The Taos County Historical Society presents its next public program, “New Mexico: The French Presence since the 1500s” by distinguished author and independent scholar Francois-Marie Patorni.
The program is 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 6, in the Kit Carson Electric Cooperative Boardroom at 118 Cruz Alta Road in Taos. Members of the Society are admitted free of charge and non-members are requested to make a $5 donation. Membership forms are available at the check-in desk.
The history of the French, French Canadians, and of other French-speaking people in New Mexico covers the last 400 years, and all areas of New Mexico and the Southwest. Over time, Santa Fe emerged as a communication hub, with three main trails converging upon the city: the Santa Fe Trail, heading north to Colorado and east to Missouri; to the north west, the Old Spanish Trail, ultimately extending to California; and the Camino Real de Tierra Adentro, reaching south to Mexico City.
Through stories woven in the flow of time, the presentation will focus on the presence of the French-speaking people around Taos and Northern New Mexico. Many French and French-Canadian fur trappers and traders lived in or operated from Taos. After the fur trade days and events surrounding the American annexation, the Taos Rebellion, and the Civil War, Taos remained the home of French families already established there, and new entrepreneurs came to work or do business.
Through Francois-Marie Patorni’s talk attendees will meet early explorers, trappers, and traders, Catholic priests, military men, entrepreneurs, and others. Because of their large number, there will be a focus on a few notable or unusual people, and lesser-known stories.
Francois-Marie Patorni is an independent scholar living in Santa Fe. He specializes in the history of the French-speaking people in New Mexico and the American southwest.
After his retirement from the World Bank in Washington D.C., in 2004 he moved to New Mexico. He was an environmental advocate in the Santa Fe area, participated in the developing a vision plan for Santa Fe County, and was president of the Santa Fe Watershed Association for seven years.
Realizing the extraordinarily rich history of the French, French Canadians, and other French-speaking people in New Mexico over the last four centuries, he recently published The French in New Mexico, Four Centuries of Exploration, Adventure, and Influence.
The Taos County Historical Society is a 501(c)3 non-profit formed in 1952 for the purpose of “…preserving the history of the Taos area…” Membership is open to anyone upon the payment of dues. For further information visit www.taoscountyhistoricalsociety.org.