Metis

1500 - 1599


Dictionary definitions:

A man of mixed Indian and French-Canadian ancestry.
(Canadian French, from Old French metis, mongrel,
from Vulgar Latin mixticius. See mestizo)

Mestizo: American, Spanish & Portuguese
A person of mixed European and Indian
ancestry. (Spanish, from mestizo, mixed from
Old Spanish, from Vulgar Latin mixticius, of
of mixed race, from Latin mixtus, from the
past participle of miscere, to mix.


The Spanish are producing Metis offspring's everywhere
however most would be absorbed into the native culture.


IN THE BEGINNING - THE SPANISH PERIOD

The following chronology is to assist you in understanding your ancestor's evolving beliefs and values and to assist in you in your quest for your genealogy.

You will find trying to trace your ancestors very challenging if they are Voyagers, Coureurs des Bois or Metis. The English on Hudson Bay called them wood runners; the Anglo-Dutch of Albany (New York) called them 'bush lopers'. The Coureurs des Bois were considered French traitors, and often changed their names each time they worked as Voyagers or visited the parishes for marriage or baptism. The Metis were ignored and left off of most records as they were considered to have abandoned their French culture for that of the Savage culture; a different form of traitor. If Indians (or Metis) married Europeans a pseudo European name is very often used to hide this heritage, but sometimes the word savage is used to identify them. The use of the word interpreter, guide or even captain, often refers to a Metis. If this were not enough, it was the French habit to use nicknames in New France, and the Metis also adopted this cultural quirk. Many added dit (alias) names to distinguish themselves from others with the same name. They used town, district, region or province names, often as their dit name. Others assumed the name of famous ancestors on the male or female side of the family, and sometimes from another family. These dit (alias) names, a.k.a. (also known as) names often became the assumed sir names the decedents used. To add to the confusion to this, once they departed from Quebec, just about any spelling of the name goes; there was no standard. Some men also maintained a town wife and a country wife, and deliberately chose different names.

 

1500

Some suggest that this year Spanish sailors returning from the Philippines encountered the Ouragon (Oregon Territory) coast. It wasn't until 1765 that the word Ouragon was used to describe the Oregon Territory.

1502

May: Fernado Columbus, d-1506, son Christopher Columbus (1451-1506), set sail for America with four ships. In Honduras and Panama he had a mutiny, along with desertions, and conflicts with the natives. He lost the ship Gallela as a result of being attacked by the Indians. He had to abandon the ship Nizcaina, as his 150 man expedition was brought low by fevers and rancid food. None of his four ships made it back to Spain. He obtained ships in Jamaica and return a broken man. No mention is made of the fate of the deserting men. Were they killed or adopted into the native population to create the first southern Metis?

1510

'Know that, on the right hand of the Indies, there is an island called California, very close to the side of the terrestrial paradise, and it is peopled by black women - without men among them, for they live in the manner of Amazons.' The Spanish Sergas.

1513

September: Vasco Nunez de Balboa (1475-1519) of Spain, crossed Panama to see the Pacific ocean, having been told of it's existence by the Indians. Pedro Arias Davila, a very jealous Spaniard, falsely accused Balboa of treason and had him beheaded in January 1519.

1515

Francisco Pizarro (1476?-1541), a Spanish explorer and conqueror of Peru, was noted for his audacity, courage, cruelty, and unscrupulousness, and for his abilities as military and civil leader.

1519

Hernando Cortez, with Spanish troops, landed Vara Cruz with 16-17 horses and fought their way to the City of Mexico. Mexico City, known as Tenochtitlan, was flower-covered, whitewashed city, five times as large as the dirty sordid town of London. Its waterways and zoo's were delightful to the eyes. It was bigger in size than Paris. The Spaniards marveled at the wide streets, ornately carved buildings, markets with goods from hundreds of miles away. They were awe struck by the botanical gardens, as such splender did not exist in Europe.

Alonzo Alvarez de Pineda (1494­1519), of Spain, discovered the Mississippi River.

1525

It is believed that the first smallpox epidemic from the Spanish swept America. It is believed to have been caused by a single sick Spaniard killing nearly half of the Incan population.

1527

Jean Ortiz of Seville, Spain, is captured by the Indians. His life is saved by the daughter of Uceta, whom he likely married, and spent the next 12 years living among them.

1528

Alvar Nunez Cabeza De Vaca (1490?-1557?), led by soldier Panfilo de Narvaez, with a large 300 man army, overran the country and, after disastrous wanderings, reached the Apalache Country without finding gold. During the next two years, more than half the men had died, and Cabeza de Vaca emerged as the leader. Most of his army were famished and lost at sea trying to return to Cuba in make shift boats. He led a small band of survivors to an island, possibly Galveston Island, off the southwestern coast of what is now Texas, where the band was captured by Indians. Early in 1535, Cabeza de Vaca and the three other survivors of the expedition escaped, and began a trek through, what are now, the southwestern U.S. and northern Mexico. In 1536 the four men reached a Spanish settlement on the Sinalo River in Mexico.

