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Documents from the Archivo General de Indias and other related archives

Identifier: MSS-841-BC

Scope and Content

Freedom for a Chichimeca Woman Slave (Indios, Legajo 6, Part 1, Expediente 166. )

The AGI collection contains three formats:
  1. 1.) Research files (21 boxes) - Include loose photostats of colonial documents, transcriptions, translations and notes.
  2. 2.) Volumes (217 volumes) - Bound collection of photostats of colonial documents.
  3. 3.) Reels/DVDs (107 reels) of microfilm digitally transfered to DVDs (2 boxes) include images of colonial documents.
The documents in photostat, photocopy or microfilm formats collected into this collection are in handwritten Spanish paleographic script, with a few written in Mayan, Latin, Italian and French. Most of the photostats were bound into volumes between 1938-1941 through funding from the Historical Records Survey of New Mexico Project, a WPA program. There are typed Spanish transcriptions for some of the documents in the research folders. The folders contain the remaining odd sized copied documents, the transcriptions and miscellaneous notes by Bloom, Scholes and others. The notes may be typed or handwritten. Most are in Spanish, with a few in English.

Bloom and Scholes’ purpose for the collection was to provide a chronological history of the “lost” early decades of New Mexico from exploration and founding through the Pueblo Revolt to the Reconquest and resettlement.They also included some material from the northern provinces of the Viceroyalty of Mexico (Provincias Internas) to understand the patterns of development there and how that influenced New Mexico. As they saw them in the archives, Bloom and Scholes both collected a few interesting documents about areas adjacent and linked historically to New Mexico such as Texas, Florida, California, and Louisiana.

Scholes also added significant documents to the collection on the history of conquest and post-conquest eras of central and western Mexico, Cortes and Yucatan. He also included some material about the Caribbean, Central America, the Viceroyalty of Peru and the Philippines showing the origins of early colonial policies and their impact on events in the later development of New Spain. Scholes believed New Mexico, Mexico and the rest of Spanish America (Latin America) shared a common history and should be studied in comparison to each other. Thus he collected information on contracts, instructions, institutions, and leaders from across the Spanish empire that helped him understand the forces at work in the New World. Countless scholars have written studies based on this collection and today others continue to find new topics and views in these papers

