Coronado's Native Weapons
Hello all,
I've got a question and I hope you all can help.
On the Conquistador Coronado's muster roll for his expedition into the American southwest, many of his soldiers are listed to have brought with them "Native Weapons" along with their European ones.
I was wondering your ideas on the topic, I think these could be one of three things...

1) Native weapons like clubs and spears that he would have gotten while preparing his expedition in Mexico.
2) Native soldiers who came along on the expedition themselves attached to the various Europeans to which they are listed.
3) Weapons like swords and lances that were made in the New World instead of being brought over from Europe.

What do you think? Any information would be great.
(I didn't put this as a poll because I'd like actual information instead of opinions)

Here's where you can see the muster roll;f=false
After reading a bit of that book, it does say that the Europeans wore the native armor, as accounted by a recording of the auction of a conquistador's possessions after he died. I can only assume that would also count for native weapons, too.
As the discussion afterwards says, Hammond and Rey (i.e., figure 4.2) translated "arms of the land" as "native weapons" rather than "native arms", i.e., "native weapons and armour". It looks to me like "native armour" is intended.

There's very little mention of weapons at all. F. Gomez is mentioned as having a crossbow. Is this a good translation? I can't read the corresponding handwriting in figure 4.1. Bert Hall notes in Weapons and Warfare in Renaissance Europe that the same names were used for (some types of) crossbows and handguns (e.g., "espringarda") - is this weapon unambiguously a crossbow?

Other than this weapon, there is the "three sets of Castillian weapons" of Cardenas, but he isn't on figure 4.1.
It is highly unlikely that Espringalds would be used for handguns especially by this time. At times Espringalds are used for larger firearms. There is no reason to doubt that it is a crossbow as they were still very common, especially in Spanish armies in the new world. In fact in most of Cortez's forces there are more crossbowmen to arquebusers. I have lists and inventories for a few of his expeditions around somewhere.

If you know where the original is I can translate it for you whether it is in Latin or Spanish.

There is some debate as to how much native armour was in use by the Europeans who were there or why those who were using it, i.e. if they had damaged armour or the likes. I have never heard of Europeans adopting native weapons, though I have heard of natives adopting European weapons, especially iron blades and such.

According to Hall (pg 129), espringardas was used by the 1480s to refer to the handgun that was later called the arcabuz or arquebus. Yes, Hall has espringardas rather than espingardas. First use of espingardas for a firearm that I know of is about 1450, AFAIK some kind of light cannon, but was used for the arquebus in the late 15th century. Mid 16th century, espingardas was used to refer to African (i.e., Moorish) long firearms.

Given that the translation given in figure 4.2 isn't very good, it might be quite worthwhile checking. That crossbows are expected to be common is exactly a reason to suspect this weapon might not be a crossbow - why aren't more mentioned?

As mentioned, the original is in figure 4.1 in the Google Books link. On closer look at the handwriting, it is ballesta, which is AFAIK unambiguously a crossbow. With the 13 people mentioned in fig 4.2, at least 24 armours, and 54 horses, only one crossbow doesn't seem like a lot.
Right so that is basically my point. By mid 16th it is unlikely to be a personal firearm in a European inventory. By this period of time mid 16th I do not know of any mainstream use of this word in this way in Europe. Though as Hall points out it seems to be used elsewhere. Likely a word borrowed by others that had been used in Europe nearly 100 years ago.

Having one crossbow out of twelve is actually not unexpected. I stated earlier that crossbows were often the most common missile weapons in these expeditions. The overall make up of 16th century armies is still melee troops. Most of the weapons on such an expedition would be for hand to hand combat. In fact some of these forces had 50% or more of the melee troops being cavalry. What surprises me is that no lances/spears seem to be listed. Since this group appears to follow and be a cavalry unit -Capt. Diego Gutierrez's Cavalry' then the percentage of crossbows and other missile weapons expectedly could/should be low.

It could be that native weapons are some type of spear made locally as lances and such used in mounted combat need much repair if not outright replacement.

It actually looks like a tribal or local name that has been spanishized in the text the word is not simply the one for general native. At least not any I know.

The previous section seems to be lacking much of any of the 'native' weapons but it simply uses other (otras) weapons (armas). What is odd is that the previous section looks to be a cavalry one as well, all having horses. Perhaps what we are seeing under Gutierrez is some specific form of cavalry?


Page 1 of 1

Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum

All contents © Copyright 2003-2006 — All rights reserved
Discussion forums powered by phpBB © The phpBB Group
Switch to the Full-featured Version of the forum