Chapter Twelve Don Diego
Vargas Zapata y Lujan Ponce de León
The de Vargas Reconquista
And the de Riberas
again to all the sources available on the Internet
northern most areas of Nueva España
had been newly settled before insurrectionist disruption by its natives
in 1680 C.E. Barely 80 years
had passed since the Españoles
had come to La Provincia del Nuevo
Méjico in 1599 C.E. One
family line, the Lucero de Godoy,
had arrived with the other Españoles
with the Oñate Expedition
which first settled the land. The
Journey had been extremely difficult, in fact almost impossible.
But survive they did, to claim the land and its promise.
decades of hard work, they had built the Villa de Santa
the capital of the Provincia. The
Villa was engineered and
constructed with the mandatory presidio, church, and government buildings.
The good padres built
mission or mision
The pobladores or
townspeople spread across the region following the contours of the
rivers and streams dotting the landscape with the ranchos
they settled. The Españoles would grow and thrive for all most three generations.
In the year1680 C.E., they would be driven out by an insurrection
of the local Natives called the Pueblo
this juncture it is necessary to clarify what the term Españoles is, or suggests, when used in the context of this
chapter. This is critical to
obtain an understanding of España’s
position as a world power and “empire” of the time.
consisted of the whole of those territories conquered and ruled by España as a result of exploration and colonial expansion initiated
during the 15th-Century C.E. She
was transitioned into the first transcontinental superpower during the
16th and 17th centuries C.E. The
Empire would reach the peak of its military, political, and economic
power under the Spanish Habsburgs through most of the 16th and 17th
was by 1680 C.E., an extensive group of states or countries under one
single supreme authority, the Spanish Monarchy.
The major branch of the Habsburg Dynasty ruled España
chiefly through Carlos I or
Charles I and Felipe II or
Philip II who reached the zenith of their influence, power, and
territorial control from 1516 C.E. through 1700 C.E.
This territory included the Americas, the East Indies, the Low
Countries and territories now in France and Germany in Europe, and the
Portuguese Empire from 1580 C.E.to 1640 C.E..
This period of Spanish history has also been referred to as the
"Age of Expansion."
the term Españoles cannot be
applied simplistically to mean only a native or inhabitant of España, or a person of Spanish descent.
Men from all over the Empire joined the Spanish army and navy as
a means for social advancement and gaining wealth.
In addition, those from other nations not under España
entered the service of the Corona
Española. One finds
that members of the various Nuevo
Méjico military and exploration expeditions were from such non-Imperio
Español nations as Greece, France, and Scotland.
as the term Españoles relates
to Nuevo Méjico, the peoples
of the Provincia were even
more diverse. Perhaps this
is a good time to stop and explain Spanish settlement of Nuevo
during the years 1599 C.E. through 1696 C.E.
The First Wave, those who came with Don
Oñate's first Spanish Settlement.
It was within that first year of settlement that Don
Oñate made a request of the Virrey
of Nueva España for
With those that had been recruited for this "Second
Wave" of settlement were soldados,
entire families, single women, and some servants.
These would have not all been of Old Christian blood.
Some were of mixed blood, African and Native.
The Expedition began its journey north along the El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro by late September 1600 C.E.
They would arrive at San Gabriel on December 24th or Christmas Eve of 1600 C.E.
Unfortunately, many of these pobladores
would desert the Provincia
within a year.
would follow shortly after 1600 C.E. and continue arriving through 1691
C.E. It is during this
timeframe, in the years of 1610 C.E.-1680 C.E. that are referred to as
the “Spanish Mission Period” of Nuevo Méjico
History. During this time,
the Franciscan priests came to convert the Pueblo Peoples to
Fifth Wave constitutes those that came to Nuevo
between 1692 and 1696.
genealogical and historical research over the past sixty years has
brought to light the diverse nature of both geographic and ethnic
origins of Nuevo Méjicano
families during El Imperio Español
era of 1598 C.E.-1821 C.E., which ended with the take-over of
Spanish lands by the newly formed Mexican Government.
Méjico would only control Nuevo
Méjico for 25 years, from 1821 C.E. until 1846 C.E. when the Americanos
Mestizaje Indian roots of
17th-Century C.E. Nuevo Méjico
families has been greatly explored and clarified by recent results from
the Nuevo Méjico DNA Project.
Mestizos are persons of
mixed racial ancestry, especially those of mixed European and
Native-American ancestry. The
Project’s results relating mainly to Hispanic men (77.89%) with roots
in Nuevo Méjico report that
of 710 maternal DNA samples, 546 of these individuals carry
Native-American DNA. The
results speak for themselves. The
Españoles of Nuevo
Méjico were even more diverse that many other areas of the Empire
with the inclusion of a large number of Mestízos.
of the early families of Nuevo Méjico
were in part, local Native and of other Indigenous roots.
Families such as the Montoya, Griego, and Anaya
Almazán have been found to have roots among the Aztecas
from the Valle of Méjico.
Those of a more local, Nuevo Méjicano, blending
are of a diverse Imperio Español
and Pueblo Indian background.
These include the Luján, López de
García, Márquez, Martín Serrano,
and Naranjo families.
Griego family is of blended
Spanish and Mexican Indian ancestry.
Juan Griego made his
way from Greece to Nuevo España
and developed a relationship with Pascuala
Bernal. The two arrived
in Nuevo Méjico in 1598 C.E. There,
their children were born and identified as Mestizos. Their son Juan
Griego as an adult spoke the Náhuatl
language of the Azteca from
the Valle of Méjico.
Serving as an interpreter of the Tewa
language, he was given the privilege of becoming an encomendero
of Nuevo Méjico.
Juana de la Cruz, his
wife, was also Mestízo.
She was a daughter of the Español,
Juan de la Cruz, and his Mexican Indian wife, Beatriz de los Ángeles. Mestízo
families like the Griego
family and the Montoya family
arrived at high social and political status within Nuevo
Méjico of the 17-Century C.E.
unions between Don Juan de Oñate’s
pobladores and soldados and the Pueblo
Indians occurred soon after their arrival.
Among some of the earliest to establish such relationships was
that of the Martín Serrano
family. An Español
from Zacatecas, Hernán Martín Serrano, and a Tano
Indian woman named Doña Inés
had two sons. It would
appear that she’s the same Tano
woman named Inés, who exited Nuevo
Méjico with the Castaño de
Sosa Expedition in 1591 C.E. It
is reported that she returned to Nuevo
Méjico with the Oñate
Expedition serving in a like-position as that of the famous “la
Malinche” the interpreter who accompanied Hernán Cortés during his adventures in Méjico.
1626 C.E., Doña Ines was
described as an acculturated Tano
Indian woman whom the Españoles
treated as they would one of their own women.
She and her son, Hernán
the younger, resided in Santa Fé
maintaining his residence until the 1680 Pueblo
the younger was able to attain military distinction and was accorded one
of the highest social privileges, that of becoming an encomendero. Luís
Martín Serrano, his brother, was described as a Mestízo
however it’s uncertain whether Doña
Inés was also his mother.
the journals of Don Diego de
Vargas, the records reveal that familial interrelationships between
various groups of Pueblo
Indians and Spanish pobladores
did exist. There appears to
be individuals and family groups of Nuevo
Méjico 17th-Century C.E. society which crossed well-established and
culturally enforced community boundaries.
Juan Ruiz de Cáceres, an interpreter of Tano and Tewa languages,
had Tewa relatives who lived
at San Juan Pueblo.
It is reported that in 1692 C.E., Juan
took under his care two Pueblo
Indian cousins, Tomé and Antonia, this after almost thirteen years of separation.
a soldado and brother-in-law
to Juan Ruiz de Cáceres, was
said to have comadres or
friends and companions and
relatives living among the Tewa
and Tano Indians who occupied Santa
Fé after the 1680 Pueblo
Revolt. The wife of the Pueblo leader Don Luís Tupatú,
known also as El Picurí, was
one of Luján’s nieces.
It is reported that Luján took the sister of this niece into his care.
Spanish soldado, Francisco Márquez, was supposedly reunited with his aunt, Lucía,
who was part Tewa from Nambé Pueblo,
and her grown daughter in 1692 C.E.
It is reported that Pedro Márquez,
Lucía’s husband, left Nuevo
Méjico and settled in Casas
Grandes which also known as Paquimé. It is a prehistoric
archaeological site in the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua. This he did
after the Pueblo Indian revolt
never to return. It was Lucía who assisted Gobernador
de Vargas during the period of
Nuevo Méjico’s reincorporation by the Corona
does this all suggest in relationship to this chapter concerning the Pueblo
Revolt of 1680 C.E., the Reconquista
by de Vargas of 1692 C.E., and Spanish resettlement of the Provincia
of Nuevo Méjico? These
areas have been discussed and written about from many perspectives.
What should cry out to the casual reader about these histories
and commentaries is the fact that their depiction has been a mile wide
and an inch deep. In short,
the obvious has been dealt with, but not to the degree necessary.
In relation to the racial politics and Nuevo
Méjico, the Natives did suffer as a result of Spanish policy.
However, the issues and problems were systemic to the entire
Empire and all European colonization.
This was not an issue strictly related España or to Nuevo
Méjico Natives, just because they were natives.
All European nations of the Nuevo
Mundo were equally guilty of treating the poor and natives badly and
with utter disregard. This
is not to say that there were not some bright lights of compassion among
the poor whether they were of European extraction or Native were all
second class citizens. Their
treatment was subpar or worse. As
for the Natives of Nuevo Méjico,
they had ongoing relationships with the Españoles
which could be as close as family or extended family.
As the information that follows suggests, intermarrying and other
cohabitation arrangements were not an extraordinary occurrence. Children
were born from intermarriage between the racial groups and they moved
easily between the families of both races.
Thus, the idea that the 1680 C.E. revolt was due largely to race
is not an accurate statement. It
would appear that race was a contributory factor and not the overriding
Lucero de Godoy and some of
the other original pobladores
would return in the years, 1692 C.E.-1695 C.E., to resettle the Provincia with my forefathers the de Riberas and Quintanas.
Late-17th-Century C.E. Nuevo Méjico was to see much of the same turmoil and grief for its
land and peoples upon the return and resettlement of the Provincia. To this one
might say “the more things change the more they stay the same.”
chapter has been particularly difficult for me to write as it deals with
circumstances under which my progenitors, the Españoles, were active participants in controversial issues related
to the Native-Americans of Nuevo Méjico.
At issue is how España as a nation and empire managed its affairs of state and
governed its Nuevo Mundo subjects,
particularly the Indigenous. Incidentally,
one might ask these same questions of the British and Americanos,
their records on the subject matter being much more dismal.
one must question how a religious institution, the Catholic Church, was
complicit in a system which repressed many of its Indigenous.
I have been told many times how the Church worked tirelessly to
protect the Indigenous from exploitation.
However, I find their efforts as having fallen short of the duty
of conscience and of expressed vow.
To argue weakly, is to not argue at all.
The research required for these pages brought to light ethical
and moral questions with which I’ve had to grapple. It
also highlighted the failing of the Spanish State and the Catholic
Church to address them adequately. In
the final analysis, I’ve concluded that the historical implications to
my family lines of La Nueva España and the Provincia
de Nuevo Méjico
must be offered to the reader two fold.
view must be from a 21st-Century C.E. perspective. We
here in the 21st-Century C.E. sit comfortably, smugly passing judgment
on those who came before us. We
do this being the recipients of vast improvements in technology,
economics, law, and racial and religious tolerance.
We examine the period under the color of the American concept of
“Separation of Church and State,” which demands a distance in the
relationship between organized religion and the nation state.
España of the
17th-Century C.E. had no such enforced separation. The
two in practice, were almost one. Not
that they weren’t separate in organizational and institutional
construct, but they left that separation as matter of accommodation and
area of mediation. This in
effect did little for the rights and protection of the Indigenous.
To say a thing and to not mean the thing becomes merely an
utterance of words without conditions or affect.
wonder how we today would feel if our descendents four hundred years
from now passed judgment on our use of the planet and its resources,
treatment of our fellow man, and use or misuses of our knowledge of God.
What if they find us wanting?
Would we raise objections to their findings and defend our
actions as legitimate? One
can only guess.
second approach to the material is to offer some understanding of
17th-Century C.E. cultural norms and racial attitudes.
By that I mean to say 17th-Century C.E. cultural values and laws
which colored the actions taken by those persons
responsible for governance. I
also attempt to explore the standards of behavior and beliefs related to
what was and was not, acceptable for them to do under the conditions and
circumstances of the times. This
I see as fair and right.
Here in America during my own lifetime, I’ve seen
racial and ethnic hatred, injustice, and intolerance practiced by 20th
and 21st-Century C.E. Anglo-Americans and those of Northern European
decent against African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, and
Asian-Americans. Do these
actions on the part of a few White Americans condemn the many?
Are all Anglo-Americans and those of Northern European extraction
to be held accountable and responsible for the grievous errors of the
few Whites? One would hope
proceeding with the chapter, I must offer the reader caution.
It’s a simple matter to pass judgment.
We humans are driven by emotion and given to little reflection. 21st-Century
C.E. persons are creatures of habit as those that came before them.
A man accustomed to freedom expects freedom.
A citizen’s property belongs to him and him alone.
Our rights are sacrosanct, too important or valuable to be interfered with by others.
However, what if we had no freedoms, property, or rights?
What if all of these were only temporarily granted to us by a
person or persons as gifts under the condition that they could be taken
away by that person or persons at any time without notice or appeal?
I might remind the reader that we
are a discussing a real period of history, even though it was in the
17th-Century C.E. The lands
were populated by flesh and blood people and the actions and activities
discussed took place in real places. This
is not fiction, but an examination of sad facts and sometimes ugly
For the Españoles
religion was at the forefront of their settlements.
As confused and conflicted as they appear to have been in
relation to the Indigenous, Catholicism was very much a part of their
life. In fact it was at the
center of their life, its moral compass.
First, a mision or
mission was planned and constructed.
Next, a presidio or
fort was built for protection of the mision
and its inhabitants. Finally,
an administrative and economic hub, a villa
or village, was designed and constructed for the pobladores
or settlers of the region.
Here it should be noted that after the Pueblo Revolt
Fé of after 1692
C.E., the villa and its mision
had to be refurbished and the Palacio
de los gobernadores or Palace of the Governors had to be reconstructed.
During the 12 years of Spanish exile, a four story Pueblo
structure which had been built atop the Palacio
had to be torn down.
As far back as in 1608 C.E.,
documents issued by the Virrey of
Nueva España and the king make references to the garrison or la guarnición and the fort or el presidio in Nuevo
purpose was for the protection of “nuestra sancta fee católica,” “our holy Catholic faith.” This
wide swath of Spanish territory had to be militarized by España
in order to guard its Nuevo Mundo
frontiers from those who wished to encroach upon it.
The Spanish military was to protect the vecinos or citizens and ensure the peace
and tranquility of the Provincia.
Also, the aforementioned should
give the reader an inkling of the origin of the name of the Villa
Fé, which was to come later.
The locale apparently began as a military garrison and was later
Fé in acknowledgment of defending the Holy Catholic Faith.
This would suggest that the reality of Spanish life of the time
was inextricably linked to the Church
and its codes of conduct. Thus,
a subject of the Empire was also subject to the catechism of the Church, that summary of the principles of its Christian religion. This
form of questions and answers used for the instruction of Christians was
more than just words. It was
in effect a series of pronouncements of expected deeds.
This was the code by which all were to live.
Royal officials and Franciscan frays
worked exceedingly hard to shepherd the diverse Pueblo
tribes of the Provincia into a
permanent community. This
they believed would eventually solidify into one “kingdom” of common
laws with an efficiently operating civil government. As
time went on, alliances between the Españoles
and numerous Pueblo tribes was successful resulting in the reshaping of the
political and military structures of the region. Unfortunately,
the many efforts to recruit soldados
of any meaningful number to settle in Nuevo Méjico failed. By
1617 C.E., only a little over two score of Spanish soldados
could be found living in Nuevo Méjico.
