Navajo Timeline

Year Navajo History World History
  • Columbus' project of a westward route to India was presented a third time at court and approved. He was given the titles of "Admiral" and "Governor of territories to be discovered" and three ship (the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria). He was also given letters to take to the Great Kahn of China, assuming he would reach the same destination as Marco Polo. Columbus arrived in the New World (Guanahaní, one of the Bahama Islands), Oct. 12, and believed he discovered a new route to India, and called the people "Indios" (Indians). He named the land San Salvador, claiming it for Spain. He also discovered Cuba and Haiti. He observed the "Indios" using tobacco in religious ceremonies and as a medicine.
  • Spain conquered Granada, the last Moorish stronghold, and ended 700 years of war between Christian Spain and the Islamic Moors. The Inquisition then expelled all the Moors, along with 200,000 to 800,000 Jews, because they refuse to convert to Christianity, and confiscated all their properties. Those who did not leave had to become Catholics. After 700 years of fighting the "infidels", Spain had become devoted to holy wars. New venues for this fanaticism and intolerance would be the Crusades of the next century and the conquest of the New World.
  • Leonardo da Vinci, Italian Painter, Sculptor, and Engineer, sketched a flying machine and helicopter. His sketches were accurate and thought provoking. Actually working models of his sketches in recent times have proved his Genius.
  • Twenty-two 16th century tree-ring dates from ancient Navajo (Diné) archaeological structures had been recorded as follows:

    1504+1 - Mariano Mesa, N of Quemado New Mexico
    1510inc - Mariano Mesa, N of Quemado, NM
    1510+inc - Mariano Mesa, N of Quemado, NM
    1521+ - Mariano Mesa, N of Quemado, NM
    1535+ - Mariano Mesa, N of Quemado, NM
    1535+c - Mariano Mesa, N of Quemado, NM
    1541+inc - Escondido Mtn., S of Quemado, NM
    1541+/-20 - Gobernador Canyon, NW NM
    1542+inc - Mariano Mesa
    1543+ - Vicinity of Atarque, NM
    1544+ - Vicinity of Counselor, NM
    1552vv - Chacra Mesa, NW NM
    1553+inc - Mariano Mesa
    1558inc - Mariano Mesa
    1569+inc - Escondido Mtn.
    1572++v - Chacra Mesa
    1578+inc - Mariano Mesa
    1581+inc - Mariano Mesa
    1587+inc - Mariano Mesa
    1588+ - Mariano Mesa
    1590+inc - Escondido Mtn.
    1598++vv - Chacra Mesa

  • The Conquistadors and Friars arrive in Navajoland bringing sheep, goats, and horses. The Conquistadors later return to Mexico leaving behind sheep and horses, and the beginnings of the use of wool and the weaving on flat looms.
  • Don Francisco Vásquez de Coronado, Spanish Explorer, leads an expedition of soldiers from Mexico into the American southwest in search of gold. They arrive and discover the Hopis during the summer of 1540, where Navajos were already in the Hopi province.
        During this time and up to the recent past, Navajos were referred to as Apaches. At the time of the conquest, the word "Apache", from the Zuñi "apachú" (enemy), their appellation for the Navajo, was used by the Spaniards to denote any hostile Indians. Oñate even employed it in reference to the people of the pueblo of Acoma.
        Soon it became known to the Spaniards that most of the enemy tribes surrounding New Mexico spoke a common language, and the name thereafter was applied only to the southern Athabascans. Gradually, other designations were given to the various Athabascan tribes of different regions, and the Navajos became known as the "Apaches Du Nabahu". Throughout the 17th century and frequently in later years, however, many Spanish documents referred to them simply as Apache.
        It is probable the the Navajos aided the Zuñis in their resistance to Coronado. "Coronado, in relating his war with the Zuñi, mentioned that the pueblos and the province were up in arms and that he saw many smoke signals rising at different places. The experiences of later Spanish forces in the region suggest that the Navajo were involved, for they frequently aided the Pueblo tribes against the Spanish."
  • Priest traveling with Hernando de Soto, Spanish Explorer, who landed in the area of Florida in 1539, and traveled the regions of Georgia, Alabama, and Arkansas, in search of gold, baptize their American Indian guide. It is the first recorded baptism in the New World.
  • Thomas Cromwell, English Statesman, is beheaded on a charge of treason. He had displeased Henry VIII, having persuaded the king to ally himself with the German Protestant princes by marrying Anne of Cleves. Henry disliked Anne and divorced her.
  • After a defeat at sea (Battle of Prevesa), Venice signs peace treaty with Ottoman Empire.
  • Holbein paints famouse miniature, "Anne of Cleves".
  • Titian begins his well known untitled portrait called "A Young Englishman".


  1. Vivian, p. 156 & Table A; Navajo Plaintiff's Exhibits 520-G, 520-M, 520-N & 556-A; Stokes & Smiley, 1966; Hall, 1944 & 1951.
    Explanation of symbols:
    c = outermost ring is complete in growth;
    ++ = outer rings very crowded, ring count made, probably many absent in series;
    v = outside shows erosion, last ring variable around circumference, unknown number of rings lost.
    vv = outside shows extreme erosion, last ring very variable around circumference - unknown number of rings lost;
    inc = outside ring of the specimen is incomplete in growth;
    + = either the outermost rings are very small and a ring count only could be made to the outside, or the outermost dated ring is one just preceding what is usually a small, micro or absent ring.

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