Villasur expedition

Villasur expedition
Part of the War of the Quadruple Alliance
DateJune 16 – August 14, 1720 (1720-06-16 – 1720-08-14)
North American Great Plains
ResultPawnee and Otoe victory
Commanders and leaders
  • 40 Spanish soldiers
  • 65 Pueblo warriors
  • 12 Apache warriors
Casualties and losses
47 killedUnknown

The Villasur expedition of 1720 was a Spanish military expedition intended to check New France's growing influence on the North American Great Plains, led by Lieutenant-General Pedro de Villasur. Pawnee and Otoe Indians attacked the expedition in Nebraska, killing 36 of the 40 Spaniards, 10 of their Indian allies, and a French guide. The survivors retreated to their base in New Mexico.


The Pawnee and their French allies surround and defeat the Villasur expedition, painted on buffalo hides.[a]

In the first part of the 18th century, French explorers and fur traders began to enter the plains west of the Missouri River, which they claimed as Louisiana. In 1714, Étienne de Veniard, Sieur de Bourgmont became the first colonial explorer known to have reached the mouth of the Platte River, although other French traders may have visited the area and lived among the Indians.[2] Spain had claimed ownership of the Great Plains since the Coronado expedition of the 16th century, but became worried about the growing French influence in the region. In 1718, the War of the Quadruple Alliance broke out between France and Spain.[3]