Brief by Central Staff
Local History – November 2006 – Colorado Central Magazine
The bicentennial of the 1806-07 Zebulon Pike expedition is getting plenty of deserved attention, but hard-core history buffs know that Juan Bautista de Anza came to Central Colorado in 1779, well ahead of Pike.
Anza, then governor of the Spanish province of New Mexico, led an army north from Santa Fe that summer to do battle with the Jupe Comanche. They marched north through the San Luis Valley (which Anza named), then over Poncha Pass and across South Park before meeting the Comanche southwest of Pueblo.
Every year, there’s a World Anza Conference (Salida hosted it in 2004) that addresses Anza’s contributions to history (among other things, he founded the Presidio of San Francisco in California), and the 2007 World Anza Conference will be held March 8-11 in Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico, where many of Anza’s descendants still live.
It will be organized by the recently formed Anza Society in conjunction with the Sonora Historical Society. If you’re interested in presenting or just attending, you should contact Linda Rushton at 602-993-1162 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
A website (anzasociety.org) was under construction as we went to press, and it might be running any day now.
If you’re interested in more Anza-related travel, there’s a special tour of the Basque country of Spain (Anza was Basque, and relatives still live there) scheduled for April 10-23, 2007. It will be led by Don Garate, who impersonates Anza.
For more information, contact Jill McCarthy at Terra Tours, 800-835-8646.