Bernardo de Miera y Pacheco
Bernardo de Miera y Pacheco (4 August 1713 – 4 or 11 April 1785) was "perhaps the most prolific and important cartographer of New Spain" as well as an artist, particularly as a Santero (wood-carver of religious images). He has been called a polymath, being "proficient in astronomy, cartography, mathematics, geography, geology, geometry, military tactics, commerce, husbandry, oenology, metallurgy, languages, iconology, iconography, liturgy, painting, sculpture and drawing."
Like many others, he emigrated to New Spain (in North and Central America). In 1741, he married Maria Estefania Domínguez de Mendoza in Chihuahua. They would have two sons, Anacléto (Cléto) and Manuel. In 1743, the family settled in El Paso.
A man of many talents, he was variously a merchant, a debt collector, a rancher and a military officer. In the latter capacity, he served in five military campaigns. In 1747, Captain Miera led a military detachment accompanying Padre Juan Menchero on the latter's attempt to convert the Navajo and resettle them around Mount Taylor (formerly Ceboletta).
Though Menchero was unsuccessful, Miera produced the first map of the territory they traversed. In 1749, he mapped the Rio Grande from El Paso downstream to its junction with the Rio Conchos.
He was also a painter and carver. Some of his works survive in churches and museums; the Church of Cristo Rey in Santa Fe has "his masterpiece, the Castrense altar screen".
When the Viceroy of New Spain ordered that his northern governors produce maps of their territories, Francisco Antonio Marín del Valle, Governor and Captain General of New Mexico, turned to Miera. They went out into the field on this endeavor from late June to 1 December 1757. The influential map was completed by April 1758. Miera would go on to make at least two other maps for Marín.
He also served as cartographer for the 1776 Dominguez-Escalante Expedition. Miera was often at odds with the other leaders of the group, and was also frequently ill. The expedition failed in its goal of finding a route north to Monterey, but Miera produced maps which would be invaluable to subsequent explorers.
In 1779, Miera accompanied Governor of New Mexico Juan Bautista de Anza on a punitive expedition against the Comanches, who had been raiding Taos. As a result, he drew perhaps his last map, covering an area centered on the Rio Grande from Santa Fe up to the Arkansas River.
His maps were examined by Alexander von Humboldt in 1803 to help prepare his own maps. Humboldt in turn shared the information with American President Thomas Jefferson a year later, and Miera's work was copied by American mapmakers. The original of his 1758 map disappeared some time after 1930 in Mexico City, but a copy was made in the 1970s from photographs of it.
- "Bernardo de Miera y Pacheco". New Mexico Office of the State Historian. Retrieved 16 November 2013.
- Fred Roeder. "Bernardo de Miera y Pacheco". The American Surveyor. Retrieved 3 November 2013.
- "Map which Don Francisco Antonio Marín del Valle, Governor and Captain General of this kingdom of New Mexico, ordered drawn : 1758, Atlas of Historic New Mexico Maps". New Mexico Humanities Council. Retrieved 3 November 2013.
- "Museum of Spanish Colonial Arts Showcases 18th Century Santero and Cartographer". SantaFe.com. Retrieved 3 November 2013.
- "Defining the Colonial World: Don Bernardo de Miera y Pacheco Explorer, Scientist, Santero and More". New Mexico Museum of Art. Retrieved November 16, 2013.
- "Miera's 1758 Map of New Mexico". National Park Service. Retrieved November 16, 2013.
- Diaz, Josef, ed. (2013). The Art & Legacy of Bernardo Miera y Pacheco: New Spain's Explorer, Cartographer, and Artist. Museum of New Mexico Press. ISBN 9780890135853.
- Kessell, John L. (2013). Miera y Pacheco: A Renaissance Spaniard in Eighteenth-Century New Mexico. University of Oklahoma Press. ISBN 9780806143774.