The New Mexico: Preliminaries to Conquest
The "Christianization" of Pecos
The Shadow of the Inquisition
Their Own Worst Enemies
Pecos and the Friars
Pecos, the Plains, and the Provincias Internas
Cicuye Defies the Invaders
After Lienzo de Tlaxcala, central
Mexico, 16th century.
By their actions, the people of the eastern
fortress-pueblo confirmed El Turco's story. When Capt. Tristán de
Arellano, in command of the main army returning from the plains, had
approached Cicuye, he found the pueblo hostile. The inhabitants retired
inside their walls, pulled up their ladders, and offered no provisions
to the Spaniards. The Tano pueblos, evidently prompted by Cicuye, did
the same. The natives at Tiguex, who had reoccupied some of their
pueblos, fled again, and the invaders moved back in.
Late that summer of 1541, Arellano, a relative of the
viceroy, took forty men and went back to Cicuye to meet Coronado. He
sensed that the general and his party might be marching unawares into an
ambush, which is precisely what the warriors of Cicuye had in mind.
Confident that they could deal with Arellano's force first, they poured
out of their fortress to do battle. But the Spaniards, some wielding
sword and lance from horseback, others with feet firmly planted firing
their smoke and lead-belching arquebuses, turned the Indians back.
Early in the fight two of Cicuye's most touted
warriors fell dead. After that, said Castañeda, the Indians
refused to come out in the open, retiring instead to the refuge of their
stone pueblo. The Spaniards kept up the battle for four days "to inflict
some punishment on them, as was done, considering that they killed some
of their people with cannon fired at the pueblo." These casualties, the
first ones recorded at Cicuye by the invaders, seemed to take the fight
out of the pueblo.
To make certain they did not assault Coronado,
Captain Arellano camped nearby until the general arrived, sometime in
mid-September. News of what had happened at Cicuye saddened Coronado,
just as the Tiguex war and the execution of El Turco had saddened him,
He knew that sooner or later he would be obliged to justify each and
every Indian death before the authorities of New Spain. He had
discovered nothing to make the judges forget their duty. Before he rode
on to Tiguex, the general reportedly calmed Cicuye, "leaving the pueblo
more settled, for presently the people came out in peace and spoke with
Father Padilla Persists in the
Talk of going back to explore beyond Quivira
persisted in the Spanish camp at Tiguex all through the winter, even
after the general suffered an apparent concussion in a fall from his
galloping horse. Fray Juan de Padilla would not let it drop. He had
vowed to return to Quivira, and return he would. He even claimed to have
permission from his superior, Father Provincial Marcos de Niza, though
it is doubtful that Niza would have let him go back virtually alone.
By early spring the mood of the majority was against
the Franciscan. Most of the army wanted to abandon the quest and go
home. The melancholy, shaken Coronado, easily swayed now by disenchanted
officers, would hear of nothing but New Spain. He forbade any of the
soldiers to remain behind with Father Padilla. If the other friars
wanted to stay, he would not prevent it. That was their business.
Padilla did stay, and not entirely alone. A simple
and prayerful old lay brother, Fray Luis de Úbeda, chose to end
his days among the Pueblos rather than face the walk back to New Spain.
Lucas and Sebastián, Tarascan Indian catechists and helpers
trained by Father Padilla in his former convento of Zapotlán,
would accompany their master wherever he wanted to go. They were
donados, native lads "donated" to the friars, dressed in
knee-length gray tunics and girded with the knotted cord of the
Franciscans. In addition, Padilla talked Coronado into allowing him the
services of a Portuguese soldier, one Andrés do Campo. Here was
an interpreter for the Portuguese-speaking court of the Seven Cities.
