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Vélez de Escalante, Silvestre (c. 1750–1780)

Vélez de Escalante, Silvestre (c. 1750–1780)

Silvestre Vélez de Escalante (b. ca. 1750; d. April 1780), Franciscan missionary and explorer. Born in Santander, Spain, Escalante joined the Franciscan order at age seventeen and served among the Pueblo Indians of New Mexico. In 1776 he accompanied Fray Francisco Atanasio Domínguez in an attempt to find a northwesterly route from New Mexico to Monterey. Although the Domínguez-Escalante expedition failed to open a new road to the Pacific coast, it was the earliest known European exploration of the Four Corners area. Escalante's journal provided the earliest written description of this region. Escalante returned to Santa Fe in 1777 and remained in New Mexico for several more years, serving as a missionary and ecclesiastical official.

See alsoExplorers and Exploration: Spanish America; Missions: Spanish America.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Eleanor B. Adams and Fray Angélico Chávez, eds. and trans., The Missions of New Mexico, 1776: A Description by Fray Francisco Atanasio Domínguez, with Other Contemporary Documents (1956).

Herbert Eugene Bolton, Pageant in the Wilderness: The Story of the Escalante Expedition to the Interior Basin, 1776 (1951).

Fray Angélico Chávez and Ted J. Warner, eds. and trans., The Domínguez-Escalante Journal (1976).

Additional Bibliography

Sánchez, Joseph P. Explorers, Traders, and Slavers: Forging the Old Spanish Trail, 1678–1850. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1997.

                                       Suzanne B. Pasztor

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