Oasisamerica is a historical region and cultural area in North America, which extends approximately to the northern border of Mesoamerica in northern Mexico, to the regions of OTL California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, parts of Colorado, and western Texas. Within this region pre-Columbian societies flourished before the Spanish colonization of the Americas, beginning in the sixteenth century. Contact with the Spanish would bring European diseases such as smallpox and measles, which caused the deaths of upwards of 90% of the indigenous people.
Map of the Pueblo Empire
Age of Myths during the Great Drought
The late thirteenth century would be marked by a decades-long period of drought, which greatly disrupted the landscape of the region, leading to heavy migration, societal change, and the first conflicts major in an otherwise peaceful region. Many Puebloan settlements were abandoned, with their communities migrating south in search of new lands, and causing conflict with communities in their path. In the cities that remained, there was a cultural shift; the old religious structures, created based on astronomical alignments, were carefully taken apart, with doorways being sealed shut with brick and mortar. Although unsure of the exact reasons for this, later historians have postulated that this shift was in an effort to make amends with nature, by a people whose ancestors, now in command of powerful spiritual power, must have been disrupting and changing the course of nature for the worse. The systematic deconstruction of the old disruptive structures is viewed as a last ditch effort to make amends with a vengeful nature.
From this chaos, several groups emerged, the first being the ȉałopháymųp'ȍhə́othə̀olbo (“Red Willows Canyon People”), who came to inhabit a small town on the banks of the Paslápaane (Rio Grande), and would later become known as simply the Taos. The primary source for the origins of the nation is known as the Łácianątə̂otho, which is dated to a little over a century after the actual events, and commissioned by Taos’ later leaders to chronicle their history. According to this text, Taos’ inception began in a particular Sə̀onp'óna (January), in what is believed to have been the year 1295. This is based on a description that appears later in the text, in which the leader of Taos’ mother is said to have been born thirty-eight years prior to the chronicle’s start, in the presence of a great eclipse, which corresponds to a known astrological event that occurred on 13 June 1257.
The nation’s conception began with a clan dispute “tə̂otho”, meaning “in the village”, which led to the village largely splitting in two. One group is said to have traveled southeast, while another traveled northwest, just as their ancestors had done upon their arrival in the Fourth World countless years before. A young warrior nicknamed Cínemąxína, who earned his nickname of "eye watchman" after losing an eye in a fight, became an unofficial leader of the first group, and under his leadership, a small village was founded known as P'ókána, located about ten miles east of the sacred site of Blue Lake. According to legend, Cínemąxína and a small group of companions continued further to the east, until they encountered wild kònéna (bison) roaming in the plains region beyond their homeland. Running low on food, Cínemąxína is said to have slayed a lone bison single-handedly, before returning to his camp with enough food to feed his followers. Impressed, the village revered the man as a full leader, having been only opposed by a single elder, nicknamed in legend The Disbeliever. To resolve the dispute Cínemąxína led the village on another migration, and only the Disbeliever and his personal family refused to follow.
It is unknown how much of this legend is rooted in fact and how much is later embellishment, embedded into the tale over years of oral tradition. No literary examples have been discovered prior to the Łácianątə̂otho that mention the legend, although scarce mentions of Cínemąxína would eventually appear in texts from neighboring cities around the same time as the nation’s own chronicle. Excavation of Old P'ókána, a site outside the modern day town, has seemingly confirmed sections of the story, with a kiva being discovered that is characteristic of the ones built in Taos during Cínemąxína’s lifetime, and also bearing markings associated with him.
Whatever the case, according to the accounts, in April the group re-entered Taos, with Cínemąxína being declared tə̀ot'́nena (town chief). More importantly, the following month Cínemąxína traveled to the P'ìanwílaną (Picuris Pueblo) of P'iwwelta, a group of a few thousand who inhabited the riverside to the southwest of Tə̂o. Only a few decades prior the Picuris had migrated from Pot Creek (just south of Tə̂o) to their current location. They were notable in that they were one of the only other major villages to speak the Tiwa language like the people of Taos, and had a much more similar culture than that of the nearby Tewa-speaking villages. The two chiefs would declare an eternal pact of friendship, initially just to improve trade and mutual protection against other nearby villages, however, this would unknowingly develop into a significant event in the future of the region.
The alliance would be tested soon after, when in September a conflict erupted against the village of Ohkay Owingeh, after the town suffered a drought and turned to foraging for food near Taos. Both towns come together to subjugate the town, although with very little bloodshed overall. Neither side was particularly skilled in warfare, with historians estimating that the “conflict” was likely fought by unarmored, lightly armed warriors, who mainly sought to intimidate their foe. Later in the year the three villages experienced an increase in population from hûthoną (northerners), who told of a series of hostile tribes (the Numic-speaking peoples) who were pushing south. They were also joined by groups from the west, including the city of Chaco Canyon, where resources were being depleted by a series of droughts and poor harvests.
The small series of communities led by Cínemąxína became one of the few to survive the poor changes in climate and the subsequent migrations, with most nearby villages being abandoned for sites further south, or locations situated near rivers and bodies of water. To prevent a similar disaster from striking as harshly in their territory, the inhabitants of Taos constructed the traditional ditches used to store rain water, but the inhabitants would also augment this method further. This would lead to the town constructing a series of canals from the Paslápaane River (Rio Grande), which ran through the nearby fields and around the town.
At the time of these events in Taos, the Chaco Canyon likely remained one of the most populous cities in the region, despite a net loss in population occurring overall. Historians estimate that it was only eclipsed by a great city to the north (Mesa Verde), which the Taos people named Łocǫ́lhəo (Big Green Canyon), at approximately 22,000 people according to later estimates. Historians note, all three settlements would undergo major projects to help preserve their populations, beginning roughly around the same decade. In the higher altitude mesas, where rainfall was slightly more plentiful, rainwater runoff was captured and ran into irrigation systems. Virtually all major settlements also began employing canal systems, especially those connected to nearby rivers. After nearly overhunting most of the species of the region after recent crop failures, all three settlements began investing in the domesticated turkey more heavily, which would grow into a major food source over the coming decades. Near Taos it is believed that during Cínemąxína's reign certain forests and lands were set aside. Within the private lands, hunting and wood harvesting were forbidden, with the boundaries of the private lands rotating after a certain number of years. This helped to curb the rapid deforestation and overhunting in the region.
In addition to the Puebloans, who inhabited the northern regions, in the southwest resided the Hohokam culture (from their O'odham descendants, meaning “those who have gone”), and in the southeast the Mogollon culture. Within the Hohokam territory and along the fertile Keli Akimel (Gila River), a city emerged that rivaled the Puebloan settlements far to the north. It is believed to have been constructed in the vicinity of the ancient city of “Snaketown”. Once a cultural and economic hub, Snaketown had been almost entirely abandoned after a series of squabbling petty chiefdoms eroded the community, leaving behind one of the most complex irrigation and canal systems in the region. Seeing the potential of the region, a Hohokam group managed to establish a fortress outside the ruins, and by the end of the year managed to pacify or drive off any rival groups around the former city. With the fields of Snaketown at their disposal, the new city took the name of its fortress, becoming the great city of Siwañ Wa'a Ki.
Innovations in the Archaic Era
Because of these rapid changes, historians mark this as the beginning of a new era in regional history, although there is much debate among scholars and historians when exactly the Pueblo III Period ended and the Pueblo IV Period, nicknamed the Classical Era, truly began. One popular notion is to group the crisis period of the late thirteenth century into the former period, placing the early reigns of semi-historical figures like Cínemąxína as the start of the latter period. It is estimated that initially the culture of the Ancestral Puebloans that developed around this time was vastly dissimilar to throughout the thirteenth century. The majority of cities along the Paslápaane (Rio Grande) are believed to have been founded during this period, with archeological evidence telling a similar story to that of the primary sources. In summary: the second year in Cínemąxína’s reign was marked by further population increase in the main settlement of Taos.
Above all else, Tə̀ot'́nena Cínemąxína would make his mark on the region through his extensive use of the town’s resources to invest in greater infrastructure (the sagas describe him as “logistical”, a trait that he likely picked up from experience in early warfare of the time). Specifically during this time the town’s inhabitants (note: sources are quick to specifically credit Cínemąxína with the infrastructural innovation, when more likely it was the work of hundreds of people over the course of years), completed the early water-catching ditches, canals, and other irrigation techniques that would not have been entirely unique within the region. According to anthropologist John Lewis, who worked in the region in the 1960s, based on the estimated manpower of the town at the time and the archeological evidence present, the “old style” irrigation systems were likely completed before 1300, probably within a year or two, and that the “new style” systems began production soon after.
Other historians have argued that due to the city’s location on the river, they likely did not have to worry about additional systems of irrigation as much as other settlements in the region, and thus theorize that the more complex aqueducts did not arrive until much later. It is difficult to definitively say, as over the course of the next three centuries many of these systems would be slowly replaced and upgraded. Additionally there is a debate about who was first to complete an aqueduct in the region: Taos or P'iwwelta. In 1982 the mayor of modern day P'iwwelta argued that their town irrigation system was older, noting that the town was further away from the river initially and thus needed a new system more heavily. This led him to schedule the 600th anniversary celebration of the town earlier, despite differing opinions from historians and the residents of Taos.
Regardless of who was first, it is estimated that the first complex aqueducts in the region began construction sometime between 1290 and 1350, with the consensus being more or less around the year 1300. The sagas specifically mention the event, stating that the people of Taos were heavily cautious after the Great Drought, and sought new ways to ensure that water was abundant, especially after immigration to the region swelled the town’s population. The first aqueducts were likely fairly narrow ditches running from the mountains outside the town down to the edges of the existing irrigation networks. They tapped into mountain springs and melting snow on the peaks, supplying a steady stream of water to the inhabitants down below. Almost immediately it became clear that water seepage and evaporation would more or less negate any effort in a basic canal, leading to the invention of stone-lined canals. Later this was improved further by cutting the groove for the water into one stone. Additionally clay would be used to plug gaps in between stones. It is likely that the first aqueduct took several years to complete and turn into a profitable venture.
According to the primary sources, a large portion of the required labor for these major projects were provided by the newly arrived people from the north and west, who earned a place in the town by contributing to the water supply. It is theorized that these people also likely primarily settled in the more mountainous regions around the town, and eventually the region between Taos and P'iwwelta, as the farmlands between the two towns eventually merged as they expanded (from town center to town center the two towns were only about fifteen miles apart at this time). As another example of forward thinking, the people of Taos also eventually constructed large cisterns, primarily underground, which could collect surplus water for when drought struck. It is estimated that they likely did not come into effect until far after the likes of Cínemąxína, but when water collection eventually far surpassed the town’s use they would have been adequately prepared.
In addition to water management, food production also undoubtedly had to increase to meet demand during this period, especially to offset the decrease in hunting and gathering. Large fields of maize, squash, beans, agave, and other crops sprang up around the town of Taos, with an organizational system eventually springing up. It is unknown when exactly this system was first conceived, or if it occurred during Cínemąxína’s reign at all. By the time of early record creation during the reigns of later rulers, they note that they were continuing the ancient system, implying that it may have first developed around this time. Whoever it was that presided over this creation, is clear that this ruler made a significant alteration in the way land property was typically thought of. Almost all of the new farmland that was purposely created was granted to the ruler of the town, thus for the first time linking a certain amount of income and property to the title itself rather than whichever clan was currently in power. On “royal” land a strict set of rules eventually developed, in which workers were required to supply a heavy cut of their produce and seeds back to the town chief each season in exchange for living on the land.
Outside the state-owned farmland, groups of families living together in a pueblo or cluster or homes were granted plots of land, which were sized roughly proportional to the size of the group, which they were required to work. Eventually these groups would also be required to supply the town with a small portion of their produce as a sort of tax. Alongside this, another form of taxation arised; paying the town through labor. This involved contributing to the nation by helping to construct large infrastructural and architectural projects primarily, in lieu of, or in addition to, produce-based taxation. It is likely that administration was initially slow to start, being enforced initially on the “honor system” due to the town of Taos (or any other towns in the region for that matter) lacking a proper military force.
The warriors of this time were usually assembled to combat raiding from desperate nearby towns, and would be armed with cloth armor, wooden spears, and occasionally shields, helmets, and other rare improvements. Cínemąxína was likely an influence on the warfare of the period, being the first recorded warrior to ascend to a position of power according to records. Taos becomes the destination of many new settlers, but other settlements south of the town also spring up along the rivers. One of the largest to spring up was Cǫ́lʼoma (Bandelier National Monument), just south of Ohkay Owingeh. The town was settled primarily by people from Łocǫ́lhəo (Mesa Verde). The people of Łocǫ́lhəo also began to settle the river just south of the city, the Tàłułi’ína (Grandfather River, OTL San Juan River). As a result the city likely saw a net decrease in population once more, with the city still working to increase his water and food sources to supply its inhabitants, while the region south of Taos became majority Łocǫ́lhəo-born Puebloans.
The city of Chaco, the next largest city in the region, also saw a decrease in population, despite being slightly more prepared. There is evidence that a series of dams and irrigation canals around the city were likely completed around this time, which helped to offset the effects of recent drought. By cross examining several primary sources, all of which vaguely describing the political situation in Chaco, it is believed that there was no central leader at this time. Rather, the various sections of the city acted almost like autonomous communities, with some in fact being fairly distant from the rest. Four town chiefs are known definitively by name; Hȕthócûdena, Pìwxòyłúona, Muuyawmoʼa, and Tòpháy’ȕ, although it is unclear when each leader came to power. The chief Muuyawmoʼa likely had ambitious plans to unite the city, as evidently he would eventually become the city’s first known, sole chief. Additionally, at this time a Muuyawmoʼa is mentioned in the Łácianątə̂otho as the father of Cínemąxína’s second wife, who he possibly married around this time. He had one child from his first marriage, to an unknown woman, his daughter Píanakwíame, who would have been a young child at this time.
As a general migration continued toward the south by the Ancestral Puebloans, historians have noted that major road projects, for the most part, extended in the opposite direction. The most famous of these roads would be the “Great North Road”, which had been built by Chaco, likely centuries before the Great Drought. Near major settlements, the road is known to have extended up to four “lanes”, with stone curbs marking the edge of the road. At certain points along the road’s path, three-feet-tall, curved masonry walls would be erected, in the shape of a “D”, “C”, or horseshoe, with diameters up to thirty feet across, which are believed to have been used to mark changes in direction for those following the road network. Although most of these markers were placed in unsettled areas, evidence of pottery and other items nearby have led historians to postulate that markers also functioned as roadside shrines.
The Great North Road extended north from Chaco, not toward any settlement. Instead the road terminated unceremoniously in the middle of the wilderness. As such, it is believed that the Great North Road and other major road systems, although impressive roads for functional use, were actually intended to guide deceased spirits northward, rather then to be used for everyday people. More practical infrastructure would be built as well, with many major road networks existing in Chaco to link major settlements. Main roads during this period would be about thirty feet wide, with smooth, leveled surfaces made in bedrock, which often connected to large ramps to reach the tops of canyons. A major road in the Taos region was likely created during this time, which would serve as a major highway between Taos, P'iwwelta, and Ohkay Owingeh, running parallel to the Paslápaane.
This trend was less pronounced in Łocǫ́lhəo, where the population had declined from its original high of an estimated 22,000 people earlier in the century. Once renowned for its enormous stone towers and dwellings, the majority of its citizens had migrated to smaller homes in canyon locations, where water sources and farmland were more readily accessible. Much like at Chaco, the city largely became divided into numerous, self-sufficient communities, spread out around the surrounding area. The majority of people once concentrated near the city would begin to inhabit more distant clusters of homes, with the largest cluster of homes having an estimated 1,200 rooms and 200 kivas. From one such district of Łocǫ́lhəo would emerge a leader known as Łàcic’élena, whose name is preserved from a saga written over a century later. His chronicle serves as an important glimpse into the history of the city, even if filtered through the oral tradition of a few generations.
It is said that by the time of his ascension the last tree in Łocǫ́lhəo had been cut down, and the rain had disappeared. The settlements clung to colossal stone towers, which served as defensive watchtowers and fortresses, as the region had largely turned against each other. The most impressive pueblos had stone towers connected to other buildings and rooms with underground tunnels. It is said that as the city slowly disintegrated, the people of Łàcic’élena’s dwelling took up weapons of war, manufactured from the same tools used for building and hunting. They would be armed with stone axes, wooden clubs, and spears, with hide and basket shields also being employed.
Łàcic’élena would be one of many clan leaders who rose to prominence through battle, but perhaps more importantly, gained fame through his distribution of food to his drought-stricken community, which was seen as a greater form of prestige. Łàcic’élena’s chronicle said that on account of his great skill and generosity, his people never resorted to cannibalism. Whether or not this is true, or simply asserted later to make Łàcic’élena appear even nobler, is unknown, but it is known that across all of Łocǫ́lhəo, cannibalism was practiced by the most desperate of people. It is said that Łàcic’élena became ruler of all Łocǫ́lhəo, following a decisive battle against the other clans of the region, but he would truly win over the region when he rallied the region against neighboring city states. He first struck northwest against the Canyon of the Ancients. Next he is said to have retaken Kòki’ínahəo (Crow Canyon), which was the site of a great defeat for his people almost two decades prior.
