Posts Tagged With: Spanish

Utah…Lost Treasure…The Lost House Range Placers…

The Lost House Range Placers….

The explorers and surveyors of the American West are an august company that includes the great Lewis and Clark as well as a host of other renowned pathfinders. Men like Fremont, Long, Stansbury, Pike, Abert, and Beale opened up the west as surely as the mountain men who preceded them and the sutlers and traders who followed them. One of the most promising of these early explorers and surveyors was an Army engineer and West Point graduate named John W. Gunnison.

The idea of an intercontinental railroad stretching from coast to coast was not new in 1853. Fremont’s expeditions during the 1840’s were focused on finding the best route through the mountains for a railroad. In 1853, when an expedition was mounted to survey the west-central portion of Utah, John Gunnison was a natural choice to lead the party. His credentials were impeccable. He had cut his teeth as a surveyor for the Stansbury Expedition in 1849 and he knew the central Utah area well. Gunnison assumed command of the party, which included two survivors from Fremont’s disastrous fourth expedition of 1848, Richard Kern and Frederick Creutzfeldt. Kern was the expedition’s artist and topographer while Creutzfeldt served as botanist. The Gunnison expedition entered Utah Territory in the fall of 1853, passing through the town of Manti on its way to Fillmore. From Fillmore, the party traveled west, reaching the Gunnison Bend of the Sevier River, southwest of present-day Delta. To the west, Gunnison could see the wrinkled peaks of the House Range rising up from the Sevier Valley. To the southwest, he could see the meandering course of the Sevier River as it disappeared toward Sevier Lake. This was a good place. They made camp.

The following morning, the Gunnison Expedition awoke to the sounds of war cries and rifle shots. The end had come. A band of 30 or so Pahvant Indians descended upon the hapless explorers, killing all but four of the party. The dead included the leader, John Gunnison, and the two veterans from Fremont’s expedition, Kern and Creutzfeldt.

As he gazed westward the evening before the massacre, Gunnison may have been contemplating a route through the House Range into the Tule Valley beyond. The House Range stretches some 60 miles in a north-south direction and forms the western boundary of Sevier Valley. It extends from Sand Pass southward to the Wah-Wah Valley. Along its entire length the range is no more than 10 miles wide. House Range is transected by three major passes. Dome Canyon Pass is the northernmost pass, Marjum Canyon lies eight miles to the south, and Skull Rock Pass, south of Sawtooth Mountain, forms the southernmost and main portal through the range.

The House Range still holds many secrets. Prospectors have roamed these mountains for over two centuries. Evidence of early Spanish mining activity still occasionally surfaces. Caches of old Spanish tools and mining equipment have been discovered in the central part of the range, near the only major gold-producing area in the entire county.

Millard County has never been a major producer of gold. Only 500 ounces are officially recorded for the county. Most of this production hails from the small placer deposits of the House Range. Located in North Canyon and Miller Canyon, the gold placers were worked extensively during the 1930’s. Surely more than 500 ounces of gold were taken from the two canyons during the depression years, not to mention the efforts of the early Spaniards in the area. One story in particular has come down to us regarding an incredibly rich placer deposit somewhere in the House Range. In a single transaction, the discoverer of this placer sold more than 300 ounces of gold – 60% of the total recorded production for the entire county! The discovery occurred sometime during the late 1930’s. A Mexican sheepherder working in the House Range stumbled upon a glory hole of placer gold somewhere on the slopes of the mountains. The deposit must have been rich for the Mexican turned up in the nearby town of Delta with several sacks of fine gold dust. On one of his visits, the sheepherder sold more than 20 pounds of gold to a local doctor. Of course, the Mexican never revealed the location of his find and soon dropped out of sight. He was never seen again. Prospectors have searched the House Range for many years but the Mexican’s lost placer remains hidden to this day.

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Origin of ‘Spanish Armor,’ Said to Have Been Found in Texas Desert, Stumps Scientists…..

It seems to have passed through more hands than The Maltese Falcon. And it’s proving to be nearly as mysterious.

Two pieces of iron armor — reportedly first found in the desert of West Texas about 150 years ago — have recently been analyzed by scientists in Nebraska, where the artifacts have been sitting for decades in museum storage.

Archaeologists have been able to determine that some of the armor’s components are at least 200 years old, but details about who made it, who wore it, and where exactly it came from remain a total mystery.

“I don’t know where this thing came from,” said Dr. Peter Bleed, a University of Nebraska archaeologist who led the study.

