Santa Feby Tim McNeese
The Spanish settlement of Santa Fe was officially founded by Don Pedro de Peralta in 1610 and is the oldest capital city in the United States. Originally named La Villa Real de la Santa Fe de San Francisco (The Royal City of the Holy Faith of St. Francis) by Peralta, the colony was established to serve as the capital of the New Spain province of Nuevo Mexico, which encompassed the present-day states of New Mexico and parts of Arizona, Colorado, Texas, and Utah. Throughout much of the seventeenth century, Santa Fe remained small; its population consisted mostly of soldiers, and Franciscan friars who forcibly converted thousands of the region's Native Americans to Catholicism. In 1680, the Pueblo Indians, who had been subjected to cruel treatment by the Franciscans, drove the Spanish from Nuevo Mexico. In the process they killed approximately 400 Spaniards, including 21 friars. Upon reestablishing control over Nuevo Mexico in 1692, the Spanish continued to use Santa Fe as their governmental, military, and missionary headquarters until Mexico won its independence from Spain in 1821.
About the Author:
Tim McNeese is associate professor of history at York College in York, Nebraska
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