ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS WHICH CONTAIN THE INSPECTION OF THE PROVINCE
PERFORMED BY DRAGOON CAPTAIN JOSE TIENDA DE CUERVO, THE REPORT OF THE
SAME TO THE VICEROY AND AN APPENDIX WITH THE HISTORICAL ACCOUNT OF
NUEVO SANTANDER BY FR. VICENTE SANTA MARIA
MEXICO CITY - 1930
GENERAL STATE OF THE FOUNDATIONS MADE
BY D. JOSE de ESCANDON
IN THE COLONY OF EL NUEVO SANTANDER
Motto: "Although peasants, we guard with courage and valor these arms whose light has come
from this cross and are of the lineage and house of Escandón."
NOTE - The previous description is taken from the works of D. Ricardo Ortega Y Pérez Gallardo
called: Genealogical History of the oldest families of Mexico.
As it will be observed, said description presents some variations in the coat of arms that we
reproduced in the ordering and color of quarters, but we have preferred it because of it being a copy of
the existing one in Jiménez, Tams., to this date, having been ordered carved in stone by Mr. de Escandón,
a demonstrative circumstance of its authenticity.
MOST EXCELLANT LORD.
I remit to the hands of Your Excellency, in twenty-four folders, all the judicial proceedings that
I have performed in the recognition and inspection of the new colony of the Gulf of Mexico, commonly
called Santander, in virtue of the dispatch which Your Excellency was served to order me to deliver, its
date the 29th of March just past, and of the instruction of the fifteenth of the same month which was deigned
to accompany it and, finding it necessary for the performance of this superior trust to satisfy and separately
inform Your Excellency of all that I have understood in this affair according to the documents and the
reports acquired, I execute it in parts for the easiest information of Your Excellency; and firstly, unfolding
each chapter of instruction, I explain to Your Excellency, in consequence of it, what the statements in
general justify, in that which concerns all the colony, adding later a description of the state in which I have
found each settlement, in the order that I have inspected them, so that these reports serve as a support for
the truth and exactness of the first report, concluding those which I should make to Your Excellency,
explaining my opinion concerning the means which facilitate the subsistence of this province, with a
savings to the Royal Treasury, the formal establishment of missions, and profit for the treasury.
First chapter of the instruction: to have an idea of what is called the New Conquest and of its
limits, according to how Don José de Escandón has delineated it, a writing of the aforesaid follows, but
this and the rest of the reports, with which this commission is accompanied, are not to testify or to serve
any other use than to perform the most opportune, legal inspection of them and the regions and sites of
which they treat, such that the true recognition of the consistency of the Conquest, of all its parts, and true
property be facilitated.
Fulfillment. The writing of Don José de Escandón, to which the previous chapter of instruction
refers, not having been delivered to me and it having been ordered of me verbally by Your Excellency to
solicit a copy of the aforesaid whenever I happen to meet him, then when this was performed I sent him
the paper which consists of the first folder of the documents, sheet 9 verso, formed regarding the inspection
of the town of G�emes and, in its consequence, he sent me the map and other instruments which have been
added to the same folder following the dispatch and instruction of Your Excellency in execution of that
which you were served to order me orally as well, and that these reports (since my commission has not
been aided by others) have not been useful to me other than that which Your Excellency anticipates, as well
as these facilitating the true inspection of the consistency of these parts and of the true property of this new
2nd For the cited recognition, inspection of the land, and other particulars which shall be stated,
the commissioned Don José Tienda de Cuervo is accompanied by the lieutenant colonel, second engineer,
Don Agustín López de la Cámara Alta, whom I have also named, the first one performing all the judicial
for the performance of whatever might be conducive to its institution and especially for those ends which
this instruction states in detail.
Having left in company of the second engineer, Lieutenant Colonel Don Agustín López de la
Cámara Alta for the colony of the Gulf of Mexico, those of us who went there having arrived, I began
on the twenty-eighty of the month of April in the town of G�emes to perform, in its recognition and
inspection, the corresponding judicial proceedings forming for each settlement a separate folder and the
questionnaire which consists of the first sheets 54 to 57, to be able to arrange the question for the
statements through it and that these serve for the discussion of that which the instruction states in detail.
3rd It shall be made evident how the Sierra Gorda was before the conquest and which settlements
and "reducciones" are established at present; the footing in which they are found, their names and that of
its lands in which they are situated; the number of settlers they have and that of its converted and
congregated Indians; how many of them have received holy baptism already; how many are found without
this benefit, for what reason, and by which apostolic ministers they are attended.
Leaving the statements, taken in the course of this commission, confuses the information of that
which is called Sierra Gorda (as it will be explained in detail in the following chapter) and understanding
from reports and separate news items that it is commonly understood as that range of mountains which,
from the part of the south and southeast of the colony, runs to la Huasteca, San Luis de la Paz, and the
immediacies of Querétaro toward the south, I judge I should understand this chapter, through those
settlements comprised in the inspection of my charge, established or encouraged by Don José Escandón
and which he includes in his map; and reducing it to those of el Jaumave, Palmillas, Real de los Infantes,
and even Santa B�rbara, in my view, as situated in a valley they equal the others among said sierras, I
should say to Your Excellency that the state in which these lands were found before the conquest and the
rest of the circumstances, they are the following in general and in particular which I shall manifest later
to Your Excellency in the separate description which I shall make of each one of them.
STATE OF THE SIERRA GORDA BEFORE
This part of the Sierra Gorda before the conquest was inhabited and possessed by Indians who had
many hamlets in it with an increased number of persons of both sexes and all ages; but, as it appears in the
statements (especially those of the folders numbers 21, 22, 23, and 24 pertaining to the settlements of
Sierra Gorda), its Indians communicated in peace with the immediate missions and did not commit major
hostilities, only a few thefts of livestock, and they permitted several Spaniards to establish themselves in
the valley in which are situated today the settlements of el Jaumave, Palmillas, and Santa B�rbara, at that
time called Tanguanchín; and in the same manner they consented that, on and off which was usually from
year to year, the missionary priest of Tula enter into el Jaumave and Palmillas and the one of the town of
Valles into Tanguanchín, although some, having little confidence in the faith of the Indians, went
accompanied by soldiers of those jurisdictions; these priests remained three or four days in these regions,
in which interim (the Indians already prepared for their coming) those of the hamlets of its environs
attended with the children so that they be provided with baptism and the adults, who had already received
it, attended the doctrine which was explained to them in this short time. The Spaniards close to them
carried out the annual precept of the church and mass was said in el Jaumave in a chapel that they had in
the site of Santa Rose, which today is an hacienda of the Carmelite priests and is at a distance of two
leagues from this settlement; verifying that in the past years there had been there and in Palmillas a formal
mission of Franciscan priests of the province of Michoac�n who were extinguished by the hostilities of the
Indians from which resulted, without doubt, the facility of admitting the priest and of presenting the
children to him in that annual entry for the administration of holy baptism. With that first foot that the
Spanish people put into these valleys, founding some small ranches for farming and raising livestock, the
Indians began familiarizing themselves and, although once or twice they found themselves obligated to
contribute a little corn and some beef, they gladly suffered this type of extortion and some injury that they
caused in the cornfields in order to enjoy those lands without charge. With this experience others began
to gain the courage and the number of Spanish ranchers grew, especially in el Jaumave at which opportune
moment, Don José Escandón having gone, by order of this Superior Government, to view the missions
of Sierra Gorda in the year of 1744, acquainted himself with these good beginnings ththey had there for
formalizing a settlement from which, probably having made it known, it resulted in that, afterwards he take
charge of the command of this region and that of Palmillas and, in them, he give the provisions that have
provided the occasional formality which they have today and their increase; although this, in the main, is
due, in my view, to the benefit that results to the residents in the use of the good lands of those valleys
without charge; as I shall make it known to Your Excellency with more detail when I treat of the actual
state of each settlement in which I shall specify (in order not to delay this chapter nor confound the
information of some of them) "reducciones" that each one has today, the footing in which it is found, the
number of its settlers, that of the converted Indians, and their villages, and all the rest that Your Excellency
has ordered me to discuss; expressing here only that the settlement of Santa B�rbara is attended by a priest
of el Colegio de Guadalupe de Zacatecas, as are also all of those of the new Colony of the Gulf of Mexico,
but those of el Jaumave, Palmillas, and Real de los Infantes are administered by Franciscan priests,
observers of the province of San Pedro and San Pablo de Michoac�n.
4th From where the settlers proceed, how long it is since they were established, who financed their
travel and establishment, and what means have favored their subsistence as well as that of the congregated
Indians, and to what shall these expenditures rise in general and in particular, if it would be possible to
REPORT OF THE SETTLERS OF THE COLONY
AND OF ITS ESTABLISHMENT
The settlers of this new colony and also those of this part of the Sierra Gorda, as is justified by the
documents and shown by the reports taken, for the most part proceed from the jurisdiction of el Nuevo
Reino de León, many from those of Huasteca, Guadalc�zar, San Luis Potosí, Charcas, Coahuila, and some
from other parts, the length of time that they are found to be established is from the beginning of the year
of 1749 in that which is Colony of the Gulf of Mexico since at that time its first population was formed
although a few settlements are more modern as it will be manifested; but the missions of Palmillas and
Jaumave in la Sierra Gorda are older; the bringing of the first families to the major part of the settlements
of the Gulf of Mexico has been financed by the Royal Treasury, furnishing each one a hundred pesos in
financial aid; those of the town of Soto la Marina were given two hundred pesos and other that have been
founded without any subsidy or cost to the treasury as I shall detail it to Your Excellency in its place.
The means that have favored (especially in the beginning) the subsistence of the settlers and that
of the Indians which were collecting or congregating have been several quantities of "fanegas"of corn with
which Don José de Escandón helped several before the lands were begun to be cultivated, some oxen and
agricultural implements with which he helped residents and missions to facilitate farming, other financial
aids which he furnished to facilitate the building of canals (which in few places have been successful and
in the most they were frustrated) with the aim of irrigating the lands; and the corn and different gifts of
clothing that he has made to the Indians to reinforce their subsistence with the maintenance and women's
clothing and of that of those principal Indians. To what these expenditures will rise it has not been
possible, Your Most Excellency, to discuss with the needed justification and not even with a probable
regularity have I been able to form a calculation that would satisfy Your Excellency, notwithstanding the
care with which I have dedicated myself to come to this knowledge; because of the examined witnesses
only one or two, like the reformed captain of Horcasitas, give a report with any detail because most of the
cost made in that settlement ran through his hands; most of them respond that they do not know what there
is about this; many answer with confusion such that nothing can be clarified; and about extrajudicial reports
and news of missionary priests and other subjects, I infer that, through Don José de Escandón, there have
been several expenditures made in this expedition whose importance is unverifiable since they are for the
support of the people whom he took on the campaigns and other aids which it was necessary to give them;
and although it did occur to me that I could acquire a clarification or detailed report of everything from
him, since in a casual conversation I heard him say he had given his accounts, I have believed that I did
not even find myself authorized to ask him for them and that this same chapter removed the will from me
to do it, in respect to it being ordered to discuss to how much the expenditures might rise in general and
in particular, an expression which I judged turned me away from soliciting any report from said Escandón
in this affair due to those that are justified as evident in the documents.
5th Whether the Indians have quarters in the settlements for their congregation and habitation
separate from the Spanish settlers; at what distance they are from each other or whether they live and reside
all mixed either for the better advantage or because the sites permit nothing else.
REPORT OF QUARTERS OR HABITATION
OF THE INDIANS
The Indians in the settlements, where there are established missions, have shacks in which they live
and reside, in some parts a half league away or one or even more, according to the sites of lands that they
have assigned for their farming and in other parts they are present and live attached to the same settlements
and, according to reports, with the aim of having them more immediate to the subordination and doctrine;
in the areas where there are only Indians collected, (this is of those not subjected to bell and doctrine who
come and go in the settlements without committing hostilities) most of them have no shacks, although in
one region or another they have them but, for the best clarity and greater information of Your Excellency,
I defer to detail these circumstances in the description of the settlements.
6th Whether, in the name of the converted and congregated Indians, possession of the lands and
sites upon which they should found their subsistence has been given to the apostolic ministers; how and
what formality has the execution of this rule had, whether it was or not ample for the settlers and whether
the use of the lands thus assigned are already put into work and cultivation.
OF DISTRIBUTION OF LANDS TO MISSIONS
In no settlement has there been given possession of lands to the apostolic ministers in the name of
the Indians and there has only been an assignment of those that are destined for them; the same occurs with
the settlers since these enjoy the assigned lands in the boundaries of the settlement in common and
according to what each can or wants to cultivate and he puts his livestock in them; and for whenever this
rule of order of Your Excellency is formalized, I feel it necessary to disclose that in some settlements there
shall be other lands destined for the Indians of the mission and these to be in all parts the best, regarding
the preferential right that said Indians have over the settlers; regarding the assigned lands in the aforesaid
conformity, there are some placed into work and cultivation in each settlement and even in the sites of the
missions as I shall inform Your Excellency in detail.
7th How many rivers and where they run in the colony, whether there is or not information of their
origin and where they end, what they are called, and what settlements are found situated at their banks and
at what distance.
RIVERS OF THE COLONY
The rivers that run through this colony being many and diverse, it seems suitable to me to refer
first to the three principal ones into which most of them incorporate and come to be like sides and center
of this province, these are: el Guayalejo or Jaumave which runs on the south side of the colony and comes
to be its border in some parts, going to end at the barra of Tampico, that of la Purificación which bathes
almost the center of the colony and ends at the sea through the barra of Santander, the one called el Río
Grande or Bravo del Norte at whose banks and immediacies the settlements that end the colony in this area
are situated and it goes to stop at the sea at the one they call Boca del Río Bravo.
The Guayalejo or Jaumave begins in the Sierra Gorda in the region they call Puerto del Ahorcado
near the settlement of Palmillas and, crossing these mountains through its breaks, it passes through el
Jaumave from where it takes its name, the river called el Sigue unites with it and, running along the valleys
of the rest of la Sierra, it goes out to the plains of the colony through the mouth of las Adjuntas near Llera,
it passes through this town where there is a canal taken from it, it continues through the settlement of
Escandón where it take the name of Guayalejo for the one that this site had from the Indians and, a little
farther down, the one of Sabinos and Río Frío uniting with it, that both begin in la Sierra Gorda, it runs
with this current to Horcasitas and passes through its immediacy at about one-quarter league; a short
distance later the river called Mantle, which begins in a small hill separated from the Sierra Gorda towards
the part of the colony, farther down another one empties into it called Tamatan, which comes out of some
marshes of this name on the south side, connects with it, afterwards the river of Pánuconuco which carries the
drainage of Mexico absorbed in it incorporating itself with it, [and] with all this wealth of water (pouring
out in the lakes of Altamira, an area given the name of Tamesí) it goes to end through the barra de
Tampico at the sea.
The river Purificacíon begins in the same sierra madre at the foot of the mountain called el Viejo,
it passes through the town of Río Blanco in said sierra, jurisdiction of el Nuevo Reyno de León and,
entering into the colony farther down from Santo Domingo de Hoyos, the river called San Antonio, which
bathes this settlement and provides an irrigation canal for it, unites with it and, following its course, it
passes the town of Padilla at a shot of a rifle from it, a little farther down incorporating with it the one of
Pilón which has its beginning in the Sierra Gorda at three leagues of Real de Borbón and comes already
engorged from the one of Santa Lucía (which passes through this Real from which they are building an
irrigation canal) and from the so-called Baratillo which comes from the pasture land of las Nueces;
afterwards, three leagues farther down from Padilla, it -connects with the river Santa Engracia which
begins in the same Sierra Madre and, enlarging itself along its course from those of San Pedro, San Diego,
San Felipe, that of Caballeros, and further, before the creek of Tabaco, it pours out into it and with all this
water (passing at a quarter league from the settlement of Soto la Marina) it goes to end at the sea through
the barra of Santander.
The Río Grande or Bravo del Norte, whose beginning we do not know, it is only known that it is
farther north than Nuevo Mexico, this one, passing through the Presidio of San Juan Bautista (jurisdiction
of Coahuila), comes to enter into the colony through the settlement of Laredo situated at its edge on the
north part and, continuing its course through the hacienda of Dolores which is on the same north edge,
goes down leaving the settlement of Revilla at a distance of one league and there receives the water of the
rivers Sabinos and Salado, which begin in Boca de Leones from the Sierra Madre, with which it passes
through the immediacies of the town of Mier and, the river called el Alamo incorporating itself to it, it
follows (enriched with all of these) toward the east and, leaving on the south that of Camargo at a distance
of one league where the river San Juan which bathes this settlement unites with it, it runs with this greater
current towards the city of Reynosa; situated at its edge and, passing afterwards towards the coast to empty
into the sea, it divides itself first into three branches, one of which forms several lakes and the other two
continue to end at the sea.
Outside of these three principal rivers there is another one to consider called Conchas which begins
at the Sierra Madre and comes down enriched from several rivulets through the city of San Fernando to
go to empty at the sea through the barra of the same name.
There is another river called San Marcos which has its origin in the Sierra Gorda from where it
goes toward the colony through the mouth of its name, bathes the settlement of Aguayo, provides it a canal
for its irrigation, passes through the marshes of Mesas Prietas to end its course in that of Santa Engracia.
The report of these river, the one of those that empty into them, their course and distance to the
settlements, is prepared with arrangement to the statements taken and the reports that I solicited in
compliance of that which is ordered of me by this chapter; but the map, needing to put everything within
sight, shall instruct the aforesaid with distinct clarity to which it is necessary that I refer.
8th What irrigation canals have been built from these rivers or are being built for the irrigation of
lands and which regions are those that are fertilized by them or can be fertilized and to which settlements
CURRENT IRRIGATION CANALS AND THOSE THAT CAN BE BUILT
The irrigation canals that have been built from the aforesaid rivers in what comprises the colony
of the Gulf of Mexico are the following:
In the settlement of Aguayo, from its river San Marcos, one with which its fields are fertilized and
it divides into several branches and, at its mission, another one from the one of San Felipe with which the
lands of the Indians obtain the same benefit.
In that of Llera, the river called Guayalejo or Jaumave.
In that of Santo Domingo de Hoyos from the San Antonio River.
The ones that are being built at the moment are one in el Real de Borbón from the Santa Lucia
River and another in Revilla from el Salado; in the last one, although they have worked six hundred rods,
from what I know in my little knowledge and from reports taken, its success is considered inaccessible,
seeming to me that the work is badly directed and that the land is too elevated for the level that the canal
has, whose water will only aid the least part of the gardens of the houses situated on low land and also the
farming lands that can be irrigated will only be few.
The town of Burgos had the canal from the rivulet of its name running for several years but it was
lost due to the great flood of last year.
That of Escandón was able to see another one almost to perfection from the Guayalejo River when
the same flood of last year came unexpectedly and destroyed everything that the citizenry had
The settlements that can obtain this advantage, according to that inspected and examined by the
Second Engineer Don Agustín López de la Cámara Alta, are the following:
That of G�emes from the San Diego River.
That of Horcasitas from el Mantle, that of Padilla from the Santa Engracia, that of Escandón,
moving to the projected region, from the Guayalejo, and the one of Burgos in the same borders of the
rivulet that had it before.
The settlements to which the irrigation canals correspond are the same ones that have built and
utilized them; the lands that are fertilized with them are the ones that the map denotes and in this affair Don
Agustín López de la Cámara Alta will inform Your Excellency monthly.
9th Whether there are other settlements that do not enjoy these comforts and have those of some
springs or water sources with which they can obtain the same benefits, how many there are and what
regions they cultivate in this order.
SPRINGS FOR IRRIGATION
The town of Santander is the only settlement that, through several springs that flow out at three
to four leagues distance on the north part and form a competent rivulet, has succeeded in building a canal
from it with which it irrigates its gardens and a large part of the planting of corn that it makes, of the
planting of cane, and of the vegetables it cultivates and this same rivulet continuing then, with the waters
left over, to the town of Santillana, it could, in my concept, facilitate the same advantage which it has not
obtained (although it tried it) due to the bad ordering with which the work was conducted.
Within the borders of the town of San Fernando there are different springs that can facilitate
irrigation to the immediate lands for the benefit of planting but, since this cannot be enjoyed in common
but only that resident who cultivates it, it is difficult for one alone to finance that which such a work
requires to be expended.
El Real de los Infantes in la Sierra Gorda utilizes springs for the use and support of its citizenry
but it does not have the convenience to utilize them for irrigation for planting and it can only use them to
cultivate vegetables and fruits in the gardens of the homes.
10. What use is made of these lands with these benefits, if for planting of seeds, which are the
most accredited of the crops and whether there are, or not, land for the planting of vegetables and other
fruits and how many already have this application.
USES AND BENEFITS OF IRRIGATION FROM CANALS
The use that is made of the lands that have irrigation is that of benefitting the plantings that are
made early with it, saving them opportunely with water to assure a crop by this means before being
overcome by storms that tend to damage those that are made during the normal season subjected to the
contingencies of the year.
The most accredited seed and into which the major attention is placed is that of corn as needed
support of those people, after this they have dedicated themselves more to the planting of cane, although
they also plant some beans and a little red pepper.
They take advantage of the irrigation also for the gardens of their homes in which they cultivate,
outside of that expressed, some vegetables and fruit trees.
From the benefit of irrigation through canals, it results in that the settlements which have it are
assured of a great harvest in the early crops which supplies their maintenance, having some left over to sell
to other settlements; and afterwards, depending on whether the year is moderate, they add what they reap
from the seasonal plantings which they also make, by which means they are increasing, not needing to lay
hands on their livestock to buy corn as in other settlements, but instead they sell it and, besides this
advantage, they obtain that which the cane furnishes them along with the rest they cultivate and it has been
The lands that have this application are those that, as I have stated, the map shows and the lots of
11. What number of fanegas have been planted in the settlements, how much annual harvest in the
crops they have had, more or less, whether these have been benefitted by rains or irrigation, and whether
they have been enough for the maintenance of the settlements and "congregas" or it has been necessary
to supply themselves from the old and immediate provinces; at whose cost, whether the kings, Escandón's,
or the settlers'.
PLANTINGS AND HARVESTS
Neither the number of fanegas of corn and other grains that have been planted in the settlements,
nor that of its annual harvest, is explicable in general due to the variance of one from the other in the
application of planting and due to the advantage that one has over the other either due to some having
irrigation or due to the seasons being more moderate in others, that lacking this benefit they are subject
to the irregularity of the weather about which Your Excellency shall become better acquainted regarding
that which he asks me to discuss, about which I shall specify to Your Excellency after the description of
each settlement from which he shall also recognize those which are benefitted by the rains; and those that
have obtained irrigation are already specified.
But speaking of the entire colony, it is established that their crops have not been enough for the
subsistence of the settlements and "congregas" and I conceive that not even today do they suffice (outside
of the settlements of Hoyos, Aguayo, Llera, Escandón, and Santa B�rbara) due to the following reasons:
The first, because some have been very persecuted by the barbarian Indians, not only in the
continuous thefts of their goods and livestock, but even in the deaths of many of their residents, like that
of Horcasitas, Escandón, Llera, and even some in that of G�emes, for which reason they have had the need
of being in continuous vigilance which has diverted them from farming the lands with the justified distrust
that they would not be able to reap that which they would sow.
The second, because the lazy nature of the residents in other settlements, and not at all inclined to
farming, has induced them to an abandonment of which the damages are recognized which, in my
understanding, depends on the fact that most of the settlers were shepherds dedicated their entire life to the
raising of livestock, some others were vagrants from the borders whom, I consider, it was necessary to
admit for the population of the colony and its encouragement.
The third, that the poverty of most of the residents of one settlement or another does not allow them
the strength to animate them to plant the seeds, since they lack this and the agricultural implements they
The fourth and most important (since it includes the majority of the settlements of the colony) is
because the experience they have acquired in the previous years shows them that it will be rare that they
harvest a complete crop from the plantings that are exposed to the storms, not due to the quality of the
land, since it appears that its arable land cannot be more adequate for everything, but rather due to the
extraordinary storms that occur afterwards, well the waters helping generally in the months of May and
June with regularity to encourage them with the planting, they succeed in seeing their cornfields in the best
state, when afterwards there occurs either a delayed suspension of rains that dries them or so much
abundance of it that it soaks them on the one hand or inundates them on the other with the floods of the
rivers that overflow; thus it has occurred in the last year and in this one, in which they have endeavored
the most to plant, when the many rains were general in the kingdom; they lost most of the crops of the
colony and, at present, the rigorous drought of two months accompanied by strong winds from the
southeast parched most of the cornfields, which I saw in the best state upon my entering into said colony
and upon leaving I found them almost lost; all the aforesaid is justified by the statements, is instructed by
the reports, and I have accredited it in that pertaining to this year but Your Excellency shall learn in detail
about that which I will explain regarding each settlement, since there is the variety that I mentioned of one
Due to everything stated it has been necessary for those in many of the settlements to supply
themselves from other parts, those that are situated in the north of the colony normally solicit corn, which
they lack, from the closest places of el Nuevo Reino de León which they obtain easily and without
experiencing any loss because of the advantage they enjoy from the abundance of salt deposits situated on
the other bank of the river of el North since, going to load its salt, they take it to said Nuevo Reino and
exchange it for corn sometimes and at other times for the products of their needs.
The settlements established in the center of the colony, which have usually lacked this grain, go
to buy it in Hoyos and Aguayo and perhaps in el Jaumave and, although they have usually enjoyed the
benefit of exchanging them for the salt that they take from the lakes of San Fernando and from la Barra
de Santander, they normally have more failures in these than those of the north because, in the years of
abundant water, the great amounts that the Conchas and Purificación Rivers bring sweeten said lakes and
do not allow them to crystallize, as it occurred last year and even in this one, due to the copious rains that
fell in those months of May and June, in spite of the long drought that followed the present one, they
finally got this alleviation at the beginnings of August to counteract their poorly harvested crop.
The towns situated in the mountain ridge at the south of the colony, like Altamira, Horcasitas, and
Escandón, which have needed crops (although the last one has succeeded in this) provide themselves from
those of Santa B�rbara, Llera, el Jaumave, and Palmillas which they have immediate to them and where
they buy the corn at the comfortable price of one peso per fanega and, in these, regarding the aid of the
salt deposits immediate to Altamira, the same thing occurs as in the settlements of the center.
The corn, which the residents have found necessary to buy in these last years, they have financed
themselves, as it is seen in that which has been explained, and only at the beginning were they aided by
the Royal Treasury in the quantities manifested in the different statements that treat of this and it would be
long to specify without it being verified that Don José Escandón might have furnished anything from his
own wealth, but rather from that of the king which was delivered to him for the expenditures of this
12. Which settlements are situated in that which is the true coast of the Gulf of Mexico, at what
distance from the sea, and what ports, bays, and anchorages are observed to be made by nature or so that
it heighten the skill for them for the security of large or small vessels.
SETTLEMENTS OF THE GULF OF MEXICO.
THEIR DISTANCES FROM THE SEA. BARRAS. PORTS
OF ITS COAST
The settlements situated in what in my understanding is the true coast of the Gulf of Mexico and
their distances to the sea are in this form.
Distances to the sea
Altamira, by its lakes to the Barra de
Tampico . . . . . . . . . . . .
Horcasitas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Escandón . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Llera . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Aguayo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Santo Domingo de Hoyos . . . . . . .
G�emes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Padilla . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Santander . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Santillana . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Soto la Marina through the river
with its winding to the Barra . . . .
San Fernando . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Reynosa . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Camargo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mier . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Revilla . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Hacienda de Dolores . . . . . . . . . . .
Laredo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Burgos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Those which are situated in what is properly called Nueva Colonia and most of them established,
others formalized by the colonel Don José de Escandón; but, besides these there are two which are
included in that pertaining to the establishment which was ordered and they are those of Santa B�rbara and
Real de los Infantes and that I do not include with them because I consider them situated in la Sierra Gorda;
the first one is a distance of sixty-three leagues from the sea and the second 45 but it shall be made known
distinctly in the map, since in that regarding distances tone can count little on what those people report,
since they normally measure the leagues by the hours that it takes on the roads without stopping to consider
the amount of speed with which they walk.
The one that is explained as Hacienda de Dolores is not a settlement and simply an establishment
made of livestock in which Don José V�zquez Borrego lives and the one in which he has his own servants
for its management and administration.
At the coast which this colony comprises of which is treated and which follows almost north and
south from the Barra de Tampico up to the Bahía del Espíritu Santo, according to the map that Don José
de Escandón first laid out, there is no formal port nor any other than the one to which that name with the
denomination of Santander has been given and into which only small vessels can enter, as the proceedings
performed in its inspection which appear in the folder number 12 of the documents manifest.
This said coast has different barras and, without counting the one of Tampico which does not
belong to it, those following from it towards the north are 1st that of el Tordo in front of Tamaulipa la Vieja
or Oriental, then that of Trinidad and in both only fishing canoes can enter, afterwards follows the one of
Santander situated outside of the mouth of that which is called port, more to the north is the one of San
Fernando at the outlet to the sea of the Conchas River which is a beach where likewise only canoes can
navigate and the same happens at the mouth of the Río Grande del Norte according to the short reports that
have been able to be obtained about them since so few have seen it.
Due to the expressed reasons I do not see that the coast, pertaining to this colony, could furnish
a port, a bay, or an anchorage arranged by nature nor that the workmanship could perfect it for the
navigation and security of the major vessels and there is only the one called Santander that could be
navigable for minor boats in the terms that Your Excellency will understand in the fulfillment of the
instruction that I shall give in the two following chapters.
13th Without prejudice of that prepared in the previous number, the situation of the Port of
Santander, its distance to the shore and to the port of the same name must be particularly explained; this
will be sounded wherever possible, individualizing whether there are any low areas, whether its entrance
and exit are forced by one or several winds; with anything else deemed suitable in the inspection of the
advantages that this settlement and the port itself might offer and for a useful and suitable maritime and
internal commerce of the colony, of its frontiers subjected to the domination of the king and even of the
more elegant provinces of the kingdom where these thoughts can be expanded with probability and for the
regular or irregular works in which to found their defence and the security of its conservation.
REGARDING THE PORT OF SANTANDER
The port called Santander is found situated at twenty-four and one-half degrees latitude, its distance
to the shore I do not find can be regulated, if the one called Bahía is reputed as a port (as it seems it should
be reputed), after entering through the mouth and the region in which the vessels have only a short
protection in the river bend at the northern part in front of la Vigía, a site noted on the map and that I have
tried to explain in the folder of these proceedings, number twelve page 22 and verso, with all its
circumstances; since from it to the sea there is a short league of land which forms its beach but if the berth
of Soto la Marina where Don José de Escandón's schooner comes to unload is estimated as a port, upward
from Río de la Purificación there is a distance of 6 to 7 leagues from it to the Marina, computed by the
navigation with the turns of said river and a quarter of a league from the aforesaid berth to the town of Soto
The port, its entrances and exits, the width of its canal, its barra, and the Río de la Purificación
up to the berth were sounded and it was observed in the different operations that were made and they are
explained in the aforesaid folder number 12.
Low areas, outside of that of the barra and of the two summits of the hill or breakers that are
explained as being there, have not been discussed as occurring at the coast nor at the entry of said port;
and at the beaches of its mouth there are only the two sandbanks which are also explained in said folder,
page 17, as far as I have been able to obtain, manifesting the width that is navigable between them, that
I expect that everything be sufficient to inform Your Excellency of what he wishes in this affair especially
regarding the most clarifying map which will make everything evident.
The entry of the port cannot be considered, in my opinion, constrained when it has various winds
that facilitate and permit it since, from the northeast - east and southeast, and the weather being calm, one
is able to enter with sails even with [that of] the south and, on the contrary, one is able to exit with sails
with that of the southwest - west and northwest and with the north in good weather.
If the town of Soto la Marina is considered a proper settlement of the port, the advantage that it
affords is that of its healthy climate and good lands in its immediacy; but its miserable state and great
poverty in which its citizenry is found and the judicial proceedings done in its inspection manifest. [sic.]
Folder 11 they requested several measures for their support if it happened that the port could be
made available and this would be noted as its settlement.
If the capital city of Santander is reputed as such (from which, it seems, the port takes its name),
this is found at a distance of twenty-one leagues from it; and for this reason and while the cause, which
probably influences the intemperateness that they experience annually, is not attempted to be corrected,
I do not find that it will furnish any advantage to the commerce of said port.
The same port (if it were navigable and open for vessels from all parts), the advantages that it
offers for a utile and suitable maritime commerce are those that any port gratifies the provinces that have
it and those that are frontiers to it; and the greatest advantage that it could facilitate is that which, from its
being available, would follow for the navigation of the vessels that come to this kingdom and today arrive
at the one of Veracruz, in view of that one being usable and ready, the trips to la Havana would be
facilitated and shortened because of not having to be on their guard from the so feared Negrillo and that
the risks, to which the low areas and reefs that circle the entrance of Vera Cruz expose all vessels, would
be excused. But at the same time that I make Your Excellency aware of these utilities, I believe I find
myself obligated, in the fulfillment of your trust, of not concealing from Your Excellency the disadvantages
that I conceive there are for not considering the making of this port available, even when it is thought
The advantage that could result through the maritime commerce for this colony, and even for the
provinces that are borders to it, are that of the taking out of its products and the convenient provision of
those which it needs [from] outside and of the general ones it consumes but, since the ones that can be
extracted from said provinces are of such small importance (since they are reduced to woolens, fodder,
skins, cheeses, and salt), it seems that this usefulness and the advantage of such little commerce
counterbalances little the excessive costs that the fitting out and conservation of the port would cause.
The advantage of the prices of the products that the dwellers of those areas need (outside of it not
seeming just that they be made available at the cost of such inflated expenditures of the Royal Treasury)
would attract, from my understanding, injuries to the commerce of Mexico and that of Spain, to the first
because, in this case, those who supply the provinces of Nuevo Reino de León, Coahula, Texas, Nueva
Galicia, Guadalc�zar, Potosí, Huasteca, and perhaps others would not give aid in accoutring themselves
in this capital; and it follows that, its merchants lacking this branch, their wealth would decline and I
conceive, sir, that it is very useful in this capital that the principal nerve of commerce be conserved,
especially in order not to injure this new establishment and to definitely give it the encouragement that it
needs in these origins in which it is found, it favors (in the terms in which the port is today and can subsist)
the provision that facilitates it and the taking out of products that it manages through the schooner of Don
José de Escandón, its navigation and traffic to the Port of Veracruz being limited.
What could be injurious to the commerce of Spain from making this port available is that, the fleets
naturally having to arrive at its port (in the case of its being in use), the competition of the two commerces
would neither be so accessible nor easy for the enjoyment of the course of business; that the carrying of
the principal barter outside of the silver, and these are the containers of grain and indigo, would be very
costly by land or dangerous of they tried to take them by sea from Veracruz; and, although these two
disadvantages are not the major counterbalance (but, of course, of some consideration), those that require
all that of your Excellency, in my judgement, are the following:
It is evident, Your Most Excellency, that the great decline, which the Kingdom of Perú and that
of Santa Fé experience, depends on the various ports that they have and on the accessibility of its coasts,
that if the guarding of their entries and exits do not make it impossible, they make it very difficult; and it
is equally evident that because, this kingdom has only one door for its commerce, it has flourished more
and more from day to day.
If for the illicit commerce which that of Spain has lost in those two kingdoms, the immediacy of
the foreign colonies favors it so much, I believe that with a similar experience the same injury should be
suspected in this New Spain from making the new Port of Santander available in respect to how immediate
it is from the Mississippi River in which the French have a colony and are increasing their establishments
and commerce; and thus, as in the aforesaid two kingdoms, the subjects of the king have been corrupted,
not only in the treating of the coast with the foreigners, but also in making arrivals at their ports, when they
navigate to another of the Spanish authority, under the pretext of whatever disadvantage and even perhaps
without it, so it is to be feared it would come to pass with time in these parts that the entry and exit of the
port concerned would become common and easy, since I find that the risks and dangers to which the
navigation to that of Veracruz is exposed, not only does it dissuade the foreigners from all commerce, but
also that it protects that post from being attacked in whatever war might be stirred up against the crown.
To all these repairs which I feel go against the making available, before today proposed, of the Port
of Santander another is added that I do not believe superfluous to make Your Excellency aware
(notwithstanding being made charge that nothing be hidden in its penetration) only with the desire of
accrediting the accuracy with which I have tried to investigate this point which Your Excellency, among
those which comprise his instruction, considers most serious.
