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NM Centennial

An Atlas of Historic New Mexico Maps, 15501941

Unit Three: Life in 18th Century New Mexico


In completing this lesson, students will:

* Visually compare and contrast three historic maps.

* Identify geographical characteristics of each region.

* Describe settlement patterns and boundaries between populations.

* Explain the connection between geographical features and settlement.

* Read and compare accounts of 18th century New Mexico.

* Identify passages about daily life of the settlers and the natives.

* Consider relationships among ethnic groups in New Mexico.

* Assess how the Spanish civil government and the military handled relations with these groups versus how the church handled relations.









Activity I: Comparing Maps

Before the Lesson:

Go to the following maps (links below):

1745: Menchero: Mapa del Reino de Nuevo Mexico

1771: Joseph Ramon de Urrutia: Primera parte del Mapa, que comprende la Frontera, de los Dominios del Rey, en la America Septentrional

1779: Plano de la Provincia Interna de el Nuebo Mexico

Ideally, choose the region most familiar to your students. If that region is not represented, choose one showing a dense cluster of sites and features.

Zoom in so the map looks good, and shows the same general area. Save the view, then either print each saved view (with associated information) as handouts, or share the three views with your students. Sample handouts for the Rio Arriba and Rio Abajo regions are included under Resources.

Explain: We mostly know about New Mexico during this era because of the reports from representatives of the Catholic church. Settlement in New Mexico was subsidized to support the conversion of the native people to Christianity. and Menchero, Tamarón, and Domínguez all prepared reports for the administration of the Franciscan order of the Catholic church. The government had the responsibility for allocating lands and resolving disputes, and some documents remain that shed light on these activities. The reports from the LaFora expedition, sent to assess security conditions on the frontier, offer a military view of the conditions in New Mexico.

Have the students, in small groups or individually, use the map analysis worksheet to evaluate each map.

1745: Menchero: Mapa del Reino de Nuevo Mexico

1771: Joseph Ramon de Urrutia: Primera parte del Mapa

1779: Plano de la Provincia Interna de el Nuebo Mexico

Map Analysis Worksheet

Activity II: Patterns of Resettlement

After the Spanish returned to New Mexico, why did they settle where they did?

List on the board different ways New Mexicans used the land to make a living. Examples include building, farming, irrigation, hunting, fishing, grazing, gathering wild foods. Students can draw on their own experience or from information they have read.

Assign each student (or group) a site that appears in one of the maps you have chosen. Have students read the Eyewitness commentary for their assigned site and underline (or take a note, if doing this exercise at the computer) any passage relating to land use. Next to the original list on the board, start a new list of the uses described by people in the 18th century.

Ask the students:

Are the lists different?

Do the authors describe how successful these uses are ("the land is fertile," or "the land is too cold for agriculture")?

What resources in this region did the residents value?

To what extent are these resources represented in the maps?

What kinds of differences in the ways different groups used the land? Consider, for example, cities versus pueblos versus rancherias. Students can use the legend to identify how the map maker saw the groups.

To what extent are these differences represented in the regions you have selected?

What do the different legends tell us about how different kinds of settlements are perceived?

NOTE: Examples from different regions might include salt, bison, game, lumber, water, fertile soil, defensive location, proximity to sacred sites, grazing lands, etc.. If students are having trouble finding examples in the text selections for the region you selected, then you might help them by listing the resources (above).

In the text, students should mark all instances where pressures from or conflicts with native populations are mentioned.

Ask the students

Are these groups shown on the map?

Why do you think settlement was successful or not in this region?

Were the settlers in this area described as living in plenty or in poverty?

Why do you think that is? Do the authors explain?

Before the Lesson:

Go to this map (link below)

Fray Juan Miguel Menchero: Mapa del Reino de Nuevo Mexico 1745

Zoom all the way in to center on the marker for Rancho Fuenclara. Save this view.

Explain the following:

After the reconquest, the Spanish authorities (religious and civil) resettled some pueblos that had been deserted. Some new villages were resettled by genízaros, or Indians who had been taken from their tribes and raised in Spanish families, as Christians. Among these were Tome, Valencia, Abiquiu, and the town of Galisteo (as opposed to Galisteo Pueblo).

Father Menchero was active in resettlement, and oversaw the resettlement of Sandia Pueblo (see Sandia Pueblo and Tigua Mesa) and the founding of a mission and village at Seboyeta (see Provinica de Nabajo). He also describes the founding of Tome (called Rancho Fuenclara on the 1745 map).

As a class, or individually, students click on the marker for Rancho Fuenclara, then click on the tab for media. Listen to the audio track of Edwin Berry talking about the Tome Dominguez Mendosa hacienda, and the track "Tome Hill as a prominent landmark: John Roney."

Ask the students:

What about the natural setting of Tome made it attractive for settlement?

Why did Tome Dominguez Mendosa establish his hacienda there?

In the map timeline, have students click on the link for Tierra Adentro. They should scroll to the bottom of the page and play "Genízaros: John Roney". You may additionally play "Genízaros-Mestizaje: Enrique Lamadrid".

Ask them to return to the Menchero map and the saved view of Rancho Fuenclara. They should read Menchero's description of the refounding of Tome, as a village. Next, have them zoom out to see Tome in relation to the other places in New Mexico.

Ask the students:

Is it near? Far?

Who are the nearest neighbors?

Refer to the last paragraph of Menchero's description. Who might the enemy be?

Why do you think the genízaros wanted to found their own village here?

How did such factors as: geography and natural resources; culture and religion; distance from people who were like them (culturally, ethnically); distance from people who were hostile to them

Fray Juan Miguel Menchero: Mapa del Reino de Nuevo Mexico 1745

Activity IV: Bringing it All Back Home

Bringing it all back home

Students should interview older people in their family to find out what kind of heritage their families have.

Questions to ask:

Does my family have native Americans? Immigrants to America?

If they immigrated, did they come with a group of people like them? Where did they go first?

If they were native Americans, were they relocated? Did they migrate?

How does our heritage affect the things we do as a family?

Each student should make a map of their family's migrations, for as far back as they can go. Students should first determine the scale of the map they will use. Outline maps of the U.S., North America, and world maps can be found at the link below.

Students should use arrows to show direction of movement, and clearly identify places, people, and dates.

Blank Outline Maps


Refer to Chapter 4 The Spaniards Try Again


Chapter 5, Spanish Colonial Life

in New Mexico! by Marc Simmons

2nd edition, p 79-p 122


Key Ideas and Details:


Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.


Determine the main idea of a text and explain how it is supported by key details; summarize the text.


Explain events, procedures, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text, including what happened and why, based on specific information in the text.

Craft and Structure:


Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words or phrases in a text relevant to a grade 4 topic or subject area.


Describe the overall structure (e.g., chronology, comparison, cause/effect, problem/solution) of events, ideas, concepts, or information in a text or part of a text.


Compare and contrast a firsthand and secondhand account of the same event or topic; describe the differences in focus and the information provided.

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas:


Interpret information presented visually, orally, or quantitatively (e.g., in charts, graphs, diagrams, time lines, animations, or interactive elements on Web pages) and explain how the information contributes to an understanding of the text in which it appears.


Explain how an author uses reasons and evidence to support particular points in a text.


Integrate information from two texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.

Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity:


By the end of year, read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, in the grades 4-5 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.

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