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NM Centennial

An Atlas of Historic New Mexico Maps, 15501941

Unit One: Military Buildup and Indian Removals: 1867

After the U.S. claimed New Mexico, it remained to secure both the borders and the main routes for trade and transportation. The Army built forts all over the state, and within 50 years, had achieved its goal. The pacification came at great cost to indigenous groups, some of whom lost their homelands forever.


In completion of this lesson, students will:

Compare official American and Spanish documents, including letters and maps, with Native American oral histories, to appreciate the multiple perspectives of the conflicts surrounding the Indian policies during the period following the Civil War.

Use historic maps to chart the economic growth of southern, eastern, and northwestern New Mexico as a result of the militarization of the territory.

Research ways in which the military presence in New Mexico affected their community, and represent those findings geographically in Google Earth.

Research a historical figure.

Take notes.

Formulate appropriate questions to gain knowledge of the historical person.

Work cooperatively in small groups.

Perform interview with partner with whole class as the audience.

Evaluate - peers and self.

Demonstrate good listening and speaking skills.





company of troops

Battle of Sand Creek/ James Chivington






Activity I: Exploring the Map

Beginning with the entry for James Carleton and Kit Carson, read through all the entries to the end. Also click on the link for Reservation for Navajoes and Apaches (green box); Fort Stanton Mescalero Reservation. Read the timeline below the map.

Optional: listen to El Indo Vitorio by Juan de la O

Optional: Follow bibliographic links to read Personal Experiences Among our North American Indians from 1867-1885, Judge W. Thornton Parker; Condition of Indian tribes 1867; Joint Special Committee of two houses of Congress.

Have students fill out a map analysis worksheet for this map. As a class, share the students' findings.

Discuss the following questions as a class.

What was the role of the United States military in newly-occupied New Mexico?

What was their purpose?

Were they successful?

Where were they located?

How was their location influenced by geography?

What was the impact of their location on Anglo, Hispanic, and Native settlements?

How did the military contribute to the New Mexico economy?

U.S. Topo Bureau: Old Territory and Military Department of New Mexico: 1867

Activity II: Indian Wars and Removal


For centuries, European and Puebloan New Mexicans living in settlements were a target for the nomadic tribes of the plains and mountains. Generations of Apache, Navajo, Ute, Comanche, Teya, and Kiowa supported themselves by raiding the farms and ranches of New Mexico, and carrying away children, livestock, arms, and other goods. When the Spanish could, they punished whatever bands of "wild" Indians they could find, by similar raiding, massacres, and enslavement of children.

Because Europeans generally did not distinguish between the native groups that attacked them and the people they found, they engendered more resentment and attacks by punishing the innocent for the doings of others. Likewise, Europeans would negotiate peace with one group (see Benavides, Menchero, and Carleton with the Navajo), not understanding that the leader of any given band does not speak for all the people in his tribe.

At other times, hostile tribes were given gifts to keep the peace, and all the different groups came together peacefully to trade: both exchange hostages, and barter for buffalo products (including meat and hides), livestock, textiles, and agricultural products. In the trade fairs, New Mexicans gleaned news from the far-away plains and beyond.

The children whom the Spanish bought were raised as family servants, and often given their freedom in maturity. These gení­zaros reported numerous abuses and as compensation many were granted land of their own, at the frontiers of the settlements where they acted as a buffer for the Spanish villages. The villages of Abiquiu, Tome, and Valencia are all examples of towns founded by gení­zaros. Some of the genizaros served as scouts or soldiers in the ongoing skirmishes with the surrounding tribes.

The American response to nomadic, raiding tribes evolved over time, but the initial, military response can be tracked by looking at the pattern of forts established. This map does not show the conclusion of the war with the Chiricahua and Chihenne Apache, as that was not resolved until 1886.


Ask students to pick a tribe or pueblo, and trace those people's relationship with the European colonists over time using the search feature. Students can type in the term (e.g. "Jicarilla"). From the results page, encourage students to right-click on the links, in order to open the map marker in a new tab or window, thereby preserving the search results.

Students should take notes to answer the following questions:

What did the natives do?

What did the Europeans do?

What kinds of relationships does this group have with other native groups?

Did the tribe maintained its cultural integrity and homelands? Why or why not?

Students should write down examples of interactions with other ethnic groups. Visual components are encouraged.

Students should share their findings with the class as a whole. Students who researched different bands of the same group should present one after the other(e.g.: students who researched Jicarilla, Mescalero, Mimbres Apache; students who researched Keres pueblos, etc).

As a class discuss:

What factors seemed to influence the difference in the relationships between Europeans and indigenous people? Geography? Common values? Common interests? Make lists on the board under different headings for the different tribes.

Was the American response appropriate?

Was it effective?

What could Americans have done differently?

What understanding did they lack in order to make informed decisions?

What assumptions did Americans make about different native groups in New Mexico?

Recognizing assumptions helps students understand when people have acted because of what they assumed, or believed without proof.

Creative writing extension:

Read some of the descriptions of Bosque Redondo, the Long Walk, and other events associated with the Navajo removal.

Ask students to imagine they were forced to leave their homes suddenly last night, taking nothing with them. Have them write one page about what they will miss most.

Activity III: Intro to Google Earth: Finding places, Making a marker, creating links

Note: Read Adding Your Own Maps for full instructions on using Google Earth, creating a shared workspace, and managing KML files.

Using Google Earth, walk students through basic exercises in finding their home town, their house, and the school. Using the search/fly to feature, have students find the following places:

Fort Stanton

Bosque Redondo

Fort Wingate

Fort Defiance

Navajo reservation

Mescalero reservation

Fort Craig

Fort Selden

Fort Union

Fort Sumner

Fort Bliss

Kirkland Air Force Base

Holloman Air Force Base

Cannon Air Force Base

White Sands Missile Range

Los Alamos National Laboratories

Sandia National Laboratories

Students can work individually, or in groups (as described in Adding Your Own Maps). Students should create a folder in the Places pane, and name it with their name or the name of their group. Any markers they make should be placed in this folder.

Have students find and research one place near their community where there was (or is) a military installation, a battle, or where military activity affected the course of events in the region. Students should create one marker, name it, and write a short description. The description should include bibliographic references for books, articles, or online references the students used in their research. Online references require a live link back to the original site.

To make an HTML link, students can simply use the following format:

** to see this marker, view the sample maps file in Student Maps

Sandia National Laboratory

Sandia National Laboratory has contributed to the growth of Albuquerque in many ways.


Retrieved from the Sandia National Laboratory webpage< / A >, July 24, 2009

[to download this code, and look at it in Google Earth or as a text file, click on the link below]

Students can save their folders as KML files to a removable disc, a shared directory, or a shared online workspace, depending on your IT department's requirements.

Sample KML file


Key Ideas and Details:


Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, attending to such features as the date and origin of the information.


Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of how key events or ideas develop over the course of the text.


Analyze in detail a series of events described in a text; determine whether earlier events caused later ones or simply preceded them.

Craft and Structure:/b>


Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary describing political, social, or economic aspects of history/social science.


Analyze how a text uses structure to emphasize key points or advance an explanation or analysis.


Compare the point of view of two or more authors for how they treat the same or similar topics, including which details they include and emphasize in their respective accounts.

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas:/b>


Integrate quantitative or technical analysis (e.g., charts, research data) with qualitative analysis in print or digital text.


Assess the extent to which the reasoning and evidence in a text support the author's claims.


Compare and contrast treatments of the same topic in several primary and secondary sources.

Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity:/b>


By the end of grade 10, read and comprehend history/social studies texts in the grades 9-10 text complexity band independently and proficiently.

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