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Title: Documentary History of the Rio Grande Pueblos of New Mexico; I. Bibliographic Introduction

Papers of the School of American Archaeology, No. 13

Author: Adolph Francis Alphonse Bandelier

Release Date: September 4, 2007 [eBook #22510]

Language: English

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Archaeological Institute of America



School of American


Number Thirteen

Documentary History of the Rio Grande Pueblos
of New Mexico

I. Bibliographic Introduction




p. 1



I.—Bibliographic Introduction

Seventeen years have elapsed since I was in the territory in which the events in the early history of the Rio Grande Pueblos transpired, and twenty-nine years since I first entered the field of research among those Pueblos under the auspices of the Archæological Institute of America. I am now called upon by the Institute to do for the Indians of the Rio Grande villages what I did nearly two decades ago for the Zuñi tribe, namely, to record their documentary history.

I shall follow the method employed by me in the case of the documentary history of Zuñi, by giving the events with strict adherence to documentary sources, so far as may be possible, and shall employ the correlated information of other branches only when absolutely indispensable to the elucidation of the documentary material.

The geographical features of the region to be treated are too well known to require mention. Neither can folklore and tradition, notwithstanding their decisive importance in a great many cases, be touched upon except when alluded to in the sources themselves. I am fully aware, as I stated in presenting the history of the Zuñi tribe, that a history based exclusively on documents, whether printed or written, must necessarily be imperfect because it is not impartial, since it summarizes the views of those who saw and understood but one side of the question, and judged it only from their own standpoint. This defect cannot be remedied, as it underlies the very nature of the task, and the greater therefore is the necessity of carefully studying the folklore of the Indians in order to check and complete as well as to correct the picture presented by people acquainted with the art of writing.p. 2

In this Introduction I forego the employment of quotations, reserving such for the main work. Quotations and footnotes are not, as it has been imagined, a mere display of erudition—they are a duty towards the source from which they are taken, and a duty to its author; moreover, they are a duty towards the reader, who as far as possible should be placed in a position himself to judge the value and nature of the information presented, and, finally, they are a necessary indication of the extent of the author's responsibility. If the sources are given clearly and circumstantially, yet happen to be wrong, the author is exonerated from blame for resting upon their authority, provided, as it not infrequently happens, he has no way of correcting them by means of other information.

In entering the field of documentary research the first task is to become thoroughly acquainted with the languages in which the documents are recorded. To be able to read cursorily a language in its present form is not sufficient. Spanish, for example, has changed comparatively less than German since the sixteenth century, yet there are locutions as well as words found in early documents pertaining to America that have fallen into disuse and hence are not commonly understood. Provincialisms abound, hence the history of the author and the environment in which he was reared should be taken into account, for sometimes there are phrases that are unintelligible without a knowledge of the writer's early surroundings. Translations as a rule should be consulted only with allowance, for to the best of them the Italian saying "Traduttore, tradittore" is applicable. With the greatest sincerity and honesty on the part of the translator, he is liable to an imperfect interpretation of an original text. There are of course instances when the original has disappeared and translations alone are available. Such is the case, for instance, with the Life of Columbus, written by his son Fernando and published in Italian in 1571; and the highly important report on the voyage of Cabral to Brazil in 1500, written by his pilot Vas da Cominho and others. These are known only through translations.

Words from Indian languages are subject to very faulty rendering in the older documents. In the first place, sound alone guided the writers, and Indian pronunciation is frequently indistinct in thep. 3 vowels and variable according to the individual—hence the frequent interchange in the Spanish sources of a and o, ó and u, e and i. For many sounds even the alphabets of civilized speech have not adequate phonetic signs. I may refer, as an example, to the Indian name in the Tigua language for the pueblo of Sandia. The Spanish attempt to render it by the word "Napeya" is utterly inadequate, and even by means of the complicated alphabets for writing Indian tongues I would not attempt to record the native term. In endeavoring to identify localities from names given to them in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries by European authors, this difficulty should always be taken into account. No blame can be attached to the writers for such defects; it should always be remembered that they did not know, still less understand, the idioms they heard. Still less should we be surprised if the same site is sometimes mentioned under various names. Every Pueblo language has its own geographical vocabulary, and when, as sometimes happened, several tribes met in council with the whites, the latter heard and unwittingly recorded several names for one and the same locality, thus apparently increasing the number of villages. Moreover, interpreters were not always at hand, and when they could be had both their competency and their sincerity were open to question.

It is not unusual to read in modern works that such and such a source is the reliable one par excellence, and the principal basis upon which to establish conclusions. No source, however seemingly insignificant, should be neglected. A brief mention is sometimes very important, as it may be a clue to new data, or may confirm or refute accepted information and thus lead to further investigation. Some documents, of course, are much more explicit than others, but this is no reason why the latter should be neglected. The value of a source may be subject to investigation from a number of points of view, but it is not always possible to obtain the requisite information. Thus the biographies of authors are an important requisite, but how seldom are they obtainable with the necessary detail!

The sources of the history of the Rio Grande Pueblos, both printed and in manuscript, are numerous. The manuscript documents are as yet but imperfectly known. Only that which remainedp. 4 at Santa Fé after the first period of Anglo-American occupancy—a number of church books and documents formerly scattered through the parishes of New Mexico, and a very few documents held in private hands—have been accessible within the United States. In Mexico the parish and other official documents at El Paso del Norte (Juarez) up to the beginning of the eighteenth century have been examined by me to a certain extent, and at the City of Mexico the Archivo Nacional has yielded a number of important papers, though the research has been far from exhaustive, owing to the lack of time and support. Hence much still remains to be done in that field. Some destruction of papers of an official character appears to have taken place at Mexico also, yet with the present condition of the archives there is hope that much that appears to be lost will eventually be brought to light; in any event we still have recourse to the Spanish archives, principally at Sevilla. It was the rule during Spanish colonial domination to have every document of any importance executed in triplicate, one copy to remain at the seat of local government, another to be sent to the viceregal archives, and the third to the mother country. Hence there is always a hope that, if the first two were destroyed, the third might be preserved. So, for instance, the collection of royal decrees (cedulas) is imperfect at the City of Mexico. There are lacunæ of several decades, and it is perhaps significant that the same gaps are repeated in the publication of the "Cedulas" by Aguiar and Montemayor. In regard to ecclesiastical documents the difficulty is greater still. The archives of the Franciscan Order, to which the missions on the Rio Grande were assigned almost until the middle of the nineteenth century, have become scattered; the destruction of the archives at the great Franciscan convent in the City of Mexico in 1857, though not complete, resulted in the dispersion of those which were not burned or torn, and the whereabouts of these remnants are but imperfectly known. The documentary history of the Rio Grande Pueblos, therefore, can be only tentative at present, but it is given in the hope that it will incite further activity with the view of increasing and correcting the data thus far obtained.