San Miguel Mision,
also known as San
is a Spanish mision church in Santa
was erected between approximately 1610 C.E.
and 1626 C.E.,
and is touted as the oldest church in the United States. The
church would be severely damaged during the Pueblo
Revolt of 1680 C.E.,
and refurbished temporarily. It
would be then be rebuilt in 1710 C.E.
following Spanish resettlement and serve for a time as a chapel for the
1573 C.E., España’s
Law of the Indies, royal ordinances, dictated that Nuevo Mundo settlements be
like a Spanish villa.
These were to have a grid of streets around a central plaza
of approximately 5 1/2 acres, with a church at one end and government
and military building at other. The
houses were to be joined together with common walls on the plaza
side. Beyond the houses
there were to be common pastures, woodlots, and private land holdings
assigned to each family based on military rank.
These traditions of government regulating land and water use was
brought from España and understood by all. If
pobladores wished to settle in
Nueva España they had to abide
by strict regulations and rules.
parcels were as follows. The
common man received 106 acres. For
those of the officer class 2200 acres.
Nobility was to have higher allotment of acreage.
For irrigation of the land the pobladores
and all others received water in proportion to the size of their
acreage. For all, water was
allotted in proportion to rank of each subject.
main agricultural irrigation canal, "Acequia
or “Mother Ditch,”
was designed, engineered, and built to provide for water irrigation
needs. The Acequia
approach to land irrigation kept Spanish Nuevo
settlements clustered. Individual
gates on a common Acequia Madre were established
to provide water from the main canal to each user’s land.
Each user was allowed to open a gate to his fields on a strictly
regulated basis, a two to four hour flow.
The Indigenous were also allowed irrigated to grow corn, beans,
squash, and other food types.
was the only chartered town in the Provincia.
lived on private individually owned ranchos
ranch lands, and in agricultural communities along the Río Grande
and its tributaries. This
was the nature and process of settlement.
ranchos were designated for
grazing and not for farming and the misiones
held title to their associated rancho
lands. Here one must
understand Nuevo Mundo
Catholic priests. They did
not take vows of poverty. Historic
archives show frays in North America, including the Nuevo Méjico
areas of Belen and Tomé
would become wealthy operating large livestock enterprises. These
ranchlands stretched many miles from the misiones
along rivers wherever possible. Indian
men and possibly entire families might live on a part-time basis on the ranchos
in shelters or compounds built for this purpose.
These Natives were taught to care for the livestock by
missionaries, their lay assistants, and the soldados.
As a result, these natives came to be known as vaqueros
or cowboys. The Spanish
enterprise of raising cattle in the Nuevo
Mundo which had started in the 1500's C.E. and accelerated into the
1600's C.E. would become a main Franciscan mision
Spanish Encomienda System has been referred to as a dependency
relationship system. It was
implemented in España 218
B.C.E.-476 C.E. during the Roman Empire. In
essence, it was a process by which stronger people protected the weaker
in exchange for a service. The
would later be used during the Spanish colonization of the
Americas. A Spaniard or the
system or Encomenderos was
given the task of "protecting" a specific group of Indigenous
by the Spanish monarch.
an encomienda, the Corona
Española or Spanish Crown granted a person a given number of
natives from a specific community. The
indigenous leaders were responsible for mobilizing the assessed tribute
and labor resources. In
turn, encomenderos were to
take accountability for instruction in the Christian faith, protecting
their natives from warring tribes and pirates, instruction in the
Spanish language, and development and maintenance of mision, presidio, villa,
and rancho and their associated infrastructure.
Natives in return, would provide the encomenderos
with tributes in the form of metals, maize, wheat, pork or other agreed
upon agricultural products.
Some of the Provincia
pobladores were entitled to
tribute of commodities produced by specific Pueblos
under the Spanish Encomienda
System. The pobladores
became resentful toward the missionaries and their efforts to
minimize and limit access to Pueblo
natives. It has been
suggested that these same missionaries were responsible for provoked
hostility with the Indians by prohibiting certain cultural practices
deemed incompatible with the Christian faith and by imposing their own
demands for labor. In the
end, many factors such as these would light the fuse of insurrection.
insurrection of Nuevo Méjico, or what has been
labeled the Pueblo Revolt
of 1680, was to be an unfortunate circumstance for all parties involved.
Unfortunately, the events have been romanticized by those who
have little first-hand knowledge of war and its carnage.
One must remember that Nuevo
a vast provincia which at one
time was comprised of the present-day states of Tejas, Arizona, Utah, Colorado,
Nevada, California, and Nuevo
This alone suggests to the reader what a monumental task it must
have been to govern the region with limited administrative and military
resources. Secondly, the
natives would gain access to horses and practice mobile warfare with its
ability to strike relatively undefended Spanish villas and ranchos at
numerous points with stealth, cunning, and lethality.
Finally, once under vicious attack the pobladores were quickly overcome, raped, tortured, murdered, carried-off, enslaved,
and later used for ransom.
Once the powder keg of insurrection was lit the events would end
in murder and mayhem. The
Native insurrectionists would become overwhelmed with bloodlust which
would drive them to become terrorists and kill approximately 400 Españoles.
that insurrection which began on August 10, 1680 C.E., the indigenous Pueblo
Natives brought violence against the lawful authority of the Corona Española and the Españoles
living in the capital at Santa
Fé and other areas of the provincia
of Nuevo Méjico.
To make a point, their
actions were unlawful and illegal. It
must be remembered that all parties were subjects of the Corona Española. They
had an obligation to pledge allegiance to the King and to keep that
oath. There were no
citizen’s rights which allowed for acts of murder and mayhem.
I find it difficult to understand how those Americans on the
political Left and others can bring shades of gray to a black and white
situation. After all,
treason is treason. One
cannot be just a little bit of a treasonist.
actions of the insurrections turned terrorists, and their murder and
mayhem when used for political gain, drove the remaining pobladores estimated at 2,000 and their allies to flee Santa
Fé and other
areas of the Provincia. When
the terrorists cut-off the water supply of the last remaining pobladores at
Fé, this in
effect forced their escape into the more southern areas of Nueva
España. These poor
unfortunates were forced to undertake a 400 mile journey south along El
Camino Real to El Paso del Norte where they could find safety and
security. In effect, the
insurrectionists were guilty of treason and subject to appropriate
17th-Century C.E. laws and punishment.
In this case, the punishment was to be death for many.
is an accepted reality that each generation will and must be judged.
However, passing judgment alone will not change the past.
It may only provide a better pathway to the future.
Or it may so taint the future that generations of human tribes
will bear one another enmity for countless generations to come.
Here, I ask the reader to postpone judgment on those poor souls
of the 17th-Century C.E. Monarchs,
aristocrats, soldados, pobladores, religionists, and Indigenous were all victims of their
time. State and Church both
had their excesses and breached boundaries.
They were all trapped by those systems and governments to which
they found themselves inextricably bound.
should now be clear to all that the past holds knowledge of the many,
many failures of nations and cultures. As
the saying goes, no man is without sin and no nation without fault. As
we of the 21st-Century C.E. survey the current world powers and their
actions, we must find many of them wanting. What
a man or women would like to have is far different from what one must
and will accept. It is the
nature of things that unfairness exists in every generation, for man is
a fallen creature. To
explore those failures is of value only when they are used to better
understand the past, right present, or to ensure that past wrongs are
not repeated in the future.
of the underlying issues in relation to Nueva
España and Native land appropriation by España
is that of its fairness. In
a realistic sense it would be impossible to return lands lost to
military defeat to those who should rightfully or morally possess them. However,
in a world where “Might makes Right” as it did in the 17th-Century
C.E., there was no such notion as territorial integrity.
Larger, stronger, more militarily powerful nations simply took
what they wanted. This was
the way of the world of that time.
for example, Rome. She began
as a kingdom around 800 B.C.E. Later,
Rome became a republic. She
then transitioned to an empire.
It was Octavius, who took the imperial name Augustus, and
first ruled from 32
Roman Emperor. Their united
empire lasted 426 years. The
Empire split over time into a Western and an Eastern Roman Empire in the
year 395 C.E. The Western
Empire lasted a further 81 years, for a total of 507 years. The
Western Empire ended in 476 C.E. The
Eastern Empire or Byzantine Empire lasted a further 1058 years after the
split until 1453 C.E., for a total of 1484 years. She
had conquered and kept the lands of others for millennia.
Relative to the Western Roman Empire, its fall was simply a process of decline in which it failed to enforce
its rule after having lost the strengths that had allowed it to exercise
effective control. As
increased pressure from "barbarians" outside Roman culture
developed Rome collapsed. By
476 C.E., Rome had no effective control over her scattered Western
domains. Invading Germanic
"barbarian" tribes then established their own power over most
of the area of the Western Empire.
Western Empire of Rome lost all and became nothing.
The Germanic tribes replaced her and took her lands and
possessions. One could
suggest that they should return all to their rightful owner.
This is neither politic nor practical.
If Rome had been capable she would have withstood and defeated
her enemies and lost nothing, but she wasn’t and she didn’t. Therefore,
“Right of Conquest” both failed and won.
Rome lost the “Right” to the Germanic Tribes.
The Germanic tribes won their “Right” from the Romans.
Eastern Empire of Rome held on longer, but finally succumbed.
It fell to the Islamic Ottoman Turks in 1453 C.E.
It lost its power, wealth, territory, and Christian religion to
the Islamists. Here again,
the Romans had by “Right of Conquest” taken everything they had from
others. By that same
“Right” the Ottoman’s took and kept what they wanted from the
the case of España and its Nuevo
Mundo Pueblos, the exact opposite occurred.
España had originally won the lands from the Indigenous by force of
arms and Right of Conquest. She
then attempted to defend them by force of arms when challenged by the Pueblos who won the return of the land and held them for 12 years. In
essence, España was unable to maintain lands once held under her original
Right of Conquest. This in
effect was the Pueblos Right
of Conquest. However, they
then lost them once again to the Españoles,
their Right of Conquest.
probably the process of armed conflict over the rightful ownership of
land continued because ea ch offended and/or deposed party required
redress. And more often than
not, both parties in a dispute see themselves as the offended party or
can convince themselves that this is the case for them at a given point
in time and circumstance. Therefore,
it is necessary to contextualize the circumstances that surrounded the Españoles
and Nuevo Mundo Indigenous of
the 17th-Century C.E.
“Right of Conquest” is the right of a conqueror to territory taken
by force of arms. It was traditionally a principle of international law
that has gradually given way in modern times until its proscription
after the Second World War when the crime of war of aggression was first
codified in the Nuremberg Principles and then finally, in 1974 C.E., as
a United Nations resolution 3314. In
short, it was largely a forbidden action on the world stage.
essence, this right acknowledges the status quo. The
denial of that right is meaningless unless one is able and willing to
use military force to deny it and overturn an outcome. This
right was traditionally accepted because a more powerful conquering
force was stronger than any lawfully entitled governance which it
replaced. Such force was
more likely to secure peace and stability for the people. As
a result, the “Right of Conquest” legitimized the conqueror towards
abandonment of the Right of Conquest in formal international law began
with the 1928 C.E. Kellogg–Briand Pact. It was followed by the
post-1945 C.E. Nuremberg
Trials, the United Nations (UN) Charter, and the UN role in
oversaw the progressive dismantling of this principle.
As it applies to España and
her 17th-Century C.E. Nuevo Mundo possessions,
is obvious. The Right of
Conquest was in full and complete force at the time of the 1680 C.E. Pueblo Revolt by the Indigenous of the region. In
1692 C.E., the weaker parties, the Pueblos,
were unable or unwilling to contest that “Right” once the new battle
was joined and they were overcome by de
Vargas. Thus, the
Indigenous lost the “Right.”
was a time when men of good conscience held to the idea of the “Divine
Right of Kings.” This divine right of a king or “Divine Right” was an accepted political and religious doctrine.
It withstood the test of royal and political legitimacy. Today’s
21st-Century C.E. mind conditioned as it is by freedom, liberty,
democracy, and individual rights finds this concept repulsive.
In practice, it asserted that a monarch was subject to no earthly
authority. He or she derived
such rights to rule directly from and by the will of God.
Thus a king or queen was not subject to the will of his/her
people or those of his/her aristocracy, or any other estate of the
realm. This right extended
to relations with the Catholic Church.
The Españoles of the
old order, in particular, were adherents to this right of their monarch
to rule absolutely over all of the Empire and its subjects, the
Indigenous. This is not a
21st-Century C.E. concept. It
was a 17th-Century C.E. reality.
now accepted “Rule of Law”
is that legal principle whereby “law” should govern a nation.
This is in direct opposition to being governed by arbitrary
decisions of individual government officials.
The concept, if not the phrase, was familiar to ancient
philosophers such as Aristotle, who wrote "Law should govern."
The phrase can also be
traced to 16th-Century C.E. Britain and to the following century where
the Scottish theologian Samuel Rutherford used the phrase in his
argument against the “Divine Right of Kings.”
primary application is in reference to the influence and authority of
law within society. It is
particularly seen as a constraint upon behavior, including the behavior
of government officials. Rule
of law implies that every citizen is subject to the law, including law
makers themselves. In this
context, it stands in contrast to a monarchy where its rulers are held
above the law. A government
based upon the rule of law is called nomocracy.
Rule of law is an intrinsic value for Americans.
It is the guarantor of our civil liberties, the protector of our
rights, and citizenship. These
had no meaning to the 17th-Century C.E. subject of España.
To clarify, the term
“Subject” as it would apply to one living under the Corona
Española it is used here rather than “citizen.”
This is because in the Spanish monarchy, only the Spanish Monarch
was the source of authority. Those
living under the Monarch had no authority or rights unless given to them
was in the King’s name that all legal power in civil and military law
was exercised. The people of the Spanish Monarchy being regarded as the
Monarch's subjects were under certain obligations. He/she
had obligations such as owing allegiance to the Corona
Española and thereby being entitled to the protection by the Corona. To not have an
allegiance to the Corona was
to take upon one’s self personal authority which a subject did not
have. Therefore, it was a crime
to betray one's monarch, especially by attempting to kill the sovereign
or overthrow his/her government.
Corona Española and its
subjects of the time understood this in both the Nuevo
Mundo and the Viejo Mundo.
By the 17th-Century C.E.,
popular uprisings such as uprisings at a manor house against an
unpleasant overlord, tended to occur on a local level.
This changed somewhat when new downward pressures on the poor
resulted in movements of popular uprisings.
Most of the revolts expressed the desire of those below to share
in the wealth, status, and well-being of those more fortunate.
In the end, they were almost always defeated and nobles continued
their rule. However, a new attitude did emerge in Europe, that
"peasant" was a pejorative concept. These were viewed as
something separate and seen in a negative light when compared with those
who had wealth and status. Peasants
were viewed as almost sub-human. Nuevo Mundo Indigenous peoples were even further down in the social
order of the 17th-Century C.E.
from the “Right of Kings” and the “Right of Conquest” one might
derive the ugly expression that “Might makes Right.” The
is simple and crude, by succinct.
Further, it must be
understood that the evolving structure of Spanish Nuevo
Mundo colonial governance had not been fully formed until the third
quarter of the 16th-Century C.E. However,
studies of the problems related to the colonization process arising from
tyrannical behavior of a gobernador
and his misgovernment of Natives and Pobladores
had been conducted. The
Spanish Emperor Carlos V was
already using the term "Council of the Indies" by 1519 C.E. The
Council of the Indies itself was formally created on August 1, 1524 C.E.
