Mercurio Volante

An Electronic Edition · Carlos de Sigüenza y Góngora (1645-1700)

Original Source: . Trans. with an introduction by Irving Leonard. Los Angeles: The Quivara Society, 1932.

Copyright 2003. This text is freely available provided the text is distributed with the header information provided.

Full Colophon Information

with an account
of the Recovery of the
Provinces of New Mexico
Won by
Don Diego de Vargas Zapata y Luxán
Ponze de León
Governor and Captain-General of That Realm
At the Special Order of the Most Excellent Conde de Galve, Viceroy, Governor, and Captain General of New Spain, etc.
Don Carlos de Sigüenza y Góngora
Chief Cosmographer of His Majesty in These Realms, and Professor Emeritus of Mathematics in the University of Mexico

With Permission in Mexico City:ON The Antwerp Press of the Heirs of the Widow of Bernardo Calderon
Year of 1693


NOT merely these loose sheets together here but many pages of a huge volume are required to make a permanent record of the truly wonderful way, rarely noted in the annals of history, by which the broad realm of New Mexico was brought under the gentle yoke of the Gospel, shaken off years before, and [to describe] the ease with which that province was reunited to the royal crown of Castile, whose allegiance, and, through its apostasy, that of God as well were renounced at the same time. But, without rhetorical exaggeration, the grandeur of this achievement will be preserved, I believe, without this requisite, so long as proper recognition is accorded heroic courage. And to the latter class belongs the present deed whose importance, more than the few or many words by which it may be described, will always be held high in the memory of all. 1.

Leaving out of consideration the journeys of Father Marcos de Niza and Francisco Vazquez Coronado ” which, as they themselves declare, were not exactly directed to New Mexico, we are indebted for the earliest information concerning this province to Father Francisco Ruiz, a Franciscan missionary observer sent to the Conchos Indians to whom he ministered in the San Bartolome’ valley. With the permission of the Most Excellent Conde de Coruña, Viceroy of New Spain at that time, and with. the consent of his superiors, he went into New Mexico in the year of 1581, accompanied by two companions of his own Order and eight soldiers; I” but, for some reason or other, the soldiers turned back while the missionaries went on with their explorations. The rashness of their zeal moved a certain Father Bernardino Beltran to make every effort that seemed effective to him to assist them. Antonio de Espejo, a resident of Mexico City and at San Bartolome at this time, volunteered to bring aid gladly if anyone with public authority would order him to do so. With instructions from Juan de Ontiveros, chief alcalde of Cuatro Cienagas, he started off on this mission. 2.

The expedition got under way on November 10, 15 8 2, with one hundred and nine horses and all necessary equipment, and reached the provinces of the Conchos, Passaguates, Tobosos, Jumanas, and many other tribes. It was learned that the missionaries he was searching for had been treacherously murdered in Poala, a village of the Tiguas.” As he was then uncertain whether to turn back to New Vizcaya, whence he had come, or go forward with the exploration of such a vast and beautiful region, the latter course was decided on after some deliberation. Acting upon this decision they went through the provinces of the Queres and, also, of the Cunames, whose capital was the pueblo of Zia. From there they went among the Ameges to Acoma and finally into the province of the Zuñi. Here Father Bernardino with nearly all the men stopped in order to turn back, while Antonio de Espejo, with only nine men, went forward with his explorations. After finding numerous tribes and returning to Zuñi (where the men left behind had not yet departed although they did so later), he kept on through the province of the Queres, Tamos, and Hubates I until he came to the San Bartolome valley by the Conchos river on July 1, 1583. 3.

With the information acquired an this occasion regarding the excellence of the land, a certain Juan Baptista de Lomas unsuccessfully attempted the pacification or conquest of it. This enterprise was later entrusted to General Don Francisco de Urdifiola ” and, finally, to the Adelantado Don Juan de Oñate, a native of Mexico City. The latter, after various events, got possession of these provinces on April 30, 15 9 8, and, by force of arms, made them subject to the royal crown of Castile. The Franciscans took charge of the instruction of the inhabit ants by setting up an extensive system of monasteries in its pueblos. The City of Santa Fe was founded and there the governor and captain-general lived with his regiment. As many Spaniards settled all about, the realm soon grew in splendor. 4.

There was sufficient trade to enjoy life in comfort and plenty, and, as the Catholic religion was well established there (as it seemed), all went well until the Indians, young and old, of all the pueblos (without any exception, though I suppose it must have started first among a few of them), began, on flimsy pretexts, to plot a revolt with the greatest secrecy ever known. Perhaps it was the idle life of their pagan neighbors which inspired them or, more likely, it was their inborn hatred of the Spaniards. This scheming lasted over the long period of fourteen years and neither the Spaniards nor the missionaries, who were in the closest contact with them, ever happened to find it out or even suspected it. When there was a general agreement among the Indians to commit this act of treason and forsake their Christian state forever, they set August io, 168o, as the date to declare themselves.

