Part 3







I, the undersigned Secretary of the I. Municipal Government of this city,

I certify that, the I. Corporation, having been informed with this expedient, it agreed in conformity
with that which the Prefecture orders, that said expedient be put in custody of the Archives of this

Santa Ana de Tamaulipas, February 14th of 1838. - Juan R. de Maraboto, Secretary. - (rubric)
-------------- the above is the last few sentences of the Part 2 -------------



HISTORICAL Relation | of the Colony of el Nuevo | Santander and Coast, | of the Gulf of
Mexico. | Written | by the P. FR. Vicente Santa María Pres- | byter of the order of San Francisco and
| Teacher of Theology in the Convent of | Valladolid de Michoac�n. | At the expense | of the Gentlemen
Counts of Sierra Gorda and their | siblings Lic. D.Mariano, D. Francisco, | and Da. María Josefa de
Escandón y Llera. | Who dedicate it. | To the Exl. Sor. Count of Revillagigedo, | Knight of the Great
Cross, Gentleman-in- | Waiting of His Majesty, etc., etc. |


Most Excellent Lord:

The Spanish colony which was founded in the year of '49 of this century on the coast of the Gulf
of Mexico is one of the honors with which Your Excellency's Most Excellent father accredited his loyalty,
his brilliant services to the monarchy, and the animated efforts of his heroic nobleness. In it, and its
settlements, are seen immortally engraved the names of G�emes, Padilla, Revilla, and Horcasitas which
will always say to the posterity with which protection and which was the hand from which came that
beautiful piece of land from the most brutal barbarity in this septentrional America after many of the
Viceroys, predecessors to the honorable father of Your Excellency having exhausted their efforts without
attaining the desired effect in the space of almost two centuries.

In that epoch Your Excellency himself was witness to the ardor with which the affairs were treated
in the capital of New Spain relative to the expeditions of the Sierra Gorda, of the difficulties which were
felt in the pacification of the coast, and of the unfortunate events in the previous years which were
remembered. Your Excellency also saw that in our deceased father he placed his view and deposited his
trust to do what in numerous times had been ordered by our Sovereign and what the Most Excellent father
of Your Excellency very greatly desired.

The desires of our Catholic Monarch were effectively fulfilled; the Sierra Gorda was pacified and
the coast was conquered, establishing in it settlements and plenty fortifications: the thread of incursions of
the barbarians, which had lasted so many years, was cut and the spirit of the establishments, neighbors to
the region of the new colony which could not be called secure, not even being immediate to the capital
itself and court of Mexico, were finally quieted.

The beneficent hand of the Most Excellent Viceroy Horcasitas was always open to protect and
direct Colonel Escandón whom he had taken as instrument for his successes and he, providing himself in
all events to do service to the nation and accredit his loyalty to the Monarch, went out with the enterprise
and had the satisfaction of performing the credits of his protector.

After more than forty years, the time has come in which these expeditions can be exposed to the
public without fear and with the honor of the typography, that they not only were most useful to the
Kingdom of Mexico but to all the Nation: and Your Excellency is already looking at how just it is and even
natural that the sons of Colonel Escandón and Count of Sierra Gorda not forget the references they owe
to the most Excellent Count of Revillagigedo.

This labor, then, is directed to Your Excellency, not seeking a protector to give it honor and place
it on course for the acceptance of the public; nor much less because our spirit be moved by some vile cause
of interest or of adulation, but rather only for the weight itself of nature and in the manner of one thing that
from any distance and at anytime clamors for its master.

The ashes of our deceased father cannot forget, even from the sepulchre in which they rest, the
blind deference with which, in life, they subordinated themselves in everything to that of Your Excellency
and we, in his name and in his memory, cannot do less than be delighted that Your Excellency will receive,
with pleasure, this civility which our gratitude pays in honor and the love with which we are

Your most humble and attentive servants.

The beginnings over which human faith is founded are the first object which should be proposed,
as much the one who sets out a history as the one who reads it: the first in order to give, once, his
discharges to those who, with the name of critics, tend to be, in our century, contradictors of everything
and observers of nothing and, the second, in order not to enter indistinctly nor probing in the events of the
previous years of which he has not been a witness or of the countries that he has not seen. The reports that
are unfolded in this small work are so interesting to our Nation that it is even notable that of their having
run almost fifty years without the public of all the nations having had a detailed document, at least in the
possible manner, of the progresses of Spain and of its vassals in the septentrional regions of America and
especially in those of its eastern coast which are, without controversy, the ones which should most fill the
expectations of the political world.

If the discovery, pacification, and population of more than one hundred leagues from south to north
and more than sixty from east to west had fallen to the lot of some foreigner, surely the presses of
Amsterdam or of London would not have been idle to have, probably, enlarged the deeds which, in Spain,
have been dormant in manuscripts and reserved for these days in which the truth, refined in the criterion
of time, neither the adulation of those deceased nor the injury of the living no longer have a place.

The new colony of Escandón or el Nuevo Santander was begun numerous times, although without
result, many years before its conquest. The extension of its land, its situation on the eastern coast of the
continent of this rich America, the fertility of its arable lands, the abundance and beauty of its waters, the
depth of its rivers that empty into the Gulf of Mexico, the preciousness of its mines, the profusion with
which nature is explained in it and, in one word, the complete collection of all of its most advantageous
opportunities for human life must have been, at that time, the most active attraction of the desire for the
conquistadors and the most sure conquest to make for itself an immortal name. The brutal barbarousness
of the Indians abused this paradise, let us call it that, making use only of the abundance of its growths and
living crudely as we shall see in the discourse of the history. The Spaniards, since their entry, lost no time
in planting the seeds of the civil life and in fertilizing them to the state which is seen today and which we
shall reflect upon as it occurs.

The discovering and pacifying hero of this beautiful land always suffered, like all who distinguish
themselves in the good, persecutions and rivalries which, if at that time they were bitter, they should be
seen today through the aspect of valuable and like the press, from which the game of pure truth flows from
among contradictions and doubts which they only filter in the inflexible tribunal of the learned posterity.

In the proceedings previous to the discovery and pacification of the coast and of its barbaric
settlers, in the copious number of consultations which the discoverer and pacifier directed to the
Government of this New Spain, in the report of his trips through those unknown countries, progresses of
his discoveries and establishments of its settlements, in the charges which the evil intentioned made against
him, a litigation which went as far as the Throne with the exonerations and justifications which the accused
produced to the satisfaction of the Government and of the Throne itself and, in summation, in the body of
all these papers, the historical reports are found enfolded which, not without some work, I have tried to
reduce to this body of work, only for the love which all men should have for their Nation and for the
events which they encounter in them as memorable and worthy to pass on to the posterity of the centuries.

To these materials, which, clearly and even in contradictory judgement, have all the aspects of
truth, I have added the one of personally traveling through everything I could on the coast and, making use,
at the same time, of the reports and notices which I tried to acquire of the experts and inhabitants of the
land, especially with regard to the natural history, distances, and present state of its settlements. Of the
accumulation of this knowledge, as much acquired from the papers as having had from personal
observation, the method, which has seemed most adaptable and opportune in the four chapters which are
seen, resulted .

The first, regarding the natural and old state of the coast since the time of its heathenism, as much
as can be conjectured, until the first entry of the Spaniards into it.

The second, regarding the events that happened since the first enterprise of it discoverer and the
progress of its conquest until his death.

The third, in which is seen the state of the colony and what happened in it since the death of its
founder until today.

These three epochs, it seems, are the ones which should encompass and complete the body of this
history, as much in what is referred to as the heathenism and barbarianism of the Indians, as with regard
to the beginning and progress of those establishments up to the present state. And being, as it is, so
adaptable to the pleasure of the day to pause and to give detailed accounts, with all the prolixity possible,
of what might be found singularly in the nature of the land of which is being spoken, from here it has been
necessary to me to extend one-quarter chapter regarding the profusion and riches with which nature is
explained, as much in the mineral kingdom as in the animal and vegetable of the most fertile ground, and
on all sides beautiful and rich, in the colony of el Nuevo Santander and the coast of the Gulf of Mexico.

For the consummation of the work and to see how, in résumé, that from this work some good to
the Country and the State can result, it seemed congruent to me to extend a fifth chapter regarding the
advantages which have followed and, in the future, should follow for the Nation from the pacification and
domination of the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, from its opportunities for commerce, from the number of
settlements of which it is still susceptible and from the most abundant riches which it encloses and the use
which the settlers can make of them. Discoursed as well will be something about the maximums which,
according to experience, seem opportune for the total conversion of the Indians and the conduct which,
as a consequence, the missionaries and ministers should have to cooperate at the end of this work and to
place in the view of the neophyte and heathen Indians a practical catechism of the religion, of civil order,
and of the society which, up to now, they have hated and that is natural that they do not hate, always
conveying it to them by effective and favorable means.

This is all the plan of my work from beginning to end, not without the natural uncertainty that it
might be incomplete. The impartiality, which should be the character of any historian, I believe that it not
only is mine in this respect, but even natural and necessary because the occasion of having been born on
this continent of America is too trivial for not seeing the objects of the native land clearly and with their
deformity or beauty, be what they may; besides it is an extremely bothersome egoism, from which all
rational souls should flee, to qualify something as good with only the relation that he can have with the one
who describes it. This impudent and crazy egoism so much can not be favorable to the matter of which
it treats, that instead on the contrary, discovering the flank of a tenacious caprice, a very sure breach may
be opened to the mockery and insults of the rivals and even of any others who have sane judgement.

Whether the reports which I divulge are original or not, will be told by the said documents which
I cite whose authenticity, placed in all parts by the same government of these kingdoms, by the general
captaincy, by its councils of War and Treasury and even by that of Indias, it cannot leave as certain any
reason to doubt outside of those unfortunate and truly seditious souls who tend to abound in our societies,
always in dispute of the laudable events of others and disposed only for the applause of themselves or their

Regarding these beginnings it is necessary not to fear the indiscrete and imprudent critics because,
even these, prompted by their audacity, think to put out their head in the literary authority, the true sages
see them as ridiculous entities who do not deserve to be heard and the rest of the people, observing the void
of their ignorance, should deny them all attention. To the true professors of a sane critique, it is necessary
to render them all the homage that the sages deserve; as a consequence, we should deposit the most solid
confidence of a judicious reservedness in their direction; and, finally, if by some misfortune, this, my
work, were not adaptable to the public taste of the present century, perhaps it will be to that of future


I. Old state of the colony.
II. Its demarcation and limits.
III. Mountains that surround it.
IV. Valleys and fields.
V. Rivers.
VI. The sea and its beaches.
VII. Ports and barras.
VIII. Salt deposits.
IX. Mines. [IX is skipped in the text either by the author or the transcribers.]
X. Other productions belonging to the region.
XI. Settlers in the time of heathenism.
XII. Number of nations.
XIII Various languages.
XIV. Language of gestures adaptable to all.
XV. Methods and circumstances of their weddings.
XVI. Education of their children.
XVII. Their mourning and other customs.
XVIII. Festivals or dances.
XIX. Horrible festival of the Comanches.
XX. No religion in the Indians.
XXI. Methods by which they wage war and their reasons.
XXII. Certain tribes more warlike and fearful than the others.
XXIII. Conjectures regarding the origin of these barbarians.
XXIV. Before the conquest and discovery of the New World.
XXV. After the conquest.
XXVI. African negroes in the banks of the river of el Norte.
XXVII. Mutual commerce between the Indians and the Spaniards.
XXVIII. Mutual injuries and cruelties.
XXIX. Efforts made by the resident of el Nuevo Reino to convert the Indians.
XXX. Those of the town of Valles and other provinces do a little more.
XXXI. No one completes the enterprise.
XXXII. Clamors to the Viceroys for the remedy.
XXXIII. Measures taken and several times useless.
XXXIV. The clamors reach Madrid.
XXXV. New Orders are reproduced by the court so that the coast be inspected and populated.
XXXVI. The French arrive in it and the strengthen themselves in the Bay of el Espíritu Santo.
XXXVII. They are dislodged by the barbarians.
XXXVIII. The Marquis of San Miguel de Aguaya goes to Texas to repel the invasion of the French and to recover the province.
XXXIX. The expeditions of the Sierra Gorda are concluded for this time.
XL. These expeditions are celebrated in Mexico.
XLI. The corresponding dispatches for the pacification of the coast are released by the Most Excellent Count of Revillagigedo.


First Chapter

The last discoveries in the New World have been from three generations ago to the present and will
be, in the future, the most interesting material to men which should add new articles to the general history
of our planet and to the civil and political constitution of its settlers. To the immortal heroism of
Christopher Columbus are added daily new laurels for those who, following his paths, venture through
lands and unknown seas to discover new countries from which new knowledge for the human species
results for its elucidation and new attractions for its interest and profit.

It cannot be doubted that, as fast as the knowledge of the dimensions of our globe, of its regions,
of its countries, and of its inhabitants progresses, the spirits of the educated portion of men unfold to widen
their ideas and extend their conquests by their fellow creatures, that there were many centuries that they
were submerged and buried in the gulf of ignorance, of coarseness, and of barbarousness referring
themselves, in almost nothing, to the Supreme Being and even without knowing how to enjoy the beauty
and pleasure which, in their own climates, nature liberally and even lavishly offers them.


Old State of the Colony

This piece of land, which runs from la barra de Tampico on the east coast of the Empire of Mexico
to the bay of el Espíritu Santo or San Bernardo and from its beaches in the gulf to the frontiers of el Nuevo
Reino de León and province of la Coahuila as internal land. was in a truly unhappy state until the year of
'49 of the present century. At the pace that nature opens its hands there, as much as it can, to make all
living things happy and to enrich them, if it is arranged according to their wishes, with all there is that is
beautiful, with all there is that is rich, with all there is that is joyful, and with all there is that is useful to
man; the Indians, in contrast, lived, and even still live, contracted to the narrowest ideas of simply
vegetating, of destroying one another because they are not able, from the present moment, to discern the
unity of their species and to barely begin to live, finishing their days without even having counted their
duration which runs between the rigors of a total nudity, of a total want of shelter, and wandering all of
it through the hills and through the valleys of that beautiful climate.

The Mexicana nation, which was the least uncivilized in the time of the heathenism of the Indians
and before the entry of Cortés into this continent, was not able, of course, to know that, in the Sierra
Gorda and in all the coast of the sea along the septentrional regions of its Kingdom, it had innumerable
tribes to subdue to its bloody yoke and a few other victims in each one of them, to have been able to
sacrifice at the convex stone of its Mexico.a The old stories or rather the traditions or hieroglyphs, with
which the Indians conserved the memory of the events remaining behind and of their ancestors, do not
seem to make even a remote mention of the maritime provinces except for that of Zempoala, that was
demarcated as is seen on the old maps which the Spaniards delineated after the conquest, from Tampico
and Tuxpan along all the coast of Veracruz to the division line between the Empire of Mexico and
Guatemala on the southern part of the continent, this great piece, which runs up to the most internal of the
north, remaining without demarcation and even without being explored.

The Toltec, Ac�lhua, Chichimeca, and Mexicana tribes which came to establish themselves in the
region of An�huac and at its lake of Chalco from the more septentrional regions of America, leaving in
its course colonies and settlements, traveled, without doubt, through the center of the continentb without
any knowledge of the coasts, as it is to be believed or as it is more natural, without the quality of having
turned toward them to have left to their posterity the maximum, at that time most sapient, of living
congregated under certain laws with some religion and at least rationally.

Cortés who embraced, without doubt, within his spirit and efforts, the vastest extension of all the
continent of America, guided, from the present moment, by the information which the known tribes of
Indians were able to furnish, he placed himself in the hands of his heroism to take the Spanish name and
some of his arms through the internal provinces of Tonalan, Sinaloa, Sonora, and the Californias up to the
Colorado river, always leaving to be discovered and even without being recognized, the east side of the
direction he took and at the shoulders of the Sierra Gorda the coast of the Gulf of Mexico which, even up
to our time, has been the shelter of so many monstrous tribes which degenerate the human species to the
most vile of its misfortunes.

The heroism alone of this Spaniard would have been enough to have taken the torch of civility and
reason through the last corners of America, or to burn and destroy the rebels, or to enlighten the docile
ones if the life of men did not contract itself, due to our misfortune, to such narrow limits, or if the fortune,
which has always been adverse to the heroes, had not excited persecutions, rivalries, and misfortunes which
wilted their course, even almost at the beginning of their youth, and abbreviated their days, that they should
have been immortals.c In the space of the years which followed the life of the discoverer of the continent
of America the provinces of Charcas, Zacatecas, Durango, Tarahumara, Nayarit, Mapimí, Coahuila,
Nuevo Reino de León, Texas, Nuevo México were progressively discovered and somewhat civilized plus
another one which, without arriving at the coast, extends itself through all the regions of the continent in
its extension to the north up to being almost adjacent to Europe through the septentrional coasts of Russia,
the straits and peninsula of Kamschatka in that great Empire, this huge pocket of land, which was later
called colonia del Nuevo Santander and coast of the Gulf of Mexico having remained incognito of
everything heathen and barbaric.


Its demarcation and limits

This colony, well, that from all of the septentrional ones of America in the dominions of Spain,
it is the one which has been founded among the barbaric Indians with more method and through principles
of conquest, is situated from south to north, past 22o, 40' septentrional latitude at the barra de Tampico up
to 29o, 50' at the bay of el Espíritu Santo and from 273o, more or less, of longitude at la Sierra Gorda up
to 278o at the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. The line of division which separates it from the other colonies
and provinces of the continent runs toward the south of its capital through the jurisdiction of Tampico at
the center of its barra; through that of Pánuco, making the Chila River as a border, and through those of
Huasteca, town of Valles, and Verde River between the mountains called el Corcovado, the port of
Tamalabe, and the mountains of el monte Alberne, which are some like a chain of mountains that squeeze
themselves with the Sierra Gorda; towards the west with the same Sierra Gorda, between the provinces of
Charcas, Nuevo Reino de León, and part of Coahuila which are contiguous to it; on the north, with the
other part of Coahuila and the province of Texas or new Filipinas, in the bay of el Espíritu Santo, and
toward the east through the beach and coast of the Gulf of Mexico.

As a consequence, counted in its space are more than one hundred leagues from south to north and
almost as much from east to west, the greater part of this space being provided abundantly with water
which, with the greatest opportunity can be directed anywhere:d with valleys which promise and even give,
at present, indications of their extraordinary fecundity; with mountains which abound of all types of woods
and useful rocks; with salt deposits that from them alone an entire kingdom could supply itself; with mines
which ingenuity could make most abundant; and, above all, of a beautiful climate in the temperate zone,e
that, although in some parts it declines to hot, but with the advantage in all of them of not having the
trouble of venemous insects and discomforts which are suffered in other coasts of America with much less


Mountains which surround it

Among the mountains which surround the colony and are in its center, many are seen with
extraordinary elevation, richness, and beauty that can, without doubt, yield very little to the Andes of Perú
and to the Alps and Pyrenees of Europe. The Sierra Gorda, which is distinguished from the Madre,
extending itself from the tip of Hornos on the south of the continent to the last one of our north and,
encircling our world from pole to pole as the old one looks encompassed from east to west by the mountain
ranges which run from Spain to the last confines of the east in China; the Sierra Gorda, I say, offers,
almost at a glance, the most pleasant perspective in its distances to the east and in its proximities to the
vastest subject for the observations of the physique in its phenomena and of the botanic and mineralogical
in all of its productions. It extends itself, as it has already been said, from the barra of Tampico and,
forming a semicircular oblique line, it continues up to the borders of el Nuevo Reino de León, opening
itself on all sides with glens, ports, and mouths which allow the passage to the spacious and most fertile
fields of the colony.

Within said mountains there are many like el Bercebú, el Sigue, and others in the two Tamaulipas
like el Bejarano and Torrecilla in the east, el Diente and that of Santiago in the west, with others located
in the middle of a spacious plain like el Bernal, el Malinche, that of el Aire, from whose heights many
places and settlements of the colony are allowed to be seen, the beach in its extension, the rivers which
water it with the multitude of their turns, and the sea which receives them at the end, fighting against their
currents until overcoming them and incorporating them in its gulf such that an observing philosopher,
helped with the aid of a telescope, would be able to perform his duties from these heights, from top to
bottom, from his domain in nature regarding all productions without the sublime perspective in his view
being obstructed from one pole to the other.

From the extremity of the mouth of el Jaumave or of Caballero, also called by those countrymen,
la Mula due to its roughness and elevation, which is the entrance to the colony through the jurisdiction of
the Río Verde and from where, even without being one of the most elevated sites, it is possessed of a view
of a space of sixty plus leagues up to the sea and as many toward the poles, I was sorely tempted to
interrupt the thread of this history to act as controversialist, although it be for a short space, and enter in
the matter with one of the major sages of the present century. To the gentleman Count of Bufon and to
his plagiarist Pau,f or, at least, someone from those who swear "in verba Magistri" regarding their
sentences, I would have liked to have asked them, from the elevation of that region, if they still believe it
possible that the situation and land of America was, for a space of complete centuries, dominated by the
sea while the old world was dominating the waters of the ocean which, necessarily must be perfectly level
from the beaches of the Gulf of Mexico to those of Portugal or of Spain? Whether, in a rigorous static,
it can be saved that the weight of the waters inundate and dominate the high places of the earth, leaving
the low places dry and uncovered?

The principle that the waters of the sea are places on one level from the beaches of the new world
to those of the old one is so clear that it can only be doubted by those who wish to carry the error,
recognized of a writer, forward. The elevation and height of the land in the new world everyone can see,
not only from the height of which we speak in the colony, but also from any other ones furnished in the
continent to carry the life up to the sea; such that, if we draw an oblique line which corresponds visually
from the high place of the observer to the low of the beach and, in consequence, we discover the right or
perpendicular one that should fall upon the horizontal plane which is figured from the beach itself to the
design of the mountain, this cannot do less than elevate itself up to two leagues on the level of the waters,
and can it be possible, as the aforesaid sages cite as clear, that of the places that are situated two leagues
above be submerged while the ones which are situated two leagues below were dry? It is necessary to
believe, on one side, that the pen of the Count of Bufon is one of those which have brought honor to the
human spirit in our century; but also we should confer that the Pliny sages of our days, as well as of the
Homerics, have had their dreams from time to time that they have arrived at delirium, without doubt.

The two Tamaulipas, which in the language of those natives means Tall Mountains, are of no less
elevation and beauty that the Sierra Gorda, nor of less riches, as much in minerals as in utile animals and
vegetables, the one situated towards the west of the colony and extended, in the same manner, until
stretching almost to the Sierra Gorda, with reason they named it western or old; and the other one, located
in the center and somewhat inclined to the east, deserved the name of eastern. Both suffer a few times and
for a short duration the rigors of winter and even of autumn; generally pleasant and fruitful, they are,
besides this, the source of many arroyos which abound in their rivulets and run without noise through the
valleys which circle it and through those of its center.


Valleys and Fields

The mountains of the colony are not more luxuriant, pleasant, and utile than their fields, valleys,
and flats. Watered, as we shall see further on, by a multitude of arroyos and rivers which come down from
the mountains, there are many of such vast extensions that they embrace tens of leagues, suitable for
irrigation almost in all parts and such that even at first sight they show beginnings of their extraordinary
fecundity. The one of las Rusias runs from the eastern skirts of Sierra Gorda up to the immediacies of
Tampico, more than fifty leaguesg. Those of Venadillo and eastern Tamaulipa, it can be said that they
extend to the river of the North, that of Conchas which, with its corpulent wealth of water reaches almost
to the sea, passing almost through its center and, although there are no perennial rivers or arroyos in this
space which run between the aforesaid Conchas and the Norte, seen, nevertheless, are several small lakes
or ponds of rain water, enough so that whenever it could be projected and, above all, the showers which
continually come down, cause the water of irrigation to be little or not at all necessary for its fecundity.
There is no time in which it is not dressed in green and, among other pastures, fruits, and vegetables, the
most beautiful and most abundant couch grass which nurtures those beasts until making them of
extraordinary corpulence and in every way superior of those of other countries, as we shall see in other

Also many, as much in the part or the mountain range of the south as in that of the north, are the
regions in which, presented for use, are fields of sizes up to seven and eight leagues which, circled on all
sides by rugged and thick woods, form something like pastures or pasture-grounds completely closed and
useful for the raising of livestock and whatever other uses could be contemplated. In these woods are
found more than a few wild fruit trees which are utilized and, in quantity, a multitude of useful wood, one
of them being one of the most abundant, the precious ebony; but at the same time they are interwoven with
such a quantity of thistles and thorns that the efforts to make them penetrable will not necessarily be few.

