January 4 (December 25, o.s.)

Mexico/New Mexico: Benito de Noboa Salgado, the royal prosecutor in Mexico City, writes to the Conde de Galve, the viceroy of New Spain, about plans for the reconquest of New Mexico. The main issue of discussion is reports of a mercury mine in the country of the Hopis and whether it might be better for the governor at El Paso, Diego de Vargas, to try to conquer the mine rather than try to reconquer the areas in and around the Rio Grande valley that had been under Spanish control before the Pueblo Revolt of 1680. Finding sources of mercury is a high priority for the Spanish because it is necessary for mining silver, the main industry in northern Mexico and other parts of the empire and a key source of Spain’s wealth in this period.

Noboa sends along testimony by two former governors of New Mexico living in Mexico City, Domingo Jironza Petrís de Cruzate and Antonio de Otermín, regarding their opinions on the matter. Jironza is skeptical about the mercury mine and reports that while he was governor he had tested some of the alleged ore and found that it contained no mercury. Otermín is more enthusiastic about the mercury mine and less so about the prospect of reconquering the lost territory. Noboa sides with Jironza and attributes Otermín’s skepticism about reconquest to the fact that he was governor when New Mexico was lost. Noboa’s own recommendation is that the viceroy order resettlement of New Mexico, since that will be most pleasing to the king and best for Galve’s future reputation. Turning around Otermín’s statement that conquering the mercury mine will be possible with only 50 soldiers and some Indian allies, Noboa reasons that if this is true, 150 soldiers will be enough to both reconquer New Mexico and send an expedition from there to find the mine and bring back samples of ore to be tested for mercury.

Published in: on January 4, 2008 at 12:00 am  Comments (1)  

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  1. […] 5 (December 26, o.s.) Mexico/New Mexico: The Conde de Galve receives Noboa’s letter of the previous day and sends it on to the Junta, the council of his ministers with which he meets to decide on […]

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