The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 5, July 1901 - April, 1902 Page: 172
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172 Te6as Historical Association Quarterly.
of establishing missions among the Tejas Indians; and to suggest
the probable causes of failure of these early missionary efforts.
During the seventeenth century the rulers of New Spain slowly
pushed their conquests northward and eastward. Along the fron-
tier and limited upon the east by the Rio del Norte lay a vast unde-
fined region known as Nueva Vizcaya, the eastern portion of which
was unoccupied, except by a few outlying missions and presidios;
and beyond this to the north lay still more extensive territories,
unexplored, unknown, and nameless. Into this vast region lying
eastward from the Rio Grande, which later became known as the
New Philippines or Texas, there were, during the sixteenth and
early part of the seventeenth centuries, many random or accidental
excursions. The first of these chance explorations was probably
made by Cabeza de Vaca, who in the year 1535, with three com-
panions of the ill-fated de Narvaez expedition, set out from the
island of Malhado, somewhere off the eastern coast of Texas, and
with incredible hardships and dreary wanderings, finally, accord-
ing to his own story, came out at Culiacan on the Gulf of Cali-
fornia. In 1540 Francisco Vasquez de Coronado, governor of
Nueva Galicia, who had been charged with the conquest of the
country of Cibola, crossed the northwestern corner of the State.
Moscoso, the successor of Ferdinand de Soto, probably led his men
into the State from the east in 1543.2 Espejo, Sosa, Ofiate, Vaca,
and many others, before the middle of the seventeenth century,
were upon the lands east of the Rio Grande; but their explorations
accomplished little, further than to stimulate curiosity concerning
the eastern plains, and to give a vague notion of the geography of
the country and the Indian tribes that inhabited it.
About the middle of the century, however, events began to trend
toward a definite occupation of those lands. In the year 1661 Don
Diego de Pefialosa, an adventurer from South America, became
governor of New Mexico. While acting in this capacity he
employed himself in making incursions into the lands east of the
province. Whatever degree of extent or importance his explora-
tions may have had, they were sufficient to arouse in him a desire
to undertake a conquest of the eastern lands; with a view to which,
1Winship's Coronado Empedition, in Report of Bureau of Ethnology,
2Narrative of De Soto Expedition by the Gentlemen of Elvas, in Histori-
cal Collections of Louisiana, Part III, pp. 176 ct seq.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 5, July 1901 - April, 1902, periodical, 1902; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101021/m1/178/: accessed May 25, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.