New Mexico After Don Diego, 1704-1714
Upon the death of Diego de Vargas, a political vacuum was left in the province. He was the governor of New Mexico for ten years, twice the normal term of office and his death was bound to cause some distress. 
Francisco Cuervo y Valdes was appointed to replace Vargas. Cuervo was able to continue the orderly flow of government. A good deal of concern must have existed among the settlers after Vargas' death, for a strong personality such as the Marques' was one of the most enduring ties between the community and the government. While the order of succession was carried out with little trouble, settlers had to contend with a new man.
Tensions appeared after Vargas' death. In November, 1704 a petition from fifteen Santa Fe settlers requesting permission to leave New Mexico was denied by the cabildo which was delegated by the governor to handle this matter. Reasons given by the petitioners included illness, inability to make a reasonable living, poor living conditions, the constant threat of Indians, and personal reasons.  Other requests to leave were filed in 1705. In March, 1705, Nicolas Moreno de Trujillo petitioned to leave the province to trade in New Spain. This was granted. 
Any resident in New Mexico wanting to leave had to petition the cabildo (or the governor) and had to present his reasons. Settlers were kept under strict control and movement was severely restricted. Apparently the government feared a mass exodus. To prevent this, a system of passes was developed. Note, however, that during the time of Vargas' regime not a single person applied for permission to leave. If ever there was reason to leave, the difficult years 1695 and 1696 were it. However, the records show no movement from New Mexico during those critical times. 
Movement within New Mexico also was restricted. To move from one place to another required permission, as is seen in the petition of Luisa Navarro of Santa Fe, a widow, who asked that she be permitted to live in El Paso del Norte. On April 29, 1705, her petition was granted.  Reasons for restrictions upon the movement of residents are not hard to understand. With a small population in a large area, surrounded by hostile Indians and containing untrustworthy pueblo Indians, the threat of warfare, raids or massacres were always present. To keep the populace in one place benefited not only the government but also the settlers. Unrestricted movement or a mass exodus (a real possibility) would place the province in a tenuous situation. The government knew that every person was needed for defense.
However, despite efforts at total control of movement, people did slip away. Stiff sentences like jail or banishment were meted out to those caught leaving. On the other hand, the governor was generally indulgent in granting permission to leave. A weak excuse would suffice and the petitioner would be permitted to go.
After Vargas' death, conditions in New Mexico were not good. An undated document (probably 1705) in the form of a petition to the cabildo of Santa Fe asked for help for the residents of that town, particularly the poor and widows who were on the verge of starvation.
In the petition residents accused Cuervo of having done nothing to relieve the plight of the capital and of New Mexico in general. No requests for aid from Santa Fe were made to Mexico City, but considering the petitions of the residents of Santa Fe and Santa Cruz, a serious lack of foodstuffs and clothing existed throughout the province.
Cuervo had to deal with other problems too. An increase in crime and a failure of discipline within Santa Fe caused problems. Orders prohibiting gambling were issued, as were bandos requiring the people of Santa Fe to attend church every Sunday.  A further concern was of settlers living among the Indians. The governor, fearing trouble ordered all Spanish people living in pueblos to leave and not re-enter without his express permission.  To prevent a repetition of the revolt of 1696, he proposed to keep the Indians and Spanish apart. It was reasoned that the natives should live by themselves and not be influenced by the Spanish, many of whom had undesirable habits that Indians learned all too quickly. However, the Spanish were insistent that Franciscan friars remain in the pueblos so that the Catholic religion, as well as moral standards, could be taught.
The Church, namely the Bishop of Durango, who claimed that New Mexico was in Durango's bishopric and, therefore, that he should control the actions of the Franciscans in New Mexico, ordered all priests to stop interfering in governmental affairs. He prohibited the friars from going to Santa Fe without permission. This was done to prevent a repetition of the Church-State strife that precipitated the revolt of 1680. 
