Cañon History

Taos History



Cañon Neighborhood Association

by F.R. Bob Romero and Neil Poese

Taos Pueblo
Colonial Taos
Adobe and Hispanic Traditions
Pueblo Revolt of 1680
El Camino Real and the Chihuahua Trail
The Taos Trade Fairs
Mountain Men and the Fur Trade
Kit Carson
The Santa Fe Trail
Padre Martinez
The Taos Revolt of 1847
Indian Raids, Land Disputes and Outlaws
Padre Martinez
The Civil War in Taos
The Taos Art Colony
Post-War Taos

Taos Valley is an ancient land. Anasazi Indians - the "Ancient Ones," first inhabited Taos Valley around 1000 A.D. Little is known of their civilization or why it fell, except for what may be learned at such sites as Chaco Canyon and Mesa Verde. Many of the ridges which ring Taos valley are the location of pit houses dug into the ground which served as shelter in the period which preceded the construction of the Pueblo buildings. The Puebloan Indians built countless pueblos (villages), both large and small, around Taos Valley. Present-day Taos Pueblo was built around 1350 A.D.
The history of Taos is important to the entire southwestern United States because Taos has been, and continues to be, a crossroads. Indian trails led to Taos from all four directions. Spanish explorers entered Taos in 1540. They were followed by Spanish colonists in the seventeenth century who travelled by ox-cart from what is now Mexico. French and American fur trappers and explorers came in the late 1700s, and American merchants and settlers arrived on the Santa Fe Trail in the 1800s.
Today, as in the past, Taos is a mecca for a wide range of people who are attracted by its mystique, unique heritage, historical significance, and beauty.
The name "Taos" is thought to be derived from an Indian word meaning "Red willow:' The term is, in some cases, inclusive of the entire county of Taos. It usually refers to the residents of the Taos valley, and sometimes includes outlying communities such as Ranchos de Taos, Arroyo Hondo, Arroyo Seco, Talpa, etc. Blanche Grant, a Taoseña who wrote about Taos Pueblo in 1925, attributes the name "Taos" to the Chinese term "tao." She is among those who have observed and commented on the similarities between the Taos Indian language and that of the Chinese and Tibetan language, and other similarities between the Far East and the Taos tribe.
In general, the history of Taos constitutes cycles of recurring "invasions;' or influxes of different peoples with running undercurrents of resistance to domination by the most recent newcomers.

Taos Pueblo
Taos Pueblo is the northernmost Indian Pueblo. It is located approximately two miles north of the present day town of Taos. The existing Pueblo was probably built around 1350, although the tribe probably settled in the valley around 1000 years ago. The Pueblo is one of the oldest continuously inhabited communities in the United States.
The tribe traces its origins to the sacred Blue Lake, high in the mountains above the Pueblo, which in a landmark decision, was returned by the U.S. government to the ownership of the Taos Pueblo in 1970. Because of its religious significance Blue Lake is closed to the public. Taos Pueblo ceremonialism is ancient, but still very current. Much of it revolves around the sacred Blue Lake ceremony which takes place in the seclusion of Blue Lake in late August of each year. The ceremony is an initiation rite to gain membership in the Taos Pueblo Kiva societies. This ritual is essential to full participation in Taos Pueblo religious life, and in secular political office. The ceremony symbolizes the integrity and unity of the tribe and is very important to the maintenance of traditional Taos Pueblo culture.
San Geronimo Day, September 30th, is another event of great importance to the Pueblo. Named after St. Jerome, the patron saint of the Pueblo, it was originally a fall trading festival at which neighboring tribes would gather. After Spanish colonization San Geronimo Day was institutionalized. It incorporated the original rituals with those of the church. Among the ceremonies that have always been a part of San Geronimo Day are the morning races along the race course in front of the north building, and the afternoon pole climb. Running has always carried great religious significance at Taos Pueblo. The ceremonial life of the tribe also includes the deer dance, the buffalo dance and the turtle dance, as well as the dramatic Christmas Eve procession and the Christmas Day Matachines Dance.
For the Indians of Taos Pueblo, life has been a continuing struggle against external forces which have come into Taos. As with all Pueblo tribes, Taos Pueblo was agrarian, and was raided by nomadic Indians such as the Navajos and Apaches. Later, Spanish Conquistadores and settlers, French traders and trappers, and finally, American settlers exerted their influence on the tribe.
Although the interaction between the Spanish colonists and the Indian pueblos was often one of conflict, the early Spanish settlers and Pueblo Indians were also allies against attack by marauding plains Indians. The people of Taos Pueblo have miraculously survived all outside influences and have still retained their essence. Taos Pueblo maintains its tribal sovereignty through the Tribal Governor's office, which consists of the Governor, Lieutenant Governor Secretary and Tribal Council. The tribal war Chief and his council are responsible for all of the tribe's lands outside of the walls of the main village, while the Central Management System
is the liaison with the Bureau of Indian Affairs and answers to the tribal governor and council. Some members of the tribe work in Taos, others work for tribal programs, and others are employed through the considerable tourism economy of the tribe. Taos Pueblo is famous for its drums and micaceous pottery. In addition, modern art forms have evolved from the traditional ones, including sculpture in clay and alabaster, and painting.
The Indians of Taos Pueblo remain fiercely independent of spirit and mind. They continue to speak Tiwa, which is still an unwritten language, and strive to maintain a balance between their traditional way of life and the modern world.