It is likely that Łocǫ́lhəo survived due to these more aggressive practices of raiding and conquest, extracting tribute of food, water, and timber from its neighbors. Evidence suggests that the city of Łocǫ́lhəo had more friendly relations with the settlements of the Paslápaane, as many of these settlements were founded by the city’s refugees. This also extended to Taos, as commodities such as pottery and products from bison have been discovered in the west of Taos origin. Later, the city would also have ties with Chaco to the south, with roads having been discovered that linked Łocǫ́lhəo to the Great North Road.
Early Puebloan Conflicts
During this time, reign over all of Łocǫ́lhəo was firmly established by Łàcic’élena, with the loyalty of the various districts of the city bought through hefty donations of water and food. Łàcic’élena’s kingdom had been established through fierce raiding and wars of conquest against the surrounding regions, leading to his state being granted the title of the region’s first “empire”, despite directly controlling little territory. Settlements along the southern river (San Juan River) appear to be more closely controlled, as most of the inhabitants of the river were originally settlers from Łocǫ́lhəo. Łàcic’élena would become known as a “P’ȍłòwaʼána”, which roughly translates to “Water Chief”, or “Watergarch” in English, in regards to his powerful control over water sources and distribution. Following his lead, several other town chiefs would adopt his practices, creating various networks of rival warlords, each centered around a source of water or other important resource.
War related tactics quickly spread across the region, as an otherwise peaceful region was forced toward militarism, either to raids their neighbors, or to defend one’s self from other such raiders. The two kingdoms of Łocǫ́lhəo under Łàcic’élena and Taos under Cínemąxína eventually met in the middle near the Tsąmą' ǫŋwįkeyi (Rio Chama), but rather than fighting against each other, the two kingdoms cooperated against the smaller communities of the region. During the lifetimes of both rulers, the two kingdoms would continue to cooperate in matters of trade, creating a well traveled trade route between west and east.
Near the southeast edge of the ʼHakhwata (Colorado) Plateau would emerge the people known to historians as the Sinagua, which were believed to have descended from the Mogollon culture of the southeast, albeit with heavy influence from the Hohokam, who they crossed en route to their new location. Historians postulate that two Sinagua nations formed: the North and South Sinagua, with the southern nation primarily settling the Haka'he:la (Verde River), and the northern nation controlling from that river to the edge of the Paayu (Little Colorado River).
As the people of the north became increasingly militant toward the south, an important development began among the largest nations, from the Sinagua to the Hohokam south of them. Important resources would begin to be secured by constructing defensive structures, which quickly grew to become larger than any previously constructed fortifications in the region. The oldest known such structure would be constructed by the southern Sinagua as a massive cliff dwelling above the Haka'he:la, which the non-Sinagua would later call Kánałó (OTL Montezuma Castle). The fortifications at Kánałó would be heavily upgraded over the next several decades, becoming a vast fortress and seat of power for the Sinagua, eventually inspiring other nearby people to construct fortifications of their own. These vast fortresses would become known as the hų́łothə́na, often translated in English as “castle”. Especially in the southwest, where many nations converged over the rivers of the Valley of the Sun, the hų́łothə́na would become an important part of the region’s history, with many such fortresses coming into being over the century.
Around the year 1310 a leader named Yanauluha would lead a group to settle the Halona Idiwan’a (Middle Place), the homeland of the Zuni, centered at the settlement of Shiwinna. Despite being seen as an easy target for the emerging groups of raider chieftains and watergarchs in the region, Shiwinna would prosper as a careful buffer state being the various powers of the region. The Mogollon and Hohokam people of the south would support the Zuni in an attempt to deter raids from Łocǫ́lhəo, with the Hohokam later constructing a hų́łothə́na southwest of Shiwinna, nicknamed the Petrified House, around the year 1323.
Despite the grandeur and wisdom bestowed upon Cínemąxína by the Łácianątə̂otho, as proposed by his later descendants, other sources report that his reign abruptly ended in failure in the year 1310, with the great later being killed. All sources agree that in that year Łàcic’élena finally broke the peace with Taos and attacked as far as the city itself. Taos purports that Cínemąxína fell in battle defending his homeland, although no other source mentions the elaborate legend surrounding his battlefield last stand, with most other sources claiming he died in disease while in his capital city. Regardless, after 1310 the city is most effectively viewed as a vassal state of Łocǫ́lhəo.
Taos came to be ruled by T'òyłóna, who was married to Cínemąxína's eldest child, Píanakwíame. Despite later customs, particularly those influenced by European traditions, viewing this shift patrilineally as a change of dynasty, in Cínemąxína's lifetime his people likely would have been organized into matrilineal clans, with descent matrilineally being more important. As such, T'òyłóna would have been the most logical heir to Cínemąxína, but his legacy is marred by his vassalage to a foreign chief, and by the later events that transpired in the kingdom. According to the Tǫ̂mąłácianą, a recount of the Tǫ̂mą War of the 1340s, which was written at least two centuries after Cínemąxína's death, Cínemąxína's heir would have been his second child Cíło'ȕ. This is attributed to a cultural shift in the region, especially after European contact, in which heritage was viewed more patrilineally. Additionally, in the context of the Tǫ̂mą War (literally “Father War”), Cíło'ȕ's designation is seen in order to form the reasoning of the later conflict. Despite these later claims to explain why T'òyłóna’s line was usurped, this would not have been viewed as factual at the time of his ascension.
Early Hų́łothə́na Wars
The past few decades in the region saw the beginning of early, formative wars in the history of the Puebloans, but the first major war would not formally emerge until around 1320, with the beginning of the Hų́łothə́na Wars. The conflict would consist of a decades long struggle between the Puebloans and the Hohokam, as well as various other nations, that would not reach a high point until the later half of the century. By the beginning of the conflict, the Puebloans had effectively colonized across a vast region, spurred on by the initial disastrous great drought and its migratory effects. The northern stretch of the Paslápaane (Rio Grande) had come under the sway of the city of Taos, while south of Ohkay Owingeh a series of dozens of settlements emerged, with settlers from Chaco and Łocǫ́lhəo primarily. Influential cities south of Ohkay Owingeh would include Cǫ́lʼoma, Kotyit, and Nafiat, but known so important as the city of Thǫ́ne (Albuquerque), which was definitively settled by 1315.
West of the three cities of Taos, Chaco, and Łocǫ́lhəo, and their various domains, resided various other Puebloan city states, such as Oraibi and Talastima, with their territory stretching west past the ʼHakhwata River (Colorado). In the southwest this rapid migration had led to conflict with numerous other cultures that already resided in the path of the Puebloans. The territory of the Puebloans roughly terminated south of the city of Wupatki, where it met the border of the North Sinagua, who ruled settlements such as Pasiwvi and Wupatupqa. Southwest of them resided the South , who controlled ‘Haktlakva and the infamous fortress of Kánałó. The largest nation southwest of the Puebloans would be the Hohokam, who stretched as far north as the Paayu (Little Colorado River) in the north to the great city of Siwañ Wa'a Ki in the south.
A complex series of fortresses began to be constructed by local powers, in an effort to deter migrations and raids, which became known as the hų́łothə́na. At their largest, these structures would become immense cities of their own, built into cliffs and canyons, and becoming the nexus of local feudal empires. The first known hų́łothə́na to emerge is Kánałó, built around 1300, but by 1320 the number of such fortifications increased dramatically, changing greatly in style based on the local resources and terrain available. The hų́łothə́na would primarily be concentrated around the Valley of the Sun, and extending north toward the edges of the Hohokam domain, with the largest concentrations being around fertile regions contested by both parties simultaneously.
Chronicles from Taos mention that in the early 1320s a proxy war emerged in the Middle Land, as the Zuni leadership became increasingly persuaded to align with the northern Puebloans. As the confluence of the Puebloans, Hohokam, and Mogollon, the region was increasingly diverse, with each side managing to attract settlers to take up arms in raids against the others. In the east the settlement of Abó, located south of Thǫ́ne, came to mark the southeast edge the Puebloans’ colonization, while in the southwest they became halted at the Paayu. After several initial years of light fighting, the Hohokam secured the river with the founding of the Petrified House, which became an infamous hų́łothə́na in the north. According to the Puebloans, it was there that the Hohokam took victims to be tortured and eaten, and it became a dark fortress marking the end of friendly territory.
About two years later, in 1325, the Puebloans countered with the founding of Homolovi, a fort that later developed into a non-fortified town, located due west of the Petrified House, on the southern bank of the Paayu. During this initial phase of the war, in which battles were fewer and in smaller scale compared to the later events of the war, the stretch of river between these fortresses would become a constant sight for skirmishes and raids. The Petrified House remained in operation, with close support from the nearby Hohokam town of Tjukşp 'o to the south, while also trading with Mogollon towns to the southeast, which were largely connected to the site by river. Meanwhile, the Puebloans relied on supply from Wupatki, which was far less secure, due to the river being often times captured by the Sinagua nations.
The Tǫ̂mą War effectively united Taos under the sway of Chaco, bringing together much of the Puebloan world under one city, and this was further expanded in 1360, through a union with Łocǫ́lhəo. The union is believed to have been motivated by the rapid mobilization of the Hohokam people in the south, who brought upon renewed hostility against the Puebloans.
Late Hų́łothə́na Wars
The Puebloans had initially been successful in the intermittent skirmishes with the Hohokam and others, as they pushed further south and founded new colonies. Despite the high cost of supporting settlements such as Homolovi, which sat in the vicinity of Hohokam settlements and hų́łothə́na, the Hohokam were initially unable to fully dislodge the Puebloan settlers of the Paayu. In 1340 a Puebloan contingent marched south from the town and successfully sacked the city of Tjukşp 'o, which shocked the southern nations of the region. Fearing the combined strength of the Puebloans should they invade formally, especially with the Tǫ̂mą War ongoing and seemingly concluding in favor of further unification, the Hohokam were motivated to centralize as well, and prepare to strike back against the invaders.
The O'odham nation was born under the leadership of Kovnal (Chief) Hidoḑmakai, who ruled from the city of Siwañ Wa'a Ki, and a religious figure known as Hidoḑpionag, meaning “The Burnt Priest”. He immediately struck back against the Puebloans, retaking Tjukşp 'o, consolidating the Petrified House, and sacking Homolovi. Hidoḑmakai’s initial war was short lasting, as he did not pursue the Pueblians much farther, after expelling them from the Paayu. He would fight numerous battles in the Middle Lands as well, where raider companies made their mark in the service of either side, despite the Zuni of Shiwinna eventually becoming formally neutral in the conflict.
After warfare continued to ramp up in the late 1350s, the Łocǫ́lhəo Union and the creation of the Póyuopǫ̏'óne (“Three Nations”) formally began another major phase in the Hų́łothə́na Wars. This newfound union would be tested in 1360, when it launched a full scale invasion into the Valley of the Sun. The Puebloan army would come to the outskirts of Siwañ Wa'a Ki, near the confluence of the Keli Akimel (Gila River) and the Onk Akimel (Salt River). The Puebloan leader, Cǫ́ltòbúna, ordered the construction of a hų́łothə́na, which would one day become the great city of Cíwena (Phoenix), in order to strike at the capital city in due time. His vision would not come to fruition, as the Puebloans were defeated in a major battle between the two encampments, which pushed the Puebloans away from the city for the time being. For the next five years the Puebloans or their allies continued to hold Cíwena, although with heavy losses. The O’odham would build another notable hų́łothə́na north of Cíwena at Celşaḑmi:sa, which further put pressure on the Puebloans.
Cíwena’s government would often flip allegiances, depending on which local chieftain manages to seize control during a Puebloan withdraw. As a result, initially the city was not formally destroyed by the O’odham. This would change in 1366, when Hidoḑmakai launched an attack against the city proper, known as the First Battle of Cíwena. The attack failed, and the fledgeling settlement pledged allegiance to Póyuopǫ̏'óne. The following year the O’odham formed an alliance with the Sinagua, who attacked north to great success against local Puebloan colonies. In 1369 Hidoḑmakai marched north to join his allies, successfully razing the city of Wupatki and traveling up the Paayu. This forced the creation of a Póyuopǫ̏'óne-Cíwena-Hopi alliance to counter his invasion.
The O’odham under Hidoḑmakai advanced as far north as the ‘Hakhwata (Colorado River), inflicting heavy damage to the various cities in his wake. At the city of Ongtupqa (Grand Canyon), he was met by a coalition army under the command of the newly christened Chief of Łùłi'heothə́na (Canyon of the Ancients), which had been recolonized by Łocǫ́lhəo. The resulting battle ended with Hidoḑmakai’s death, breaking the momentum of the northern invasion. He was succeeded by Ciojmaḑgakoḑk, whose ascension was followed by a Puebloan recapturing of the Paayu and the lands up to Cíwena in the following years.
Póyuopǫ̏'óne would form an alliance with the Mogollon, in which they settled their earlier disputes, and the Puebloans ceded most of the border territory seized from the Hohokam to them. As a result the mid 1370s saw the Puebloans and Mogollon seizing northeast O’odham. In the north the Puebloans would achieve victory at Wupatupqa in 1376, but fail to capture Kánałó, while in the south the Second Battle of Cíwena would likewise result in a narrow Póyuopǫ̏'óne victory. Around this time the North Sinagua came to be ruled by Puuhutaaqa, who made peace with the Puebloans, with the South Sinagua then overrun. In 1377 the Sinagua city of Honanki was captured, as was Celşaḑmi:sa after a brief siege.
The following spring Ciojmaḑgakoḑk died near Mogollon lands, leaving a young son named Baikam as ruler. Under the leadership of the regent Hevacuḑ, a ceasefire began known as Hevacuḑ’s Peace. The Puebloans managed to hold onto Cíwena, and now resumed heavy settlement of the region, while the Hohokam looked south toward the coast, settling colonies further outside the reach of the northerners. It was during this time that the great city of Shuhthagi Ki:him would be founded, which would one day become one of the dominant states of the region, as Xacapáy, or the Kingdom of the Delta. Additionally, after the death of Puuhutaaqa, a son born of the Sinagua and the Hopi, Tuukwiʼomaw would unite the region south of the ʼHakhwata, which formed the Yavapai Confederacy. By 1386 the Yavapai had absorbed the last of the Sinagua nations.
In 1387 the peace between the Puebloans and the O’odham finally broke down, beginning the Two Rivers Campaign around Cíwena. The Battle of Keli would solidify Puebloan control over Cíwena, and in 1389 the city of Siwañ Wa'a Ki was besieged. With the city’s fall, the old Hohokam empire ceased to exist, and the Hų́łothə́na Wars finally came to a close. Siwañ Wa'a Ki would not be rebuilt to its former glory for many years to come, allowing Cíwena , and its Puebloan king, to replace it as the dominant power of the south. Baikam of the O’odham would manage to escape the sacking and retreat to the city of Cemamagĭ Doʼag further south, but he never managed to return to his fallen capital. Instead the O’odham trend southward continued, with the nation’s people settling along the far southern coast, or in nearby city states such as Shuhthagi Ki:him.
Early Shoshone Nations
At the time of the rise of the Pueblo Empire in the south, the region of Utah is believed to have been inhabited by a group or multitude of groups nicknamed the Fremont Culture, beginning around the turn of the common era. Evidence suggests that the Fremont Culture interacted heavily with the Puebloans to the south, following similar customs as their southern neighbors. Similarly to the southerners, by the end of the thirteenth century the Fremont peoples were most likely also suffering major societal upheaval, as the great drought caused problems for them. As a result, the old Fremont Culture is most often dated as ending around the year 1300, having radically changed and/or having been supplanted by new peoples.
There is little evidence to suggestion that the Fremont Peoples constituted one group with a unified language, ancestry, or religion, as evidenced by the many varying customs of their closest relatives, the Puebloans. Although there is much uncertainty about the early history of the group, what is known is that they they shared some key aspects, such as their farming of corn and hunting of wild animals to sustain themselves, however, differing groups likely augmented this with other methods of subsistence strategy. Based on archaeological evidence, the Fremont Peoples often ate hunted animals such as deer and rabbit, corn, and other edible plants. They also employed the use of pottery and basketry, and created numerous examples of rock art across their large territory. Fremont villages often consisted of several dozen pithouse structures, which were divided into homes of family units. Their housing seems to have been inspired by techniques employed by the Puebloans, leading some to theorize that the Fremont may have been a splinter group that broke off from the Puebloans to travel north, although this is not universally agreed upon. As one archaeologist points out, the Fremont people took after the Great Basin ancestors that proceeded them, in that they wore moccasins rather than Puebloan sandals.
After around the year 950, the Fremont peoples primarily moved toward the northwest, where the terrain was at the time more marsh-like. By the thirteenth century they appear to have improved their communication and trade with southern peoples, leading to greater integration of Puebloan style towns and culture. Climate change leading to unrest was further exacerbated at this time by the arrival of Numic-speaking peoples, likely from the west. It is thought that the Fremont Peoples were not simply done away with, but rather that the Numic peoples perhaps conquered and integrated into the local societies of the region. Early Puebloan sources, although focusing on the events occurring in the south, make reference to the migration in the north, describing how "hûthoną" (northerners) pushed through the region and even raided as far south as their own lands.
Evidences suggests that the Fremont likely were more warlike than their southern neighbors, as evidenced by the earliest examples of widespread bow and arrow use being discovered in Fremont lands, and then only later having arrived in the Pueblo Empire through contact with them. This is corroborated by the Shoshone's own sources, such as the semi-legendary account of the peoples' founding, commissioned centuries later, in which the Shoshone are described as conquering the region against a hostile people. According to this account, the Shoshone discovered cities such as Xópi (Zion) and Pi'a-pa (Salt Lake City) to have already existed, although they would not have been called by these names yet. Due to the social upheaval occurring among the Fremont, there had developed many independent cities across the region, which the migrating Shoshone people were able to exploit.