With the pretext of attending Mass as they did on a festive day, the Indians assembled in the monasteries with their weapons at sunrise, the’ fatal hour jointly agreed upon, and there let loose the fury of their first assault. Then they went to the buildings and ranch houses where there were Spaniards and, in the short space of half an hour, accomplished what they had plotted for fourteen years. The least damage that they did in such a brief period of time was to murder five hundred persons, among whom were twenty-one missionaries who died of torture and outrageous treatment. The worst they did was to profane the churches, destroy images, and mock and trample upon the sacraments. What can I add to such an abomination! But it is not right to omit that not one stone of the monasteries and churches was left upon the other; in their hatred of the Spanish people they vented their fury on the hens, the sheep, the fruit-trees of Castile, and even upon the wheat. 6.

The Indians did not dare to do as much in the City of Santa Fe. However, a few hours after some of the laity and the missionaries, who had slipped through their hands at Cañada, took refuge there, they laid siege to the city. In the cordon thrown about Santa Fe there were more than two thousand apostates, led by Alonso, Catiti and another no less rascally Indian called Pope. Don Antonio de Otermín was the governor and captain general of the realm and, as he was unprepared (and the same might have happened to anyone else) in what the Indians had in abundance, that is, in men and weapons, not only no attack at all was made upon the natives but, in the midst of anxiety and alarm, death was feared at any moment. On the same day a white flag was hoisted where the besieged Spaniards might see it. When at this signal one of our men came out, he was sent back to tell the governor ” that if all the people in the city would come forth and leave the realm free, their lives would be spared; and if they did not accept this condition (and another flag, a red one, was raised at the same time), they would put everyone to the knife without sparing a single person.

The siege lasted until the fifteenth of August, when about eighty people, young and old and of both sexes, got out, possibly because the Indians offered no opposition since that was what they had demanded, or, perhaps, because the besieged succeeded in doing so by main force of arms. These refugees, with the addition of a very few of the Spaniards who had been living in the district from Isleta southward and who joined them on different days along the way, reached a place called El Paso well outside of the realm. Having first fortified themselves here the best way they could, news of the disaster vas sent on to the Most Excellent Conde de Paredes, Mqarqués de la Laguna, and viceroy of New Spain at that time. 8.

One could write a long account of the exceedingly large sums then spent for recruiting men and for sending what vas necessary to recover the lost province, and also about he fruitless expeditions undertaken, but such is not my intention. I can not refrain, however, from mentioning the fact that the following year, 1681, forays were made into the pueblos of Isleta and Cochiti, and there some of he Indians who had been prominent in the uprising were taken prisoners; but the matter ended with nothing further accomplished. Under the governorship of Don Domingo Jironza Petris de Cruzat, more success than his was attained, for he did considerable damage to the rebels in his seventeen sorties or campaigns in various directions. He was followed in office by Pedro Reneros, who leveled the tiny pueblo of Santa Ana and succeeded in getting back from the village of Zia. Don Domingo Jironza was again made governor of the realm and, with the few men under his command, subdued the Indians of that town (I refer to Zia), by force of arms, about six hundred rebels dying in the fight. This figure does not include a good many others who were burned alive in their own houses because they would not give themselves up. This event took place on August 29, 1689. Having learned that the ten tribes were conspiring to destroy El Paso, he went after them with seventy Spaniards and Indian allies, winning a signal victory in a pitched battle on October 21 of the following year [1690]. 9.

He was followed in office by Don Diego de Vargas Zapata Luján Ponze de Leon, who (inspired by his own rank and ancient nobility and under obligations because of his reputation to bring this matter to a conclusion) saw no particular obstacle to accomplishing this object. When he informed the Most Excellent Conde de Galve, the present viceroy of New – Spain, of his bold purpose, he not only received approval (which, perhaps, is useful) to encourage him, but also instructions for the governor of Nueva Vizcaya to help him with men. 10.

After Don Diego had waited until August 21 for a band of fifty Spanish auxiliaries who, according to arrangements, were to come from the presidios of Parral to swell the small number of men starting on the campaign, he became impatient at such delay. On the day mentioned he left El Paso, accompanied only by a squad from his company there, to join the main body of his expedition which had been traveling through enemy country under the command of the presidial captain, Roque de Madrid, since the 16th with the baggage and cattle. At six o’clock in the afternoon of the 24th Don Diego overtook them. After advancing cautiously and with his scouts out, as was necessary in that country, his outfit, without having sighted a living soul the whole way, took quarters on September 9 in a completely ruined hamlet where someone by the name of Mexia had had his ranch house.” 11.

This seemed a suitable place to rid themselves of some of their carts and wagons so that the marching from there on could be done without so much impedimenta. When they had fortified this position very carefully by a stockade, the command was entrusted to Captain Rafael Téllez, who was to remain behind with fourteen Spaniards and fifty Indian allies. Accompanied by only forty Spaniards and fifty Indians, all men of intrepid courage and well armed, the General left Mexia’s ranch at three o’clock in the afternoon of the following day in order to be at the pueblo of Cochiti, eighteen leagues away, by dawn. Neither this distance, which was really greater on account of the poor road, nor crossing the Rio Grande del Norte twice-which was almost fordless-held back our men who were on the outskirts of the pueblo at three o’clock in the morning. Although the cultivated patches seen around the village were convincing evidence that people must have been living in it, a little investigation showed that it was deserted. 12.

