Navajo Wars – Mexican period

Published on February 27, 2013 by Carol

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Chuska Mountains

Melgares’s successor, Governor José Antonio Vizcarra met Navajo leaders at Paguate on 12 February 1823. His terms essentially stated that the Spanish would settle the Navajos in pueblos and energetically convert them to the Catholic religion. The Navajos were not interested in either of these proposals. They rejected the treaty and renewed the fight. Six New Mexicans were killed at Socorro in April and eight more at Sabinal in May. On 18 June 1823, Vizcarra led 1,500 troops in a 74-day expedition against the Navajos of western New Mexico. His route took him through the Chuska Mountains to the Hopi mesas in what is now Arizona, then north towards Utah, reaching Oljeto Creek in what is now San Juan County, Utah. Thirty three Navajos were killed, of whom eight were women, and about 30 were captured. The expedition reached Canyon de Chelly in what is now eastern Arizona.

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In retaliation for Vizcarra’s expedition, the Navajos raied Socorro again, and attacked Tome, Albuquerque and reached the outskirts of Santa Fe. The 1823 raid marked the start of a long period of raids and counter raids lasting until 1848 as New Mexicans took Navajos captive to work as slaves, and as Navajos raided to recover their people and to obtain livestock

Timeline

  • June 1822: Massacre of Navajo tribal leaders at Jemez Pueblo followed by extensive Navajo raids.
  • June 1823: José Antonio Vizcarra begins extensive punitive expedition
  • Source: Legendsofamerica

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