Capitán Roque Madrid

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Roque Madrid

Birthplace: Santa Fe, Provincia de Nuevo Mexico, Virreinato de Nueva España
Death: Died in Santa Fe, Provincia de Nuevo Mexico, Virreinato de Nueva España
Immediate Family:

Son of Sargento Mayor Francisco de Madrid and Sebastiana Juana Ruiz Cáceres
Husband of Juana de Arvid and Josefa Durán
Father of Antonia Griego Madrid; Julian Madrid and Miguel Ángel Madrid
Brother of Juan de Madrid; Lucía de Madrid; Francisco de Madrid, III and Maria de Madrid
Half brother of Francisca de Madrid; Lorenzo Madrid, Maese de Campo and Pedro DeMadrid

Managed by: Ric Dickinson
Last Updated:

About Capitán Roque Madrid

Madrid, Roque (1644-1723)

A native of the Spanish province of New Mexico, Roque Madrid was born in 1644, probably near Santa Fe. His grandfather on the Madrid side, Francisco, had come to New Mexico as a nine-year-old cart driver in 1603. Francisco, in later years a member of the Santa Fe cabildo, or city council, had a son by the same name, who married Sebastiana Ruíz de Cáceres. Together, Francisco II and Sebastiana were parents of two sons, Roque and Lorenzo Madrid, both of whom were to play important roles in New Mexico's history.

We know little for certain about the first 36 years of Roque's life except that he married Juana de Arvid and his family lived on a hacienda south of Santa Fe, not far from San Marcos Pueblo. At least two of Roque and Juana's children were born there before the natives of San Marcos and the other pueblos in the province took up arms en masse against the Spanish colonists beginning on August 10, 1680.

Like most Hispanic residents of New Mexico north of La Bajada who survived the initial attack, the Madrids sought refuge in Santa Fe, the provincial capital. Along with some 1,000 other colonists, Roque and his family held out there for 11 days against a growing force of Pueblo warriors. The town's food supply shrank steadily; then the water supply was cut. Finally, Governor Antonio de Otermín called a council of citizens to decide the colonists' course of action. The council determined that Santa Fe must be abandoned and that the colonists would pull out as a group and head southward in hopes of rendezvousing with other survivors of the Pueblo uprising from the Rio Abajo region of New Mexico.

Although the mass of Pueblo warriors could have overwhelmed and destroyed the retreating cavalcade of colonists, they instead only shadowed them at a safe, but threatening distance. The Madrids, like their fellow exiles, were all but destitute, having lost their home and most of their possessions in the Pueblo uprising. Finally, at a place just north of modern El Paso called La Salineta, the retreating colonists were met by relief supplies being brought from the south. There a halt was made in late September 1680 to take a census of the revolt's survivors: Among those signing the resulting muster roll, was Captain Roque Madrid, with his small family and their meager possessions.

Early in October the decision was made to resettle the surviving colonists at El Paso. By 1681, Roque Madrid was officially a settler of the new and presumably temporary town established there. The stress of the events of the revolt may have prematurely aged Roque, who was now described as being a tall, slender man, with a gray beard and dark black hair. During the winter of that year, Roque participated in Governor Otermín's unsuccessful attempt to re-conquer the Rio Grande pueblos. He took with him four horses and a mule, one of the smallest numbers for a captain. During the course of the entrada, Madrid led a scouting party that found Cochití and the southern Tiwa pueblos all abandoned. Throughout the former Spanish province the Pueblos still held enmity against Madrid and his companions. The armed party returned to El Paso early in 1682, frustrated in its attempt to restore New Mexico to the royal dominion.

During the succeeding administration of Governor Domingo Jironza Petrís de Cruzate (1684-86), Roque Madrid was named first sargento mayor (the highest ranked enlisted man) and then head of the El Paso presidio. In just two years he participated in at least ten military actions, against both Pueblos of New Mexico and the Suma and Manso Indians in the more immediate El Paso area. As late as 1700, he was still listed as a member of the El Paso presidio, even though by that time he had returned to New Mexico.

In 1692, Madrid was a key figure in the armed reconnaissance of the New Mexico pueblos that was conducted under the leadership of the new governor, don Diego de Vargas Zapata Luján. During this largely ceremonial tour of the native settlements, Roque led the advance guard. In that capacity, he was usually among the first Hispanos to make contact and engage in dialog with Pueblo leaders. He and his men repeatedly scouted ahead to locate water and provisions to sustain the main force with the governor, which followed behind.

The largely peaceful completion of the tour must be credited in no small measure to Madrid's abilities as a diplomat. Without the establishment, by Madrid and his party, of peaceful relations between Spanish soldiers and indigenous leaders of the former colony, Vargas's attempt to restore the Spanish king's authority over New Mexico may well have been no more successful than Jironza's had been. Madrid's facility in speaking at least two of the Pueblo languages, Tiwa and Keresan, undoubtedly played a major role in his success in avoiding armed clashes between the two groups.

