History of Don Pedro de Peralta

Statue on Grant Street of Don Pedro de Peralta pointing and seated on a horse.

Paseo de Peralta is a major street in the shape of a horse shoe that encompasses Santa Fe’s historic district. Not a day goes by that I don’t drive on that street for one reason or another. Don Pedro de Peralta established himself as the Spanish colonial governor of Santa Fe in 1610. Peralta arrived in Mexico City during the winter of 1608–1609 following his university studies in Spain.

Santa Fe Arrival

In March 1609, the viceroy of Mexico appointed him to the post of governor of New Mexico, and from April to October of that year Peralta organized an expedition to the province. He evidently reached the colony’s San Gabriel settlement, which had served as the colonial capitol, by the following spring. He then moved the capitol to another settlement, which became known as Santa Fe. Historians have not been able to ascertain whether Don Pedro de Peralta formally established the settlement of Santa Fe. It could have been that the Spanish governor simply moved the first colonists from San Gabriel to the area we now know as Santa Fe.

Governing in the Americas

Peralta continued to serve the Spanish monarchy in the Americas, first as lieutenant commander of the Pacific port of Acapulco and then as alcalde of Mexico City’s royal warehouse (1621–22). In 1637 he traveled to Caracas, Venezuela, where he married and joined a commercial enterprise. From 1644 to 1652 Peralta served as auditor and later as treasurer of the royal treasury in Caracas.

Return to Spain

Peralta returned to Spain after sustaining injuries from residents who resented his attempts to collect debts owed to the monarchy. He resigned his commission in 1654 and lived in retirement in Madrid until his death in 1666.

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