The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 95, July 1991 - April, 1992

Embattled Borderland: Northern Nuevo Le6n
and the Indios Bdrbaros, 1686-1870
DAVID B. ADAMS*
THE TOWNS OF SAN MIGUEL DE BUSTAMANTE AND SAN ANTONIO VAL-
enzuela lay at peace on the morning of October 5, 1840. Situated
in a fertile cove along the mountainous northwestern edge of the Mexi-
can state of Nuevo Le6n, and separated only by the width of an irriga-
tion ditch that served them both, the twin farming communities de-
rived much of their cash income, in good years, from the sale of their
surpluses to such nearby towns as Villaldama, a somewhat depressed
mining camp six miles to the southeast. Together, Villaldama and its
neighbors occupied the narrow southern end of a thirty-five-mile-long
lowland, the Valle de Santiago, which extended northward to the out-
post of Lampazos at its broad upper extremity. Parallel ranges of rug-
ged mountains, outliers of the Sierra Madre Oriental, defined the val-
ley's eastern and western limits.'
Bustamante, the oldest of the valley settlements, had been founded
in 1686 as San Miguel de Aguayo by a group of Tlaxcalan Indian fami-
lies from San Esteban de la Nueva Tlaxcala, a community located adja-
cent to Saltillo. The founders of San Est6ban had been part of a con-
tingent of about four hundred families recruited in 1591 from the
Tlaxcalan homeland in central Mexico to participate in the conquest of
the Chichimecos, the hunter-gatherers who inhabited New Spain's vast,
*David B Adams is an associate professor of Latin American history at Southwest Missouri
State University. His teaching interests include the northern borderlands of colonial Mexico
and the Mexican Revolution of 191o He is currently continuing his research concerning the
Tlaxcalan communities of Nuevo Le6n and Coaihula as well as those established in San Luis
Potosi and elsewhere in the colonial Mexican North
'See Archivo Municipal de Villaldama, Nuevo Le6n, Documentos Judiciales y Certihcados
(cited hereafter as AMV/DJC), vol. io, exp [edientc] o (reel 670o), f [ola] 158, for the details of
a survey of the two communities in 1826, AMV/Documentos Diversos (cited hereafter as
AMV/DD), vol. 3, exp 37 (reel 6yo), f 2r. Material in these and other municipal and parish
archives in Nuevo Le6n has been microhlmed by the Fondo de l)ocumcntaci6n para la Historia
del Noreste de Mexico, a subdivision of the Biblioteca del Instituto "Iecnol6gico y de Estudios
Supei ioles de Monterrey. Copies of this microflm are on file in the Maddux Library, Trinity
University, San Antonio, 'Iexas Relevant citations include the file numbe s of the microfilm
reels consulted For the general and specific locations of these settlements, see the map on
p. 207

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 95, July 1991 - April, 1992. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117153/. Accessed December 26, 2014.