The full content of this document is only available to subscribing institutions. More information can be found via

Title Noticias y reflesiones sobre la guerra que se tiene con los indios Apaches en las provincias de Nueva España [manuscript]
Author Gálvez, Bernardo de (1746-1786)
Document Type Manuscript
Description From the Newberry Library Catalogue: Copy, most likely from around 1801, of Galvez’s essay on the nature of Apache warfare, with recommendations for improving the fighting ability of colonial forces. The author describes Apache characteristics which make them such strong fighters, such as their stoicism, speed and agility, and their beliefs in an afterlife which rewards bravery. In contrast, soldiers stationed in the garrisons to fight the Apaches are not as fast and agile and view death in battle from a different perspective. Furthermore, they lack the strength of the Apaches, who can endure cold, hunger and thirst for long periods of time. In addition, Apaches are uniquely motivated, for as they neither farm nor raise cattle, they attack in order to steal, and thus to subsist. Gálvez admires how the Apaches choose their leader solely for his bravery and obey him without question during combat; how they travel light, riding at night through the high rocky terrain so as not to leave tracks or lose their strategic position; and how they attack swiftly, terrorizing their victims with their cries, and then escape quickly. He criticizes the soldiers who are slow, carry too much heavy gear, and travel down on the plains, where they are visible and vulnerable. He recommends that the regiments use more auxiliary Indians than soldiers; keep horses in better condition and not overload them; provide the soldiers with good firearms and powder and teach them how to handle them skillfully; use the best and bravest soldiers, regardless of race; and appoint commanders who will treat their soldiers well and with good discipline. In conclusion, he provides a list of friendly Indian tribes with comments on their character and their strengths and weaknesses as fighters.
Places Sonora, Mexico; United States
Keywords essay, war, battle, attack, armed forces, colonial forces, religion, custom, observation, subsistence, soldiers, horse, weapon, alliance, Spain, New Spain
Theme Observation, Representation and Cultural Encounters; Military Encounters: Conflicts, Rebellions and Alliances
Tribe / Nation
Culture Area Southwest, Mesoamerica
Language Spanish
Additional Information See Anales del Museo Nacional de Arqueología (Mexico : 1925), Series 4, Vol. III, p. 537-549 for a published version of the text, with notes by Felipe Teixidor, who suggests that Gálvez wrote this essay sometime between June 1785 and November 1786, when he was viceroy of New Spain.
Library The Newberry Library
Copyright The Newberry Library
Collection The Edward E. Ayer Collection
Reference VAULT Ayer MS 1181
Catalogue Link The Newberry Library Catalogue