The Council would come to exercise supreme authority over the
Indies at the local level and over the Casa
de Contratación founded in 1503 C.E. at Sevilla
a customs storehouse for the Indies. Civil
suits of sufficient importance were appealed from an audiencia in the Nuevo Mundo
to the Council, functioning as a court of last resort.
Audiencia or Audiencia’s
name literally translates as Royal Audience. Each
audiencia had oidores.
Oidor is the Spanish name of the member judge of the
Royal Audiencias and Chancillerías,
which became the highest organs of justice within el
Imperio Español or Spanish Empire.
efforts of Bartolomé de las Casas
on the part Natives' rights, internecine fighting, and political
instability in Perú resulted
in King Carlos' restructuring
of the Council in 1542 C.E., with issuing of the "New Laws."
Once again, I must offer that despite the window dressing, only
the king held authority to act. All
else was done using that authority granted in the name of the king.
1680 C.E., the publication of the
Recompilación de las Leyes de Indias or the Laws of the Indies in
the large volume of Council and Corona's
decisions and legislation for the Indies were formally codified. However,
this did not deter Spanish Absolutism.
This form of government where the monarch controlled the right to
make war, tax, judge, and coin money had not changed. It
stood firm in the state monarchies of 17th-Century C.E. Europe.
It must be understood that all governmental mechanisms and
officials served at the pleasure of the king, in his name, and under his
the nature of world economics of the time, the expansion of European
nations into the Nuevo Mundo,
and the competition for world dominance made the control of España’s colonies of the utmost importance.
The 1680 C.E. insurrection and treasonous acts perpetrated by the
indigenous Pueblo people against the Corona
Española and its government in the Provincia
of Nuevo Méjico, Nueva
España became a cause célèbre.
Defeat of a European nation by Indigenous peoples was an affront
and embarrassment, as it had never occurred before.
The loss of the entire provincia
was a disaster of the first order for a failing world power.
It was an invitation for its rivals to enter into the vacuum
which the loss created and of paramount concern for the Spanish
the early 1690s C.E., España's
rivalry with other European powers for control of the Americas,
especially France, would make the reestablishment of order in Nuevo Méjico
a very high priority. The
return of Spanish sovereignty could also possibly mean handsome rewards
for the new gobernador, and
was of personal importance for he, who would take the reins of power. However,
that success was far from a being a foregone conclusion.
Previous attempts to reclaim Spanish Nuevo
ended in failure. It would
take twelve long years before the Spanish authorities returned, restored
order, resettled Pobladores,
and were able to reconstitute a properly functioning government in Nuevo Méjico.
prove a point regarding this concern, about this time Jacques (Santiago) Grolet (Gurulé) and Jean L'Archevêque
French prisoners were captured. These
were members of the French explorer La
Salle group into Spanish lands. They
were later allowed to immigrate to Nuevo
after the Reconquista of the
area in 1692 C.E. They
changed their names to Santiago
and Juan de Archibeque.
I am one of their descendants from Nuevo
Méjico. My progenitor Miguel Gerónimo de
Ribera married María de la Luz Gurulé in 1784 C.E., at Santa Fé, Nuevo Méjico. Members
of the Archibeques also
married into my family lines.
de La Salle
was a French explorer to the Nuevo
Mundo. He arrived in
Canada in the Mid-1600s C.E. and earned a reputation as a successful fur
trader. But he was not
content to simply run a fur-trading business.
Like many explorers of his day, La
Salle hoped to find a water route to China and the Far East.
four-ship French transatlantic voyage and expedition led by the Sieur
de La Salle; born René Robert
Cavelier was marred by a pirate attack, which claimed one ship, and
poor navigation. The
remaining three ships landed on the Tejas
coast in February 1685 C.E. This
was four hundred miles west of the intended destination.
The expedition sought to establish a fortified trading port near
the mouth of the Mississippi. Such
a port would have given the French an advantage over the Españoles.
Spates of ill fate continued in succession as La
Salle's attempts by land to find the Mississippi failed, and then
the L'Aimable, the largest ship
carrying most of the would-be colony's supplies, sunk in Matagorda
provide a temporary sanctuary and protection from the local Karankawa
Indians, who did not take kindly to the French intrusion onto their
lands, a small fort was established on the banks of Garcitas
Creek above the head of Lavaca
Bay. The expedition was
further weakened by the departure of the naval vessel, Le
Joly, and it's collection of discontented settlers, soldiers, and
crew. Meanwhile, La Salle kept widening the search, leaving a small detachment at
Fort Saint Louis and a few crewmen on the last remaining ship, the La
Belle. The crew was
dying of thirst, and the Karankawa
had killed the ship's best sailors in a failed attempt to go ashore to
a cold winter day in 1686 C.E., the La
Belle flagship of La Salle
which was part of the original four-ship expedition foundered in Matagorda Bay. It was
the victim of a bit of bad luck and a Blue Norther. The
fast-moving cold front caused temperatures to drop dramatically and
quickly. The dark blue-black
skies, strong winds, and temperatures that can drop to 20-30 degrees
Fahrenheit in a few minutes, came upon the Frenchmen.
With the blustery cold day upon them and fierce winds pounding
the small vessel, the ship's master pulled anchor and attempted to sail
across Matagorda Bay for help
in violation of La Salle's
orders. Losing control of
the ship, it capsized. Crewmembers
managed to salvage a few supplies, but most were lost.
The ship and the majority of its cargo gradually disappeared
beneath the muddy waters of the bay.
progenitor and the daring French explorer became the first Europeans to
travel the length of the Spanish Mississippi River.
Part of his success in finding the river was the remarkable
friendships he maintained with the North American natives which he met
on his journeys. He would
learn to speak at least eight native dialects.
By 1682 C.E., La Salle
made a claim of that area of wilderness in the name of the King of
France. He named it
Louis XIV, King of France (1643 C.E. to 1715 C.E.) This
is the same Louisiana that the famous Spanish general Bernardo de Gálvez would later be made gobernador of under España.
He would one day martial the forces necessary to battle and
defeat the British in their war against the fledgling 13 American
colonies, doing so on behalf of the Americans.
He would for his part make the United States of America become a
and his small contingent jubilantly established Fort Saint
Louis near the head of Lavaca
Bay. In a brutal twist of
fate, La Salle himself would
be murdered by the hand of one of his own men involved in the building
of that fort. The event
would lead the Karankawa Indians to sack the fort and kill most of the remaining
French colonizers. Indian
attacks and epidemics would later force the group to abandon the fort.
French military invasion was troubling to the Españoles even though the fort was deserted by the time it was
discovered. Several of the
survivors were found living among Tejas
Indians and were later taken prisoner by the Españoles.
These were later sent to
City for interrogation. This
was a warning to the Españoles
that their northern territory was in jeopardy.
Although Tejas was
previously neglected by España,
La Salle’s actions led the Españoles
to place forts and misiones in
Tejas during the 1700’s C.E.
Therefore, threats from foreign powers were very real and had to
be dealt with. Thus, the
Spanish outpost, Nuevo Méjico,
had to be taken back at all costs and resettled.
man responsible for returning Nuevo
Spanish authority and governance by España
was much more than a greedy, self-serving, Conquistador
or simple one dimensional cardboard cut-out.
He was well-traveled, well-read, experienced, wise, and
honorable. One must be
cautious not to repeat the mistakes made by biased Anglo-American,
Northern European, and non-Spanish historians and commentators who
appear to offer Españoles of the Nuevo Mundo
in a less flattering light than they should.
Here, the word fairness comes to mind, or lack thereof.
José de Vargas Zapata Luján Ponce de León y Contreras was born in Madrid in 1643 C.E. to Alonso
de Vargas and María Margarita
Contreras y Arráiz. His
was an illustrious family, though not among those close to the Spanish
Monarch. Each of his
ancestors in the de Vargas
line, for four generations before him, had been knights of the old and
de Santiago or Order of Santiago.
It was a Christian
military-religious order of knights founded about 1160 C.E. in España. The Order was
chartered for the purpose of fighting the Moros
or Moors who had conquered and enslaved Iberia (España) from 811 C.E. to 1492 C.E.
These Islamists attacked Christian pilgrims on their way to the
shrine of Santiago de Compostela
and had to be held in check by the knights of the Order. Originally
called the Order of Cáceres,
after the city in which it was founded, the order assumed the Santiago
name in 1171 C.E. The means
of entry to this order was not an easy matter. It
was a matter of importance and prestige for up and coming Spanish
family was not spectacularly wealthy or living lavishly, but was
adequately provided for. His
father had incurred considerable debt which needed to be paid.
Following the death of his wife, María
Margarita, he sailed for
the Americas in 1650 C.E. to take an imperial post in Guatemala. Once there, Alonso
remarried and was able to improve his position in the colonial
he died at age 43, never having returned to España.
year earlier, Diego José
had married Beatriz Pimentel de Prado Vélez de Olazábal. They
were almost exactly the same age. Beatriz,
the neighbor’s daughter, lived close by the de
Vargas estate at Torrelaguna,
north of Madrid.
The couple had five children together before 1670 C.E. in quick
Vargas had neither an interest in nor inclination necessary to
manage an estate. His burden
of debt expanded as his household grew.
so many men of his day and social class, his career was to be guided by
those normal pressures of debt and a powerful desire for social
prominence and political promotion common to his station in life.
Like his father before him, Don
Diego decided to leave his young family in España
and pursue a royal appointment to an office
in the Americas. In 1673 C.E.,
he embarked for Nueva España.
On the recommendation of the Spanish queen, the Virrey
City appointed de Vargas to
the post of justicia mayor or
chief judge in the jurisdiction of Teutila
shortly after his arrival in what is now the Mexican state of Oaxaca. Just a year
later, in España, Doña Beatriz died unexpectedly.
brother-in-law would assume guardianship of the children, only one of
whom de Vargas would ever see
1679 C.E., six years after his arrival in Nueva
España, Don Diego was
promoted to justicia mayor or
chief judge of Tlalpujahua, a
declining mining area northwest of Méjico
City, in what is now the Mexican state of Michoacán.
By this time, he had started
a second family supposedly outside matrimony with Nicolasa
Rincón and was maintaining a home in Méjico
City, on the Plazuela de las Gayas.
1683 C.E., de Vargas was
promoted again while still at Tlalpujahua,
as its alcalde mayor, or royal
administrator. During his
tenure at Tlalpujahua, Don Diego was able to dramatically increase royal receipts from the
silver mines there. His
abilities as administrator were recognized within the virreinal
viceregal. The Virrey
Conde de Paredes recommended
him for higher offices. By
the Middle-1680s C.E., de Vargas
was actively pursuing appointments in Guatemala,
and Nuevo Méjico. He
finally succeeded in obtaining the governorship of Nuevo
Méjico in 1688 C.E. However,
bureaucratic machinations may have delayed his accession to the office
until 1691 C.E. Given the
circumstances of a 1,600 mile journey, Don
Diego was forced to leave behind Nicolasa
and three children in Méjico
so many other men of history, Don
de Vargas would be the recipient of an undesirable legacy of death,
destruction, and ill will. In
1680 C.E., a Pueblo
insurrection had succeeded in expelling Spanish pobladores
from the Provincia of Nuevo Méjico
to El Paso del Norte. On
the date of August
10, 1680 C.E., the insurrectionist Pueblos
rose up against Spanish authority and destroyed the mision
churches. They then joined
with the Apaches and after
destroying many ranchos they
laid siege to the capital, Santa Fé. Aware
that the 1,000 Spanish soldados
and pobladores inside the villa
and presidio at the center of
the city were well-armed, the Pueblos
knew they couldn't match their military strength and arms even though
they outnumbered the Españoles by
approximately 2 to 1. So the
Pueblos simply diverted the stream’s supplying water to the city
thereby cutting-off its water supply and waited.
1678 C.E., the Gobernador
He was born between 1620 C.E.
and 1630 C.E. in the family home Otermín, which was then known as Otromín House. It is
located in the foothills of the Massif
de Aralar, natural border between Gipuzkoa
and Navarra, España.
On the morning of August 20, a desperate Gobernador de
Otermín and his cavalry sallied forth from the Villa in an effort to surprise the Pueblos. His intent was
to burn the buildings the insurgents were bivouacked in, take captives, and find barrels of water for his thirsty pobladores.
The terrorists were totally
surprised when he did just that. Approximately
300 Pueblos were killed, many
more wounded, and 47 prisoners were taken.
These deaths would be the heaviest casualties the terrorists
would experience during the insurrection.
questioning of the prisoners yielded a gruesome story. Every
Español who had not found
safety inside the villa had
been murdered in the terrorist attacks upon the misiones,
ranchos, and other outlying
areas. Men, women, and
children had been raped and killed and the frays
had been mutilated. For
these and many other crimes Don
Otermín had the guilty terrorists lawfully executed. As
nightfall came to the Provincia,
the enraged Pueblos torched
every building still standing outside the Villa.
On August 21, Don Otermín
and approximately 1000 Españoles
opened the Villa
gates and began a necessary retreat south to El
Paso. The retreating
party was well aware that their fellow Españoles
had been slaughtered during the events of the
past days. The confessions
given by the 47 captured terrorists had related stories of merciless
murder, rape, and rampage. The
reports suggested strongly that 21 of the 40 missionaries in Nuevo
been killed, along with up to 400 other Españoles. The
stories left the retreaters frightened and apprehensive for what was to
come. The dread of what
awaited them spread fear throughout the fleeing Españoles.
However, instead of the expected
carnage, events unfolded differently. The
Pueblos left the retreating
The Pueblos were content
to have the Españoles
leave the Provincia in
humiliation and defeat. Nothing
further could be gained by engaging in more battles with a force that
might prevail and once again return to take back the Provincia.
Having experienced the
capabilities of the soldados
in warfare, the Pueblos
understood what the retreating party could do. The
better-armed and frightened Españoles
could still cause them serious casualties. The
weary Pueblos followed them
cautiously from a safe distance for a time. This
they did to ensure that the Españoles
were really evacuating and not preparing for a retaliatory strike.
Once satisfied that the force was leaving, the Natives broke-off
and returned to their leaders. There
would be no further military actions.
the next eleven long years of exile, the population of El Paso was only a hundred or so vecinos or politically eligible residents. This
included their households, a small presidio
garrison, and settlements of Christianized Pueblo
Indians. The years had taken
their toll on the once proud vecinos
and soldados. However,
this would not deter the Corona
Española. There were
several immediate and logical reasons that made the Reconquista
important to the Españoles
and Don de Vargas.
The first was religious. There
was the need for reclaiming the souls that were lost to Christianity.
Secondly, Nuevo Méjico
was needed as a defensive zone to buffer it from future hostile Indian
attacks. Thirdly, the Españoles needed to restore their pride after losing the territory.
Fourthly, this Reconquista
was viewed by the Españoles
as being similar to the recapture of Spanish territories from the Moros
during the Middle Ages. Simply
put, it was a matter of Spanish honor.
Interestingly, in his application for the governorship of Nuevo
Vargas pledged his honor on the restoration of the
Pueblos of the Río Grande
to the Imperio Español.
there was also the larger issue with the Indigenous of the Southwest.
These included the mision Indians, those that lived and worked on and for the misiones.
There were also the Genízaro. This term was
used in 18th-and 19th-Century C.E. Nuevo
Méjico for "detribalized Indians." It
was a variety of individuals of mixed Native-American, but not of Pueblo
parentage, who had adopted at least some Hispano
styles of living. Thirdly,
there were the more volatile and hostile Indians of the Pueblos representing a constant threat to Spanish control. Fourthly,
the marauding Indian nations of the Navaho,
Apache, Comanche, and
others who wandered the plains, mountains, and hillsides were of great
concern. These remained
uncontrolled and free roaming throughout the Southwest.
