Great Cruelties Have Been Reported
The 1544 Investigation of the Coronado Expedition
Publication Year: 2013
Only two years after Coronado’s expedition to what is now New Mexico, Spanish officials conducted an inquiry into the effects of the expedition on the native people Coronado encountered. The documents that record that investigation are at the heart of this book. These depositions are as fresh as today’s news. Published both in the original Spanish and in English translation, they provide an unparalleled wealth of information about the Indians’ responses to the Europeans and the attitudes of the Europeans toward the native peoples.
Published by: University of New Mexico Press
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In the course of the sixteenth century scores of armed expeditions were mounted and carried out under Spanish direction throughout an expanding worldwide domain of asserted sovereignty: in Italy, Africa, the Canary Islands, South America, Central America, North America, and the Philippines. That aggressive expansion was undertaken not primarily...
CHAPTER 1 THE HISTORICAL BACKGROUND
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During the 1530s, rumors and reports of town-dwelling Indians, who cultivated corn, wore cotton clothes, and possessed turquoise in abundance, reached the Viceroyalty of Nueva España from the north. That news created a sensation and stimulated competition for the right to confirm the reports. Ultimately, the Spanish king Carlos I authorized two such expeditions: one entering southeastern North America led by Hernando...
CHAPTER 2 THE TEXTS AND EDITORIAL PROTOCOLS
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This study is founded on the extant records of the investigation conducted by Lorenzo de Tejada from May through September 1544, along with a letter from Tejada to the king, testimony taken between January and March 1545 on behalf of Vázquez de Coronado, as well as other undated...
CHAPTER 3 LORENZO DE TEJADA AND THE BEGINNING OF THE INVESTIGATION
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Spanish colonization of the Caribbean islands in the last decade of the 1400s and first decades of the 1500s had a devastating effect on the native peoples of that region. By 1550 the indigenous population of the Caribbean islands was all but extinct. Most native groups elsewhere in the hemisphere experienced less drastic, but still disastrous, impacts, with death...
CHAPTER 4 THE FIRST DE OFICIO WITNESSES, FRANCISCA DE HOZES AND ALONSO SÁNCHEZ
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On May 24, 1544 licenciado Tejada summoned Francisca de Hozes and her husband Alonso Sánchez to appear before him in the case. They had been among sixty or more disgruntled members of the expedition who had wanted to stay in Tierra Nueva even after Quivira proved to be a chimera. Vázquez de Coronado had threatened severe punishment if the...
CHAPTER 5 JUAN GÓMEZ DE PARADINAS, THE THIRD DE OFICIO WITNESS
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Two days after Francisca de Hozes and Alonso Sánchez testified, Juan Gómez de Paradinas was summoned to answer Tejadas questions. In his late teens to around twenty when the expedition to Tierra Nueva left Compostela, Gómez was accompanied by his wife María Maldonado. She was remembered years later as having tirelessly nursed the...
CHAPTER 6 DOMINGO MARTÍN, THE FOURTH DE OFICIO WITNESS
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After the very short testimonies of the first three witnesses, Domingo Martín's declaration on May 31 was one of the longest. He gave lengthy, detailed, matter-of-fact accounts of the incidents about which he was asked. All the witnesses seem to have been very relaxed and comfortable in the presence of licenciado Tejada and his assistants. Litde of...
CHAPTER 7 JUAN DE CONTRERAS, THE FlFTH DE OFICIO WlTNESS
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Juan de Contreras received a license to go to Nueva España in 1538 from his home in Lepe near Huelva in Andalucía, Spain.1 By September 1539 he was a member of Viceroy Mendozas personal guard, in which he served until leaving with the expedition to Tierra Nueva.2 During the expedition he was "always personally with Francisco Vázquez, because he was his head groom. He always ate and lived in his house and slept at the entrance to...
CHAPTER 8 RODRIGO XIMÓN, THE SIXTH DE OFICIO WITNESS
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Another native of the Spanish province of Huelva, Rodrigo Ximón was from Moguer and, with his father, was part of a forcé sent to Nueva España to aid Cortés. Later, in 1527, Alonso de Estrada, then governor, granted the towns of Cuatitanapa and Tenango in encomienda to Ximón as recompense for services in Nueva España. He went on the conquest of Nueva Galicia with Ñuño de Guzmán in 1530, where he stayed...
CHAPTER 9 CRISTÓBAL DE ESCOBAR, THE SEVENTH DE OFICIO WITNESS
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When he immigrated to the New World in 1538, Cristóbal de Escobar brought his wife Isabel Ortiz and their household with him, including one black slave. On the same ship came fellow expedition member Alonso Álvarez, with whom he remained associated and who also testified during the 1544 investigation.1 Escobar was a native of Aracena...
CHAPTER 10 JUAN TROYANO, THE EIGHTH DE OFICIO WITNESS
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By a substantial margin, the lengthiest testimony given during the 1544 investigation, barring Vázquez de Coronado s, was that of Juan Troyano. According to fellow expedition member Rodrigo Maldonado, he was a criado or henchman of Antonio de Mendoza, and Troyano himself reported that he came to the New World in the viceroys entourage...
CHAPTER 11 RODRIGO DE FRÍAS, THE NINTH DE OFICIO WITNESS
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Very little is known about Rodrigo de Frías and nothing after 1548, except that a person of that name was encomendero of Xolostotitián, northeast of Guadalajara in 1570.1 Frías was from the famous sixteenth-century center of ceramics manufacture Talayera de la Reina in the province of Toledo, Spain. In May 1536 he received license to travel to Nueva España at about age 19.2 A little less than four years later he passed muster...
CHAPTER 12 MELCHIOR PÉREZ, THE TENTH DE OFICIO WITNESS
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Having regained sufficient health to travel, licenciado Tejada made the overland journey to Guadalajara in Governor Francisco Vázquez de Coronados province of Nueva Galicia. There, on August 12,1544, he called as the íirst witness in the continuation of his investigation of the expeditiorís treatment of Indians Melchior Pérez, son of...
CHAPTER 13 PEDRO DE LEDESMA, THE ELEVENTH DE OFICIO WITNESS
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A native of Zamora in the jurisdiction of Vázquez de Coronado s tiometown of Salamanca, the eleven- or twelve-year-old Pedro de Ledesma knew the future captain general at least seven years before they both sailed for Nueva España in the company of Viceroy Antonio de Mendoza in 1535.1 From the time of their embarkation for the New World,...
CHAPTER 14 JUAN DE ZALDÍVAR, THE TWELFTH DE OFICIO WITNESS
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Juan de Zaldívar was a member of the powerful Oñate-Zaldívar clan and nephew of Vázquez de Coronado's lieutenant governor in Nueva Galicia, Cristóbal de Oñate.1 The lieutenant governor later became son-in-law to Viceroy Mendoza. Like the other Zaldívars and Oñates, Juan was a Basque, perhaps a native of Vitoria in Spain.2...
CHAPTER 15 THE NOMINAL TARGET OF THE INVESTIGATION, FRANCISCO VÁZQUEZ DE CORONADO
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Francisco Vázquez de Coronado was about 29 years old when, in January 1540, Viceroy Mendoza formally designated him captain general of the expedition about to depart for Tierra Nueva.1 By virtue of an investment of more than 50,000 pesos, Vázquez de Coronado and his wife Beatriz de Estrada were among the principal Financial backers of the privately funded...
CHAPTER 16 ALONSO ÁLVAREZ, THE FOURTEENTH DE OFICIO WlTNESS
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During the expedition to Tierra Nueva Alonso Álvarez de Valle served as paje de guión or standard bearer for Vázquez de Coronado and was a member of the captain general s household until the siege of the Tiguex pueblos during the winter of 1540-1541. Why he did not continue as standard bearer is unknown, but he was not quartered even in the...
CHAPTER 17 THE FISCAL'S ACCUSATIONS AGAINST VÁZQUEZ DE CORONADO
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Within two weeks of completion of testimony at Guadalajara, licenciado Tejada ordered Vázquez de Coronado to present himself to the president and oidores of the audiencia in México City before 50 days elapsed. In February 1545 Tejada committed the former captain general to house arrest and one month later delivered a transcript of...
CHAPTER 18 THE MAESTRE DE CAMPO HELD RESPONSIBLE
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Ten days before fiscal Benavente filed charges against Vázquez de Coronado for mistreatment of Indians in Tierra Nueva, licenciado Tejada issued an opinión that the maestre de campo of the expedition, García López de Cárdenas, was culpable for some of that mistreatment. Therefore, Tejada ordered that a copy of the pesquisa record be prepared and...
CHAPTER 19 DEFENSE OFFERED BY VÁZQUEZ DE CORONADO
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On August 2,1544, within a day or two of the arrival of Lorenzo de Tejada in Guadalajara and almost a full week before he would make the pregón or public proclamation of his commission to investigate the treatment of Indians by the expedition to Tierra Nueva and to conduct the residencia of Francisco Vázquez de Coronado as governor of Nueva...
CHAPTER 20 DIEGO LÓPEZ, THE SECOND DEPARTE WITNESS
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After Lorenzo Álvarez testified, an interval of more than two months elapsed before Francisco Pilo presented his final three witnesses: Diego López, Luis de Figueredo, and Pedro de Tovar, all of whom gave answers in response to the interrogatorio on March 12,1545....
CHAPTER 21 LUIS DE FlGUEREDO, THE THlRD DE PARTE WlTNESS
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Until the record of de parte testimony in Culiacán was located appended to AGÍ, Patronato 216, R. 2, in the Archivo General de Indias in Sevilla late in 1997 by Shirley Cushing Flint, not even the existence of an expedition member by the name of Luis de Figueredo was known. His name did not appear on the muster roll.1 Nor is such a person...
CHAPTER 22 PEDRO DE TOVAR, THE FOURTH DE PARTE WITNESS
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At age 22 in 1540, don Pedro de Tovar was both a captain of horsemen and alférez mayor or chief standard bearer for the expedition to Tierra Nueva. Only Vázquez de Coronado and Lope de Samaniego, briefly the maestre de campo, took more horses with them than the 13 Tovar did.1 In the documents dealing with the Coronado expedition...
CHAPTER 23 FURTHER DEFENSE
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In addition to the record of de parte testimony already presented, there exists a short, incomplete summary of statements made by three other witnesses on Vázquez de Coronados behalf. Such summaries were often prepared by scribes to save judges and attorneys the trouble of wading through complete testimony records. In this case, the full record is no longer...
CHAPTER 24 A FINAL AND DEFINITIVE DECISION
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Without explaining their action in detail, on February 19,1546, Viceroy Mendoza and the four oidores of the audiencia issued their judgment in the case of mistreatment of Indians in Tierra Nueva, at least as far as Francisco Vázquez de Coronado was concerned. In one short paragraph they announced that the fiscal had not substantiated his...
CHAPTER 25 PARTISAN TESTIMONY AS SOURCE MATERIAL FOR HISTORY
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During the pesquisa into treatment of indigenous peoples by the expedition to Tierra Nueva, 21 witnesses testified, 14 de oficio and 7 de parte. Neither group was randomly summoned. As would be expected, the de parte witnesses were selected and called because they would support the defense claims of Vázquez de Coronado. More surprisingly, so...
CHAPTER 26 RESULTS AND REPERCUSSIONS OF THE EXPEDITION TO TIERRA NUEVA FROM DOCUMENTARY AND ARCHEOLOGICAL SOURCES
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Evidence from the 1544 investigation of the expedition to Tierra Nueva confirms that the prevailing altitudes of the European members of the expedition differed little from those manifested by the majority of members of other Spanish expeditions of that era when it came to the indigenous peoples they encountered and intended to bring under royal...
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This book has focused on the violent events of the Coronado expedition that figured in the investigation conducted by Lorenzo de Tejada in 1544. Those events were denounced to the king of Spain as wantonly brutal, and punishment of the responsible leaders was sought. Evidence was presented that, indeed, interaction between the expedition and the native...
APPENDIX 1 ORIGINS, AGES, AND ARRIVAL OF 115 MEMBERS OF THE EXPEDITION TO TIERRA NUEVA
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APPENDIX 2 BlOGRAPHICAL DATA
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APPENDIX 3 GEOGRAPHICAL DATA
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Page Count: 670
Publication Year: 2013