Visitors and Changes In New Mexico, 1760-1772
In 1760, prior to the return of Tomas Velez Cachupin, Bishop Pedro Tamaron of Durango made a visit to the missions of New Mexico, her pueblos, and all Spanish settlements. His report described some of the towns that he visited and he created a census. The primary objective of this journey was to establish further the claims of the Bishopric of Durango as to the jurisdiction oven the province.
His travels began at El Paso del Norte, an area he described as a prosperous valley. He stated: "They grow wheat, maize and other grains of the region as well as fruit trees, apples, pears, peaches, and figs."  El Paso left Tamaron with the impression of a lush area containing a moderate population. He concluded that 2,479 whites and 249 Indians lived in the city and along the river north to Isleta. 
On his journey northward along the Rio Grande, the bishop stopped to visit small settlements that grew up along the Rio Grande. His first stop was San Lorenzo, also called Realito; here he found 192 Spaniards and fifty-eight Indians. He noted that there was one Franciscan friar who ministered in a small church that measured 25 varas  by 5-1/2 varas.  At Senecu, the Bishop found one missionary caring for 425 Piros Indians, fifty-two Sumas, 141 Spaniards and twenty-eight "infidels being taught the catechism." The church measured 36-3/4 varas by 5-1/2 varas. The size of the building was commensurate with the population.  At Socorro the visitor found 182 Suma Indians, one priest, 424 Spaniards, and a church that measured 36 varas by 7-3/4 varas. He noted that the pueblos around Socorro were "fertile and luxuriant as El Paso del Norte...."  At Isleta, farther up river, Tamaron found one Franciscan, 425 Piros Indians, and 131 Spaniards. This church was a bit smaller than that of Senecu, measuring 36 varas by 5-1/2 varas. 
Upon arriving at Albuquerque, the bishop toured the nearby pueblos of Sandia and Santo Domingo.  The villa of Albuquerque, he reported, had a Spanish population of 1,814 persons who were cared for by one Franciscan friar.  Sandia contained 222 Tiwa Indians and one priest, while Santo Domingo had 424 Keres Indians, one priest, and no settlers. 
After inspecting the Albuquerque area, Tamaron went on to Santa Fe where Governor Francisco Antonio Marin del Valle, welcomed him in great style. The bishop reported that "the governor came forth with a numerous and brilliant retinue. He dismounted from his horse and joined me in the coach."  Tamaron stayed at Santa Fe for some time. He described it, noting that "the buildings of the villa both churches [one being San Miguel] and houses are all adobe. There is no fortress there nor any formal presidio building."  He was not impressed by the defense of the city as he concluded that "Santa Fe is a very open place...." 
While Tamaron remained in the capital, he confirmed a large number of believers. He noted that "Since I have confirmed 1,532 persons in the said villa. I am convinced that the census they [the governor] gave me is very much on the low side and I do not doubt that the number of persons must be at least two times that given in the census."  Tamaron's personal census indicated that there were 1,285 residents of Spanish and mixed-blood living there.  The census of 1752, as conducted by Tomas Velez Cachupin, stated that 605 persons lived in Santa Fe. Tamaron was given a list double that size, yet he claimed that Santa Fe was at least twice again as large. This seems unlikely, for the growth of the city would have been over 100 percent in less than ten years. If Tamaron is correct, over 200 percent in that time. It is more likely that the number of confirmations included settlers of outlying areas who came into Santa Fe, and many mixed-bloods, but since they were house servants they were not counted in official censuses. Such figures were similar to the 1745 census.
After visiting Santa Fe, Bishop Tamaron inspected the northern pueblos. He went to Pecos where he found 344 Indians and one priest, while at Galisteo he counted 255 natives in residence [en residencia].  At Tesuque there were 232 residents regularly visited by a priest from Santa Fe, while at Nambe he found 204 persons, 118 of whom were Europeans.  The bishop complained that Nambe was less than comfortable and there was a "plague or swarm of bedbugs [was] encountered here..."  His final local visit was to Pojoaque where he found ninety-nine persons. They, too, were regularly visited by a priest from Santa Fe. 
Tamaron then proceeded to Santa Cruz de la Cañada, the second largest Spanish city in New Mexico, located about thirty miles north of Santa Fe. Here he found 1,515 Spaniards and mixed-bloods. The bishop offered no other description of the area.  From Santa Cruz, he visited Picuris and discovered that there were 328 native residents, 208 Spaniards, and one priest.  He then moved on to Taos where he noted that the population included 505 Indians and 160 "Europeanized" citizens. He made no mention of a Spanish population at Taos. 