“I hope researchers will look for more evidence about this.”

Bleed supervised two anthropology students at the University of Nebraska — Lindsay Long and Jessica Long, who are now graduate students at other institutions — in their investigation of the armor as a research project.

The Nebraska History Museum acquired the armor in 1990, consisting of a black helmet and a neck covering called a gorget, made of a cotton twill backing covered with small iron scales.

The gorget of the Bourke armor consists of cotton twill backing covered in iron scales. The wooden crosspiece was added by Capt. Bourke so he could mount it on the wall as a conversation piece. (Photo courtesy Bleed et al., used with permission)

But despite its storied past, the artifact — and the lore that came with it — had never been thoroughly studied.

“I thought the armor itself deserved to be documented, in part because it had been in a private collection since the 1890s,” Bleed said.

The few records of the armor that exist came from U.S. cavalry officer and anthropologist Capt. John Gregory Bourke, who was given the gorget, helmet, and a breast- and backplate in 1870, from an army doctor who claimed to have found them “enclosing the bones of a man in the arid country between the waters of the Rio Grande and the Pecos.”

Bourke took the armor with him from post to post throughout the West during his career, losing the breast and backplates to thieves in Arizona along the way.

But before his death in 1896, Bourke gave the helmet and gorget to a judge’s wife in Nebraska, and by the early 20th century, it was in the possession of an Omaha attorney, in whose family it remained until it was donated to a museum in 1961, and then to the state historical society.

The Bourke armor helmet (Courtesy Bleed et al., used with permission)

One of the first questions that Bleed and the Longs wanted to tackle was Bourke’s assertion, made in his journals, that the armor belonged to “a Spanish foot-soldier of the sixteenth century.”

Historical records describe the equipment used by Spanish soldiers at that time, but the team found that it included little armor, the Spanish instead having used mostly padded leather or shirts of chain mail.

“It just is not very much like armor known to have been used by colonial Spanish forces,” Bleed said of Bourke’s armor of iron scales.

“The Spanish apparently had some [chain] mail, but the idea of taking a fabric and attaching little fish scales to it, this is not something they did.”

However, the possibility that Bourke’s armor was not Spanish didn’t mean that it may not still be very old.

Radiocarbon dating of the cotton backing of the gorget showed that the fabric dated to between 1660 and 1950 — a broad range, but one that suggests that the armor could have been nearly 200 years old when Bourke received it.

Still more clues were found at an even higher level of detail: in the microscopic structure of the iron scales themselves.

The team submitted one of the gorget’s shield-shaped scales to the metallurgy lab at the University of Arizona.

There, analysis revealed that the iron in the armor contained unusually high amount of slag — impurities like clay, quartz, and other non-metallic rock.

This high slag content is the signature of an early smelting process known as bloomery, and it’s further evidence of the armor’s age, the team said.

Bloomery was obsolete in the U.S. and Europe by the early 1800s, having been replaced by more refined smelting techniques. So the amount of bloomery iron being produced in the U.S. and Europe was “minuscule” by the middle of the nineteenth century, the team noted.

“If the bloomery iron in the Bourke scale armor was imported from Europe, then at least the iron almost certainly arrived prior to the early 1800s,” they write in journal Plains Anthropologist, where they describe their findings.

The researchers also considered another noteworthy material in the armor: the cotton.

A rear view of the gorget shows the cotton twill backing. (Photo courtesy Bleed et al., used with permission)

“I was surprised that there was a lot of cotton in the armor along with pre-blast furnace, or bloomery, iron in the armor,” Bleed said.

“People tend to think of cotton as something that got big after the gin and that is often treated as a 1830s, 1840s development.

“But by that time, bloomery iron was not being produced – at least in Europe and the U.S.

“That makes the combination of material somewhat surprising.”

A few variables remain, he added, which could still explain the provenance of the armor.

Little is known about manufacturing practices in Mexico in the early 1800s, for example, and whether bloomery iron became as scarce there as it did in the U.S. and Europe.

“We know very little about industrial production in Mexico, so I suppose it might have been made in Mexico,” Bleed said.

Another alternative, he posited, is that the Bourke armor wasn’t military armor at all.

The use of iron scales like those in the Bourke gorget are not found in European armor after the 1400s, Bleed said.

Nearly the only place they appear in 19th century material culture is in costumes, like those used in plays and operas, or as ritual dress for fraternal organizations, like the Freemasons.

