Friday, December 17, 2010

Los Americanos and the Fifty Years Following Their Arrival

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In August of 1846 the Army of the west under Stephen Watts Kearney (photo above) march into New Mexico from Bents Fort on the Arkansas River on the border between the United States and Mexico. They march to Las Vegas, then San Miguel del Bado and on through Apache Pass right into Santa Fe. They are strung out for miles and miles. The Benavides' living in El Gusano scatter into the hills while the army marches past.

New Mexican Governor Manuel Armijo, though poised to stop the Americans at Apache canyon decided against it. His soldiers and militia are poorly armed and fewer in Number than the Americans. Rather than risk losing a good portion of New Mexican males in a futile effort to stop the numerous and well armed Americans he orders a retreat away from Apache Canyon.

Charles Bent, of Bents Fort is named governor of Occupied New Mexico. He states " There is no stability in these people, they have no opinion of thare (sic) own, ...entirely governed by the powers that be ... the most servile people that can be imagined... they are not fit to be a free people, they should be ruled by others than themselvs."

His opinion of New Mexicans must have changed on January 19, 1847 when New Mexicans and Taos Pueblo Indians assassinated him and several of his accomplices in Taos. At least two revolts occur and both are suppressed by the Americans. New Mexican Patriots are killed in battle, shot in jails and hung for treason. New Mexicans and their descendants should not forget those who resisted the invasion of New Mexico by Americans.

In 1851 a Territorial Government is established and the surveyor general begins his job. Within a few years most of the land now belongs to the Americans. The Catholic Church appointed Lamy as the Bishop for New Mexico. A feud with New Mexican priests begins as Lamy starts replacing them with French priests from France. Padre Martinez resists, but like other resistance, this comes to an end and French priests take over the Catholic Church in New Mexico.

In the 1880's following the suppression of Indian hostilities New Mexico is flooded with settlers from the East. Displacing New Mexicans where ever they went.  The Americans knew the laws and used them to displace New Mexicans everywhere they went. It would not be long before they were the majority