Dominguez and Escalante

Dominguez and Escalante (HM1CWV)

Location: Hesperus, CO 81326 La Plata County
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Country: United States of America
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N 37° 19.54', W 108° 7.978'

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In 1776, Franciscan Fathers, Francisco Atanasio Dominguez and Silvestre Velez de Excalante and eight companions, explored what is now southern Colorado, Utah, and northern Arizona, as men of peace.

Between August and December, 1776, Dominguez and Escalante and a small group of men attempted to find an overland route between the Spanish villages in New Mexico and the Spanish missions in California.

The expedition crossed the La Plata River near what is now Hesperus. On August 10 and 11, 1776, Escalante wrote:

"... we swung west through the valleys of very beautiful timber and abundant pasturage, roses, and various other flowers.... We were not able to move camp because Father Fray Francisco Atanasio awoke very weak.... For this reason we were not able to go to see the veins and metallic stones of the sierra, although they were nearby, as we were assured by a companion who had seen them on another occasion."

Although Dominguez and Escalante did not reach California, they are recognized as the first Europeans to traverse and map what is now central Utah and cross the mighty Colorado River, (northeast of the Grand Canyon.) Members of the expedition walked or rode horses nearly two thousand miles as they explored a relatively unknown land. Throughout their journey they encountered a dozen native tribes, yet they never resorted to violence toward their fellow man.

(Lower Left Photo Caption)
An 18th Century monstrance used by Franciscan Fathers in what is now California and New Mexico. A monstrance was used to hold the Eucharist during church services.

(Upper Right Map Caption)
Expedition cartographer Bernard Miera Y Pacheco accompanied Dominguez and Escalante and drew this map of the region in 1778.
- Courtesy of Utah State Historical Society

(Lower Right Map Caption)
Dominguez and Escalante followed a route used by Juan Maria de Rivera in 1765. After crossing the Gunnison River, however, they ventured into a land that had never been seen by Europeans.
Series This marker is part of the Dominguez y Escalante Expedition series
Placed ByColorado Historical Society and United States Forest Service
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Saturday, September 20th, 2014 at 10:00am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)12S E 754033 N 4134856
Decimal Degrees37.32566667, -108.13296667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 37° 19.54', W 108° 7.978'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds37° 19' 32.40" N, 108° 7' 58.68" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)970
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 4830 Navajo Trail, Hesperus CO 81326, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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