Marc Simmons: Spanish governor improved tribal relations

"In 1787, Fernando de la Concha arrived in Santa Fe to assume the governorship. With instructions from the royal government, he made the trip to follow up on the successes of Governor Juan Bautista de Anza, his predecessor, in dealing with hostile Indians.

When Anza took office in 1778, New Mexico was under siege on all sides from raiding war parties. A superior military tactician, Anza inflicted a major defeat on the Comanches, and then drew them, the Utes, Navajos and Jicarilla Apaches into a firm alliance with Spain.

That was quite a trick, since up to this point, each tribe regarded the others as enemies. Now all were united in waging common war with the Spaniards against belligerent Mescalero and Gila Apaches of Southern New Mexico, who continued to wreak havoc upon traffic over the Camino Real.

For each allied tribe, Anza had appointed a single Indian leader with the title of "general" to act as spokesman for his people and to ensure their good conduct.

The governor further cemented the loyalty of his new allies by a yearly distribution of gifts and by allowing them to enter the Spanish towns and Indians pueblos to engage in trade."

Get the Story:
Marc Simmons Trail Dust: Ex-governor improves relations with state Natives (The Santa Fe New Mexican 4/16)

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