Paperback. 400 pages. 100 illustrations. Maps. Endnotes, index, bibliography.
Hundreds of French families and their stories.
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This book tells the history of the French in New Mexico over the last four centuries. It chronicles the lives of French-speaking people who came mainly from France, Canada, Switzerland, Belgium, Africa, and the Caribbean Islands; of people with French ancestry who retained some of their French culture; and of people with strong connections to France. These people came from all walks of life. Some were influential, unusual, or colorful characters; others are less remembered. They were explorers, adventurers, fur trappers and traders, soldiers, merchants, priests, farmers and ranchers, businesspeople, scientists, artists, actors, politicians, lawyers, criminals, women of note, intellectuals, and other influencers in society. Their lives were filled with stories of love and death, of chases and hunts, of successes and failures. Many roamed the vast American West, and will occasionally take us to California, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Texas, and Mexico.
What is now New Mexico was for centuries at the limit of the world known to Europeans. This is still the case as far as French history is concerned. We offer this book as a contribution to the cultural resurrection of the French in New Mexico. It is for the thousands of New Mexicans who share a French ancestry, conscious and proud of the value of French culture, heritage, and identity. The book is also for their distant cousins who remained in their original lands. And beyond direct family ties, it is for all those interested in the multicultural aspects of New Mexico’s history and society.