Spanish Colonial Taos and The Hispanic Heritage
Francisco Vasquez de Coronado explored the southwest from 1540 to 1542; and Hernan Alvarado, a captain to Coronado, reached Taos Pueblo in 1540. This was the first recorded account of Europeans in Taos, and followed Columbus' voyage of 1492 by only forty-eight years. While Coronado's fabled search for the "seven cities of gold" was in vain, the Spanish conquistadors were also acting in concert with the church. Franciscan priests were as determined to convert as the conquistadors were to conquer. Although their intentions to conquer and convert were clear the Spanish were in fact more benevolent and sympathetic in their conquest than the colonists on the east coast. In the sixteenth century, King Philip of Spain guaranteed the Pueblo Indians one square league around their villages, or 17,000 acres. The southwest is "Indian Country" in part because of the legal guarantees of Indian land by the Spanish crown, and because of intermarriage approved by the crown. Nonetheless, oppression and encroachment onto Indian land was a problem. The legacy of European settlers included the introduction of disease, but also included the wheel, iron, horses, mules, cattle, sheep and wheat.
The colonization of New Mexico by Juan de Oñ;ate in 1598 preceded the English colonization of Jamestown, Virginia by nine years. Oñ;ate has been placed in Taos as early as July 14, 1598, and he assigned Fray Francisco Zamora as pastor at Mission San Geronimo at Taos Pueblo on September 9, 1598. The Spaniards found a thriving community of Native American farmers and hunters living in and around Taos Pueblo, and by 1615 the fertile Taos valley had been settled by a number of Spanish families, with Ranchos de Taos being the first settlement.
Many present-day Taoseñ;os consider themselves to be "Spanish". This designation may be a misnomer for all but a handful who were either born in Spain or can trace their entire lineage directly back to Spain, but the majority of Taoseñ;os are in fact of Hispanic heritage or descent. The Hispanos of Taos are indirect descendants of Hernan Cortes who conquered the Aztecs of Mexico in 1521, and of the Spanish conquistadors who explored the U.S. Southwest with Francisco Vasquez de Coronado between 1540-1542. A few Hispanic Taoseñ;os are the direct progeny of the settlers who accompanied Don Diego de Vargas, who re-colonized New Mexico in 1692 after the Pueblo Revolt of 1680, but the intermarriage of the Spanish with Indians, French trappers, Anglo-American merchants and mountain men has resulted in a mixed blood line. Some contemporary Hispanics consider themselves to be Chicano, in recognition of their Mexican and Indian blood. In any case, the dominant and pervasive Spanish influence is undeniable. The strength of the culture is borne of the faith of the colonists who settled for both God and king. Even the Spaniards who colonized New Mexico were far from being "pure blooded," however, as they were the product of a true melting pot on the Iberian Peninsula in Spain between 2500 B.C. and 1400 A.D., which included a mixture of Celts, Greeks, Romans, Germans, Jews, and Muslim Moors. Since Spain was ruled by the Arabs for nearly 800 years, the influence of North Africa is also present in Taos.

