James Bailey Blackshear

Honor and Defiance

In 1835, a petition for land far from Santa Fe, New Mexico was awarded to pobladores (settlers) willing to relocate to the eastern edge of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Founded along the Gallinas River, the settlement became the Las Vegas Land Grant. The history of this grant is the history of New Mexico. On this 496,000 acre community grant, beliefs about land and faith were intertwined within a system of shared sacredness. In the 1890s, Anglo-American merchants and cattlemen joined with Hispano elites in the first concerted effort to wrest control of this grant from its original owners and heirs. The heart of this book investigates how a rural nuevo-mexicano (New Mexican) movement on the Las Vegas Land Grant evolved from burning barns and cutting fences to political activism and success at the ballot box. It also examines the history of New Mexico land grants, Hispano mountain culture, the origination of the town footprint, the boom of Territorial Las Vegas, and the cultural diversity that existed within the two distinct towns that emerged when the railroad came to Las Vegas in 1879. Honor and Defiance details the impact of American expansion into a well-established Hispano urban center, and highlights the robust nature of nuevo-mexicano spirit, determination, and ingenuity on the Las Vegas Land Grant. The book also includes photographs of Las Vegas, leaders of the period, and the land they fought for.
291 printed pages
Original publication


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