The report of Cabeza de Vaca, commonly designated as hisp. 5 "Naufragios," is as yet the earliest printed source known with reference to the Rio Grande Pueblos, concerning whom it imparts some vague information. The briefness and vagueness of that information calls for no adverse criticism, for Cabeza de Vaca plainly states that he writes of these people from hearsay and that his information was obtained near the mouth of the Rio Pecos in western Texas. What he afterward learned in Sonora with respect to sedentary Indians in the north is hardly connected with the Rio Grande region. The same may be the case with the information obtained by Nuño de Guzman in 1530 and alluded to by Castañeda. That Nuño de Guzman had gained some information concerning the Pueblos seems certain, but everything points to the Zuñi region as the one mentioned by his informant. The same is true of the reports of Fray Marcos de Nizza and Melchor Diaz, which clearly apply to the Zuñi Pueblos, the most easterly settlement of sedentary Indians alluded to being the Queres pueblo of Acoma. It is to the chroniclers of the expedition of Coronado, therefore, that we must look for the earliest definite information concerning the Rio Grande valley and its inhabitants.

It must be borne in mind that the expedition of Coronado was not a mere exploration. What was expected of its leader, and indeed peremptorily demanded, was a permanent settlement of the country. Coronado and his men were not to return to Mexico except in individual cases. The Viceroy Mendoza wanted to get rid of them. Whether Coronado was a party to the secret of this plan is doubtful; the indications are that he was not, whereas Fray Marcos of Nizza certainly was, and perhaps was its original promoter.

The printed sources on Coronado's march may be divided into two chronologically distinct classes, the first of which comprises documents written in New Mexico in the years from 1540 to 1543; these reflect all the advantages and disadvantages of the writings of eye-witnesses. The mere fact that one had been a participant in the events which he describes is not a guaranty of absolute reliability: his sincerity and truthfulness may be above reproach, but his field of vision is necessarily limited, and the personal element controls his impressions, even against his will, hence his statep. 6ments. These earliest sources regarding Coronado consist of the letters of Coronado himself (with the related letter of Viceroy Mendoza), and several briefer documents written in New Mexico but without indication of their authors. The last two letters written by Coronado alone touch upon the Rio Grande Pueblos—those of August 3, 1540, and October 20, 1541.

As stated above, the expedition of Coronado was not designed as a mere exploration, but rather for the purpose of establishing a permanent settlement. Coronado's second letter, the first in which he touches upon the Rio Grande Pueblos, appears to have been lost. His letter of October 20, 1541, although written near the site of the present Bernalillo, New Mexico, contains very little in regard to the Rio Grande Pueblos.

The briefer documents pertaining to Coronado's expedition, and written while the Spaniards were still in New Mexico, with the exception of one (the report of the reconnoissance made by Hernando de Alvarado, accompanied by Fray Juan de Padilla to the east) concern Zuñi almost exclusively. The document respecting Alvarado's journey is contained in the Coleccion de Documentos from the archives of the Indies, but is erroneously attributed to Hernando de Soto. The celebrated historiographer of Spain, Juan Bautista Muñoz, unacquainted with New Mexico, its geography and ethnography, criticized it rather harshly; nevertheless, the document is very reliable in its description of country and people: it alludes to features which are nowhere else noticed, and which were rediscovered by the late Frank Hamilton Cushing and myself about twenty-eight years ago. The number of villages and people in the Rio Grande region, of which the document gives a brief description, are, as usual, exaggerated; and it could hardly have been otherwise in view of a first and hasty visit, but it remains the earliest document in which Acoma and a part of the Rio Grande valley are treated from actual observation. The reconnoissance was made from August to October, 1540. It may be that one of the villages briefly described is Pecos, which lies of course some distance east of the Rio Grande, and the document is possibly the first one in which the nomadic Indians of eastern New Mexico are mentioned from actual observation.p. 7

To these sources, which have both the merits and the defects of all documents written under the impressions of first direct acquaintance with the subject, must be added the "Relacion postrera de Sivola" contained in a manuscript by father Toribio de Paredes, surnamed Motolinia, and known as the Libro de Oro, etc., which is an augmented and slightly modified version of that celebrated missionary's history of the Mexicans. It is a condensed report that had reached Mexico after Coronado had left for Quivira and before his return had become known. Its allusion to the Rio Grande Pueblos and to Pecos is not without value, although it adds little to what is contained in the sources previously mentioned. On the Indians of the Plains it is, comparatively speaking, more explicit. The general tone of the document is one of sobriety. The "Relacion del Suceso," published in the Documentos Inéditos de Indias under the erroneous date of 1531, is similar to the foregoing, but is more detailed in some respects and covers a longer period of time. It manifestly was written in New Mexico by a member of the expedition, but there is no clue as yet to the name of the author. It is a useful corollary to the other contemporary sources.

Although written more than two centuries after Coronado's march, the references to it and to New Mexico contained in the Historia de la Nueva Galicia, by the licentiate Matias de la Mota Padilla, find a place here, since the author asserts that he derived much of his information from papers left by Pedro de Tovar, one of Coronado's chief lieutenants. Mota Padilla generally confirms the data furnished by the earlier documents, and adds some additional information. It is however quite impossible to determine what he gathered directly from the writings of Tovar and what he may have obtained through other and probably posterior sources. At all events the Historia de la Nueva Galicia should never be neglected by students of the Pueblo Indians.

