On their return to New Mexico after the 1680 Pueblo Revolt, the New Mexican settlers confronted continuous raids by hostile Indians, disease, and an inhospitable landscape. In spite of this, the colonists went about their lives as best they could, as shown in the fifty-four documents transcribed and translated in Spanish Colonial Lives. These documents show them making trading deals, traveling on the Camino Real, sending petitions to the governor complaining about each other, and planning for the future of their children. They are also shown interacting with the presidio soldiers, the Franciscan friars and Inquisition officials, merchants from Chihuahua, and their Pueblo Indians allies. The documents were selected for their description of Spanish Colonial life, their interest to the many descendants of the people that appear in them, and because they tell a good story.
This book, the result of over six years of preparation, includes a summary of each document, editor’s notes, biographical sketches, and an extensive index including the names of all the participants.
In the early eighteenth century, Spanish colonial women of New Mexico submitted petitions and complaints to the alcalde mayors and governors about things that were not quite right in their lives. These included complaints about abusive spouses, adultery, breach of promise, abductions, dowries, and rape as well as theft, fights (between men over women and with each other), property boundaries, and inheritance. It also shows the alcaldes and governors listening to their concerns, hearing the testimony of numerous witnesses, trying to follow legal procedures as they knew them, and mandating punishment or compromises.
For this volume, Tigges and Salazar have selected 35 documents for translation and transcription. Many of these documents exist in the original hand-written manuscripts in Spanish Archives of New Mexico in Santa Fe. Others come from the Archivo General de la Nacional in Mexico City and elsewhere. To the many descendents of the Spanish colonials these translations will provide first hand information about their ancestors. They can read about their behavior, listen to their testimony and, for better or worse, learn more about them than just their names. This book can be considered a companion, in part, to Ralph Emerson Twitchell’s Spanish Archives of New Mexico.