A Guide to the New Mexico Archives Records, 1532-1879
The first Spanish explorers came to the province of New Mexico between 1536 and 1540, as part of the Coronado Expedition led by Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca (ca. 1490-1556). In hopes of finding the gold in the Seven Cities of Cibola said to be located in northern New Spain, instead the expedition found several pueblos and encountered members of the Zuni tribe. After the Spanish crown contracted Juan de Oñate to establish Spanish settlements in the province of New Mexico in 1595, Oñate traveled with a large caravan comprised of equipment, settlers, and livestock from Compostela, Mexico, to the northern Tiwa village of Ohkay Owingeh. Around 1598, he founded the city of San Gabriel around 1598, which served as the capital of New Mexico until 1610. The Spanish population of New Mexico grew slowly, and by 1680, less than 3,000 Spaniards inhabited the province. Characterized by religious and cultural clashes between the Spanish settlers and indigenous groups, 17th century New Mexico experienced several uprisings, including the successful Pueblo Revolt of 1680, which initially overturned many of the Spaniards’ efforts to convert native tribes to Christianity. During the 18th century, members of the Comanche tribe systematically attacked both the pueblos and Spanish settlements until the Spanish government signed a peace treaty with the tribe in 1786. After Mexico achieved independence from Spain in 1821, New Mexico remained under Mexican rule until 1846, when the United States entered into the Mexican War. Two years following the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848, the United States established the territory of New Mexico, including parts of present-day Arizona, Colorado, and Utah. Divided into the Arizona and New Mexico territories in 1863, New Mexico was admitted to the Union in 1912.
Donoghue, David. "Coronado Expedition."Handbook of Texas Online. Accessed February 18, 2011. http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/upcpt.
Torrez, Robert J. "A Cuarto Centennial History of New Mexico." New Mexico Genealogical Society. Accessed February 18, 2011. http://www.nmgs.org/artcuarto.htm..
Composed of typescripts and Photostats of letters, reports, orders, church records, and legal papers, the New Mexico Archives Records, 1532-1879, chronicle Spanish and Mexican activities in the province of New Mexico from the 16th through the 19th centuries. Transcribed and photocopied from the New Mexico Commission of Public Records Archives and the Archivo General de México, the collection concerns political and military affairs, as well as interactions between Native American tribes and Spanish settlers.
This collection is open for research use.
New Mexico Archives Records, 1532-1879, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
Basic processing and cataloging of this collection was supported with funds from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) for the Briscoe Center’s "History Revealed: Bringing Collections to Light" project, 2009-2011.
Detailed Description of the Papers