Migrations

What follows is a collection of sources that in some way describe the Karankawas’ migrations:

[1689] Alonso De León’s First Expedition

Author: Alonso De León, the younger; Damián Massanet

Written In: 1689 (Alonso de León), 1690 (Father Massanet)

Description: Spanish captain Alonso de León is sent to locate and destroy La Salle’s military settlement. De León finds Fort Saint Louis already destroyed by the Karankawas. Smallpox and a war that the French began served as motivation for ransacking Fort Saint Louis. I cover this expedition in my thesis, see pages 15-38. I am also writing an article on this event that I will link to after its publication.

Two authors are represented in this entry. Alonso de León, who kept a detailed diary during his entrada (pages 388-404), and Father Massanet, who accompanied de León and wrote a letter about his experiences after this expedition occurred (pages 357-366). Of note, both chroniclers thought very little of the other. Both de León and Massanet discuss an “old Frenchman” who helped guide the expedition. That Frenchman is Jean Henri. These sources also discuss the “Tejas,” these Indians are Caddos, not Karankawas.

Relevant Information: 

(1) Discovery of Fort Saint-Louis. See page 362 (Father Massanet), page 397-399 (Alonso de León Diary).

(2) Discussing how Natives in the region “dig wells for drinking water.” Page 363 (Father Massanet).

(3) Interior Indians, perhaps Caddos, telling Alonso de León that the Karankawas had killed the French settlers and that an epidemic of smallpox had broken out when the killings occurred. Evidence that the Karankawas likely correlated the break out of smallpox with the French settlers. Page 395 (Alonso de León Diary). Also see Teran’s entry, “relevant information” point two.

(4) Alonso de León tours the Karankawas’ country, but only encounters an abandoned seasonal village of theirs. Pages 389-401 (Alonso de León Diary).

Access: Herbert E. Bolton, Spanish Exploration in the Southwest: 1542-1706, (New York: Barnes and Noble Inc., 1908), 357-366; 388-404. 

Further Reading: Lola Orellano Norris, General Alonso de León’s Expeditions into Texas: 1686-1690 (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2017). Bolton’s version has numerous errors. Lola Orellano Norris’s recent translations are the best available. She also gives fantastic background information on the expeditions. Bolton’s version is nonetheless represented because the document is in the public domain. To see the path De León took, see William C. Foster, Spanish Expeditions Into Texas (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2000), 17-33.

Tags: Disease, Environment, Migrations, Shelter, War

 

[1690] Alonso De León’s Second Expedition

Author: Alonso De León, the younger; Damián Massanet

Written In: 1690

Description: After Alonso de León’s expedition to the coast, the Viceroy of New Spain ordered Alonso de Leon back to Fort Saint-Louis to burn it completely to the ground. Suspicious as usual, the Spaniards had no intention of giving the French an opportunity of repopulating their failed fort. The Viceroy also ordered De León to capture the remaining French interlopers living among the First Peoples in the area. 

Analogous to the 1689 expedition, two authors are represented in this entry. Alonso de León, who kept a detailed diary during the entrada (pages 405-425), and Father Massanet, who accompanied de León and wrote a letter about his experiences after these expeditions occurred (pages 367-388). Of note, both chroniclers thought very little of the other. Both de León and Massanet discuss an “old Frenchman” who helped guide the expedition. That Frenchman is Jean Henri. These sources also discuss the “Tejas,” these Indians are Caddos, not Karankawas.

Relevant Information:

(1) The expedition arrives at Fort Saint Louis and burn it to the ground. Pages 369 (Father Massanet), page 409 (Alonso de León Diary).

(2) In an attempt to acquire children that the Karankawas abducted and adopted from Fort Saint Louis, violence breaks out. Spaniards, in-turn, kidnap three children from the Karankawas: Marie-Madelaine, Robert, and Lucien Jr. Talon. Three more children remain among the various Karankawa groups on the coast: Jean-Baptiste, Eustache Brahman, and an unnamed French girl. Father Massanet and De León’s testimony on this event differ dramatically (see my honors thesis, page 29). Juan Bautista Chapa also relates this event, but his loyalties lie with De León. Jean-Baptiste Talon’s testimony (see Jean Baptiste Talon’s entry, page 241) is likely the most accurate accounting of this incident. Pages 384-385 (Father Massanet), pages 419-421 (Alonso de León Diary).

Access: Herbert E. Bolton, Spanish Exploration in the Southwest: 1542-1706, (New York: Barnes and Noble Inc., 1908), 367-387; 405-424.

Further Reading: Lola Orellano Norris, General Alonso de León’s Expeditions into Texas: 1686-1690 (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2017). Bolton’s version has numerous errors. Lola Orellano Norris’s recent translations are the best available. She also gives fantastic background information on the expeditions themselves. Bolton’s version is nonetheless represented because the document is in the public domain. To see the path De León took, see William C. Foster, Spanish Expeditions Into Texas (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2000), 17-33.

Tags: Environment, Migrations, Shelter, Sign Language, Smoke Signals, War

 

[1777-1783] Morfi’s Memorias para la Historia de Tejas and Historia de Texas: 1673-1779 and Morfi’s Historia

Author: Juan Agustín Morfi

Written in: 1777-1783

Description: Father Morfi wrote two histories of Texas: Memorias para la Historia de Texas and the Historia de Texas. Memorias, his first history, was a collection of documents that he planned to condense into a more concise history—Historia de Texas. He died before fully completing Historia but historian Carlos Castañeda published a rough draft in 1935. Of the two histories, Memorias has far more information on Texas’s Native Peoples.

Morfi wrote his history during the Karankawa-Spanish war. With that the case, Morfi found little issue depicting the Karankawas as demonic. But Father Morfi had never set foot in Karankawa territory. His only encounter with these coastal peoples likely occurred in San Antonio, with Copano mission Indians when he toured the northern borderlands with the new Commandant General of the Interior, Teodoro de Croix. Therefore, Morfi relied heavily on Father Gaspar de Solís’s 1767 journal for information on the Karankawas’ cultural practices (copying it word for word in instances). Nevertheless, Morfi does provide some unique information such as estimated population sizes.

Father Morfi’s histories have since become quite popular and set in stone the image of Karankawas as inherently hostile group. It mythologized the Karankawas as impossible to civilize—as a Peoples who “eat children.”

Access: 

Juan Agustín Morfi, Excerpts from the Memorias for the history of the province of Texas: being a translation of those parts of the Memorias which particularly concern the various Indians of the province of Texas; their tribal divisions, characteristics, customs, traditions, superstitions, and all else of interest concerning them, trans. Carlos E. Castañeda and Frederick C Chabot (San Antonio: Naylor Publishing, 1932).

Juan Agustín Morfi, History of Texas, 1673-1779, v. 1, trans. Carlos Eduardo Castañeda (Albuquerque: The Quivira Society, 1935), 79-81, 93-94, 99-102, 121-139, 191-192.

Juan Agustín Morfi, History of Texas, 1673-1779, v. 2, trans. Carlos Eduardo Castañeda (Albuquerque: The Quivira Society, 1935), 243-244, 252-255, 300-301, 306-307, 338-340.

Further Reading: Juan Agustín Morfi, History of Texas, 1673-1779, trans. Carlos Eduardo Castañeda (Albuquerque: The Quivira Society, 1935), 15-43; Irving A. Leonard, review of History of Texas, 1673-1779 in The Hispanic American Historical Review 16, no. 2 (May, 1936): 229-232.

Tags: Cannibalism, Customs, Hunting, Migrations, Spirituality, Trade, War