To the Royal Crown Restored: The Journals of Don Diego de Vargas, New Mexico, 1692-94

To the Royal Crown Restored: The Journals of Don Diego de Vargas, New Mexico, 1692-94

To the Royal Crown Restored: The Journals of Don Diego de Vargas, New Mexico, 1692-94

To the Royal Crown Restored: The Journals of Don Diego de Vargas, New Mexico, 1692-94

Excerpt

For three compelling reasons, the Spanish crown refused to accept as permanent the loss in 1680 of the kingdom and provinces of New Mexico. Although remote and government-subsidized for most of the seventeenth century, the colony figured increasingly in the imperial contest for North America; it harbored defiant Pueblo Indians whose affront to Spanish arms and example to other tribes should not go unpunished; and, it challenged the Franciscans to return and reclaim these thousands of apostate souls from everlasting damnation.

Locally, the Pueblo-Spanish war lasted half a generation. Its first two stages--the terrifying Pueblo Revolt of 1680 and a long and troubled standoff between 1681 and 1691--gave way to a third and final stage in the latter year when don Diego de Vargas took over as governor of the colony-in-exile at El Paso. Despite Vargas's bold, ceremonial repossession of the Pueblo world in 1692, intermittent fierce fighting punctuated Spanish reoccupation from late 1693 until late 1696. The Pueblos, deeply divided over the Spaniards' return, did not shatter and break. They outlived the trauma, accepting certain concessions from the recolonizers and compromising with them in many ways. Yet they managed to remain, over the years, culturally distinct though diverse, more Pueblo than anything else.

The documentary record of Vargas's administration as governor and captain general of New Mexico (1691-97 and 1703-1704) and that of his unsympathetic interim successor, don Pedro Rodríguez Cubero (1697-1703), is the stuff of the six-volume Vargas Series. Unforeseen, the initial volume, Remote Beyond Compare: Letters of don Diego de Vargas to His Family from New Spain and New Mexico, 1675-1706 (1989), presented the Recolonizer, long lionized or damned by New Mexicans, in a more even light. With the second volume, By Force of Arms: The Journals of don Diego de Vargas, New Mexico, 1691-93 (1992), focus shifted to a larger cast. Here began the process of recolonization:the . . .

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