Was among the earlier of the interior portions of North America
visited by the Spaniards.
Those adventurous spirits explored portions of it about 100 years before the Pilgrims landed on the shores of New England
Cabeza De Vaca
(q. v.) with the remnant of Narvaez
's expedition, penetrated New Mexico
before 1537, and made a report of the country to the viceroy of Mexico
In 1539 Marco de Nica
visited the country, and so did Coronado
(q. v.) the next year, and a glowing account of it was given by Castaneda, the historian of the expedition.
Others followed, and about 1581 Augustin Ruyz
, a Franciscan missionary, entered the country and was killed by the natives.
Don Antonio Espejo
, with a force, went there soon afterwards (1595-99) to protect missions, and the viceroy of Mexico
sent his representative to take formal possession of the country in the name of Spain
, and to establish missions, settlements, and forts there.
The pueblo, or village, Indians were readily made converts by the missionaries.
Many successful stations were established, and mines were opened and worked, but the enslavement of the Indians by the Spaniards caused discontent and insecurity.
Finally the Indians drove out their oppressors (1680), and recovered the whole country as far south as El Paso del Norte.
regained possession of the country in 1698, and the province remained a part of Mexico
until 1846, when its capital (Santa Fe
) was captured by United States troops under Gen. Stephen W. Kearny
(q. v.), who soon conquered the whole territory.
In 1848 New Mexico
was ceded to the United States
by treaty; and by act of Congress, Sept. 9, 1850, a territorial government was organized there.
The region south of the Gila
was obtained by purchase in 1853, and was annexed to New Mexico
by Congress, Aug. 4, 1854.
The territory then contained the whole of Arizona
and a portion of Colorado
Attempts have been made to create New Mexico
a State, but without success.
Its capital is Santa Fe
on the Santa Fe River
, about 20 miles above its confluence with the Rio Grande
, population in 1890, 153,593, in 1900, 195,310.
sent Colonel Loring
, of North Carolina
, and Colonel Crittenden
, of Kentucky
, into New Mexico
, about a year before the Civil War
broke out, to influence the patriotism of the 1,200 United States troops stationed there.
They did not succeed; and, exciting the indignation of these troops by their propositions, they were compelled to flee from their wrath in July, 1861.
At Fort Fillmore
, near the Texas
border, they found the officers in sympathy with them.
Maj. Isaac Lynde
, of Vermont
, their commander, professed to be loyal, but in July, while leading about 500 of his troops towards the village of Mesilla
, he fell in with a few Texan Confederates, and, after a light skirmish, fell back to the fort.
He was ordered by his superiors to take his command to Albuquerque
His soldiers were allowed to drink whiskey freely on the way, and when they had gone 10 miles on the road a large portion of them were intoxicated.
Then, as if by previous arrangement, a large force of Texans appeared.
The sober soldiers wanted to fight, but Lynde
, either treacherously or through cowardice, ordered them to surrender.
His commissary, Captain Plummer
, handed over to the leader of the Confederates
$17,000 in government drafts.
Thus, at one sweep, nearly one-half of the government troops of New Mexico
were lost to its service.
Late in 1861, Gen. Edward R. S. Canby
(q. v.) was appointed to the command of the military department of New Mexico.
Civil war was then kindling in that region Around him the loyal people of the Territory
gathered; and his regular troops, New Mexican levies, and volunteers gave him sufficient force to meet any Confederates which might be sent against him He fought them at Valverde
, and was discomfited; but there were soon such accessions to his ranks that he drove the Confederates
over the mountains into Texas
See Cabeza De Vaca
(The journey through New Mexico
); United States
, New Mexico
, in vol.
[A list of the governors ruling in New Mexico
previous to 1846, with notes, may be found in Historical sketches of New Mexico
, by L. Bradford Prince
A list of names only, in The annual statistician and economist
, L. P. McCarty
, 1889, and elsewhere.]