Chapter Ten

The Founding of La Villa Real de la Santa Fé de San Francisco de Asís or the Royal Town of the Holy Faith of Saint Francis of Assisi, Nuevo Méjico


Thanks again to all the sources available on the Internet

The city of Santa Fé founded by my progenitors, the Españoles.  The area was originally occupied by a number of Pueblo Indian villages with founding dates between 11th-Century C.E. (1050 C.E.-150 C.E).  One of their earliest known settlements is in what is today known as Santa Fé came about 900 C.E.  A Native-American group built a cluster of homes near the site of today’s Plaza which then spread for half a mile to the south and west; the village was called Ogapoge.  The Santa Fé River has been the major provider of water for the people living there.  It is a seasonal waterway which was a year round stream until the 1700s C.E.  

Santa Fé was the capital of New Mexico or Nuevo Méjico, a province of New Spain or Nueva España explored by Francisco Vázquez de Coronado and established in 1515 C.E.  The "Kingdom of Nuevo Méjico" was first claimed for the Spanish Crown in 1540 C.E., almost 70 years before the founding of Santa Fé.  Coronado and his men also traveled to the Grand Canyon and through the Great Plains on their Nuevo Méjico Expedition.  

Before proceeding, I must explain that the widely used expressions, Spanish colonists and conquistadores by Anglo-American, Northern European, and non-Spanish historians and commentators are considered passé by today’s Hispanic writers.  It is understood that earlier writings about España and the Españoles were tainted by political, moral, and cultural prejudices and biases held by those writers.  To be clear, these writers using such references were depicting Spanish New World or Nuevo Mundo arrivals as conquerors or colonists, excluding these from being seen simply as settlers.  This might be seen by some as an insidious way to gradually and subtly depict my progenitors as illegitimate heirs to the Spanish Nuevo Mundo, while leaving the Anglo-American and British as saviors of the Indigenous.  There can be nothing further from the truth unless one can re-write history and quietly put away the deaths of millions under these nations and their regimes.  

Deep seated prejudices and/or the planned conveyance of selected information, indicators, and the use of specific terms directed toward targeted audiences (Anglo-Americans, Northern Europeans, and persons of Non-Spanish ethnicity) is a well-understood practice.  It is meant to influence their emotions, motives, objective reasoning, and ultimately their behavior about something or toward something related to governments (España), groups (Españoles), and individuals (My progenitors).  

Yes, a colonist may be a settler in or inhabitant, but in a colony.  This term has synonyms associated with it such as colonizer or colonial.  The term colonizer is a noun form of “to colonize.”  This is the process by which a country or its citizens send a group of settlers to a place and establish political control over it.  Conquerors are persons who conquer a place or people, as in a people ruled over by a foreign conqueror, España. ·It is associated with synonyms such as vanquisher, conquistador, and victor.  Need I say more on this matter?  

Here, I’m not going quite as far as to say that these writers were or are overtly attempting to delegitimize España or the Españoles in their right of conquest over the Nuevo Mundo by the use of these terms.  However, one might say the incessant drumbeat of something regarded as unpleasant and continuing its use without pause or interruption might tend to withdraw the legitimate status of España and her one-time authority from that very same Nuevo Mundo.  In short, España’s one-time ownership of that Nuevo Mundo might be delegitimized by her actions in that arena by using these negative references throughout the historical narratives.  

Spanish terms, such as adelantados are more seen as appropriate and balanced, as they describe the view held by the 16th Españoles.  Adelantados also suggests development, progress, and advancement.  Today’s Hispanic writers also prefer the use of adelandados culturales, in English, those taking the culture lead.  The term Adelantados, which means those who went ahead, in front, or forward is also preferred.  They are so much more pleasant than colonist or conqueror are they not?  

A second term, poblador the Spanish word for inhabitant or settler, is also acceptable and preferred to the words colonist or conquistadores.  For example, the term Pobladores or “townspeople” of Santa Fé should be substituted as the proper reference for its original settlers and soldados who founded the city in 1610 C.E.  This we would use as opposed to those overly used words, colonist and/or conqueror.  

Pobladores first settled in northern Nuevo Méjico in 1598 C.E.  Don Juan de Oñate y Salazar became the first governor or Gobernador and Capitán-General of Nuevo Méjico and established his capital in 1598 C.E. at San Juan Pueblo, 25 miles north of Santa Fé.  The city of Santa Fé was founded by Don Pedro de Peralta, Nuevo Méjico's third Gobernador.  Peralta gave the city its full name, "La Villa Real de la Santa Fé de San Francisco de Assisi", or "The Royal City of the Holy Faith of Saint Francis of Assisi."  

San Miguel Chapel in Santa FeSan Miguel Chapel in Santa Fé is one of the first church structures in the United States.  The original adobe walls and altar were built by Tlaxcala Indians from Mexico or Méjico under the direction of Franciscan Padres, circa 1610 C.E.  It was partially destroyed during the Pueblo Revolt of 1680 C.E.  The thick adobe walls remained unharmed.  In 1710 C.E., it was rebuilt.  Stone buttresses later were added to strengthen the walls.  The tower was remodeled and a modern facade was added.  

