This next Tuesday, July 4, is again the celebration of the birth of the United States of America, in 1776. Now, nearly 250 years later, the United States has achieved a supreme place among all the nations on this Earth.
Our country, the USA, now controls or influences nearly all matters of international politics, military and economics throughout the world, and seemingly helps to maintain a grand new order in the world. Some say that perhaps our country has too much influence while others say that this nation is exercising a rightful power and place in the world.
And, while the July 4 Independence Day celebrations resound and thunder in the blaze and splendor of fireworks, many people continue to reflect upon their good fortune of being citizens of this strong, rich nation.
Yet, there is a question to be answered: How did we who now live in Northern New Mexico and in the American Southwest, and even in Taos area, come to be here and how did we arrive? The fact is that a great many people and their families were already living here long before July 4, 1776 - people of ancient native indigenous heritage, and Spanish European heritage. Well, as we know, all the rest of that topic is history.
The July 4 date, however, has an intriguing and shared juxtaposition here in our area even though there is also a 58-year separation in time as well as a seemingly great separation of worlds and spiritual and cultural heritage.
The other July 4 anniversary commemorates that date in the year 1833, in Taos. And here is the story:
We know that the Spanish ancestors first passed through this region since about 1540, and were established in these lands from about the year 1598.
We also know that previously, since the early 1500s, the Spanish Domain had been established in its capitol city Mexico -Tenochtitlan - after Hernán Cortéz with the help of native tribes including Tlaxcalans and others overthrew the Aztec Empire. It was from there that the Spanish later moved north into the territory that would become New Mexico.
The American lands had been inhabited for thousands of years by the indigenous peoples until the time of great change when the Spanish Europeans arrived. We reflect here that there was never a kingdom or an empire that has maintained its dominance forever.
In the year 1531, there appeared at Tepeyac by Mexico City, Our Lady of Guadalupe as she is known, who blessed and consoled and assured all the Mexican population of millions and indeed all the world, and is now known as the Patroness of the Americas.
And by the time the year 1776 came, the society from Mexico northward had already been established for more than 200 years. The peoples of Taos and its regions did duly become apprised of the 'birth' of the USA on that day July 4, 1776.
At that time the people here were citizens of the Spanish kingdom, living in close proximity to the indigenous Pueblo society, and under the spiritual protection of the Lady of Guadalupe. Then in 1821 Mexico got its independence from Spain, and things stayed much the same. In 1848 the USA took over, resulting in much greater changes.
And it is interesting that, 15 years before that, on July 4, 1833, the Archbishop, Zubiría, of Durango, Mexico, decreed that the Mission of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Taos be changed and upgraded as the parish seat for the Taos area. The Taos Parish became the first USA Catholic Parish dedicated to the Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas.