Indians, Traders and Trouble, 1735-1750
Cruzat's term of office expired in 1737 and he was replaced by Henrique de Olavide y Michelena, who, not surprisingly, found a number of problems in the province. Among them was continuing trade with hostile Indians. He ordered that all trade be stopped and commanded that this notice be published by all alcaldes. 
That Olavide was worried about illict commerce was understandable for it was growing rapidly. This was the result of years of interchange between Pueblo Indians, non-Christian natives, and the Spanish. When the latter came to New Mexico, they found that survival depended upon barter with the Pueblos. As time went on, external commerce failed to develop. The Pueblo Indians found that their interchange with the Spanish was simply not enough for the survival of either party. In this way, the Pueblo tribes, the only ones allowed to trade, started to deal with the Comanches, Utes and Apaches. By 1695, commerce was well-established and the Spaniards, out of necessity, found that they had to barter with all native groups for survival. 
Olavide's first order had no effect. He found that a month later he had to issue another prohibiting further dealings with hostiles. The relationship that built up over a number of years was not going to be stopped overnight. Unfortunately, trade with the plains Indians was just too lucrative for poverty-stricken New Mexicans to abandon.  Further, the exchange in guns, horses, and goods made the military situation even more unstable in New Mexico. Each gun and horse acquired by Plains raiders increased the danger of their overwhelming New Mexico.
While the plains trade might be necessary for New Mexico, in actuality only a small number of men interested in little else but profit engaged in it. The Comanches, Utes and Apaches had few of their own goods to sell. Sometimes the Comanches could hawk hides that were stolen, while the Utes brought furs from the Colorado Rockies along with small amounts of gold and silver.  This was not enough, however, to sustain a trade of the proportions needed. In order to gain barterable goods, plains Indians raided settled areas to drive off cattle, horses, and sheep. They would remove anything of value. Often hostages were taken and subsequently ransomed. In this way the Comanches, and other tribes, kept up their inventories and were able to offer goods to Spanish and other Indian traders. The whole process was self-defeating in that the Spanish were paying twice for their own items. In poverty-ridden New Mexico, the Pueblo Indians suffered the most from this circular trade. They could hardly afford to buy back what had been stolen from them. Only wealthy Spanish speculators might deal with Plains raiders.
This system undermined the New Mexico's economy and it was small wonder that every governor who came to New Mexico saw that this commerce had to be stopped. The whole process was an endless circle, one that could be broken only if the Indians were subdued and if New Mexican's economy could develop to the point where there were surpluses for export. This vicious trade was broken finally during the mid-eighteenth century when the Bourbon regime radically reformed colonial trade laws. By relaxing earlier restrictions it became cheaper and easier to import goods into the New World.  Records for this period are hard to find, but the bandos issued and campaign records indicate that a major trade did take place among the Spanish, Pueblo natives, and certain hostile tribes, particularly Utes, Comanches, Apaches and later Navajos. It was to the advantage of both sides because the suppression of this trade by the New Mexican government was all but impossible.
New Mexico was absorbed in 1772 into the western province of the newly created Provincias Internas and to some extent lost its identity. However, what was important was that trade could be conducted within the two new provinces including far larger areas. New Mexico could now trade in Texas, Arizona, California, Nueva Vizcaya, Nueva Leon and most of northern New Spain. Prior to the reorganization, New Mexican trade was limited to Chihuahua City, Parral, and sometimes Durango. Another impact of the change was that the central provincial government of New Mexico was removed to Chihuahua City where a governor ruled the province. 
New Mexico under Governor Olavide remained unchanged. Gambling was of great concern to him. He ordered that all soldiers found gambling with dice [and other devices] be jailed.  He later expanded this order to include the entire population.  The New Mexican frontier was one of the most hostile and boring environments these men had ever known. The government tried to protect its employees who gambled away their guns, horses, bedrolls, and even clothing. The total lack of anything to do caused soldiers to seek entertainment no matter how vile. He gambled, he drank, and wherever possible he enjoyed the company of disreputable women [putas]. But such is common with all troops and those stationed in New Mexico were no exception. 
Spanish soldiers were not the only ones to suffer from frontier conditions. The ordinary resident of New Mexico found life quite dull too. While most of the population was hard-working, thrifty, and religious, it was normal for a man to want to work off some of his frustrations in the gambling hall or at the local pulqueria (bar). Excesses led to fights such as the case in Albuquerque where Diego and Cristoval Garcia were charged with assaulting Juan Montaño. Under questioning Montaño admitted that they all were "muy borracho" (very drunk). The court found the defendants not guilty based on self-defense. Alcoholism was likely prevalent in the province, but, it was not as directly costly as gambling.
