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A Concise History of New Mexico


The Re-Conquest

In the spring of 1692, the viceroy of New Spain determined, if possible, to bring about the re-occupation of New Mexico, and appointed as its governor a man of great energy and decision of character, Diego de Vargas Zapata Lujan Ponce de Leon. This official immediately showed the wisdom of his choice by the promptitude of his action. Although greatly disappointed at the inadequacy of the force he was enabled to muster, which amounted to but two hundred Spaniards and one hundred friendly Indians, yet he decided not to delay, but to strike a blow at once, while it would be unexpected and therefore effectual.

Accordingly, he left Paso del Norte on August 21, 1692, and marched so rapidly up the Rio Grande Valley, stopping only for necessary rest, that in less than twenty-three days he arrived before Santa Fe, which he approached early in the morning of September 13th. He found the town walled and full of Indians, who had especially fortified the massive palace. The first act of the Spaniards was the very important one of cutting off the water supply from the river, and then throughout the day negotiations were carried on, De Vargas using every effort to conciliate the Indians and avoid a conflict. At first all overtures were unsuccessful, and meanwhile the hills around were becoming covered with armed men from the adjacent pueblos, who had come to the aid of their brethren.

Finally peaceful measures prevailed, a number of Indians came out to greet the general, and the next morning he was invited to enter the town. This he did, with Father Corvera and six unarmed soldiers, and proclaimed that he had authority to pardon all past offenses if the people would now return to their


allegiance to church and king. The royal banner was then unfurled and De Vargas formally took possession of the kingdom of New Mexico in the name of King Charles II.

The next important event was the submission of Luis Tupatu, who since the deaths of Pope and Catiti had been the chief of the Pueblos. He came from San Juan and accompanied De Vargas on his marches to the other pueblos, having great influence in securing a favorable reception for the Spaniards. The moral effect of this rapid and signal success was quickly seen in the voluntary surrender of no less than twelve adjacent pueblos.

Only waiting long enough at the capital to make the necessary arrangements for the new government, Vargas started on an expedition against Taos, the most hostile of the pueblos, and marched so rapidly that he arrived there and surrounded the two great buildings on the third day from Santa Fe. It was then discovered that the pueblo was entirely deserted; but the governor soon succeeded in inducing the Indians to return, not only to their homes but to their allegiance to the Spanish crown and the Christian faith, no less than ninety-five being baptized at one time. This done, he returned to the capital, having been absent but eight days, and not losing a single man.

Scarcely taking time to rest, he next started, on October 17th, on a very extensive expedition, which included Pecos, Santo Domingo, Cochiti, Zia, Jemez, and Santa Ana, at all of which places he was received with acclamation, and reestablished the Spanish authority. Finding much of the fall still left, he concluded to visit the more distant pueblos as well; and so, starting from Santa Ana on October 30th, with but eighty-nine soldiers, he marched to Isleta, Acoma, Zuili, and even to all the Moqui towns except Oraybi, succeeding everywhere, by tact rather than by force, in inducing the people to return to their allegiance in exchange for a pardon from the king and absolution from an accompanying priest.

From Zufii, on his return, he took a short and direct route to Socorro, and from there went to El Paso, in order to collect the families that had been exiled since 1680 and the other colonists


who were to re-settle the country. He arrived on December 20, 1692, but much delay occurred in the business, so that it was not till October 13th of the next year that the unwieldy company, consisting of fifteen hundred persons largely composed of women and children, with three thousand horses and mules and all the baggage of colonists, commenced its march. No less than seventeen Franciscans accompanied this expedition.

Vargas had hoped to find the Indians as favorably disposed as when he left them, but meanwhile reports had been circulated that he was going to return to execute vengeance upon them, and at a great council a majority had decided to resist his approach. There was, however, a great diversity of opinion among the pueblos, and the consequent lack of unity of action deprived their opposition of any great force. Santa Ana, Zia, and San Felipe gave tokens of friendly feeling, and, on December 1st, Vargas met the governors of San Ildefonso, San Lazaro, and Tesuque, and in a short talk regained their confidence. After a conference with the governor of Santa Fe, the Spanish army marched into the capital on the 16th without opposition, and bearing the same banner which had been carried by Onate when he entered the city almost a hundred years before.