That, to Bleed, may be the most likely origin of the armor — although operas and fraternal organizations were presumably rare to non-existent in West Texas in the pre-1800s, when the iron seems to have been smelted.

“I still think that it could be fraternal ritual costumery, but the iron seems too old,” he said.

“I can’t explain it.”


As for the tale that the armor was found on a skeleton, Bleed added, “It also does not look like it was buried, especially with a body. The story just seems apocryphal.”

If nothing else, the researchers were able to determine that the Bourke armor was made centuries ago, and likely very far from where it was found.

And this offers its own share of insights into how exotic goods moved around the Great Plains of the mid-19th century.

“This is a complex and well-made item, the kind of artifact that shows frontier trade to be more complex than people might have suspected,” Bleed said.

“Wherever it was made, I assume that it was traded to the Plains through the fur trade,” he added.

“It shows that the frontier trade really was international and capable supplying a wide range of stuff.

“If folks wanted armor, frontier traders would get it for them.

“The Plains were not isolated – or poor.”

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The Secret City of Paititi and the Lost Treasure

Most people have heard the story of El Dorado, a city full of gold lost somewhere in the rainforests of South America. In fact, El Dorado is actually a legend about a Muisca Chieftain (the Golden One) who would cover himself with gold dust before certain religious ceremonies. The real City of Gold is Paititi. In brief, the Spanish had been at war with the Incas of Peru for nearly forty years and the Incas had retreated to Vilcabamba Valley where they held off the invaders until 1572. When the Spanish conquered the Incas they found the city largely deserted. It appeared as if the Incas had fled to a new location in the rainforests of southern Brazil taking their vast treasure of gold with them. The new city was never found nor was the gold and eventually the story was relegated to the status of a myth. However, in 2009 satellite photos of deforested areas of the Boco do Acre region of Brazil have revealed that there were once vast settlements. These can be clearly seen on Google Earth and have forced historians and archaeologists to review their thinking. It now seems possible once again that Paititi really did exist and hidden within it is a potential hoard of lost Inca gold.
Treasure: Lost City and Gold of Paititi
Lost: 1572
Current Estimated Value: $10,000,000,000
Contents: Incan gold & artifacts, gold bars, jewellery, etc.

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Hiding in plain sight: How invisibility saved New Mexico’s Jicarilla Apache…

A nomadic tribe pushed into New Mexico by frontier settlement, the Jicarilla slipped off the radar and became the last tribe to avoid forced settlement onto an American Indian reservation

North America’s Jicarilla Apache tribe cloaked themselves in trade, diplomacy, and intermarriage and nearly escaped incarceration on an American Indian reservation. How they did it has been a mystery of the historical American Southwest – until now.

“In some ways, the Jicarilla still remain invisible,” according to anthropologist B. Sunday Eiselt at Southern Methodist University, Dallas.

The Jicarilla Apache, an amalgamation of nomadic tribes that in the 18th century migrated off the plains and settled in the northern Rio Grande of New Mexico, were accustomed to armed resistance, guerrilla tactics and inter-tribal warfare.

They fought alongside the Pueblo Indians in the Revolt of 1680 and later resisted Comanche raiders, sometimes as contract fighters and security guards for the Spanish and American trade caravans. Then quietly, deliberately and peacefully they slipped off the radar of Spanish colonization and U.S. Manifest Destiny until 1888, when the Jicarilla became the last Native American tribe forcibly settled on a reservation.

Invisibility was no accident, rather a strategy for survival

“This was not an accident of history,” says Eiselt. The Apache, particularly the Jicarilla, were experts at invisibility — not just physically, but also socially and economically. For example, Jicarilla warriors on raids would paint themselves during the journey to the plains with white clay to avoid detection by their enemies.

The protocol beckoned supernatural or spiritual protections to bring the warriors home safely. Just as white clay was a warrior strategy for self-preservation, it stands as a metaphor for the primary message of the book.

“By ‘becoming white clay’ in their social and economic dealings,” Eiselt contends, “the Jicarilla turned the tables on non-Indian expansion and disappeared into the cultural fabric of the Southwest’s Pueblo colonies as other Native Americans were being forced onto reservations.” The Jicarilla, without firing a shot, not only avoided confinement and even extermination for nearly two centuries, they rescued their culture from extinction.

How did they manage it?

