Heritage, Volume 9, Number 4, Fall 1991 Page: 17
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Sixteenth century engraving illustrating the special dogs, called mastiffs, used by the Spaniards to tear apart uncooperative Indians. Moscoso is said to have used the
mastiffs on a Nondacao guide who misled the expedition.
vations indicate that the Indians spoke
dialects of Caddo. This would explain
why the Caddo guides with Moscoso could
not understand the language of the Indians
across the River Daycao. They spoke
a different language. All of these facts
strongly support the Guadalupe River as
being the River Daycao.
This was as far west as the expedition
traveled. Upon learning about the "poverty
and misery" of the Indians ahead, they
decided to return to the Mississippi River
and reach New Spain by boat. The expedition,
still numbering 300 soldiers and
countless Indian guides and slaves, needed
a guaranteed food supply to continue
traveling. This was not to be found among
the Coahuiltecan Indians of southern
Texas. From archaeological evidence
and early historical accounts we know
that these people were hunters and
gatherers who lived off the land and grew
The return of the expedition was apparently
uneventful; the narratives provide
only brief mention of the trip. At the
Mississippi River they melted down much
of their iron, felled many large trees, and
used these materials to construct several
After months of construction through
the winter of 1542-43, they sailed down the
Mississippi River and into the Gulf of
Mexico. A few weeks later the members of
the expedition reached their destination-New
Spain and civilization as they
James E. Bruseth and Nancy A. Kenmotsu
are both professional archaeologists working
for the Texas Historical Commission in
HERITAGE * FALL 1991 17
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 9, Number 4, Fall 1991, periodical, Autumn 1991; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45425/m1/17/: accessed June 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.