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Old Spanish

Large Print Guide

brochure Old Spanish - Large Print Guide

Large Print Guide of Old Spanish National Historic Trail (NHT). Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Old Spanish Trail Old Spanish National Historic Trail / New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, California Official Map & Guide - Large Print National Park Service Bureau of Land Management Department of the Interior Official Map and Guide Formatted for ADA standards at 11” x 17” print size. hats, shawls, and quilts. . . . the longest, crookedest, most arduous By this time Santa Fe pack mule route in the is witnessing increased history of America. . . economic activity brought on by successful It is 1829, eight years American and Mexican after Mexico gained trade. Large quantities of independence from manufactured products Spain. New Mexican arrive in New Mexico traders travel overland from the eastern United to establish new States along the Santa commercial relations with frontier settlements Fe Trail. Many goods are also traveling along El in California. They Camino Real de Tierra carry locally produced merchandise to exchange Adentro to and from the interior of Mexico. for mules and horses. Items include serapes, Connecting Two blankets, ponchos, and Mexican Provinces socks; a variety of hides In 1829, La Villa Real de Santa Fe de San – gamuzas (chamois), Francisco de Asis, provincial capital of buffalo robes, bear and New Mexico, was just a dusty frontier town that sheltered a mix of Spanish colonial beaver skins; as well as families, newer Mexican arrivals, displaced Rev. 02/06/13 Indians, and a small, but growing number of Americans. Over 1,000 miles to the west, the Pueblo de la Reina de los Angeles was an even smaller ranch town. Consisting of little more than a church and plaza, and a few homes and government buildings, it was the largest Mexican community in an area characterized by dispersed ranches, decaying Spanish missions, and Indian villages. During the winter of 1829-1830, Antonio Armijo led a caravan of 60 men and 100 pack mules from New Mexico to Mission San Gabriel in California, east of Los Angeles. The caravan carried woolen rugs and blankets produced in New Mexico to trade for horses and mules. Other trade parties soon followed. Some found alternative routes that together became known as the Old Spanish Trail. It took Armijo’s group about 12 weeks to reach California and six weeks to return on the trail historians LeRoy and Ann Hafen called, “the longest, crookedest, most arduous pack mule route in the history of America.” Mules and Men The lands crossed by the Old Spanish Trail were alluring. For decades missionaries, fur trappers, American Indians, and others ventured repeatedly into and across the vast territory between New Mexico and California. By the time Armijo started his trip, New Mexican traders were familiar with the routes others had followed and utilized the cumulative geographic knowledge gained from previous expeditions. The trips were arduous. Dramatically changing terrain and climate posed major challenges. Caravans lost their way, suffered from thirst, and were forced to eat some of their pack mules when supplies ran out. Animals also suffered in the harsh desert environment and endured severe weather. Commerce along the Old Spanish Trail began as a legitimate barter for horses and mules, but some traders and adventurers found it easier to steal livestock than to obtain it legally. Americans claiming to be beaver trappers, fugitive Indians from the missions, gentile Indians from the frontier, and renegade New Mexicans teamed together to gather horses and mules to take illegally back to New Mexico. In reaction to these widespread raids, California authorities tried to recapture the stock and punish the thieves but were never able to control the illicit trade. The line of march of this strange cavalcade occupied an extent of more than a mile... Near this motley crowd we sojourned for one night...Their pack-saddles and bales had been taken off and carefully piled, so as not only to protect them from damp, but to form a sort of barricade or fort for their owner. From one side to the other of these little corrals of goods a Mexican blanket was stretched, under which the trader lay smoking his cigarrito… —Lieutenant George Brewerton, 1848 Packing the Train Along the Old Spanish Trail sound animals, good packing equipment, and a capable crew were the prerequisites of a successful pack train. The success of the trip depended on the skills and abilities of those who packed and drove the animals that carried the merchandise. New Mexicans had a well-deserved reputation as excellent horsemen and muleteers. American eyewitnesses marveled at the dexterity and skill with which they harnessed and adjusted packs of merchandise. Experienced travelers suggested that New Mexicans should always be used as teamsters for they “can catch up and roll up in half the time the average person does.” Packers were always in demand and utilized a variety of skills. They secured loads with intricate knots, splices and hitches; they acted as veterinarians and blacksmiths. They estimated the safe carrying capacity of a mule, and identified and treated animals suffering from improperly balanced loads. They timed the travel day to stop at a meadow or creek bottom that provided good forage. Packers also had to be able to lift heavy loads, be good farriers, and “accomplish marvels with the axe and screw key and a young sapling for a lever.” The slave trade changed the lifeways of American Indians through depopulation and loss of traditional knowledge. Human captivity was part of the reality of the West, affecting all who lived in the