After various ceremonies in the plaza, the Spaniards encamped on the hills north of the city, as the palace was occupied by the Tanos Pueblos, and the houses by other Indians. The weather was unusually severe; so much so that men sent out to obtain timber to repair the church of San Miguel were obliged to return to town; and Vargas, wishing to use the public buildings for the immigrants, sent word to the Tanos Indians to return to their pueblos on the Galisteo. This order, howTever, created great commotion, and the Indians concluded at a council to resist the entrance of the Spaniards.

On December 28th they closed all the entrances to the plaza and fortified all the ramparts. De Vargas then moved his camp down from the hills to the plain close to the city walls, and demanded the surrender of the Indians, but was only replied to by insults. An immediate assault was then made upon the town, and a fierce


battle ensued throughout the entire day. Companies of Tanos and Tehua Indians came over the hills to the aid of their friends within the walls, and on the other hand the Spaniards were greatly assisted by the Indians of Pecos under their ever faithful governor, Juan Ye. The darkness of night separated the combatants, but at daybreak of the ensuing day the Spaniards burst through the walls and captured the town with great slaughter. Many Indians escaped, but seventy warriors, including Bolsas, the governor, were shot in the plaza. Four hundred women and children were partitioned among the Spanish families as servants, subject to the approval of the king of Spain, and with the merciful advice of De Vargas to the recipients that they should treat the captives as fathers do their children.

The capture of the capital had a great effect but hostilities continued for over two years more, the governor showing wonderful energy in his actions and swiftness in his marches; and he gradually succeeded in defeating the Indians who continued to keep up the struggle, and in capturing their strongholds. In the course of this war, a number of the pueblos were destroyed or abandoned and the mortality among the Indians from sickness and exposure, as well as in battle, was very great. At length the last remnants of opposition were overcome, and by the end of 1696 the whole country was quiet and acknowledged the Spanish authority.

The first place re-populated, after the revolution, was Santa Cruz, to which the families that arrived from El Paso in June, 1694, were sent as soon as it was safe, in 1695. In all documents thereafter for many years it was called "La Villa Nueva de Santa Cruz de la Canada."

The Spanish Era, 1696 to 1822

The five year term of office of De Vargas, as governor, expired in 1696, and Pedro Rodriguez Cubero was appointed in his place. De Vargas had applied for another term but the application arrived in Spain too late. The king, however, appreciated the value of the services of the reconquistador and promised to re-appoint him when Cubero's term should expire, and gave him his choice of the two titles of marquis and count. Cubero arrived and commenced his administration July 2, 1697.

Considering the brilliancy of the re-conquest by Vargas, and the debt which the Spaniards owed to him on account of his success after the repeated failures of all others, it would be supposed that all would have united in sustaining his administration. But this was far from the case, and almost from the first there was friction between himself and the cabildo which claimed to govern the capital city. For more than two years he was held as prisoner, under charges, in Santa Fe; and, though released, the cabildo persisted in filing new charges, including those of embezzlement and oppression. Juan Paez Hurtado, who for a full generation was an important figure in New Mexican affairs, was included in these accusations. Cubero ordered the arrest of both Vargas and Hurtado, and treated the former, especially, with great harshness, imposing a heavy fine, confiscating his property, and keeping him-in close confinement until July, 1700, when he immediately left for Mexico to seek redress.