We now come to the two chief chroniclers of Coronado's time—both participants in his undertakings and therefore eye-witnesses: Pedro de Castañeda de Naxera and Juan Jaramillo. The fact that they were eye-witnesses establishes their high rank as authorities, but there is a difference between the two in that Castañeda was a common soldier, whereas Jaramillo (a former companion and, to ap. 8 certain extent, a friend of Cortés) was an officer. This fact alone establishes a difference in the opportunities for knowing and in the standpoint of judging what was seen, aside from the difference arising out of the character, facilities, and tendencies of the two individuals. Castañeda is much more detailed in his narration than Jaramillo. Discontent with the management and the final outcome of the enterprise is apparent in the tone of his writings, and while this may not have influenced very materially his description of the country and its people, they render more or less suspicious his statements in regard to the dealings with the aborigines. Both Castañeda and Jaramillo wrote a long time after the events had occurred, and probably from memory, hence the comparative accuracy of their descriptions is indeed remarkable. But that accuracy, however commendable, is relative rather than absolute, as both were liable to err, owing to the lapse of time and consequent failure to remember facts and events, and, especially with Castañeda, the influence of personal prejudice growing stronger with age. Jaramillo had less occasion to fall into error resulting from such weakness, but he is much less detailed than Castañeda. We might compare the two narrations by stating that that of Jaramillo embodies the reminiscences of one who stood officially on a higher plane and viewed his subject from a more general standpoint, whereas Castañeda saw more of the inferior details but was more susceptible of confounding, hence to misstate, the mass of data which his memory retained. Both reports will always remain the chief sources on the subject of which they treat, subject of course to close comparison and checking with correlated sources, archaeological, ethnological, and geographical investigation, and Indian tradition.

Before proceeding further in the discussion of the documents it must be stated that all references to distances in leagues must be taken with many allowances. According to Las Casas there were in use among the Spaniards in the sixteenth century, two kinds of leagues: the maritime league (legua maritima) and the terrestrial league (legua terrestre). The former, established by Alfonso XI in the twelfth century, consisted of four miles (millas) of four thousand paces, each pace being equal to three Castilian feet. The lengthp. 9 of the Castilian foot at that time cannot be established with absolute minuteness. The terrestrial league consisted of three thousand paces each, so that while it contained nine thousand Castilian feet, the maritime league was composed of twelve thousand. The latter was used for distances at sea and occasionally also for distances on land, therefore where an indication of the league employed is not positively given, a computation of distances with even approximate accuracy is of course impossible.

The result of Coronado's failure was so discouraging, and the reports on the country had been so unfavorable that for nearly forty years no further attempt was made to reach the North from New Spain. In fact Coronado and his achievements had become practically forgotten, and only when the southern part of the present state of Chihuahua in Mexico became the object of Spanish enterprise for mining purposes was attention again drawn to New Mexico, when the Church opened the way thither from the direction of the Atlantic slope. This naturally led the explorers first to the Rio Grande Pueblos.

The brief report of the eight companions of Francisco Sanchez Chamuscado who in 1580 accompanied the Franciscan missionaries as far as Bernalillo, the site of which was then occupied by Tigua villages, and who went thence as far as Zuñi, is important, although it presents merely the sketch of a rather hasty reconnoissance. Following, as the Spaniards did, the course of the Rio Grande from the south, they fixed, at least approximately, the limit of the Pueblo region in that direction. Some of the names of Pueblos preserved in the document are valuable in so far as they inform us of the designations of villages in a language that was not the idiom of their inhabitants. Chamuscado having died on the return journey, the document is not signed by him, but by his men. The document had been lost sight of until I called attention to it nearly thirty years ago, the subsequent exploration by Antonio de Espejo having monopolized the attention of those interested in the early exploration of New Mexico.

The report of Antonio de Espejo on his long and thorough reconnoissance in 1582-1583 attracted so much attention that for a time and in some circles his expedition was looked upon as resultingp. 10 in the original discovery of New Mexico. This name was also given by Espejo to the country, and it thereafter remained. While the documents relating to Coronado slumbered unnoticed and almost forgotten, the report of Espejo was published within less than three years after it had been written. It must be stated here that there are two manuscripts of the report of Espejo, one dated 1583 and bearing his autograph signature and official (notarial) certificates, the other in 1584 which is a distorted copy of the original and with so many errors in names and descriptions that, as the late Woodbury Lowery very justly observed, it is little else than spurious. I had already called attention to the unreliability of the latter version, and yet it is the one that alone was consulted for more than three centuries because it had become accessible through publication in the Voiages of Hakluyt, together with an English translation even more faulty, if possible, than its Spanish original. The authentic document, with several others relating to Espejo's brief career, was not published in full until 1871, and even then attracted little attention because it was not translated and because the Coleccion de Documentos del Archivo de Indias is not accessible to every one. But the publication of 1871 was by no means the first printed version of Espejo's relations. Even prior to 1586 a somewhat condensed narration of his exploration had been published, being embodied in the History of China by Father Gonzalez Mendoza. This account is based on the authentic report in some of the various editions, on the spurious document in others. The book of Father Mendoza was soon translated into French. It is not surprising that Espejo's narrative should appear first in print in a work on the Chinese Empire by a Franciscan missionary. That ecclesiastic was impressed by some of Espejo's observations on Pueblo customs which he thought resembled those of the Chinese. The discoveries of Espejo were then the most recent ones that had been made by Spaniards, and as New Mexico was fancied to lie nearer the Pacific than it really does, and facing the eastern coast of China, a lurking desire to find a possible connection between the inhabitants of both continents on that side is readily explicable. But Father Mendoza had still another motive. The three monks which Chamuscado had left in New Mexico had sacrificed their lives in an attempt to convert thep. 11 natives. They were martyrs of their faith, hence glories of their order, and the Franciscan author could not refrain from commemorating their deeds and their faith. The spurious text was not taken from Mendoza, but manifestly was copied from the transcript by a bungling scribe imperfectly acquainted with the Spanish tongue.

The value of Espejo's narration is undoubtedly great. The author was a close practical observer and a sincere reporter. The more is it surprising that his statements in regard to the population of the Pueblos are so manifestly exaggerated; yet, as I have elsewhere stated, this may be explained. A tendency to enhance somewhat the importance of discoveries is inherent in almost every discoverer, but in the case of Espejo he was exposed to another danger. As he proceeded from village to village the natives gathered at every point from other places out of curiosity, fear, or perhaps with hostile intent, so that the number of the people which the explorer met was each time much larger than the actual number of inhabitants. On the question of population Espejo could have no knowledge, since he had no means of communicating with the people by speech. Furthermore, it is well known that a crowd always appears more numerous than it would prove to be after an actual count; besides, even if he could have counted the Indians present, he would have fallen into the error of recording the same individual several times.

