A re-printing of a History written by
Robert J. Torrez, State Historian
New Mexico State Records Center & Archives
as it appeared in the 
New Mexico Blue Book Cuarto Centennial Edition 1598 - 1998
a publication of the state of New Mexico

Special Permission to use granted by Robert J. Torrez

Transcribed By C. W. Barnum
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Robert J. Torrez, State Historian

In 1998, New Mexico reached a mile stone in our colorful history, the Cuarto Centennial, or 400th anniversary of the founding of the Spanish colony at the Tewa village of Ohkay in 1598. Here is that story.

Early Spanish Exploration of the Southwest:
Less than two generations after Christopher Columbus set foot on the shores of an obscure Caribbean island on October 12,1492, and claimed this New World for the Spanish kingdoms of Leon and Castille, Spanish conquistadors such as Hemrn Cortes and Francisco Pizarro had conquered the Aztec Empire in Mexico and the Incas of Peru. Subsequent explorers remained on the alert for other lands which might prove as wealthy as ones these men had conquered. It was this search for a "new" Mexico which ultimately led to the expedition which first brought the Spanish to New Mexico in 1540.  
Ironically, the first exploration of New Mexico may have come about from an ill-fated Spanish attempt to settle Florida in 1527. A series of storms and shipwrecks stranded four survivors from this expedition near present-day Galveston, Texas. This group, which included Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca and an African slave named Estevan (also known as Estevan the Moor and Estevanico), spent more than eight years wandering through southern Texas and northern Mexico. They were the first Europeans to explore, albeit unwittingly, this part of North America. 
In 1536, the ragged survivors finally emerged from the wilderness at Culiacan, on the west coast of Mexico. Cabeza de Vaca's report to the Spanish Viceroy, Antonio de Mendoza, included a brief mention of stories they had heard which told of large cities in the interior of the continent where valuable minerals were traded. These sparse but tantalizing bits of information sparked a renewed interest in the Spanish quest to find the "new" Mexico which had so far eluded them. In 1539, Mendoza authorized Marcos de Niza, a Franciscan priest who had accompanied Pizarro to Peru, to conduct a preliminary exploration to determine the truth of these reports. Estevan went along as the expedition's guide.
When the expedition approached what is now southern Arizona, Estevan and several companions went ahead to scout the country. A system of signals was devised so they could report to Fray Marcos about what they found. lf there was nothing important, they were to send back across the size of a man's palm. Important news would be signaled by correspondingly larger crosses. One can only image Fray Marcos' surprise when messengers returned bearing a cross the size of a man! The scouts reported Estevan had learned of a place called Cibola, and had been told this Cibola was but one of seven magnificent cities.
Fray Marcos rushed forward, anxious to see what marvelous sights had prompted such a report. However, the Friar soon encountered several of Estevan's companions, who reported that their colorful guide had been killed. Fray Marcos' report tells us he was determined to see Cibola for himself so despite the news of Estevan's death, he continued northward until they came within sight of a settlement which he described as being larger than the city of Mexico! Historians disagree as to his motives, but it is clear Fray Marcos' report was vastly exaggerated. The Cibola where Estevan was killed was in reality the ancestral Zuni pueblo of Hawikah, but the friar's report seemed to confirm the stories which Cabeza de Vaca had heard during his travels. Could it be that theses even cities of Cibola were the mythical Seven Cities of Antilia, the golden Quivira men had been seeking since Medievaltimes?
From the list of those who anxiously proposed to follow up Fray Marcos' discovery, Viceroy Mendoza chose 29 year old Francisco Vasquez de Coronado. This expedition, as all such Spanish colonial enterprise of the time, was privately financed. Vasquez de Coronado's family contributed 5O,OOO ducats (probably a million dollars in today's money), towards the cost of the expedition, while Viceroy Mendoza personally invested an additional 60,000 ducats. No one seemed concerned about the risk of such an investment. After all, hadn't Fray Marcos confirmed Cabeza de Vaca's reports of the Seven Cities?