1534

Fortun Ximenez explores Baja California in Santa Cruz Bay, where he is killed.

1535

Herando Cortes founded a colony in Santa Cruz (La Paz) California, but it would be abandoned in 1537.

1539

Hernando de Soto d-1541 of Spain, the slave trader and butcher of America, began a four year expedition into Florida, Georgia, Alabama and the Mississippi with 60 soldiers, 200 horses and 300 pigs. It is believed the pigs brought disease that killed 96% of the population. It is noteworthy that the Black Death in 1347 to 1351 only killed one third of the population.

Hernando de Soto, d-1541, sent out sallies of soldiers to capture slaves for intelligence gathering and women for the sexual gratification of his men. Only one soldier brought his Spanish wife with him. 1,000 men, during 4 years, likely produced a lot of Metis.

In one of the Sallies, the soldier under Baltasar de Gallegos, charged a small number of Indians. At that moment a voice cried out "I am a Christian! I am a Christian! Slay me not" Alvaro Nieto did not slay him, but made him a slave, to translate for them, on their expedition.

Father Marcos, an Italian missionary, discovers Arizona. He is alone except for Estevanico, a Negro slave, and four Indians. Estevanico is killed on this expedition, and Marcos makes a hasty retreat.

Francisco de Ulloa explores the western coast and proves California is not an Island, as had been believed since 1510.

May 30: Tamba Bay, Flordia, (I)-Hernando de Soto, of Spain, the butcher who d-1541, landed a 1,000 man army to capture Indian slaves and to discover silver and gold. He set the stage for infamy, showing the deception and brutality of the Spanish people in the Americas towards the native people of America.

June: Jean Ortiz of Seville, Spain, a captive of the Indians since 1527, joined the Hernando de Soto d-1541 expedition as interpreter. Soto's 1,000 man army included: 213 horsemen, 12 priests, 8 clergymen of inferior rank, 4 monks, and packs of bloodhounds of prodigious ferocity which were used to run the savages to ground.

They brought their own swine for food, but expected to raid the Indian villages for food as they traveled. They required about 500 slaves to porter their supplies and for bed partners. The Indians defended themselves with tenacity, but lost battle after battle.

October 27: Hernando de Soto d-1541 reached Anaica Apalache (Tallahassee) and engaged the Indians who attacked day and night in the fiercest manner.

1540

The Basques had established a whale fishery station on the Strait of Belle Isle that flourished into the 1590's. The Basques employed about 2,000 men, per year, who lived Newfoundland-Labrador for six months of the year. It is likely safe to assume some Metis resulted in the numerous trading sessions with the natives.

Hernando de Alarcon ascends the Colorado River for more than 100 miles. Garcia Lopez de Cardenas, part of the expedition, discovers the Grand Canyon of Colorado.

The Spanish reported that an earthquake destroyed Santiago, Guatemala.

March 3: Hernando de Soto, d-1541, headed for the town of Cutifachiqui, Georgia. He then headed west to the town of Guaxule which contained 300 houses and a 500 man army.

May: Hernando de Soto, d-1541, journeyed to the town of Conasauga (Murry, Georgia).

June 5: Hernando de Soto, d-1541, arrived the town of Chiaha (Rome, Georgia). He demanded male slaves to carry the baggage and female slaves for bed partners. When they refused, he ravaged the country until they complied. Hernando de Soto, d-1541 continued to maintain 500 slaves by replacing them as they died or escaped.

They marched on to the town of Costa, Alabama.

July 26: Hernando de Soto, d-1541 arrived the city of Cossa, which contained over 500 houses. He demanded slaves, provisions and 30 female slaves. The thirty female slaves suggest that this is replacement for deaths, desertions and pregnancy.

October 18: The Indians had reached their limit of humiliation in trying to accommodate (I)-Hernando de Soto d-1541 and established Maubila, Alabama as the limit of the Spanish atrocities. The Battle of Maubila lasted nine hours. The young women fought side by side with their men and gave little ground. The Spaniards were surprised, as the advantage of the battle changed from side to side. This battle was disastrous to the De Soto expedition, as he lost 82 Spaniards, including Diego de Soto, nephew to Hernando de Soto d-1541. The De Soto army contained the cream of the Spanish wealthy, who thought of this as a great venture for greater wealth. Don Carlos Enriquez, & Men-Rodriquez of Portugal also died. De Soto lost 45 horses, which he considered more serious, and also lost most of their supplies. Nearly every Spaniard is wounded, some with multiple wounds, except for the holy fathers. Estimates of Indian losses range from 2,000 to 10,000, but soldiers usually exeragated. The city of Maubila, however, was in ruins and deserted. Many of De Soto's slaves had taken up arms against the Spaniards.

Hernando de Soto d-1541 sent his army into the country side to collect more slaves, especially young female slaves. The soldiers were in the habit of gambling for the pleasures of the female slaves.

Many of De Soto's men talked openly about quitting his army and heading for Spain or Peru. The usual procedure was to arrest the leader and abandon him to a sure death.

