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POSADA, ALONSO DE

POSADA, ALONSO DE (?–?). Nothing is known of the life of Alonso de Posada before his arrival in New Mexico in 1651. In 1659 he helped found missions at El Paso del Norte (now Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua). Afterwards in Mexico City he became a chapter member (definidor) of the Franciscan province of the Holy Evangel and procurador general of the Franciscans in New Spain. In 1678 Diego Dionisio de Peñalosa Briceño y Berdugo, former governor of New Mexico, who had been in trouble with the Spanish Inquisition, offered his services to Louis XIV of France to lead a French invasion of the provinces of Quivira and Teguayo. King Carlos II of Spain, hearing of the offer, became concerned and sought information in the Memorial that Alonso de Benavides had written in 1630 upon retiring as custodian of the New Mexico missions. If, as Benavides indicates, New Mexico and Quivira could be reached through a port on Espíritu Santo Bay-probably Matagorda Bay, but at that time believed to lie at the mouth of the Mississippi River-then Peñalosa might indeed lead a French invasion by that route. The geography involved being a complete mystery, the king, on December 10, 1678, ordered the viceroy, Payo Enríquez Afán de Rivera, to report. Afán, however, retired without carrying out the order. On August 2, 1685, the king ordered the new viceroy, Conde de Paredes, to make the report that his predecessor had failed to make on the geography of the territory. Paredes passed the assignment of the report on to Father Posada, who had written a report opposing the abandonment of the El Paso missions earlier in 1685.

Posada produced a report in 1686 in which he recorded unique information about current inhabitants of the land and rudimentary observations on their geographical distribution. He referred to Juan de Oñate's Escanjaque Indians as Ahijados; late in the century they were settled on the river Posada called the Nueces (not the present Nueces River but probably the Concho). Posada is our only source of information about the 1634 expedition of Alonso de Baca, who supposedly traveled across the Panhandle of Texas on his way to the Mississippi River. Between 1629 and 1654-as noted by Posada-Juan de Salas, Hernán Martín, Diego del Castillo, Diego de Guadalajara, and Juan Domínguez de Mendoza visited the Jumano, Cuitoas, Escanjaque, and Ahijados Indians, who lived along the upper Colorado and Nueces (again, probably the Concho) rivers. Posada noted that the area of Texas Indians extended from the Rio Grande opposite Coahuila to the Nueces River. On the coast, Indians lived in the sand dunes. From the Texas boundary the Quivira Indians reached to the Mississippi River and somewhat beyond. A route through Quivira to Santa Fe was feasible, Posada intimated, provided garrisons were established in the Bahía del Espíritu Santo and on the Nueces.

East beyond Quivira, Posada described the vast area from Florida to Canada. In the west the Apaches, Posada wrote, possessed all the plains of Cíbola. The Mescaleros used the Pecos River, which Posada called the Salado, to invade northern Mexico. Other Apache groups ranged to the Colorado River and north to southern Utah. Western Utah was Posada's Teguayo; he gave Europe its first reference to the Great Salt Lake. In the significant new information that it conveyed to the Old World, the Posada Report of the late seventeenth century takes its place alongside the famous Benavides Memorials written earlier in that century.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Herbert E. Bolton, "The Jumano Indians in Texas, 1650–1771," Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association 15 (July 1911). Herbert Eugene Bolton, ed., Spanish Exploration in the Southwest, 1542–1706 (New York: Scribner, 1908; rpt., New York: Barnes and Noble, 1959). Anne Eugenia Hughes, The Beginnings of Spanish Settlement in the El Paso District (University of California Publications in History 1.3, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1914). Alfred Barnaby Thomas, trans., Alonso de Posada Report, 1686 (Pensacola: Perdido Bay, 1982).

Alfred B. Thomas

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Alfred B. Thomas, "POSADA, ALONSO DE," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fpo25), accessed July 23, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.