Given here are a few examples of the main topics or persons in the documents of this collection by region:
  1. New Mexico: Topics include the exploration and settlement of New Mexico; the roles of Francisco Vasquez de Coronado, Marcos de Niza, Esteban, the Black, Antonio de Espejo, the Rodriguez-Chamuscado Expedition, Gaspar Castaño de Sosa, Juan de Oñate, Gaspar Perez de Villagra, soldier citizens like Cristobal de Anaya and Juan Domínguez de Mendoza, etc.; the importance of places as San Juan, Acoma, Santo Domingo, Zuni and other pueblos such as San Gabriel, San Juan de los Caballeros, Cibola, Quivira, etc. Crown support for the colony, civil administration, the Santa Fe cabildo, governors and officials such as Pedro de Peralta, Juan de Eulate, Luis de Rosas, Diego Dionicio de Peñalosa, Bernardo López de Mendizábal, Gervacio Cruzat y Gongora, Francisco Cuervo y Valdes, Pedro de Mendinueta, Pedro Rodriguez Cubero, and others, where governors served before and after their time in the colony, etc.; politics; the conflict between the governors and the clergy, etc. Missions, missionaries, Franciscans, conversion of the Indians; reports on conditions in the colony, treatment of the Indians, the role of Alonso de Benavides, Tomas Manzo, Alonso de Posada, Bishop Juan de Zumarraga, and others, church and state relations. Spanish settlers, population, society; the economy, mining, estancias, resources, horses, cattle, trade and travel on the Camino Real, caravans, supplies, some references to encomiendas, Indian labor, and tribute; the role of El Paso, support for New Mexico from the northern frontier provinces of Mexico. Spanish relations with the Pueblos, Hopi, Apaches, Navajos, the Jumanos; pre-1680 revolts, the 1680 Pueblo Revolt, the years in El Paso, reconquest and resettlement; the Santa Fe presidio, defense of the colony; Antonio de Otermin, Francisco de Ayeta, Diego de Vargas and later governors; founding of Albuquerque, Santa Cruz, Galisteo, and other places; Juan de Ulibarri; Pedro Vial’s expedition to St. Louis and Natchitoches; Pedro Pino and Spanish Cortes, etc.
  2. Northern and Western Mexican provinces - (Provincias Internas): Nueva Galicia, Nueva Vizcaya, Sonora, Nuevo Leon, Sinaloa, Michoacan, Oaxaca, Tlaxcala. Puebla, Zacatecas, Guadalajara, Chihuahua, Hidalgo de Parral, El Paso, Coahuila. Exploration, settlement, expansion, administration, governors, the Ibarras, politics, regulations, etc. Spanish - Indian relations, slavery, treatment and defense of the Indians. Chicimecas, Apaches, Pimas, Yaquis, Sumas, Mansos, Tarahumara. Frontier wars, defense, soldiers, presidios, service records, reports. Teodoro de Croix, Pedro de Rivera, etc. Missions, conversion of the Indians, conditions, building churches, education, hospitals, church state conflicts, reports. Spanish society, conditions, mining, economy, trade, caravans, Indian labor. Support for New Mexico, sending officials, missionaries, settlers, supplies, transfer of ideas and practices to the northern colony.
  3. U.S. Spanish Borderlands: Alaska, Russian affairs, 1770s, Indian relations, letter in French about events California, discovery, exploration of coast, Sebastian Vizcaino, Juan Rodríguez de Cabrillo, Juan de Paéz, Sebastian Ríos Cermeño, etc. Settlement, crown support, recruiting settlers. Ties to Philippines, China, Arizona and Sonora, descriptions, reports, founding Monterrey, Juan Bautista de Anza. Missions, Padre Kino and others. Defense, building forts, English attacks on California coast, service records of officials, soldiers. Florida, exploration. Hernando de Soto, and counter claims to Pacific and Nueva Galicia. Settlement, administration, Pedro de Melendez de Avila, Tristan de Luna y Arellano and others. Conditions of Indians, missions, conversion, bad example of Spanish to Indians. Defense, possible routes between New Mexico and Florida, from Zacatecas mines to Florida. Texas, Louisiana, Illinois, settlement, missions, crown support, defense, commerce. French in Texas and Louisiana, colonies of France. Mississippi River, Gulf of Mexico. English colonies, Spanish involvement in the U. S. revolution. Missions in Texas, Illinois. Pedro de Vial to Texas. American intrusions and contraband; United States’ desire to overtake Texas from Spanish.
  4. Española, Santo Domingo: Crown contracts with various early explorers, instruction for colonization and treatment of Indians; Diego Colon, royal administration, repartimientos, etc.; Bartolome de Las Casas, defense of Indians; Negro slavery; Indians, caciques, tribute, policies, etc.
  5. Viceroyalty of New Spain, Mexico: Exploration, conquest, settlement. Hernán Cortés, Panfilo de Narvaéz, Pedro de Alvarado, Alvarado family, Bernal Diaz de Castillo, Nuño de Guzman, Francisco de Valderrama, Gonzalo de Sandoval, Rodrigo de Paz lists of men in the conquest, etc. Crown support, royal officials, the Audiencia, Consejo de Indias, the viceroys, regulations, etc. Missions, conversion of Indians, conditions, Native testimony, school, hospitals, teaching Indians Spanish, church state conflict, competition between orders, the Inquisition, etc. Aztecs. Spanish - Indian relations, policies, the impact of the conquest, humanism, role of the caciques, Montezuma family (descendants), Indian rights, Indian officials, land use, etc. Origins of African slavery, Black issues, mestizos and mestizaje. Encomiendas and encomenderos, tribute, New Laws, protection and treatment of the Indians. The treasury, trade, piracy, defense. Economy, land use, ranching, cochineal, mining (silver). Society, orphans, hospitals, women's rights, marriage, inheritance, regulations, etc. Mexico City, Cuernavaca, Zacatecas, Tlaxcala, and other locations in central Mexico. Yucatan Exploration, conquest, settlement, administration, governors, officials, Francisco de Montejo and others. Encomiendas, treatment of Indians, economy, trade. Missions, conversion, Bishop Diego de Landa, the Inquisition, Lutherans, church and government conflict. Indian idolatry, human sacrifice, role of caciques, Indian rights, Native testimony. Maya, Chontal. Defense, English and French pirates. Mérida, Campeche, Tabasco, Panuco, Cozumel, etc.
  6. Guatemala, Honduras, Central America: Administration, regulations, encomiendas, tribute, diezmos, condition of Indians, Protector de Indios, Francisco Marroquín, Francisco de Montejo, Pedro de Alvarado, Juan Vasquez de Coronado, etc.
  7. Viceroyalty of Peru: Includes Chile and Venezuela, regulation of Indian labor in Chile; Pedro de Peralta, as Treasurer of Hacienda Real, in Venezuela; monetary affairs, conditions, 1640s. Caracas. Many of policies, regulations for New Spain were also sent to Peru.
  8. Philippines: Many of the problems and policies for New Spain were also related to the Philippines, missions, settlement, mining, trade, defense, etc.
Funds for Captain Domingo Gonzales and Family to go to New Mexico (Box 8, Folder 65, no. 247)


  • 1508-1821
  • Majority of material found within 1521-1780


Language of Materials

English Spanish French Mayan

Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Copy Restrictions

Rights to documents held by the corresponding archives. Limited duplication of print and photographic material is allowed for research purposes. User is responsible for compliance with all U.S.and international copyright, privacy, and libel laws.

