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Thread: Spanish Colonial swords

  1. #1
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    Spanish Colonial swords

    Juan, Gene and Javier, I ran across this interesting piece in my travels in the south west. The sword was bought in Mexico in the last few years. It is beautiful but I do not own it nor have it in hand. From what I have picked up it seems legit except the furniture is brass. Is there a context for these two handed sword guards to be brass? I do run across all kinds of variations and modifications in the Spanish Colonial world as at various times Spain seem to ignore their colonies and they had to make do best they could. I have went through this area a few times and have more than one set of photos of it and as I find more will post. The last photo is one I found on the internet of a different sword but it must be brass or gold wash? Regards Eric
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    The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people." --- Tench Coxe

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    Brass hilted two handed sword

    Here are a couple more photos I found on my tablet. Eric
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    The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people." --- Tench Coxe

  3. #3
    Eric,
    It looks a lot like an interpretation of the sword of Svante Nilsson. I would be surprised if this sword is antique, or older than the 19th century.

    Jonathan

  4. #4
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    Hi, Eric.

    I think that Jonathan is on the spot here, although that would imply that the sword is from the 1950's or later, since Nilsson's sword was unearthed then. If earlier, inspired by other European examples from 15th century, like the one on your last picture, a well-known original with a fish-tail pommel.

    In any case, nothing to do with Spanish tradition, I'm afraid.

    JJ
    SI, SI
    NO, NON

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    Thanks J.G. and Juan, I don't know if I could survive this dabbling out side my realm with out your help. I have been forced into these medieval swords in my pursuit of colonial items. The Spaniards came early to our shores. For me your assessment only raises more questions. I have seen few brass hilted Spanish swords except for the m1768 swords but that means little as I have seen a limited number of Spanish swords compared to most by the very nature of living in the American west. Forgive me for pressing but I can only work with what I have. The sword in question iis extremely well balanced and flexible. It also has the correct type écusson, not straight edged or squared. I have handled this sword and it is not like a repro although I do not doubt it is. Ofcourse I own several 19th or later pieces that are well balanced and flexible but all have straight edge squared ècusson. Was the repro business that big in the 19th century? There seem to be many of these. If for display why and in what time period did they work so hard to mimic the originals and make them serviceable weapons? I do not have the extra time but this would be a collecting niche all its own. My interest must remain Spanish colonial as colonial swords of the US be it French, Spanish, British or home spun American is all I can chew. What is your assesment of the hand and a half and the arming sword pictured? Regards Eric
    The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people." --- Tench Coxe

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    Believe me, Eric, there are many 19th century reproductions out there that are real, serviceable swords in their own right. Just keep in mind that an educated gentleman in those days often knew too well, from his military experience or fencing practice, what a real sword was, an the crappy tourist repros that are sold today would have made him laugh.

    In some cases, those repros were made in the same factories where military swords were still being produced. Toledo, Klingenthal, or the many Solingen makers being some examples. I've been able to see some from the Toledo Factory that mount surplus blades from the regulation models, and not surprisingly they look and feel like swords.

    JJ
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    Spanish make do pikes

    Three interesting pikes I picked up in junk stores in Merida, Mexico. Similar to some I see in Northern Mexico and South Western US. The caltrop, area denial weapon or foot sword was picked up in San Antonio. Eric
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    The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people." --- Tench Coxe

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    Soanish ox goad

    Spanish ox goad from Albuquerque used to drive oxen and as a weapon. The other one a British? boarding pike from Vancouver Island. Eric
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    The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people." --- Tench Coxe

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    Nice. Spanish troops in America relied in lancers (jinetes de cuera) when they were already gone in Europe in XVII and XVIIIth century. From California to Chile, for border patrol and indian control. Probably gunpowder was not good, expensive or not easily reaching many outpost.
    La vida amable, el enemigo hombre fuerte, ordinario el peligro, natural la defensa, la Ciencia para conseguirla infalible, su estudio forçoso, y el exercicio necessario conviene al que huviere de ser Diestro, no ignore la teorica, para que en la practica, el cuerpo, el braço, y los instrumentos obren lo conveniente a su perfeccion. --Don Luis Pacheco de Narvaez.

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    Yes, It was a different dynamic here. Spain was supportive when their intrest met colonial interest and ignored the Colonials when it did not. From what I understand most of these cruder pikes and lances were made for Indian allies and half blood troops. I think some of the Invalid troops also used lances. The regulars in the Spanish service had much better weapons and I think most were armed with muskets and bayonets. The true Spanish troops were or seem to be sticklers for regulation weapons and dress. The regulation swords and equipment much harder to come by here as most of it went home with the troops when duty was up. Some swords and items passed down to half blood heirs, including Titles. It is truly for me an interesting niche in collecting but requires knowledge in medieval weapons as they were used and then reused over and over. Unfortunately for me with limited access to 16th and 17th century pieces in the American west a hugh wall. So like the half bloods and natives I am armed with inferior weapons. Without your and Juan's help I fear I would be defeated. Eric
    The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people." --- Tench Coxe

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    They don't look so much like pike heads as the ferrules that were put on the butt end of spears and pikes so that you could stick them in the ground. (Ferrules also provided a second "pointy end" if your pike or spear was snapped.) Not sure if Spanish Colonial era lances would be so fitted; but these are certainly in line with a few examples I've seen over the years. Seldom elegant, but given that the primary mission is being stuck in the dirt, they suffice.
    Retired civil servant, part time blacksmith, seasonal Viking ship captain.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Fairbanks View Post
    The other one a British? boarding pike from Vancouver Island. Eric
    British cavalry lance head.
    "In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.