Fears that Spanish settlers would estrange the Indians were not unfounded. In many cases those Spaniards living within pueblos attempted to take land from the natives or use them as "free" labor. Worse, they sometimes killed Indians who did not submit to them. In October, 1705 Francisco Ortiz was banished to Bernalillo (Sandia) for slaying friendly natives. The murders occurred over disputed land.  Killing natives was a serious crime as banishment meant loss of land, privileges and food rations.
Meantime in Santa Fe, now a city of 300 people, life went on as in the seventeenth century. Society and government revolved around the fact that the capital was not secure from hostile natives. The military was the key to the province. It kept the Indians at bay. Every man was required to serve in the militia, although exceptions could be made. Francisco Duran y Chavez, for example, petitioned the governor asking that his son be permitted to miss military duty because of illness. Young Chavez was excused. 
The military and its domination of the province caused the governor other problems. Cuervo issued an order forbidding gambling among the soldiers.  Army discipline had not improved since the days of Vargas. No real protection against sudden Indian raids was afforded Santa Fe's residents. The cabildo petitioned Cuervo in May 1705 for more soldiers to stave off threatened attacks from Apaches to the west. Santa Fe was not in danger yet, but the Apaches were in western New Mexico and the cabildo felt that more troops should be in the capital. The governor had no men to spare and he turned down the request. 
The military-Indian problem not withstanding, settlers traded horses and guns with the Apaches. A barter system, established during the winter of starvation in 1695, was still the basic economic system of New Mexico a decade later. Since guns and horses were the main trade items, the obvious threat of armed Indians caused the Spanish government to repeatedly order this trade stopped. Cuervo issued a bando in August 1705 forbidding settlers from trading with any natives other than pueblo Indians. The governor pointed out that trade with hostiles was against royal law. This edict was sent out to the settlements at Santa Cruz and Santa Fe on August 25th. 
The Spanish, had little more than imported goods purchased with precious hard cash. These were acquired through a limited trade with Chihuahua and used to buy food, fuel and clothing from pueblo Indians. An intricate scale of worth was developed with a horse or mule or blanket being worth so many fanegas of maize or beans. A trade in horses, sheep, cows, blankets and other goods kept New Mexico going. A tiny trade between New Spain and New Mexico existed, but the balance was heavily tipped in favor of the merchants of Parral and Chihuahua. The residents of Santa Fe had little to export and a great need for imports.  Considering the internal economic situation, there is little doubt that Chihuahua and Parral benefited most by any trade. Salt was one of the most important exports. Parties to gather salt were sent from Albuquerque to bring this valuable product back for transshipment to the south.
The need for an Indian trade to insure the economic viability of New Mexico caused the Spanish and Pueblo natives to become interdependent. New Mexico had no industry as of 1705. The sheep, cattle and horses imported during the Vargas era were just beginning to become productive. Therefore Indians still provided most of the foodstuffs for the settlers as they reestablished their farming enterprises. 
The closeness of Indian-Spanish trade led to intimate relations between the two groups. Spaniards who came to New Mexico were generally folk from central or northwest New Spain. Most often they brought their families with them. The government preferred families because they were far more stable, and less likely to cause trouble than single persons might. Spanish were not allowed to intermix with the pueblo Indians.
This can be seen in the fact that Spanish settlers were clustered in two (later three) areas of New Mexico; Santa Fe, Santa Cruz, and after 1706, Albuquerque. Little attempt to settle in or around Indian pueblos was made. However, as time went on, the Spanish hired Indian servants who "lived in" and who were generally counted as family members when a census was taken. In many cases children of servants were literally family. From this came families in which illegitimate children were born of Indian servants. The result was an infusion of mixed-blood into New Mexican society. 
Franciscans who maintained the pueblo missions were opposed to having Spanish settlers near them. They were considered bad influences, since when Spaniards were about, the natives adopted such nasty habits as drinking, gambling, and prostitution. No fixed Spanish colonial policy prohibited miscegenation. Nevertheless New Mexico was a veritable melting pot of races. The Church frowned upon interracial marriages because they "depurifled" the natives (not the Spanish) and made it even harder to keep them in their pueblos. 