In January of 1540, Vasquez de Coronado set out from Mexico to find these fabled cities of gold. The chronicles tell us that when the expedition arrived at the outskirts of the multi-storied, stone and mud village of Hawikah, many unkind words were uttered about Fray Marcos, as the expectations conjured up by his imaginative report were nowhere to be seen.
The Spanish were met by a line of zuni warriors, intent on defending their home against these strange visitors. Vasquez de Coronado attempted to convince them his intentions were peaceful, but his conciliatory gestures were rebuffed. It was a furious but uneven battle, as the mounted Spanish soldiers used their superior weapons to beat back the determined Zuni defenders. Casualties were few, and after the battle, the Spanish replenished their supplies from captured Zuni storerooms and continued on their quest.
For the next two years, the expedition explored deep into the North American continent, but discovered only that the Seven Cities of Cibola were, after all, nothing but a myth. After Vasquez de Coronado was injured in a riding accident in the winter of l542, the disheartened adventurers returned to Mexico. Despite their failure to find any cities of gold, history has shown the expedition to have been a journey of epic proportions. In little more than two years, Vasquez de Coronado and his men explored much of the southwestern United States, ventured deep into the plains of Kansas, descended the walls of the Grand Canyon, and visited all the major Indian villages in the region. 
We can only imagine what the indigenous peoples they met thought of the light skinned men who rode astride unfamiliar creatures, wearing uncomfortable looking clothes which reflected the sun, aggressive and often rude men who carried weapons made of steel and who persisted in knowing about cities where a bright yellow metal could be found. It must have been a frightening, yet wonderful encounter. Little did either of these two diverse cultures know that their worlds would never be the same.
For nearly forty years New Mexico was forgotten. As the sixteenth century progressed, Spanish settlement advanced slowly, but steadily through northern Mexico. During this period, Franciscan missionaries learned that Indians of the region traded regularly with other peoples who lived further north. During the 1580's several expeditions entered New Mexico and explored much of same region traversed four decades earlier by Vasquez de Coronado. One of these, led by Fray Bernardo Beltran and Antonio de Espejo in 1582, is credited with the first official use of the term, Nueva Mejico, to describe the region we now call New Mexico. The reports of these expeditions reminded Spanish officials of the many potential converts to Christianity which lived in this region, and encouraged the subsequent conquest and colonization of this "new" Mexico. 

Settlement of New Mexico:
In 1595, the contract for this ambitious undertaking was awarded to Juande Onate, whose father, Don Cristobal, had helped Cortes conquer Mexico earlier that century. While 0nate's family connections were undoubtedly a factor in being awarded the contract, their wealth was equally important. The colonization of New Mexico was to be a privately financed venture, and establishing a colony hundred of miles from the nearest Spanish settlement was a costly undertaking. 
Onate's contract with the Spanish government specified in great detail the number of settlers, livestock, and other provisions and equipment he was to provide. In return, he was awarded titles which gave him civil and military authority over the colony. He was also to be the primary beneficiary of any riches they may discover.
After numerous delays, an enormous caravan assembled at Compostela, Mexico, in January, 1598. The expedition, which consisted of nearly two hundred soldier-colonists, many with wives and families, nine Franciscan priests, several hundred Indian servants and allies, as well as thousands of head of livestock, advanced slowly towards the Rio Grande. In April, 1598, they paused near present-day Ciudad Juarez, where 0nate took formal possession of the province in the name of King Felipe of Spain. As they traveled north along the Rio Grande Valley, Onate paused at each Indian settlement and obtained the inhabitants formal allegiance to their new king and a new God.
On July 11, 1598, an advance party of the expedition arrived at the northern new Mexico Tewa village of Ohkay Owingeh, located near the confluence of the Rio Grande and the Rio Chama. Here the Spanish decided to stop, renamed the village San Juan de Los Caballeros and established the first Spanish capital of New Mexico. It is this event which New Mexico will examine and commemorate during its Cuarto Centennial in 1998. 
A few months later, the Spanish relocated their settlement to the west bank of the Rio Grande at the village of Yunque, which they renamed San Gabriel. San Gabriel served as the capital of new Mexico until the new villa of Santa Fe was established and the seat of government moved there in 1610. During the next several decades, a thin string of Spanish settlements was established along the Rio Grande, from Socorro in the south to the Taos Valley in the north. But New Mexico grew slowly, and by 1680, nearly a century after the colony was established, there were less than 3000 Spanish inhabitants in the entire province. 
