Jack wrote this in January, 2006:
I’ve been back reading more of Coronado’s Quest when my head gets to trying to swim upstream looking at all those numbers.
It’s a worthy piece of work. Grove Day’s research is solid and he bases everything on direct quotes from Spanish records: memoirs of members of the expedition, Board of Inquiry reports and statements from the Church arm of the foray. He backs this up occasionally with traditions on the Indian side, but he’s good about pointing it out to the reader when he does this.
One of the more interesting things I’d forgotten from past readings of the book was the first encounter between Apaches and Spaniards. The army was crossing the staked plains. The time was prior to the entry of Comanches to the area (or Navajos, Day observes, to the NW NM region).
The Apaches are described as friendly, helpful, extremely competent. Quite a contrast to the Spanish/Mexican/Apache war that began within a century and lasted until the Apache was so penned up he couldn’t carry it on.
However, as I mentioned it was before the Comanche acquired horses and descended to the plains wiping out just about everything in their paths. By 1843, they’d completely extinguished the Lipan Apache, which was the band Coronado probably encountered.
Interestingly, at the time of the encounter the high plains were shared between Wacos, Wichita, Teja and Apache. All of those were either driven off the high plains, exterminated, or allied with the Comanche by the early 1800s. The Jicarilla Apache was also backed up into N. New Mexico looking for help from the Spaniard/Mexicans to protect them from the Comanche.
Fara’on Apaches were out there too, at the time, but by the time there was much record keeping going on they were generally so few in numbers they only showed up as a criminal nuisance in Spanish records. They vanished before 1800.
Amazing what a simple unintended introduction of the horse to America did to stir things up.