New Mexico In The Seventeenth Century
The missions.—Hopes of finding rich mines and fabulous treasures in New Mexico had failed, and for a long time after Oñate's conquest that province remained chiefly a missionary field, the only Spanish settlement being Santa Fé, founded in 1609. By 1617 eleven churches had been built and 14,000 natives baptized. Four years later the missions were organized into the custodia of San Pablo, under the Franciscan province of the Holy Evangel of Mexico, whence came most of the missionaries. The first custodian was Fray Alonso de Benavides, who later, became bishop of Goa, in India. Besides Benavides, the best known missionary of this period was Father Gerónimo de Zárate Salmerón, who between 1618 and 1626 labored at Jémez, Cía, Sandía, and Ácoma.
New Mexico in 1630.—In 1630 Benavides made a famous report on New Mexico. The only Spanish settlement was still Santa Fe, where lived two hundred and fifty Spaniards and some seven hundred and fifty half-breeds and Indian servants. The Indians of the province who were not personal servants paid tribute of a yard of cotton cloth and two bushels of maize each year, burdens which they resented and resisted. There were now friars at work in twenty-five missions, which served ninety pueblos comprising 60,000 Indians. At each mission there were schools and workshops where the neophytes were taught reading, writing, singing, instrumental music, and manual arts.
Expeditions to the east.—The subjugation of the pueblos did not exhaust the energies of the conquerors and the friars, and they turned from time to time to exploration. To the east they were interested in Quivira, the "Seven Hills of the Aijados," and the Jumano Indians of the Colorado River. In the pursuit of these objects they heard of the "kingdom of the Texas" farther east. Missionary and trading expeditions were made to the Jumanos in 1629 and 1632. At this time (1630) Benavides proposed opening a direct route from the Gulf coast to New Mexico through the country of the Quiviras and Aijados. In 1634 Alonso de Vaca is said to have led an expedition three hundred leagues eastward to Quivira, apparently on the Arkansas. In 1650 captains Martin and Castillo visited the Jumanos and gathered pearls in the Nueces (probably the Concho) River. Four years later the viceroy, interested in the pearls, sent another expedition, under Guadalajara, to the same place. During the next thirty years small parties of private traders frequently visited the Jumanos. In this way western Texas became known to the Spaniards of New Mexico.
New Mexico in the Seventeenth Century (From Bancroft, Arizona and New Mexico, p. 176).
New Mexico in 1680.—Meanwhile the Spanish population of the province had slowly increased till in 1680 there were over 2500 settlers in the upper Rio Grande valley, mainly between Isleta and Taos. The upper settlements were known as those of Río Arriba and the lower as those of Río Abajo. The settlers were engaged principally in farming and cattle ranching.
The beginnings of El Paso.—As a result of the northward advance from Nueva Vizcaya and of a counter movement from New Mexico, the intermediate district of El Paso was now colonized. After several unsuccessful attempts, in 1659 missionaries from New Mexico founded the mission of Guadalupe at the ford (El Paso). Before 1680 Mission San Francisco had been founded twelve leagues below, settlers had drifted in, and the place had an alcalde mayor. To these small beginnings there was now suddenly added the entire population of New Mexico.
The Pueblo revolt.—The Pueblo Indians, led by their native priests, had long been restless under the burden of tribute and personal service, and the suppression of their native religion. On August 9, 1680, under the leadership of Popé, a medicine man of San Juan, they revolted in unison, slew four hundred Spaniards, including twenty-one missionaries, and drove the remaining 2200 Spaniards from the Pueblo district. Under Governor Otermin and Lieutenant Garcia the settlers retreated to El Paso. In 1681 Otermin made an attempt to reconquer the Pueblos, but it proved futile and the El Paso settlement was made permanent and attached to New Mexico. To hold the outpost a presidio was established there in 1683.
The La Junta missions and the Mendoza expedition to the Jumanos.—From El Paso missions were extended in 1683 to the La Junta district, as the junction of the Conchos and Rio Grande was called. Within a year seven churches had been built for nine tribes, living on both sides of the Rio Grande. At the same time Juan Dominguez de Mendoza and Fray Nicolás López led an expedition from El Paso to the Jumanos of central Texas, where they were to meet Tejas Indians from the east. On their return Mendoza and López went to Mexico to appeal for a new outpost of settlement among the Jumanos. This would probably have been established had not attention been called to eastern Texas through the activities of the French.
Indian uprisings.—The Pueblo revolt was followed by a general wave of Indian resistance, and the late years of the century were marked by raids all along the northern frontier, from Nuevo León to Sonora, in the course of which mines, missions, haciendas, and towns were destroyed, and travelers and merchant caravans raided. To defend the frontier, in 1685 three new presidios were established at Pasage, El Gallo, and Conchos, and two years later one was erected at Monclova. By 1690 two others were added at Casas Grandes and Janos in Chihuahua and shortly afterward (1695) another at Fronteras in Sonora. In 1690 a revolt in the Tarahumara country destroyed settlements in all directions, and was put down only by the efforts of soldiers from all the presidios from El Gallo to Janos.
Vargas and the reconquest of the Pueblos.—After expelling the Spaniards, the Pueblos, under the lead of Popé, returned to their tribal ways, and destroyed most of the signs of the hated Spanish rule. During the next decade and a half several efforts were made to reconquer the Pueblo region. Otermin was succeeded by Crúzate and he by Reneros, who was in turn followed by Crúzate. In 1688 Crúzate led an expedition against the Queres. At Cía six hundred apostates were killed in battle and seventy captured and shot, or sold into slavery. In 1691 Diego de Vargas Zapata Luján Ponce de León was made governor especially to reconquer the Pueblos. In 1692 he led an expedition against them. As far as Sandía the towns had already been destroyed. Santa Fé he found fortified and occupied by Tanos, but they yielded without a blow, as did all of the pueblos from Pecos to Moqui. Meanwhile the friars with him baptized over two thousand native children.
A new colony.—Submission having been secured, in 1693 Vargas led a colony of eight hundred soldiers and settlers to reoccupy the pueblo region. But submission had been a hollow formality. The Tanos who held Santa Fé were evicted only after a battle, at the conclusion of which seventy warriors were shot and four hundred women and children enslaved. At the mesa of San Ildefonso. Vargas met the combined resistance of nine towns. A second siege in March, 1694, resulted in a repulse. In the course of the summer the pueblos of Cieneguilla and Jémez were defeated, and abandoned Taos was sacked and burned. A third attack on the mesa of San Ildefonso was successful. Resistance now appeared to be over, the pueblos were rebuilt, captives returned, missions reëstablished, and the Spanish régime restored. A number of the pueblos were consolidated and rebuilt on new sites. In 1690 the new Spanish villa of Santa Cruz de la Cañada was founded with seventy families on the lands of San Cristóbal and San Lázaro.
The conquest completed.—In 1696 a new revolt occurred, in which five missionaries and twenty-one other Spaniards were killed, and Vargas conducted another series of bloody campaigns, with partial success. In the following year he was succeeded by Governor Cubero, who secured the formal submission of the rest of the pueblos. The reconquest was now complete and the Spanish rule secured.
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