During the comparatively short time which Espejo had to explore the country as far as the Hopi or Moqui, he collected interesting ethnological data. Customs that appeared new as late as the second half of the last century were noted by him; and while his nomenclature of the Pueblos agrees in many points with that of the Coronado expedition, terms were added that have since been definitely adopted. Espejo's return to Mexico was to be followed by a definite occupancy of the Rio Grande country, but his untimely death prevented it, and the subsequent plan of colonization, framed and proposed by Juan Bautista de Lomas Colmenares, led to no practical results, as likewise did the ill-fated expedition of Humaña, Bonilla, and Leyva, the disastrous end of which in the plains became known only through a few vestiges of information and by hearsay.

Seven years after Espejo's journey, Gaspar Castaño de Sosa penetratedp. 12 to the Rio Grande near the present village of Santo Domingo. The report thereon is explicit and sober, and in it we find the first mention of the Spanish names by which some of the Pueblos have since become known. From this report it is easy to follow the route taken by Castaño and his followers, but the account is incomplete, terminating abruptly at Santo Domingo, whither Castaño had been followed by Captain Juan de Morlete, who was sent after him by the governor of what is now Coahuila, without whose permission Castaño had undertaken the journey. I have no knowledge as yet of any document giving an account of the return of the expedition.

Seven years more elapsed ere the permanent occupancy of New Mexico was effected under the leadership of Juan de Oñate. Thenceforward events in that province became the subject of uninterrupted documentary record.

The very wise and detailed ordinances regulating the discovery and annexation to Spain of new territory, promulgated by Philip II, declared that every exploration or conquest (the term "conquest" was subsequently eliminated from Spanish official terminology and that of "pacification" substituted) should be recorded as a journal or diary. Royal decrees operated very slowly in distant colonies. Neither Chamuscado nor Espejo kept journals, but Castaño de Sosa, and especially Oñate, did. His diario (which is accessible through its publication in the Documentos del Archivo de Indias, although there are traces of an earlier publication) was copied for printing by someone manifestly unacquainted with New Mexico or with its Indian nomenclature, hence its numerous names for sites and tribes are often very difficult to identify. But the document itself is a sober, matter-of-fact record of occurrences and geographical details, interspersed with observations of more or less ethnological value. As Oñate followed the course of the Rio Grande upward from below El Paso del Norte, and afterward branched off to almost every sedentary settlement in New Mexico and Arizona, the comparison of his diary with previous reports (those of the Coronado expedition included) is highly valuable, indeed indispensable. The diario forms the beginning of accurate knowledge of the region under consideration. Perhaps more important still are the Acts of Obedience and Homage (Obediencia y Vasallaje) executed at various villagesp. 13 during the course of the years 1598 and 1599. At first sight, and to one unacquainted with Pueblo idioms, they present an unintelligible list of partly recognizable names. But the confusion becomes somewhat reduced through closer scrutiny and by taking into consideration the circumstances under which each official document was framed. Oñate already enjoyed the advantage of interpreters in at least one New Mexican Indian tongue, but the meetings or councils during which the "acts of obedience" were written were not always at places where his interpreters understood the language of the people they were among. These scribes faithfully recorded the names of pueblos as they heard them, and sometimes several names, each in a different language for the same village, hence the number of pueblos recorded is considerably larger than it actually was. Again the inevitable misunderstanding of Indian pronunciation by the Spaniards caused them to write the same word in different forms according as the sounds were uttered and caught by the ear. An accurate copy of these documents of Oñate's time made by one versed in Pueblo nomenclature and somewhat acquainted with Pueblo languages would be highly desirable. Oñate is not given to fulness in ethnological details. His journal is a dry record of what happened during his march and occupancy of the country. Customs are only incidentally and briefly alluded to.

One of Oñate's officers, however, Captain Gaspar Perez de Villagra, or Villagran, published in 1610 a Historia de la Nueva Mexico in verse. As an eye-witness of the events he describes, Villagran has the merits and defects of all such authors, and the fact that he wrote in rhyme called poetry does not enhance the historical merit of his book. Nevertheless we find in it many data regarding the Pueblos not elsewhere recorded, and study of the book is very necessary. We must allow for the temptation to indulge in so-called poetical license, although Villagran employs less of it than most Spanish chroniclers of the period that wrote in verse. The use of such form and style of writing was regarded in Spain as an accomplishment at the time, and not many attempted it, which is just as well. Some of the details and descriptions of actions and events by Villagran have been impeached as improbable; but even if such were the case, they would not detract from the merits of hisp. 14 book as an attempt at an honest and sincere narration and a reasonably faithful description.

The minor documents connected with Oñate's enterprise and subsequent administration of the New Mexican colony, so far as known, are of comparatively small importance to the history of the Rio Grande Pueblos. During the first years of the seventeenth century the attention of Oñate was directed chiefly toward explorations in western Arizona and the Gulf of California. While he was absent on his memorable journey, quarrels arose in New Mexico between the temporal and ecclesiastical authorities, which disturbed the colony for many years and form the main theme of the documentary material still accessible. Even the manuscripts relating to these troubles contain, here and there, references to the ethnological condition of the Pueblos. Charges and counter-charges of abuses committed by church and state could not fail to involve, incidentally, the points touching upon the Indians, and the documentary material of that period, still in manuscript but accessible through the copies made by me and now in the Peabody Museum of Harvard University, should not be neglected by serious investigators. To enter into details regarding the tenor of these documents would be beyond the scope of this Introduction, but I would call attention in a general way to the value and importance of church records, which consist chiefly of registers of baptisms, marriages, and deaths. These for the greater part were kept with considerable scrupulosity, although there are periods during which the same degree of care was not exercised. They are valuable ethnologically by reason of the data which they afford with respect to intermarriages between members of distant tribes, through the numerous Indian personal names that they contain, and on account of the many records of events which the priests deemed it desirable to preserve. Examples will be given in the text of the Documentary History to follow.