The case, sir, of improving the mines of this colony arriving, of which the statements give a
report, and that of these producing the treasures corresponding to the reports, how just a suspicion should
be had (the navigation of this port made available) that the silver taken from them be extracted through it
or through its coast with loss of the profits that they should produce to the Royal Treasury in the right of
"quinto y cuño of the Royal Mint, as it is experienced by that concerning the Kingdom of Perú, by
Buenos Aires to the immediate colony of el Sacramento, by Panam� or the ports of its jurisdiction in the
saa of the North, in the vessels which travel from el Callo to that province, and in the Kingdom of Santa
Fé through all the doors that its expanded coast has from the river of el Orinoco to that of el Zinu, and if
the case arrives (as it has occurred in those two kingdoms, not before the beginning of this century in
which its commerce flourished, as its galleons affirmed it) of it resulting in the profits of similar extraction
being embraced by the subjects of the king established in this Nueva España and that of the sending the
silver to the foreigners, not only will those that the Gulf of Mexico will be able to produce be removed,
but also those which today the mines of Guadalc�zar, Potosí, and other parts render; and when the injury
is observed, their remedies shall be as difficult, as it has been (since none has been found up to today) in
the aforesaid kingdoms, whose ruin of the commerce, from the little experience that I have about them,
depends in my concept on the principal of this cause.
Regarding the verification of the prognosticated riches of the minerals of this colony and of the
sierras that enclose it and of establishing its improvement, it seems it should justifiably be suspected that
the fame of these treasures would stimulate the foreign nations to a breakout of war with Spain to make
efforts toward an expedition that would make them owners of them; for which case the fitness itself of the
colony in fields and abundance of livestock would facilitate the entry without obstacles up to the mines
themselves, an injury that should be prevented, especially from the French, since they are established so
nearby and which would induce me to propose to Your Excellency the closing of the port and the
prohibiting of all navigation to it, to not be attentive to the ease of this province in its new formation today,
but with this objective and that of the rest of the obstacles mentioned, I propose limiting the traffic of the
schooner to a port other than that of Veracruz and, finally, sir, these proposed repairs for making the port
available whenever it would be accessible counterbalances in the prudence of Your Excellency with the
aforementioned advantages of the more secure navigation to it, rather than to that of Veracruz, because
of the "Negrillo" and the reefs from which the risks were avoided, Your Excellency will easily find those
which are forceful in favor of one idea or another.
And finally, to satisfy Your Excellency in the last clause of this chapter regarding the regular or
irregular works in which the defense and conservation of this port can be founded, I defer to that which
I diffusely explain regarding the affair (confessing the lack of information) in the cited folder 12 of the
respective proceedings from page 58 verso to 23, [sic] and as I have always heard the second engineer Don
Agustín de la Cámara Alta who considered its accessibility extremely costly and almost inaccessible and
consequently useless to consider its fortification, it is necessary that, with different foundations and reasons
from mine, I express it to Your Excellency and it is just that I defer myself to them; not doubting that the
reports that I affirm to Your Excellency confront those of the aforesaid don Agustín in respect to these
being in conformity to that which we inspected, treated, and agreed to regarding the land where I judicially
expanded in the folder number 12 which justifies them.
14. This last advice should be understood even if that which is conceived as port of Santander be
by reason of the river which passes and empties in the Gulf near the settlement spoken of but, anyway this
river immediate to it should be recognized, making it evident from its three dimensions up to where it is
found to be navigable from its entry at the sea, explaining the lack of obstructions or impediments such as
sandbars or others that it might have at its mouth and its extension and the real distances in which it would
be found from the settlement of Santander.
REGARDING THE POPULATION OF SAID PORT AND RIVER
WHICH EMPTIES INTO IT
The difference of what can be conceptualized as port of Santander is explained in the completion
of the preceding chapter, as well as I have been able, even if Your Excellency estimates as such the berth
of Soto la Marina where they unload the schooners of Escandón and which is at a distance of one-quarter
league from this town through which passes the Purificación River which empties into the Gulf at the Barra
which has already been discussed.
Said river was inspected and observed as it is accredited in the judicial proceedings of folder 12,
page 13 and 16 in which its three dimensions are equally and more clearly manifested and up to where it
is found to be navigable from its entry at the sea.
The impediments which said river has, or have been able to be found, for its present navigation
for all vessels are the following:
The first is that before its edges widen and before arriving at the region called el Muelle, where
that which is called the Bahía is formed, less depth is found in this river, well at one stretch of about two
shots of a rifle they find only two and one-half fathoms and these are even less in some parts, while farther
up toward Soto la Marina and farther down to the sea it has greater depth, which will, precisely, hinder
the navigation of any boat which draws more water.
The second is that of its narrow canal navigable from the mouth of the port up to the said region
of el Muelle since it narrows down to one hundred rods, which is a short stretch for any vessel to go along,
capsizing when the wind is contrary.
The third is that of the many bends that this river has and that it happens that, the same winds
which are favorable to the vessels to go up, turn out to be so scarce that they obligate them to cast anchor,
but this and the other circumstances are expressed in said proceedings to which one will have recourse in
order to become acquainted with that concerning this affair.
The true distance of the berth to the settlement of Soto la Marina is one-quarter of a league, that
there are six to seven leagues to the mouth of the port, that of the capital town of Santander to the
preceding, fifteen leagues and to the sea or emptying of the river 21.
15. Whether the land of all the colony is suitable for the raising and conservation of major or minor
livestock; what haciendas of this type are found already established in it, and what progresses are felt from
THAT THE LAND OF THE COLONY IS SUITABLE
FOR THE RAISING OF LIVESTOCK AND FOR HACIENDAS
OF THIS TYPE
That the land of the entire colony is very suitable for the raising and conservation of major and
minor livestock is noted by all the declarations and reports, it is evidenced by the goods which which the
residents are found with from these types, as is found in the reviews, it is accredited by the haciendas from
outside that enter to pasture in its boundaries and about nine hundred thousand heads of minor livestock
go in and I can confirm it from the abundant pastures that I saw in all parts, as much at the beginning of
our stay there, when there was some rain, as well as well as at the end when they had experienced some
rigorous droughts; the reports of the production which those inhabitants give would be incredible if all were
not answered and confirmed by credible subjects such as the missionary priests; the formal haciendas that
are established of this class are that of Don Domingo de Unzaga in the borders of the town of Hoyos with
the name of San José de la Mesa; the one that Don José de Escandón has in that of Soto la Marina called
San Juan, and the one that Don José V�zquez Borrego has established on the Río Grande del Norte
between Revilla and Laredo; outside of these there are several ranches of some consideration, especially
in said town of Hoyos, Camargo, and other parts and in the most varied areas that the residents have; the
progresses felt from their improvement are proportionate to what is explained and they are known in the
settlements in which the residents do not find the need to make use of them for the purchase of corn, due
to lack of crops, or in those which make up this lack with the salt they gather for the exchange which they
make for this grain.
16. Whether it is notorious or particularly known or there is an indication that the same territory
might have minerals, of what metal they are and where they are situated, whether there is one or are some
in use, in whose name they run, what effect these benefits have with all the rest which concern them and
that of mining.
Through the statements, through the reports, and through the inspection of some regions, I have
come to understand that in the circle or boundary of the colony there are several mines and mineral veins
which, according to reports, produce some sliver; despite their not having been any application to the work
and improvement of their metals since there are none put into work with any formality other than el Real
de los Infantes in la Sierra Gorda; notwithstanding several assays having been made, taking small amounts
of said ores to Guadalc�zar and to other parts but, either due to the small amount of silver they have
yielded or due to limited abilities of the residents, they have not been encouraged to the improvement of
these mines and they are found in a state that the openings can only be called tests in respect to the lack
of depth they have made; although from the proceedings and reports one can conceive hopes that, in
penetrating further, the mineral content will abound differently than what the assays have manifested up
The regions in which mine entrances or tests, made up to now, are found are the following:
In the Sierra Madre near Santo Domingo de Hoyos in the hill called Jesús, there are several open
mines worked in the year of 1747 by Don Francisco S�nchez de Zamora, now captain of the settlement
of San Fernando, which is declared and stated in folder 14 page 38 verso that, having taken out some loads
of ore which, when worked on, produced silver but not enough to finance the guarding required by the
hostilities of the Indians for which their strength was not enough and due to a lack of intelligence.
At seven leagues from the same town of Hoyos in the hill called Santiago, by another name el Real
de Borbón, there are seven open mines, one of which runs in the name of Don Domingo de Unzaga,
captain of said settlement, who seems to have the intention of engaging in its work; the other six are run
by the stewards of the pastures of the houses of Canal and Landeta and by some other resident from there,
but in none do they conduct formal work and the one most worked has two levels of depth; we inspected
these and, so it seems to Don Agustín de la Cámara Alta, its ores promise competent production of silver
and more than has been removed for the assays made.
In jurisdiction of the town of Aguayo at 4 leagues from it in la Boca de Caballeros, there is an open
mine that was begun to be dug by the one who was captain of this settlement Don José de Olazar�n and
he got some ores from it from whose assay he was able to obtain some silver which encouraged him to
continue the work and to form a foundry hacienda in that region for its work; but, as it was at the start,
he died and, because of his death, everything was left abandoned; we were here and, Don Agustín
inspecting the ores, which, for the present, were brought from the opening that exists, it appeared to him
that the cultivation of these minerals promises an affordable advantage as he will inform Your excellency
more extensively with his information.
At six leagues from the settlement of Escandón near la Tamaulipa Vieja, Sierra de San José, in the
site of Malinche, there is the mouth of an open mile from which they have drawn some ores, although in
small quantity; but that according to reports from the assays made, they show their enclosing great riches
if they can be deepened; and, our having brought some very small rocks from it, the aforesaid Don
Agustín had one burned which, ground up later, manifested several grains of silver and its sands having
the same metal; and my lacking all information in this affair, I defer to what Don Agustín himself will
explain to Your Excellency.
In la Tamaulipa Vieja and site that they call el Potrero de la Concepción at 8 leagues from
Horcasitas, there are several mouths of open mines of which there is a report of silver having been drawn
by the Olivez Indians established in this settlement who, before now, were congregated in a mission in that
region for a long time, which they found themselves obligated to abandon due to the hostilities that the
other Indians of said sierra caused; and these assure us that the silver of the reliquary, the incense burner,
and wine vessels that serve today in the church of Horcasitas was taken from said mine to whom, in the
name of the mission, the one of la Concepción was given; in the same Tamaulipa, two leagues farther
down, is the hill of San Andrés in which there are also several mouths of open mines according to reports
and which promise great usefulness.
In la Tamaulipa Nueva in the site of Libros de Oro, hill called Berzebú, there is a mine of open
"cata" with five mouths from which several ores have been taken and an assay made of them by Don José
de Escandón and Don Domingo de Unzaga, that both insure its quality and the latter states having drawn
up to 7 ounces of silver as "revoltura" and bonus in alloy.
At fourteen leagues from the settlement of Revilla, on the other side of the Río Grande del Norte
on the eastern part in the region they call la Sierrecilla, the statements give a report of a mine from which
they have drawn some rocks from whose assay has resulted the finding of a quality of gold.
In the immediacies of Burgos, half a league distance from the settlement in the hill they call el
Corcobado, there is a mineral vein which they have found produces silver.
In the Sierra Gorad at 4 or 5 leagues from el Jaumave on the road to Aguayo, there is an area that
they call Sitio de Minas in which is found an opening of one measure of depth and two of length which was
opened by one so-called Guitón, an old resident of that mission already dead, and afterwards it was
continued by Juan Bermudez who, having made an assay with one quintal of its ores, drew seven and one-half reales of silver from them.
At one league from the settlement of Santa B�rbara in the Sierra Gorda and site that they call la
Misión Vieja, there are several mineral veins of which they report but not of their having made an assay
The settlement of el Real de los Infantes in said Sierra Gorda is a mine where many mouths of open
mines are found in its immediacy and several veins all around; at present the captain of said Real and one
of his brothers have two working ones in the site that they call San José at six leagues from the settlement
from whose ores they draw very little silver but they obtain great profit in alloys although I conceive that
neither one nor the other suffices to finance itself; another two subjects have a founding hacienda but the
shortness of implements and other circumstances of this hacienda give credit to the lack of advancement
that they have made in the improvement of these mines up to now; and the state of these, with everything
else concerning the formality of the obligations of the improvements and of the mining, is available to see
in the folder of proceedings of said settlement No. 24 where this affair is treated in detail.
All the aforesaid is in conformity in part to the judicial proceedings, in part to the reports taken,
and to that inspected by view; and the aforesaid mines have no more improvementss nor formalities than
that which is explained in each one.
17. Whether there are any rivulets or salt ponds which crystalize and their salts are consumable;
in which region are they and whether the settlements of the colony can be usefully supplied and even
bordering provinces of these kingdoms either by sea or by land.
This colony has several rivulets and salt ponds in which they crystallize salt or it is done by nature
or water is taken, from one or another settlement, which they crystallize under fire to serve themselves
from it when they lack the other; the settlements situated on the south part have salt domes that serve for
the livestock and a few others on the north part have the same benefit but, all its coast abounding in salt
ponds, I will avoid bothering the attention of Your excellency in detailing this which seems of small
moment, in view of what those offer, and they are situated in the following regions:
At three leagues distance of Altamira, on the coast, at the north part of this settlement, in front of
Tamaulipas la Vieja there is a very abundant salt pond from which said town provides itself, that of
Tampico, and other parts from the outside and the colony whose residents, after having sufficient, trade
with it in the frontiers and the ones of Altamira salt fish in which they make a reasonable commerce.
Four leagues further on towards the north, there is another salt pond even more abundant and from
which those of Altamira also make use.
In the immediacies of the port of Santander there are two salt ponds, one on the south part
commonly called Morales and another one on the north distinguished by this name; the first one has eight
leagues of extension and the second three to four, both crystallize salt very abundantly in the years when
the rains are not too copious or when a great drought intervenes; however, the last one is the one from
which the settlements of Soto la Marina, Santillana, Santander, Padilla, and even G�emes commonly
provide themselves and from which they draw some out for other settlements and for el Nuevo Reino de
At 8 leagues from the town of San Fernando towards the coast, there are several lagoons which
crystallize salt with abundance and from which this settlement and that of Burgos supply themselves, taking
it to the outside on some occasions, especially those of San fernando who also dedicate themselves to salt
fish but, more so, the Indians of the mission.
On the other side of the Río Grande del North, in front of the settlement of Reynosa and toward
that part of the sea, following along from what they call Barra de San Fernando toward the north, the salt
ponds are many and very abundant but the most accredited and the ones which produce a species of rock
salt are the two that are situated, one at 25 and the other at 15 leagues from said town of Reynosa, capable
alone (according to statements and reports) of providing, on their own, the colony and frontier provinces;
these are always crystallized and the only thing that happens to them is flooding in times of rains, but then
they maintain their foundation of salt, as that of rock, and from them they take pieces the size they wish,
with bars and picks, like blocks, as it is all evident from the statements of the folder respective to this
settlement No. 14 and in the statements, pages 22, 26, and 30 verso.
That the settlements of the colony and the frontiers of this kingdom can ultimately provide
themselves from the aforesaid salt ponds and, notwithstanding all of it, the statements and reports confirm
it generally; but up to now the case has not arrived that the salt be extracted from the sea, without doubt
because the schooner of Don José Escandón being the only vessel which navigates the colony, it
encounters more than enough cargo of more advantageous freight on the trips that it make to Veracruz.
Notwithstanding that which was explained, there are seasons and years in which said salt ponds
do not crystallize and in which they do not produce salt; these are the times of floods of the rivers and of
copious rains and, if the years are of excessive rains, the lagoons become so sweet that the time of drought
is not enough to overcome its effect and produce the crystallization.
18. Whether its settlements, "reducciones", and haciendas within the circle which the colony forms
are found in tranquility and totally peaceful and their natives subdued or whether in all or in part they cause
some damages or whether these, along the frontiers, experience or simply fear the hostile Indians of that
unconquered and what idea is form of them and of the territory they occupy.
In the circle which the colony forms, as far as I know it and from what the statements manifest,
all their settlements and haciendas are maintained in tranquility without having discordance or fights among
themselves and, for now, their "congregas" are very quiet without causing suspicion of disturbance since
their natives remain peaceful and, if not completely submitted or subjugated to the obedience of the
missionary priest and the captain in most of the settlements (because they come and go as they want in
them), they cause no vexations to their residents and the only damage they experience from them is the
theft, now and then, of a small amount of cattle.
The ones who really have committed major hostilities and deaths and the ones that are most feared
are those that are found protected by the rough ridge of mountains of el Sigué and la Sierra Gorda or
Madre and the apostates of el Nuevo Reino de León who, having deserted their missions, run through el
Real de Borbón or its immediate land and go in search of refuge to la Tamaulipa Nueva.
The first ones (who have been joined by some of the ones from the missions of el Jaumave and
Aguayo who, revolted last year, have not returned to them) are the ones who, have committed here, then
and afterwards, in less than ten months, about twenty-three killings of the residents of said Jaumave and
of the pastors of the haciendas of the missions of Californias; as it can be seen with more detail in the
folder 25 of the proceedings in the respective statements page 7 and 12 verso and 18 verso, without
counting two more killings and one grave wounding which the same Indians made in the month of May
on the people of the haciendas of the Missions of Californias at the time that I was making the inspection
of the town of Aguayo, and it should be feared that, not pursuing and castigating these as their
transgressions call for, they will become more bold each day and continue killing and stealing since they
are captained by one called Aguilar who has been an escort of el Jaumave, is bilingual and of perverse
The second apostates of the missions of el Nuevo Reino de León, according to the statements and
reports, are those which also have committed several extortions in the colony and, lately, they committed
two killings of the muleteers of Don Domingo de Unzaga; these, from reports when they desert, are not
content with running in the immediacies of Hoyos and el Real de Borbón stealing livestock from the
haciendas which pasture in their boundaries but, going to take refuge in the hills of la Tamaulipa la Nueva,
they also make incursions against the goods of the residents of the settlements of Burgos and Santander,
they induce the heathen Indians of la Marina and the Mezquites to [commit] the same vexations, and divert
them from congregating themselves to the doctrine, suggesting to them prejudicial natures against the
Spaniards; and their repeated transgressions, in my understanding, calling for punishment which will
severely correct and contain them, I believe, sir Excellency, it would be very useful to make a formal
expedition to remove them from their dens in said Tamaulipa which I persuade myself would be easy from
the reports I have of their entries being accessible and this hill less rugged; by which means and the
establishment of the new settlement in it, of which I will treat later for Your Excellency in fulfillment of
your order, it would succeed in subjecting said apostate Indians, obligating them to remain in their missions
(as Don Antonio Ladrón de Guevara explains it although in a different manner) and the regions, in which
they report there are rich minerals, would be covered in case it occurs that they might be improved this
In la Tamaulipa Vieja there are also several tribes of hostile Indians sheltered by its extensive,
rugged mountains but these, for now, do not commit major damages, especially after the captain of the
town of Escandón lately made the expedition, which is evident in folder 5, page 80 verso, 26 verso, and
35, against the Janambres who had antagonized the settlements of Llera, the said Escandón, and Horcasitas
so much; thus many of the hamlets of said Tamaulipa, which now are terrorized and wary, are uniting with
Those who have sheltered themselves in the hills of Tetillas, Mesas Prietas and Boca de la Iglesia
also do not cause extortions worthy of consideration and only occasional, small thefts of the livestock of
the town of Aguayo, G�emes, Padilla, and Santillana; and it not being attainable to congregate these
without making a formal expedition against them to conquer them, which would be costly and at times
bloody, from which the merciful orders, which the king has despatched about this affair, seem to deviate,
I believe the hopes of their "congrega" should be reduced to the effects which time will produce and that
the said Indians recognize the advantages which those, who begin to establish themselves in missions, get
and from this fortune they are inclined to leave their brutal, barbaric life. But I repeat to Your Excellency
that those who, in my opinion, need to be subjugated and severely corrected are the Indians of el Sigué and
the apostates of the kingdom since, embolden as they are, if their transgressions are not punished they will
continue with their hostilities and killings and the settlements of Hoyos, Aguayo, el Jaumave, Burgos,
Santander, and perhaps others will experience notable reversals as a result.
The idea that is held of the Indians of the colony and of the territory that they occupy needs such
a detailed explanation that I should divert myself from expressing my opinion to Your Excellency in order
not to oblige myself to making it its precept, especially when the short experience that I have been able to
acquire in the short time that I have been in said colony and the reports taken could have given no room
for forming the most just and exact concept and, consequently, mine deviates from the others; but under
this understanding and confession, I shall say to Your Excellency.[sic]
Giving to the missionary priests, from whom I have been able to instruct myself with more detail,
the credit which is owed to the state of their reports and of the information taken from captains and other
subjects, I take it that the probable hope of the congregating of Indians (especially of those of the southern
and central part of the colony) and of their conversion to christianity cannot be founded before assuring
the necessary corn for the maintenance of those who gather at the mission, some clothes with which to
dress the women and principal Indians, and a little tobacco to which they are extraordinarily inclined. This
idea was confirmed for me by the continual experience that whenever we arrived in whichever settlement
and the aforesaid Indians would run to see us, one heard no other reports other than those that led them
to ask for the aforesaid; and the inspection of the Indians congregated in Llera, Aguayo, San Fernando,
Camargo, and Santa B�rbara and, somewhat, those of Reynosa certify it for, since their missionaries in
these areas have had the wherewithal to support them most of the time, the respective "congregas" are also
the ones in which they attend the doctrine and in which there are baptized Indians and some regularity
among them, as is found in the folders of these settlements of the proceeding that I performed for its
The means, which I find to found some hope in this area regarding the conversion of said hostile
Indians and the more formal establishment of missions, I should propose to Your Excellency in the reports
that I shall give later when I have proposed the savings that would defray the expenditures that this would
require; but always the only confidence on which anything can be founded, it seems to me, would be in
that of the young Indians who are reared in missions from an early age or are born in them and that of
some women who, due to the more docility of the sex, receive instruction of the essential mysteries of the
faith with more facility and this hope would be greater if the ideas which the priests and husbands impress
on them would not be injurious.
They have the greatest distrust which induces them to believe that the Spaniards pretend to bring
them for their own good to enslave them later as subjects, extending the fear further that they intend to take
their life to extinguish them, which is understood sometimes from their explanation and from any
happening or movement of our people which disquiets and disturbs them and makes them take to the hills
which are their refuge as it happened in several settlements with many because, for our reception, the
residents would arm themselves until, satisfied, they would come to see us.
They are very inconstant, which appears to have its origin from the general tendency to
prognostication and, since the old women (to whom they lend special credulity) tend to break forth in howls
and shouts because of an extraordinary song of a bird or the rustle of an animal, holding it as a bad omen,
they all become disturbed with the tendency which influences their distrust.
They are gluttons and they eat brutally when they have it but, with the same facility, they abstain
and reduce themselves to eating small plants and wild fruits just for their support.
They have no repugnance for any food, neither of the loathsome nor the rotten and they devour
whatever is given to them or they find.
Reared like beasts in the woods and hills, their potentials are very backward and only the memory
is the most acute and aware, but the understanding is a little less than incapable of comprehending or
receiving, not only the principal mysteries of faith but even the ideas with which they are lavished to
impress them of their well-being and advantages of congregating to the mission; and thus the will either
does not embrace these ideas due to abstractness of the idea or those, that are rich with usefulness, seem
repugnant to them because of the subjugation they conceive and flee.
Food in substance is their god; that which seems to be evidenced of a painful expression which is
often heard that, "Religion and being a Christian are good while there is something to eat and bad when
it is lacking." Thus they attend the doctrine when they receive their rationed and are missing from it and
from being in the settlements when they receive none.
If they were asked by us if they wanted to be christians, laughing and with freshness they
responded negatively with this explanation, Christian not good.
From which nature one is allowed to infer the little hope that the adult Indians give of a legitimate
conversion, that the only success today and in the future, in my opinion based on the reports of the priests,
[would be] one or another who, at the point of death, appears to ask for baptism which, under condition,
is furnished because it is understood as a particular effect of the mercy and grace of God.
The Indian is cowardly in general, attacks in treachery, flees the plain and seeks the thick woods
or the ruggedness of the hills because they are more agile and they run it like roe-deer, they go up and
To this is attributed that, without prejudice of the aforesaid in general of the Indians, those Indians
of the coast from San Fernando to the north and those of the immediacies of el Río Grande are recognized
as a little more docile and of more propensity to be converted to christianity because, since all these lands
are plains, they lack the refuge of the hills and they have not caused, nor do they cause, the injuries as the
others of the colony.
Under the concept of all the aforesaid and recognizing that the only means that would assure the
prompt subjugation of the Indians is the converting them by force, I would propose this to Your Excellency
(which I do not consider difficult to obtain) if I would only attend to the ends which would furnish the
absolute tranquility of the colony and the enjoyment of those good lands and riches which are reported to
be contained in the two Tamaulipas and in the regions of Tetillas and Mesas Prietas which exist in the
power of the Indians, but it is necessary to subdue these ideas to the very catholic as well as holy intentions
with which the king has prohibited these violent acquisitions as, by my giving the reports to them, I only
make Your Excellency aware of the means of beginning to attract the Indians or inclining them to the
"congregas" by good treatment and kindness that would be practiced with those converted to the mission,
an effect which should be expected from the mercy of the Lord, of the missionaries, and of the conviction
that time would facilitate them.
19. It should be detailed whether the Sierra Madre or Sierra Gorda is one and the same, understood
by both names, or whether they are different, what distance there is from one to the other and whether both
are within the new colony; the Sierra Tamaulipa should also be recognized expressing the benefits it might
have for some settlements and whether these are considered precise, not only to enjoy the good lands which
it is assured of having, but also to prohibit the barbarian Indians, who can disturb those of the plain, from
this asylum or retreat with the surety of the open pass that they have to it from the Sierra Gorda.
The Sierra Madre or Sierra Gorda, if it should be according to what most of the statements
manifest and several reports inform, (although these are not so general) is one and the same known by both
titles due to it being a mountain chain of elevated hills all united, but what is generally thought is that the
part of it which runs from the colony toward the south, going through la Huasteca, San Luis Potosí, and
the immediacies of Querétaro, is known as Sierra Gorda and, as Sierra Madre, the one which on the west
of the Gulf of Mexico runs toward the north dividing the Nuevo Reino de León until, at the cerro de
Santiago it penetrates towards the northwest; notwithstanding, I have found subjects who affirm the true
Sierra Madre being different, known as such and so called in the interior of the kingdom and that they
consider all this mountain chain of which they treat as Sierra Gorda; these say that that great mountain
chain, coming continuous and united from Perú, to which they try to give the name of the Andes to enter
through the Isthmus of Panama to Guatemala, runs up to Oaxaca where, dividing itself into two branches,
one continues to the seashore of the north through Tuxtla, Teutila, Orizaba, Jalapa, etcetera up to the
colony and that this is the one which legitimately is called Sierra Gorda and the other one, which goes in
search of the seacoast of the south through la Mixteca, Michoac�n, Guadiana, etcetera, is called the true
Sierra Madre; and that is founded on [the fact] that these mountains are much more elevated, that during
a large part of the year its pass is closed due to the snow and that for this reason the name of Sierra Madre
is more proper as for the others that of Sierra Gorda due to the thick hills that are recognized at different
Whether this Sierra has one or another name, it is not considered to be within the new colony and
instead it comes to serve as a border that divides it from other provinces on the south, southwest, and west;
in respect to the large plains which run from its skirts to the sea towards the east and from south to north
from the Barra de Tampico up to the other part of the Río Grande, they are the ones that comprise the
territory of this colony within whose border the two eastern and western sierras called Tamaulipas are
situated, but they are more commonly known, the first one as la vieja and the second one as la nueva.
These aforesaid two sierras could not be inspected interiorly because they are inhabited by barbaric
Indians for which reason one cannot discuss, from visual inspection of its lands, that regarding the benefits
it has for placing settlements in them but, attending to the statements and reports taken and basing myself
on the information that I shall make known to Your Excellency, I find that it would be very suitable to
establish a settlement in each one of them.
FIRST SETTLEMENT THAT IS PROPOSED
The first one in la Tamaulipa Vieja at its skirts on the southern part which faces toward Horcasitas
and Escandón or in the region they call los Martínez or in that which is called Presas del Rey; well
although the statements regarding this vary, they are suitable in that both have fertile lands suitable for all
types of seeds, good pastures, and abundant water to obtain irrigation, whose new establishment promises
not only a secure, comfortable subsistence of its citizenry, but also the hope of obtaining in it the
congregation of the Mariguan Indians who are refuged in the immediate hills and are the ones who have
committed the least hostilities in that area, the most docile, and most industrious since now they live in
shacks and huts in their hamlets and cultivate some corn, beans, squash, and yams.
Establishing this settlement, the ones of Altamira, Horcasitas, and Escandón would be protected
from the incursions of the Indians, especially if the detachment of troops, of which I shall later treat with
Your Excellency, would be placed in it, which, adding twenty families, it would be a very sufficient
beginning so they would not have to fear the Indians from the other hamlets established in this sierra;
especially if Your Excellency would be pleased with the thought, that I shall present later, of forming,
immediate to said new settlement, a pueblo of Olivez and Huasteco Indians who live in Horcasitas and wish
to return to this sierra where they were established in a mission earlier.
By this means (of verifying that there are such mines in said Tamaulipa) and of improving its ores,
the mine would also be placed under protection from the hostilities of the Indians, in the meantime that the
greediness would attract people who would abundantly populate it and with time other Indians would begin
to be subjugated and domesticated, which should be trusted they would be converted to a mission.
SECOND NEW SETTLEMENT
The second settlement which it seems would be suitable to establish is in la Tamaulipa Nueva,
although, in this one, the statements are not in general agreement regarding the good lands and springs that
it provides, since the captain of the town of Hoyos, who has traveled this sierra, affirms that there are none
as one can see in the second folder, page 36 verso and Don Antonio Cortinas says the same in said folder,
page 43 verso but, since two other witnesses in said settlement and those of the ones of Santander, Burgos,
and San Fernando assert the contrary and they guarantee how useful the establishment of a settlement in
the site, that they call Potrero de las Nueces in said Tamaulipa would be, I feel it necessary to propose it
to Your Excellency with the reasons for its foundation, the advantages that it can produce, and the means
of financing its support with little cost to the Royal Treasury.
The reasons there are for inclining one to found a new settlement in the aforesaid region are that
through it the barbarian Indians, who inhabit the sierra de Tamaulipa, would be subjugated and it would
remove this den or asylum which the apostates of the missions of el Nuevo Reino de León have in it and
from where they come to commit the injuries which have already been mentioned; all of which Don
Antonio Ladrón de Guevara favors when he proposes moving several settlements to this sierra as is seen
in the project which he presented to Your Excellency and he served to send our report in which we have
the given satisfaction.
The advantages that it could produce are those which were just mentioned and, further, those of,
in the case of being able to improve the mines of the Cerro de Berzebú, the mine being protected by the
residents of the new settlement.
The method of guaranteeing its subsistance with a small cost to the Royal Treasury (outside of the
advantages that its lands and the immediate mines can provide) is that of bringing thirty families only for
its establishment and to assign the third detachment of troops to this new settlement, which I shall propose
to Your Excellency, for the safekeeping of the north part and the subjugation of the Indians who take
refuge in this Tamaulipa; well, although said families shall have a financial contribution, this will be not
come to much and advantages can be expected that will provide the reparation of this expenditure.
THIRD SETTLEMENT IN TETILLAS
I should propose to Your Excellency the establishment of another third settlement in the site of
Tetillas, a branch of la Tamaulipa Vieja which runs toward the north if I guide myself by the statements
of the residents of Llera, as is evident in the fourth folder, by other various reports, and even by the
usefulness that I conceive would come about through it in the subjugation of the Indians who are sheltered
in its hills and those of Mesas Prietas and, from this fortune, they would enjoy the good lands in its
immediacy; but seeming to me more moderate to inspect, first of all, the effects that the two new proposed
settlements produce and not to increase, with a blow, the costs to the Royal Treasury until the time that
this colony is producing the wherewithal to support them, I note the idea, as much to execute in detail that
which Your Excellency has ordered of me as if he might be served to order me that I report more diffusely
in this particular to Your Excellency.
20. What settlements of el Nuevo Reino de León or of other old provinces are borders of la Nueva
Colonia and at what distance are they situated and what improvements they have felt after the conquest in
respect to the damages that they could suffer from the natives who occupied it.
The settlements of el Nuevo Reino de León and of the rest of the old provinces, frontiers of the
colony are, to the south part la Huasteca, starting by Tampico which is found about three leagues from the
line or contiguous to said colony almost in front of Altamira; Pánuco which is only divided by the river
there called Tamesí, the town of Tampico at the same distance, that of Tamuí at sixteen leagues; the town
of Valles at twelve, el Valle del Maíz at ten leagues; afterwards follows what they call Tierra Afuera,
passing the Sierra Gorda and around there Guadalc�zar, San Luis Potosí, and Charcas toward the southeast
are frontiers and, going from here to the north, the settlements of el Nuevo Reino de León, frontiers to this
colony and which fall to its west, are Santa María del Río Blanco, the town of Linares, San Mateo del
Pilón, San Gregorio Serralvo, and el Real de Boca de Leones at different distances, which I omit specifying
because of the variety and confusion with which the residents of the colony speak of them, it leaves little
assurance of the leagues they measure and, instead, it lets one know that these are measured by the time
in which they walk them without considering the much or little diligence they put into it; for which I
implore Your Excellency to permit me to refer, in that which concerns this, to the distances that the second
engineer Don Agustín López de la C�mera Alta notes on the map; on the part of the northwest of the
colony, frontier to it is the province of Coahuila, whose limits are at 7 leagues from that of Laredo and
from this town to the Presidio of San Juan Bautista of el Río Grande, which is the first settlement of
Coahuila, there are 40 leagues; on the north part is the province of Texas, but intervening is a great desert
or untraveled lands between the last settlements of the colony and the first ones of that one, I do not believe
I should call it frontier since it is verified by reports that from the first presidio of said province called
Santa Dorotea (which was known before as Bahía del Espirtu Santo and was situated towards the sea) there
are 53 leagues to Laredo. The benefits that the frontier provinces of el Nuevo Reino de León and la
Huasteca have felt after the establishment and population of this colony are known from that which the
judicial proceedings manifest and the reports answer; regarding that they no longer experience the damages
that they used to suffer before from the Indians, who occupied the two Tamaulipas and the plains in which
its settlements have been founded, and it does not appear that they have had problems with the removal
of the families who came to settle them because, if not all of them, most of them lacked formal
establishment or dwellings and were servants of haciendas who were in one today and would go to another
21. What number of captains, corporals, and soldiers are found enlisted under these titles, what
salary they earn, and what method they are satisfied and of what duties, detachments, cares, and security
services they are in charge.
The captains, corporals, and enlisted soldiers under these titles, whom I have encountered through
the reviews made in each settlement, and the salary that each one enjoys are in the following form:
One commander who, at the same time, is captain of the town of Santa B�rbara with the grade of
lieutenant Colonel and enjoys eight hundred pesos salary per year.
Thirteen captains in charge of the command of several other settlements with the annual salary of
five hundred pesos each.
One 2nd lieutenant on duty in Santander who enjoys three hundred pesos per year.
Twelve sergeants distributed in different squadrons on duty in the settlements, each one with two
hundred fifty pesos annually.
A drummer in the town of Llera who enjoys two reales per day which makes ninety-one pesos and
two reales per year.
One hundred fourteen soldiers, of which the squadrons are composed, to guard the settlements and
the one they call Volante de Padilla, each one with two hundred twenty-five pesos annually.
One soldier destined for the mission, which there should be in the town of Escandón, with one
hundred twenty pesos.
Another soldier in Burgos condemned to serve at two reales daily which make ninety-one pesos
and two reales per year.
MEANS BY WHICH THE SOLDIERS ARE SATISFIED
The means by which all the aforesaid are satisfied, by what is generally stated by the captains,
many sergeants, and some soldiers is; these send, by settlements and by means of the colonel Don José de
Escandón, their strength annually to this capital to Don Agustín de Iglesias so that he charge the Royal
Treasury the amount of the salaries with the order that this be used on goods of Castilla and of the land
whose purposes (with the exception of those of several settlements that its captain perceives) go to end at
the power of said colonel and with them the payment of the salaries deserved is made to each one in the
amount that is due him; and, while the charge is being verified or within the year, the soldiers and others
go to the aforesaid Don José de Escandón for supplements of that which they need, it is justified by the
statements that he grants these in goods, horses, arms, some eatables, small amounts of money, carrying
an account with them which is adjusted at year's end, completing the income of each one; and that to make
the recourse for these supplements less painful to the troops, said Don José de Escandón usually puts those
effects of daily use with some reales in the power of the captains.
