The Coronado Expedition to Tierra Nueva: The 1540-1542 Route across the Southwest

The Coronado Expedition to Tierra Nueva: The 1540-1542 Route across the Southwest

The Coronado Expedition to Tierra Nueva: The 1540-1542 Route across the Southwest

The Coronado Expedition to Tierra Nueva: The 1540-1542 Route across the Southwest

Synopsis

The Coronado Expedition to Tierra Nueva is an engaging record of key research by archaeologists, ethnographers, historians, and geographers concerning the first organized European entrance into what is now the American Southwest and northwestern Mexico.

In search of where the expedition went and what peoples it encountered, this volume explores the fertile valleys of Sonora, the basins and ranges of southern Arizona, the Zuni pueblos and the Rio Grande Valley of New Mexico, and the Llano Estacado of the Texas panhandle.

The twenty-one contributors to the volume have pursued some of the most significant lines of research in the field in the last fifty years; their techniques range from documentary analysis and recording traditional stories to detailed examination of the landscape and excavation of campsites and Indian towns. With more confidence than ever before, researchers are closing in on the route of the conquistadors.

Excerpt

In 1539 and 1540 an imposing expedition was mounted in Spanish Mexico. Its objective was to bring into the orbit of Spanish colonial control a prosperous land far to the north. That region (stretching from modern Sonora to modern Kansas) was known to the Spaniards of the day as la Tierra Nueva (the New Land), in reference to its recent emergence into their awareness.

Conceived and organized by Spaniards, the massive expedition comprised an eclectic mix of people from the Old World and the New: Castilians, Portuguese, Italians, French, Germans, Africans, and even a Scot, accompanied and far outnumbered by Tlaxcalans, Mexica, Tlatelolcas, Tarascans, and other native people of New Spain. the indigenous people of la Tierra Nueva who met this heterogeneous expedition had neither solicited nor ratified the Spaniards' plans for them and their world. Nevertheless, the initial encounters between the peoples of the Tierra Nueva and the strangers from the south were usually not hostile, though perhaps cautious. Almost always, though, if the Spaniards and their cohorts decided to stay, conflicts festered and erupted.

For us at the end of the twentieth century the encounters in the Greater Southwest in 1539—1542 provide an instructive analog and counterpoint to frequently . . .

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