The modern Shoshone Empire is believed to have been formed as a synthesis of both the Fremont and the migrating Numic peoples, and as such it is likely that the Shoshone purposely adopted many of the local peoples' customs to better assimilate into the region. Whereas before 1300 the Shoshone inhabited dwelling made of grass, after this time those inhabiting the Utah region began to employ a hybrid of old stylings with Pueblo-style homes. By the early fourteenth century there is evidence that the region employed similar irrigation techniques as the Puebloans to the south to maintain several key, densely populated areas, by overall the region's population remained heavily spread out, partially nomadic in some areas, and less populous overall than their southern neighbors.
Several smaller city states of tribes emerged over the course of the century. Despite local differences, several major, rough divisions emerged: in the south the Southern Paiute cities inhabited the region from the Puebloan border near the ‘Hakhwata (Colorado River) and Ongtupqa (Grand Canyon), the Ute inhabited the lands east of the Paiute and north of the border with Taos, and the Shoshone north of these groups, centered around the Great Salt Lake.
During the rise of the Łàcic’élena in Łocǫ́lhəo, and other raiders who followed, the Puebloans and Shoshone often came into conflict with one another. Both Kòki’ínahəo (Crow Canyon) and Łùłi'heothə́na (Canyon of the Ancients) are settlements that are described in Puebloan sources as having been reconquered during this time, implying that the Shoshone had only recently seized these areas from Puebloan peoples. Other nearby locations further north are mentioned as having been attacked, but not successfully captured, which are believed to be the Shoshone cities of Timbteivip (Canyonlands), Oyemposhag (Arches), and Ahbatpo (Grand Junction). In the region closest to Łocǫ́lhəo, the Tabeguache Confederacy would form as one of the earliest and strongest Shoshone states of the time, likely as a direct response to the Puebloans.
The nation’s creation is often dated to the early 1320s, when it is said that a warlord named Ouray successfully brought about its unification. Ouray’s confederacy would consist of his own people, the Weeminuche, and other Shoshonean tribes of the mountainous region, who were joined by their mutual defense against the Puebloans and other foreign groups. Ouray is later said to have been born of a mother from Taos, and he attempted to broker a lasting peace between his nation and the city of Taos. According to the Łácianątə̂otho, a northern king would travel to Taos and meet with the nobility there, and this is often believed to have been Ouray. On returning to the north he imparted numerous Puebloan building techniques upon his nation. Despite the Tabeguache being largely nomadic themselves, they ruled over a diverse number of local peoples and towns, and Ouray oversaw the growth of numerous other permanent settlements, leading to a powerful but highly decentralized collective. The town at the mountain Tavakiev would be selected as the nation’s de jure capital, although Ouray would spend most of his lifetime campaigning or traveling away from the city.
The Yamparka, centered around Ahbatpo, the Yantarii, centered around Timbteivip, and the city state of Oyemposhag all remained independent of the early Tabeguache nation, often times becoming allies or enemies. South of Yantarii and along the ʼHakhwata (Colorado River), the nation of Kaiparowits emerged, with a capital at Kutzkibah. The rulers of Kutzikibah would enjoy several decades of informal control across the river at various points in time, occasionally warring with the Puebloans of the region, but often times peacefully vassalizing them for short periods of time. They would not be soundly pushed across the river until at least 1370, when the Puebloans of the region became more militarized in the wake of the war with the Hohokam of the south.
The center of the Shoshone sphere would come to be dominated by a few, vast kingdoms, which often warred with each other and the smaller city states of the south. The Sevier Desert was dominated by the Kingdom of Pahvant, centered around the city of Pag‘adüt. Inhabiting a highly arid region, the nation would not prosper until the incorporation of southern-style irrigation techniques, which helped to transform their capital from a small outpost to a major city by the end of the fourteenth century. Initially supported through raiding, the nation conquered east toward more mountainous terrain by the 1320s, where it built the city of Wypaa. Additionally, the nation seems to have incorporated the Quiumputs nation of Paunsaugunt to their south peacefully, possibly through a diplomatic marriage. The kingdom would be formally declared in 1331 by the ruler Kanosh. During his lifetime the nation also allied with the Moanunts of Mokitawanih to the east, while warring with the city states of Ankaparia and Suh’dutsing to its south unsuccessfully.
Northwest of the Pahvant were the Kutsipiuti, who controlled numerous towns around the Great Salt Lake, and in the desert to its west up to the mountains. To their east arrose the Timpiavat, who controlled the city of Timpanogas. The Timpiavat thrived as a usually neutral mediator located between the great powers of the Shoshone region, leading to the city of Timpanogas gaining a reputation as a meeting site, both during and after the kingdom’s reign. North of these nations resided the Northern Shoshone, a powerful empire originating from the far north. Originally settlers of the Yam-pah-pa (Snake River), the Shoshone were led by a warlord named Pinaquanah in a conquest of the south, where they came upon the independent towns of the Great Salt Lake.
The Shoshone likely only raided the region initially, causing great strain upon the already declining Fremont culture. By the 1310s Pinaquanah had established towns such as Moson Kahni as bases of operation further south, and by the year 1318, according to a chronicle later compiled by the Timpiavit, he conquered the Shoshonean city of Uintah and subjugated the valley region. The city of Pi’a-pa was conquered two years later and turned into the empire’s capital. Over time the empire would concentrate its population around the Great Salt Lake, adopting Fremont customs into their own. As a result Pi’a-pa was rebuilt on a grand scale, becoming one of the largest cities of all the Shoshonean cities. After the death of Pinaquanah in 1323, the nation began to lose its grip over further reaches of the empire, but this was seemingly allowed or ignored by Pinaquanah’s successors in favor of consolidation in the south. As a result the nation would make the Yam-pah-pa its northern border, ceding land north of it to other Shoshonean groups. In particular the Tukudeka, who were more nomadic and true to the region’s pre-Pinaquanah customs, remained a constant threat to the Northern Shoshone to their northeast.
Age of Shoshonean Cities
By the mid 1300s the Shoshone had consolidated into dozens of nations and city states, largely spurred on by necessity, after hostile confrontations with the Puebloans and other groups. At the same time as the Puebloan confrontations in the south against the Hohokam, the Shoshone engaged in numerous wars themselves. Due to its reputation as a neutral mediator, the nation of Timpiavat accumulated a plethora of local records of the time, leading to the majority of extant documents from this time originating from this region. The city of Timpanogas likely housed the region's first library, along with scholars tasked with transcribing documents into Shoshonean. According to chronicles from the city, after the initial wars with the nation of Łocǫ́lhəo ended in the Puebloan conquest of Kòki’ínahəo (Crow Canyon) and Łùłi'heothə́na (Canyon of the Ancients), and the formation of an alliance against the Puebloans that would later constitute Tabeguache, conflict in the region persisted.
Beginning around 1312, a coalition of mountain Shoshone managed to capture the region between the Tàłułi’ína (San Juan River) and the ʼHakhwata (Colorado River), but disputes arose between the eastern Shoshone and those of Yantarii, who claimed the town of Timbteivip. A crucial battle would occur in the Valley of the Gods, in which Yantarii and Kaiparowits successfully defeated the easterners. A war would also be fought around the same time between the Kaipa'pici and the Xópi, which helped to confirm Xópi's status as a major city in the region. An alliance would be cemented between Xópi and Moapa, as the latter attempted to seize control over an important stretch of the ʼHakhwata. Despite being settled later than other Shoshone states, and encountering higher degrees of hostile from locals, Moapa would eventually emerge as a powerful state in the southwest of the Shoshone region.
Further south of Moapa, the city state of Pah-Rimpi emerged at an important oasis, leading to it becoming an important town southwest of the primary Shoshonean settlements. The Shoshoneans would be unsuccessful in crossing the river in this region, but battled with the local Patayan of the 'Aha Kwahwat for decades, with some foreigners managing to integrate into Patayan society. West of the river the Shoshone were more successful, and on the northwest border of the Patayan the tribe of Nuaguntits was settled. In 1321 a major campaign was launched by the still largely nomadic Nuaguntits, in which northwest Patayan was occupied. This expedition would ultimately fail, with the nation being firmly weakened and relegated westward. South of the Nuaguntits, the nation of Tantáwats was more prosperous, establishing itself as a middleman between the Patayan and the lands to the west, with numerous trade outposts and settlements being established across its territory.
Tantáwats eventually made peace with the Patayan and established a cooperative trade relationship. Weakened by past wars, and with Pah-Rimpi attracting trade away from its borders, the Nuaguntits were eventually conquered by the nation of Taaqtam and its Shoshonean neighbors, with the original nomads of the region integrating into the trans-desert trade of the far south. Likewise, a trade route emerged that ran northeast through the major Shoshonean nations of the southwest, with caravans reaching Moapa, Si'tucagar, Xópi, and Suh'dutsing, and from here east to the other states of the southern rivers, or north through the Pahvant toward the Great Salt Lake. In this region a complex relationship developed between cities such as Xópi, Uinkar, and Si'tucagar, with these three cities often holding brief wars for dominance of the eastern trade routes.
During these wars more nomadic groups often distinguished themselves as mercenaries and deciding factors in war. The Tsouwaraits, northwest of Si'tucagar, managed to thrive off these early wars, despite being low in population and commodities, by carefully picking sides between the stronger city states. In 1369 the balance of power was finally altered, as a Xópi-Moapa-Ankaparia alliance managed to subjugate the Kaipa'pici, before sacking the city of Si'tucagar. This would be largely orchestrated by a warlord named Suwasaavaru of Ankaparia, who transformed his city state to one of the most dominant in the south. In addition to annexing Kaipa'pici, he likewise managed to subjugate the Kaiparowits, who were in decline from Puebloan attacks across the southern river.
The largest wars of the time would often be fought between the Northern Shoshone, Kutsipiuti, and Pahvant, with Timpiavt as a buffer between the three. After the death of Pinaquanah in 1323, his successor Paseego attempted to capture the rest of the Great Salt Lake from the Kutsipiuti, who had begun to inhabit parts of its western bank. This initial war would end inconclusively after three years, with the Kutsipiuti managing to convince Cameahwait, leader of the Shoshonean bands north of Pi’a-pa to raid south against Paseego. Another war broke out in 1342, when the Kutsindüka attacked both the Northern Shoshone and Moanunts, but when Kutsipiuti attempted to take advantage of the situation by attacking the Northern Shoshone, Pahvant declared war on Kutsipiuti. This conflict would be one of the few to force Timpiavat to broke its neutrality, as it defended itself in a battle against Kutsindüka in 1343.
The Northern Shoshone quickly gained the upper hand in the war, pushing back both Kutsindüka and Kutsipiuti, and nearly subjugating the latter in an unequal treaty. This compelled the southern Ute to switch sides in 1345, leading to a war between the Northern Shoshone and a Pahvant-led coalition. The 1348 Treaty of Timpanogas would formally end the Pahvant-Pi'a-pa War, although hostilities resumed between the Northern Shoshone and the Kutsindüka soon after, with the latter often receiving covert aid from its southern neighbors. In 1360 the Northern Shoshone, in conjunction with nations such as Yamparka, managed to fully defeat the Kutsindüka, allowing for the Northern Shoshone to begin their ascension to the dominant power of the region. By this time Suwasaavaru of Ankaparia had ascended to the throne in the south, and in the east Tabeguache had established itself as the dominant power.
The Athabaskan-speaking peoples of North America are believed to have originated in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest, where the Northern Athabaskans continue to live to the present. The Navajo and Apache are Athabaskan-speaking peoples who migrated from this region to the Southwest, beginning after the year 1200. The present day Navajo and Apache began a migration southeast, traveling across the Great Basin through Shoshone lands, likely many successive waves, rather than in one complete journey. The Navajo are often linked to the unnamed raiders who are described by the Shoshone in their early history. According to the Shoshone, a nomadic people emerged from the far north, and fought against the Western Shoshone and Paiute heavily throughout the 1300s.
The first leader of the Navajo mentioned in Shoshone sources by name was Bistłahałání, who in 1345 was contracted by the Paiute city of Moapa to raid against the city state of Suh’dutsing. This would begin a tradition of the Navajo often being contracted by southern Ute cities, leading to them familiarizing themselves with the region, and being further attracted to the south. Numerous Navajo tribes would form in southern Nevada, after successfully subjugating or pushing away Shoshonean tribes already residing in the region. In the 1350s the Navajo successfully conquered the Tsouwaraits and parts of Pah-Rimpi, before leading a successful raid against Moapa in 1353. Another band of Navajo is known to have been led into Ngáchishtemal, successfully raiding Pah-Rimpi in 1357 and conquering the city of Atcamséʼish for a brief period in 1358. It is believed that these raids likely contributed to the rapid decline of Tantáwats to the east.
The first of the so-called Navajo-Shoshone Wars broke out in 1363, when a Navajo chief named K'aayelii declared himself king of all Diné, and led the first organized attack against the city states of the south. The city of Suh’dutsing was likely conquered by this invasion, while the city of Si'tucagar was sacked, allowing for its later conquest by its neighbors years later. K'aayelii would settle his people on the northern banks of the ʼHakhwata (Colorado River), and other Navajo bands soon followed. During this period the Navajo remained decentralized, with territory often being highly disputed. However, almost all of Uainuints south of Si'tucagar became undisputably Navajo, as did Tonaquint.
Great Basin War
The stage would be set for a major across the Shoshonean world, with clear spheres of influences emerging. In 1373 this war finally came, after a rebellion broke out Kutsipiuti against northern influence, and the Pahvant sent aid to the rebellion. The Northern Shoshone, led by Pinaquanah II, now stretched from their original territory at the Yam-pah-pa (Snake River) to the southern reaches of Kutsindüka, and included allies such as Yamparka. They would be met by the Pahvant and their allies Moanunts, Yantarii, and various tribes of the far west, who were largely unified by their conflict against the Navajo. A third alliance existed, spearheaded by Suwasaavaru of Ankaparia, that controlled the region south of Pahvant, watched attentively. Likewise, the Tabeguache and Oyemposhag led a fourth alliance of eastern Shoshone.
The majority of Kutsipiuti was quickly occupied by the Pahvant and western Shoshonean nations, although the northerners retained control over the city of Pa'honopi in the northeast. By the end of the year, however, the Tabeguache attacked the distracted nation of Yamparka, leading to the eastern coalition declaring war on the northern coalition. The Navajo remained a co-belligerent to the Northern Shoshone, on account of their ongoing wars against Pahvant allies in the west. In southern Nevada, the Navajo came under attack from Tümpisa, Pah-Rimpi, Atcamséʼish, and a coalition of desert city states, who had their trade disrupted by the Navajo migration. Likweise, the southern alliance led by Ankaparia began to strategically aid against the Navajo, allowing the alliance to push the the Navajo away from their core cities in the north.
Suwasaavaru would personally lead an army to liberate Suh'dutsing from the Navajo, before turning north and securing a surprise victory against the Pahvant south of Paunsaugunt. Also in early 1374, a Northern Shoshone general named Ohapitesadee was tasked with pacifying the west, and marched with an army first against the Mahaguadüka of northeast Nevada. At the Battle of Toiʼya-bi, Ohapitesadee would achieve a major victory against Pahvant's allies, which caused those in the immediate area to surrender. With the westerners withdrawing, the Northern Shoshone soon retook the western city of Ai'bĭmpa in Kutsipiuti. The Navajo would take advantage of the situation to win a battle in Nevada as well, however, K'aayelii would be killed in battle, leading to the Navajo largely losing their gains in the west.
The success against the Navajo by the traders of the south motivated the creation of a formal alliance. Representatives from Tümpisa, Pah-Rimpi, the Taaqtam capital of Juyubit, the largest merchant companies, and other nomads, mercenaries, and traders, met at a tent city in the west, that had been a popular location for caravans to rest. There they established the Hayikwiir Alliance, and elected a warlord named Nyamasav'iipa as the organization's first overall war-time commander. Their meeting place would eventually evolve into The Hub, one of the largest and most important cities of Ngáchishtemal. At their first campaign against the Navajo, the Hayikwiir responded to a call for aid from the city of Moapa, only to discover that Suwasaavaru of Ankaparia had signed a favorable treaty with the Navajo, and now fought alongside them and Moapa to ambush the Hayikwiir.
The resulting Battle of Moapa ended in a decisive victory for Ankaparia, and the Navajo retook much of their lost territory. In command of a large following of Navajo, Suwasaavaru ordered his son, Mamakonika, to march north around Pahvant territory, to ambush the Pahvant-Western positions Kutsipiuti from behind. After numerous setbacks and skirmishes against the Pahvant along the way, the attack did not go unnoticed as hoped. In early 1375 Mamakonika and the Northern Shoshone assaulted the city of Toi'ba, which was held by the Pahvant, but were unexpectedly defeated by the Pahvant king Moshoquop. Elsewhere, Suwasaavaru directed his attention toward splitting the Pahvant-Eastern alliance in two, by marching against the nations of Moanunts, Yantarii, and Oyemposhag. The Siege of Mokitawanih, in which Suwasaavaru attacked the Moanunts city, resulted in the city's fall to him, however, he withdrew in mid 1375 south to Kaiparowits, where the easterners were raiding his supply lines, with Puebloan aid inadvertently.