Meanwhile pueblo natives provided supplies for New Mexicans as the merchants of Chihuahua and Parral imported "luxury" items for the pioneers. By the time goods reached New Mexico they sometimes increased by 500 percent.  This great inflation was due largely to the high cost of transport as well as middlemen's profits. The result was a serious trade imbalance. From this early date New Mexico was continually in debt to the merchants of northern New Spain.  It took governmental subsidies to bail out the New Mexicans.
Local agriculture developed slowly. Losses from the weather and predators took their tolls on horses, cattle and sheep, while a severe lack of replacements caused problems. The same situation existed in farming. Seeds, tools and grains were stolen. Complicating this situation was constant raiding by Ute, Apache and Comanche Indians.
The problem of Indian raiders in New Mexico was hardly new. Raiding plains Indians supplemented their food supplies, particularly when game was poor, with the foodstuffs of pueblo natives. The Spanish inherited this problem when they settled in the valleys of New Mexico. During the eighteenth century, the crown was obligated to protect not only Spanish settlers but also pueblo Indians from the raids. However, because there were not enough troops to handle the situation, losses of critical foods such as grain and beef were considerable. Outlying districts like Taos or Pecos were most vulnerable and protection was virtually impossible. These troubles, along with blazing summers and freezing winters made crops hard to maintain.
Although Albuquerque, Santa Cruz and Santa Fe were three major European settlements, they too were not immune from raiding Indians, a lack of proper tools, flash floods, and poor soil conditions. 
As the Spanish realized that they faced a harsh environment, they accordingly were forced to make adjustments. From self-supporting agriculture came a need to diversify into cattle and sheep raising. The land was better suited to such endeavors. Sheep took little water and could graze on the poorest of lands. Cattle, too, could be raised on the relatively bad forage. For these reasons the hide and wool trades became major industries.
Another area of interest was mining. Early in the eighteenth century, royal grants were made for mining. The Spanish long hoped that minerals of great wealth could be found in the province. The legend of Cerro Azul and other tales caused the Spanish to consider the place ripe for mining ventures. As it turned out no great lodes of gold or silver were found. Only lead proved to be of local value. The government did give several grants for mines near Santa Fe. Diego Arias de Quiros got a claim five leagues from the capital in 1717. Lead mining was on a small scale in New Mexico. Most minerals produced in the area were locally consumed with little surplus. 
The people who came to New Mexico had to change their habits and ways of life. Of the residents listed in 1695, thirty percent were artisans and craftsmen, while others were skilled laborers. Still more were unskilled. All soon learned that in order to survive they had to work together and do necessary jobs. These people were forced by the environment to become sheepherders, farmers, and ranchers. Of course, in Santa Fe and the pueblos, bureaucracy absorbed some of the more educated colonists. But the frontier tempered a Spanish settler into a man of the land. 
The missions of New Mexico were the only institutions to see major growth during the early eighteenth century. Vargas reestablished them in 1695, and after interruption during the revolt of 1696 they were put back into operation. Franciscan friars went into each mission to minister to the natives. They recorded baptisms, births, and deaths as part of their duties. Not only did the friars record the vital statistics, they also taught the natives Church rituals. Generally Spanish language was used so that in some cases the Indians picked up a limited vocabulary. But evidently no concerted effort was made to teach Spanish to the natives, other than to have them memorize the catechism. This was despite a royal decree, issued in 1717, ordering that Spanish be taught Indians in all provinces of the Empire.  The natives were not taught to read or write nor did the friars often bother to learn native languages. It was, however, decreed that the friars should learn local languages or they should teach the natives Spanish in order to assist the missions more fully. 
The missions were also used to "concentrate" Indians into defensible and easily controlled groups. Within each pueblo an indian militia group was formed to defend the local mission against raiding Apaches or Utes. Along with protection, natives were kept under control by the friars. That this surveillance was effective can be seen by the reports from the missions about the revolt of 1696. The friars gave the government ample warning of an impending uprising.  The natives were required to be self-sufficient. Thanks to the pressure of the friars, the missions continued to produce enough food for both Spaniard and native.