The General came to the conclusion that the residents of Cochiti must have withdrawn to the pueblo of Santo Domingo ” about three leagues away. In order that the hard night march should not be fruitless, he and his men changed their horses, and, shortly after sunrise, started off for that village. A well-built wall was found around what had been the public square, but the majority of the dwelling places were in a state of complete ruin, apparently since a long time before, and showed no signs of recent occupancy. If it had been known that the inhabitants of these pueblos and many others besides had withdrawn to the mountains after Governor Domingo Jironza had destroyed Zia, and even more after he had defeated the ten tribes in battle, the expedition would certainly have gone on without coming to them. 13.

The City of Santa Fe, capital of the whole realm, is only ten leagues from Santo Domingo. While the supposition alone that the rebels were fortified there was enough to discourage the attempt, or even coming in sight of the place, the valiant General, undeterred by the exceedingly inadequate number of men with him and the impossibility of getting help, decided to be outside of the city at dawn. When the proposition was laid before his men, they approved it. As there is no better way to make a plan of this sort successful than to put it in operation almost the very instant that it is decided upon, they began the march at three o’clock in the afternoon of the same day, the 11th. The road had almost vanished through disuse, and they were forced to camp that night at the foot of a range 17 after traveling only two leagues. The following day they covered three leagues and then halted in the abandoned pueblo of Zienegilla. Despite the fact that he sent some of his Indian allies to make a survey from the hills, and some Spanish scouts in the direction of the city, they did not succeed in seeing nor in capturing a single one of the rebels, although they found fresh tracks of their horses. 14.

After a very pious harangue by the general, horses were mounted about sunset and the expedition moved on with the silence and vigilance considered necessary until eleven o’clock when further progress was prevented by the thickness of the woods and the darkness of the night. The journey was resumed at two o’clock in the morning and, in the shelter of a broken-down ranch-house at which they had arrived, Father-President Friar Francisco Corvera, of the Franciscan Order, gave absolution to every member of the expedition. A devout prayer of supplication to God and His – Most Holy Mother was made and, when all were acquainted with the instructions regarding what they were to do, they began the advance upon the city now close at hand. 15.

It must have been f our o’clock in the morning of September 13 when they came in sight of the city and, already at this hour (undoubtedly they had sentinels posted), the enemy had sounded the alarm and the summons to arms. The whole city was surrounded by a wall with entrenchments, especially around the part used as a fort which was the former palace of the governors, and a vast number of warriors crowned the wall in every direction, raising a frightful howling to encourage one another. While this was going on and they were engaged in dragging up huge beams, stones, and large boulders to prevent the approach of our men, the latter cut off the water supply of the Indians which came through a ditch. When this was accomplished-which was no small matter -a trumpeter was sent to assure the Indians of pardon and to offer great inducements if they would give themselves up. All answered in a chorus and mockingly thanked the Spaniards for having come like a lot of crazy people to shut themselves up in the houses of the natives so that, without much effort on the part of the latter, they should all perish in them. 16.

At this juncture several bands of Indians, some on horseback and others on foot, were discovered on a nearby ridge. They were all armed and, if they were not coming from surrounding pueblos on business, they were probably hastening to the rescue of the city, which had presumably sent them word of its difficulty. Several squads of our men went forward to oppose them’ and took a number of Indian prisoners without any particular scrimmage. Among the latter (what remarkable good fortune !) was the chief of the stronghold named Domingo. When this individual was brought into the presence of the General, his good will was so completely won by kind treatment and words that he went into the city and assured his people energetically that the Spaniards were not trying to punish them, but rather to restore them to the fold of the Catholic Church from which their apostasy had separated them, and to the allegiance of the Crown of Spain which, through their revolt, they had renounced. 17.

The only reply of the Indians was that they would ill die before they would do any such thing, and since he, forgetting his duty to his native land, had become friendly to its enemies, the Spaniards, he could go away and die with them. He returned greatly displeased by this answer. In this parleying, in getting a battery of two small pieces of artillery ready, and in sending warnings to avoid death and the sacking of their city, the day was spent. But God suddenly softened their obstinate spirit. Filled with dread by the firm courage that they had observed in our men, the Indians proposed that ” if the artillery and armed men were first
removed, they would come out and treat with the General, who should be unarmed, concerning what would be useful to them. 18.

The answer given was that since they were besieged and short of water, their request was not proper, especially since this operation had not been undertaken as a mere threat; they should have faith in the kindliness by which a pardon had been promised them and, if they would come out unarmed and pledge their allegiance as it was their duty to do, whatever they asked f or would be granted gladly. A considerable part of the afternoon was spent in such parleys, and finally, when one of the Indians came out, his companions on the wall saw that he was met with affection and kindness by the General, and they began to emulate his example in increasing numbers. All were treated with the same consideration, including the ones who had been looking on from among the underbrush and on the hills, for they likewise came unarmed to offer their submission. 19.

It was then about six o’clock in the afternoon. Although it did not seem right to raise the siege, it was deemed more expedient to do so and to choose a nearby position in which to make their quarters and to protect themselves for the night than to spread out in various directions the few forces we had. And so, telling the Indians that this move was made in deference to their wishes, a withdrawal was made as stated, but sentinels and night patrols were posted all around. The following day dawned; this was the I 4th, on which the Catholic Church celebrates the Exaltation of the Cross. A goodly number of Indian leaders came forth from the city with peaceful demonstrations and greeted the General, the missionaries,, and others present with polite words. As they added that the General might go into the city whenever it was his pleasure, he did not think it well to defer the matter. He went up to the gate in the wall (the only one in it) and found it completely covered with iron bars. Leading up to this entrance was a narrow passageway with several loop-holes and with what looked like a ravelin, or half-moon, for added defense. 20.