The seventeenth century presented a series of challenges to Spanish rule in New Mexico. Spanish intolerance of Pueblo religious practices and a persistent abuse of Indian labor prompted several unsuccessful revolts against the Spanish during this period. Systematic destruction of Pueblo kivas and the suppression of dances and other ceremonial practices important to the Pueblo's belief system reached a critical point in the 1670's. Their crops devastated by a persistent drought and harried by Apache raids, the Pueblos placed the blame for their plight on the Spanish disruption of their religious practices. 
The crisis reached its peak in 1675, when forty-seven Pueblo caciques, or priests, were arrested and charged with practicing sorcery and plotting to rebel against the Spanish. Four of these religious leaders were hanged, and the others whipped, reprimanded, and released. Among the caciques who felt the sting of the lash was Popay (also known as Pope), from San Juan Pueblo. Popay is generally believed to have spent the years following his release traveling among the pueblos and organizing an uprising which eventually expelled the Spanish from new Mexico. 
From a base of operations at Taos, Popay and his confederates laid out a plan which demanded the unprecedented cooperation and participation of all of new Mexico's Pueblos. At a prearranged signal, each Pueblo was to raze its mission church, then kill the resident priest and neighboring Spanish settlers. Once the outlying Spanish settlements were destroyed, the Pueblo forces would converge on the isolated capital of Santa Fe.  
August 11, 1680 was set as the date for the uprising. Runners were dispatched to all the Pueblos carrying cords with knots which signified the number of days remaining until the appointed day. Each morning the Pueblo leadership untied one knot from the cord, and when the last knot was untied, it was the signal for them to rise in unison. A few days before the scheduled day, however, two runners were captured. Concerned that their plan had been compromised, the Pueblo leadership decided to begin the revolt one day earlier than originally planned. Runners were sent out with new instructions to begin the revolt on August 10. 
That morning, from the northern Tiwa Pueblo of Taos to the Tewa villages north of Santa Fe, the attacks began. It quickly became apparent, however, that the capture of the runner sat Tesuque had disrupted the carefully crafted plan for a coordinated uprising. Some outlying Pueblos apparently received word of the change in plans too late, and a few not at all. Consequently, most Spanish settlers were able to escape the initial onslaught.
Throughout the province, groups of survivors gathered for protection and prayed for help. In Santa Fe, Governor Antonio de Otermin marshaled the city's resources for a defense of the capital and sent out heavily armed relief parties which escorted several hundred survivors to the relative safety of Santa Fe's fortified casas reales. In the meantime, more than a thousand additional survivors from the Rio Abajo, under the command of Lt. Governor Alonso Garcia, managed to gather and fortify themselves at Isleta, seventy miles south of Santa Fe. Neither group, however, was aware of the other. 
By August 15, thousands of Pueblo warriors converged on Santa Fe and laid siege on the fortified city. Unable to dislodge the Spanish from the palace grounds, the Pueblos cut off their water supply, a ditch which ran through the sprawling compound. After two days without water, their food supplies dwindling, and unaware anyone else had survived, Governor Otermin decided it was time to abandon New Mexico. On August 21, a column of nearly one thousand refugees cautiously withdrew from the capital. As they made their way south, columns of smoke could be seen rising from the ruins of destroyed churches and Spanish settlements. Twenty one Franciscans and more than 400 colonists lay dead.
In the meantime, Lt. Governor Garcia and the group at Isleta had reached their own decision to abandon New Mexico. When news from Santa Fe finally reached Garcia, he halted his retreat and waited for Otermin and the refugees from Santa Fe to catch up. Together, they slowly retreated to El Paso del Norte, the southernmost settlement in the province. Governor Otermin and approximately 2000 Spanish refugees, including a significant number of widows and orphans, spent the winter following their expulsion from New Mexico at what was supposed to be a temporary camp near El Paso de Norte, present-day Cuidad Juarez. Here 0termin made plans for a nearly reconquest of the rebellious province. 