The service that these officials and soldiers have and perform is: the captain commands the political
and military in each settlement and becomes a major justice in it. The sergeants are in charge of the
service that the soldiers do, or should do, selecting them for the excursions and expeditions that are needed;
this troop assists them, most of time accompanied by the residents, the settlements helping each other
whenever it is necessary to chase the Indians or place themselves in defence due to the misgivings of their
extorsions; but the ordinary service, as is seen in the judicial proceedings, performed by the soldiers who
compose the squadrons apportioned per settlement, is to guard the horses of the residents and theirs, aid
the missions, be at the orders of the captain, carry the letters of these people to the general and the orders
that he communicates to them and, in some occasions, to scout the lands, that is, to see whether the Indians
are going out to commit injuries to the livestock or to the roads.
The method observed in the service or apportionment of the troops is in small squadrons
apportioned in most of the settlements; and since, by this disposition and by the service in which it is used,
there is not enough united strength in any of them to make the expeditions that occur, it happens that the
residents, since most them have the same armament as the troops, accompany the soldiers on these burdens
with a small difference in the same service; and, although this does not seem unjust to me (since it leads
to the security of the settlement and its goods) I find, Your Excellency, that there could be another method
established for the guarding of this colony and so that its presidio be more respectable with less troops and
with the obtainable savings to the Royal Treasury; and in case this idea deserves the approval of Your
Excellency, I shall present it later when I treat of the measures which, in my opinion, said colony needs
for its better subsistence and growth with the aim of not confusing these types with those others and to have
the affairs better coordinated.
22. All the documents and proceedings that be done, consequent to this commission and to the
points related here, are to be ordered judicially by the commissioned Don José Tienda de Cuervo, forming
the part or parts that are found suitable in principal or in incidents, if there are any and would be worthy
of my participation and conducive or proving the truth that is sought, everything being authorized by the
scribe which would be named for it or the witnesses in attendance who would act in his absence.
In execution of the order of Your Excellency which contains the preceding chapter, I ordered the
documents and judicial proceedings which seemed essential to me to be executed, forming a separate folder
from the inspection of each settlement for the easier comprehensible justification; and, it seeming to me
that the sounding and other operations that were done regarding the inspection of the port with the
statements taken in this particular required being taken separately, I formed another folder from them
which is the No. 12 and all of them make the 24 pieces which, with these reports, I pass to the hand of
Your Excellency; proceedings which are drawn up in sealed paper and authorized (due to the lack of a
scribe that Your Excellency found it proper not to provide) with the witnesses present whom I named for
this end as is found in folder 1, page 9.
23. With reference to this prepared legal order, the engineer Don Agustín López de la C�mara
Alta is to form, regarding the land at the proper time and the two having agreed before on the method of
directing all the operations in parts with the end of concluding them together, a universal map of the
colony, marking its settlements, congregations of Indians, and hamlets on the coast and in the interior; the
distances, the river, canals, sweet water sources, salt lakes and mines; the port or river of Santander, the
Sierra Gorda, the frontiers on all sides, and everything which is recommended and be most notable such
that this map identify with the judicial proceedings and with that prepared in the numbers 3, 7, 8, 9, 12,
14, 16, 17, 19, and 20 of this instruction and with the rest which is ordered by it.
With reference to the preceding order of Your Excellency (the engineer Don Agustín López de
la Cámara Alta and I being in agreement on the method of directing and completing the affairs concerning
our charges) he formed the map of all the colony regarding the land which Your Excellency orders him;
and, being certain that he will give complete satisfaction on the points that Your Excellency notes should
be specified, I also trust that his demonstrations are identical with the judicial proceedings and reports,
which I pass on to Your Excellency, founded in them, in the reports which I have taken for the better
verification, and that inspected by sight; well having gone along in agreement with the reports in the course
of this commission, it follows that all the reports which we give serparately to Your Excellency be in it;
but if, perhaps, the diverse explanation of the concepts might leave Your Excellency in doubt of its
information and it would be his superior pleasure that we take part in clarifying it, I expect that we can
satisfy Your Excellency.
24. For that which has to do with the inspection of the Port or River of Santander, its
measurements and soundings, this being the most serious point which is to be observed with all reflection
and to which they should conspire the greatest care and vigilance to guard against all drawbacks which
could follow from whatever slight neglect or omission, it shall be practiced precisely and indespensibly by
the two, Don José Tienda de Cuervo witnessing the act and putting this proceeding on record in
conformity with the already cited numbers 13 y 14.
Obeying the precept of Your Excellency of which the chapter, which precedes, treats, I witnessed
the sounding, measurements, and all the operations which were executed by the engineer Don Agustín de
la Cámara Alta in the inspection of the Port of Santander and the Purificación River which empty into it
and, having in mind this point being the one which, due to it being the most serious, Your Excellency
orders it to be completed with the best attention, care, and vigilance, the most particular pains were given
to it in inspecting, observing, and surveying everything pertaining to it to avoid the smallest omission and
prevent whatever difficulty that might result from it, as I expect the information taken, according to the
numbers 13 and 14, and the proceedings done, which are set in the particular folder that was formed
regarding this affair number 12, make Your Excellency aware, since on my part I executed all I could
manage with my little intelligence and I manifest, in the conclusion of everything, that which the same
allows me to advise.
With what is put forward I am confident, Your Excellency, of having satisfied each chapter of the
instruction, which Your Excellency has served to give us, in the part which is related to me and regarding
the entire colony; and concluding, Your Exellency, your orders of making ourselves, the two
commissioners, the strict charge, the two commissioners, regarding the uniformity of the reports, the
coordination of everything, and the reciprocal best harmony to the just ends that Your Excellency explains;
I also expect that You are also convinced that I have tried (in the discharging of my obligation) to place
all the means that I managed to prepare, and that nothing better accredit with Your Excellency, the
diligence and efficiency with which we have solicited the quickest completion of everything than the same
instruments and reports which each one of us presented to Your Excellency, since they cause one to see
the time the extensive lands we have traveled required and the testimonies taken to support and give
evidence of what we put forward to Your Excellency; and the short time of 5 months and 6 days which we
have expended in this, I believe, will leave Your Excellency satisfied that we have not wasted time nor
saved work, confessing to Your Excellency that the daily expenses which You deigned to provide for us
to defray the costs of this commission were a new stimulus which pushed us to the greatest acitivity with
the object of the saving to the Royal Treasury, outside of that which we had towards the confidence that
we have owed Your Excellency and since, for the total completion of this and the best clarity it is necessary
to complete the proposed affairs, I pass to the one of the description of the settlements in the order in which
I inspected them with the desire of leaving my reports less confused. - (A rubric)
DESCRIPTION OF THE SETTLEMENTS OF THE COLONY
IN THE ORDER IN WHICH I HAVE INSPECTED THEM
TOWN OF SAN FRANCISCO DE GÜEMES
This town was founded the 1st of January of 1749, with the dedication to San Francisco and the
name of G�emes; it is situated in a great plain, although somewhat more elevated is the region in which
the settlement is placed at the edges of the river called San Felipe and, due to its being well ventilated and
its land dry, its nature is healthy, somewhat temperate.
The church and dwellings are miserable, reduced to some bad shacks made of forked poles and
mud-covered cane, covered with grass, placed with no order, spread out and, although there is no
designated plaza, the houses have not been placed in it by chance; that everything depends, without doubt
on the four mutations that have been made of this settlement after it was founded, as it is seen in the
documents because, in the regions in which it was being established, they experienced floods and storms
which injured the few plantings they made.
It citizenry is composed of 79 families with 393 persons in which are included its captain, soldiers,
first settlers, those who have later been increased and are found registered, and the inhabitants which are
not; as with individuality, one can see from the review that I made and is found in the 1st folder, page 53
which is in regard to this town, the one in which also manifested are the goods of the residents which are
more clearly explained at the end of this description by a small statement.
This settlement is administered spiritually by a priest of el Colegio Apost�lico de Nuestra Señora
de Guadalupe de Zacatecas who enjoys $350.00 annually from the synod and his name is Fray Francisco
It is commanded by a captain named Don Juan Elías Moctezuma who has $500.00 salary per
year; in it there are two soldiers, paid by the king, who enjoy $225.00 each and they are used to guard the
horses of the citizenry and in whatever else the captains orders; there is also a sergeant, but without salary,
who gives aid in everything that is ordered of him and helps in the service which sometimes occurs to be
done by the residents, since these execute all the expeditions which occur and go out whenever it is
There are neither Indians nor those congregated to the doctrine nor any attached to the settlement,
nor is there any hope of attracting any, according to the reports, unless it were possible to subject those
found sheltered in the region of Mesas Prietas immediate to this town which, for now, I believe remote.
These, at times, cause disadvantages but they are reduced to thefts of livestock from those ranches which
are farthest from the town.
There are two Indian children who, of four who were brought from a campaign, have remained
alive, are baptized, and they are brought up as christians with the residents.
There are lands marked for the mission which the missionary priest cultivates and they are situated
at one league from the town on the Santa Engracia River, but formal possession of them has not been given
to the priest who only uses them and, with his permission, some of the settlers plant there.
The river which bathes it is the already mentioned one of San Felipe which begins at the Sierra
Madre and when it arrives here it brings, incorporated with it, the one of Caballeros and that of San Diego
and, with the water that the last one provides, it has that which it needs all year for the service of the
residency; well, their own and even that of Caballeros usually lack [water] in the rigorous droughts. This
river goes to end in that of Santa Engracia at a half league, with little difference, from the settlement.
It has no canal for the irrigation of its lands, although they have not omitted work to obtain it in
the regions where the village used to be situated knowing the advantages that would result from it, since
they have attempted to build it on six occasions and, having a report that, facilitating this benefit from the
San Diego River would be accessible, Don Agustín de la Cámara Alta and I went to inspect the region
where it could be bled and the land through which it could be conducted, the principal residents
accompanying us because there was resistance to trying this new work, their having been taught a lesson
from that which they had made before fruitlessly. And, the aforesaid Don Agustín, having examined and
inspected everything with mature reflection, found that, with ease and without too much cost, the canal
could be obtained and he instructed the residents who were present, about the site and method where they
should bleed the river, the region through which it should be conducted, and the other circumstances that
can guarantee the achievement and sustaining of this benefit; and, although they still manifest a resistance,
they were finally convinced of its reasons; to which I, due to my lack of understanding, did not have to
reply and ceded to them, pointing out simply what I had understood through the statements that, perhaps,
in rigorous droughts the amount of water of said San Diego River might be too small to be able to extract
that or the canal, but some of them with the priest, affirmed that it retained the amount sufficient, at least
for the service and use of the residents who, to all appearances, were inclined to its execution.
The distance from which the irrigation canal was pointed out to the settlements is at one league and
the land through which it should be conducted all plain, with no obstruction, and it appeared to me very
appropriate for plantings, my understanding that, in obtaining it, it would guarantee this town the sufficient
irrigated crop for their annual support and that there might be some remaining to sell to other settlements
of the colony.
The planting which is done now is all seasonal and, in the first years, the regular harvest which
they should have had, which the settlers made in the regions where they used to be established and which
they lost due to floods and other storms, have been very small, the reason why they moved to the region
in which they are found today where, at least, the settlement seems to be safe from flood in consideration
of the extraordinary floods of last year not reaching them, although they did their plantings of which most
were lost, this being how the residents began to apply themselves more to the work, which they have
continued to the present, being able to regulate it, (paying attention to the variety of the statements in this
affair) that in these two years the planting must have come to 25 measures and, with the same attention to
the diversity which they state regarding the harvest, it seems it should be regulated up to 150 measures to
one on regular years; but according to experience up to now, these should be few and those, in which the
residents shall harvest that necessary for their maintenance, rare (while they have no irrigation canal) due
to the extraordinariness of the weather; which we verify now that, having seen the cornfields in the best
of state when we arrived, we found them upon our exit almost all lost due to the drought of two months
the occurred and only the crop of some things that were planted early and from which the priest and several
settlers had 295 measures harvested with the hope of other short plantings for which they could still make
use of the rains which began to fall and which, if they continue, will give them the corn the settlement
needs this year and they are one thousand according to my computation. Of other seeds, nothing is
planted, with the exception of some beans, due to the lack of irrigation and for the same reason they do
not cultivate vegetables or any other fruits other than watermelons and cantaloupes.
The quality of the land seems very appropriate to me for everything, which is supported by the
good state in which we saw the plantings while they had regular weather and as is evidenced in the regions
that are found either in high areas in rainy years or low ones in those of droughts but for which it is
extraordinarily favorable for the raising and conserving of all livestock as is answered by the statements
and the general reports; and of these types there are some small ranches that several settlers have at the
boundary of this town, confirming more than the ones encountered, notwith-standing their having found
themselves in need of dipping into their own [money] for the purchasing of the corn necessary for their
support in the area that their crops have not financed.
Entering to graze into immediate lands of this town are one of the minor livestock haciendas of the
Jesuit reverend fathers of the missions of Californias which are composed of seventy-eight thousand heads
and others of the Marquis del Castillo de Aysa of seventy-two; the Aijadores are introduced sometimes
into the boundaries of this town for which reason in these last two years they have enjoyed the leasing of
these pastures even if what they have paid is small. The dispersement of lands has not been made and only
designated to this town are two and one-half leagues towards Aguayo, which is to the south, on the west
5, on the north 1, and on the east 5, which area the settlers enjoy in common according to what each one
wants or can cultivate and according to the livestock they possess, for which reason it is necessary to make
Your Excellency aware that it seems to me very conducive that you decide to make a formal distribution
of lands destined for this town with a view of what was offered to the first settlers (since it was one of the
stimuli that they had to come) and with attention of the merit of each one in the assignment of the ones that
offer the greatest advantage so that the other residents, who have registered later with this expectation,
among whom are many children of the settlers and others married to their daughters, can participate in the
remainder, through which means there will be many advantages such as, the borders designated, those
lands which remain in possession of the crown can be sold in favor of the Royal Treasury, it will be
avoided that in the future there be the raising of questions among the residents and that, better
accommodated, they do not usurp all the land at the expense of other poor ones, that they shall have the
relief of selling the part that they cannot cultivate and with their product they will take advantage of what
is remaining in farming or the raising of livestock; expecting that all of them will have a different
application and they will be convinced that, on the part of the king, they have been granted what was
offered for the coming to their new establishment.
In the borders of this town there are no mines but the statements report several of which I shall
treat with Your Excellence in the settlements to which they correspond.
They also give reports of salt deposits and, in some cases, those who are found supplied with mules
go to them to load the salt they need and they sell what they have left over; verifying that once in awhile
they have extracted for the outside those which they have gone to solicit in the lagoons of la Barra de
Santander which are the ones they have most immediate, although there is the distance of 35 leagues.
This settlement does not have any commerce today and the one it can expect (when it can obtain
the benefit of an irrigation canal) is that of the sale of corn which would be left over to the others of the
colony and the one which, having obtained then a distinct increase in their livestock, they will obtain the
benefit also of these for the outside in the removal which is done annually by different individuals and that
of some sheep and pigs.
Of everything which is put forward, in conformity to the judicial proceedings practiced, from the
reports taken and from that inspected by sight, I take it, Your Excellency, that this settlement has a
proportionate increase of families, paying attention to the accidents which, it seems, have contributed in
reducing it and the changes that have been made in the situation of the town are the work that its residents
have expended in trying to obtain the irrigation canal, the lack of it [water] and of their crops which surely
have discouraged many to come to establish themselves, although with the stimulus of the good lands for
livestock; that these are known in the increases in respect to those who have found themselves needing to
sell to supplement their support and that this settlement can subsist, even in the state in which it is found
and without an irrigation canal, according to the experience in these 8 years of its establishment and that
it no longer should suspect another change, when the increased rains of last year did not inundate the town;
but its residents, without this aid, will prosper little and the king will obtain little benefit from them without
the irrigation canal, since there will be a lack of measures upon which to found the product of the royal
rights (that the ten years of exemptions of custom duties granted having passed) they should pay.
For which it seems suitable to me that the superior authority of Your Excellency encourage or
order that the irrigation canal projected by the second engineer Don Agustín de la Cámara Alta be
worked so that it can be seen if it can or cannot be effective and they can experience the advantages which
And if the compassion of Your Excellency would be inclined to facilitate to the residents some
financial aid (their little abilities noted) it will assure their obtaining it; since, without this relief, I suspect
either it be inaccessible or it carry injuries to them, in respect to what this work retards them for the
attendance to their plantings and livestock.
The measures which I find can lead to savings for the Royal Treasury in this settlement are: the
lowering of the salary of its captain to $350.00 which seems to me to be sufficient for the work that is
given to him and for the few costs which can arise, the reform of the soldiers whose service in the guarding
of the horses is not suitable to be paid by the king when, in other parts, the residents do this and even the
expeditions which occur and, if Your Excellency would agree, the reform of the synod of the priest placed
with the title of missionary in respect to there being no Indians nor any hope, for now, of congregating
them and, it taking place, he can then assign the same synod anew; and when either said priest or its
minister does not want to continue in the administration of the citizenry on these terms, I believe there will
be no lack of a poor priest who will happily accept it to strive to make himself deserving and to be able
to support himself with the "obvensiones" and first fruits, especially if Your Excellency finds it suitable
to leave the lands marked for its mission in respect to its cultivation or leasing, it will give him some relief.
For the best quality of this settlement, it also appears to me suitable that it be ordered through Your
Excellency that, little by little and without violence or injury, the houses begin to unite and it not be
permitted that the residents live so scattered but rather they be more immediate to the church and more in
the view of him who commands, which will contribute to the major observance of the ecclesiastical
precepts, the subjection of everyone, and the avoidance of disorders or excesses which distance tends to
The citizenry, in general, as far as I could gather from inquiring, lives apparently happily and, not
only does it not desire, but it would be sorry to leave this establishment.
And this being what I find suitable to report to and inform Your Excellency in the fulfillment of
your trust in regard to this settlement I go on to the description of the others, placing the attached small
map of all of it in front so that it make the understanding of its state faster and easier for Your Excellency.
- (A Rubric.)
In the river of this settlement and in the one immediate to Santa Engracia there are fish of several
species and the one which is most abundant is the catfish. The nearby hills and the shores of the rivers
have many and good woods like ebony, juniper, and a type of walnut and several other trees. On its land
there are rocks for lime and for building stones with which to make buildings. In the fields there is an
abundance of hunting animals like deer, wild turkeys, quails, rabbits, and hares.
TOWN OF SANTO DOMINGO DE HOYOS
This town was founded on the 19th of May of 1752, with the dedication to Santo Domingo, its
situation is agreeably immediate to the river called San Antonio, 3 leagues distance from the Sierra Gorda
on the west side; and although because of its weather being temperate it should afford health, since in the
summer the heat is strong, some lagoons immediate to it injure the health due to the vapors that the sun
raises which, infesting the air, it causes inclemency that causes tertian fever in this season; but, Don
Agustín López de la Cámara Alta having shown its captain the way to provide drainage to said lagoons,
it can be expected that if they begin working on it they can remedy this ill, especially if (as he also warned)
the immediate thick woods, which surround this town and stop the ventilation, are pruned.
The church and its dwellings are reasonable; the first one is being built of lime and stone, it has
a completed chapel with its cupola which serves as a sanctuary and, although of small capacity, it is decent;
there are some houses of the same material, others begun to be built, several of adobe and the rest made
of sticks and cane covered with grass; but all situated in the vicinity of the plaza and with the regular
formality and union of a neighborhood.
This is composed of 70 families with 576 persons in which is included the captain Don Domingo
de Unzaga Ibarrola; the settlers who began this establishment, coming from the old and immediate
settlement of San Antonio de los Llanos, the civilized Indians called Tlaxcaltecas who, united themselves
from it to its residents and the rest of the families and inhabitants who increased later; so it is specified in
the review which was made in this town and is found in the 2nd folder, pages 3 to 10.
It is administered spiritually by two priests of the regular observance of our Father San Francisco
of the province of Zacatecas who receive no synod at all; the one named Fray Fernando Ruiz Junco
practices in the parish of the vicinity and supports himself from the "obvenciones" which the parish
produces and from the first fruits. The other Fray José Díaz Infante is dedicated to the attendance and
doctrine of the Tamaulipeco and Malincheno Indians who at the moment were beginning to congregate in
the mission and there were about 400 of both sexes but none baptized due to the recentness of their
instructions and consequent ignorance of the doctrine, as the said priest expresses it in the folder of the
referred documents on page 29.
The captain of this settlement has no salary from the king nor are there any overseers or enlisted
soldiers who would cause expenses to the Royal Treasury; and, nevertheless, its residents punctually
perform the service that is needed and contribute in all the functions executed for the defense and
safekeeping of the town and its goods on the same terms as those who are regulated and with salary in other
settlements, contributing to the aids requested by them and, for these expeditions, there is an appointed
lieutenant and a sergeant to whom, like to the captain, they are subordinate.
All the formal foundation of this town is owed to the conduct and expense of the aforesaid captain
Don Domingo de Unzaga since, although the town of San Antonio de los Llanos had been established long
ago in the immediate lands on which the present one has been placed, having arrived, due to the
persecution of the hostile and apostate Indians, at the state of having no strength to resist them due to the
small number of 11 families that had remained in it, the colonel Don José de Escandón and the aforesaid
captain attempted to form and establish this settlement in the site on which it is found today; and the former
having given him the title of captain and the necessary instructions, he dedicated himself to soliciting
several families which he financed for their transport, giving them corn for their support and, at the
beginning, for planting; under his protection the said 11 families that had remained from San Antonio de
los Llanos united themselves with the Tlaxcalteca Indians and that region was abandoned, all of them
incorporating themselves in this site where the increase has continued up to the present state, the aforesaid
captain sustaining all of them in whatever assistance the residents need for their better conservation.
And although, because at the beginning there was no congrega or aggregation of Indians, no
assignment of lands was made nor a site for a mission; after it was seen that some began to lean toward
communication and entry with the Spaniards, said captain assigned an area for their dwelling immediate
to the town and, of its farming lands, he dedicated the most suitable for cultivating and they are now doing
their sowing in them, the same captain supplying them what they need for this end and their support and
contributing also to the missionary priest who attends to these Indians with the food and a home in which
to live; that he executes everything in order not to waste the good disposition in which he sees them in
congregating formally to the mission, but he manifested to me that, with this hope, he put forth quite an
effort (which he cannot continue for much time) confident in that Your Excellency having a report of the
good beginning of this congrega, would give the conducive supplies for its establishment, designating a
synod for the priest who indoctrinates them and giving the necessary orders so that they are assigned the
determined lands and they are provided the tools necessary for farming, since with them it will guarantee
the necessary seeds to support these Indians using the irrigation that all the lands have. And this being the
principal means which can facilitate their support, assistance toward the doctrine, and subjection, Your
Excellency, I believe it to be very suitable that everything be provided to which I dared to raise the hopes
of the priest, the said captain, and even the same Indians to better keep them, persuaded of the intentions
of Your Excellency so much in keeping with those of the king and evident in this particular; well the first
of said Indians, having agreed to see me, I found, in them, an inclination to congregate and to be christians
which seemed to me a shame to waste, especially, the same priest assuring me that he judged it to be
sincere and thus, because of one of the those, who has a considerable hamlet in the sierra, having come
to solicit the title of captain from me, believing myself with the power of Your Excellency for its
encouragement and establishment, he was given said title and, to him and others, the said captain Unzaga
made the gift of some bleached cottons and tobacco in my name because it was thought not to be suitable
to dispel their concept and to encourage it in order to attract them with this stimulus; building them up, I
would inform Your Excellency of their desires of being christians with which they remained so satisfied
that they offered to come down with 60 families from their hamlet and they gave their word to live quietly,
subdued and that they would dedicate themselves to farming the lands for their support.
The river that passes, serves, and maintains this settlement is the one called San Antonio which
begins at the Sierra Gorda or Madre above the site they call el Perico Quemado and goes to incorporate
itself with that of La Purificación at 4 leagues farther down from this settlement and following, it has a
permanent wealth of water in all seasons and, this way, no one in this town or any planting fields lack the
water they need.
Taken from it there is an abundant canal with which this settlement obtains the irrigation of its
gardens, orchards, and planting fields and, by means of this benefit, it guarantees its early crops, freeing
them from the injuries that the storms cause later in the season.
The planting of corn made in the preceding years has been proportioned to the state of its
establishment according to the more or less citizenry which has been added to it but, in the present year,
there are about 70 measures that they have planted, as is seen in the declarations. The experience they
have of the harvest makes them calculate 150 to 200 measures for each one and, the residents proceeding
everyday in the cultivation of the lands, they now have placed into work and tilled enough to be able to
plant up to 300 measures, all under the benefit of irrigation with which they also manage the planting of
cane, which proves to be good, the planting of beans, and the production of some vegetables and fruits
which serve them as a relief.
The fields of their land are of very good quality and suitable for everything, their pastures
admirable for the raising of major and minor livestock, as the declarations manifest, and the various
ranches of these species which their residents have established within the borders accredit, and, in
particular, the hacienda which the captain Don Domingo de Unzaga has called San José de la Mesa in
which improvement they make great strides which is also experienced by the haciendas of minor livestock,
that pasture in their jurisdiction, belonging to the house of the deceased Canal and that of the Count de
Laxa which are composed of 7,215 heads whose shepherds have their ranches in el Real de Borbón at the
foot of the Cerro de Santiago and are administered by the parish of this town and ordered by its captain.
In it there has been no formal distribution of land to its residents; they cultivate and improve those
which the captain has marked for each one via governmental rule in proportion to what he can farm,
composed of three and one-half leagues per each side of which the terminus of this settlement is composed,
which is used also for the pasturing and raising of their livestock in common; and, it seeming to me that
it would be very suitable that this distribution here be formalized in the same way, from the reasons and
in the terms which I have expressed in the preceding description of G�emes, I do not avoid presenting it
in this one.
Although there are no salt deposits in the immediacy of this town, since some of the residents are
found provided with mules, they dedicate themselves to bring salt from the lagoons of Santander and San
Fernando in the years that they crystallize and, by this means, they supply what they need and perhaps they
extract some for the outside.
This settlement already begins to have some commerce in pigs, pelts, and wool and, of the first,
the said Don Domingo de Unzaga has already made two deliveries to Veracruz by the schooner of Don
José de Escandón; annually he does it himself; he buys a considerable portion of minor livestock through
commissions that he has from outside and also a competent number of mules which he takes from the
Hacienda de Dolores and the town of Camargo.
Near this settlement at the hill called el Dulce Nombre de Jesús there are several open mines which
were worked in the year of 1747 by Don Francisco S�nchez de Zamora who declaress, in folder 14, page
38 verso regarding the town of San Fernando of which he is captain today, having removed several loads
of ores which, improved, produced silver but not sufficient to be able to finance it and he was obligated
to abandon this work due to not being able to afford the costs resulting from the hostilities of the Indians
and his lack of ability and, in part, due to lack of information. At a distance of 7 leagues is the hill called
Santiago in which there are 7 mouths of open mines which I went to inspect and some are in the name of
the stewards and shepherds of the haciendas which have their ranches there, but the principal one is the
one they call Loreto which is run by the captain Don Domingo de Unzaga, that, as it is evident from his
declaration in folder 2, page 34 verso, he has taken some ores from it whose production of silver manifests
it being of good quality such that it can be financed with the benefit of mercury and smelting; but some of
them are not being worked, the first ones because the little suitability of those shepherds does not permit
them to dedicate themselves formally to its work, and the last one because Captain Unzaga has not found
an intelligent person to get encouraged to work, although he manifested the inclination to engage himself
in the cultivation of this mine.
At the foot of this hill of Santiago runs the river called Santa Lucía and on one side and the other
there is a type of settlement formed there composed of 68 shacks in which another few families live, that
most of them belong to the stewards and shepherds of the haciendas of minor livestock which graze in the
This site is amenable and luxuriant which has encouraged said shepherds to apply themselves
somewhat to farming and, to better assure its improvement, they have begun to build a canal from said
Santa Lucía River in which they already had some 740 passes already open.
This region has been give the name of Real de Borbón and it can be expected to form a settlement
without the encouragement or expense of the Royal Treasury, simply by means of the families of said
shepherds since these are already 500 people, and their number will be greater if it is verified that said Don
Domingo de Unzaga brings to this site the people of the ranches of el Vallecillo, dependents of the same
two houses of Canal and Conde de Laxa to whom the haciendas, which he administers, belong; something
that he manifests as having the intention of doing and it is supported by two declarations in the 2nd folder,
pages 55 and 56 verso, which seem to me very conducive to contain the incursions made in this area by
the apostate Indians of the missions of el Nuevo Reino de León intruding into the colony and taking cover
in la Tamaulipa Nueva, as well as to facilitate the families which found the new settlement in it, which I
propose to Your Excellency, with less cost since the financial aid of removal from among these could be
smaller than what is reserved for its establishment.
This aforesaid region was inhabited 32 years ago but it was deserted due to the hostile Indians; that
they do not fear its recurrence because they find themselves with enough strength to resist their hostilities
as they declare it in said folder, pages 55 and 56 verso, the number of persons who live in this site being
so increased, and the distance that there is from it to the town of Hoyos not permitting the best
administration for the spiritual side, I find it suitable these families be assigned a separate ecclesiastical
minister, especially if the addition of those of the ranches of el Vallecillo occurs.
All the aforesaid will acquaint Your Excellency of the state that this settlement has, of the increases
that should be expected for it to have in the future, of the advantages it can produce for the others of the
colony, and of the profit which, consequently, might result for the Royal Treasury with the circumstance
of it not having caused any expense by virtue of the means with which Don Domingo de Unzaga has
promised the bringing of families, their subsistence, and encouragement at his own expense; also his
making the expeditions, that have been necessary to contain the barbaric Indians from the time of the new
establishment, with the citizenry and, punishing them, to assure the tranquility of this settlement and the
sure enjoyment of their plantings and livestock; the merit of this subject I feel obligated to bring to the
attention of Your Excellency since you will recommend him to your powerful protection and, with the
effects that he will experience from it and from the mercy of Your Excellency, others will be stimulated
to the imitation, and other equal advantages shall be obtained without expense to the Treasury, those which
are promised by this town of Hoyos and el Real de Borbón with the mines of el Cerro de Santiago.
So that more formal information may be had about these, it seems suitable to me, Your Excellency,
that some loads of ores be ordered by Your Excellency to be taken from the different open mines there are
so that an assay of them be made in Charcas and it be found whether they can effectively produce silver
of such quality that it would be worth their improvement and it leave major expectations since, this being
assured, its cultivation shall be formalized and, with the people that greediness would attract to it, the
region shall be even better fomented with the corresponding profit to the Royal Treasury with a consequent
of greater subjugation of the Indians and general advantage to the colony.
Other measures I do not find necessary to be expedited for the subsistence or foment of this
settlement and that of Real de Borbón other than the ones I have mentioned to Your Excellency which are,
that of the draining of the immediate lagoons which Don Agustín de la Cámara Alta projected and of
which he instructed Captain Unzaga, that of the clearing of the woods that surround it and especially that
of the assigning of certain lands to the Indians that are found congregated, giving them tools for farming
for their cultivation, and that the priest who attends to them as missionary be assigned the same synod,
which the others of the colony have, to promote his zealousness.
I have spoken to Your Excellency regarding the formal distribution of lands as property to the
residents for which I pass to the individual description of the settlements which follow.
TOWN OF AGUAYO
It was founded on the 6th of October of 1750 with the dedication to la Purisima Concepción; it is
found situated on a plain at the foot of the Sierra Gorda by the most regular entry to the colony at the banks
of the San Marcos River which begins in said sierra at the mouth of this [same] name, a short distance from
this settlement and its temperate weather produces a good effect to the health.
The church and lodgings of the residents are reduced to shacks formed of forked poles, cane, and
clay covered with grass and palms except the house of the mission where the priest lives, which is at
present being built of stone and mortar and there is another, in which the captain lives, of adobe and clay;
they are trying to build a church of stone and mortar for which they are collecting materials; the site of its
plaza is designated but the distribution of the houses in it are not yet well arranged; the town is less
dispersed and the land it occupies is moderate; its citizenry is composed of 58 families with 408 persons
(not including the missionary priest) and including the captain, settlers, and residents, as is evident in the
review which is found in the folder of this settlement No. 3, from folio 3 to 8 where the goods which these
resident have are also manifested and more clearly at the end of this description in the small map of its
This settlement is found spiritually directed by an apostolic missionary priest of Nuestra Señora
de Guadalupe de Zacatecas named Fray Antonio Javier de Aréchaga who enjoys $350.00 [pesos] synod
annually from Your Majesty.
The political and military command was performed, upon our entry, by Don Juan de Astigarraga
with the title of captain and today Don Miguel de C�rdova who enjoys $500.00 salary annually without
there being any overseers or enlisted soldiers at the cost of the Royal Treasury because its residents aid in
all the service needed, observing among themselves the necessary union and subordination to encourage
said settlement to make excursions and give aid to the others when it is requested.
At two leagues distance from this settlement one finds the site designated for a mission called San
Felipe, the one in which there are 26 shacks in which 150 Indians, young and old of both sexes, are
established, who subsist subject to the doctrine and, from them, there are 53 baptized, the rest not being
baptized due to their not being sufficiently instructed nor in a disposition to make use of this benefit, there
being firm confidence of the permanence and progress of these due to the ease that the site offers to obtain
good crops with which to support them in respect to the good lands and canals they have for their
irrigation; all of which is justified by the certification which the Reverend Missionary Priest has given in
folio 12 of said documents, besides it being evident to me from the view and inspection I made
extrajudicially in traveling through the site affirming for myself that the canal that this mission has comes
from the San Felipe River from which they receive the most useful benefit to maintain themselves, helped
by a competent planting of cane with whose syrup and "piloncillo" obtained from it also assists the priest,
according to his reports, in supplying them some clothes, especially for the women.
At 4 leagues from this settlement, in the site they call Caballeros, there are 100 families of
shepherds from the Missions of Californias which compose about 500 persons who guard and attend to the
conservation of more than 30,000 heads of minor livestock, pastured in the area of said settlement, and
who have been in this region, actually, from September up to June and serve as much protection for this
settlement and the others since, in the cases which occur about Indians, they help and aid in everything
The river which passes immediate to this settlement is the aforesaid called San Marcos from which
it has a canal whose abundance of water gives this settlement all the irrigation it needs for the benefit of
its gardens and other plantings of corn from which they obtain the joy of its crops to support themselves
and to be able to sell to other areas, also harvesting different seeds, vegetables, and luxuriant plants, which
all the settlement does, encouraging the cultivation of cane to which they have been applying themselves
The planting which this settlement has made this year, which concerns corn, is calculated with such
difference in the declarations that one cannot know with certainty about it nor about its formal arrangement
of its harvest but, from what I inspected of their fields and informed myself of the particulars, it seems to
me to be able to be that which the Missionary Priest says in his certification which would be about 80
measures of plantings and that these produce up to 200 for each one, with which, it is to be assured, there
is no doubt its citizenry can support itself and sell portions in other parts, as it is verified as having been
done in the three previous years.
The settlers lack the possession and ownership of lands because they are only making use of those
which are comprised in common in the boundaries of its jurisdiction, this extending 5 leagues towards the
road of Tamaulipa Vieja, two and one-half toward G�emes, 5 toward the ranches of San Pedro, and one
toward the Sierra Gorda, each one enjoying those he can cultivate for the plantings and the rest are used
for pastures for their livestock.
The quality of the land for all plantings, so it is justified by the declarations and other reports, is
very suitable and the same for the raising and conservation of livestock in whose increases they experience
great benefits and, from these known increases, it shall result in the distribution of lands, the advantages
that the residents will be able to sell among themselves those which are not necessary to them and with
manifest benefit, plus they will be satisfied with this proceeding in the offering, which generally has been
made, of giving them lands and sites as property.
In the boundary of this town, at 4 leagues from it in the mouth they call Caballeros, there is an
open mine which was worked and tested by Don José Olazar�n, who was captain of this settlement, taking
ores from it which produced some silver, for which reason he immediately began to build in that site an
hacienda for a foundry in order to improve it but, the aforesaid captain, having died, it was abandoned and
left in the state in which he started it and, today, it is almost totally in ruins.
Although there are no salt deposits within its boundaries, they are able to bring a sufficient amount
from the coast, with the load mules they have, to support themselves and to sell some.
This settlement does not have commerce at present but, in time, it can be expected to be one of the
most advantageous for the Royal Treasury, due as much to its being the first transportation of the colony
as to its crops and livestock promising known trade, its increase being evidenced because of the short and
poor beginning at its foundation which was of 11 families, which the aforesaid captain Olazar�n took from
the rural areas of the missions of Californias of which he was steward, and with which he resisted the
hostilities of the Indians at that time, aided by the same shepherds who happily obeyed to please him and
that he later began attracting others.
