misgivings for the future, called a general assembly of chiefs, to which were invited certain leaders not belonging to Acoma. It seems to have been tacitly understood that after what had happened, war could not be averted, and all were ready for the struggle, but Gicombo, Zutancalpo, and Chumpo urged the necessity of removing women and children, and of other extraordinary precautions. Zutucapan and his party, however, ridiculed all fears, and boastingly proclaimed their ability to hold the peñol against the armies of the universe. When Zaldivar drew near, crowds of men and women were seen upon the walls dancing stark naked in an orgy of defiance and insult.”

When Zaldivar arrived, he sent a summons through Tomas, the interpreter, to the rulers of Acoma, to come down and answer for the murder they had committed. Upon their refusal, the Spaniards pitched their tents on the plain and prepared for an assault. For two or three days the battle raged, and on the last day of the battle, the buildings of the pueblo were in flames, and hundreds killed each other in their desperation, or threw themselves down the cliff and perished, rather than yield. On the 24th of September, the Spaniards gained full possession of the pueblo, which they destroyed, and, at the same time, slaughtered the inhabitants as a punishment for their sin of rebellion, although a remnant of six thousand, under the venerable Chumpo, according to Villagra, were permitted to surrender and settle on the plains.

Thus was the pride of this valiant pueblo broken forever, for evidently it seemed hopeless for other New Mexican communities to attempt a revolution in which this cliff town with all its natural advantages, had failed to accomplish. From the fall of Acoma in 1599, to the general revolt of 1680, the record is lost, the data having been destroyed in the revolt.

On the 2d of March, 1599, the governor wrote to the viceroy an outline of what he had accomplished, and described the land he had conquered, sending samples of its products. The western region, since known as Arizona, was highly praised by him as a land of great fertility and mineral promise. At the same time he asked for an increase of force with which to win for Spain the rich realms that must lie just beyond. So far as New Mexico was concerned, his letter was intended to influence the viceroy and the king, it being evident that success was dependent upon increased resources. In response to a letter from the viceroy, the king, by a cedula, dated May 31st, 1600, ordered him to give all possible support and encouragement to the New Mexico enterprise. .While it is possible the reinforcements were sent, yet there is no positive evidence to that effect.

After the lesson taught at Acoma, Onate, in his capitol at San Juan, was left in undisputed possession of New Mexico, but internal troubles among the soldiers, the colonists and the religios, gave much trouble to him. With this, however, we are not particularly concerned, as it does not properly relate to Arizona.

After these troubles had been adjusted by appeal to the viceroy and the king, having most of his 200 men reunited at San Juan, with possibly a small reinforcement brought by Zaldivar, the governor started, on October 7th, 1604, on a western expedition, in which he was accompanied by Padres Escobar and San Buenaventura, the former the new comisario. He visited the Zuni province “more thickly settled by hares and rabbits than by Indians,” from which the explorers went to the five Moqui towns with their 450 houses and people clad in cotton. Ten leagues to the westward, they crossed a river flowing from the southeast to the northwest, the Colorado Chiquito, called Colorado from the color of its water, which, no doubt, gave that name to the larger river at that time known as the Rio del Tison (Firebrand River). The place of crossing was called San Jose and farther to the southwest they crossed two other rivers which were branches of the Rio Verde in the region north of Prescott, where Espejo had been twenty-three years before. The country was very attractive and its people wore little crosses hanging from the hair on the forehead and were therefore called Cruzados. The Indians informed Onate that the sea was twenty days or 100 leagues distant, and was reached by going in two days to a small river, flowing into a larger one, which, itself, flowed into the sea. The general travelled west about fifteen leagues to the Santa Maria, or Bill Williams’ Fork, which he followed to its junction with the Colorado, though they seemed to have no idea that there was any connection between the great river which they called Rio Grande de Buena Esperanza, or Good Hope, and the one they had already named Rio Colorado, but they knew it was the one which long ago had been called the Rio del Tison by Melchior Diaz.

For some distance above and below this junction lived the Mohaves. Captain Marquez went up the river for a short distance, then the whole party followed the bank south, the natives being friendly, to the mouth of the Gila, below which they followed the Colorado for twenty leagues to the Gulf of California. The country was thickly populated, being inhabited by several tribes, in manners and language very similar, the population on the eastern bank alone being placed at 20,000.

Onate reached tidewater on January 23d, 1605, and on the 25th, with the friars and nine men, he went down to the mouth of the Colorado, where he reported a fine harbor, formed by an island in the center, in which he thought a thousand ships could ride at anchor, and which he christened Puerto de la Conversion de San Pablo. The rest of the company came down to see the port, after which the explorers began their return by the same route to New Mexico. Their return was not unattended by hardships for they had to eat their horses, but they arrived safely at San Gabriel on the 25th of April.

Onate ceased to rule as governor in New Mexico in 1608, and was succeeded by Pedro de Peralta. Between 1605 and 1616, was founded the villa of Santa Fe, or San Francisco de la Santa Fe. ”The modern claim” says Bancroft, “that this is the oldest town in the United States rests entirely on its imaginary annals as an Indian pueblo before the Spanish Conquest.”


Notes About Book:

Source: History Of Arizona Volume 1, By Thomas Edwin Farish, 1915, Printed and Published by Direction of the Second Legislature of the State of Arizona, A. D.

Notes about Online Publication: This manuscript has been ocr’d and heavily edited. Many of the Native American words have been reproduced as clearly as online publication will allow us, but not all are exactly the way they were in the original work. The structure of this manuscript has been changed to allow better online presentation.

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