Here the Indians insisted stubbornly and obstinately, though at the same time submissively and obsequiously, that only the General, the Reverend Father-President, and six soldiers without their harquebuses, should come in so that the people would not get excited. He who takes no risks to win an immortal name, said the intrepid General in reply to this, accomplishes nothing; and so, piously invoking the aid of the Most Holy Mary, he marched in. Unperturbed and even with great dignity and composure he went on to the central square with the Father-President and six soldiers. There the Indians had just set up a beautiful cross. When the noise of the many people about it had quieted, he declared to them in the Castilian language, which many of them understood very well: Since our Monarch and Lord, Charles II, their legitimate king, has overlooked the apostasy by which they had renounced the Catholic religion; the sacrilege in which they had murdered the missionaries, profaned the churches, broken the images, and desecrated the sacred vessels, and the treachery by which they had put the Spaniards to the knife without sparing the women and young children; the barbarity with which they had burned their ranch-houses of the latter and had ruined their towns, and all the results following such abominations, his Royal Highness was sending the General here with all his regal authority and with the sole purpose of restoring them to the fold of the Holy Church, which would receive them like a pious mother – if they would penitently and tearfully seek this; the only condition attached was that they should swear allegiance to his Catholic Majesty as their legitimate king. 21.

Without any objection both demands were granted, and, after ordering the standard-bearer at his side to unfurl his banner ’81 the General declared in clear and intelligible words: ” [I now repossess] the City of Santa Fe, capital of the realm of New Mexico, together with its provinces and all its pueblos, in the name of the Catholic Majesty of the king, our lord, Charles III May he live many long years to protect all the vassals of his dominions! Long may he live I Long may he live I Long may he live!” they shouted back, ” so that we may all serve him as it is our duty!” And all bowed down reverently before the Holy Cross while the Father-President intoned the Te Deum Laudamus as best he could. 22.

From then on the gate of the city was thrown open without fear or suspicion, and an arbor was erected on the plaza for the following day, both for the ceremony of absolution from their apostasy, for saying Mass, and for the baptism of their infants. Absolution was given, preceded by a graceful and fervent address of the chaplain, and with manifest rejoicing the small children were baptized. Mass was attended not only without restlessness but devoutly, which was also the case on the 17th when another Mass was said. 23.

While all this was happening in the City of Santa Fe, Don Luis Tupatu was in the nearby pueblo of San Juan. He was an Indian of mature age whose qualities and courage had won for him, after the death of Alonso Catiti and Pope, the unopposed leadership and administration of the whole realm. Whether it was the fear possessing all his people, or something else which kept him still, I am unable to state because I do not know; but, considering what he said afterward, I am convinced that he was guided by good intentions in the matter. 24.

Supposing that this Indian leader would not come to the City of Santa Fe through fear of being killed, the General sent him one of his own rosaries as a passport and guaranty. Don Luis replied very courteously to this message, asserting that “he had heard with pleasure of the arrival of the Spaniards at the capital. The fact that he had not come at once to give a welcome to his Lordship [the General] was not owing to any ill-will or timidity, but to make certain that his person would be treated with the consideration befitting his position. If he were permitted to have his usual retinue, and if the inhabitants of the city would not be remiss in the respect that they formerly accorded him when he visited them, he would come to the General, obey his commands, and assist the latter with his steadfast friendship in whatever the Spanish commander chose to occupy him.” 25.

Assured that he might come if that were his pleasure, Don Luis arrived without delay on the following day with two hundred well-equipped warriors, after the inhabitants of the city had gone forth to meet him according to the custom of war. He was mounted on a beautiful horse and carried a musket with a pouch of powder and lead; on his forehead was a mother-of-pearl shell like a crown, and he was dressed in Spanish style, though he wore deerskin. Sixty paces away from the General’s tent he made a halt and his guard of two hundred Indians formed themselves into a squadron. After dismounting, he came toward the tent with great dignity and, with three sweeping bows, he knelt before Don Diego, who was standing outside, and kissed his hand. This was reciprocated by an embrace, and the first interview was limited to the ordinary greetings. When he had presented several sealskins, hides of tapirs ‘ and buffalo-robes to the General, and had accepted a beautiful horse in exchange with appreciation, Don Luis, his countenance betraying his inward delight, took his leave in order to return the following day for a longer visit. 26.

The next day he came and, without recalling the past, they discussed the present condition of the whole realm. The General not only learned of the hostilities of the Apaches against all of the tribes since the absence of the Spaniards, but also that the Pecos, Queres, Tacos [Tanos], and Hemes had renounced their allegiance to Don Luis. As the latter wanted to punish their insubordination, he was favorably inclined to having the Spaniards go with him to their pueblos. The answer given him was that the Spaniards not only would advance against these particular towns but against them all generally; if the example of the city [Santa Fe] was not emulated everywhere, the Spaniards would resort to blood and fire against the recalcitrant villages. With regard to the Indians who had been faithful to Don Luis up to that time, they would receive every consideration, and, if they were submissive to orders (as was their duty), he would take them with him. When Don Luis asserted that complete confidence could be felt regarding their behavior, the General replied that if this were not the case, he would kill them all; and, in order that Don Luis might realize how independent he was of any outside help in bringing the realm to a proper submission, he would go forward with only the Spaniards and the Indian allies that he had with him.

