||Bustamente, Pedro de
||Declaration of Pedro de Bustamente, 1582
||Bolton, Herbert Eugene (editor). Spanish Exploration in the Southwest, 1542-1706. (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1916). Pages 137-150.
||16 / 0
Pedro de Bustamante was a soldier in the Rodríguez expedition
of 1581-1582. He was a native of Spain who spent approximately ten
years in Mexico as a mine prospector and soldier before making this
declaration. He was thirty-four years old at the time.
Spanish policy in the late sixteenth century made missionaries
the principal agents for exploration of new lands and pacification
of Native Americans. Franciscan friars who accompanied Francisco
Coronado’s expedition in 1540 reported great potential for converting
the Native Americans of the regions above northern New Spain. Franciscan
lay brother Agustín Rodríguez organized an expedition forty years
later in 1581 to search for mineral resources and to convert the
residents reportedly living in large settlements along the upper
Rio Grande river valley where inhabitants raised cotton and food.
The Rodríguez Expedition of 1581-1582
The expedition began June 5, 1581 from Santa Bárbara,
Mexico. The expedition party consisted of three friars, nine
soldiers, and several Native American servants. It proceeded
north along the Conchos River to the Rio Grande and then
northwest along the Rio Grande to central New Mexico. The
expedition explored areas around present-day Albuquerque and
Bustamante describes the purpose and the route of the expedition
and the different native villages and tribes they encountered on
the way. He describes many of the pueblo homes and villages, the
resident’s clothing in each of the settlements, and food grown,
particularly, corn, peppers, turkeys, and game, as well as the presence
of bison in the eastern reaches of their expedition. He also describes
interactions between the expedition party and residents of the country
as well as the mine prospects discovered.
During the yearlong expedition, the Tano tribe killed one priest.
When the soldiers returned to Mexico (arriving at Santa Bárbara
April 15, 1582), leaving behind the missionaries and servants, the
Tiwa tribe killed the remaining two missionaries at the Puaray pueblo.
Bustamante made this declaration on May 16, 1582, barely a month
after returning from exploring New Mexico. The original copy of
the declaration is in the Archivo de Indias in Seville, Spain. It
was published in Spanish in Pacheco and Cárdenas, Colección de
Documentos Inéditos, XV (Madrid, 1864-1884). The first English
translation of the declaration was published in Herbert Eugene Bolton,
ed., Spanish Exploration in the Southwest, 1542-1706 (New
York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1916).
Other Internet and Reference Sources
Aleman, Blanca and Rebecca Blancarte. “America’s First
Highway: El Camino Real.” Borderlands: An El Paso Community
College Local History Project.
Long, Christopher. “Rodríguez, Agustín.” The Handbook of Texas