Penalosa, Don Diego Dionisio de, was governor of New Mexico from 1661 to 1664. According to his own account, he left Santa Fe on March 6, 1662, on an expedition to Quivira. With him were 80 Spaniards, Friar Michael de Guevara, guardian of the convent at Santa Fe, and Friar Nicholas de Freytas, guardian of the convent of San Ildefonso, the latter being the historian of the expedition. Evidently Penalosa intended to travel in state, and with as much comfort as circumstances would permit, as Freytas says he took with him "36 carts of various sizes, well provided with provisions and munitions, and a large coach, a litter, and two portable chairs for his person, and six 3-pounders, 800 horses and 300 mules."
Much of Freytas' descriptions is so vague and indefinite that it is a difficult matter to trace the route followed by Penalosa, that is if any such expedition ever was made. He starts out by saying they moved eastward from Santa Fe for a distance of 200 leagues, "all through pleasing, peaceful and most fertile fields so level that in all of them no mountain, or range, or any hill was seen." The Spanish league is a little more than 2 1/2 miles. No one acquainted with the geography of the southwest can imagine a journey of 500 miles eastward from Santa Fe without encountering a hill of some sort. At the end of the 200 leagues, the expedition came to a "high and insuperable ridge which is near the sea," and eight leagues beyond this lay the great city of Quivira. After marching through March, April, May, and the kalends of June they came to a large river called the "Mischipi," and here they found a nation of Indians which Freytas calls the Escanxaques, with whom a treaty of peace was made.
With an Escanxaque escort the expedition then proceeded up the border of a river until they saw a range of hills "covered with smokes, by which they gave notice of the arrival of the Christian army, and soon after we dcisovered[sic] the great settlement or city of Quivira, situated on the wide-spread prairies of another beautiful river which came from the range to enter and united with that we had hitherto followed."
Seventy caciques or chiefs came out to welcome Penalosa, who issued an order forbidding the Escanxaques to enter the city, because they wanted to destroy it. When he turned back on June 11, the Escanxaques "came out to meet him with arms in their hands," and as they had been reinforced to 7,000 men, they seemed determined to enter the city of the Quivirans. They refused to listen to Penalosa and a fight ensued, in which 3,000 Indians were killed in three hours and the rest fled. For his foresight in undertaking the expedition, and his valor in vanquishing the refractory Indians, Freytas says Penalosa received new orders from the king "the title of Duke thereof, Marquis of Farara, and that of Count of Santa Fe de Penalosa, which he has so well merited."
Following as carefully as possible the uncertain statements of the friar, the Ouivira visited by Penalosa is believed to have been east of the Missouri river and near the boundary line between Missouri and Iowa. Some have endeavored to locate the terminus of his march on the Platte river, near Columbus, Neb., but the same portions of the narrative used for this purpose would apply with equal force to the Republican and Smoky Hill rivers in Kansas.
Hubert H. Bancroft (vol. xvii, p. 168) says Penalosa was "a native of Peru, and adventurer and embustero, bent on achieving fame and fortune with the aid of his unlimited assurance and his attractive person and manners, by which alone presumably he obtained his appointment from the viceroy. Of his rule and his acts, as in the case of other rulers of the period, almost nothing is known. It appears, however, that he visited Zuni and the Moqui towns, heard of the great kingdom of Tequay through a Jemez Indian who had been a captive there, and also of Quivira and Tejas, and the Cerro Azul, rich in gold and silver ores; and that he planned an expedition to some of these wonderful regions.
"In France, Penalosa presented to the government what purported to be a narrative of an expedition to Quivira made by himself in 1662, written by Padre Freitas, one of the friars of his company, and sent to the Spanish king. He never made any such entrada or rendered any such report. The narrative was that of Onate's expedition of 1601, slightly changed to suit his purposes in Paris. I made known this fraud in an earlier volume (vol. xv, p. 388) of this series, but have since received the work of Fernandez Duro, published two years before my volume, in which that investigator, by similar arguments, reached the same conclusions."Pages 460-461 from volume II of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed July 2002 by Carolyn Ward.
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