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e conquest of New Mexico ju

st as New Mexico is born

anew through the king's rule. This soldier-poet is, it seems, driven by the mandate of history itself: to borrow an analysis from Louis Marin, the monarch "makes history, but it is history that is made in what he does, and the same time his historian, by writing what he does, writes what must be


tten" (42). Michel de
Certeau suggests that a

ny historical operat

ion refers to a relation between a social place (a milieu, a profession), a "scientific" practice (a discipline), and the construction of a writing (a literature) (1988, 57). At a minimum, Villagra's practice entails recording "heroic" events of the recent conquest, and the pl


is the seat of empire;
addressed to and writte

n for the monarch,

the writing commemorates "with faithful zeal" the advance of empire effected in his name. His writing takes the form of a heroic epic poem following the Spanish historico-literary tra

dition of telling conq uest history in epic

form, dating as far
back as El Cid and as r
ecently as Alon
so de Ercilla's L

a Araucana in 158

9, which no doubt served as the model for the Historia. La Hi
storia de la nuevo Mexico [sic] is thus created not only for the monarch but also to safeguard the h
eroism of his compatriots, which "if left to ... the mercy of p

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assing years will be sacrificed on the altars of time" (35). Yet we already suspect this operation of a deeper fiction. Judging from the many official inquiries and reviews following Onate

's settle © 2001-2011 ment in the Pueblos, one can see that the