The Chapel of San Miguel in Santa Fé is an outstanding example of Spanish style churches built after the Pueblo Revolt, using high windows and thick walls for protection. settlement on the site that would become Santa Fé was first established by Juan Martínez de Montoya ca. 1607 C.E.-1608 C.E.  The town was formally founded and made a capital in 1610 C.E., making it the oldest capital city in the United States.  Jamestown, Virginia was established by the Virginia Company of London as "James Fort" on May 4, 1607 C.E., and was considered permanent after brief abandonment in 1610 C.E.  

Santa Fé
remained continually inhabited by Europeans except for the years 1680 C.E.-1692 C.E., when, as a result of the Pueblo Revolt, the native Pueblo people drove the Españoles out of Nuevo Méjico.  It was later reconquered by Don Diego de Vargas Zapata y Luján Ponce de León y Contreras (1643 C.E. in España -1704 C.E.).  Santa Fé remained España's provincial seat until the outbreak of the Mexican War of Independence in 1810 C.E.  In 1824 C.E. the city's status as the capital of the Mexican territory of Santa Fé de Nuevo Méjico was formalized in the Mexican Constitution.  

In 1841 C.E., a small military and trading expedition set out from Austin, Tejas, with the aim of gaining control over the Santa Fé Trail.  Known as the Santa Fé Expedition the force was poorly prepared and was easily repelled by the Mexican army.  In 1846 C.E., the United States declared war on Méjico, and General Kearny led a troop of U.S. Cavalry into the city to claim it and the whole Nuevo Méjico Territory for the United States.  By 1848 C.E. it officially gained Nuevo Méjico through the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.  

Interestingly, Colonel Alexander William Doniphan under the command of Kearny recovered ammunition from Santa Fé labeled "Spain 1776."


Many years ago, I was listening to a television broadcast about the American presidential election.  At discussion was New Mexico.  It appeared that many Americans did not know that it was a part of the United States.  Therefore, as most Americans know little about Santa Fé or Nuevo Méjico, here I provide a more in-depth explanation.  Santa Fé, Nuevo Méjico resides in today’s American state of Nuevo Méjico.  The Continental Divide extends from north to south through central Nuevo Méjico.  The north-central part of the state lies within the Southern Rocky Mountains, and the northwest forms part of the Colorado Plateau.  The eastern two-fifths of the state fall on the western fringes of the Great Plains.


Major mountain ranges include the Southern Rockies, the Chuska Mountains in the northwest, and the Caballo, San Andres, San Mateo, Sacramento, and Guadalupe ranges in the south and southwest.  The highest point in the state is Wheeler Peak, at 13,161 ft (4,014 m); the lowest point, 2,842 ft (867 m), is at Red Bluff Reservoir.


The Río Grande traverses Nuevo Méjico from north to south and forms a small part of the state's southern border with Tejas.  Other major rivers include the Pecos, San Juan, Canadian, and Gila.  The largest bodies of inland water are the Elephant Butte Reservoir and Conchas Reservoir, both created by dams.


The Carlsbad Caverns, the largest known subterranean labyrinth in the world, penetrate the foothills of the Guadalupes in the southeast.  The caverns embrace more than 37 mi (60 km) of connecting chambers and corridors and are famed for their stalactite and stalagmite formations.


Nuevo Méjico is divided into the following six life zones: lower Sonoran, upper Sonoran, transition, Canadian, Hudsonian, and Arctic-Alpine.


Characteristic vegetation in each zone includes, respectively, desert shrubs and grasses; piñon/juniper woodland, sagebrush, and chaparral; ponderosa pine and oak woodlands; mixed conifer and aspen forests; spruce/fir forests and meadows; tundra wild flowers and riparian shrubs.  The yucca has three varieties in Nuevo Méjico and is the state flower.  Thirteen plant species were listed as threatened or endangered in 2003 C.E., including Sacramento prickly poppy, Moncos milk-vetch, and two species of cacti.


Indigenous animals include pronghorn antelope, javelina, and black-throated sparrow in the lower Sonoran zone; mule and white-tailed deer, ringtail, and brown towhee in the upper Sonoran zone; elk and wild turkey in the transition zone; black bear and hairy woodpecker in the Canadian zone; pine marten and blue grouse in the Hudsonian zone; and bighorn sheep, pika, ermine, and white-tailed ptarmigan in the Arctic-Alpine zone.  Among notable desert insects are the tarantula, centipede, and vinegarroon.  The coatimundi, Baird's sparrow, and brook stickleback are among rare animals.  Twenty-nine New Mexican animal species were classified as threatened or endangered in 2003 C.E., including two species of bat, whooping crane, bald eagle, southwestern willow flycatcher, Mexican spotted owl, three species of shiner, and razorback sucker.