Suwasaavaru's campaign in the later half of the year would consist of covert missions across the river, in which he marched through Puebloan territory in an effort to liberate and collect as many Kaiparowits settlers as possible, augmenting his fighting force. Just before the new year he would return to defend Ankaparia itself, where the Tabeguache suffered a defeat. Having caught wind of the Ankaparia efforts against the Moanunts, the Northern Shoshone sent an army to march around Timpiavat territory, hoping to apply pressure against the easterners from two directions. The northerners under the command of Aingabitebui would not arrive in time, instead spending the next two years campaigning across Kutsindüka.
In 1376 Suwasaavaru devised a plan to continue harassing the easterners, while concentrating his main force against the Pahvant, in the hopes of allowing a victory in the north. He successfully sacked the city of Wypaa, which drew out Pahvant forces, and later in the year the Second Battle of Toi'ba ended in a victory for the Northern Shoshone. A ceasefire was called in 1377, negotiated at the Timpiavat city of Timpanogas, in which Kutsipiuti was recognized as belonging to the Northern Shoshone. However, this peace largely ignored the Navajo and the other Athabaskans, who were not viewed as belonging in a Shoshonean treaty. Suwasaavaru ensured that Ankaparia was recognized as the premier state of the south, with most of its neighbors either formally annexed or assumed to be vassals of his.
During the peace, the Navajo effectively switched sides, in an effort to conquer the Ankaparia alliance with Hayikwiir and Pahvant aid. To this end they successfully conquered the city of Moapa by the end of the year, and aided an anti-Ankaparia rebellion in sections of its territory. The King of the Diné, Hastiin Dághaaʼ, successfully defeated Suwasaavaru in battle in the east, but would die in 1378 of disease. Content that the Navajo kingdom was partially splintered, Suwasaavaru made peace with them and recognized the fall of Moapa to them. This angered many of his vassal allies, most notably Xópi, whose leadership considered a split away from Ankaparia hegemony. Suwasaavaru would sponsor a coup in 1378, which led to the city's government being overthrown, effectively allowing the annexation of Suwasaavaru's many dependent vassals. Although achieving his goal of a strong southern kingdom, Suwasaavaru had effectively surrounded himself completely by enemies, with only the Northern Shoshone backing him.
Around this time the issue of the Apache could no longer be ignored by the Shoshone, as numerous groups entered the region from the northwest. Long since divided beforehand, the majority of the Western Apache became temporarily united by a warlord named Alchesay, who fought his way through southern Nevada. Nicknamed the "King Beyond the Walls" by the Hayikwiir, based on his large contingent without a central city to speak of, Alchesay conquered Pah-Rimpi and traveled beyond into Patayan lands. Some ten years later, when the Yavapai Confederacy was declared along the Paayu (Little Colorado River), Alchesay successfully took the throne of that nation for a time, allowing the Apache into Puebloan lands.
A second group, the Héndé, who before Alchesay had perpetually fought with the Western Apache to no avail, invaded east, hoping to break through the Kutsipiuti-Pahvant region. One group, led by the chief Jlin-tay-i-tith, successfully took most of Kutsipiuti and weakened the Pahvant. His declared kingdom stole from both sides of the greater conflict, and both the Northern Shoshone and the Pahvant attempted to tip the scales against the other, with the Apache settlers in between. The Pahvant were the first to make peace with the Héndé in 1378, hoping they could establish a puppet kingdom at the expense of the northerners' territory. Still hoping to preserve peace, a Timpiavat delegate of twenty chiefs attempted to persuade the Apache out of Kutsipiuti. Initially this failed, but having scouted through Timpiavat and beyond, in 1379 the Héndé abandoned the west in favor of the east, and passed through neutral territory to Kutsindüka.
Timpiavat withdrew its attempts to make peace, as its own towns were occasionally looted by the passing Apache, although it attempted to unify both the Pahvant and Northern Shoshone against a common enemy. Instead the Héndé entered Kutsindüka and another proxy war ensued, this time between the northerners and easterners. Ultimately the Héndé would carve out a kingdom of primarily easterner land, which by 1380 bordered Yamparka. With the illusion of peace broken, in late 1379 a coalition of Navajo, Pahvant, Moanunts, Yantarri, and Tabeguache attacked Ankaparia, hoping to eliminate the main ally of the Northern Shoshone. Both the cities of Si'tucagar and Kutzkibah were captured, with Suwasaavaru's defeat seemingly imminent.
The actions of Alchesay inadvertently helped Ankaparia, as although the Western Apache were not friends to either side, they harmed the Navajo more often due to proximity. Taking advantage of “Hevacuḑ's Peace”, which brought about a temporary ceasefire between the Puebloans and O'odham, Suwasaavaru attracted an alliance with the Hopi, convincing them to attack their common enemy, the Mountain Shoshone, who Suwasaavaru had uprooted from Hopi territory years before. Those who were annoyed by the pretext of peace in the south were sent north to fight in the Shoshone war, and veterans of both sides of the conflict were attracted to Ankaparia's side. At the Battle of Sipapu, on the road to Ankaparia itself, the invaders would be narrowly defeated, allowing Suwasaavaru much needed time to prepare.
The Northern Shoshone under Pinaquanah II marched through Kutsindüka and fought the easterners at a decisive battle in spring of 1380, brought the Northern Shoshone to the doorstep of the south. Oyemposhag withdrew its armies to defend the city, while in Yamparka infighting occurred between the original pro-north faction and those installed by Tabeguache. Yamparka would choose the north, after the Battle of Ahbatpo ended in a Tabeguache defeat. Later in the year, despite the western half of his territory being assaulted, Suwasaavaru and the Hopi besieged Timbteivip and took the city, nearly cutting the enemy alliance in two as he had hoped years ago. By 1381 a series of surrenders occurred in the east, as many switched sides to support the Northern Shoshone.
Despite victory seeming imminent for the Northern Shoshone, fortunes changed with two major events. The Haisndayin (Jicarilla Apache) crossed through the northern reaches of the Shoshone world, putting pressure on nations such as Tukudeka. With the Northern Shoshone allowing this to the detriment of its northern neighbors, Tukudeka attacked the Northern Shoshone. The Northern Shoshone were decisively defeated at the Battle of Boa Ogoi, and the city of Moson Kahni was captured soon after. The Haisndayin continued their march east, raiding the Shoshone as they traveled. The second event came in mid 1381, when Suwasaavaru was killed, supposedly in an assassination by a family member that had been disowned early in the war. His son Mamakonika ascended to the throne, but the chaos that occurred caused a breakdown across the kingdom. Within months the cities of Xópi and Suh’dutsing had fallen in the west, and the defense at Timbteivip remained only through the aid of Hopi commanders.
Nonetheless, Pinaquanah II coordinated costly attacks against the Eastern Apache, and in late 1381 managed to repulse a Tukudeka invasion into his core territory. In 1382, having captured or subdued the eastern stretches of the North Shoshone domain, the Haisndayin continued on into Tabeguache lands, effectively moving on to harming the other side of the conflict as well. At the end of that year, another Apache band, known as the Shis-Inday, were successfully negotiated with by Pinaquanah II, and they were directed against south into Puebloan lands with little hassle to the Shoshone. In the meantime, Ankaparia finally fell in 1382, and the Northern Shoshone lost their main ally. The Navajo took for themselves the western half of the nation, while the Pahvant took the north, and this quickly led to animosity between the former allies. The east of the nation, the city of Timbteivip held out, and the commander in charge of the remaining Hopi-Ankaparia forces, a mercenary named Lomayumtewa, declared a new Hopi-ruled kingdom centered around the city, which he called Tə́ʼupǫ̏’óna.
In 1383 Lomayumtewa took advantage of the Apache invasion in Tabeguache to attack and seize the city of Oyemposhag. He would be aided by the dispossessed Ankaparia king, Mamakonika, who would continue harassing the conquerors of his realm for some time. Pinaquanah II would continue to fight both the Pahvant and the Tukudeka, only forming an uneasy peace with the latter in 1384. In that year he returned to Pahvant proper and marched against the enemy capital. With Pahvant's major allies now occupied by other invasions, the campaign was largely successful. The city of Pag‘adüt fell at the start of 1385, while the following year Tə́ʼupǫ̏’óna captured the city of Mokitawanih, albeit with Mamakonika being killed in the process. With the last Pahvant strongholds falling that year, a ceasefire was finally arranged.
Negotiations in Timpanogas solidified victory for the Northern Shoshone, and their conquests were recognized by the defeated parties. In the south, where war had broken out between the Navajo, Apache, and Hayikwiir, the enemies of the Shoshone were largely left to their own devices. Ankaparia remained in enemy hands, although the Kingdom of Tə́ʼupǫ̏’óna was recognized, leading to a new ally in the region for the Northern Shoshone. In the east the Apache largely spelled the end for the Tabeguache Confederacy, before continuing on to invade the Pueblo Empire and beyond further south.
Creation of the Shoshone Empire
The victory of the Northern Shoshone against the Pahvant, and their other adversaries in the south, established the Northern Shoshone as the dominant power in the region, with the nation continuing to quickly expand in the coming years. The nation of Tə́ʼupǫ̏’óna effectively acted as a Shoshonean puppet, propped up by frequent aid from Pi'a-pa in the coming years, as Lomayumtewa expanding the kingdom to include much of Moanunts. There is evidence of frequent rebellion in the region, which would be narrowly crushed during Lomayumtewa's lifetime, leading to the southeast region of the Shoshone largely stagnating. At the same time, Pinaquanah II would spend the next several years rebuilding his territory and integrating the region under the hegemony of Pi'a-pa. A Puebloan-style road would be built running north to south along the eastern side of the Great Salt Lake, in the style of the Puebloans to the south. Pinaquanah would also commission similar projects to connect Pi'a-pa to Pa'honopi in 1389, a road running through Pahvant in 1392, and a road from Pi'a-pa to Timpanogas in 1394.
In 1393 Pinaquanah II would also lead a military expedition to the north, hoping to finally drive out the Tukudeka and other northerners, who had crossed over into his territory during the later phase of the war. A second battle at Boa Ogoi would result in a Northern Shoshone victory, and he spent a year campaigning in Tukudeka to some success, despite suffering a high number of casualties in the region's mountainous terrain. After the Tukudeka swore to pay tribute to him, he left content and weathered at Moson Kahni, before launching a similar excursion over the Yam-pah-pa (Snake River) in the spring of 1394. A wooden bridge would be constructed by the king to aid in the crossing, shocking the locals of the north. After several minor battles, all the Shoshonean tribes of the north were nominally annexed to the nation, although they remained largely autonomous, and this relationship would temporarily lapse after Pinaquanah II's death.
In the south the Navajo and Apache continued to grow unopposed from Pi'a-pa, leading to conflict with many surrounding city states. Alchesay's kingdom around Pah-Rimpi successfully invaded the newly formed Patayan Confederacy, leading to a period of Apache dominance in the region. A new leader named Hoskininni ascended to the throne of the Diné, with an empire now stretching from Kutzkibah to Moapa. In 1396 Pinaquanah II set his sights to this region once more, first spending much of the year in the cities of Pahvant. Here he arranged marriages of the Ute and Shoshone nobility, and attempted to merge their various customs. A large portion of his people would settle the region, while others from the south migrated to the growing capital in the north. A call was raised among the Pahvant to push back the Navajo once more, from both sides of the Pahvant nobility, as many sought to use the Northern Shoshone to expand their own territory, while others hoped a conflict might weaken their overlords. Regardless, Pinaquanah II began planning a military campaign, but fell ill before his plans could come to fruition. At the end of 1396 Pinaquanah II died, leaving his son Washakie to succeed him.
The young prince, who had served as a military commander during his father's wars, rushed to the capital to be crowned. Across the nation rebellions soon struck that would threaten the empire established by his father, forcing him to act quickly. As the late king died while in Pahvant lands, the region rose up in rebellion, although members of the late king's entourage and their forces managed to stall the situation. In January 1397 Washakie arrived in Toi'ba with a small force, having received word that enemy forces were being raised in Pag‘adüt. He would detach his army and supplies and travel with only a band of his quickest runners, catching the enemy off guard. Shocked by his quick arrival, the city soon surrendered to the king, and the rebel army being raised was forced to regroup to the south. At the end of the month the king and his army met a second rebel army east of Ai'bĭmpa and defeated them in battle, confirming the subjugation of Kutsipiuti.
Southern Pahvant was raided by the Navajo, who took the city of Paunsaugunt around the same time. The nation of Tə́ʼupǫ̏’óna pledged to aid the new king, but took both Navajo and Pahvant lands alike whenever available. A decisive battle would eventually come in the center of Pahvant, in which Washakie was able to defeat the rebels. The rebellion's base of operations, a town in the center of the nation, would be razed completely by the king, with its name and history erased from records. Fearing the wrath of the emperor, and also fearing attack from the Navajo, the rest of the region soon surrendered. In March the Battle of Paunsaugunt would be fought, in which the Navajo were repulsed and a truce was signed with them. This was to allow the king the ability to focus on the north for the time being, where there was also rebellion.
Washakie would travel west of the Great Salt Lake, managing to persuade numerous tribes to back down. Upon reaching the Yam-pah-pa (Snake River), he launched a full invasion of the northerners, which a high degree of brutality against them for their insurrection. Numerous prisoners would be taken and brought to the south, with many local towns razed. The primary tribe responsible would be destroyed, with other tribes promoted to replace them. Seeing this, the Tukudeka withdrew from rebellion, offering the king double the amount of tribute and prisoners typically taken. With the rebellion in the north crushed, Washakie marched south, but augmented his army by ordering the Tukudeka and other northerners to give him their able-bodied men. This had an effect of preventing them from rebellion while he was away as well.
He continued into Kutsindüka in 1399, stopping at the city of Ahbatpo, which had remained loyal. He would campaign against both the Tabeguache and the Apache, successfully taking Tavakiev at the end of the year. The region would be split into two autonomous governorships, roughly split between north and south, with the nobility of Ahbatpo making up the region's highest positions. While in Tabeguache, Washakie's ally Lomayumtewa had died, leading to civil war in Tə́ʼupǫ̏’óna. In a move to endear himself to the eastern Shoshone, and in response to Tə́ʼupǫ̏’óna's earlier acts against the Shoshone, Washakie invaded in 1400, quickly annexing the nation. He would be welcomed by most of the nation's inhabitants, as the region was largely Shoshonean but under Puebloan occupation. Now in command of the majority of the Shoshonean world, Washakie marched to the city of Timpanogas. The nation of Timpiavat was now completely surrounded, and in exchange for the ability to retain their autonomy and neutrality, they surrendered to the king. While in Timpanogas, Washakie would declare his domain the Shoshone Empire, and would be crowned in a new ceremony. Here he would make a famous pledge to unite the Great Basin, setting off with an army made up from across his vast domain.
Development of a Western Empire
In 1400 the newly crowned Emperor of the Shoshone, Washakie, set out to the south, intending to subdue the Navajo. Led by the king Hoskininni, the Navajo had raided against the Shoshone and greatly expanded their kingdom, and after the Great Basin War had established domain over important southern cities, such as Ankaparia, Xópi, and Moapa. Washakie first arrived at Suh’dutsing, and the city quickly rebelled in his favor. He sought to quickly march on Xópi, where it was expected the Navajo would likewise being quickly ousted. When Hoskininni learned of this, he ordered the city abandoned so that they could meet up with the main northern force in Ankaparia, forcing Washakie to turn there first. Likely overconfident after easily besting the Ute some time ago, the Navajo commander in the city marched out to meet the Shoshone, but was killed in battle, and his army defeated.
Soon after, at the Battle of Si'tucagar, Hoskininni himself would be directly defeated, leading to the end of his kingdom. With most of the north of the nation already seceding to join the Shoshone, Washakie placed the southern half of the nation, where Navajo settlement was strongest, under the rule of Hoskininni's brother-in-law as a protectorate. Just as he did previously, he recruited heavily from the Shoshone to augment his army, and from the Navajo demanded most of the able-bodied men to join him, in addition to sending prisoners and tribute to the north. He would spend the rest of 1400 and 1401 in the region, ensuring that his will was carried out over the once independent-minded cities of the south.
Late Puebloan Classical Period
In the aftermath of the Hų́łothə́na Wars, the Puebloans had established themselves as the dominant power of the southwest, with the Hohokam people in full retreat. The nation of Póyuopǫ̏'óne (the Three Nations) was the preeminent power among the Pueblo, with the war having strengthened their influence over other Puebloan city states. The first widely recognized king of Cíwena was Cìbikína, who according to legend was a soldier in the army of Cǫ́ltòbúna, whose outstanding bravery and feats of strength during the defense of the early city elevated him to the position of its leader. Wǫ́nemąxína of Łocǫ́lhəo would marry into the newly established throne of Cíwena, ensuring peaceful relations between the two powers for the foreseeable future. Cǫ́ltòbúna's sister, Łosȕléna, had been wed to Cìbikína, while his brother, Totą̀tə̀’na, had been wed to Wǫ́nemąxína's daughter Phàc'íene.
Now capable of developing his nation in matters other than war, Cìbikína proved a capable administrator. His capital settlement quickly grew into a major city, due to its strategic location, attracting Puebloan colonists and O'odham refugees alike. It's location along the river Keli connected it to the Aha Kwahwat in the west, allowing the Patayan nations and beyond to reach Cíwena by boat, and continue on to the Mogollon cities in the east, while the Haka'he:la River (Verde River) allowed passage to the city from the Yavapai in the north. This influx of new ideas allowed the city to be rebuilt in a grand scale, with Puebloan style architecture allowing for dense city center. Early chronicles show that Cìbikína took inspiration from the ancient city of Snaketown, seeking to elevate the new city to overtake the ruins of the once great city.
