THE KINGDOM OF NEW MEXICO
Its Colonization and the Story of El Rancho de las Golondrinas
By Shirley Barnes
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The story of the colonization of Northern New Mexico and one of its leading parajes (El Camino Real campsite) will fascinate anyone interested in the history of the American Southwest.
For example, what cultures were there when the colonists arrived in 1598? What military genius defeated Cuerno Verde, the firebrand Comanche chief, and in 1786 executed a long-lasting peace treaty? Why was Juan de Oñate sent to establish the first permanent European settlement in the United States in 1598, nine years before the settlement of Jamestown and twenty-five years before the Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth Rock? And why did New Mexico fail to attain U.S. statehood until 1912? How did the Battle of Glorieta Pass help turn the tide during the American Civil War? What herbs were in the curandera’s (traditional healer) medicine cabinet? Why were marriages arranged? What function do the Penitentes still play in New Mexico’s Catholicism? Did Miguel Vega y Coca and his family play a role in New Mexico’s re-colonization? And finally, what is an acequia?
The answers to these questions, and more, are to be found between the covers of this book.
Shirley Barnes earned her BA and MA degrees from the University of Colorado and was a library media specialist for the Jefferson County Public Schools in Colorado before she retired to Santa Fe, New Mexico. Soon after arriving, she became a docent at El Rancho de las Golondrinas, a living history museum of the colonial Hispanic experience in La Ciénega valley near Santa Fe. Born and raised in what was once Spanish territory, Shirley became an aficionado of the richness of the regional Hispanic and Native American societies. She has been quoted as saying, “The depth of culture here exceeds that of anywhere else in the United States.”
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