Prostitution, was not considered a particularly serious offense in eighteenth century New Mexico. Women charged with this crime were normally considered adultresses. Some were exiled by the Holy Office. Very few cases of probable prostitution are recorded after the first ten years of the eighteenth century. Most of this illegal activity either was underground or it was so carefully monitored it was impossible to conduct business.
There were social problems with women and men on a daily basis, the most common of which was adultery. In the case of Manuela Beytia and Juan Marques, 1740, the couple was charged with immoral conduct. They were found guilty of adultery and fined. They also were required to renounce one another publically. Presumably this calmed both the outraged public and the cuckolded husband. 
Olavide was concerned about raiding by Plains Indians. There were rumors of an impending Indian revolt in Laguna. In 1737 Francisco Padilla, a Spaniard, was charged with inciting the natives of that pueblo to revolt. He was arrested and charged with sedition. However, testimony showed that there was much more rumor than fact to the charges and he was freed. The verdict did little to calm the fears of the Spanish that another 1680 was about to occur. 
Olavide was convinced that a massive Indian attack was soon to take place in New Mexico. To prevent it he ordered the men of Santa Fe, including pueblo natives, to get ready for a campaign against the Comanches. However his plan was cancelled. 
The trade situation was again brought into focus during 1739 with the trial of Miguel de Salazar of Taos. The defendant was charged with trading among the Comanches east of Taos. Salazar was caught with goods going into Comanche lands and on this basis the case went to Santa Fe for judgement.  This trial underscored continued exasperation over an illegal trade that could not be stopped. Many were caught and tried, but it had no effect.
Governor Olavide y Michelena's term ended in 1737 with the appointment of Gaspar Domingo de Mendoza. Olavide was an interim official and because of his short tenure he accomplished little. The one major project that he undertook was the visitation of all pueblos in 1736. On this visit he called for each pueblo to submit any grievances it had against the alcalde or other individuals. Only a few petty problems were brought forth, usually concerning the payment of debts. Believing that the pueblos were happy, Olavide retired to Santa Fe and reported that conditions in New Mexico were good. 
Gaspar Domingo de Mendoza, who assumed office in January, 1739, began a residencia for Olavide with Juez (Judge) Juan Jose Moreno in charge. The residencia heard twenty-four witnesses, half of whom were Indians. It found that the former governor had done no wrong while in office. A favorable report was returned and Olavide left for New Spain to assume another assignment. 
Mendoza's regime was interesting because when he took office there was no initial flurry of orders. For example, in 1740 only two official orders are on record. First the governor notified the residents of New Mexico that an escort would be provided for a trip to the salt flats about fifty miles southeast of Albuquerque, via Galisteo.  Secondly, he announced that the escort would depart in late July, 1740 and those who wished to go should be at Galisteo by July 27th. 
While not much is known about the internal workings of Mendoza's civil administration, the Governor had major problems during his term. In 1739 nine men arrived at Taos from across the eastern plains. They were questioned and it was discovered that they were traders under the leadership of Paul and Pierre Mallet, from the Illinois country. The men said that they had come from the Missouri River at the Arikara Villages and then followed the Platte River across the Colorado plains, turning south down the front range into New Mexico. The Spanish, for the first time, had a confirmed group of Frenchmen in New Mexico. However, they were not sure that the Mallet party was just a trading group. The mystery of what the Mallet brothers were doing in New Mexico is a point of contention among historians. Bancroft, writing in 1889, states that: "certain writers [connect] them with a plan to take possession of the Rio Colorado [New Mexico] area."  However, Bolton, in 1917, saw the party as only an expeditionary force determined to penetrate the Comanche barrier.  Henri Folmer, in 1953, considered the Mallet party merely a trading group that came into New Mexico for several reasons; to trade and also to look the area over and to penetrate the Comanche barrier to establish a trade route into New Mexico. 
The arrival of Frenchmen in New Mexico stirred considerable interest throughout the province. The Mallet party was brought to Santa Fe where they were questioned by Mendoza. Then the men were allowed to either stay in New Mexico or to go back to the Mississippi valley. Upon hearing of the penetration of the Comanche barrier by the Mallets, French Governor Bienville, sent Fabry de la Bruyere from Louisiana with a letter to Mendoza. The Bienville party was instructed to survey a possible route into New Mexico and open it to commercial traffic. However, Fabry was not successful in his mission. Having approached New Mexico from across the Red River, he heard about the capture of the Mallet party. This discouraged him to the point of returning to New Orleans. Any further attempts to open New Mexico were foregone. The Mallet party remained in New Mexico until 1741 when they were quietly released by Mendoza. The French intrusion of 1739 was nearly forgotten. Two Frenchmen remained in Santa Fe.  One, Jean d'Alay, married and became a citizen [and barber]. The other, Louis Marie, was executed for being involved in a plot against the government.  Mendoza's sucessor, Joachin Codallos y Rabal provides records of proceedings against a Frenchman, one Louis Marie, in 1744. 