The Libros de Fabrica, in which are recorded items bearing on the economic side of church administration, are usually less important; still they contain data that should not be neglected, for very often minor points deserve as much attention as salient ones. Unfortunately the church records of the period prior to 1680 havep. 15 well-nigh disappeared from New Mexico, but some still exist at El Paso del Norte (Juarez), Chihuahua, that date back to the middle of the seventeenth century. The absence of these records may be somewhat overcome by another class of ecclesiastical documents, much more numerous and more laborious to consult. In fact I am the only one who thus far has attempted to penetrate the mass of material which they contain, although my researches have been far from exhaustive, owing to lack of support in my work. These documents, commonly called "Diligencias Matrimoniales," are the results of official investigations into the status of persons desiring to marry. From their nature these investigations always cover a considerable period, sometimes more than a generation, and frequently disclose historical facts that otherwise might remain unknown. These church papers also, though not frequently, include fragments of correspondence and copies of edicts and decrees that deserve attention.

The destruction of the archives and of writings of all kinds in New Mexico during the Indian revolt of 1680 and in succeeding years has left the documentary history of the province during the seventeenth century almost a blank. Publications are very few in number. There is no doubt that the archives of Spain and even those of Mexico will yet reveal a number of sources as yet unknown; but in the meantime, until these treasures are brought to light, we must remain more or less in the dark as to the conditions and the details of events prior to 1692. A number of letters emanating from Franciscan sources have been published lately in Mexico by Luis Garcia y Pimentel, and these throw sidelights on New Mexico as it was in the seventeenth century that are not without value. In the manuscripts from the archives at Santa Fé that survived the Pueblo revolt, now chiefly in the Library of Congress at Washington, occasional references to events anterior to the uprising may be found; and the church books of El Paso del Norte (Juarez) contain some few data that should not be neglected.

In 1602 there was published at Rome, under the title of Relación del Descubrimiento del Nuevo Mexico, a small booklet by the Dean of Santiago, Father Montoya, which purports to give a letter from Oñate on his occupancy of New Mexico and journey top. 16 the Colorado river of the West, thus covering the period between 1597 and 1605. It is preceded by a notice of Espejo's exploration, but it is entirely too brief to afford much information. The little book is exceedingly rare; but three copies of it exist in the United States, so far as I am aware.

Of greater importance are the notices, of about the same period, preserved by Fray Juan de Torquemada in the first volume of his Monarchia Indiana (1615). In this work we find the first mention of some Pueblo fetishes, with their names, as understood at the time. The letter of Fray Francisco de San Miguel, first priest of Pecos, given in print by Torquemada, is of considerable interest. Torquemada himself was never in New Mexico, but he stood high in the Franciscan Order and had full access to the correspondence and to all other papers submitted from outside missions during his time. It is much to be regretted that the three manuscript pamphlets by Fray Roque Figueredo, bearing the titles Relacion del Viage al Nuevo México, Libro de las Fundaciones del Nuevo Mexico, and Vidas de los Varones Ilustres, etc., appear to be lost. Their author was first in New Mexico while Oñate governed that province, and his writings were at the great convent of Mexico. Whether they disappeared during the ruthless dispersion of its archives in 1857 or were lost at an earlier date is not known.

After the recall of Oñate from New Mexico, not only the colony but also the missions in that distant land began to decline, owing to the bitter contentions between the political and the ecclesiastical authorities. The Franciscan Order, desirous of inspiring an interest in New Mexican missions, fostered the literary efforts of its missionaries in order to promote a propaganda for conversions. It also sent a special visitor to New Mexico in the person of Fray Estevan de Perea, who gave expression to what he saw and ascertained, in two brief printed but excessively rare documents, a facsimile copy of which is owned by my friend Mr F. W. Hodge, of the Bureau of American Ethnology. A third letter which I have not been able to see is mentioned by Ternaux-Compans, also a "Relacion de la Conversion de los Jumanos" by the same and dated 1640.

Much more extended than the brief pamphlets by Fray Pereap. 17 is the Relaciones de todas las cosas acaecidas en el Nuevo Mexico hasta el Año de 1626 (I abbreviate the very long title), by Fray Geronimo de Zárate Salmerón, which was published in the third series of the first Colección de Documentos para la Historia de Mexico, and also by Mr Charles F. Lummis in The Land of Sunshine, with an English translation. This work, while embodying chiefly a narrative most valuable to the ethnography of western Arizona and eastern California, of the journey of Oñate to the Colorado river of the West, followed by an extended report on De Soto's expedition to the Mississippi river, contains data on the Rio Grande Pueblos and on those of Jemez that are of permanent value. The author gives the numbers of Pueblo Indians officially converted during his time.

We come now to a book which, though small in compass, has had perhaps greater circulation in languages other than Spanish, with the exception of the Destruycion de las Indias by the notorious Las Casas, than any other. This is the work of Fray Alonso de Benavides, on New Mexico, first published in 1630 under the misleading title of Memorial que Fray Juan de Santander de la Orden de San Francisco, Comisario General de Indias, presenta a la Magestad Catolica del Rey don Felipe cuarto nuestro Señor, etc., Madrid, 1630. Benavides was custodian of the Franciscan province of New Mexico for some time, and therefore had good opportunity of knowing both the country and its natives. He gives a very precise and clear enumeration of the groups of Pueblo Indians, locating them where they had been found by Coronado ninety years before and adding those which the latter had not visited, as well as giving the number of villages of each group and the approximate number of people therein contained. No writer on New Mexico up to this time had given such a clear idea of its ethnography, so far as the location and the distribution of the stocks are concerned. While somewhat brief on manners and customs, Benavides is fuller and more explicit than any of his predecessors, and informs us of features of importance which no other author in earlier times mentioned. In short, his book is more valuable for New Mexican ethnography than any other thus far known, and it is not a matter of surprise, therefore, that it was translated intop. 18 several European languages. That the Rio Grande Pueblos receive an abundant share of attention from Benavides is natural. We also obtain from him some data, not elsewhere found, concerning the establishment and fate of the missions, and the true relations of the Spaniards and the natives are particularly well portrayed. Both the Apaches and the Navajos also receive some attention, Benavides giving, among others, the true reason for the hostility which the Apaches displayed since that time against the Spanish settlements. It is a book without which the study of the Pueblo Indians could not be satisfactory.

