Página mantenida por Joseba Abaitua. Dirección de contacto: abaitua@fil.deusto.es. Julio 1998.


0. The Milagro Beanfield War

:18 Bunny Ortega, Bruce Maés, and the new man replacing Bernardo Medina (who had also died), Gilbert Otero, smiled sadly but with much sympathy when Sally and Ricardo accompanied the body to the Ortega Funeral Home in Chamisaville.

"Well, well," Bunny said solicitously. "So the old man finally passed away."

"No-no-no," Sally sobbed. "This is my brother ... his son!..."

"Ai, Chihuahua!"

And there it was, two years later more or less, and Joe Mondragón had precipitated a crisis, and Amarante Córdova had never been so excited in his life.

Bunny Ortega, Bruce Maés y el hombre que remplazaba a Bernardo Medina (también muerto), Gilbert Otero, sonrieron con amargura condoliendo a Sally y Ricardo mientras acompañaban el cuerpo de Ortega al tanatorio de Chamisaville.

"Así que" se apresuró a decir Bunny "el viejecito ha muerto al fin."

"No, no," balbuceó Sally "este es mi hermano... ¡su hijo!

¡Ay Chihuahua!

Y allí estaba unos dos años más tarde; Joe Mondragón había provocado la crisis y Amarante Córdoba nunca en su vida había estado tan excitado.

1. Río Grande

:25 One major river which traverses the Chihuhuan Desert and delivers water year-round to the sea is the Rio Grande, whose water is primarily derived from the Rocky Mountains, and whose remaining water, after man has taken a heavy toll for his use, is finally derived to the Gulf of Mexico. El Río Grande es uno de los principales cauces que atraviesan el Desierto de Chihuahua, transportando abundante agua todo el año. Este río nace en las Montañas Rocosas y vierte sus aguas sobrantes, tras el gravoso peaje al que le somete la acción humana, en el Golfo de México.

2. El Desierto

If you include both de Mexican and U.S.portions of the Chihuahuan Desert, it is the alargest of the four deserts in North America, occupying 175,000 square miles.

In the U.S., the Chihuahan Desert occurs as a band across west Texas and has four fingerlike projections reaching into New Mexico (one of which covers the valleys from Las Cruces to north of Socorro). The Chihuahan Desert is a high elevation desert with long, hot summers and cool winters. Most precipitation (7 to 12 inches per year) is received in the later summer by intense and fast thunderstorms.

Si se toman juntas las dos porciones de México y EEUU, el Desierto de Chihuahua es el más extenso de los cuatro desiertos de Norte América, ocupando 260.000 Km. cuadrados.

En los EEUU, este desierto se extiende como una banda por el oeste de Texas, entrando por Nuevo México ramificado en cuatro proyecciones (una de las cuales recorre la ribera de Las Cruces hasta el norte de Socorro). El Desierto de Chihuahua es una acusada elevación con largos y calurosos veranos y fríos inviernos. La mayor parte de las precipitaciones (de 21 a 39 cm. al año) se producen al final del verano con breves pero intensas tormentas.

:30 The Great Basin, Mohave, Sonoran large sweep of desert is separated from the Chihuahan Desert by desert grassland on the very low elevations of the southern U.S. Continental Divide in eastern Arizona and western New Mexico, and increased elevations to the south in Mexico. The Chihuahuan Desert emcompasses a small potion of southern New Mexico and a part of western Texas; it then extends far south into Mexico through eastern Chihuaha, over most of Coahuila, then into eastern Durango, northen Zacatecas, western Nuevo León, and northen San Luis Potosí. Small detached areas of Chihuaha Desert also occur further south in the states of Hidalgo and Puebla.

