The Rediscovery of New Mexico and the Last Conquistadors 1580 – 1610


Manage episode 315031415 series 2904822
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It is 1580. Virtually no Spaniards have returned to New Mexico or the American southwest since the return of the remnants of the Coronado and Soto expeditions in 1542. Neither had found a third great indigenous civilization to conquer, or even more than scant evidence of precious metals. By 1580 most of the survivors of those expeditions had died, and the narratives produced in their aftermath would have been known to very few people. The most durable legacy of those expeditions would have been the rumors of gold, which always persist long after the actual facts are gone from living memory. So it was that circa 1580 various aspirational conquistadors set to scheming for a return to the region that some were now dreaming of as “New Mexico.” These new Spanish probes into the American southwest were minor affairs and of relatively little consequence, except insofar as they stirred up the Indians living in the Pueblos of the region and generated a new round of propaganda that would lead to the colonization project of Juan de Oñate y Salazar in 1598. That would be of surpassing significance, for Oñate would stay for twelve years, kill a lot of Indians, found Santa Fe just before he departed, and establish the foundation of Spanish society in the southwestern United States. Twitter: Selected references for this episode George P. Hammond and Agapito Rey, The Rediscovery of New Mexico, 1580-1594 (Coronado cuarto centennial publications, 1540-1940) Stan Hoig, Came Men on Horses: The Conquistador Expeditions of Francisco Vásquez de Coronado and Don Juan de Oñate John L. Kessell, Pueblos, Spaniards, and the Kingdom of New Mexico J. Lloyd Mecham, "Antonio de Espejo and His Journey to New Mexico", The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, October 1926

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