But Otermin approached the task badly prepared and under the impression the Pueblos would be penitent for having revolted, and tired of Apache raids, would welcome the Spanish back. Instead, he discovered the Pueblos would not easily give up their newfound freedom. As Otermin's expedition retreated, the Spanish burned the Pueblo of Isleta and took with them nearly four hundred of its inhabitants, who were resettled at what is today known as lsleta del Sur, near El Paso. The Spanish settled down, planted crops, and took steps to maintain themselves indefinitely. 
By all appearances the revolt had apparently succeeded. Popay and the other Pueblo leaders began a systematic eradication of all signs of Christianity and Spanish material culture. But it was easier to order the eradication of all vestiges of Spanish presence than to accomplish it. Many items of material culture which had been introduced by the Spanish such as iron tools, sheep, cattle, and fruit trees, had become an integral part of Pueblo life.

The Reconquista of New Mexico:
In 1690, Diego de Vargas Zapata Lujan Ponce de Leon was appointed Governor of New Mexico. When he assumed office at El Paso del Norte the following year, his assignment for the reconquest of New Mexico consisted of two parts. He was to first make a preliminary entry to determine the condition of the province, and obtain the surrender of the rebellious pueblos, peacefully, if possible, but by force if necessary. When this was accomplished, he was to recolonize New Mexico's abandoned settlements and reestablish the destroyed missions.
Diego de Vargas and a contingent of less than fifty soldiers, accompanied by three friars, left El Paso on August 17, 1692, and began an uneventful expedition north along the Rio Grande. In early September, de Vargas arrived at Santa Fe, where he found the old Spanish capital fortified and its inhabitants defiant. De Vargas, however, utilizing a masterful mix of diplomacy and a not so subtle threat of a siege, soon obtained their surrender. On September 14, 1692, de Vargas proclaimed a formal act of possession, and by the end of 1692, most of New Mexico's Pueblos had been officially restored to the Spanish empire without a shot being fired or any bloodshed. This is the peaceful reconquest which is observed annually in September at the famous Fiesta de Santa Fe.
The second portion of the reconquest was far from peaceful. In 1693, de Vargas returned to El Paso, and by October, was on his way back with seventy families, eighteen Franciscan friars, and a number of Tlaxiacan allies to begin there colonization of New Mexico. But by this time, the Pueblo shad experienced second thoughts, and when the colonists arrived at Santa Fe in December, they found the city once again fortified. 
For two weeks, the Spanish colonists camped outside the city while de Vargas attempted to persuade the Indians to surrender. Finally, a decision was reached to take Santa Fe by force, which was accomplished after a fierce battle which lasted two days. Afterwards, seventy Pueblo defenders were executed and several hundred captured men, women, and children sentenced to ten years servitude. The peaceful reconquest was over. During this time, a few of the Pueblos remained true to the promise of peace they had made to de Vargas in 1692. But most of them continued to resist, and by the summer of 1696,  the situation deteriorated in to a general rebellion which is often called the Second Pueblo Revolt. For the next several years New Mexico suffered terribly from almost continual warfare. Many pueblos were abandoned and their population dispersed as their inhabitants sought refuge in the mountains and among the Navajo and Apache. But the Pueblos had weakened by several years of warfare and were unable to resist effectively. Soon, more Spanish families arrived in Santa Fe, the missions were reestablished, Spanish settlements grew, and the Pueblos repopulated. By the close of the seventeenth century, a new era of New Mexico history could begin. 

New Mexico in the 18th Century:
The 1700's were a period of extraordinary change for New Mexico. After New Mexico was settled by the Spanish in 1598, the colony became essentially a government subsidized Franciscan mission for the Pueblo Indians. Following the Pueblo Revolt and reconquest, the authority of the Catholic Church was reduced substantially, and because of the expanding influence of the French, English, and Russians in North America, the Spanish government held on to New Mexico principally as a defensive buffer against these enemies of the Spanish Crown.