Adobe and Hispanic Traditions
Nowhere is the Arabic influence more present than in the adobe architecture. Hornos (the round adobe bread baking ovens) and the arches in Spanish style architecture are of Arabic derivation. Both the Pueblo Indians and the Spanish settlers were familiar with adobe architecture. The Pueblo Indians had been building with adobe for hundreds of years; however when the Spanish arrived they introduced several technological innovations. The Indian technique of "puddled adobe" construction was replaced with wooden forms in which adobe bricks of regular size and shape could be produced.
Adobe walls are created from adobe bricks made of a mixture of clay and straw. The walls are then covered with a coat of mud plaster. Even though the adobe requires yearly remudding due to the ravages of the rain and snow, its beauty and its ability to retain heat in the winter and coolness in the summer make it a natural building material.
Adobe is labor intensive however, and now many frame homes are stuccoed to resemble it. Ironically, hard stucco plaster has been found to have detrimental aspects when applied over adobe. Restored and preserved adobe churches and historic sites maintain the tradition of annual remudding. For example, parishioners at the San Francisco de Asis Church in Ranchos de Taos give the church a fresh coat ofmud each year, and as the photos of the church in the 1920s reveal, the church has evolved considerably even since that time. Presently the loving care and yearly remudding keep the community actively involved in the preservation and survival of the church.
The Spanish heritage is reinforced through the particular type of Spanish spoken in Taos, which is derived from sixteenth century Castilian Spanish. It is unique in the world because it was isolated for centuries with little contact from the outside world. The "Spanglish" now spoken in Taos continues to evolve as Spanish and English mix.
Just as many traditions survive at Taos Pueblo, the Spanish culture and traditions survive and evolve in Taos, through the strength and ties of the language, the family, and the church. In general, the uniqueness of the arts, folk arts and traditions of northern New Mexico have been recognized since as early as the turn of the century. Hispanos practice and live their cultural and religious traditions which are apparent in the native foods and herbal remedies, the local music, arts and crafts, and the annual fiestas of Santiago y Santa Ana held the last week of July. Hispanos also continue to observe their unique religious functions which indude the Posadas during Christmas season, which reenacts Joseph and Mary's search for an inn; the celebration of the Virgin of Guadalupe; the appearance of the "Comanches" on New Year's Day, and lenten activities that include the practices of the Penitentes during Holy Week. The names of the people, towns, cities, rivers, valleys, and mountain ranges in New Mexico are testaments to the Hispanic legacy in Taos. The southern Rockies which tower over Taos valley are named the "Sangre de Cristo Mountains;' the Blood of Christ, because of their brilliant orange/red hues at sunset.

The Pueblo Revolt - 1680
In 1680 the Indian Pueblos revolted against Spanish rule. The Indians had come to despise the subversion of their native religion at the hands of the Franciscan missionaries, and their general mistreatment. The leading figure of the Revolt was a medicine man from San Juan Pueblo named Popé. Popé was accused of practicing witchcraft, and was implicated in a witchcraft episode at San Ildefonso pueblo in 1675. He then sought refuge at Taos Pueblo where he began preaching the doctrine that all Spaniards should be driven from New Mexico, and the old pueblo way of life restored. Gradually over a five year period Popé organized a wide conspiracy. On August 10, 1680 the pueblos struck with fury, with the pueblo warriors killing more than 400 Spaniards. In Taos more than seventy were killed, including two Franciscan priests. Every mission was destroyed, and in the process all vestiges of Christianity in New Mexico were eliminated. The Pueblo Revolt of 1680 was the best planned and most successful, albeit temporary, Indian uprising ever to occur on the North American Continent. Its success was due in part to runners travelling from Taos Pueblo to the southern Pueblos with a knotted rope countdown system which enabled all pueblos to attack on the same day.
The Spanish reconquest of New Mexico was accomplished by Don Diego de Vargas who set forth from El Paso on August 21, 1692 to re-establish Spanish control. In the initial campaign of four months De Vargas restored 23 pueblos to the Spanish Empire. Active resistance to the Spaniards continued until October 1696, at which time Taos Pueblo surrendered. This led to greater accommodation and was accomplished with less use of violence. Hence, New Mexico witnessed another generally passive invasion.

