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Document Number: AJ-007
Title: Report of the Viceroy to the King
Source: Bolton, Herbert Eugene (editor). Spanish Exploration in the Southwest, 1542-1706. (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1916). Pages 158-160.
Pages/Illustrations: 5 / 0
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Author Note

Born into a wealthy and distinguished family, Don Lorenso Suárez de Mendoza (ca. 1540-?) became the viceroy of New Spain, 1580-1583. Mendoza and Marques de la Coruña wrote this account to King Phillip II in June 1583.

Rodríguez Expedition of 1581-1582

The expedition began June 5, 1581, in Santa Bárbara, Mexico. It followed the Conchos River north to the Rio Grande and then along the Rio Grande northwest to central New Mexico. The expedition explored the pueblos and Indian villages around present-day Albuquerque and Santa Fe. One friar was killed during the journey; the other two missionaries left behind at Puaray pueblo were killed after the soldiers and servants had returned to Mexico.

This report summarizes the purpose of the expedition, its findings, and the viceroy’s response to the reports of the conditions in New Mexico and the deaths of the friars. Accompanying the report were the depositions of soldiers in the expedition party and a report from an officer concerning what would be necessary for a future military expedition into the area. On April 19, 1583, Spanish King Phillip II authorized the viceroy to select a governor to explore, pacify, and colonize the new lands. Juan de Oñate eventually received the royal contract to explore and settle New Mexico (see documents AJ-010 to AJ-015 and AJ-101 to AJ-105).

Document Note

The report is dated November 1, 1582. The original 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 and 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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