At Taos, the most northerly town in New Mexico, Tamaron turned south and visited other pueblos along the river. At Santa Clara he counted 257 Indians, one priest, and 277 Spaniards and mixed-bloods.  The pueblo of Cochiti yielded 450 natives, one priest, and 140 Spanish,  while San Felipe de Jesus had a population of one priest and 458 natives.  At Santa Ana he found 404 Keres Indians under one Franciscan, and another 568 Keres at Zia also under the direction of one priest.  Jemez had 373 natives and one Franciscan friar. 
On the final leg of his visitation, Tamaron turned westward toward Laguna where he reported that 600 natives were being ministered to by sixty-two year old Fray Jose Oranzo.  In addition, there were eighty-six Spaniards living at Laguna.  Tamaron did not find the place very appealing. He reported that "water is very scarce. The church is small and its adornment poor."  The bishop then went on to Zuñi, westernmost of the pueblos, where he found 664 Indians under one priest. His opinion of the natives was low. He noted that the natives here were: "as stupid and backward in confession and catechism as the nest." 
Tamaron then returned to Acoma where he counted 1,502 Indians under the supervision of one friar. Highly impressed with the natives at this location, he described the area as being "the most beautiful pueblo of the entire kingdom...."  His final visit returned him to Isleta where he found 304 Indians, 210 Spanish settlers, and one Franciscan priest. 
After his visitation of 1760 Tamaron concluded that the priests of New Mexico "are comfortably off, each one in his pueblo and the king contributes 300 pesos a year for their support."  He was critical of the progress made by the natives, stating that "they do recite the catechism in Spanish...[but] they do not understand what they are saying."  He recommended that the friars make sure that the Indians learned Spanish and more European ways. If this were not accomplished, the bishop saw little hope for the continued usefulness of the missions. The results of the bishop's visit showed that New Mexico had grown and that the missions were in good condition. Despite a few disparaging remarks about the Indians and their ability to learn, the bishop seemed generally satisfied with the Church in New Mexico.
The situation was not the same for New Mexico's government. In 1762 Tomas Velez Cachupin returned to Santa Fe and took office. Prior to his arrival, Mateo Antonio de Mendoza was appointed acting governor, a post that he held for only a few months. In 1761 he was succeeded by Manuel Portillo Urrisola who held office until 1762 when a permanent governor was selected. Portillo's only major accomplishment was the reported deaths of 400 Comanche in a huge fight at Taos during December of 1761. He took eighty men to Taos and dislodged the Comanches who surrounded the town. During the battle, some nearby Utes saw an opportunity to profit from the engagement. They slipped into Taos while the Spanish slaughtered scores of Comanches. In the process, the Ute drove off some 1,000 horses belonging to both parties.  Bancroft provides this description from the writings of Pedro Serrano, a Franciscan friar and anti-administration writer. Bancroft expressed considerable skepticism about the number of Comanches that were allegedly killed. The numbers were doubtlessly inflated. The New Mexicans probably could not have mauled the Comanche so severely without great loss to themselves.
When Velez Cachupin took office as permanent governor on February 1, 1762, he was faced with a continuing Comanche threat northeast of Taos. Consequently, he was in contact with the Viceroy Marques de Cruillas. The two officials planned the best method of ridding New Mexico of Comanches. 
The Comanche threat again arose at Taos in 1760 when the natives came to trade.  They were so rowdy that campaigns to remove them were effected first in 1760 and then in 1761. The Comanches were naturally resentful, for all they wanted was to trade, particularly guns and horses. Of course this was illegal. Nonetheless, the new troubles with the Indians caused concern at Mexico City, and in 1763 the viceroy wrote to Velez requesting information about the threat.  The punishment the natives took at Taos in 1762 was sufficient warning and they left quietly.
In addition to the Comanche situation, Velez dealt with normal functions of government. He was ordered by the viceroy to take no action against certain residents of Santa Cruz who had left the province without permission.  For the first time since the 1600s, residents were able to leave without express consent. It indicates that province was secure enough to allow more movement into New Spain. Increases in population, rapid expansion of trade to the south, and a relaxation of Indian pressure allowed the New Mexicans a chance to move freely about the region. 