Mexico City was always interested in the progress of New Mexico. In 1706, Viceroy the Duke of Alburquerque wrote Governor Cuervo y Valdes inquiring about conditions in New Mexico.  He asked about the Apache threat, the conduct of the war against the Moqui (Hopi), and details of Vargas' death two years earlier. He requested that the number of soldiers and settlers killed in campaigns against the Indians be listed, and he asked for an outline of New Mexico's defense needs. 
Cuervo y Valdes was ordered by the viceroy to do something about the Moquis in northern Arizona. He organized a campaign against them in September 1706. The purpose of the Moqui expedition was to capture their pueblos. In September, the governor dispatched a force of Spanish soldiers, pueblo allies, and some settlers under the command of Roque Madrid.  They managed to capture two pueblos and by the end of 1706 Cuervo could report to Mexico City that the Moqui were pacified.
In addition to this expedition, Juan de Ulibarri led a force east from Taos and north to the Arkansas River where he chased fleeing pueblo Indians. He arrived at El Cuartelejo in 1706 and claimed the site for Spain. He appointed an Apache chief as New Mexico's official representative and captured some 62 pueblo Indians who were returned to New Mexico. This expedition made El Cuartelejo the most northern outpost of New Spain. The new peace caused the governor to concentrate on construction of new Spanish settlements south of Santa Fe. He resettled the vicinity of Galisteo, about twenty miles south of Santa Fe, establishing the Indian town of Santa Maria de Galisteo. The population was mainly Tanos Indians consisting of 150 families or 630 persons. 
By order of the viceroy, another town was established near the pueblo of Sandia.  It was to be Spanish and was designed to provide defense for southern New Mexico. In addition it would provide new agricultural lands. The area was peopled by settlers from Santa Fe and families recruited in New Spain. In July 1706 the viceroy's orders were received at Santa Fe. In a gesture of loyalty, Cuervo named the site Albuquerque, after the Duke of Alburquerque, Viceroy of New Spain. Thirty families moved south and set up housekeeping at Albuquerque that same year. As time passed, the little town grew to become the third largest city during the Spanish period. It served as a way station between Santa Fe and El Paso del Norte and, as was planned, it helped defend the Camino Real. Cuervo had greater ambitions; he wanted to found a presidio at either Zia or Socorro, but these projects were not fulfilled. 
Cuervo's term of office expired in 1707 and, on August 1, 1707 Admiral Don Jose Chacon Medina Salazar y Villaseñor, Marques de la Peñuela, took over as governor of New Mexico. The Marquees began his administration by reviewing the province. He then called for immediate reforms. His first order dealt with the problem of illegal sales of guns and horses to hostile natives. He also ordered that officers could not sell horses from the royal horseherd without his permission. Such sales of horses were a serious matter, for without the animals the defense of the whole of New Mexico, would be seriously damaged. 
Another problem left behind were social ills. The Marques, noting that Santa Fe suffered from a debilitating lack of discipline, ordered that gambling be halted. Since this vice was especially common among the soldiers his order did little to make them happy with the new governor. 
The next concern of Peñuela was the inspection of citizens and their arms. He ordered the men of Santa Fe, Sandia, and Santa Cruz to stand for inspection in September. He told all to have their weapons in order and he declared that he was calling the inspection because of "the threat of the infidel enemies of the Apache nation." The purpose of the muster was to make sure that all residents had weapons. That is, guns, and that they were cleaned and prepared for use in case of attack. Further, the occasion was to be used for instruction in the use of firearms.
Every man was required to have certain weapons on hand.  Each household was supposed to have at least one gun, several swords, lances, and pikes for defense. Often the poorer families relied on gifts of weapons from the crown. Otherwise their richer neighbors could defend them in case of attack. That there was a problem in keeping weapons available is seen in the Duke of Alburquerque's order that: "twenty-five guns must be kept in working order at all times." 