One of the most significant modifications of Spanish policy occurred as a direct result of the Pueblo Revolt of 1680. On that fateful August morning, the Pueblos were on the verge of losing their cultural identity due to the suppression and exploitation they had endured since new Mexico, was colonized by the Spanish in 1598. While the revolt succeeded in only temporarily expelling the Spanish from new Mexico, it did force changes in Spanish attitudes which enabled the Pueblos to maintain their language and ancient religious practices. After the reconquest, it became apparent that the Spanish would have to demonstrate tolerance towards pueblo religious and cultural ceremonies and cooperate with their neighbors in order to defend the colony against the various tribes which besieged New Mexico from all directions.
The eighteenth century was an incessant cycle of raids on Spanish settlements and Pueblos by the various nomadic Indian groups which inhabited New Spain's northern frontier, and of Spanish retaliatory campaigns against these raiders. To fully understand the scope of this problem, it is necessary to realize that New Mexico was quite literally surrounded by hostile tribes. Along New Mexico's northern and eastern frontier were the Comanche and Jicarilla Apache. To the north and northwest were the Utes, who constantly fought with the Comanche, and often allied themselves with the Spanish, but they too, raided the Spanish towns and Pueblos of the upper Rio Grande when it suited them. To the northwest and west were las provincias de Navajo, or Navajo territory; and to the southwest, south and southeast, the various other apache tribes. It is not difficult to see why Indian relations dominated New Mexico during this period. 
While each of these tribes presented New Mexico with problems at various times during the century, it was the Comanche who posed the greatest threat to the colony's survival. By 1750, this tribe had extended their power throughout much of what is no western Colorado, northeastern New Mexico, and western Texas. Spanish archives tell of Comanche attacks on many New Mexican communities throughout the century. In the 1770's, the Spanish government developed an aggressive policy designed to defeat and obtain peace treaties with the various unfriendly Indian tribes in nor them New Spain. Juan Bautista de Anza, who was appointed Governor in 1778, realized that in order to establish peace with the hostile tribes which threatened New Mexico's frontiers, he first had to break the power of the Comanche. To accomplish this, he decided to deal decisively with Cuerno Verde (Green Horn), the most powerful Comanche chief.
In 1779, de Anza launched a daring military campaign in which Cuerno Verde was killed and his tribe defeated in a decisive battle near present-day pueblo, Colorado. But despite the defeat, Comanche raiding on New Mexico did not stop immediately. Ironically, the effort to follow up and force the Comanche into peace negotiations was hindered by the subsequent diversion of Spanish resources to support the American colonies' rebellion against England. The Spanish government finally entered into a formal peace treaty with the Comanche in 1786. This treaty ended their raids on New Mexico's settlements and gained the Spanish a valuable ally. The Comanche honored the agreement for several decades, allowing a beleaguered New Mexico to divert attention and resources to other matters.
Despite constant raids by and campaigns against the various tribes, New Mexico managed to expand its settlements during the eighteenth century. In 1695, a new villa, or seat of government, was established at Santa Cruz de La Canada, north of the capital at Santa Fe. In 1706, the villa of San Felipe de Albuquerque (present-day old town in Albuquerque) was established to accommodate the expanding population along the middle Rio Grande.
As New Mexico grew, there was an urgent need to establish communities further from the Rio Grande Valley and out into the frontier. Much of this expansion was made possible through a system of land grants which awarded tracts of land to individuals and groups who agreed to establish settlements and cultivate land along the frontier. Santa Rosa de Lima to the north, San Miguel del Vado to the east, Cebolleta to the west, and Belen, to the south, are examples of communities established along new Mexico's frontier during this period. This system of land distribution differed greatly with the oppressive encomienda which characterized New Mexico prior to 1680. Prominent among those who shouldered the burden of frontier settlement and defense were the growing mestizo, or mixed blood, population of the province. Among the least recognized of these groups are the genizaro. The genizaro were Indians from various tribes, who had, for a variety of reasons, lost their tribal identity. Many of them were captive children, who had been raised in Spanish households and been baptized, had assumed Spanish surnames, and had eventually become Hispanicized. Genizaro settlements such as those established at Abiquiu and Tome, bore a significant portion of New Mexico's frontier defense well into the 19th century. Despite many struggles, the growth of these communities made possible the subsequent development and expansion of new Mexico.
