The Villasur expedition of 1720 was a Spanish military expedition intended to check New France's growing influence on the North American Great Plains, led by Lieutenant-General Pedro de Villasur. Pawnee and Otoe Indians attacked the expedition in Nebraska, killing 36 of the 40 Spaniards, 10 of their Indian allies, and a French guide. The survivors retreated to their base in New Mexico.
New France was the area colonized by France in North America during a period beginning with the exploration of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence by Jacques Cartier in 1534 and ending with the cession of New France to Great Britain and Spain in 1763 under the Treaty of Paris (1763).
The Great Plains is a broad expanse of flat land, much of it covered in prairie, steppe, and grassland, located in America and Canada. It lies west of the Mississippi River tallgrass prairie in the United States and east of the Rocky Mountains in the U.S. and Canada. It embraces:
The Pawnee are a Plains Indian tribe who are headquartered in Pawnee, Oklahoma. Pawnee people are enrolled in the federally recognized Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma. Historically, they lived in Nebraska and Kansas. In the Pawnee language, the Pawnee people refer to themselves as Chatiks si chatiks or "Men of Men."
In the first part of the 18th century, French explorers and fur traders began to enter the plains west of the Missouri River, in land they claimed as Louisiana. In 1714, Étienne de Veniard, Sieur de Bourgmont became the first colonial explorer known to have reached the mouth of the Platte River, although other French traders may have visited the area and lived among the Indians.Spain had claimed ownership of the Great Plains since the Coronado expedition of the 16th century, but became worried about the growing French influence in the region. In 1718, the War of the Quadruple Alliance broke out between France and Spain.
The Missouri River is the longest river in North America. Rising in the Rocky Mountains of western Montana, the Missouri flows east and south for 2,341 miles (3,767 km) before entering the Mississippi River north of St. Louis, Missouri. The river drains a sparsely populated, semi-arid watershed of more than 500,000 square miles (1,300,000 km2), which includes parts of ten U.S. states and two Canadian provinces. Although nominally considered a tributary of the Mississippi, the Missouri River above the confluence is much longer and carries a comparable volume of water. When combined with the lower Mississippi River, it forms the world's fourth longest river system.
Louisiana or French Louisiana was an administrative district of New France. Under French control 1682 to 1762 and 1801 (nominally) to 1803, the area was named in honor of King Louis XIV, by French explorer René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de la Salle. It originally covered an expansive territory that included most of the drainage basin of the Mississippi River and stretched from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico and from the Appalachian Mountains to the Rocky Mountains.
Étienne de Veniard, Sieur de Bourgmont was a French explorer who documented his travels on the Missouri and Platte rivers in North America and made the first European maps of these areas in the early 18th century. He wrote two accounts of his travels, which included descriptions of the Native American tribes he encountered. In 1723, he established Fort Orleans, the first European fort on the Missouri River, near the mouth of the Grand River and present-day Brunswick, Missouri. In 1724, he led an expedition to the Great Plains of Kansas to establish trading relations with the Padouca.
The governor of the Spanish colony of Nuevo México based in Santa Fe ordered Villasur to capture French traders on the plains. Spanish authorities hoped to gather intelligence about French ambitions in the region. Villasur had no experience with Indians, but he left Santa Fe on June 16, 1720, leading an expedition which included about 40 soldiers of a mounted frontier corps,60 to 70 Pueblo allies, a priest, a Spanish trader, and approximately 12 Apache guides, who were tribal enemies of the Pawnee. Scout leader Jose Naranjo was of African-Hopi parentage, and he might have previously reached the South Platte River area.
Santa Fe de Nuevo México was a province of the Viceroyalty of New Spain, and later a territory of independent Mexico. The first capital was San Juan de los Caballeros from 1598 until 1610, and from 1610 onward the capital was La Villa Real de la Santa Fe de San Francisco de Asís. The naming, capital, the Palace of the Governors, and rule of law were retained as the New Mexico Territory, and the subsequent U.S. State of New Mexico, became a part of the United States. The New Mexican citizenry, primarily consisting of Hispano, Pueblo, Navajo, Apache, and Comanche peoples, became citizens of the United States as a result of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.
Santa Fe is the capital of the U.S. state of New Mexico. It is the fourth-largest city in the state and the seat of Santa Fe County.
The Puebloans or Pueblo peoples, are Native Americans in the Southwestern United States who share common agricultural, material and religious practices. When Spaniards entered the area beginning in the 16th century, they came across complex, multi-story villages built of adobe, stone and other local materials, which they called pueblos, or villages, a term that later came to refer also to the peoples who live in these villages.
The expedition made its way northeast through Colorado, Kansas, and Nebraska. In August, they made contact with the Pawnee and Otoe along the Platte and Loup rivers. Villasur made several attempts to negotiate with Indians in the area, using Francisco Sistaca, a Pawnee held as a slave, to translate. On August 13, Sistaca disappeared from camp. Villasur camped that night just south of the Loup–Platte confluence near Columbus, Nebraska, nervous about the possibility of attack and the increasing number and belligerence of the Pawnee and Otoe Indians.
