History Nebraska Blog

Marker Monday: The Villasur Expedition, 1720

Welcome to Marker Monday! Each Monday we will feature one of Nebraska’s hundreds of historical markers. If you’d like to see a specific marker featured, comment below!

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Location

Villasur Expedition, 1720  Historical Marker, Columbus, Platte County, Nebraska View this marker's location 41.423046, -97.368759

Marker Text

In June 1720, a Spanish military force led by Sir Pedro de Villasur left Santa Fe, New Mexico, to gather information on French activities near the Missouri River. The contingent included 45 veteran soldiers, 60 Pueblo Indian allies, some Apache scouts, and a priest. Indian trader Juan L'Archeveque, and Jose Naranjo, a black explorer who had reconnoitered Nebraska's Platte River, accompanied the expedition.Near present Schuyler, Nebraska, Villasur's command encountered large numbers of Pawnee and Oto Indians who were allies of the French. The Spanish withdrew to approximately this spot and camped. The next morning, August 14, 1720, the Indians attacked. In only minutes Villasur, L'Archeveque, Naranjo, 3l soldiers, 11 Pueblo Indians, and the priest lay dead. The survivors escaped across the prairie and reached Santa Fe September 6. Spanish losses were the greatest suffered by white men in any battle with Indians on Nebraska soil. The Villasur expedition was the deepest official penetration of the Great Plains by Spanish explorers. Villasur's defeat ended Spanish exploration of the Nebraska country until the 1806 Melgares expedition visited the Pawnee village on the Republican River.

Nebraska Marker Project

The Nebraska Marker Project is for the repainting, repair and in some cases, replacement of state historical markers throughout the state. Nebraska’s markers share our exciting history for generations to come. Please consider donating by visiting the Nebraska Marker Project webpage at http://nshsf.org/the-nebraska-marker-project/.

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