The valleys of San Antonio, of los Llanos, and of Santander will not leave anything to be desired
for men whenever, applying their ingenuity, they supply them of that which is lacking for them to be useful
without the advantage of others.

When these lands were discovered there was not even a shrub in these fields nor a useless thorn
which would frustrate their natural fecundity but on the day, it seems, that the arrival of man has been a
plague which has irritated the nature and caused it to convert into dreadful what once was beautiful.
Already innumerable are these thorny and pernicious shrubs which cover and make the camps and even
the roads impossible, the work for posterity, which in the beginning would have been nothing, multiplying
itself with them. The same can be said of the waters which irrigate them and which, due to those
countrymen, are found scarce. The springs, the arroyos, and the rivers are today the same as in the
beginning in the years of regular rains but, anytime that the abuse, the inaction, and the lack of ingenuity
on the part of man allow them to go by all the weight of their inertia, nature will convert its fruits into
aridity and its fertility into thorns and thistles. Such has occurred to these colonists in this part of their
country and, nevertheless, the land, prodigal in its fruits, furnishes them as much as it can suffice to supply
them, in its manner, and to provide them of their needs in abundance.

The place and field of Santander is, without doubt, one of the most useful to undertake whatever
is wished. Its view is beautiful and clean, it land rich for everything, its immediacy with materials to build
houses, even magnificent ones if wanted, and the torrent of crystalline water, healthy and competent to be
conveyed, of which it abounds, has, in my view, few models. Nevertheless, there has not been a lack of
papers of some authority which have been directed to the Government giving the place of Santander the
name of marsh as foundation and of putrid waters in general, without recourse of othersi. The truth is what
reason, evidence, and impartiality dictate and not the caprice or bad dispositions of the spirit, which in the
small souls always cause the disappearance of the true qualities in the objects.

The natives of these regions, uneducated and barbarians in the times past, and even today the
colonists themselves, it appears to me that, not only do they not enjoy, but they do not even discern the
fertility of the fields in which they live. Nevertheless, there can come a time in which Spain comes to
recognize that the riches of America, in all types, are much more abundant in the climates of the temperate
zone that in those of the torrid.



The rivers that irrigate the colony are so numerous that, in case it is doubted, in the space of only
one hundred leagues, or a little more, so many streams of water run usefully and with the greatest
opportunity that it is the right hand of nature to dress itself of its vegetation and nurture its living things
with them. There are, then, fifty-eight among arroyos and perennial rivers, more or less abundant, which
are counted in the space of land which runs from the barra de Tampico to la bahía del Espíritu Santo and
from the beach to the Sierra Gorda. Five of them are of major magnitude which could be navigable if they
were helped by their craft, although not of major vessels, notwithstanding that they empty in the Gulf of
Mexico after having crossed all the colony from west to east.

The first one, on the south side, is the Guayalejo River or el Jaumave whose origin of several
springs is in the Sierra and, exiting through the mouth called San Marcos, runs through the plains or
valleys of las Rusias up to the barra de Tampico where, together with that of the emptying of the México
and with many others, which come down from those mountains through the province of Huasteca, it
discharges in said barra de Tampico after having overflowed into several lakes. These, in the time that
there are no floods, collect, for the most part, in the bed of the river and leave uncovered very beautiful
and most fertile fields which they would make use of, if those countrymen were others, without having to
envy the Egyptians on the banks of the Nile; but it is not like that, even enticing them, as the immediacy
to a free port certainly entices them for the comfortable extraction of goods and raw materials.

The second river of major magnitude is the one of the Purificación which has its origin in the
province of Charcas; It leaves the colony through the glens of la Sierra, enlarging itself in it from several
springs, it passes through the mouth of la Iglesia and goes to end in la barra de Santander.

The third one is Conchas, called thus for the many oysters that grow on its banks; it has its origin
in el Reino de León and, crossing la Sierra, it goes out to the colony, irrigating it in several turns of its
course and, at last, goes to end in the lakes of the salt deposits and from these to the sea at a little distance.

The fourth one is the río Bravo or Grande del Norte of more abundance of water and of a more
elongated bed than all the others. It is counted, by the geographers and travelers, among the rivers of
greatest magnitude in all this America and can be placed at the side of the Mississippi for its circumstances
and utilities. Its origin, until now, is completely hidden and it is only known that it brings its currents from
the most remote and unknown of the provinces of the north; it crosses, enriching itself, all the great space
of New Mexico, all the province of Coahuila and, through the pass called el Jacinto, it enters into the
colony where it makes use of new springs of water and, at about six leagues before its emptying, it opens
itself into three branches of which the principal one continues its current up to more than two leagues into
the sea where it ends at twenty-six degrees, four minutes of latitude. In this region it has a little more than
three hundred rods of width and eight to ten of depth in the times of flooding. Up to forty leagues distance
to the sea, it commonly overflows, and even alters its bed due to the sandiness and brittleness of the land,
which also causes its banks to be totally void of trees and plants. Its major floods are begun to be seen
always in the spring, caused, from the present moment, by the melting of the snow which, over there in
the most frigid regions of its origin, were coagulated in winter. This causes that in all the area of the
colony it could be navigable by medium sized vessels and even, perhaps, these could penetrate into the said
provinces of Coahuila and New Mexico. From its entry into the colony up to the sea, save the many bends
it forms, it entire bed is clean of reefs and shallows which could be feared and, the more land into which
it travels, the narrower its width, although always competent and so ample that it does not become smaller
than two hundred rods. In its immediacies and at those of the sea, the salt deposits of major quality are
most abundant and not less abundant are the individuals of many species of animals, as much of broods of
animals as of those for hunting and birds which present themselves in millions upon a visit.

This river, without doubt, is one of the most interesting objects which should be attended to, not
only in the colony but in all the internal provinces which are in the immediacy as the abundance of the
Mississippi is made use of by those, who in this same continent, and not far from the colony, reach its
immediacy,. At having been able to explore its proportions with more individuality, I would have done
it with only one end, that the public, principally of these Spanish colonists, not pass up so much all that
which is most useful to them without taking notice of it; but the aforesaid, it seems to me, is sufficient so
that it be seen without equivocation that, in these lands, one could do with the Río Bravo or Grande del
Norte what those of Louisiana and Boston do with the Mississippi.

The fifth river of major magnitude in the colony is that of las Nueces, called thus for some little
hills of this figure and name in the province of Coahuila from where it bears its origin, and passing into
the colony between the river del Norte and the limit of the province of Texas almost at the same distance
from one or the other, after several bends in its course it arrives at the sea where it forms something like
a bay of very little depth which has been given the name of San Miguel Arc�ngel. Its banks, from
beginning to end, are a thick woods of principally walnut trees, from which it has also taken its name,
and of many other species of useful woods. Its immediacies are an immense breeding ground of
quadrupeds which propagate without limit and they are alone with the barbarian Indians, who are the
absolute owners of and entire dilated and most fertile field which should be the theater of abundance and
of the ingenuity of men.

Besides these five abundant rivers, which grant their waters to the colony so that its settlers
congratulate themselves as much as they want, there are, as well, another seventeen of second magnitude
and of perennial flowing most of the year which irrigate it on all sides with other medium sized and small
ones which come to, as was stated, fifty-eight known ones. Of all of these we will not make mention, but
only of those which especially merit it, in order not to cause a bother to the readers so close to the
beginning. The first of these rivers, then, are those called Caballero and San Marcos; both have their
source from the Sierra and, in different directions, they take their current until uniting with each other and
the two with the one of Santa Engracia. At a short distance from their origin they penetrate underground
for a long space, many springs resulting from this in the meadows and immediate low places and, coming
out again at a short distance, it again buries itself until two occasions with the same effect and profit,
carrying its running current, sweet and abundant in proportion to the rains.

The above-mentioned one of Santa Engracia is another useful one and with triple the volume that,
bringing its origin from the Sierra and enlarging itself with the previous ones, it takes its current until
joining the Purificación at the entry of the glen of la Iglesia. The water of this river is the most crystalline,
healthiest, and most beautiful there is in all these lands and, at a short distance of its confluence with the
above-mentioned Purificación, it mixes with the one called Pilón which comes from the occidental Sierra
de Tamaulipa, enlarged with those of el Baratillo and San Carlos which are also springs of the same Sierra,
such that the Purificación River, with multiplied volume, loses its name at the pass of la Iglesia, from
which it receives it as far as from Santander, as it was stated.

This glen or pass of la Iglesia is one of the illustrious objects that are presented in the colony and
it should obligate any traveler to stop to discover and detail it with individuality. Two elevated mountains
on the north and south sides which open, leaving the pass free, spread out, and sufficient for a voluminous
river; infinite vegetation of all species which, flowering and delightful in all seasons and supplied with, let
us say it thus, thorns and of thistles, they dress those lateral lands with the most beautiful variety;
innumerable animals, birds, quadrupeds, and reptiles which, free, in the most part, of the slavery of man,
the loosen the reins to all their aptitudes; and, in one word, the mixture and the aggregate, all of pleasant
and horrible, agreeable and frightful productions, which with one blow and in a dilated space, they present
themselves for the admiration of the senses; there is no doubt that they would oblige of any observer the
respect deserved by nature and its inventor and to recognize, if possible their secrets one by one. As I
said, the Purificación River loses its name in this transit and with the one of la Iglesiaj it receives, at not
a great distance, that of Palmas and that of Cabras not far from its emptying.

To the one of Conchas are aggregated the one of la Chorrera and that of Burgos whose springs
come from the occidental Sierra de Tamaulipa and both irrigate, before their confluence, the plains
immediate to said Sierra on the north side.

United with the one of Jaumave or Guayalejo are el Mantel, el Frío, and that of Sabinos, which
have their origin in the Sierra Gorda and in regular distances so that all that land is made fruitful with them.
The first one, cut into two branches near its confluence, forms a not too small island which was, at one
time, a refuge of the most rebellious barbarian Indians and who waged the crudest war with the discoverers
of those lands. The second one has the particular circumstance of its name, that it flows, punctually, with
an extraordinary coldness in its waters from the time it comes out of the Sierra which is a tremendous flow
of current along the excavation of an enormous rocky hill. If the water is extracted from the current and
is given to someone in a container for his use, he doubts, and with reason, whether it has been cooled
artificially. This extraordinary coldness cannot be attributed merely to the elongated course which it has
along the bowels of the mountain, since besides this being a very hot country, in this part there are also
examples of other celebrated rivers due to this same reason, like the one of Guadiana in Spain, which carry
their course along leagues of subterranean space and they do not result extraordinarily cold like the one
we speak of. It is thus necessary to persuade oneself that at the depth and subterraneous of its bed some
salts or firm particles aggregate themselves to it that would freeze the water if it did not run impetuously.
The third has the name of Sabinos due to the multitude and irregular corpulence of those trees which
abound at its banks.

The San Juan River, that of Alamos, that of Sabinos, and el Salado unite with the Río Grande del
Norte within the colony. The first one has its origin from the province of Charcas near the town of
Saltillo; the second one from the city of Monterrey, capital of el Nuevo Reino de León; and the third and
fourth from the province of Coahuila, both with an excess of water at all times.

Besides these rivers there are, in the space of the colony, many lakes or perennial creeks, some
all year and others formed from rains in which, without detriment of the freshness of the water, grow many
species of fish like bass, trout, sardines, eels, and others of delicate and healthy taste. It is an admirable
thing to see a more than a small space of land totally dried before the rain and, as a result of it, converted
into a lovely lake which, in a short time, is squirming with fish which almost come into one's hand before
the fishing. The land, right away, covers, in its cavity, it even being spare, the little eggs of these aquatics
which only awaited the influx and aid of the season of the rains to put themselves into movement and to
grow up to the corpulence of a bass. According to this truth of which I have evidence, it can be assured
without hesitation that, although these species are just born, feed themselves, and live in the water, they
can, nevertheless, maintain their seed, their little eggs, their prolific material, or whatever you want to call
it, without it in the spare or even dry ground,.

All these medium-sized rivers, of which has been spoken and that, as perennial the greater part of
the year, water and fertilize the fields of the colony, distributed as is seen on the map with the greatest
opportunity, empty into the Gulf of Mexico through the five mouths of the five major rivers of which was
spoken, and they provide this country, not only on its coast but also in the internal land, the transport of
all its effects which are most abundant in all types as we will see.


The sea and its beaches

The colony situated, as we have said, along the length of the coast south to north and with a view
to the Gulf of Mexico, can, without doubt enjoy all the riches of the continent and all the advantages of
the sea.

This, in its extension from Tampico to the bay of el Espíritu Santo, is totally clean of reefs and
dangerous shelves in the sea and supplied with many species of fish of the best quality and in tremendous
abundance and a provision of fresh water, provided that, climbing to the height of 26 deg., it meets at the
confluence of the Bravo River, which carries its current as far as within the sea. The winds, which
normally dominate, are the southeast and the northeast the first of which provides the easiest and most
commodious arrival to the coast in the navigation and the others open the road to go by sail from the sea
inward to any of the islands of the Gulf or to the rest of the continent through this part. It is true that in
the winter season the northers, which cause violent storms, are frequent and furious, but which sea has
there been, or is there, or can there be which is tranquil and navigable at all times and to all places?

The beach is also totally clean and sandy in its extension from south to north and, in consequence,
little fertile for some stretch inland, but, passing that, which only comes to one or two leagues, one already
finds the most fertile valleys and fields and sweet water, great assortments of forests of woods and wild
fruit trees, and of livestock and useful birds of all species and accessible to hunt with little work. From
San Fernando, which is at 25 deg., more or less, to the river of the North at 26 deg., there is a long lagoon
they call Madre, at a very short distance from the sea, which provides the most abundant and easiest fishing
and the storing of salt deposits of which circumstances and qualities we shall speak later.


Ports and Barras

The mighty rivers, which flow to the Gulf from many leagues inland, open themselves at their
mouths and form estuaries and barras which, even in the pure state of nature and without the least help of
any work, can shelter vessels of medium tonnage and, aided by work, ships of a little more tonnage would
not avoid casting anchor in them. The barra of Tampico, at 22 degrees, 40 min. of lat. to the north and
that of el Espírito Santo or of San Bernardo, at 30 deg., make the two extremes which encompass the
colony in the directions to the poles and, of both, the bottom and proportions are very well known so that
in one or the other the maritime commerce could be opened and established, without major risk and with
utility, as much in the continent as in the islands in the Gulf and even principally in Europe. The barra of
la Trinidad and that of Palmas, the first at a distance of eight leagues and the second twenty from that of
Tampico, are small and adapted only, although work would help them, for a very moderate maritime
communication and commerce. That of la Marina or Santander is, without doubt, the one which, located
in the center of the colony, deserves the primary attention, and those countrymen should unite their forces
and all their ingenuity in it to make use of the opportunities and advantages which the nature itself grants
them. By day it is found almost totally unattended and they have not taken one step even to add to it with
the art, which could be done, without major costs and, much more, when the nature itself is indicating the
how, in which way, and in which places, it should be changed so that it could allow anchorage for
competent vessels. The river of la Iglesia, which is, as we have said, the one which formes it, supplies
so much flow of water that from twelve leagues upriver with the depth of ten and up to fourteen rods and
the width of two hundred, at the least, runs up to near its mouth, serene, equal, and very clean of all kinds
of lows and shelves such that, in calm weather, which except for the rigor of winter, it is such the rest of
the year. There would not be, perhaps, any other necessity of sails to navigate it than that of awaiting the
tide, when it rises, to penetrate into land or in the hours when it ebbs, to launch itself to the sea, and which
ships there could be, consequently, which could enjoy this commodity, are already demonstrated by the
depth and width of the river, which we have said, and which is marked with the greatest detail on the map
which is seen.

It is true that, nearing the mouth and enlarging itself at the bay up to the space of half a league,
the depth diminishes and tends to come to end at only four palms, as a consequence the barra being
inconstant and the direction to arrive at it little accessible; but this defect is not so irreparable that the river'
own situation, its course, and volume of waters would not be indicating the convenient and easy repair so
that, in this region next to the sea, the same advantage and security be obtained as upriver along the
internal land.

The two lateral lagoons, that are seen and with which the river communicates, absorb its course
unfailingly, diminish the amount of its waters and cause just one third part of its entirety, in a small amount
and extreme slowness, to arrive in its confluence to the sea, little enough to clean the barra and make it
permanent and much less to find the depth in it that would be possible. Some competent dikes placed in
the canals through which the river communicates with said lakes, of which the one of the south extends
itself up to seven leagues, the collection of the current to only one canal would be unfailing, and from here
would result the major impetus of the waters in the barra and were this not so changeable, at least, nor did
it lack the necessary depth to put into port at it and penetrate upriver. Whenever this repair is easy,
whoever is in charge will be watching the extension which said canals have and the multitude of materials
of rock and wood which, at a short distance, present themselves in the region of the colony, even more
within the continent and along the route itself which the river has. From these dikes would follow, without
fault, not only that the barra would be more enlivened and would be pronounced for major ships, but also
that of, at the greater distance of twelve leagues inland, the canal of the river would be made navigable,
by damming, as it would be natural, much more and with more impetus, as much the current itself as the
swells of the sea.

The year of '50 there was a serious and detailed enough inspection of this river from the anchorage
of la Marina to its mouth; they navigated through it several times in a launch, boats, and even in schooners
and it was given, by the discoverer and conqueror of the colony, Don José Escandón, the name of port
or mouth of Santander, because of the similarity that was observed in this with that of la Cantabria. In that
epoch the volume of water that the river carried and the depth of the barra and the bay were the same,
notwithstanding that there have been years whose lack of rain had no precedentk. In that of '57, on order
of the honorable Viceroy, Marqués de las Amarillas, and with the design of making a new inspection of
the colony in this part, the engineer C�mera Alta and the commissioner Tienda de Cuervo traveled and,
both in agreement of their opinions, they qualified the port of Santander as incapable of being enabled for
the ultramarine traffic and that it could only be done at some very high expenses; but in the body itself of
their opinions, one reads expressions so complicated and even contradictory that even they themselves
should have reflected upon them when they reread their papers to remit them to the government.

They declare the port of Santander as incapable so that the provisions and mercantile effects be
introduced through it to the continent in this part, so much for the countrymen as for the troop and in a few
pages they consider the frequent anchoring of the schooner of Don José Escandón sufficient for the colony
without recommending for what, the ingress of a vessel up to twelve leagues upriver conceded, the ingress
of many of equal or less tonnage is already evident. It is recommended that the canals, through which the
current of the river deviates to the lateral lakes, are not of difficult access to be condemned, and almost
at the following line, one reads that it could only be that a some great expenses and even by chance, thus,
of very little duration due to the sandiness and falsity of the bottom and due to the impetuous force of the
waters as if there were some beach in the world whose bottom were not sandy and weak and as if the
volume of the waters, which in their opinions are qualified as an obstacle, it would not be in all the ports
and bays what is desired and solicited for the comfortable arrival of all types of ships.

They also qualify the port of Santander as incapable of being enabled because, being as it is, a
beach completely clean of woods or hills and even of large rocks or mountain points, it will be very
difficult or perhaps impossible, at all times from high seas, to take the route to be assured of the entry; that
it should demand the cost of frequent skillful pilots for all types of arrivals, even in full light at midday and,
finally, that even the enabling of the port verified, it should be qualified as superfluous in the American
continent and even hurtful to the commerce of Veracruz since, at the pace at which the entries of overseas
products would be multiplied, in the first place they would diminish in the second and, as a consequence,
its traffic. [sic]

One is already seeing just in the rudeness of this opinion that the said commissioner and engineer
did not know or, at least, feigned not knowing that there are many ports whose entries, having this same
defect of being clean of woods and rocks, the ingenuity supplies them with lamps and lights put in eminent
places which serve as lookout for the navigators even from the high sea; that the use of frequent skilled
pilots in the port of Santander would not be so rare that it not be even necessary in all the ports of the
monarchy and even of all the world for all the urgent cases and, finally, the result that, enabling the ports
that are furnished on the northern coast of the New Spain, the commerce would be weakened, is so
frivolous and little or not at all adaptable, that it can be produced only losing the shame [or blush]. C�diz
could have given this same reason to qualify the other ports of the peninsula of Spain as incapable and,
according to this principle of the gentlemen Cámara Alta and Tienda de Cuervo, the ports of Barcelona,
M�laga, Coruña, Santander, etc., etc. should be condemned to a perpetual exclusion of all traffic and exit
of its goods because, at the pace at which these progress in their entrances and exits, those of C�diz are

Finally, if the intent were to extend a formal refutation of these opinions of the aforesaid gentlemen
Cámara Alta and Tienda de Cuervo, it could be taken page by page and even line by line but this
digression having extended itself too far and it being necessary to continue forward, it is indispensable to
consider it affirmed that the barra or mouth of Santander at the coast of the Gulf of Mexico could be
formed into a port capable and sufficiently provided for all traffic and much more when, in the islands of
the monarchy of this area and situated in the Gulf, they are completely lacking of many natural products
which abound in the colony and in other provinces of the coast and whose abundance suffice them up to
not being sellable in the continent when the indigent sum of them in the islands obliges those vassals to buy
them at elevated prices from those strangers, as we shall say more diffusely and individually in another

The barra which the river of the North forms at its mouth presents equal or greater opportunities
than that of la Marina or Santander and the river runs with much more volume of water than that of la
Iglesia from seventy and more leagues inland. Even from its entry to the colony, which is a distance of
sixty leagues from the sea, more than less, one gets a stream of water which extends itself up to two
hundred rods and whose depth reaches four or five fathoms; running to the east through several turns, it
enlarges more and more uo to its mouth where, dividing into three branches and scattering itself in several
leagues or lakes [or marshes] it carries, nevertheless, sufficient stream in the principal branch and, its
current sweet up to two leagues off shore, as we have said, and with the width of more than three hundred
rods. In the barra, which is the confluence of the major stream of its waters, alteration has never been
seen, nor little depth, nor diminution in its width which is, as we have said, of three hundred rods, more
than less. At a short distance to the north there are some medium sized and desert islands which, up to
now, have not been explored by the Spaniards nor is it possible that there be the necessity to do it. From
a report of the Indians, who in other times and even now have inhabited them in their way and briefly, it
is known that, when the swells of the sea rise too much, they are inundated in the most part; that in them
there is nothing useful which can be of interest and reason to begin a work there; it could only contribute
to put whatever vessels that would try to navigate upriver in proportion [or relationb].

The other small barras and ports which are seen on the map between that of la Marina or Santander
and between this one and the bay of el Espíritu Santo are like those of Trinidad and of el Tordo, little
capable of containing even medium sized ships and they could only be made commercial and frequented
if it would be one of the immediate ones and, in that case, it would only advance that from the port to them
they would be able to transport goods in small boats without the removal and with the savings of freight
and land costs.


Salt Deposits

One of the necessary effects for the enjoyment of the civil life and which could supply matter for
the transport of the riches of this country in which nature can be called lavish, is the salt, in such
abundance, of such good qualities, and so east to harvest, that only [from] these regions they could supply,
without hyperbole, all the islands and all the rest of the continent. From near Tampico to the river of the
North there are salt deposits at regular distances and with immediacy to the navigable rivers so that, taken
to them, they would be given the turn that necessity dictated. With no more diligence on the part of man
than to see it and take it, if he wants, one sees very ample ponds where it is collected and kept until
solidifying. In the salt deposits of San Fernando crowbars and blows are usually necessary to break it from
its center and, if they want to take pieces, which with the weight of arrobas [25 lbs.], they would form a
third of a load; it would be a work done quickly and very easily.

It is an enchanting thing for it to be necessary to walk over a large space on a transparent floor,
polished and solid on which the light reflects and forms a gracious perspective, originated from the salt
which crystallizes on the beach up to very advanced regions inland.

Between the extension of white and transparent floor, several places of pearl-colored salt are inlaid
at certain distances and, in parts, color intercedes which better highlights the variety; also found are some
shrubs and some birds which, the crystallization or salification of the water catching them, they are salified,
let us say it thus, with the retention of their proper figure and the position in which they were. Subjected
to this same misfortune of losing their lives are all the fishes, medium sized and small, which, wandering
in the element of their conservation, they find themselves unexpectedly petrified with the liquid in which
they swam and, presenting, at the same time for man's view through the transparency of an already solid
body, all their positions and structure. In the years in which the rains abound, the amount of salt is not
so great, not because it stops collecting and crystallizing by nature, but because, almost totally lacking the
ingenuity for its conservation, it dissolves by the force of the current itself and the blow of the water. Its
color, in most parts where it is taken, is white to its highest and the quality of salinity is somewhat
excessive such that it is necessary to use it in small quantities to be sufficient. For the conservation of fish
and of meat it is excellent; such that there is no example in which it has been destined for this use that it
has not accredited by experience. In the mining towns it should be preferred to any other of those of the
continent for the great similarity of this excess of rough particles in which it abounds; well, it is a known
thing that this basic element with the others of its same quality, in the benefit of the metals measures their
power to be more or less apt for their intended purpose by the greater or less excess of their acrimony.