Nothing else came of the Mallet visit of 1739-1740 immediately. Apparently New Mexicans were not overly concerned about the intruders. Perhaps remembering the great French scare of the 1720s, Mendoza decided that it was better not to risk his official neck like Bustamante had. Mendoza faithfully reported the Mallet expedition to Mexico City, hearings were held, and no results were forthcoming. 
Mendoza also undertook a campaign against the Comanches. There are no juntas de guerra describing the action, but several orders by Mendoza indicate that the campaign did occur and it was, as usual, a failure. This may have been the same expedition Olavide had proposed in 1737. Whatever the case, the Spanish attempted an expedition into eastern New Mexico to prevent Comanches from raiding the Rio Grande valley. An order of 1741 indicates that a campaign indeed was begun. Mendoza cautioned that the sacking of non-Christian Indian villages was prohibited. Those found guilty would be punished without mercy.  That the campaign was a failure can be surmised from a 1742 order that told the alcaldes mayores of pueblos and towns throughout New Mexico to be extra vigilant against Indian raids owing to the setbacks of the recent campaign. 
Despite Mendoza's meagre military accomplishments, the governor was kept busy from day to day with ordinary civil and criminal eases. Most criminal cases involved assault. For some reason there was a sudden increase of cases of servants against their masters. For instance, Antonio de Ortega, in 1740 was charged with raping his several female Indian servants. He was found guilty.  In 1741 Manuel Martin and Salvador de Torres, both of Santa Cruz, were found guilty of assaulting the Indian servant of Bernardo Roybal. They were found guilty, fined, and ordered to pay personal damages to Roybal. 
This increase of servant abuse may be an indication that the Spanish felt secure enough that they could get away with it. In this they were wrong, for the natives had no fears about speaking out. Other criminal cases of import during Mendoza's administration are trespass and neglect cases. Joseph de Reano sued Francisco Saes for the careless handling of Reano's flocks for which the defendant was found guilty and fined.  In 1743 charges were brought against Baltasar Baca and Gregorio Benevides for trespassing on Nambe pueblo. They were found guilty of grazing their sheep on Indian lands and were fined twenty pesos each. 
Indian servants were nominally free. In reality they were often slaves. However, they were not reluctant to charge their masters with cruelty. They were liable for severe sentences like jail or exile should escape be attempted. Servants were personal property and, if hurt by others, their owners could be compensated. Yet, if they tried to run, they would be hunted down and brought to trial. In 1741, an Apache servant named Luis Quintana, [owned by Juan de Tafoya], along with several other servants, were charged with flight and crimes of theft, assault and banditry. The men, were caught, brought to trial at Santa Fe and found guilty and sentenced to one year of banishment and hard labor.  There is no record of compensation to Tafoya for loss of a servant. It is worth noting that most servants were either Apaches, Utes or Navajos. Since these were the tribes that the Spanish spent the most time trying to control, it was inevitable that captives were brought back from campaigns. By law, no Pueblo Indian could be used for "personal labor" and, abuses of this injunction were punished by jail and fines. However, the status of non-Christian natives was different. The Spanish felt nothing was wrong with taking captives into their homes and Christianizing them. In fact, the government and Church encouraged it because at least a few hostiles could be Christianized and trained in the manual arts.
The records of the period are unclear as to the exact status of these captives. It is difficult to tell if they were slaves on whether they could leave after a period of time, much like an indentured servant. Indications are that early in the eighteenth century captives, mostly Apache, were sold into slavery. References are made to "Apache slaves" in 1705 in Church and government documents. However, by the mid-eighteenth century, Apaches are referred to as "servants". The status of captives changed over a period of years and by the 1740s they were used as servants who could be criminally punished since they were not exactly slaves. The implication of exile was that the servant's master was responsible for him and to lose an errant worker for a year punished the offender and his owner. 
Joachin Codallos y Rabal took office in 1743 and remained governor of New Mexico until 1749. When he came to the office, New Mexico was still a small province. The chronicler of New Galicia, Mota Padilla, reported in 1742 the population of Spaniards in New Mexico was 9,747 not including soldiers. He stated that there were twenty-four settlements and he reported that Albuquerque, which he said had a garrison of eighty soldiers. He also claimed that it was the capital. Bancroft notes that the population estimate "...is more than twice too large."  In fact, Padilla was about ten times over the actual population of Spanish in New Mexico and probably that much over in his guess as to the garrison at Albuquerque.