Where there is strong light there must of necessity be some shadow. In the case of Benavides the shadow is found in the exaggerated number of inhabitants attributed to the New Mexican Pueblos, exaggerations as gross and as glaring as those of Espejo. The number of villages of some of the Pueblo groups is also somewhat suspicious. It is not difficult to explain these probably intentional deviations from the truth in an otherwise sincere and highly valuable work. As already indicated, the publications emanating from the Franciscan Order, which exclusively controlled the New Mexican missions, had a special purpose distinct from that of mere information: they were designed to promote a propaganda not simply for the conversion of the Indians in general, but especially for the conversions made or to be made by the Order. New Mexico was in a state of neglect, spiritually and politically; the political authorities had been denouncing the Franciscans in every possible way, and there was danger, if this critical condition continued, that the Order might lose its hold upon the northern territories and its mission be turned over to the Jesuits, who were then successfully at work in the Mexican northwest and approaching New Mexico from that direction. To prevent such a loss it was deemed necessary to present to the faithful as alluring a picture of the field as possible, exploiting the large number of neophytes as a result already accomplished and hinting at many more as subjects for conversion. Hence the exaggerated number of Indians in general attributed by Benavides to what then comprised the religious province of New Mexico. In this respect, and in this alone, the Memorial of Benavides may be regarded as a "campaign document," but this does not impair its general value and degree of reliability.p. 19

For the period between 1630 and the uprising of 1680 there is a lack of printed documents concerning New Mexico that is poorly compensated by the known manuscripts which I have already mentioned as existing in New Mexico and Mexico. Still there appeared in 1654 a little book by Juan Diez de la Calle, entitled Memorial y Resúmen breve de Noticias de las Indias Occidentales, in which the disturbances that culminated in the assassination of Governor Luis de Rosas in 1642 are alluded to. The national archives at the City of Mexico contain a still fuller report of that event, in a royal decree of 1643 and other papers concerning the deed, all of which are yet unpublished. The archives of Spain have as yet been only meagerly investigated. The publication of the report of Father Nicolas de Freytas, Portuguese, on the expedition attributed to Diego de Peñalosa Brizeño into what is now Kansas or Nebraska, is of no importance in the study of the Rio Grande Pueblos. The authenticity of the document has been strongly doubted, though probably without just cause. Equally unimportant to the subject of the Documentary History to follow is the letter of Captain Juan Dominguez de Mendoza, published in the appendix to the criticism of Cesareo Fernandez Duro on the report of Father Freytas. The otherwise very interesting letter on New Mexico, written by Fray Alonso de Posadas, also printed in the work of Duro, is meager in its allusions to the Rio Grande.

Sixty-eight years after Benavides' time the Teatro Mexicano of the Franciscan Fray Agustin de Vetancurt was published. The third and fourth parts of this important work, namely, the Cronica de la Provincia del Santo Evangelio de Mexico and the Menologio Franciscano, are of the highest value to the history of the Rio Grande Pueblos and of New Mexico generally. Although printed eighteen years after the New Mexican missions had been destroyed by the Pueblo Indians, the Cronica contains a terse description of the missions and Indian villages as they had been previous to 1680, and gives data in regard to the population that are commendable in their sobriety and probability. The work of Vetancurt is in this respect a great improvement upon Benavides, and it is interesting to note how his approximate census approaches the figures given by Zárate Salmerón seventy years before. Vetancurt had at his disposalp. 20 much more precise data than Benavides. During the seven decades separating the three authors much information had been accumulated, and with greater chances of accuracy than before. Vetancurt made good use of this accumulation of material, and his books are in fact the most reliable sources from which to ascertain the status of the Pueblos at the time the insurrection commenced. The historical data given by Vetancurt in regard to New Mexico during earlier times are not of great value, but the Menologio, as well as the Cronica, contains a number of details on the missions and on the lives and achievements of the missionaries that become important to an understanding of the Indian himself. That such references are overburdened with details of a purely religious character does not at all impair their ethnologic value: they are pictures of the times according to the nature of which circumstances and events can alone be judged properly.

We have now arrived at a period marking a great temporary change in the condition of all the Pueblo Indians, and of those of the Rio Grande especially. This is the insurrection, successful for a time, of the Pueblos in 1680, against the Spanish domination. The material on this eventful epoch is still largely in manuscript, the nearest approach to a documentary presentation in full being the incomplete paraphrase furnished by W. W. H. Davis in his Spanish Conquest of New Mexico, published in 1869. No blame should be attached to the author for the insufficiency of his data. He made the best possible use of his materials with the help of my late friends David Miller and Samuel Ellison of Santa Fé, but the archives of Santa Fé had already been depleted through neglect and criminal waste, and what was and is left (as I know from having handled it frequently and thoroughly) is a mass of fragments, sometimes long, sometimes short, often disconnected and therefore unsatisfactory. I shall refer to this material later. Of the manuscript materials preceding and foreshadowing the insurrection, an important letter by the Franciscan Fray Francisco de Ayeta, a copy of which is in the national archives of Mexico, deserves to be specially mentioned. To this indefatigable monk, whose timely warnings were too lightly regarded by the Spanish authorities, are also due the data concerning the lives and the awful fate of the Franciscan priests at thep. 21 hands of the Pueblo Indians on August 10, 1680. The original of this tragic list is in manuscript in the national archives of Mexico, where Vetancurt made use of it in his Teatro. The memorial sermon preached and published in Mexico in 1681 (a copy of which exceedingly rare print was procured by my friend the Honorable L. Bradford Prince of Santa Fé) rests for its information upon the obituaries preserved by Father Ayeta. That these obituaries are of direct value to the history of the Rio Grande Pueblos is apparent.

The sermon alluded to is the earliest print, so far as known, concerning the great Indian uprising of 1680. Next in date comes a publication touching the various attempts made by the Spaniards to reconquer New Mexico prior to 1693. In that year Carlos de Sigüenza y Gongora published in the City of Mexico a kind of irregular newspaper bearing the title El Mercurio Volante, in which appears a concise and tolerably reliable sketch of the insurrection and the various attempts to reconquer the territory, including the successful one in 1692 by Diego de Vargas. Sigüenza is brief, but reasonably accurate. Part of the documents concerning the Indian uprising were published in the nineteenth century in the Third Series of the Colección de Documentos para la Historia de Mexico, but no complete print of the voluminous papers concerning those events has yet appeared, and indeed the most important documents still remain in manuscript. In 1701 Villagutierre y Sotomayor published his voluminous Historia de la Conquistay Reducciones de los Itzaes y Lacandones en la America Septentrional, in which appears a brief description of the Indian uprising in New Mexico. His data are of course gathered at second hand, although from contemporary sources.

