August memories

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Not a big month for celebrations in NM

By Jay Miller

SANTA FE — August holds no holidays for New Mexicans. Heck, even members of the U.S. House of Representatives have to give up their traditional August recess to work on the ambitious agenda of Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

But August has many days to remember, especially for New Mexicans. We just don’t celebrate them because they’re all tinged with some bad memories.

Every elementary school child knows Christopher Columbus arrived in the New World on October 12, 1492. But he set sail on August 3 of that year.

They still are teaching elementary students that Columbus was the guy who figured out the world is round. But we have learned over the years that when he set sail, he had no doubt he wasn’t going to fall off the edge of the earth.

Many people already knew the world was round and some even knew others had already explored new lands to the west. The only question was how far west.

It was August 1598 when Juan de Onate and his colonists reached Northern New Mexico.

It was August 10, 1680 when the Pueblos, with the help of Apaches, decided they didn’t like Spanish rule. Some 400 colonists and 21 Franciscan missionaries were killed.

The rest fled down the Rio Grande to south of El Paso. It is said to be the first and only instance of Native Americans overthrowing their conquerors.

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