Nuevo Méjico is located in the southwestern US. Smaller only than Montana or Montaña of the eight Rocky Mountain States, it ranks 5th in size among the 50 states.  The area of Nuevo Méjico is 121,593 sq mi (314,926 sq km), of which land comprises 121,335 sq mi (314,258 sq km) and inland water 258 sq mi (668 sq km).  Almost square in shape except for its jagged southern border, Nuevo Méjico extends about 352 mi (566 km) E-W and 391 mi (629 km) N-S.


Nuevo Méjico is bordered on the North by Colorado; on the East by Oklahoma and Tejas; on the South by Tejas and the Mexican state of Chihuahua (with a small portion of the south-central border formed by the Río Grande); and on the West by Arizona.  The total boundary length of Nuevo Méjico is 1,434 mi (2,308 km).  

As we are now all on board about Nuevo Méjico and its location we shall proceed.  

Gaspar Pérez de Villagrá was one of Juan Ante's tenientes or lieutenants and supporters that traveled with the Oñate Expedition into Nuevo Méjico.  He wrote a book entitled, “A History of Nuevo Méjico” detailing the historical events of the Oñate Expedition.  It was published in 1610 C.E. preceding the Pilgrims landing in America by ten years.  His book came fourteen years before the publication of Captain John Smith’s historical book on the events that happened in Virginia during its colonization.  

My Spanish ancestors the Españoles did not find the legendary cities of gold they sought and longed for.  The sunlight glistening off flecks of mica in distant adobe walls had fooled them.  However, these early explorers (Notice the word is not Conquistadores) were impacted by the vistas and the possibilities of the area.  

The initial Spanish exploration of Nuevo Méjico by Francisco Vásquez de Coronado assembled an enormous expedition at Compostela, Méjico in 1540 C.E.-1542 C.E.  Because of what they had seen and heard, the Spanish Franciscans later began to Christianize and settle the area of Nuevo Méjico by the 1590s C.E.  

In the new settlements, Spanish padres were busy converting the pueblo Indians and building new missions which formed the economic center of the new economy.  As they labored hard to expand and improve their missions, more Spanish settlers or Pobladores arrived at the remote colony.  There were 800 Españoles and Europeans, some Mexican Tlascalan Indians a Nahuatl people of the state of Tlaxcala, Méjico, and Blacks born either in the Iberian Peninsula or in the La Nueva Mundo that came in this first wave of settlement.  

This settlement was spurred by the secure mission environment.  Eventually the Catholic missionaries found thousands of potential converts, and by 1680 C.E. they had built some eighty missions.  

La Villa Real de la Santa Fé de San Francisco de Asís or the Royal Town of the Holy Faith of Saint Francis of Assisi is located at 7,000 above sea level.  Santa Fé, as it’s called, is the oldest state capitol in the nation, founded in 1608 C.E. by Nuevo Méjico's third Spanish Gobernador, Don Pedro de Peralta and was made the capital of the territory in 1610 C.E.  However, recently discovered documents suggest that Santa Fé may actually have been founded two years earlier.  It is the third oldest surviving city founded by Europeans in the 48 contiguous states of the United States.  Pensacola (1559 C.E.) was first flowed by San Agustín or Saint Augustine (1565 C.E.), both in Florida.  

The first road established by Españoles was El Camino Real or the Royal Highway.  First begun in the 1540s C.E., by 1581 C.E. it was used by the Spanish mission system as a resupply route and by the Pobladores from Méjico City to Santa Fé.  

Today, the Palace of Governors or El Palacio de Gobernadores is located on the Santa Fé Plaza and is the oldest government building in the United States.  The Plaza is the end of the Santa Fé Trail, which travels 800 miles from western Missouri.  It was the trade route between Méjico and the United States until the 1846 C.E. Mexican-American War.  

La Villa Santa Fé was inhabited on a very small scale in 1607 C.E.  It was later founded as the capital of the province in 1609 C.E.-1610 C.E., this makes it the oldest European community west of the Mississippi.  The capital was established with a small cluster of European type dwellings.  One of which is the site of both the oldest public building in America, Palace of the Governors or on the Plaza el Palacio de los Gobernadores.  Santa Fé also boasts the nation's oldest community celebration, the Santa Fé Fiesta, established in 1712 C.E. to commemorate the Spanish or Españoles reconquest of Nuevo Méjico in the summer of 1692 C.E.  

It is no simple point that Santa Fé was established a decade before the pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock.  In an Anglo-Saxon and Northern European centric United States, that fact has been conveniently lost to the general public.  This knowledge has only been kept alive by the insistence of Hispano residents of Nuevo Méjico.  