The new governor faced other difficulties than threats of Indian attacks. In 1707 the Indians of San Juan pueblo petitioned him, complaining about maestre de campo Roque Madrid. They charged that Madrid was exercising "dictatorial control" and that he forced them to work on Sundays, which was illegal. The petition was signed by the alcaldes of San Juan.  The Marques took note of the petition but the matter died at Santa Fe. Roque Madrid retained his position at San Juan, perhaps being reminded not to over-exercise his power.
The lingering matter of Indian rituals and superstitions gave the Church continual worry. One of the reasons for the Revolt of 1680 was the Church's determination to suppress Indian religion. In the early eighteenth century the problem came to the surface in the form of witchcraft among the natives. In 1708 three Indian women were accused by Leonor Dominguez of practicing demoniacal arts. The acts were said to have caused the Dominguez woman to lose the use of her legs. After considerable testimony the case came to naught for it turned out that the three Indian women were accused out of revenge. The Dominguez woman, in her complaint, also accused the three of sleeping with her husband. The governor ruled that the witchcraft complaint was false and the three women were freed. In his order the Marques stated that the complaint was "false, futile and despicable."  Cases of "witchcraft" were usually nothing but petty fights over small matters. The Marques de la Peñuela felt increasing pressure from Mexico City to make the province more self-supporting. On July 4, 1708 he received an order from the Duke of Alburquerque demanding that New Mexico should practice strict economy in the operation of the province. He complained that the cost to the government, 76,000 pesos a year, was far too much and ordered the province to spend less royal money.  On July 7th the viceroy also ordered the governor to protect the Indians from the settlers and soldiers of the area.  He also issued an order to stop extortion and bribery by Spanish officials. In some cases local officials had extorted land and services from natives. Peñuela felt that this must stop in the interest of the entire colony's welfare.  A final order was that more protection be provided against the Apache (who had invaded El Paso del Norte in 1708).  In a manner typical of most administrations, all of these rules came in the wake of an order to practice economy in government.
When a crisis developed in New Mexico, the viceroy demanded action, which in most cases was expensive. A militia needed to be raised, horses and arms had to be found. The Indian allies had to be compensated for their help. A policy of constant defense and aid to New Mexico probably would have been cheaper than the haphazard method of crisis financing that Mexico City followed.
Viceregal authority, on the other hand, carried little real weight in New Mexico. Orders were given to the governor who generally executed them. However, local officials time and again refused to put into effect some policies demanded by Mexico City. The governor was interested in carrying out viceregal orders, but often they were so impossible that all he could do was hope that bureaucrats at lower levels would do what was right. The frontier situation in New Mexico demanded that orders from higher authorities be simple and easy to fulfill; if they were not, the matter was decided locally, for good or for bad.  Mexico City was forced to modify its policies to existing conditions. Sadly, authorities in the capital did not see it that way, while at Santa Fe they did. Since flexibility meant survival in New Mexico, viceregal orders were regarded as formalities and acted upon thusly.
A New Mexican felt his way along, day to day, and learned survival by trial and error. The Spanish, having made a major mistake in 1680, were determined not to let such a disaster befall them again. In this respect, the viceroy was well-informed, for he tried to keep the Spanish in New Mexico from abusing the natives. Yet in doing so the viceroy overestimated the dangers and put the governor in a position where in some cases such basic institutions as the barter system were endangered. 
The governor of New Mexico depended heavily on the military to keep the province secure. The army had problems and in 1708 the Marques had to order the officers of the presidio at Santa Fe to keep the troops in better order. The problem was familiar. Looting, mistreatment of local residents, and disobeying orders were the chief complaints. The soldiers often caused as many problems for New Mexico as the natives. The troops were poorly paid or, more often, not paid at all. They were required to supply their own horses, weapons and clothing from a most meager salary. Further, they were brutalized by the officers. Hence, hostilities were sometimes taken out on those who could not defend themselves, particularly the Indians. These problems caused the government no end of worry so that from time to time the governor had to issue orders demanding better discipline and less sloth. 