An official census of 1745, conducted by Joseph Antonio Villaseñor author of the Teatro Espanol, shows that New Mexico's population was far smaller than Mota Padilla claimed. The principal Spanish settlements of Santa Fe, Albuquerque and Santa Cruz had 300, 260 and 100 respectively while no meztizos or mulattoes were listed.  Nor were Indians listed in this census. Spanish censuses were strange since one person would count every living being in a province and come up with oveninflated figures while others like Villaseñor counted only Spaniards and came up with grossly low estimates. In any case, the settlements of Bernalillo, Chama, Rancho de Aguas Calientes, Alameda de Mosa, Hacienda [?] del Rio and other small settlements listed only Spanish residents totalling 160 persons. 
The same census showed that the Indian pueblos were small, varying from ninety persons to 125 and as low as eighteen. Santa Clara recorded 100 residents while San Felipe had a population of only sixty as did San Juan (de los Caballeros). The smallest pueblo was Peconaque, with a population of eighteen. The average size of the pueblos in 1745 was between eighty and ninety persons. 
The 1745 census showed 3,047 persons residing in the province of New Mexico. Of these 910 were Spaniards. El Paso del Norte was not listed under New Mexico (as it should have been).  The 1745 census probably was somewhat inaccurate in that it did not include all of the pueblos and therefore underestimated the total population of the province. Nonetheless, it does show that since 1695 New Mexico grew by about one hundred percent.
Upon assuming office, Codallos y Rabal issued the usual number of orders to the province. These included bans on illegal trade, prohibitions on gambling, notices of caravans for New Spain, the Galisteo salt lakes, and points south like El Paso. In general, he followed the direction of previous governors. 
In addition to the social and military welfare of New Mexico, Codallos also was concerned about the economic development of his province. A petition presented by the citizens of Albuquerque asking for permission to sell wool both locally and for export was submitted to the governor.  After considerable debate among officials at Santa Fe, sanction was granted and a wool trade began between Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and Santa Cruz. Some of the excess wool was exported to New Spain, which helped the trade balance in the province. 
There was an Indian campaign proposed early in the governor's term. He issued orders that women and children of hostile tribes not be mistreated during campaigns.  This would suggest that Codallos was concerned with keeping the Comanches and the Utes at bay. If any campaign took place, apparently it had little effect, for it was not recorded. Later in his career Codallos did prepare a campaign against the Gila Apache, with the usual lack of success. 
The governor undertook a visita general in 1745 during which time he toured the entire province and asked that any problems be brought to his attention. Codallos went into each pueblo and town. There he questioned the alcalde about conditions. Following this event the entire populace was gathered in the square where the governor asked that any complaints against either local officials or the government be aired. Citizens from each town presented petty grievances against local officials, all duly noted by Codallos. Codallos y Rabal visited most pueblos and all Spanish settlements except Acoma and Zuñi which were too far.  The visita was for the benefit of the natives more than for the Spanish, and as Olavide found during his inspection, the complaints were minor. Codallos returned to Santa Fe satisfied the province was in good condition. 
It was also during the Codallos regime that another effort was made to convert the Moqui. In 1745 the governor authorized the use of troops to provide escort for Fathers Carlos Delgado and Joseph de Yrigoyen to the Moqui pueblos in order that another attempt to Christianize them might be made. Nothing came of it and the Moqui remained immune to the efforts of the Spanish to reconquer them. 
While Codallos was busy with Indians and visits, he also continued to keep Santa Fe functioning. There was little increase in the level of crime. Only a few were serious enough to be sent to Chihuahua (and thence to Mexico City) for viceregal attention.  The case of Manuel Sanz de Garvisu was a major trial for this period. It dealt with sedition and failure to obey the governor. For his crime, the accused was sent to Chihuahua City under armed escort and then on to Mexico City where he was tried before the viceroy, and found guilty. 
In 1748 Codallos ordered all persons who had left the presidio of El Paso del Norte to return at once. This indicated that a large number of persons were missing and the city was threatened. After the Gila campaign of 1747, Indian retaliations were likely to follow. To prepare for this, the Governor wanted the town up to full strength for defense. 
In that same year, the governor received a statement from a Genizaro [half-blood] Indian pertaining to conditions in the Navajo country. The Genizaros were made up of semi-Christianized Indians, some captives who were given their freedom, Indian half-bloods, natives who were in the process of being Christianized and a few outcasts.