At issue was the intermittent warfare
and raiding between the parties and the continued threat that all posed
to control by the Españoles
of the entire region of Nueva España.
mind-set of the time was completely Eurocentric.
Thoughts of the needs, wants, and rights of the indigenous
peoples were completely foreign to the Españoles. It must be
remembered that the Corona Española
and the Church operated independently and were to a degree competitors.
The emphasis of the Church was on spiritual matters and concerns
regarding the saving of the human soul.
The Corona Española
worldview was temporal and obsessed with domination of the individual
and his/her becoming subject in-full to the obedience of the Corona.
Both could be seen as
damaging to the Nuevo Mundo
natives. Here one must
remember that the Indigenous wanted to remain as they had been for
generations before the Españoles. They wanted
their freedom, possession of the land, and control of its resources.
From a 21st-Century C.E. vantage point, one would consider that a
reasonable position. Today,
one might also take a view that the Native-Americans of Nuevo
been conquered, dehumanized, degraded, and overwhelmed by the Españoles
and were only attempting to keep what had always been theirs.
Reasonable yes, realistic no!
the natives were not homogeneous, the same in all aspects and of one
tribe. Instead, they were
they were diverse in character and culture. With
differences came clashes of tribal customs and fights for territorial
rights. With clashes came
disputes which resulted in warfare. These
were not one-off affairs, but instead were at times intermittent or
continual. The matters
simmered on an ongoing basis until the landscape eruption with violence
and death. This was not
brought about by the Españoles,
but was rather the result of hundreds of years of indigenous conflict
the Spanish perspective one must attempt to take a different view of the
situation. The Españoles felt that for the natives to presume that they had rights
was impossible. This would
be the first area where the Españoles
would have taken umbrage.
Even worse, for the Natives to have believed that they had the
right to retake lands legally belonging to España
(Right of Conquest) and to attempt to keep them was beyond the pale.
Taking back what they felt was theirs?
This was simply unacceptable to the European mind and outside of
the then, agreed upon standards of decency.
Finally, the Españoles were operating with recent knowledge of the Natives which
we today with our politically correct social conscience do not
comprehend quite as they did.
Here, and example is in
is approximately 20 miles away from Santa
It is close by the legendary Cicuye
village, southeast of Santa Fé. There
one can find the remains of what was the largest Indian pueblo in the Southwest. Pecos
Pueblo once dominated a major trading route between the farming Pueblo
Indians and the Natives called the Great Plains’ hunters.
The Pueblo was also a
way station on the Santa Fé Trail. There the Españoles would later build the Mision Nuestra Señora de Los Angeles de Porcíuncula about 1716 C.E.
It still towers over the historic Pueblo
Today, one can find weather beaten, rust-red, walls of the
Spanish church rising high above the pueblo ruins.
The legendary Cicuye village is surrounded by majestic mesas and towering mountain peaks.
Once, one of the grandest and most powerful Indian communities in
the ancient Southwest, it was the mountain gateway between the Plains
tribes to the east and the Pueblo
villages of the Río Grande
Valley to the west. Between
1450 C.E. and 1600 C.E. at the height of its power, Pecos
had a Native population of more than two thousand.
The neighboring Indian tribes and pueblos
were dominated by it and its fighting force of 500 warriors who
controlled the region.
Over time, the Pecos Pueblo had absorbed the surrounding cultures and wealth.
It grew economically and militarily powerful and held absolute
control of the entire region. The
dominating force of that Pueblo
world, Pecos rose to become a
major trading center and later a cultural melting pot.
Indian tribes came regularly to Pecos
for lengthy bartering sessions. The
Comanches, Kiowas, Apaches
brought slaves, buffalo hides, flint, and shells to exchange.
The surrounding river settlements traded pottery, crops,
textiles, and turquoise for Comanche
slaves and hides. Like the Españoles
the Pecos Pueblo wanted to
control vast areas of the Southwest.
At this juncture we must
pause and reflect on what has been said.
The Pueblo peoples had
a culture that understood and practiced military dominance and war.
Further, all of the Pueblos had previously been dominated for a long period of time by a
by regional power, the Pecos
Pueblo. The Pueblos and surrounding tribes also understood, accepted, and
trafficked in slavery.
It is here that we enter
into a controversy. The
21st-Century’s idealized view of the Native-American as the “Noble
Savage” is challenged by the reality of their religious and cultural
mores. For honesty’s sake,
the Pueblos, Comanches, Kiowas,
and Apaches were slave owners. The
Native-Americans did in fact raid, take prisoners, enslave them, and
sell them to others for profit. Therefore,
many Native-American tribes practiced some form of slavery before the
European introduction of African slavery into North America.
Although, it must be said that none exploited slave labor on a
large scale. None the less,
slavery is slavery!
Thus, the act of slavery
on the North America Continent included slavery by Native-Americans of
other Native-Americans. It
has been suggested that Native-Americans did not buy and sell captives
in the pre-colonial era, although they sometimes exchanged enslaved
individuals with other tribes in peace gestures or in exchange for
redeeming their own members. Several
tribes held captives as hostages for payment.
Various tribes also practiced debt slavery or imposed slavery on
tribal members who had committed crimes; full tribal status would be
restored as the enslaved worked off their obligations to the tribal
society. Other slave-owning
tribes of North America included Comanche
of Tejas, the Creek of Georgia; the fishing societies, such as the Yurok,
who lived in Northern California; the Pawnee,
and the Klamath.
In all fairness, little
is known about the practice. However,
it was still a recognized and accepted part of the cultural norm.
What is clear is that some Native-American tribes held war
captives as slaves prior to and during European colonization.
Native-American groups often enslaved war captives from other
tribes whom they primarily used for small-scale labor.
Native-Americans were captured and sold by other Native-Americans into
slavery to Europeans. Just
as they raided other tribes to capture slaves for sale to Europeans, a
small number of tribes in the late 18th and 19th Centuries C.E., adopted
the practice of holding slaves as chattel property and held increasing
numbers of African-American slaves. Additionally,
Europeans were held as slaves by the Native-Americans. This
in effect would make the Natives equal opportunity slave owners and
traders, as race was not an issue with who was enslaved.
At this juncture, one
must accept the obvious. The
Indigenous did practice slavery. They captured, enslaved, exploited, and
sold these slaves of different racial backgrounds.
It has also been
reported that some Native-Americans slaves were used in ritual sacrifice
by other Native-American tribes. Here,
we must tread lightly. 21st-Century
C.E. views of the Noble Savage and its accompanying narrative do not
accentuate this area of Native life or religious practices.
It does not play well in the Natives as victims, scenario.
One can only guess when the truth will rear its ugly head and
cause an annoyance in this area for “Noble Savage” stalwarts.
On balance, many writers
exploring the Native-American slave scenario believe that the word
"slave" may not accurately describe such “captive people”
(as opposed to slaves). Most
of these so-called Native-American slaves tended to live on the fringes
of tribal society and were when possible slowly integrated into the
tribe. It would appear that
a similar process was also used by the Españoles when integrating Native-Americans into their Empire, but
on a much larger scale.
In many cases, tribes
“adopted captives” to replace warriors killed during a raid.
In Spanish society, allied Pueblo
tribes provided Native military auxiliaries in support of Spanish
troops. In fact, over time
this became a major part of Provincia
captives of other Natives, were sometimes made to undergo ritual
mutilation or torture as part of a grief ritual for relatives slain in
battle. This could and did
lead in death. The ugly
reality of this butchery has been underplayed in most “Noble Savage”
narratives and defended by apologists.
It has also been
reported that some Native-Americans would cut off one foot of a captive
to ensure that they wouldn’t or couldn’t escape.
Today’s Native-Americans look askance at Oñate’s
having done the very same thing after taking Pueblo war prisoners.
Mid-1688, Don Diego de Vargas was appointed Capitán-General y Gobernador of
As one historian described him, de
Vargas was "an aristocrat of aristocrats eager to perform great
deeds," and he succeeded. It
should be said that the thought of aristocratic power escapes most of us
today. Thankfully, it’s
relegated to the mists of the past and left to historical novels to
extol its values, virtues, and failures.
Diego de Vargas
had also been assigned to lead the military portion of the Reconquista
or Reconquest of Nuevo Méjico,
but did not arrive to
assume his office at El Paso del Norte until February
22, 1691 C.E. Although
his original intention was to immediately undertake the resettlement of Nuevo
Méjico he was unable to proceed.
Preventing his departure from El Paso
on the expedition to Nuevo
Méjico until 1692
C.E. were economic conditions at El
Paso and hostilities between the Españoles
and Indian tribes in northern Nueva España. When
he finally left, his assignment for the reconquista of Nuevo
Méjico was to consist of two parts, an entrada
and a reconquista.
To enter peacefully and gain a bloodless settlement of matters
was preferable. If not, it
would be reconnaissance followed later, if necessary, by warfare and
1692 C.E., the newly
appointed Gobernador Real or
royal governor of Nuevo Méjico,
Don Diego de Vargas, would
lead a Spanish army of less than 200 soldados,
vecinos, and Indian allies
north following the Río Grande.
Diego and his expedition would find the southern pueblos abandoned. It
was reported that they had sought refuge in mountainous terrain in
anticipation of his arrival. The
Indians were now at a definite disadvantage.
By the time of his arrival, the Indian leader, Popé or Po'pay, had died
and the Indians were no longer united under one leader. Until
that moment, the Pueblos believed the Españoles
to be defeated. Their
leaders never expected Spanish forces to return.
his four month expedition from March
through June of 1692 C.E., his force would conduct a reconnaissance
of Nuevo Méjico.
Vargas would succeed in obtaining the loyalty of twenty-three pueblos.
However, the expedition was not without hostility.
At Santa Fé, Jémez,
and the Hopi pueblos
the governor's forces contended with aggressive Indian insurrectionist
forces which outnumbered the Españoles
by a factor of ten to one.
July 1692 C.E., de Vargas and a small contingent of soldados returned to Santa Fé.
They surrounded the city,
called on the Pueblo people to
surrender, and promising clemency if they would swear allegiance to the
King of España
and return to the Christian faith. After
meeting with de Vargas, the Pueblo
leaders gave their word of honor and pledged an oath of peace.
His first expedition from El Paso for reconnaissance of Nuevo
Méjico had been a resounding success.
During that assignment
he had made a preliminary entrada
or entry and determined what the conditions were in the Provincia. He had
obtained the surrender of three insurrectionist pueblos,
peacefully and not by force. With
these accomplishments in-hand, de
Vargas supposed that resettlement of the Provincia
was to be only a formality. Don
Diego then returned to El Paso
to begin preparations for an expedition for the resettlement of Nuevo
Méjico. In doing so, he
Fé and Nuevo Méjico in the hands
of what he thought were pacified Pueblos
for the next year.
It all began on August 17, 1692. Diego
de Vargas and a contingent of less than fifty soldados, accompanied by three frays,
left El Paso to begin an
uneventful expedition north along the Río
Mid-September of 1692, the
hopeful soldados of the Corona would reach Santa Fé,
the former Spanish capital of the Provincia
of Nuevo Méjico. There
would be at least 1,000 Pueblo
insurgents awaited them.
that first day of September 13,
1692 C.E., after demonstrative gestures of insult and disrespect it
was obvious to the Españoles that the Pueblos were
reflecting little on the consequences of their actions. In
the end, it was simply seen as a refusal to submit to Spanish authority
by the native squatters of Santa Fé.
Vargas then threatened to cut-off their water supply.
The followed hours saw heated exchanges during which the Pueblos
demanded that certain identified Pobladores
not be allowed to return to Nuevo Méjico,
and the astute Gobernador
gave his consent.
with very little patience left Don
Diego issued his ultimatum. The
Pueblos were either to submit
and be pardoned or suffer a devastating attack by de
Vargas’ forces. Soon,
in response to the demands two unarmed Pueblo
men left the fortified villa
to make an offer of peace. Later,
they would be followed by others. By
nightfall, an uneasy calm had fallen over both sides.
the second day of September 14,
1692 C.E., de Vargas, the frays,
and the returning former pobladores
of Spanish Santa Fé performed
a formal ceremony of submission and absolution in the Indian plaza.
Vargas then proclaimed a formal act of repossession. With
his repossession of Nuevo Méjico,
often called a bloodless take over, the Provincia
was initially retaken without the use of force.
It is clear that de
Vargas had employed a masterful mix of diplomacy and his not so subtle threat of
a siege had quickly gained the surrender of the insurrectionist Pueblos.
third day of September 14, 1692
C.E., brought a mass being celebrated in Santa
Fé. There the frays baptized over 100 Pueblo
children born during the period of Spanish exile.
Once the Pueblos
grudgingly pledged peace to the Spanish government and control was
reestablished, the gobernador
would move his troops on from Santa
Spanish historical records of the ritual repossession of 1692 C.E.
detail events which would have required both tremendous risk and
incredible restraint on the part of both parties.
Don Diego should be
recognized for the effectiveness of his diplomacy and the personal
relations he developed with the Pueblo
Indian peoples. These
actions demonstrate a willingness on his part to deal on a personal
level with the Indians of Nuevo Méjico.
As his record of service in the Indies suggests, de
Vargas exhibited strength of character and political maturity which
his predecessors in Nuevo Méjico
had lacked. By this juncture
the parties had reached an accommodation.
However, out of necessity of the potential for war there was also
a degree of deceit and subterfuge by both the Españoles
and the Pueblo tribes.
Unfortunately, the calm was only temporary. Nuevo
was soon to suffer the oncoming storm of blood and death.
the next month, September 14,
1692 C.E. to October 14, 1692 C.E., Don
Diego and his small army visited 12 other pueblos
of northern Nuevo Méjico,
conducting the same rituals at each.
Before returning south to El
Paso the "reclaimers of Santa
Fé " visited the Ácoma,
Zuñi, and Hopi pueblos,
as well as those farther south along the Río
Grande that had been found vacant on the trip north.
By the end of 1692 C.E., most of Nuevo
Méjico's pueblos had been officially restored to el
Imperio Español without shots being fired or bloodshed. This
is the peaceful retaking which is observed annually in September at the
famous Fiesta de Santa
Diego’s return from Santa
Fé to El Paso he would lead his
second expedition from El Paso
back to Nuevo
Méjico. It was to be one of
reestablishment of Spanish authority in the region and resettlement.
regarding the Provincia when accomplished would reestablish the destroyed misiones and ranchos and
At El Paso
during 1693 C.E., he was
organizing a resettlement expedition in preparation for his return to Nuevo
Méjico. The company would consist
of one hundred soldados,
seventy families, and eighteen Franciscan frays,
together with Indian allies.
This second portion of the resettlement plan was to be far from peaceful.
De Vargas would be a very busy man in 1693 C.E.
First, he would have to make his way to
in Early-1693 C.E., to retrieve a group of pobladores. After this rendezvousand,
he then made his way back to
El Paso Del Norte.
On October 4, 1693 C.E., he
would journey with his soldados
and pobladores from El
Paso back to Santa Fé.
addition to the seventy families, eighteen Franciscan
friars, and a number of Tlaxlacan
allies to begin the resettle of Nuevo Méjico there were several thousand horses and mules,
almost a thousand head of livestock followed the main force of the
expedition, six wagons and eighty mules’ hauled supplies, including
three cannon. The three-month journey
north to Nuevo Méjico on the Camino Real to Santa Fé
would end in Mid-December 1693.
his arrival near Santa Fé the
Natives were surprised and shaken when they sited de
Vargas’ expedition. But
still, this time the Españoles
would have to fight if they wanted Santa
Fé. Warriors from only
four of the pueblos had sided
with the pobladores, most
Final preparations were
also underway in Early-September
1693 C.E., for the Fourth Wave of resettlement to begin its 9 month
journey with 66 families and one single man (232 individuals).
