Santa Fe, New Mexico

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A view of Santa Fe, New Mexico
A montage of Santa Fe

Santa Fe, New Mexico (Tewa language: Oghá P'o'oge, Navajo language: Yootó) is the capital of the U.S. state of New Mexico. Founded by Spanish colonists in 1610, it is the oldest state capital in the United States. It is the fourth-largest city in the state and the county seat of Santa Fe County, New Mexico.


: or, The journal of a Santa Fé trader, 1831–1839 Vol 2, by Josiah Gregg
  • The Santa Fé caravans have generally avoided every manner of trade with the wild Indians, for fear of being treacherously dealt with during the familiar intercourse which necessarily ensues. This I am convinced is an erroneous impression; for I have always found, that [natives] are much less hostile to those with whom they trade, than to any other people. They are emphatically fond of traffic, and, being anxious to encourage the whites to come among them, instead of committing depredations upon those with whom they trade, they are generally ready to defend them against every enemy.
  • p. 46
  • As regards the two different routes to Santa Fé, although Missouri, for various reasons... can doubtless retain the monopoly of the Santa Fé trade, the route from Arkansas possesses many advantages. Besides its being some days travel shorter, it is less intersected with large streams; there are fewer sandy stretches, and a greater variety of wood-skirted brooks, affording throughout the journey very agreeable camping-places. Also, as the grass springs up nearly a month earlier than in Upper Missouri, caravans could start much sooner, and the proprietors would have double the time to conduct their mercantile transactions. Moreover, the return companies would find better pasturage on their way back, and reach their homes before the season of frost had far advanced. Again, such as should desire to engage in the 'stock trade' would at once bring their mules and horses into a more congenial climate—one more in accordance with that of their nativity; for the rigorous winters of Missouri often prove fatal to the unacclimated Mexican animals.
  • p. 155
  • The following is the substance of Santa Anna's decree, dated at his Palace of Tacubaya August 7, 1843:
    "Article 1st. The frontier custom-houses of Taos, in the department of New Mexico, Paso del Norte and Presidio del Norte in that of Chihuahua, are entirely closed to all commerce."
    "Art 2d. This decree shall take effect within forty-five days after its publication in the capital of the Republic.
    It should be understood that the only port in New Mexico for the introduction of foreign goods was nominally Taos, though the custom-house was at Santa Fé, where all the entrances were made. These northern ports have since been reopened by decree of March 31, 1844...

Two Thousand Miles on Horseback: Santa Fé and Back (1868)

