with Santa Fe. In 1787 a trail from San Antonio north to the region
of Wichita Falls, then up the Red and Canadian Rivers, and on to
Santa Fe was traced by Pedro (Pierre) Vial, a French frontiersman
officially sent out from San Antonio.

Other routes to the East were opened shortly afterwards, but still
there was none to St. Louis in Spanish Louisiana. Vial and two com-
panions left Santa Fe May 21, 1792, with orders from the governor
to find a direct route. Vial reached St. Louis and returned, thus
making the first complete journey across what became the famed Santa
Fe Trail.

During the latter part of the eighteenth century mineral prospects
received new attention, although little actual mining was done during
the Spanish era. The first big development was the Santa Rita copper
mine discovered about 1800, but not extensively worked until 1804.

Spanish officials, thoroughly aroused by the westward expansion of
the United States, due to the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, and by
explorations into Spanish-American territory, were fearful lest restless
Anglo-American pioneers overrun Texas and New Mexico. When
news reached Governor Joaquin Alencastre of Lieutenant Zebulon M.
Pike's exploration into Spanish territory, and of his erection of a Cot-
tonwood stockade—over which Pike raised the American flag—about
five miles up the Rio Conejos in Colorado on the west side of the Rio
Grande, Alencastre sent out a party of horsemen to arrest and bring
the Americans to Santa Fe, where they arrived March 3, 1807. Pike
was sent to Chihuahua under guard, and later escorted to the Louisiana
frontier. Pike's report supplied the United States with the first authen-
tic information about the Spanish Southwest.

Alencastre instituted measures to prevent additional American in-
fluences from entering New Mexico. Until Mexico gained indepen-
dence from Spain, attempts to open trade with St. Louis were unsuc-
cessful and the traders who at times did enter the province were
expelled or imprisoned.

In 1810 Spain was overrun by Napoleon's armies and turned to its
American colonies for support. A decree was issued providing for
election of deputies from Spanish-America to the Cortes in Spain. On
August 11 Pedro Bautista Pino was chosen to represent New Mexico.
He was the province's first and only representative to Spain.


As soon as Mexico achieved independence from Spain, September
27, 1821, the new republic was ready to establish relations with the
outside world, a policy that affected New Mexico.