Discover How the “1779 Expedition” Played an Important Role in the San Luis Valley’s History

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 Charles Nicholas Saenz, Ph.D. professor of History and chair, Department of History, Anthropology, Philosophy, and Political Science (HAPPS) at Adams State University.

Learn More About the 1779 Expedition

Charles Nick Saenz
Dr. Nick Saenz

On Saturday, September 16, Dr. Saenz will give a presentation on the 1779 Expedition as 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. Local residents are invited to attend the conference at a reduced rate of $30 for community members and $15 for students.

“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.”

To that end, 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 more information, or to register visit Anza Society.