A Summer Tour Through Kansas, Nebraska, Colorados, and New Mexico, in the Year 1866 by James F. Meline, Letter XXII, pp. 151-157
  • The population of Santa Fé is about 5000. I should say that was the maximum.
  • The Plaza, some three hundred and fifty feet square, was an open space of mud and dust, until the advent of the Americans in 1846.
  • On the north side of the Plaza is the palace; the governor's palace, if you please; a long adobe, one story high, and one or two rooms deep. Notwithstanding the American portico in front, it has the aspect and general effect of a dilapidated rope-walk.
  • The three remaining sides of the square are occupied by the principal stores of the place, the fonda, or hotel, and the inevitable saloon, coffee-house, and billiard-room, where los Americanos most do congregate.
  • Two streets, of American breadth, run from the east and west side of the Plaza, to the hills bounding the town on the north ; on one of which, to the east, are the ruins of Fort Marcy, built in 1846.
  • Houses alternate with wheat and corn fields that grow larger as you reach the edge of the town, and, in separate ranches, finally melt into fields and vegas until you reach the sandy desert a few miles below. A refreshing feature of Santa Fé is made by the acequias or streams of running water used for irrigation, which pleasantly, and in unexpected places, ripple and babble at your feet as you wander through the town.
  • The most striking animated feature of Santa Fé is found in the strings or droves of donkeys, burros, who are at once the cart, carriage, saddle-horse, draught-horse, wagon, buggy, stanhope, drosky, jaunting-car, calesa, sled, sleigh, furniture-car, dray, and wheelbarrow, of the Mexican. They bring in incredible loads of marketing... Patient, docile, gentle, and long-suffering, living on next to nothing, they comprise, to the Mexican, the wealth of the Arab in his camel, the Bedouin in his horse, the Peruvian in his llama, the Icelander in his reindeer, and the Irishman in his pig.
  • More than one half the butter used here comes from the land whence, in New Mexico, every thing good is believed to come, namely, " The States." ...The Pueblo Indians bring in fruit, trout, and game from the mountains, and, also, nearly the sole industrial productions of the country,—jars, dishes, and cups of pottery, some of it painted so as to impart an almost Etruscan or Egyptian air.
  • Piñones, the fruit of the nut-bearing pine (Pinus monophyllus), are brought in slightly dried by baking. The people make bread of them. Chile verde and chile Colorado, our green and red pepper, queso (cheese), onions, punchi, an inferior tobacco, which grows much higher than our tobacco, mostly used by the women, who, with hojas (cornhusks), neatly cut and trimmed, make their cigaritos at home, in the street, at the theatre or halls, and smoke them, too, then and there. The chile is not used as a mere condiment or seasoning, but as a dish. This and the onion are of a mildness and sweetness that make them different vegetables from ours. The onions are of great size. I like them. ...and when I get married I intend to have chile colorado frequently. ...I hope she 'll like the chile colorado.
Comprising a Description of a Tour Through Texas, and Across the Great Southwestern Prairies, the Comanche and Caygüa Hunting-Grounds, With an Account of the Sufferings from Want of Food, Losses from Hostile Indians, and Final Capture of the Texans, and Their March, as Prisoners, to the City of Mexico, by George Wilkins Kendall.
  • While canvassing the chances and merits of a trip of this kind, I met with Major George T. Howard, then in New-Orleans purchasing goods for the Texan Santa Fé Expedition. ...Major Howard informed me that it was commercial in its intentions, the policy of the then President of Texas, General Mirabeau B. Lamar, being to open a direct trade with Santa Fé by a route known to be much nearer than the great Missouri trail. To divert this trade was certainly the primary and ostensible object; but that General Lamar had an ulterior intention—that of bringing so much of the province of New Mexico as lies upon the eastern or Texan side of the Rio Grande under the protection of his government—I did not know until I was upon the march to Santa Fé.
  • The effects of the central form of government were now just beginning to be felt in this isolated department of Mexico, and the people were beginning to manifest no inconsiderable discontent at the new order of things. Armijo, perceiving that there was now a chance, not only to signalize himself, but to reap a rich harvest of revenge against his enemies then in power, took advantage of this feeling by secretly fomenting a conspiracy. An insurrection was soon in agitation and early in August, 1837, a heterogeneous force numbering more than one thousand men, among whom were a large number of pueblos or town Indians, assembled at La Cañada, a village about twenty-five miles north of the capital. Governor Perez conducted a small force against the insurgeats; but a majority of his men went over at the outset, leaving him with only twenty-five personal friends to contend with odds the most fearful. ...fourteen of them, including all the officers of state, were most inhumanly put to death. Among the slain were three brothers named Abreu: Governor Perez was also butchered in the suburbs of Santa Fé, his head cut off, and kicked about the streets by the populace. His body remained where it had fallen, a prey to the vultures and wolves, no friend daring to offer it sepulture!
by most reverend, James H. Defouri (Catholic priest), source.
  • In 1692, a new expedition was entrusted to Don Diego de Vargas Zapate Lujan, by the Viceroy, Count Galvas. ......Diego de Vargas deserves more than a passing notice. It has been said that he was an avaricious and ambitious man. It is true that later on, when he had conquered all the Pueblos, and placed them under the Spanish rule, he seemed to incline to those vices, but he was a man of faith, feared by the Indians who remained his enemies, but kind and generous to those who acknowledged his rule. ...Vargas carried everywhere with him a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and wherever he stopped, a little sanctuary was built, and devotions were offered by the army. We may meet yet several of those places, called by the people los palacios, among others one near Agua Fria, five miles west of Santa Fé. He entered the city by the road called El camino de Vargas, and stood with his troops near the church of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Thence crossing the Rio Santa Fe at a place called yet—Puente de Vargas, he went to the very spot where now stands the Chapel of Our Lady of the Rosary, and there he erected a palacio. On the next day... Vargas with his small troop, attacked the Indians, who were centered on a waste which is now the beautiful plaza of Santa Fé; they had fortified themselves, and were reinforced by the neighboring pueblos, to the number of ten thousand. The battle raged with great ardor on both sides from four in the morning until nightfall, without apparent result. Then Vargas, in the name of his troops on their bended knees, before the statue of Mary, made the solemn vow, that should he take the city, every year that same statue should be brought in solemn procession from the principal church in the city to the spot on which they were camping, where he should build a sanctuary, and there be left for nine days, the people flocking to the chapel to thank Mary for this victory, attributed to her. On the dawn of day, the next morning, he attacked with impetuosity the fortified Indians, and drove them from the plaza; at eight o'clock they retired upon the loma, north of the city where he attacked them, and by noon not an Indian was seen in the neighborhood.
    Faithful to his promise, Vargas built the Sanctuary of Our Lady of the Rosary, and the fulfilment of the vow, commenced then, still continues every year on the Sunday after the Octave of Corpus Christi, by carrying what is most probably the identical statue possessed by Vargas, and called by the people Nuestra Senora de la Victoria, "Our Lady of the Victory," in great pomp, with music and pious chanting, from the Cathedral of St. Francis to the Chapel of the Rosary, and for nine days mass is chanted there, all the people making daily pilgrimages in thanksgiving for the favor received.
    • Ch. III. The Great Revolt of 1680, pp. 14-15.
  • It was this dissatisfaction of a part of the people of New Mexico, which gave rise to the famous Texas-Santa Fe expedition, which terminated so disastrously for the Texans. ...Many of those who composed it had nothing else in view than trading, and brought a great amount of merchandise. But this was not the view of General Lamar, the President of the "Lone Star republic." Texas claimed the Rio Grande as her western boundary; many in that eastern half of New Mexico, seemed to desire their coming and throw off the galling yoke of Mexico, and Lamar with his associates, who kept their secret, wished these young men to reduce Santa Fé under the rule of Texas. All know how they were roughly handled by General Armijo, when, after untold hardships, they were met at Apache Canon, made prisoners, and, tied together like cattle, sent to the city of Mexico.
    • Ch. VI. Religious State of New Mexico under the Mexican Rule, pp. 28-29.
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