And because the citizenry in general, as it is justified in the executed folder, live happily and in
peace (by means of the advantages offered by that the land, its irrigation, and pastures), it promises the
increase of its inhabitants, which will be greater if Your Excellency finds it well to take the same measures
toward the one which I propose in el cerro de Santiago as those pertaining to the mine of Boca de
Caballeros, that of taking ores from it to be assayed in Guadalc�zar or Potosí since, in recognizing that its
improvement announces advantages, it will be enough stimulation so that people will go to that region and
to this town, in which I find opportunities to assure its support and a town of numerous people be created
by said help, especially if the subjection of the Indians of el Sigué be accomplished by the expedition,
which I have proposed to Your Excellency, against them and it be to your liking that it be executed, since
they attack the rural areas of Californias, entering through said Boca de Caballeros and that of San Felipe,
and they also attack those who enter and exit the colony through the Sierra, road to el Jaumave.
By virtue of the small expense which the maintenance of this settlement brings to the Royal
Treasury, I do not find any other means of saving than the reduction of salary of its captain to $350.00
annually or that it be removed totally and he be content with the title, as it happens in Hoyos, in which
affair Your Excellency shall resolve whatever is to his best liking and he dictate his innate mercy.
This town also does not ask for a particular provision, as is recognized from what is explained, for
which I move on to expound on the state of the rest.
TOWN OF LLERA
This settlement was founded on the 25th of December of 1748, with the dedication to Nuestra
Señora del Carmen in a plain and luxuriant site on the shores of the Jaumave River which is maintained
for their use; the site is known as las Ruisas, a name which was introduced since the beginning of its
The church and lodgings of this citizenry are composed of poor non-arranged shacks and divided
from each other, with the exception of the house in which the Missionary Priest lives which is of stone and
mortar like the one which the captain of this settlement is now building in its plaza; there are some of adobe
and the most are mud-covered cane; they have not been able to pay attention to its arrangement up to now
because of the constant [sic] that they have had and the care of defending themselves from the incursions
of the Indians which have committed many hostilities in this town.
Its citizenry is composed of 71 families with 279 persons in which is included its captain, soldiers,
residents, and inhabitants as it is shown in the notebook of documents No. 4, formed in this settlement, and
in the review which appears in it in folio 3 in which are also shown the goods and the livestock which said
residents have which is more succinctly comprised in the statistics report which is placed at the end of this
It is administered in the spiritual by the apostolic missionary priest Fray Tom�s Cortés of el
Colegio de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe de Zacatecas to whom the synod of $350.00 per year has been
The political and military is commanded by the captain Don José Ignacio de Odriozola, who
enjoys $500.00 salary per year, has a sergeant with $250.00, a drummer with $91.00 and two reales, and
10 soldiers at $225.00 each; the duties of these are, the first one in the government of the inhabitants, the
second one in caring for the service and duties of the soldiers, the third one in aiding the functions of war,
and the rest in making excursions, overseeing the area, escorting travelers, delivering letters and orders,
guarding the horses of the troop and the inhabitants, and one soldier is assigned to the aid of the mission
for whatever the priest might need; but the service of these does not excuse the residents from coming to
aid in whatever is needed since, in all cases of excursions and aids, they help as if they were paid and they
perform the same functions at their cost.
In this town there is a mission of congregated Pison Indians which are composed of 40 families
with 166 persons of both sexes, children and adults, all baptized, many of whom came, from the time it
was established, from the old mission of Santa Rosa in the Sierra Gorda next to el Jamauve and who have
remained in good communication with the settlers whom they have aided with signs of friendship on those
occasions when it has been necessary to pursue the mischievous, heathen Indians; they have nominated,
from the most authorized among them for their own government, a governor, three mayors, a magistrate,
and a prosecutor. In this state they remained until January of this present year when the rebels of the
mission of el Jaumave influenced them to collect with them in the sierra which they did, taking their
families with them, from which only 8 remained in the mission and these were those of the governor and
other officials of justice.
At this time these rebels committed crimes deserving punishment for the deaths and injuries that
those of el Jaumave caused and these Pisones tried to surprise the settlement but, the settlers being
informed and having armed themselves, they upset their plans, forestalling them with the help of the
Janambre Indians and with whom, having gone out to meet them, they were able to rout the said Pisones
and to strip them of many horses and arms which was enough reason for them, after a few days, having
recognized their mistake, to ask for forgiveness and to return to their mission in which, afterwards, they
live more moderately and submissive and they act as if they were embarrassed, the missionary priest
assuring us that they more humbly suffer the punishment that they usually receive for their faults and there
is more freedom than before to practice it.
To this settlement, from a short time ago to now, about 80 families of Janambre Indians have been
added, with 300 persons of both sexes and they have built some shacks in the nearby in which they live
and, notwithstanding that the ones who killed its previous captain in Escandón, wounding the missionary
priest and burning the church and sacred urns were of this same tribe, they did not contribute to these
crimes; and, as far as one can see, they show signs of their wish to congregate in a mission and, although
they lean towards this one due to the kindness of its captain and due to the good reception of the priest
(whose virtue and dedication is distinguished among the rest), the opposition of the tribe to that of the
Pisones does not permit them to live united and it causes distrust with very probable foundations that would
be damaging to one or the other and probably even to the settlement, due to which, it seems to me, it would
be suitable that these Janambres be established in the town of Escandón, appropriating lands for them there
to cultivate for their support, by virtue of their not being any congregated Indians in it and the missionary
priest finding himself with some goods belonging to the mission that was once there for short intervals.
The river which pass through this settlement is the one called Jaumave which begins in the Sierra
Gorda near Palmillas and, in travelling through this region, it carries with it a great wealth of water from
other several streams and rivers which it collects.
From it the citizenry obtains an abundant canal with which they obtain the fertility of their plantings
and very regular harvests of corn, cane, beans, cotton, and other seeds, freeing them from the storms and
the contingencies of the seasons; by means of this benefit and its early harvest, they have experienced
advantages, for some time, due to the ceasing of the injuries which the Indians caused them at the
beginning and, as is evident in the statements of three years ago, it has had sufficient crops with which to
support itself and, if they have lacked corn at some time, it is because they have sold some from their
harvests without noting what they needed.
The planting that is made in their gardens and irrigated lands and the seasonal one, regarding the
corn, should be about 35 measures in this present year, it having been more or less the same in the two
previous years, and of these, which they have accredited through experience, they harvest at 150 for each
one in the seasonal ones and at 100 in the irrigated ones.
The quality of the land is very suitable for everything and especially for the raising and keeping
of livestock, it not being less suitable for the health, as the justifications of the folder of documents No.
4 of this settlement manifest.
There has been no distribution of lands to this citizenry and each one is simply enjoying those that
he has wanted or been able to cultivate within its boundaries comprised in the 6 leagues it has on the north
side, 3 on the east, and 4 on the west with the addition of 2 sites of major livestock in the annexes toward
the south, and it would be very useful to give them ownership of those that might correspond to each one
so that the love of the possession might stimulate them to the best application.
At one and one-half league from this settlement, in the site of la Mesa, there is a silver mine in la
Tamaulipa Vieja 6 leagues from this town; in the hill of San José there is another mine and in the same
Tamaulipa, in the site called San Andrés, there is another mine, all of which are inactive and without owner
due to there not being anyone who can finance their improvement.
This settlement has no salt deposits but it obtains, with the transport of mules, all it needs and some
to sell from the seacoast on the Altamira side where its abundance in dry years provides them as much as
they wish to harvest and, in the boundaries of this town, there are some salt deposits which are only useful
for the conservation of the livestock that they raise and which are also used by the sheep haciendas of the
marquisette of Buena Vista that pasture in its immediate boundaries and they come to 126,000 heads.
At present this settlement offers no commerce but it can be expected due to the benefit of its
irrigation canal by which their works and crops increase such that it could serve as great alleviation to the
rest of the settlements and the increases of their livestock could produce their removal [for selling or
trading] from which could result their establishing themselves on a footing in which in the future they could
contribute some profits to the Royal Treasury.
All of which bring me to the feeling, Sir Excellency, that this settlement can subsist due to the
cessation of the hostilities of the Indians, which have injured it so much, because of the expedition made
against them by the captain of the town of Escandón in which he was able to conquer them, since, free
from those injuries, their lands promise sure harvests from the benefit of irrigation which it enjoys and,
its fields the increase of their livestock; and I find its stability useful for the best subjection of the unfaithful
Indians and the open communication with the rest of the settlements of the colony.
The savings to the Royal Treasury which can be obtained here are that of the reform of the entire
troop of which the squadron of this town is composed; well, with the approval of Your Excellency, the plan
which I shall later make regarding the presidio which should guard the entire colony, it should remain safe
from the incursions of the barbarian Indians by the detachment which is assigned, in said plan, to this
mountain chain of the south and the service which will be assigned to it.
The salary of the captain can be reduced to $350.00 annually, which seems sufficient to me, or
dismissed completely; but the first I find more proper to the charity of Your Excellency; in the interim this
settlement shall be more formalized, keeping in mind the progress which, in the previous years, were made
by Don José de Odriozola and the advantage that subsists in his command of it.
The provision, which I find should be given, is the same as that which all the settlements request,
that of the formal distribution of lands and that those that the Indians should cultivate be designated here
with attention to their preeminent right since the priest is not in accord with the citizenry.
The removal of the Janambre Indians collected here and their establishment in the town of
Escandón is also very conducive, before the opposition of these and the Pisones produce injurious effects.
I find nothing else worthy of the participation of Your Excellency for which I continue to present
that which concerns the rest of the settlements, locating before that the small, abridged map of the state of
TOWN OF ESCANDON
This town was founded on the 15th of March of 1751, with the dedication to el Dulce Nombre de
Jesús; it has had 4 mutations since its establishment which, with the hostilities that it has experienced from
the Indians and other misfortunes, are the cause of the great unprogressiveness in which it is found and of
the poverty of its citizenry and although everything appears within the declarations that appear in the folder
No. 5 concerning this settlement, I shall try to make a succinct report to Your Excellency which will more
easily inform him of the method of the foundation and the ensuing events.
Don José de Escandón, trying to populate this region in the fulfilling of his commission, seems
to have encountered some subjects of Río Verde who obligated themselves to establishing a settlement of
100 families in it at their own cost under certain conditions which I have not been able to verify, and he
made a formal written contract with them over this in the year of 1750; in execution of it they have
managed to bring up to 60 settlers; they came to stop at the site in which the town of Escandón is found
today but, it not seeming competent to them, they subsisted a few days and went on to establish themselves
one quarter of a league down the river; exhausted here from the continuous hostilities of the barbaric
Indians and discouraged by a flood they experienced, they remained only 9 months and they went 5 leagues
down the river to a region called Río Frío; here, less annoyed by the Indians, the strong plague of
mosquitos exhausted the citizenry and the livestock so much that they were not able to suffer them or
tolerate the mortality that they experienced at the last and, desperate, they abandoned said site and took
refuge in the settlement of Santa B�rbara, accompanied by the captain Don Nicol�s Alvarez, one of the
contractors with Escandón and principal commissioner of this establishment; then there were only 30 to
40 families left from the one who had come to do it.
In this state the said Escandón, recognizing that the obligation contracted by him with the subjects
of Río Verde was ineffectual and the foundation of this town consequentially frustrated, he restrained them,
calling them to account with the contract and these, to evade the obligation, agreed to exhibit $3,000.00
which would serve as financial aid to bring other settlers and, to said Don Nicol�s Alvarez for having
abandoned the region, he exempted [probably meant the opposite] him another $1,800.00 which he agreed
to pay, with which the quantity of $4,800.00 was completed.
Then, Don José de Escandón, pledging to confirm the foundation of the town, solicited those
settlers who had come with this purpose and were in Santa B�rbara and, having persuaded them to return
to this region, tried to reinforce the area with several families; and taking them out of el Jaumave,
Palmillas, and other parts, he added 36 more to those to whom he contributed $100.00 each as a means
of financial aid for their conduction and establishment, by which means this was obtained, composed of
some 70 families with little difference, in the site in which it subsists today and, to attract another two
more, he left $200.00 in the power of the captain Don Antonio Puga.
Expenditures in this form $3,800.00 of the aforesaid quantity, Don José de Escandón allotted the
remaining $1,000.00 to facilitate a canal that would irrigate the plantings of the residents and the gardens
of their homes by which means the town came to be founded without cost to the Royal Treasury.
The settlement having been established in these terms, the captain and residents tried to build the
canal; they found it easy and the work was begun but, when they saw it was almost finished and in a state
of being made use of, a very large flood from the Guayalejo River occurred last year around September
which destroyed all that had been built leaving no recourse to repair the damage; it inundated the
settlement, ruined the church and many houses with the loss of their furniture and livestock, and placed
the settlers in peril of drowning.
Before this unfortunate occurrence the hostilities of the Janambre Indians had not ceased; after
having been congregated in the mission of this town, they rose up twice and, the last time, they had killed
the captain Don José Escajadillo and other residents, wounded the missionary priest, and burned the
church and the mission house with the ornaments and sacred urns; well, headstrong and cruelly bent with
these crimes, they disquieted the settlement continuously, repeated killings on the roads which were
travelled without caution, and stole the livestock in the boundaries of this place, Llera, and Horcasitas
which they traversed, injuries and attacks which lasted until around the month of April of this year when
an expedition was made against these Indians by the soldiers and residents of this town, aided by those of
the one of Llera, commanded by the present captain Don Antonio de Puga for the reasons and in the terms
that are evident in the statements of said folder 6 and more diffusely in the one I took from said captain and
is found on pages 24 verso and 27; their being able, by this means, to extinguish most of these perverse
Indians, intimidate those nearby, and place all the settlements of the mountain chain of the south of the
colony in the peace and quiet in which we find them and which the judicial proceedings of the documents
The related events made me understand the reason for the poverty of these residents and to note
that from it came the unprogressiveness and the unhappy state of the settlement; it is composed of the 69
families with 310 persons which is evident in the review page 3, included [are] the captain and soldiers
with their few goods as can be seen; and conformably are the shacks in which they live provisionally since,
warned by the last flood they had and the risk in which they found themselves, they are soliciting to move
to another region in which they are protected from a similar danger.
The engineer Don Agustín López de la Cámara Alta and I, taking charge of their just solicitation,
the former went (In the interim I continued the judicial proceedings.) to see the region, to which the captain
and residents find ideal to move, from which they are about one league distance today and, having
inspected it with the needed reflection and examined all its proportions, he found it very adequate for the
establishment of the town, protected from floods, with immediate lands suitable for planting and raising
livestock, and in a disposition to build a canal for irrigation from the Guayalejo River.
Regarding this change, the citizenry has made a request to its general Don José de Escandón who
had not answered to it and it seems he was inclined to move it to another region called la Panocha which
is 5 leagues and one-half from where it is today at the skirts of the Cerro San José next to la Tamaulipa
and, although upon inspection the aforesaid engineer found the situation without inferior proportions for
forming the settlement, since both of us found a great repugnance in all the residents to establish it there,
we agreed to propose to Your Excellency to be served to condescend to their wishes if it is his best wish
that this town endure, by virtue of the reasons that, its decay notwithstanding, they can influence the
merciful spirit of Your Excellency to foment this poor citizenry and I go on to make them known.
It seems to me, Most Excellent Sir, that the proposing of the abandonment of these unfortunate
residents or the taking them by force to the region which they oppose (after they have suffered the
hostilities of the Indians with the deaths and wounds of so many, as can be seen in the judicial proceedings
and from the rest of the misfortunes which they have experienced) would not accommodate the charitable
heart of Your Excellency when, today, their subsistence can be obtained and their foment hoped with the
moving of the town and the drawing of water that the proposed site facilitates, provided that Your
Excellency choose to help these poor people with a thousand pesos for the purchase of farm implements
with which to work and for the aid of some corn that would add to their support, a cost which the following
reasons stimulate me to propose, separate from this first consideration.
1st I consider it advantageous to have the ridge of mountains of the south reinforced with this
settlement, more for the security of the others and the major ease of travel.
2nd Abandoning this land, the Indians would be able to take it over, become bold, and return to
the previous hostilities of the immediate settlements and of the roads.
3rd And more important, the one that I find requisite to give to the Janambre Indians, collected in
Llera, a site in which to congregate in order not to waste the confidence that is had of their conversion and,
when not their legitimate conversion to christianity, the hope that is founded hereafter regarding the women
and children; since I have set forth to Your Majesty the reasons there are for their not staying in Llera and
I find no region more appropriate than this, in respect to the land being entirely the one to which the said
Indians, who have such love of the lands in which they live, are attached, that in removing them from it
makes their subjugation almost impossible.
Whether, under this disposition, the citizenry of this town can be maintained or not, I do not dare
to guarantee to Your Excellency in respect to that, depending on the crops, that which is experienced up
to now gives little or no information of what can be expected in the future but, as the accidents which I
have mentioned have contributed, I trust that, the representation of these no longer being distrusted, it is
normal that, in that which follows, they might obtain a different harvest which the irrigation canal can be
expected to guarantee in respect to that, with its benefit, they shall plant early and the cornfields will not
be exposed to the contingencies of the seasons nor to the rigor of the storms, since we see that the
settlements that have irrigation obtain this advantage and, in the present year, I expect that they will have
had a good harvest in what has been planted here, since we saw the crops in the best state and, through
reports, we found that the rains saved them afterwards because, in that part of the south, the drought was
not so rigorous as in the rest of the colony that, if true, it will have given some ease to those residents.
Although, from what I have explained to Your Excellency, the decline of this settlement can be
seen, I shall not fail to describe the rest of the circumstances in conformity to that which I manifest about
the others to Your Excellency for his more perfect understanding.
With the title of missionary, it is administered spiritually by the priest Fray Francisco Borunda,
priest of the Apostolico Colegio de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe de Zacatecas to whom the same annual
synod of $350.00 is assigned.
The town is commanded in its military and political jurisdiction by its captain Don Antonio de
Puga with $500.00 salary per year paid by the king as well as the $250.00 which a sergeant enjoys and
the $225.00 assigned to 6 soldiers and the one who has $120.00 destined only for the aid of the missionary
and for the care of the goods of the mission and the rest do the proper service already explained in the
In this one I did not find Indians that I can say formally that they are found either congregated or
collected; I only found 13 families of Spanish speaking Pame Indians who, being baptized in the old
mission of Santa Rosa and in others, were going around dispersed and whom the said priest has collected
to serve in the labor of the fields which he cultivates and the raising of livestock, which he enjoys, and
whom he has as day-laborers of this small hacienda and the said priest lives with them at one-quarter league
from the town where, after the last flood, he built a shack for a chapel and others for housing for the
Indians on a small hill where he intends to take all of the citizenry, which is impossible to situate on it and
only possible at its skirts where it will be so exposed to any flood or more than where they have established
themselves today; and since, with his somewhat dominant disposition, he has those unfortunates
intimidated, they distrust that his influence might obstruct the move of the town to the region they wish.
The river that bathes this town is the one called Jaumave, which takes the name of Guayalejo here
from the one that this site had before the Indians and, having explained its beginning and course, I avoid
repeating it here and also that pertaining to an irrigation canal due to that which has already been said.
They have not failed to apply themselves to the planting of corn even more than should be expected
from its unfortunate state; but due to the lack of the benefit of irrigation and disheartened by the floods,
their enthusiasm has waned and, thus, although in the previous years they planted about 30 measures, in
the present one they have not surpassed 20 even with the captain Don Antonio de Puga having stimulated
them, presenting to those, who devoted themselves to farming, the necessary corn and yokes, with the
distrust that it would be lost work regarding the previous experiences, which do not allow the computation
of the harvest, if it is not that it be at the Peujales where they have had one several times and have
produced at one hundred fifty measures to one. The abundance of the land appeared to me very good for
the raising and conservation of major and minor livestock; everyone affirms it not being able to be better
and the residents not having increased in these goods consists in that they have found it necessary to lay
hands on them for their support.
There are no lands distributed as property to the residents here and they enjoy those assigned to
the settlement in common and they are composed of 2 leagues on the north, 5 on the west, 6 on the south,
and 3 on the east; the sheep of the haciendas of Mr. Rojo and of the Carmelite priests enter into them to
pasture and to get niter and they come to one hundred eighty thousand heads.
In the immediacies of this town there are several open mines, some in the sierra of San José near
Tamaulipa Vieja and the others in the site they call San Andrés but they are not being improved due to the
lack of means and of their formal knowledge, for none has had the spirit to remove a portion of ore that
would give founded indication of its quality and thus, although the assays made of rocks manifest interior
riches due to their being almost from the surface, they have not been able to be accredited or to stimulate
the people from the outside with knowledge for its improvement.
The salt with which this town maintains itself is gathered at one league away in the region called
La Mesa Sola where some small pools crystallize which suffice that which they need in the midst of their
having been used to utilize the salt deposits of the seacoast towards Altamira.
It is seen that this settlement, in its present straits, cannot have any commerce and that only time
is capable of facilitating anything if it has a different success than up to now.
The means that can furnish this for it are: that of its establishment in the region that the residents
claim and the second engineer Don Agustín López de la Cámara Alta finds suitable, that of the drawing
of water for irrigation of its lands with the help of the proposed cost, and that of granting them 5 more
years of exemption from taxes above the 10 granted, noting the work and hostilities that they have had
from the Indians.
In the moving of the settlement I find it suitable that, from the beginning, the formal distribution
of lands be made to each resident, with attention to the widows or sons of those who have died in
encounters with the Indians, to the rest of the residents, and especially to the present captain Don Antonio
Puga and that, at the same time, they designate the one that the nearby Janambre Indians should cultivate,
although separate from those of the citizenry, if Your Excellency agrees that they be established here in
a mission, in which case I believe it would be appropriate for another priest to be chosen who, with a more
gentle character, would attract and domesticate them.
If Your Excellency would not deem it good to form the new settlement in Tamaulipa la Vieja, the
residence of the detachment which I propose for the guarding of the mountain chain of the south, could be
assigned in this town and the salaries of the troop will serve to urge it and as an encouragement to its
citizenry, it seeming to me that, in this case, the command of it with the title and salary of lieutenant could
be given to the present captain in noting his merit.
This is what I find I should inform Your Excellency with regard to this settlement whose
circumstances have obligated me to expand it somewhat, which I hope Your Excellency will excuse.
CITY OF HORCASITAS
This city was founded on the 11th of May of 1749, with the dedication to San Juan Bautista; it is
situated in an elevated, arid, and dry region and passing next to it is the Jaumave River, which they call
Guayalejo, which, before arriving in this settlement, besides the large amount of water which this river
carries, it is joined by those of Sabino and Río Frío which proceed from the Sierra Gorda and, farther
down, they widen with the so-called Mantle; its weather, from the reports of the residents, is healthy.
The residences are of poles, cane, and clay with roofs of grass, except the house of the missionary
priest which is of stone and mortar as is also that of the reformed captain Don José de Oyarvide, who was
presently collecting materials to enlarge it; the church has walls of the same although its roof is of grass;
the shacks in which most of the residents live are poor, scattered, and placed without order, such that the
plaza, or site designated for it, has no formality.
Its citizenry is composed of 73 families with 363 persons including in them the captain and soldiers
whom His Majesty pays, as it is evident from the review I made and is found in the folder of documents
formed in this settlement No. 6, folio 3 where the goods of these residents are manifested, with which I
do not include the Olive and Huasteco Indians, who are civilized, because I should speak separately about
them to Your Excellency.
It is administered spiritually by a priest of el Colegio Apost�lico de Zacatecas who enjoys $350.00
annually as a synod and his name is Fray Miguel de Jesús Rada.
This settlement is commanded by the captain Don Esteban Zaavedra who has a salary of $500.00
per year and there is a sergeant with $250.00 and 9 soldiers at $225.00 who serve, the first as governor
of this city, the second in surveying the service of the soldiers, and of these the major occupation is to
guard the horses of the residents and theirs in the field, one always being in the aid of the missionary priest
for whatever needs he may have without doing any other service and, in spite of having this troop, the
residents assist in all the excursions, rescues, and functions at their own cost.
To the citizenry of this settlement are added two tribes of Indians who were brought here, since
its foundation, to increase it using the financial aid of $10.00 which was given to each family, $20.00 to
those of the captains, and $15.00 to that of the lieutenant; one of them is the Olives and is composed of
21 families with 71 persons of both sexes, in which is included a captain and one lieutenant who command
them; the other is the Huastecos with 30 families and 107 persons in them with the two captains; in either
one there are many civilized and all christians who were reviewed.
So it seems from the aforesaid folder of documents of this settlement, folio 6 verso, from the
reports that I have acquired and from those which the Indian captain of the Olives called Don Felipe de
Santiago who is very civilized and 60 years of age; these proceed from the old town which their ancestors
maintained in la Tamaulipa Vieja and where they discovered the mine of el Potrero de la Concepción from
whose ores they drew silver with which they made the chalice, the paten, wine vessels, plate, and the urn
for consecrated oil which they used in the church they had at that site; it must be about 50 years that they
left it, harassed and pursued by the hostile Indians, their opponents. And that, having left to live and
establish Tampico and Huasteca, Colonel Escandón took them from there, when he formed this settlement,
adding them to it and they brought the bells and the aforesaid silver with them which they have from their
old mission, that everything serves in this church today.
Besides this there are in this city 97 persons of both sexes, young and adult, Palagueque Indians
who have been coming to it, in which are included two captains who, among themselves, keep the
command they had in their hamlet and, as the missionary priest makes it evident in his paper, which is
found in the folder of documents of this settlement following folio 11 on the back, there are 12 that have
the benefit of baptism, and the hope that is had of them and their subsistence is founded in that there be
something with which to feed them so that, by this means, convert them to obey the catechism, which is
not obtained today, nor their continual presence in the settlement since they enter and exit to the woods to
find their medley of eatables whenever they want without feeling subordinate to the missionary priest or
the captain, notwithstanding that, at a quarter of a league they have built several shacks in which they
gather on the occasions that they obey and the priest has to provide them with food to eat from the harvests
that the goods of this mission produce and they are referred to by said priest in the folder 6, folio 11.
And in respect to treating of the Indians of this settlement, the place seems opportune to me to
present to Your Excellency the incident which I have touched upon in the satisfaction of chapter 19 of the
instruction regarding the founding of a new town in la Tamaulipa Vieja and extending my concept of how
appropriate it would be to take advantage of the two tribes of Olive and Huasteco Indians to form that
establishment with them, adding to them a small number of 20 Spanish families and the detachment of
troops, of which I will treat later, and that way the foundation would be less costly.
These Indians crave returning to said Tamaulipa because, since it was their old residence and they
grew up in it, they have a great inclination for it and they would have, as a prize for their loyalty, their
being given this establishment, formalizing a town for them with its governor, captains, justices, and
missionary priest who would help them; they guarantee that there are good lands for planting and they
promise to apply themselves to its cultivation, from all of which I found the hope that, in a few years, it
would be a regular town which could contribute tributes but, since their strength for resisting that of the
barbarian Indians, who live in said sierra, is small, in order not to expose them to their injuries, it would
seem appropriate to me to add next to the town that would be formed of said tow tribes of Indians and at
about one-half league from it a small settlement of 20 families who, with a little financial help, would be
able to be taken from this one of Horcasitas and from that of Altamira and, in such a case, to assure their
subsistence and protect some of them from the damages of the barbarians, one could place, in this new
settlement, the detachment of troops which I propose for the mountain chain of the south, that all of it
would be guarded, by virtue of that which would contain the Indians if its service is ordered to what I
project, enthusing the residents of this recent establishment with the amount of the salaries of said troop
which should be governed along with the new settlement by the lieutenant who would command it.
I have said that the river, which this settlement uses, is that of el Guayalejo which, with those that
it has added on after it passes here, continues on up to the enlarged lakes of Altamira and, increasing with
other rivers that enter into it, it continues to la Barra de Tampico where it ends at the sea but, in passing
through this settlement, it does not permit the building of a canal nor does it facilitate the ease of irrigation
for the advantage of this city, a lack which has its residents in great poverty, which is supported by the
review, reduced to such misery that I would see its subsistence as impossible if the projected canal could
not be expected to partly assist it in respect to their lack of harvests that they have had up to now, the
remote hope of obtaining any without irrigation, and the recourse of salt not being sufficient for their
support due to the years when it is lacking and their not having beasts to haul it.
The unhappy state in which I found this city is well accredited by the folder of documents formed
in its inspection No. 6 and, in its consequence, I should propose to Your Excellency either the removal of
its residents to another place or its extension but, having understood that the subsistence is necessary in
order not to abandon this region, which is the pass to la Huasteca for the colony, in order to keep the
Indians from taking over it and the channel of its river, becoming bold, and other injuries continuing, I am
obligated to set forth to Your Excellency that he order that they build the canal that Don Agustín de la
Cámara Alta recognized could easily be drawn from the river called Mantle and that, so that it take place,
this works be promoted with the financial aid of one thousand pesos for the purchase of implements and
some corn with which to help the support of the settlers who work on it, attending to their misery, since,
without this help, it is not possible to afford it and, with a similar help, it will result in the benefits of the
citizenry being able to support themselves from then on, their few remaining livestock increasing (if they
do not have to use them to buy corn), and that of being able to expect a formal establishment of the mission
because designating the lands with irrigation for the Indians that correspond to them should promise that
there will be enough to support them.
To all of which is added that, the king already having expended a considerable cost for the
population and pacification of this region, it does not seem appropriate to waste this last advantage already
obtained for the small cost that I propose, when the savings that I project will, on their own, provide on
their own with which to defray it with the benefit of, that with the removal of some or all the families from
here for the new settlement of Tamaulipa, the financial aid that would be designated for their establishment
could be smaller.
The present planting done in this settlement regarding corn is considered by the declarers and
reports as not important, since the experience of the lack of harvest in the previous years has dispirited
them for the continuation in farming due to the misfortunes of the storms and, because of this, it has been
inevitable that they have been ridding themselves of their livestock and goods to buy the corn that they need
to support themselves, from which all their misery results since, their having applied themselves, in the
beginning, to planting up to 40 measures and seen the cornfields very luxurious, they have had such
calamities due to the storms, that it has left them with no spirit to continue their efforts.
The land is very appropriate due to the good quality of the earth and the fertility of its fields and
abundant pastures for the raising and conservation of livestock but, for farming, the seasons are very
irregular, such that nothing can be expected from them without the benefit of irrigation that would facilitate
the early harvest.
The distribution of lands is made very necessary, in respect to ownership of them not having been
given to any of the settlers up to now since the 5 leagues that the border has on the east in which the Bernal
hill and the hills at its skirts are included, 6 on the north, 3 on the west, and 3 on the south where el Mantel
and Charco Azul run, are all in common in the pastures and fields without the settlers having that
encouragement which incites the genuine love to apply oneself with effectiveness; to resolve, Your
Excellency, that the new settlement and pueblo of Huasteco and Olive Indians is being founded in la
Tamaulipa Vieja, I find it suitable that, from the beginning, the lands be designated for the settlers,
distributing them to them as property and to the said Indians, separately, those which would be assigned
to them so that these not be bothered by those.
At 6 leagues distance from this city in la Tamaulipa Vieja, there is a mine of open testing that they
call el Potrero de la Concepción from which, as has been said, it is a common belief that the silver was
taken with which the Olive Indians made the reliquary and other aforesaid ornaments which this church
uses and, at one league from here, there is another mine called San Andrés which has also produced some
silver, but both are not used or worked because there is no one who has dedicated himself to it nor does
the poverty of these settlers allow such thoughts and the reports which the statements give about this point
are evident in the folder 6.
The salt, which these settlers use for their support, is from the salt deposits of the coast in front
of Tamaulipa la Vieja on the other side of Altamira where its abundance and good quality offers all these
settlements some help by its trade; there is, besides this, in the immediacy of the town, about a league from
it, a salt water pool that crystallizes with the heat of the sun, enough for the citizenry that uses it and for
the immediate town of Escandón; when the one from the lakes is lacking, collecting the soil and bringing
it home with them, they put it in water in troughs and other instruments and, stirring it very well, they let
it settle in order to place the water in cauldrons on the fire, in which manner the salt crystallizes and it ends
up a good quality to be used; there are also several other areas of salt deposits which are not good for
anything else other than for their livestock and for the sheep haciendas which enter to pasture in this
boundary, that just those of la Compa�ia de Jesús de Querétaro and of Don Francisco de Mora come to
This settlement offers no commerce whatsoever at present but its transit and royal road to Altamira
and la Huasteca; the channel which it has in the river can provide advantages in the future and, in my
estimation, they shall be certain if they build the irrigation canal since, with its corn, it could, in this case,
supply Altamira with that which it needs and receive, in exchange, livestock to put in its summer pastures
and enjoy the increases which are promised and experienced in other settlements.
I have shown Your Excellency, with what I have explained, the miserable state today of this
settlement and my opinion regarding the usefulness of its subsistence for the reason I explain; I have made
Your Excellency aware of the best method I find for a new settlement in la Tamaulipa Vieja in case the
reasons, which I explain in the preceding general report, might incline the spirit of Your Excellency to its
execution and I propose the means of making this establishment less costly to the king to aid him, and the
expense of the canal (without which, I believe, this settlement of Horcasitas cannot subsist), Your
Excellency will recognize afterwards the savings that I project and what the reform of the squadron,
designated to the guarding of this city, and the reduction of the salary of its captain comprises.
The one who commands it today is a subject who came a short time ago from outside and,
consequently, he sees that citizenry with less love and, although he knows how to control his wishes a little,
I understand, Sir Excellency, that in these new and poor establishments some contemplation and softness,
which the present captain and even the missionary priest lack, are necessary, and I inform Your Excellency
of this because I believe it would be useful that Don José de Ollarvide return to this work; since he was
the one who, from the beginning, had it until just recently, he might know better how to handle these
people to induce them to the work of the canal and he might better know the families which would be
useful to remove for the new settlement if it were to be done.
The silver being the attraction which better facilitates the population and the encouragement of any
site, it seems to me to be very appropriate, so that it be obtained here, that Your Excellency would serve
to order some loads of ores be taken from the immediate mines so that, making an assay of them in
Guadalc�zar, its quality be evidenced since, the declarations and reports announce it being so as it is, it
cannot be doubted there are many inclined to work it and that from this would result several profits in favor
of the Royal Treasury and advantages to this settlement whose state the small map enclosed shall more
concisely show Your Excellency.
TOWN OF ALTAMIRA
This one was founded on the 2nd of May of 1749, with the dedication of Nuestra Señora de las
Caldas; it is situated at the edge of a bay that abuts with the sea of la Barra de Tampico in a land of Loma
de Buenavista, hotter rather than temperate, of healthy weather and, through the immediate lagoons, it
achieves the navigation from here to Tampico with a section of channels which it has and they can make
their way, although they might be barges and pirogues, and arrive to anchor near the settlement at about
200 paces; from this site to Tampico, by water, one can measure 7 leagues, all through marsh and reed
grass that can be sounded.
On the small hill on which it is situated, around the plaza, are their houses, all mud-covered shacks
but whitened with lime and, on one side of this said plaza, is the church which is the best built of all that
the colony has because, although it is of wood, cane, and clay with a grass roof, it makes the form of three
naves and is all whitened inside and out, such that it manifests some decency; and in regard to the building
of their dwellings, if these were of the necessary stability, their nature could suffice.
Its citizenry is composed of 83 families with 356 persons in which are included its captain and
soldiers whom the king maintains with the rest of the inhabitants and the goods they possess, as is
manifested in the review which I made and is evident in the folder of documents No. 7, folio 3 but, if I
must adhere to the reports that were given to me by the missionary priest, the captain, and one or another
subject, the wealthiest ones hid or diminished the number of livestock they have with the distrust that, in
the future, they might have to contribute a portion of what was found in this imspection, and the multitude
of bovine livestock, which I saw in the fields where we traveled, inclines to make me believe it.
The town is administered spiritually by the priest Fray Joaquín Manzano, apostolic missionary
of el Colegio de Guadalupe de Zacatecas to whom are designated $350.00 annually as a synod.
It is commanded by the captain Don Juan Francisco Barberena who has $500.00 salary per year
and there is a sergeant in it with $250.00 and 8 soldiers at $225.00 each and all of them perform the same
service of which I have treated in the previous settlements with the assistance of the residents when the
small number of this squadron requires its being reinforced for some expedition against the Indians.
In this settlement and in its mission there are about 116 collected Indians of the Anacana tribe of
which only 34 are christians and, although they observe some kind of presence there, it is not established
because, when the corn with which to support them is lacking, they leave and, regarding the adults, there
is no way to convert them and it is only observed that, on the point of death, it is the time that they ask for
baptism; these have their shacks or quarters at 3 leagues from the settlement in the site they call Las
Moscas where they have brought their families in order to have them closer to the town because the lands
and sites, designated for the mission, are one league farther away in the region they call Los Aguacates
and, although other Aretín Indians come and go here, they stay such a short time that one can make no
accounting of them, all of which is manifested and accredited by what the missionary priest says and by
the other reports which I took and it is justified by the documents and proceedings put into them from the
verso of folio 6 to 7.