To such firmness Don Luis responded, not only without irritation but even meekly, and begged for a period of six days to get supplies and equip his men so that, with the General’s permission and approval, he might accompany him on any expeditions undertaken. Don Luis returned when he said that he would, with more than three hundred well-armed warriors. After the General had left the necessary instructions in the city, his outfit started off at dawn on September 21. When the sun was setting on the same date, fifty Spaniards from Parral reached Santa Fe and overtook the main body the following day at Galisteo. The break of day of September 23 found these two troops of Spanish soldiery and the followers of Don Luis near the pueblo of the Pecos Indians. Judging by the dwelling places, about two thousand families lived there, but they had already deserted their village. Notwithstanding this, however, as the Indian allies were not unaware of their possible whereabouts, they rushed off with a considerable number of Spaniards toward the nearby mountain range which is exceedingly rough. A quantity of hides and similar odds and ends were discovered, and several Indians, offering no resistance, were taken prisoner. The General treated them all with great kindness, and, placing a rosary about the neck of one of them, quickly sent him off to the fugitives to assure them that if they would come down without their weapons, they would win a pardon for all that they might have done. But neither this prisoner nor three others sent for the same purpose ever returned; in any one of them did come back, it was to state that he had not found his comrades where he left them. Camp was established here for five days during which scouting parties were sent out in different directions and, without killing anyone, thirty-six prisoners were taken. 28.

As it seemed that they were wasting time there to no advantage or profit, and, as the chief of the Tegua [Tewa] Indians, who came to offer his services to the General, brought information (to the effect that the rebellious Pecos, as they themselves had told him, were going to seek the protection of the Apaches), the prisoners were set free and urged to convince their own people to give themselves up peacefully. On September 27, the General returned to the city [Santa Fe] where the Indians welcomed him with rejoicing and celebrations and, without even the suspicion of any revolt among its inhabitants, he stayed there until the following Monday, [September] 29. 29.

With larger numbers of Spanish and Indian troops and with more military pomp than before, the General now took his departure and entered the pueblo of Tezuque on the same day; on the 30th he was in Cuyamungue, Nambé, and Jacona; on the first of October, he reached Pujuaque and San Ildefonso; on the second, Santa Clara and San Juan; on the third, San Lázaro and San Cristóbal; and on the fifth, the pueblo of the Pecuries. In deference to Don Luis Tupatu, who ordered them to do so, an impressive reception was given to the Governor, the missionaries, and to the whole expedition in all of these villages. All the inhabitants came forth bearing crosses, and along the roads were exceedingly odd arches of bulrushes and flowers. These apostates were consecrated anew to the Church and asked for the baptism of their children with the greatest eagerness. When they were taken back into the possession of the Catholic Majesty of our monarch and lord, Charles II, all this was celebrated with general rejoicing and festive dances. 30.

It snowed that night and the storm continued on the following day. As the General feared that this would shut off the road to Taos, which is dangerous, and prevent an attack upon the Indians there, he started off on the sixth at eleven o’clock in the morning to break the journey in two parts 13 and thus make sure of an attack at dawn. To his great disappointment this effort was thwarted because, upon reaching the town at four o’clock in the morning of the seventh, there was no longer a single person in the pueblo at that hour. From tracks found in the snow, our Indian allies surmised where these inhabitants probably were and, marching on to a nearby ridge, perceived an Indian who was starting out from it. The General went ahead to meet him, and, after embracing and treating him kindly, had him questioned as to why his companions had withdrawn to the hills. It was learned that this move was occasioned by their fear of the Spaniards. 31.

The General had a rosary placed about the Indian’s neck and assured him that the Spaniards were coming only to forgive the Indians and, by gentleness, restore them to their duties as Christians which had been renounced when they revolted. Then he sent the native back to the range with his message. The Indian ran off swiftly and, in a short while, another (well versed in the Castilian language) came and to him the same treatment was accorded. The fugitives, undoubtedly convinced by both of these individuals, began to come down in bands. This went on until the following day when, with a large number assembled in the public square of their pueblo, the same ceremonies were performed as everywhere else, and the Indians were grateful and happy.”

As a mark of the genuineness of their submission and proof positive of their friendship, these Taos Indians advised the General that very afternoon that the Hemes, Queres, and Pecos, aided by the Apaches and the Indians of the Zuñi and Moqui [Hopi] provinces, had arranged to attack him from ambush when he was leaving the realm. This information obliged him to withdraw to Santa Fe, both to acquaint the Most Excellent Conde de Galve, viceroy of New Spain, of what had happened up until then, and to refit himself with men and supplies for the movement forward; he was confident that the successful outcome of his venture could only be assured by careful and speedy decisions. 33.