El Camino Real and the Chihuahua Trail
In the seventeenth century, supplies could only arrive in Taos by way of the Camino Real (King's Road) from what is now Mexico. Taos was at the end of the trail, and the caravans would require as much as six months to make the journey. They came as seldom as every three or four years. It was a journey which included a desolate stretch of desert known as the "Jornada del Muerto," the "Journey of the Dead Man," in southern New Mexico.
Infrequent trade with Mexico on the Camino Real later developed into yearly caravans to and from the new city of Chihuahua in central Mexico. The Chihuahua Trail of the eighteenth century was not only one of hardship and death, but of uncertain economic benefit to the northern outposts. New Mexicans would send wool, sheep, piñ;on nuts, candles, buffalo skins and wheat to Mexico. In return they would receive little of the largess of the Spanish Empire. Linens, silver, ironwork, chocolate and tools were among the finery which could be found in the northern province, although in scarce supply. Unfortunately, the means of exchange did not favor the northern settlements, and it was not until the Santa Fe Trail opened in the nineteenth century that Taos had ready access to simple necessities such as axes, ploughs, glassware and buttons.
During the eighteenth century, Northern New Mexico developed fully into an agrarian society of small communal self-sufficient farm villages and small ranches (ranchitos), of which the remnants are still evident. The self-contained Spanish villages that sprouted up along the northern Rio Grande were characterized by an economic base consisting of subsistence agriculture, livestock, handicrafts, and barter. Many of the small villages were inhabited by large extended families and were unified by their mutual needs, by the Catholic religion, and by the "compadrazco" or godfather theosocial system which still plays a role in the social life of the community.
There was little contact with the outside world and almost no sense of identification with a state or nation. The colonists developed a distinct independence of character over the years. During this period the people of Taos lived in relative isolation, and knowing this one can understand the proud provincialism and the spirit of individualism that still exists. It is very similar to the ""rugged individualism" that often characterizes the thirteen colonies in the East which endured the "traditional neglect" of England. This rugged individualism grew from necessity due to the lack of contact with Mexico and Spain.
The missionary work of the Franciscan Order of the Catholic Church continued during the 1700s, and like the Spanish villages the missions were economic units, supported by the surrounding fields, fruit orchards and flocks of sheep. The padres faced many obstacles in promoting Catholicism, but they were very successful in planting a seed which took root, blossomed, and bore fruit. This was due in part to the more accommodating approach of the priests to the native religion after the reconquest. The Catholic Church was the most important public institution during the Spanish era and numerous mission churches were built, including the famous church of Ranchos de Taos. Land grant systems continued from the time of King Philip. Irrigation systems known as ""acequias" were also constructed by the community to irrigate crops being grown along the narrow valleys. These ditches are still in use. In an annual spring ritual these ditches are cooperatively cleaned by members of each particular ditch association before the water is let in. Water is the most precious natural resource in the arid southwest, and it is carefully apportioned. These ancient arterial water systems remain essential to the traditional subsistence agriculture. The acequia system also plays a vital role in the traditional social structure as well. The acequia system is organized around a "Mayordomo" who is responsible for the spring cleaning and maintenance of the ditch system, on which every ditch member must work, or pay an assessment. The mayordomo also determines an irrigation schedule.

The Taos Trade Fairs
Taos has been a crossroads from the time when the nomadic tribes would journey to Taos Pueblo to trade goods and the captives of other tribes. The conquistadors of the sixteenth century found Indians already trading at the Pueblo. They would trade buffalo hides and dried meat for corn, squash, beans, and cotton blankets. The Comanches, Utes and Kiowas travelled the Kiowa trail from the north, the Apaches travelled up the Rio Grande, along with the other Pueblo tribes, and the Navajos journeyed with the Hopi from the west. The Trade Fairs of Taos Pueblo were at their peak by the mid to late 1700s, and a significant portion of the trade in the second half of the eighteenth century in the Southwest was centered in Taos and Santa Fe. The plains Indians would frequently raid Taos and Taos Pueblo, but at their peak, the Taos Trade Fairs resulted in a truce among the warring tribes and a cessation of raids during the fairs. However, Indians would use the Trade Fair to trade captives from one tribe to another. This became known as "rescate," or ransom.
The Trade Fairs grew to include American and French fur trappers who desired to trade with the colonies of Spain, as well as the Plains Indians, the Pueblo Indians, the Mexican merchants from Chihuahua, and the people of Taos. They all gathered to celebrate the fall harvest in Taos because of its fertile grass lands and its central location. Furthermore, unofficial trade could be carried out without "official" scrutiny and interference from Santa Fe. The atmosphere was hardly lawful, nonetheless the governor of the province was obliged to recognize the importance of the Trade Fairs. A month long ""Pax de Dieu", or Peace of God, suspended all warfare, and the governor saw to the peace both with troops and his own presence. The governor also ordered that the annual Chihuahua Trail caravans could not leave until after the Taos Trade Fair.
he late autumn of Spanish rule in Taos had arrived by the turn of the nineteenth century, but Spanish sovereignty would officially continue until 1821. The increasing presence of Anglo-American traders and the goods available from America intensified the ongoing need for supplies which had never been available or affordable from Spanish Mexico. This stimulated Mexican independence from Spain, which was achieved in 1821, closing the chapter of Spanish sovereignty which lasted well over two centuries.
The change from Spanish to Mexican sovereignty in 1821 was so passive that it occurred virtually unnoticed in New Mexico; however a number of events and circumstances occurred after 1821 which dramatically changed the course of events in New Mexico. Some Spaniards left the area after Mexican Independence, and the Franciscan priests had already begun leaving by the 1790s. Secular priests took their place, but they were few in number. This created a vacuum which was filled by the Society of the Hermanos Penitentes. The Penitentes assisted with Christian services including performing burial ceremonies. They are credited with preserving Catholicism and performing many important community functions in the absence of priests. With the departure of the Spaniards, the Spanish presence in patrolling the area was also gone, and was not replaced by the Mexican Officials. In addition, American traders were no longer outlawed, but were welcomed by the new Mexican government, hungry for the tariffs their merchandise would bring. The economy of New Mexico grew from the small flame of the Trade Fairs in Taos to the prairie fire of the Santa Fe Trail.

