Opinion

Marc Simmons: Spanish official harsh on tribes in New Mexico





Historian Marc Simmons on the crimes of an early Spanish Colonial governor:
Who today knows the name of Diego de Peñalosa? Very few people, I suspect, even though he was one of the more fascinating of New Mexico’s Spanish Colonial governors (1661-1664).

After serving in several minor government jobs, he was given the post of governor of New Mexico. That was not exactly a plum. New Mexico in those days was poor, thinly populated and uncomfortable.

With an escort, Peñalosa traveled up the Camino Real to assume his new job. At El Paso, he was met by citizens from the north who accompanied him to Santa Fe, which he reached in August of 1661.

The capital was then a bleak place, and Don Diego decided to spend his term feathering his own nest. Among other crimes, he enslaved scores of Apaches and marched them off to Chihuahua and Sonora to be sold in the mines. And he illegally squeezed labor and salable goods out of the poor Pueblo Indians.

Get the Story:
Marc Simmons: Trail Dust: Early New Mexico governor was a Spanish scoundrel (The Santa Fe New Mexican 3/9)