In the same manner there are 17 christian Huasteco Indians joined in this settlement who have come
to it voluntarily and they live subdued according to the rest of the settlers.
The closest river (besides the lakes of sweet water which this settlement uses) is the one named
Jaumave, called Tamesí in this part, whose beginning and course I have reported to Your Excellency.
This settlement has no canal for irrigation nor has it tried to build one because the terrain gives no
hope of obtaining it.
Its citizenry has nothing applied to farming nor does it plant corn worthy of consideration since,
in the best year, their harvest came to 9 measures from which, their good lands even yielding up to 200
measures to one, they do not have the half of what they need for their consumption and, having tried to
discuss the cause of this lack of inclination to farming, I encounter that the secure advantages they obtain
in the raising of cattle, to which they mostly have dedicated themselves, are the cause of it, since the land
is more suitable for that purpose; and the fodder it produces and the meat they salt, furnish enough profit
to be able to take some to the outside and, although the pastures are good for minor livestock, they do not
do as well as the major ones.
All their lands are in common without any being given in private possession and it is true that, due
to the lack of this measure, known disadvantages result for the citizenry since the wealthiest make use of
the major part and the poor do not have the proper advantage in the use of them and it would be very
useful (as I have expressed in the preceding settlements) if the mercy of Your Excellency would deign to
order that this distribution be made on the footing that these settlements were founded and established;
because it is true that the offer of farmlands and sites for livestock was made to them which, up to now,
has not been done that, perhaps, could influence the aversion that is found to agriculture; and the boundary
of this settlement being 3 leagues to the east, 6 to the west, 8 to the north and, on the south, the lakes and
islands that lay between the river, the residents still crave more district, even when they have almost all
of it applied to pasture, due to the large amount of livestock that they posses and because, during the time
of rain, a large portion of the land is inundated.
There are no mines nearby but the statements report those of Escandón and Horcasitas in la
On the point of salt deposits, on the seacoast toward the sierra Tamaulipa at a distance of 4 leagues,
this settlement has one, the one of Tampico, and other areas from which the citizenry obtains all the salt
it needs for its support and trading; 3 leagues farther on, following the same coast to the north, there is
another salt deposit of the same proportion and, although in some years the early rains deprive them of this
benefit (as it happened last year), they could always be assured of it if they followed another method of
providing themselves and if the fellowship that this citizenry has with that of Tampico in the enjoyment of
these salt deposits did not cause it to be disappointed on some occasions since, being obligated to go united
to get the salt, it has happened that these have been late and the rains came and removed it for some of
them and, although measures could be taken regarding this, since it is common that after the 10 years in
which all the settlements have been allowed the free use of the salt deposits that the king appropriate it from
them, imposing annual charges to those who take the salt, in the contribution which is arranged, I exempt
myself from proposing it.
From this settlement of Altamira, along the beaches of its coast to the skirts of Tamaulipa la Vieja,
there is a road to the Port of Santander provided but it is not trafficked due to the many Indians that there
are in said Tamaulipa and they come down from it to the beaches to catch fish and seafood and, for this
reason, they have not tried to conquer the impediment there is in the middle of the two barras of el Tordo
and of la Trinidad by channels; however, there are several who have traversed said road.
This settlement begins to put itself into a footing of commerce from which many advantages to its
inhabitants (most of which are mulattoes and negroes) can be expected to result and that they might place
themselves in a flowering state since the abundance of fish which they salt, the fishing of shrimp, the salted
mead, pelts, and fodder, with which they commerce, offer them advantages and they encourage various
traders to come to trade, as I found some and they reported that they come frequently from Tampico,
Huasteca, and other parts to exchange corn for those things, by which means they are provided; and
already the concourse of said traders from outside is such that the captain assured me he was thinking of
building a hostelry because the hosting of them and their distribution in the homes is inconvenient to the
All the aforesaid, Sir Excellency, which the declarations partly justify and I have come to
understand partly from reports, causes me to form the idea that this settlement (the 10 years of exemption,
which they were granted, having passed) shall facilitate profits for the Royal Treasury that would repair
the expenses made for its establishment and conservation and, farther on, this will be obtained without any
cost to the Treasury since the troops, which it has today, should be reformed, if the project that I make for
the best security of the mountain chain of the south of this colony pleases Your Excellency; it can be
governed by an ordinary mayor, if one does not want to keep the title of captain now and the salary of
$350.00 for the one who governs it; and it will be able to maintain a parish with the "obvenciones" and
the offerings of the first fruits, which its residents should satisfy, and all the expense that the king must
make shall be reduced to the sending of the annual synod of the missionary priest, that, in this case, he will
be able to apply all his zeal to the instruction and raising of the Indians, going to live with them in the
region where they have built their shacks; but, since the harvests which produce the goods that the mission
has today cannot suffice to support said Indians, I find it necessary to propose to Your Excellency that a
few more cattle be added to them and they be provided implements for farming, obligating them to
cultivate the lands that are assigned to them which are assured to be proper for planting and cultivating
yams, bananas, and other fruits, by which they maintain themselves, whose expense, I am persuaded, can
be well made with one thousand pesos and these be taken from the savings I project by which means I
perceive it will not be necessary to plan ahead for more aids for said Indians which cause expenses to the
Royal Treasury, and their conversion and tranquility can be expected and the fruits that the children
promise with the conversion of an adult or two in the terms which I have expressed.
And this being all that I consider worthy of the participation of Your Excellency in the order of
this town, I go on to the report of the others.
TOWN OF PADILLA
This town was founded on the 6th of January 1749, with the dedication of San Antonio, situated
on elevated land immediate to the Purificación River from which they serve themselves for their use, also
having nearby the one called Santa Engracia; its land is dry and temperate and its inhabitants report its
being healthy without the occasion of epidemics or accidents.
The church and dwellings are some poor and badly built shacks of poles and cane covered with
grass with one or two dwellings of adobe, badly constructed and without order and it manifests no progress
of this citizenry about which I acquainted myself after I began the first steps of my reports and the judicial
proceedings, resulting from them that, in its first years, this settlement has been persecuted by the Indians
of Mesas Prietas, Boca de la Iglesia, and by the Mezquites from the side of Santander and that to these
problems was added the one of not having harvested crops with which they would have been able to
support themselves regularly since, in order to subsist, it has been necessary to sell their livestock and give
these in exchange for corn because, lacking a canal, they have lost most of what they have planted
seasonally due to the irregular seasons, either due to droughts or due to excessive rains which have caused
the immediate rivers to break their banks inundating their fields with the fortune that they have never had
a complete harvest, well they have only been able to harvest those cornfields which they have succeeding
in growing in land appropriate to the variety with which the years have run.
This citizenry is composed of 72 families with 380 persons in which are included its captain, a
lieutenant, two sergeants, and 18 soldiers with the goods which each one has, so it appears in the folder
of documents No. 8, folio 5, from the review I made to inform myself of its state.
When I inspected it it was administered spiritually by a religious missionary of el Colegio de
Guadalupe de Zacatecas named Fray Joaquín M�rquez, with the synod of $350.00 but, due to the death
of the one who aided in the settlement of Soto la Marine, he went to that town and on our excursion we
found it without a priest who could say mass or administer the sacraments.
It is commanded by the captain Don Juan Manuel de Penilla who enjoys $500.00 salary per year
and, for its security, it has a squadron made up of a sergeant and 10 soldiers, the first with $250.00 per
year and the second ones with $225.00 each; besides, added to this settlement is another squadron called
Volante [mobile] commanded by a lieutenant with $400.00 salary, a sergeant, and eight soldiers with the
same assignation as the previous ones, but thess troops are assigned to constantly inspect the land, give aid
to all the settlements, and it is the one which carries the weight of the major service, the most useful of the
colony, and whom the Indians most respect since they are the ones who have had the most confrontations,
the ones who know how to deal with them and they know their entrances and exits to the woods [or hills];
the captain and the other troops do the proper service as in the other settlements and, in this one, there is
also a soldier employed in the service to the missionary priest.
There are no collected or congregated Indians here although, at the beginning of its foundation,
there were some, then, after they did them the favor of giving them some clothes, they left and they have
not returned nor is there any hope of their returning, as is manifested in the response of the missionary
priest in the documents of this settlement, folio 13 verso; and, although for this end of a congrega this town
has lands designated and some goods in the possession of the missionary priest, they are kept by the priest
and he does his planting, as is known from his response, with the view that a congrega might be obtained
in the future.
The river that serves this town is the one called Purificatión which begins at the Sierra Madre at
the foot of the hill called el Viejo and, entering into this colony after enriching itself with several rivers
and springs that join it, it continues until ending at the sea around the Barra and Port of Santander.
This settlement has no irrigation canal and the lack of this benefit has endangered its crops and,
notwithstanding that they have tried to build it from the immediate Río de la Purificación and that of Santa
Engracia on several occasions, they have failed in the work (so most of them affirm) due to lack of
knowledge in conducting the work, although others consider it inaccessible; with these reports Don
Agustín de la Cámara Alta went to inspect the areas where they had worked, confirmed the poor direction
they had, and found that they can build a canal for the irrigation of the lands of this town and its gardens
only from the Santa Engracia River next to the Cerro del Mentidero, routing it through the hills of
Garambuyo to fall at the divider, well, in this arrangement, he found more than forty rods of depth and
that it can flow within the inside of the town and be taken to the low planting fields; and considering it very
accessible, he acquainted the captain about everything in case the citizenry can be convinced of this new
work which I find difficult to undertake due to their little strength, especially there being the distance of
3 to 4 leagues from the mouth of this canal to the settlement; and it seems appropriate to me that, to
encourage these residents to such a difficult work, they be reinforced with the financial aid of one thousand
fifty pesos for the purchase of the necessary implements and some corn with which they can aid their
support while the work lasts; since it will follow that, being able to build the canal, the town and their
livestock will grow and that it would result afterwards in profit to the Royal Treasury which makes this
expense adequate; and, since I consider that the subsistence of this settlement is made necessary in all ways
due to its being situated in a region which is necessary to transit for those of Santander, Santillana, Soto
la Marina, Burgos, San Fernando, and the rest of the mountain chain of the north, I do not hold back in
proposing to Your Excellency this small expense and instead, with the object of conserving this pass that
I find important, it is my intention to propose also that the detachment of troops, to guard the center of the
colony and contain the Mesas Prietas, the Tetilla, the Mesquite Indians of the side of Santander and the
incursions that those of Tamaulipas sometimes make, be established here; and thinking that the salaries of
said troops would urge and encourage this citizenry, although their principal help will depend on the
irrigation canal, since with it they would assure, in the early crops, the food for their support for which
the seasonal ones they have had hazarded up to now have not sufficed; and in this year that they strived
to plant up to 25 measures, I believe it will result in the same because, although the were able to see their
cornfields in the best state, such a strong drought occurred that most of them were lost, several having been
witnesses to it; regarding the harvest, the experience that they have in the "peujales" that have been
obtained is that of 100 measures to one.
The quality of the land seemed to me to be very good for seeds but it is superior for the raising and
conservation of livestock since the pastures abound in all seasons.
There is no formal distribution of land made and I consider it as appropriate as in the rest of the
settlements; the borders assigned to this one are 4 leagues on the west, 3 on the south, 4 on the east, and
3 on the north.
There are neither mines nor salt deposits in the nearby and, of these, the closest and the ones from
which they supply themselves for their use are the ones in la Barra of the Port of Santander from where,
sometimes, those residents, who have animals, take the loads they can to go to sell in other parts in
exchange for corn, and from where they ordinarily provide themselves with this seed is in Aguayo and
Hoyos with ease due to its nearness.
This settlement has no commerce, as its state today more easily manifests it, and it will be
encouraged somewhat by the recent establishment in it of a resident, who was from Pilón in the Nuevo
Reino de León, called Don José de Robles; since his having built a ranch with the goods he brought, and
they are evident in the review, page 5 verso, several poor people are employed in his service and guard
The principal measure that I feel can be taken for the better subsistence and growth of this town
is that Your Excellency order the work on the canal proposed by Don Agustín López de la Cámara Alta
with the proposed help.
The synod assigned to the missionary priest can be saved while there is no congrega verified and
the priest, or another clergyman who can administer, can be maintained with the "obvenciones" and the
offerings of the first fruits, helped by the harvests of the goods assigned to the mission; well, it would be
convenient to conserve these if the case arrives of there being one and they turn it over to him in
administration so that, from the beginning, he always would be obligated to give an accounting if this, my
thought, is to the approval of Your Excellency.
And by virtue of the plan that I should make to Your Excellency afterwards for the presidio of this
colony, there should remain in this town one of the three detachments into which it is to be divided; I do
not treat of the reform of the two squadrons that are in it nor of the salaries of its officials.
CAPITAL CITY OF SANTANDER
It was founded on the 17th of February of 1749, with the dedication of los Cinco Señores; it is
situated in a spacious valley but the land is so horizontal that it does not allow the waters the fall that they
need and they make a pond due to the earth not being able to absorb them because at a small depth they
encounter "laja;"this pooling of water causes an epidemic of tertian fever generally every year in the
summer because the heat is great after the first rains have fallen and normally a drought occurs; and the
steam, raised by the sun which results from the high humidity, infects the air, it introduces itself in the
bodies, corrupts the mass if the blood, and said epidemic carries fatal consequences in some years as in
the last one of 1756, and in the mornings while the sun is not yet strong, one sees a fog which supports the
aforesaid concept and, knowing how injurious that this is to those dwellers, Don Agustín de la C�mara
Alta sought the remedy to the damage and found he could have it by making several trenches in this terrain
which would drain the two creeks that run on one side or the other of the settlement; that the one situated
at the short distance of one-quarter league and the other at one-half, it allows the work to be done at a small
cost from whose means it will result in, not only the appearance of the best health, but also the best harvest
of the crops since, according to reports, in some years the abundance of water injures these, not because
of flooding the cornfields but because, in catching them early, it soaks them, and when they are grown and
they develop ears, the grain is of inferior quality; notice was given about everything by said Don José de
Escandón (who has his residence here) and we saw him inclined to put the idea into practice in order to
take advantage of the advantages it promises.
This town is composed of 108 families with 450 persons including the captain, the 2nd Lieutenant,
the troops, the residents, and the servants of the aforesaid Don José de Escandón as is evident, from the
review which I made, in folder No. 9, pages 3 and 8, with the goods that everyone has.
The houses are little different from the ones of the other settlements since there are only a few of
adobe and most of them are built of plastered poles and cane all covered with palms and grass, as well as
the church which is serving now but they are building one of stone and mortar which would be very
convenient if it were a little larger and, since we did not conceal this defect from Don José de Escandón,
it was left at their building a transept to provide it.
What distinguished this town from the others is the dwelling that Don José de Escandón has built
in the plaza for himself and his family since this one is of stone and mortar, large enough and decent,
although its building does not have the orderliness and symmetry called far; it has depended on the lack
of intelligent masters from which resulted, the last year, the ruin it experienced with the abundance of
water and humidity of the terrain, the main part of it coming down with the risk of life to all the family,
for which reason, not trusting much weight on the load-bearing walls, although reinforced with buttresses,
he decides to leave it without the elevation that corresponded to it; this house is 50 square rods and, the
front facing the plaza being 100, it runs from both sides to be completed by an adobe mud wall 3 to 4 rods
tall which continues on the other 3 parts with the same extension of 100 rods in each one and it forms the
land which encloses a large orchard where several vegetables and fruit trees are cultivated.
Said Don José de Escandón told us it was his desire to build 2 small bulwarks on two opposing
corners of said wall to place some little cannons of small caliber on them which he has, the one in the front
of the plaza and the other which faces the field, and he showed us the license to build them from the Most
Excellent Honorable Count of Revillagigedo, ancestor of Your Excellency, with the aim of defending, by
this means, all the settlement from an attack that the Indians can make and to enclose, in this case, the
citizenry behind the fence, which for this reason has a large size; and for better arrangement of the
construction of said 2 bulwarks, he solicited instructions from second engineer Don Agustín de la C�mara
Alta who granted them to him.
This town is aided spiritually by a religious missionary of el Colegio Apost�loco de Guadalupe de
Zacatecas named Fray Bentura Ruiz Esparza with the regular synod of $350.00 pesos per year; the same
is enjoyed by another priest who, with the title of President of Missions of this colony, has his residence
here and is named Fray Luis Mariano Chacón.
Commanding the citizenry and troops (under the immediate order of Don José de Escandón)is the
captain Don José Gómez with $500.00 salary; there is a 2nd lieutenant who enjoys $300.00, a sergeant
with $250.00, and 15 soldiers with $225.00 each and their service and assignments are in conformity with
the footing of the previous settlements and there is, as in all of them, a soldier assigned to the continuous
assistance in the region and lands designated to the mission.
In this one I did not find a formal congrega although the so-called Bocas Prietas, which are
composed of 80 families with 150 persons, lived a period of time in the assigned site they call Palmitos at
a distance of 3 leagues from this settlement; the hostilities of the exiled Indians, who are their enemies,
obligated them to abandon it and they have maintained themselves entering and exiting the town where they
have been helped with corn, especially by Don José de Escandón who has imposed annual charges on
himself to support the principal ones and their wives but, since they have not had that necessary to furnish
a daily ration to all of them, they have not lived subdued nor have they returned to establish themselves
in the aforesaid region until now that they are building new shacks in it and up to 13 families have gathered
who subsist and give a hope for a congrega of this tribe which I found somewhat subordinated since, trying
to become acquainted with them, it was manifested to me by the missionary priest and the captain that this
proceeding could be suspicious and cause changes in them and, since this has only been a problem to me
in those settlements where there is no formal mission, I believe that the achievement of this would be
remote while the means that assure the support of the Indians are not provided; but in speaking to Your
Excellency in general about all of them, with the purity and clarity that I should in strength of his
confidence, I believe a more fervent zeal in the (priests, I say) missionaries is necessary and that, for this
ministry, the religiousness, humility, and the other virtues that I encountered in these priests is not enough
if they are not accompanied by that very special one for its apostolic assignment and there is no application
of instruction in the language of the Indians since these, like all of them, take delight when spoken to in
their tongue and the impression made by the ideas divulged directly by the missionary or communicated
by an interpreter will be different, that it being generally an Indian, from among them, who understands
Spanish poorly or does not succeed in explaining them or maliciously corrupts them, as has been
experienced once or twice by what is understood of the answer of said Indians and, this circumstance, (in
my so contributive understanding) is lacking to most of the priests and there are only two or three who have
applied themselves to learn the Indian language; I suppose that the principal ministry to which I
encountered the priests dedicated is to that of the parishes of the settlements and, this not seeming to me
to be the object of their assignment nor that of the assignation of the Synod with which the king satisfies
them, I felt it better that in future it be decreed that said priests apply themselves totally and only to the
instruction of the Indians spiritually, living with them in the provided regions and that, in the temporal,
they administer the assigned goods (or those which Your Excellency thinks good to assign where they are
lacking) to assist the support of said Indians; and, since this is what is better suited and corresponds to its
holy institute and vocation, I do not doubt its also being what the priest and their college would most
Other Indians called Mezquites enter and exit this settlement in the same manner, that on some
occasions, when it has been possible to give them food, they have obeyed the doctrine; these have tended,
and still tend with the same stimulation of the food and some clothes which the residents give them, to
apply themselves to work in whatever comes up and there should be a total of 80 but, my not having been
able to acquaint myself formally and by sight in this affair due to the reasons already expressed, it has been
necessary to rely on the reports of the missionary priest and of others and, through them, I recognize that
the Indians found baptized here are 61 and 119 who can be counted as congregated and collected, so it is
justified by the notebook of respective documents, page 9.
The closest creek, of those already expressed and which runs at a distance of one-quarter of a
league from the town, provides this citizenry with an irrigation canal, from which [water] has been drawn
and which serves to drink and to water the gardens of the houses and the farmlands with which benefit the
residents cultivate them in planting corn and cane, some chili, beans, fruit trees, and a few vegetables; this
creek is formed from various springs which come out at two and one-half leagues from some hills and it
is so abundant that, after this extraction is made, it continues through the settlement of Santillana, it
furnishes the water it needs, and it has sufficient to build a canal also.
The planting made in the preceding years has varied very much to be able to make a prudent
judgement about it, from what is found in the statements and reports, and, from the same, it is recognized
that, at present, it has come to 30 measures of corn; experience gives no room to form a true concept of
the harvest either, since there is no complete harvest due to the various contingencies of the storms and
seasons and because the benefit of the irrigation canal has not sufficed to restore them because the early
rains, which have favored all plantings, have injured those here when they have been excessive because
they have drowned them owing to what I have already explained about the flatness of the terrain and the
lack of depth of soil; and what is made most clear is that the cornfield that is harvested renders 120
measures to one but the crops commonly have not been sufficient for the annual support of the residents
and they have had the need to buy corn which they solicit in Hoyos, Aguayo, and el Jaumave at the
reasonable price of one peso per measure, although the normal is in exchange for cane, for the salt they
draw from the lakes of the port, and for the harvests of their livestock in which, for this reason, they have
not thrived as they could; in respect to that their breeding also test well here as in the other parts of the
colony because of the good pastures in the land which is assigned to it and is of 2 leagues and 84
"cordeladas" on the east, 4 1/2 on the south, 6 1/2 one the west, and 5 on the north which they all enjoy
in common without individual ownership and whose formal distribution I find here as appropriate as in the
The closest salt deposits that this settlement has for their use and commerce are those which are
found at a distance of 20 to 21 leagues at the cost of el Puerto de Santander, one commonly called el Norte
and another Morales but the first one is the one to which everyone goes, it being closer; these are very
abundant in the years of drought but are lacking in those of much rain, as it occurred last year and in the
present one that they did not crystallize until the great drought of two months facilitated, lately, this aid
to this town, that of Soto la Marina, and Santillana, which is great due to the taking of it to the outside; and
thus, at the beginning of August when we returned here from the mountain chain of the north, we found
that most of the residents had gone to take advantage of this benefit.
Regarding the mineral source of el Cerro de Bercebú en la Tamaulipa Nueva, the declarations give
a report here and Don José de Escandón is the one who extra-judicially most assured us of its wealth
which he infers from the assay which he has made from a few ores; he manifested the inclination to work
them and he stated not having put it into practice because other cares had diverted his attention and so as
not to give a reason for the settlers to deviate from the cultivation of lands.
At the distance of a short quarter league from the settlement, Don José de Escandón has some
tilled land in which, besides the planting of corn he makes, he cultivates a plantation of cane from which
he obtains a competent portion of "pilloncillo" whose use is general and it allows a very competent profit
to animate the continuation and encouragement of this small sugar mill according to his own report; and
on this land he also raises livestock, so it is manifested in the folder of the proceedings already cited, pages
9 and verso; in this field and ranch he has 16 collected families of Pame Indians with 70 persons, all
baptized, whom I met and reviewed, as is seen in the cited page; but the reports of the missionary priest
on page 13 give little credit to the instruction and the christian customs of these Indians who were collected
from those which were running around dispersed from the old missions and they are those who, in the
annual entry made in el Jaumave, were baptized in the chapel of Santa Rosa and which today is Santa
B�rbara and was known as Tanguanchín.
This settlement, in my understanding, can subsist and will experience the best health if its
immediate land is drained as was projected by Don Agustín de la Cámara Alta because of the cuts or
ditches of which I have spoken and, at the same time, it will facilitate better crops, removing the pooling
of water and consequential drowning of the land that it injures; and through the favorable effects that this
measure promises, they will obtain its permanent establishment which I believe leads to the subjugation of
the heathen Indians of its immediacy, which are many, and that time and the help of grace can effect the
The residence here of Don José de Escandón serves of great aid to the many poor residents it has,
like all of them [have], because he employs several in his service and farming and because he favors others
lending them corn and implements for planting.
Although the increase of residents is sufficiently proportionate to the time it has been since this
town was established, it would be more considerable had they not removed the families with which they
founded the settlement of Santillana at 4 leagues from this one on the road that goes toward Soto la Marina
and Puerto de Santander, which it seems was considered suitable to cover this transit and relieve the escorts
that it used to be necessary to take.
By means of the new method for the guarding and service of the colony which I have conceived
and I shall propose to Your Excellency, the squadron and officials destined for this settlement, if the case
arrived of establishing it, will be excused and the salary of the captain can be changed completely, better
than in other parts in respect to Don José de Escandón, who resides here, being the one who ordains and
commands everything, the orders being communicated only by means of this official.
One of the two synods, assigned by the two priests, could be saved here but I advise that there
should always be a superior of the missionaries to care for and attend to the fulfilling and accomplishment
of the obligation of these and, this prelate needing to have his residence someplace, it seems suitable that
it be this one at the side of the one who commands the province and justified that his support be aided.
TOWN OF SANTILLANA
This little settlement had its beginning on the 26th of December of 1752, by some settlers of
Santander who, having inspected the good lands of the region and its immediacies, solicited permission
from Don José de Escandón to establish themselves in it with the few goods they had; that it was granted
to them because it was considered suitable to have this site populated to cover the road to Soto la Marina
and the Port which one could not travel without escort because of the many Indians who caused damages
and committed hostilities in these transits; they built their first shacks and small ranches at a short league
from where they are found today on the side of Santander but, with better inspection, they later moved to
the edge of a creek on more elevated, ventilated, and dry land which is the one where we found the town
whose weather is temperate and healthy and, although their dwellings are some poor shacks placed without
order, it is not unexpected in view of their short beginning and these residents not having had any financial
help for their establishment nor other subsidies for their conservation, especially when, in the first years,
they had a terrible time due to the continuous hostilities they experienced from the Indians and the thefts
of livestock that they performed of them as everything is evident in the folder 10 of the proceedings.
This town was given the name of Santillana and the dedication to Nuestra Señora del Rosario, and
its citizenry is composed of 18 families with 73 persons in which are included a captain called Don Tom�s
Conde without salary, and there are no enlisted soldiers who have any because they all perform the service
which occurs in the sorties against the Indians at their own cost without faltering any any manner and they
equally help the other settlements when it is necessary.
It has no missionary priest nor anyone to attend to the spiritual and they comply with the annual
precept in Santander where they go to the missionary priest for the administration of sacraments; it is at
a distance of 4 leagues from that town; there is no church but a house is designated to supply and serve for
the purpose of saying mass when they can obtain it; it is arranged with neatness and orderly reservedness,
it has an alter built and a set of ornaments, chalice, etc. from those of Santander
I found here a considerable hamlet of Indians, of the Inapaname tribe, with their shacks built at one
quarter of a league from the settlement at the foot of the one they call Cerrito del Aire, who, after having
ceased the hostilities they caused, collected in this area, although they continued the thefts of the livestock
until they had taken a bunch of horses from the captain and gone into the hills, he went out with some
residents in search of them but, not being able to find them, they had to return to the town where, a few
days later, some of said Indians presented themselves to him and, receiving them with clever roughness,
he ordered them to go and return to the hills while they did not come all together; this firmness and
indifference produced the effect that the captain promised himself because of the respect that has been
conciliated among them and, all the escaped Indians having obeyed, he began tying and castigating them
with whiplashes for the crime they had committed, reprimanding them with it and, without mercy, their
suffering with humility, and intimating to them that they would be ill treated if they repeated their crimes,
he sent them to their shacks where, afterwards, they have remained peaceful and they go to help the
residents to bring them wood, water, and all other service necessary for the small recompense of some
tortillas or pieces of meat; but, not being able to supply them with the necessary food, it was necessary to
tolerate their going to the woods to find food with which they could support themselves.
There are other Indians from different tribes who come and go in this town, who have their hamlet
at one league from it on the other side of the Purificación River on the south part, and of these and the first
ones, there must be 400 persons, whom I saw, of both sexes and all ages of which 200 were warriors of
good stature and disposition and, although the last ones do not promise as much as the first ones, it appears
to me that from some of them one can see hope of congregating them if a missionary is assigned who can
attract and instruct them and the assigning of good lands to cultivate be ordained, they be provided with
the necessary implements and some livestock so that their product add to their maintenance; the respect
or fear that these Indians have gained for the present captain can contribute much to their subjection,
especially having obtained their love somewhat because he treats the well, he helps them in what he can
and he does not permit anyone to harm them in anyway and, thus, he has been able to convert them so that
now they make a small planting of 2 "almudes" of corn in a given area for which he assigned lands to
them and they had a regular harvest from it; it is to be hoped they begin to be influenced and they be found
in a good disposition when Your Excellency thinks it well to order the measures that will facilitate their
This settlement does not have an irrigation canal and, although the residents attempted to build one
from the creek that bathes it and they had one thousand two hundred rods of land worked in the onr-half
a league of distance from where they opened the canal; due to lack of knowledge and consequent poor
direction of the work, they failed to obtain this benefit but Don Agustín de la Cámara Alta, having
recognized that the drawing of water farther up is accessible and easy, informed the captain of the way of
conducting it, although we both recognized that this small citizenry is in no state to suffer the work for now
and it can only be done when it increases and they obtain the congrega of Indians who can help with it
since they will be able to enjoy its advantages.
There has been little application to planting here and this year, in which they have become more
inclined to it, what they have planted only comes to 8 measures of corn because they have dedicated
themselves only to the raising of livestock in which they have had known increases but, since they notice
now that that, which they increase in this, they use in the purchase of corn which they need to support
themselves; they are beginning to provide themselves with implements, resolved to dedicate themselves
to farming for which the quality of the land is very good, as the statements in the cited folder, pages 1
verso to 15 confirm.
The distribution of lands also has not been done here and they enjoy the assigned area of one league
and 4 cordeladas on the west, 4 and 68 cordeladas on the south, 4 and 71 cordeladas on the east, and 3
on the north in common.
There are no mines in the immediate area nor salt deposits but they enjoy those of el Puerto de
Santander at a distance of 16 to 17 leagues and, in the years when they crystallize, they enjoy a great relief
with the exportation of salt that they make.
About everything expressed, which is justified in the judicial proceedings done in the inspection
of this town and which is evident from the aforesaid folder 10, Your Excellency will recognize that this
settlement has not carried any expense, in its establishment and subsistence, to the Royal Treasury and it
does not cause any today and that it does not ask for any outlay other than that of the synod which shall
be assigned to the missionary priest who will be assigned for the instruction of the Indians if Your
Excellence finds it appropriate to take advantage of the disposition in which they are found in order to try
to congregate them to the doctrine, in which case it will be necessary, in my understanding, to make the
expense of the implements for farming and that of some livestock so that, by this means, the support of the
Indians will be assured in respect to it being the only thing which promises their subsistence and subjection
as I have repeatedly explained to Your Excellency; and, although I cannot give the exact amount of this
expense, I judge that $2,000.00 should be enough if it is used with economy and knowledge.
TOWN OF SOTO LA MARINA
This one was founded on the 3rd of September of 1750, with the dedication of Nuestra Señora de
Consolación; it is situated on flat land but with slopes that facilitate the running off of water at one quarter
league from the Purificación River; its weather is healthy, dry, and more hot than temperate; the woods,
which it has immediate to it, make this region luxuriant but it attracts a sum of mosquitos with are
bothersome mostly on days of calm and of heat.
The houses are reduced to some poor shacks, in general, with some of adobe, all of them covered
with palms and distributed without order, although there is a designated plaza where the church is placed;
this is of the same materials but it is better constructed; it is spacious enough, forms a type of transept, is
whitewashed, has a sacristy, and a fence which makes a type of cemetery.
It consists of a citizenry of 53 families with 221 persons in which is included the squadron of the
captain and soldiers, as is evident from the review which I made and is found in the folder 11, of the autos,
page 4, in which the few goods, which the residents possess, are seen.
On the occasion in which I inspected this town, it was without a proprietary ecclesiastical minister
to assist it due to the priest, who was assigned to it, having died, an absence the President priest, whom
I encountered in Santander, went to fill at the same occasion, of whom, notwithstanding his lack of
experience, I had to make use for the reports which I was supposed to solicit. The synod assigned to the
missionary of this settlement is $400.00 and I have not been able to find out the reason for the increase it
has in respect to the rest of them.
It is governed by the captain Don Juan José V�zquez Borrego who enjoys $500.00 per year; he
has under him a sergeant with $250.00 and 9 soldiers with $225.00 each, all of which are employed in the
same service already explained in the rest of the settlements but, in this one, there are two soldiers assigned
to the aid of the missionary and the guarding of the goods of the mission
A portion of Indians enter and exit here and I was able to see more than 200 of both sexes and all
ages who came because of our coming; these are of the tribes called Villegas, Aracates, Come-camotes,
Morales, and Matucapames, each one is from a different hamlet and, in total, they must be composed of
70 families although they are not yet subjected to the obedience of the priest or the captain and the obey
the doctrine less; the familiar introduction with the settlers that they already have and seeing that they do
not commit hostilities and they are maintained in tranquility gives hope of their congrega in the future; but
the only means I conceive of assuring said congrega and the subsistence in it of the Indians, I repeat to
Your Excellency, is, like in all placess, the security of the support which shall be easier to do here by
virtue of the implements that the mission has for farming and the goods that are added to it and are evident
in what is reported in pages 14; the priest whose economic administration, effective and tender persuasion
will depend, in the main, that the Indians, applying themselves, can be maintained from the harvests they
reap and of the produce of the goods to which, without doubt, the offering that Don José de Escandón has
made of helping with corn will greatly contribute to the conservation of these Indians; and it should not
be doubted that he will execute it if it is expanded to be done in the 2 years which the priest proposed are
needed to accustom them to the farming, good results, which the same priest announces and are seen in
said page 14 and verso, should be promised and since, in the interim the goods of the church will not be
touched, they will have an increase in the livestock and there shall be sufficient base so the Indians can be
maintained with daily rations from the harvests; the lands assigned to these are found at 2 leagues distance
from this town; they are good and suitable for the raising of livestock and planting to which they have
begun to apply themselves, although little, and they already are building some shacks on them.
Immediate to this settlement runs a creek of whose water the settlers serve themselves; this goes
to end at the Purificación River at one-quarter of a league where one finds the mooring of Don José de
Escandón's schooner which loads and unloads there and which used to enter through said creek up to a
rifle shot from the houses until, with the floods of last year, the debris that it carried collected at its mouth
because the turbulance of the river did not permit its discharge and its depth has diminished
There is no irrigation canal here nor has there been a thought to build one due to not recognizing
an area that can facilitate it if it is not furnished by some springs found farther down from the settlement
on the road to Santander but the poverty of this citizenry is not capable of supporting the cost and it is
believed that there would be few lands which would make use of the irrigation.
The planting of corn that has been done in the preceding years, as it is evident from the statements,
has been of 3 to 4 measures and, at present, a little less and it having been reliant on the weather, the
seasons having been so irregular that, sometimes due to the abundance of water and others due to the lack
of them, the harvests have been disappointing, adding to that the misfortune that the Indians have stolen
the ears of corn that in one or another cornfields got to ripen; this has diverted them from all farming and
the little that is cultivated is done by the captain and one or another resident; I suppose that all of them are
so destitute that they do not even have implements nor even seeds to plant because they have dipped into
the few goods of livestock that they had to buy corn with which to support themselves and the case has
arrived of selling, for this end, even the clothes and arms; and I came to find most of the residents without
them [arms], as is seen in the review of folder 11, pages 5 and 6 verso and, from the lack of all recourse
now, they take the one of going to the woods in search of fruits and wild plants to support themselves, as
all can be seen in the statements.
Although this lack of crops is sufficient reason for the decline of this settlement, it seemed to me
(from that experienced in others) that it alone could not have reduced it to the extreme misery that is
described and, trying to determine the base of the cause, I find that the unfortunate state in which the first
settlers came here has contributed, in great part, to its not being able to prosper since, when they came to
establish themselves in this region, they were almost in the same state of poverty as the one in which they
are found today, notwithstanding that the families were helped with double the financial aid for their
coming than the one which was given to those who founded the other settlements, as each one of these
received $200.00, but it happened that, having taken them from el Nuevo Reino de León to go to establish
a settlement at the Nueces River, before arriving at the region, it was recognized its accomplishment was
inaccessible and they had to stop at the Salado River several months, maintaining themselves at their own
expense, until seeing the site which was assigned to them, in which interim several deserted and others
died, among these the captain who led them and, having received, at last, orders from Don José de
Escandón to go to found the region called Tetillas, traveling through Santander, they were ordered to
change that assignment and come to establish the town of Soto la Marina where it is found today. In these
caravans they spent one year and, during that time, they used the amount of the financial aid and the rest
of the few goods they brought, this establishment arriving at the poor state that can be seen.
