Cartographical Pathways to the Old Spanish Trail The Road to Mythical Teguayo
LIKE ALMOST EVERY colonial road in North America, the Old Spanish Trail, with all of its variations, was forged from Indian pathways similar to those that crisscrossed the entire Western Hemisphere. From that standpoint, the origins of the Old Spanish Trail are obscure, although it first came into the historical limelight when Yuta guides led Spanish colonial frontiersmen in New Mexico northwestward from Santa Fe beyond Abiquiú through the Utah canyonlands to the vicinity of the Great Salt Lake. Only then, at its historical debut, did the Yuta country become part of the Spanish claim to New Mexico.
The Spanish claim to New Mexico developed quickly in the sixteenth century. Significantly, not quite forty-eight years had passed since Christopher Columbus's first voyage, when, in 1540, Spanish explorers under Francisco Vázquez de Coronado camped on the west side of present Albuquerque,1 on their way to traversing much of the interior of the continent and reaching the Great Plains of central Kansas. They had, indeed, taken a major step north from Mexico. Spain's fascination with North America grew throughout the colonial period. Maps drawn between 1500 when Juan de la Cosa, having sailed with Columbus, printed his chart featuring the Caribbean Islands (Map 1) and 1819 when Facundo Melgares, governor of New Mexico, sent a map to the viceroy in Mexico City showing Santa Fe in relation to the southern Rockies as far north as South Pass (Map 2) sharpened the European view of North
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Publication information: Book title: Explorers, Traders, and Slavers:Forging the Old Spanish Trail, 1678-1850. Contributors: Joseph P. Sánchez - Author. Publisher: University of Utah Press. Place of publication: Salt Lake City. Publication year: 1997. Page number: 3.