Friday, October 5, 2018

Where Are the Land of Promise Horses? – Part V

Continued from the previous post regarding the horse and its so-called extinction in the Americas before the arrival of the Spanish and the fact that horse remains are not easily located in many areas where large number of horses are known to have existed; however, some remains have been found in the Americas, and the last post indicated some of those in North America and we follow here with Mesoamerica and South America.
There is a strong claim by native American Indians that they possessed the horse long before the white man arrived in their land

First, there is one last comment to be made about pre-Spanish horses in North America. According to numerous reports of early European settlers of the 16th century, the Indians had horses at a time before the Spanish horse could have made its way into North America along the eastern seaboard. These were quite unlike the heavy Spanish war horses that were imported by the conquistadors to carry their armored cavalry. It was not until the mid- to late-1600s that the Spanish imported light, ranching horses into New Spain (Mexico). It is important in this to know that the Spanish administrators realized that Natives could pose a threat of rebellion if they ever acquired horses. Thus, regulations in every hacienda and city forbade the sale of horses to the Indians.
    Nevertheless, Spanish caballeros required the assistance of Indian laborers whom they trained in the skills of vaqueros (or “cowboys”). Invariably, a few horses escaped; or they were stolen by enterprising Indians. However, not until the Pueblo Revolt of 1680 did mass amounts of horses become available to the Indians, when those living in New Mexico under the policy of reducciones de indios, rebelled as a result of the Acoma Massacre conducted the previous year by the Spanish. Under the leadership of the Tewa Pueblo religious leader, Po’pay (Popé), the Indians overwhelmed their Spanish colonial overlords resulting in the release of hundreds of horses into the hands of Pueblo, Apache, and Navajo Indians. From this point onward, all of these marginal desert tribes maintained large herds of horses. Most of these mounts were light ranching horses of the Spanish-Arabian breed.
    According to most historians, geographers, and anthropologists, the American Indians knew nothing about horses until the 17th century. However, this was inaccurate with political, religious, and economic motives behind the emergence of theories that the New World was “isolated” from the Old World and that Indians didn’t have any horses until after Columbus. In fact, earlier reports of Indian horses were dismissed by academic leaders as being groundless “fables.” Claims by elders of the Sioux, Nez Perce, Chippewa, and Pawnee Tribes that their ancestors “always had horses” were cast aside by the academic authorities as being “wishful thinking.”
When the British began firing on Americans in 1812, it was a turning point of feeling among those who had not already taken sides

Several powerful movements combined to crush and stifle claims that ancestors of the Plains Indians had horses and “horse culture” for thousands of years. The first force to emerge came with the War of 1812, when citizens of the young American Republic began to resent their British Heritage. After “Redcoats” burned the White House (in retaliation for raids by John Paul Jones along the English Seacoast), Americans turned away from their British roots. At this opportune moment, Ralph Waldo Emerson in 1828 published his exciting book, The Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus.
    As more than one historian has written, this popular novel captured the imaginations of disenchanted former British colonists; and it dovetailed nicely with a campaign by Pope Pius 9th to have Columbus sainted. Meanwhile, following the massive industrial buildup in the Northern States to win the Civil War, the Senate and the U.S. Congress became more actively involved in moving the country toward western progress, which meant further isolation and subjugation of the American Indian. While the “Founding Fathers” had promoted isolation, neutrality, and non-interference in foreign affairs, the growing attitude across America was moving toward an opposite strategy. Railroad barons, with the support of the Senate in Washington, moved to get Indian treaties abolished, seeking to open up the Western Frontier to “Civilization,” which meant the Indians and their “Reservations” had to go.
    By sponsoring the “Chicago World’s Fair,” known as the Columbian Exposition, in 1893 that brought together 46 countries, with its huge centerpiece, a large water pool representing the long voyage Columbus took to the New World, focused the 27-million attendees toward Columbus and expansion.
    In this, Columbus embodied the qualities and vision of an empire-builder. Indeed, it was due to the Columbus voyages that Spain gained sovereignty over profitable colonies from Florida to Argentina. Indeed, Columbus was an excellent hero for promoting the goals of economic expansion into the Western Indian Frontier and to overseas colonies.
It is reported that horses were seen from ships passing the east coast during the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries
Thus, the many histories of the American Indian that had been well known and documented, were deliberately isolated and then almost entirely eradicated. Yet, the records of early colonists that had reported so frequently that everywhere the early explorers traveled along the Eastern Seaboard of North America during the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries, they reported seeing Indians (or Welsh settlers) riding horses. When John Cabot landed along the East Coast in 1497, he reported seeing “the dung of draft animals” (such as horses and cattle), though the natives wisely kept their livestock “out of sight” due to reasonable fears that alien visitors who landed along their shores might take cattle for a festive evening meal. When Jacques Cartier explored the region of Quebec in 1535, his Native host informed him that there was a tribe in the Far West where the Indians rode on horses.
    On the other hand, none of the Coastal Tribes in the Northeast that were known to French, English, and Dutch explorers in the 16th century raised horses or cattle. However, when Colonial Pioneers crossed the Appalachian Mountains on their way into Kentucky and Tennessee in the 17th century, they encountered Shawnee (Shaawanwaki, Ša˙wano˙ki and Shaawanowi lenaweeki), Cherokee (Aniyvwiya, Tsalagi), and Chickasaw Tribes that had an exceptional breed of horses called “Chickasaws” (Plaquemine, Chikashsha), which had a smooth-walking gait, which made them attractive for trade and theft. Similar smooth-gaited horses in Georgia, Alabama, and Florida were called “Seminole ponies” or “prairie ponies.” One Colonial trader noted that the Eastern Forest Horse was “different” from European breeds. They were so-common along the Frontier that settlers said they were “pests,” because they wandered into farmyards and munched on garden vegetables.
    In addition to his finds in North America, Daniel C. Peterson, who discussed horse remains in North America, also states: “There are some caves in Mexico that have Mayan artifacts in association with horse bones, notably dated to the pre-Columbian period but long after the so-called extinction of horses in the Americas.” According to Peterson, such finds have almost always been discarded because the archaeologists have assumed on the basis of ideology or pre-conceived opinion that it must be site contamination because, as they claim, “Those horse bones can’t belong there,” yet they’ve been found at the right levels that suggests they do belong there.
    In fact, an article in the Academy of Natural Science states that such discoveries are typically "either dismissed or ignored by the European scientific community."
Grutas de Loltun, the grottoes or caves at Lol-Tun, located in the hilly Puuc region, and 4 miles south of Oxkutzcab, Yucatan; known as El Túnel and El Toro

