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Santa Fe - The City Different

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Greetings From Santa Fe,  Vintage Postcard



Vintage photograph of San Francisco Street in Santa FeEstablished in 1607, Santa Fe is the second oldest city founded by European colonists in the United States. Only St. Augustine, Florida, founded in 1565, is older. Built upon the ruins of an abandoned Tanoan Indian village, Santa Fe was the capital of the "Kingdom of New Mexico,” which was claimed for Spain by Coronado in 1540. Its first governor, Don Pedro de Peralta, gave the city its full name, "La Villa Real de la Santa Fe de San Francisco de Asís,"or "The Royal City of the Holy Faith of Saint Francis of Assisi".


San Miguel Chapel in Santa Fe is the oldest church in the United States, constructed around 1610. The Palace of the Governors was built between 1610 and 1612 and is the oldest government building in the country.


During the next 70 years, the Spanish colonists and missionaries sought to subjugate and convert the some 100,000 Pueblo Indians of the region. However, in 1680, the Pueblo Indians revolted, killing almost 400 Spanish colonists and drove the rest back into Mexico. The conquering Indians then burned most of the buildings in Santa Fe except for the Palace of the Governors and the San Miguel Chapel. The Pueblo Indians occupied Santa Fe until 1693, when don Diego de Vargas reestablished Spanish control. Santa Fe remained Spain's provincial seat until 1821, when Mexico won its independence from Spain and the city became the capital of the Mexican territory of Santa Fe de Nuevo México.


When Mexico gained its independence from Spain, Santa Fe became the capital of the province of New Mexico . Trade was no longer restricted as it was under Spanish rule and trappers and traders moved into the region. In 1821 William Becknell opened the 1,000 mile-long Santa Fe Trail bringing hundreds of new settlers to the area.


On August 18, 1846, during the early period of the Mexican American War, an American army general, Stephen Watts Kearny, took Santa Fe and raised the American flag over the Plaza. Two years later in 1848, Mexico signed the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ceding New Mexico and California to the United States.




For 27 days in March and April of 1862, the Confederate flag of Brigadier General Henry H. Sibley flew over Santa Fe until he was defeated by Union troops. With the arrival of the telegraph in 1868 and the coming of the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe Railroad in 1880, Santa Fe and New Mexico underwent an economic revolution. Corruption in government, however, accompanied the growth, and President Rutherford B. Hayes appointed Lew Wallace as a territorial governor to "clean up New Mexico ." Wallace did such a good job that Billy the Kid threatened to come up to Santa Fe and kill him. New Mexico gained statehood in 1912, with Santa Fe remaining as the Capitol City.


Though not everyone knows it, Route 66 went though Santa Fe during its early years. Following the Old Pecos Trail from Santa Rosa, the path wound through Delia, Romeroville and Pecos on its way to Santa Fe.


Beyond the capitol, the Mother Road continued on a particularly nasty stretch down La Bajada Hill toward Albuquerque. One of the most challenging sections of Route 66, the 500 foot drop along narrow switch backs struck terror in the hearts of many early travelers, so much so that locals were often hired to drive vehicles down the steep slope. Although plans were that Santa Fe would continue to stay on the route of the Mother Road, it was not to be, due to political maneuverings of the New Mexico Governor in 1937.


Continued Next Page


San Miguel Mission, Santa fe, New Mexico

The San Miguel Church is the oldest church in the U.S. June, 2006, Kathy Weiser-Alexander.

This image available for photographic prints and downloads HERE!


San Miguel Mission, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 1888

San Miguel Mission in 1888.

This image available for photographic prints and downloads HERE!



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