The fortified “villa real” or royal village occupied the site of an early Tanoan Indian Pueblo and a more recent Españoles settlement.  The Españoles surveyed and designed the new villa real in accordance with Spanish law.  Its central Plaza was to be surrounded by those two principal institutions of España the Church and Monarchy, a government palace and military presidio and a parish church.  A packed-earth lot designed as a rectangle the size of two square city blocks was constructed.  The area was engineered to accommodate government ceremonies and religious processions that made their way to the commercial markets and fiestas which included the use of horses.  

Peralta and his men laid out the plan for the capital at the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains on the site of the ancient Pueblo Indian ruin of Kaupoge, or "place of shell beads near the water."  Peralta, by necessity, selected a defensible site.  It was one capable of being defended against assault and where his troops could be bivouacked in a defensible position.  The original Plaza was actually a presidio or reinforced fort surrounded by a large defensive wall.  Presidios were Spanish defensive installations used to protect Spanish villas, ranchos, mining camps, and the pueblos of allied Native-American tribes and used offensively against hostile Indigenous.  Typically, Presidios were placed strategically as territorial marker sites in those areas held by Españia.  It enclosed residences, barracks, a chapel, a prison and the Gobernador's palace.  To ensure protection, the palace was built for defense with three-foot-thick adobe walls.  Eventually the wall would give way to large houses built by high-ranking Spanish officers and officials.  His plan also called for ample and available land with a good water source for the villa.  

His surveyor laid out the villa, including areas of land for districts as the Viceregal or Virreinal instructions were to build a presidio and six districts around a Plaza.  House and garden plots were also designated.  Government buildings and offices were planned for in the Santa Fé Plaza for the Gobernador's headquarters, government administrative offices, a jail, an arsenal, and a chapel.  Upon completion, the Plaza could hold "1,000 Españoles, 5,000 head of small, rugged Churro sheep, 400 head of Spanish Barb horses, and 300 head of Corriente cattle without crowding.  

Thirteen years before Plymouth Colony was settled in 1620 C.E. by the Mayflower Pilgrims, Santa Fé, Nuevo Méjico was a bustling capital.  It would soon become the seat of power for the Imperio Español or Spanish Empire north of the Río Grande.  

Don Pedro had authorized construction of Santa Fé as a new capital city in the late spring of 1610 C.E. because its site was more centrally located and the area was more satisfying to his governmental needs.  Once settled, Nuevo Méjico remained an outpost of the Imperio español in the Nuevo Mundo.  It was isolated and difficult to reach from the capital of the Viceroyalty or Virreinato of Nueva España at Méjico City using El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro, “The Royal Road of the Interior Land.”  The Camino Real was a rugged, often dangerous route running 1,600 miles with re-supply trips made only every 2 or 3 years.  Therefore, Santa Fé had to survive on its own for long periods of time.  The few brave souls that chose the mountainous life lived and died by the work of their hands and the finely honed native intelligence.  With few friends and many, many enemies the Españoles held the land by shear force of will.  Thus began history of Nuevo Méjico soldiering.  

Pedro de Peralta (c. 1584 C.E.-1666 C.E.) remained Gobernador of Nuevo Méjico between 1610 C.E. and 1613 C.E. at a time when it was a province of Nueva España or New Spain.  He was an educated man with a bachelor of canon law.  Fray Isidro de Ordóñez, who had twice before been in Nuevo Méjico, arrived with the supply train in 1612 C.E. as the leader of nine Franciscan friars.  When he reached the southernmost mission at Sandia Pueblo, he produced a document that apparently made him Father Commissary, or head of the church in Nuevo Méjico, although later the document was said to be a forgery.  Despite Peralta's protests, Ordóñez proclaimed that any soldado or Pobladores could leave if they wanted to.  Ordóñez also accused Peralta of underfeeding the natives who were working on the construction of Santa Fé.  The struggle for power intensified, and in May 1613 C.E. Ordóñez excommunicated Peralta, posting a notice announcing this on the doors of the Santa Fé church.  On 12 August 1613 C.E., Ordóñez and his followers arrested Peralta and had him chained and imprisoned in the mission of Nuestra Señora de los Dolores or Our Lady of Sorrows at Sandia. His jailer, Fray Esteban de Perea, disapproved but obeyed.  Ordóñez assumed full civil as well as religious power in Nuevo Méjico until a new temporal Gobernador, Don Bernardino de Ceballos (Most probably one of my family lines), arrived in Nuevo Méjico in the spring of 1614 C.E.  Peralta was not allowed to leave until November 1614 C.E., after Ordóñez and the new Gobernador confiscated most of his possessions.  

It must be said here that later, Don Peralta was vindicated by the Spanish Inquisition at the capital of Nueva España at Méjico City.  He went on to hold a number of other senior posts in the Spanish imperial administration.  

With the 1700s C.E., came a period of extraordinary change for Nuevo Méjico.  After it was settled by the Españoles in 1598 C.E., the colony became essentially a government subsidized Franciscan mission for the Pueblo Indians.  Its extensive Santa Fé Presidio was strategically designed to be self-sufficient in the event of enemy attack and to protect El Palacio de Gobernadores on the Plaza.  All was protected by the Spanish soldados from the Presidio.  