One can see the little that this unfortunate beginning promised and, if one adds to it the lack of
crops and livestock with a little laziness with which the settlers can be faulted, the entire cause of their
misery is easily evident.
In part, they could have assisted it with the hauling of salt from the immediate salt deposits, of
which the one called el Norte is a distance of less than 6 leagues from the settlement, but this aid has been
lacking to them in several years because they have not crystallized and they have never been able to enjoy
it properly because, due to the lack of mules, they have only had the horses for their service to carry it and
they have not taken notice of making use of the abundance of salt in dry years, heaping up that which they
could take out and placing it in protection of the waters, but instead they have gone to fill their sacks and
they have brought the loads which time and their few beasts have permitted and thus, this means, which
could have been so favorable, was wasted in great part and it has not aided their support.
All the aforesaid, Sir Excellency, which will accredit with Your Excellency the miserable state in
which I found this settlement or its citizenry, puts me in great embarrassment since I note how difficult its
future subsistence is in respect to that each day only offers greater decline and I do not manage to propose
its extinction to Your Excellency and the establishment of these families in another area because I consider
it to be conducive to have this region populated to guard the salt deposits which in future can render much
to the king by the middling commerce that the colony enjoys today by means of the schooner of Don José
de Escandón and, above all, to make use of the disposition in which the Indians are found and not waste
the hopes that are conceived of their conversion to a congrega and the effects that this promises but, at the
same time, I stumble in projecting to Your Excellency means that would facilitate the support of the
citizenry, due to the expenses to the account of the Royal Treasury they should cause, so the consideration
of the little hope that the cultivation of the lands leaves, in view of the past experiences in the seasonal
planting, diverts me from doing it; I find no fitness for building a canal with which benefit the competent,
early plantings, which the good fertility of the immediate lands offer, would be assured; and the nature of
the residents, more inclined to the raising of livestock since they were shepherds, and the increases which
this promises required a somewhat elevated expense to place them on a competent base, the harvests of
which might aid the buying of corn and some mules to take advantage of the salt in the years that it
And pleading before the court with these reparations, I implore Your Excellency to permit me that,
having presented them to them at their comprehension, I hold back in explaining my opinion about them
and defer to Your Excellency, with his superior enlightenment and faculties, to use the means which would
be most proper and conducive to the better service to God and the King and more accommodating to his
TOWN OF SAN FERNANDO
This town was founded on the 19th of March of 1749, with the name of San Fernando under the
patronage of San José; it is situated on flat land, although its environs are hilly and, passing at its
immediacy is the river called Conchas which follows its course to the sea on the east side of this settlement
which serves itself from it for its use.
The dryness of its land and temperate weather makes it healthy.
The church and the lodgings of the residents are some miserable shacks of poles and cane smeared
and covered with disunited grass; the house of the captain is of stone and mortar but narrow and, at the
moment, the citizenry is building a church of the same materials, small and of a construction which gives
credit to the lack of knowledge of these works; the work continues with such slowness that its conclusion
will take quite a long time.
The citizenry of this town is composed of seventy-six families with three hundred ninety-three
persons including the captain and the troops which the king maintains here as is evidenced by the review
and appears in the folder No. 13, from the folio 2 verso to 6 where the goods of the residents are
manifested, but these will be seen more succinctly on the small, abridged map located at the end of this
There are two priests, with the title of missionaries, who attend to this settlement and, thus, there
are two synods of three hundred pesos which are satisfied by the Royal Treasury; one of them is called
Fray Joaquín García and the other Fray Buenaventura Rivera, both from el Colegio Apost�lico de
Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe de Zacatecas; the first is assigned to the administration of the citizenry and
the second to the doctrine of the Indians; and concurring with one or another motive which pull me to
present them to Your Excellency so that, in his view, he take the measure which would be to his superior
liking, I shall say that the priest Fray Joaquín García assigned to the parish in the settlement, not only
have I not found him in it, but as Your Excellency can order to be be seen in the documents, folder 13
from folio 6 verso to 7, he left from there in the month of January of this year and, up to the present, he
has not returned to give it its spiritual proceedings nor has the district of the parish had someone to perform
the annual precept of the holy church due to the deafness of the other priest whose sad case, I do not doubt,
will excite the merciful zeal of Your Excellency to provide the placement,by his college, a subject who
would perform the ministry of his charge in respect to the punctuality with which His Majesty satisfies the
Regarding that of Fray Buenaventura de Rivera, who is the one who is found in charge of the
mission, he has the defect of being very deaf and although, due to this fault it seems he should be relieved
of his ministry, the experience that I saw of his zeal and application and the advancement that I saw in that
mission in the goods with which to support, attract, and conserve the Indians, obligates me to represent
to Your Excellency how important his economy for the support of the Indians is and how convenient it is
for him to stay in this mission since, as I have manifested to Your Excellency, the advancement of all of
them and the hopes of the tranquility and subjection of the adult Indians, that can be founded, depend on
mainly the security of their food in which concept I judge that his defect counterweights little to the profits
that his zeal promises and it will be evidenced to Your Excellency by what I shall express later.
The political and military command of this settlement is exercised by the captain don Francisco
S�nchez de Zamora with the salary of five hundred pesos per year; in it there is also a sergeant who
enjoys two hundred fifty and eight soldiers at two hundred twenty-five, all paid by the Royal Treasury,
whom are used, the first in the government of this citizenry, the second in attending to the service of the
soldiers, and these in running the land and guarding their horses and those of the other residents, aiding
the missionary priest, being at the order of the captain, and, when needed, attending to the assistance that
might be needed in the other settlements as it is all evident and appears in the statements and other
proceedings of the folder of documents of this settlement.
The mission that exists in it, as has been said, is situated at a distance of one-quarter league to
which site the present missionary priest moved it from the old region where it was at a little more than one
league; it is composed of several shacks of which one is a chapel, another the lodging of said priest, and
the rest a collection of Pinto, Quiniquame Indians and some Pamoranos of whom, my having made a
review as is evident from the aforesaid folder, folio 7, I found one hundred fifty adults and children of both
sexes among which are some Indians, who distinguish themselves as captains and chiefs of these, dominate
the others; I found one whom the missionary priest has put in charge of explaining the doctrine a
circumstance which I saw him practice with great pleasure and, from what I experienced and learned from
the reports of said priest, it seems to me that these should be known as subjects in the doctrine, in regard
to my having been assured that, even when the lack of corn and food requires them to go to the country
to help themselves, they do not leave without permission from the missionary priest and the captain of the
settlement; and of the aforesaid there are about twelve who are baptized up to the present, all of these
promising confidence of their permanence; offering some hope of the increase of this congrega is the
voluntary presentation with which the hamlet of the Querefeños (which is from eight to ten leagues from
said site of the mission) presented itself during the act of said review, composed of seventy-three persons
of both sexes and these told me about another hamlet of Comecrudos who live in the same region and a
few come and go in peace and good communication in this settlement without their experiencing any injury
from them but rather it could be expected that, if the wealth of the mission were sufficient to support them,
they would be able to obtain their congrega, all of which is justifiably evident and appears in the
proceedings practiced in this affair in the folder of documents which was made in this settlement No. 13,
pages 7 and 8 verso.
The river which passes through this settlement is the one called Conchas which begins at La Sierra
Madre and comes to end at the sea on the west at the Barra they call San Fernando after forming some
lagoons before its end, the flows of which follow the said end of this river; there is no canal built nor hope
of being able to have one since, although they have tried to build it, it has not been accessible and, from
what I recognized of the deep bed in which it is being piped, I agree that it is morally impossible the entire
citizenry being in this belief that, for this reason and that of the difficulty which follows the carrying of
water for their use, they have thought about leaving said settlement for another region.
The planting the settlement has made this present year consists of eight or nine measures of corn
reliant on the weather and, up to the present since its foundation, they have not had a complete harvest
because of the contingencies of the seasons and, therefore, not having reaped but just a so-so amount, they
cannot calculate exactly its harvest but, according to some reports, they could have had about one hundred
measures for each one and in no year has the crop aided, nor in the present will it aid, the support, for
which it has always be necessary for them to buy the corn as they are buying it today from their goods and
livestock and from the salt that they bring from the immediate coast with which, through selling it and
trading it, they obtain their help and subsistence, and from the advantage that the help from the salt offers
and the increase they have in livestock, I find that the citizenry can remain and maintain itself without their
missing the crops.
The boundary of the assigned lands to this settlement is of five leagues in the four directions and,
if the distribution is suitable anywhere, I believe it to be more necessary here because many residents have
dedicated themselves to building ranches for the raising of their livestock in which lands, due to all of them
around being hilly, several are furnished with springs with which to water a few pieces of land and, it
belonging to them, it would encourage them to irrigate from them and it is to be believed that they would
apply themselves more to farming with the security of this benefit.
At ten leagues from this town are the large and copious salt deposits of which all of its coast
abounds, according to the documents, such that, when the years are dry, they become inexhaustible and
from them this settlement obtains all its help since, it either sells it or gives it in exchange for corn and it
also salts some fish, although to this there is more application by the Indians in the estimate of the priest.
The quality of the land for farming is very good if it were done and the weather were more regular
but, for the raising and conservation of livestock it cannot be better since its abundant pastures and the
increase of their improvement shows the advantages that are obtained.
It has no commerce at present but that of the salt established which is easier for them to take out
due to the immediacy of it, and with time their trade and sales of their livestock, skins, wool, fodder, and
mules could have increases that would be favorable to them and produce for the Royal Treasury.
From all the aforesaid I believe, Most Excellent Sir, Your Excellency will come to the knowledge
that this settlement can subsist and its citizenry maintain itself even without the aid of crops which they
have lacked and, I believe, will be lacking to them because, with the salt that they reap in dry years, it
defrays the cost of the corn that they have to buy and, rarely, is it necessary to sell the products of their
livestock and, thus, they enjoy the increase from them which can be seen in the goods of this type which
they have and, regarding their beginning to apply themselves to the raising of mules, their advantages will
be greater because these are solicited and several subjects enter the colony annually now to take some of
them for the provinces outside.
The savings that can be had here to benefit the Royal Treasury is that of the reform of the synod
of the missionary priest who attends to the parish since he can support himself with the "obvenciones" and
the first fruits and, if he does not want to continue in this manner, I believe it will be easy to find a priest
who, with this support, would accept the administration; and the other priest would remain totally dedicated
to the doctrine and the care of the Indians.
The reform of the troops, which composes the squadron there is in this town, is another savings
which will be obtained without injury to its subsistence in respect to the Indians not giving any suspicion
of restlessness and whenever one might occur, it will be easy for the residents to defuse it aided by the
detachment that I propose be established in Burgos or in the new settlement of Tamaulipa, if it is founded,
since its immediacy makes it very accessible and fast.
Regarding the salary of the captain, I find that is convenient to reduce it to three hundred fifty
pesos annually, unless Your Excellency prefers to reform it entirely and that he serve for the honor of the
title and the authority as major justice.
No other measure do I find necessary to propose to Your Excellency for which I pass on to
continue these reports.
TOWN OF REYNOSA
It was founded on the 14 of March of 1749, and it was given the dedication of Nuestra Señora de
Guadalupe; it is situated on a plane at the edge of the Río Grande del Norte whose floods have caused the
settlement large and repeated frights because every year these come regularly to reach the highest of its
banks, in many it overflows in places and inundates the areas nearby and in others, like that of 1751, the
citizenry for two months found itself isolated on the land, which the houses occupy and is elevated a little
above the surrounding plain, so that they lacked all recourse and they were at the point of perishing, not
only due to the risk of being inundated if the water had risen a little more, but due to lack of food; but they
survived with the little they had in their homes and with the wild plants, many separated from their families
because, at the beginning they tried to place them in safety and, returning to rescue their goods, they were
no longer able to return to them again when they tried; in another similar and extreme danger, they found
themselves reduced in the following year of '752 and all of them live in fear of the beginning of the rainy
Don Agustín de la Cámara Alta and I, learning about this and that the report was already
anticipated of us, we understood that it was necessary to situate the town in another region and place its
citizenry at the protection from these risks and we tried to hear the opinion of those subjects with greater
experience and reality to get information about the site where they were inclined to move the settlement;
but from this proceeding resulted only our becoming acquainted with the variety of opinions into which
the residents are divided and we resolved to inspect the land to get evidence of the circumstances of each
one and to propose to Your Excellency with assurance and knowledge of the best fitness for the new
establishment of the town.
In fact, we saw the one the missionary priest and the present captain favor, immediate to the region
where the mission is situated but it appeared to us not at all suitable due to the suspicion that should be had
of this region being sickly since, situated at the edge of a lake, which is one of its prudent advantages due
to the benefit of water and, according to the reports of others and the experience of the Indians, it dries
up in most years and it would reduce the residents to revert to the river, from which this site is one-quarter
league, to haul the necessary water for the use of the houses and, since this is a work imposed on the
women, it seemed to us that it would be too difficult and somewhat risky to disturbences and disadvantages
but, above all, we reflected that in this land the floods of the river would cause almost the same effects
which would leave the residents isolated on the hill in which they expect to situate the houses.
We became acquainted with another region called Santa María de las Lajas, which is proposed by
several for the moving of the town, four or five leagues distance from its present location and bordering
its lands and of those of the settlement of Camargo and which this one reputes as its land and as we
encountered a resident from here established there named Juan Miguel de Hinojosa with his ranch, the
engineer and I observed the circumstances of this site and it appeared to us the most appropriate for
establishing in it the town of Reynosa on a hill that dominates all those plains and it assures it from the
floods of el Río del Norte which runs nearby at the shot of a rifle from it and it has never overflowed from
its banks in this area, always leaving open and secure the short pass, for the carrying of water which is
needed for the use of the houses, which comes from the hill to the middle of the river; and, in order to
situate them in that height, we found enough extension and more than needed for the ease of the lodgings
and their gardens in that which runs along extending itself to the south. The reports, which the owners of
this ranch gave us, favor the establishment of said town in this region since they affirm that, at the edges
of the river, very good plantings are obtained and that the floods never bother them; actually, we saw a
cornfield there in the best state and they assured us that there are glens between the hills that offer very
suitable lands for planting.
The nearness of the river, the reports that in this area it does not flood, and the thin flat stone found
at its edge seemed to us to allow the building of a canal and a secure flood-gate for it; but Don Agustín
de la Cámara Alta being sick in this season, he was not able to do the operations which would assure this
concept due to the fever which attacked him.
The same situation, because of the elevation of the land and its ventilation, we believe can be
nothing but healthy and the people who live there report it so.
For which reasons, judging it most suitable that the town of Reynosa, which needs to move from
the region in which it is found, be transferred here, we decided to present it to Your Excellency and, not
doubting Don Agustín de la Cámara Alta will do it separately, I make no excuse for making Your
Excellency aware of it also in support of what he will explain with more solid foundations.
But since from this resolution follows the injury to the town of Camargo of dispossessing it of lands
which it enjoys today and which it especially needs for pastures for their abundance of livestock which the
citizenry has, I find it necessary, as well, to place this in the consideration of Your Excellency so that, in
case of his inclining toward the move which is proposed, reparation be made to the settlement of Camargo
in another area for the land which it will lose.
And taking, Sir, the thread of the description from which I had separated myself, I shall say to
Your Excellency that its citizenry is composed of fifty-eight families with two hundred eighty-nine persons
including the squadron assigned to its care, so it is manifested in the documents No. 14, pages 2 verso with
the goods which the residents possess.
A priest of el Colegio Apost�lico de Guadalupe de Zacatecas named Fray Agustín Fragoso, who
enjoys four hundred pesos annual synod, administers them spiritually, at the same time that he is in charge
of the mission.
The settlement is commanded by the captain Don Pedro de Estrada with five hundred pesos
salary; he has, at his orders, a sergeant with two hundred fifty and nine soldiers at two hundred twenty-five, one of which is assigned to the aid of the mission and the priest and the others, with the captain and
sergeant, perform the service as in the rest of the regions.
In this town there is a mission and one hundred sixty-nine Indians congregated in it, among which
are found fifty-four baptized; they are of the Naza, Naric, Comecrudo, and Tejon tribes; they are subjected
to the doctrine, subordinated to the missionary priest and to the captain; they aid and live in the mission
and leave only with permission when there is a lack of ration to give them, in which case they go to the
woods to find their food and they return at the assigned time, as everything is evident individually, with
other circumstances, from the review I made of them and it is found from the pages 5 verso and 7 and, in
the same manner their dislike of the missionary priest, whose nature, not very tender and proper for his
somewhat advanced age, seems to me requires the assignment of another who, with more kindness, would
cultivate and make use of the good disposition in which I found these Indians whom the inclination to the
old captain, recently reformed by Don José de Escandón, has little satisfied also by the one who has
entered to succeed him but, since I do not know the motives there might have been for changing the
command to the other, I do not dare to propose his restitution since I trust that the present one shall, with
time, win their goodwill through good treatment and kindness when his abilities permit him to save them
like it was done by his predecessor who, by this means and by knowing the Indian language, has succeeded
in attracting them.
The goods, which the mission has and appear in the report of the priest on page 14, are not
sufficient to furnish the support of the Indians, especially in the region in which they are situated today at
three-quarters of a league from the town, due to the little that can be expected from the seasonal crops,
keeping in mind the irregularity of the seasons and, although the settlement is removed to the proposed
region and the Indians, consequently, moved to a better land, there can be a different confidence in the
harvest of what is planted, especially if a canal is facilitated there and land which would be good for
cultivation, is assigned to the mission, I believe that the principal thing upon which the security of the
support of the Indians should be founded would have to be the raising of livestock and the hauling of salt
to exchange it for corn and, therefore, I find it necessary to propose to Your Excellency the buying of ten
more mules, two hundred heads of minor livestock, and fifty cows for the mission, the cost of which would
come to no more than five hundred pesos, and its harvests, I judge, would help the daily ration added to
what it has today if, in the administration of these goods and in the care of the salt, when the immediate
salt deposits permit its exportation, there is the application which should be expected of a zealous
missionary who recognizes that the maintenance, the subsistence of the indians, their congregation to the
doctrine, and their subjection depend on it.
Regarding a river and a canal, I consider it excused to speak more to Your Excellency regarding
what I have explained.
The planting of corn, made in the present year and those preceding, also little deserves the attention
of Your Excellency since these residents have not applied themselves to farming at all, disheartened from
the experience they have of the storms and, on the contrary, stimulated by the benefit which the raising
of livestock gives and, thus, it must be about two measures which had been planted by the citizenry and
another two by the mission; and, although these few cornfields were in a good state when we saw them,
I believe the drought which followed must have destroyed them.
Nevertheless, this considerable lack, I recognized, little disturbed the advancement of the residents
well, having established themselves here with few goods, after having maintained itself, the citizenry has
grown, it is found with a competent number of livestock of all types which offers them greater increases
in the future.
This depends on the land being very suitable for the raising of major and minor livestock and,
above all, on the great benefit they have enjoyed of the immediate salt deposits because, besides the many
lagoons on the coast that crystallize rock salt in abundance, there is one at 15 leagues from this settlement
on the other side of the river on the north part which, always having a permanent base of crystallized salt,
it is only denied in the wet seasons and when the years have abundant rains; but, in a regular drought, it
remains in a disposition of going to it and cutting it with bars and picks, as much as is desired, in a
thickness according to the length that they intend to take since it is a type of admirable rock salt of which
I was shown some; of the same quality there is another salt deposit at a distance of 25 leagues and these
residents, those of Camargo, Mier, and even those of Revilla go to both in times when they are dry; well,
to provide all these settlements and those of Nueva España, the declaration affirm giving free range to the
depth and extension which these two salt deposits have and, although the strength of the rains of the last
year and the early, heavy showers of this one, had them denied to them until the time that I was there when
I arrived at Revilla, I was assured by the captain (who sent to have them inspected) that they were already
removing some, for which I believe that the aforesaid settlements would then go to enjoy the aid which they
For all these reasons and noting the circumstance of leaving the lands most immediate to the coast
in this mountain range of the north of the colony somewhat covered, it seems to me appropriate that this
settlement subsist but moved to the proposed region of las Lajas and, above all, so that they not waste the
support of the Indians who are now found congregated to the doctrine and the hopes that are conceived of
them, well the not making them enthusiastic with the citizenry of this town, it should be suspected that they
would return to the barbarism that they were brought up with, with the loss of the souls especially of the
children and women in which they have more confidence of they conversion.
Of the subsistence and even the increase of the citizenry, it seems it cannot be doubted in view of
that experienced from its beginning to now; if its squadron were reformed it would carry no cost to the
king other than the synod, the small expense which I propose for the secure support of the Indians, and the
salary of the captain reduced to three hundred pesos, if the charity of His Excellency found it right to leave
it to him; and thus it seems, Sir Excellency, that everything persuades the inclination of the spirit of Your
Excellency to the permanency of this settlement which promises to repair the cost expended in its
establishment and conservation from what can be yielded from the royal rights paid by the livestock sold
from here to the outside and the goods which enter for their consumption and that which the salt deposits
produce, even with a moderate contribution that may be imposed on those who come to extract its salt,
everything granted after the 10 years of support for which only two are lacking.
TOWN OF CAMARGO
It was founded on the 5th of March of 1749, with the dedication to Santa Ana; it is situated on a
large plain, pleasant and luxuriant, on the edges of the San Juan River of which they serve themselves for
their support and, in it, there are two channels by which the crossing is made easy and comfortable. The
weather in the summer is very hot and in the winter it is said to be proportionately cold, but the reports
assert that in all the seasons it is healthy.
The houses of which this settlement is composed are more orderly than the rest of the colony, of
adobe and covered with grass and there are two of stone and mortar with flat roofs of a very regular
construction and distribution but what does not correspond to the state of this town is the church since it
is of adobe covered with straw, small, and not at all decent on the outside; the good is that the residents
are now trying to build another one that will repair this defect, one they wish to locate in the plaza and they
are already collecting materials for it.
The citizenry comes to 97 families with 637 persons which includes the captain and the troops and
they all have the goods that are expressed in the review which I made and is found in folder 15, pages 2
This town is administered spiritually by the priest Fray Juan Bautista García Resu�rez of el
Apost�lico Colegio de Guadalupe de Zacatecas and, as the designated missionary for the instruction of the
Indians, he enjoys the synod of four hundred pesos annually.
In the political and military it is commanded by the captain Don Blas María de la Garza Falcón
with five hundred pesos salary; there is a squadron of one sergeant who has two hundred fifty pesos and
11 soldiers with two hundred twenty-five per year and two of them are assigned to aid in the guarding of
the mission and its goods and for whatever the priest might need; the service that the rest perform is that
which has been specified in other settlements and anytime that there is some expedition or the need of help,
the residents give aid in whatever is ordered of them on the same terms as the paid soldiers and they
There is a congrega here and the region designated for their lodgings is connected to the town at
its extremity where they have built shacks of adobe covered with straw in the immediacy and around the
house of the missionary priest; this one is the most decent and of the best construction and distribution in
the settlement; it has its very spacious porch of arches and, on the inside, several spacious, well distributed,
and clean rooms and one of them is designated for the vestry because the priest expects to build the church
for the mission connected to the house. The Indians I encountered, congregated there and subjected, are
two hundred forty-three of both sexes and all ages, among which I found 170 baptized of the Tareguanos,
Pajaritos, Venados, Tejones, and Cuerosquemados tribes; all these live subordinated to the priest without
whose permission, and that of the captain, do not leave and, when they obtain it to go to the woods to find
some fruits or to hunt deer, they return without fail; in the morning and in the evening, at the sound of the
bell, they come to doctrine which is recited by the person in charge and all of them repeat it. The goods
which the mission has are very few and they do not suffice to support the Indians, notwithstanding that the
priest has taught them to make a very competent planting of corn but, since its harvest is so contingent,
the effects of its application are frustrated for this priest and, outside of the aid of corn which has been
given by Don José de Escandón to maintain the Indians and the alms which the captain and his father-in-law have given and continue to give, it has been necessary to make use of the measures which this priest
refers to in the paper which is found in the folder 15, pages 13 to 15 and, with them, he has furnished the
food and clothed the female Indians and principal males giving credit to what his effective, zealous
application can produce; it is good that the happiness of the settlement has contributed, in a large part, to
the gains that their lively diligence has produced and they have put the mission, in their charge, in the good
state which I have mentioned and which promises greater progress in the future. So that these will be
guaranteed, this priest proposes that the mission be provided with some major and minor livestock such
that, from their harvests, they can support themselves and that they be designated a small financial aid to
build a water reservoir and collect it in a glen which he has seen; I cannot but encourage its urgency to
Your Excellency, not only because I conceive that its zeal will be more favored with this demonstration
of how acceptable it is to Your Excellency, for its seeming to me that the effects that this expenditure
would produce will be repaired by the same Indians since I found in these the disposition of being able to
form a regular town of them, to which they manifested a great inclination, on the occasions in which they
met with me, and, this being formalized within a few years, it would be placed in a state of contributing
tributes, something which, in case this, my thought, would be to the agreement of Your Excellency, makes
it necessary that the lands, which are currently designated to the mission and which its Indians cultivate,
be given to them as property and that the same priest, removed from the administration of the town (which
can well maintain a parish) dedicate himself totally to the governing and indoctrination of the Indians and
to the management of the goods which they must produce for their support; the cost, which the mares,
cows, and sheep suitable to buy could have, does not seem to me would exceed one thousand pesos and
with another two hundred designated as financial aid for the water reservoir, which the priest proposes,
it would be sufficient to obtain the desired goal.
The river which bathes this settlement is the so-called San Juan and the one from which this
settlement provides itself for its use; at 2 leagues from the town it passes on to end at that of el Norte on
which shores and on the other side of the settlers have established several ranches of which the most
considerable are the one of the captain and that of his father-in-law Don Nicol�s de los Santos, although
throughout the entire area which is assigned to the settlement there are several others and the residents
lament that they lack land for their livestock to pasture for which I believe the formal distribution of them
more necessary here than in other parts and that it would be appropriate to give them greater extension,
which can be done on the north part, with the aim of the land on the other shore of the Río Grande, which
is deserted, being populated.
There is no irrigation canal here nor can they build one due to the depth of the bedrock of the San
Juan River and its waters running with such small current that they seem stemmed; and thus, although they
have attempted to build it on two occasions, the settlers have detected the problem and are without hope
of their being able to obtain this benefit which would be considerable.
The planting that is done is all dependent on the weather and, from three years ago to now, the
citizenry has begun to apply itself to farming and, in spite of the bad crops having contributed little to
encourage them, they continue and this year (the variety of statements computed in this affair) I calculate
that it must be 25 measures that they have planted; at my first visit there I saw the cornfields in a very good
state but, when I returned, they were beginning to feel the drought which continued with the winds from
the southeast as in the rest of the colony, it would lose all of its plantings [sic] and, although the priest
assured them that at the beginnings of August they normally have some rain which allows new planting and
that the rains of September benefits these late cornfields very much, I understood, at the same time, that
there are few who make use of what this advanced season supports. The computation of the harvest can
be made here only by some Peujales and what is harvested by these produces at 200 measures for one.
The land of this town is very appropriate for the raising of major and minor livestock and nothing
proves it better than the goods which the residents have of these species and they are evident from the
review of pages 2 verso to 7; they begin to have a large application to the raising of mules and from it they
already benefit from some commerce because several subjects come to take some of them and of the minor
livestock and since, from one or the other, it is believed that they will have a proportionate increase, it
follows that, after the 10 years of support which are being given to them, the royal rights will render profits
which will recompense the expense which the treasury has carried for the establishment of this settlement
and its subsistence.
There are no mines in these areas nor are there any reports of others other than the ones already
This citizenry makes use of the salt deposits which have been mentioned in the report of the town
of Reynosa and, since it is provided with mules for the hauling, it has a great benefit in this because they
carry the salt to the border provinces and in returning bring the corn they need in respect to their crops not
having provided enough for their use.
Everything stated, Sir Excellency, which is verified by the judicial proceedings practiced in the
inspection of this town, folder 15, shall cause Your Excellency to see its flourishing state and what it
promises in benefit to the Royal Treasury without its subsistence causing any other expense in the future
other than the synod of the missionary priest, the one I propose for the support of the Indians, and that of
the salary of three hundred fifty pesos of the captain which I find suitable to be conserved, not so much
because he needs it but so that this recompense achieve his excellence, in respect to that which he has
contracted in the formation of this town and that which he made earlier in the presidio of Serralvo [sic]
which he used to have, since the squadron should remain reformed if Your Excellency approves the project
which I shall propose for the better guarding and service of the colony.
TOWN OF MIER
This was established on the 6th of March of 1753, with the dedication to la Purísima Concepción;
it is situated on a rise; its weather is very hot in summer and, according to reports, cold in winter; the land
is dry and the regularity of its seasons makes it healthy.
This settlement was formed of various ranches which some subjects of el Nuevo Reino de León
had established before the pacification and population of the colony and they united themselves with it and
the citizenry of the town of Camargo one year after this one was founded with the stimulus of enjoying the
franchises that were granted to the settlers and in this manner they subsisted until in the said year of '53
it was thought by the colonel Don José de Escandón to make use of this disposition to formalize a town
here which he executed with the beginning of 19 families which were registered in Camargo and he
established it as a villa giving it the name of Mier and removing that of Paso del C�ntaro which it had;
afterwards other families, who came from el Nuevo Reino de León, began collecting voluntarily,
encouraged by the enjoyment of the lands which they designated as terminus to the new settlement and by
the freedom of rights and other charges of which they had been imposed and, in this manner, this
establishment was made without cost to the Royal Treasury, nor has its conservation brought any, as
everything at least is evident in the folder 16 of the documents which is made of the proceedings executed
in the inspection of this town.
About it is also recognized from the pages 2 to 4 that its citizenry consists of 39 families with 274
persons and the livestock which they possess.
The lodgings are some poor and small shacks, some built of stone and mud and others of stuccoed
poles, situated without order and which manifest that they were ranches at their beginning from how
scattered they are and only the captain has built a house of stone and mortar and with a flat roof.
There is no priest assigned to the administration of this citizenry and, united to the parish district
of Camargo, that priest comes after Easter to this town so that they comply with the annual precept and,
for the baptisms, the viaticum, and the burials that are required; the same priest has recourse, for this
reason, to whom they contribute the first-fruit offerings.
Commanding the settlement in the military and political is the captain Don José Florencio de
Chapa; he enjoys no salary nor are there any soldiers who do and its residents perform all the service that
comes up, financing themselves on these occasions.
Attached to the place are two hamlets of Indians of the Garza and Malagueco tribes who live docile
and permanent with their neighbors; the usually build little portable shacks next to the town, they support
themselves with the aids which are furnished them by the captain and the citizenry and from the fruits
which they get in the woods and deer which they kill; I reviewed them and, in all, I encountered about 144
persons of both sexes and all ages and among them a Spanish-speaking, baptized Indian woman, but an
apostate and, since they have a particular respect for her and cede to her judgement, the captain keeps her
at his house and treats her kindly in order to assure the subsistence and tranquility of said Indians while
they manage to congregate them in the mission and thus they live so subjected that, in order to go to the
woods, they ask for permission from the captain and they always obey when they are called by him, all
of which is recognized from the documents and from the proceeding which I recorded, pages 7 to 8.
The river which flows by this settlement is the one called el Alamo which begins at the sierra of
Serralvo of el Nuevo Reino de León next to the ranch they call Colorado and, at 3 leagues before arriving
here, the one called Puntiagudo, which also has its origin in said kingdom next to the hacienda of San
Buenaventura, unites with it, and together they go to end at el Río Grande del Norte at a distance of 2
leagues from this town; in it there is no irrigation canal nor does the land offer the possibility to enjoy this
benefit (if it could be built) other than at the edges of the river on lands of 3 to 4 measures of planting
which do not deserve the work and cost that they would cause.
The plantings made in the preceding years, and even in this one, require little attention, since there
is a witness who affirms it not coming to one measure and, from what I inspected, the lack of application
to farming depends on the experience that the residents have of the lack of crops in the little that they have
planted and, deviated from this work, they place all their effort in the raising of livestock in which they
recognize large increases and, with their increases they are able to support themselves since their fields and
pastures are suitable for that effect as it is accredited by the goods which they have of this species and it
is proved by the coming of those, with the objective of similar improvement, to these lands and forming
ranches on them before the settlement of the colony.
The lands assigned to the town extend 2 leagues minus 10 cordeladas to the north, 3 and 70
cordeladas on the south and from the east to the west 4 leagues and 32 cordeles, but these are enjoyed by
the residents in common because no distribution has been made and it would be as useful as anywhere that
it be verified by the orders of Your Excellency if he felt it good to expedite it.
At one-half league from the place there are some small ponds which, by the strength of the sun,
crystalize very good salt and of which the citizenry serves itself and, at one day's travel, there is a very
large salt deposit which also crystallizes salt like a rock which reddens, and it is removed with a bar but,
because it has the taste of tequesquite, it is used little and they generally use the salt deposits immediate
to Reynosa from which they remove some to take to the borders in exchange for corn.
The small commerce which this settlement has today is the sale of its livestock, which subjects from
the outside come to take, and the profit of pigs, wools, and skins, all of which serves to buy the effects
which they need and to furnish the corn they lack.
And regarding what has been explained, with regard to this settlement, recognizing the lack of cost
it has caused, and the lack that its conservation causes today to the Royal Treasury, I find it appropriate
that it subsist because its situation supports the easy travel of the roads to the provinces of the north but,
particularly, due to the expectation that can be conceived of the reduction to the doctrine and conversion
of the heathen Indians who have collected in it; and, although for obtaining of this aim, it is necessary to
propose to Your Excellency the annual expense of the synod of three hundred fifty pesos for the priest who
should be assigned at your instruction and the one of the principle goods whose profits finance the assured
support of said Indians, I have no embarassment of presenting it to Your Excellency because I am sure that,
accomodating its intentions to the catholic ones of the king, he will not refuse an expenditure that will lead
to such pious intents. What I understand shall be necessary for this last operation are one thousand pesos
which, invested in mares and donkeys for the raising of mules, which proves to be good here, and in some
cows, I do not doubt that its production would suffice for the purchace of corn which might be needed for
the daily ration of said Indians, especially if these good would be administered by the priest in charge of
the mission with the economy and encouragement which should be promised from his zeal as the most
conducive means for the aim of his ministry; and regarding there being no Indians in the settlement of
Revilla nor the hope of a congrega, the missionary assigned there now could go to this settlement and they
can collect the livestock and little agricultural equipment and furniture, that belong to that mission, to this
one of Mier, bringing also the ornaments, sacred urns, and other services of the church which His Majesty
financed with that objective.
TOWN OF REVILLA
This settlement was established on the 10th of October of 1750, and it was given San Ignacio de
Loyola as advocate; it is situated on elevated terrain on top of a hill and, consequently, it's weather is dry,
the seasons of cold and heat are regular, and, from reports, it is healthy.
The first population of this region (although on a different site) was done before that of the colony
by various subjects of el Nuevo Reino de León who established their ranches on it; afterwards, the
landowner Don Vicente Guerra, resident of Coahuila, having a notice of the settlements being founded
by Don José de Escandón and of the grants which were being bestowed, went to solicit him and to offer
the cession of his summer pastures, provided that a settlement be established on them on the same terms
as those already established and, under this circumstance and that of his being given its command with the
title of captain, he would obligate himself to bring families with which to found it; this proposal was
admitted by said Don José de Escandón and, as its consequence, in the year of '750, the aforesaid Don
Vicente Guerra began to form the settlement with several families which he brought and, situating himself
in the region called los Mozos, it was given the name of Revilla from then on and it began increasing with
others which collected there; they remained about one year in that site and then they moved to another and
from that one to the immediacies where they are now found; the cited captain Don Vicente Guerra having
died in the interim, Don José de Escandón came here in the year of 1754 and, having inspected those
lands and the change that there had been in the establishment of the town, he formalized it in the region
where it is situated; the name of Revilla, which it had, was confirmed and he gave the rest of the orders
he felt were conducive, naming as captain the one who is today owing to his having come at that time to
present himself to him and to offer to register and join the citizenry of the town if he were granted the
property of land in which he, with 5 brothers, had placed their ranches at the shores of el Río Grande del
Norte and that all of them with their goods would remain here; this proposal, being so favorable to this new
establishment, was then admitted by said Don José de Escandón and, besides receiving this subject and
his family as he asked, he gave him the title of captain with which he continues until now and, by this
means, the settlement had such a brilliant increase in residents.
The church and the houses are like most of them in the colony and the spread out distribution of
these manifests its beginning; it is good that the captain was already trying to unite them and, at the time
of my stay there, they built several shacks on the site designated for a plaza.
The citizenry is attended to spiritually by a priest of el Apost�lico Colegio de Guadalupe de
Zacatecas named Fray Miguel de Santa María, with the title of missionary, and he enjoys four hundred
pesos annual synod.
