October 24 (October 14, o.s.)

New Mexico: The council of El Paso, having just received word of Governor Vargas’s successful reconquest, sends a letter to the viceroy thanking him for having been in charge during the reconquest.  They also ask him for further aid for defense of the frontier and for a copy of the original decree granting privileges to descendants of the first settlers of New Mexico.  Father Joaquín de Hinojosa, the head of the Franciscan order in the province, also sends a letter expressing his thanks to God and the viceroy for the conversion of so many infidels.  He notes that there are only fifteen priests in the province, and that many more will be required for the pastoral care of the newly reconquered lands.

Meanwhile, Governor Vargas leaves his campsite at the destroyed Pueblo of Zia and proceeds with his men to the current Pueblo of Zia, which is atop a steep mesa.  When he gets to the top he finds that the people have set up arches and crosses in accordance with the message he sent to their leader, Antonio Malacate, on September 26.  Most of the people, including Malacate, come out to welcome him.  Vargas greets them warmly and explains through an interpreter that he is only there to pardon them and bring them back to Christianity and Spanish obedience.  After he pardons the people, the priests who are with him grant them absolution and baptize 123 people of all ages and both sexes.

Once the baptisms are complete, Vargas tells the people to return to their original pueblo, which was burned by Governor Domingo Jironza on his 1689 expedition but most of the walls of which are still standing.  They reply that they have everything they need to return except timbers with which to repair the roofs, to which Vargas, particularly anxious that they rebuild the church, responds that they should cut some in the next month.  They say that they have no tools to cut them with, and Vargas tells them to go to the hacienda of Mejía, where the main group of his men is camped, and get a saw there.  They agree to do so.

After this exchange, Malacate requests that Vargas appoint a new governor for Zia, since he is old and ill.  Although Vargas has generally kept the current leaders of the pueblos in their positions, he can clearly see that Malacate is in poor health which prevents him from properly fulfilling the responsibilities of his office, so he agrees to appoint a replacement.  The elders of the pueblo nominate a tall, robust man named Cristóbal and Vargas administers the oath of office to him through an interpreter.  He then departs with his men and marches in the direction of Jemez Pueblo, stopping for the night at a campsite within sight of the abandoned old Pueblo of Jemez.

Published in: on October 24, 2008 at 12:00 am  Comments Off on October 24 (October 14, o.s.)  
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