A Spanish Province Becomes Part of the United States Mexico gained its independence from Spain in 1821. This brought to a close three centuries of Spanish rule in the North American continent, and made New Mexico a part of the Mexican Republic. This change of governments, however, had little initial effect on New Mexico. The most notable change came with the termination of Spanish policies which restricted contact and trade with foreigners. Under Mexican rule, this protectionist policy was replaced with one which encouraged open trade with the outside, especially with the Americanos from an emerging United States of America. Mexico's independence ushered in a new era of commerce along the Santa Fe Trail which changed forever the course of New Mexico's history.
The Santa Fe Trail, which winds its way between Missouri and Santa Fe, became an important commercial route to the West. Santa Fe developed into a bustling trade center from which caravans continued on to northern Mexico along the Camino Real, or to California along the Old Spanish Trail. During this period, "mountain men," fur traders and merchants of various nationalities came to New Mexico, many of whom married into Mexican families and became influential in local politics and commerce. The growing pains of the young Mexican nation, however did not allow much attention or many resources to be allocated to this distant province. Isolated, generally ignored by the central government, and continually harassed by hostile Indian tribes, New Mexico became increasingly vulnerable to external influence and internal unrest. The most notable event of this period occurred in 1836, when the Mexican Republic dispatched Albino Perez to New Mexico to assume the governorship and implement a new government. Perez' administration met immediate opposition. Since 1821, most of New Mexico's governors had been native New Mexicans, and the new governor was considered an outsider. Worst of all, Perez replaced many local officials, and instituted plans for new taxes.
On August 1, 1837, a group in northern New Mexico issued a proclamation denouncing the new administration. This protest quickly escalated into a full scale revolt which Governor Perez attempted to suppress with as mall and badly equipped militia company. Perez force was over whelmed by the rebels near Black Mesa, south of present-day Espanola. Perez was later captured and beheaded. Despite this victory, the rebels did not succeed in their efforts to establish a new government. The influential merchants and rancheros of the rio abajo did not lend their support to the revolt, and when a squadron of Dragoons from Mexico arrived at Santa Fe in January 183 8, the short lived Revolt of 1837 came to a bloody end.
A quarter century of Mexican rule in New Mexico ended in 1846. On May 13, 1846, the United States Congress declared war with Mexico, and three months later, General Stephen Watts Kearny and his Army of the West marched along the Santa Fe Trail into New Mexico's undefended northern frontier. Governor Manuel Armijo declared his intention to confront the American army at Apache Canyon, east of the capital, but, in a series of secret meetings with representatives of the American government, Armijo was persuaded not to resist Kearny's forces and instead fled south to El Paso. General Kearny entered Santa Fe on August 18, 1846, and took possession of New Mexico without firing a shot. It was a bloodless conquest, accomplished through diplomacy and guile, much as Diego de Vargas had done during the reconquista of 1692.
On September 22, 1846, General Kearny instituted the Kearny Code, a new set of laws under which New Mexico was to be governed. To administer these new laws, General Kearny appointed Charles Bent as the first civil governor of new Mexico, Donaciano Vigil as Territorial Secretary, and numerous other officials. For the next several months, while war raged in Mexico, all seemed quiet in New Mexico. But the quiet was deceptive. While the Americans organized an new government in the ancient Spanish capital, plans were being hatched to rid New Mexico of its latest conquerors. Rumors of an impending uprising reached Santa Fe in late December, 1846, and several suspected leaders were arrested. But these actions did not quell the mounting unrest, and on January 19, 1 847, Charles Bent, the recently appointed governor, along with several other local officials, were killed at Taos. The northern New Mexico insurrection known as "The Revolt of 1847," had begun.
The revolt quickly spread, but the American army responded decisively. Following a series of battles at Santa Cruz de La Canada and Embudo in late January, the New Mexicans retreated and set up a defensive position centered around the church of San Jeronimo at Taos Pueblo. After a furious two day battle which began on February 3, 1847, the insurrection was broken and many prisoners taken. A series of tragic trials followed at which an number of the survivors were tried for murder and treason. During the following weeks, nearly two dozen New Mexicans were hanged.

