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Friction between Americans of European origin and New Mexicans


Capitol of New Mexico
Capitol of New Mexico

In 1821 Mexico won its independence from Spain. The Spanish had excluded foreigners from New Mexico, but under Mexican rule, trade with the United States was permitted. The same year a merchant, William Becknell, brought a pack train from Franklin, Missouri, to Santa Fe. Pack trains began to move back and forth along the route, known as the Santa Fe Trail. American merchants and trappers came to Santa Fe and Taos.

The trade also created friction between Americans of European origin who spoke English (called Anglos), on the one hand, and New Mexicans of mixed Spanish and Native-American ancestry and Native Americans on the other. By this time, those of entirely Spanish ancestry were few, but the Spanish culture was still dominant. Most inhabitants of New Mexico spoke Spanish and were members of the Roman Catholic church, although the Native Americans retained their dialects and traditional ceremonies.

As trade increased along the Santa Fe Trail in the 1830s and 1840s, U.S. government involvement in New Mexican affairs grew, creating more friction between Hispanic New Mexicans and U.S. citizens. In 1841, forces of the new Republic of Texas entered New Mexico, hoping to claim the land east of the Río Grande for Texas, but the Texans were captured and marched to Mexico City, where they were imprisoned and then later released. Some of the Ute, Comanche, and Navajo agreed to peace treaties in the 1770s and 1780s, but the Apache in the southwest remained enemies of the Spaniards. By the end of the 18th century the Hispanic population had grown to about 20,000. "New Mexico" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia

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