Subject:      Re: precolumbian Amerindian horse?
From: (Yuri Kuchinsky 17784)
Date:         1997/09/13
Message-ID:   <5veclt$54r$>
Newsgroups:   sci.archaeology.mesoamerican,sci.archaeology,rec.equestrian

Jeffrey L Baker ([21]jbaker@U.Arizona.EDU) wrote:
: On 10 Sep 1997, Yuri Kuchinsky 17784 wrote:

: > Another thing that is very clear is that, as many early European
: > eyewitnesses reported repeatedly, many Native tribes had the
: > horse, and were expert horsemen extremely early in the game, in
: > fact suspiciously early to square with the mainstream view that
: > their horse came from the Spanish sources. This holds true for
: > the Indian tribes both in the South and in the North.

: How long would it take someone to become an expert horsemen? I suspect one
: generation might be enough time (about twenty years).

Well, Jeffrey, so according to you the Natives will just embrace any new
cultural influence at a drop of a hat, and will run with it? OTOH, people
like you are telling everybody that while the Vikings were in America for
a few generations, presumably, NOTHING AT ALL from their culture EVER was
learned by the Natives. At the same time, as soon as the Spanish appeared
on the scene, the Natives just went into an orgy of cultural borrowing? Do
you see some inconsitency there?

: > Who may have brought the horse to America before the Spanish? One
: > feature of his book is that Roe has not asked this question even
: > once in it. This question never seems to have occurred to him!

: Did it really come to the America's before the Spanish?

The very question I'm wondering about...

: The following are dates Yuri provided for early horses in North America
: (rearranged in chronological order)

: Sonoran Valley in 1567
: In Virginia, about 1669
: among the Shoshoni by 1700
: In the southern U.S. about 1719
: Rocky Mountains in 1750-2.
: West of Hudson Bay in 1754

: The following is a list of known explorations in North America:

: John Cabot, Newfoundland 1497 (L)
: Sebastion Cabot, Newfoundland (and mainland?), 1501-1509
: Gaspar Cortez Real, Newfoundland, 1502
: Cortez, central Mexico, 1519 (L, H)
: Ponce de Leon, Florida, 1521 (L)
: Lucas Vasques de Allyum, Atlantic coast north of Florida 1521
: Verrazzano Carolinas to New England, 1523 (L)
: Esterao Gomez, East Coast 1525
: John Rut, New England area, 1527
: Richard Hare, New England area, 1536,
: Cartier and Roberval, St. Lawrence River, Montreal, 1534-1543 (L)
: De Soto, southwestern U.S. and Mississippi River Vally, 1541 (L, H)

Yes, Jeffrey, this is correct. But let me point out to you that this
pattern, as you portray it, is somewhat deceptive. Because the Europeans
SIMPLY WERE NOT SO EARLY IN THE NORTH-WEST, so how can you expect them to
report on anything in the North-West if they were not there?

The pattern that I see is that the Europeans kept going further and
further into the interior of America, and everywhere they went the horse
was seemingly there already before them.

So the big question is, Did the horse spread "with lightning speed" "by
itself" ahead of them, or was their later reporting of horse from the
interior simply the result of the fact that they got to the interior

I don't have the answer for this as yet -- I just think that we should be
more careful with the way we interpret our data.

: These explorations (particularly DeSoto) provided ample opportunities for
: the introduction of horses prior to the dates provided by Roe (and Yuri)
: for horses. In Mexico, Butzer and Butzer (1993) note that by 1555, there
: were 60 cattle and horse estancias (ranches) in th Valley of Toluca. by
: 1582, over 10,000 horses were present in the Queretera and San Juan del
: Rio valleys (on Spanish ranches). Initially for the Spaniards, stock
: raising (particularly cattle) was much more important than agricultural
: activities. By the 1550's cattle were so prevalent in central Mexico (and
: causing so much damage to crops) that they were forced out of central
: Mexico to the east (towards Veracruz) and north (towards the Sonoran
: Valley). The cattle ranchers were intitially engaging in transhumant
: activities (moving the cattle between summer and winter), often as much as
: 250 to 400 km. Horses were a requisite part of this activity. There is
: ample opportunity for the horse to have appeared in the Sonoran Valley
: well before 1567.

: DeSoto's explorations extended from Florida up to the Ohio River Valley
: (into Indiana), across the Mississippi River, and as far west as modern
: day San Antonio. He came directly into contact with some groups who were
: not contacted again for 100 years. He did have horses with him on his
: travels. As Hu McCulloch noted, horses can be quite prolific breeders.
: A map of DeSoto's route is available on the web at:

This URL you give appears to be incorrect. But I found such a map at


Brame already remarked in a separate thread that you appear to have made a
few errors in your account of DeSoto's expedition.

: The observations of horses by the early explorers Roe mentions do not
: require a pre-Columbian introduction of the horse.

Perhaps not. But we should still examine all the available options,
because at this time the chronology is far from clear.

: In regard to the horses being different from European horses, the
: descriptions  given by Yuri are relatively vague. Are they different from
: 18th and 19th century European horses or 16th century European horses?

Is there a big difference between the European horses in these centuries?

: It is worth pointing out that the Iberrian Peninsula was only recently
: reconquered by Christians from the Muslims, who may have had different
: breeds of horses. The Spanish surely would have inherited some of these.

Yes, and I believe that the Spanish horse was nearly identical to the
Moorish horse.

: Yuri claims that "the Spanish who were very particular that their horses
: should be of a uniform color."

: What is your source for this claim?

I will try to find the exact quotation soon.

: What I know about 14th and 15th century European warfare, and the
: composition of the Spanish armies (and colonists) would suggest  to me
: that Yuri's statement is not accurate.

Well, it remains to be seen. I based what I said on a number of sources I
have read over time, and I'm sure I can track down the exact quote soon



Yuri Kuchinsky in Toronto -=O=- [23]

It is a far, far better thing to have a firm anchor in nonsense than
to put out on the troubled seas of thought -=O=- John K. Galbraith

: References

: Butzer, Karl and Elisabeth K. Butzer, 1993, The Sixteenth Century
: Environment of the Central Mexican Bajio: Archival Reconstruction from
: Colonial Land Grants and the Question of Spanish Ecological Impacts.  In
: Culture, Form and Place: Essays in Cultural and Historical Geography,
: edited by Kent Mathewson, pp. 89-124.. Geoscience and Man, vol. 32, Dept.
: of Geography and Anthropology, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge,
: La.

: Allen, 1992, From Cabot to Cartier: The Early Exploration of Eastern North
: America, 1497-1543. Annals of the American Association of Geographers
: 82(3): 500-521.

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