By 1620, the good padres of the Catholic Church began their efforts to convert the nearby pueblo of Pecos, where my family, the de Riberas settled around 1790 C.E.  The Catholic Church's Order of Friars Minor (Franciscan) had first erected a crude chapel at Pecos in 1598 C.E.  The Fray Francisco de San Miguel, the Catholic builder, would soon do more.  Fray Pedro de Ortega, aided by Indian labor, began the building of a huge church.  It was to be called Nuestra Señora de Los Angeles de Porcíuncula or Our Lady of the Angels of Porcíuncula.  Fray Andres Juarez finally completed Nuestra Señora four years later in 1625 C.E.  He had labored hard in Pecos, since 1599 C.E. when he took over construction of the church and surrounding buildings.  

Given the historical period and the isolation of Nuevo Méjico from the Mundo Español or Spanish world, the church was an impressive accomplishment.  The massive adobe walls were twenty-two feet thick in places.  It boasted rows of buttresses and six bell towers, a sharp contrast to the ancient Indian pueblo.  The nave or central worship hall was one hundred and fifty feet long and forty feet wide.  Located to the south of the Church was a sprawling convento covering hundreds of square feet and providing abundant living quarters for padres and helpers.  Unfortunately, within twenty years, the Gobierno Español began to begin to clash with the Church.  

The much hated Luis de Rosas, gobernador of Nuevo Méjico, arrived in Santa Fé during 1636.  De Rosas was a soldado who served as the 9th gobernador of Nuevo Méjico.  It is believed that de Rosas moved from Méjico City to Santa Fé, Nuevo Méjico, in the caravan of the Supply Mission in 1636 C.E. with the Virrey Díez de Armendáriz, to take office as governor from 1637 C.E. through 1641 C.E.  

It has been suggested that when Armendáriz appointment him gobernador of Nuevo Méjico, De Rosas protested.  It was his position that the government of Nuevo Méjico was critiqued continually by the Virreinato and with his reputation being low at the time the situation would be problematic.  Addition, he was concerned that mutinies in Nuevo Méjico against the gobernadores were frequent and certain.  In any event, De Rosas' administration in Nuevo Méjico government had been decided in advance and he had little choice but to accept the appointment.  

De Rosas´s and his supporters immediately moved to fortify the Santo Domingo Pueblo located approximately 25 miles southwest of Santa Fé in order of defend Santa Fé, his new capital.  

In 1638 C.E., Luis de Rosas the secular authority, civil gobernador, and military commander and the Spanish Fray, Juan de Salas, joined in an expedition to Ipotlapiguas Villa.  This had been planned for Fray Salas and a group of five Franciscans and forty soldiers or Soldados led by De Rosas.  The expedition traveled to northern Sonora, to southwest of Zuni lands and had as aimed convert the Indigenous population to Christianity.  

Later, during Fray Juan de Salas' second custodianship, de Rosas like several other gobernadores of Nuevo Méjico would become quarrelsome and arbitrary in his rule and caused considerable trouble for the padres.  

It has been speculated that de Roses had some animosity toward a fray, Esteban de Perea.  The Fray was born in Villanueva del Fresno, in Extremadura, Spain.  He undertook missionary work in the province of Nuevo Méjico from 1610 C.E. through 1638 C.E.  Soon after arriving, he established the mission of Nuestra Señora de los Dolores (Our Lady of Sorrows) at Sandia Pueblo, to the south of Santa Fé.  The Virrey of Nueva España, Don Luís de Velasco, Marqués de Salinas, received a complaint about the mission at Sandia from the municipality of Santa Fé, which said that the mission had taken so much of the limited supply of iron that there was not enough left for civilian needs.  De Perea’s zeal for his converts was obvious when after visiting the Hopi people, he wrote enthusiastically about this industrious and moral people, who constructed well-built houses, in a land that resembled España.  By 1626 C.E., de Perea temporarily left Nuevo Méjico, for Nueva España.  

Sometime before 1629 C.E., it was rumored that de Perea’s family were of Jewish lineage who had converted to Christianity (New Christians).  The Church had remained suspicious that some of these converts or Conversos might have remained true to their Jewish beliefs and continued to practice them in private.  In 1629 C.E., the Spanish Inquisition of Nueva España conducted a thorough inquiry into Perea's "purity of blood."  It has been speculated that two witnesses testified that his mother's family was "tainted with New Christian blood."  However, the Franciscans assigned the investigation chose to ignore the evidence.  

By 1629 C.E., de Perea returned to Nuevo Méjico accompanying approximately thirty Frays and several lay brothers undertaking missionary work.  It has been suggested that he possibly traveled with the new Gobernador of Nuevo Méjico, Capitán Don Francisco Manuel de Silva Nieto.  De Silva was more sympathetic to the Frays and the Natives.  He gave orders that his soldados should not molest the Pueblo Indians, on penalty of death.  This would have not set well with de Roses.  

