All text that is in red has been added by me to make this selection easier to read.
CHAPTER XXXII: HOW THE GOVERNOR WENT FROM AGUACAY TO NAGUATEX AND WHAT HAPPENED TO HIM. (Note: the Governor is Moscoso)
Caddoan Salt Marshes
On the day the governor left Aguacay (Note: Caddoan village near Little Missouri River), he went to sleep near a small town subject to the
lord of that province. The camp was pitched quite near to a salt marsh, and on that evening some salt was made there (Note:Placing the salt
in boiling water mulitiple times separated sediments. This area seems to have been a major source of salt for the Caddoan people and was well
visited. The Spanish made salt here as well.) Next day he went to sleep between two ridges in a forest of open trees. Next day he reached
small town called Pato. The fourth day after he left Aguacay, he reached the first settlement of a province called Amaye (Note: Amaye may
have been around the Little River near the Red River - archaeologists have uncovered several "house mounds" here, indicating a typical
Caddoan farm-compound - see photo below).
Hostility and Battle near Naguatex
An Indian was captured there who said that it was a day and a half journey thence to Naguatex, all of which lay through an inhabited region.
Having left the village of Amaye, on Saturday, July 20, camp was made at midday beside a brook in a luxuriant grove between Amaye and
Naguatex (Note: Naguatex seems to have been a major Caddoan settlement. A Caddoan settlement consisted of family compounds surrounded
by cultivated fields, each within seeing distance of another, and hugging the river and near oxbow lakes or bayous. Thus, it's not a typical "city"
but a sprawled-out village. Naguatex centered the Kadohadacho kingdom of the Caddoan Confederacy; it later might have been the site of
Benard de la Harpe's trading post amongst the "Nassonites.") Indians were seen there who came to spy on them. Those of horse rushed at
them, killing six and capturing two. On being asked by the governor why they had come, they said it was to ascertain what people he had
and of what manner they were, and that they had been sent by their lord, the cacique of Naguatex; that the latter, with other caciques, who
were in his company and under his protection, had made up their minds to give him battle that day (Note: the Cacique was the king/chief of
the people of Naguatex. Each village had a Cacique. Their positions were inherited, and they belonged to the Caddoan nobility, also called
Caddi). While this questioning and answering was going on, many Indians came in two bands from two directions. As soon as they saw they
had been perceived, uttering loud cries they rushed upon the Christians with great fury, each band in its own part. But on seeing the
resistance they met with from the Christians, they turned and fled, and in their flight many of them lost their lives. While most of the horse
were going in pursuit of them, quite forgetful of the camp, two other band of Indians who had been concealed, attacked them. They were
also resisted and had their pay as the first had. After the Indians had fled and the Christians had gathered together, they heard a loud cry
at the distance of a cross bow flight from where they were. The governor sent twelve horse to see what it was. They found six Christians,
two of horse and four of foot among many Indians, those on horse with great difficulty defending those on foot. These had got lost from
those who pursued the first two bands of Indians, and while returning to camp, met those with whom they were fighting. Both they and
those who went to their aid killed many of the Indians. They brought one Indian to camp alive, whom the governor asked who those were
who had come to do battle with him. He said that they were the cacique of Naguatex and he of Maye and another of a province called
Hacanac, lord of vast lands and many vassals; and that he of Naguatex came as captain and head of all. The governor ordered his right arm
and his nostrils cut off and sent him to the cacique of Naguatex, ordering him to say that on the morrow he would be in his land to destroy
him and that if he wished to forbid him entrance, he should await him.
Entering Naguatex after fording the Red River - More Hostilities
That night he slept there and next day reached the village of Naguatex which was very extensive. He asked where the town of the cacique
was and they told him it was on the other side of a river which ran through that district. He marched toward it and on reaching it saw many
Indians on the other side waiting for him, so posted as to forbid his passage. Since he did not know whether it [the river] was fordable, nor
where it could be crossed, and since several Christians and horses were wounded, in order that they might have time to recover in the
town where he was, he made up his mind to rest for a few days. Because of the great heat, he made camp near the village, a quarter of a
league from the river, in an open forest of luxuriant and lofty trees near a brook. Several Indians were captured there. He asked them
whether the river was fordable. They said it was at times in certain places. Ten days later he sent two captains, each with fifteen horse up
and down the river with Indians to show them where they could cross, to see what population lay on the other side of the river. The
Indians opposed the crossing of them both as strongly as possible, but they crossed in spite of them. On the other side they saw a large
village and many provisions; and returned to camp with this news.
|First Europeans in the Red River Valley:
The Spanish Invasion of 1542
|The Great Bend of the Red River, as seen by Google.
In 1542, Hernando de Soto died along the Mississippi River in today's Arkansas. He had been trekking haphazardly across
"Florida" - actually, the entire Southeast of today's United States - trying to find gold and perhaps, save a few souls. In reality, de
Soto brought destruction. He enslaved natives who he encountered, burned their villages if they did not do his bidding, killed
randomly, and attempted to lay claim on the lands inhabited by nations and kingdoms.
At first, natives had the upper hand. They knew the terrain, their weaponry was superior than Spanish guns, they were better
organized, and they out-numbered the conquistadors. That changed rapidly within a century, as European diseases ravaged the
Luis de Moscoso Alvarado, de Soto's second in command, led the army away from the Mississippi in the hopes of getting back to
Mexico. They ventured west into unknown territory, as they had wrecked too much havoc back east for them to safely cross.
Moscoso's journey was recorded by a man purported to have been on the journey, who titled himself "the Gentleman of Elvas."