Colorado is a state of the Western United States encompassing most of the southern Rocky Mountains as well as the northeastern portion of the Colorado Plateau and the western edge of the Great Plains. It is the 8th most extensive and 21st most populous U.S. state. The estimated population of Colorado was 5,695,564 on July 1, 2018, an increase of 13.25% since the 2010 United States Census.
Kansas is a U.S. state in the Midwestern United States. Its capital is Topeka and its largest city is Wichita, with its most populated county being Johnson County. Kansas is bordered by Nebraska on the north; Missouri on the east; Oklahoma on the south; and Colorado on the west. Kansas is named after the Kansas River, which in turn was named after the Kansa Native Americans who lived along its banks. The tribe's name is often said to mean "people of the (south) wind" although this was probably not the term's original meaning. For thousands of years, what is now Kansas was home to numerous and diverse Native American tribes. Tribes in the eastern part of the state generally lived in villages along the river valleys. Tribes in the western part of the state were semi-nomadic and hunted large herds of bison.
Nebraska is a state that lies in both the Great Plains and the Midwestern United States. It is bordered by South Dakota to the north; Iowa to the east and Missouri to the southeast, both across the Missouri River; Kansas to the south; Colorado to the southwest; and Wyoming to the west. It is the only triply landlocked U.S. state.
The Pawnees and Otoes attacked at dawn on August 14, shooting heavy musketry fire and flights of arrows, then charging into combat clad only in paint, headbands, moccasins, and short leggings. Some survivors reported that Frenchmen had been among the attackers, and men in European dress are shown in a surviving painting of the battle. [ citation needed ]The Spanish were mostly asleep at this hour; possibly Sistaca had told the Pawnees the best time to attack. In a brief battle, they killed 36 Spaniards, including Villasur and Naranjo, 10 Pueblo scouts, and Jean L'Archevêque, a Frenchman who had been brought as an interpreter. The Pueblo allies were encamped nearby but separately from the Spanish, and they were not the first targets of the attack.
Jean L'Archevêque was a French explorer, soldier and merchant-trader. One of the few survivors of the ill-fated French colony Fort Saint Louis (Texas), L'Archevêque, the son of a merchant-trader from Bayonne, France, indentured himself to merchant-trader Sieur Pierre Duhaut in order to participate in the expedition to find the colony. L'Archevêque is known to have been the decoy that led René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle into an ambush in which Duhaut shot La Salle. While Duhaut was killed by expedition members to avenge La Salle's murder, L'Archevêque escaped the same fate because he was viewed more favorably and was thought to be less guilty. L'Archevêque was killed in 1720 near what is now Columbus, Nebraska by Native Americans of the Pawnee tribe during the Villasur expedition.
The Spanish and Pueblo survivors returned to Santa Fe on September 6. The expedition had journeyed farther to the north and east than any other Spanish military expedition, and its defeat marked the end of Spanish influence on the central Great Plains. The French in Illinois were elated to learn of the battle in October, but subsequent French expeditions did not establish French trade and influence in the area.
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Columbus is a city in and the county seat of Platte County, in the state of Nebraska in the Midwestern United States. The population was 22,111 at the 2010 census.
The Platte River is a major river in the state of Nebraska and is about 310 mi (500 km) long. Measured to its farthest source via its tributary the North Platte River, it flows for over 1,050 miles (1,690 km). The Platte River is a tributary of the Missouri River, which itself is a tributary of the Mississippi River which flows to the Gulf of Mexico. The Platte over most of its length is a muddy, broad, shallow, meandering stream with a swampy bottom and many islands—a braided stream. These characteristics made it too difficult for canoe travel, and it was never used as a major navigation route by European-American trappers or explorers.
Plains Indians, Interior Plains Indians or Indigenous people of the Great Plains and Canadian Prairies are the Native American tribes and First Nation band governments who have traditionally lived on the greater Interior Plains in North America. Their historic nomadic culture and development of equestrian culture and resistance to domination by the government and military forces of Canada and the United States have made the Plains Indian culture groups an archetype in literature and art for American Indians everywhere.
The Otoe are a Native American people of the Midwestern United States. The Otoe language, Chiwere, is part of the Siouan family and closely related to that of the related Iowa and Missouri tribes.
El Quartelejo, or El Cuartelejo, is the name given to the archeological remains of the northernmost Indian pueblo and the only known pueblo in Kansas. Located in Lake Scott State Park, the remains of the stone and adobe pueblo are situated north of Scott City, Kansas, on Ladder Creek.
