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
again to all the sources available on the Internet
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.
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.
proceeding, I must explain that the widely used expressions, Spanish colonists and conquistadores by Anglo-American, Northern European, and non-Spanish historians and
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
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).
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?
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.
such as “adelantados” are more seen as appropriate and
balanced, as they describe the view held by the 16th Españoles.
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?
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
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
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,
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.
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., 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
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.
Méjico resides in today’s American state of Nuevo
The Continental Divide extends from north to south through
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.
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.
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
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
including two species of bat, whooping crane, bald eagle, southwestern
willow flycatcher, Mexican spotted owl, three species of shiner, and
is located in the southwestern US. Smaller only than Montana or
the eight Rocky Mountain States, it ranks 5th in size among the 50
states. The area of Nuevo
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
extends about 352 mi (566 km) E-W and 391 mi (629 km) N-S.
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
and on the West by Arizona.
The total boundary length of Nuevo
Méjico is 1,434 mi (2,308 km).
we are now all on board about Nuevo
Méjico and its location we shall proceed.
Pérez de Villagrá was one of Juan
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
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.
initial Spanish exploration of Nuevo
Méjico by Francisco Vásquez de Coronado
assembled an enormous expedition at Compostela,
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
in the summer of 1692 C.E.
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.
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.
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."
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
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
Thirteen years before Plymouth Colony was settled in 1620 C.E. by
the Mayflower Pilgrims, Santa Fé,
was a bustling capital. It
would soon become the seat of power for the
Español or Spanish Empire
north of the Río Grande.
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
Pedro de Peralta (c. 1584
remained Gobernador of
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
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
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
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
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
España at Méjico City. He went on to hold a
number of other senior posts in the Spanish imperial administration.
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.
the historical period and the isolation of Nuevo
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.
much hated Luis de Rosas,
gobernador of Nuevo
arrived in Santa Fé during
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
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.
has been suggested that when Armendáriz
appointment him gobernador
of Nuevo Méjico, De
Rosas protested. It was
his position that the government of Nuevo
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
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.
and his supporters immediately moved to fortify the Santo
Domingo Pueblo located
approximately 25 miles southwest of Santa
in order of defend Santa Fé,
his new capital.
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.
during Fray Juan de Salas'
second custodianship, de Rosas
like several other gobernadores of Nuevo
would become quarrelsome and arbitrary in his rule and caused
considerable trouble for the padres.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
Alonso de Benavides.
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.
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.
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.
also one of those present when the Nuevo
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
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.).
remained at Quarai until his
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
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.
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
had continually clashed with the padres
in the area. At one church
service the gobernador
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
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.
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.
Native-American group, provided
forced labor for his Spanish administrators. Genízaro
was a term used in 18th- and 19th-Century C.E. Nuevo
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
Conquistadora in the Cathedral of San Francisco de Assis (Santa Fé, NM)
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.
should be understood by the reader that this was early in the 17th
Century, not the 21st Century. The
Fé were under the monarchy of España.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
now divided into pueblo
governments and religious sections.
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.
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.
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
that scenario the Indian was continually pushed aside or killed.
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."
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.
main linguistic families existing in Nuevo
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.
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
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.
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
warriors from the North entered the apartment of Gobernador Juan Francisco Treviño
the release of the medicine men. The
Gobernador consented to their
demands because his army was away chasing the Apache.
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
would lead the revolt.
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.
Church did what it could. In
1676 C.E., Father Francisco de
Ayeta petitioned the virrey
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
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
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.
most historical accounts of pre-Pueblo
Revolt in Nuevo Méjico were negative, Franciscans Gerónimo
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.
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