The Battlefield

The Battlefield

Spanish Conquistador Francisco de Coronado y Lujan in 1540 reported the Wichita living in villages along the northern banks of the Arkansas River. The existence of Etzanoa was unknown to Europeans at the time.

In 1601 Don Juan Oñate led a large expedition into the interior of the plains.

While they failed in their main missions, they did encounter a plains tribe Oñate called the Escanjaques. The Escanjaques’ enemy the Tavoya, were later known as the Etzanoans.

The Escanjaques, in a supposed friendly gesture, led the Spanish expedition to where the Tavoya lived. They marched north to the present-day Arkansas River on September 16th. Traveling north the expedition encountered the Tavoya, resulting in a friendly meeting.

Taking no chances though, Oñate realized he was singularly outnumbered by both tribes he decided to take hostages from both tribes. The following day the expedition crossed the Arkansas into the hills and discovered a vast settlement. Camping the night of the 17th / 18th near where the present-day Arkansas City Country Club Golf Course is located, the expedition had discovered that they had fallen into a vast settlement with no limits to the north.

The morning of the 18th, after a slow start north, Scouts advised Oñate that the settlement went further North, and the natives were assembling in vast numbers. Consulting with his officers and the Priests who accompanied the expedition, the decision was made by Oñate to reverse course and return to New Mexico. With scouts leading the way they soon encountered the Escanjaques who wanted to do battle and destroy the expedition as the Spanish represented vast material wealth the natives did not have. The Battle of Etzanoa began.

The Battle of Etzanoa encompasses an area that takes up most of the Country Club site bounded on the east with the Country Club Road running north – south connecting with the east/west Highway 166 on the North and Madison Avenue on the south broken by spring fed springs emptying into the Walnut River which was the Western border. This area is about 3.5 square miles where much of the land is built up with expensive homes and broken up by large trees and rough, hilly ground.

The battle begins on a ridge line facing north from the settlement and is soon broken by the Spanish with their canons causing the natives to retire towards the rocky banks of the Walnut River. After a five-hour struggle between the opposing forces the battle ends with Oñate withdrawing his expedition back across the Arkansas River.