Quivira is a place named by explorer Francisco Vásquez de Coronado in 1541, for the mythical "Seven Cities of Gold" that he never found. The location of Quivira is believed by most authorities to be in central Kansas near present-day Lyons extending northeast to Salina. The Quivirans were the forebears of the modern day Wichita Indians and Caddoan tribes, such as the Pawnee or Arikara. The city of Etzanoa, which flourished between 1450 and 1700, is thought to be part of Quivira.
Fort Orleans was a French fort in colonial North America, the first fort built by any European forces on the Missouri River. It was built near the mouth of the Grand River near present-day Brunswick. Intended to be the linchpin in the vast New France empire stretching from Montreal to New Mexico, the fort was occupied from 1723–1726. It was the first multi-year European settlement in what is today the U.S. state of Missouri.
The timeline of Kansas details past events that happened in what is present day Kansas. Located on the eastern edge of the Great Plains, the U.S. state of Kansas was the home of sedentary agrarian and hunter-gatherer Native American societies, many of whom hunted American bison. The region first appears in western history in the 16th century at the time of the Spanish conquest of Mexico, when Spanish conquistadores explored the unknown land now known as Kansas. It was later explored by French fur trappers who traded with the Native Americans. It became part of the United States in the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. In the 19th century, the first American explorers designated the area as the "Great American Desert."
The Pike-Pawnee Village Site, or Hill Farm Site, designated 25WT1 by archaeologists, is a site near the village of Guide Rock in Webster County, in the south central portion of the state of Nebraska, in the Great Plains region of the United States. It was the location of a village of the Kitkehahki band of the Pawnee people, in a region of the Republican River valley that they occupied intermittently from the 1770s to the 1820s.
Antonio Valverde y Cosío (1670–1728) was a prominent entrepreneur and Spanish soldier who served as acting governor of Santa Fe de Nuevo México in 1716 and as interim governor of this territory from 1718 to 1721. His politics were based, in large part, on stopping the French invasion of New Mexico.
Facundo Melgares was a Spanish military officer who served as both the last Spanish Governor of New Mexico and the first Mexican Governor of New Mexico. Melgares was, like most of the officials of the Spanish crown in his time, a member of the Spanish upper class. He is described as a "portly man of military demeanour" and as "a gentleman and gallant soldier".
French people have been present in the U.S. state of Nebraska since before it achieved statehood in 1867. The area was originally claimed by France in 1682 as part of La Louisiane, the extent of which was largely defined by the watershed of the Mississippi River and its tributaries. Over the following centuries, explorers of French ethnicity, many of them French-Canadian, trapped, hunted, and established settlements and trading posts across much of the northern Great Plains including the territory that would eventually become Nebraska, even in the period after France formally ceded its North American claims to Spain. During the 19th century, fur trading gave way to settlements and farming across the state, and French colonists and French-American migrants continued to operate businesses and build towns in Nebraska. Many of their descendants continue to live in the state.
Pedro Vial, or Pierre Vial,, was a French explorer and frontiersman who lived among the Comanche and Wichita Indians for many years. He later worked for the Spanish government as a peacemaker, guide, and interpreter. He blazed trails across the Great Plains to connect the Spanish and French settlements in Texas, New Mexico, Missouri, and Louisiana. He led three Spanish expeditions that attempted unsuccessfully to intercept and halt the Lewis and Clark Expedition.
Philipp Segesser was a German-speaking Swiss Jesuit missionary who spent much of his career in Sonora, Mexico.
Juan de Ulibarrí or Uribarrí (1670-1716) was a Spanish or Criollo soldier and explorer who lived in New Mexico. In 1706 he led an expedition to El Cuartelejo on the Great Plains of western Kansas and eastern Colorado. Ulibarrí's diary survives and is an important source for the history of Spanish exploration of the Great Plains and relationships with the Apache and Pueblo Indians. The purpose of Ulibarrí's expedition was to find and escort back to New Mexico about 60 people from Picuris Pueblo who had earlier fled Spanish rule in New Mexico and established communities on the Great Plains. The Cuartelejo Ruins in Kansas are a remnant of the Pueblos who lived on the plains.
The Great Plains Indian Trading Networks encountered by the first Europeans on the Great Plains were built on a number of trading centers acting as hubs in an advanced system of exchange over great distances. The primary centers were found at the villages of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara, with a surplus of agricultural produce that could be exchanged. Secondary centers were found at the villages of the Pawnee, Kansa and Osage on the central plains, and at the Caddo villages on the southern plains. The Dakota rendezvous was an important annual trading fair among the Sioux. European demand for fur changed the relations of the plains, increased the occurrence of war, and displaced several Indian nations that were forced away by the Sioux coming from the east. On the northern plains, European trade lay in the hands of the Hudson's Bay Company, although most of the territory belonged to France, and later Spain. European trade on the central plains was controlled by French merchants, first from New Orleans, later from St. Louis. From the mid-1700s', the Comanche became an increasingly important military and commercial factor on the southern plains, forcing the Apaches into the mountains, and exchanging goods and spoils with the Southwestern trading networks hubs in New Mexico.