Mountain Men and the Fur Trade
Mountain men began arriving in Taos by 1750, and with the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 the Mountain Man period began in earnest. The tall beaver skin hats which were fashionable in the Eastern United States made beaver pelts profitable, and the early trickle of traders and trappers into the Spanish territory from the East became a floodtide as they pushed their way westward. These trappers were eccentric men of all cultural backgrounds and educational levels. The mountain men introduced the more sophisticated muzzleloading rifies, such as the long rifie popularized by Daniel Boone and the famous Hawken rifle. Oftentimes the mountain men lived closely with the Indians. They learned from the Indians and adopted their dress and ability to live off of the land.
Taos became a base of operation and a refuge for these predominantly French-Canadian and American trappers and traders, and the Taos Trade Fair became even more popular as a result of their presence.
The mountain trappers would trade their pelts for supplies, and then would celebrate by courting the Taos women, gambling, and drinking whiskey which was known as "aguardiente". "Taos Lightning" as it was also known, was brewed at Simeon Turley's mill north of Taos on the Kiowa Trail. Oftentimes the trappers would spend the winter in Taos before beginning their trapping again in the spring.
The fur trade declined in the 1830s as the beaver became scarce, and beaver skin hats gave way to silk hats. As a result the mountain men turned to other pursuits, but many of them remained in New Mexico and helped provide a welcome nucleus if not a ""fifth column" for the United States' occupation in 1846. The mountain man's legacy is legendary in Taos, as their descendants blended well into the environs of Taos, and names such as Lavadie, LeDoux, and Jeantette are living testimony to this.

Kit Carson
Christopher ""Kit" Carson was the most famous of the mountain men in Taos. He arrived in Taos in 1826. Carson was first married to an Arapaho woman named Waa-nibe. He later married a Taoseñ;a, Josefa Jaramillo, and fathered eight children. He achieved fame as John C. Fremont's guide to California, and as such may be regarded as a link in the connection of the continent from coast to coast. A man of his time, he is sometimes remembered as an Indian fighter, however he also fought for the Indian's rights as the Jicarilla Apache Indian Agent. He spoke several Indian languages; and of Carson his friend Tom Boggs once said, "He never cussed more'n was necessary." He is remembered as a soft-spoken man of honor whose house was always open to anyone in need. He died of an aneurism in 1868, a month after Josefa died of complications resulting from childbirth. His home is preserved as a museum on Kit Carson Road in Taos.

The Santa Fe Trail
The Spanish stranglehold on Nuevo Mexico was broken with the onset of Mexican Independence in 1821. The wealth of goods available from the United States which had only trickled into New Mexico before Mexican independence turned into a flood of relatively inexpensive supplies.
William Becknell is considered to be the "Father of the Santa Fe Trail". Once he learned of Mexican Independence he started out from Franklin, Missouri and arrived in Santa Fe in November 1821. He traded his goods and made enormous profits, and this prompted others to accept the official invitation of the governor of New Mexico. Even though windfall profits were present for only a few years, the trail was the "nineteenth century international highway" linking the United States with Mexico until the railroad came in 1879.
The Santa Fe Trail originated in Missouri and passed through Kansas, then either into Colorado over the mountain branch or over the Cimarron cutoff in northeastern New Mexico. The Cimarron cutoff became the major route because it was shorter and not mountainous. The trail led to Santa Fe where customs officals were eagerly waiting to collect a customs tax. For some, the journey would continue to Mexico City on the Camino Real. The trails and wagon paths which led to Taos maintained Taos's status as a crossroads, but the mountain passes to the north and east, and the rugged terrain of the Rio Grande gorge discouraged increased trade and contact. Taos was bypassed by both the Santa Fe Trail and the railroad, although a branch of the trail from Bent's Fort in Colorado to Taos was well traversed. Generally speaking, Taos did not benefit from the economic revolution that occurred in other parts of New Mexico. Consequently, for better or for worse, Taos remained somewhat isolated. The impact of the Santa Fe Trail on New Mexico had both immediate and long-range significance, and the economic conquest of New Mexico by the United States was well under way.

