Women of the Camino Real de Tierra Adentro

Few historical documents record the many women who traveled the royal road. Scribes of Spanish expeditions into the northern borderlands ignored the presence and contributions of courageous women who accompanied the explorers and soldiers. Rarely, if at all, are the names of a few women in the muster rolls, complete with the role they performed.Marker
There were 25 women traveling with Onate who not only contributed to the survival of the expedition through their skills in cooking, mending, washing, nursing and packing. It was the women who cared for the sick, comforted the soldiers and other travelers who died along the way.

Doña Eufema, -Doña Juna de Trejo, wife of Capt. Diego de Zubia and daughter of Dona Eufema; -Doña Isabel Sanchez, wife of Capt. Diego Nanez; -Doña Beatriz Navarro Rodriguez y Castano de Sosa, wife of Capt. Alonzo de Sosa Albomoz; -Doña Isabel Holguin, wife of Alferez Juan de Vitorio Carvanjal; -Doña Lucio Lopez Robledo, wife of Perez de Bustilo; -Doña Pasquale Bermal, wife of Juan Griego
And traveling with Diego de Vargas on the recolonization of New Mexico after the Pueblo Revolt was Doña Ana Pacheco Ortiz, wife of Capt. Cristobal Baca, her daughters.

All of these women and their offspring are known to be common ancestors of many people with New Mexico roots.

Front of Marker

In 1598 the first Spanish settlers in New Mexico traveled up the Camino Real from north-central Mexico. Of the 560 people so far identified on that expedition, at least 20 percent were women. They came on foot, on wagons or horseback, and were the first of thousands of women who suffered the arduous journey traveling back and forth, sometimes more than once, on the trail.

Rear of Marker

Man & child
Man with children posing by a fence in, Mora Valley, NM. Circa 1895.

The legacy of these women is evident from place names, communities like Socorro, which bear their names. Some women came as heads-of-households while others followed their husbands and families. Some even came as slaves. They all played an important role in expanding and colonizing New Mexico. Women defined the culture, history and traditions of New Mexico throughout the 17th and 18th centuries.

The people and their cultures who traversed the Camino Real changed the history of the United States and Mexico as no other trail has before or since.
The cultural compromise of this trail created and defines, still today, the Nuevo Mexicanos of today.



Photo 2
Josephina Baca and family, Belen, New Mexico Date: 1940s.