Biography / History

The majority of the primary documents in this collection were copied at the Archivo General de Indias (AGI), in Sevilla, between 1927 - 1970 by UNM History professors Lansing Bartlett Bloom and France Vinton Scholes for their research and seminars on New Mexican and Mexican history, as well as related areas. Other contributors included George P. Hammond and Eleanor Adams. Lesser amounts of documents came from the Archivo Historico Nacional, Madrid; the Biblioteca Nacional, Madrid; El Escorial, Madrid; the Archivo de Protocolos, Sevilla; the Archivo de Simancas; the Real Academia de Historia, Madrid; the Propaganda Fide Collection, Vatican Library, Rome; the Bancroft Library; Library of Congress and the Newberry Library. The Archivo General de Indias (AGI), housed in Seville, Spain, is the document repository related to the history of the Spanish Empire in the Americas and the Philippines, hence the volume from there. It was created in 1785 by decree of Charles III in order to bring together under a single roof all the documentation regarding the overseas empire, which until that time had been dispersed among various archives. The other archives held documents related to the broader interests of these scholars.

Bloom came to New Mexico in 1912 and besides teaching at UNM, was involved in a variety of organizations in Santa Fe, including the Museum of New Mexico, the School of American Research and the Historical Society of New Mexico. He was a founder and editor of the New Mexico Historical Review, from its inception in 1926 until his death in 1946. He was responsible for most of the selections in the AGI collection. Knowing the early documents for New Mexico had been lost during the Pueblo Revolt, from 1928-1940 he made numerous trips to the archives of Mexico, Spain, and Italy to find information. He located and copied thousands of documents that were hitherto unknown to Southwest historians, depositing them at UNM. To understand New Mexico events, he also collected a considerable amount of material on the northern provinces of Mexico and the surrounding Borderlands.

Scholes came to Albuquerque in 1924, teaching at UNM off and on from 1924 to 1954, and regularly from 1946-1970, when he retired. His areas of interest covered colonial New Mexico, Mexico and Yucatan. He worked for the Library of Congress copying Spanish documents about the U.S. Borderlands in the archives of Mexico. As head of the Carnegie Post-Columbian History Section he searched for Yucatan and Mayan material in the archives of Spain and Mexico. For comparisons, he collected documents about the history of the Caribbean, Central America and Latin America - adding another dimension to this collection. Toward retirement, Scholes focused his research on Cortes. He was Visiting Professor of History at Tulane University until his death in 1979.

Both Bloom and Scholes published scholarly works based on documents from this collection. The New Mexico Historical Review carried articles about their lives and research activities, as well as historical studies by them.

This descriptive guide for the AGI material at the CSWR was the brain child of Robert Himmerich y Valencia, as editor of the New Mexico Historical Review. The initial layout was developed by Felicia Guerra and graduate students from the NMHR office and was later continued by fellows from the CSWR.


23 boxes (20.5 cu. ft.) 217 volumes, 107 microfilm reels, 2 boxes DVDs


The collection contains selected Spanish documents copied from the Archivo General de Indias and other archives in Spain, the Vatican Library, and U.S. Libraries, with related transcriptions and notes. Mainly focused on the colonial history of New Mexico and New Spain, with some materials for the Caribbean, Latin America, Philippines, and the U.S. Borderlands.

Related Archival Material

Center for Regional Studies and the Center for Southwest Research Fellows presentation in 2002, Gary Van Valen.

Center for Regional Studies and the Center for Southwest Research Fellows presentation in 2003, Gary Van Valen.

France V. Scholes Papers. Center for Southwest Research, University of New Mexico. Archivo General de la Nación de México Center for Southwest Research, University of New Mexico. Lansing B. Bloom Papers. Center for Southwest Research, University of New Mexico. Eleanor B. Adams Papers, Center for Southwest Research, University of New Mexico. Richard E. Greenleaf Papers. Center for Southwest Research, University of New Mexico. John L. Kessell Papers. Center for Southwest Research, University of New Mexico. New Mexico Historical Review Records. Center for Southwest Research, University of New Mexico. George P. Hammond Collection. Center for Southwest Research, University of New Mexico. Vargas Project Records. Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries, University of New Mexico

Processing Information

Microfilm reels digitally transferred to CD format Jan. 2017. Reels no longer available for public access. CD numbers correspond to old reel numbers.
Finding Aid of the Documents from the Archivo General de Indias and other related archives, 1505-1812
S. Taylor
© 2010
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is in English
Funding provided by: University of New Mexico Center for Regional Studies.

Revision Statements

  • Monday, 20210524: Attribute normal is missing or blank.

Repository Details

Part of the UNM Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections Repository

University of New Mexico Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections
University Libraries, MSC05 3020
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque NM 87131