In addition, John Tvedtnes, senior resident scholar with the Neal A. Maxwell Institute at BYU, there are the Loltún Caves in west central Yucatan in Mexico that have Mayan artifacts in association with horse bones.
    The fact is, there appears to be archaeological support that horses existed in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica. In 1957, for instance, at Mayapan (a site corresponding to Book of Mormon lands/times) horse remains were discovered at a depth considered to be pre-Columbian. Likewise, in southwest Yucatan, a non-Mormon archaeologist found what may likely be pre-Columbian horse remains in three caves. Excavations in a cave in the Mayan lowlands in 1978 also turned up horse remains (E. Ray Clay, “Pre-Columbian Horses from Yucatan,” Journal of Mammalogy Vol.38, No.2, Oxford University Press, UK, 1957, p278).
    Dr. Peter Schmidt of the National Institute of Archaeological History, who spent four decades of his life to the study of the Maya, and was responsible for the Archaeological Project of Chichen Itzá in Yuctán, laments, regarding the Loltún cache, that 44 horse bone fragments have been recovered from levels VII to II, all supposedly from earlier time periods and also containing Maya Classic and Preclassic ceramics! His article exclaims that something has happened in Loltún that is still hard to explain: The survival of extinct animals like the Mexican Horse may need to be extended to the beginnings of the ceramic era, which would not please paleontologists
    So what about South America?
(See the next post, “Where Are the Land of Promise Horses? – Part VI,” for more information about horses in the Americas and specifically in South America)


  1. thanks much del great post however john paul jones died in 1792 if my memory is correct

  2. C.Joe: John Paul Jones did indeed die on July 18, 1792, at the age of 45 in his 3rd floor apartment in Paris. The attack on Washington in August of 1814, occupying the city for 26 hours burning many government buildings as well as the White House, which the British claimed had been burned in retaliation for Americans attack on Port Dover, Canada, along the shores of Lake Erie, which the British viewed as “wanton destruction of private property.
    The source I used for the event was obviously wrong in the “official British stand,” but others laid claim to the fact that the British never got over “an American warship sailing clear across the Atlantic to attack British ports”, however, Jones actually set sail from Brest, France, to attack English shipping in the Irish Sea, and the North Channel. That Jones succeeded in these attempts, and make landfall to destroy Whitehaven (which he did not achieve), cut the English to the core. Their uproar so upset the government, who in turn upset the Royal Navy, that Jones was seen as a irreparable thorn in their side.
    Thus, in 1814 when the British landed in Chesapeake Bay and attacked toward Washington they operated under the orders from the Crown to destroy everything they encountered, and kill all but unarmed non-combatants.
    For John Paul Jones, he was given an honorary pardon in 1999 by the Port of Whitehaven for his raid on the town.