OBREGON'S HISTORY 1584
THE FOLLOWING PASSAGES ARE OF INTEREST TO THE SCHOLAR OF SPANISH
EXPLORATION OF THE SOUTHWEST. THEY GIVE INSIGHTS INTO ATTITUDE,
PHILOSOPHY AND EQUIPMENT NECESSARY FOR THE DISCOVERY OF NEW LANDS
When going on expeditions one should carry medicinal remedies to cure the diseases and wounds
that usually occur in time of war, and especially an antidote against the poisonous plant. These
remedies consist of quince juice and raw corrosive sublimate. The latter must be put on wounds.
The quince juice is to be drunk. The swellings must be cut open near the wound and the cuts
powdered with corrosive sublimate. It is essential to carry goo coats-of-mail of medium mesh, for
if it is very fine it is destroyed by rust, and arrows pierce it more readily than if it is coarser. Thus
the mesh should not be too small or too large, but medium, because that resists the force of the
arrow more effectively. It does not need to be cleaned, which is not the case with fine mesh.
Culverins to reduce large houses
Good harquebuses with supplies and duplicate parts should be carried. Most of them should be
operated by fuse because it often happens that the damp powder makes the firing of flintlocks
difficult. Moreover the harquebuses with fuses are easier to handle. The ones with flintlocks
often need a mechanic to make repairs and to replace the pieces that get out of order. One must
take along culverins to fight the indians who are accustomed to fortify themselves in their houses
as happened to Coronado at Cicuic. As they had fortified themselves they could not be subdued
for forty days.
Animals for long trips
One should take along pack horses and mules that are used to the harships of the road. They are
much better than the others.
Artisans for long trips
Large quantities of iron for horseshoes and the largest possible amount of nails should be brought.
If the iron gives out during the expedition it causes great inconvenience and makes it impossible to
go any farther, as happened on our expedition. Becasue the horseshoe nails gave out we were
forced to turn back, leaving many horses behind. It is necessary to bring skilled blacksmiths,
farriers and carpenters with implements to practise their trades. The carpenters can build boats for
crossing rivers, lakes, and gulfs that often hinder and prevent explorations. Thus harbors and
rivers may be located and through these channels trade and communication with the new lands and
communities may be carried on. The smiths make, repair, and provide all necessary iron articles
for the army that may be out of order or worn out. The farriers should be taken along to cure and
shoes the horses and mules belonging to the army.
Losses when poorly equipped
It is a notorious fact that because some generals who went to discover and settle new lands failed
to go provisioned with these things many deaths, misfortunes, and shipwrecks have resulted.
Good amunition, which should be inspected and distributed with moderation, must be taken along.
It should be kept away from moisture and kept in the sunshine in order that it maynot lose its
strength. It must be protected when wading bodies of water and during showers so that it will not
get wet. From time to time it should be dried in the sun or in pans over the fire.
Neglect of the guards brings disaster; mounted guards
The watches and sentries should be divided into four parts as the first quarter of the night is very
long, tedious, painful and sleepy. It is important to watch and guard oneself with much precaution,
care and earnestness. The guard should be mounted and the horses should carry poitrels with
sleigh bells in order to hinder the indians from attacking and giving battle during the night. The
attack at night is very dangerous, because many losses, hardships, and deaths have occured in the
war owing to the carelessness of poor guards. During the daytime mounted guards should be
placed, because the natives not only shoot the horses but scare and steal them if they stray from
Playing-cards to be banished
All the playing cards posessed by the soldiers should be destroyed on leaving the towns and in
places where they cannot obtain others. In so doing a great deal of harm and many unpleasant
circumstances would be avoided. If soldiers did not have cards they would not gamble away their
valuables, arms, and horses which they need on expeditions. They would occupy their time in
fixing up their arms and other things necessary for the success of the journey and peace would be
preserved if playing cards were not present.
Towns should not be entered
Efforts should be made to avoid having the army enter or pass throug any settlements in order to
prevent the damage caused by the soldiers, and the harm done them when they gamble their
belongings and arms, when they ruin and exact service from the residents, and in t he fights which
they usually stir up.
Implements for mining silver
Quantities of shirts, breeches of cloth and canvas, footgear, pots, copper pans, tents of very coarse
linen, well lined and provided with the necessary nails and poles so that they can easily be put up,
should be brought. There should be carried along all sorts of implements used in searching for
and mining silver, and also bellows and implements to smelt metals.
Gifts for new lands
Showy articles of cloth from the locality, such as used in Mexico, should be taken along for barter;
likewise glass beads and trifles, jet trinkets, small hatchets, tarequas, knives, punches, and needles
to exchange for provisions and other things that may be found in new lands; and friendly indians
from this section who might be of service on the expedition and in case of war. Thus the people in
the new lands may follow the example of these peaceful indians when they see them serve, respect
and obey. They may learn from them how important it is to become Christians and that they
cannot prevent it by force of arms should they wish to resist.
Concubinage not allowed
Concubinage must not be allowed in the army. On account of this offense God our Lord often
permits defeats in war, and does not grant favors or victory.
No parades in towns; pay and bonus for equipment
Military reviews, parades, or public roll calls should not be held in cities, towns, or villages where
soldiers are being recruited and selected. If these ceremonies cannot be put off it should be on the
condition and with the understanding that the pay and enlistment bonus given the recruits should
be spent for practical things, such as arms, clothes and horses, and other things necessary for a
successful conquest. The clothes should be of native or Castile cloth, showy articles being
avoided. This should be done in order that themajority of the men may not spend their money on
them. They acquire, scatter, pawn, and wear out these articles before they receive pay or aid from
the real caja or from their generals. They spend their money in the stores of merchants, who
besdies selling them goods on credit at exorbitant prices make them buy trappings that they may go
forth looking well and showing them off on these parades, forgetful of the things that they are
going to need when traveling in lands and places where they cannot obtain succor. It is proper that
the generals and leaders who are in charge of such soldiers should avoid and prevent these things.
The distribution of bonus and payments should be made with the object that the soldiers may use
the money for arms and clothes of native or castilian cloth. In this regard they should imitate one
another on account of their personal appearance or military equipment and they will provide
themselves with the things that are necessary, durable, and essential for the trip. Otherwise before
the expedition starts they will have spent and consumed their aids and paymenys on trappings,
gambling, and illicit things.