History and Architecture

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New Mexico's Palace of the Governors: History of an American Treasure

Emily Abbink

One of America's oldest public buildings of European origin, the Palace of the Governors in Santa Fe celebrates its quadricentennial in photographs, drawings, lithographs, and maps: the story of New Spain and four centuries of change. This lively pictorial drama for all ages sets the Palace as the historical stage upon which the major events of four hundred years are played, from the arrival of the first conquistadors and the founding of New Spain's capital to the Pueblo Revolt of 1680, the Mexican War, the opening of the Santa Fe Trail that ushered in the Anglo period, the Civil War and the coming of the railroad, Hewett and the founding of the Museum of New Mexico, and the archaeology of the twentieth century. Until 1909 a governor's residence, the Palace remains a royal house for all who visit. A National Historic Landmark and international tourist destination, the Palace of the Governors is a fine example of Spanish Colonial architecture, and much detail of the building's Spanish, Mexican, and Territorial periods is in evidence today. Restoration and archaeology together have revealed the worth of this significant historic artifact that welcomes visitors into period rooms re-created with elements of the Palace's illustrious past, complete with period furnishings and museum-quality collections.


Emily Abbink is a lecturer in American studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and author of Monterey Bay Area Missions. A historical archaeologist, she has excavated Spanish Colonial sites in California and New Mexico. A former New Mexico resident, she now lives with her family in Santa Cruz, California.

Published By Museum of New Mexico Press

9 x 8.25 in. 124 pages 80+ photos and illustrations