The most important aspect of the city's growth would be its water supply, brought by the many rivers and irrigation systems constructed by the Hohokam. Cìbikína would undertake a vast rebuilding and expansion project, creating a city interlaced with canals, which traveled out into the countryside for neighboring farmland. A decree discovered from around the 1390s showed that Cìbikína gave first pick of land to families that constructed canals. Whoever undertook this offer was allowed to own the section of land they claimed, while the canal and any water supply was to be jointly owned by the community. Dams were also constructed to better control water supply, with any excess being diverted to Puebloan style cisterns or reservoirs. In the center of the city was placed several Mesoamerican-style ballcourts, where major sporting events were held, as well as O'odham style dance floors used for celebrations and ceremonies. A Puebloan temple would mark the city center, which connected to a northern highway.
Starting around the year 1382, when the Northern Shoshone allowed the Shis-Inday tribe to pass into Puebloan lands, the Apache became a frequent problem for the Puebloans. That initial invasion damaged the city of Taos, stalling the conclusion of the Hų́łothə́na Wars, and allowing many Apache to settle the lands north of the city. Towns such as P’ókána were seemingly conquered, with a rough territory being carved out in the northeast corner of the nation, running from the edge of Taos into eastern Tabeguache. In 1385 the Haisndayin pushed the Shis-Inday southward, beginning a major invasion of the Puebloans. The major settlements would prove to be difficult to seize, but smaller towns between Ohkay Owingeh and Thǫ́ne were sacked, as was the town of Abó further south, and the towns of the P'aeyok'ona River were conquered. Preoccupied elsewhere, the Puebloans paid the Apache a large amount of tribute and ceded half of Taos' territory to them.
The Shis-Inday would launch a war against the Mogollon, eventually coming to rule the region from southern Taos to the banks of the Paslápaane. It would not be until 1390 that the Pueblo were able to strike back against the Apache, with Cǫ́ltòbúna launching an invasion of the Haisndayin. Their war would last for the next several years, with the Puebloans manage to retake most of the Taos region, but accepting that the Haisndayin would rule the northeast edge of their former territory. The mountains east of the Paslápaane effectively became the new border, leaving the P'aeyok'ona settlements definitively under Apache control. The city of Abó would be conquered by the Puebloans around the year 1396, but they did not pursue the Apache south toward the former Mogollon territory they now occupied.
Cǫ́ltòbúna would spend the rest of his reign in relative peace, although in the early 1400s he is known to have undertaken a campaign to unite the lower Paslápaane (Rio Grande) settlements with Taos. As most of these settlements were colonized by his people, many of them peacefully united with the Three Nations in the north. For the most part these settlements would continue to be largely autonomous as they had been before hand, with strong ties to Taos, Chaco, and Łocǫ́lhəo. A mutual fear of the Apache also motivated many of these settlements to accept the rule of the Three Nations. By 1410 only Thǫ́ne remained as a truly independent city state, and the city took up arms against Taos to protect against its growing influence. Seeking peace, Cǫ́ltòbúna negotiated the following year, eventually leading to an agreement in which Thǫ́ne was annexed. However, the city would remain autonomous and preeminent over the other southern settlements. In practice this led to Thǫ́ne essentially being the capital of a southern province, controlling everything south of Ohkay Owingeh. As a result, later governors in Thǫ́ne would nickname their city the "Fourth Nation".
Cǫ́ltòbúna is believed to have died in that same year, leading to a question of succession. The late king had preferred that his eldest son, Wǫ́nemąxína, succeed him as king of all three cities, further uniting the Three Nations in a continued personal union. Instead, at the time of his father's death Wǫ́nemąxína was in the east, due to his involvement in the war with Thǫ́ne. He marched on Taos first, where he was accepted as the city's king, however, there he received word that his sister, Yíakwóna, had crowned her husband Cìacǫ́lsə́on as king of Łocǫ́lhəo. In Chaco a noble named Íałoną was appointed king, whose father, Cìyúna, had died fighting in the Hų́łothə́na Wars, and whose grandfather, Muuyawmoʼa was the first ruler of a unified Chaco.
Although considering warfare to reunite the nation under him solely, Wǫ́nemąxína attempted a peaceful option, and requested a meeting between all three parties in Ohkay Owingeh. Despite this, an initial battle took place east of Łocǫ́lhəo, as supporters of Wǫ́nemąxína attempted to win him back that city. Although in possession of much of the nation's army, allowing him the upper hand in negotiations, an alliance between Chaco and Łocǫ́lhəo compelled Wǫ́nemąxína to not fight further. At the negotiations in Ohkay Owingeh it was confirmed that the three cities would be ruled by their perspective three rulers, but the union of the three cities would continue to exist.
It is said that news of the imperial being’s death traveled to the south on the backs of trade caravans and in the hulls of creaking Coastcutters, before making its way into the dunes of the Ngáchishtemal. In the land between the walls of Yaa (Los Angeles) and the 'Aha Kwahwat (Lower Colorado River), the eastern trade routes passed through the Maarrenga Valley and into the lands of the Lord of Humwichawa (Joshua Tree), whose hub was the shining jewel of the sandlands. His empire dominated the great Pal Heluwut (Cahuilla Lake), whose canals supplied the valleys and the trails, making him the premier Watergarch in personal wealth, and a careful emissary in matters of religion.
All along the longwalk east and west, Humwichawa-branded Burned Men carried gifts of íngill and tesnekgawic (salt and gold), tattooed with messages across their bodies. Scorched for generations, the miraculous Pal Heluwut had begun to diminish in size just as the region had fallen under the sway of ʔívil̃uqaletem (Cahuilla), and after a century of such rule, the center of the kingdom’s population had shifted westward. Humwichawa remained a lasting eastern bastion still, with ambitions toward the great river. But to those across the sands, the decrepit Pàlocrats and desert people paled in comparison to their own kingdom; the Great Delta, centered at Shuhthagi Ki:him.
Where the great river drained into the sea below, the Kingdom of the Delta had emerged as a colossal figure in the region. Descended from the Patayan Confederacy, which controlled the upper river in the north, the Delta People, had emerged only a century prior, as the Anaasází (Ancestral Puebloans) were rising and falling in the east. By this time the Delta had built a colossal city to rival even Siwañ Waʼa Ki or Oraibi, becoming rich from the politics of the Southwest. A city of reeds had been transformed to a city of stone, with bejeweled, sloping walls, and expansive floating farms. The city marked its wealth with colorful fauna and grandiose gardens, which boasted its abundance of precious water to the desert dwellers of beyond.
The trade routes of ʔívil̃uqaletem terminated at the garden city, but from there many walked the path east across the deserts and plains, speaking the sign language of travelers. The Delta tolerated those around them, as even the fastest ships could not make their way around the peninsula quicker than they could transport goods across the desert. In the court of Humwichawa there was employed a high minister to oversee these affairs, and to serve as an ambassador to the Delta and other neighbors, named Alijivit of Jajamovit. Alijivit was born a Tongva outsider, becoming a mercenary leader in the Puebloan wars, and then a merchant across Ngáchishtemal. When the Emperor in the west died, according to legend, Alijivit led a group of hundreds of slaves and dissidents, marching upon his homeland. By some accounts Alijivit arrived at the head of an invading army, having seemingly betrayed his old homeland, but others say that he marched on the city after he heard the news about the Emperor, and took a band of rebels who rose up to follow him over their lord.
In any case, the city bowed to Alijivit, who wed an influential medicine woman named Toypurina soon after. The ancient city was the site of the legendary hero Chinigchinix, who became the chief deity in a six god pantheon for the region long before the present, and so held immense power in the rest of the region. Soon after his return to his homeland, his former masters, Lord Humwichawa and the King of ʔívil̃uqaletem, are said to have invaded Alijivit’s domain, as they grew upset over his refusal to honor their control over Tongva’s trade. To the surprise of the invaders, Alijivit’s knowledge of the region and his strong alliances allowed him to achieve victory, and within years of that initial victory the balance of power would be shifted in the opposite direction. Elsewhere, a new Emperor would be elected later that year, but he would die only eighteen months later, which led to a highly contested and prolonged election. The domination by the Dynasty of Yelamu (San Francisco) had come to an end, with numerous other claimants being proposed over the reigning Yelamu in Ompuromo. Although the Elector of Mutsun remained loyal, the influential Elector of Miwok, Lord Cosomne, spearheaded a Miwok faction at the imperial election, while a northern faction led by Klamath developed as well. In the center of the empire war would break out, eventually drawing in states from across the region. It was under these circumstances that Alijivit of Tongva joined the war later on, successfully saving the anti-Miwok coalition at the Battle of Quiroste. For this feat, the unsuspecting minor lord was elected emperor, although he was not crowned.
After the Battle of Quiroste and his nominal election as Emperor in the West, Alijivit continued from the Ramaytush region into Miwok. Despite proclaiming him leader, very few nobles trusted him with their own forces, and the Tongva army remained far smaller than those of its allies. Despite this, the Tongva army would achieve a second, smaller victory in Karkin soon after, which decisively pushed the war north of the bay. Soon after (late 1395), Alijivit would be pulled back toward the south, arriving the following spring, as news reached the emperor of an invasion by a southern coalition against Tongva proper. In response to the embarrassment inflicted upon him by Alijivit earlier in the emperor’s career, Lord Humwichawa organized the largest army the region had ever seen in order to strike at the distracted emperor. The ruler of ʔívil̃uqaletem had died of old age soon after his anticlimactic venture with Humwichawa years earlier, and with the disaster looming over the kingdom, Humwichawa forced his way to the throne over the previous king’s young son. In conjunction, an army was raised of mercenaries and sympathizers from the eastern trade routes. A small number came from the Kingdom of the Delta and the Patayan Confederacy, while most arrived from the trade routes in between, who sought to squash the independent minded Tongva, restoring southern control over trade in and out of the empire. Alijivit framed his defense as a defense of the empire as a whole, attracting some support from other local, newly inspired neighbors. Additionally, he promised the spoils and lands gained from the war to allied Serrano instead, allowing him to gain their loyalty and lose their jealousy toward himself. This gamble would prove successful, as Humwichawa would be killed during the battle by one of his former slaves, collapsing the war front against Tongva.
Conflict of the Pàlocrats
The Great Interregnum (1388-1410) eventually came to a close, after over two decades of internal strife, and a half dozen claimants or elected individuals vying for the imperial throne. The emperor would be Momsam of Nisenan, who was crowned following the death of the last unofficial rulers of the empire. The chaos of the interregnum had led to conflict across the empire, with feuding and violence among lesser lords becoming increasingly common. Likely the threat of a Shoshone invasion finally confined some sense of unity upon the fragmented states of the north, while elsewhere a trend of disconnectedness continued. The state of Tongva, whose claim to fame had been the ruler Alijivit, a brief contender for the imperial throne, largely fell from the spotlight after his death in 1408, with Alijivit’s son Tomasajaquichi ascending to the throne of the region. He would continue his father’s policy of controlling trade across the Ngáchishtemal, as early in his reign he would launch a war against the Payómkawichum, in what would become known as the First Pál War (1412-1418). The instability of the region had led to the rise of dozens of lesser warlords, merchant bands, and smugglers, commanding armies that remained after the fall of Humwichawa. Known as Pàlocrats, these lords often fought amongst themselves, fighting for control over the sparse resources of the region. In particular water was considered the most valuable commodity in the desert, with communities clinging to small lakes and rivers.
The cities of Tongva benefited greatly from the state of affairs, as the individual groups were expected to pay high tariffs while traveling into the empire. Additionally, Tongva gained a reputation as a region of a thousand gods, as the region’s rulers welcomed its multicultural population, and placed a great collection of idols and temples in the region. Fearing divine wrath, those in Tongva acted considerably more civilly than in the desert, and the region became famous for its safety and neutrality in regards to trading. By the time of Tomasajaquichi’s ascension, the region produced a substantial portion of its income from holy pilgrimages and the selling of relics, its high tariffs to traders, and from spending and gifts from dignitaries, who desired a safe meeting place in the south. To the east, ʔívil̃uqaletem remained less tame, as the region descended into dozens of petty lords, both of native and northerner descent. Northwest of the great Pal Heluwut (Cahuilla Lake), where the lands of Humwichawa ended, sat Tongva’s only rival in religious matters; Hatauva, or The Eye of God. Considered one of the holiest sites of the south, the enormous quartz dome and temple complex was said to be the eye of the Taaqtam creator Kruktat. As the shrine was literally in the gaze of a deity, the temple was exceptionally peaceful and influential as well, with a trade city emerging outside the boundaries of the temple. North of Hatauva was The Hub (OTL Barstow), which was one of the epicenters of the Pàlocrats and the merchants of the south, controlling an important crossroads of the empire. A common route would take a longwalker from Shuhthagi Ki:him to Pal Heluwut to Hatauva to The Hub, which were approximately equidistant from each other, and either northwest to the fertile imperial valley, northeast to bustling Grand Canyon metropolis, or southwest back to Tongva.
Tomasajaquichi’s war would be conceived in order to preserve Tongva’s importance along these routes, as to the Payómkawichum had rode Tongva’s coattails during the time of prosperity, and had grown as an alternative to Tongvan cities along the southern coast. Initially Tomasajaquichi overwhelmed the southerners, seizing the capital at Mixéelum Pompáwvo (OTL Escondido) after a year. This would spark alarm in other southern states, such as the Kumeyaay, who was Tongva’s other coastal rival. South of Kumeyaay, the Cochimí were split on the matter, depending on which neighbor was locally prefered, leading to conflict in that region. During the next three years, the First Pál War focused primarily on the southern peninsula (Baja), which would be unique compared to later Pál Wars, with the Tongvans campaigning far to the south from their homeland. After four years (early 1416), the Kingdom of the Delta joined the war against Tongva, collapsing Tongva’s ally, the Taaqtam-ʔívil̃uqaletem puppet regime. It would not be until the Treaty of Tái (Palomar Mountain) that the war concluded. The annexation of Payómkawichum by Tongva would be confirmed, but at great cost to the nation, while its eastern connections were damaged. Almost immediately after the treaty, a smaller proxy war began in the east, over who would come to dominate the northern connection to The Hub, with the Kingdom of the Delta securing numerous vassals in Humwichawa. Tongva would prioritize the middle route to the Kwtsaan lands along the Aha Kwahwat, which terminated at the city of Ku'npa'sa (Blythe).
The nation’s success in the First Pál War would not be a lasting peace in the region. For years it had been custom that the great powers on either end of the desert reap the benefits of trade, but leave the central lands as the land of traders and independent peoples, who facilitated the trade between nation to nation. With the interior land itself being of little value, most nations benefited greatly from leaving it to its own devices. Recent conflicts had shown that this was changing, as the Ngáchishtemal came to be inhabited by a growing population, which began to specialize in other industries. In particular, after centuries of facilitating the gold trade, gold was discovered in Ngáchishtemal itself, with entrepreneurial pàlocrats diversifying into gold and other commodities. Just north of The Hub sat another, older gold producing region, known as Payahǖǖnadǖ (OTL Owens Valley), where gold mines were abundant along the Wakopee River from north to south. The Hub would become partially propped up by the gold trade having to pass through its borders if heading southward, however, this relationship would be damaged by the arrival of the Shoshone, who threatened the region from the east. Fearing the encroaching army from the west, many of the region’s investors looked south. One such leader would be Pahinawa, a Nyyhmy man who had tried to strike it big in the Payahǖǖnadǖ gold fields. Instead he became a mercenary, leading a successful company around the periphery of the Shoshone wars. He would be present at the famed Battle of Ongtupqa, in which the Shoshone came across the great canyon cities of the Patayan and Hopi, and later he would lead soldiers for the Kingdom of the Delta at the conclusion of 1418. Two years later he launched an exodus to the south, and with his experienced mercenary company following him, he managed to capture the Oasis of Mara from the local pàlocrat, loosely uniting the lands of Humwichawa once more.
Gradually the domain of Pahinawa came to extend east to the Aha Kwahwat and as far northeast as the city of ʼAha Kuloh (OTL Needles). Pahinawa took advantage of the region’s wealth, capturing and expanding gold mines and other endeavors. His capital at the oasis was built up considerably with new architecture, dwarfing the old tent city that surrounded it, and to this end he launched raids of his neighbors in order to capture engineers, architects, and artisans. This would not go unnoticed, leading to the Second Pál War in 1423. A coalition was formed, spearheaded by Yuracizhi of the Patayan and the paramounts of the Delta to the south. Around the same time, the Shoshone arrived in the southern region of the empire, and took an interest in propping up Pahinawa’s kingdom to spite their enemy Patayan. At the Battle of Iipa’ahwat a string of early defeats was reversed by Pahinawa and his allies. After this victory, the nation of Tongva entered the war on the side of Pahinawa. The nation would launch an attack on The Hub, hoping to capture the prosperous trade city of the north. Instead the nation would suffer an unexpected defeat, and by that time the war had been ended in the south inconclusively. The Shoshone did not leave the south however, and in late 1424 they launched an invasion westernward. They first came upon the nation of Timbisha and captured the region with a siege at the city of Tümpisa (OTL Death Valley). From there they fell upon the region of Payahǖǖnadǖ, capturing the gold mines that had been the competitor of their ally, and part of the bankroll for their enemies. With his domain now threatened, Emperor Momsam ordered a war to liberate the southeast border of the empire, but he would be primarily answered by southern states such as Tongva, Yokuts, and Taaqtam.