I know of no other publications concerning the Indian uprising, so often mentioned, between the close of the seventeenth century and the beginning of the eighteenth. The manuscript material, which has been much scattered, may be divided locally into three groups. The one, originally at Santa Fé, New Mexico, is now in the Library of Congress at Washington; it had been much neglected, hence for the greater part seriously reduced, in former times, but it still contains most valuable information on the condition of the Rio Grande Pueblos immediately after the uprising and during the time thep. 22 Pueblos were left to themselves, attempting to return to their primitive condition. This information, embodied in interrogatories of Indians subsequent to 1680, I made the subject of a closing chapter to my Documentary History of the Zuñi Tribe, but it was withheld from publication for some cause unknown to me. The military reports on the expeditions of Diego de Vargas and the final reconquest of New Mexico are reduced to disconnected but still bulky fragments. Almost unique of their kind are the so-called "Pueblo grants" emanating from Governor Domingo Gironza Petros de Cruzate in 1688. The term "grant" is a misnomer, since it refers in fact to a limitation to the innate tendency of the Indians to arbitrarily expand their tribal range. These documents have become the legal basis of landholding by the Pueblos and the first step toward eventual single tenure.

The second group of manuscripts, in the national archives in the City of Mexico, is more complete than the first. It contains information on the beginnings of the rebellion and on later events that are of great importance.

The third group, and by far the most complete, is in Spain, but in regard to it I am unable to give any precise information, since every opportunity of completing my investigations concerning the Southwest by studying the Spanish archives, notwithstanding repeated promises, has been withheld.

For the eighteenth century documentary materials pertaining to New Mexico remain, it may be said, almost exclusively in manuscript. A connecting link between the printed sources of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries are the Apuntamientos que sobre el Terreno hizo el Padre José Amando Niel, in the early part of the eighteenth century, published in the Third Series of the Documentos para la Historia de Mexico. Father Niel was a Jesuit who visited New Mexico shortly after the reconquest. His observations are of comparatively mediocre value, yet his writings should not be overlooked. The journal of the Brigadier Pedro de Rivera, in 1736, of his military march to Santa Fé, is a dry, matter-of-fact account, but is nevertheless valuable owing to his concise and utterly unembellished description of the Rio Grande valley and of what he saw therein. The book is very rare, and therefore correspondingly unnoticed.p. 23

A brief but important contribution to the history of New Mexico is the letter of Fray Silvestre Velez de Escalante, published in the Third Series of the Documentos para la Historia de Mexico. About the same time, in the second half of the eighteenth century, the Brigadier José Cortés wrote an extended report on the territory, but it concerns more the relations with the constantly hostile roaming tribes than the condition of the Pueblos. It also is printed in the Documentos.

The otherwise very important diary of the journey of Fray Francisco Garcés to northern Arizona, published first in the above-mentioned Colección de Documentos, and more recently (with highly valuable notes) by the late Dr Elliott Coues, touches only incidentally on the Rio Grande region. In 1746 Joseph Antonio de Villa-Señor y Sanchez embodied in his Theatro Americano a description of New Mexico, condensed chiefly from the journal of the Brigadier Rivera, mentioned above. The Diccionario Geografico by Murillo is also a source that should not be neglected.

A great amount of documentary manuscript material, mostly of a local character, is contained in the church books of the eighteenth century formerly at the pueblo of Santa Clara and now preserved at Santa Fé through the efforts of the late Archbishop J. B. Salpointe. There are also the "Informaciones Matrimoniales," which contain data of great importance. Through them we are informed of the tragic fate of the last expedition of the Spaniards to the northwest, with its horrifying incidents. The story of woe and disaster that pictures the life of the Indian Pueblos and Spanish settlers during the eighteenth century is contained in fragments in the plain, matter-of-fact church registers, and it requires painstaking investigation to collect it. The greatest part of this information concerns the Rio Grande Pueblos. A careful investigation of the matrimonial and baptismal registers will yield data concerning the clans and indications of the primitive rules of marriage, while the "Libros de Fabrica" contain interesting data on the churches of the Rio Grande valley. Great labor and the utmost scrutiny are required in sifting these time-worn papers for desirable data, and especially is a considerable knowledge of conditions and events necessary; but the result of thorough investigation, especiallyp. 24 through literal copying by the student, will amply repay the time and labor bestowed.

What I have stated in regard to the church archives applies, in a still greater degree, to the state and private papers that may be accessible. Of the former the archives of Santa Fé contain a great number, though many of them are only fragmentary. Valuable documents exist also in the archives of the Surveyor General at Santa Fé; these are valuable chiefly for historical data covering the first half of the eighteenth century. The national archives in the City of Mexico are much more complete than those of New Mexico, while in Spain we may expect to find an almost complete set of government documents, preserved with much greater care and with more system than in any early Spanish possessions in America. The city of Sevilla would be the first place in which research in this direction should be conducted.

Before closing this bibliographic sketch with a glance at the earliest literature of the nineteenth century, I must mention two ponderous books of the eighteenth century which, while based on second-hand information and not very valuable in detail, refer occasionally to facts and data not elsewhere found. These are the two volumes of the Crónica Apostólica y Seráfica de la Propaganda Fide de Querétaro. The first volume, written by Fray Isidro Felis Espinosa and published in 1746, is interesting especially on account of its reference to the fate of the first Frenchmen brought into New Mexico, and one of whom, Juan de Archibèque, played an important rôle in the first two decades of the eighteenth century. The second volume, the author of which was Fray Domingo de Arricivita, was published in 1792, and is the chief source concerning the still problematical expedition to the north attributed to two Franciscan friars in 1538. Both of these works are of relatively minor importance, and I mention them here only for the sake of completeness and in order to warn against attaching undue importance to them so far as the Pueblos are concerned.

It is of course understood that I omit from the above account a number of publications containing more or less brief and casual references to New Mexico. Most of them are geographical, and but few allude to historical facts. In the notes to the Documentary History proper I may refer to some of them.p. 25

Perhaps the last book published on New Mexico in the Spanish language is the little book of Pino, which, however, has little more than a bibliographic value except in so far as it touches the condition of New Mexico at the beginning of the nineteenth century. The documents in the New Mexican and Mexican archives up to the date of the American occupancy present features similar to those that characterize the Spanish documents of the eighteenth century. It would be too tedious to refer to them in detail, and I therefore dismiss them for the present with this brief mention. If I do not mention here the literature on New Mexico in the English language it is not due to carelessness or to ignorance of it, but because of its much greater wealth in number and contents, its more ready accessibility, and because in matters respecting the history of early times the authors of these works have all been obliged to glean their information from at least some of the sources that I have above enumerated and discussed.