Several more servants and the half-dozen natives of Quivira who had
guided the general back across the plains completed the roster of those
The Death of Padilla
Coronado provided them with supplies and a mounted
escort to Cicuye. Brother Luis intended to remain there while Father
Padilla pursued his vision of the Seven Cities. Very soon, Padilla,
Campo, Lucas and Sebestián, a black and a mestizo, along with the
Quivira guides, sheep, mules, one horse, religious paraphernalia, and
gifts, set out eastward, never to be seen in Cicuye again. The obsessed
friar did reach the cross he had erected in Quivira the year before. A
short way beyond, Indians killed him. The Portuguese, after nearly a
year's captivity, escaped south to New Spain with news of Padilla's
violent end. Lucas and Sebastián too trekked back by another
After sending to Cicuye another flock of sheep for
Brother Luis, Coronado gave the order for the army to move out from
Tiguex. They had forsaken their conquests. It was April 1542. Almost as
suddenly as they had come, the invaders had gone.
After Códice Azcatitlan, central
Mexico, 16th century.
The Spaniards Depart
At Cicuye only the bitterness remained. The Spaniards
had come in peace and provoked war. They had held certain of the
pueblo's leaders captive, and they had killed some of its people in
battle. Yet nothing they had done, nothing they had brought, vitally
effected life at Cicuye once they were gone. Their giftsthe beads,
the glass and metal trinkets, the ribbonswrought no revolutions
among the people of Cicuye. Their sheep did not survive. The reading of
the requerimiento and the symbolic planting of the cross meant nothing
after Coronado and his army had vanished in the direction from which
they had come.
If the invaders had aggravated a rift among the
people of Cicuyerevealed perhaps in the pueblo's alternate
"friendliness" and hostilityit did not drive them apart.
Subsequent expeditions found them still living together in the closeness
of their one fortress-pueblo.
A Missionary Left Behind at
As for the aged Brother Luis de Úbeda, the
first Christian missionary to the people of Cicuye, neither he nor the
trials of his humble ministry moved them to make room in their hearts
for a poor man nailed to a cross or His Blessed Mother. Describing his
aspirations to Capt. Juan Jaramillo, the friar had said
that with a chisel and adze which he still had he
would erect crosses in those pueblos and would baptize the children he
found on the verge of death and send them to heaven. For this purpose he
desired no other company than a young slave of mine named
Cristóbal for his solace. He said that Cristóbal would
soon learn the local language if the natives would only help him. The
friar did so much to obtain him that I could not refuse him, and thus no
more has been heard of the boy. 
Much respected by Coronado's soldiers because he
embraced poverty so completely and prayed continually, qualities they
expected in a Franciscan, Fray Luis had come from Spain with the
returning Bishop Zumárraga in 1533 and had served in the famous
prelate's household, He was an artless soul, anything but an
intellectual. Because he spent so much of his time in prayer, he
preferred to be alone. Still, no matter how unobtrusive and gentle he
was, apparently the people of Cicuye did not want him around. The last
bit of reliable evidence about him, as recorded by Castañeda,
leaves his fate in doubt.
Before the army set out from Tiguex, the men who were
taking him a certain number of sheep he had coming met him accompanied
by people on the way to visit other pueblos which were fifteen or twenty
leagues from Cicuye. This gave rise to no little hope that he was in the
good graces of the pueblo and that his instruction would bear fruit,
even though he complained that the old men were forsaking him and he
believed that in the end they would kill him.
For my part I trust, because he was a man of good and
saintly life, that Our Lord would watch over him and grant him grace
that he might convert some of those people and leave at the end of his
days someone to maintain them in the faith. There is no reason to
believe otherwise, because the people of that region are merciful and in
no way cruel. 
The details of Brother Luis's "ministry" at Cicuye
supplied by the mid-seventeenth-century Franciscan chronicler Fray
Antonio Tello may have some basis in fact or they may be pure fancy.
According to Tello, the Indians promised the departing Spaniards that
they would treat the old friar kindly. They gave him a tiny room and
board. After Coronado's men last saw him being led away, Brother Luis
returned to Cicuye, or so the story goes. Every morning the natives
would bring him a portion of "atole and tortillas" without saying a
word. As the scowling old men passed by, the friar would salute them,
"May God convert you!" 
Whatever happened to Brother Luis, there is no reason
to believe that anyone at Cicuye wanted to learn more about the
It was as if the invaders had never come.
After Códice Florentino, central
Mexico, 16th century.