Trade records from Chihuahua show that cloth, leather goods, horses, guns, cookware, and luxury items such as silk, Breton linen, and jewelry were increasingly imported through El Paso. Also, these records indicate that exports from New Mexico were still quite small. Goods such as cattle, horses, woven cloth, wheat, and a small number of hides were sent to Chihuahua.  It is also significant that the Spanish colonial system of trade and travel was dramatically altered by the King Charles III, who decided that the monopolistic trade between Seville and the New World needed to be broken to permit more development in the provinces.
More importantly, the Seven Years War concluded with the Peace of Paris in 1763. Spain gained considerable North American territory for her efforts on behalf of France. The Family Compact, renewed in 1760 by Spain, was the key to Spanish participation in the war. The Crown did not become directly involved in North American affairs until January 1762 when British Ambassador Lord Bristol left Madrid and war between the two countries was declared. For its efforts, the Spanish Crown was forced, under the terms of the Peace of Paris, to relinquish St. Vincent, Tobago, Grenada, Florida, and her rights to cut hardwood along the Honduras coast. In return, France compensated Spain with Louisiana and New Orleans. 
Cuba was given back to Spain; England got Florida; and Louisiana was placed under administration at Havana. France was the big loser, Spain came out quite well. The threat of France in the Mississippi Valley was removed. New Mexico and Texas were for the first time in nearly 100 years free from threat of a major foreign power.
In the rest of the Spanish colonies big things were afoot. From the original viceroyalties of New Spain and Peru came expansion under the Bourbons. Charles III created the viceroyalty of La Plata (Argentina), and Chile was made a governor-generalship. The reorganization, that took place during the 1760s and 1770s, was designed to improve the functions of the colonies and to provide more ports for foreign trade. Now harbors were available at Buenos Aires, Santiago, and Cartagena instead of just Portobello, Panama, Vera Cruz, and Acapulco. 
In 1768 concessions for expanded trade were allowed for Louisiana and New Orleans became the major port for the Mississippi Valley. This did not have any effect on New Mexico since most of her trade was internal, that is from Chihuahua City to El Paso del Norte to Santa Fe.
At Taos the annual fair was a tradition that provided a place for Spaniards, Indians and, later, fur trappers to meet and exchange their goods. The natives brought hides, minerals and other items that they traded for food, clothing, guns, and horses. The New Mexicans provided manufactured goods, wheat, guns, and horses for trade. This event began in the late 1750s; it is first mentioned 1759 and continued to be an important internal trade event until into Mexican period.
There was also increased external trade. A route from Santa Fe to El Paso to Chihuahua was established quite early and, though very little was exported, imports were heavy.
That goods were imported from Chihuahua is shown in an order from Lucas Montaño de Alcala to confine the carts of a certain Montoya in his house until a debt of [?] and eight pesos was paid. It also stated that in future all of Montoya's carts were to be restricted to the Royal Road. 
Velez Cachupin found that by 1762 criminal and legal matters he dealt with in the 1750s had moderated. Prior to his return, cattle and sheep rustling was on the rise. During his second term the number of such cases dropped greatly. The overall crime pattern changed from civil suits over debts, cattle rustling, and default by merchants to criminal cases such as rape, assault, robbery, and common theft.  On some occasions there would be a variation in the pattern. For example, in 1763 Cristobal and Nerfo Montoya sued Antonio Baca over the sale of lands belonging to the Indians of the Santa Ana pueblo. Baca said he had legal claim to these lands because they had been sold to him by the natives and that he had a bill of sale. The Montoya brothers claimed that it was illegal to sell any Indian land and that there was no validity to these purchases. The case was found in favor of Baca on the grounds that the natives had the right to sell their own land so long as they were paid a fair price and that they knew what the sale meant. 
Other cases that Velez had consider included a complaint by two Genizano Indian women against their masters, Tomas and Isabela Chavez, for cruel treatment. In this case the two women complained that they were beaten "excessively" and that both masters were unusually brutal in the treatment of servants. After considerable testimony, the Chavezes were found not guilty and the case was dismissed.  The complaint of Antonia Martin against her husband, Reymundo Baca, for cruelty and adultery led to testimony by witnesses that caused the acquittal of the defendant.  Marital difficulties seemed to be quite common in New Mexico. If they could not be settled by a priest, they ended up in court. Incest was also a problem. In the case against Manuel Martin, numerous witnesses, and Martin's young daughter told of rape and child abuse. He was found guilty. Martin appealed to Velez and received a pardon. He was released because change was so hard to substantiate that the verdict should have been "not proven". 
The Church took part in protecting servants from their masters. Fray Joachin Rodriguez sent a petition to Velez asking that a Genizano girl be given her freedom because she was so badly mistreated. The request was noted by the governor's office but no action was taken. 