La extensa área?? desértica del Gran Cauce??, Mohave y Sonora están separadas del Desierto de Chihuahua por zonas de pastizales de desierto?? en las bajas elevaciones de la parte meridional de la división de aguas continental de los EEUU al este de Arizona y oeste de Nuevo México, y en las elevaciones más altas de México por el sur. El desierto de Chihuahua comprende una pequeña porción del sur de Nuevo México y del este de Texas; por el sur se extiende ampliamente por México abarcando el este de Chiuhahua, la mayor parte de Coahuila, el este de Durango, la parte norte de Zacatecas, el oeste de Nuevo León y norte de San Luis de Potosí. El desierto se prolonga de manera interrumpida por regiones más al sur en los estados de Hidalgo y Puebla.

3. From Paleozoic to Pleistocene

1: During the first part of the Paleozoic era (570 to 245 million years ago), much of New Mexico was submerged beneath a shallow sea. Toward the end of that era, during the Permian period, New Mexico's first mountains rose up from flat seabed, which explains the occurrence of marine fossils in the state's high country, as well as in the sondstone and limestone formations of the desert. Shoutheastern New Mexico's Permian Basin, once a vast inland sea, contains large deposits of salt, gypsum, and potash, and its perimeters are marked by mountains rangers that were at one time huge organic underwater reefs.

By the Mesozoic era (245 to 65 million years ago), New Mexico was a tropical swampland, and throughout that era's three periods -the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous- dinosaurs sloshed through the increasing vegetation, and the waters teemed with fish, turtles, and other marinefile.

The Cenozoic era (beginning 65 million years ago) brought the beginning of the landscape we see today. The inland seas had receded, leaving a thin crust of earth which over the next 60 million years heaved and uplifted, forming great mountain ranges. Volcanic activity throughout the state, but particularly in the northeast, further disrupted the earth's surface.

By the beginning of the Pliocene epoch, about 5 million years ago, New Mexico was a land of lakes, rivers, and marshes, and large mammals, such as elephants and camels, roamed the grasslands. Tiny prehistoric horses also wandered the plains.

Off and on during the Pleistocene epoch, starting less than 2 million years ago, much of northern New Mexico was covered by giant glaciers, at times reaching as far south as Ruidoso. Finally, the ice receded for good, and perhaps as early as 20,000 years ago, humans first appeared in New Mexico. Nomadic hunters, most likely still on route south after having crossed over from Asia, tracked mammoths, mastodons, ground sloths, and antelope across the eastern New Mexico plains.

4. Los cuatro desiertos de Norte América

:29 Desert boundaries bear little or no relationship to political boundaries, and often only partial relationship to geographical features. Shreve therefore delineated the North American desert into four individual deserts -the Great Basin, the Mohave, the Sonoran, and the Chihuahan- based on their distinctive vegetation. Shreve further subdivided the Sonoran into seven vegetational subdivisions.

Los lindes de los desiertos tienen poca o ninguna relación con las fronteras políticas y muchas veces solo una relación parcial con los contornos geográficos. S??? deslindó el desierto de Norte América en cuatro desiertos diferentes -El Gran Cauce, Mohave, Sonora y Chihuaha- distinguibles sobre todo por su singular vegetación. S??? además ha subdividido el desierto de Sonora en otras siete regiones.

A small discontinous portion of desert country exists in the Columbian River Basin in eastern Washington State. Desert country flows southward from central and eastern Oregon and southern Idaho, covering almost all of Nevada and much of Utah, extends an arm into Wyoming, touches western Colorado, then covers southeastern California and portions of northen, and much of central, southern, and western Arizona. It covers much of the Lower, or Baja, California Peninsula and most of the northern Mexican state of Sonora. The most northern region of this desert country constitutes the Great Basin Desert. The Mohave is located primarily in southeastern California, entering the southern tip of Nevada and touching western Arizona. The Sonoran sections lie in southern Arizona, extreme southeastern California, Baja California, and Sonora.