He was sent to Nuevo Méjico by the Franciscan Province of the Holy Gospel, based in Méjico City as special inspector, the agent of the Inquisition, and also custodian to replace Fray Alonso de Benavides.  Gobernador de Silva appears to have been friendlier toward the frays than his predecessors had been, and helped them in their work.  By the end of 1629 C.E., Nuevo Méjico is reported to have had approximately thirty-five missions which were served by forty-six frays with a converted Indian population of around 35,000.  

De Perea carried with him a “Letter of Inquiry” from the archbishop in Méjico City.  The Letter of Inquiry provided for a response to an earlier letter from the confessor of the Spanish nun, María de Ágreda.  It had been reported that de Ágreda had been falling into trances, after which, she stated that she had been transported to a people called Jumanos, to whom she preached.  De Ágreda did not name the places she had visited, as a result the priests in España believed that the name “Jumanos” suggested somewhere in Nuevo Méjico.  Further, it was reported that several groups of Jumanos Indians visited Nuevo Méjico missions, stating they had been visited by a young woman in blue, who had told them to ask for frays from the missions to be sent to their tribes.  The frays immediately associated the two incidents and investigations were begun by which to verify the possible miracle.  

On June 23, 1629 C.E., de Perea accompanied de Silva on an expedition to Zuni with thirty soldados, ten wagons, four hundred cavalry horses and a group of priests.  Perhaps due to the size of the force, they were well received by the local people of Zuni.  The soldados made a great showing of respect for the frays by going down on their knees and kissing their feet.  The soldados solicited the Indians to do the same.  De Perea took the Tribe’s welcome to mean that "God hath already disposed this vineyard."  A great platform and cross were then built in the Hawikuh Plaza.  The Españoles would conduct a mass and baptize many of the Zuni leaders the very next day.  De Perea would later note that the Indians "are very observant of superstitious idolatry... they have their gods in the mountains, in the rivers, in the harvests, and in their houses."  Thus, the frays would have to remain vigilant.  

Fray Perea was also one of those present when the Nuevo Méjico mission period began, in the Salinas region with the building of churches and conventos at Quarai and other pueblos during 1629 C.E. through 1630 C.E.  By 1630 C.E., when Fray Esteban went there, the mission of Purisima Concepción at Quarai was presumably completed to the point where he could reside and hold services in it.  Fray Perea would be the custodio of the province and the local representative of the Holy Office only for a short time during 1631 C.E.  This is to say that the first resident priest of Quarai was at the time also the supreme ecclesiastical authority of Nuevo Méjico.  De Perea was relieved of his custodianship by Frey Juan de Salas in that same year, 1631 C.E.  However, De Perea did retain his office with the Inquisition until his death (1638 C.E. or 1639 C.E.).  

Fray de Perea remained at Quarai until his death.  Fray de Salas would become custodian for the second time in 1638 C.E.  He replaced Fray Juan de Góngora and served until 1641 C.E.  By 1643 C.E., he was the guardian of the convent of Cuarac having probably assumed his post at Quarai in 1638 C.E. or 1639 C.E., at the death of de Perea.  

It would appear that Fray Esteban loved his flock too much for the liking of de Rosas.  The Fray evidently was too protective of their interests and involved himself a bit much in the affairs of the State and the Gobernador.  It has been conjectured that de Rosas still felt animosity even after de Perea's death.  By 1640 C.E., he was raiding the convents of Sandia and Cuarac, both of which de Perea had been the guardian.  De Rosas is reported to have desecrated the rooms that had served as headquarters for the business of the Holy Office at both sites, which de Perea had represented.  

De Rosas was later imprisoned during the investigation into his mandate and actions taken while in office.  He was later assassinated by several soldados on January 25, 1642 C.E. while being held in prison after an investigation regarding the misuse of his mandated powers had been concluded.  

De Rosas had continually clashed with the padres in the area.  At one church service the gobernador stood up during the sermon and called the Franciscan fray a liar.  These outbursts caused the Indian Pueblos to wonder whether they should believe the frays if the Gobernador didn’t.  The Gobernador’s actions caused a loss of the influence of the Catholic frays over the Indians.  It is highly probable that this Church-State quarrel set the stage for the deterioration of Spanish control of Nuevo Méjico affairs.  With the government and the Franciscan friars divided they were not prepared for coming tragedy that was to hit Nuevo Méjico leading to the Indians’ eventual revolt.  

The gobernador ruled with extreme authority that bordered on tyranny.  It was de Rosas who rediscovered the means used by previous gobernadores for exploiting the Indians for profit and implemented these same tools.  He went to the pueblos demanding that the Indians weave blankets and other textiles that were to be delivered to him.  In Santa Fé, he built what would be called today a sweatshop.  There under the sentence of servitude, he forced Christian Pueblos, unconverted Apache, and Ute captives to work for him.  