It may surprise students of New Mexican history that I have thus far omitted the very earliest sources in print in which New Mexico is mentioned, namely, the work of Gonzalo Fernandez de Oviedo y Valdés, and that of Gomara. The former was published in part in the first half of the sixteenth century, the entire work appearing at Madrid not earlier than 1850 and 1851. Its title, as is well known, is Historia General y Natural de las Indias. The work of Francisco Lopez de Gomara bears the title Historia de las Indias, and is in two parts. Gomara is more explicit than Oviedo, who gives only a brief and preliminary mention; but even Gomara, while more detailed, and basing his work evidently on the earliest data then accessible in regard to the expedition of Coronado, cannot be compared with the later reports of those attached to the expedition. The value of these books is comparatively slight, so far as New Mexico is concerned. Much more important is the Historia General, etc., by Antonio de Herrera (1601-1615). What authorities Herrera had at his command cannot be readily determined. He may have had access to the report of Jaramillo, and he was certainly acquainted with the letters of Coronado. Perhaps the letter of Coronado which I have as yet been unable to find was consulted by him. In any event Herrera's information is all second-hand, andp. 26 while by no means devoid of merit, his work cannot rank with sources written by men who saw the country and took part in the events of the earliest explorations. The map accompanying the first volume of Herrera, while scarcely more than an outline, is still in advance of the charts published during the sixteenth century.

Here I may be permitted to refer to the older cartography of New Mexico in general. Until the beginning of the seventeenth century these maps are very defective and incomplete. It is almost as if the Ptolemy of 1548 had served as a basis for them. Even the large and beautiful globe constructed at St. Gall in Switzerland in 1595, and now in the Swiss National Museum at Zürich, places Tiguex near the Pacific coast. It is through the work of Benavides that more correct ideas of New Mexican geography were gained and a somewhat more accurate and detailed nomenclature was introduced, since the Geografie Blaviane of 1667 by the Dutch cartographer Jean Blaeuw contains a map of the region far superior to any hitherto published. The number of early maps of New Mexico is larger than is generally supposed, and there are to-day unpublished maps (for instance in the National Archives of Mexico for the eighteenth century) that indicate, as existing, Indian pueblos and missions that were abandoned nearly a century before the maps were made.

I must state that in this Introduction I have abbreviated as much as practicable the titles of books and manuscripts. These are often very long, and it is unnecessary to burden the present text with them, as I shall have to give the full titles in the notes to the Documentary History proper.

It may not be out of place to add to the above a brief review of the distribution and location of the various Pueblo groups at the beginning of the sixteenth century, but strictly according to documentary information alone. The location of different villages must be reserved for later treatment, hence as the ranges of the various linguistic groups had no definite boundaries, only the relative position and approximate extent can be given here.

Following the course of the Rio Grande to the north from northern Chihuahua, the Mansos were first met, in the vicinity of the present Juarez, Mexico. This was in 1598. Nearly one hundred and forty years later Brigadier Don Pedro de Rivera met themp. 27 farther north, not far from Las Cruces and Doña Ana, New Mexico. To-day they are again at El Paso del Norte. About San Marcial on the Rio Grande began the villages of the Piros, at present reduced to one small village on the right bank of the Rio Grande below El Paso. The Piros extended in the sixteenth century as far north in the Rio Grande valley as Alamillo at least, and a branch of them had established themselves on the borders of the great eastern plains of New Mexico, southeast of the Manzano. That branch, which has left well-known ruins at Abó, Gran Quivira (Tabirá), and other sites in the vicinity, abandoned its home in the seventeenth century, forming the Piro settlement below El Paso, already mentioned. North of the Piros, between a line drawn south of Isleta and the Mesa del Canjelon, the Tiguas occupied a number of villages, mostly on the western bank of the river, and a few Tigua settlements existed also on the margin of the eastern plains beyond the Sierra del Manzano. These outlying Tigua settlements also were abandoned in the seventeenth century, their inhabitants fleeing from the Apaches and retiring to form the Pueblo of Isleta del Sur on the left bank of the Rio Grande in Texas.

North of the Tiguas the Queres had their homes on both sides of the river as far as the great cañon south of San Ildefonso, and an outlying pueblo of the Queres, isolated and quite remote to the west, was Acoma. The most northerly villages on the Rio Grande were those of the Tehuas. Still beyond, but some distance east of the Rio Grande, lay the Pueblos of Taos and Picuris, the inhabitants of which spoke a dialectic variation of the Tigua language of the south. The Tehuas also approached the Rio Grande quite near, at what is called La Bajada; and in about the same latitude, including the former village at Santa Fé, began that branch of the Tehuas known as Tanos, whose settlements ranged from north of Santa Fé as far as the eastern plains and southward to Tajique, where their territory bordered that of the eastern Tiguas.

The Rio Grande Queres extended also as far west as the Jemez river; and north of them, on the same stream, another linguistic group, the Jemez, had established themselves and built several villages of considerable size. East of the Rio Grande and southwest-ward from Santa Fé another branch of the Jemez occupied the northern valley of the Rio Pecos.p. 28

The main interest in this distribution of the Rio Grande Pueblos lies in the fact that it establishes a disruption and division of some of these groups prior to the sixteenth century, but of the cause and the manner thereof there is as yet no documentary information. Thus the Tigua Indians of Taos and Picuris are separated from their southern relatives on the Rio Grande by two distinct linguistic groups, the Tehuas and the Queres; the Jemez and the Pecos were divided from each other by the Queres and the Tanos. That the Piros and the Tiguas should have separated from the main stock might be accounted for by the attraction of the great salt deposits about the Manzano and greater accessibility to the buffalo plains, but that in the Rio Grande valley itself foreign linguistic groups should have interposed themselves between the northern and southern Tiguas and the Jemez and Pecos constitutes a problem which only diligent research in traditions, legends, and the native languages may satisfactorily solve.

New York City,
March, 1910.

Transcriber's Note.

Several words purposely occur in accented and non-accented forms. The differing occurrences are retained.

Page 20: Misspelling of Sante Fé corrected to Santa Fé.
Page 23: The title "Coleccion de Documentos" modified to "Colección de Documentos".




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