Una pequeña porción discontinua de desierto dicurre por el Cauce del Río Columbia, al este del Estado de Washington. El desierto continúa hacia el sur por la parte central y oriental de Oregón y por la meridional de Idaho, ocupando casi toda Nevada y parte de Utah, se ramifica hacia Wyoming, llega hasta el oeste de Colorado, penetra por el suroeste de California y parte del norte, centro, sur y oeste de Arizona. Abarca gran parte de la península de Baja California y la mayor parte del estado septentrional mexicano de Sonora. La parte más septentrional de esta gran área desértica la ocupa el Desierto del Gran Cauce. El desierto de Mohave está situado en el suroeste de California, penetra por el extremo sur de Nevada y roza el oeste de Arizona. El de Sonora ocupa el sur de Arizona, el suroeste de California, Baja California y Sonora.

5. Flora & Fauna

6. Historia

Thanks in part to several early-20th-century discoveries in the Southwest, modern anthropological theory now holds that the first humans most likely passed through the New Mexico area at least 20,000 years ago on the way south after having crossed from Asia.

Tools found in a cave in the Sandia Montains, just north of Albuquerque, suggest people were living in, or at least passing through, some 12,000 years ago.

Folsom Man wandered in large numbers throughout the area 10,000 years ago. Blackwater Draw near Clovis, one of the richest archaeological sites in the country, has provided evidence that these primitive hunters once stalked giant ground sloths, three-toed horses, woolly mammoths, mastodons, pronghorn, and deer. Another type of spearhead -the Clovis point- has also been discovered at Blackwater, suggesting nomads were in this area perhaps 2,000 years before Folsom Man.

Early Rio Grande Civilizations

2,000 years ago Indians were farming the banks of the Rio Grande from Socorro to Abuquerque. Using techniques that had spread north from Mexico and Central America, they farmed corn, beans, and squash, made baskets, and lived in primitive shelters along the river's shores. So fertile was this land and so successful were early farmers that scientists believe the area actually experienced overcrowding.

Eventually, some of the Indians left the river area. By A.D. 800, splinter groups had begun to build pit houses and estabish small communities on both sides of the Rio Grande- communities that would later develop into the highly sophisticated pueblo civilizations. Ancestors of the Indians who built Abo, Gran Quivira, and Quarai pueblos east of the river most likely were refugees from Rio Grande.


Although anthropologists also refer to the early Rio Grande farmers as Anasazi (of the Basketmaker period), the term is most often used to describe the Indians who thrived in the Four Corners area from about A.D. 800 to 1300. The Anasazi (a Navajo word best translated as "Enemies of Our Ancestors") were a peaceful people -farmers an potters- and highly religious. Their huge adobe and stone pueblos are thought today to have been culture and trade centers, and evidence suggest that they traded with other native peoples as far west as the Pacific Ocean and south deep into Mexico.

Their pueblos -three and four-story apartment style buildings- often contained up to 400 rooms, some of which were living quarters, some of which were used to store grain. Also characteristic of the pueblos were kivas (ceremonial meeting places), built partially underground and round to symbolize the womb of Mother Earth.

The largest of these ancient "cities" exists in ruins at Chaco Culture National Historic Park about midway between Gallup and Farmington. Ruins of large Anasazi pueblos are also found near Aztec, northeast of Farmington, and at Bandelier National Monument just south of Los Alamos. In addition, thousands of smaller Anasazi ruins are scattered about the Four Corners area of the Colorado Plateau.

By the end of the 13th century, the Anasazi pueblos had all been abandoned. The exodus have been attributed to drought, overcrowding, disease, and even raids by newcomers (the arrival of the Apache and Navajo loosely coincides wit abandonment of the pueblos), although no one knows for sure just what drove the Anasazi form their great cities. It is generally assumed, though, that they filtered southeast toward the Rio Grande and that they were the ancestors of the Pueblo Indians whom Coronado encountered when he arrived in New Mexico in 1540. Today's Acoma, Zuñi, Sandia, Jemez, Taos, and other Pueblo tribes are most likely descendants of the great Anasazi culture.