The Territorial Period:
The war with Mexico ended when the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed in 1848. Two years later, on September9,1850, the United States Congress passed an Organic Act which created the Territory of New Mexico and authorized the establishment of a new civil government. When James S. Calhoun arrived in New Mexico to serve as the first civil governor of this new territory, it marked the beginning of a decade of extraordinary change for this newly acquired territory.
As established by Congress, New Mexico consisted of present-day New Mexico, Arizona, parts of southern Colorado, southern Utah, and even a portion of southeast Nevada. New Mexico retained these boundaries until 1861, when then northeastern portion of the territory was attached to Colorado. The most dramatic change to New Mexico's boundaries came in 1863,when the territory was divided nearly in half and the western portion made a separate Arizona Territory.
During the 1850's, a series of military posts, extending from Fort Union north of Las Vegas to Fort Fillmore near Mesilla in southern New Mexico, were established to control the Indian tribes which continued to raid throughout the territory. Various peace treaties were made during this decade which began the process of placing New Mexico's nomadic tribes onto reservations. The presence of the American army encouraged expansion of settlements along the frontier, and areas along the upper Chama Valley, southern Colorado's San Luis Valley, as well as other regions in central and southern new Mexico were permanently settled. Many soldiers, merchants, farmers, and other emigrants traveling to the gold fields of California and Colorado also decided to make this new territory their home. New Mexico played a small but significant role in the Civil War. Early in the war, the Confederacy set its sights on the gold fields of California and Colorado as well as the important commercial route of the Santa Fe Trail. In July, 1861, Confederate forces from Texas captured the southern New Mexico settlement of Mesilla, and in early February, 1862, launched an attack on Fort Craig, south of Socorro. Their plan was to capture critical supplies at the fort, then move north to take Albuquerque; Santa Fe, and most importantly, the military supply depot at Fort Union. 
On February l2, 1862, Union troops, reinforced by several battalions of New Mexico militia, engaged the Texans at Val Verde, north of Fort Craig. When the smoke cleared from the battlefield, the Union forces had withdrawn behind the protective walls of the fort, leaving the Confederates the apparent victors. But the Southern troops were unable to mount a siege of the fort, and instead, continued their march north, short of supplies, and with a strong Union force threatening their rear. As the Confederate forces approached Santa Fe in early March, New Mexico Governor Henry Connelly and the Union troops at Fort Marcy evacuated the capital and relocated the executive offices to Las Vegas. They also moved the military supplies and equipment from Fort Marcy to safety at Fort Union. On March 10, a scouting party of southern troops entered the evacuated capital, and for more than two weeks, the Confederate flag flew over the ancient Palace of the Governors. The pivotal battle of the Civil War in New Mexico began on March 26,1862, when Union troops from Fort Union, volunteers from Colorado, and New Mexico militia, confronted the Confederate army at Apache Canyon east of Santa Fe. For three days, they vied for control of this strategic pass, until a Union raiding party penetrated to the rear of the Confederate positions and destroyed their supply train. Desperately short of supplies, the Texans were forced to retreat, ending the southern threat to New Mexico.
Soon thereafter, the federal government turned its attention to rounding up and forcing New Mexico's Indian tribes onto reservations. The most notable of these actions was the forced relocation of the Navajo to Bosque Redondo in 1863, where they remained until 1868. By 1880, most of new Mexico's Indian tribes had been relegated to reservations. After the Civil War, New Mexico underwent a period of unprecedented growth. A significant part of this growth began with the arrival of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad at Raton Pass in December, 1878. In 1880, the railroad reached New Mexico's major cities, and within a few years, the AT&SF, the Denver and Rio Grande, and numerous other railway c6mpanies had built lines to every comer of the territory to serve the agricultural, livestock, mining, and timber industries which sprang up throughout the territory. During this period, New Mexico experienced many problems associated with this growth and economic development. As New Mexico grew, much of the vast territory remained at the periphery of effective law enforcement. During this "wild west" period of our history, several areas of the territory experienced a rampant lawlessness and regional conflicts which were often complicated by political and commercial rivalries. This period was exemplified by the Lincoln County War, which witnessed the rise to infamy of outlaws such as William "Billy the Kid" Bonney. Other famous names we associate with this turbulent period of our history include Pat Garrett, Elfego Baca, Geronimo and many others.