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    Calvary lance head? Kool. Most this style or should I say shape are pikes, but this one has no langets. Some pikes, spoontons and pole ares do not have langets but most British pikes I have seen do. Thanks Timo very interesting. Can you hazard a date for it? Bruce, I have mulled the idea of them being pole butt ends but they are consistent with many of the pole arms I see in the South west and Mexico. I have come to the conclusion they are native and colonists unit weapons. I do see butt ends and most I find, which are few are cone shaped. I have no real experience, knowledge, and few books on pole arms. The pointed bar types like these do turn up in my circles second only to the blade type with the beauty nut. I really would not be suprised if you are right. Eric
    ?
    The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people." --- Tench Coxe

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    If it's about a foot long, it's the 1868 pattern head. I think the same head was used on the 1885 pattern lance. The 1860 head was shorter, with short langets, and the 1894 head had a much, much longer socket.

    Here's an example: http://www.ashokaarts.com/shop/rare-...e-with-pennant
    "In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.

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    Timo, Have you ever run across a caltrop like the one pictured?
    The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people." --- Tench Coxe

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    I haven't. It doesn't look like a caltrop to me, but I don't know what else it might be.
    "In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.

  17. #17
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    The "caltrop" reminds me of a piece of kitchen ware for hanging birds or game... I'll dig through my blacksmithing library and files to see if I spot anything similar. Then, again, it could just be a weird caltrop.
    Retired civil servant, part time blacksmith, seasonal Viking ship captain.

  18. #18
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    Now a chicken area denial weapon would be interesting.
    The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people." --- Tench Coxe

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Timo Nieminen View Post
    If it's about a foot long, it's the 1868 pattern head. I think the same head was used on the 1885 pattern lance. The 1860 head was shorter, with short langets, and the 1894 head had a much, much longer socket.

    Here's an example: http://www.ashokaarts.com/shop/rare-...e-with-pennant
    I notice that the RCMP still use the 1868 pattern lance. (Only for ceremonial stuff, and tent-pegging etc.) So RCMP is a likely original owner of your head.
    "In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.

  20. #20
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    I've waded through lots of pictures of pointy kitchenware and agricultural and fiber tools, but nothing seems to duplicate the example shown. If the flattened part were a little more extensive, I could picture it hang over a fireplace lug pole with apples impaled upon it for roasting, but it seems too small for that. On the other claw, it seems a little delicate for a caltrop, especially when forged in relatively soft wrought iron, but over the years the rust can eat away at such artifacts, especially with the casual storage that both obsolete military and kitchen equipment receive. I'm still a little dubious (since much stray ironwork is ambiguous in its design and purpose), and military equipment always has a higher "romance" factor that more utilitarian hardware (which certain dealers take advantage of to charge a higher premium) but I would cautiously say caltrop unless proven otherwise.

    (Now I can reshelve all of my historic blacksmithing books! )
    Retired civil servant, part time blacksmith, seasonal Viking ship captain.

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    I bought it in more of a junk shop, so no glamor added by seller. It as far as I know is either a caltrop or it isn't. I only call it a caltrop for the lack of a better term. I will take better photos of it when I get a chance to go home. The spike in the top is flattened and has sharpened edge. It is old even if a chicken area denial weapon. Perhaps some sort of cutting device for leather and the bottom spike sticks in the ground for anchor, or some sort of meat hook or an area denial weapon. The Spanish in the Colonies were notorious double users. The "ox goad" pike above which was both tool and weapon as was the "luna media" a hocking device for butchering cattle. It was also used as a weapon by the Spanish and used by Apache as a weapon and in buffalo harvesting. Even the famous "espada ancha" of the 18th century was as much or more a tool than sword. and even more so in the 19th century. Perhaps more for the Spanish fighting style "Cortar y tajar" than the "destreza". I really just don't know. I do really appreciate your input Bruce as the Spanish in America were way into forging everything on site. My Grandfather was a blacksmith as was a great grand pa and one of the others a wheelwright. Eric
    The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people." --- Tench Coxe

  22. #22
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    Spanish Lance? The McPheeters Militaria catalog just listed this "Spanish Lance" collected by a US military officer fighting Lakotas (Sioux) in the 1870s.
    http://www.mcpheetersantiquemilitari...3_item_007.htm
    Do you think it's Spanish in form? What time period does it date to?
    Name:  2016-02-15 19.16.17.jpg
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    Andy Masich

  23. #23
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    It's a Chinese spearhead. Could be 18th or 19th century. Or early 21st century fake antique.

    It's a distinctive, common and classic style of Chinese spear. See attached photo for some examples. Also, http://mandarinmansion.com/qing-spearhead
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    "In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.

  24. #24
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    Here's a similar blade a friend recently purchased in Queretaro Mexico--with the brass boss connector--Chinese, too?Name:  2016-02-15 19.17.23.jpg
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    Andy Masich

  25. #25
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    Looks Chinese.

    I've only seen one American spear/polearm with a connector/nut thing at all like the ones that're very common on Chinese spears/polearms, and it's in a quite different style (more like the ones that are sometimes on Indian (as in from India) spears). Photo on pg 80 of R. H. Brown, "American Polearms 1526-1865" (the right-most head on plate 84).

    It's not unusual to see Chinese spearheads being sold as Revolutionary War pikes.

    More Chinese spearheads attached.
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    "In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.

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