Juan Bautista de Anza, Cuerno Verde and Their Legacy in Colorado

Juan Bautista de Anza, Cuerno Verde and Their Legacy in Colorado
By Bob DeWitt – “ANZANISTA” and Anza Society Board Member

On Sunday, August 15, 1779 the 55th Spanish governor of New Mexico, Juan Bautista de Anza departed Santa Fe along the Camino Real on an arduous 27-day campaign in search of Comanche Indian chief Cuerno Verde, who had been raiding villages and creating havoc across the northern frontier of the Spanish Empire.
To further the research and understanding of Anza and this dramatic event which would forever alter the course of history affecting much of what is now north-ern New Mexico and southern Colorado, the Anza Legacy Project desires to define the route of this expedition to include the location of campsites and battle sites. Furthermore, the Anza Legacy Project desires to establish an Anza / Cuerno Verde National Historic Trail along this corridor.
The historic preservation of this route is vital in a number of aspects. Our Spanish heritage is seldom understood or taught in the primary educational system. Acknowledgment need be given the Native American tribes to include the Ute and Jicarilla Apache who accompanied Anza on this expedition. Additionally, the Comanche are a vital part of this story.
The definition of this important corridor throughout northern New Mexico and southern Colorado will not only create a greater understanding of Anza and our Spanish heritage, but additionally, the interest created can only help benefit communities located along this route resulting in increased tourism.
The Anza Society, Inc. Board of Directors unanimously passed a resolution of support for the Anza Legacy Project and namely Bob DeWitt and John Anderson in this effort. While this project is new in name, it continues to build on the work of past members of the Anza Society to include scholars such as Don Garate, Ron Kessler, Jer Zyberra, Joe Myers, Wilfred Martinez and many others.
Furthermore, Spanish descendants of various research and historical organizations support efforts to promote true history. We know from various records that ancestors of Wilfred Martinez were on the expedition and that Francisco Domingo Anaya was the only person killed in the line of duty on the 1779 campaign.
There is a great opportunity for those wanting to learn more about Anza and the related characters in this colorful and important period of Colorado and New Mexico history. In Colorado Springs, Colorado, (for the first time ever,) the 24th Annual International Conference of the Anza Society will take place September 12-15, 2019. The conference features a rather impressive roster of credentialed presenters and authors from New Mexico, Arizona, Washington and Colorado who will share information on a diverse variety of topics focusing on the Southwest Borderlands and of course Anza.
Things kick off on Thursday afternoon with a Reception and Registration. As part of the reception, there will be a premier showing of a newly developed informational PowerPoint dubbed, “Anza A to Z”. Friday’s bus tour will take in historic sites and museums wrapping up the day with a dinner banquet and programs, to include a keynote address by New Mexico’s state historian, Dr. Rick Hendricks. To further make this event a most educational and memorable one, let me point out a few select Saturday topics. Dr. Joe Myers (Arizona) will start things off with “Spaniards in Colorado Pre Anza”, followed by Jeff Hengesbaugh (New Mexico) on the “Segesser Hide Paintings – New Findings”. Jeff has offered to bring along many original artifacts pertaining to the Anza period of the 1779 Comanche Campaign in Colorado and Northern New Mexico. To see and hear about these artifacts, will be most helpful in the work going forward on the Anza Legacy Project, in the efforts to locate and establish the trail. Two exciting features of this conference will be a couple of Panel sessions. In the morning, the “Descendants of Anza Panel” will share some insight into their ancestor’s past as part of the expedition. In the afternoon, following a presentation, “Zebulon Montgomery Pike’s Legacy” by the Pikes National Historic Trail Association, some of the talented individuals behind the establishment of various historic trails in both NM and CO will take part in a “Trails Panel”. Of course, there will be many other fascinating presentations.
While the full conference rate is very affordable at $185, on a shoestring, one can purchase the Saturday Daytime option to include a full day of engaging historical presentations and lunch for only $30! WOWis this a bargain or what? There are numerous other À la carte options available as well.

For complete conference details including Brochure and Schedule please request an EVITE invitation to RSVP with easily downloadable forms and secure credit card payment link.

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