“The Jicarilla essentially colonized the colonies,” says Eiselt, an expert on the Jicarilla. “They became invisible to government authorities because they were always on the move, they intermarried with the Pueblo and Hispanic peoples, and they established long-standing trade with them. They disappeared by becoming essential, an everyday part of the frontier society of New Mexico, which sustained Spanish, Mexican and ultimately U.S. interests.”
Encapsulation of one society within a larger, dominant or more powerful society is a phenomenon known as enclavement. As a strategy it was not new to the ancestors of the Jicarilla. In fact, enclavement may have occurred multiple times as their Athapaskan ancestors migrated from Canada to the American Southwest beginning as early as the 12th century, Eiselt says.

That phenomenon, however, makes the Jicarilla difficult for scholars to study. Unlike Pueblo archaeology and history, the Jicarilla for the most part have existed outside the realm of historical scholarship in spite of their importance to the social fabric and the economy of New Mexican villages after the fall of the Spanish empire.

Today, bases of tipi rings such as the ones Eiselt discovered during field work in the Rio del Oso Valley of New Mexico, are all that remain of historic Jicarilla homes in the archaeological record. Tipi ring stones would have been used to secure the superstructure. Images at

Jicarilla contribution to New Mexico’s history is underappreciated

“Few scholars recognize how significant the Jicarilla contribution was to the survival of the traditional cultures of New Mexico,” says Eiselt, whose new book “Becoming White Clay” (U. of Utah Press, 2012) is a comprehensive study of one of the longest-lived and most successful nomadic ethnic group enclaves in North America. “There hasn’t been a whole lot of research into the Jicarilla, even though they’ve always been there and their contribution to New Mexican history is almost entirely underappreciated.”

Eiselt’s research drew on archaeological investigations, Native American land claims cases, U.S. government agency records, Spanish and Mexican records, oral histories and the tribe’s myths and legends. “Ironically, being invisible is not just how the Jicarilla are, but often how they are ‘seen’ or even missed by scholars of the Southwest,” Eiselt says. The tribe resides today on reservation land in northwestern New Mexico.

“Sunday Eiselt has produced the definitive work on Jicarilla Apache history and archaeology,” says Ronald H. Towner, University of Arizona. “She uses a strong theoretical approach to enclavement and combines history, archaeology and ethnohistory to not only describe past Jicarilla movements and cultural development throughout the Southwest, but to explain how and why Jicarilla social organization at different scales structured that development during times of warfare, removal from traditional lands and economic stress. Eiselt’s scholarship is second-to-none.”

B. Sunday Eiselt is an assistant professor of anthropology at Southern Methodist University and is active in anthropological fieldwork at the SMU Taos campus. She is author or co-author of books and articles on the Jicarilla and Hispanic societies of New Mexico, community-based and engaged approaches in archaeology and ceramic source geochemistry.

“The scholarship is broad, intrinsically sound, and highly significant to the discipline of archaeology today,” says John W. Ives, Institute of Prairie Archaeology and professor of Northern Plains archaeology, University of Alberta. “The author has a fluid, lucid style, making her subject matter readily approachable to both the professional and the interested lay reader.”

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The Spanish and New Mexico…some information

Nearly 100 years before the Pilgrims landed on the eastern coast of the continent to establish the colonies which were to become the United States, the Spanish explorer and Franciscan friar, Marcos de Niza, arrived in the area of Zuni to look for the fabled cities of gold said to exist there. After a journey of more than two months from Mexico, this adventuresome padre reached a point about forty miles south of present-day Gallup, where, on May 23, 1539, he built a large mound of stone with a cross on top, and dedicated the region to Saint Francis. Fray de Niza was overly exuberant in his description of the area he had found and soon sent word back to Mexico that great riches were to be found. In response to this very glowing report, many Spaniards wanted to lead expeditions to explore the northern country to find the Seven Cities of Gold. The first group was led by Francisco Vasquez Coronado who traveled with 300 Spaniards and 800 Indian allies. They arrived at Cibola in July 1540, after traveling for four months from Mexico City. Coronado’s group included Franciscan friars who were instrumental in convincing the native population that the Spaniards were there to bring peace and friendship. Later in the century, the friars accompanied the colonization groups arriving in the territory to begin their evangelization work. Fray Augustin Rodriquez, then at San Bartolome in Mexico, had heard of people living in the north and set about making arrangements to travel to the area. His small group, with two jother friars, started off from Mexico in June 1581, visiting all of the pueblos in the Rio Grande Valley as well as Zuni and Acoma. They systematically examined each pueblo giving an excellent and accurate description of each one. Instead of returning to Mexico, the two friars remained at Puaray Pueblo where they were later martyred.

