Antonio de Espejo was a Spanish explorer who led an expedition into New Mexico and Arizona in 1582–83. The expedition created interest in establishing a Spanish colony among the Pueblo Indians of the Rio Grande valley. Espejo was born about 1540 in Cordova, Spain, and arrived in Mexico in 1571 along with the Chief Inquisitor, Pedro Moya de Contreras, Espejo and his brother became ranchers on the northern frontier of Mexico. In 1581, Espejo and his brother were charged with murder and his brother was imprisoned and Espejo fled to Santa Barbara, Chihuahua, the northernmost outpost of Mexico. He was there when the Chamuscado-Rodriguez expedition returned from New Mexico, along with fourteen soldiers, a priest, about 30 Indian servants and assistants, and 115 horses he departed from San Bartolome, near Santa Barbara, on November 10,1582. Espejo followed the route as Chamuscado and Rodriguez, down the Conchos River to its junction with the Rio Grande. Along the Conchos River, Espejo encountered the Conchos Indians naked people, who support themselves on fish, mesquite, mescal, and lechuguilla. Further downriver, he found Conchos who grew corn, squash, leaving the Conchos behind, Espejo next encountered the Passaguates who were naked like the Conchos and seemed to have had a similar lifestyle. Next, came the Jobosos who were few in number, shy, all of these tribes had previously been impacted by Spanish slave raids. Near the junction of the Conchos and the Rio Grande, Espejo entered the territory of the Patarabueyes who attacked his horses, Espejo succeeded in making peace with them. The Patarabueyes, he said, and the other Indians near La Junta were also called Jumanos, -- the first use of the name for these Indians who would be prominent on the frontier for nearly two centuries. To add to the confusion, they were also called Otomoacos, Espejo saw five settlements of Jumanos with a population of about 10,000 people. They lived in low, flat roofed houses and grew corn, squash and they gave Espejo well-tanned deer and bison skins. Leaving the Jumano behind, he passed through the lands of the Caguates or Suma, who spoke the language as the Jumanos. He found the Rio Grande Valley well populated all the way up to the present site of El Paso, upstream from El Paso, the expedition traveled 15 days without seeing any people. In February 1583, Espejo arrived at the territory of the Piros, from there the Spanish continued up the Rio Grande. Espejo described the Pueblo villages as clean and tidy, the houses were multi-storied and made of adode bricks. They make very fine tortillas, Espejo commented, and the Pueblos also served the Spanish turkeys, beans, corns, the people did not seem to be bellicose
Frederic Remington's imaginative painting of a Spanish expedition on the march
Taos Pueblo today still resembles the towns Espejo visited in the Rio Grande Valley of New Mexico.
Espejo explored the Verde River valley of Arizona looking for silver mines.