The captain, who commands it and of whom mention has been made, is named Don José B�ez
Benavidez and, with his, there are 58 families of residents and these are composed of 357 persons as it
is seen in the review that I made and is in the folder 17, pages 2-5, in which the goods of everyone are
There are no Indians, either congregated or collected, in this town and I believe, for now, the hope
of attracting them to be remote.
The river, which passes through the immediacy and which provides the citizenry, is the one called
Salado; it begins in Santa Rosa of the province of Coahuila and, after entering the colony 9 leagues before
arriving at this settlement, it is joined by the one of Sabinos which has its origin in Boca de Leones of el
Nuevo Reino de León and together they go to end in el Grande del Norte at 3 leagues from here.
There is no irrigation canal built but, with the desire of enjoying the advantages that it could
produce, the residents have begun to build it from said river at half a league distance from the settlement
and they already have 7000 steps of canal built but, as the reports which I took regarding this left me
doubtful about whether it could or could not be built, I went to inspect the works with Don Ramón López
de la Cámara Alta (because his father, Don Agustín was ill in Camargo and the other came to substitute
in order not to delay the conclusion of our charge) and, both of us having inspected the terrain over which
the water should be conducted and the direction of said works, it seemed to us inaccessible to take it to
gardens of the homes and, at the most, only some which are at the foot of the hill where the town is will
enjoy the benefit, and that the lands which will benefit from the irrigation will also be very few; some
residents, who are against this works, claim that the canal could be facilitated farther up and, with this
report, having gone to inspect the river and the regions that could facilitate it, it resulted from its
examination that there is equal difficulty in all due to the depth of the river bed, the elevation of its shores,
and the hilliness of the land over which the water should be conducted and, thus, I have believed that this
settlement should continue without the benefit that would result from the canal and expose the small
planting that they have usually made to the contingencies of the weather; and if the irregularity of this and
the foul weather, which they have always had, deviates them from their application to farming, as up to
now (since the planting has never surpassed 2 measures), the advantages they have in the raising of
livestock (for which the lands and pastures are very suited) shall repair this fault, as is easily seen from
what has happened in the past from the goods of this type found among the settlers.
The salt deposits of the other side of the Río Grande immediate to Reynosa also facilitate much ease
to this town; well, since its citizenry is provided with mules, they go to them and remove loads for the
frontier settlements with which they provide themselves with corn in the years that they crystallize; and,
although in the past, and in the present, they were lacking this subsidy, it was granted to them lately by
the great drought that was experienced from the middle of June until August, well, the captain assured us
that, having dispatched [someone] to inspect the salt deposits, they brought him a report that they were
drying up and they were thinking about going to make use of them.
In the boundaries of this settlement there are no mines but they report that at 14 leagues distance
on the other side of the Río del Norte there are mineral veins in the site they call la Sierrecilla from which
the captain Juan García, deceased, at the time of the governor of el Nuevo Reino de León Arriaga,
removed rocks which, when assayed, manifested having pure gold.
The commerce that these residents have today is the sale of mules and of minor livestock which
several subjects from the outside come to take and, although it is generally the exchange of the effects that
they need, later on it could result from here in profits for the king by means of the taxes that should be
The distribution of lands here is, in my opinion, as useful as in all parts since the citizenry enjoys,
in common, those that are assigned to the settlement and are embraced in the triangle which is formed by
the rivulet of el Malagueco and the joining of el Río Salado with that of Sabinos through the "pozo" of
el Ahiladero up to the pass of Jacinto in el Río Grande del Norte.
This settlement has caused no expense to the Royal Treasury, neither in its establishment nor in
its conservation, other than the cost of the ornaments, sacred urns, and household furniture of the
missionary's house with the annual synod which he has enjoyed, however, in the future this will also be
excused if it is of the approval of Your Excellency that said priest go to the town of Mier to the attendance
and doctrine of the Indians, in which case it will be necessary to appoint a priest who will act as rector and
who can maintain himself with the offerings and the obvenciones; and in view of it all, I believe Your
Excellency will find the subsistence of the settlement useful.
HACIENDA DE DOLORES
This is an hacienda which had its beginning in the year of 1750 and which was established by Don
José V�zquez Borrego, resident of Coahuila, with the dedication of Nuestra Señora de los Dolores, at the
banks of the Río Grande del Norte on the east part because, finding himself with abundant livestock in
another hacienda called el Alamo which he owns in said province, he could not find the advantages more
suitable for the raising of mules and cows and, having information about the lands being deserted in this
region and how suitable they were for his aims, he sent people armed at their own expense to inspect them;
and, having confirmed the preceding reports by the report they gave him, he resolved to form this
establishment and he came in said year to put it into practice along with armed people with whom he
resisted the incursions of the Indians until it was assured. In this interim, seeing that Don José de
Escandón was founding and populating the colony on order of the Superior Government and having full
knowledge of the privileges that were given, he went to see it and to propose the joining of this hacienda
with said colony making known to him the advantages that would result from it for the established
settlements and for the ones which would like to establish themselves, especially the importance of the post
and the pass of the river offering to facilitate this and the more convenient transit of the road of Texas and
Bahía del Espíritu Santo by building a channel in it at his cost; these favorable proposals were then
admitted by Don José de Escandón and he decreed fifty sites of land for minor livestock to Borrego giving
him the title of captain and, thus, this hacienda came to be joined to the colony. Don José Borrego, in
completion of what he offered, actually put in the channel for the pass of the river which is of great benefit
for the traffic to the province of Texas and its presidios; he brought 23 families of servants and, for better
safety, he formed a squadron from them composed of a sergeant and eleven soldiers; he completely
equipped and armed it, such that I found it as no other of the colony, all uniformed in very decent leather
jackets with their emblems on the sleeves, carbine belts, shields, rifle, sword, and knife and all mounted
on grayish horses such that it could serve as the norm for forming the company which I project to Your
The shacks which serve as lodgings for Don José Borrego and his servants are ruins and not
corresponding to the disposition of this man who pleased in all the rest; I could not but ask him the reason
for the abandonment in this area and he gave me the one of his not having the formalization of possession
of the lands and he would not build works with the risk and pain of losing the cost and work and, it
seeming to me that the merit of what this subject has done in this establishment and what he has spend on
it makes him a meritorious person in the attention of Your Excellency, I make no excuse in presenting him
so that he be deigned (if you would think it good) to be recompensed by giving him as property the same
lands that are assigned to him with the aim that, this way he apply himself with more enthusiasm to the
improvement of this hacienda which, in the future, could produce profit for the king in view of the
exporting of mules to the outside, which is done annually, being of some consideration.
There is no chapel here nor a priest who can administer it and annually, after Easter, the priest of
Revilla, whose charge is repaired by Don José Borrego with a charity which he gives, comes so that these
people can comply with the annual precept.
I did not find Indians collected in this hacienda and I was only given the report that, in the
beginning, Don José de Escandón put in 27 families of them who remained about five years; they left
afterwards for the woods to their old hamlets and only remaining are two old men who, reputed to be
christians (due to having been baptized in the Misión del Nuevo Reino de León), retain the name but no
work that affirms their religion.
The owner of this hacienda has no farmed land because he has dedicated everything to the raising
of mules and cattle and, although he asserts in his report, folder 18, page 10 verso, that the land can be
suitable for planting, he also adds that there is no experience of it and, since that which might be done
would be necessarily exposed to the contingencies of the weather, it should be believed that it would be
as contrary as it has been for the settlements that are situated in this ridge of mountains of the north; the
improvement that an irrigation canal could provide to overcome this hindrance is not possible to achieve
due to the depth of the river bed and the elevation of the terrain at its banks.
From that which I have stated, all of it being evident in the cited folder 18, one recognizes the lack
of expense that this establishment has caused the Royal Treasury and that its conservation has also not
occasioned any. How advantageous this is is also manifested in the report of Don José Borrego on page
11 from the reports he gives of the roads whose transit to the Province of Texas and its presidios is
facilitated by the channel which this subject has built and which supports the pass of the Río Grande del
Norte without risk. The profit which it can have for the king in the future is evidenced from the exporting
of mules it has and today it is more than five hundred per year without counting that of the cows and horses
and I persuade myself that everything will incline Your Excellency to resolve that this hacienda remain and
that there be a verification in favor of Don José Borrego of what was offered by Colonel Escandón in
virtue of the powers that, it seems, were given by the Superior Government by reason of the pacification
and population of the colony which was ordered of him and which he, opportunely, utilized to make use
of the proposals made to him for the establishment of this hacienda and of the settlements of Mier, of
Revilla, and even that of Laredo which I am going to describe.
TOWN OF LAREDO
This little settlement was formed on the 15th of May of 1755, situated at the banks on the north of
the Río Grande of this name on flat and dry land; its weather is hot in summer and cold in winter and its
residents report that it is healthy.
Its establishment springs from the present captain Don Tom�s S�nchez, being set on the other bank
of the river in front of the Hacienda de Dolores with his livestock, went to see Don José de Escandón,
who was in Revilla, in the year of '754 and to solicit that he permit him to found a settlement on this north
part of the river offering to conduct families at his own cost to it if he would assign competent land for
livestock, a proposal that was accepted then by Don José de Escandón but, since he wanted to settle the
Río de las Nueces, he encouraged the aforesaid Don Tom�s to go to inspect those regions to see if there
they could establish a settlement and that, with the results, it would occur to Don José V�zquez Borrego,
whom I would give charge of the orders that it would be necessary to give, so that whatever recourse
would be less delayed. It was with this objective that the said captain S�nchez went to see the lands above
said Río de las Nueces and, not finding any suitable land in which to settle, he reported what he had found
to Borrego, informing him of the reasons that it made it impossible to establish families there and, at the
same time, he made him see the ease that he found for placing them at ten leagues from his Hacienda de
Dolores north of the river and at a distance of two from a fordable pass called Jacinto; the said Don
Borrego informed Don José de Escandón giving notice of this change in which they would found a town
with the name of Laredo where Don Tom�s S�nchez was proposing; he assigned 15 sites of land for major
livestock for the residents and ordered the title of captain of it for the same Don Thom�s. This person,
in order to verify his proposal, took his family with others to the projected region, he builthe
corresponding shacks in it for their lodgings, he has helped them, he continues to help them and is making
the effort to bring others, and the ones that I have encountered in the inspection that I made were 11 in all
with 4 bachelors, as is seen in the folder 19, pages 12 to 13 of the review I made in which also are seen
the goods with which this establishment has been begun and, since the statements show the other
circumstances of it in detail, I excuse myself from bothering your Excellency with the relating of them and
to present others than the ones which, due to the judgement I have formed I understand the advantages and
increase that this settlement can have, he should founded them for the raising of livestock in respect to the
land being so suitable here for the purpose, as in all the colony; but, regarding plantings, I believe that they
promise little benefit and the one which results in common for this establishment is of it also being the
common transit to the Province of Texas and its presidios from Nuevo Reino de León and the Province of
Coahuila, whose environs are at a distance of seven leagues in the region called Carrizo Prieto, this
settlement being the last one of the colony on the north part (situated according to what is understood) at
twenty-six and one-half degrees latitude.
The most recent about it does not give enough information to solidify further the concept of the
advantages that it can furnish but, it not having caused any expense to the Royal Treasury nor does it cause
any today, it seems to me it will be useful that it subsist until knowing better the benefits it produces and
the increases it obtains.
The established residents would like an ecclesiastical minister to attend to them, which they lack
and, since their little wealth cannot finance his support, they solicit that this spiritual benefit be facilitated
for them by the king; I make it known to Your Excellency for the provision that his charity incline him
and, when this would influence him to the just repair of the charge of the Royal Hacienda, I believe that
a priest could be found who would take charge of the administration of this town and of the Hacienda de
Dolores with the subsidy of offerings and obvenciones which some would contribute, since both are
imposed annual charges to appeal to the priest at Revilla for the viaticum, burials, baptisms, and the
compliance of the annual precept and in recompensing his work with his alms.
It will be necessary to confirm the firm assignment of lands of the area and that formal distribution
of them be made to the settlers and, these complaining that those of Revilla have begun to extend
themselves along the opposing bank of the river up to front of this settlement, it will be necessary also to
arrange those borders to avoid all question.
TOWN OF BURGOS
It was founded on the 20th of February of 1749, with the dedication to Nuestra Señora de Loreto;
it is situated on a plain at three leagues from la Tamaulipa Nueva; its weather is temperate and not
Its citizenry is composed of 51 families with 260 persons in which are included the captain and the
squadron assigned to the guarding of the settlement, as it appears in the folder 20 of the documents from
the review I made and it is found on pages 19 to 22 in which the goods of each one also appear.
The lodgings are reduced, as in the other places, to some poor shacks located without order, the
site in which they are situated is amenable but exposed to floods which it experienced last year due to the
abundance of rain, and the water reached almost to the houses because the arroyo called Burgos, which
the residents use, grew so much that it destroyed the canal which irrigated the yards and plantings and,
overflowing, it spread itself out to the fields.
For this reason and their missing greatly the said irrigation canal, they have tried to move the town
to another region and, since the captain along with some others want to move it a league from where it is
now and to the site they call el Ahiladero de Jasso, he has solicited to get permission from Don José de
Escandón which he has since obtained but, it having been made known to Don Agustín de la C�mara
Alta and to me by different subjects, of that region not being the most adequate, he went to inspect and
examine, at the same time, the one which could be the most useful for the effect, from which inspection
it was verified that, the site proposed by the captain being found in a glen between hills, it causes distrust,
due to the humidity, of the intemperateness and tertian [fever] epidemics in the summer; that it will be
more exposed to the incursions of the Indians due to their preferring the land and that it does not offer more
advantage than the easy removal of water but, since, at the same time, another region was found cleaner,
of good ventilation, and that promises good health at a distance only of one quarter league from where the
town is found established today, the captain was informed of these more advantageous opportunities and
he was made to see by said Don Agustín de la Cámara Alta how accessible it is to build the canal and
that, although it must be brought from farther away, it is a small impediment when the benefit, of having
more land to cultivate that can make use of the irrigation, results from the distance.
Although there is a religious missionary assigned for the administration of this town named the
priest Fray Simón del Hierro from the same Apost�lico Colegio de Zacatecas with the synod of three
hundred fifty pesos, I found him absent due to having been called by his superiors during the month of May
since which time the citizenry has been without a priest who could perform mass or administer the
The captain who commands this settlement, Don José Antonio Leal enjoys five hundred pesos
annual salary; he has under him a squadron composed of a sergeant with two hundred fifty pesos and nine
soldiers at two hundred twenty-five and one at ninety-one pesos and two reales who is condemned to serve
with two reales daily and is assigned to the missionary priest. The others perform the ordinary service
already explained in other parts, but the contiguity in which this town is found to that of the Tamaulipa
Nueva obligates it to major vigilance because, since the apostate Indians of the missions of el Nuevo Reino
de León take refuge in it and these disquiet and incite the heathens, the hostilities that the area has suffered
from these perverse ones in the theft of livestock and the deaths of some residents have been almost
continuous since they had the boldness to come and attack the settlement which is always distrustful and
was, on the occasion that I inspected it due to the reports of the Indians who rose up from the missions of
el Reino having come lately to the said Tamaulipa and large amounts of smoke at the sierra having been
seen repeatedly which are signs of the Indians to prepare others to come together; this continuous vigil has
given them cause to detach two soldiers from the squadron of San Fernando and that they remain in this
town and I am induced to propose to Your Excellency that one of the three detachments, into which I find
it useful to divide the company which is supposed to serve in the guarding of the colony, be assigned in
Burgos, unless Your Excellency decides that the expedition that I propose against the apostate Indians be
made to dislodge them from their den in this Tamaulipa and the new settlement, of which I already have
spoken, be established; well, in such a case, the detachment should be put there and, with this garrison,
said Indians will remain contained and this town under shelter from their incursions.
The experience that is had with the planting and crops is only for three years in which they enjoyed
the irrigation canal and, even then, the application of farming was so short that it deserves little attention
since, from the variety of statements in this affair, one calculates that the planting was no more than four
and one-half measures and the harvest came to, at most, one hundred thirty to one hundred forty to one,
such that it does not seem to have sufficed for the support of the citizenry; it is such that this manifests
some complaint about the distribution of the water of the canal which they suppose did not benefit them
with the required equity because the captain, in cultivating cane, diverted much for his benefit, a reason
because, their finding the need to buy corn from the outside in exchange for the gains in their livestock,
they have not had the increases in them that the good fields and lands that are assigned to them would
afford, although the thefts from the Indians have also held them back in this area, and their despondency
would be greater if the hauling of salt from the lakes of San Fernando in the years that they crystallized
had not served as a relief.
Regarding mines, they report here about the ones of el Cerro de Berzebú in la Tamaulipa Nuevo
of which I have spoken and the captain reports that there is a mineral vein at one quarter of a league from
this settlement in the cerro called el Corcovado from which, he says, Crist�bal de Leiva, deceased, took
some rocks and soil which, when assayed in the forge, he saw they produced a grain of silver.
The congrega of the nearby Indians I consider remote while the proposed measures or others,
which Your Excellency might find more conducive to the subjection of the heathens of la Tamaulipa Nueva
and of the apostates of the kingdom, are not taken; and in the interim, it seems to me, the satisfaction of
the synod, which is assigned to the missionary priest with this aim, could be excused and he could support
himself with the obvenciones and the offerings, aided by those few goods, which a resident declares on
page 4, that he has, although the others do not give a similar report.
Of that which I have reported to Your Excellency in an orderly manner of this settlement, it is
recognized that it is reasonable that it be moved to the region which the engineer Don Agustín de la
Cámara Alta selected, that they build the canal, on the terms that he left prepared, for the cultivation of
the lands and the irrigation of its plantings and that, in the future, the just distribution of water be
recommended since it is shown that its backwardness has partly come from this defect (since in the season
of irrigation it is not the most abundant); but, since the greatest damage has come from the hostilities of
the Indians, I believe that the measures, which I have made present to Your Excellency, would remedy it,
and it seems necessary to me that the town subsist so that this region remain populated and that, from its
abandon, it does not result in major damages to the other settlements, the Indians occupying it and their
becoming courageous; since it is the normal transit to Camargo and the others that follow along the
mountain range of el Norte, expecting that, the Indians being quelled, the canal flowing and well
distributed, its citizenry can accomplish other improvements than the ones it has had up to now, especially
with the assist that it has from the salt deposits of San Fernando; and if the generosity of Your Excellency
would be inclined to grant it some financial aid for the building of the canal (bearing in mind the work that
these residents have had) they will have a great alleviation and I believe that five hundred pesos for the
purchase of tools and of some corn will be sufficient to stimulate them to an effective application to this
Upon the approval of Your Excellency of my project regarding the troops which should garrison
and guard the colony and the assignment of three of its detachments in this town, its government can be
assigned [and] at the same time the official who will command it and the salary the captain has now would
SETTLEMENT OF EL JAUMAVE
Although being situated in the Sierra Gorda outside of the boundaries of which, in my
understanding, the colony of the Gulf of Mexico is comprised and separated from the charge which was
made to José de Escandón for the pacification and population of it [and] I have believed that this settlement
is not to be included in that of the inspection of which Your Excellency was deigned to commission of me,
I found it advantageous to practice the judicial proceedings of which the folder 21 of documents is
composed in order to satisfy the third chapter of the instruction and to be able to report to Your Excellency
about the state that this part of the Sierra Gorda had before the conquest of the colony; and if said
proceedings, with extensiveness, manifest it well, I shall make a succinct extract of that which is proved
by them for the briefest understanding of Your Excellency and I shall add the advantages which result to
that new establishment from this one which is older.
The beautiful dilated valley in which this settlement, with the title of San Lorenzo del Jaumave,
is situated today, the mission with the dedication of San Juan Bautista added to it, and the Hacienda de
Santa Rosa, property of the Reverendos Padres Carmelitas Descalzos was inhabited by different hamlets
of Indians who lived under the protection of the rugged sierras which encircle it but who did not commit
hostilities in the environs; instead, after the first depopulation of its most ancient mission and families who
were collected there, of which there is only confusing information, the reports and the statements instruct
that they permitted, in time, that a priest remain at times; they consented to and helped with the building
of a chapel which was given the dedication to Santa Rosa; they tolerated, on occasions, the subsistence of
one or another Spaniard who established a ranch there; they agreed that the missionary of Tula, escorted
by armed people, go every three or four years to said chapel which they kept; they would go to hear mass
and the catechism in the three or four days that the priest remained and they presented the children to him
so that he baptize them, in which state, with the variety of happenings which colligate and the statements
and the report of the present missionary manifest, this valley subsisted until in the year of '743 seven or
eight residents of Río Blanco in el Nuevo Reino de León were encouraged to come to enjoy the good land
there and, the license of the justice of Guadalc�zar (in whose jurisdiction the land was reputed to be)
obtained by entreaty, they went to establish themselves in it with the overseer of Tula since it was ordered
that he accompany them to assign the region of their establishment; it was done in the one in which it is
found today and, these first settlers, not having found resistance from the Indians but instead a good
reception, the news spread and more families began collecting; the growth stirred up problems because one
of the poorest residents, having solicited secretly from the chief mayor of Guadalc�zar the title of lieutenant
in order to command the rest who were living without this subordination, took it badly and they were
opposed to being under him; for this reason, Don José de Escandón, on this occasion (which was in the
following year of 1744), being engaged in the visit of the missions of Sierra Gorda which was committed
to him by the superior government, the subject named Antonio de los Ríos went to see him and to make
the state of the new settlement known to him; with the report from him Escandón came to inspect it to
become acquainted with all its circumstances, with the authority which seemingly gave him the title of
lieutenant general of Sierra Gorda which was conferred to him and he took no measure whatsoever,
allowing the foundation to continue in the manner in which it was and it continued until later (it seems like
at the entry of said Don José de Escandón in the conquest of the colony) he took charge of this settlement;
he put in it a lieutenant to govern it and, further, he gave the measures which continued until today.
This is, sir, the most succinct report that I find to make to Your Excellency regarding the state in
which this part of the Sierra Gorda was found before the conquest, I say the entry of Don José de
Escandón to the colony and, although I would like to abbreviate my reports to Your Excellency to make
them less bothersome, the large increase in families that I found in this settlement induces me to extend
myself since, as is evident in the review page 26 verso, they come to eighty-eight with five hundred eighty
persons; and having tried to find out by which means and with what subsidy they have come, I find only
the stimulus of good lands which they lacked where they were established, and the enjoyment of them
without annual charge have attracted these people without cost to the Royal Treasury or their having been
given any help by anyone else. I also find that the populating of this valley is very conducive to the
conservation and trade of the colony since, besides being secured by it and being put under protection from
the hostilities of the Indians, this precise pass of its entry facilitates the easy provision to many of its
settlements of corn, which they need, by means of the extended planting of corn that these residents make
and that the abundance of water to rescue them opportunely with irrigation furnishes them with a splendid
harvest and, thus, they sell what is left over of this grain.
Regarding the state of the mission (regardless of my wanting to shorten it) I find it inevitable to
speak to Your Excellency, especially finding that, about the uprising that occurred last year, notable and
about the unfortunate, repeated deaths that have followed in the sierra; but referring to what the judicial
proceedings report regarding these occurrences, I shall say to Your Excellency that I reviewed this mission
and I found it very peaceful, forty-five Indians of both sexes and all ages congregated in it, baptized,
subject to bell and doctrine, subordinated to the priest, attended by him in their support, many of them and
all the women dressed very decently which the priest in charge of the mission finances with the crops he
obtains from the corn that the Indians cultivate and with the raising of livestock, to which he applies himself
and, thus, I conceive that it can be hoped that they do not become disquieted and they remain in the mission
since the last uprising came due to the death of one of the Indians and from the infamous influences with
which they were incited into vengeance by a person called Aguilar who is a very crafty Indian and, with
this, he served as escort in this mission because they had not completely discovered his perverse
inclinations; this person commanded them, united them to those of el Sigué, went with them to induce the
abandonment of the mission of those who were congregated in Llera and Aguayo because all are of the
Pison tribe and, together, has persuaded them to commit the thefts and killings that have followed and that
it is to be suspected that they continue if they do not try to castigate them and severely punish those who
have remained united to those wicked ones and with six from here and ten from the mission of Aguayo,
all directed, according to reports, by the aforementioned Aguilar.
The missionary priest, who is named Fray Juan Llanos and is a Franciscan observer of la
Provincia de Michoac�n, enjoys no synod and, without it, attends to the instruction of the Indians, cares
for their support, and administers to the citizenry, depending on the obvenciones and the offerings.
In the settlement there is no church and the residents go to hear mass in that of the mission at one
At six leagues from this town, at one of the two roads by which one crosses the Sierra Gorda to
Aguayo, there is the site called Minas that has an open mine of about one stage of depth from which they
have made an assay, that produces silver, and is abandoned as it appears in the folder of documents page
Of all the aforesaid it is evident that this establishment has not caused, nor causes, any cost to the
Royal Treasury and, regarding the advantages that I conceive are contributed to the colony by it, I find it
useful that it subsist and that the distribution of lands be made, giving each resident as property, those that
correspond to them.
TOWN OF SANTA BARBARA
This settlement, although, in my judgement, situated in the Sierra Gorda (since it is found in a long
valley surrounded by woods and at the other part of the ridge of mountains, at whose skirts those of the
colony are founded), is comprised in those of the Gulf of Mexico and, as such, is numbered among them
and Don José de Escandón includes it with the others that he established in the accomplishment of his
charge as is to be seen in the 1st folder of the documents, page 17 verso.
This town was founded on the 19th of May of 1749, and the population of this land began with
some very small ranches that six or seven families of Spaniards had placed in the site that they call
Tanguanchin some years before, uniting with some hamlets of Indians who lived there, charged with
contributing some things from their harvests, which they did happily for their accepting them and for their
making use of the lands of that region and the freedom they enjoyed; and to these one or another family
began joining them and all of them maintaining themselves there with the Indians without being subjected
to any jurisdiction and without any other spiritual aid than that which they obtained on occasion from the
missionary priest of the town of Valles in la Huasteca who, every year and on some occasion with the
interim of two or three, would come to the aforesaid site of Tanguanchín escorted by armed people and,
in the three or four days in which he stayed, he would confess the Spanish families, instruct the adult
Indians in the christian faith in that which the short time permitted, and baptized the children that were
presented to him; those Spaniards maintained themselves in this state until the year of 1749 (when it was
up to 16 or 17 families) when Don José de Escandón entered in this valley with the report he had of their
good lands and of the people established in it, which seems to have encouraged Don Juan Francisco
Barberena, who was captain of the borders of said Huasteca, inclining him to form, with this beginning,
a settlement that could be conducive to the settlement and pacification of the colony of which Don José de
Escandón was in charge, and he offered him to bring other families without cost to the Royal Treasury,
which would be sufficient to assure the tranquility of the land, and to remain in it even when the Indians
rose up; the idea seemed good to Escandón and, using the powers he had, he ordered those families, whom
he encountered, to go to establish their shacks at one league from where they had them in the region called
Palos Altos, he added to them right away from those whom he was bringing and, recognizing the said Don
Juan de Barberena as captain of this new settlement, he conferred the political and military jurisdiction
of it to him; it was given the title of villa and it was given the name of Santa B�rbara; the same Barberena
having charge of the conducting of the families that he had offered to bring, with which reason, and the
one of having to accompany Escandón on the expedition, the command of this establishment was left to
Don Tom�s de Soto in the interim naming him lieutenant. In this conformity he subsisted one year and,
don José de Escandón returning at the end of it, he brought a missionary priest to attend to the
administration of the residents and to the doctrine of the Indians; he assigned the site of la Alberca at a
short one-half league distance from that of Palos Altos for a mission; he assigned the lands for cultivation
by the citizenry (which had already increased to thirty-four families) and he gave the rest of the provisions
conducive to formalizing this settlement. The missionary priest, to whom three hundred fifty pesos as
annual synod were assigned, applied himself to bringing the Indians and to converting them to a congrega
and he had good effects due to the continuous aid of corn which Don José de Escandón provided by the
hand of the Captain Barberena and due to the various gifts of clothes made to them but their inconstancy
and bad propensity induced them, in the year of '752, to rise up and, surprising the settlement, they killed
two of the residents, wounded seven, robbed many, and they left for the sierra from which they committed
various damages and thefts of livestock and, thus, they continued for some time until, having gone to unite
themselves at the mission of Llera, the persuasions of the priest and the offer he made them of their not
being punished converted them to be restituted at the mission where they have remained since then in peace
and applied to farming, such that I encountered them in a better disposition than others of the colony since,
having gone to inspect the mission and to review said Indians, I found them very orderly, all baptized,
instructed in the principle doctrines of faith, and somewhat used to Spanish; this mission is composed of
the Pame and Janambre tribes; of these I was presented twenty-eight warriors, eighteen women, and
twenty-two children of both sexes and, their giving me a report of several ill ones they had, I came to
understand that all of this tribe probably consists of seventy-six persons commanded by a captain, a mayor,
and a prosecutor and one of them assigned as clerk. Of the Pames I found forty-eight warriors, forty-one
women, and thirty-three children of both sexes and, my being informed by the governor that there were
seven of them ill, ten guarding the corn fields, others away with permission from the priest who confirmed
it, and many ill children, I found that, although this tribe only goes up to one hundred thirty-nine persons
by my accounting, there should have been a greater number that would justify the list which the missionary
would have given me according to how he executed it; but, this seeming excessive to me as being the
instrument of more credit, I should subject myself to it and only present the marginal notes of said list
because it is evident that some have left. These Pames are commanded by a governor and they have
selected a captain, two mayors, one prosecutor, and two subordinate to him and there are four assigned
as clerks. Also presented to me were some Pison Indians established in the site of las Lajas at four leagues
from the mission; of these I found six warriors and their captain told me that another four were away, that
they all had wives and eleven children; the missionary priest confirmed all of this and he added that,
although all are baptized and married by the church, they seldom come to doctrine due to the distance and
that he is helping them along until being better assured of their faith and fidelity so as not to exasperate and
The goods of which this mission is provided and the considerable planting of fifty measures of
corn, which is done annually by the priest and the community, suffice to support the Indians very well and
it allows grain to sell whose product is used to dress them; they also cultivate some cane, beans, and
peanuts, all of which contributes to these Indians lacking nothing and, as the report of the missionary priest
which is evident in the folder 22, from pages 29 to 34, instructs in detail regarding these and other
circumstances which show the good state of this mission, I refer to it, only informing Your Excellency that,
being a brother of Don José de Escandón, I judge that not everything can be separated from the fraternal
love, for whatever concept that Your Excellency might want to form of its reports, although I should
confess that his piety, it seemed to me, would distinguish him among the other missionaries because he is
better than average and his zeal very fervent as his results that are seen in this mission accredit which carry
advantages even to that of Camargo, such that I conceive the formalization of everything very quickly and
that one can form an orderly villa from it which, in time when the laws are prepared, would contribute its
The citizenry of this settlement is composed of ninety-nine families with four hundred seventy-nine
persons as it is evident from the review which I made and is found in the said folder from pages 21 verso
to 25 verso and, although there is a disparity between this proceeding and the register of the missionary
priest, I judge it could consist in the families of educated people that there are united to the mission and
are evident on page 21 verso. And, since in said review only the ones presented to me are set down and
it is justified in the existence of the residents, it could depend on their being other ranchers united to this
parish and, although the doubt could be cleared with the assistance of the priest, I did not find it
advantageous to authorize this document with it, as in other settlements, so that the immediate relationship
of this priest with Don José de Escandón not make it suspicious, and I took advantage of the reformed
lieutenant Don Tom�s de Soto who has the best knowledge of this citizenry since he has been commanding
it since its establishment until recently that he was given a successor.
The large application to farming that there is in this town and the regular harvests that it has had
have sufficed for the support of its residents so that they have been providing themselves of some livestock
for the greater cultivation of the lands and to furnish decent clothing for its families; since their having
come to establish themselves in poverty, they are doing fairly well now due to the great harvest of corn
they have had, not only for the settlements of the colony but also for la Huasteca, and even in the last year
the captain Don Francisco de Mora informed us that the great need that Guadalc�zar had of corn had been
remedied here and, although, for this reason they found themselves at a lack of this grain at present, the
sowing had come to from sixty to seventy measures, the varieties of statements computed, and in the
previous ones it has not been less then seventy to eighty; the harvest is calculated at one hundred fifty
measures to one and, although the corn fields are reliant on the weather, they have experienced that it is
more regular here, without doubt due to the situation of this valley and because the sierras that surround
it hold the clouds which provide it with opportune rains.
The abundance of these in the past year of 1756, caused the flood of this town in the region of
Palos Altos in which it was situated and has forced them to move to more elevated land of this part of the
rivulet which provides it with water and where we find it now established.
The site of la Alberca, where the mission was, had the same problem and they were obligated to
leave that region and the cell of stone and mortar, which the missionary priest had, along with another
larger lodging of the same materials he had begun to build in the hopes of building a church attached to
it; but, although this misfortune retarded the mission somewhat, the zeal of the priest, who has taken it to
an immediate hill, has repaired it, building a church of forked poles and mud-covered cane but
whitewashed and in a decent disposition which is provided with ornaments and of all the holy urns and
necessary service mostly of silver with a reliquary which Don José de Escandón gave; all the Indians
already have their shacks on that site and said priest a very regular lodging of stone and stuccoed mud and
whitewashed covered with palms.
The settlement also has a church of a similar construction as that of the Indians, roomy and with
a vestry and, having served itself of the ornaments and adornments of the mission, it is now found provided
with the necessities by the diligence of the priest and he is paying the cost it had.
The terrain of this town is not the healthiest and some tertian fever is suffered in hot weather,
without doubt, because the water makes ponds in several regions of this valley. It is very suitable for
farming and for raising livestock of which there are already some ranches, but it has an area called Mal
País that is good for neither one.
The border of the lands that are assigned is of one quarter league on the east, six leagues on the
south, four on the west and three on the north and they are enjoyed by the residents in common. Their
formal distribution seems very necessary to me for the reasons that I have already explained to Your
Excellency in other settlements.
The proceedings practiced here confirm the reports of the mines of Tamaulipa la Vieja and give
the one of some veins of ore that are found in the immediate sierra at the site they call la Misión Vieja but
they have not been inspected.
From the preceding reports Your Excellency will find that the establishment and subsistence of this
town has not caused the king any other cost than the small one which he made in aiding the residents at
its beginning and is evident in the documents and that, due to its little value and not to delay myself, I have
excused making mention of it; those, which have been furnished to the Indians and the kindnesses that have
been made to them in clothes, amount to more and are evident principally in the declaration of the
reformed lieutenant on page 5 verso but, not needing to make further expenditures, the settlement was able
to support itself from its crops and promising the state of its mission from the flourishing of its great
progress, offering the colony the ease of providing itself with corn, it seems to me appropriate that it be
The salary of eight hundred pesos enjoyed by Don Juan Francisco Barberena, proprietary captain
of this town and commander of those of the colony, could be changed but, having an extrajudicial report
that it was assigned in attention to his merit and that in recompense of it he was elevated to lieutenant
colonel, I hesitate to propose it to Your Excellency since I do not know if it is assigned by the king and
I could not find out because I did not get to see this officer due to his convalescing in his Hacienda de
Tancolón in la Huasteca and I only learned that he was assigned as subaltern overseer of the colony in
respect to that, in the absences that Don José de Escandón has had, he has remained in charge of its
SETTLEMENT OF PALMILLAS
Being situated in la Sierra Gorda and estimating it, like that of el Jaumave, as independent from
the colony, although under the command of Don José de Escandón, I had the same reason, as in that other
one, to inspect it and to form the folder of documents No. 23 of the judicial proceedings which I practiced
in it and, from its results, I became informed: that this settlement had its beginning (after there having been
a mission in this valley, in olden times which was deserted) with six families of Tula who came to establish
themselves in the site called el Visadero at the skirt of the west part of the sierra and at less then a quarter
league from where it is found today; that said families went, with the little livestock they had, at the
stimulus of the good lands for planting and their not having a lease to pay and they collected at the hamlets
of the Indians that were there in whom they found no repugnance; that with this notice, that, without doubt,
was had in the safekeeping of Río Verde, a priest was assigned for the instruction of the Indians and that,
at the same time he administer to these educated people; well, although, from the time of the old mission,
the "religión" had one nominated with the title of Missionary of Palmillas, his attendance could not be
verified and, yes, that the priest of Tula would make, each year and perhaps with the intervening of three,
four, and more, an entry into this valley accompanied by armed people as his escort and, remaining three
or four days there, he would instruct the Indians somewhat in religion, baptize the children who were
presented to him and, on the occasions in which he encountered some Spaniards, he would administer the
holy sacraments of confession and communion, in which state, I have been able to learn, this part of the
Sierra Gorda remained until said year of '745; but since the case of Don José de Escandón's entry for the
pacification and population of the colony did not occur until that of '49, I shall say to Your Excellency that,
from that beginning that I have explained, the voice of the good reception that the six first families had
from the Indians having been heard and the favorable concept of the land of this valley being confirmed,
others were encouraged to come to cultivate its lands and, when said Escandón traveled for its expedition,
there were already about twenty families together in the region, to which I have referred, established with
the permission of the Justice of Guadalc�zar who had appointed an overseer to govern them. It is not
justified that, on this occasion, the said Don José de Escandón might have taken any measures but that
afterwards (although not positively in which year) he did take charge of the command of this settlement
and it was segregated from the jurisdiction of Guadalc�zar; he appointed a lieutenant to govern it and
everything that came up from then on reverted to him as a superior which would be, without doubt, with
the title of lieutenant general of the Sierra Gorda which he had; what the missionary priest does report is
that in the year of '755, the aforesaid Escandón, going out of the colony, made the first register of this
citizenry which was already quite increased because, voluntarily and without financial aid, many families
from Tula, el Valle del Maíz, and other lands outside had come to establish themselves here, encouraged
by the reasons I have explained and of living with less subjection. This is, Your Most Excellence, what
I have been able to verify of the state of this part of la Sierra Gorda before the conquest of the colony about
the beginning and progress of this establishment and the way in which its command fell to Don José de
Escandón and, the settlement surveyed and inspected, I find it necessary to inform Your Excellency of the
state in which I found it.
