In this, the sixth and final volume of the journals of don Diego de Vargas, Kessell and his colleagues continue their exploration of politics and society in the colonial New Mexico of the turn of the eighteenth century. Despite serious charges of malfeasance brought against him by agents of his political enemy Governor Pedro Rodríguez Cubero, Vargas was acquitted after three years of court hearings and legal maneuvering in the viceregal court in Mexico City. With his acquittal came reappointment to the governor's seat in New Mexico.
The journals reveal that maintaining peace in New Mexico during Vargas' absence was a difficult task for Rodríguez Cubero. Hispanic colonists and Pueblo Indians were suspicious of one another, and partisans of the deposed Vargas made little effort to hide their loyalty. With the Reconqueror's return, the colony settled back into familiar routines. Not even don Diego's early death in 1704 undid the hard-won recolonization.
In a brief but suggestive Afterword, the editors contend that the era of Diego de Vargas lived on well after his death. Although never fully implemented, the Reconqueror's plan to reform the colony affected almost every aspect of life, from the social order and relations between Hispanic and Pueblo neighbors to land tenure. New Mexico after Vargas, they conclude, had a distinctly different face.
A Settling of Accounts contains a cumulative series index as well as a complete list of the documents presented in each of the six volumes.
Rick Hendricks is an historical consultant to the Rio Grande Historical Collections at New Mexico State University. He is also the author of The Navajos in 1705 and was an editor of the six-volume Vargas Project (both UNM Press).
Meredith D. Dodge, an independent historian, has devoted nearly two decades compiling, translating, and editing the Vargas papers along with John Kessell, Rick Hendricks, and Larry D. Miller.
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