It is preceded by a notice of Espejo's exploration, but it is entirely too brief to afford much information. The little book is exceedingly rare; but three copies of it exist in the United States, so far as I am aware.
It is not surprising that Espejo's narrative should appear first in print in a work on the Chinese Empire by a Franciscan missionary. That ecclesiastic was impressed by some of Espejo's observations on Pueblo customs which he thought resembled those of the Chinese.
Seven years after Espejo's journey, Gaspar Castaño de Sosa penetrated to the Rio Grande near the present village of Santo Domingo. The report thereon is explicit and sober, and in it we find the first mention of the Spanish names by which some of the Pueblos have since become known.
Espejo's reference to Awatobi in 1583 leaves no doubt that the pueblo was in existence in that year, and while, of course, we can not definitely say that it was not built between 1540 and 1583, the indications are that it was not.
Espejo's return to Mexico was to be followed by a definite occupancy of the Rio Grande country, but his untimely death prevented it, and the subsequent plan of colonization, framed and proposed by Juan Bautista de Lomas Colmenares, led to no practical results, as likewise did the ill-fated expedition of Humaña, Bonilla, and Leyva, the disastrous end of which in the plains became known only through a few vestiges of information and by hearsay.
The authentic document, with several others relating to Espejo's brief career, was not published in full until 1871, and even then attracted little attention because it was not translated and because the Coleccion de Documentos del Archivo de Indias is not accessible to every one. But the publication of 1871 was by no means the first printed version of Espejo's relations.
The spurious text was not taken from Mendoza, but manifestly was copied from the transcript by a bungling scribe imperfectly acquainted with the Spanish tongue. The value of Espejo's narration is undoubtedly great. The author was a close practical observer and a sincere reporter.