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Timothy H. O'Sullivan
Historic Spanish record of the Conquest, south side of Inscription Rock, N.M., No. 3
[Geographical explorations and surveys west of the 100th meridian, expeditions of 1871, 1872, 1873, and 1874]
1873 (taken) 1876 (print)
21 x 28 cm (image) 41 x 51 cm (mount)
Boston Public Library
Descriptive legend of view no. 13: Representing one of the legends of Inscription Rock, a great mass of sandstone whose faces are tablets on which the invading Spaniards have written their history and the native Indians have carved their hieroglyphics. It is in western New Mexico, near the road which connects the Indian towns of Zuni and Laguna. Upon its summit, which is 400 feet above the valley and attainable by only one pathway, are extensive ruins, and a gigantic reservoir in the rock for the storage of water. The inscriptions are mostly from the hands of the early Spaniards, who fell into the fashion of leaving here the date of the visit, the progress they had made, and the purpose of the mission, which was usually one of conquest. The oldest record in English is "O.R., Mch. 19th, 1836." There is one Spanish inscription of the 16th of April, 1606, and another, of which a fac-simile is given in the view, whose date the antiquarians have not yet satisfactorily deciphered. Reading it by the eye alone, it seems to be "1526," but in order to reconcile it with early history it may be found necessary to call it "1726." The following is a translation of this inscription, obtained from learned sources by General Simpson, who visited the place in 1849 and contributed the first official information concerning it: "By this place passed Ensign Don Joseph de Payba Basconzelos, in the year in which he held the Council of the Kingdom at his expense, on the 18th of February, in the year 1726." The writing is now subject of historical comparison and research, and future developments may show that at as early a date as 1526 this rock lay in the path of the Spanish Conquest. By comparison with the graduated scale, 36 inches in length, the proportions of the letters may be estimated.