region. Beasts of Burden Beginning in the mid-1840s, new routes such as wagon roads carried troops fighting in the MexicanAmerican War, pioneers bound for California, miners joining the gold rush, and still more traders into the West. A few notable Americans used the trail. In 1847 and 1848, Kit Carson carried military dispatches east along the Old Spanish Trail. Military attaché George Brewerton kept a detailed account of his trip. John C. Frémont led U.S. government-sponsored exploratory survey trips to plan for the advent of railroads in the West. Mules had incredible strength and endurance, fared better than horses where water was scarce and forage poor, and recovered more rapidly after periods of hardship. Their hard and small hoofs withstood the shock and abrasion of rocky, boulder-strewn terrain. The Equipment While the mule was the heart of the transportation system, the packing equipment played an equally significant role. The aparejo (packsaddle) was the central piece of gear and carried heavy, odd-sized items safely over long distances without injuring the animal. It was described by one observer as “nearer to what I consider perfection in a pack saddle, than any other form of pack saddle yet invented.” Witness: Illegal Captivity Long before traders ventured into this region, American Indians traveled and traded along many of the paths that the trade caravans later followed. Petroglyphs show us that the mule caravans were witnessed by American Indians along the route. Indian guides had lengthy contact with Mexican and American traders. Trade sometimes involved the illegal exchange of horses, mules, and even human beings. Some captives, including American Indians, Spaniards, and Mexicans were ransomed at the frequent trade fairs that characterized the western economy. The Railroad and the End of the Trail By 1869, however, a rail route connected the plains of the Midwest and San Francisco Bay. Portions of the Old Spanish Trail evolved into wagon roads for local travel, but the days of cross-country mule caravans on the Old Spanish Trail had ended. [photo caption] Red Pass, California [artwork caption] View of Santa Fe in 1846 by John W. Abert [artwork caption] Detail, San Gabriel Mission, 1832, by Ferdinand Deppe Courtesy Sánta Barbara Mission Archive Library [photo caption] Courtesy Palace of the Governors Photo Archives (NMHM/DCA), 155329 [photo caption] Courtesy Laws Railroad Museum [photo caption] Jeanne Howerton [photo caption] Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, [photo caption] Ben Wittick, Palace of the Governors [photo caption] Photo Archives (NMHM/DCA), 015870 Exploring the Trail Timeline Early Explorations 1598 Don Juan de Oñate establishes San Juan de los Caballeros (near modern Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo), the first Spanish settlement in New Mexico. 1610 Don Pedro de Peralta founds Santa Fe, the new capital of New Mexico. 1765 Juan María Antonio Rivera leads two parties from New Mexico to explore southwestern Colorado and southeastern Utah. 1774 Father Francisco Hermenegildo Garcés sets out from southern Arizona to explore a path to the California missions. He follows the Mojave River and reaches Mission San Gabriel. 1776 Franciscan priests, Francisco Atanasio Domínguez and Francisco Silvestre Vélez de Escalante follow Rivera’s route to the Great Basin in western Utah. 1781 Spanish colonials establish El Pueblo de la Reina de los Angeles in California. 1821 Mexico gains independence from Spain. 1825 Antoine Robidoux builds Fort ncompahgre (Fort Robidoux) near resent-day Delta, Colorado, where Indians and traders bargained for goods. 1826 Jeddediah S. Smith leads a small party of fur trappers westward from Cache Valley, Utah. Trail Milestones 1829 Antonio Armijo leads the first trade caravan from Abiquiú to Los Angeles, opening the Old Spanish Trail. 1831 William Wolfskill and George C. Yount blaze a more northern route that ascends into central Utah before heading southwest into California. 1834 José Avieta and 125 men arrive at Los Angeles carrying 1,645 serapes, 314 blankets, and other woolen goods. 1837 José María Chávez and family settle in what became known as the Chávez Ravine in Los Angeles. 1839 José Antonio Salazar arrives in California at the head of a group of 75 men; Francisco Quintana carries domestic manufactures worth $78.25. 1841 Francisco Estevan Vigil arrives at Los Angeles and presents a passport and instructions describing the duties and responsibilities of a commander of a caravan. 1842 A party of 40 New Mexicans from Abiquiú settles at Agua Mansa and Politana in California; Francisco Estevan Vigil and 194 men are issued passports carrying 4,150 California animals back to New Mexico. de Tierra Adentro (the Royal Road to the Interior Lands) was a wagon road between Mexico City and Santa Fe. The Santa Fe Trail, an international wagon route that crossed the plains, linked Missouri with Santa Fe. Juan Arce hauls merchandise worth $487.50. The trails witnessed dramatic growth in use after 1821, when a large and broad array of merchandise came to New Mexico from the Eastern United States and Europe. Merchants took many of these products further into Mexico along El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro. 1844 Old Spanish Trail Travel 1846 The Old Spanish Trail’s rugged terrain discouraged the use of wagons. It was always a pack route, mainly used by men and mules. 1843 Francisco Rael carries domestic manufactures and sheep worth $1,748. The Mexican-American War begins. 