But with all this, nevertheless, the richness of nature in this country is nothing, whenever,
penetrating into the interior and leaving the salt deposits at one's back like an infamous production, they
view their ridge of mountains, as much in those of Tamaulipas as in la Gorda. Here one can say that there
is a mining breeding ground of all types of metals from gold to lead without the ferrous oxide, the
antimony, and even the iron and the mercury leaving off being most abundant if, with serious and methodic
reflection, that infinity of mineral veins, which are presented to the view of any traveler, would be
inspected. In the occidental Tamaulipa near its center, is presented such a vast object in this material that
there has not been, up to now, anyone to see it who would not be surprised and would fill those regions
with blessings, so that even to those with little practiced and little knowledge in the branch of minerals,
that, I don't know what, occurs right away with which nature is explained whenever it encloses
extraordinary phenomena in its secrets.

Among the multitude of mountains, prominent in the highest grade, which form that mountain
range, one sees the most crowned large rocks, alive, bare, and rugged, which scatter, like in branches,
certain ribbons of ore veins in multitude which descend as far as the skirts and even to the valleys. Among
said large rocks, there is one special one which, standing out in the convexity of the summit of the
mountain and extending itself up to seventy rods in a rectangle of more than a small elevation, it is all one
pure and true loadstone with all its qualities and with the circumstance of, that within the particulars of its
magnetism which construct it, mixed in, perceptible by sight are those of the best copper, without
equivocation. There are, as well, many regions within that multitude of hills where, presenting themselves,
accessible to the hand and in not small extension, are several eyes or something like "placeres"m of yellow
dust, heavy and sandy, which has been assayed to be a vehicle in which gold swims. By those countrymen,
who are in very short number, scarce in abilities and much more in intelligence for chemical-metallurgical
operations, by these, I say, there have been some attempts to extract the gold from the powder; that their
operations have furnished some medium sized quantities but with the most aggravating circumstance that
a notable increase in the cost in regards to the profit has always resulted; further, with all that, what an
attractive substance to repeat and multiply operations of several methods and by several roads on the
footing that it is already exactly known that the gold is there in super abundant quantity and that they only
lack one methodical, particular, and economic operation to enjoy it?

I confess fairly that, at it having been compatible with my institute and my having seen myself
qualified, so much of reales as of knowledge that are required for an expedition of this type, when I
traveled through those regions of the sierra, of which I am speaking, I would have sacrificed them all,
although it would not have been for any other reason than that of leaving to those like me in posterity that
of making use of these precious metal which costs them so much hard work and which is granted, in this
place to my sight, in torrents. Of the silver, the copper, and the lead one can say as much without
exaggeration and, if man and diligence would propagate themselves in this country in proportion to the
utilities with which the same offer them, it could, without doubt, count itself within the monarchy as one
of the richest and most abundant in this America.

In many parts of the Tamaulipas and Gorda mountains, very rich mines have been worked at
various times and they have been abandoned either, because of the irruptions of the barbarians, or due to
the lack of knowledge in the members who worked them, or, finally, because the provisions were short
as well as the number of operatives and the profits did not defray the costs in the area of the excavations,
it being, as it is to be believed, that said veins might be narrower in the depths.

In the hills called Santiago near the town of Hoyos; in the one of Jesus immediate to the same one;
in the mouth of Caballero, part of the sierra which looks to Aguayo; and in the mountain called Malinche,
center of la Tamaulipa east there have been and there are the richest veins of silver of very good quality
which were worked in the first times of the discovery of this country and these new settlers have begun to
abandon them either because the veins have diminished or, what is truer, because they are not inclined by
nature to the work as they should and are more content with inaction, even in this matter of sensitive and
real interests, which the first prime motivator in all the system of human actions can be called, in
consideration of the rest of the men as it is experienced.

Of this last mine of Malinche hills, there is a universal tradition among the Olive Indians, which
among all the tribes is the most uncivilized, that, in times much earlier than the conquest and establishment
of the colony, an abundance of silver and gold was taken by their progenitors from said mine,
notwithstanding that the superior strength and the advantageous number of the other barbarians, with whom
they lived in continuous war, frustrated them from this sometimes, their pursuing them to the death, even
dislodging them from their towns, as we shall see further on. In solicitude of this richness, there have been
several investigations and expeditions made, taking the most skillful of said Indians as guides and these,
either due to forgetfulness or in malice, as it is more plausible, have caused them to hesitate in the
assignation of the place and, after repeated procedures, the interest and the effort have been left hanging.

This same thing has occurred in the immediacies of the town of Revilla on the southern side of the
Río del North and in the place they call la Sierrecilla. In this mine there is a founded tradition that, in the
time dominated by the barbarians, large convoys of armed Spaniards and in a state of defending themselves
for several days would come from the provinces of León and Coahuila. They supplied themselves with
ores in quite rich quantity and quality and, when they considered themselves exposed to a surprise by the
superiority of forces and the number of the enemy, they retreated in good time. In the Sierra Gorda,
through the canyon that they call Palmillas, between the town of this name and that of Jaumave, one sees
indications, not at all mistaken, that, in the entries of those eminences or lateral hills, there is a similar
treasure to that of the glens of Guanajuato and Zacatecas. The same prominences of hills almost naked and
veined of certain laces of blue-glazed gravel and in parts somewhat yellow; the same "bufas"[no reasonable
definition found] of hard and solid outcroppings of ore, that are observed in those, present themselves in
this one with the only difference that there are men, intelligence, and abilities there who dedicate
themselves to this branch of national American industry and here there is almost the total lack of one or


Other productions peculiar to the country
To this richness of materials which nature produces in the region of the colony, is added another
one, not less abundant and precious, which should be utilized, not with the ravage and a cost of life to man,
of its number and tranquility, which are the prices of the silver and gold, but with the easy expense of
seeing, taking, and dedicating a medium labor to other natural productions, most useful for the use and
furnished for the greater use, the marble of diverse species; the jasper of wonderful and various colors;
the white marble, burnished, transparent, and in masses and enormous thin sheets; the flint in rocks of
different colors and sizes; the gypsum in breeding grounds which almost have no end; the indigo, although
uncultivated, most abundant in the fields; the scarlet grain or cochineal grown and matured only by nature;
the fruits, all belonging to the continent of America, produced in this country with extraordinary
advantages to those of many others; the multitude of wood, ebony, cedar, boxwood, and other regional
ones and not less precious are in the colony and coast of the Gulf of Mexico in this part and in its
mountains which surround it, of such beautiful quality and of such beautiful colors; the barbarians utilize
them only for darts and their arrows and of the cedar and ebony for the feeding of their bonfires.

All the circumstances, qualities, and the multitude of these natural productions deserve, without
any doubt, more prolixity to detail them and open the road to these Spanish colonists, principally, by way
of which they might arrive at recognizing the riches of the ground in which they reside; but this diffusion
not being convenient for now, it is necessary to remain simply in this design and reserve the exact
discussion of each one of these articles of the natural history for another more opportune place and time.
Let us remain simply, for now, in that the country of the colony, purely in the natural, furnished to its
settlers, not only the passive commerce of precious metals through operations and works of industry, but
also that of preci1
sets and raw materials which could be transported to other regions where they are in short supply
or there are none.


Settlers in the time of the heathenism
Since many centuries before the discovery of the Americas, it is necessary to believe that these
regions of the east coast were inhabited by men who brutally propagated themselves and killed at the same
time; that within themselves they communicated in a rough and savage manner; that, discovered and known
by the intelligent world, they have added to the general knowledge the theorem that, until these times, it
was disputed that man is nothing more in his civil and natural constitution other than what he inherits from
his parents and, in one word, it is necessary to confess because it is already a known thing that, in this new
world and in its internal provinces, men multiplied and still multiply, whose history cannot be extended
without the human species blushing and become humble seeing the chaos of misfortunes up to where it can
be precipitated and the abominable multitude of weaknesses of which it is susceptible.
The absolute and total nakedness, the common and public use of the women, the nourishments of
almost raw meat and of wild fruits, some of nasty and most harsh tastes, the lodges, very poorly
constructed barracks or the caves and mountain glens, the lack or vagueness of residence in the space of
hundreds of leagues, the most mournful and horrible theatres of blood and death in place of entertainment
and pleasure, the intoxication and the theft as an almost daily occupation, the deceit and the perfidy as a
maxim and general principle were, in the inhabitants of this country, the customs into which they were
born and lived, until the years of the conquest, without, even today, their being completely eradicated from
them. In the first entry of the conqueror there were many who, attracted by the novelty, approached him,
men and women of all ages, without giving the least indication of shame, even presenting to the view of
all that which, in common judgement, nature itself obligates the concealing.

If one can reason from this beginning, it is necessary to believe, firstly, that the shame, which we
call natural, is not such a child of human nature so that there not be in it many individuals who do not
know itn and, second, that this total nakedness causes the human body to form itself in all its perfection and
unfold all its organs to the limits which the nature has prescribed to it. In these barbarians were seen, and
are even seen today, such well formed bodies, so robust, agile, and quick that the number of those
impaired among them is very small; chronic illnesses are extraordinary to them or, if some happen to suffer
them it would be among very many and for a very short duration; walking fifty or one hundred leagues
are, for their robustness and agility in walking them, the same as ten or twenty for any others; there is little
difference they notice between a flat floor and the roughest canyons and, to this most of them add a stature
which is common to them and among us it would not be regular. Oh, if it were possible in practice to
reconcile these results, so favorable to humanity, of the errant life of the savages with the necessity and
advantages of civilized life and societyí How many major good might not result, removing the difficulties
of distances, the obstacles of the delicateness and the poverty of recourses in which many times we are
established because of the lack of use of our natural aptitudes which, at our beginning, were entirely
analogous to those of all who are born?


Number of nations

The nations were many which propagated and lodged in this manner in the sierras and in the fields
of the colony and with very little difference in customs. In the Sierra Gorda wandered, principally among
others, the Pisones, Siguillones, Janambres, and Pames nations which were of the most daring and
numerous, naturally made and with more nimbleness for the roughness and undergrowth of their domicile.
With this advantage they became fearful in their attacks and retreats in their wars, not only to their
countrymen and fellow savages, but also to the Spaniards themselves at the beginning and even after the
conversion. In the eastern Sierra de Tamaulipa the nations of the Vejaranos, Mariguanes, Simariguanes,
Monanas, Palalguepes, Pasitas, and Anacanaes multiplied and established themselves, where sometimes
in war and other times in agreement with their neighbors, they raked and laid waste all that land. In the
small sierra which runs from the eastern Tamaulipa up to the port of la Marina, which is not less rough
and difficult access than the others, the Damiches, the Aracates, and the Maratines, from whom the said
sierra has taken its name, took their lodging with other several nations whose immediacy had obligated to
live in alliance, although not permanently nor solidly.

In the very dilated plains, which extend themselves from this region up to the border of the
province of Texas and to the most northerly part of the continent, the number of barbarian nations, which
wandered without any, among themselves, having ever heard the name of the conquering nations of the
Americas, was innumerable. To this number of heathens were added also, in the regions immediate to the
borders, very many Indians of those already converted in the neighboring provinces of León and Coahula
on the west, Tampico, villa de Valles, Huasteca, and Río Verde on the south who apostated from the
religion and fled the civilized life and the rigor with which they were treated in order to convert them to
it, as we shall say ahead.

What among them and by us is denominated as nation is nothing more than an aggregate of
families, the most descendant of others, without laws or order and in not such great numbers as the name
implies, but rather of three to four hundred individuals, at most, of men, women, and children, and this
was before the conquest, that today there are some which keep their name with twenty or thirty families.
Their government is reduced to that the strongest, most robust, or sagest among them is, of common
agreement, proclaimed and held as chief of all of them, a function which only lasts until another one of
them, for any reason of displeasure which he probably feigns, challenges him, takes him to the field and,
the rest being spectators, in their view and as a vehicle of entertainment, takes his command along with
his life, the triumphant one remaining with the office of chief.

His authority spans to going before the subalterns who wish to follow him voluntarily, to being the
first who makes the investigation of the victim which they undertake to attack and, this done, it is usual
that it is the chief alone who remains without taking part. Each nation, if it is numerous, scatters in various
regions with different ones of these captains who gather with those of their command when they have to
undertake, by common agreement, a battle or a dance or a common festival. Since the time of the
Spaniards in the colony these chiefs of the barbarian nations tend to wear either a jacket without pants or
a loose shirt or another showy ornament of this type, which they acquire by way of theft or donation and
also all of them with a walking stick in their hand to distinguish themselves from the others who, since the
entry of the conquerors, no longer present themselves naked; but they always place in view an object, no
less disgusting than ridiculous, such that the one who might see them for the first time in their convoys and
does not have a report of what America is like principally in its internal provinceso, it would seem to him
that in these countries men make a formal and serious study of placing themselves in the ridiculous.

The Olive nation was the only one, in the conquest of the colony, which gave any indication that
most of them had not lived in such course barbarism as the rest. Aware that the conqueror Don José
Escandón was undertaking his march to the coast with all the necessary preparations for the conversion
of the barbarians, they immediately came near offering him their persons and knowledge of the land for
the expedition. They assured them that in times of "of poverty they had had their pueblos formed and
numerous enough in the eastern Sierra de Tamaulipa; that from them they would exit with the silver and
gold that they extracted in quantities from the Malinche mountain to provide themselves of the necessities
in the provinces outside of the sierra; that, in the possession of the barbarian Indians were found, even
permanent and utile, the ornaments for altars of which they served themselves in the uses of religion and
that this was administered to them by various priests who came by their pueblo from time to time for this
end; that in much earlier times they knew from their elders there having been among them one of enough
capacity and valor to have come from behind the sierra towards the south side with more than a few
number of people and the opportune accouterments to form pueblos in which they actually lived for some
time, governed in peace and brotherhood, occupying themselves in labor, in the gathering of skins and
extracting much silver and gold from the immediate mountains; that a tenacious and continuous war having
been started afterwards with the barbarians, whom they had driven off many times with the aid that their
companions, from outside the sierra, gave them, these failed to help them and they found themselves in
the need to retreat to la Huasteca where their number had diminished notably, their settlements ended, in
the possession of the enemies, and their industry ruined with the emigration; that finally saved by the same
ones from outside the sierra, they returned to their old pueblos, not in such great numbers now nor with
so much silver and gold as at the beginning; but that, the strength of the barbarians being superior, for that
reason the found themselves newly obligated to retreat with the priest who taught them; that now, finally,
that the conversion of the savages was undertaken, they were ready to cooperate to revenge themselves of
the past offenses that their elders had suffered and to establish themselves, if they were permitted, in their
old pueblos, as they were before."

This is, in equivalent terms, the report that was found among the Olive Indians about their origin
and antiquities and, in fact, on sees ruins yet in various regions of the sierra of these old edifices in which
they resided and they give indication of not having been small nor badly formed. If, regarding the
supposition of this report, one can conjecture that one among them, whom they cite from the previous
times, he must have been some potentate or Mexican nobleman who, whether for some reason of
displeasure in the empire or due to the prurience of undertaking, came to these retreats with all his
dependents and with the necessary aids to form a republic or monarchy in his way. Also one can see that,
while the barbarian Indians did not have a report of this colony of immigrants, they lived tranquil, in peace,
and brotherhood as they assure; but when the ones, who set down as a first maxim in their practice to steal
and kill, fell on them, they found themselves in the need to proceed to the subjects of the empire with
whom, confronting the barbarians, they drove them off several times and, on the contrary, lacking this help
either because the Mexicans had more necessity to proceed to other more urgent expeditions of war or
because, in the subversion of their empire, they could not be ready to give aid to anyone, the Olive Indians
found themselves with the irresistible necessity of retiring from their pueblos and that of suffering the
dispersion and end of their small republic.

No one will come out as warranter of the truth of this conjecture so literally because there is no
solid document upon which to corroborate it but it is true, nevertheless, and to which a good promotion
can be given, that from the Sierra de Tamaulipa to Mexico there must be, if not more, ninety leagues
distance and, as a consequence, that the Mexican Indians, in the time of their heathenism and independent
government, could not view with indifference the proximity of the barbarians in this part of their
domination; that in said Sierra, it is also true, the ruins of old edifices were found, as I have said and of
which the Olive Indians relate; that these were driven out by the barbarians cannot be doubted and that
their retreat was to the most uneven and rugged of the Sierra as Huasteca is. It is also true that the
Spaniard Francisco de Garay found himself in need of shamefully retreating from this part of the coast
where he thought to fortify himself,p as one reads in the general history of the conquest, due to the
multitude of Indians, not so barbarian so that they knew how to defend themselves, and they frustrated their
expedition. It is not less true, finally, that as much in the Olive Indians as in the Huastecas, their
neighbors, and in the Mexicans, there is seen more than a small resemblance in the customs, and even in
the language one sees many dashes of sameness. The restoring of the Olives to their old pueblos and the
new aid, which those outside of the Sierra imparted to them, should be reconciled to the time of the
christian religion in the Indians which was following their second displacement by the barbarians and their
new retreat, not alone anymore nor with so many riches, but rather poor, few, and accompanied by the
priest who taught them.

From the river of the North to the border of the province of Texas and much farther inside, extend
the Cumanche and Apache nations which are the more numerous and war-like known in all these
provinces. Several, like the Olive one, give indications that their way of living is not so coarse as the
others;q but not in making war which is the most barbaric which has ever been seen, especially when one
of them takes his rivals as prisoners and celebrates its triumph with their death as we shall explain later.
They all dress in deer skins, very well tanned and worked by themselves. They reside in field tents
prepared from the same skins and with those and their armament, which, besides the bow and arrow, is
also the rifle and the pike, they are continually wandering or mutually seeking each other to destroy each
other or in pursuit of the deer, which presents itself in the thousands for hunting, or approaching the
presidios and fortifications of the Spaniards to look for the occasion that presents itself for their hostile


Various languages

What is made more spectacular in these barbarians is that all these nations and many others, whose
names are of no interest, speak totally different languages such that up to thirty can be counted whose
verbs, nouns, syntaxes, and dialects are distinguished for the most part. In those few to which I came
close, which was for a very short time and in passing because circumstances demanded it, I ascertained
for myself from my own experience and, speaking with those who frequently approach them and treat with
them, I assured myself of the same regarding the rest.

Among these barbarians there are some, although very scarce, who speak Spanish with all the
perfection which is used in those regions and, having met one, I opened quite a long interrogatory with him
regarding his origin, their employment, their languages, and other things; to everything he answered with
elation and without stumbling and, as to the variety of their languages, it was explained to me in these
terms or other equivalent ones: "our misfortune consists in that not all of us speak one same language and
only because of that, without any other reason, we fight so many times. Those of us who speak only one
language seldom fight and if all those there are in the sierra were like this, it is sure that we would be in
missions, nor would you treat us as you treat us. In the beginning we were many, always distributed and
divided never being able to collect to defend ourselves because, since we cannot understand each other,
it was not possible to agree as we needed to;" having seen that he explained himself with so much practical
wisdom, I asked him whether there were not someone or some in the nations who knew the language of
the others. "There are normally some," he responded, "who go to the friendly nations for a time to learn
the language, which is similar to his, because we already know that whenever a nation has a similar
language to another, they become friends and, when they need to, they come together; but the Pisones, for
example, and the Janambres, which are not at all like we, have always been enemies save now that the
Janambres are few and that might be why they would come together with others;" the said Indian of whom
I speak was a Mariguan, heathen, of good figure, of sagacious talent, as is seen in his discourse, and of
a somewhat hard condition, since, without wanting to be baptized he was collected at the mission of
Horcasitas. Whatever these languages might have been, so many and so varied, it is necessary that they
all be too defective, apt only to explain within that small circle of necessities which, naturally, should
surround those who only live to vegetate, to feel very little, and to discuss less. In the articulation of all
of them it is observed that most of it is purely labial with a little bit of nasal without gesticulating anything
in any case, such that one of these Indians speaking in his language without any agitation of any strong
passion, such as anger or fear, looks like a statue with only the lips moving.

The character of the oriental languages of the old world, without excepting hebrew, is also
observed in these, as are the multiplied emphasis in the expression, the frequent similes and allegories, and
the repeated application of one word for many things according to the sense. Speaking with me in Spanish,
a Maratín Indian, who also understood the language of the Pasitas and that of the Mariguanes, painting for
me the conduct of a persecutor of his, who as much to said Indian as to all of his nation, had them cringing
with importune screams, bad treatments, and outrages, notwithstanding that they had already been
ministered and converted; he explained to me in these same Mazorral terms, but expressive enough: "that
N. screaming as much as a dog from morning until night, running so much and wanting to kill like a
coyote, beating the boys (It is the name which they give themselves.) so much like a bull, and all day doing
nothing, as we before, the boys wanting to work singing like a bird and that N. always cutting off the road
like a river and also the boys fleeing like a deer to woods because they not beat them;" from this one, his
discourse truly expressive, I multiplied question upon question, as much about his language as about the
others he knew; I had him compare the words of Spanish, in which he spoke to me, with those of his native
tongue and of the others, demanding the inflections of our verbs with those there could be in his and I
concluded, finally, without equivocation, in my view, that in the verbs of said languages there are no other
inflections than of the infinitives, active and passive, which apply to persons, times, and numbers as needed
for sense. I observed also that his nouns are not declined by addition of particulars but rather by inflections
of its letters, as much in the cases as in the numbers with the circumstance that, to express a numerous
plural, the inflection which they use is quite different from the inflection of the common plural: chiguat,
similarly, in Maratín language means woman, chiguata the women, and aachiguata many women,
prolonging more and more the initial AA according to the number which the word signifies.

The application of similies for each thing is also characteristic of his expression and there is no
doubt that, well seen, it is the most contracted laconism which they can use for the saving of very many
words and phrases in the discourse, transmitting, at the same time to the listener, the fullest concept of what
they wish to explain. Placing at the side of the expression fleeing that of as a deer to the forest one can
already see the savings of hastily, without encountering dangers, without omitting corners, and without
fearing undergrowth or precipices, how the deer and the Indians do it in the same degree. I also concluded
that this peculiar characteristic, of explaining by way of analogy at each step, is the same with which they
explain in their native languages and even in the familiar. The Mariguanes, to exhort their young ones to
imitate and follow them when they teach the to go up and down through the rocks, to jump with
nimbleness, and to spin at the while racing, they tell them with repetition and earnestness Magchinighua,
which means like a bird, the Indian adding to it the practice and example of their races and nimble leaps
with their tall ones and short ones. Then the child understands that he should imitate his master like the
chicks imitate theirs. Magchi means small bird, diminutive of Magch, bird and Nighua is like or in the
manner of. In their familiar conversations, which I experienced several times, one hears the Nighua at
every step as if it were a particular or auxiliary word. For this reason of their frequent similies and of the
single inflection of the active and passive infinitive in their verbs, when they come to learn Spanish, they
graft it, let us say it thus, with their idioms and it comes out with "We to run like deer to the woods and
the Spanish to kill us like wolf; but also dying with our rod like bird, which in their language sounds like
this: Miga cuino consgiohua ma tomau epeñol mi paahehu bumnighua cuaahne paagchichu mi mino xiri
magchinigua, where one hears the Nighua at every step and whose translation is literally as it has been

A critical author deduces that this character of the most barbarian Indians arose in the beginning
of the inertia and natural laziness of man, whenever, far from the civilized life, he is born and delivers
himself completely to nature. In fact, if it were possible for a barbarian to reduce his necessities even to
not having that of explaining himself, delivering himself solely to the pleasures of eating, sleeping and
enjoying, he would do it without fail and without encountering in it the least obstacle. It is true that if we
seek this same propensity in all the children of Adam, we will find it in all of them and we shall qualify
it as hereditary due to our misfortune; but, while some uproot it on their own or by their mutual and, to
be truthful, laudable ambitious rivalry and competence or by the judicious decree of the upright reason,
these unfortunate barbarians, old inhabitants of North America, as many as can will deliver themselves to


Language of gestures adaptable to all
The primordial necessity to exist and to treat each other reciprocally, even if it be only with the
aid of fulfilling the inclination of destroying one another, has obligated them to make known among
themselves what they contemplate and undertake. When the case arrives that two or more nations make
their mutual complaints to each other and they declare war or they agree by some satisfaction that they give
each other in their way, or to invite each other to some dance or common festival, they utilize the general
language of signs and gestures. In the announcement of war they fall back on one of the impartial ones
or, if they cannot find one, one from among them goes to the hamlet of the nation, with which they must
treat, and, taking with him, besides those for his use, some arrows of more calibre and of better
construction, he shows them to the captain and to as many as he can of the nation belligerently, shooting
a few into a trunk and making the gestures of attack, of flight, and of outcries as if he were in the actual
function. Sometimes his proposal of war is admitted by the captain of the challenged nation making just
as many without harming the one sent, and in others this same envoy tends to be the blank in which he
responds his right of people with his arrows. If the ambassador is for peace he also takes with him a
goodly portion of arrows of the best construction but separated from the darts or flints and adorned as best
as they know how; he shows them to the others and he discharges a few into the air, giving embraces,
bursting forth shouts, and doing other happy things. If mutual invitations are made to celebrate with
dances, or the entry of the seasons, especially that of the rains or the harvest of wild fruits that they use,
or some expedition which they have made against the enemies of the both of which is treated, then the
envoy comes near without arms, painted as for the festival and, arriving at the hamlet of those invited, he
dances in their presence and makes all the gestures they are accustomed to; he signs the place where his
nation is found and he shows them the way he has come; he indicates, with little equivocation, the size of
the calabashess in which the liquor is prepared to intoxicate themselves and very common is the infrequency
in a whole century of the examples of these commissioners having been badly received and slighted in their

To this language of pantomime they also add another which serves them to explain themselves even
from the greatest distance. The smoke of the bonfires, which they light for this end, informs them of the
route they take, the place where they stop, and of the need they have of help according to the urgency and
the hour. Agreed in this way to explain themselves, they go, whenever they travel to some expedition,
alternating themselves to observe the horizons and to direct or accelerate their pace according to how the
smokes might inform them of their allies and the opportunity. Also some dedicate themselves, and among
them the one who act as captains, to falsify the caw of birds, like the crow, of the eagle, and of the owl
or of some quadrupeds like the bull, the horse, the deer or, to surprise the enemy, he thinking that in some
forest he is going to find a sure hunt of deer or bulls, he falls into the hands of his rivals who destroy him.


