A Guide to the Pedro Vial Diary, 1786-1793
Born in Lyons, France, in the mid-18th century, Pedro (also Pierre) Vial moved to the United States around the 1860s or 1870s, living in Louisiana in 1779 and later among the Taovaya Indians. Upon moving to San Antonio, Texas, in 1784, Governor Domingo Cabello y Robles appointed Vial and Francisco Xavier Chaves to learn about the Comanche Indians. Two years later, the governor requested Vial find a direct route between San Antonio and Santa Fe, New Mexico. He and Cristóbal de los Santos traveled toward Waco and along the Red River, living again with the Taovayas. Vial finally arrived in Santa Fe in May 1787 and, after a year, began his return to San Antonio via Natchitoches, Louisiana. In addition to successive explorations in the Southwest, Vial acted as interpreter and agent for the governor of New Mexico in Native American areas and lived among the Comanches. In 1803, he moved to Santa Fe, where he died in 1814.
Chipman, Donald E. "Vial, Pedro [Pierre]."Handbook of Texas Online. Accessed March 10, 2011. http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fvi01.
The Pedro Vial Diary, 1786-1793, comprises photocopies of Vial’s diary and English translations by Margarita Costero. The diary chronicles his exploratory trips between San Antonio, Texas, and Santa Fe, New Mexico, on behalf of the Spanish government and describes encounters with Native Americans, sizes of their encampments, and the routes and distances he traveled.
This collection is open for research use.
Pedro Vial Diary, 1786-1793, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
Basic processing and cataloging of this collection was supported with funds from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) for the Briscoe Center’s “History Revealed: Bringing Collections to Light project,” 2009-2011.
Detailed Description of the Papers