Early in the eighteenth century, most servants were captured Apache or Ute Indians. Early campaigns often resulted in the capture of renegade Indians, who were brought to the Rio Grande valley and were sold into slavery. This practice appeared in the Santa Fe-Albuquerque area as early as 1706 but by 1750 there are no records of enslaved natives. Unchristianized Indians were sold under the condition that they be taught "Christian virtues" and the Catholic faith. Sometimes, if the natives were not converted, the government would free the captives.
Indians who were enslaved were often freed upon the death of their master. Many of these people became part of the Genizaro group that thrived in New Mexico. Indians were treated quite well and literally became part of a New Mexican family. They were taught to speak Spanish, possibly to read a little, and in some cases to write.  Some servants had the courage to report crimes against them. However, retribution was usually involved so not many abuses cases were recorded. 
Some other civil and criminal cases included the theft of livestock and the usual assault cases. In 1764 Vicente de Sena was accused of wounding soldier Antonio de Armenta. After a lengthy trial the defendant was found guilty. He appealed to Velez and was released when he paid Armenta damages. Velez noted that trial costs of, sixty-six pesos, twelve reales and other expenses, bringing the total cost to ninety pesos.  Another case in 1765 brought Eusebio Chaves to the bar for having assaulting Andres Martin. Chaves was found guilty, fined ten pesos, and sentenced to fifteen days in jail. He appealed to the governor, only to be denied. 
Cattle theft still was a problem in 1766 as seen in the case against Mauricio Trujillo, who was accused of stealing livestock from Toribio Ortiz. After nearly six months of testimony, Trujillo was found guilty and sentenced to three years in exile.  Other livestock cases dealt with civil suits rather than criminal matters. In most of these cases the problem was nonpayment of debts or loss due to negligence. 
As time progressed more and more correspondence flowed from Mexico City to Santa Fe. Velez Cachupin's second term saw considerable communication from Mexico City including the most routine matters. In 1764 the Marques de Cruillas sent blank forms to the Captain of the Presidio at Santa Fe for official use.  Later that year, the governor received a list from the viceroy confirming the nominations for the officers of the presidio. 
Velez Cachupin's term expired in 1767, but before he left, the governor sent an expedition into southern Colorado seeking mineral deposits. The party, led by Juan de Rivera, marched northwest from Santa Fe, reaching the area near modern Durango, Colorado. They then proceeded eastward toward the future site of Gunnison, Colorado where they viewed the awesome Black Canyon of the Gunnison. The little group spent from 1761-1765 in the Rockies. But the expedition was considered a failure because few minerals were found. The party returned with little information other than there were Ute to be found in the area.  Ironically, the land that the New Mexicans explored became one of the richest silver and gold mining regions in the western United States.
Velez Cachupin finished his New Mexican career by concluding an investigation begun in 1760 at the Genizaro settlement of Abiquiu, where it was alleged that witchcraft was rampant. After six years of testimony, seven on eight Indians were found guilty and were sentenced to become servants of Spanish families where they would be "rehabilitated." 
Since there was no longer the threat of a foreign power in New Mexico and Texas, a less centralized government could be established. Instead of a governor reporting directly to the viceroy, a Commandant-General at Chihuahua City would become the middleman between the provinces and the central government. To implement these plans, Charles III made two major appointments. The first was that of Jose de Galvez, who was given the title of visitador general. It was his job to report to the crown conditions he found in New Spain and to make recommendations for corrective measures. The second appointment went to Cayetano Maria Pignatelli Rubi Corbera y San Climent, the Marques de Rubi. His mission was to conduct a careful inspection of the frontier's military organization and to assess the state of defense along outlying areas of New Spain.
In May of 1766 Rubi began his tour that included auditing the internal administration of each presidio, considering the relations of officers with their men, and looking into the character of the soldiers and their general fitness. In addition he was to examine the use of royal funds by the military. It was hoped that the Marques might be able to effect new economies at the presidios and save the crown a little money. Rubi was instructed to draw his own conclusions and to recommend abandonment, relocation, on continuation of each presidio. The Marques was accompanied by Nicolas de Lafora, a captain in the Royal Engineers, who wrote an excellent description of the visit beginning in Mexico City and subsequently ending there. 
