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Tam Blake

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Tam Blake New World Celt

A Scotsman with Francisco Coronado in 1540

1540 - Tam Blake was the first Scot in the New World, of whom we have written records. He was also the first Brit. In a statement made to the Spanish Viceroy in 1550, he declared himself a citizen of the Kingdom of Scotland and the son of William Blake and Agnes Mowat, and explained that he had arrived in Mexico in 1534-35 after having taken part in the conquest of New Granada in 1532 with Alonso de Heradia, brother of the conquistador, Pedro de Heradia. He joined Coronado's expedition from Mexico into the areas now known as Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico, in search of the Lost Cities of Gold.  Tam Blake married Francisca Rivera, a widow of one of the first settlers in New Spain.

Captain Francisco Vazquez de Coronado learned of the tales of the Spanish explorer Cabeza de Vaca about the Seven Cities of Cíbola, believed to be fabulously rich Native American settlements that were to be found northeast of Mexico. Coronado was chosen to head an overland expedition to explore and conquer the region for Spain.

With about 300 Spanish soldiers and many Native Americans under his command, on February 23, 1540, Coronado left Compostela (now in Nayarit State) and followed the western slope of the Sierra Madre Occidental northward to the present border of the state of Arizona. He then headed northeastward to Cíbola, which he found to be only pueblos of the Zuñi people, containing no wealth. From Cíbola, Coronado dispatched a small party westward under Garcia López de Cárdenas. It was the first band of Europeans to see the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River. The entire party wintered near what is now Santa Fe, New Mexico. In the spring of 1541 the expedition traveled eastward, crossing the upper Rio Grande and the Great Plains of what is now northern Texas, where they saw the American bison, or buffalo, and described it for the first time. Turning northward, Coronado crossed the Canadian and Arkansas rivers, seeking a supposedly wealthy kingdom called Quivira, which was actually only a village of the Wichita people in what is now Kansas. The disappointed expedition returned to New Spain in 1542 and was coolly received by the authorities. In 1544 Coronado was relieved as governor, and thereafter he lived quietly in Mexico City, where he died on September 22, 1554.

These men served with the Captain Francisco Vazquez de Coronado. The expedition set out for New Mexico and Arizona but made it as far North as Kansas from 1540 to 1542. The men listed below along with about 800 Indians made the exploration.

BLAQUE, Tomas

From: Escocia (Scotland). Married Francisca de Rivera.

Source: Guillermo Garmendia Leal