The Franciscans back in Mexico were concerned about the safety of the friars who were left alone in New Mexico and quickly organized an expedition led by Antonio de Espejo. This group, accompanied by Fray Bernardino Beltran, left Mexico on Nov. 19, 1582, and followed the same route of the previous expedition. After reaching Acoma, they traveled to Cibola, where they found three Christian Indians who had gone there with Coronado. This expedition was well described by the chronicler of the party, Diego Perez de Luxan. Espejo learned about the Hopi country from the natives of Zuni. With a large number of Zuni Indians and three Mexican Indians, he went there and found five pueblos. The Hopis greeted the Spaniards in a friendly and hospitable manner. At Awatobi pueblo, they were given food for their return trip to Zuni. Espejo had gained the good will of the Hopi people. Espejo then visited the village of Acoma and was received kindly there as well.

In 1598, the first colonization expedition was organized under the leadership of Juan de Onate, who was named governor of the new territory. As he traveled through New Mexico, he received the allegiance of the Pueblo Indians. Franciscan friars were assigned to the pueblos along the route, in order to convert the natives to Christianity. Although he had verbal assurance of obedience to the crown, the chief at Acoma planned to trap and kill Onate, but was unsuccessful. The chief was later successful in attacking the nephew of Onate and his company of soldiers, killing all but four. This occurred in 1599. In retaliation, bloody assaults were made by the Spaniards in which hundreds of men were killed. Others were sentenced to having the right foot cut off, followed by twenty years of forced labor. The women and children were also sentenced to a similar period of hard labor. Onate’s expedition then traveled to the first Zuni pueblo, arriving on All Saints Day, 1598. There the natives gave them food. In all the Zuni villages he found crosses being venerated by the Zunis. He then traveled to the Hopi villages, again receiving formal submission and being entertained well by the Hopi. The administration of the Zuni and other pueblos was assigned to Fray Andres Corchado, but no missions were established there at this time. While the colonies were being established, the Franciscan friars organized the Custodia de la Conversion de San Pablo del Nuevo Mexico. The exact date of this is not known, but is thought to be about 1616-1617. It was part of the Provincia de Santo Evangelio de Mexico, with its headquarters at the El Gran Convento in Mexico City. There is no evidence that the Custodia was ever raised to a provincial status. Fray Estevan de Perea was elected the first custodian and served until 1621. He was elected to another term of office at a later time. He and the subsequent ecclesiastical leaders had their headquarters at Santa Fe and were given the rank of Titular Prelate. Following Fray Estevan’s first term, Fray Alonzo de Benavides was appointed custodian. He visited all the pueblos and found that the natives were responding to the evangelization efforts of the friars. He asked for more missionaries to carry on this work. In response to his report of 1626, the King of Spain ordered that 30 more friars be sent to accomplish the work. For many years, all of the Franciscan mission activities in the area had the material support of the King of Spain. It seems he and his advisors regarded this new land valuable only because of the mission work to be done. One visitor to Hopi, Fray Estevan de Perea, wrote of the similarity of the land to Spain. He wrote a glowing report of their well-built homes, their industriousness, and their values.

In 1629, priest arrived at Acoma and Hopi with greatly different welcomes. Based on a report of previous visitors, Fathers Francisco Porras and Andres Gutierrez, along with Brother Cristobal de la Concepcion, expected a warm welcome. They did not know that someone from another pueblo had arrived before them, spreading tales about the friars. The people were told that the friars were arriving to do them harm by burning their homes, stealing their property and killing their children. They were warned not to allow the padres to “sprinkle water” on their heads because it would mean death. Thus, the group found a very cold welcome. They posted guards about their camp, and on the second night after their arrival, they were alerted in time to defend themselves against an armed attack. The Hopis attacked again the next night. The Spaniards ended the attacks by threatening to call an entire army to their defense. The people remained very wary as the friars tried to preach the new faith throughout the village. The people of Awatobi and some of the other villages came to listen. Even though the friars gave them gifts of rattles, beads, hatchets, knives and other objects, their attitude was not softened. They continued to recall the warning they had received from another village. Finally, an incident occurred that changed their attitude. Father Alonzo de Benavides wrote a lengthy report of the incident in 1636, but the incident has never been authenticated by the Church. According to Benavides, Father Francisco had brought with them a cross that had belonged to a Spanish nun of the time, Madre Luisa de Carrion. This cross had a history of apparitions and miraculous conversions. He displayed the cross to the people of Awatobi and told them the story of the Passion and death of our Lord. He failed to gain a favorable response. Meanwhile, the leaders continued encouraging the people to put the priests to death. The presence of the military that accompanied the priests probably prevented the people from carrying out their execution.

