New Mexico: The French Presence since the 1500s
Distinguished author and independent scholar Francois-Marie Patorni will present a talk: “New Mexico: The French Presence since the 1500s” Saturday, November 6, at 2 pm in the Kit Carson Electric Cooperative Boardroom, 118 Cruz Alta Road in Taos.
The history of the French, French Canadians, and other French-speaking peoples in New Mexico covers the last 400 years, impacting all areas of New Mexico and the southwest. Eventually, Santa Fe emerged as a communication hub, with three main trails converging upon the city:
the Santa Fe Trail, heading north to Colorado and east to Missouri
the Old Spanish Trail, leading northwest, ultimately extending to California
the Camino Real de Tierra Adentro, reaching south to Mexico City.
Through stories woven in the flow of time, the presentation will focus on the presence of the French-speaking people around Taos and northern New Mexico, many of whom based their operations in Taos. After the fur trade days and events surrounding the American annexation, the Taos Rebellion, and the Civil War, Taos remained the home of French families already established there, and new entrepreneurs came to work or do business.
You will learn about early explorers, trappers and traders, Catholic priests, the military, entrepreneurs, and others. Because of their large numbers, he will focus on a few notable or unusual people, and lesser-known stories.
Francois-Marie Patorni is an independent scholar living in Santa Fe. He specializes in the history of the French-speaking people in New Mexico and the American southwest. After his retirement from the World Bank in Washington D.C., he moved to New Mexico in 2004. He was an environmental advocate in the Santa Fe area, participated in the developing a vision plan for Santa Fe County, and was president for seven years of the Santa Fe Watershed Association. Realizing the extraordinarily rich history of the French, French Canadians, and other French-speaking people in New Mexico over the last four centuries, he recently published The French in New Mexico, Four Centuries of Exploration, Adventure, and Influence.
The Taos County Historical Society is a 501(c)3 non-profit formed in 1952 for the purpose of
“…preserving the history of the Taos area…” Members of the Society are admitted free of charge and non-members are requested to make a $5 donation. Membership forms are available at the check-in desk. For further information visit www.taoscountyhistoricalsociety.org