Shoshone Conquests of the South
As conflict in the south escalated, the Shoshone made peace in the north of the western empire. By 1425 they had captured Dá’aw (Tahoe) and the major cities Waashiw, and had advanced far into eastern Modoc, Achumawi, Atsugewi, and Maidu. This war of the northern coalition would end with the Shoshone seizing much of the land around the border, but ultimately not advancing into the empire further. Shielded by the central mountains (Sierra Nevada), the center of the empire remained intact, leaving the south as the Shoshone’s main focus. After the death of the emperor, Cucunuchi III of Yokuts would be elected as emperor, due to his military experience and fervent disdain for the Shoshone, which attracted votes from Miwoks, Klamath, and other electors most affected by the prospect of an invasion. Almost immediately after his election, the emperor expanded the coalition against the Shoshone, primarily attracting southern nation sot his cause. The nation of Tübatulabal fell completely to the Shoshone, putting them on the doorstep of Yokuts. Their armies continued on to the other southern states around Tongva, only halting at the mountains that marked the northern border across much of the nation. Initially The Hub acted as a central point of resistance against the Shoshone, electing a Yokut-Chumash warrior named Yat’eeshanaw Xo’mos, born in a family of wealthy sweat house proprietors, as a leading general.
He arose at a time when Ngáchishtemal had fallen into chaos. It is said that cannibalism was practiced by the most desperate desert dwellers of the south, while others turned to kidnapping and slaving. A common practice arose of raiding the southern peninsula, capturing slaves, and exporting them to the north, with the middleman of the Delta becoming rich off the trade. Warlords would brand and tattoo their people and slaves, training large private armies that walked the southern wastes. One such warlord of the peninsula was Kwanamasuplisával (“Six Skin”), so called for his career as part of six cohorts, before he rebelled against his former captor and established his own slaver company. In 1426 Kwanamasuplisával daringly began to raid northward, skirting along the warzone with the Shoshone. He followed the path of exiles and refugees, finding the towns that remained and forcing them to submit to his rule. By the end of the year he accepted a contract with the Shoshone directly, in which he was traded supplies and men in exchange for his experienced scouts, intelligence, and tribute. The warlord would accomplish what the Shoshone had failed to do earlier, when he turned east and crossed the 'Aha Kwahwat to invade the Patayan. Plagued by internal strife at the time of his invasion, the Patayan were unable to mount a proper defense, and were defeated near the city of Huwaalyapay Nyava. After forming an unofficial peace with the easterners, Kwanamasuplisával made this city his capital, demanding that those who sought refuge from the Shoshone pay him tribute. Around the same time, the Shoshone continued into the central valley to the west, winning a decisive victory at the Battle of Baana’an'hiy', against the Yokut, Chumash, Tongvans, and others.
In early 1427 Kwanamasuplisával’s ambitions caused him to turn on his former supporters, and he formed an unholy alliance with Yat’eeshanaw Xo’mos and one of the other dominant lords of Ngáchishtemal, Pahinawa. Their triumvirate would reverse the poor fortunes of the war, as that spring a Shoshone army would be defeated at the Battle of Atcamséʼish. The death of the Shoshone emperor, Wirasuap, occurred soon after, which caused a lull in the Shoshone war effort. A temporary peace ensued, as the majority of the nation’s armies returned north. The rise of Cameahwait as emperor renewed hostilities, as he personally led an army to crush Yokut in battle. The triumvirate would be instrumental in dislodging the Shoshone from taking the valley, while aided by Tomasajaquichi IV of Tongva, and other local rulers. North of Wa'aach, another battle would see an army under Kwanamasuplisával and the Tongvan general Lord Isanthcogna successful, however, Kwanamasuplisával would be killed while leading a charge against the attackers. In early 1428 the Shoshone managed to isolate The Hub and surround it, with Yat’eeshanaw Xo’mos only narrowly escaping from the city into the south. He would be disgraced by his former army, and after a brief siege The Hub surrendered. Although partially destroyed, the Shoshone would later declare the city their local capital in the region, and the former epicenter of the anti-Shoshone alliance became a Shoshone headquarters.
Yat’eeshanaw would go on to become a minor lord in the far south, eventually turning to slaving and other ways to make a living. After a year in the wilderness, he would manage to talk his way into the Kingdom of the Delta, where he was employed in the court as their desert advisor. The states from Tongva to Salinan effectively became tributary states of the Shoshone, who focused their efforts on an ill-fated attempt to pacify up to the Delta, and other wars in the far north. During the next five years the Shoshone would focus elsewhere, successfully creating tributary states out of their northern neighbors. The western empire would launch a war under its new emperor, Gmok'am'c III of Klamath, which would be far more unified in scope. This war would be far more successful, culminating in the death of Wirasuap in 1435. The Shoshone would largely fragment into various kings, with the southern tributaries in the western empire being liberated. The Hub would remain a Shoshone capital for sometime, as the center of the Degwanate of Jookympin, one of the main breakaway chiefdoms.
After the death of Emperor Wirasuap, a temporary peace with the Shoshone ensued over the south of the western empire, however, this would not mark a complete return to pre-war normalcy. Gmok'am'c III of Klamath would order a daring but costly invasion in the north, in effect to avenge the raiding done against how own home kingdom, despite the south of the empire being more pressing overall. There he achieved numerous initial victories, but was ultimately beaten by a local Paiute general, Numaga, who later became the brother-in-law of the Shoshone Emperor, Washakie. Nonetheless, Gmok'am'c returned to the west with plunder and a desirable peace treaty, which he hoped would ensure peace completely with the Shoshone. This proved initially successful, as Washakie would become preoccupied with civil war across his vast empire. Numerous Degwanates emerged, with the Degwanate of Jookympin showing the most longevity, partially due to its quick assimilation into local southern culture. This kingdom would fall to Winnemucca the Younger, who was the nephew of the Shoshone emperor, and would be centered around The Hub, which was rebuilt as a fusion of both cultures, through the capturing of dozens of local architects and engineers. The last active leader of the triumvirate of Ngáchishtemal, Pahinawa, would die of natural causes during the war against Jookympin, and his empire of the wastes largely fragmented. The nominal heads of the desert would all swear fealty to Jookympin in the coming year, leading to Shoshone consolidation over the south. In 1436 Winnemucca would lead an invasion of the west once more, pouring into the fertile central valley, which was the breadbasket of the west. The states of the region were rallied, from the remnants of the Yokuts, to the Miwok and bay cities, to the imperial state of Klamath in the north. Over the course of the next two years the Shoshone enacted a brutal occupation of the region, stretching for a brief time to even the great bay of the west. Gmok'am'c III would die in 1439, with the throne being hastily given to a leading general, Xigmacse of the Ohlone.
Fortunes changed in 1440, as infighting among the Shoshone forced Winnemucca to return east. Additionally, the Kingdom of the Delta would declare war, with the formerly disgraced resistance leader Yat’eeshanaw Xo’mos accompanying the Delta army, and they would be joined by Patayan in the east, who quickly reclaimed its territory up to the river, and Tongva in the west. The Delta’s army would feature an army of their own citizens, which had never before been raised in such large numbers, as well as a giant assortment of mercenaries and slaves, who were highly pricey but experienced in desert combat. The Delta would also experiment with the so called “Ahwitkapa” (Red Man) army, which was an army comprised entirely of slaves, trained since childhood to be highly disciplined and loyal. The war would prove successful, not only in advancing north into the Degwanate’s land directly, but also in forcing the Shoshone to abandon the center of the western empire, leading to a chain reaction across the region. Xigmacse would successfully liberate Yokuts by the end of the year, and in early 1441 secure an important victory at the Battle of Tehachapi. Winnemucca would not be completely pushed out of the region however, and at the end of the year he signed a treaty with the exhausted western empire, as well as with the Delta-led coalition. Elsewhere, Washakie proved to be a successful and influential emperor, as after the conclusion of the civil war in his favor, he oversaw the transformation of the empire into a modern state. Centers of learning were promoted in the capital, where scholars, theologians, writers, and artists were gathered from across the west. It was during his reign that the Ghost Dance reformation began in nearby Paiute lands, which led to a series of rebellions and wars in that nation over the matter of religion. Despite the best efforts of the Cahokians, the Ghost Dance continued to spread, reaching Shoshone lands in the west, and the Sioux Empire in the east. With the Paiute severely weakened, Washakie would order an invasion of the state, successfully conquering the last remaining Paiute kingdom. Unlike his predecessors in the region, Washakie would not outright persecute the religion, instead hoping to use the religion’s message of unity as a way to establish order across the vast empire. In 1459 he would formally convert to the Ghost Dance, which would elevate its spread across the west.
Rise of the Delta
An era of Shoshone conquest in the south had come to an end, with the Degwanate of Jookympin, being the last vestige of their presence there. Despite supplanting a Shoshone aristocracy, along with its architecture, culture, and stylings, into the southern region, particularly in the rebuilding of The Hub, which became a metropolitan blending of Shoshone culture with local influences, Winnemucca became largely compelled to embrace southern culture. He would be married to a noblewoman named ʔívil̃uqaletem, with his sons Natchez and Tambiago being raised in a more southern style. After its success against the Shoshone, the Kingdom of the Delta continued to prosper. The southern end of Ngáchishtemal, which had been contested between the Delta and various other local powers for some time, became firmly under the control of the Kingdom of the Delta, with the nation’s borders now extending to the southern end of the Pal Heluwut. The Delta’s king, Oacpicagigua II, sought to continue outward expansion with its newfound military prowess, and looked to the south. One of the nation’s rivals for control over the southern gulf, Yoreme, was of particular interest. The nation had broken free from the Mogollon empire, which once stretched from the great metropolis of Wainom Wo:g (Casa Grande) and the Paslápaane (Rio Grande) in the north, to the doorstep of Mesoamerica in the south, and would become a hybrid of the Mogollon, Hohokam, Aztecan, and Deltan cultures. The islands of Tahejöc and Coftéecöl (Tiburón and San Esteban), which had only recently been conquered from the Hohokam by Yoreme, was a particularly unstable but profitable portion of the southern nation, as trade to the Delta from the south passed through its waters. The native Comcaac, who made up a large portion of Yoreme’s population around the islands, had been harshly assimilated after a previous revolt, leaving the situation on the islands tense.
To seize these islands, Oacpicagigua heavily expanded the nation’s navy. Traditionally, the nation had operated a large number of smaller, river going vessels, which sailed along the delta and river throughout the nation. The gulf had been controlled by small galleys and a plethora of trade ships, which were primarily coastcutters of western design. Oacpicagigua’s fleet would consist of ships made purely for ocean voyages, which were far larger than any ship of the region, and armed with more advanced instruments of war. These ships would be highly ornate and decorative, with dark red wood and orange sails, embedded with silver patterns along their hulls, as a sign of the nation’s great wealth. In 1448 the Delta’s fleet departed for the coast of Yoreme, taking the native fleet by surprise. At the Battle of Hast the Delta navy successfully destroyed Yoreme in battle, forcing them to make peace soon after, and grant the Kingdom of the Delta ownership of all the gulf. The nation sought further domination of the peninsula, which had been reduced largely to a state of fragmentation and infighting by recent wars in the north. Both the Kingdom of the Delta and its neighbors had profited greatly from the conflict thus far, with slavers using the peninsula as a hunting ground to supply the Ahwitkapa Army, and other slave bands. Emboldened by this trade, the northern warlords of the peninsula became increasingly powerful and demanding of the Delta and other nations, requesting larger payment to venture into the south on slaving endeavors.
Seeking to bypass this, in 1449 the nation declared war on the city state of Adac (Bahía de los Ángeles), to gain control over a city directly in the middle of the peninsula. After a brief siege of the city by the nation’s navy, the city surrendered the Delta forces. This would not go unnoticed by the local population, with several local clans and cities declaring war to liberate Adac. Likewise, an alliance of northern tribes united, along with support from Tongva and Kumeyaay, who saw the Delta as attempting to circumvent their monopoly over the coast. Collectively the conflict would evolve into the Third Pál War, as the nations of the coast became more invested in dislodging the Delta. The former leader of the south against the Shoshone, turned to a Delta advisor and general, Yat’eeshanaw Xo’mos would be placed at the head of an army of his own command, after convincing the government of his utility in the north. His experience was largely exaggerated, as at his first encounter, in which he was ambushed by northern Cochimí tribesmen, resulted in the Delta army retreating. Fearing retribution if he returned to Shuhthagi Ki:him empty handed, Yat’eeshanaw targeted communities of the region for new recruits and slaves, and and around the border with Jookympin, before marching west into Kumeyaay. This resulted in a more upfront battle, as he was matched by Kumeyaay and Tongva’s armies, along with a small number of mercenaries, and the battle would result in a Deltan victory.
After the Kingdom of the Delta’s initial victories against Tongva and its allies, the Third Pál War continued with Yat’eeshanaw Xo’mos leading an invasion of Kumeyaay directly. By 1451 he had successfully reached the coast, while in the south a second Deltan army had made progress in the peninsula. In Jookympin, Winnemucca the younger died to old age, and his second son, Tambiago, ascended to the throne of the degwanate. He ascended to the throne at a time of strife in the Shoshone Empire to the north, with the Ghost Dance Reformation plaguing the region, and even spreading to Jookympin in small numbers. Despite a lack of support from the Shoshone, in 1452 Tambiago broke his peace with the western empire, and launched an expedition to resubjugate Chumash, Yokuts, and other neighboring states. At the Battle of Kagismuwas, an army of Chumash, Tongvans, and other groups would successfully repulse the attackers, before Tambiago was defeated and killed later that year while in Yokuts. The result was an inconclusive war, which only served to weaken Jookympin and other states. The poor state of affairs plunged the Degwanate of Jookympin into crisis, as the young king died without a direct heir, and areas on the periphery of the nation conspired for independence. A cousin of Winnemucca, named Tiovanduah, seized control over the northern half of the nation, controlling the few Shoshone majority towns, as well as important cities such as Tümpisa and Ongtupqa, the latter of which taken by force from a local uprising. Another leader, Tondzaosha, who was the brother-in-law of Winnemucca, managed to secure the capital and receive backing as well, especially after he offered numerous concessions to the locals of The Hub. The south of the nation was less contained, with local warlords gaining autonomy once more.
In the meantime, the Delta took advantage of Tambiago’s war to then invade Tongva. Although not resoundingly defeated like Kumeyaay, Tongva sought to avoid a similarly poor fate as them, and sued for peace on more favorable terms, which allowed the Tongvans slightly more autonomy than the south. This largely ended the Third Pál War, with Oacpicagigua of the Delta reigning supreme as the premiere king of the southwest. The Treaty of Wa-cuatay was concluded in 1454, which saw the Delta firmly annex most of Kumeyaay, while the north of the peninsula was organized into a series of warlords, which swore fealty to the Deltan king. During this time the Delta would open up trade all across the gulf, as well as south to Xalisco, the Tarascans, and the Aztec Empire. Oacpicagigua’s treasure fleet would embark on an ambitious trade mission, and also a show of force. He would also strengthen ties to the west, establishing port cities on the western coast.
In the meantime, Yat’eeshanaw Xo’mos would be appointed a governor in the new territories of the west, after his successful campaign there. He became increasingly interested in the war in Jookympin, looking toward his old benefactor, The Hub. Without clear authorization from the government, in 1455 he launched an expedition north, which saw him capture or free a large number of slaves and settlers, gaining a great deal of prestige for the Delta. Soon after, Tiovanduah would defeat Tondzaosha in battle, uniting the nation once more for the most part. In 1460 Yat’eeshanaw returned to the north again, but this time sought to liberate The Hub and formally expand Deltan territory. After initial victories in Ngáchishtemal, the Shoshone sent envoys to the Delta to sue for peace, unaware that their governor was largely acting independently. They struck a deal, in which the area around Pal Heluwut was ceded to the Delta, and in exchange the Deltans would help quell rebels elsewhere for Jookympin, and recall Yat’eeshanaw. The Deltans honored their end of the deal, stripping Yat’eeshanaw of support, and lending troops to Jookympin. Yat’eeshanaw found himself surrounded in enemy territory, with his supplies and manpower quickly dwindling. Despite this he continued his exploits, raiding all across the nation, and supplementing his poor situation with captured slaves and treasures. In 1462 he stationed in the northwest of the nation, with plans to flee into Yokuts to live out his days as a wealthy man. Instead he became tempted by the prospect of one last raid, after he learned The Hub had been ungarrisoned, as the Shoshone became distracted in the north. He launched an attack on the city, but soon discovered it was a trap, as Shoshone, Tongvan, and even Deltan soldiers surrounded his small band. Nevertheless the old man rode into battle, perishing in a final charge outside the city’s walls.
The reign of Oacpicagigua II would be considered a golden age for the Kingdom of the Delta, as under his leadership the nation successfully defended against numerous invaders, had expanded significantly past its borders for the first time, and had prospered in aspects of culture and art. During the later half of his reign, the Kingdom of the Delta would undergo a military reformation of the Ahwitkapa, as the nation recognized the need to continually upgrade its military capabilities following its outward expansion. The result was the Hûmok (“Three) System, in which veteran pikemen, swordsmen, and ranged units would be mixed together into mobile squares, organized into groups of three. In 1462 this system was tested, as the nation went to war with Chumash to the northwest. Initially a war at sea, the Deltan navy successfully defeated the Chumash at the Battle of Pimugna, to gain control over the seas directly south of Tongva. On land the Chumash would attempt to incite the Tongvans to rebel, leading to a fierce series of battles near the nation’s border. By 1563 the war had ended, with the Deltans occupying the southern islands, and successfully repulsing the invasion at the border.