One day, a group of Hopi people came to Father Francisco, caring with them a young boy who had been born blind. They offered the priest a choice, either cure the boy’s blindness or be slain. If he could carry out their request, they would consent to conversion. Fray Francisco quickly dropped to his knees and began to pray earnestly while lifting the cross toward heaven. It is reported that he arose, continued praying and placed the cross over the boy’s eyes. Benavides reported that the boy cried out aloud, exclaiming that he could see. The people carried the boy through the streets, telling what had occurred and urging conversion. Following this event, many people were impressed by the power of the priest and his religion and asked for conversion. They regarded the priest and brothers with love and respect. Within four years, missions and visitas were established. The village leaders did not share this respect and enthusiasm for the friars and the new faith they wanted to bring to the village. Their hatred and resentment only deepened. They were angry at losing their position of power and respect from the people and were waiting for an opportunity to gain revenge. They made careful plans and on June 28, 1633, an opportunity presented itself.

Father Francisco was at Walpi for the day, and poison was put into his food. He quickly realized that he had eaten poisoned food and hurried to the mission at Shungopavi where he received last rites from his colleague. He died after reciting the psalm, “Into they hands, Oh Lord, I commend by spirit.”

At Acoma, things proceeded quite differently. What started as hostility changed into love and respect. Although Fray Juan Ramirez was not the first priest assigned to Acoma, he was the first to finally go there. The deep hostility of the people because of the reprisals on them following the attack on Onate’s nephew, Juan Zaldiver, had prevented the previously assigned priests from carrying out their assignments from the Church. Father Juan had just arrived from old Mexico to serve in the new Custodia. He set out alone and on foot for Acoma, carrying only food, a breviary and a cross. In the face of the hostility, he began his journey up the only trail that led to the top of the 357-foot cliff. The people watched his ascent, throwing rocks at him and a few men shot arrows at him, but he continued unharmed. At this point, a little girl plunged over the edge of the cliff, falling 60 feet and landing on a pointed rock. It is not certain what caused the fall, but the people were stunned. He rushed over to where the little girl had fallen and knelt in prayer. Then he picked her up and carried her to the top of the rock. He gave the child to her parents who discovered that she had not even been bruised. None of this occurrence has been proven. The Acoma people allowed him to enter the village, but still retained their hostility. Soon after, they submitted to him as if he was one with supernatural powers. With this change in attitude, he sent about swiftly to carry out the work of V conversion and began plans for a Church to be constructed in the village. The hard work of construction was carried out by the people who seemed to have developed great love and reverence for this gentle friar. The Church was dedicated to San Estevan Rey, whose feast is September 2nd, the day Father Juan was thought to have arrived at the pueblo. It is not known for certain that the present Church at Acoma is the one built by Father Juan and his flock. At the time of the Reconquest, Diego de Vargas visited the pueblo and noted at the time that the only evidence of damage to the structure was broken windows. Other records describe some construction after the Reconquest, but could have been nothing more than ordinary repairs.

