Marc Simmons: Tribes, Spanish united against threat
"To readers of colonial New Mexico history, the names of Coronado, Espejo, Oñate, Vargas, Escalante and De Anza are quite familiar. Not so another name, that of Gov. Antonio de Valverde (1717-1722) who led a grand expedition against the Comanches and Utes in 1719.

At the beginning of the century, those two allied tribes migrated from the northwest into the Southern Rockies. Their first hostilities against the Spanish and Pueblos occurred in the Taos area in 1704.

A series of small raids followed. Then in July 1719, the Comanches struck hard at Taos and Cochiti pueblos, killing a number of residents.

That awakened Velarde to the serious nature of this new threat. Fueling his concern also were reports that Comanches who supported by Utes were invading the eastern buffalo plains, displacing the Jicarilla Apaches, nominal allies of the Spaniards.

Officers in the Santa Fe presidio warned the governor that an army should be sent against these enemies "to punish them for their grave robberies and atrocities." Valverde agreed.

Coinciding with preparations for launching a punitive expedition, he received a letter from the viceroy in Mexico City, instructing him to investigate rumors that Frenchmen were advancing toward New Mexico from the Mississippi Valley. The governor was also told to give aid to the Jicarilla Apaches, suffering at the hands of Comanches."

Get the Story:
Marc Simmons: Trail Dust: United against a hostile force (The Santa Fe New Mexican 12/6)

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