The Españoles would
leave Méjico City with that
Fourth Wave of resettlement in Mid-September
1693. That group of
hopeful soldados and Pobladores would include
priests, weavers, tailors, stonecutters, brick masons, carpenters,
millers, ironworkers, shoemakers, a sculptor, and two painters. These
would make their way to a new life in the distant Spanish land of Nuevo
Méjico. With wagons and
livestock in tow, they trekked north along El
Camino Real de Tierra Adentro
through the Chihuahua Desert
to the southern reach of the Rocky Mountains.
The way was hot and the march hard causing some on the expedition
to desert. Yet others died. But
that Fourth Wave of 217 hearty souls survived.
When they finally arrived on the Santa
Fé Plaza on June 24, 1694 C.E.,
four families had left the expedition, and three single Frenchmen joined
De Vargas' preliminary expedition had been of a relatively
peaceful nature and it had garnered the acceptance of the twenty-three pueblos
of Spanish authority. The
second expedition and its Spanish resettlement force would find
resistance when they arrived in Nuevo
Méjico. Of the
twenty-three pueblos who rejoined Spanish sovereignty, only four remained
steadfast to their oaths of loyalty.
Those were Pecos, Santa
Ana, Zia, and San Felipe. It
is clear that the Pueblos had experienced a
change of heart. When the
resettlers arrived at Santa Fé in December of 1693 C.E., they would find a city once again
fortified and its walls manned with insurrectionists.
of Pecos, Juan de Ye, met de Vargas
before the Gobernador reached Santa
Fé to warn him that most of the Provincia
was preparing for battle. When
de Vargas arrived at Santa
Fé, he found Tewas and Tanos
gathered in the plaza.
Gobernador decided not to
precipitate violence by pitching camp close to the villa.
Instead, the Españoles camped outside Santa Fé for two
weeks in the cold. Twenty-three
of the expedition members died of exposure while rumors of Pueblo
hostility ran wild. It was
only after prolonged delay that the Españoles finally concluded that the Indians remaining in Santa Fé should be returned to their pueblo
of Galisteo and that the Españoles
should enter the villa and
resettle. These objectives
would be accomplished by force if necessary. As
the proceedings of the meeting continued in the expedition camp the Pueblos holding Santa Fé could
clearly see and hear what the Españoles
were saying. They then
proceeded to a plan for armed resistance.
It was early in the morning on the December
28, 1693 C.E., when de Vargas
was awakened by a messenger who warned of an imminent attack by the
native forces in Santa Fé. Immediately, the gobernador
of Pecos was dispatched to his pueblo
for reinforcements and a squadron of Spanish soldados was ordered to move forward toward the walls of the villa.
When they arrived, they
found the walls manned by a force of armed insurgents. Soon,
another force of enemy Pueblos
arrived to aid those on the Santa
Fé walls. The
situation had become volatile. De
Vargas was left with few options. In
response he closed on the
walls with most of his soldados
and secured a perimeter.
His first choice was to attempt a diplomatic
solution to the crisis. After
some discussion one of the leaders of the Pueblos,
Antonio Bolsas, agreed to
discuss the situation with his force within the villa
and give an answer to de Vargas
by that evening of December 28,
By early the next morning, on December 29, 1693 C.E. a group of 140 reinforcements for the Españoles
had arrived from the Pecos Pueblo.
The fact that there had been
no answer to the Gobernador's
diplomacy, De Vargas began to
advance his troops towards the villa.
It was then that the enemy
on the walls began to shout that the whole Provincia
was against the Españoles and would kill them all, except for the friars, who would become slaves.
A shower of arrows and
stones from the enemies followed their insults. De
Vargas’ response was to cry out the Santiago,
urging his men to battle. This
was the Santiago!
Or ¡Santiago y cierra, España!
This was de Vargas the war cry
of Iberian troops during their Reconquista
against the Moros, and later
for the el
In English, it’s often translated "Santiago
and close, Spain!" or "Santiago
and at them, Spain!" Its
first usage is attributed to the Battle of Las
Navas de Tolosa, where it is said to have been used and on each
occasion when Spanish Soldados
The engagement lasted until the early morning hours
of the next day, December 30,
1693 C.E. In the end,
were victorious. When the
capture of Santa Fé was won and the insurrectionists contained and accounted for, de
Vargas went about the work of examining the contents of the Villa.
He located and proceeded to divide the captured stores of corn,
beans, and other foodstuffs among the Spanish families. Once
the insurrectionists were safely under arrest and armed guard, the Pobladores
were allowed to occupy the buildings forced from the natives. With
the Spanish capital and main city of Nuevo
Méjico liberated by de Vargas’,
he had succeeded in gaining a solid foundation for the eventual
reestablishment of Spanish authority over the entire region. But,
as de Vargas would discover
the taking of the remainder of the Provincia
would be no easy matter.
damaged and dilapidated Presidio
would be rebuilt after 1693 C.E.
and named Presidio de Exaltación
de la Cruz del Nuevo Méjico.
It was also known as El Real Presidio de Nuestra Señora de los Remedios y la Exaltación de
la Santa Cruz. All of
the buildings encircling the plaza,
including the casas reales or royal government buildings would
need repair and reconstruction. These
had been part of the fort and its protective structure.
There was also a carriage house, military chapel, adequate
servants’ quarters, various warehouses, and a tannery.
The Casas Reales de Palacio had been the core of the presidio.
Fortified military barracks
were north of the Palacio.
The Plaza de Armas,
literally the “Weapons Square,” but is better translated as the
Parade Square or military parade grounds was outside the Palacio.
All areas of the Presidio would need refurbishment.
the end of the siege of Santa Fé,
a total of eighty-nine rebels lay dead. This
included two terrorists by their own hand.
A victorious de Vargas
then ordered the execution of seventy of the fanatics who refused to
surrender. Another four
hundred resistors, who did finally surrender, were distributed among the
soldados and Pobladores
for ten years of servitude. This
included women and children to be distributed as servants to the Españoles.
these actions on the part of Don
de Vargas may seem to some a bit heavy-handed, one must understand
that this was war of the ugliest sort.
“The Geneva Conventions,” those agreements which comprise
four treaties and three additional protocols and established the
standards of international law for the humanitarian treatment of war did
not exist. What did exist
were blind hatred, vengeance, and blood feuds.
His actions were swift, exacting, and in his mind, a necessary
evil. There are times when
abnormal circumstances exist and demand other than normal responses.
world, the military is rarely called into internal national boundaries
for action. These are only
at times of war, emergency, or natural disaster. A
police force has the day-to-day responsibility and involvement in and
for public life. Thus, the
police are more closely integrated in the social life of a nation than
its military. Under normal
circumstances the military must by necessity remain alienated from
operating within general society.
color of authority under which policemen operate is far different from
that of a military. In the
case of 17th-Century C.E. Nuevo
Méjico, activities of the police and military were both the responsibility of
To complicate the matter, the
Spanish military of the Provincia
was unknowingly on a war footing, battling terrorists bent upon murder
and mayhem. The
color under which a policeman operates is the semblance or presumption
of authority sustaining the acts of a public officer which is derived
from his apparent title to the office or from a writ or other process in
his hands apparently valid and regular.
They operate under a specific set of circumstances which military does not.
Given their chartered activities, policemen are ill suited to wage war.
And soldiers should be excluded from policing activities.
If one reads carefully the
“Autos” drawn up as a result of the rebellion of Christian Indians Santa Fé
beginning on August 9, 1680 C.E.,
and in the days that followed, the translations of the Spanish
narratives speak to the issue of police tactics vs. military actions.
Gobernardor Otermín’s actions can be construed as those of a civil servant
issuing orders to policemen to investigate the complaints of Natives
breaking and entering private property (Civil and Religious), robbing
residents of their property, and reports of unlawful killings.
The narratives offer one report after another being investigated
as separate crimes at various pueblos
and surrounding areas. In
the beginning the Gobernardor
treated the crimes as single incidents, by sole perpetrators, involving
separate crimes, at different pueblos.
Only after it was too late and the circumstances were understood
for what they were, did he finally act proactively and not reactively.
Unfortunately, this reality had to
be forced upon Don Otermín.
This arose when two friendly Christian Indians whom he knew,
personally rushed into his presence in a state of panic to report a
pending attack upon the Villa.
They reported that a large party of Indians from six pueblos
numbering approximately 500 hundred who had been joined by Apaches
and the party was sited closing upon Santa
Fé. It was also
explained to the Don that the
party was led by Juan the Tagno, the Indian that the Gobernador
had sent earlier as a scout to collect information as to the facts of a
matter of law breaking. He
was now acting as Capitán
of the group racing to attack the Villa and destroy the Gobernardor.
Its intent, he was told, “was so that the entire kingdom would
be theirs and they could profit at the expense of the Españoles
and their’ haciendas.”
To clarify, Don Otermín had failed to completely understand his predicament.
He misread the conditions under which he was being forced to
react. These were not simply
police matters, though he reacted to them as if they were.
They were in fact, and by nature acts of war, massive rebellion,
and total insurrection. His
missteps and inappropriate actions lost the moment when his ability to
contain the situation and retain control could have prevailed.
At the point at which the terrorists were on the offensive, his
was the defensive. This is
the time in the crisis when the Españoles
lost the Provincia.
years later, on December 30, 1693 C.E.,
it must have been obvious to de
Vargas that the situation was one of life and death.
Otermín in 1680 C.E., who had failed to act immediately, and
militarily de Vargas would not treat this insurrection as a series of
police matters and fall into the same trap.
He arrived at Nuevo Méjico as a General
first, and a civil administrator second.
His mission was to retake the Provincia
by force if necessary, which he did.
Once diplomacy had failed and his only option was violence, de
Vargas understood that it was now all or nothing.
He saw the thing for what it was.
These were not criminals. They
were in fact insurrectionists who had chosen the path of terrorism.
If not dealt with swiftly and decisively the other pueblos
would soon join them in their bloody insurrection.
España would not
accept another debacle.
point in fact is that similar bloody fighting would occur at many of the
other pueblos before the Gobernador
felt that the native people had truly accepted his and the king's
authority. His judgment in
the matter had been correct and appropriate.
To further complicate matters, the end of widespread hostilities
would not mean an end to Pueblo
resentment over stringent conditions imposed by the Pobladores.
For example the periodic confiscation of Pueblo
food stocks of corn and other supplies was necessary to sustain the
struggling Pobladores, but would result in Native animosity.
methods employed by the Españoles
seem in retrospect quite harsh to some, but obviously given the
circumstances necessary to ensure control.
After 13 years of continued resistance by terrorist who carried
out a major revolt and tortured and murdered over 400 Españoles,
there could be little room for compassion and unnecessary kindness. It
was after all, more than war. The
blood thirsty insurgents turned terrorists were unwilling to stop the
butchery and accept Spanish authority.
Brutal force and grisly consequences were the order of the day.
However, when necessary the gloved steel hand could still be
substituted with the open hand of friendship.
For all Indians involved in the insurgency who requesting pardons, De
Vargas readily granted them. He
also did not punish other Indians who had not participated in the
insurrection. These actions
were prudent and wise. In a
show of largesse
those pardoned were then allowed to leave Santa
Fé and return to their pueblos.
The triumphant Españoles were then able to resume their hard won authority over Nuevo
Méjico. Fortunately for
the Españoles, the exhausted insurgent Pueblos no longer had sufficient will or resources necessary to war.
It was only this utter
defeat that forced them to accept the Gobernador’s
authority. Thus, the Españoles
were able to vacate and resettle the Pueblo
Peoples of the Southwest thirteen years after the Pueblo
Revolt of 1680 C.E. However,
they would never again gain control of the Navajos
However, in that year España
had reclaimed her lost provincia.
this point, having discussed war, insurrection, uprisings, and terrorism
it is worth reflecting on the why the Españoles
had lost the Provincia and
then had to regain it. They
paid in blood, treasure, and dishonor due to their failure to keep in
check those natural tendencies given to men.
These were greed, selfishness, pridefulness, arrogance, and
callousness. Added to these
should be the airing of one’s dirty laundry.
The ongoing, heated rivalries between the government of the Corona
and Church missionaries was a mistake of the greatest magnitude. This
was seen by the insurgents as a wedge between the two parties, one to be
seized and capitalized upon. Unfortunately,
the Spanish government and the Church would always remain divided by
these issues and their causes countering one another.
At the beginning
of 1694, Santa Fé was the
sole outpost of Nueva España
in the expansive area of the Provincia
Nuevo Méjico. The
area remained in a divided state with only four Native pueblos
having sided with the Españoles Santa Ana,
San Felipe, Zia, and Pecos.
and September of 1694, de
Vargas would launch needed campaigns against insurrectionist pueblos along the Río Grande refusing to accept España’s
authority and submit to Spanish law. Without
insurgents accepting España’s governance
there could be no peace. And
it was this peace which was needed to stop the continual battles between
the Españoles and the natives. The low
simmering insurrection was also keeping the Pobladores
in Santa Fé from planting crops which could make the possibility of starvation
become a reality.
was at this time that the Fourth Wave resettlement
group reached El Paso del Norte
in April of 1694 C.E.
This was at that time the largest group of pobladores
to travel the full Camino Real.
This expedition of nearly 250 additional pobladores
including 124 adults and 93 children arrived in Nuevo
Méjico by Mid-1694 C.E. Another
group of almost 150 would follow the next year, in 1695 C.E. To accommodate
many of these additional Hispanos,
Gobernador de Vargas authorized the establishment of a second settlement in the
provincia, at Santa
Cruz de la Cañada, north of Santa
Fé along the Santa Cruz River. This
new settlement would displace the Tano
Pueblo Indians, who had settled there after the insurrection of 1680
C.E. Members of these new
families would eventually intermarry with descendants of the first,
second, and third waves of Nuevo Méjico
pobladores and add their family names to the generations to come.
By June 1694
C.E., these arrivals would exacerbate an already difficult the
situation. It was the lack
of planting and the real possibility of starvation which drove de
Vargas to more aggressively war against the pueblos, securing their food stores, and forcing their capitulation.
By January of
the following year of 1695 C.E., de
Vargas could boast that most of the Río Grande valley was under the
control of the Españoles. This had been no easy task.
It took the steel hard will of a hand-full of soldados
and a few Pobladores who would
not give up on their dream of resettlement.
Many of returnees had waited for years at El
Paso del Norte for a chance to join the expedition to reclaim their
homes and lands. Among these
were many of my family lines. The
de Ribera family had found its way to this land of promises of which
they had heard so much.
The reconstituted Nuevo Méjico began to
grow as more pobladores
arrived from southern Nueva España
(Méjico) such as my progenitor, Salvador
Matías de Ribera
who was 20 years old in 1695 C.E. Information
taken from a prenuptial investigation for a marriage states Salvador
was a native of Puerto de Santa María,
had been in the Royal Navy and came from España on
the 60 gun galleon Santo Tomás
Villanueva along with a friend, Toribio
his wife and son, Juan Felipe de
Rivera, appear on the Muster Roll census of the pobladores
who went to Nuevo
Méjico with Juan
Páez Hurtado in 1695 C.E. They
enlisted in the venture on January 4, 1695 C.E., and received payments
of 360 pesos for their
was described as a Spanish resident of Zacatecas,
with an average physique, straight black hair, and twenty years old.
He married Juana de Sosa Canela who was born in España in 1663
C.E. They arrived in Santa Fé, Nuevo
Méjico in 1695 C.E. By
1704 C.E., he lost his Vargas
grant in the center of Santa
through a law-suit. He
passed away on 1712 C.E. in Santa Fé, Nuevo
By 1773 C.E., his widow, Juana
and son were seeking other grants in the Torreon
de la Cienega section of Santa
His only known child was Juan
he was a Peninsulares or a
Spaniard from the Iberian Peninsula, Salvador
would have had many advantages. Higher
offices in the Americas and Philippines were held by peninsulares.