Method and circumstances of their matrimonies

These nations of savages also contract their links of friendship with those which are neighbors by
means of matrimony which only last as long as the appetite, and this sated, they are converted into reasons
for war. The method of procuring marriage is by becoming the bridegroom or the claimant of a good
seizure in the hunt for deer or hares and also of horses or mules; he takes it to the cabin f the parents of
the pretender in whose hands he places it, without any other salutation or affair even if he is of a different
nation. If these then eat it, inviting the pretender with part of the gift he has made them, his solicitude can
go assured of his having obtained her; but if they receive it and eat without calling him to the banquet, it
is necessary for him to retire because his life is not sure if he is from another nation and, if he is from the
same one, he should look to another girlfriend. The matrimony only lasts until another pretender presents
himself to the Indian girl or to him another who seems better and, in this case, he uses the same ceremony
as many times as he wants with a rather doubtful effect in most of them; such that, in reality, their wives
are common and, regarding the children, one does not know which of the circle might be their father.t

In order to obtain a virgin, both contractors of matrimony are obligated, the previous solicitation
and agreement supposed, to leave by different routes to the thickest part of the immediate woods to wander
alone and without any other recourse or help for a certain time and, so that they do not come together, the
fathers and mothers, if they are alive, take particular care, if not, their aunts and uncles and relatives.
Those are understood as parents in whose power or concubinage the Indian woman was when she gave
birth. What these betrothed people do, separated during their banishment, alone and in the woods, I cannot
trace by the activities I made and only saw that, when a female or a male Indian disappeared from the
hamlet, asking the rest where those that were absent were, they would respond that they had gone to the
woods because they wanted to marry and that their parents were along watching that they did not come
together until it was time.u


Education of their children

From this disorder in their matrimonies should follow, as is, in fact, seen, very few children in
respect to the multitude of centuries in which these regions should be overflowing with Indians all over,
many more than there were when they were discovered; but they ones they have they give, from infancy,
the most adequate education imaginable for their later life. To bear them the Indian woman retires alone
to the most hidden and the least accessible part of the woods with one, not more than two, of her
confidants. There she suffers, with the greatest of silence, the occurrence of childbirth, for which, if it
turns out well, she sends one of her companions running to the hamlet where she reports to the male Indian
who has adopted that child; and this doubtful father, with those who make up those close to him and his
friends, devote themselves to running for a long time, shouting and demonstrating joy, which ends with
his lying down in the bed on the ground adorned, at the most, with hay and dried leaves where he receives,
in a gesture of a sick person, the congratulations of his companions. In the meantime, the one having given
birth, with her infant and her midwives, walks to the water where they bathe repeated times until, finally
purified of all impurities, they return to the hamlet. If the birth has been of twins, they choose the one best
formed and they kill the other by burying him alive, and they do the same, even if only one is born, if it
has from nature any defect or monstrosity. If the person giving birth has died in the occurrence, which
continues to be frequent, her companions run with the greatest speed and, with screams and shouts, make
known to the congregation what has occurred and all of them, in the same way, or the greatest part, walk
hurriedly and with equal screams, to the place of the body, to be, without any other recourse, witnesses
of what her barbarism has caused. They then give the order to bury the unfortunate one with the child
whom she bore although it might not be dead.

From infancy they exercise these, their children, in the major movements of agility, obligating their
little limbs to extraordinary contortions. They frequently rub the muscles of the arms, the legs, the waist,
and of the neck with certain herbs which they get in their season and prepare for this purpose. Before long
they see them standing on their own and, from that time, they exercise them in running and in jumping;
they take them to rough places and of some elevation to require them to come down alone even if it be
stumbling and falling; according to the advancing age, they place proportioned bows and arrows in their
hands so that they use them and also medium sized ropes and colts so that they lasso them, kill them and
eat them. In all opportunities they prepare them to suffer pain without repugnance or, better said, they try
to deaden the skin so that they feel less. At a competent age for the deed, they introduce them to the
sacrifice of scratching them which is, without doubt, the base of the inimitable suffering and of the vigor
for resisting which later, in their mature age, should be qualified as extraordinary and even almost without
a match.

This operation of scratching is done by rubbing the boy with flint stones, or also, and it is the one
they use most, with combs formed with the sharpest and most pointed rats' teeth, in those parts in which
they want the marks to remain according to the variety of nations. There are some that have them all over
the body and, especially the men, on the face and, the women, on the breasts, without forgetting the excess
on the face, such that one can be sure of the sex, that they do not lack their individuals who adopt, as
mourning and gallantry, the cruel and the horrible, the deformed and even the monstrous. This handiwork
of rubbing the children, as has been said, not only once: they repeat it many times, not only in infancy and
in childhood but also in their youth and in other ages, without excepting the old men and women so that
the signs are always fresh as much as possible. In the open wound they apply well pulverized carbon
mixed with resins which they prepare with study, as also the one of the signs which remain they form
designs and figures of caprice and in their mode, coarse and rough.

From this frequent exercise of tearing the skin and of exposing themselves so continually to pain,
results, as I stated above and it is a frightening thing, in their incomparable insensitivity. Frequently there
are Indians who, whipped, even with fierceness causing their blood to spill to the ground and cutting up
their flesh, one cannot see the least sign of pain in them and, rather on the contrary, the greatest docility
to approach the gallows and after the torment of lashings which fell upon them is over, to return to the
missionary priest or to another who is nearby to ask him, with tranquil expression and almost smiling, for
a half a real or another thing of his choosing.v Also frequent among them are the operations of their blood-letting in which they are reduced to scratching their arms or their back with well prepared combs until
causing bleeding in quite a large quantity, something which needs not one or two rubbings, but rather many
with the greatest force in the hardness of their skin and by a strange hand sometimes.

The wounds which they mutually make with their arrows are also such that to anyone else, that
would not be they, it should prostrate them and even kill them. I saw two of the Pasitas who came in a
warring raid with the Saracuayes, one pierced in the arm from one side to the other and the other the head
and the back, both wounds penetrating, and although sideways, they passed to their opposed sides but
neither one nor the other gave the least sign of complaint. With a smile and like in a parade, both showed
their wounds, that not being, as I say, small, and being in such sensitive parts, they did not look inflamed
nor did they give any indication of any malice and the patient looked at them with such unconcern as if he
had looked at a light scratch.


Their mourning and other customs

In their mourning or occasions of sentiment of death of one of them, they give no less proof of
their insensibility and they credit their pain in such an extravagant manner that they certainly must have
only few imitators in the rest of the world. When the case occurs in which an Indian woman must mourn
the death of her beloved Indian or of one of her children, she retires with those of her sex, who wish to
accompany her, to a place apart. There she pulls out, by the roots, every hair on her body, one by one
from head to foot; each pull is accompanied by an outcry from which those of her condolers follow and
the operation lasts, more or less, according to the amount of pain which widowhood has caused. Her head,
her eyebrows, and her eyelashes result in the same state as her cheeks and her forehead such that her
figure, from that time on, can be totally excluded from that human, notwithstanding that in a short time
she will not lack for another favorite who will fill the void of the deceased and who sees her also with
predilection. The multiplied pains, which she must have experienced in the days of her mourning, and the
fidelity, with which she assured her grief, causes, right away, that the image of her horrible figure to be
concealed in the eyes of her enamored one and the solicitors swarm around her. It is also customary for
the male Indians to do as much in the death of their favorites because the ceremony of mourning is not
common among them.

When they find themselves afflicted with some epidemic or pestilence, like small-pox and others,
which are regional and belonging to them more than anyone else, they employ the recourse of extending
branches [and] dried thorns surrounding their hamlet which they set on fire, occupying themselves, while
they burn, in casting the smoke toward the outside, bursting out in screams and vocal shouts in their
language, which are more insults and curses against the illness which afflicts them. To this medicine they
add that of planting long and pointed stakes in the circumference of their barracks with the aim, as they
believe, of cutting the ingress of the illness. If this progresses, without their reiterated preservatives being
sufficient, as it actually happens, they escape their ranch and leave that place for another distant one,
leaving there, among the ashes and on the road, their sick and dying. In these events of emigration and
mourning, at the same time, the widows walk along a separated path in the observance of mourning and
the widowers who, submitting to the ceremony, want to singularize and recommend themselves in their

Their gala and public clothing are saved in painting their body with red ochre, gypsum, indigo,
and carbon which the Indian women prepare and bring with them. On their head they wear plumes chosen
from turkeys and parrots, rubbing their hair first with gum and other resinous materials. On their arms
and on their thighs and on their neck they gird necklaces armed and interwoven with little bones and
medium sized shells and, in the same manner, they hang earrings in their nose and on their ears. This
gallantry is only used in the events of peace and dances or festivals because, when they prepare themselves
for war they paint themselves with carelessness and loosen their hair over their face, being careful, as much
as they can, to leave the marks, which are the insignia of their nation, uncovered.

In the hunting of wild animals and of water birds, they affirm, somewhat, the cunning and artifice
in which man is superior to all types of brutes. For the first, the circle is extended through all the space
of a woods, although it might be large; they come, stretching themselves out, when it is suitable, and
together, towards the center and in this they catch all they want and it comes into their hand in thousands.
In these cases the fall of some of their companions occur, facing each other without foreseeing the mutual
danger, they direct their shots at each other.w They also use, for this aim of the hunting of animals, the
burning of the grass of the circumference, leaving only a small space where they await the animals who
flee the fire. This tends to be so rapid, at times, that it catches in the center and, in their flames, the ones
themselves who schemed and the remain in the fire while the others take, in abundance and with the
greatest of east, as many animals as they need.

For the hunting of water fowl, they make use of the same expedient which the Mexicans use even
today. They place on their head a large calabash with two holes in a place to be able to see through them;
they jump into the water, covering their whole body with it and having their head inside the calabash,
which naturally floats, they approach the flock of ducks or geese, which do not find one or many
calabashes strange, and, when they feel themselves held by their feet, they are already drowned hung
around the waist of the Indian who takes as many as he wants.


Festivals or dances

These hunting expeditions are numerous, generally in preparation for some celebration and
invitation of other nations which might be neighbors and allies. The ingress of summer, which is so
propitious to its nudity, the abundance of the crop of prickly pear, pitahayas, quiote, and other wild
fruits which they use and are the style of their gluttony and their leisure, or the triumph of some battle
given to their enemies are the motives which are proposed to deliver themselves to the intoxication and to
the dance. The narcotic which they use for this purpose they call peyote which is a wild plant from whose
infusion and cooking there results a liquor which, in an excessive degree, has the quality which has been
investigated for it. This prepared in great quantity and the meat with fruits and wild seeds gathered, they
send their envoys to the friendly nation, as we have said, signaling the day and time. This is always chosen
on the darkest night and in the most obscure and most retired place within the woods.

Some of them congregated there, which used to be as many as six to seven hundred which came
together, they light a large bonfire and in its circumference they place the quarters and pieces of meat
which they have prepared. The dancers, guests and hosts, placed in a line at an equal distance one from
the other, at one single beat, supported on one foot and making movements with the other, place
themselves in a circle, dancing in a race as fast as they can around the bonfire and the meat which is
grilling. They are not lacking in music from their voices and shouts, in which all of them, with the greatest
disorder burst out without interruption and men and women in competition. The significance of these
voices is allusive to the celebrity and concert sound which imitates a cadence and meter adequate to the
song. I asked numerous questions of several of them about what they said with such ardor in their couplets
and they answered that they spoke sometimes with the moon and clouds, others with the sun and the cold,
and finally, in others they made memory of their deeds in the woods and in war. So that the poetic
enthusiasm of these savages can be seen, I have not been able to avoid copying, to the letter and in their
own language, a fragment of these songs of theirs and with the translation in the manner which has seemed
must accurate to the words. The language is that of the Maratins which were the ones of which I treated
the closest in the matter and it is to be believed that the rest, although different in sound, might be identical
in the method of versifying and discourse.

No ohgimah ka tamugni
We went, shouting, to fight in the woods.
Jurinigua migticui
In the manner of lions which eat meat.
Coapagtzi comipaahchu
The enemies who wanted to kill us,
noghi mehgme paahchichu
we went to make they die in pieces.
Tze pong, tze xiri, tze mahk�
The cord, the arrow, the bow,
ming cohcoh, ming catam�
our strengths, our shots
tzi pamini cugtim� memehé
made them flee without being able to run
Aahchiguata tzicuine, ming metepeh
The women, the boys, we saw them;
ming maamehé, ming maatzimetzu
we shouting with joy, we jumping
coomatep� cuiiicicuim� paagchichú
we left and there, very far away, we left them dead:
Aaachiguat� mohka mimigihi
The women are no longer crying
Chenohgim� ziri ka tamugni
so that we go with arrows to fight in the woods:
Aaachiguat� henig maamehé
the women and we shout for joy,
baak ka Peyot hemegtuché
we drink Peyote and we shall sleep.

If a civilized pueblo were to explain its concepts in similar circumstances, with the phrases and
meter of its language, I believe it would explain itself with the same spirit in the following manner: and
that this translation in our meter serve as much as a digression, which is not so troublesome in the case,
as to demonstrate the character of these barbarians and the ideas which dominate them principally.

We went screaming to war
in the manner of the brave lions,
to the cruel enemies
we take the hard death.
The cord, the bow, and the arrow,
our vigor, our shots,
make them tremble with fear,
and they make it public in shouts:
With our festive faces,
we leave the triumph at swords,
and our women no longer
cry with shame:
With them and our joy
shall the festival be crowned
by the ecstasy of the intoxication
and the enchantments of the dream.

Actually, to the dance, which lasts most of the night without interruption, the dancers mix, now
and again and in parts, their trips to the peyote which is placed to one side and administrated by the Indian
women and the old people, such that the conclusion of the festival is for everyone to be prostrate and
asleep. In the delirium of the intoxication it is usual for silence to be brought by an old man or woman
who, using the voice in a magisterial and enlarged tone to which all pay attention, he prognosticates their
future successes, enlarges their spirit in their deaths and misfortunes, and finally, stammering without being
able to speak much, he exhorts them not to interrupt the dance. When this succeeds they say that the devil
comes to visit them, that they speak to him, and that what he says comes true. This oracle, effectively,
does not fool them when he prognosticates that all will come to end in the same state of stammering and
prostate like the prophet.

Besides this dance, which they call mitote, they also have other celebrations during the day such
as ball, racing, battling, and, since the time of the conquest, also those of cards and others of luck; but
what should most cause more than a little admiration in these barbarians is that since much earlier than the
discovery of these lands and even of the New World, they knew the game of "la chueca" in the proper
manner with the same voracity and without differing in anything from the manner in which it is played in
some northern provinces of the old Spain. The lower pueblo of la Vizcaya is delighted with this
bothersome game and not less the Indians of the Colony; such that if they sent one of these Indians and a
Vizcayan of theirs, one could bet on the Indian with success and the winning would be assured. If the
conjecture were not ridiculous and not at all interesting, it could be discussed that in the ages of paganism
and when the island of Atlantis was spoken of as something real, perhaps some pagan Vizcayan could have
adopted the undertaking of extending the ideas of the game of "chueca" until conquering these Indians with
them. Because of the grief, blows, and confusion which this very destructive game brings with it, it is
usual to stir up open and bloody wars among these barbarians and we do not know if in the barbarian
Vizcaya something equal might have occurred.


Horrible festival of the Comanches
The festival of the Indians of the colony, as we have said, is indubitably the most horrible and
lugubrious which indicates, without equivocation, which and how much the barbarianism of these
unfortunates is; but that of the Comanches and Apaches leaves behind, with many advantages, not only this
but the many pagan and barbaric sacrifices that have been seen in the world. Congregated alone, because
their number is enough and needs no one, in the farthest place in the woods, they make the preparations
for their intoxication and the rest for their celebration. They light their bonfire in the proper manner and
the meat which they have to serve them for the meal is one, two or more Indians of those which have been
made prisoners from one or another nation. These, even alive, tied hand and foot and placed lengthwise,
face up and at one side of the fire, are the object of the monstrosity of their festival. To better arrange and
soften the meat of these wretches, they rub the body with thistles and damp skins until they bleed
everywhere. This food being prepared thus, so horribly and more than brutal, they order the dancers in
their file and circle around the bonfire and the victim. One by one and now and then, leaving the order
of the dance, they approach the miserable prisoners and they tear their flesh in pieces with their teeth
which, yet palpitating and partially alive, they bring it close to the fire with their feet until, leaving off the
palpitation, it partially grills; then they return to it to chew it and to put it in their cannibal stomach, cruel
and more than inhuman. They are careful, at the same time, not to tear the fleshiest parts that it does not
endanger the life as well as not touching the arteries so that the patient does not bleed quickly until, the
body totally removed of its flesh and scraped to the bones, the old ones approach to scrape the entrails
slowly and to kill himx They also tend to leave the consummation of the work for the following night and,
in the meanwhile, they apply ground carbon and hot ashes in the wounds and bites that they have taken
from the flesh, observing them continually so that they not die without the old ones taking part in their
When the prisoners are not Comanches or Apaches within themselves, but rather any other of the
Indians of the colony or of the neighboring provinces, even if they are Spaniards, they do not perform these
inhumanities with them; but a lesser point, they yank off all the skin which covers the cranium with hair
and everything and this, which they call wig, they place in the middle of the circle of their dance and,
making grimaces as usual, they loose their capers and shouts. Still living in San Antonio de Bejar, capital
of Texas, is a Spaniard resident, who, after his head had been removed of its flesh and he himself had been
a witness to the dance of his wig by the Apache Indians, was able to escape from their grips and he took
refuge in the most immediate presidio of the Spaniards. This dance of the wig is also seen among the
Indians of the colony even today and it is already coming to light how needed it is that the missionary priest
multiply their strengths, not only to cut at the root but also in order not to see, without trembling, the
barbaric inhumanity of this use among the heathen Indians whom they try to convert or, at least, among
the converts.


No religion in the Indians
This ferocity of hearts and monstrous serenity of soul with which these savages see, in cold blood
and with no other reason then that of their pleasure, the spilling of blood of their fellow creatures, making
them suffer all the tortures that they imagine, is an infallible effect of the lack of religion which rules them,
of the lack of law which governs them, and of the true anarchy in all their understanding in which they are
born, live, and die; let the philosophers of our century say what they wish, it is absolutely necessary that,
when men resolve, by the conduct and on the system of only nature, without the aid, even from the
youngest infancy of the continual voice of education which would inspire sweet and human sentiments; it
is, I say, absolutely necessary that these children of nature, so praised and painted in the caprice of some
with such fantastic pretexts, be precipitated without coloring, without light, and without rein until the last
abyss of their misery.
The internal remorse which inspires, on its own, the solid and true religion is simply what can
place a brake in the human hearts and in this corrosiveness, let us call it that, which mellows and softens
the tautness and acrimony of the inclinations of man, causes, at the same time, the ideas of compassion and
pity for their fellow man to ferment and defuse in the customs. Each one of the men who, by his own love,
wishes to surpass the rest without the sacred refuge of religion, would see, without doubt, the ashes, and
last extermination of his fellow creatures as half effective for his ends and as a first principle of his system.
But, cutting this digression, which is already enough, to the pace which could be dilated when the affair
helps, and returning to the old settlers of the colony which is my intent and even to all the barbarians of
the internal provinces of America; in them is presented, to the universal theater of men, the public and
unalterable act of what these children of the naked nature are, and [it is] placed in hands of their

Besides the coarseness, the insensitivity, and the ferocious barbarousness that we have seen, they
were also found, at the beginning of their conversion, to be totally void of religious ideas. Nor did they
know what it was to worship nor had prohibitions or penalties, transgressions or virtues come to their
notice. They stole with impunity except for that punishment which, by way of reprisals, anyone can
impose on whomever offends him when there might be no magistrates in whom each man in society
redounds his rights. They fooled themselves with perfidy at every chance and whenever they did not mix
some manifest and more than a small object of their own profit in their proceedings. They took their lives
with the same indifference as seeing themselves exist and they abused their women with absolute profusion
and even without that liveliest and most vehement impulse of not being left behind which, in the line of
pleasure, is normal for men.

In the order of belief not a faint hope was found that they might have it, even a coarse one.
Among many ordinary people of those countries, I found the tradition that, in the time of the heathenism
of the Indians, there was rectangular stone the size of a "tercia" and so heavy that several men, applying
all their strength, were not enough to lift it; their circumstances were, according to the preservers of the
report, firstly, it being of a certain kind very little or not at all known and, secondly, it having the diabolic
instinct of wandering alone alternating among the nations of the barbarians by whom it was received, when
it was their turn, with dances and festivals, sweeping and placing flowers as much on the road by which
it came as the place where they would lodge it, everything in a sign of adoration and idolatrous worship.
They verified the report so much, that they even authorized it for me including a missionary priest who,
in order to remove this diabolic instrument of idolatry from the Indians, had taken said stone to his college,
making use of competent means to manage its weight. It did not seem necessary to me to go to the fountain
of the report to investigate it because the the outward appearance alone of its tradition is indicating its
falsity and much more when, in the internal provinces of America more than a little investigation is
inevitable in order not to stumble at each step into the most vulgar people and with their needs.

Nevertheless, to see if there were anything in the report, at least, of truth, I approached some old
Indians of different nations; I asked them in various ways and by ways in which they could not hide the
truth from me and I did not find in them even signs of what they attributed to them. What they attribute
to them, as well, that some nations do not want to see deer or wild grouse or turkeys die because they
believe that their souls transmigrate to these animals, is also totally unfounded and entirely false. The truth
is that when they are asked why they do not eat and kill turkeys, they respond to it that because they are
their friends; it is not because they might think they are the transmigration of their souls but rather, in
reality, these animals being as untamed as the Indians, they serve them many times in their forays to find,
through their tracks, running springs and the most solitary and shaded places.