In 1699, Governor Cubero made a tour of the west of the territory, receiving the submission of Acoma, of Laguna (then a newly established pueblo), and of Zuni; and carrying on active nego-


tiations for the christianizing of the Moquis. But Zuni itself was abandoned both by the friar, Padre Garaicoechea, resident there, and the military, in 1703.
In the latter year, De Vargas, who had been reappointed governor some time before, reappeared, Cubero having left without waiting to meet him. The reconquistador had meanwhile received from the king the title of Marquez de la Xava de Brazinas, and reassumed the gubernatorial office in Santa Fe on November 10th, with his friend, Juan Paez Hurtado, as lieutenant-governor. He had many plans for the firmer establishment of Spanish authority, but these were all cut short by his sudden death, while on an expedition against the Navajos, at Bernalillo, on April 14, 1704. His remains were interred behind the altar of the church of St. Francis, now the cathedral, at Santa Fe, where his monument still exists.

Hurtado succeeded as acting-governor, and served till March 10, 1705, when a governor ad interim, appointed by the viceroy of New Spain, arrived, in the person of Francisco Cuervo y Valdez. He was a Knight of Santiago and had been in office at Guadalajara; but the king of Spain had his own friends to favor, and appointed Jose Chacon Medina Salazar y Villaseiior, Marquez de la Penuela, to succeed De Vargas, when news of the death of the latter reached Spain. Communication with the parent country, however, was slow and infrequent, and it was not till August 1, 1707, that Penuela arrived, so that the appointee of the viceroy had over two years of administration.

During that period there were the usual troubles with the Navajos and with the more remote pueblos in the west; but Governor Cuervo showed the most energy in founding or reestablishing towns. In 1706 he founded the Villa of Alburquerque, which he named in honor of the viceroy of New Spain, who had given him his appointment; and established thirty families there. He also re-settled the old pueblo of Galisteo with eighteen Tanos families, and added a number of Tehua families to the scant population of Pojoaque. He called Alburquerqne, in the first place, San Francisco de Alburquerque, but the authorities in


Mexico changed the name to San Felipe, in compliment to King Philip.

The Marquez de la Penuela is known to all New Mexicans and multitudes of tourists, from the inscription on the ancient beam which forms a part of the ceiling and roof of the historic church of San Miguel in Santa Fe. This reads as follows: "El Seiior Marquez de la Penuela hizo esta fabrica; el Alferes Real Don Agustin Flores Vergara su criado. Ano de 1710." - His Lordship, the Marquis de la Penuela, erected this building; the Royal Ensign Don Augustin Flores Vergara, his servant. A. D. 1710.

Through all this period there is the same succession of border troubles, of incursions by wild Indians against, both Spaniards and Pueblos, and of return expeditions by the latter against the savages.

Penuela was succeeded by Juan Ignacio Flores Mogollon, who assumed the office October 5,1712, and continued as governor for exactly three years, to a day. He was born in Seville, had been governor of Nuevo Leon, and was a man of experience, but was now quite old and infirm. During his official term there were campaigns against the Navajos and the Apaches, and several attempts to arrange peaceably for the submission of the Moquis. The governor had enemies among the Spaniards, and was accused of malfeasance in office, but through the law's delay the trial did not come on until years after his term expired. He was relieved on October 5, 1715, and the viceroy appointed Felix Martinez as acting-governor until a regular appointment should be made by the king. The change was one from bad to worse, as Martinez was a man of violent temper and was accused of unblushing corruption in office, even to the extent of dividing all the Indian captives taken in a fight with the Utes and Comanches with his brother, and having them sold on joint account in New Biscay. Martinez had been a soldier under De Vargas and was afterwards captain of the garrison at Santa Fe. The viceroy became dissatisfied with his conduct, and in September, 1716, ordered him to report in Mexico, and directed Captain Antonio Valverde y Cosio, who was in command at El Paso, to proceed to Santa Fe


and become acting-governor. Martinez refused to receive Valverde, but, appointing Juan Paez Hurtado to act as governor ad interim while he was absent, started on his unwelcome journey to Mexico.