Spanish conquest

Althogh Francisco Vásquez de Coronado is generally credited with being the first European to arrive in New Mexico, as well as with bringing the horse to the New World, his visit was actually preceded by other Spaniards 13 years earlier. In 1527 a Spanish ship sank off the coast of Florida (some sources say Texas), and four survivors spent nine years traveling west across the continent. They eventually reached the Gulf of California and then headed south, until they arrived in the village of Culiacán. There they told stories of what they had seen (or heard about, or imagined): seven huge cities whose houses were made of turquoise and gold, the Seven Cities of Cibola.

Antonio de Mendoza, the viceroy of New Spain (as Mexico was called until 1821, when it became independent), was intrigued with the stories and promptly dispatched an exploring party to head north and verify them. The group was led by Fray Marcos de Niza, a missionary who'd previously guided expeditions to Central and South America. In 1539 Niza arrived at Hawikuh (one of the Zuñi pueblos), erected a cross, and claimed the land for Spain. Still thinking the adobe pueblos were the fabled golden cities of Cibola, the Spaniards began almost immediately to make plans to conquer the Indians. The first step was to send an army: Coronado would be its leader, de Niza its guide.

In winter of 1540, Coronado led some 300 soldiers, 225 of them on horseback, up from Compostela. The troops consisted not only of Spaniards but of Portuguese, Italians and even a Frenchman, a German, and a Scot. In July, the army arrived at Hawikuh and, though it was clear the adobe pueblo was no golden city, they attacked the Zuñis, who surrendered to the armored soldiers.

Coronado and his men soon headed east. They approached Tiguex Pueblo, on the Rio Grande near present-day Bernalillo, in September and quickly subjugated the defenseless Indians. The men spent the winter of 1540-41 on the Rio Grande. In April, the army left Tiguex for Quivira, another city they had heard about, stopping en route at Pecos Pueblo, just east of present day Santa Fe. Finally, after marching east for nearly 40 days, they began to think the golden cities might not really exist. They returned to Tiguex, and in April 1542 headed south for New Spain, or Mexico.

In 1598 the government of New Spain endorsed a colonizing party to New Mexico. In January of that year, Don Juan de Oñate led a group of 400 soldiers, priests, and settlers, as well as cattle and horses, up the Rio Grande, claiming the land for Spain as he went. In July he arrived at San Juan Pueblo, near the confluence of the Rio Chama and Rio Grande, where he set up headquarters, proclaimed himself first governor of New Mexico.

In October a small contingent traveled west to Acoma, Zuñi, and Hopi country. In December Oñate was attacked by Acoma Indians, who killed 13 Spaniards, including Juan de Zaldivar, Oñate's nephew and lieutenant. In retaliation, the Spaniards killed thousands of Acomas.

In 1607 Oñate resigned as governor of New Mexico and returned to Mexico City, where he was charged with mistreating the natives and not respecting his own men, particularly the expedition's priests. In 1608, Oñate's resignation was accepted, and he was fined and banned from New Mexico for good.

In 1607 Don Pedro de Peralta was appointed governor of New Mexico, and in the spring of that year he moved the Spaniard's headquarters south and began work on La Villa Real de la Santa Fe de San Francisco de Asis. Over the next 70 years, the Spaniards continued to colonize New Mexico, baptizing Indians and building missions at the pueblos. The Indians took to Cristianity in varying degrees. By the middle of the 17th century, although thousands of Indians had been converted, there had also been much resistance and several bloody battles.

The Pueblo Revolt

By the 1670s, the Pueblo people were growing increasingly angry with Spaniards' presence on their land. The Sapaniards burned kivas, destroyed ceremonial objects, and in 1675 flogged nearly 50 Pueblo religious leaders for practicing "witchcraft". One of the flogged Pueblo Indians was Popé, a member of the San Juan tribe, who after his punishment fled north to Taos. There he worked to organize other Pueblo leaders and tribes in a sophisticated rebellion against the Spanish. In August 1680 a group of runners -with knotted ropes signifying the exact day of the revolt- notified the various pueblos that the time had come. Originally scheduled for August 13, the rebellion was moved up to August 10, the day of the Feast of San Lorenzo, after the Indias realized the Spaniards had learned of the revolt.

