GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.- In 1776, The Grand Valley was put on the map, literally. This is all thanks to the expedition of Silvestre Vélez Escalante and Francisco Atanasio Domínguez.
The two Franciscan priests wanted to find a route between modern day Sante Fe, New Mexico and Monterrey, California.
Much of what is now the western United States was largely uncharted at this time, and the only information Domínguez and Escalante had to reference during their expedition were diary entries from previous explorer Juan Rivera.
Luckily Domínguez and Escalante took a cartographer or map maker with them who made some of the first known maps of what is now Western Colorado.
The expedition paved the way for not only more explorers and traders to use Domínguez and Escalante’s maps, but the expedition fostered a better understanding of the land and native american tribes such as the Utes.