Apart from the distinction of peninsulares from Criollos,
the castas system distinguished also Mestizos
(of mixed Spanish and Amerindian ancestry in the Americas, and mixed
Spanish and Chinese or native Filipino
in the Philippines), Mulatos
(of mixed Spanish and black ancestry), Indios,
Zambos (mixed Amerindian and
black ancestry) and finally Negros.
In the colonial social hierarchy, the peninsulares were
nominally at the top, followed by Criollos,
who developed a fully entrenched powerful local aristocracy during the
17th and 18th-Century C.E.
was assumed that he and his were superior to other Españoles and
therefore, entitled. His
having served in the Royal Navy would have spoken highly of his military
abilities. This perhaps is
why over time he became an alférez
or Ensign, the military commander at the Presidio
of Santa Fé garrison.
With these latest arriving Españoles
came growth. Two new villas were founded at Santa
Cruz and Bernalillo in
1695 C.E. to accommodate those that had arrived and the many that
were expected. These also
needed the help of the Church to maintain their love of God and his
guidance in these hostile, difficult lands.
Eleven misiones were
reestablished once the missionaries felt secure enough to be assigned to
This was no easy matter for a provincia
on war footing. As for the
western pueblos, these remained areas in which the regained Spanish control
in Nuevo Méjico was still
unrecognized. These included
the Ácoma, Zuñi, and the Hopi
pueblos. To be honest even
in those pueblos that had
supposedly accepted Spanish authority hostilities began to emerge.
1695 C.E., the Franciscan frays
found themselves alone at their misiones.
under de Vargas had been
dispersed. Here we must
offer an explanation. The
task of governance of a provincia
as large as Nuevo Méjico
under the best of circumstances would have been difficult. One
would have expected a large, robust, well-resourced, well-armed military
force, but that was not the case. An adequate staff of capable,
efficient, and effective administrators would have been a great help
during this undertaking. Nuevo
Méjico had none of these. She
was place under siege. Her soldados
were spread thin constantly on military maneuvers and assigned to
protect that which was necessary. Administrators
were expensive and had other, better circumstances under which they
wished to ply their trade. Nuevo
Méjico was not one of those places.
As early as July,
1695 C.E., the missionaries began to fear that the Pueblos were planning another insurrection. By
December, these fears reached greater proportions and the custodio,
Fray Francisco de Vargas, held
a meeting to ascertain the extent of the possible uprising. The
frays petitioned the Gobernador
to post soldados at the pueblos for protection and to alleviate the fears of the clergy. Gobernador
de Vargas decided not to send troops to the pueblos at the time because of his concern that such an action would
incite hostilities among more loyal Indians.
The harsh winter
of 1695 C.E.-1696 C.E. placed greater burdens on the Spanish
pobladores who still could not adequately feed their own. Hostile,
well informed Pueblo leaders
had been watching and waiting. These
natives had been astute practicers of warfare and its tactics over many
generations. They were no
strangers to reconnaissance and planning.
Once they perceived this to be a propitious time for an
insurrection, they would act decisively as they did fifteen years
But the time was not yet for war.
Despite the fears of the Franciscans, the expected insurrection
did not occur in December of 1695
C.E. This did not lessen
the tension. The tasks at
the pueblos for the frays’ was becoming increasingly difficult, as the actions of the Pueblos
became increasingly hostile. One
must understand that the Pueblos
harbored a deep resentment which had begun as far back as 1599 C.E. With
the introduction of the Españoles,
their Church, their misiones,
the overly zealous padres, and
the taxing of the encomienda the burdens were too great. The
loss of freedom, Pueblo
culture, and their Native religion had made it difficult deal with the
traumas of everyday life and the stresses which had become unbearable
had been repeated rumors during 1695 C.E. that another Pueblo insurrection was imminent.
These fears and concerns would continue to unsettle the already
overly stressed pobladores and
clergy into Early-1696 C.E.
The resettlers understood very well what another Native
insurrection would bring, more death and destruction.
It would later be charged that de
Vargas had failed to take warnings seriously enough to act
responsibly and quickly. The
period would also see the pobladores
struggling unsuccessfully to support themselves agriculturally.
Pueblos only had so many food
stores which could be confiscated. And
with each confiscation life for the Pueblos
grew worse. To make matters
more difficult, disease began sweeping through the Provincia. The Españoles
Méjico were touched by the
devastation it brought.
Even the Gobernador would succumb to it, bringing him to the brink of death.
Fortunately, by March of 1696 C.E., de Vargas
same month, de Vargas would petition the Virrey to increase the number of pobladores from 276 families to 500. This
was the minimum number of resettlers that he claimed were needed to
ensure Nuevo Méjico's
safety and security. This
vast area of resettled land required a large number of pobladores
with which to expand existing villas,
establish new ones, reclaim the ranchos,
and assist the limited number of soldados
when needed. The aim of
population expansion was to bolster the Provincia
economically and militarily.
Also in March,
1696 C.E., the missionaries again began pleading with de Vargas for military protection as rumors of war increased to a
crescendo. From San Juan Pueblo, Fray
Gerónimo Prieto wrote that natives of various pueblos,
including the Hopi pueblos, Zuñi, and Ácoma, were on
their way to San Juan to meet
with insurrectionist leaders. The insurrectionists were there under the
pretense of a trading mission. The
tone of the padres' letters was one of panic.
On March 15th,
de Vargas finally responded to
the request from the custodio to place soldados
at some of the pueblos. However,
by that time it was too late. The
frightened and panicked missionaries had abandoned their posts seeking
the safety of the fortified Spanish villas.
The Pueblos had
accomplished their goal. The
frays were frightened into leaving Native lands.
In doing so, the Gobernador
would no longer have easy access to information about the activities of
the insurrectionists. The Españoles
were now blind to the machinations
of the insurgents.
The summer of 1696 C.E., would see the
situation in Nuevo
Méjico deteriorate into a general insurrection.
Modern-day, anti-colonialists refer to this as the Second Pueblo
Revolt. These remain
ignorant of the “Right of Kings,” the “Right of Conquest,” and
the obligations of “subjects” under the authority of a monarch in
effect during the 17th-Century C.E.
Many, if not all, continue to apply 21st-Century C.E. democracy
with its citizen’s rights, freedoms, and the “Rule of Law,” to a
time when none existed. The
position of the American “Left” on these matters is naive.
In short, an insurrection against a duly authorized legal
authority or governmental structure, likeable or not, is still an
We can simply apply the response by Americans to both
the Watts Riots (Largely Black) of 1965 and 1992, and the East Los
Angeles Riots (Largely Hispanic) of 1968, 1970, and 1971.
One could hardly call the U.S. Government’s reaction an embrace
of ethnic and racial violence. In
each instance, the response from law enforcement and the National Guard
was bloody and certain. There was no immediate call for redress or
understanding. These affairs
were seen purely and simply as insurrections that had to be put down
immediately and without equivocation.
June of 1696 C.E., virreinal
action on the de Vargas petition
for the Virrey to increase the
number of pobladores was not
forthcoming and all but five of the pueblos
would soon take up arms against the Pobladores.
After eleven months of persistent rumors, increasing unrest among the Pueblos,
and actions taken by the Pueblos
in apparent preparation, on June 4, 1696 C.E. the Provincia
exploded with violence. A general uprising and insurrection caused the deaths of
five missionaries and twenty-one other Españoles.
Hostile Pueblo terrorists burned the misiones. The people of
the pueblos taking
the revolt fled into the mountains.
Only Tesuque, Pecos, San Felipe, Santa
Ana, and Zia did not participate.
for the Españoles unlike the
Revolt of 1680 C.E., this rebellion was poorly planned. The
insurrectionists were divided into several disparate factions. The most
powerful faction was under the command of a Cochiti
named Lucas Naranjo. Without
strong leadership the insurrection was badly executed and lacked a cohesive strategy to
retake the Provincia.
In late July,
de Vargas left Santa Fé with his soldados and native
troops from Pecos Pueblo in
search of Naranjo and his
group. He found them hidden in the slopes of a canyon awaiting the
arrival of the Españoles.
During the battle, Naranjo was killed by a harquebus shot to the Adam's apple by a soldado
who then beheaded him. De
Vargas said, "It gave me
great pleasure to see the said rebel apostate dog in that condition.
A pistol shot that was fired into his right temple had blown out
his brains leaving the said head hollow." The
remaining rebels then fled and the allies from Pecos
were given Naranjo's severed
head as a trophy of war.
After the fall of Naranjo, the insurrection began to collapse. The
most active insurgents in the central Río Grande valley were destroyed. Those
who had fled their pueblos to the mountains were leaderless and in desperate
circumstance. The Españoles
having appropriated stores of food from the pueblos
after each victory left the insurgents remaining in the mountains. There
they faced the choice of either returning to their pueblos
and accepting Spanish governance or starving.
de Vargas succeeded in
subduing the insurgents closest to the center of Spanish power in Nuevo
the pueblo fringe was still
unrepentant. Those who
remained outside the reach of de Vargas,
his troops, and Indian allies were the Pueblos
of the Picurís, Taos, and of course the western pueblos of Ácoma, Zuñi and the Hopi.
By August of
1696 C.E., de Vargas
mounted an expedition against the utterly resistant pueblo
of Ácoma. He
and his troops having arrived at the mesa
were unable to mount an assault. Instead,
they proceeded to gather the Ácoma’s
sheep left at the base of the mesa.
After several days of
waiting below at the base of mesa
and issuing threats and ultimatums, de
Vargas commanded his soldados
to burn the Ácoma fields. They
then departed to the east leaving the Ácoma
to remain on their mesa.
1696 C.E., the Gobernador
moved against the still rebellious, armed, and hostile terrorists of the
northern pueblos. After
a peaceful capitulation by the Pueblo's
leaders, the Taos were
convinced to descend from the mountains. Later,
at Picurís, de Vargas found the Pueblo
empty. The Españoles went in chase of the inhabitants of the Pueblo who, in the company of some Tewas, Tanos, and Apaches
were fleeing eastward.
By late October
of 1696 C.E., de Vargas
had reached the fleeing insurrectionists. In a short battle, the Españoles
captured approximately eighty of terrorists. The
remainder continued fleeing eastward.
These were later captured in western Kansas by a band of allied Apaches. The captured
were then distributed to the troops and held as hostages until the
remaining Picurís returned to
beaten and no longer a serious threat to the Provincia, the terrorist peril to the Españoles of Nuevo Méjico was ended. In
time, the Pueblos who had remained hiding in the mountains would descend to
their pueblos. Some leaders of
small terrorist bands voluntarily surrendered. Others were tracked and
taken with the help of loyal Pueblo
allies. And still, there
were others who would not return to their pueblos
along the Río Grande, preferring to continue hiding with the Apache, the Navajos and at
the pueblos of Ácoma, Zuñi,
June through November of 1696 C.E.,
with few choices and steady pressure on all sides, Don Diego had mounted military campaigns almost continually. The
familiar Spanish Nuevo Mundo
strategy of exploiting Pueblo rivalries and methodically subduing each insurgent pueblo
one-by-one would be followed meticulously by De
Vargas and his council of war. The harsh winter weather of the Provincia
and the soon to follow exhaustion of his soldados
would finally bring a forced peace for many, but not all. The ongoing
battles forced large numbers of the Pueblos
to flee the Provincia, some
bloody, vicious fighting that year would mark the end of the protracted
violence and resistance carried out by the terrorist Pueblos
against Spanish authority and control of Nuevo
De Vargas could write
proudly to the King and Virrey of having succeeded in the retaining control of the Provincia.
It had been lost once,
retaken, and almost lost a second time. Now it was held stable and
secure in Spanish hands, having been bought with blood and honor. By
the end of the year, the Pueblo
Insurrection of 1696 C.E. was
over. The Pueblo Indians of Nuevo Méjico, with the exception of the western pueblos,
were again in acceptance of Spanish authority.
For a job well-done, de
Vargas was about to receive an odd reward.
(baptized July 29, 1656 C.E. -died 1704
was the Spanish admiral who was sent to replace de
Vargas and serve as the gobernador
of Nuevo Méjico between
once installed, had knowledge of accusations of corruption against Don Diego de Vargas. He was also aware of imposed fines against him
by Santa Fé Council
officials. Initially, Cubero
had rejected the levied fines against his predecessor. However,
that was until official formal charges had been placed against de
Vargas. He was then convinced that the former gobernador
had embezzled money and impoverished the population. This he believed
was through poor economic management and maldistribution of food
supplies among the pobladores.
It was also cited that Diego de
Vargas had exacerbated the famine of 1695 C.E.-1696
C.E., by his actions.
these offenses were punishable by a fine and imprisonment, and the fact
that the charges had caused open hostility of the population against the
government during that period, de
Vargas was subsequently convicted and forced to pay a fine of four
thousand pesos. His
property confiscated and he was imprisoned for almost three years.
Although, only placed under house arrest, he fumed over this poor reward
and the even poorer treatment received after all he and had given the Provincia
and its people.
the period of house arrest came word that the king had conferred upon Don
Diego the title Marqués de la Nava de Barcinas.
He was also to receive an annuity of 4,000 pesos. This was to be collected in the form tribute from the Indians
of Nuevo Méjico.
1700 C.E., the charges
against de Vargas remained
unresolved. He was soon
called to Méjico
City to face investigation into the many of the complaints before the
Tribunal of Accounts. After
his long, difficult journey of 1600 miles when he reached the virreinal
capital, Don Diego found Juan
Manuel, his son who had recently arrived from España.
He had not seen the young man for 27 years.
wasn’t until 1702 C.E.,
that the Tribunal rendered its decision.
They found in favor of the former gobernador.
The decision had cleared the way allowing him to serve a second term. Unfortunately,
the good news was overshadowed by the death of his son, Juan
Manuel while returning to España.
same year, the Duke of Alburquerque,
Francisco Fernández de la Cueva y Enríquez
would arrive at Méjico
City to assume duties as the 34th Virrey
of La Nueva España.
His intent was to further expand the defenses of the entire Nuevo
matter still continued to gall the second-term Gobernador. De
Vargas had understood that upon the arrival in Nuevo
Méjico of the new Gobernador, Rodríguez Cubero,
he would initiate the standard procedure of residencia
or administrative review to be undertaken by the Santa Fé cabildo or
or city council of his term. De
Vargas had been deeply hurt and shocked when the residencia
process brought forward a list of charges against him. The
damning charges against the Gobernador
had included misuse of royal funds, fomenting the Pueblo
insurrection, and playing favorites among the pobladores. These he
knew were untrue and meant to harm his reputation and honor.
However, even these slights could not detract from the Gobernador’s
having carried out his duties and establishing new villas
of Santa Cruz de la Canada and
the Río Grande in
northeastern Nuevo Méjico.
giving his all, de Vargas had
asked only for those rewards he thought were rightfully his due. His
requests, simply a noble title that he felt he earned and a comfortable
annuity to carry him through his old age. Instead,
he was shocked and angered to be replaced in the governorship by Pedro Rodríguez Cubero, who had arranged years before to accede to
the office. But this he
understood had been the fate of many valiant, honorable Spaniards including
De Soto, to name but a
few. But for now, de Vargas
had been exonerated. He was a free man with history to write.
June 1703 C.E., Don de Vargas now the Marqués
de la Nava de Barcinas, left Méjico
City to reassume the governorship of Nuevo
took with him his two natural sons by Nicolasa
Rincón. They reached Santa
Fé by that November and Don
Diego reestablished himself at the Casas
Reales de Palacio. No
sooner had he arrived than the Pobladores
and Pueblos alike were complaining of repeated raids by parties of Apaches.
