Explorers, Traders, and Slavers: Forging the Old Spanish Trail, 1678-1850

By Joseph P. Sánchez | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IX
Antonio Armijo and José María Chaves Two Men on the Old Spanish Trail, 1821-1850

FOLLOWING MEXICAN independence from Spain in 1821, official interest in the Yuta country was renewed. After years of talking about initiating trade with California, New Mexico governor José Antonio Chávez decided to take the matter before officials in Mexico City. In his letter of 14 May 1830 to the Minister of Interior Affairs, Governor Chávez, acknowledging that a licensed expedition to California had taken place, wrote:

On the eighth of November of last year, a company of about sixty men left this territory for Califonia with the purpose of trading for mules with the products of this country. They have been traveling through unknown deserts until now, and have succeeded in discovering a new way of communication which passes numerous savage tribes, who, from all appearances, fled in terror. The Indians proved no obstacle and this contributed not a little to the success of the expedition.

From the itinerary which I am sending Your Excellency it can be assumed that the distance which separates California from this territory is not great. It should be taken into account that the discoverers often had to retrace their steps and make detours. In short, they had neither map nor compass, and no other guides than the enterprising natives of this country.

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