Santa Fe de Nuevo México

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Santa Fe de Nuevo México

Santa Fe of New Mexico
Santa Fe of New Mexico (location map scheme).svg
Capital Santa Fe
Spanish missions in New Mexico 1598
Mexican Independence 1821
Mexican Cession 1848
Statehood 1912
 • First Spanish Governor Juan de Oñate
 • Last Spanish Governor Facundo Melgares
 • First Mexican Governor Francisco Xavier Chávez
 • Last Mexican Governor Juan Bautista Vigil y Alarid
Population (1847)
 • Total ~

Santa Fe de Nuevo México (English: Santa Fe/Holy Faith of New Mexico; shortened as Nuevo México or Nuevo Méjico, and translated as New Mexico) was a province of the Viceroyalty of New Spain, and later a territory of independent Mexico.

It existed from the late 16th century through the mid-19th century to 1848.


Nuevo México was centered on the upper valley of the Rio Grande (Río Bravo del Norte), in an area that included most of the present-day U.S. state of New Mexico. It had variably defined borders, extending into the present-day U.S. states of western Texas, southern Colorado, southwestern Kansas, and the Oklahoma panhandle, although actual settlements centered around Santa Fe. For all but a few years of its existence, its capital was Santa Fe.


Spanish colonial province[edit]

16th century

The Nuevo México Province was founded in 1598 by Juan de Oñate during his expedition northward from New Spain; he established a settlement near Ohkay Oweenge Pueblo. The expedition had been authorized by King Philip II. The Spanish believed that cities of gold, such as the ones of the Aztecs, whom they had previously conquered, lay to the north in the unexplored territory. Oñate was unable to find such cities, however, he embarked on the cruel conquest and enslavement of the "urbanized" Puebloan peoples.

Oñate was the first governor of the Nuevo México Province from 1598 to 1610. He hoped to make it a separate viceroyalty from New Spain, but failed.

17th century

Most of the Spanish missions in Nuevo México were established during the 17th century.

After the Pueblo Revolt of 1680, the Spanish were expelled from Nuevo México for 12 years. They returned in 1692, after the "bloodless" reoccupation of Santa Fe by Diego de Vargas. The province became under the jurisdiction of the Real Audiencia of Guadalajara, with oversight by the Viceroy of New Spain.

18th century

In 1777, with the creation of the Commandancy General of the Provincias Internas, the Nuevo México Province was removed from the oversight of the Viceroy and placed solely in the jurisdiction of the Commandant General of the Provincias Internas.

Mexican territory[edit]

The province remained in Spanish control until Mexico's declaration of independence in 1821. Under the 1824 Constitution of Mexico, it became the federally administered Territory of New Mexico.

The part of the former province east of the Rio Grande was claimed by the Republic of Texas which won its independence in 1836. This claim that was disputed by Mexico. In 1841, the Texans sent the Texan Santa Fe Expedition, ostensibly for trade but with hopes of occupying the claimed area, but the expedition was captured by Mexican troops.[1]

American territory[edit]

The United States inherited the unenforced claim to the east bank with the Texas Annexation in 1845. The U.S. Army under Stephen Kearny occupied the territory in 1846 during the Mexican-American War and Mexico recognized its loss to the United States in 1848 with the Mexican Cession in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.

Texas continued to claim the eastern part, but never succeeded in establishing control except in El Paso. However, in the Compromise of 1850 Texas accepted $10 million in exchange for its claim to areas within and north of the present boundaries of New Mexico and the Texas panhandle.[2]

In 1849, President Zachary Taylor proposed that New Mexico immediately become a state to sidestep political conflict over slavery in the territories, but it did not become a state until January 1912.

See also[edit]