One of the Pisones, to whom they impute this frivolous belief, made me a very expressive painting
of the method in which they normally stand in wait for the turkeys in the woods, feigning their cackling,
in order to follow them and to learn from them in which region the fields of piquín chile, pitahaya cactus
and other wild fruits are most abundant, equally adaptable to the palates of one or another. The only faint
hope there is in them that they believe a little of the immortality of the soul is when they are asked what
they figure happens to their friends when they die and the respond then without stopping, that they pass
to the other side of the sea, but without being able to explain what, how, or when. To pin one down and
obligate him to, at least in his own way, detail his system somehow, I retorted, among other reflections,
saying to him, "Well how are you sure they go to the other side of the sea when you see that, when they
die, they rot and they bury them?" but without hesitation or giving me time for more questions, giving me
the shoulder, he responded, also you die and afterwards burying like the boy. In virtue of this, I shall not
doubt that the savages of these countries can be given, rigorously, the name, rather than heathens, of
negative atheists and irreligious in all sense; because, although they might have been born like our
orthodoxy believes, with the image of the creator engraved in their hearts, but this, either has been erased
due to the lack of use or lack of education or, at least, it has darkened such that they do not figure it nor
do they explain it in any manner.


Methods by which they wage war and their reasons
Delivered purely to the material and sensible objects which delight the animal and coarse passions,
to these they direct all of their few natural inspirations and one of them, as we have said several times, is
the manner and the stratagems, more than a little sagacious, with which they wage war. This is frequently
stirred up either because of one of them being married to an Indian woman from another nation, he
divorces her immediately, or because, although he keeps her with him, her own claim her, or because in
the reaping of some wild fruit which they use, some of them take possession of the region where it is
abundant and the others undertake to dislodge them, or because in the game of "la chueca" between two
nations which have been invited for it, some end up injured by the other, or also, and it is the most
common because it strikes the old and not so old Indian women to light the fire of vengeance for one of
their caprices. These women, in the discourse of a complete night, or two, or three, if it is necessary, take
on the occupation of crying in shouts, alternating themselves for hours according to the order of their age
and, among their cries, groans, and lamentations, they mix the story of their misfortunes, the death of their
loved ones, and the scarcities they have suffered originated by those against whom they want to wage war.
These exhortations and feminine harangues, which in the silence of the dark night and in the softened light
of a bonfire will be, in fact, overly expressive and insinuating, penetrate, without interruption, the ears and
cause the spirit of their vengeance to ferment more and more in these savage combatants.
Since the time of the conquest these heathen orators must have had, without doubt, more abundant
occasion to extend the thread of their declarations and, in fact, it has been a clear thing in the conversions,
although not so much today, that whenever this nocturnal movement was observed in the Indian women,
for ever or in a total flight of the congregated Indians or in some bloody eruption in the immediate pueblo.
In the relation and memory of an old Indian I found one of these declamatory harangues of the Indian
women to exhort the Indians to war against the Spaniards that, due to having, in the crude terms in which
he made it, enough sense and more than a little grace, it appeared to me opportune to copy it to the letter:
"We, before climbing the mountain, going down to the plain, stuffing ourselves, and having no fear; to
run all over like deer and never die with a knife or bullet. My husband and my son, to die; another one
my husband also to die; I saw him, so much blood, so much fright, so much crying and I not able to heal;
the big captain (this was the name that they called Don José Escandón, the conqueror) much good like the
water; to regale and to love very much boy; the little captain and the soldiers much bad like thorn, killing
us and taking our boy so far; the women here crying alone like dove because not have man defend us;
going we to lie down with soldier like their wives, the hamlet stay alone and the Indians without son like
stick; if not defend us our men, we going with soldier and everything to end, like nothing; eating only now,
sleeping and wanting woman like dog; the Indian lazy, the Indian no fight nor kill Spaniard, ohí my
husbandí ohí my soní ohí my other husbandí when have they so many arrow without kill soldier with ití
But my husband already die with knife, there is no one to kill soldier; soldier now valiant like wolf; Indian
coward like rabbit, fleeing; we going with soldier so not to cry."y

With this harangue and other similar ones hinting at the reason for war either with the Spaniards
or among themselves, the Indian women alternate, as it was stated above, to mix it in competition with their
cries and groans and with the sharpest and most hurtful shout throughout the whole night. From it,
naturally, results the effervescence of the Indians and their irritation to go out to the battlefield without
wasting time; well it is now seen that it is more than a little provocation for their wives to threaten them
that would they go with their enemies leaving them without sons if they did not condescend to their whim.
In fact, while they [the men] cry and repeat their harangues, they prepare their arrows, paint their body
more with carbon and red ocher than with white and another open color, they loosen their hair over their
face, make their trials in their jumps and runs, inclining their body and throwing themselves to the ground
almost all at the same time.

Sometimes they send the embassy of war to the enemy nation, as we have said, except to the
Spaniards for which there is no example that they might have arranged their clashes, and others find the
surprise is better. If the enemy is very distant, the entire nation marches, making the women and the boys
combatants also, and if it is not too far, only a part of them go, the other part remaining to keep guard of
the huts and the Indian women. If two or three nations have joined to surprise others and, likewise
agreeing in their smoke signals, both try to travel in expectation of this countersign, which comes through
the air, to accelerate or retard, more or less, their marches. Arriving at the premeditated site for the
surprise, if the pursued nation or hamlet had not sensed them and they fulfill their expedition with this, they
suddenly loose a furious and general shouting, as strong as they can, bursting forth, at the same time
against the enemy, all the taunts they know. The skirmish is stirred up without there being too much blood
on either side because the defense is usually enough to mutually intimidate one another. If they manage
to take the life of a few, they count the triumph as complete and, if they manage to take the enemy
cadavers, it is the ultimate crown of victory. Notwithstanding that they make the greatest effort not to
leave their cadavers in the field, they are very careful and try by all means possible to take them with them
and those of the enemy in shouts of huzzah; but also these, without attention to the live ones of theirs who
are lacking, celebrate more the deaths they have caused to their opponents. It seems that among these
savages that sentence of a heathen sage found complete reception, that an enemy for evil is ten, so many
more than ten, friends for the good and because of this, without doubt, these barbarians celebrate the death
of an enemy who harmed them more than they grieve the loss of ten of theirs who were good to them.

When, mutually and without surprise, two or three nations have agreed to wage war against each
other, they denote the day and the field of battle which is always some woods or the thickest and most
rugged region of the mountain. Both belligerent bodies approach it, making an effort to crawl among the
rocks, to advance within the shade of the trees, and to keep the greatest silence in order for one not to be
noticed by the other; but involved to the extreme within the fears of not being perceived, each combatant
chooses either a small shelter or a tree or a large rock in which he intrenches himself and takes his shots
from there. The signal to attack is a furious and general shout from one place and another without lacking
attacks and taunts until the last effrontery, the ones acting as captains signaling themselves by giving the
greatest shouts and continually running among their own and not only a few times it happens that, separated
from them, they tend to be the ones who are left in the field and in the power of the enemy.

They attack each other when the case of involvement orders it and the attack is reduced more to
shouts and desires of destroy one another than to obtain the end. Their retreat is in the same instant in
which one of the combatants turns his back to the enemy and in his race, trying to place himself in safety,
the others do not fail to follow him. Each one of these belligerent nations goes, in its retreat, filling the
air with shouts of joy with which they both indicate the satisfaction of victory. The Indian women,
principally, cannot find leaps of joy and other things with which to signify to their husbands the compliment
of congratulations for their expedition and, although they have been left widowed, they leave off the
ceremony of ridding themselves of their hair until after the festival of victory. The ones who, at this time,
take such a great part in the celebration are, afterwards are the first ones to begin the nocturnal and general
crying which stirs up the battle again.

Certain nations more warlike and feared than the others

In this manner they spend the years of their savage life in the alternative of celebrating their
triumphs and of crying their losses, filling the spaces with the occupation of gathering flints and various
nerves of animals and feathers for the construction of the arrows. Although the campaign is not very far
from the hamlet, some of the Indian women never quit going to war loaded down with bows and arrows
as replacements, the others with gourds filled with water and all of them with some meat and wild fruits
which are the munitions of war and mouth, they acting as sutlers. Encamped, let us say, with the young
and less vigorous Indians at a short distance from the field of battle and, acting as rear guard or reserve
bodies, they also confront the enemy in urgent cases and there have been many attacks in which the women
have made more ravages with much more tenacity and fury that the male Indians. They are in charge, as
well, of the field hospital, caring for the healing of the wounded, applying certain balsam herbs in a
sublime degree, without doubt, and that only they know how to select and prepare.

Among the Apaches many examples have been seen by the troops of the presidios of an Indian,
covered with wounds and his flesh torn, with only the remedy of chewing this herb, of swallowing part of
it and applying the rest to the wounds, he presents himself after a short time with hardly any scars. In the
internal provinces they give this precious vegetable balsam the name of herb of the Apache. I endeavored
many times to obtain it and experiment with it but it was not obtainable and, in consequence, leaving the
truth of the acts intact, my experience will not come out as its guarantee.

Among this multitude of savage nations, there are several which some happy event in their
beginning made them more vigorous and astute to make themselves feared by the others. The Pames, the
Pisones, and the Janambres are, in the colony, the tribes which, in the time of their heathenism, were the
dominant and most feared ones in arms. To invade them several of the others always came together and,
although they exceeded them in number, they did not miss, nevertheless, receiving decided blows in spite
of the shouts of triumph which the ones who come together made, as always, in their own areas. Just the
sight of a Janambre is enough to intimidate several of another nation although they might consider and see
themselves protected and helped by the Spaniards. I saw the disposition of a captain of the Simariguanes
and of another three nations who, with several of their nation and in company of an administrator of a
certain hacienda immediate to the town of Escandón where I was, and he had arrived with the aim of
visiting me; at the same time he saw the arrival of the captain of the Janambres who, with the same aim
of seeing me, had come from the town of Llera. After both reached an agreement with each other, the
Janambre, with declared contempt of the Simariguan, came to me and the other one, with the most humble
submission left; the Janambre exhorted the administrator so that he would not believe the kindness "which
the one whom he brought with him was feigning to him because he and all of his own had always been bad;
that at all times the Janambre and his nation had repelled their company and castigated the Saracuayes and
Simariguanes in war because they were cowards and they only knew how to steal and run." This one
having left, the Simariguan returned, somewhat tranquil, but not for this would he leave off looking at the
door once in awhile and he would return saying: Janambre is still there, much valiant.

The said Pisones and Janambres, who normally have been confederates, keep in their memory and
tradition, without a determined date, although, yes, according to their signs, of times long before the
conquest, the occurrence of a glorious battle which up to twelve allied nations, from the Tamaulipas sierras
and from the fields of the colony, started up against them; in all of them they ended up defeated,
notwithstanding the advantage of their number. In this function a lone Pisón confronted a considerable
number of enemies, he killed five, obligated the others to flee, and he came out unhurt, taking the cadavers
of the enemy to the place where those of his party were. With this report these wretches tried to intimidate
the first Spaniards who entered into their country in the year of '47 but the recourse turned out in vain and,
instead, on the contrary, after a vigorous resistance made by them, they were finally one of the first who,
taking up the arms of the conquistadors, have cooperated in many expeditions for the conversion of the

Also the Janambres conserve in their tradition the memory of a captain of theirs in olden days
whose strength was enough in a battle of war to stone the enemies with the enemies themselves who were
at hand, and he threw them with the impelling force and nimbleness as a rock. If, for the truth of this
deed, judgement is suspended, one can lay the report at the side of the one which Virgil relates to us about
Aeneas in the heathen Africa that, in order to displace Turno, his rival, he threw such an enormous rock
on him that there was not enough human strength later to move it. The truth truly is that, in most of the
barbaric nations of the colony, the terror with which they still see the Janambres is amply indicated and
this, without doubt, has some motive from far back in their old events.

These nations extend themselves from the southern shores of the Río Grande toward the south,
which I properly call of the colony, and from the northern ones toward the inside of the north, many others
propagate in whose number are counted, since the year of '50 when they were received in peace in these
provinces, the one of the Apaches and that of the Comanches. This one is the terror of all the others at
all times and there is no doubt that they deserve it, as much because of their number as because of their
ferocity, cunning, and appearance. Their stature, normally, exceeds the regular one of a man; his color
white wavering to red which, for the other Indians of these provinces, is so extraordinary as well as fearful
for the same reason; his festival attire, a buffalo skin which covers him in the form of a cape from the neck
to the feet and, at the same time, serves him as a hat in his forays, as a bed, and as all his dress because
on the inside they are completely naked. They make their hair grow to the ground, if they can, braiding
it and embellishing it with white powder: when the natural hair does not reach this length, the men make
use of the women, whose hair they cut for the use, and there are also some among them for whom neither
theirs nor that of their wives are enough and they use the manes and tails of their horses, braiding them
into their hair to make up for the defect. The Indian women, bald for the most part, wear buffalo skin
skirts, very well tanned and embroidered, which cover them to the knees, adorned from there with fringes
or cords of shells and small chosen bones and, of the same, pendants in the nose and the ears.

Each Comanche has so many tents and field furniture, according to, how many the women he has
for his use and each one of these is in charge of serving his man on the day when it is her turn. It for them
to prepare the meat they are to eat, set up and take down the tent in their frequent emigrations, have the
horse at hand which her husband is to mount and to take it by the halter on the road, they going on foot
and suffering all the rigors of the barbarousness for tens and hundreds of leagues, such that these
barbarians have condemned their women to a perpetual and rigorous slavery and these savage women, no
less than their husbands, fill their efforts with this type of provision which surely has very few examples
in the world. The male Indian does not occupy himself in anything else other than in bringing to the tent
of each of his women, when it is necessary, the buffalo or the deer which has died in the hunt and, even
in the handiwork of preparing and tanning the skins for their use, they are really the feminine hands, rather
than those of the men, which are used. His mount is the bareback horse with a halter crosswise in its
mouth and, at best, with two small pieces of wood tied together at a short distance and placed on the back
of the beast like a saddle. His collection of horses is counted by the multitude of horses which, without
limits, propagate in those deserts and which present themselves, in innumerable groups, although with
some difficulty, at the man's reach. They also generally approach the Spaniards to exchange skins for tame
horses and, when they want to spare themselves this work, they are better satisfied with the theft and it is
the road which they have best beaten.

The arms which they carry with them at all times, besides the bow and arrow, are the rifle, the
pike, and the macana It is hangs from the neck and touches the chest, the shiniest and sharpest it can be
such that, bound with convenience and mobility to either edge of the skin which covers them in the form
of a cape, it also serves them as a broach to hold it; the pike with the bow, bound to the man, the quiver
at the waist on the back side, and the rifle in hand, thrown across the horse. To discharge this they always
use a support, giving this assignment to the ramrod which, being, as it is, a thick rod of iron with a fork
at the tip which corresponds to the worm for drawing the wad of a firelock, they always carry it within the
barrel with the double assignment of forcing its charge with it and of fixing it on the ground, securing the
barrel within the fork to better direct the shot. When they see the Spaniards who, without a support, hit
the mark, they are filled with wonder and they do not find, moreover, how to explain their admiration.
It is necessary to believe that the use of firearms in these nations could not have been before the discovery
of the New World and that where they first started to obtain them was in the French and English colonies
of the continent. Today they also supply themselves with them in the presidios of the Spaniards with the
intention, according to the instructions of the honorable count of G�lvez, of their introducing necessities
to them by this means so that with them and by its stimulation, the civilized life can be followed; but the
truth is, and the experience accredits it, that in consideration of these necessities which, effectively, have
been introduced to them, they have progressed and will continue progressing their thefts, their
contemptuousness, and the astuteness with which today they wage war with the same ones who provide
their arms.

They always make use of the arrows with preference and with more dexterity in their use such that,
without it in their confrontations of war, they would find themselves totally overrun by the enemy, as much
because of their slowness in loading the rifle as because of the slowness with which they take aim and
discharge. To obviate this imperfection and make use of, at the same time, the ravage of the bullets, they
use the arrow in their first files or vanguard, threatening more than discharging, and in the meantime, the
ones in back, from covered and comfortable places, discharge their bullets with complete security and
almost at precision without entering the skirmish or the danger. The Apaches are somewhat slower in the
use of these arms and it is seen in that, when they obtain them, they command the removal of the gunlock
and the steel for striking the flint as a thing which impedes and, to discharge it, they make use of each
other. The one who discharges takes his aim with the greatest pause and minute attention, propping the
point of a foot on that of the other Indian, whom he has at his side and who is in expectation of it being
pressed as a sign to apply a hot coal to the powder chamber which he has prepared for the use.z

The said nation of Comanches infuses, even only with its presence, so much horror to this one of
the Apaches, that many times the affectation of the voice of the Comanche by some Spanish soldier in the
immediacies of some hamlet of Apaches has been seen and this alone is enough to place them in flight,
notwithstanding the group of Apaches being so numerous that it extends into various branches and with
various denominations, from the east coasts of the continent through the colony and the province of Texas
to the western ones through Sonora and California. The Lipans, the Mescaleros, and others are rigorous
Apaches with the greatest coarseness and ferocity in their customs, in the language, and in the alliance
which they have within themselves. The Comanche, as I said, is the calamity of all of these and, of the
Comanche, it is the Guasa, which is another nation of Indians much more northerly in the confines of
Texas and the borders of Canada and Boston.

Of this race of savages one only knows in these countries the reports which the Comanches make
about them explaining their fear and the reasons they are obligated to have it. Their life is not errant like
the others nor do they lack for certain legislation and civility which congregates them in pueblos with not
such bad lodging and some fortifications in their plazas; which collects them at the sound of a military call
to defend themselves from their enemies; which makes them cover themselves with skins and obligates
them to enter into trade and alliance with their neighbors that are not Indians. When the Comanches
venture to go to invade them in their homes, they find the need to cut the tail, and even the stub, of their
horses because, in a general agreement, when they do not do it thus, one lone Guasa Indian running
towards them to drive them away, surpasses the horses in the race, pulls them by the tails, and, grabbing
the horseman without having to take a jump, throws him to the ground with defeat. For this undertaking
it goes to say almost everything of the gigantic stature of the horsemen which, used in strength and in the
race, he advanced in only one step what a running horse does in two or three.

In one of these forays the Comanches were able to take two Guasas prisoner, by chance, whom
they took to their hamlet with the greatest shouts of triumph and they were already preparing the dance to
tear them apart and eat them alive in their fashion. By a previous celebration they arranged, in a number
of more then three hundred on horseback and posted at regular distances, to release the two prisoners on
foot, obligating them to run, reaching them anew, and reiterating the procedure to spend the time in this
diversion and make time for the hour of the dance. In the meantime, the Guasas, pretending to be
compunctious and intimidated, sometimes avoided the turns of their persecutors, at others they allowed
themselves to be reached, always advancing a piece and arriving, finally, at the last ones, better drawing
their stratagem and quickening their pace more, leaving behind all the conquered horses and those on their
saddles, who were already preparing a place on their teeth and in their stomachs, ridiculed.

When the Comanches are asked what judgement they make of the war of the Guasas, they reply
immediately signifying their wonder and admiration, multiplying superlatives of much, much valiant, big
ear; mule foot; and, in fact, the Guasas, as a barbaric custom, pull their ears from infancy and they prepare
them such that they tend to hang to the shoulder and to be greater than the head. Nature also, perhaps
helped by craft, has provided them an extraordinary size of feet even in the extraordinariness of their
stature, well proportioned in all the rest, good posture and of good figure. This opportune alternative of
these barbaric nations fearing one another, pursing each other to the death, and seeking powerful alliances
to protect them for that same reason, brings into the hands of the conquering arms of this New World the
sage maxim of overtaking them in their divisions and of lending them, in urgent moments, the assistance
they need. By this proper road the provision disposes that these same nations of barbarians, ever
belligerent and monstrous in their customs, approach, although slowly and at some high expenses to the
monarchy, the light of the religion and to the recognition of the truth. aa


Conjectures regarding the origin of these barbarians

I protest that. at my having extended myself to speak of the Guasas who lodge themselves, as I
said, much farther on from the hills of San Sab� and from the northern frontiers of Texas, I have vierd
from the intent in the colony of el Nuevo Santander and coast of the Gulf of Mexico; but now that we are
somewhat outside of the road and in an opportune occasion, although it might be in passing, to conjecture
with freedom, it might not be bad to discuss something, at least, and to place it in the shadow of the critical
sages of our century, regarding the origin and progress of this multitude of errant and various nations with
which the New World has been and is inhabited. When, in historic conjectures, one calculates on fixed
dates, there is no doubt that it is the straightest road to almost reach demonstrations; and in the case,
reassuming what has been accepted universally, set down as true, it is exactly the best way of not erring.


Before the conquest and discovery of the New World

It is, then, incontestable, except among the unbelieving philosophers of our century, that so many
men have inhabited and today inhabit the proximity of Mount Ararat and the province of Armenia in Asia:
here rested the arc which saved all the living species of the universal flood; here was where Noah and his
three families situated themselves in the beginning and from here their descendants multiplied until now
and up to the last corner where those, who are not even discovered or known, are found. Also it is an
indubitable fact that the northern Indians of America are as human and as rational as the first grandchildren
of Noah with the sole difference that they were aroused over there. "Nombrotes" and Pythagoras, on the
face of our globe, has[sic] its origin of propagation in that, the first ones with strength and the second ones
with the superiority of talent obligated their fellow creatures to the profit of congregating and following
the instinct of nature through the laws, science, and the arts, and here, on the contrary, forgetting these
first notions which were almost hereditary for them in the beginning, they have progressed with the passing
of the centuries in the insensitivity and barbarism which we have seen.

Also it is not less true that in the space of 1,200 leagues, which are measured from the fields of
"Senaar" in America to the northern beaches of the old continent, the first men should have propagated
by the sheer order of their numbers, of their necessities, and once placed here, it is already consequential
and it is coming into hand, the one which, obligated by the same motives of their ancestors, they increased
their number and extended their pueblos and the American continent in this area began to be inhabited,
since that epoch, by rational people. The desiring of this system to defend itself as its own, regarding the
first settlers of the New World, would be the most disgraceful audacity, when it is generally known and
no one can conceal that the blackest blot, with which the writings of Phillip [King of Macedonia] are
stained, is this invention, whose age combed the gray hair of two centuries at that time and now three,
having been appropriated.

I protested, and I again protest now, that reassuming only the universal concurrence of the critics,
it can, and should be given already as an incontestable fact that from the old and new continent only a short
space of sea intervenes on the north part, which should be so accessible for the human industry to
overcome its obstacles, how great must be the necessities which would suggest it. At the present time it
is evident to us that, the seas freezing, so much more when they are closer to the poles, facilitate their
access to men over a firm surface and, if these stretches of seas which freeze today, were or were not an
effect of the remote centuries of one of the great revolutions of which our globe is susceptible and that, as
a consequence, both continents having been only one, it was possible to verify to the letter that of the plows
plying through where today vessels ply; about this problem I say, with which one stumbles at each step
with many writers, neither can refutations be produced without incurring the most shameful mark nor can
eye witnesses be cited. It would be, then, the way that this transit of men from the old to the new continent
would be, what is certain is that in this, descendants of the first men were seen many centuries ago and that
this diversity of languages, of character, of customs, and even of figures and colors, should not be
attributed to a diversity of origin but rather to another multitude of occurrences with which the truth can
be saved.

Men, at any time and surrounded by the same circumstances, have always produced the same
effects, they have produced one same character, and they have measured themselves by one same rule of
customs. Hemmed into one small district, multiplying in number and with this, their competencies, their
emulations, and their needs, they have come to stop in industrious towns, where they arrive even in the
midst of the greatest dangers, to fling away their efforts in order to fill the vacuum of their indigencies.
Congregated in one land, although it be small, and persecuted by their neighbors, who might try to remove
and destroy them, they have built themselves, in the fortitude of the oppression, into either inexorable and
sanguineous champions who have subjected all that surround them to their power or, oppressed by the
weight and superiority of their rivals, they have suffered the series of their misfortunes to the miserable
extreme of slavery and of death. Surrounded by abundance which their progenitors have obtained for them
and imbued only in the ideas of pleasures, with how much ascendancy have the irritated passions, fomented
at the same time with the abuse of the illustration, not unraveled all their means? The Assyrians, the
Phoenicians, the Persians, the Egyptians, the Greeks, the ancient Romans and modern Italy, the Britons
and the Gauls are witnesses, more than authorized,bb of this uniformity of proceedings in men and of the
revolutions which have been seen in the pride of the human genus.