Oacpicagigua II would die in 1470 at the age of 62, and was succeeded by his grandson Ohatchecama. Less ambitious than his predecessor, Ohatchecama continued peace in the region, but continued naval-based exploration of the west. In the following years the region encountered a drought much larger than normal, which strained the resources of the region. Although the Delta had one of the most intricate water retention systems in the region, as most nations by this time have many forms of irrigation and water acquisition, the kingdom would still be hit by the negative environmental effects. Under these circumstances the Pàlocrats thrived, as the shortage caused the price of water to surge. Trade caravans across the Ngáchishtemal carried water in high numbers, backed by the trained guards of the Delta. The drought would cause a chain of events further to the east, as many Apache settlers migrated south or west, pushing others northwest toward the Delta. Ohatchecama would die unexpectedly in 1471, having only fathered a young daughter named Stotahiosigam. Instead he was succeeded by his nephew, Irataba IV, although this was not without disagreement from his uncle, the brother of both Irataba IV’s father and Oacpicagigua II, Avihavasuts.
During the instability in the Degwanate of Jookympin, many local leaders reasserted their autonomy, with some being subsequently crushed when Tiovanduah ascended to the throne as sole leader. One such leader who managed to prosper during the chaos, by siding with the winning faction of the civil war, was a minor lord named Tʼòyłóna of Thə̀łołíne (Las Vegas), whose domain was a small Puebloan-Patayan city in the eastern edge of the nation. Having been the site of numerous recent wars, from the recent conquest by the Shoshone from the Patayan, and the Shoshone wars near the Grand Canyon, the region was left relatively poor compared to other former Patayan cities. Nevertheless, for aiding him in retaking the nation, Tiovanduah promoted the city of Thə̀łołíne greatly. Under the leadership of the new king, a trade route would be established to the great metropolis of Pi'a-pa (Salt Lake City), running due northeast, rather than along the older routes, which traveled north through more difficult terrain and over a longer distance. The older routes prioritized traveling through Shoshone territory, but with the Degwanate of Jookympin’s relationship with the Shoshone Empire largely breaking apart, Tiovanduah instead bypassed them, and passed through the neutral nation of Diné. A clear route emerged, running from the capital at The Hub to the town of Atcamséʼish (Baker), and then to Thə̀łołíne. From here traders exited Jookympin to reach the city of Xópi (Zion), and then continued north toward Pi'a-pa. Because of this new found utility, the city of Thə̀łołíne grew immensely, while the capital in the west also prospered. Tiovanduah would also open relations with the Western Empire states to his northwest, with many of the states of the central valley returning to the Tongva region to trade and export goods via the sea.
Deltan Civil War
In 1478 King Irataba IV of the Delta died unexpectedly at a young age, leaving his son to become Kaviu V. Only eight years old at the time of his father’s death, Kaviu’s great uncle Avihavasuts became regent of the nation. As the young king grew older, the regent claimed the king was proving unfit to rule, due to mental disability, and Kaviu was slowly phased out of government. One leader who emerged would be Espanesay, who was the son-in-law of Pahinawa of Humwichawa, who formed a careful alliance with the old guard of Shuhthagi Ki:him. This faction would come to support Stotahiosigam, the daughter of the late king Ohatchecama, as a possible new monarch. Alternatively, the noble Cooswootna of Saahatpa was also proposed as an alternative, as he was the nephew of Avihavasuts via the ʔívil̃uqaletem nobility. A rebellion broke out in 1482, after the king attempted to purge the nobles of the capital who were collaborating with Stotahiosigam. The queen pretender fled the city east to Patayan, under the guidance of Espanesay. At the Battle of Gel 'Oidag, Avihavasuts successfully recaptured the northeast corner of the nation, sending Espanesay into retreat. While in Patayan, Stotahiosigam would negotiate a royal marriage with one of the princes of the confederacy, Gakoḑk, in exchange for military aid back to the nation. Unbeknownst of this brewing alliance, Avihavasuts marched northwest to capture Cooswootna.
Despite possessing little in the way of Deltan soldiers, other than a small number who had settled the region after the region’s conquest, Cooswootna managed to rally a large number of natives from ʔívil̃uqaletem, as well as contract a large number of desert mercenaries of Ngáchishtemal. At the Battle of Wíhahyut, Avihavasuts managed to initially defeat Cooswootna in battle, however, Cooswootna captured Kaviu, who had been left to sit idly in camp during the battle. Having not yet stated his claim to the throne, Cooswootna proclaimed that Kaviu had relayed to him that Avihavasuts was a traitor, and called upon the nation to turn against the attempted usurper. Soon after Stotahiosigam crossed into the nation at the head of a Patayan army. After both of these developments, Avihavasuts fled south into the southern peninsula, hoping to regain his strength among the tributary states of the nation. Still claiming to be king, Avihavasuts proclaimed that he would allow the nations of the region fully independence, in exchange for support in ousting the other claimants. In 1483 Stotahiosigam marched on the capital city, leading to a battle against Cooswootna, in which she ultimately retreated from. Also that year, the Degwanate of Jookympin caught wind of the instability in the south, and sought to exploit the situation. Tiovanduah would successfully capture the area around Pal Heluwut, which had partially been Cooswootna’s powerbase before taking the capital. Stotahiosigam escaped into Jookympin lands, as Tiovanduah also attacked her benefactor, Patayan. The 1484 Battle of Ki'i'musill saw Stotahiosigam return to the nation, successfully defeating the Shoshone east of Tongva, and supposedly saving the west of the nation from total collapse. This action earned her the support of much of the northwest, as the king and his regent remained in the south, depicted as craven.
While she traveled west to Tongva to form alliances, Stotahiosigam left a Patayan general named Ban'ikuade in command of her forces, with him winning another battle soon after near Pal Heluwut. Tiovanduah became preoccupied in the east, ravaging the Patayan region. This left their army in the west without any support, and contributed to the complete collapse of the nation. By the end of the year he had captured Huwaalyapay Nyava (Kingman) and the Grand Canyon, followed by Havasu early the following year. The leader of the confederacy, Delshay IV, was killed that spring, leading to further disunity. The south of the nation proclaimed Anasa VII as king, but by this time the Patayan Confederacy had largely broken up. Cooswootna would order an invasion into the south of Patayan as well, capturing what remained of the nation.
Anasa VII remained a thorn in the side of both the Delta and the Shoshone, maintaining a successful resistance to both nations for several years. He would work closely with Espanesay, who had organized militias across the border region in Jookympin. The Delta effectively lost control over the northwest of the nation, which supported Stotahiosigam, the north, which was occupied by the Shoshone, and the southwest, which supported Avihavasuts, which continued to divide Cooswootna’s efforts. Operating as the supposed Queen of the Delta in the northwest, Stotahiosigam formed alliances with Tongva, Chumash, and Yokuts, hoping to organize a resistance against the Shoshone. This coalition proved highly successful, with the Yokuts retaking Baana’an'hiy'in late 1484, which threatened the capital of Jookympin. While making his way back west to defend the region.
Tiovanduah suddenly fell ill and died, ending the nation’s ambitions. The Yokuts would advance as far as the city of Tehachapi, gaining control of the territory up to the surrounding mountains, while in the north the two duchies of Tümpisa and Thə̀łołíne became independent. The latter managed to retain control over the occupied territories in Patayan, due to the duchy’s close relationship with the late king. The lands in the south faced rebellion from the native, non-Shoshone population, which saw the establishment of several short-lived nations, including the Hub Commune, which operated under a republican form of government. In Tongva a leader known as Azucsagna ascended to the throne, declaring Tongva to once more be independent from any overlord. He would successfully wage war against the weakened Shoshone and Deltan factions, and by 1485 had seized the west coast of the Kingdom of the Delta completely. Stotahiosigam would go on to marry one of the last Shoshone claimants to Jookympin after the death of her first husband, and would unite the last remnants of the nation.
The Degwanate of Jookympin formally ceased to exist, after the last self-proclaimed Degwan, Cameahwait of Atcamséʼish, was killed in battle against Stotahiosigam. The queen would declare herself ruler of all Ngáchishtemal, conquering The Hub as a capital in 1486. After years of fighting, the Treaty of Pal Heluwut would finally be reached, which saw Stotahiosigam, Avihavasuts, and Kaviu/Cooswootna formally make peace. Avihavasuts would die of natural causes later that year, with his son, Navijhu, declaring the Kingdom of Xwattssa in the northern peninsula. The states of the region would remain in fierce competition for years to come. Inheriting the naval prowess of the Delta, each nation developed its own navy, which competed for trade dominance in the southwest, but also in the western sea.
Keli Kings Period
The Kingdom of the Delta's rule over the remains of the Patayan Confederacy forced it to look eastward, as rebellion persisted and conflict arose with neighboring eastern nations. The O'odham, who had previously been defeated by the Deltans, promoted these insurrections, while also strengthening their ports on the Hiac'eḑ Ka:ck (Gulf of California). After being pushed from their homeland in the north, the O'odham came to play an important role in trade to Mesoamerica. Their migration launched a series of conquests southward, resulting in an increase in exchange of ideas between north and south. Along the western coast the city of Hiakim along the Hiak Vatwe (Yaqui River) was conquered by a warlord named Ban'ikuadc, which along with Kapaḑvadam to the north, served as important O'odham port cities. From here O'odham traders reached Xalisco and other Mesoamerican city states. On land they traded with the Tepehuán, a nation that developed south of the Mogollon and O'odham in the interior of the region. The Tepehuán were bordered by the Chichiman nations, who served as the last buffer on land between the Aztec dominated south and the Puebloan culture of the north.
North of the Delta, the independent Thə̀łołíne state proved to be short lived, as in the 1490s the Shoshone aristocracy was toppled by the region's Puebloan, Apache, and Navajo inhabitants, who eventually divided the former nation. The Deltans under cwould launch a minor war in 1492, which saw their Patayan territory extended north. Hoping to ensure peace, Hidoḑmakai III of the O'odham mediated the situation, and wed his daughter to Cooswootna. Around the same time Navijhu's Kingdom of Xwattssa continued to expand along the southern peninsula, with the chieftains of Cochimí being conquered or sworn as vassals by 1496. Afterward, Navijhu turned his attention to the few tribes who still swore allegiance to the Delta, and began to coerce them to his allegiance instead. Aside from those immediately around the city of Adac, where Deltan settlement and strong trade kept the area loyal, the rest of the peninsula north of the Guaycura fell to Xwattssa.
In 1499 the leader of the O'odham, Hidoḑmakai III died and was succeeded by his son Komkïcuḑ. The new leader of the O'odham would be much more zealous than his father in dethroning Deltan supremacy, and he raised tariffs on their goods, promoted trade with peninsular raiders, and supported non-Deltan nobles in the Patayan region. Cooswootna chose to strike against the O'odham breaking the peace in the region once more. His initial invasion in early 1500 was stalled by poor supplies, leading to little progress. At sea the Deltans assembled a massive navy under the command of Skiitlanoyah, which sought to quickly capture the port city of Kapaḑvadam. Instead, at the Battle of Tahejöc the Deltans were ambushed in the narrow strait east of the island, and suffered a major defeat to a numerically inferior O'odham force. With the Delta's seemingly invincible navy having been defeated, support for the Delta in the peninsula broke down. With all but the city of Adac itself defecting, Navijhu declared war and besieged the city, taking it a month a later.
At the end of the year, Cooswootna launched another invasion, this time following the Keli river eastward into Cíwena lands. He managed to sack the city of Taḍ Memelkuḍ, as well as other towns, before turning back west. At the same time a smaller Deltan force was tasked with attacking the peninsular forces. The Deltan general Wehabesuwa managed to defeat Navijhu in battle, but did not advance further into the south. With the O'odham threatened, the growing resurgence of the Delta inspired Tongva and Ngáchishtemal to go to war. Queen Stotahiosigam of Ngáchishtemal would be responsible for bringing the Tongvans and other allies into the war, due to her extensive number of intermarriages in the region. Through her second wife, a Patayan, she sought to claim the former Patayan Confederacy and create a dual kingdom, stretching along both banks of the 'Aha Kwahwat. The Delta's encroachment on their territory likewise annoyed Cíwena, although the kingdom initially remained undeclared but supportive of the anti-Deltan alliance.
Despite attacks by the other belligerents, the Deltans managed to decisively defeat Komkïcuḑ at the Battle of Kaij Mek in early 1501, and fearing an attack against the capital, Komkïcuḑ agreed to cede the northwest region of the nation to the Deltans, and also lift the harsh trade policies leveled against them. With the O'odham removed from the war, Cooswootna returned north, but was unable to stop Stotahiosigam's takeover of much of the Patayan region. This marked Cíwena's formal entrance into the war, as the nation's king Łółácianą joined Stotahiosigam in battle near Aha Kwahwat. Cooswootna would be killed in battle, and Stotahiosigam pushed to have her son-in-law, Ohatchecama, crowned as the new King of the Delta.
Much to the dismay of the Deltan nobility and people, Ohatchecama moved the capital to the city of Yuum, which sat at the divergence of the Keli and 'Aha Kwahwat. Due to its position, the city sat under the influence of Cíwena, with Łółácianą dictating that Puebloan lords from the river region being appointed in Ohatchecama's government. As a result this period in Deltan history becomes known as the Keli Kings period, as a series of puppets and other rulers governed from the river rather than Shuhthagi Ki:him. A small amount of territory in the west was ceded to the Tongvans, while Stotahiosigam continued its occupation of the Patayan lands. Ohatchecama would accept this, while instead becoming distracted by the O'odham, who began to lapse in their agreement. A contingent of O'odham and Mesoamerican mercenaries, mostly from Xalisco, would successfully raid Deltan territory in late 1501.
With many of the Delta's generals being purged from positions of power during the succession, Ohatchecama dispatched the general Wehabesuwa to the east in the hopes of dislodging the O'odham. Wehabesuwa would spend the next several years in the region, often disconnected from the Delta and unaware of the political situation. He would manage to travel across OTL Mexico to the eastern coast, serving among the Chichiman nations, before returning to O'odham with an army long after the war had ended. In the meantime, an inconclusive naval battle would occur in the gulf, which managed to prevent an O'odham raid against the Delta itself. A ceasefire would eventually be called in 1503, after a series of smaller naval battles and skirmishes. In late 1503 hostilities arose once more after the Delta's nobles attempted to block Stotahiosigam's seizure of the city of Ku'npa'sa, which had been one of the few Patayan cities that the Delta retained.
Fearing that the current king was ineffective against this threat, a palace coup occurred that forced Ohatchecama under house arrest. A nobleman named Takodawa took control over the army and marched against Stotahiosigam, but was defeated at Ku'npa'sa. Ohatchecama would later be assassinated, and despising Stotahiosigam's puppeting of their kingdom, Takodawa and his contingent backed Tòpháy’ȕ, a noble from Cíwena who was distantly related to the Deltan royalty, and betrothed to the daughter of the late Cooswootna. Tòpháy’ȕ entrance into the city of Yuum would result in a brief skirmish with several men from Ngáchishtemal, which resulted in the death of one of Stotahiosigam's nephew-in-laws. As king, Tòpháy’ȕ attempted to strike a balance between Ngáchishtemal and Cíwena. Although he recognized the loss of Ku'npa'sa to Stotahiosigam, elsewhere he supported Cíwena and brought Yuum's trade policies closer in line with the east instead of the north.
An incident occurred in the city in which a friend of the king, a minor lord from Cíwena, was found dead. This made the king increasingly paranoid and crazed, with him breaking his self isolation to lead an attack against the supposed perpetrators of the attack, who had fled into the desert of the southeast. After traveling into the desert, the king was reported by his followers as going mad, attacking his own men, and having to be led back to the palace. The king would henceforth be locked in solitary confinement, supposedly due to his fear of being touched or seen. Opponents of the king would theorize that this was actually a ploy to control the Deltan government further. One of the king's closest advisers would prove to be Hoseckrua, the Puebloan governor of Siwañ Wa'a Ki, who was stationed in Yuum by Łółácianą. He would become the king's regent during this time, and this tipped the government firmly toward Puebloan dominance.
One of Stotahiosigam's sons, Paquala, who had managed to marry into the nobility of the southern Delta, would arrive in the capital in 1505. He quickly became a rival adviser for the king, after befriending the king's mother, and according to rumors, beginning an affair with her. The following year the king died of sickness, and his young son Irataba V became king. Paquala would officially become regent for the new king, much to the annoyance of Hoseckrua. As a result, in early 1506 Paquala would be assassinated while on a boat ride down the Keli. Hoseckrua had himself reinstated as regent, and also had Irataba V betrothed to Łółácianą's neice. The murder of her son caused Stotahiosigam to invade, and she was joined by Takodawa, who secretly switched sides in the conflict.
