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1582-1583 Entrada into the Trans—Pecos West Region of Texas

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179.     ESPEJO, Antonio de. New Mexico. Otherwise, the Voiage of Anthony of Espeio, who in the yeare 1583. with his company, discouered a Lande of 15. Prouinces, replenished with Townes and villages, with houses of 4. or 5. stories height, It lieth Northward, and some suppose that the same way men may by places inhabited go to the Lande Tearmed De Labrador. Translated out of the Spanish copie printed first at Madreel, 1586. and afterward at Paris, in the same yeare. Imprinted at London for Thomas Cadman. N.p., n.d. [Lancaster, Pennsylvania: Lancaster Press, Inc., 1928]; [title verso] Two hvndred copies imprinted at Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in the yeare 1928…. [1-2] 3-37 [1] pp., printed in black letter on fine laid paper with watermark (ROMA and wolf in oval). 12mo (20.4 x 14 cm), original white parchment over charcoal laid paper over boards, spine gilt lettered. Parchment paper on spine a bit darkened, otherwise very fine.

     Limited edition (#43 of 200 copies signed by editor Frederick Webb Hodge, pioneer anthropologist and archaeologist of the Southwest). Eberstadt, Texas 162:285. Saunders 2498. Tate, The Indians of Texas: An Annotated Research Bibliography 529: “The most complete of all Spanish eyewitness descriptions of the Jumano.” Wagner, Spanish Southwest 8bn (citing the original Thomas Cadman edition in English, with dedication dated April 13, 1587, from which the present work was reprinted): “Described from the only known copy, belonging to the Henry E. Huntington Library, formerly of Britwell Court [1916, #89]. Reprinted in 1928 by F.W. Hodge…. The translation was different from that of the same chapters which appeared the following year in [Robert] Parke’s translation. From the title it seems that the translation was made from the Spanish text printed in Paris by Hakluyt [Wagner 8].” See Wagner’s interesting discussion of the bibliographical complexities of the Cadman English translation in his entry 8 (pp. 159-160).

     Antonio de Espejo’s account of New Mexico, Arizona, and Texas first appeared in the Madrid 1586 revised and expanded edition of Juan González de Mendoza’s history of China (Historia de las cosas mas notables, ritos y costumbres del gran Reyno de la China (Wagner 7y), where it was added as an afterthought to promote Espejo’s aspirations (see J. Lloyd Mecham, “Antonio de Espejo and His Journey to New Mexico,” SWHQ, 1926, 30:2; also Richard E. Greenleaf, “Antonio de Espejo and the Mexican Inquisition 1571-1586,” The Americas, January 1971, 27:3, pp. 271-292). The first edition in English of González work on China with the Espejo account was published in London in the exceedingly rare edition of 1588 (Wagner 7jj).

     The Espejo-Beltrán expedition, consisting of fourteen soldiers, their servants, 115 horses and mules, arms, munitions, and provisions, left San Bartolomé, a mining outpost just north of Santa Bárbara, on November 10, 1582. A month later the expedition reached the juncture of the Rio Conchos and the Rio Grande, which Espejo named the Rio del Norte. Up the river was a nation Espejo called the Jumanos, who lived in large pueblos with flat roofs, gave the Spaniards food, and told them that some years before three Christians and a Black man had passed through the area. In January, 1583, the expedition approached the El Paso area, inhabited by the Suma and Manso Indians. They followed the Rio del Norte upstream, through a “mountain chain on each side of it, both of which were without timber,” a possible reference to El Paso del Norte. On the Mexican side they traveled to the pueblos of the Piro Indians, where they learned that the priests López and Rodríguez, whom they intended to rescue, had been killed by the Tiguex Indians. When they reached the Tiguex country on February 17, Beltrán proposed that the expedition return, but Espejo was determined to explore the area to the east. He reached the Pecos River about thirty miles southeast of Santa Fe and followed the river south to the site of present Pecos, Texas. From there Jumano tribesmen guided him and his men along what is now Toyah Creek, through Balmorhea, and on up Limpia Canyon by the sites of present Fort Davis and Marfa and down Alamito Creek back to the Rio Grande.

     This expedition was perhaps more influential than any that had preceded it, since it actually resulted in a colonization effort in New Mexico. Espejo was not immediately chosen to lead that effort because of his checkered past. His ardent wish to be the colonizer of New Mexico evaporated with his early demise on his 1585 trip from Mexico to Spain to plead his cause and clear his name. That honor fell to Juan de Oñate in 1595. For more on Antonio de Espejo, early Mexican cattleman, entrepreneur of the lowlands north of Mexico City, and would-be colonizer of New Mexico, see Handbook of Texas Online: Antonio de Espejo and Espejo-Beltrán Expedition.


Sold. Hammer: $400.00; Price Realized: $480.00

Auction 22 Abstracts

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