In the same year, 1629, Fray Rogue de Figueredo was assigned to the Zuni area where he immediately founded a mission at Hawikuh and called it La Purisima Concepcion. He also founded a mission at Halona and dedicated it to Nuestra Senora de la V Candelaria. Fray Rogue continued his work among the Zuni for three years, converting many natives. His successful work came to an abrupt end when two of his fellow priests were attacked and killed by the natives who had become resentful because of cultural repression and harsh treatment by the conquerors. Fray Francisco Letrado became the first missionary to die for the faith in what is now the Diocese of Gallup. Newly assigned at Zuni, .he went out on Quinquagesima Sunday, February 22, 1632, to urge the people to attend Mass. The first group he met was angered by his reprimand and he quickly became aware that they intended to kill him. He immediately dropped to his knees, a small cross in his hands, and pleaded with them to go to Church. They responded by shooting arrows at him. Shortly before the death of Fray Francisco, Fray Martin de Arvide had stopped by to visit him at Hawikuh, where he prophesied the martyrdom of Fray Francisco, as well as his own. Shortly after, on a visit with Fray Rogue at another Zuni village, he again prophetically stated, “that in a few days he would win the palm of martyrdom.” After he left Zuni to continue his journey to his new assignment, he and his small group stopped to camp for the night. There they were attacked and killed. So, only five days after the death of Fray Francisco, Fray Martin met his fate on V February 27, 1632. Missionary work continued in Zuni for many years and during these years the Zuni villages were under periodic attack from Apache bands in search of food. In 1671, Fray Pedro de Avila y Ayala was assigned to Hawikuh, then considered a dangerous mission because of its vulnerability to Apache attacks. On October 7, 1672, a group of Apaches attacked Hawikuh where Fray Pedro was alone without the protection of his soldiers. He rushed to the Church where he embraced the cross and a statue of the Blessed Mother . The natives responded by dragging him out of the Church. They put him at the foot of the cross in the churchyard and crushed his head with a bell. Following this, they bummed the Church, destroying the sacred ornaments and statues. The next day a fellow priest went to Hawikuh in search of his body. He found it where it had been left, surrounded by more than 200 arrows and stones. He brought the body to Halona and buried it in the Church. The mission at Hawikuh was then abandoned.

In the years leading up to the revolt, the natives were subjected to harsher and harsher treatment at the hands of the Spanish colonists, who continued to put heavy demands on them and tried to suppress all native practices of religion. Frequently, the missionaries were on the side of the Indians, trying to get better treatment for them. Laws affecting the proper treatment of the natives were difficult to enforce because of the great distance from central Mexico. The use of Indian slave labor was common because the Spaniards rationalized that they could Christianize the people more quickly and easily that way. While enforcing the conversion of the people, the Spanish colonists set very poor behavioral examples and the word “Christian” became synonymous with someone who came to kill and plunder them, seize the women and sell them into slavery. THE PUEBLO REVOLT The resentment of the people continued to build up and by 1680, the tolerance of the Indians had ended. A revolt was scheduled for August 13, but because the plot was revealed to two friars, the Indians attacked immediately on August l0th. It was their plan to kill all the Spaniards and completely erase Christianity from their world. The pueblos in the area of the Diocese of Gallup actively participated, carrying out the assignment. Some of the missionaries were killed in the uprising, including four at Hopi. One of them, Fray Jose Trujillo, had previously been assigned in the Philippines. There he had been told that he would realize his desire for martyrdom in the mission field of New Mexico. He arrived at Hopi in 1674. Following his arrival, at some time, he wrote to a friar in Mexico that he had been told that a revolt would occur soon in the area. A young girl there, who supposedly had been cured by the Blessed Virgin, reported that the Lady had told her to warn everyone of the impending attack. Fray Jose was killed during the attack by the local natives at the Church of San Bartolome de Shungopavi. The other three friars who became victims of the Hopi part in the Pueblo Rebellion were Fray Jose de Espeleta, who had been a former custodian and a missionary to the pueblo for more than 30 years, and Fray Augustin de Santa Maria. They were both killed at the mission of San Francisco de Oraibi. Fray Jose de Figueroa, was killed at the mission of San Bemardo de Awatobi. t the same time, Fray Juan de Val was killed in Zuni while he was standing before the altar at the mission of La Purisima Concepcion at Hawikuh. At Acoma, according to their legend, they seized the only friar there at the time, Fray Lucas Maldonado, and threw him off the rock.

After 12 years, Don Diego de Vargas was appointed to regain New Mexico. On his journey north from El Paso, he carried with him the statue of our Lady of the Conquest. In 1625, when Fray Benavides went to New Mexico to visit the priests in his custodia, he brought with him a carved wooden statue of the Virgin Mary in the form of Our Lady of the Assumption. Upon the arrival in Santa Fe he ordered that a chapel be built to house the statue. It remained in Santa Fe under the titles of Our Lady of the Conception and Our Lady of the Rosary until the Pueblo Revolt. During its stay in Santa Fe, the people remembered that the Statue had been brought at the time of the conquest and she became known as La Conquistadora. When the Spaniards fled at the time of the revolt, the statue was taken to El Paso where it remained in a small Church unti11692, when Don Diego de Vargas carried the statue back to Santa Fe with him at the time of the Reconquest. It is still there, housed in a side chapel of adobe in the large stone Cathedral of Saint Francis.

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