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Document Number: AJ-006
Title: Brief and True Account of the Exploration of New Mexico
Source: Bolton, Herbert Eugene (editor). Spanish Exploration in the Southwest, 1542-1706. (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1916). Pages 154-157.
Pages/Illustrations: 6 / 0
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Author Note

Phelipe de Escalante and Hernando Barrado were Spanish soldiers in the Rodríguez expedition from April 1581 to April 1582. Escalante and Barrado prepared this account in September or October 1583 to encourage Spanish King Phillip II to promote Spanish settlement in New Mexico.

Spanish policy in the late sixteenth century made missionaries the principal agents for exploration of new lands and pacification of Native Americans. Upon hearing a report about a country north of Santa Bárbara, Mexico, where large settlements of people raised cotton and food, the Franciscan lay brother Agustín Rodríguez organized an expedition to convert the residents of the settlements. The expedition party consisted of three friars, nine soldiers, and several Native American servants. One friar was killed during the journey; the others were killed after the soldiers had returned to Mexico leaving the missionaries and servants behind.

Rodríguez Expedition of 1581-1582

The expedition began June 5, 1581, from Santa Bárbara, Mexico. 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 Santa Fe. They returned to Santa Bárbara, Mexico, April 15, 1582.

Document Note

The original document 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 was published in Herbert Eugene Bolton, ed., Spanish Exploration in the Southwest, 1542-1706 (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1916).

Other Internet Reference Sources

Aleman, Blanca and Rebecca Blancarte. “America’s First Highway: El Camino Real.” Borderlands: An El Paso Community College Local History Project. 17_americas_first_highway.htm

Long, Christopher. "Rodríguez, Agustín." The Handbook of Texas Online.

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