In 1709 Peñuela undertook one major military expedition against the Navajos to the west. He raised a militia and prepared to protect the westernmost pueblos of Acoma and Zuñi.  It took nearly a year to organize the expedition, as seen in the fact that late in 1709 the governor still was issuing orders for the muster of militiamen.  The Spanish were successful in driving back the Navajos. A peace was developed in late 1709 and early 1710.
One of the last incidents in the era of Peñuela was a suit between himself and former governor Francisco Cuervo y Valdes. This legal battle became complicated because the Church, particularly Fray Juan de Tagle, Franciscan custodio, took the side of Cuervo while the cabildo of Santa Fe sided with the Marques.  In October, 1710 the cabildo took up the case; of complaints by Cuervo against Peñuela. Peñuela accused Cuervo of misdeeds in office and the former governor sued for slander. The upshot was that Peñuela was found not guilty of slander by the cabildo and Cuervo shrank back into obscurity. 
The balance of Peñuela's term was quiet. Other than the normal court cases and the flow of viceregal decrees, life in New Mexico became more and more peaceful. In 1712 the Marques notified New Mexicans that a caravan would leave for New Spain in May and asked that those who wished to join it report to him. 
Other events included the distribution of tools at Santa Cruz in early 1712 along with petitions of soldiers trying to recover back pay or win promotions.  An investigation of administration by former governor Cuervo y Valdes was also carried out, but without any conclusive findings. 
Final decrees made by Peñuela were that September 16th should be celebrated as the official anniversary of Diego de Vargas' conquest, an order which has been carried out to this day.  In 1712 when term of governor expired for the Marques, he was replaced by Juan Ignacio Flores Mogoll&oacuate;n, former governor of Nuevo Leon. After he assumed office on October 5, 1712, one of his first orders was a residencia of the Marques de la Peñuela. The residencia was favorable for the former governor who left New Mexico with a good record. 
The terms of governors Cuervo y Valdes and the Marquees de la Peñuela can be characterized as generally efficient administrations that tried to keep New Mexico on an even keel. Neither man's term was marked by any brilliance. Both managed to keep hostile natives at bay. Both were able to expand outward from Santa Fe and Santa Cruz. The establishment of Albuquerque was a major step in the continuing commitment of Spain to New Mexico. The establishment of new Indian pueblos such as Galisteo was equally significant. Cuervo y Valdes was probably more active and productive than his successor. He tried to spread the population of New Mexico more evenly. The Marques de la Peñuela's government was more a "housekeeping" administration. Both men, following Vargas' great conquests, were overshadowed by greatness. In order to function both governors did their best to look good in the eyes of the viceroy. In doing so, they were able to keep the province under control and to expand it on a modest scale.
8 Order by Fray Juan Alvarez forbidding friars to come to Santa Fe without permission, November 12, 1793. Read at Santa Fe, Pecos, Bernalillo (Sandia), Zia, Jemez, Acoma and Cochiti, in Patentes, AASF.
19 Francisco Ramieres vs. Baltasar Romero, April 27, 1705, at Santa Fe, in SANM. This lawsuit over a modest Sonoran trade reveals that New Mexico was importing far more than she could ever hope to export.
26 The Duke of Alburquerque's name was originally spelled with an extra "r" that was dropped years after his death. The town of Albuquerque appears to have been spelled in the "modern" fashion from its founding.
42 There are a number of cases that lack compliance on the local level. For example, the governor was forced to issue a strong order to the residents of Albuquerque who refused to muster for inspection in 1708. This was in addition to the July 7, 1708 viceregal order. Peñuela to cabildo of Albuquerque, July, 1708, in SANM.
49 Marques de la Peñuela, notification of caravan, May 10, 1712, at Santa Fe, in SANM. See also: Moorhead, "The Presidio Supply Problem of New Mexico in the Eighteenth Century," New Mexico Historical Review, XXXVI (July, 1961), 210-230.
50 Orders of the Marques de la Peñuela for the distribution of tools at Santa Cruz, January 10, 1712 and petitions of the soldiers of Santa Fe to the cabildo and governor, August 1, 1712, at Santa Fe, in SANM.
Last Updated: 20-Nov-2008