It is noteworthy that the Spanish gentlemen had no problem killing hundreds of Indians, but when a few of their numbers are killed, things are entirely different.

November 18: Hernando de Soto d-1541 became gloomy and morose. He feared heading to Maldinaro and his waiting ships for fear his men would arrest and abandon him to a sure death. He ordered his army to march northward, under the pain of death if they resisted. Hernando de Soto d-1541 occupied the deserted town of Cabusto, but the natives attacked him every night. De Soto's army wintered near the town of Chickasa.

1541

March: The battle of Chickasaws was one of resource destruction. Horses and supplies were the primary targets. The Indians attacked at night, burning the buildings and killing 50 horses and a number of swine. The Spaniards didn't have time to dress in armor or mount their horses, resulting in the death of 40 Spaniards, including the only Spanish woman- the wife of one of the soldiers. The soldiers are shivering in the cold, having lost their clothing in the fires. They retreated to Chickasilla, but are attacked nearly every night. It is noteworthy that Hernando de Soto d-1541 had lost 300 of his 1,000 man army at this point in time. Many of his men are wounded and, likely, unable to fight.

April 27: Diego de Castro, Louis Bravo and Francisco de Figardo fell mortally wounded at the battle of Fort Alibamo, on the Yazoo River in Tallahatchie. 15 Spaniards died this day. The Indians attacked night and day with small bands.

May: Hernando de Soto, d-1541, reached the Mississippi River and commenced building boats to escape the continual harassment. De Soto, however, succumbed to his wounds and died.

1542

After a futile attempt to reach Mexico, the Soto army returned to the Mississippi to build boats. The once splendid Spanish army of 1,000 men now numbered 320 men, and their 500 slaves are released, as they needed the metal of their chains to make nails and fittings for their ship building. They did retain a number of the young female slaves.

Even as they sailed down the Mississippi River, the Indians continued their attacks, reducing their numbers by 12 killed and 25 wounded.

June 27: Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, who died January 3, 1543, a Portuguese in service of Spain, departed Navidad, Mexico to explore the west coast of North America

September 28: Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, d-1543, anchored his ship at San Miguel aka San Diego, California where he died.

1543

January 3: San Diago, California death Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, a.k.a. Joao Rodrigues Cabrilho, d-1543, while on expedition from Mexico. His crew, under command of Bartolome Ferrer, pressed north, likely reaching the Oregon Territory coast. They were forced back to Mexico by bad weather.

May 30: Having covered Florida, Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi, the 300 survivors of the De Soto expedition reached Tampa Bay, Florida. Some considered De Soto as one of the most distinguished captains of this or any age. If distinguished means leading an expedition of blood, of forced slavery and sexual exploitation of young girls, of the exploitation of generosity of the Native peoples; then it would have been better had he not been born. It will never be known how many Metis were created by this 1,000 man army and their young slave girls.

1546

It is believed that Typhus from the Spanish swept America.

1558

It is believed that influenza and smallpox from the Spanish swept America.

1559

It is believed that smallpox from the Spanish again swept America.

1562

St. Augustine, Florida is established by Pedro Memendez de Aviles a Spanard, and is considered the first settlement in America.

1564

Renaud de Laudonnierre of France made his second voyage to Flordia. Jacque le Moyne was in this expedition. He built Fort St. John's, leaving some soldiers to establish friendly relationships with the natives.

1578

September 2: The first known Anglican service in America is performed by Robert Wolfall as part of the Martin Frobisher expedition in Frobisher Bay (Iqaluit).

1580

It is believed that fur trading to this time was a byproduct of the fishing industry. Some ships about this time were solely in America for the fur trade. Twenty vessels are at Tadoussac (Quebec) this year trading for furs.

1598

Juan de Onate (c. 1550­c. 1630), Spanish-American explorer and administrator, founder of New Mexico (1598), born in New Spain (now Mexico). He was related by marriage to Hernán Cortés and to the Aztec ruler Montezuma II. In 1598, with 400 settlers, he founded San Juan de los Caballeros, near present-day Santa Fe.

The Marquis de La Roche-Mesgouez, a Frenchman, established an outpost for trading on Sable Island but it failed and only eleven survivors are returned to France in 1603.

1599

The first verifiable Canadian Metis likely originated from the survivors of the sixteen man settlement of Tadoussac, who, in 1599, went to live with the savages. Some suggest only 5 of the 16 survived the winter. Earlier Metis were absorbed totally into a native culture, whereas these men and their offspring would have an opportunity to observe, compare and select their own culture. Many would be called Captains of Interpretation. It is noteworthy that most marriages with the savages has the woman being the daughter of a Chief. The concept of Chief was unknown to the democratic Peoples of North America before European contact. The Europeans considered the Aboriginal Peoples lesser beings, and the elevation of women to 'daughter of a chief' was an attempt to justify relations with these lesser women.

Hundreds of French free traders are annually visiting Tadoussac (Quebec) to trade for furs.