He left on January 20, 1717, and immediately complications arose between the two acting-governors; but finally Valverde was confirmed in the office as governor, and held that position about five years. He made a tour of the entire province, visiting every Spanish settlement and pueblo; went on various expeditions among the Indians, and endeavored to establish a permanent settlement and presidio at a place in western Kansas, which appears frequently in the chronicles of those days, called Cuartelejo. About the same time the situation in Moqui was rendered more complicated by the efforts of the Jesuits to have the spiritual care of the people taken from the Franciscans and given into their charge. This rivalry continued impartially for a number of years, the Jesuits claiming jurisdiction from the Arizona side and the Franciscans from that of New Mexico; while the people specially concerned refused to give up their independence to either. Valverde popularized himself by building a chapel at Santa Fe, and also one at San Ildefonso, at his own expense.

The next regular governor was Juan Domingo de Bustamante, who held office for two terms of five years each, assuming the position March 2, 1722. During this period occurred the first episcopal visitations of New Mexico, by Bishop Crespo, of Du-rango, who claimed jurisdiction over the whole territory. The first of these was in 1725, but extended only to El Paso; but five years later another visitation was made, and the bishop administered confirmation for the first time at Santa Fe and a few other points, being prevented from visiting others by the Franciscans, who claimed to have exclusive authority in New Mexico. This resulted in a long controversy which occupies much space in the archives at Santa Fe and an account of which was published in Madrid in 1738. The succeeding bishop of Durango, Bishop Elizacoechea, made a visitation in 1737, and extended his journey as far as Zuni. A record of this appears in the solid stone of

Inscription Rock, as follows: "On the 28th of September of the year 1737, arrived at this place the Illustrious Don Martin de Elizacoechea, Bishop of Durango: and on the 29th left for Zuni."

The successor of Bustamante was Gervasio Cruzat y Gongora, in office from 1731 to 1736, and he was succeeded in the latter year by Enrique de Olavide y Michelena, named temporarily by the viceroy. He was appointed on May 17, 1736, but may not have arrived until somewhat later, and served until the regular governor appointed by the king, Gaspar Domingo de Mendoza, arrived in 1739. During his administration the number of Spanish inhabitants, not including soldiers and their families, was found to be 9,747, residing in twenty-four towns.

The next governor was Joaquin Codallos y Rabal, a major of the Spanish army, who held the office from 1743 to 1749, and was succeeded by Tomas Velez Cachupin in May, 1749. During the administration of Governor Codallos, in 1748, the pueblo of San-dia was reestablished by Padre Menchero, a zealous Franciscan, who collected a large number of Tihua Indians, rescued from Moqui, and settled them on the Rio Grande. This same priest induced about 500 Navajos to settle at Cebolleta in 1746; but they preferred the free life of the mountains and prairies and abandoned the place in 1750. Wars with the Utes and Comanches were almost as regular as the seasons, but with varying results. In October, 1747, Governor Codallos overtook a large body of them above Abiquiu, killed 107, captured 206, and secured about 1,000 horses. In 1751 Governor Cachupin almost equaled this achievement by killing 101, and capturing the remaining 44, of a band of Comanches who had made a raid on Galisteo; and only lost one of his own 164 men.

In 1754, Governor Cachupin was succeeded by Francisco Antonio Maria del Valle, whose memory is kept green at Santa Fe by the gift made by himself and his wife to the Church of Our Lady of Light on the plaza, of a carved stone reredos, which is now to be seen back of the altar in the cathedral. The church was his own gift to the soldiers of the garrison and hence was called the "Castrense," or military chapel; and the reredos,


which is carved in relief and extends across the entire width of the chancel recess, bears two inscriptions in ovals, reading as follows: "A devocion de Sefior Don Francisco Antonio Marin del Valle, Gobemador y Capitan General de este Reino," and, "Y de su esposa Maria Ygnacia Martinez de Ugarte, 1761."
In 1760, Bishop Tainaron, of Durango, made a visitation which extended over the entire territory and occupied about four months, from April to July; during which he is said to have confirmed no less than 11,271 persons.

