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The meaning of the “1779 Expedition” is the subject of a presentation that Adams State history Professor Nick Saenz will deliver on Saturday, Sept. 16 during the 26th International Conference of the Anza Society being held in Alamosa. 

The “1779 Expedition” played an important role in the San Luis Valley’s history. Led by Governor of New Mexico Juan Bautista de Anza (1736-1788), the expedition passed through the San Luis Valley, ultimately setting the groundwork for the settlement of the area in the 19th century.

“The 1779 Expedition is one of the first well-documented Spanish explorations into what is now

present-day Colorado. As a historical subject, it provides key insights into relations between

New Mexico and the tribal communities that surrounded it,” said Saenz.

His presentation is part of the 2023 International Conference of the Anza Society hosted at Adams State. The Anza Society celebrates the life and times of Juan Bautista de Anza, encouraging research around the history and projection of Spanish-speaking cultural influences on the modern southwest. 

Saenz will deliver his presentation as part of the Saturday evening banquet at the Adams State Student Union Building. The banquet begins at 6 p.m. with a social hour and dinner at 7 p.m. Local residents are invited to attend the conference at a reduced rate of $30; student tickets are $15.

“This is not just an event for members of the Anza Society. We’re hoping community members

will also participate,” said Saenz. “This is an opportunity to learn more about the history,

heritage, and culture of the San Luis Valley.”

Saenz’s presentation will piece together a comprehensive history of the campaign, disentangle Anza the man from the myth, and consider the ways in which Indigenous communities played an active part in the campaign.
For information on registration contact the Anza Society by emailing Dave Jeffries at dpjeffries1@gmail.com.