Saturday, June 19, 2010



by f.g.lopriato y lopez

Fray Marco Niza and Estebanico, accompainied by a contingent of Native Mexicans bearers, traveled North, along the western coast of New Spain. (Mexico) and then northwest through the desert of the what is now Arizona, until they reached the Zuni Mountains, in what is now west-central New Mexico.

Estebanico seemed to have a plan of his own. The further they traveled into the "Cibola," the more he took on the mannerisms of a native celebrity dressing like an Indian; shaking his featured gourd and demanding tribute of turquiose and women from tribes along the way.
Diaries kept my the marooned survivors of the Cabeza de Vaca document the practice of tribes raiding eache others encampments. Honors bestowed on "healers" seems to suggest that Estebancio was practicing what was already an accepted way of life among the northern tribes. In the Cabeza de Vaca diaries, tribal raids are made to seem like games. One tribe would raid the othe camps site and make off with everything they had them that tribe would raid another and do the same to them and so on.
One writer states that songs and legends of the Zuni indians tell about, "the death of the Black Mexican from the land of eternal summer," but either those songs were not beleived or the writer just dreamer it up. The truth is that no one really knows.
As for Fray Niza, he did accompany Coronado as he explored what is now The Great American Southwest, and he became a laughing stock as his report proved to be false. What made him emerld-studded houses is also a mystery, but it did give rise to the saying, "el Goloso y El Hambriento, solo en la tortilla pienzan." (The glutton and the starving man think only of food.) In other words, Spain's lust for gold was so great that they saw gold even where there was none.
History does make Fray Niza the fool of the Spainish Conquest of New Mexico, until recently, when public radio mentioned that the Coronado Expedition would not have been at all were it not for Fray Niza. However, the good friar is held in hugh esteem in the Wopajo community because he may just be the first Italian to set foot in the Land of Enchantment.
Marcos de Nizas is the Spanish spelling for Marco di Nizza. During Fray Marco's lifetime on royalty and nobility had last names. Commers were identified by their occupations or their place of birth. Nizza is the Italian name of a city in France. You may know it as Nice. It belonged to the Italian city of Sardinia. Sardinia cede France in 1796, long after Fray Marco died. It reverted back to Sardinia in 1814, then went back to France in 1860, after a plebiscite.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for stopping by. We welcome your comments.