“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
San Elizario in El Paso County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)

Rodriguez-Chamuscado Expedition - 1581

Rodriquez-Chamuscado Expedition - 1581 Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Kirchner, November 4, 2010
1. Rodriquez-Chamuscado Expedition - 1581 Marker
Inscription. Inspired by Indian stories of settlements in present New Mexico and authorized by the Spanish viceroy, Fray Agustin Rodriguez, a Franciscan priest, led a missionary expedition to the area. Accompanied by Fray Juan de Santa Maria, Fray Francisco Lopez, nine soldiers, and nineteen Indian servants, he left Santa Barbara, Mexico on June 5, 1581. The military escort was led by Francisco Sanchez, who, because of his red beard, was known as El Chamuscado, "The Singed".

Following the Rio Grande, the expedition reached El Paso del Norte. Proceeding through the pass, they spent the remainder of 1581 exploring the vast region from present western New Mexico to the Texas Panhandle.

After Indians killed Fray Santa Maria in September 1581, plans were made to return for a report to the Spanish authorities. Despite the hostile environment, the two remaining missionaries chose to stay. Chamuscado led the others back through the Pass of the North, but died before reaching Santa Barbara.

Believed to have been the first Spanish expedition to use the Pass of the North, the Rodriguez-Chamuscado Expedition marked the beginning of the Spanish influence in the area. Their exploration opened the region, now the American Southwest, to later colonization.
Erected 1981 by Texas Historical Commission
San Elizario Memorial Plaza image. Click for full size.
By Bill Kirchner, November 4, 2010
2. San Elizario Memorial Plaza
Rodriquez-Chamuscado Expedition - 1581 Marker is fourth from the left.
Location. 31° 35.119′ N, 106° 16.379′ W. Marker is in San Elizario, Texas, in El Paso County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of Church Road and Glorietta Road. Click for map. Marker is located at the San Elizario Memorial Plaza. Marker is in this post office area: San Elizario TX 79849, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Salt War (here, next to this marker); Espejo Beltran Expedition - 1582-1583 (here, next to this marker); Juan de Onate Expedition - 1598 (here, next to this marker); The Camino Real (here, next to this marker); San Elizario (here, next to this marker); The First Thanksgiving (here, next to this marker); San Elizario Memorial Plaza (here, next to this marker); Los Portales (within shouting distance of this marker). Click for a list of all markers in San Elizario.
Also see . . .
1. “The Chamuscado-Rodriguez Expedition of 1581-1582”. (Submitted on November 22, 2010.)
2. History or Mostly Myth?. As written by Florence Weinburg, author of The Seven Cities of Mud regarding what she has discovered while doing research of the expedition.
"As I did preliminary research for this work, I found amazing, often imaginative discrepancies in historical accounts of the entrada. For the sake of clarity, I will now give you a summary of what I think to be an accurate account of the events of 1581-82." (Submitted on November 22, 2010.) 
Categories. Churches, Etc.ExplorationSettlements & Settlers
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bill Kirchner of Tucson, Arizona. This page has been viewed 375 times since then and 57 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on , by Bill Kirchner of Tucson, Arizona. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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