||Domínguez de Mendoza, Juan, born 1631
||Itinerary of Juan Domínguez de Mendoza, 1684
||Bolton, Herbert Eugene (editor). Spanish Exploration in the Southwest, 1542-1706. (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1916). Pages 313-343.
||33 / 0
Juan Domínguez de Mendoza (born 1631) arrived in New Mexico
as a twelve-year-old boy. In 1654 he was a member of an expedition
that traveled to the Jumano nation near San Angelo, Texas. In the
mid-seventeenth century, the Spanish established trade relations
with the Jumanos Indians who lived on the Nueces River, a branch
of the upper Colorado. Communication with the Jumanos was cut off
after the uprising of the Pueblo Indians in New Mexico in 1680 (see
AJ-009a and AJ-009b). In 1683, a delegation of seven Native Americans,
including Jumanos and others, appeared before Governor Cruzate in
El Paso seeking aid against the Apaches, a resumption of trade,
and the services of missionaries. At the end of the year, the governor
appointed Juan Domínguez de Mendoza to lead an expedition to central
Texas to carefully examine the Nueces River, bring back samples
of pearls and other resources, learn about the Native Americans
in the region, and re-establish trade with the Jumanos.
Mendoza-López Expedition of 1683-1684
The expedition set out December 15, 1683, heading southeast
from El Paso along the Rio Grande to La Junta. From there, they
proceeded north to the Pecos River, which they followed a short
distance and crossed near present-day Horsehead Crossing. The
expedition then left the river and went east across a plain to
the Middle Concho, which they followed to its junction with the
Nueces River near San Angelo. Mendoza continued east to a river
that he called the San Clemente, probably the Colorado River
near its junction with the Concho. They remained there for six
weeks before returning to El Paso in May 1684.
This journal describes the route of the expedition, the
suitability of land for pasturage and agriculture, the rivers of
the region, the availability of fish and freshwater mollusks
bearing pearls, and interactions with Native Americans,
especially their conversion to Christianity and the regular
celebration of Mass in the communities visited. Mendoza
describes the Indians’ large livestock holdings and the
increased use of beef in the Native American diet. He also
describes plants and animals observed on the expedition,
including pine, pecan trees, plums, grapes, and mulberries, and
the presence of bear, deer, and antelope.
Following their journey, Father López and Mendoza went to
Mexico City in 1685 and 1686 to urge the Spaniards to occupy the
Jumano country with missionaries and soldiers. Their
recommendations were ignored due to several factors, including
the invasion of Spanish territory in east Texas by LaSalle (see
AJ-114 and AJ-121).
This record of the itinerary of Mendoza is housed among the manuscripts
in the Archivo General y Público in Mexico. This English translation
is from Herbert Eugene Bolton, ed. Spanish Exploration in the
Southwest, 1542-1706 (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1916).
Other Internet and Reference Sources
"López, Nicolás." "The Handbook of Texas Online."
Standifer, Mary M. "San Clemente Mission." "The Handbook
of Texas Online." http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/uqs10
Weddle, Robert S. "Domínguez de Mendoza, Juan." The Handbook
of Texas Online. http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fdo52
Imhoff, Brian, ed. "The Diary of Juan Domínguez de Mendoza's
Expedition into Texas (1683-1684): A Critical Edition of the Spanish
Text with Facsimile Reproductions" (Dallas, Texas: Southern
Methodist University, 2002).