There is something about New Mexico that has long proved attractive to outsiders, mavericks, eccentrics. I can’t say precisely what it is, but it has to do with the uncommon mix of landscape, sparkling air, history, multiple cultures and isolation from America’s mainstream.
There is a little-known story in the history of colonial New Mexico that I’ve long found fascinating. It concerns Spanish attempts to open a direct road between Santa Fe and the province of Sonora, which lies just below today’s Arizona.
Of the great variety of controversies at that time, none was more likely to lead to gunfire than conflicts over the old Spanish and Mexican land grants. In fact, the issue is still a hot one.
In our state’s Spanish Archives preserved in Santa Fe can be found a couple of documents signed by Antonio Cordero. At the time he wrote and sent them to New Mexico (1808), he was the interim governor of Texas.
The town of San Marcial on the Rio Grande in Central New Mexico had a checkered history, one that ended in disaster.
From the Tortugas village near Las Cruces northward to Taos, the Pueblo Indians have long told stories of lost treasure. The tales form one of the more fascinating sides of their folklore.
I’ve been collecting and reading New Mexico books since I was in the sixth grade. Some of the volumes changed the direction of my life, while others led me into unforgettable adventures.
Once long ago, I was camping with two companions down in the Sierra Madre of Mexico. At the evening campfire, our native arriero (mule packer and guide) told us in Spanish of the lost gold of La Bufa.
A mecca for all scholars and writers interested in the American West is the famed Huntington Library in San Marino, Calif., 12 miles east of downtown Los Angeles. It houses hundreds of thousands of books and several million manuscripts.
The history of marching bands in Santa Fe is a distinguished one, but it is scarcely known to today’s residents. Many people would no doubt be surprised to learn of the city’s long tradition of public music.
I pulled off my bookshelf the other day a little volume titled The Clothes We Wear. I’d picked it up at a thrift shop years ago. Inside, a rubber stamp indicated that in 1930, it had been used as an elementary textbook.
The story of the Delaware Indians forms a curious chapter in American history. When first met by Europeans, the tribe dwelled in eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware.
When was the first dramatic play performed in the Southwest? The answer is well known to historians.
A little over four decades ago, the Taos Pueblo people realized a lifelong dream. By act of Congress, they obtained possession of their sacred Blue Lake, which lay 10 miles east of the pueblo, high in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.
Between 1895 and the 1920s the American automobile culture spread across the Southwest, changing the old way of life forever.
On the New Mexico campaign of 1862, major books probably number in the dozens.Among this small group of volumes is Boldly They Rode by Pvt. Ovando J. Hollister, was a member of the First Colorado Regiment of Volunteers.
They voted to break away from New Mexico and join the neighboring Territory of Arizona. It was a bold move taken in desperation.
Summer drought in New Mexico brings with it the usual crop of fires. For most people today, they are something remote, read about in newspapers and quickly forgotten. But on the frontier of the Old West, fires, especially prairie fires, were a dreaded phenomenon.
As dangerous a plant as can be found, hemlock grows plentifully throughout our Southwestern mountains. Years ago, a young man had eaten a small quantity of hemlock in the national forest above Santa Fe and had died within the hour.
This year marks the 168th anniversary of the start of the Mexican War, a major event in our regional and national history. By the Kearny conquest of 1846, New Mexico passed into the hands of the United States. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, 1848, confirmed the acquisition.
Many of the most prominent men in America went to the dueling ground to “gain satisfaction” for some real or imagined insult.
Shortly before Juan de Oñate departed southern Chihuahua with a caravan on his way to settling New Mexico in 1598, his expedition underwent a review by a royal inspector.
Anyone who reads much on the history of colonial New Mexico will sooner or later run across the word genízaro. It was a true “localism,” a term used in its own way, with a special meaning to the people of the Rio Grande Valley.
Take a look back at Santa Fe in 1766 from the viewpoint of Marqués de Rubí, a member of Spanish nobility.
The town of Gallup in far Western New Mexico likes to style itself as the place where the Indian Southwest begins.