The Genizaros had villages well away from the centers of population. Neither the Spanish nor the Pueblo Indians wanted them nearby, so the outcasts were placed along the outskirts of New Mexico. The largest Genizano village was Abiquiu, along the Chama River. Here a mission was established and a priest worked among these natives.
In any case, the governor heard from a Genizaro that the Navajos were being raided by the Utes, yet they were loyal to the Spanish. The Spanish noted that if only they could promise Navajo safety, they would be even more loyal and anti-Ute. Probably this Genizaro was himself a Navajo. The Spanish failed to provide help to the Navajo, leaving this tribe subject to continued depredation by the Utes. 
Codallos y Rabal's term expired in 1747 and Francisco de la Rocha was named to succeed him. However, Rocha declined the appointment, claiming he was too ill and too old to fulfill the duties of governor. So Codallos remained in New Mexico until 1749 when the crown appointed Tomas Velez Cachupin. Velez took office in May, 1749 and continued in his post into the 1760s. The governorships of Olavide y Michelena, Mendoza, and Codallos y Rabal were like most who preceded them. These men were able bureaucrats who, given the situation, kept New Mexico on an even keel. They worked to make the province viable and were far more sensitive to the needs of the community than were governors like Felix Martines. Olavide y Michelena showed his concern by personally visiting the pueblos. Mendoza's term, on the other hand, was filled with excitment such as the Mallet brothers unannounced visit.
6 Little has been written about the trade with New Spain from New Mexico. The major work in this field is Max L. Moorhead, New Mexico's Royal Road (Norman, 1956), that does not cover the early eighteenth century. See also: Max L. Moorhead, "The Presidio Supply Problems of New Mexico in the Eighteenth Century," New Mexico Historical Review, XXVI (July, 1961), 210-230.
9 The military and its role on the Spanish frontier is discussed by Sidney B. Brinckerhoff and Odie B. Faulk, Lancers for the King, (Phoenix, 1965) and by Max L. Moorhead, Jacabo Ugarte and the Apache Frontier (Norman, 1968).
20 See: Herbert E. Bolton, "French Intrusions into New Mexico, 1749-1752", In: Herbert E. Bolton and H. Morse Stephens, Eds., The Pacific Ocean in History (New York, 1917), pp. 389-407. This article is also found in: John F. Bannon, ed., Bolton and the Spanish Borderlands, (Norman, 1964), pp. 150-172.
21 Other writers who dealt with the Comanche Barrier include Henri Folmer and Alfred B. Thomas. For a discussion of the French-Spanish problems on the plains see: Henri Folmer, Franco-Spanish Rivalry in North America, 1524-1763, (Glendale, California, 1953) and Alfred B. Thomas, After Coronado, Spanish Exploration Northeast of New Mexico, 1696-1727 (Norman, 1935); The Plains Indians and New Mexico, 1751-1778, Coronado Cuarto Centennial Publications, XI Ed. by George P. Hammond (Albuquerque, 1940).
47 For example: Proceedings in case against Manuel Valerio for mistreatment of Juan Antonio Salasar, July 31-September 6, 1745, at Santa Cruz; Proceedings against Francisco Mondragon for abducting the wife of Jacinto Sanches, November 29-December 19, 1745, at Santa Cruz; Proceedings against the Indian Pedro de la Cruz for trying to desert to the Comanche, February 22-July 15, 1747, at Santa Fe; Proceedings against Gregorio Jaramillo of Fuenclara for assault on Thadeo Romero, January 7-March 13, 1747, at Albuquerque; Settlement of livestock suit, December 14, 1745, at Santa Fe; Proceedings in dowry settlement for daughter-in-law of Nicolas Duran y Chavez, April 15, 1747-October 15, 1751 at Albuquerque; and Soldiers of the presidio of Santa Fe, granting power of attorney, December 31, 1748, at Santa Fe, all in SANM.
48 Order to presidio of El Paso del Norte to send prisoner Manuel Sanz de Garvisu on to Chihuahua when he arrives, July 2, 1748 and requisition upon governor of Nueva Vizcaya to make provisions to send Manuel Sanz de Garvisu to Mexico City, July 2, 1748, at Santa Fe, in SANM.
50 Copy of statement of the Genizaro Indian, Bentura, regarding status of Navajo, July 20, 1748, at Santa Fe, in SANM. The Genizaros, a diverse group combining Carlana, Jicarilla and Fararon Apache, Comanche, Ute, and Navajo, were used as servants as early as the reconquista a practice that was eliminated in the eighteenth century.
Last Updated: 20-Nov-2008