Padre Martinez
1826 marked the year when Kit Carson arrived in Taos, and when Padre Antonio Josť Martinez returned to Taos to become parish priest. Padre Martinez' father, Severino Martinez, had moved his family from Abiquiu to Taos earlier in the 1800s and construction of the Martinez Hacienda had begun around 1804. Indian raids were still common, and the Hacienda was constructed as a fortress. The Martinez Hacienda is now a museum and national historic landmark, and one of the few Spanish Colonial sites open to the public.
Padre Martinez' accomplishments in Taos were many He founded a co-educational school which was the first of its kind in New Mexico. He was also the owner of the first printing press west of the Mississippi River, brought by Josiah Gregg across the Santa Fe Trail. In the 1830s Martinez printed textbooks for his school, religious materials, political documents and the first newspaper in the area, "El Crepusculo de Libertad" (the Dawn of Liberty), founded in 1834. The energetic Padre of Taos also found time to serve in the Mexican and New Mexico Territorial legislative bodies, and was a consistent advocate of lower taxes for New Mexicans. A man of the people, he opposed mandatory tithing and the imposition of charges for the sacraments. His liberal, populist views placed him at odds with the newly appointed French Bishop, Jean Baptiste Lamy. In 1862 Martinez was advised by Lamy that he had been excommunicated from the Catholic Church, although if Lamy did excommunicate him it was only recorded at the village church of Arroyo Hondo near Taos, and he did not notify his superiors of the action. With the support of the people, Padre Martinez ignored the censure and continued to officiate, first as parish priest and later as a protestant minister, until he died July 28, 1867. He was buried by his Penitente brothers according to the wishes spelled out in his will. The actual location of his burial site is uncertain, but a commemorative headstone for Padre Martinez can be found at Kit Carson Park in Taos, close to Kit Carson's grave.

The Taos Revolt of 1847
War with Mexico in 1846 hastened the dominance of the Anglo-American influence. General Stephen Kearny marched to Santa Fe in 1846 without firing a single shot.
However, there was resistance to the newcomers. After a "foiled plot" in Santa Fe in December of 1846, the Taos Rebellion broke out on January 19, 1847. Governor Bent and others who were considered to be sympathetic to American occupation were murdered. The revolt spread to Turley's mill near Arroyo Hondo where Simeon Turley and several other Americans were killed. Padre Martinez provided sanctuary for several Americans who sought refuge at his house. When news of the revolt reached Santa Fe, Col. Sterling Price led a retaliatory force toward Taos. He defeated some of the rebels at Santa Cruz de la Cañ;ada and then at Embudo, 23 miles south of Taos. Price then marched on to Taos. The final and decisive battle took place at the Taos Pueblo Church where the insurgents were fortified. The bombardment that followed killed at least 150 and destroyed the church, although its ruins still remain. Whether the insurgents were Indians or Spanish or both is one of the questions regarding the rebellion which have never been answered.
In 1848 the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed, ending the Mexican American war and ceding today's Southwest to the United States. All non-Indian inhabitants of the area who did not leave within one year became U.S. citizens. With the discovery of gold in California in 1849 an "avalanche of humanity" poured into the Southwest, making Manifest Destiny a reality in Taos. As with Indian land claims, the Hispanic loss of land has been disputed by land grant activists. In addition, many small communities in northern New Mexico shared common pasture land. These communal lands were lost to the U.S. government, through court judgements to land schemers; and sometimes because individual members of the community wanted a private parcel, thus forcing the division of communal property into individual ownership.

