|Diego de Vargas Zapata y Luján Ponce de León y Contreras|
|Oil on canvas portrait of Diego de Vargas by Julio Barrera, date unknown, from the collection of the Palace of the Governors|
|31º Spanish governors of New Mexico|
1691 – 1697 (as effective) (titular 1688–91)
|Preceded by||Domingo Jironza Petriz de Cruzate|
|Succeeded by||Pedro Rodríguez Cubero|
|33º Spanish governors of New Mexico|
|Preceded by||Pedro Rodríguez Cubero|
|Succeeded by||Juan Páez Hurtado|
|Profession||Political and military|
Diego de Vargas Zapata y Luján Ponce de León y Contreras (born in Spain, 1643–1704), commonly known as Don Diego de Vargas, was a Spanish Governor of the New Spain territory of Santa Fe de Nuevo México, today the US states of New Mexico and Arizona, titular 1690–1692, effective 1692–1696 and 1703–1704. He is most famous for leading the reconquest of the territory in 1692 following the Pueblo Revolt of 1680. This reconquest is commemorated annually during the Fiestas de Santa Fe in the city of Santa Fe.
On August 10, 1680, Pueblo people from various pueblos in northern New Mexico staged an uprising against Spanish colonists. They laid siege to the city of Santa Fe, forcing the Spanish to retreat on August 20. The colonists fled south to El Paso del Norte (now Ciudad Juárez, Mexico), where they remained in exile for the next 12 years.
In 1688, Capitan General y Governador Don Diego de Vargas was appointed Governor of New Mexico, though he did not arrive to assume his duties until (February 22), 1691. He was assigned with the task of reconquering and pacifying the New Mexico territory for Spain. In July 1692, de Vargas and a small contingent of soldiers returned to Santa Fe. They surrounded the city and called on the Pueblo people to surrender, promising clemency if they would swear allegiance to the King of Spain and return to the Christian faith. After meeting with de Vargas, the Pueblo leaders agreed to peace, and on September 12, 1692 de Vargas proclaimed a formal act of repossession.
De Vargas’ repossession of New Mexico is often called a "bloodless reconquest", since the territory was initially retaken without any use of force. Later, when de Vargas returned to Mexico in early 1693 to retrieve a group of settlers, the Pueblo people reneged on their peace agreement and again captured Santa Fe. This time with the peace agreement broken, de Vargas retook the city by force, resulting in hundreds of Pueblo fighters being killed or later executed. A Second Pueblo Revolt was attempted in 1696, resulting in the death of five missionaries and twenty-one Spaniards, but it was effectively thwarted. For the next several years, warfare continued between both sides, but by the end of the century the Spanish colonization was essentially solidified.
De Vargas had prayed to the Virgin Mary, under her title La Conquistadora (The Conqueress), for the peaceful re-entry. Believing that she heard his prayer, he celebrated a feast in her honor. Today, this feast continues to be celebrated annually in Santa Fe as the Fiestas de Santa Fe. Part of those annual fiestas is a novena of masses in thanksgiving. Those masses are also done with processions, from the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, to the Rosario Chapel. The actual statue of La Conquistadora is taken in the processions. After the novena is completed, she is taken back to the Basilica. This is all in honor of Diego de Vargas and his reconquest of Santa Fe.
Here you can share your comments or contribute with more information, content, resources or links about this topic.