Its citizenry is composed of sixty-four families with four hundred eight persons of both sexes and
of all ages, as it is evident in the review pages 13 to 15, commanded by Francisco Gaona with the title
of lieutenant, but he does not enjoy a salary nor does he have any subjects and, nevertheless, all serve in
whatever is ordered of them and, if there is a need for an expedition, they obey it at their own cost.
The houses are found today on the east part at a distance of one quarter league from where they
were first placed and at the edge of the river called Palmissas, of little water but they have not lacked any;
it has its beginning near some springs and the waterfalls of the sierra and, continuing along its fissures with
its pouring out, it becomes wider, it passes on one side of el Jaumave and, receiving there the great amount
of water of that valley, it takes its name and continues with it to enter into the colony.
This settlement has a church with a vestry; it is spacious enough and decent, made of stone and
mortar; from the same material there is a massive wall that encircles a spacious cemetary of a rod and a
quarter in height and the lodging of the priest, attached to said church, is of the same material with
competent partitioning and a large orchard fenced with adobe; that everything has been constructed
voluntarily by the residents and Indians of whose doctrine and administration one finds the reverend priest
Fray Juan de Dios Ponce de Leon in charge, a Franciscan priest observant of la Provincia de Michoac�n
to which bishopric this settlement and that of el Jaumave are subject.
I solicited the inspection of the state of the mission and its Indians and, the missionary priest
presenting them to me, I found congregated two tribes, Pisones and Pames, the first from the time of the
establishment and the second having come four months before; I counted the Pisones and found twenty-five
warriors, seventeen women, and nineteen children all baptized, three married by the church, subject to bell
and doctrine and very obedient to the priest, commanded by a governor, a captain, and one prosecutor;
I performed the same proceeding with the Pames and found eleven warriors, as many women, and sixteen
little ones baptized, also subjects, and they come punctually to catechism instruction. All these have their
shacks attached to the priest's orchard and, with his zealous application, he has not omitted any means
conducive to maintaining them with alms and instructing them in farming so that the crops provide the
necessary corn; but he complained to me that, the residents having the best lands, they had assigned before
now some that were not guarded from the livestock and in which the few cornfields that the Indians planted
had been spoiled for that reason, the results of which have caused great work and they have been forced
to resort to the fruits of the woods for their subsistence; and, having assigned in the present year, better
land to the mission from the justified, repeated persistence of the priest, he and the Indians have planted
two measures of corn and he believes that what he expects to harvest from them will suffice for the annual
support of the children [his flock] whom, with his industriousness, he is providing with farm implements
to increase the farming and, with love, he is inclining them to it which, without doubt, he shall obtain with
much spiritual and temporal progress of the mission of his charge since in this priest are found all the
circumstances of a zealous missionary, and his particular virtue, tender treatment, and humility are very
suitable to the holy habit he wears; his application to the teaching of the Indians (whose language he
understands and is learning) I examined on the three occasions that I traveled through this settlement and
the one that has the most decent divine worship is accredited in the intended purpose that, at his
persistence, has been given to the value of the leasing of some lands and it is evident in the cited folder on
page 19; but, for his zeal to produce the effects that should be expected from it, it seems to me appropriate
that Your Excellency serve himself to order that the lands, which correspond to the mission, be assigned
as property and that the preferential rights of the Indians be attended to in the assignment.
Treating with this priest, I understood from his conversation that the baptismal book had been in
use since the year of '718 and, observing how much it could lead to instruct me of the state that this valley
had had, I asked to see it and, granting it to me, I found that, in fact, its deaths begin in said year and the
reliquary priest of Río Verde provided it so that their notations be continued due to the one they had before
being full and remaining in the reliquary; but, examining it, I came to find out that, since then, there are
only deaths set in from year to year in one month and with very few days difference; I found the
interruption of two and three years in which there was no death; and continuing thus until that of '731,
from that until '741, there is not one baptism set down nor did I find any later until that of '745 in which
there are different ones and in different months of the year as well as in that of '46 and '47 since when,
and more since that of '48, until today, a distinct formality is found and the deaths set down by months.
This inspection confirmed for me the reports that I obtained from the statements and reports and gave me
the idea that since the year of '45 there was a priest assigned who, with his attendance, would begin
attracting and teaching the Indians under the protection of the first families who established themselves here
at that time.
This valley becomes narrower at a glen which runs from the north to the south between two sierras;
well, it is only one league in width east to west and in parts even narrower. In it the residents cultivate the
lands and do their sowing which will come to forty-three measures which, from what is expressed on page
11 verso by the lieutenant that, from the two witnesses who give a report, it is the most exceptional one,
of these, the corresponding land only [coming] to four can be benefitted by irrigation and the rest is reliant
on the weather in which they have experienced very regular crops and harvests of one hundred fifty
measures to one with which they have defrayed their support and have had some to sell outside.
For the raising of livestock, the declarations assert that it is very suitable land but the major
application is to the planting of corn and some beans.
Regarding that of the mines, they only report here about the immediate one of el Real de los
Infantes known by the name of el Pantano.
From all that I have expressed Your Majesty will recognize that this establishment can subsist
without help, that it has not caused nor causes any cost to the Royal Treasury, that its mission promises
progress, and that the good crops and left-over corn is conducive to the provision of the settlements of the
colony which come to buy them at a reasonable price and, since this valley is a needed transit as their
principle entry, it is another reason that makes its population important.
REAL DE INFANTES
This settlement was founded on the 26th of May of 1749, with the dedication to san Miguel; it is
found situated in the Sierra Gorda from six to seven leagues distance from Palmillas and ten from Tula in
the district that goes to el Destiladero and, although I do not consider it as pertaining to the colony of the
Gulf of Mexico, it was established by the disposition of the colonel Don José de Escandón at the time that
he was in charge of its settlement and pacification and, since it is included in the map and state which he
turned over to me and it is found in the 1st folder, I found it necessary to inspect it and to practice the
judicial proceedings of which the No. 24 is composed and it results from them.
That before Don José de Escandón entered into this part of the Sierra Gorda, a Don Antonio
Garay, resident of Charcas, reported the veins of ore of this sierra; he had sent people to dig them up to
inspect their metals and, having opened three of them, which exist today and are known by the names of
Santa Ana, Las Animas, and La Asunción, they went to the depth on the first two of about one state and
three on the last one; the ores which they removed from them they took to Charcas and the assay made of
them produced some silver whose exact quantity is not discussed but the same Garay, having come two
years later with some peons and other subjects, they removed six loads of ore from which, making a new
assay, they got (from the silver that was taken out) better information of its quality and one of the aforesaid
subjects, who accompanied Garay, named Don Nicol�s Jacinto de Salazar was moved, at the stimulation
of these mines, to solicit permission to settle the valley immediate to them to solidify its formal
improvement and, recognizing, as the superior of all this territory, Don José de Escandón as lieutenant
general of the Sierra Gorda, he went there to find him; it is verified that he obtained the license to found
this settlement preceded by the inspection that said Escandón had made of the region as it appears in the
report of the priest on page 21, although not the circumstances that they mediated, only that said Salazar,
having delayed in coming, Don Nicol�s Antonio del Castillo came ahead with his siblings and brought up
to twenty-four families, including those of his servants, to which others began uniting and finally that of
Don Nicol�s Salazar and one of his sons; the population of this region increased; the lodgings began to
be built; it was given the name of Real de Infantes, removing that of Pantano because it was known and,
to the said son of Salazar, Don José de Escandón sent the title of captain so that he would govern these
people; finally, a year later the same one went to formalize this settlement and, since it was found without
a priest to administer it and say mass for its residents, who would go to Tula until a priest would be
facilitated to take charge of the ministry and of the teaching of the Indians, he provided that they go to that
of Palmillas as closer which was practiced until the arrival of a priest, from those of the custody of Río
Verde and Provincia of the observance of Nuestro Padre San Francisco de Michoac�n, who was assigned
by his superiors as missionary but without the assignment of a synod and depending only on the alms of
the residents and the offerings of the fruits and livestock of the parishioners.
In the immediate sierra there was a hamlet of Pison Indians who, with the kindnesses of the present
captain in the beginning of the establishment, came down and united with the settlers; they have always
maintained themselves in tranquility and have dedicated themselves to assure their support; they put their
shacks next to the lodgings of the residents and, having lived obedient and subjected to the missionary
priest, I found them all baptized, those having status and having been instructed in the doctrine married
by the church; they are composed of eight warriors, seven women, and eight children as it is evident from
the review that I made and is found on pages 13 and verso.
According to the one I made of the citizenry, it consists of thirty registered families without
including in them those of the inhabitants with which it makes up the number of two hundred one persons,
as is seen on pages 14 and 15 verso in which the goods they possess are recognized and how they have
been disturbed by the barbaric Indians of the immediate sierras by the thefts of livestock they have made.
This settlement today is commanded by Don Nicol�s Antonio del Castillo with the title of captain
which was granted to him since the year of 1750 by Don José de Escandón, and to his brother Don
Ignacio Félix that of lieutenant to serve in his absences and illnesses; and today it is administered
spiritually by the priest Fray Domingo Guillén.
It has no river that bathes it but the waters going through the rocks of the sierra provide the
citizenry with the water they need for their use with an abundance that allows the irrigation of an orchard
that the captain cultivates and some gardens but that does not suffice to give the same benefit to the sowed
Those that are done here go up to fifty measures of corn, all reliant on the weather, and their crops,
according to the statement of the captain on page 11, always have been sufficient to support the residents
and when the years have been regular, they have had enough to sell to the outside because they have
experienced the harvesting of two hundred measures to one, which is confirmed by another witness on page
7 verso, although the first one on page 4 affirms that, being a farmer, he has not been able to acquire the
experience of the harvest in three years due to the poor crops.
The lands assigned for farming are seventy caballerias plus six sites for major livestock which
are all enjoyed by the citizenry in common, and its distribution, I judge, would be as useful as in the other
Its land is very suitable for the raising and conservation of livestock but there are few who have
applied it to this because most of them support themselves as servants as they came at the beginning.
The establishment of this settlement caused no expense to the king nor has its subsistence carried
I have reported to Your Excellency the beginning, the progress, and the present state of this
settlement and I have left the reports of its minerals (although its most essential point since it is called Real)
to the last to prevent digressions which might confuse the information of all of it; and, although this was
clarified by the judicial proceedings practiced, I shall attempt to extract what they show, pertinent to this
affair, combining it with what I inspected visually.
The sierras which encircle most of this valley abound in veins of ore, according to what all the
reports say, and it is accredited by the establishment of this settlement since it was formed from this
The mouths of the open mines are the following:
In the region called el Pantanito at a little less than the distance of one league on the west part, the
three called Santa Ana, las Animas, and la Asunción of which there has been reference and they are
worked today by the brother of the captain in whose name they run, although they belong to both.
At six leagues in the site called Mata Capulín, also to the west, six known as San José, Santa María
en Gracia, Santa Anita, la Asunción, Nuestra Señora del Carmen, and Muriélago. Of these, the first two
are in the name of the captain's brother and are the ones most worked today, the other four are without
improvement since, although that of Nuestra Señora del Carmen runs under the ownership of José
Domingo Arg�ello because he opened it, took out only one load of ore from it at a rod and one-half of
depth from which he made an assay in Guadalc�zar and, it having produced two quintals, nine ounces of
silver under fire, he says in his statement on page 11 verso [that] he registered it before Don José de
Escandón and the captain and that he has not continued its improvement because of being dedicated to
In the immediate sierra on the north part, in view of the settlement, on the site they call San Rafael,
there are three open mines called San Rafael, Santa Anita, and Santa María en Gracia which are never
worked although the one of San Rafael is known to be owned by the sargeant Antonio Casiano; the Santa
Anita by José Domingo Arg�ello and the Santa María en Gracia by Don Ignacio Félix del Castillo.
At one league in the region called el Gavil�n, there is an open mine called Santa Gertrudis which
runs in the name of the same Don Ignacio, brother of the captain, who extracts some ores from it which
seem to be mercury, from the short assays which have been made of them, as also the three which precede
The character they have experienced of all these ores is leaden, they provide little silver and much
alloy, they provide, in general, one cuartilla or a real and one-half of silver and two and one-half
arrobas of alloy as a mixture; they are improved by smelting, even those that manifest being of mercury
because, although in the firing they did not produce silver in the first assays, their ores introduced with the
mixture of the leaden ones, they found, in the smelting, the same quality as in the others.
Of the three mines that are found open in the immediacy of this Real, they only work those of el
Pantanito, Mata Capulín, and Gavil�n and this [is done] by Don Ignacio del Castillo, brother of the
captain, in the foundry hacienda which they have which is badly and poorly furnished such that, without
having information, I understood that, for this reason and due to the poor construction of the refining oven,
it could not but have a great waste in the working of the metals.
In order to assure ourselves better of the quality of these, Don Agustín de la Cámara Alta and
I encouraged the owner to make an assay at our viewing of thirty-five slabs at two arrobas each which he
had and, that having been done, it produced fourteen ounces of silver and fifty-two arrobas of marl.
Of this they manage to come out well in Guadalc�zar due to the dryness of those ores and they are
paid at fifteen and sixteen pesos per load of twelve arrobas.
Having full knowledge of the aforesaid form of the minerals of this Real and of its quality, I
attempted also to inform myself of the formality that has been observed in the registry of the mines, of the
silver that they have produced, and of its sales and I discussed, due to the confession of the captain that
his brother Don Ignacio has registered those which he has opened and works before him, as captain and
justice which he is of this settlement, but without their having made a formal document in which it appears;
that the same captain has a folder in which he notes the silver that he has removed and sold and the alloys
that he has improved in the same manner, with which report I requested said folder from the captain and,
his having shown it to me, I had everything in it copied into the No. 24 of the documents, in which it is
found from pages 16 to 18, from which Your Excellency, if he be served to do so, could see the formality
observed in this Real in the obligations of the mines and of the mining and, already having adjusted the
account of all the silver which, since the year of 750, Don Ignacio del Castillo has removed since he has
had the work on these mines running, I recognize that it comes, in all, to one hundred five marks and two
ounces and that the alloys have come to one hundred ninety and two and one-half loads through which it
is easy to realize what this mine has provided in six to seven years.
The judgement that I have formed is that the owner has not been able to afford the precise costs
of the improvement of those ores, even with the great help he has had from the work of the Indians for only
their support and with the rest of the wages, which he pays to those people whom he brought as his
servants, being very low and I have believed that the little trust in this mine is the cause of people not
having gone to aid in the benefit of these ores, although the captain attributes it to their all being sated with
the immediate riches of those of Guadalc�zar and the fame of its promontory, that there has been no one
to think about the work and application of these and this reason making an impact on me, it seems to me
it would be appropriate to deepen the mines more to find out, by means of the formal and arranged assay
of its ores, the true quality of them and their purity.
Means which, from what I understand, can contribute to the subsistence and growth of the Colony
of the Gulf of Mexico with a savings to the Royal Treasury, the formal establishment of missions, and
profit to the treasury. [It seems to be a continuation of the sentence above.]
Needing, Your Most Excellency, to satisfy what I have proposed to Your Excellency in this third
part with which I conclude the reports concerning this commission, I shall continue the same method of
dividing the affairs so that, by this coordination, their detail and my confusing explanation cloud them less.
The measures, which seem to me conducive to the growth of this colony and its subsistence, I have
presented to Your Excellency in my two preceding reports and, recompiled, they are reduced:
To the encouragement of the building of irrigation canals in the settlements of G�emes, Escandón,
Horcasitas, Padilla, and Burgos in the method that Don Agustín de la Cámara Alta projected them.
That the towns of Escandón, Reynosa, and Burgos be moved to the proposed regions.
That two new settlements be established, the one in Tamaulipa la Vieja and the other in la Nueva
in the sites assigned for the better subjugation of the Indians.
That, if my thought please Your Excellency, the two expeditions be ordered, the one against the
Indians of el Sigué and the other against the apostates of el Nuevo Reino de León who take cover in la
Tamalulpa Nueva, in order to severely correct and to punish some of them and assure, by this means, the
tranquility of all the hamlets that are not united nor congregated to a mission.
That, if Your Excellency would find it proper, the order be given for the exporting of some loads
of ores from the mines, of which the reports from the two Tamaulipas give information, of el Cerro de
Santiago and of those of Boca de Caballeros so that, taking them to Guadalc�zar, San Luis Potosí, or
Charcas, they make formal and careful assays of them and their quality be accredited whether they are of
the purity which is reported, by which means the colony shall promptly take people to these regions to
work them; the colony, from its results, will obtain the greatest encouragement and the king the great
profits which the ores produce.
That the distribution of lands assigned to each settlement be made in the terms that were offered
to the settlers and to residents, with distributive justice and attention to the merit and antiquity of each one,
especially to the rights of the Indians.
That, for the decayed settlements of Horcasitas, Escandón, Padilla, and Soto la Marina, a few more
years of support be considered at the pleasure of Your Excellency so they can better recover from their
decline, and that all of them be granted the ten years offered according to those in which they were
That, if it be worthy of the approval of Your Excellency, the project that I shall propose be put in
execution so that the savings that I propose and the best care and service of the colony be done.
The savings to the Royal Treasury could seem that I founded it wrong, when up to now I have only
proposed new expenditures to put some irrigation canals in service and establish a basis for the missions,
if I would not make it clear to Your Excellency, through the project that I shall make, that the amount of
the expenditures is less than the excess that there is today in the annual salaries of captains, officials, and
soldiers to that which I propose thus, supplying the savings of one year alone to all the expenditures; the
difference that there is from one expense to the other, and which I will manifest, remains in favor of the
Royal Treasury, being thus that, from them, it is to be believed the subsistence and growth of the colony
and the progress of the missions will result and that, consequently, the hopes that can be founded in the
subjugation of the Indians, their teaching, and conversion, be accomplished under the supposition that the
most promising are the children and some women, as I have set down for Your Excellency, and it has
always been the gain which, up to now, has been obtained from the missions, in which concept I have
believed, that far from constraining myself from projecting these expenses, I should present them to Your
Excellency when it is so supported, that your charitable intentions, befitting those of the king, do not
oppose an expense that will lead to such a holy catholic end since, rather, any objection of mine would be
culpable with Your Excellency and would offend with him [sic] his accredited generosity; equally in
concealing the advantages and increase which the building of irrigation canals could furnish to the decayed
settlements of Escandón, Horcasitas, and Padilla and even to the one of G�emes and Burgos, when their
gain is considered accessible, from what the second engineer Don Agustín de la Cámara Alta recognized,
and when it is to be believed that it would facilitate the benefits to said settlements which are experienced
by those that enjoy irrigation; well, since, through it, they can assure the early crops without the
contingencies of the weather, it assures them the harvest, the necessary corn for the consumption of the
residents, and probably some left over from it, they might sell to the outside what they, through this means,
harvest and what the seasonal cornfields provide without having to dip into their livestock in which they
experience the increase that the land of the colony provides [which is] generally suitable for this purpose
and since, in order to assure these advantages, I judge it necessary to encourage this work and raise the
fallen spirit of those miserable residents, I find it indispensable to propose to Your Excellency the
expenditure which shall be seen in the financial aids which I have calculated for each settlement, founded
in the concept that, the number of those that are found in a favorable estate exceeding those which I found
decayed, for the best conservation of those and so that the profits that all of them can produce and which
I shall present later to Your Excellency result in favor of the Royal Treasury in the future.
All of which is evidenced in the following form:
Report of the annual amount of the salaries of captains, officials, overseers, and soldiers who are
appointed for the guarding and service of the Colony of the Gulf of Mexico as its general state is made
A commander assigned as captain of Santa B�rbara
who enjoys annually ..................................................... $ 800.00
Thirteen captains in different settlements with the
salary of $500.00 each ................................................. 6,500.00
A lieutenant of the Voluntary Squadron of Padilla
with the annual salary of ............................................ 400.00
A second lieutenant assigned in Santander ................ 300.00
Twelve sergeants in the squadrons of the settlements
with two hundred fifty pesos per year each ............ 3,000.00
One hundred fourteen soldiers who compose the
said squadrons with two hundred twenty-five pesos
each ................................................................................ 25,650.00
One soldier in Escandón annually ................................ 720.00
Another one in Burgos at two reales per day ............ 91. 2 reales.
A drummer in Llera with two reales daily .................. 91. 2 reales.
Total ............................. $36,952. 4 reales.
Report of to what the project, which I make for the guarding and service of the colony, will come
annually, their being a company established for it.
A commander whom I control as subordinate overseer of it,
if Your Excellency finds it good to allow
this employment and salary with attention to the
merit of the official who serves it ............................. $ 800.00
Ten captains for the command of as many more
settlements at $350.00 ................................................. 3,500.00
One captain of the company who will command the
settlement of Padilla in which one of the three
detachments, into which I propose to divide this
company, is to be placed at $500.00 salary per year.. 500.00
One lieutenant who will command the settlement of
Horcasitas or Escandón where the second detach-
ment will be assigned for the guarding of the moun-
tain range of the south of the colony and the
containment of the Indians of Tamaulipa la Vieja,
with the annual salary of ............................................ 400.00
One overseer who will command the town of Burgos
where the third detachment should be placed for
the guarding of the north part of the colony and
principally to contain the Indians of Tamaulipa la
Nueva and the apostates of the kingdom with the
salary of ......................................................................... 300.00
Three sergeants for the three detachments, each one
with $250.00 .................................................................. 750.00
Seventy-five soldiers at 25 in each detachment and
the salary of $225.00 each .......................................... 16,875.00
Total of this project ........................................... $23,125.00
So that, adjusted, the annual expense which the ser-
vice of the colony today amounts to ................................ $36,952. 4 reales.
And what the project that it formed comes to ........... $23,125
That one subtracted from the other, the annual
saving is ..................................................................... $13,827. 4 reales.
Report of the amount of the financial assistance which is calculated to facilitate the irrigation canals
to the following settlements:
For that of G�emes as it is proposed .......................... $ 600
For that of Escandón ...................................................... 1,000
For that of Horcasitas ..................................................... 1,000
For that of Padilla due to its greater distance ........... 1,500
For that of Burgos ........................................................... 500
Report of the amount that is calculated to be necessary for the beginning of missions.
For the one which should be established in Santi-
llana ................................................................................ $ 2,000
For the one which should be established in Hoyos .. 1,000
For the one which should be united with that of
Altamira ......................................................................... 1,000
For the one which will be united with the one of
Reynosa ......................................................................... 500
For the same end for that of camargo ......................... 1,200
To establish the one of Mier over the goods that
were assigned to that of Revilla ................................ 1,000
To increase the one of Horcasitas ................................ 600
To encourage the cultivation and planting of
Escandón ....................................................................... 500
To encourage the one of Santander ............................ 600
So, according to what is expressed, the expenses, which should be made, will not come to, if Your
Excellency approves these ideas, the annual savings that are obtained through the project that is made and,
by this means, the decayed settlements will be encouraged and the missions in a state of supporting their
Indians with the crops and increases in livestock which, in consequence, it should be expected that they
will remain in said missions, that they will obey the doctrine, and that everything will produce the
favorable effects that are hoped for along with the savings which the Royal Treasury will experience
annually, in the process of time, of three thousand eight hundred twenty-seven pesos and four reales from
which could come the cost of the establishment of the two or three new settlements which might be put in
and the assistance of Soto la Marina if Your Excellency would judge it suitable that all be executed so that
this colony will put itself in the best state.
The reasons, which stimulate me to present this project to Your Excellency and which make me
believe that from it would result the good preservation and service of all the colony, are the following:
Having found the congregas of the Indians in tranquility and even the bordering hamlets of
heathens, as is affirmed by all the statements taken regarding this affair.
The reflection I have made that the settlements of Hoyos and Aguayo, more immediate and exposed
to the incursions of the Indians of el Sigué and the apostates of el Nuevo Reino, have no troops and they
defend themselves and make expeditions with the armed people of the area, as it happens in that of
Santillana, no less exposed than any other to the hostilities of the heathens of la Boca de la Iglesia.
The consideration that the little strength of the small squadrons distributed in the settlements is of
little defense for all of them because of not being united and it is supported thus because, where there is
one, the residents, like the soldiers, perform the service and go on the campaigns that are needed [and]
that, one being assigned to the continuous aid of the missionary priest and the care of the goods of the
mission, and in places two, these perform no other service; the one of the guarding of the horses also
entertains soldiers and since, where there are squadrons, one is employed at the orders of the captain,
although everything is very orderly and the settlements where they are distributed are many, there are as
many more soldiers that are put into use in this and they stop using them in the most useful service of the
colony which is that of patrolling the lands and the roads.
That, distributing the three detachments in three equal parts and assigning one to Padilla, this one
will defend and guard the center of the colony placing the settlements, which are situated in it, under
protection from the hostilities of the Indians that are feared there and they are those of Tetillas, Mesas
Prietas, and Boca de la Iglesia; the other one, placed in Horcasitas or Escandón, will contain the barbaric
Indians who have their asylum in la Tamaulipa Vieja, thus covering all the mountain chain of the south of
the colony; and, establishing the third one in Burgos, it will subdue the Indians of la Tamaulipa Nueva and
drive away the apostates of el Nuevo Reyno de León who take refuge in it; the colony will be, as far as
I can see, defended, guarded, and served by this means and all the heathen Indians more subdued by this
company or presidio being made respectable if its troops are employed only for the designated ends in each
assigned place, which is in surveying the land and roads with a party of soldiers which each detachment
should always have outside, whether it be a third of it or a half, whichever is found most suitable, bearing
in mind the rest that the soldier should be given, a detail which can be arranged by the general of this
colony under whose orders this whole troop should be.
Confirming the concept for me, of this being the service which can best be arranged, is having
recognized that the mobil squadron, assigned to Padilla which executes it in this form, is the one most
feared by the Indians, the most useful, and the one that carries the most weight of the colony, and whose
soldiers are best instructed in the method of attacking and defending themselves against the Indians because
they know their entries and exits and the ordering of their ambushes since, as I have informed Your
Excellency, they generally attack treacherously, flee from the plains, and seek either the thickness of the
woods or the ruggedness of the mountain.
But for my idea to have the best effect on everything, I consider it necessary that an ordinance be
formed that would establish, not only the service already proposed, but also the armament, mount, and
equipment that these troops should have and the way to satisfy the salaries for their best satisfaction and
the security of their munitions in the form that they are provided and equipped there.
ESTABLISHMENT OF MISSIONS
For the formal establishment of the missions, the method, which Your Excellency may have
recognized as unique and the only one which gives a hope of the conversion of the Indians to a congrega,
is that, in them, they bay be able to furnish a daily ration of corn and, perhaps, the kindness of some
tobacco and, since for this it is necessary that the missions have a quantity either of livestock or of crops
whose product will finance this effect, I have already proposed to Your Excellency the method of
establishing it in some settlements; reducing it to that, in those in which there is probability of a harvest
of the crops either because of having an irrigation canal or because the experience shows that the seasons
are regular, they be provided with all the necessary equipment for farming, if they did not have them,
preceding the assignment and ownership of the lands of the mission and that, to these, there be a small
amount of livestock added which the missionary priest could use in a sterile year. In the regions where
the plantings do not offer a regular crop, the basis of the mission should be established in the livestock
which would prove best on that land so that the harvests finance the buying of corn and, in those that are
situated immediate to the salt deposits, it will be suitable to place a bunch of mules for the hauling of the
salt in respect that with the exchange of it will able to provide the needed corn.
In the terms in which I find that this can be executed, I have already expressed with attention to
the goods which the missions have today and to what should be added to them and, thus, I judge that for
the establishment of that of Hoyos, one thousand pesos is enough because the only things, that must be
bought to supply it, are the oxen and the farm implements and a little corn to plant in respect to the crops
there being assured in most years; and for the appropriation of the funding of Santillana, I propose two
thousand pesos because I believe that it is necessary to establish it for livestock due to the hardships which
will occur in the planting, especially while there is no irrigation canal; the same is true for the missions of
Altamira, Reynosa, and Camargo but, the irrigation canals of Escandón and Horcasitas being built, good
crops can also be promised like in Santander and, for this reason, I lessen the quantity over the goods
which these missions already have because that which I have indicated should be used for farm implements
and some oxen.
But if this measure, Sir Excellency, produces the effect that I promise myself, it seems to me that
it is also necessary to take measures so that the Indians live subjected to the obedience of the priest and the
justice, disciplined as much as possible and converted to attend the teaching of the doctrine for which it
will be necessary to impose the law on them (of which the Indians should be instructed) by which they
should live permanently in the site that is assigned to them, without leaving it for the woods without the
previous permission of the missionary priest and of the respective captain so that, when met by the parties
of soldiers they are not offended by them or arrested, that they should obey the doctrine, from morning
until night, which will be explained to them by said priest or by whomever he orders.
That they should apply themselves to farming and the cultivation of the lands where they will plant
corn, beans, and chili or the planting of cane. That they are to care for the livestock where it is raised and
that they should take care of the hauling of salt in the regions immediate to the salt deposits; well, as goods
that they solicit for their support, they should be obligated to the work that is required for obtaining them,
and if it be found useful for the better ease of the mission, they can be permitted to serve some of the
residents, only if the priest is satisfied with the training.
That, under these circumstances, whoever wants to congregate, attracted by kindness, will be
admitted and supported and, the one who does not subject himself to them, leave for the woods, but the
one, who, after congregating, be lacking in something, he will be punished in proportion to his fault and,
with more vigor the one who is judged in thievery or damage to the livestock of the residents or who
conspires in it with the barbarians.
That whenever some extorsion be committed by these, they try to take them, using the
detachments, in order to punish them in proportion to their crimes, bringing to the closest settlement either
the same delinquents or the ones there might be from the hamlet or tribe who might commit the injury so
that, according to what this one requests, the penalty be imposed on them and this warn and contain the
continuation of the excesses.
That if the death or deaths of settler, or of other Indians, of those congregated, be committed by
said barbarians, all effort possible be made to apprehend the murderers and these be punished with the
capital punishment they deserve even if it is necessary to make a formal expedition with the entire troop
of the company so that such a transgression not go unpunished and the lack of their punishment not
embolden said barbarians as it has happened with those of el Sigué and the apostates of the kingdom.
That the officials of justice be named in the congregas from the same Indians who command them,
assigning to these the most respected of them and of most intelligence, so that they be punished by their
means and that, although it be by the disposition of the priest or of the captain, they receive the penalty
better and in its execution, it appear that those are serving as protectors to lessen it and, in this manner,
they love rather than fear one another.
Under these rules I expect that, although there probably will be fewer Indians who congregate,
because of their fleeing the subjugation, they will be more subordinate, domesticated, and well instructed;
the ones who live in the mission can be counted upon and, in future, those who were brought up from
childhood will be more disciplined and detached from the barbarian customs of their fathers. The ones who
would remain as rebels in the woods, one should be confident that, little by little, they will recognize the
advantages that the ones of the mission enjoy, the voice of the treatment given to them defusing itself and
it is to be believed that by this means they might incline themselves to the congrega with time, to which
the zeal and application of the missionary priests will contribute much, which should not be doubted when
they have the comfort, which they solicit so much, that the missions would be provided of that necessary
for the support of the Indians; well they will pledge themselves to attract them with those effective
proceedings, tenderness, and love which is so proper to their apostolic ministry which will not stop
inclining them to learn the Indian language, so conducive to this holy end, and the effects shall correspond
to those which ordinarily are produced by the fervent zeal of the ecclesiastical missionaries, especially if
they put themselves in a state of using their entire being into the teaching of the Indians, detached from the
administration of the residents in the settlements which can maintain a parish.
The priests, engaged today in those which have no Indians, as are those of G�emes, Padilla,
Revilla, and Burgos and one of the two assigned to San Fernando, could, if Your Excellency would find
it right, go to the missions which are to be established in Santillana, Mier, and in the new settlements of
the two Tamaulipas, if it be resolved by Your Excellency to found them; and, although the hone of Hoyos
also requests a missionary, it appears to me that it would be useful that the priest, who has begun to attract
the Indians and is of the regular observance of Nuestro Padre San Francisco, remain there as much for the
love that they have cost him as because the one which performs as rector in this town is from the same
The profit for the exchequer will be obtained, sir, by means of the smaller cost which will be
expended in the guarding and service of the colony if your Excellency approve the project which I have
It will be afforded by the royal taxes that are imposed on the effects that enter for the use of the
residents and on the export of livestock, pelts, and fodder that is made and it shall be more considerable
each day but it will not be verified for now and not until the passing of the ten years of exemption from
taxes that were granted to the settlers to attract them.
The salt deposits (the same term, in which their free use was offered, having passed) is another part
which will contribute for the costs which the conservation of this province might occasion and probably
will compensate the expenditures made in its pacification and population in respect to the large exportation
they have of their salt to the frontiers of la Huasteca, Valle del Maíz, Guadalc�zar, Potosí, Nuevo Reino
de León, and Coahuila and, although it might be worthwhile to be moderate at the beginning, especially
the burden that is imposed, it could be worth something.
The distribution of the lands verified and the borders of the settlements formally assigned, the sale
made of the royal ones which remain will facilitate some profit to the king since I conceive they will not
lack for buyers when the haciendas, which enter into the colony to pasture [their livestock], are so
If they obtain, as it is to be expected, the establishment of the missions and the that of their Indians
being domesticated, instructed, and organized, forming their pueblos in time, the tributes that these would
contribute to that which the laws arrange beforehand will be another entry in favor of the Royal Treasury.
But what promises greater profits to the treasury are the mines which the reports mention that are
found in this colony; well if it is verified that they are of the quality that they say (which the assays of their
ores, which I propose to Your Excellency to be made, if he finds it worthwhile to order it, will show) from
their improvement one can expect all the advantages that are known that the mines produce in favor of the
king, the population, and encouragement of the colony in respect to the people whom their fame and the
greed will call to work them.
I have concluded, Most Excellent Sir, the reports which, in virtue of the orders of Your Excellency
and with the live desire of satisfying such a respectable confidence, I have believed to be obligated to
extend, in the terms stated and which my materiality has not permitted me to provide more succinctly. I
humbly supplicate Your Excellency that he deign himself to forgive all the defects with his innate goodness;
whatever knowledge that I have of myself induces me to pray also Your Excellency (due to the lack of
confidence of the success which influences me) that my ideas only have, in his concept, that place which
corresponds to the little information that I have been able to obtain of the colony, its parts, and true
property in the short time that I have inspected it, since I subject them, as I should, to the superior views,
solid judgement, and penetrative comprehension of Your Excellency and to the greater experience and
knowledge of the persons whom Your Excellency finds proper to examine them, assuring only that I have
endeavored to put all the possible application for obtaining the success and that my productions are
daughters of a powerful zeal for the greater service of God and the king which Your Excellency orders and
solicits so much and that I have tried to arrange them according to what the judicial proceedings, of which
the documents are composed, justify, to the reports which I solicited, and to what I was able to inspect by
sight and what my little capacity allowed me to understand.
Mexico, 13th of October of 1757. - José Tienda de Cuervo- (Rubric)
----------- end of Part 1 of Volume 2 ------------
YEAR OF 1764
Liquidation of the quantities spent in the Colony of el Nuevo Santander formed by the Table of Reports
of Royal Tribunal of Accounts in conformity to the Royal Order contained within it.
Click Here for Part 2 of Volume 2 of this report.