Don Diego de Vargas wrote in the late 1600s that New Mexico was “remote beyond compare,” and its cultural history had been as complex as its landscape.
Chávez divides his narrative of the state into five periods: Pre-European, Spanish Colonial, Mexican Independence, Territorial and Statehood. Each section primarily explores the interaction between the dissimilar players who enacted the historical drama and, in doing so, adds a new slant to old material. Chávez hopes the stories hold a lesson for the rest of the world: cultural inclusivity is the key to a promising future. —Cynthia Green