• Santa Fe Plaza by Mitch Wagner

History of Santa Fe in Under 5 Minutes

Written by Shelly Wyatt.

Santa Fe, New Mexico is steeped in history. One cannot help but be touched by the beauty, and the ghosts of the past. Here we have the oldest capital city in North America and the oldest European city west of the Mississippi.

1050 to 1607

The history of this historic city can be divided into six parts. The first part of its history would be from 1050 to 1607. The Pueblo Indians occupied the area from 1050 to 1150, but most archeologist agree that it was abandoned for the two hundred years before the Spanish arrived.

Don Francisco Vasques do Coronado, in 1540, claimed the "Kingdom of New Mexico" before founding Santa Fe, he and his men discovered the Grand Canyon. Soon after Don Juan de Onate became the first Governor-General of New Mexico, and established the capital 25 miles north of the present day Santa Fe. It was only after he retired in 1609 that the new Governor-General, Don Pedro de Peralta, moved the capital to the present day location of Santa Fe.

The Settlement, Revolt and Re-conquest 1607-1692

It was during this time the Spanish settled in living alongside the Pueblo Indians. The soldiers, officials and Franciscan Missionaries decided that they should try to convert the Pueblo Indians. This eventually led to a revolt in 1680; the Pueblo Indians were able to run the Spanish out of Santa Fe. They burned almost all of the building with the exception of the Palace of the Governors. Santa Fe was occupied by the Pueblo Indians until 1692 when Don Diego de Vargas was able to re-conquest the area in a bloodless siege.

Established Spanish Empire 1692-1821

It was during this time that Santa Fe grew and prospered. However, the Pueblo Indians were persistent in their raids on the city so the Spanish authorities and the missionaries decided to form an alliance with them. When they did that they were able to co-exist peacefully.

The Mexican Period 1821-1846

The Mexicans were able to gain their independence from Spain and Santa Fe became the capital of New Mexico.

The Territorial Period 1846-1912

In August 1846, the early part of the Mexican-American war, an American Army General, Stephen Watts, took Santa Fe and raised the American flag over the plaza.

Statehood 1912 to Present

In 1912 New Mexico was granted statehood. Tuberculosis was a problem for some, so they sought out relief in the arid southwest. Santa Fe is one of the most historic cities in the American west; in 1926 the Old Santa Fe Association was established. This was to preserve and maintain the ancient landmarks. Today this city is known for its preservation of traditions and culture making it a diverse and interesting place to live.


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