The Genizaros’, another Native-American group, provided forced labor for his Spanish administrators. Genízaro was a term used in 18th- and 19th-Century C.E. Nuevo Méjico for "detribalized Indians," a variety of individuals of mixed Native-American, but not Pueblo, parentage who had adopted at least some Hispanic styles of living.  They were most common in areas of Nuevo Méjico adjacent to the Southern Plains.  

Later, Rosas delivered knives to the Pecos Pueblo and ordered the Indians to trade them to the Apache for buffalo hides and meat.  When they returned without profit, the Gobernador took a Pecos Indian prisoner.  In retaliation, he broke a promise made earlier to the Pecos Pueblo.  They would no longer be permitted to perform their ceremonial dances unless they furnished him with blankets and hides.  De Rosas should be viewed here as a type.  Not all Españoles were as punitive and exploitive as he.  There were ongoing, genuine efforts of cooperation and kindness between both parties.  

La Conquistadora in the Cathedral of San Francisco de Assis (Santa Fé, NM)  

At this juncture it must also be understood that many steps were taken by España to solidify its control of Nuevo Méjico after its initial occupation.  However, each step gave the Pueblo Indians a governmental and religious structure that would coincide with the Spanish government and religious structure.  This was done in an effort to achieve successful communications and stability between the parties.  The Españoles at Santa Fé understood that they didn’t live in a vacuum and attempted cohesion.  

It should be understood by the reader that this was early in the 17th Century, not the 21st Century.  The Españoles at Santa Fé were under the monarchy of España.  The Rule of Law was a concept that had yet to be introduced.  These were subjects of the Crown not citizens of a democratically elected nation-state.  Laws were issued as edicts announced by the Crown and expected to be followed.  Local subjects were only to obey, not promulgate their own laws and rules.  Thus, both the Church frays and the governmental officials were at the command of the sovereign.  In short, they implemented only what they were told.  Where this became problematic was in the area of interpretation of the edicts and their impacts upon the legal standing of both institutions.  

To better organize the Pueblos Gobernador, Juan de Oñate, introduced the office of petty governor (gobernadorcillo) and the smaller governmental positions of Teniente Gobernador, sheriff (alguacil), irrigation boss (mayordomo) and church warden (fiscal).  Each held a one-year term of office after they were elected by a vote of the Pueblo people.  This municipal government handled minor political and judicial affairs.  Later, a council of elders (principales) comprised of former Gobernadores and Teniente Gobernadores, was added to serve as an advisory committee.  

Later, in an effort to establish order and govern effectively, the Españoles established the first formal laws.  Water rights were guaranteed to further the expansion of agriculture.  

There were also laws which controlled the conduct of soldados, even when the tribes were hostile and during war.  Most of my Santa Fé progenitors were in fact soldados.  It should be noted that these soldados at the Santa Fé Presidio operated under extremely difficult circumstances.  They had to be well-disciplined, orderly, effective, and efficient.  They were faithful and fought the marauding nomadic Indians with valor.  History attests to the fact that they were courageous, respected, and capable frontiersmen.  This is contrary to depictions by non-Spanish historians and commentators that these Hispanic frontier soldados were weak and ineffective.  

The mistrust held by the Españoles of the Indians in Nuevo Méjico and their frequent hostile actions against the Spanish Pobladores were contributing factors which kept the Españoles from fulfilling their goals for the area.  Yet, given all of the difficulties the Spanish government at Santa Fé continued in its attempt to provide order.  

The Republica System, or municipal domain, was used by España to introduce the Pueblos to Spanish civil government.  These republicas or municipal domains were the only representative government positions available to the citizens where they were allowed by the Spanish government to participate directly in politics.  The flaw in the Spanish system was that the holy men of each pueblo selected who was elected to these offices and then ruled through them.  Currently all pueblos still have a gobernador who leads the government of the Pueblos.  The Españoles made strong attempts to influence the outcome of these elections.  They knew who they wanted to lead the pueblo governments and did everything in their power to get that man elected.  

The Role of the Catholic Church and its missionaries was to convert the Indians to Christianity.  It is important to remember that the Spanish government's goal was for the acceptance of the Indians to baptism into the Catholic faith.   España’s attitude toward the Indians was that of the guardian of the basic rights of Indians.  These efforts were to be followed by the Indians being accepted as members of the Spanish civilization.  

The missionaries did the same thing as the military government.  The area was divided into seven religious sections with one Franciscan friar in charge of each district.  Nuevo Méjico was now divided into pueblo governments and religious sections.  

Many Nuevo Méjico Indians cooperated with the Españoles.  The most obvious evidence of the influence of the Españoles in territories is that the Indians successfully raise livestock and grew crops.  These Indians also were trusted and allowed to and carry weapons that were introduced to them by the Españoles.  This practice continued even after the Great Pueblo Revolt of 1680 C.E.  

However, even with Spanish laws in place, exploitation of the Indian did occur.  In addition to exploitation, a major deterrent to Spanish success was the greed of the some Spanish Gobernadors, missionaries, and a few of its citizens.  

