Sunday, December 13, 2009

"Land of Enchantment"

A smattering of my notions of the early history of what was to become New Mexico. As always, my hope is that this be a conversation starter.

The Pueblo revolt of 1680 probably began at the Taos Pueblo. Pope was probably an important Pueblo leader. Many of the Spaniards retreated to Mexico. Some criollos headed up river.

The 'Spanish' returned in 1692 under Diego de Vargas. A considerable number of present day NM families could trace their arrival to the time of the Vargas expedition. There are some who remember the family names of those colonists.

We could argue that New Mexico was Spain's remotest colony. Important supplies which helped to sustain the colony came over a 2000 mile mule trail from Mexico City. As Spain's power declined the colonists in NM were left more and more to sustain themselves as they could. The Indians were rapidly become fine horsemen riding decedents of good Spanish horse stock.
They raided the colonists well armed with lance, bow and war club. The colonists defended themselves with lance, bow, and long knives.

Haciendas, Missions, and Pueblos came to be abandoned before pressure from the Navajo, Apache, soon followed by Comanche. Comanche were early armed with French muscats. Colonist faced them mostly with lance and bow and few fire arms and little scarce powder.

As the above was taking place everything else was going. The Inquisition has hot. Some up-river colonists courted Apache and Apache them. Some down river colonists Pueblos and Navajo were intermarrying. 'Natives' and 'Europeans' were learning much from their close association.

Some powerful forces seemed sure that they already knew enough.

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