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo ends Mexican-American War; the Southwest becomes U.S. territory; California Gold Rush begins 1849 Commercial caravans across the Old Spanish Trail largely cease as more direct transportation routes develop 2002 The Old Spanish National Historic Trail is designated by Congress [map caption] Earlier explorations provided essential knowledge about the lands and cultures between Santa Fe and Los Angeles. As trading opportunities opened up, traders sought the quickest and safest route. Three Trails Three trails, including the Old Spanish Trail, merged in Santa Fe. El Camino Real Traders used different routes from trip to trip, depending on weather and water. Caravans left New Mexico in the late summer or fall and returned from California in the spring. Early winter snows blocked mountain passes and travelers chose their routes accordingly. In the spring, raders worried about late snows and floods. On every trip, they worried about water and forage, often racing to beat other caravans to known sources. [map caption] All routes came together at Fork of Roads, east of present-day Barstow in the Mojave desert, and then crossed Cajon Pass between the San Gabriel and San Bernadino Mountains to Coastal California. After negotiating the pass, traders had an easy two to three days travel to the San Gabriel Mission and beyond to Los Angeles. [map caption] The Mojave Road: A 188-mile crossing of the Mojave Desert long used by area Indians and by Spanish explorers and missionaries, it was first traveled by Jedediah Smith, an American trapper, in 1826. [map caption] The Northern Route: First blazed by William Wolfskill and George C. Yount in 1831, this route veered northwest from Abiquiú through Southern Colorado and central Utah. It avoided the rugged canyons of the Colorado River that the Armijo party had encountered and took advantage of the better water and pasture resources across central Utah before returning to the Colorado River and Armijo’s route not far from Las Vegas. [map caption] The Armijo Route: The first complete trip across the trail began in Abiquiú, northwest of Santa Fe. The Armijo party followed wellknown trails northwest to the San Juan River, then nearly due west to the Virgin River. They used the Crossing of the Fathers, cut into rock canyon wall some 75 years earlier by the Domínguez-Escalante party. Armijo’s caravan went down the Muddy River and across the Mojave Desert to the Amargosa and Mojave Rivers, through Cajon Pass and down to Mission San Gabriel. [map caption] The North Branch: This route followed wellknown trapper and trade routes north through the Rio Grande gorge to Taos and into southern Colorado. It then went west through Cochetopa Pass, largely open during the winter when other passes were snowed in and up the Gunnison River valley, rejoining the Northern Route near present-day Green River, Utah. Explore Today It is difficult to see traces of the trail in the modern landscape. Most of the routes of the Old Spanish Trail have been reclaimed by nature or changed by later use. However, some of the landmarks that guided trail travelers can still be seen today. The following sites along the trail offer the opportunity to experience some of the natural landscapes crossed by the trail. They are only a small sampling of places you can visit associated with the trail. You can learn more by visiting the official trail websites. Arizona • Glen Canyon National Recreation Area • Grand Canyon/Parashant National Monument • Navajo National Monument • Pipe Spring National Monument California • Desert Discovery Center, Barstow • El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument • Mission San Gabriel, San Gabriel • Mojave National Preserve • Mojave River Valley Museum, Barstow • San Bernardino County Museum, Redlands Colorado • Anasazi Heritage Center/Canyons of the Ancients National Monument • Colorado National Monument • Curecanti National Recreation Area • Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area • Fort Garland Museum, Fort Garland • Fort Uncompaghre, Delta • Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve • Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area • McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area • Southern Ute Cultural Center and Museum, Ignacio • Ute Museum and Memorial Site, Montrose Nevada • Lake Mead National Recreation Area • Lost City Museum, Overton • Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort State Park • Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area • Springs Preserve, Las Vegas New Mexico • Aztec Ruins National Monument • Palace of the Governors and New Mexico History Museum, Santa Fe • Rio Grande Gorge Visitor Center, Taos • Spanish Colonial Art Museum, Santa Fe Utah • Arches National Park • Beaver Wash Dam National Conservation Area • Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument • John Wesley Powell River History Museum, Green River • Museum of the San Rafael, Castle Dale • Dan O’Leary Museum, Moab • Iron Mission State Park, Cedar City Trail Administration The Old Spanish National Historic Trail was designated by Congress in 2002. The trail runs through New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, Utah, Nevada and California. The Bureau of Land Management and the National Park Service administer the trail together to encourage preservation and public use. These two federal agencies work in close partnership with the Old Spanish Trail Association, American Indian tribes, state, county, and municipal governmental agencies, private landowners, nonprofit groups, and many others. For more information, including more site locations and trip planning tools, please visit our official trail websites: Bureau of Land Management Utah State Office www.blm.gov/ut National Park Service National Trails Intermountain Region www.nps.gov/olsp Volunteer Organization Old Spanish Trail Association www.oldspanishtrail.org

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