Rubi left Mexico City in 1766. He inspected the presidios of northern New Spain before making his way to El Paso del Norte in July of that year. At El Paso he found a well-defended town of about 5,000 with five mission towns nearby. His only suggestion was that a local militia be established, making it possible to release royal troops. Rubi rightly considered El Paso the key to the defense of the lower Rio Grande valley. He thought that the existing garrison might be moved south to close a hole between New Mexico and Nueva Vizcaya.  The shift to Carrizal was designed to prevent Apaches raiding the road to Chihuahua City. This caused Rubi to consider a presidio between that town and El Paso del Norte a necessity. The lifeline to New Mexico was threatened and Rubi was ready to protect it.
The Rubi party left El Paso only to be attacked between Fray Cristobal and Albuquerque by Apaches who tried to steal horses and sheep. The raiders were chased off. The expedition proceeded to the pueblos near Albuquerque. Rubi reached Santa Fe in August, 1766 and was greeted by Tomas Velez Cachupin. The Marques found a town of 2,324 and a garrison of eighty men. Nicolas de Lafora was unimpressed with Santa Fe noting that it could not possibly be defended for there was no fortress or walls.  The engineer thought that a small compact fort might offer the best protection. Rubi's only suggestion to Velez was that a presidio be established north of El Paso along the Camino Real in order to protect this vital road from raiding Apaches. He recommended Robledo as the site of a new fort. This suggestion went to Spain but was never acted upon, and the road remained a dangerous passage between Albuquerque and El Paso del Norte because of Apache harassment. 
Rubi, having completed his tour of New Mexico, went on to Sonora, Arizona, and then the Gulf of California where he made many changes. He also went east into Texas where he inspected the missions. In February, 1768 Rubi returned to Mexico City, and during April of that year he submitted his recommendations in the form of a Dictamen. He proposed line of presidios from the mouth of the Rio Concepcion in Sonora to the mouth of the Rio Guadalupe in Texas. They would be located forty leagues apart to facilitate complete control of the area. He suggested that certain presidios be abandoned. Rubi proposed that El Pasaje in Nueva Vizcaya, Monterrey in Nuevo Leon, Horcasitas, and Buenaventura in Sonora, and Los Adaes and San Luis Ahumado in Texas be eliminated. Each presidio should have a garrison of fifty men properly equipped for frontier patrols and battles. His work showed that proposed reorganization would save the crown 80,000 pesos a year.  The Dictamen was submitted to the King and in 1772 it was favorably acted upon.
The Rubi visit to New Mexico had little effect on the defensive structure of the province. His recommendation that a line of presidios be built was followed and El Paso's garrison was modified. Santa Fe was outside the defense line proposed by Rubi, as he knew it would be. He felt that a garrison of eighty men would be adequate to hold northern New Mexico while satisfactorily covering the pueblos.
The second term of Velez Cachupin was less exciting and somewhat more normal than his first administration. There were no further clashes with the Church, there were no Indian campaigns, and there were no Frenchmen. Velez's only major expedition was that into the southern Colorado Rockies and it was a failure.
Upon the expiration of his second stint, Velez retired, one of the few governors of New Mexico to serve two full five year terms. The fact that he ruled so long indicates that the Spanish government considered him one of their better bureaucrats. And that he was.
41 The most authoritative work dealing with the Santa Fe-Chihuahua trade is Moorhead, New Mexico's Royal Road. Records from the State Archives of New Mexico, the Juarez Archives, and the Chihuahua City Archives provide poor information on trade other than a few illegible invoices. For information on early 19th-century trade see: Abraham P. Nasatir and Noel M. Loomis, Pedor Vial and the Roads to Santa Fe (Norman, 1966).
53 For example SANM records show that over a period from 1700 to 1776 there were thirteen Indian cases and only two servant cases. Both of these cases were heard in 1740. See: proceedings against Antonio de Ortega for assault against Indian servants, May 29-July 16, 1740, in SANM.
57 For example, Petition of Pedro Padilla for return of mule, October 21, 1765-September 8, 1766, at Santa Fe; Manuel Garcia Pareja vs. Francisco Duran for livestock losses, June 12-14, 1766, at Santa Cruz; Juan Joseph Bustos vs. Joseph Samora over horses, June 14-20, 1766, at Santa Fe, and Nicolas Ortiz vs. Juan Gutierres and Antonio Baca over sheep lands, July 9-24, 1766, at Albuquerque, in SANM.
60 Bancroft refers to this event through the Diario of Dominguez and Escalante (1776). According to it, Juan de Rivera visited the area in 1761 where the term La Plata was given to a riven and a mountain range. See also: LeRoy and Ann Hafen, The Old Spanish Trail, (Glendale: 1954).
Last Updated: 20-Nov-2008