Thus, as soon as winter’s grip was loosed, de
Vargas began a campaign against the raiding Apaches.
the expedition proceeded down the Río
Grande Valley, illness struck the party. Several
members were immediately sent back to Santa
Fé. As fate would have
it, on April 1, 1704 C.E.,
the Marqués Gobernador fell desperately ill.
He was carried to the home of Fernando
Durán de Cháves at Bernalillo,
where he prepared his last will. Don
Diego dictated his twenty-page Will to his secretary, meticulously
describing his own last rites and burial, the disposition of his
belongings, and settlement of his accounts.
"I ask as a tribute, a coffin lined with simple woolen
cloth, and to be buried with the military honors and privileges due a
nobleman of Castilla."
life of de Vargas is an
example of the spirit of Spanish nobility.
Don Diego, the Spanish
nobleman, came to Nueva España
seeking glory, increased wealth, adventure, and a title.
However, he found something more, his moment of glory in 1692 C.E.
De Vargas led and won
the Reconquista of Nuevo
great Spanish gobernador died
in Nuevo Méjico
on April 8, 1704 C.E. At
the age of 60, one day after signing his last Will and Testament, he was
gone. He signed his title, Marqués
de la Naba de Brazinas. His
many deeds have not gone unnoticed or forgotten.
He died as he had lived, confident and sure of his place in
part of that history, Don De
Vargas had also ridden into the plaza
at Pecos with only fifty soldados.
He had entered Cicuye Pueblo
of the early world, now Pecos
of the Nuevo Mundo. Sixty miles west of Pecos is the Pueblo of Jémez.
This is where in 1590 C.E., Don
Gaspar and his troop stopped to rest and were told of a great pueblo
in the mountain pass to the east. In
the language of the Jémez it
was called it Pe-kush.
The Españoles heard
the word as "Pecos".
After 17 years and three Spanish expeditions to the pueblo
of Cicuye, during the explorations of Gaspar Castaño de Sosa, Cicuye
had become Pecos.
Thus the name Pecos stands today. There
the de Ribera family would
make its home in 1790 C.E.
By the close of the 17th-Century C.E., a new era of Nuevo
Méjico history could begin.
miles southeast of Santa Fé,
in the Sangre de Cristo
Mountains is a passage covered by magnificent Pine Trees.
Through it one finds the crumbling remains of that ancient Indian
pueblo. What once was a
witness to the golden age of a powerful Native-American people is now a
mass of rubble. Rising from
of a shallow valley below, the entire area was cut by the Pecos
River. The site extends for a quarter-mile along the narrow ridge.
However, only a small portion of those original massive adobe
Pecos Pueblo was the
fourteenth pueblo Don Diego
returned to Spanish authority. Hundreds
of Indians gathered in the plaza
at Pecos watching and listening to de
Vargas. Mesmerized by Don
Diego's boldness and supreme confidence, they listened to his every
word. He explained that he
had come a great distance to restore what had belonged to the king,
"for he was their lord, their rightful king, and there was no
other." After his
pronouncements, de Vargas
ordered the royal banner placed high above Pecos.
He then led his men in a salute to "Carlos
II, king of España, of all this Nuevo
Mundo and the kingdom and Provincia
of Nuevo Méjico and of their subjects newly won and
conquered." With this
ceremony completed, the Españoles
"left the pueblo at peace," and de
Vargas reported: "Having taken my leave of these natives and
having reiterated to them that they should pray and live as Christians,
which they promised me they would do, I set out" to Santa Fé.
has been the ancestral home of my mother's family, the de Riberas, since after 1790
C.E. They first settled Santa
Fé in 1695 C.E. with the
de Vargas Expedition as soldados
during the Reconquista.
The first three generations soldiered and ranched there.
Miguel Gerónimo de
Ribera's brother, Alfonso
or Alonzo, was the first to live at the presidio at Pecos. He was
listed there as a soldado.
Soon Miguel's son, Juan,
made his way to Pecos to join
his uncle. For the following
nine generations they have ranched and farmed the area.
this act of Reconquista
and others de Vargas became a
national hero in España. I
personally find this an odd proposition, him a national hero of España? The country is a world away from Nuevo Méjico and across a vast ocean. The majority of its people
had never set foot in the Americas.
What they could have possibly known about the
Reconquista escapes me.
One could, however, surmise that word of great deeds travels fast
in a world in which they have become hard to find and very much in need
death of Don Diego de Vargas
marked the passing of an era in Nuevo
history. It would force the Españoles to deal with problems outside their Provincia. Previously,
the Spanish government had concentrated its efforts on affairs related
to local problems. But now
they would broaden their scope to concerns over the vast wilderness of
North America that was outside their jurisdiction.
For the next several years of the 18th-Century C.E.,
Nuevo Méjico and its people
would suffer terribly from almost continual warfare.
As a result of continued attacks and raids on the Españoles by the natives
and Spanish retaliatory strikes against the insurrectionists, many pueblos would be
abandoned. Soon, those surviving pueblos
would be weakened by the many years of warfare and be unable to resist,
effectively abandon their dwellings.
As the pueblo
populations dispersed their inhabitants were forced to seek refuge in
the mountains among the Navajo
and Apache tribes.
However, life for the victorious Españoles would soon begin to improve. Pobladores
from La Nueva España flowed
into Nuevo Méjico
establishing farms, ranchos,
and villas. More
Spanish families would arrive at the capital, Santa
Fé. The old city would once again take on its former luster and the hustle
and bustle of a thriving Spanish Villa.
newer arrivals made the people of the frontier society much more
diverse. As the Spanish
communities grew and became the dominant force in the area frays
and Spanish lay people wanted a uniform Spanish society.
They refused to allow the Indians to practice their cultural and
religious ceremonies. Españoles
believed that enough time had passed for the Indians to accept and
embrace Christianity and the Empire.
Floggings followed. The
Indians reacted as they should. Indian
religious practices were then held in secret for fear of punishment. When
caught, even Indian medicine men were flogged.
the Early-1700s C.E., daily
life in the Villa de Santa Fé had once
again come alive. The
central point for the military defense of Nuevo
Méjico garrison had been reestablished at Santa
Fé in 1693 C.E. This is
where Salvadór Matías
the first of my de Ribera line
to arrive at Nuevo Méjico,
was to become the alférez or
military commander of the Presidio
garrison. Its center was on
the plaza principal also called the plaza
real or royal plaza. To
the east of the plaza, apparently stretching as far as the modern-day area of the
Basilica of Saint Francis, the main doors of the Franciscan Convento
de la Limpia Concepción de Nuestra Señora de la Villa de Santa
Fé faced the plaza.
Even though the pobladores complained about the nearby parish church left in
continuously poor condition and described as lacking interior
decorations comparable to those of the more richly decorated Pueblo
churches, they were happy to have a church.
the Villa, it remained common
to see animals in corrales of corrals around the
church area. The Casa
de Cabildo or the town hall’s main doors faced the plaza, where many Soldados
and administrators could be seen walking and talking about matters of
government and Native raiding parties.
Inside the Casas Reales de
Palacio, the pobladores
and administrators moved about engaged in the preparation of official Provincia
documents, archiving important papers, conducting the politics of
the day, and addressing the needs of the Gobernador.
Other lower level employees
cleaned the numerous rooms, washed clothing and linens, and stocked
goods in the storerooms. Some
tended to the orchard and prepared meals.
Villa de Santa Fé was by no
means a large affair. It had
only thirty small houses of adobe, nine of which belonged to widows and
the rest to the male heads of households. These
were the taxpaying vecinos. Several
of the better looking and larger houses belonged to members of prominent
families, including Capitánes one of which was located at one of the corners of the plaza
real. It boasted a main
hall, several rooms, a patio
and a garden or small orchard.
of the Villa was a rancho
which belonged to a wealthy Español.
It was situated down along the Santa
Fé River. Across
Fé River was the old barrio
de San Miguel, with its small chapel and nearby houses belonging
Indians. These had begun
returning as they heard that the Españoles were once again in charge of the Villa and its surrounding areas.
Some of the returning barrio
residents were of the Apache,
some Pueblo, and others Indios Mexicanos, or Indians from the Valle of Méjico.
Many of the barrio natives were those who earned a living as blacksmiths,
carters, carpenters, wagon drivers, and masons, and other trades. Their
women worked as cooks and laundresses in the homes in the large corridor
of the Villa courtyard.
a cool, clear day sitting there inside the Palacio
in front of an open window, one could face the plaza and watch the sights and hear the sounds of the passersby.
Looking out of a window, one could see the newly growing
cottonwood trees of the plaza that would one day offer shade to vecinos. An alcalde
ordinario might be seen racing across the plaza
late for a meeting with the Gobernador
at the Palacio. There
also might be found the town crier making his way across the plaza
as he returned to the Palacio
after having read aloud a royal edict. So it was that life had returned
to the Villa and its
the Franciscan missionaries returned and rebuilt misiones. Farms and
ranches were established in the Río
Abajo area. The Río Abajo Jurisdiction down river was half way between Santa
Fé and El Paso del Norte.
The name is still used for the area of the central and southern
portion of the Río Grande
Valley. Previously, Spanish Pobladores
built their farms near the Río
Grande and other major rivers, but now they were establishing farms
in other areas of the Provincia.
of Nuevo Méjico would once
again be reestablished with their Natives working the land. The focal point of
community life was still it mision
church. The church building
was the most prominent structure within the protected compound. A
convento or living quarters
for the missionaries and several lay assistants was built close to the
larger church building. The
daily life of all the mision
dwellers was once again centered on the church. The
frays summoned all to worship
for prayers. God had been
returned to the Provincia.
The Pobladores of
Nuevo Méjico were being
looked after by these clerics and their Indians.
Catholic Franciscans entered the area
accompanying Spanish explorers and acting as their chroniclers. Their
primary task was to spread Christianity and to extend Spanish culture to
whatever lands the Corona granted them as their field.
These same Franciscans were responsible to serve the Church as
protectors of the Indians and their unique position allowed them to
carry out the mision’s
efforts among the Indians of the northern frontier of
La Nueva España.
Quivira Church Ruins
example, one order of frays in
Tejas preferred the practical
application of their beliefs to theological debate.
Colegios or colleges
were founded as bases of operation and training for the missionaries.
For example, those providing missionaries for the Tejas
field were located in Queretaro
and Zacatecas. The Queretarans
were the first to start misiones
in Tejas. Padre Antonio Margil de Jesús, a prominent missionary in the
founding of early misiones in
eastern Tejas, came to believe
the field of work was so great that another colegio
was necessary. He founded
the College of Zacatecas and,
as its representative, began Mision
San José, the only
community at that time under its jurisdiction on the San Antonio River.
padres and mision natives worked long and hard in the fields trying to bring
back the long since abandoned crop areas.
All of the Provincia
depended upon their efforts, both native and Españoles
alike. The more food there
was the less starvation would be seen.
The Pueblos grew hungry
at the thought of the mision
crops and cattle. The mision
workers tended the livestock in order to grow flocks and herds that had
been scattered or eaten during the past sixteen years.
There was no time to waste as food was needed by everyone,
mision workshops were in
constant use. Little had
been left by the Pueblos when
they burned and raised the mision
buildings and animal enclosures to the ground to vent their rage during
and after the great Pueblo Revolt of 1680 C.E. The
classrooms, the home of sacred and utilitarian learning were buzzing
with activity. The
Franciscans taught the Indians other useful arts such as music and
painting. New Indians in
need of skills were learning as never before.
Just as in the Villa,
blacksmiths, carters, carpenters, wagon drivers, masons, weavers, and
those of other trades were needed.
first, there had been very few workmen to build the misiones with their several gateways providing entrance into a solid
walled compound housing the Mision
communities. Slowly, the Mision’s
strongly built, thick, sturdy walls were engineered and constructed. The
bastions or fortified towers located along the inside and against the
compound walls were later designed and constructed adding to the defense
of the mision compound.
Living quarters were also built.
These were placed for the Indian neophytes and Spanish soldados,
but usually for only one or two with their families.
those natives who petitioned for inclusion could live at the misiones.
These Native peoples of Nueva España’s Nuevo Méjico
originated from a number of hunting and gathering Indian bands.
The men of the tribes previously hunted bison and deer.
These were supplemented by other food sources, such as fish,
birds, rabbits, lizards, and snakes.
Fruits, nuts, beans, roots, and seeds gathered by women and
children were part of their diet. But
these dietary habits and manners would change with time.
the mision Indians spoke
distinct dialects and followed diverse religious practices found among
their respective bands, they shared some common characteristics.
Mision life was a
strictly regulated existence and a profound change for these
hunter-gatherer native peoples who had followed the rhythms of nature
and integrated fully into the local ecology.
In their prior life, their movements were dictated by the
seasonal availability of food. When
food sources were abundant extended families joined with others into
larger bands. In less
abundant times, the bands separated and organized into smaller bands
which sought food when and where needed.
They would soon learn Spanish and worship the Spanish God.
They would no longer hunt and gather food exclusively.
They would learn to till, plant, and harvest abundant grains,
fruits, and vegetables. Natives
would raise flocks and herds of livestock and later learn to kill and
butcher it for their meals. Though
the natives still continued to fish, the rhythms of nature would give
way the steady planning and daily chores producing estimated amounts of
food on a seasonal basis and preserved for leaner days ahead.
natives that became mision
dwellers were taught to fashion brush hut dwellings and to sleep on
woven mats. They dressed in
animal skins and wore woven sandals. For
hunting of game they used bows and arrows. Their
new tools were fishing nets, digging sticks to obtain food, and grinding
stones to prepare it. They
produced some simple pottery, but became more skilled at making baskets.
These they used to store supplies for the future and to transport
food to safe, clean locations for deposit and storage.
They practiced rites of passage and seasonal ceremonies common to
many hunter-gatherer cultures, but now they also learned the sacraments
and the ways of the Church. In
addition, the frays taught the
mision Indians Latin and the Catholic doctrine.
newly arriving Indians were thankful for the food and refuge of the misiones.
In many cases, they
willingly exchanged labor for the cultural life of the Españoles.
conversion wasn’t always easily acceptable for them.
Pueblo Indian culture
inculcated a respect for the views and decisions of their religious
leaders. This notion of
respect for religious leadership was extended to the Catholic frays
who were trying to convert and guide them to Christianity.
However, as the missionaries attempted to force or pressure
conversion of the Indians to Christianity, many resisted.
To further complicate matters, Spanish government officials
continued to fight openly with the frays.
The result was a continual
deterioration of Indian respect for the missionaries.
The Indians began to question the truthfulness of what the frays were saying, especially since the Spanish government obviously
didn’t believe them. Those
pueblo Indians who didn’t
want to accept Spanish authority, left to live at the pueblos
or with the Apache and the Navajo
Indians that remained were employed building large adobe churches for the missionaries.
There were some Indians that were forced or coerced to engage in
tasks that were against the beliefs and culture.
In the event that the Indians resisted the padres,
they might be severely punished. Both
the frays and Spanish soldados
carried out necessary punishment. Indians
could suffer many punishments such as whipping or being placed in
stocks. Some had their heads
shaved, forcing them to live in disgrace.
Españoles were attempting to
inculcate concepts of social order, Catholicism, and Spanish culture in
the natives. First, one must
understand the Spanish missionary program. It
was designed to bring about a total conversion of the Indian. The
system’s intent was to change them from being religious pagans into
Christians and from Indians with a tribal mentality to Hispanicized
tax-paying Spanish vecinos.
This was the nature of Spanish governance and culture. Each
day their overseers, those missionaries, lay helpers, headmen from a
particular resident native band, or possibly members of the soldados' families would lead worker groups of Indians outside the mision
walls to their labores or farm
necessity, farming was one of the main occupations of the communities in
their absolute requirement to become a self-sufficient region.
The crops they tended could include
(corn), beans, chile, squash,
melons, cotton, and sugar cane. Orchards
might produce apples, peaches, grapes and other fruits.