On November 2 1, the bearer of the good news reached this capital [Mexico City]. Since these tidings were appreciated all the more because of their unexpectedness, they were heralded abroad by a general ringing of bells so that there might be a period of rejoicing and entertainment amidst the troubles that are still trying our souls (because of the famine and disease that we are experiencing at present). The most excellent vice-roy, the Conde de Galve, and all the magistrates went to the Cathedral to give devout thanks to God and His Most Holy Mother for this boon. In a meeting of the committee, which his Excellency called a little later, an )pen draft on the Royal Treasury was sent in favor of Don Diego so that he might bring his task to a successful ,conclusion by whatever means seemed best to him.34.

After equipping himself the best way he could with what he considered necessary, the General left Santa Fe on October 17211. He was accompanied not only by Don Luis Tupatu, but by Don Lorenzo, his brother, and by a goodly number of fine appearing men. Coming in sight of the pueblo of the Pecos on the same day, the surrender of its inhabitants was won without any resistance. . This was owing to what the thirty-six prisoners, set free when the Spaniards raised the siege, had told the Pecos. As they were satisfied with the genuineness of the General’s promises, which they all commended, these Indians were restored to the Church on the acknowledgment of their errors, and they humbly pledged allegiance to the one to whom they owed it; and those not already baptized received this sacrament also. 35.

Equal success was not so easily won among the Hemes who, obstinately persisting in their treachery, not only had many Apaches with them in their own quarters, but had sought aid from the Queres of Chief Malacate. Although the latter wisely dissuaded them from such an attempt, the Hemes adhered to their evil purpose notwithstanding, and, in order to bring it about, all came forth armed from their pueblo to meet our men. Their infantry was spread out along the crest of the hill, and these, as well as the cavalry which was approaching, threw dust into the eyes of our men who marched on in a state of irritation because they could not avenge such impudence as they would have liked. The reason for this forbearance, which seemed excessive, was the fact that the General had decreed the death penalty if anyone should conduct himself in any way harmful to the rebels, no matter how serious the cause for it might be. 36.

There is no doubt of the f act that on account of this, and many other wise measures which the General adopted on his campaign, he justly deserves a splendid eulogy; but, as it seems to me that any one of his acts is praise itself, by merely_telling about them one is really writing a panegyric of him. He pretended to overlook the impudence of the rebels because he realized that they were only doing this to goad him into attacking, and he felt that by giving them an example of magnanimity and composure in the f ace of such great danger, it would be enough to make them consider him invincible. To the amazement and alarm of the barbarous rebels, he succeeded in his plan. So great was the fear which possessed their hearts, because of his scorn of them, that they alleged that the throwing of dust in the eyes of the Spaniards was merely a festive greeting. The Indians admitted the Spaniards into their pueblo apparently without any unwillingness, and, in the matter of submission and the pledging of allegiance, the same acts were performed as everywhere else. From there he moved on to the Queres tribe without meeting even a threat of opposition, and thus several pueblos were brought back to the Royal Crown and the Catholic Church. 37.

This took up the time until October 27, when he reached the post at Mexia, where the main part of the baggage had been left in charge of Captain Rafael Telles. The reason that forced the General to make this detour was to get rid of the sixty-six prisoners that he had taken up till then, and to discharge the Indian warriors who had been with him since the beginning. With Don Luis Tupatu’s followers, who had proved very faithful, he had more than enough men. He sent back all of these to El Paso, as well as the Spaniards at Mexia who wanted to return, adding a squad of eight soldiers and turning over to them a part of the pack-train and the carts.

Before this the General had called all his officers into a council of war to decide whether to continue the campaign until it was completed, or whether what had been accomplished was enough until the following year. Everyone was of the latter opinion because of the bad ,condition of the horses, the severity of the cold weather, the snows that were already beginning. Added to this was the fact that the country yet to be covered was exceedingly arid and the most obstinate of the apostate rebels were the ones who inhabited it. Don Diego assured them that they spoke very judiciously but, notwithstanding the unanimity of their vote, he would do just the opposite. This decision was based, first, on the protection which he had so obviously received from the Most Holy Virgin, in whose name and under whose favor this undertaking had been decided on; secondly, the success with which he had accomplished up until then, without any particular danger, what had been regarded as impossible; and, thirdly, the dread which his name inspired in even the most perverse because of his bold and hazardous decisions. 39.

Having based his judgment on the foregoing, he left Mexia on October 30 with eighty-nine Spaniards and some troops of his Indian allies under Don Luis’ command, and on November 3 10″ he reached the foot of the impregnable rock of Acoma. The confidence of the Queres living there in their situation inspired them to have the audacity to pay no attention to the proffered forgiveness and friendship. There was no way until the following day to make the exceedingly difficult ascent amidst its craggy rocks. The General himself and nine Spaniards were the first to undertake and succeed in it.108 The Indians were filled with fear by this heroic feat and peacefully submitted to his authority. Leaving them rejoicing and reconsecrated to the Church, he proceeded on his way, having received adequate proof of the certainty of their friendship. 40.

On November 11th, he arrived at the no less impregnable rock of Caquima 110 to which the apostate Zuñis living in the vicinity had retired as a place safe . from the hostile attacks of the Apaches, thus reducing their five pueblos to one only. No difficulty at all was encountered in climbing up to it; on the contrary, there was much hospitality and courtesy among the Indians who were waiting for the General outside of the town. [n no other pueblo restored up to that time was greater attention and consideration enjoyed than in this village, and here only was any evidence of their earlier Christian state discovered.