In another aspect of equal truth, the human species, multiplying itself in some country where nature
lavishes their products on them for their subsistence, it has been seen, and is seen, that, although its
individuals congregated only because resemblance and the endeavor of propagating calls them, they banish
all labor and industry from themselves, erase from their souls even those impressions which seem engraved
by the same impulses of the human heart, and arrive, finally, at the series of their generations to almost
completely degrade themselves from these rational and adorned

This is exactly the case in which the first progenitors of these American savages found themselves,
in their internal provinces, where they have degraded themselves to the ultimate extreme and they are the
shame of the human species. Through the weight itself of a rational conjecture, it is coming to mind that,
in the dispersion of the people in Babylonia, the families could not have been the ones of the best
intelligence and in whom the flowering of the sciences and arts then known could be deposited, the ones
who undertook to expatriate themselves to go form new towns. In our centuries we see that, to form new
colonies it is not the first families nor even the intermediate ones who leave their homeland and when, in
these cases, one or another undertake it, the greatest number is always composed of the castoffs, let us say
it thus, of the societies already formed. In those first centuries of the dispersion of the human genus, it
should have been the same and from here it is necessary to conclude that, as castoffs, the settlers of the
world arrived in depreciation up to the confines of that continent and from here, at the beginning of this
and up to the term in which we see them.dd The character of ferocity, the nature of inaction, the custom
of insensitivity, the uncivil, the irreligious, the general maxim of errantry have grown progressively from
one generation to another, nor could less be expected in the

The multitude of languages which are seen in this continent and the extreme diversity of their
dialects is, even now, a specter which, with appearances of reality, has fascinated many.ff The confusion
or dispersion of the languages in the beginning seems not to have supplied material for other languages
which are not those which are known in the ancient world or the results of these. In those of the American
Indians there is so much difference seen, not only among themselves, but of those ancients, like there is
from Biscay to Greek. The dialect, for example, of the Nayaritas is entirely different from that of the
Yaquis and Pimas and this one of the Apaches, and all of these, with others which no one today has
counted, have a total difference with the many of the coast of which we speak. None of the known ones
comes close, not even in the minutest, to Hebrew, Greek, and Syrian, which we repute as primitive, nor
to the Arabic and Chinese which can also be considered as such;gg so that it can be assured, without fear
of erring, that none of the languages of the savages of America has even the most remote relationship with
those of the ancient world.

Regarding this obviously immutable deed and regarding the irrefutable truth that, nevertheless, it
has no other origin than that general dispersion of languages and of people over all the surface of the earth,
it is necessary to discourse reconciling the truth with the deeds and not trusting, for the ascent of that which
only has appearances of contradiction.

We understand, then, a critical, rational, and wise induction during the series of fifty or more
centuries from that epoch until today in which, without doubt, so many alterations and vicissitudes fit, how
many we cannot calculate, not only in the languages of the men but in everything which surrounds them
and even in everything the sphere of the earth contains. The Hebrew language suffered the alterations
caused by the Chaldeans, the Syrians, and the Samaritans, propagating in each one of these a different
language until the arrival of the case of one not understanding the other. The Copts and the Greeks,
without doubt, did not stop talking to each other and being understood when the second ones participated,
even in the familiar, in the knowledge, arts, and sciences of the first ones, some of them, in another epoch
in which they made up almost one body of a nation with the Israelites in their captivity by the Egyptians,
were, as is natural, analogous to the Hebrews themselves, if not identical, in their merrymaking.
Notwithstanding these deeds being constant and universally received in the general history of the languages
of man, how much and how notable is the difference in which it has ended and is seen between Greek and
Hebrew and between both of these and the Coptic? From the ashes of the language which was general in
Latium and from it in all of Italy, such varied languages have been regenerated in our last centuries that,
surely, some exclude the others in a great part and more than a little reflection is necessary to unearth its
origin. How much more, then, could it be assured and, moreover, everything that is seen in the
generations of men who, errant and without order, have propagated in the internal provinces of America
in the space of tens of centuries and about whose histories we find no other documents, but rather
conjectures which only have been resuscitated a short time ago? It is, then, necessary to affirm as
incontestable first, that the progenitors of the inhabitants of the New World came from that continent to
this one by the continual regions of one and another at the area closest to the North Pole or through the
western extremities of Africa and the eastern ones of the other America without it being necessary, nor
even possible, to assign the how or the when, which certainly was due to necessity. The second, that the
variety of languages in these [provinces] has its varied origin of those with whom, without doubt, there was
a time that they identified themselves.hh And the third, which this extreme diversity that is seen today, not
only in languages but in customs, character, and the rest, so much cannot nor should be attributed to any
other thing but the duration, no less than the entire centuries, in which, daily, either due to the inaction or
due to the lack of culture, these primitive settlers of the Americas suffered continuous incidents which
distanced them from their origin and separated them to the ultimate extreme.


After the Conquest

All the aforesaid can be assured, as we have seen, about these American savages in the times in
which they very much preceded their discovery and the conquest of the continent by the Spaniards. Since
this date of the arrival of Cortés in these coasts and the destruction of the empire of Mexico, of the
Republic of Tlaxcala, and of the kingdom of Michoac�n, it was also natural that the number of errants and
savages of the north enlarge. How many families, intimidated by such a bloody war and for them, most
extraordinary, would prefer the abandonment of their societies and the comfort of their lodgings, however
they were, to the dangers of going out to the field to defend a native land or the need to submit themselves
to the victors? The dastardly character of the Indians, their natural ineptitude to acquire ordained ideas,ii
their poverty of recourses in all skills and industry, and their multitude, in which they ran about like ants
in all the lands conquered at that time, present enough clear indications to believe it thus. A great number
of their settlements on the route from Veracruz to Mexico found themselves, at the arrival of the
conqueror, totally cleared of their inhabitants and these fugitives, vacillating between the fear of war and
the love of their country, either would return to them solicitous of pardon with peace or armed in war, and
they met with death.jj

Since the siege and ruin of the capital and the key of the conquest of the empire arranged with this,
these dispersions of Indians were not able to stop, not only in families but in entire pueblos to the innermost
part of the continent where, without asylum and without a country, they turned to the errant and savage
life which has progressed in their descendants more and more until becoming almost their nature. The
country of Chichimecas, which should measure from the immediacies of Mexico with a distance of thirty
to forty leagues where today it is Cadereita, Tolim�n, and Tolimanejo on the north and northeast, was, in
the time of the heathenism of the Indians, the asylum of the savage Pseudochichimecoskk and must have
also been that of those who were not in the time of the general overthrow.

The incursions of these barbarians, who, dislodged from the lands by the new establishments of
the Spaniards which have been built lasting until almost today, battled in the Sierra Gorda and, conquered
there, part of them have always been distancing themselves towards the coast and to the most rugged part
of the same sierra.ll In the discovery, and making the strongest resistance, innumerable families of
pacification of this one and of the coast which is next to it, they found those who, in the new conquests,
had been considered converted and the same is natural that it would happen from Veracruz to Mexico and
in the rest of the continent. Although in the apostolic works of the religious ministers of America one reads
that the Indians in a great number were being converted to pueblos, congregating and converting to the
religion, it is necessary to add, at the same time, that no less was the number of those who, rooted in their
heathen maxims, better embraced, whether before or after being baptized, the errant and uncivil life rather
than the social and christian order in the soft yoke of the religion. Even today one could cite more than
a few examples of this obstinacy, and its notoriety, principally in internal provinces, saves us the work of
relating them.

It could be objected, nevertheless, that these expatriated families having had religious ideas,
although heathen and sanguine, it seems congruent that they should have found themselves, in their
discovery, with at least some of their remains, which was not the case as we have seen and is evident; but
at the same time it is being seen that the dispersement itself, the confusion and lack of order with which
they began fleeing could just barely permit them to pass, at most, these primitive ideas to two or three
generations. In the same case it could be replied, the Hebrews found themselves in the ruin of their empire
and the dispossession of their capital and, nevertheless, the perseverance of their synagogue and the
practice of their customs are seen even today; but make the comparison, at the same time, of the countries
in which the Jews were left errant, by cities, by towns and civil societies and those formed with the
extremely rugged deserts and the extreme desolateness through which these fugitive Americans wandered
and wander, with the circumstance, in the greatest abundance, that the dominant party in these northern
regions of America has always been, among the Indians, the lack of religion and barbarism. In the same
manner, although some of them would undertake to congregate and locate in some region to establish their
laws and customs, it must have been too hard, if not impossible, for them to sustain themselves in these
ideas in strange countries and where, surrounded by alienators and enemies that induced them to the
contrary, they must have only been careful not to imitate them in order not to attract their
In one word, the destruction of the empire of Mexico and of the other social nations of the continent,
caused, without doubt, the number of errants and savages of the internal provinces to increase after the
discovery and conquest of the New Spain.


African Negroes on the banks of the river of the North

On the banks of the river of the North, also found in the year of '47 by the discoverer D. José
Escandón and in that of '66 by the commissioners Cámara Alta y Tienda de Cuervo, was a certain nation
of Indians of which, up to now, there are some left and I do not believe the tradition that they are
descendants of the Africans. With attention to this they were called mulattos even by the Indians
themselves, notwithstanding that they are always reputed as compatriots and Indians, as well, with this
name. In the time of their numerous heathenism, they used a lance with a shield and they said that, many
years back, their forefathers had come to the beach, men alone, totally black, in no small number, armed,
and expeditious and that, taking women, in spite of the natives of the country, who, at the beginning, fled
from them and treated them as ferocious, even killing some, they managed, finally, to tame them and to
form a separate nation, not small in number, and feared by the others.

The arrival of these negroes to the beach cannot be attributed, surely, to the previous times of the
discovery of the New World and, consequently, it is necessary to believe that they arrived at it from the
islands of the gulf or of one of the colonies established in the continent by other European nations. The
one of it being by their own industry is also not compatible with the slavery in which they live since, by
force or deceit, they are taking them out of Africa and, thus it is unforgivable to discuss either that some
Europeans, due to some storm, arrived with them at the beach in the trafficking of slaves and they got away
from their masters, killing them and being left alone, or that due to the overthrow of some ship which was
bringing them, they, alone, saved themselves with the accident of their having been brought to these coasts
by the tide. The act of their arrival and propagation in the continent is an evident truth that cannot be
doubted and, as a consequence, regarding the how and the when can be calculated discussing everything


Mutual commerce between the Indians and the Spaniards

From this multitude of barbarian nations, the ones that wandered immediate to the countries [areas]
already discovered and conquered by the Spaniards, which already were in the year of '50 of this century,
as we have said several times, all those which surround this colony; these nations, I say, frontiers to the
conquered countries, could not but see and know the efforts made by the conquerors to infuse in them the
rational and human sentiments that, congregating themselves in religious and civil societies, they would
abandon their errant and savage life. At 79 years of the New World having been discovered, the honorable
Felipe II reigning in Spain, this expedition was committed to the gentleman D. Luis de Carbajal with the
title of governor and assigning to him as borders for the meditated pacification from the banks of the
Pánuco River to 200 leagues to the north and the same amount from the eastern beaches to what is not
province of Guadalc�zar and Nuevo Reino de León. Said Carbajal, notwithstanding his having seen
himself sufficiently authorized by the royal decree of the 19th of April of 1583, and protected enough in
the case by the most excellent, honorable Viceroy of this New Spain, Count of Coruña, did not perform
his commission as he should have, leaving land unworked, unrefined, and deserts in the power of the
barbarians, the most expansive lands whose conversion had been committed to him.

The most excellent Count of Monterrey governing, afterwards, these dominions from the year
of 1595 to that of 1603, they founded the city of this name, which is the capital of said Nuevo Reino de
León, establishing in it, besides the fortifications and necessary ammunition to contain the Indians, the
maxims and conducive means for the goal of civilizing the attracting them to the just vassalage and
recognition of the truth. These expeditions progressed, in fact, to the point of seeing formed, in the course
of thirty years, twenty-four places among cities, towns, presidios, pueblos, and missionsnn, planted fields,
let us say it thus, within an innumerable multitude of nations of errants and savages who dominate the land.
In this same manner the province of Coahuila or Nueva Extremadura began to be created by it capital town
of Monclova.oo The year of 1688, the most excellent gentleman D. Melchor de Portacarrero Lazo de
la Vega, Count of Monclova, being viceroy, obtaining, in the beginning of these new establishments, the
peace of which the Indians are capable, whose weakness inclines, almost by nature, toward not persevering
in a contest if it is not the time in which the novelty and the profit, which this tends to cause, attracts them.

Well, during this time of tranquility and of prosperity with the barbarians, those new settlers gained
from the mutual traffic of woven cotton and wool, with other works of the American industry and very
little of those of Europe, through skins of deer, antelope, and buffalo which the Indians obtained in their
rich hunt of these animals and also in the abundant gathering of salt which the Indians themselves took from
the coast to the places settled by the Spaniards. These, at the same time, made use of the practical
knowledge of the savages to discern the places apt to facilitate the extraction of silver and other metals in
those immediate sierras, having obtained, by this means, plentiful prosperity of which there are still
remains in the mines of Boca de Leones and Sabinas. In the province of Coahuila they advanced a little
more, having been able to form many haciendas of livestock and farming to which work the heathen
Indians were subjected, working as day-laborers and always approaching other useful ends, if the
occurrence of several circumstances had not frustrated their progress as we shall see further.

Almost as much can be said of the rest of the provinces which surround the colony through that
of Huasteca, Villa de Valles, Río Verde, and Guadalc�zar into which lands the savage nations of the coast
came in and out. They used to see, and see still today, with all that envy and desire that is natural in men,
although they become more brutish, the good that follows human treatment and society; but at the same
time observing some neglects in it and in the boundaries seen in the internal provinces of America that are
not sufferable to those who, in an advanced age, began to congregate and live under the yoke of the laws,
they detest them and flee from them with all the ferocity of barbarians.


Mutual injuries and cruelties

The Reino de León, principally, was, in the beginning of its establishment, the theater of these
revolutions and alternatives between the barbarians being the ones who dominated the land in their manner
and the Spaniards converting them to their societies. Seen by the Superior Government that the authority
conferred to Carabajal for the creation of those converted Indian villages had frustrated those intentions
and even left, with this, the bad seed of the inobservance of such interesting material, equal or major
authorities were conferred, by the decree of H. M. of the 26th of May of 1625, to D. Martín Zavala,
Gentleman of the Order of Santiago, with the title of lieutenant- General so that he would undertake anew
the formation and placing into action of those recent settlements, distribute lands, which had not yet been
done, without mischief from the Indians, benefitting them in competition of any others and according to
the spirit of the laws of the Indias and enable those countrymen who, alone and without help, could not face
the multitude of barbarians, who surrounded them, nor were their arbitrations enough to convert them

Zavala, in fact, persisted through the space of 12 years with good results of his work; but at the
same time, among his maxims for conversion, he put into practice that of the congregas which came to end
in the most ineffective, and even pernicious, whose evils, can be assured, are suffered even today. These
said congregas were reduced to attracting the Indians, either with flattery or by force, to the towns that
were being formed and there they were delivered in numerous parties of men, women, and families to the
Spanish residents with the name of protectors and with the aim that with their acting like them they would
teach them the social life and would convert them to it. This maxim seen in its spirit, there is no doubt that
it has all the characteristics of knowing, usefulness, of being opportune; but, likewise, its practice seen in
the hands of those who caused the degeneration to its maximum in the abuse, is, on the contrary, the most
inhuman and monstrous. Those protectors took charge, effectively, of the great number of clients who
were placed in their care; they received them, at the beginning, with indications of good intentions and
demonstrated, as much to the government as to the unfortunate clients, the hopes that, by the good use of
this means, were promised to arrive at the end; they lodged them in barracks according to their rank and
they placed the plowshares and the plows at hand so that, as it was just, they would cooperate in their
subsistence with their work.

Up to here the spirit of equity was not injured at all, as is seen, and would to God it would have
remained only in this so that there would not have followed so many injustices, so many destructions, and
so many expenses to the Sovereign which have not ceased up to now. Greed took, in a short time, the
place of mercy for those miserable ones and the indiscretion trampled, in consequence, the so much owed
obedience to the sage laws which were imposed by the government to those protectors so that they would
treat humanly, at least, the large number of unfortunates who were placed in their care. These suffered
only the weight of the continuous work without ever seeing the fruit as their masters wasted no time in
taking them, by force or with false promises, to the fields and cattle grazing farms to get from them all the
benefit with a savings of day-laborers. To the nakedness itself which they suffered in the state of their
barbarism, they subjected themselves to the congregas without their demands being enough which, in their
way, they continued to make, in order to, at least, obtain with this the prize of their conversion and of their
work; to feed them they would send them to the woods to gather and bring to the congrega the wild fruits,
roots, and herbs which they knew and with which they maintained themselves in the time of their liberty,
denying them, as a consequence, the fruits and seeds which they themselves planted and harvested; during
the absence of the men in this expedition, the protectors would stay with the women and with the children,
as much to assure themselves, by this means, of the return of those sent, as to prevent the insurrection and
flight of all of them.

These excesses came up to the point that the justices of those town would grant permission to those
countrymen, for a certain contribution, so that, in convoys, they would go out through the woods with the
aim of ambushing the Indians and taking them either by force, if it was necessary, or with flatteries and
promises. They returned, in fact, from their expeditions with more than a few savages whom, in the
manner of servants or animals, they collected them to the multitude without expecting any other fruit from
them than their work and without counting, in any mannner, that it was necessary for the to be capable of
acquiring ideas of religion or society.pp They were sold like slaves by their owners, even the sons without
their parents and the women without their husbands for whom they cried out in their manner, and the worth
of the congregas to be sold were computed according to the number of congregated Indians there were in
them. The continuous cries of the missionary priests were not enough to stop this abuse, even the
venerable Father Margil having traveled, at this time, through those provinces,qq engaging all his vigor
and apostolic zeal to cut by the roots, if it had been possible, this inobservance so reproachable, not only
for the natural laws of mercy but also in the sad and humanistic ones of the Sovereign in the Code of
Indias. It was natural that this weight of slavery would oppress, finally, the savages until making them
insupportable and that, although imbeciles in a certain way and denied all reasonable recourse, they would
make, on their own, all efforts they could to escape this oppression. They began, in fact, to see frequent
flights in a great part from them to their old dens, even unmindful of their wives and children whom they
had left in the congregas in the power of their protectors and as hostages for their return. Those, who
returned from the expedition of bringing their food from the woods, were received with enclosures and
prisons to prevent their flight which, far from obtaining their aim, exasperated them more and more each
day until transcending the indignation and the desperation not only for the Indians but for the women and
the children. These continuous desertions were followed, necessarily, by the mixture and communication
of those, whom they had thought converted, and of the many, who were semi-catechized and baptized, with
the heathens and barbarians, in everything. These, naturally, warned by their fellow creatures, fled with
much more effort than they had done before and gave their help to the apostates so that, by all the means
which their barbarism suggested to them, they would seek their vengeance. In fact, the return of the ones
who had fled from the congregas was already in great parties, increased with the heathens and, spying for
the most opportune moves to make against their protectors, firing their houses, laying their plantings waste,
destroying their livestock, and doing everything in those camps which the brutal, loosing of their fury
dictated. They entered, with the impudence and superiority of victors, into the towns and the haciendas,
retaking from them, not only their wives, but also the Spanish women themselves whom they took to the
woods to abuse them in their manner and they would do the same with the children and with whomever
they found defenseless. In the year of '14 of this century, one can be assured that there was almost no
measure of land in all the Reino de León and even in the province of Coahuila which would not be entirely
dominated by the barbarians and apostates because, although the Spanish residents of the towns and said
places above counted their possessions there, it was in terms which they could no longer resist in most of
the incursions of the barbarians. The pastors of livestock, who penetrated from the province of
Chichimecas through San Miguel el Grande and the haciendas which were in between to pasture the cattle
in the immense and very fertile plains of el Nuevo Reino, also suffered the weight of these irruptions of
the enemy. In the space of six years, consecutively from the 9th until the 14th of the above-mentioned, 40
thousand heads of sheep were counted by the owners of the aforesaid livestock which ended up in the
power of the Indians with a little more than 200 pastors and their families which should be computed as
more than one thousand souls.rr

This insurrection, which had its origin and began to be suffered in el Nuevo Reino, extended its
atrocities through all the cordon of the Sierra and the many savage tribes, which roamed in it,
communicating their fury from one to the other, took their devastation as far as the provinces of Villa de
Valles, Río Verde, Huasteca, and, as we said at the beginning, even to the ones immediate to Mexico
through Tolim�n and Cadereita. In them, the towns and missions of Tanguanchin, La Laja, Palmillas,
Jaumave, Monte Alverne, Santa Clara, San Buenaventura, San Bernardino, and others were totally
destroyed with different haciendas, ranches, and hamlets of Spaniards who had advanced up to these
regions which, at that time, were frontiers to the barbarians and managed, before the insurrection,
whatever peace could be had with them. The residents and the religious ministers of said districts had to
suffer the painful retreat from their domiciles and the total loss of their interests rather than be victims of
the fury and the vengeance.


Efforts made by the residents of el Nuevo Reino
to convert the Indians

In a few of the said provinces all possible efforts were made to contain, at least, the outrages of
the heathens, captained and moved by the apostates; but they were always ineffective and they even came
to expect the total loss, especially of el Nuevo Reino. It was here where the governors, sometimes with
force and others with promises of peace, enlivened their entreaties more to tranquilize the insurrection
without someone coming to intervene to obtain the end and rather, on the contrary, in view that the
Spaniards strengthened themselves, the furor of the Indians grew greater. If they were resisted with the
few arms which they kept in those settlements, the enemies, in consequence, would return in greater
numbers and with much more fury to cause their firings, their destructions, their breaches of trust, and
their thefts. If they were sent requirements of peace and with protests of good treatment in the future, they
would kill the envoys and respond with new and greater incursions of inhumanities.

On the 16th of April of 1713, D. Francisco B�ez Treviño was sent by the governor D. Francisco
Mier de la Torre so that he himself would approach, accompanied by the religious missionaries who
wished it and some Indians already converted qualifying as interpreters, the rebels and heathens with the
aim of treating with them in the name of the Government, making all the peace propositions which they
themselves would dispose and assuring them forever the good treatment and faithful observance in the
articles of peace on the part of the Spaniards. In fact, B�ez approached, with three priests and five Indians,
who were the ones who penetrated into the woods, the place where the principal and most numerous body
of apostates and heathens were, to let them know that in a certain region outside of the sierra, the
missionary priests and an envoy of the government awaited the captains of the hamlets to treat with them
regarding a solid and durable peace which would be useful to the Indians themselves and to the Spaniards.
The response was to take the life, in the deed itself and by surprise, of four of the unfortunate Indians they
sent and the other one, wounded and through a thousand difficulties, barely saved himself to bring the
report. This seen by B�ez and by the priests who accompanied him, they found themselves in the need
to return imbued with a frightened report that the ills of the Kingdom, in the state in which they were
found, had no remedy and they could only obtain it repairing to the Captaincy General of Mexico.

In the meantime in which the time for this recourse was arriving, neither the governors nor the
subalternate justices dared to completely cut the roots of evil, which were, without doubt, the congregas
and the abuse which came from them against the liberty of the Indians. The few, who were counted in
their number, suffered the same cruelty in treatment and even some of the few of the converted ones and
innocents in reality were reputed of incursions in the insurrection and in the treachery. The heathens or
apostates, who by chance fell in the power of the protectors, were treated with the greatest harshness.
Every Indian, without discretion, was forbidden to take one step outside of the pueblo or congrega if it
were not at the side of one who would not let him out of his sight. The use of the horse was totally denied
and if one were found to be an infractor of this law, he was subjected to the harshest It is
very probable that the governors and the subalternate justices would not think of abolishing these disorders
regarding the congregas or the hunting of Indians, let us call it that, a certain advantage in a certain
contribution followed with which the resident protectors gratified them. The government of the viceroyalty
and the laws of the nation prohibited, with the greatest severity, this so reprehensible and scandalous
inobservance; but the great distance of the court and the little disposition of the spirit of the ones who
should obey caused the heat of the most vigorous precepts to cool.


Those of the town of Valles and other provinces
do a little more

In an equal state of consternation originated, from the congregas of el Nuevo Reino and in the same
necessity of defending themselves, were the other provinces circling the land of the colony up to the town
of Valles and the jurisdiction of Tolimanejo. Here they lived in continuous guard and at arms to defend
themselves from the frequent surprises with which the Indians of the Sierra Gorda attacked them and there
was a time in which they completely burned down a temple of María Santísima in the mission of Soriano
at a distance of one-quarter league of said town of In the same necessity, of not losing a
moment, all the missions of la Huasteca and the towns of Tampico and Pánuco were timorous day and
night, not only of the heathen Indians, to whom they were adjacent, but also of those already baptized and
faithful who, due to the lightest offenses, apostatized and collected with the heathens, returning with them,
afterwards, in charge of the land and their entries and exits and committing their accustomed atrocities
whenever they could. On this part, nevertheless, the savages found some more resistance as if, to this
settlements immediate to places already formed and well provided, the recourses were less difficult; but
in the others on the north and west part of el Nuevo Reino, as well as those of Coahuila and New Mexico,
they suffered the cruelest devastations without recourse, and the insolence of the barbarians seems to have
reached the highest point.