Indian Raids, Land Disputes and Outlaws
In the mid to late 1800s, lawlessness and anarchy dominated New Mexcio. Typified by the expression "the wild west," this included infamous gunslingers such as Billy the Kid, range wars between sheepherders and cattlemen, highwaymen threatening travel, and an aborted invasion of New Mexico by Texas. The whole of New Mexico had been subject to raids by Navajos and Apaches who resisted the settlement of Spanish and Anglo farmers and ranchers, and who had raided the Pueblos for centuries. Spanish colonial troops and Mexican troops had failed repeatedly in their efforts to maintain the peace, and peace treaties failed as well; in part because the Navajo were not organized around a central chief who was able to speak for, or control, the entire tribe. Injustices prevailed on both sides, yet the area could not be considered safe with the continuing raids. It fell upon the U.S. Cavalry to subdue the remaining bands of Apaches and Navajos who had splintered from their tribe. The once proud warriors of the southwest were finally pacified, and the southwest became suitable for continued expansion by Anglo and Spanish settlers.
The issue of encroachment is still alive today as the Hopi tribe of Arizona has disputed Navajo claims to territory surrounding the Hopi reservation, and Indians of many tribes claim lands taken from them as a result of Spanish and Anglo settlement. In fact, Taos Pueblo still owns the right of way to the streets of the town of Taos.

The Civil War in Taos
The U.S. Flag has flown on the Taos Plaza since 1846, but in 1861 "southern sympathizers" kept tearing it down. Captain Smith Simpson with help from Kit Carson, Ceran St. Vrain and others took it upon themselves to guard the flag around the clock. Congress subsequently granted permission to fly the Taos plaza flag 24 hours a day to commemorate the event.
Taos proved its loyalty to the United States and helped the Union cause during the Civil War by providing volunteers to the regiment of New Mexico Volunteers commanded by Kit Carson. The volunteers participated in the defense of New Mexico when the territory was invaded by the Confederacy in January, 1862. The Union victory at the Battle of Glorieta Pass is considered the "Gettysburg of the West". It was the turning point of Civil War hostilities in New Mexico.
Shortly after the civil war, gold was discovered in the mountains above Taos, and mining has played a role in the Taos economy since the 1870s, although the snowy "white gold" of Taos Ski Valley has had a greater economic impact.

The Taos Art Colony
Artists were drawn to the valley beginning in the late 1800s, in part because it had remained isolated. This influx of newcomers into Taos was made up of artists such as Ernest Blumenschein and Bert Phillips who arrived in 1898 and helped establish an art colony in Taos. They were studying painting in Paris when Joseph Sharp advised them to "Paint the west before it is gone". Their arrival was in part accidental. They were on a sketching trip to Mexico from Colorado, when a wheel broke on their lightweight surrey and Blumenschein carried it on a horse to the nearest village for repair. That village was Taos. When he saw Taos, Blumenschein knew that he had found his home. The Taos Artists were a colorful group who enlivened Taos with yet another "passive invasion". Their art captured a way of life that was quickly disappearing, and their paintings are now highly valued for their artistic quality, and their documentary testament to the old days of Taos. The Ernest Blumenschein Home has been preserved as a historic site and example of the blend of European culture with the southwest which the artists embodied. Taos evolved into a thriving world-renowned art colony due to its mix of beauty, mountain light, culture and tradition.
The avant garde intellectuals and artists who recognized Taos's charm included artist Georgia O'Keeffe, photographers Ansel Adams and Paul Strand, psychoanalyst Carl Jung, and writer D.H. Lawrence, who to one degree or another were a part of the salon society of Mabel Dodge Luhan. Mabel Dodge was a wealthy east-coast socialite who married Tony Luhan, a Taos Pueblo Indian, and built a home known as Las Palomas, a well-known Taos landmark.
This later migration even included trader/merchants from the Middle East known as "Los Arabes" of whom the patriarch of the family was Peter Abdo Sahd who arrived in 1889. Two of his sons also established stores.
Taos has always had its share of colorful characters, some more noble than others. Arthur Manby was one of the less noble variety. He arrived from England in 1892 with the intention of securing as much land as he could, ostensibly for a real estate development and spa based on British formal gardens. Over a period of more than thirty years, through "hook or crook;' he was able to acquire title to nearly all of the Antonio Martinez Land Grant. His mission ended abruptly. As his empire was falling around him, he was discovered beheaded in his home on July 4, 1929. Mystery still surrounds the complete details of this bizarre incident, including whether the body was actually Manby's. Doc Martin, the fabled physician of turn-of-thecentury Taos, lived in what later became the Taos Inn. He was a neighbor to Manby, whose house was next door, where the Taos Art Association Stables Gallery later was located. After the "accident" Doc Martin revealed a little about how Taoseñ;os feel about Taos. An interview about the incident with a New York reporter is said to have transpired thusly: "Who's the police commissioner up there?" inquired the newsman. "There ain't none," replied the doctor. "Then, who's the police chief?" "We haven't got one". "Well, who's in charge up there?" "God's in charge up here", answered Martin. "God's in charge of everything that happens in Taos."