This was the preservation, with some appearance of reverence, of what was found in a room of the house of a certain Indian woman. The General went in through the door (smaller than the smallest section of a window) and found the image of Christ, our crucified Lord, a painting of the most glorious Saint John the Baptist, His forerunner, several sacred vessels, the custodia of the most venerable sacrament, and some missals, on a fairly well constructed altar where two tallow candles were burning, and the whole was covered with little remnants of ornaments. This discovery produced a profound feeling of emotion and devotion in the General and also in some of his officers who had come in; embracing the leaders of these Indians and thanking them repeatedly, he assured them that from this time henceforth he would look after them with especial affection.

From this pueblo he turned back to Alona, an uninhabited village, in order to go into the province of the Moqui [Hopi] and bring his undertaking to a conclusion. As he was already conscious of the distressing condition of his mounts, owing to inadequate pasturage and continuous traveling, and realized that many of his soldiers were weak from their unprecedented hardships which were reducing them to a state of exhaustion, he formed a company of twenty-five, and these, with the major part of the mules and carts, he left in charge of Captain Rafael Telles with instructions to fortify themselves there against any possible contingency. From their equipment he reserved what he thought was necessary for the men who were to go with him (numbering sixty-three, including the officers, and not counting Don Luis Tupatu’s Indians who were more numerous) without encumbering them particularly. 43.

Forty leagues with only three waterholes in all that distance lay between Alona and Aguatubi, the chief peblo in the Moqui province. From the fifteenth to the nineteenth of November this stretch was covered with indescribable hardship which was [hardly] lessened by the fact that almost unexpectedly the General found himself in the midst of eight hundred Moqui Indians,”” all armed, while the horses of our men were coming up very slowly and almost in a state of exhaustion on account of the lack of water. So literally true was this situation that there were scarcely twenty-five men up with the General. It is obvious that, of the whole campaign, this was the day most fraught with peril, for the Moqui imitated the Hemes, in throwing dust and, with even more raucous shouting and din, went so far as to take away the weapons from some of our men. No resistance was made to this because the General, by the severest injunction, forbade tem to do so. 44.

The chief of this pueblo, Miguel by name, who had come out at the head of his men, rode at the General’s side. The latter told the Indian (noting that he understood Spanish) to keep his followers within proper bounds, since his coming to their province was on a peaceful mission and, therefore, they should receive and comport themselves toward the Spaniards in a different manner. As no attention was paid to this admonition, nor to what Don Luis kept saying to quiet them, our men stopped three or f our times in the distance of a league from the pueblo so that the other men coming up behind might join them. Since they were not as successful in this matter as they hoped, they kept moving forward until they were a musket-shot distance or a little more from the outermost houses of the town. 45.

The General made a halt and forced the Indians, who were most conspicuous in their impudence and insults, to come up to where he was, and he said to them: Ah Indians, ah you dogs of the worst breed that the sun warms I Do you think that my tolerance is owing to fear of your numbers and arms? Pity is what I have had for you in not killing you, f or by a single threat on my part, you would all perish I What is this, anyway I With whom do I speak? Do you still keep your weapons in your hands when you see me angered? How is it when you are Christians, though such bad ones, that, forgetting what you promised in baptism, you have profaned the churches, destroyed the images, murdered the missionaries, and sacrificed yourselves to the Devil to your own damnation [How is it that] you do not humbly cast yourselves upon the ground and revere the true Mother of your God and mine who, in the image which ennobles this banner, comes with forgiveness to offer you salvationl Kneel, kneel at once before I consume you all with the fire of my indignation. The crash of a thunderbolt would have left them less awe-struck than these words and, having no answer to give, they laid down their arms and knelt on the ground to worship the Most Holy Mary in her image, striking their breasts many times. After this the Spaniards went on to the pueblo and entered what served as a public square, whose gateway permitted only one person to go in at a time, and that only by turning sidewise, and there they took possession of the town in the name of our king and Lord. When he had told the natives that he would return the following day for their re-consecration, the General, accompanied by many Indian troops, left the town and went to a nearby waterhole. He ordered them to bring some firewood, because it was very cold, and, noting that they appeared sullen, he threatened that the fire would be built with their own weapons and even their own bodies. No doubt they feared that such would be the case, and, in a short while, they brought him a great deal of wood, and, having taken the precaution to post sentinels and patrols, the night was spent. 46.

On the morning of the following day, November 20, an entry was made and the re-consecration to the Church and the baptism of infants was performed. When the chief, Miguel, asked the General to act as godfather to his grandchildren and had received this favor, which he prized highly, he begged the Spanish governor to honor him again by being his guest. After entertaining Don Diego, the missionaries, and the military officers as best he could, the Indian leader accompanied the Spaniards to their camp at the waterhole to which they returned early to spend the night. 47.

