Over its history, four flags have flown on the Plaza. It begins with Spain 1610–1821, then Mexico 1821–1846 and the United States 1846 to present day. The U.S. flag was planted atop the Palace of the Governors on the morning of August 9, 1846 when Gen. Stephen Kearny declared it for the American government. It may be hard to believe but the Confederate flag also flew over the Plaza. In the spring of 1862 the city was under Confederate rule. During the American Civil War the Confederate flag graced the town square for three weeks.
Major Routes Lead to Santa Fe
Four historic routes, like arteries extending from the heart, have connected to the Plaza: the Camino Real from Mexico City to San Juan de los Caballeros in Northern New Mexico; the Santa Fe Trail that began in Independence, Missouri, and ended right on the Plaza; the Spanish-American Trail from Santa Fe to Los Angeles; and Route 66, the Mother Road, from Chicago to Santa Monica, whose original route passed down the block from the Plaza on Water Street.
Manifest Destiny Finds its Way to the Capitol City
Manifest Destiny and the 1846 American occupation opened the floodgates of humanity in Santa Fe. This rapid growth led to development beyond the Plaza area. By the mid-1800s, businesses, schools, and government institutions were being built in areas outside of the Plaza’s perimeter. Fortunately, the 17th-century concept of a community square brought by the Spanish settlers still looks the same.