Collectivelly, the northern Pueblo tribes rose up and fought their conquerers. They burned missions, destroyed crops, and killed priests, farmers, and entire families, finally driving survivors to Santa Fe, which lay under siege for nine days. On August 21, the Spaniards made their break. As the rebelling Indians watched from mesas and hillsides, about a thousand Spaniards headed dwonriver toward El Paso.

Between 1688 and 1692, several groups of Spanish missionaries attempted to reclaim New Mexico from the crown. In 1692 Don Diego de Vargas, the wealthy new governor and capitan-general of New Mexico marched up the Rio Grande from El Paso and easily reconquered the first Indians he encountered. On September 13, after passing many burned and abandoned pueblos, de Vegas gathered his army outside the walls of Santa Fe and convinced the Indians inside to pledge their loyalty to Spain. However, the other pueblos still had to be reconquered.

For the next four years, de Vargas attacked New Mexico's northern pueblos one by one. The Jemez people were very distrustful of the returning Spanish and fought hard against reconquest. Zia and Santa Ana pueblos, on the other hand, quickly submitted to the Vargas and actually joined in battles against the Jemez. Finally in summer of 1696 all the pueblos had been reconquered.

Spanish Colonial Period

New Mexico remained under Spanish rule for the next 125 years, the Spaniards gradually populating more and more of the Rio Grande Valley between Taos and Isleta. Though the Pueblo Indias had been pretty much subjugated, the Comanches, Apaches, and Navajos began an aggressive series of raids -on the Spanish and their converts.

In September 1821 Mexico won its independence from Spain, and the first week of 1822 saw great celebrations from Mexico City to Santa Fe, by then home to 6,000 people. Almost immediately, the United States and New Mexico began vigorous trading, with pack trains departing regularly from Missouri for Santa Fe.

Between 1821 and the late 1870s, Santa Fe continued to grow and develop, thanks to the bustling Santa Fe Trail.

The U.S. declared war on Mexico on May 13, 1846. In June, General Stephen Watts Keamy advanced on Santa Fe, and although the governor, Manuel Armijo, had assembledme 6,000 troops, his army fled before Kearny even arrived the capital. On August 18, 1846, Kearny entered Santa Fe, raised the United State's flag in the central plaza, and offered protection to the New Mexicans as long as they swore allegiance to the new government. On May 30, 1848, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed, which ceded to the U.S. a large chunk of land running from Texas west to California, including northern New Mexico. Five years later, the $10 million Gadsden Purchase added to American lands a large chunk of southern New Mexico and Arizona.

The Long Walk

U.S. troops led by Kit Carson destroyed the homes, crops, and livestock of "uncoperative" Navajos, murdered those who wouldn't submit to them, and forced the starving survivors -mostly Navajos, but some Mescalero Apaches as well- to walk nearly 300 miles from the Gallup area to Bosque Redondo near Fort Summer, where they could be "concentrated". The Long Walk began in March 1864, and by the end of that year some 8,000 Indians were imprisioned along the Pecos River on the harsh prairieland of northeastern New Mexico. In 1868, the Navajos signed a treaty granting them the land they now occupy in the Four Corners area, the largest Indian reservation in the U.S.

Meanwhile, the Apaches, led by Geronimo, were waging war against the the encroaching Anglo settlers. In 1886, Geronimo was promised a reservation but instead his people were put on a train for Florida, where many died imprisioned in a federal fort. Finally, Geronimo was returned to Fort Still, Oklakoma, where he was put on exhibit. He died there in 1909.