The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 94, July 1990 - April, 1991 Page: 140
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Southwestern Hzstorical Quarterly
native resentment of obligatory European acculturation, caused His-
pano survivors to flee from the region, prompting colonial admin-
istrators elsewhere to assess the disaster and its attending losses in lives,
property, and prestige.
Halting at El Paso del Norte, the refugees, led by an alternating chain
of commanders, launched ephemeral campaigns to reconquer the prov-
ince, all of which failed for lack of adequate resources, personnel, and
leadership. After twelve years of embarrassment and humiliation,
crown officials recruited Diego de Vargas, a resident of Madrid who
had not been associated with the catastrophe of 168o, to assume re-
sponsibility for the reoccupation of New Mexico, using El Paso as an
J. Manuel Espinosa, nearly forty-five years ago, attained distinction
as a borderlands scholar with Crusaders of the Rio Grande, an account of
Vargas's reconquest that some historians consider a classic. Now, Es-
pinosa has amplified the scope of his earlier study by analyzing details
of a subsequent Pueblo Revolt of 1696 that seriously threatened Var-
gas's governorship and the lives of Franciscan missionaries and soldier
colonists who followed don Diego into New Mexico.
Focusing on letters missionaries dispatched to, or received from,
Governor Vargas, supplemented by official reports from the provincial
executive to the viceroy of New Spain, Espinosa laboriously translated
and edited a corpulent body of primary materials to illuminate a here-
tofore darkened corner of borderlands history. Aside from the military
perspective, the value of the latest contribution lies in subtle glimpses
of frontier living that occasionally emerged in the voluminous corre-
spondence. For instance, Fray Salvador de San Antonio recalled that he
first heard of Vargas's planned reconquest from a public crier through
the window of his convent in El Paso. Another friar, Juan Alvarez, re-
corded that when Vargas's soldiers raised the royal banner in Santa Fe,
signifying renewal of control, the entire group shouted vivas in honor
of the reigning monarch, Charles II. Next, the Franciscans cleansed the
patio of the plaza with salt water to exorcize and absolve the apostasy
committed in the revolt of 168o.
Other documents disclosed how the severity of the winter of 1694
affected both Indian and Spaniard. Fray Jose Diez praised the converts
in Tesuque who regularly attended religious devotions during the
Christmas season in spite of inclement weather, commenting that it was
"very gratifying to see them coming in the morning through the snow,
almost naked" (p. 115). Finally, there was the delightful commentary of
Fray Jose Garcia Martin of Burgos who volunteered for missionary ser-
vice in Texas and ended up in New Mexico where he woefully com-
plained of the rigors of winter. The Rio Grande, he wrote, "is covered
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 94, July 1990 - April, 1991, periodical, 1991; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101214/m1/164/: accessed April 30, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.