Miguel came to the General before dawn and, after greeting him and kissing the hands and habit of the Father-President, he began to. sob and then burst into ears. When an effort was made to wipe them away and earn the cause of his distress, the Indian replied in Castilian: “Your Lordship probably realized the ease with which a great number of my people could have attacked you, and you may rest assured that they would, have done so with only a sign from me. From what I have since learned, I shall be slain for not having acceded to their wishes in this matter; even though it may not be impossible to recall to their minds their indebtedness to me so that they will not mistreat me, how shall I be able to free myself from the people of Gualpi whose chief, called Antonio, will do to your Lordship what I did not do? ” With proper appreciation of this information, the General replied with courage and spirit, saying that he should have no fear, but, on the following day, he should come mounted and place himself at the General’s side so that, in acting as his interpreter, he might witness some miracles. 48.

And this he did. With only five squads of well-armed Spaniards,”‘ Don Luis Tupat6’s Indians, and with no luggage, the General left on November 22 f or the pueblo of Gualpi, three leagues away. They met chief Antonio on the road and many of his followers, who were unarmed, together with still more, who were exceedingly numerous, bearing weapons. The howling and whooping of the latter were appalling and their effrontery reached such an extreme that the authority which Don Luis exercised among them was not sufficient to quiet them. When Don Luis and the General reproached him gently, Antonio replied that he had no control except over the Indians who were unarmed and that over the others, who were outsiders, the Spaniards and their friends should exert their authority. Even though he made his base intentions and duplicity perfectly evident by this reply, the General employed no other means to punish him than his scorn and contempt for such trickery. Showing no fear, he kept marching on and went right into the public square of the pueblo, where he made a barricade. There a cross was set up, and, when the natives were convinced by effective arguments regarding what it was their duty to do, they were consecrated anew to God and swore allegiance to their lord and king.

When the infants were baptized, Chief Antonio also invited the General to be godfather, and, after receiving this favor, invited him to dine. Despite the fact that the excitement noted among Antonio’s domestic servants and the admonitions of Chief Miguel argued against this step, the General accepted the invitation, trusting somewhat to luck and, by suitable precautions, guarding himself against surprise. Accompanied by the missionaries and several of his officers, he went into the house. The feast was limited to roasted eggs and some watermelons.”‘- Expressing his thanks with a happy countenance, the General went on to the pueblo of Moxonavi [Mishongnovi], which is not far off. Hereourmenand the Indians did exactly the same thing as in Gualpi, except that, in addition, they found, on entering the public square, three of the chiefs with crosses in their hands to which the General (in order to set them a good example) knelt three times. The large crowd from the whole pueblo assembled there asked for absolution (having laid aside their weapons), and, when their oath of allegiance had been received, the Spaniards moved on. 50.

In a very short time the pueblo of Jongopavi [Shongopovi] was reached, and, without a single person remaining inside of the houses, everyone came out with evident rejoicing and obsequious greetings to meet the General. What took place in all the other pueblos was quickly repeated here. Since the whole distance covered that day, fourteen leagues going and coming, was quite waterless, they turned back to the waterhole at Aguatuvi, although it was then very late. The only pueblo left to visit was Oralbe and, since the country was extremely arid and the distance great, it was felt advisable not to make the trip but to send a message instead, to which a submissive answer was given. As there was nothing further to be done in this province, the General left Aguatuvi on November 24, to return to El Paso after taking leave of the chiefs of all the pueblos there, and urging them to keep their allegiance, which they promised once again. 51.

Through a courier, dispatched by Captain Rafael Telles from Alona on the fifteenth, it was learned on the twenty-fifth that the hostile Apaches were abroad in that vicinity.”‘ The General started at once with thirty men to reinforce him, and on the night of the twenty-sixth they joined forces. On the twenty-eighth their position was strengthened by the arrival of the main body of the expedition. Having made an agreement with a half-breed Indian on November 30th to guide them to El Paso by a shorter though uninhabited route, they started off that very day, although it was well into the night. As an Indian courier from Caquima [Kia’kima] brought news that the hostile Apaches were coming in pursuit of our expedition, the Spaniards moved thence forward with the utmost care. Notwithstanding this, however, our rear guard was attacked on December 2 at night, and, after running off a small number of horses, the Apaches retired with them.”‘ Ten days of marching brought the expedition to the pueblo of Socorro; on the eleventh, which was the day following, they reached Jenecu (having found all the rivers already frozen over), sixty leagues from El Paso.”‘ After having traveled more than six hundred leagues going and coming, they finally reached El Paso without any further misfortune, on December 20, to the great rejoicing of its inhabitants. 52.

These were the results of this campaign in which innumerable tribes were brought back to the fold of the Catholic Church, and an entire realm was restored to the Majesty of our lord and king, Charles II, without wasting a single ounce of powder, unsheathing a sword, or (what is most worthy of emphasis and appreciation) without costing the Royal Treasury a single maravedi. Not a single Spaniard was found in this whole realm, because all who were there at the time of the uprising (with the exception of the ones who had taken refuge in Santa Fe, or were living in the region from Isleta southward), had perished. Seventy-four of the many mestizos and half-breeds, who had lived in captivity, were found alive and were set free; and two thousand two hundred and fourteen infants were baptized. Worthy indeed is this news, which may be learned by everyone through this MERCURY, so that the governor and captain-general, Don Diego de Vargas Zapata y Luján Ponce de Leon, constrained (by the praise this achievement will win for him) to hold steadfastly what he has courageously won, may undertake still greater deeds in the future. 53.


Full Colophon Information

Genre: Prose
Period: 1650-1700
Location: Spanish borderlands in North America
Format: Account/Relation