Despite generally peaceful contacts between Spaniards and Indians during 1692, the situation changed the following year. When Vargas, with Madrid again in the lead, attempted to return Hispanic colonists to their former homes, Pueblo communities resisted them with fearsome violence. It was Madrid who led the first contingent of re-colonizers north from El Paso in 1693.

Conflict continued between returning colonists and stubbornly independent Pueblos, with brief interludes of calm, for the next four years. Throughout this period, which has been called the Pueblo-Spanish War, Roque Madrid was maestre de campo, or field commander, of the Spanish colonial forces and his brother Lorenzo moved into Madrid's former position as sargento mayor.

During the years of bitter fighting, Madrid was often at the center of pivotal events. In 1694, for example, he and Pueblo ally Bartolomé de Ojeda led a brutal attack against the Indian defenders of Cochití Mesa. The result was the death of dozens of Pueblo warriors and the imprisonment of many native women and children. Those prisoners were then used to extort a full capitulation by the people of Cochití and a promise by them to help the Spanish governor defeat their Pueblo relatives and neighbors.

With the final cessation of hostilities between Pueblos and Spaniards in 1696, New Mexico was firmly reestablished as a Spanish colony, with Santa Fe again its capital. In that year, Roque Madrid, now 52 years old, was residing with his family at Santa Cruz de la Cañada, north of Santa Fe. Santa Cruz was his home for the much of the remainder of his life. He served many terms there as alcalde mayor, or chief administrator and judge, over the next two decades.

Even after passing his sixtieth year, Madrid was an active presidial officer, taking the field many times, especially against Navajo and Apache bands. The campaign of 1705 stands out. It was aimed at punishing Navajos in the Dinetah--the Navajo homeland in the Cañon Largo-La Jara Canyon area of northwest New Mexico--for raids they had allegedly made against the Tewa Pueblos earlier that year. On the final day of July 1705, maestre de campo Roque Madrid departed from San Juan de los Caballeros on the Rio Grande with 65 Hispanic men-at-arms and several hundred Pueblo Indian allies. As Madrid himself reported, they took with them a remuda of some 700 horses.

Over the next three weeks Madrid's troop made a circuit of north-central New Mexico, circling the Sierra Florida and the Jemez Mountains and ending at Zia Pueblo. The party tried, usually unsuccessfully, to track Navajo and Apache groups to their strongholds. Madrid and his men did manage to engage Navajo bands on three occasions; none of the battles was decisive, although there were casualties on both sides and numerous Navajo cornfields were destroyed. On August 16 Madrid called a council of war at which it was decided by unanimous vote "to withdraw our forces to their royal presidio." And so the long ride through a dry and tortuous land ended.

Although Madrid tried to put the campaign in the best light possible in his final report, its results were clearly not as conclusive as Governor Francisco Cuervo y Valdés desired. He dispatched a second force on the same mission only a month later, in September, the results of which were very much the same. Navajo and Apache raids against Pueblo and Hispanic towns continued sporadically thereafter.

For modern students of New Mexico history, Roque Madrid's journal of the three-week assault on Navajos in their home territory in 1705 is extremely valuable. In addition to its record of military events, the journal reveals much about life in the newly re-established Spanish province and the physical environment in which Hispanos, Pueblos, Navajos, and Apaches existed. It represents the earliest known written, eyewitness account of the Dinetah. Especially evident in the journal are the ruggedness of the terrain and the scarcity of water, even when summer rains were frequent.

After the 1705 campaign Madrid participated in many more, most of them equally as indecisive. Military expeditions alternated with farming and raising livestock, the typical pursuits of the re-colonizers of New Mexico.

In 1713 Madrid's wife Juana de Arvid died. He was now serving in the Santa Fe presidio, suggesting that he and Juana may have moved to the capital from Santa Cruz. Two years after Juana's death Madrid married Josefa Durán. She had been his mistress for 38 years at the time of their marriage, and the two had at least three children: Antonia, Julián, and Miguel Ángel. Madrid was still alive in Santa Fe in 1717, but he had died by 1723. He had played a crucial role in reestablishing and maintaining Spanish sovereignty over the Rio Grande Pueblo world known as New Mexico.

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Capitán Roque Madrid's Timeline

Santa Fe, Provincia de Nuevo Mexico, Virreinato de Nueva España
Age 51
Santa Cruz de la Cañada, Provincia de Nuevo Mexico, Virreinato de Nueva España
Age 55
New Mexico, USA
Age 61
Santa Cruz de la Cañada, Provincia de Nuevo Mexico, Virreinato de Nueva España
Age 79
Santa Fe, Provincia de Nuevo Mexico, Virreinato de Nueva España