Having retaken Santa Fe by force of arms late in 1693, Diego de Vargas faces unrelenting challenges, waging active warfare against defiant Pueblo Indian resisters while maintaining peace with Pueblo allies; providing homes, food, and supplies for 1,500 unsure colonists; and bidding unceasingly for greater support from viceregal authorities in Mexico City.
At the head of combined units of Spanish and Pueblo fighting men, the governor in 1694 leads repeated assaults on castle-like fortified sites. Through combat, prisoner exchange, and negotiation, he reestablishes the kingdom. Franciscans reopen some of the missions. Vargas founds the villa of Santa Cruz de la Ca ada. Pueblos north and west of Santa Fe rebel again in 1696; wearily, Vargas reports more blood on the boulders.
Through The Journals of don Diego de Vargas, translated from official and private correspondence, we are drawn back, through conflict and compromise, into New Mexico's formative era.
Historian John L. Kessell, professor emeritus of history at the University of New Mexico, has devoted nearly two decades compiling, translating, and editing the Vargas papers along with Rick Hendricks, Meredith D. Dodge, and Larry D. Miller. Rick Hendricks is an historical consultant to the Rio Grande Historical Collections at New Mexico State University. He is also the author of The Navajos in 1705 and was an editor of the six-volume Vargas Project (both UNM Press). Meredith D. Dodge, an independent historian, has devoted nearly two decades compiling, translating, and editing the Vargas papers along with John Kessell, Rick Hendricks, and Larry D. Miller.