Before proceeding, it should be stated that the Spanish colonial attitude toward the Indians is contrasted with the Anglo-American attitude that was one of total removal from their lands or total annihilation.   In that scenario the Indian was continually pushed aside or killed.


The Pre-Pueblo Revolt  

One might say that the clash of two cultures was inevitable. The Pueblo Indians at the time of the first European contact was a well established Pueblo culture population between 40,000 to 50,000.  The term "Pueblo" refers to a group of people who share a common culture that have a similar lifestyle.  These were farmers.  The Españoles grouped these peoples into one and called them "Pueblos" which means "Townsmen."  Only a few of the original buildings are left including the one at Taos, but the people are still referred to as "Pueblos."  A "kiva" is the Pueblo Indians’ ceremonial chamber which also served as lodging for visitors.  The Pueblos had no single leader.  Dual chieftainship meant that there were two chiefs with equal authority.  The Tewa had a chief for the summer and one for the winter season.  

The main linguistic families existing in Nuevo Méjico were the Keresan, Zunian, Shoshonean, and Tanoan.  These Native-Americans had well-established societies with languages of their own, indigenous religious practices, and a strong community life.  Native-American agriculture and animal domestication at the time of the Españoles’ first arrival in Nuevo Méjico, included domesticated dogs and turkeys maintained by the Pueblo Indians.  The Indigenous were well suited to raise cows, pigs, and sheep.  

As the years went by the region suffered greatly.  A small pox epidemic swept through the Pueblos and three thousand Indians died.  The year 1640 C.E., brought continuing epidemics, killing more Indians.  In addition, natural and man-made disasters struck and Nuevo Méjico was in the middle of a drought by 1650 C.E.  Those same drought conditions continued from 1665 C.E. through 1668 C.E. leaving the Indians without crops to harvest.  The result was massive starvation leading to the deaths of hundreds of Indians.  Dead bodies were scattered throughout the villas and near the roads.  These droughts had a devastating effect on the economy of the region.  Without crops to use as trade goods the Spanish economy suffered.  It would take years for the economy based on trade to be reestablished.  It only improved following the Spanish reconquest of Nuevo Méjico.  

An already angry, desperate Indian population was about to reach its limits.  The Indians blamed the missionaries because the Pueblo’s couldn’t perform their rainmaking ceremonies.  The pueblos desperate from hunger, illness, and helplessness began to think of revenge.  

In 1675 C.E., the religious persecution of forty-seven medicine men caused additional stress.  Among these medicine men, the Españoles hanged three, one hung himself, and forty-three were flogged and imprisoned.  Tewa warriors from the North entered the apartment of Gobernador Juan Francisco Treviño demanding the release of the medicine men.  The Gobernador consented to their demands because his army was away chasing the Apache.  

It had taken over seventy-five years, but the Pueblo communities had finally united.  The medicine man, Popé or Po'pay, realized that the Españoles were vulnerable and that the seeds for a violent revolt were being developed.  Five years later, Po'pay would lead the revolt.  

Until the mass whipping the various leaders of the Pueblos had no one true leader.  This was due to the fact that the Pueblo communities discouraged individuals from demonstrating leadership skills.  Therefore, no individual leader arose. The whipping of the medicine men from all pueblos changed this fact. Po'pay of the San Juan Pueblo was also flogged.  Angered, he gained the alliance of the other dissatisfied Pueblos and the support of neighboring Apache tribes.  Continuing abuse and persecution of the Pueblo Indians fueled the rebellion until it occurred.  

The Church did what it could.  In 1676 C.E., Father Francisco de Ayeta petitioned the virrey to send more soldados to the area.  As a result, fifty armed convicts were sent as soldados to Nuevo Méjico.  He also petitioned for a fort to be built, but the virrey referred the matter to the king.  The Fray was also in charge of supplying the missions with provisions from Nueva España.  In 1680 C.E., on a return trip to Nuevo Méjico with supplies needed by the missions and Santa Fé, he heard the reports of the Pueblo's Revolt.  

By the time of the 1680 C.E. Revolt, there was a Spanish population of about 2,400, including mixed-blood Mestizos and Indian servants and retainers scattered thinly throughout the region.  Santa Fé was the only place that approximated being a villa.  The Españoles could only muster 170 men in arms.  It is estimated that the Pueblos joining the revolt probably had approximately 2,000 adult males capable of utilizing native weapons such as bows and arrows.  It has been suggested that some Apache and Navajo may have participated in the revolt.  

Although most historical accounts of pre-Pueblo Revolt in Nuevo Méjico were negative, Franciscans Gerónimo Zárate Salmerón and Alonso de Benevides wrote optimistically concerning the area.  Also, in the story of María de Jesús de Ágreda, or the Woman in Blue, events of the time are portrayed as better than some of the negative descriptions which were written about the same period.

01/06/2016 04:08 PM