His book, True Relation of the Hardships Suffered by Governor Hernando de Soto and Certain Portuguese Gentlemen during the
Discovery of the Province of Florida, now newly set forth by a Gentleman of Elvas, became a best-seller in Spain and Portugal in
Following are Chapters 32 and 33, which relates Moscoso traveling into the impressive Caddoan kingdom of Naguatex, perhaps
located on the banks of the Red River just southwest of the Great Bend - possibly Garland City.
|Garland City, which sits directy on the river, has flooded so often that it's now a ghost town.
| CHAPTER XXXIII: HOW THE CACIQUE OF NAGUATEX CAME TO VISIT THE GOVERNOR; AND HOW THE GOVERNOR LEFT NAGUATEX AND WENT
From the town of Naguatex, where the governor was, he sent word by an Indian to the cacique to come to serve and obey him and said
that he would pardon him for the past; and that if he did not come he would go to look for him and give him the punishment he merited for
what he had done against him. Two days later the Indian came and said that the cacique wouldcome next day. The very day before he
came he [the cacique] sent many Indians ahead, among whom were some of the principal men. He sent them to see in what mood they
found the governor, in order to make up his mind with himself whether to go or not. The Indians reported he was coming and immediately
The Cacique Meets Moscoso Face to Face
The cacique came two hours later well attended by his men. They all came after this manner, one ahead of the other in double file, leaving
a lane in the middle through which the cacique came. They reached the place where the governor was, all weeping after the manner of
Tula which lay to the east not very far from that place. The cacique paid his respects fittingly and spoke as follows:
"Very exalted, very mighty Lord, to whom the whole world owes service and obedience: I venture to appear before your Lordship after
having committed so enormous and vile an act, for which even because it passed through my mind I merit punishment, trusting in your
greatness, that although I have not even deserved pardon, but because it is your custom, you will observe clemency toward me,
considering how insignificant I am comparison with your Lordship, so that you will not be mindful of my weaknesses, which, because of
my evil, I have come to know for my greater good. I believe that you and your men must be immortal and that your Lordship is lord of the
realm of nature, since every thing submits to and obeys you, even the hearts of men. For, seeing the death and destruction of my men in
the battle, which I fought with your Lordship through my ignorance and the counsel of a brother of mine, who was killed in the action, I
immediately repented me in my heart of the mistake I had committed and desired to serve and obey you. I come, therefore so that your
Lordship may punish me and order me as your own." (Note: How the Gentleman of Elvas was able to understand this speech, which was no
doubt said in the native language, is very suspect. Many Spanish journals tend to be lax on the true accounts of interactions, and were often
self-serving. For example, did the Aztecs or the Quapaws really think the Spanish were gods? I'm definitely not convinced - it's very hard to
corroborate Spanish accounts).
Mosocos "forgives" Cacique for waging Battle, then destroys Naguatex
The governor answered him saying that he pardoned him for the past, that thenceforth and in the future he should act as he ought and
that he would consider him his friend and protect him in all his affairs. Four days later he departed thence, but on reaching the river
could not cross, as it had swollen greatly. This appeared a wonderful phenomenon to him because of the season then and because it had
not rained for more than a month. The Indians declared that it swelled often in that way without it having rained anywhere in the land. It
was conjectured that it might be the sea which came up through the river. It was learned that the increase always came from above, and
that the Indians of all that land had no knowledge of the sea. (Note: The Spanish were mistaken. The swelling came from rains that occurred
north of the Great Raft of the Red River, located in northern Louisiana. The raft trapped water, as it couldn't flow freely due to the
back-up.)The governor returned to the place where he had been during the preceding days. A week later, hearing that the river could be
crossed, he passed to the other side and found a village without any people. He lodged in the open field and sent word to the cacique to
come where he was and give him a guide for the forward journey. A few days later, seeing that the cacique did not come or send, he sent
two captains, each in a different direction, to burn the towns and capture any Indians they might find. They burned many provisions and
captured many Indians.
Moscoso leaves Naguatex; raids maize storage; and kills Guides
The cacique, on beholding the damage that his land was receiving, sent six of his principal men and three Indians with them as guides
who knew the language of the region ahead where the governor was about to go. He immediately left Naguatex and after marching three
days reached a town of four or five houses, belonging to the cacique of that miserable province, called Nisohone. It was a poorly
populated region and had little maize. Two days later, the guides who were guiding the governor, if they had to go toward the west,
guided them toward the east, and sometimes they went through dense forests, wandering off the road. The governor ordered them
hanged from a tree, and an Indian woman, who had been captured at Nisohone, guided him, and he went back to look for the road. Two
days later, he reached another wretched land called Lacane. There he captured an Indian who said that the land of Nondacao (Note:
Caddoans in northern Louisiana) was a very populous region and the houses scattered about one from another as is customary in
mountains, and that there was abundance of maize. The cacique and his Indians came weeping like those of Naguatex, that being their
custom in token of obedience. (Note: The crying wasn't "token obedience" so much as a general greeting of peace and friendship, akin to
saying "I'm so happy you've come to visit me.") He made him [the governor] a gift of a great quantity of fish and offered to do as he should
order. He took his leave of him and gave him a guide to the province of Soacatino.
|William Soule photographed this traditional Caddoan familial compound in 1870 in Oklahoma. This is the only known photo of the type of
habitation that Spanish and French invaders found in their journeys within the Red River Valley. Smithsonian Institution, and the information
about it comes from Texas Beyond History.