Governor Del Valle held office till late in that year, and then Mateo Antonio de Mendoza acted for a few months, and was succeeded in 1761 by Manuel Portillo Urrisola for another short period; and then, on February 1, 1762, Governor Cachupin, who had been reappointed by the king, again took possession of the office. During this second term of Cachupin the first expedition into what is now Colorado was made in search of mineral wealth. The exploring party was in charge of Juan Maria Rivera, and penetrated the San Juan country and also the region of the Gunnison and Uncompagre, where they discovered considerable silver and consequently named the mountain and the river La. Plata. Tn 1763, the archives tell of a lengthy proceeding against certain Indians of the pueblo of Abiquiu for alleged witchcraft, which resulted in soldiers being sent to destroy some stone objects supposed to be used in idolatrous ceremonies, and several Indians being sentenced to practical slavery.

After this second term of Governor Cachupin, in 1767, came Pedro Fermin de Mendinueta, as governor and captain-general; and he was the last of the Spanish officials to hold this latter title. He was a colonel in the army and a Knight of Santiago. At this time the number of Spanish soldiers stationed in the territory was only eighty, who had headquarters at Santa Fe; and the governor reported that besides the troops located there, there were about 200 men among the colonists capable of military service, but very poorly supplied with arms. Many explorations were made about this time, mostly in the direction of the Pacific. In 1774, Captain Juan Bautista de Anza headed an expedition to


the west which succeeded in reaching the Spanish settlements in California by the way of the Gila. In 1776, Padre Escalante attempted to reach the Pacific by a northern route and penetrated as far as Utah Lake, when he was compelled to return by way of Moqui; and about the same time Padre Francisco Garces made his memorable trip along the valley of the Colorado and through parts of California and Arizona.

Governor Mendinueta continued in office until March, 1778, when Francisco Trebol Navarro, who for a number of years had been alcalde mayor of the Albuquerque district, was acting-governor for a short time; and toward the end of the year, Ansa, now a lieutenant-colonel, was appointed governor. He was a native of Sonora, familiar with the country and people, and also with the Indians, and made an excellent official. He carried on a vigorous warfare against the Comanches, especially in 1779, when he made a rapid march to the northeast with about 1,000 men, and killed Cuerno Verde, the Comanche chieftain, as well as securing a great victory over the tribe. During his administration both famine and pestilence afflicted the land, the former being so severe in the Moqui region that during three years without rain there were 6,698 deaths, and the population was reduced from 7,494 to 798, and of 30,000 sheep but 300 remained; and in the Pueblo towns of New Mexico 5,025 Indians died with smallpox in 1780-81.

In 1789, Fernando de la Concha came as governor; and in turn he was succeeded, in 1794, by Fernando Chacon, who was still in office at the end of the century. At this time and down to the beginning of the traffic over the Santa Fe Trail we are told that there was no money in New Mexico, but all business transacted was by exchange or barter of land or animals or commodities. There was a great fair every year at Taos in mid-summer, when the Comanches and other wild tribes came in from the plains, with skins, principally of buffalo and deer, buffalo meat, etc., for exchange for iron implements, beads, and various manufactured articles. In January occurred the annual fair at Chihuahua, which was attended by the people of all the northern prov-


inces, and to which the New Mexicans went in long caravans for protection against hostile attack and mutual assistance while passing through deserts like the Jornada del Muerto. These caravans sometimes included no less than 500 persons, and their departure and arrival were the great events of the year in a business way. The merchants at Chihuahua became rich through this trade, in which they had a great advantage; and the traders in their turn made very large profits from the Spanish settlers and the Indians. An instance is given of the purchase in Chihuahua of a Guacamaya, a parrot of gay plumage, for eight dollars, and the sale of the feathers in New Mexico for $492. This trade con-tinued to be all of the commercial business of the country until the opening of the Santa Fe Trail from the Missouri established communication with the United States.