The Quest for Statehood:
It took New Mexico more than half a century to shed its territorial status and become a state. New Mexico's citizens first attempted to gain statehood in 1850, when local officials drafted a state constitution which was overwhelmingly approved by voters. A legislature and executive officers were elected. That same summer, however, this statehood plan was nullified when Congress passed the Compromise Bill of 1850 which granted New Mexico territorial status. Other attempts to develop and implement a state constitution followed, including proposed constitutions which were defeated at the polis in 1872 and 1889. There was even an effort at joint state hood with Arizona in 1906, but this too was defeated by the voters.
Many reasons have been suggested why it took New Mexico so long to become a state. Early efforts were hampered, in part, by a general ignorance about the territory and suspicions towards its people. Statehood was opposed by those who felt that New Mexico's predominantly Hispanic and Indian population was too foreign and too Catholic for admission to the American Union. There was even periodic debate as to whether a new name for the territory would help the cause of statehood. Names such as Navajo and Lincoln were suggested and seriously considered.
There were also questions about the loyalty these recently conquered people had for their new country. This issue was slowly laid to rest by the honorable service of New Mexico's citizens in the Union cause during the Civil War and later in the Spanish American War. But a different racial issue, however, figured significantly into the delay. During the reconstruction period following the Civil War, New Mexico's chances for statehood seemed assured. In 1876, however, that chance was destroyed by one inadvertent handshake.
During an 1876 Congressional debate, Michigan Representative Julius Caesar Burrows, an admired orator, rose to speak in favor of a bill designed to protect the civil rights of freed Negroes. Stephen B. Elkins, New Mexico's delegate to Congress, was not present for most of the speech, but entered the House chamber just As Burrows was bringing his rousing oration to a close. Unaware of the full nature of Burrows' speech, Elkins shook his colleague's hand in congratulations, a gesture many Southern Congressmen interpreted as support for the civil rights legislation. Elkins' handshake is blamed for costing New Mexico several Southern votes it needed for passage of the statehood bill, and while Colorado was voted into the Union in 1876, New Mexico remained a territory for another 36 years. Despite the myriad racial, religious, political, and economic issues which delayed every attempt at statehood, New Mexico's efforts never ceased. Finally, on June 2O, l9lO, President William H. Taft signed m Enabling Act which authorized the territory to call a constitutional convention in preparation for being admitted as a state. On October 3 of that year, one hundred delegates elected from every county in the territory, convened at Santa Fe and drafted a constitution which was approved by voters on January 21, 1911. New Mexico had taken the final step in its long journey towards becoming a full part of the United States of America.
A proud and distinguished delegation from New Mexico was present in Washington, D.C. when President Taft signed the proclamation admitting New Mexico as the 47th state. After signing the long-awaited document at 1:35 P.M., January 6,1912, the President turned to the delegation and said, "Well, it is all over. I am glad to give you life. I hope you will be healthy." New Mexico's long struggle for statehood was finally over.
A few days later, on January 15, 1912, William C. McDonald stood on the steps of the capitol building in Santa Fe, and was inaugurated as the first Governor of the State of new Mexico. Our state then began the on-going struggle to prove itself a worthy addition to the Union. Two world wars in numerable economic and political changes, and the relentless march of progress have made New Mexico a place which would have been beyond the imagination of our aboriginal ancestors, the Spanish conquistadores, Mexican farmers, French trappers, American soldiers, Jewish merchants, and all those who came to this place and made it their home.
As we commemorated the 400th anniversary of the Juan de Onate expedition which brought Spanish settlement to New Mexico in 1598, we continued to recognize all the men and women who came to New Mexico during the past four centuries who have contributed to make our state a unique place; a place where scientists such as those at the national Laboratories in Los Alamos, one of new Mexico's youngest cities, pioneer uses of nuclear fission; while an hour's drive away, the residents of Acoma and Taos Pueblo maintain traditions of great antiquity, and choose to live in two of north America's oldest continuously occupied communities without electricity or other modern conveniences. Truly an enchanted land.

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Rights remain with Robert J. Torrez.