No one completes the enterprise

The large amount of unpopulated and unknown land until then and where today the colony is
situated presented, as much to the heathens as to the apostates, the occasion and most opportune place to
assure their retreat and so that in it all their crimes would be unpunished. In the frontier provinces the
misfortunes grew every day and, because of these, the strengths and incursions of the enemies increased.
In the immense and, on the other hand, most fertile plains of the coast and in the roughness of the Sierra,
they enlarged their numbers with the very frequent and irreparable desertions of the converted Indians who,
each time, were better received by their own who had preceded them in the desertion and by the heathens
themselves and by all the barbarians who, naturally, watched with pleasure and received, with the greatest
kindness, those who collected in their shadow.

It could be seen already everywhere that the only remedy with which these ills could be opposed
was, principally, the reform of el Nuevo Reino in the abuse of their congregas and afterwards to undertake,
by all the possible and effective means, to win from the insurgents these places of their retreats in which,
obtaining the greatest asylum, they became ever bolder every day and they were encouraged to go out
anew in their invasions. There was enough inveterate experience in the frontier towns living which in
continuous guard and at arms in any possible way, in the resisting of the savages with force, beating and
dispersing them and in the enterprise of measuring the forces and recourses with them were known
somewhat to be ineffective to subjugate them and make them come to an agreement. It was seen, likewise,
that the arms of Spain far from advancing in the conversion of the barbarians in this part of the continent,
since the foundation of el Nuevo Reino, they lost more territory daily in the destruction of some of the
places and missions already formed, as we have said, and in those that remained, they could not count on
the Indians, who, although without being moved by their natural inclination of flight, the opportunity of
the insurgents, their neighbors, the immediate bad example, and the attractive hopes of the absolute and,
in truth, brutal liberty, suggested it to them, effectively, and almost obligated them to it.

The proceedings to convert the savages and apostates were frustrated, in consequence, in all parts;
the costs and losses of wealth, of time, and of means were excessive and, even worse, the conquest of
America in these provinces had been a first undertaking until then and with time could come to nothing.
Those frontier settlers, threatened at all hours by the surprises and assaults of the enemy, could not count
even on their possessions or on their houses and the nation should not have looked with indifference upon
these blows from which it looked, overtaken in this part by an enemy against whose barbarism the right
of all justice fought and will always fight.


Clamors to the Viceroys for the remedy
In el Reino de León, around the year of 1709, the wills of the inhabitants and of the ministering
priests of the doctrine began to unite to make frequent presentations to the Captaincy General of Mexico,
making them see the most urgent necessity in which they found themselves of being helped without waiting
for their total ruin. The first ones argued the ultimate deterioration in which their towns were found and
the lack of recourses in which they saw themselves to be able to contain in the congregas the Indians from
within, whom they already treated as domestic enemies, and to repress the apostates and heathens from
without who invaded them without a waste of time; in said presentations they attributed the insurrection
and displeasure of the Indians to the poor management of the shepherds who, being, as they were,
mulattos, Lobos, Coyotes, and other badly inclined castes and opposed to the Indians themselves, they
caused many injuries which were the origin of all evil;uu that these shepherds, men without customs and
depraved, were the ones who many times spied the occasions of capturing the Indians whom they took
defenseless or, took their life to accredit themselves as brave and loyal to their masters; that although all
those inhabitants and haciendas being exempt from duties due to being on the frontier, they lacked arms
and the other instruments necessary to resist the said barbarians and defend themselves; and, in
consequence, they requested, with the greatest insistence from the Superior Government, presidios and
munitions of war with increasing expenses of the royal treasury which, in fact, were distributed.

The priests, ministers of the doctrine, with much more solid foundations expressed that as an effect
of the bad faith that the heathens observed in the protectors of the congregas, the distrust with which the
same heathens looked upon them passed on to them and it was impossible, consequently, to make them
enter through the soft authority of the religion. The catechumens heard the doctrine with reluctance and
the neophytes would desert from it. In the oppression and slavery of the congregas they only busied
themselves either for completing the work assigned to them without any reward or in spying out the
occasion of shaking off the yoke. The spirit of the savages, naked of all orderly knowledge, inclined to
its interest up to the ultimate extreme, intolerant, when it suits, of all types of inconvenience, and,
naturally, a slave, of all the weaknesses to which men are born subjected, he cannot in any way see with
pleasure any other view than that of his good and, so that he collect himself within the limits to which he
should for the society, it is necessary to avail oneself of the most sage maxims always placing in their view,
by those who direct them, the punishment of their disorders on the one hand and the reward for their work
on the other.


Measures taken and several times useless
Some of the presentations, as much of the inhabitants as of the religious ministers, were heard in
the Superior Government of Mexico and, in their view, a general Junta of War was formed on December
20 of 1713. Charged with the gravity of the affair and assured, as well, of the truth of the deeds, it
ordered, with all the rigor of the laws, as much of the governors as of the justices, that they be vigilant and
guard, with the greatest diligence, that the escorts and pastors not captivate, nor much less, take the life
of the Indians, inciting them to vengeance with these inhuman extortions; that everywhere and by all
possible means, they make requirements of peace to the incited Indians and the heathens, prepared by the
laws in the heading of war, assuring them that if they would convert and would comply, on their part, with
the treaties of alliance, which would be much more useful than the life of errantry and war, they would
live secure under the protection of the Government and in the enjoyment of their liberty; that, in order to
bring this measure into effect, those having haciendas within and without the Reino form, as most
interested in the security of those fields, under the direction and command of the governor, a mobile
company of seventy posts with their respective officers whose intended purpose would be to always be on
the defensive containing the excesses, as much of the inhabitants, especially the pastors, as of all types of
Indians, distributing themselves, for this purpose, in the most convenient places and guarding, from time
to time, the roads and the immediacies to the sierras, especially of the eastern Tamaulipa.
This measure, which appears should have been the one which was suitable at that time, was not
so much in agreement with the intentions of the land-holders and protectors of el Nuevo Reino and thus,
excepting its obedience, they represented anew to the Captaincy General, arguing about when said mobil
company might be convenient and their cost be prorated and also the land owners should contribute to
whom they were leased; that it did not seem in conformity to equity that this body of troops, which should
be maintained at the expenses of the wealth of the contributors, be directed at the discretion and will of the
governors and, as a consequence, that to them and to no other it would seem to be up to them, by
themselves or by means of their stewards, to assign the regions for guarding and the distribution of the
squadrons and the detachments according to the necessities of the time and of the places.

At the end of the year of 1714, this new presentation arrived in Mexico, the most excellent Duke
of Linares being Viceroy, who, so it was seen, lost no time in drawing up a draft, moved as much by the
displeasure which the inobservance of those residents must have cause as by the urgent necessity of
opposing those ills for which remedy it was urged by other conducts with the greatest vehemence. He
commissioned, from place to place, the honorable Court Mayor D. Francisco Barbadillo y Victoria so
that he himself, in person, would go to el Nuevo Reino with all the necessary powers so that he put into
effect, without any restriction, that which was ordered in the preceding Junta of War and so that, without
economizing costs of the royal treasury, he reform the disorders and abolish the congregas completely and,
according to the circumstances, he might judge opportune.

This loyal and zealous minister, equally taken, that of his subordination, of his honesty, and love
of the laws, he arrived in Monterrey in January of '75, cited immediately all the land-holders and the
wealthy so that, on their own or by their stewards, they attend a meeting which should be held in their
presence regarding the formation of the premeditated and ordered mobile company and regarding the rest
of the articles joined to the pacification and reformation of the Kingdom. It was expected that all those
declaimers and supplicants attend, without exception, the meeting which was proposed to them for their
own good; but, occupied at the time in the exercise of their protection for the Indians and the congregas,
they did not pay such good attention to the orders of a minister sent by the Supreme Government and only
a third attended. The honorable Barbadillo deliberated, nevertheless, on his own with the few who came:
he distributed seventy posts of the company to the subjects who seemed to him least bad for the job; he
divided into a quota its costs among the total number of land-holders and the sum rose to 22 pesos annually
which, among the contributors, the highest one had was 500.vv He extended particular ordinances and
effectively opportune for its better government and, although he considered the enterprise of abolishing
the congregas arduous, he carried it into effect in spite of the protectors and with the acceptance and
jubilation of the few wise residents and much more from the unfortunate Indians; he removed these from
the slavery in which they lived, restoring they to the possession of the lands where they were born and
assigning them their own goods which, up to now, had not been done. He founded three town with the
names of Guadalupe, Purificación, and Concepción with four leagues of land for each one in the most
plentiful places and, provided with that necessary for life, forcing them to the haciendas to whom they
pertained, notwithstanding, the clamors and protests which the owners made, he repopulated those of San
Crist�bal and San Antonio de los Llanos, which were almost in ruins, and thus, in these two as in the other
three, he distributed the Indians whom he removed from the oppression of the protectors.

In order to assign community goods to these town and to better set down its government, he
distributed oxen, cattle, sheep, horses, and all the necessary tools for farming. In each one he sufficiently
endowed the synod for a minister of the doctrine and, so that the Indians would not suffer, in the future,
the injuries which they had suffered up to then and they would be able, in case of suffering them, to go to
the Superior Government, he assigned them a Spanish protector or defender of the best conduct with a
formal title and inscription and with an annual salary of $1,500, with the aim of his being available at any
hour and sufficiently authorized to go for justice to that government or to the Royal Assembly of Mexico.
In order to better imbue and instruct this defender in his ministry, he formed an extract of the laws of the
Indias 1st, 11th, 16th, 2nd div. and those of the 13th, 14th, 15th, 9th div. where the wish of the Sovereign is
clearly and expressively seen regarding the treatment which is due the Indians and the means which,
according to the spirit of the religion, are opportune for the conversion and conquest.

This report being known by the deserters of the congregas, they came in troops to the new towns
with some heathens, brought by them, already pacified and giving signs of desiring their rest; be it the
novelty of the event to the dispositions to live congregated which attracted these savages, the truth is that,
as many time as some system of kindness and of equity has been proposed, in the new conversions, they
have not stopped, it is true, deviating, on many occasions, through the roads of their bad habits but not
with so much sudden and violent passion nor causing the complete loss of hope of their total conversion,
at least in the generations which might follow those of today.

In the space of one year, the religious ministers were able, with liberty, to teach the doctrine to
those miserable neophytes and heathens, be they as they might be, they should be kept in those regions by
the first objects of christian mercy and they themselves, by their rational nature, request the bread of truth
to whom it can be distributed. The named defender, at this time, did not have to clamor nor request justice
against the persecutors of good order in the congregas because those pretended protectors naturally lived
apprehensively due to the weight of the justice and of a zealous minister who knew how to distribute it in
all its parts and never lost sight of them.

In the year of 1716, the honorable Barbadillo, satisfied that his commission had been completely
fulfilled, as indeed it had been, returned to Mexico where all his measures were approved by the most
excellent Duke of Linares, still Viceroy of the New Spain, and by the same Junta of War with whose orders
he had complied. At his farewell he charged, for the last time, the executors of his pacification with the
most forcible and perseverant accomplishment; but what could be expected of this last effort when the last
loyal ones in that region to attend to it were counted and very few and the perfidious ones, for the
inobservance, were many and disposed only to further their system of deprivation? In fact, the zealous
minister, pacifier of el Nuevo Reino, just turned his back and they began to see anew, with more violent
passion, the thefts, the homicides, and all kinds of atrocities that were seen before.

The mobile company was then dissolved because the land-holders did not continue contributing to
its apportionment; the ones who had been owners of the lands, where the new towns were founded,
appealed to the emotions and clamors of vengeance from the rest of the neighbors; the domestics, pastors,
and servants, following the route of their masters, never lost a moment to slander and insult the Indians,
as they used to do before; these, mostly desperate and placed again into the use of their barbarism, reached
the woods and the deserted plains, made a new alliance with the heathens, fomented, with more reasons,
their indignations and, with much more daring and devastating strengths, they continued doing their old
destruction, always counting on all the coast and its plains and sierras, unknown to the Spaniards up to
then, for asylum and secure retreat for impunity. For the priests, ministers of the doctrine, and the
defender of the Indians it was impossible, no matter how much they consumed their efforts, to contain this
torrent which was inundating all that country on all sides.

The governor, who at that time was D. Juan Ignacio Mogollón, in August 14th, could do no less
than go to Mexico for the remedy, detailing all that had occurred from the hour itself in which the
honorable Barbadillo relinquished that Nuevo Reino with his absence. He requested, in order to carry
other new projects of reform forward, four hundred hand guns, four hundred-weights of powder, six
hundred horses, and the reales that would be judged enough to place the number of people that would be
necessary into a campaign in the present urgencies. He insisted that, again, it was necessary to raise the
mobile company obligating, by force and all the rigor of justice, the first interested ones who were the
owners themselves of those lands. The governor, in this report, judged the residents of el nuevo Reino as
inured to war and capable for veteran soldiers, practiced in that type of campaigns and only they fit for
treating the Indians with opportunity and discretion; but, at the same time, from other reports of no less
authority, it was assured that they were the ones, without wasting an occasion, who induced the Indians
to flee the towns or persuading them with the general reasons of liberty in the woods or threatening them
with punishments or, many times, actually harassing them and treating them badly. It can be that the truth
would not be too far from this second one and, yet, it is to be believed that whoever would have experience
of what the people of the internal provinces of America are would assure it not to be one line away. The
affair was treated again in Mexico with the greatest circumspection, the honorable Marquis of Valero being
Viceroy, and, although the royal agreement, with the honorable Barbadillo present and appearing as its
attorney general, advised that it be proceeded anew in the formation of the mobile company and, in a Junta
General of War, they resolved the contrary, the difficulty pulsed right away that the charge of the
contribution by the land-holders for the salaries of the troop would be, consequently, multiplied recourses
in such dilated distances and multiplied measures which would remain without effect. Finally, the
honorable Barbadillo was commissioned anew so that, with his genial discretion and known successes,
would tune, for the second time, that disorganized machine and would thus contain those who called
themselves Spaniards in those places as well as the Indians within their obligation.

Without doubt God endowed this man with a certain spirit and superior character with whose
virtue, without recourse of arms and without major agitations, caused the disturbances to be calmed and
the storms to clear up; the residents, with his presence, at least hid the poison of their intentions and the
Indians, either appreciative or fearful of that the one who had done them so much good could, equally
castigate them and annihilate them, quieted themselves in a major part or did not loose their barbarism so
much. In this way and by these means the Kingdom and the rest of the surrounding provinces maintained
themselves in the peace of the colony from the year of '19 until that of '23 in which, by order of the D.S.
Marquis Casafuerte, the honorable Barbadillo again served in his post in Mexico, being succeeded by
the governor Don Pedro de Zaravia Cortés and those countries restoring themselves to their old

It seems that el Nuevo Reino was the stomach where the malignant species of sedition were
directed whose acrimony extended itself to the entire body of those frontiers and caused the convulsions
which were seen in one or another extreme; and it seems, likewise, that the sage Minister Barbadillo was
the only corrective and antidote against this poison. Zaravia, in his time, made several attempts to contain
the insurrection, requested help, which was granted; he consulted with the governors and justices, its
residents, in Coahuila, Guadalc�zar, and villa de Valles; but in all parts they suffered, with very little
difference, the same misfortunes. It was agreed, generally, that this tenacity and advantages, with which
the savages took their insurrection forward, did not have, exactly, another root nor another center other
than the great desert of the coast up to where the Spanish arms had not penetrated and where, without
means of attacking and pursuing them, they would take refuge, as much they as the apostates, going out
from there to invade, in all the events of carelessness, the frontiers and possessions of the Spaniards.

The year of '38, a resident of el Reino de León called D. Antonio Ladrón de Guevara presented
himself before the Captaincy General of Mexico with documents and papers proving his having examined
and inspected the said coast, of having conciliated, on his course, the pleasure and benevolence of the
Indians to order them, by this means, to their pacification and conversion, promising, finally, that he alone,
partly with his arbitration and with help which the Superior Government would think well of ministering
to him, offered to conquer and pacify that multitude of errant and heathen nations which would take refuge
there and they were the replacement which made the hostilities interminable. He proposed, as a
consequence, that on the eastern side of the lands of the Kingdom, which extend up to the beaches of the
gulf and mouth of the Bravo River, they should build settlements with residents of the Kingdom itself,
bestowing them enough land with the Indians which might be found on them and taken in order to convert
them according to the custom of the old congregas, granting favors, at the same time, to the protectors with
the title and powers of conquerors and settlers, they fulfilling, on their part, the education and maintenance
of the same Indians; he added that, for only one time, these conquerors be gratified with some financial
aid at the beginning of their enterprise, the agricultural equipment and necessary tools for their plantings
and the construction of churches, houses, and presidios in the places found suitable for towns along with
the synods of the missionaries for its spiritual administration being from the account of the royal treasury.

It was true that Guevara had won over a considerable part of those heathens and ordered them at
his will and in the manner he wished. He was often seen wandering among his customary tribes and
hamlets, he alone, surrounded by savages like his friends and entering in the matter of their conversations.
With the Indian women, especially, he found free quarters and all the assistances that they could give him
or he asked of them; in such a manner that it could be believed the homage the Indians rendered to him
could be more due to a fear of their wives than a love of Guevara. For those who might know which and
how much are the predilection and exertions, even in competition, with which the Indian women gave
themselves up to the Spaniards, it would not be difficult to investigate the means by which Guevara knew
how to win them over so completely and with the security that there is very little known rabid passion of
jealousy in their husbands.

There were occasions in which he presented himself escorted by two or three tribes of Indians with
the aim of receiving the governors in splendor or to wait upon the illustrious Bishops of Guadalajara at the
times in which they penetrated into their diocese to visit those inhabitants of the parish. Of all these honest
and public deeds he tried, in all events, to use authentic evidence and, with them, he presented himself to
the government, as we have said. His proposals were not heard, notwithstanding that through the personal
circumstances of the postulant, it seems that they were not far from the best effect; but, nevertheless, since
among them were heard the residents of el Nuevo Reino and the old condemnable use of the congregas,
they thought it better to deny him everything decreed.


The clamors reach Madrid

In view of this Guevara lost no time in personally directing himself to the Court of Madrid where
he expected, according to his views, success of his solicitation. He declaimed there before the Royal and
Supreme Council of the Indias against the abuses that were practiced, not only in the Reino de León but
in the rest of the adjacent and bordering provinces; he attempted to persuade them that all the proceedings
accomplished until them had been ineffective due to the little knowledge they had of the country and the
Indians, due to the indiscretion and bad conduct of their treatment, and because, without the intimate and
loyal treatment of the natives of that land, it was very difficult, if not impossible, to inspire ideas of society
and religion in them; he requested, likewise, that, through the contemplated pacification and which he
proposed in service to the crown, they be assigned only a certain percent of the salt mines which, without
fail, he would discover and they would be very abundant, all the rest remaining for the benefit of the
treasury with a moderate financial aid to those who might want to accompany him and reside in that
country; and, finally, that for the most perfect success they advise the governors of the kingdom that they
impart the necessary aids and they not interfere in the expedition. He managed his business with such art
that, in virtue of the good faith which he demonstrated in benefit of the Indians and with advantages of the
monarchy, he was gratified by H.M. with $500.00 as an aid for his return to the kingdoms of America.

At the same Court of Madrid at that season was D. Narciso Barquín de Montecuesta who had
just been chief mayor in the town of Valles and had proposed, in a formal presentation before the Supreme
Council, the pacification of the coast from another side and through different means than those which
Guevara contemplated. He projected, in his manifest, that within four years the coast could be dominated
and the heathens made vassals, advancing from Tampico to the north as far as possible and enriching the
treasury with the numerous salt deposits, about which they had a report, and with the other natural
productions in which those lands would normally abound; that for the enterprise he judges fourteen
thousand pesos annually to be enough, to be destined for the salary of fifty horsemen who, aided by the
residents or countrymen of those frontier provinces, should go out on campaigns against the barbarians on
the occasions most needed and with the good success which was promised from their instruction and
practical knowledge; that, in order to defray these costs,it would be helpful to suppress the synods of the
custody of Tampico whose missions, already formed towns, had enough with their "obvenciones" for the
competent sustenance of the ministers, that the royal treasury could, after obtaining these costs as a reward
for work, as much with the product of the salt deposits as with the savings of said synods, to set this wealth
aside for the maintenance of presidios in the places where they would be advancing and, finally, he, for
himself, requested the military grade corresponding to his expedition and the salary of four thousand pesos

While the Supreme Council of the Indias discussed these presentations of Guevara and of
Montecuesta, the governor of León, D. José Antonio Fern�ndez de J�uregui y Urrutia was producing
his before the Royal Tribunal of Mexico for the same end of discovering and dominating the coast. In
them he painted the most flattering picture of the fertility of those lands and the inexhaustible riches which
were in the possession of the savages; he showed, likewise, the nearest imminent danger in which all the
contiguous provinces were of being lost if the opportune measures were not taken in time to contain the
very frequent irruptions of the enemy and, much more, if from the seas outside some stranger might come
near that, making the savages vassals or winning them with flattery or cunning, he would become owner
of such a useful and competent part in the continent for whatever designs they might want. The expedient
of this presentation, with the judgement of the attorney general was remitted by the Royal Tribunal of
Mexico to the Supreme Council of the Indias where it was known they treated on the affair promoted by
Guevara and Montecuesta.


New orders are reproduced by the court so that
the coast be inspected and populated

Several proposals accumulated in the Court in one body, a consultation was passed to H.M. at two
occasions on the 9th of August and the 2nd of December of 1738, from which results the Royal Decree of
the 10th of July of 1739 was expedited commissioning and ordering very strictly what follows: "that a Junta
be formed in Mexico with the Most Excellent Viceroy and some of the gentlemen, judges of the Royal
Audience, with other subjects who might be known to be instructed in the circumstances of the land, the
properties of the Indians, and the profits corresponding to the costs which should be distributed in the
support and care of that which would begin to be pacified for the purpose that God be recognized and
adored by the Indians; 2nd that, with this recognition and prudent accord, His Excellency might elect the
person judged to be most apt for the expedition, giving him the help and assistance necessary; 3rd that
although those proposals of J�uregui, Montecuesta, and Guevara were some in the spirit, this one was
made more recommendable, more natural, and according to the laws and orders of all conversion (except
in the article of the congregas which should be reformed and not admitted), since it was offered by tender
means and of friendship with the residents who had been invited to it, and without major costs to the royal
treasury; 4th that, in virtue of this, Guevara be heard at the Junta and that, considering him useful, he be
used in the expedition, the one which should be arranged by the means most conducive to its success and
it be carried forward with the most fervor and brevity, advising H.M. of the results and of the
corresponding prize in order to be attentive to and remunerate the one who would fulfill it."

J�uregui and Montecuesta than removed their demand, this sovereign disposition having been
seen; Guevara, on the contrary, lost no time to restore himself in America where, in his judgement, the
success of his designs awaited him. After arriving in Veracruz he took the road to el Nuevo Reino de León
where he renewed his old friendship with three Indians of those whom he inspired, likewise, so that they
would make protests of reconciliation and peace with the Spaniards before the governor, granting them,
in prize and gratitude, the title inscriptis of captainsww of their nations and of anyone who wished to unite
with them. With them, and another three apostates reconciled with him, he went to Mexico, presenting
there before the Captaincy General the six Indians, his clients, in proof of his anticipated assertions in the
enterprise of converting all of them.

He demanded, likewise, and in virtue of the Royal Decree stated above, that they suppress the
synods of all the missionaries and towns of el Nuevo Reino since they are already able to maintain their
ministers without this aid of the King; that the veteran squadron, which guarded the presidio of San Pedro
Boca de Leones at the Río Bravo, be pardoned regarding the pacification of the Indians, that he assured
it should be reputed as superfluous and that this wealth of the royal treasury be assigned for the costs of
said enterprise. He demanded, finally, that, without the loss of time, he be given the title of governor and
captain general of that which would be converted and populated, that he be assigned a certain percent of
the salt deposits that he might discover, and the exclusive administration to be able to distribute those lands,
any other ministers inhibited in everything.

It was natural that the government of Mexico would not think to accede to the demand of Guevara,
so infused of everything and abrupt, that it could only insist, at most, on the citation of the Junta advised
by the Royal Decree without procuring anticipated prizes with the enjoyment of honors and titles nor
entering in the function of his promised conquest. The measure taken was to remove the titles of captains
from the three heathen Indians, gratifying them with $300.00 and making them return to their lodgings.