An agricultural watering system of gravity-fed irrigation ditches
called acequias was used as a
lifeline to the fields and orchards.
It brought needed water which was diverted from a nearby river or
stream by means of dams.
raising of livestock played a very important role in mision life. A ready
supply of meat for consumption and beasts of burden was a necessity.
At first, the ejidos, or common lands lying between the misiones, villas, and presidio
were used for grazing with the eventual purpose of cultivation.
Given the placement of settlements along the river, the ejidos abutted farmlands. As
the size of herds grew, it was natural to find them intruding onto
neighboring farmland and common lands.
As a consequence, other lands which were allotted and soon
utilized for grazing beyond the locations near the misiones,
presidio, and villas would begin to be used more heavily.
the population of Españoles
and Mestizos, or mixed bloods
grew they would soon outnumber the Pueblos.
System established to provide native labor for the settlements, farms,
and the ranchos was a reality
which one might call a necessary evil.
With time, the native population patterns followed the course of
the main rivers and their tributaries.
Later, more farms and ranchos
would be established in the fertile river valles.
This same labor force would also be used to build the new villas
and continue working Spanish farms and ranchos.
It should now be apparent that rapid progress along these lines
was the agenda for the Spanish Gobernadors for expansion of the number of Pobladores in the Provincia.
Partido System was also
established to further expand the sheep flocks needed as an all
important food source and for commodities sales and usage.
Via a contract between the patron
or sheep owner and the pastor
or shepherd, a pastor was
entrusted with a flock of sheep. He
took them into the mountains for grazing.
After an agreed upon period of time, the sheep were returned to
the patron. Once
accounts were settled, the pastor
was given a percentage of the flock as previously agreed to in the
contract. That percentage
was usually based upon the risks the pastor
had undertaken while caring for the flock.
It is possible that the flock’s growth may have off-set the
cost of the sheep being offered.
for the de Riberas and others
was at a premium. Although
most of the homes built by the Spanish Pobladores
were adobe, it wasn't the
material of choice but rather necessity.
There were few forests or large quantities of rock readily
available for them to use. So
they built with what they had. Fortunately,
the Spanish Pobladores were familiar with adobe
architecture. Nowhere is the
Spanish Arabic influence more apparent than in these Nuevo Mundo adobe
structures and architecture. The
Hornos or round adobe bread
baking ovens, and the arches in Spanish style architecture, are of
Arabic derivation taken from España
to the Nuevo Mundo.
Pueblo Indians had also been
building with adobe for
hundreds of years. There
were many advantages and benefits for choosing to build with adobe.
For the settlement builders of adobe
it was probably the easiest material with which to construct. Since it
is made of mud it is easy to cut and shape.
The mortar used to bond the bricks together is also mudding.
Adobe was also an ideal
material because of its thermal mass properties, solar.
It retained some of the day's heat into the cold night.
the de Riberas arrived, they
and the others introduced several technological innovations.
The Indian technique of "puddled adobe"
construction was replaced with wooden forms.
In this way adobe
bricks of regular size and shape could be produced.
The adobe was a brick made from mud.
The traditional adobe
block was fashioned in an approximate 10"X14" and 4"
we understand that the ideal combination of mixing materials is
approximately twenty percent clay and eighty percent sand.
First, the materials are mixed with water.
When ready, the mud is then poured into forms to shape the
blocks. Next, as soon as the
block will retain its shape the form is removed.
Later, the brick is left to dry in the sun.
After a few days, the bricks are turned on their side to quicken
the drying time. A few days
later, the bricks are ready to be moved and stacked.
The entire process where the bricks reach their full strength, or
are cured, is 30 days.
Spanish homes and misiones
were constructed of the material. Even
though the adobe requires
yearly remudding due to the ravages of the rain and snow, its beauty and
its ability to retain heat in the winter and coolness in the summer made
it ideal building material for the mountains of Nuevo
that world of hostile Indians and predatory animals it was fortunate
that the Spanish Pobladores
were able to manufacture their building material in their own enclosed,
walled-in courtyards. In
that way whole families participated in the mixing of the mud while
close to their weapons. After
mixing of the mud and straw with their feet in pits, the de
Riberas would have then poured the mud into simple wooden forms.
the abundant adobe mixture for
bricks, plaster, roofing, and flooring was finished.
The adobe walls
surrounding their homes and the homes themselves would have then been
constructed. Hard adobe bricks were stacked together to build the walls.
Then the walls would be spread by hand with about ¼” of wet
adobe, creating a smooth surface inside and out.
Stout wooden beams (vigas) and slender poles (latias)
were used to make the ceiling. Then
adobe would be applied on top
of that to create a hard adobe roof.
The walls would next be covered with a coat of mud plaster.
Often, white wash was applied to the walls to brighten the
adobe buildings often needed
repairs after a periodic heavy rainstorm.
Fresh adobe was then plastered over any cracks in the walls.
The Españoles of Nuevo
Méjico would also have restored and preserved their
adobe churches and homes by the traditional annual remudding.
For example, parishioners at the San
Francisco de Asís
Church in Ranchos de Taos
would the church a fresh coat of mud each year, and as the photos of the
church in the 1920s C.E. reveal, the church has evolved considerably
even since that time. Normal
care and yearly remudding would have kept the de
Riberas actively involved in the maintenance and survival of their
Hacienda de los Martínez (one of my progenitors) is one of the few northern Nuevo
style late Spanish Period, "Great Houses" remaining in the
American Southwest. Built in
1804 C.E. by Severino Martín (later changed to Martínez),
this fortress-like building with massive adobe
walls became an important trade center for the northern boundary of the el
The Hacienda was the
final terminus for the Camino Real,
which connected northern Nuevo Méjico
City. The Hacienda also was the headquarters for an extensive ranching and
Mexican Independence from España
in 1821 C.E., Severino Martínez
and his family became active in trading with the Americanos
who were bringing badly needed trade goods into Nuevo
by the Santa Fé Trail.
Mexican Independence from España
in 1821 C.E., Severino Martínez
and his family became active in trading with the Americanos
who were bringing badly needed trade goods into Nuevo
by the Santa Fé Trail.
soldados would continue to
protect the pobladores and
Indians from attack and destruction.
By the 1700s C.E., the presidios
were the hub of Spanish life in the Nueva
The pattern of these early Nueva
was learned from the Moros and
dates from the time of the Reconquista
in España. They were
designed to protect. As the Españoles were settling more of the northern frontier of La
Nueva España, little had changed.
It is the fourth Virrey
of La Nueva España, Martín Enríquez
(1568 C.E.-1580 C.E.), who is generally credited with originating the presidios
of the Southwest. He ordered
the construction of Casas Fuertes
or fortified houses, along the main road from Méjico City north
Eventually the name was changed to presidio,
from Latin praesidium,
Presidios were constructed of
local building materials. Sometimes
adobe was used, at other times
log. Where stone was
available it was preferred for permanent structures.
A presidio included
storage facilities, a chapel, and quarters for officers and men.
The only openings were a main gate, which locked from the inside,
and sometimes a rear gate. The
forts were typically square or rectangular with some walls ten feet
high. On two diagonal
corners, round bastions (torreones)
were placed. These rose
above the walls of the presidio
and were pierced with firing ports, through which soldados
could fire down the length of all four walls at attackers.
There were occasional variations.
At Los Adaes in East Tejas,
wooden palisades and diamond shaped bastions were employed.
Walls contained these buildings eighteen feet apart, the roofs of
which were high enough to serve as parapets from which men also could
fire over the walls.
the Spanish frontier continued to expand northward from central Méjico,
populations grew and institutions for supporting
Spanish settlement were born. These
were the mision, the presidio, and
the civil settlements. By
necessity, the Spanish frontier misiones
were accompanied by the protective presidios.
compound an already difficult situation, Spanish frontier soldados critical to control of the Pueblos were underpaid and lacked the necessary power to effectively
carry out their duties. These
soldados, my ancestors, have
been mistakenly characterized by uninformed historians as weak and often
belittled. Perhaps this has
to do with the apparent bias of Anglo-American, Northern European, and
non-Spanish historians and commentators subconsciously burdened by a
need to color everything Spanish with the tinge of the “Conquistador”
or the Black Legend.
reality, these same soldados
were courageous, appreciated, and respected frontiersmen.
They were faithful to España and its pobladores.
My forefathers fought with valor.
It should also be mentioned that the laws of España
during this period rigidly controlled the conduct of soldados
during wars, even when the Native tribes were hostile.
The Soldados were
responsible and well-managed fighters.
This is quite a different picture from that which is painted by
those that are anti-Spanish.
the end of the 18th-Century C.E., the few hundred pobladores, soldados, and
their family members who had accompanied de
Vargas would grow to more than ten thousand souls and the trail from
City to Santa Fé would become
El Camino Real, the
"Royal Road.” The
hardy Corriente cattle that they brought with them would be allowed to
free range from 1600's C.E. forward. These
would evolve through the process of natural selection and some help by
these Spanish rancheros or ganaderos in two hundred years
into a breed, which is now, termed "Tejas
Españoles would continue to
experience constant raids by the Apaches
and Navajos seeking cattle and
sheep. The loose tribal ways
of the Apacheans confounded the Españoles
who swore an absolute allegiance to their formal institutions that were
both hierarchical and bureaucratic. They could not understand the
roaming, undisciplined, raiding ways of these tribes. The ideals of hard
work and discipline were a part of the cultural and religious fabric of
the Nuevo Mundo Españoles.
time progressed, the Corona Española
and the Roman Catholic Church would continue to control every aspect of
Spanish life throughout the Empire.
It was through this exacting, highly rigid societal structure,
narrow application of theology, and lifestyle that the Españoles
attempted to inculcate and instill
the attitudes of good behavior, Christian ideals, and religious habits
via persistent instruction of Spanish culture in the Indians. As
a direct result, conditions for the Indians would improve but not to the
degree necessary. The Pueblo Indians resisted the rigid Spanish culture.
They remained confused by the constant infighting by Spanish
civil and church authorities.
pity is that earlier in 1540 C.E., when the Hopi
met Coronado’s tenientes that
they thought that the two faiths could be united into one religion
leading to a brotherhood of faith. The
Pueblo Indian attitude toward Christianity was that religion was a
means for establishing harmony with the universe.
They liked the color and sound of the Catholic rituals.
If learning the new religion would help establish this harmony,
then the Indians were willing to learn its doctrines and integrate them
into their own religious beliefs. In fact, Saint James, Saint Isidore
and Saint Rafael were included
into the katchinas of the
Indians. They related the
Christ of the Españoles to Pohe-Yomo who was a similar cultural hero.
The Río Grande Pueblos
had the same idea as the Hopi,
but the Franciscan frays would
never consider such a union.
the Spanish return and retaking of the land along the Río Grande, resettlement would only be successful when they finally
became more tolerant of indigenous religious practices alongside
Catholicism. With a newfound
tolerance, worship among the Pueblos
became a fascinating blend of tribal practices and Catholicism.
And only because of this tolerance would the Españoles
thrive. My forefathers the de Riberas and Quintanas
were some of these. Another
family line, the Lucero de Godoy,
had arrived with the other Españoles
in 1599 C.E. and had been driven out by the Indians in 1680 C.E.
They too returned. The
Ceballos would come later. All
of these learned to tolerate the native religions and their practices.
Time is the ultimate healer of all wounds.
the Spanish government officials were obliged by the Corona to cooperate with the missionaries, that cooperation was
minimal at best. Their
confronting of each other
over the exploitation of the Indians became a continual source of
conflict. Fortunately, the
government had established a separation of governance. The
Pueblo municipal governments
handled minor political and judicial affairs.
With the area then divided into pueblo
governments and religious sections, governmental systems and religious
structures were securely in place. Nuevo
division of seven religious sections with one Franciscan fray in charge of each district was how Church authority was
delegated. Its rigidity had
been its downfall. It would continue to be a thorn in their side.
we must explore a reality that cannot easily be put aside.
To be sure, the Spanish system of tribute established to collect
taxes from the Natives was to continue.
These heavy taxes levied on the Indians were in the form of the Encomienda
and Repartimiento systems, a
routine part of Spanish settlements. T
Encomienda S by España
In the Repartimiento System
natives were forced to do low-paid or unpaid labor for a certain number
of weeks or months each year on Spanish-owned farms, mines, workshops (obrajes),
and public projects. With
the New Laws of 1542 C.E., the repartimiento was instituted to
substitute the Encomienda
System that had come to be seen as abusive and promoting unethical
short, the systems required Indians to pay their taxes using food,
blankets, and labor. This is
considered to have been the major deterrent to a successful Spanish
settlement policy in Nuevo Méjico.
Inappropriate actions by the Españoles
toward the Indians and the greed of some Spanish gobernadores,
missionaries, vecinos, and resulted in the exploitation of the Native.
As stated earlier, based upon the most dependable information
available about that period, one of the major causes of the Indian
insurrection of 1680 C.E. was the encomienda demands. This
is not to say that it was the only one, but one of many.
Spanish cultural, religious and economic interventions went well beyond
these systems. The total
effect of Spanish La Nueva España
upon the Provincia of Nuevo Méjico
resulted in a dramatic change to tribal customs and religious
traditions. It must be
acknowledged that these altered the balance of Indian life in many ways.
It should also be offered that this is the way of the world.
When one culture achieves dominance at the expense of another,
one must suffer and lessen in potency.
One can think of Rome over Greece in this vein.
all things there is a natural order which is established over time.
Some of the native inhabitants of the area were hunter-gatherers,
others nomadic. There were
also natives given to raiding and the stealing of property and persons.
Those that didn’t raid were in need of powerful friends for
protection. Before the
arrival of the Españoles, the
Indians of the Provincia had
been under and remained under the continual pressure of exploitation and
dominance from the marauding nomadic tribes who frequently encroached
upon their lands. As a
direct result of Spanish involvement in the region existing tribal
alliances were shifted and new rivalries developed.
The relationship was one of joint dependence.
The Españoles needed
labor and the Indians needed protection. With
the superiority of Spanish weapons some tribes gained the upper hand,
attacking at will. As a
result, many weaker Indian tribes lost their land, families, and lives.
addition, a more ominous threat came with the introduction and spread of
European diseases that in time decimated their native populations.
Struggling under such hardships, they proved fertile ground for
Spanish missionaries. The
embattled Indians quickly accepted the offers made by the Españoles
for help. Many of the
Indians accepted the Christian faith others did not.
Some may have accepted the Españoles
as a necessary evil. Still
others viewed the Españoles
as just another intruder, enemy in their world.
Conversely, frequent hostile actions against the Spanish pobladores by the marauding Indians led to mistrust of Nuevo
Indians. These and many
other contributing factors kept the Españoles
from fulfilling their goals for the area.
time and the inevitable clash of cultures came changes to the population
of Pueblo Indians in Nuevo Méjico.
It had once numbered between 40,000 to 50,000, but had now dwindled to
17,000 due to disease, starvation, hostilities of neighboring tribes,
and battles with the Españoles.
During this period the few pockets of hardy Spanish pobladores
who ventured into the grasslands fought hard to dominate the land and
the Indians. The estancias
needed land for grazing. Their
cows were prolific.
the late 1600s C.E. and early 1700s C.E., the Native pueblos were well on their way to having less than three hundred
inhabitants by the late 1800s C.E. Smaller
and having a diminishing population the once-powerful pueblos
were in decline. The threat
of warring Comanches led to abandonment of farm land.
This coupled with drought, brought famine.
Hundreds died from epidemics and many moved away. It is safe to
say without prejudice in the matter that the Españoles
had won the land and the Indians had suffered for it. Whether by war,
disease, or famine the native culture, religion, and technological
capability had been eclipsed by European knowledge and tenacity.
01/27/2016 01:26:52 PM