Post-War Taos
External influences continued to force themselves on Taos throughout the twentieth century. Land plots became smaller, in part due to the absence of primogeniture, and agricultural income did not keep pace with economic appetites. Many local families keep a few horses, cattle or sheep, but have had to abandon or minimize their agricultural activities; taking jobs in town or out of the area. The conservative ideals of the American culture of the 1950s conformed closely with the strong traditional values of faith and family in Taos, but by war's end, the decline of a barter economy and the crush of consumerism and materialism affected the simpler life of Taos. It was a time which saw the beginnings of new kinds of stress on many traditions which had survived centuries of change.
Another notable infusion of people into the Taos Valley was the "invasion of the Hippies" in the late 1960s and early 1970s. These young idealists flocked to Taos to build a utopia. Communes such as New Buffalo and Morning Star were shortlived, although some of the inhabitants remained. They too have blended into the community of Taos, and form the nucleus of a New Age community which thrives in Taos.
"Cultural pluralism" is the status quo in Taos, wherein people can retain their cultural heritage and integrity in the process of intercultural borrowing among diverse groups which slowly results in new or blended patterns.
There remains an intangible quality about Taos that is instantly recognizable. Some call it the "Old Taos Mystique:' Many residents believe in the spirit of Taos Mountain, and many trust in the magic of the mountain to safeguard Taos. Taos has been described in a variety of ways. The late Taos Mayor Phil Lovato stated it this way: "Taos is not a city, Taos is not a town, Taos is not even a place. Taos is state of mind and a power center of the universe".
Kit Carson once quipped "no man who has ever seen the women, heard the bells, or smelled the pi on smoke of Taos will ever want to leave." Author John Nichols who relocated from the Eastern United States to make his home in Taos stated, "It's been a real special place for me largely because it's a microcosm. It's been real easy for me to see infinity in a grain of sand. It never feels like just Taos to me. It feels like some laboratory where the whole universe is on display." Another writer, Frank Waters, wrote "Taos has always possessed the curious magic of seeming to be discovered by every person drawn into its mountain ringed beauty".
Some people describe Taos as being just plain "quaint and backwards". Detractors may criticize Taos because they do not like what they describe as the "awful mud," the "crude mud houses", the traffic congestion or the narrow pot-holed dirt roads. However, defenders of Taos retort that Taos could not be Taos without mud, the precious cream of mother earth, and the beautiful adobe homes; the continuing congestion of motor vehicles on picturesque narrow lanes intended for burros; the diverse people; and the "proud provincialism." Historically, Taos has tenaciously followed a narrow path, both literally and figuratively. This is what has made Taos different, and allowed it to survive with a certain mystique and in a preserved state of "old worldliness."
Claire Morrill in her book, "A Taos Mosaic", best sums up the story of Taos. "Taos is old and wise and tough and resilient, over more than four centuries it has felt wave after dynamic wave of influence and has absorbed them all into its always outgoing vitality."

Bickerstaff, Laura
Pioneer Artists of Taos

Carter, Harvey
Dear Old Kit

Garrard, Lewis
Wah to Yah and the Taos Trail

Galbraith, Den
Turbulent Taos

Gordon-McCutcheon, R.C.
Taos Pueblo and the Battle for Blue Lake

Grant, Blanche
The Taos Indians

Gregg, Josiah
The Commerce of the Prairies

Jenkins, Myra Ellen, and Albert Schroeder
A Brief History of New Mexico

Luhan, Mabel Dodge
Edge of Taos Desert

Mares, et. al.
Padre Martinez: New Perspectives form Taos

Moorhead, Max
New Mexico's Royal Road

Morill, Claire
A Taos Mosaic: Portrait of a New Mexico Village

Nichols, John
The Milagro Beanfield War
The Last Beautiful Days of Autumn

Peters, Steve
Headless in Taos:Arthur Rockford Manby

Rudnick, Lois
Mabel Dodge

Simmons, Marc
New Mexico, An Interpretive History

Udall, Stewart
Toward the Inland Empire

Vestal, Stanley
Kit Carson: Happy Warrior of the Southwest

Vigil, Maurilio
The Hispanics of New Mexico

Waters, Frank
To Posses the Land
The Man Who Killed the Deer