The viceroyship of Mexico was vacant at this time and the honorable President of the Royal
Audience was acting the part of Captain General, which the spirit of Guevara penetrated from the present
moment, little truthful in his propositions, less loyal in his designs, not at all perserverant in his enterprises,
and whose spirit was directed principally in the case to being the restorer of the congregas in the name of
all the residents of the Kingdom and with instructions given by them. Thus it was believed, not without
foundation, from reserved reports of some honorable residents of the same Kingdom and, as a
consequence, the protection, which in Madrid seemed to favor Guevara, disappointed him in Mexico
through more individual and veracious reports.

He was present, nevertheless, in Madrid, not in person but in a report sent immediately to H.M.
informing him of the new proposals there were in Mexico in the Governing Royal Audience regarding the
affair of the pacification of the unknown coast and the inaction they had in executing the sovereign order
of H.M. He declared, likewise, against the violent measure of having stripped the heathen Indians of their
titles of captains with which they were satisfied and peaceful and from whose stripping new and bloodier
irruptions can be expected and feared in the frontier provinces; he insisted, finally, in that the urgent
calamities that were suffered in those dominions of the monarchy and the eminent dangers in which those
vassals were found, demanded, in reality, the most prompt and opportune remedy.

Guevara did not see, however, with the brevity which he proposed for himself, the result of this,
his declamation, and at the end of four years, in that of 1743 with the date of the 13th of June, the same
Royal Decree of the 10th of June was reproduced by H.M. In this, besides that prepared in the previous
one, it was ordered by H.M. of the Viceroy of Mexico " that, after his Royal Order being seen, they return
the titles of captains to the three heathen Indians brought by Guevara of which they had been indiscreetly
stripped; that they investigate the truth of whether or not the suppression of the synods and of the presidios,
which the same Guevara proposed, would be useful and that he be ordered not to interfere in the
pacification of the Indians nor move the heathens which were to be converted until the Junta would
deliberate on the proposed points."


The French arrive and strengthen themselves
at the Bay of el Espíritu Santo

In this state of alternative, on one side between the Indians becoming docile and their rising in
rebellion and of inaction in us on our side, the multiplied measures of the Government not being enough
and even those of the Sovereign himself, those provinces surrounding the country of the colony until the
year of 1737 were dealing with luck. It cannot be denied that these incursions of the savages, so frequent
and so general, with the replacement of arms in their manner and the uncountable number of them who
would take refuge in the extremely large spaces of the plains, of rivers, and of the sierras on the coast,
were ills which, at the time, should be called enormous and which, in the future, could end in irreparable.
But even with all this they were small in respect to those that threatened from the north in the province of
Texas. This borders on the possessions of Spain with those discovered lately by the French in Mobile or
Louisiana, it has been attacked several times and, in truth, only its deserts and its great distances, the
multitude of barbarian tribes which have always dominated it, and, if we come a little closer to the spirit
of the successes, only an I-don't-know-what of the measure could have defended it.

Its situation from south to north from 30 degrees to 42 of lat., the infinity of animals and fruit trees
and plants, as much the regional ones of Europe as those belonging to American populate and adorn it, the
expanse and beauty of its lands with a view to the Gulf of Mexico with the ports which encompass it and
could enrich it, it seems it should have awakened more and more each day the appetite and the envy of the
rival nations to have abridged this precious piece from the colony of Spain. In fact, from the beginning
of the discoveries of the continent in this part, this country seemed to the discoverers to be of great ease
to project their dominion and enlarge it with all the proportions which it itself grants .

One of these was Mr. Roberto Cabalier de la Sala [Salle], native of Roan in France who, living
in Canada, undertook the discovery of the course and mouth of the Mississippi River. He went out,
defacto, with his enterprise and, going to the court of his nation with the report of this new, not less than
interesting, discovery, he returned in four line ships provided with munitions, tools, people of arms,
charged with settling the banks of said Mississippi River and with penetrating afterwards, according to the
possibilities which the time offered, up to the mines of la Nueva Vizcaya.xx

In this, his return with his little armada, Mr. Robert erred in the entry of the river and was brought
by chance, in the year of 1685, to the Bay of el Espíritu Santo which he baptized with the name of San Luis
and he stopped in it to undertake, without doubt, new projects. With the same name of San Luis he erected
there a presidio with the people and tools which he could, at that time, and with the hope that, his principal
expedition fulfilled, he would return to carry farther his designs through better means. He inspired, with
these promises, the garrison of troops which he was leaving there and he, with the rest of his people, went
by land to the banks of the aforesaid river. In the discourse of the road and without having arrived at his
terminus, either because of the little suffered character of the French in the deserts and distances of an
unknown country or due to personal misfortunes with his chief, his own people fell on Mr. Robert, in the
year of 1687, took his life by surprise, and the expedition was left totally destroyed. The unfortunate fate
of their hero known in the presidio of San Luis, that small garrison naturally suffered the greatest
disconsolateness and they completely lost the hopes of being saved.


They are dislodged by the barbarians
At a coast completely unknown until then and in a region where at the same time while the enemy
ran about like ants the recourses were short, it was indispensable that those unfortunate men give in to the
weight of their last misfortune. The barbarians knowing the new guests that had been lodged in their lands,
they collected in immense troops and, falling on them, they left only a few who were later found by the
Spaniards in the thickest part of the woods and where the savages were not able to take them. They razed
the fortification that the French had constructed, they threw the greater part of the cannons into the sea,
they stripped them of what they had, and the works of their ferocity and cruelty consumated, they returned,
as always, to their errant and brutal life.

Accompanying this calamity in the French such that they were not able to defend themselves even
partially, is that of their finding themselves, at such a short time after their arrival, overtaken by a certain
epidemic illness which killed a few and weakened the rest to the point of their not being able to pick up
their few arms. This cause, without doubt, inhibited them, likewise, to their not having been able to save
themselves in the four boats which they had at their disposition in the bay. The truth is that, had
providence not frustrated the designs of this enemy at that time, the province of Texas would have been
in the possession of Louisiana.

This entry of the French to the possessions of Spain by said bay of el Espiritu Santo being known
in Mexico, the governor of Coahuila, D. Alonso de León, went to it by the order of the government with
the troop which was judged sufficient. When he arrived the barbarians had already carried out their
surprise and the defeat of those intruding discoverers to effect and León went only to be a witness to the
plunder and desolation. Two of five French, who escaped and maintained themselves among the Indians
of Texas, solicited him asking him for help to leave from among those barbarians and be placed safely
wherever they would be allowed. León sent them to Mexico and there the defeat was know through them
with all the circumstances which it is not necessary to refer to here.

The same governor of Coahuila was sent for the second time in the year of 1690 with one hundred
ten soldiers and some priests with the aim of establishing the necessary settlements in that province to
assure, from this moment, the possession and dominion of it by the nation of Spain. Likewise, the
Supreme Council of Indias, knowing about these dispositions taken in the Captaincy General and the Royal
Assembly of Mexico, consulted H.M. regarding the affair and the Royal Decrees of May 27 and September
20 of 1690, were expedited. They encouraged and ordered, with all the rigor of the law, the pacification
and conversion of that province as so important to the guarding of those frontiers and of the rest of the

The French, from the years of 1685 to 1700, had discovered and settled the country of Mobile or
Louisiana at the expenses of the merchants of Paris; they made, not only along the coast, the efforts that
we have stated, but also in the internal part of the continent they tried to become owner of that of Texas
whose lands, much more fertile and adaptable, should enliven the desire in them. On June 19 of 1719,
they surprised the presidio of Panzacola, also called Santa María de Galve, at a distance of 12 leagues from
Mobile and, defeating from there the few forces which, on the part of Spain, guarded those frontiers, they
started penetrating up to the river of Nachit�s or Colorado, boundary with los Adais of said province of

The missionaries and the small garrison there was, as much in Santa María de Galve as in los Adais
and other missions, retreated to the capital of the province, San Antonio de Béjar, and the Indians, no less
discontented with the usurpation of the French, also took the part of retreating to the woods from which
they came out to perform their hostilities with more than a little damage to the new settlers.

The Marquis of San Miguel de Aguayo goes to Texas to repel

the invasion of the French and to recover the province

The year following this invasion, it was agreed by the Captaincy General of Mexico to deliver the
corresponding dispatches to the honorable Marquis of San Miguel de Aguayo, governor, at that time, of
Coahuila so that, with the small army of five hundred mounted soldiers and six field pieces he approach
Texas to make known to the new enemy, in those regions of America, the possession and dominion of the
crown of Spain upon those lands and to bring the affair under consideration either with persuasion or with
force, if it were necessary, of the limits of both authorities, Spanish and French. The aforesaid honorable
Marquis marched powerfully and without losing time taking with him, besides the people of war, the
missionary priests and the families of countrymen who had left the frontier. He penetrated, in his
expedition, as far as the country of los Adais without counteraction from the French who maintained
themselves on the defensive in their presidios of Caudadachos and Nachit�s.

H.M., having a report of this measure given in Mexico and of its good effect, ordered through his
Royal Decree of May 6 of 1721, "that inasmuch as the "paces" in the cabinets of Madrid and Versailles
had been adjusted, the war with the Gaul-Americans not continue in the frontiers of Mobile; that they try
only to recover the province of Texas, populate it anew in the best possible way and fortify it, especially
at the bay of El Espíritu Santo; that firm and durable limits be established between both provinces of
Mobile and Texas with representation of the documents that may be presented on one side or another and
in whose virtue they be agreed." In obedience of this sovereign resolution, the honorable Marquis of
Aguayo retreated his arms and he occupied himself solely in putting in the missions and presidios which
the French had destroyed, in congregating again the Indians of Texas and Adais, that they, full of joy
because of the reconquest by the Spaniards, were converted then to their old system of peace.yy He
founded, moreover, other several missions and presidios in the most advantageous places, dedicating
himself with more attention to fortifying with everything that the occurrences and the great distance of the
capital of Mexico, that of San Antonio de Béjar, and the bay of el Espíritu Santo could present to him in
the same place and upon the ruins of the one which had been constructed by Mr. de la Sara. zz

In an order of the establishment and demarcation of limits, its execution was suspended due to its
being an affair of much more estimation and its requiring wider powers with more individual instructions
in the affair. The French commander Mr. Luis de San Denís argued that those of his nation had been the
first discoverers of that country up to very far into the continent from the east shores of the Colorado
River; but the Spaniards, in a counter position, had been in peaceful possession of the land and investing
great sums in the support of those presidios. The affair remained undecided, however, and, by act, without
judicial formalities; at that time said Colorado River was recognized as a border, notwithstanding that the
French had some medium sized possessions on its east banks and its presidio of Nachit�s on an island
within its stream which furnished them the most secure asylum.

In consequence of this and by Royal Decrees of the 10th of May of 1723 and of the 14th of February
of 1729, H.M. ordered four hundred families to come from the Canaries to Veracruz and Mexico from
where they would be transported by land to the province of Texas and they be maintained there at the
expense of the royal treasury for the time of one year. Of these four hundred families only ten arrived
who, with others of this continent, were taken with no less cost than discomforts and bothers, to found the
town which had San Fernando as a name, in the immediacies of Béjar. Within a short time the islanders
quarreled with the continentals, they occupied themselves only in litigating regarding the possessions that
had been assigned to them, and they thought they were few, and they, along with their town, were ruined
having made many and importune recourses, not only to the government of that province, but to the
superior of Mexico.


The expeditions of the Sierra Gorda
are concluded for this time

In the meantime that things went along at the north and west of the unknown coast, as has been
said, in truth not very favorable in León, Coahuila, and Texas, on the south in those of Tampico, town of
Valles, Río Verde, and Sierra Gorda, it was another very different aspect which the arms of Spain had in
their establishments of America. Eighteen years in continuous work in campaign against the pagan and
uprisen Indians, the erection of new missions and presidios in those frontiers, in the opportune reform of
those there were and having them always in sight by faithful executors of the superior orders so that they
not grow dispirited, the measures were effective and of first necessity to arrive at the end. D. José
Escandón, resident of the city of Querétaro in the province of Chichimecas, colonel of those militias,
gentleman of the Order of Santiago, and appointed, for the operation, lieutenant captain-general of the
Sierra Gorda, its missions, presidios, and frontiers, punctually performed the expeditions of his charges
and it can even be assured, without moving one line from the truth, that from this time he gained one of
the most distinguished places among the loyal vassals and illustrious men of respectability of the nation of

In the above-mentioned time of 18 years he served the crown at his expenses without any burden
to the royal treasury; he also made, at his own expense and accompanied by the troop and people at his
command, three general entries through the thicket and almost inaccessible places of the Sierra Gorda from
where, with gifts and adulations of peace and of sincere friendship, he would take out the heathen Indians
and the apostates who received him happily, grateful, and conveniently; he founded, with them, eleven
missions in the protection of honorable Spanish residents and zealous ministers, whom he never lost sight
of for the exact completion of the desires of the sovereign; he visited and reformed those of Tampico,
Huasteca, and Río Verde, removing, from some, the abuses that existed and establishing new maxims of
good order; he brought out clearly the truth of several others that in reality were not there and had passed
many years with the name of existing ones before the Superintendency General of the Royal Treasury for
the charge of the synods, as were those of Tanguanchín, Palmillas, Monte Alberne, and San Juan de
Tecla;bbb he also had them suppress the synods of some of the ones of the province of Tampico as well as,
and with the same reason, the ones of the missions of Lagunillas, Piniguan, Gamotes, Valle del Maíz, Tula,
and Río Verde with the consultation of His Excellency, the honorable viceroy and by the order of the
honorable attorney general, Licenciado [degreed] Bedoya.

In some of them the lack of necessity to receive this aid from the Sovereign in order to perform
the apostolic ministry of the conversion of the souls was evident and more than proven and the ministers
had, without it, the competent support which should be enough, for the frugality of its institution, with the
alms and ecclesiastical contributions of the Spanish residents which they now counted in a competent
number. The restorer of the Sierra Gorda enabled these with the enjoyment of military privilege, forming
in the entire frontier a numerous body of militia troops who, simply with their free will and without cost
to the royal treasury, on sight and with the frequent admonitions of their chief, who was the same
Escandón, defended their native soil, their homes and interests, and caused, purely in full force of defence,
their arms to be accredited and the enemy punished. He gratified them by assigning them land from those
of the king for their use and their right of possession in the name of H. M. and what most filled, in these
expeditions, the satisfaction of the government was that, Escandón having rewarded most of his subjects
with the aforesaid possessions in the valleys and the sierras of the border, he did not assign one single
measure of land for himself.

Through these roads of disinterest and of punctuality, of compassion of the unfortunate Indians and
of the royal and sensible prize to the vassals who, in truth, should be called somewhat religious, faithful
to the Sovereign, and obviously effective; through these roads, I say, and with the aid of Escandón, the
places of that frontier came out of the state of their decadence to that of abundance and from the dangers
of its loss to that of founding in them hopes of carrying forward the conquest of the continent in what was

The missions of Xalpa, of San José, of San Francisco del Valle, that of Tilaco, and others in the
Sierra were so well administered, so wealthy in their community goods, and the Indians so tame and
converted in the little time that they had of being founded that the most illustrious Archbishop of Mexico,
who at that time was the honorable Don Francisco Antonio Lorenzana, the most excellent cardinal day
of the Holy Church in the primate of Toledo, thought it good to receive them and add them to the
command of its archiepiscopal church and to benefit priests of the secular clergy with them.ccc From this
measure, nevertheless, it resulted in that the Indians being discontented with this way of treating them or,
better, inexpert in the management of their interests, they killed them and left, afterwards, for the use of
their old errant life in the Sierra. The peacemaker of this foresaw well the results which were experienced
later, in virtue of the intimate and great practice which he had of how the Indians are; but his persuasions
not managing to frustrate them, he mannaged, at last, to acquire this same knowledge from the sage and
clear-sighted comprehension of the most excellent Archbishop.

Notwithstanding this retreat of the indians and the destruction of their pueblos, that we have said,
since many of them had already been born in the center of the society and in the rest certain ideas of love
of the Spaniards and of the peacefulness of their religion had been ingrained, from that time their incursions
were neither so continuous nor so bloody. Part of them remained, after some months, in the system of
their absolute incivility and the other, which was the least numerous, settled itself in the surrounding
haciendas to work as day laborers to earn their subsistence.


These expeditions are celebrated in Mexico
From the year of 1744 the expeditions of the honorable lieutenant captain-general D. José
Escandón in the Sierra Gorda were considered, by the honorable Count of Fuenclara, viceroy at that time
of New Spain, ended and more than abundantly performed. This most excellent gentleman, knowledgeable
in the principles of his government, of the very successful progresses with which the aforesaid pacifier of
the Sierra Gorda carried his enterprise forward, of the multitude of proceedings which, for this same end,
had been frustrated in the time past, of the great amount of wealth which had been expended, of the
powerful and great number of forces with which the barbarians had placed, even the towns and places
which were only thirty leagues from Mexico, in consternation and, finally, through verbal and truthful
reports of the effective non-bloody means, that had been used by that faithful vassal at his own expenses,
with his personal aid, and with the most notorious results of the general good, not less than of all of New
Spain, said with sincerity and in answer to those who informed him: "either what is said of these
expeditions is a lie or the man who has practiced them is a hero who has few equals."

Actually, in a decree of June 27 of 1746, the last consultation about the expeditions of the Sierra
Gorda having been seen, the same most excellent viceroy explains himself with these same terms: "I have
come in the name of H. M. to repeat the due thanks (to D. José Escandón) as I do it and as I did it in the
dispatch of February 22 of 1744, instructed that, in the first occasion that is offered me and is furnished
me, I shall place in the royal report the imponderable service which he has made in this affair, so that his
magnificence reward him with the employments which he would find suitable."

From this favorable, justified reception which the expeditions of the Sierra Gorda had in the spirit
of the most excellent Count of Fuenclara, whose character, as the whole nation knows, was the simplicity
and truth, there followed, in the court of Mexico, an equal concept of justice in all the impartial subjects
and of true illustration. The honorable D. Francisco Antonio de Ech�varri, D. Domingo Valc�rcel y
Formento, the Marquis of Altamira, D. Pedro de Padilla, D. Domingo Trespalacios, D. Pedro de
Bedoya y Osorio, D. Antonio de Andreu, all from the Advisory of H. M. in the Royal Audience, and
many others of the first hierarchy of the court, united their votes to that of His Excellency or, better said,
His Excellency had formed his judgement from the report of all of them.

The just motive that, the Sierra Gorda being pacified, one could count on the security of the
provinces of Chichimecas, of San Luis Potosí, of Guadalc�zar, of Villa de Valles, of Tampico, and even
of those of the rest of the coast from this port up to that of Veracruz should be reputed, without doubt, as
the center of a reunion for applause, not only of the ministers who had the reins of the government of the
kingdom, but of all the vassals. In greater abundance, this large amount of land in the undergrowth of a
sierra which can be considered one of the most rugged in the entire continent, being won from the
barbarians, one could, with more security and through straighter roads, continue the enterprise of the
domination of the same continent through a large part of coast, that was even not only to be dominated but
also to be explored, from Tampico to the bay of el Espíritu Santo.

We have already said that in this rowdiness of the northern barbarians of America was the source
of the hostilities which were experienced in all the outlying provinces and that, besides this, they should
found there their most just fears that the overseas arms and rivals of our nation might cause worse
disturbances through this part so immediate to the capital than those that the savages had caused up to then.
This last report must have been, exactly, more than any other, the one which united the spirit of the
honorable ministers to put the Royal Decrees of July 10 of 1739 and June 14 of 1743, of which we spoke
above, into the practice of their obedience.

Before the pacification of the Sierra Gorda it was necessary, for the communication of the
government with the provinces of León, Coahuila, and Texas, to go around through roads of more than
four hundred leagues, fleeing the assaults of the multitude of these barbarians in their lurking places of the
Sierra and of the coast. These areas dominated, the roads were made less extensive, the applications for
help easier, and the measures more efficient. This group of circumstances recommended, before all the
judicious ones, the merits of Escandón; notwithstanding that there were not lacking in the affair certain
little-justified souls who, resentful due to the deterioration of their personal interests or because their
weaknesses were discovered in the investigations for the reform of those regions, declaimed against the
expeditions of the Sierra Gorda which everyone else applauded. These declarations, nevertheless,
remained, as is usual in the ruined souls, suffocated in the smoke of their private correspondences and
conversations without their daring to present themselves to the public light of a judicial curtain where the
mask of the impostors is removed and the truth is placed in view.

In this same year of 1746, the most excellent Count of Fuenclara was relieved of viceroy and in
June of the same year the most excellent Don Juan G�emes de Horcasitas, Count of Revillagigedo
followed him in the command. Reserved for this time was the work of the pacification of the internal
provinces in this part of the continent plus that of the possessions of Spain starting to live comfortably,
dislodging the barbarians of the lagoon of the coast which was a mole not less pernicious than contrary to
the spirit of the Laws of the Indias. These many times prevent that, in the "reducciones" of America, the
direction always be carried without interrupting it or leaving behind unpopulated regions which could be
asylum of the heathenism and, in the case, they had advanced in the domination of the continent up to the
degrees of 40 and 45 of latitude north in the New Monterrey, leaving the large space of the east coast far
behind from the 22 to the 30 degrees.

The corresponding dispatches for the pacification of the coast
are released by the E. S. Viceroy Count Revillagigedo

The fervent zeal of the new honorable viceroy inflamed so as not to waste time in obeying the
numerous orders of the Sovereign, which until then had not been able to succeed due to the reasons
explained above, regarding the obstacle of the Sierra Gorda, this one pacified, the roads leveled, and the
recourses facilitated, he attempted then to put into practice the citation of the General Junta of War and
Royal Treasury in which, without wasting time, the resources were considered and the means to conquer
the coast were put in practice. By previous proceeding and to proceed later with the most sure effect in
the service of the Majesty of the King, he resolved to give all his time and actions to the subject which,
in the case of the fall of those regions and of the strengths and the situation of the barbarian Indians, he
would be more expert and could perform his commission more fully. Regarding the act he sent a report
to the honorable Marquis of Altamira as General Auditor of War and this sage minister, so well instructed
in all the things of America and especially in the internal provinces, made him aware of the expeditions
of the Sierra Gorda, the exactness and punctuality with which they had been performed and the lack of
costs which had been distributed by the royal treasury. With attention to this he proposed, for the previous
enterprise of exploring and examine the lands of the coast before the citation of the Junta, the pacifier of
the Sierra Gorda, D. José Escandón.

This judgement seen by the honorable viceroy and instructed, as it was suitable in the case, about
what was more conducive to his designs, he had the proposal by the honorable Auditor sent to Mexico.
In his firm character and without a mark, in his total disinterest and frankness of spirit with which he had
invested his wealth in the service of both Majesties, in the frugality and simplicity of his manner, in the
justification of his conduct, and, in one word, in the collection of pledges which qualified Escandón, the
most excellent Count of Revillagigedo found what he was seeking to serve the crown in the measure of his

Almost in the same hour with the date of September 3 of 1746, he extended the title of deputy
Viceroy in the coast of the Gulf of Mexico in favor of the cited Escandón with the expression "that the
enterprise was entrusted to him and its performance was awaited as if His Excellency himself were in
person." He sent the corresponding dispatches to the governors and justices, as much of the intermediate
provinces as of those surrounding the unknown coast. The most excellent Count of Revillagigedo finally
enabled his Vice-regent of the Viceroy with everything which he himself might judge conducive to his
enterprise without economizing in any way the costs of which should be spent; but he, offering, as he
should, his sword and his person for the sake of the monarchy and of the majesty of the King, as he had
done it at other times, proposed that the costs of this first enterprise would be at his own expenses without
anything burdening the royal treasury and happily sacrificing his means, his wealth, and his life in service
of the religion and of the Monarch.

This is, precisely, the primitive character of the Spaniards which was seen in all its splendor in
Escandón and not very long ago. Through these same means of generosity, of frankness, of vigor, and
of constancy, of vassalage, and of loyalty the mark of the errant, fierce, and savage barbarians who
persevered even lodged almost in their center, was erased in the New Spain. The coasts of Honduras,
Yucat�n, Campeche, Veracruz, Tampico, Texas, Mobile, Pensacola, and Florida were already known and
dominated by the Europeans in the Gulf of Mexico and in the discourse of two and one-half centuries, the
one of el Nuevo Santander had still remained to be explored and dominated.
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