The queen declared that she would install Huttami, Lord of Ku'npa'sa, who was married to her daughter, was a cousin of Irataba V, and was a cousin-in-law of Takodawa, as Huttami II. Initially Stotahiosigam was unsuccessful, as Cíwena's support for Irataba V's government grew. In 1507 an opportunistic commander assassinated Irataba V, his grandmother, and several others, in an attempt to endear himself to Huttami II. Instead the king entered Yuum and had those responsible for the plot executed. Hoseckrua managed to flee back east before the fall of the city. A conference between Stotahiosigam and Łółácianą, in which Stotahiosigam proposed that the two wed and join their kingdoms instead of fighting, as Stotahiosigam's second husband had died that year. Łółácianą rejected this and formally declared war on her for the first time.
Seeking other allies, Stotahiosigam married the ruler of the Yokuts instead. Huttami II also remained an ally, although much of his rule was preoccupied with battling threats within his nation. Despite being initially outnumbered after leaving the conference at the border, Łółácianą marched with a small army and defeated Stotahiosigam's son Aspamekelyeho in battle, which allowed him to advance into Patayan territory. He captured the cities of Huwaalyapay Nyava and ʼAha Kuloh soon after, before Stotahiosigam met him at the river border of the Patayan in 1508. At the Battle of Kwahwat, Stotahiosigam would suffer a major defeat, leading to Cíwena claiming all land east of the river as its own. Hoseckrua returned to the Delta with an army, this time claiming the throne for himself after marrying Tòpháy’ȕ's sister. However, while negotiating with Huttami II to have the kingdom surrendered, Huttami II ordered Hoseckrua to be hacked to pieces by his guards.
While Huttami II was battling in the northeast against the Puebloans, another claimant named Oacpicagigua III arrived in Shuhthagi Ki:him, having won the support of the nation's nobility. He would manage to defeat Huttami II in battle, but was not able to capture him, leading to the rival king living out his reign in exile. Oacpicagigua III took Yuum soon after, where he sent envoys to make peace with Cíwena. Łółácianą accepted due to his ongoing war in the north, effectively ending the Keli Kings period after years of strife, however, the capital remained in Yuum throughout Oacpicagigua III's reign. In Tongva, Alijivit II aided the new king in the Delta, hoping for support in repulsing raids from the peninsula. Alijivit II would also attack Stotahiosigam's domain in the years following the defeat against Cíwena, marking the beginning of Tongvan expansion once more.
Stotahiosigam would spend several years contending against Oacpicagigua III and Łółácianą, but ultimately would not regain her lost territory. She would annul her marriage to the Yokuts leader in 1510, and after the war with Tongva marry Alijivit II's son in the peace deal. Łółácianą of Cíwena would begin to be stylized as Łółácianą the Great in later years, as his kingdom had more than doubled, becoming one of the dominant powers of the region. The Delta would recover but would not again eclipse Cíwena or Tongva for clear dominance over the south.
Early European Contact
In 1520 the Spanish under Hernán Cortés arrived in Mexico, beginning the conquest of the Aztec Empire. After the fall of Tenochtitlan, word eventually spread north of arrival of these foreigners. The Tarascans were partially subdued in 1522, and fully by 1530. From here they continued north to attack the Chichimeca in 1540, bringing the Spanish to the edge of Oasisamerica. News of the Spanish traveled north to the Mogollon and O'odham peoples almost immediately, while the Spanish learned of rumors kingdoms through the north from traders traveling south. In 1546 the Spanish discovered silver in the Zacatecas region, which preoccupied them for a short while from continuing north, but also led to a decades-long conflict with the natives of the region, known as the Chichimeca War. The region of Colima was conquered by 1524, and Xalisco was conquered by 1530, leading to the Spanish making direct contact with northern ships.
Nuño de Guzmán, conqueror of Xalisco, was named the first governor of northwest Mexico, called New Galicia. In 1531 he launched an expedition toward O'odham lands, in search of the trade ships arriving in his territory. He entered the region with 300 conquistadors and 5,000 indigenous allies, quickly conquering the region of Sinaloa. His expedition was especially brutal, with all encountered natives being killed or enslaved, and any towns being sacked in search of valuables. After conquering a port city on the coast, Guzmán rechristened it as Compostela, and made it a headquarters for his administration. The Spanish had greatly disrupted the economy of the O'odham, and disease and attacks soon began to cause chaos in the O'odham government. Guzmán next conquered Hiakim, but was temporarily driven back by a raid of several thousand natives.
Later that year he marched as far as Kapaḑvadam and sacked the city. He would successfully capture a large amount of gold and other goods, but believed had not found the ultimate source of these goods. Partially because of his harshness against the region, the natives launched a fierce campaign against him, with the O'odham being joined by the Chichimeca and the remnants of the Tepehuán. Guzmán would also commandeer several trade ships and commission the first Spanish naval expedition in the Gulf of California, initially to help supply his expeditions in the north. This voyage would be attacked by the O'odham in the north and defeated, but not before a ship returned south with news of great riches to the north.
In 1532 Guzmán on Cemamagĭ Doʼag, where he managed to secure the subjugation of the O'odham. Guzmán would have much of the city destroyed, and its nobility tortured and executed. Many inhabitants would also be imported south as slaves to work mines in Mexico. Guzmán would not stay in the north long, leading to the northern half of the O'odham nation largely becoming autonomous once more soon after. He would also encounter the Kingdom of the Delta for the first time, after straying into their territory and coming under attack by a small Deltan force. Forts would be constructed in O'odham territory, but these were often destroyed by local natives. In 1535 Nuño de Guzmán would be arrested and brought back to Spain by Diego Pérez de la Torre, due to his brutality and abuse of power in the region.
In 1527 Pánfilo de Narváez launched an expedition to claim the Gulf Coast for Spain, arriving in Florida and intending to march west around the gulf to Mexico. The expedition encountered numerous problems, with Narváez himself being killed. By the time they reached Texas and encountered the Apache, only 80 survivors remained. After traveling west toward the Rio Grande, they came into contact with Puebloan settlers. According to the account of the survivors, they were taken north to a great city along the river, and met with a local king. After spending time in the Puebloan Empire, the survivors traveled southwest. In 1536 only four people remained in the group when they reached Cemamagĭ Doʼag and encountered other Spanish people for the first time in years. The survivors would be brought to Mexico City, where their description of a great city of gold in the north inspired many to follow in their footsteps.
The survivors of the Narváez expedition returned to Mexico with tales of the north, including a fabled city of vast wealth, known as Cíbola. A scouting party led by Friar Marcos de Niza and Estevanico, a survivor of the earlier trip, entered Puebloan territory in 1539. The group came across Zuni territory, where they said to have witnessed a wealthy city as large as Mexico City, and where Estevanico was murdered. The group returned south and met with Vázquez de Coronado, the new governor of the Kingdom of Nueva Galicia, a province of New Spain comprising the contemporary Mexican states of Jalisco, Sinaloa and Nayarit. Intrigued by this tale, Coronado began preparations for a larger expedition to the north.
Scouts from the northernmost Spanish outpost at San Miguel de Culiacán were dispatched, under the command of Melchior Díaz. They attempted to investigate the findings of Friae de Niza but were turned back due to inclement weather, however, he also reported that there was evidence of great wealth to his superiors. As the expedition was organized, its contingent was split into two groups. One group, led by Hernando de Alarcón, was dispatched to travel with the expedition's supplies along the Guadalupe River, while another group traveled by land, led by Coronado, along the route that Friar Marcos de Niza had traveled. Their mission was to find the mythical Seven Cities of Gold, and both Coronado and Viceroy Antonio de Mendoza invested heavily in the mission as a result.
Coronado's group departed on 23 February 1540, at the head of 400 European soldiers, 2,000 native allies, five Franciscan friars, including Marcos de Niza and Juan de Padilla, the provincial superior of the Franciscan order in the New World, and a few hundred slaves, servants, and civilian family members. The group marched along the Gulf of California until they reached San Miguel de Culiacán, where they departed inland using reconnaissance gathered by Melchior Díaz to gather food and water along the route. The large expedition force split into smaller groups, establishing outposts and camps, and gathering more information on the region.
In late April Coronado reached the Sinaloa River, and followed the river valley through the rough terrain to the Yaqui River. The encountered several Tepehuán towns around Sinaloa, where scouts and information was acquired about the surrounding area. Following a trade route north, Coronado learned of the O'odham cities, and came upon the major port city of Hiakim at the mouth of the Hiak Vatwe (Yaqui River). Remembering the brutal attack on his city and on Kapaḑvadam a few years prior, the ruling chief there, Ban'ikuadc II, barred the Spanish from the city. Coronado camped outside the city, with his encampment eventually turning into a siege. Ships from the north began to arrive in the city's harbor with reinforcements, leading Coronado to believe he had found the source of the naval attacks against recent naval expeditions.
The O'odham were considered nominally part of New Spain since the expedition of Nuño de Guzmán, and Coronado sent word south of a rebellion taking place against the Spanish crown. Hernando de Alarcón's naval contingent of three ships, which had been docked off the coast nearby awaiting a rendezvous with Coronado, instead was met by Melchior Diaz. Together the pair led a combined attack on Hiakim by land and sea, bringing approximately 250 Spanish soldiers, 500 native allies, and several cannons to Coronado's aid. At the same time dozens of warships had been assembled by Ban'ikuadc II, and an allied army of several thousand soldiers was marching south to aid him.
On 11 June Alarcón's ships arrived near the city in late afternoon and opened fire on the harbor. The attack killed an estimated 300 people and sank three native ships, without Alarcón suffering any casualties himself. Despite this, the O'odham launched a counterattack, managing to swarm one of his ships, the San Pedro. The vessel was boarded and its defenders killed, while the Spanish aboard the nearby San Gabriel attempted to destroy additional incoming smaller ships. The third ship, the Santa Catalina, landed on the coast south of the battle, attempting to land reinforcements and cannons near Coronado's camp. The landing site would be attacked that night, with 50 survivors fleeing inland, while those on the ship were killed or captured. The following morning the survivors would be saved by Melchior Diaz's arrival.
By morning the naval attack had ended, with Alarcón fleeing with only one ship remaining. Nonetheless, Coronado launched an assault of the city. The attack proved successful but costly, with nearly 400 deaths being suffered by Coronado in the process. Ban'ikuadc II would be killed in the defense of the city, and most of the remaining population was slaughtered. The O'odham navy managed to flee carrying as many people as it could hold, and Coronado sent word south for naval reinforcements to track them down. The Santa Catalina would later be recovered, although the vessel was eventually scuttled, while the San Pedro was confirmed to have sunk.
Coronado would spend time in the city building a defensive outpost and awaiting aid. In the meantime the leader of the O'odham Navijhu II, who had been installed shortly after the tumultuous destruction of Cemamagĭ Doʼag, sent word to Hiakim that he would stand down and surrender in exchange for mercy from the Spanish. Coronado followed these envoys back to the city with his army, demanding that the O'odham pay a high price in slaves and gold as tribute, and provide soldiers for his expedition. Two of the Franciscans, 200 Spanish soldiers, and 200 slaves, natives, and settlers would also remain in the city, creating the first impromptu mission among the O'odham in the king's former citadel.
The Spanish continued north with a native contingent, but were persuaded by the O'odham by tales of the riches of Cíwena to turn northwest from their original route. Likely the O'odham were eager to use the Spanish against their old enemy, and claimed that a city of gold was there instead. When the group arrived at Siwañ Wa'a Ki messengers were dispatched in the hopes of inciting the population to defect from Cíwena, with limited success. Anticipating an attack since the first fall of Cemamagĭ Doʼag, the Puebloans preemptively struck against the Spanish camp south of the Keli Akimel with an estimated 6,000 soldiers.
In the ensuing battle the Spanish suffered heavy casualties, but managed to repulse the attackers back across the river, thanks in part to Coronado leading several cavalry charges into the riverbank. Coronado would be wounded in the process and refrain from commanding in battle for the remainder of the expedition. Additionally 184 Spanish soldiers, about 1,400 allied natives, and another 200 non-combatants were killed, along with countless wounded, while the attackers suffered an estimated 2-3,000 casualties themselves.
In the following days many of the surrounding settlements surrendered and brought aid to the Spanish, while Cíwena dispatched envoys to negotiate. Half of his native army remained in Siwañ Wa'a Ki and was tasked with building fortifications, while Coronado marched to Cíwena to meet with the city's king in early July. Coronado entered the city and stationed himself in the city's palace. There he demanded that the Puebloans gather the city's gold and silver, but discovered the city was not as rich as he had hoped. While garrisoning the city, Coronado hoped to gain reinforcements and scout the area. He dispatched Pedro de Tovar and Friar Marcos de Niza to continue on to the city that the friar had previously seen to the northeast, he dispatched Garcia Lopez de Cárdenas to travel north along the Haka'he:la (Verde River), and lastly he dispatched Hernando de Alvarado to travel west to hopefully find the mouth of the Keli Akimel (Gila River).
Meanwhile Hernando de Alarcón assembled a new fleet and sailed north with additional reinforcements by sea, arriving in the vicinity of the Kingdom of the Delta. He was instantly convinced that Shuhthagi Ki:him was the fabled city of gold and sent scouting parties in and around the ʼHakhwata (Colorado River). Unlike many of his contemporaries, Alarcón was more tolerant and humane toward the natives, and managed to stay docked near the city for considerable time trading and studying the population. He would also explore the gulf and confirm that Baja California was a peninsula instead of an island. Melchor Díaz, who had been left in command of the Spanish outposts across O'odham territory, also began assembling reinforcements to march north along the coast in the direction that Coronado had departed.
Hernando de Alvarado reached Yuum and Shuhthagi Ki:him in mid July, but departed before realizing that Alarcón would soon be in the city. While attempting to travel back to Coronado's location he was ambushed and captured, and his report would be delayed. Tovar's contingent managed to reach the Zuni city of Hawikku, that the Friar had sighted the year prior, but found that the Friar had also heavily exaggerated his story. Short on supplies and facing starvation, the Spanish demanded entry into the city and were refused, leading to a battle. Tovar managed to capture the city, but him and most of his men were wounded. They would stay in the city unable to retreat.
Cárdenas was the most successful of the three, managing to scout out Cíwena's northern half. He witnessed the immense stronghold of Kánałó and was driven away by its defenders, not daring to try and assault it. Cárdenas would make contact with the Hopi and cities such as Oraibi. He would also explore as far west as the Grand Canyon, becoming the first European explorer to witness the site, before turning back. Melchor Díaz would depart north around the same time by following the coast, eventually discovering a supply cache that Alarcón had buried during his scouting of the gulf. Díaz would learn of the fate of Alvarado outside Yuum and launch a rescue mission, managing to rescue his group. However, while returning to Cíwena, Díaz would die of an accidental injury in early August.
By this time Coronado had been inside the city for over a month when Alvarado returned. Although a large amount of gold had been seized, Coronado realized the natives were also stalling to raise their own reinforcements, and heard reports of thousands of men marching south toward the city. A skirmish ensued in the streets of the city, which ultimately resulted in a Spanish victory and the death of most of the Cíwena royalty. Approximately 100 Spanish defenders were killed, which accounted for a considerable portion of Coronado's men and their supporters, as well as hundreds of natives on both sides.
The city surrendered soon after, with the Spanish taking a great deal of slaves and gold as tribute, and turning the city into a Spanish outpost. Coronado would appoint a puppet king in the city, selecting a descendant of the late king named Juan Cìbikína, who was baptized as a Catholic by the Spanish. The new king would order the rest of the kingdom to stand down, ending initial resistance to the Spanish. By October Coronado had also received envoys from many surrounding kingdoms, as they chose to ally with the Spanish rather than fight them. This left the Pueblo Empire in the north as a politically isolated hold out to Spanish rule.
Coronado would send would to Viceroy Antonio de Mendoza, hoping to acquire additional reinforcements. However, due to the ongoing Mixtón rebellion, these reinforcements would be delayed for the next year. Coronado would spend the rest of the year residing in the city of Cíwena, while sending out additional scouting missions. Garcia Lopez de Cárdenas would lead one detachment southeast into Mogollon territory, to receive the surrender of the Mogollon and raise an army, while Hernando de Alvarado returned with an army west to the Delta, with instructions to establish relations with them.
In October a Pueblo counterattack was launched into Zuni territory, which resulted in Pedro de Tovar's death and the destruction of his outpost. Friar Marcos de Niza survived the attack and fled south, eventually relaying the events to Coronado. Additionally a small scouting party would be ambushed near the town of Homolovi later that month, leading Coronado to investigate. In November he arrived in Homolovi and the town surrendered, but he encountered the nearby Petrified House, a heavily fortified stronghold to the east. Unable to assault the stronghold, Coronado laid siege instead. After 80 days the defenders abandoned the fortress, and Coronado received approximately 1,000 reinforcements from the Mogollon there as January 1541 came to a close.
At the time of Coronado's arrival in the Pueblo Empire, the empire was facing internal strife. The traditional capital of the alliance, Łocǫ́lhəo, had been largely surpassed by Taos in terms of population and prestige. The ruler of Taos, Píyía, launched a war to assert control over the empire's governance by force, after Tą̀tə̀’ə́wyu II of Łocǫ́lhəo's reforms limited his authority. Although neither side had engaged in any major engagement up to this point, the distrust between both sides made a response to the events in the south limited. As such the first ruler to raise forces against Coronado was Lutakawi, Governor of the Zuni, who had retaken Hawikku months prior.
Coronado ordered brutal reprisal against the Zuni capital at Shiwinna, resulting in the city's near destruction. Hawikku was also retaken, with the city's outpost and mission being reinstated. The King of Chaco, Tòpháy’ȕ III, sent diplomats to Shiwinna after learning of this event, and also raised about 5,000 soldiers to defend the city.