Spanish Road to Santa Fe, 1808
Marker Text: Most direct road from San Antonio to Santa Fe, during Spanish era in Texas, 1519-1821. Charted for closer ties between Mexico City and New Mexico, after American explorer Zebulon Pike blazed trail from U.S. to New Mexico. Spanish road of 1808 was mapped by Capt. Francisco Amangual and 200 soldiers.
Amangual, veteran of 46 years of service to Spain, left San Antonio on March 30, 1808. On April 8, coming into this valley 5 miles to the south, he followed The East James (then called El Chimal Creek, for its bordering bluffs that resemble Indian headdresses), and camped that night by this red bluff. The party saw much game, including buffalo, and killed a bear.
Stampedes and losses of horses and mules (some loaded with crude sugar and other food) made the trip difficult. The route pointed north-northwest. The party reached Santa Fe on June 19, and six months later returned to San Antonio.
Although Zebulon Pike (discover of Pike's peak) had traveled with only eight men, Amangual had to field a large party. One goal of his expedition was to impress the wild and fierce plains Indians with the might and glory of Spain. The road measured in 1808 has traces visible today, parallel to auto roads. (1967)
Marker No: 5002
Aluminum 27 x 42 Subject
Location: FM 385, about nine miles north of US 290, south side of Little Devils River