At the beginning of the new century, in the year 1800, a grant was made for the settlement of Cebolleta, intended largely as a bulwark against the Navajos. In 1803 the Indians asked to be allowed to settle there, also, but this was refused by the governor. Incursions followed, and finally Lieutenant Antonio Narbona, who had been sent from Chihuahua to assist the New Mexicans, in January, 1805, defeated the Navajos in the Canon de Chelly, killing and capturing a considerable number.
Soon after, in the spring of 1805, Colonel Joaquin del Real Alencaster came to succeed Governor Chacon, who had served two terms of five years each. In 1806, owing to the purchase of Louisiana by the United States three years before, and the fear that there might be difficulties along the frontier, Lieutenant Melgares was sent from Chihuahua with 100 dragoons on an expedition along the border to explore the country and conciliate the Indians. He followed the Red River into the present Oklahoma, marched northerly to the Arkansas, visited the Pawnee nation in Kansas, distributed Spanish flags and medals, and then returned to Santa Fe in October. The marks of his work among the Indians were found by Lieutenant Pike, when he passed through the same section a short time after.
The first arrivals across the plains from the Mississippi Valley


occurred in 1804 and 1805, when La Lande and Pursley appeared in Santa Fe; and on March 3, 1807, Lieutenant Pike and his little company were brought into the city from the north. These events will be treated of at greater length in separate chapters; Pike's exploits in Chapter XIV, and the Santa Fe Trail in Chapter XVII.
Governor Alencaster was succeeded in 1807 by Alberto Mavnez as acting-governor, who also served at a later date.

The next regular governor was Jose Manrique. He was a lieutenant-colonel in the army, and was governor or governor ad interim from 1808 to 1814, and again for a short time in 1819. In 1811, General Nemecio Salcedo, general of the department with headquarters at Chihuahua, made certain orders respecting lands in New Mexico which have led to his name being placed in some lists of governors; but he seems never to have had that or any other civil title, and the powers he exercised he probably assumed by virtue of his military authority.

During the term of Governor Manrique occurred the election of the only representative which New Mexico ever had in the Spanish Cortes. In the troublous times in Spain, caused by the invasion of the French and the coronation of Joseph Bonaparte as king, a liberal policy toward the colonies was for the first time adopted in order to unite them more firmly with the old monarchy and the fortunes of King Ferdinand VII, and New Mexico was accorded one representative in the Cortes.

here were three leading candidates for this distinguished position, Antonio Ortiz, Juan Rafael Ortiz, and Pedro Bautista Pino, and at a meeting of the electoral body, held on August 11,1810, the latter was chosen. He proceeded to take the long journey by the way of Mexico and Vera Cruz to Spain, where the regular Spanish government was then in session at Cadiz, the greater part of the kingdom, including Madrid, being in the power of the French. While residing in Spain he made and published a Report, descriptive of New Mexico, its people, and government, which is one of the most valuable documents connected with New Mexican history. It was reprinted in Mexico in 1839. He endeavored to obtain many ad-


vantages for his province, and succeeded in securing considerable recognition, but the difficulties of the Spanish government and the revolution which followed in Spanish America prevented any actual results being achieved.

Alberto Maynez was the next executive, with the title of civil and military governor. He served in 1814 and 1815, and again in 1817.

Pedro Maria de Allande succeeded to the title in 1816, and again in 1818, after the second period of Maynez's authority.

Facundo Melgares was the last of the Spanish governors, the revolution of 1821 being successful in establishing Mexican independence. It was Governor Melgares who, as lieutenant, commanded the brilliant expedition into the Indian Territory in 1806, and subsequently had charge of the escort of Pike to Chihuahua, in 1807. By the law of May 6, 1822, his term as governor expired on the succeeding 5th of July.

Melgares was a European of distinguished family. He was of liberal education, immense fortune, great military ability, and a high sense of honor. The long line of Spanish governors, beginning with Onate, established by De Vargas, and containing many distinguished names, finds a fitting termination in the person of Melgares, of whom history speaks only in terms of honor and of praise.



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