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Santa Fe in New Mexico begins 16-month party for 400th birthday

September 5, 2009 - UNITED STATES

Invitations have been sent to President Barack Obama, Mexican President Felipe Calderón and the Spanish royal family to attend the 400th brithday party of Santa Fe, which bills itself as the oldest capital city in the United States. Called VIVA! Santa Fe, the celebration begins on the Labor Day weekend 2009 and ends on New Year's Eve 2010. New coins will mark the anniversary. For descendents of the Puebelo Indians on the wrong end of the conquest, the centenary is not a happy milestone.

Invitations have been sent to President Barack Obama, Mexican President Felipe Calderón and the Spanish royal family to attend the 400th brithday party of Santa Fe, which bills itself as the oldest capital city in the United States. Called VIVA! Santa Fe, the celebration begins on the Labor Day weekend 2009 and ends on New Year's Eve 2010. New coins will mark the anniversary. For descendents of the Puebelo Indians on the wrong end of the conquest, the centenary is not a happy milestone. According to an official website for Santa Fe, the "Kingdom of New Mexico" was first claimed for Spain by the conquistador Don Francisco Vasques de Coronado in 1540, 67 years before the founding of Santa Fe. The city is the site of both the oldest public building in America, the Palace of the Governors, and the nation's oldest community celebration, the Santa Fe Fiesta. It was established in 1712 to remember the Spanish reconquest of New Mexico in the summer of 1692. From 1050 to 1607 Santa Fe was occupied by a number of Pueblo Indian villages -; mostly the Tewa people. The All Indian Pueblo Council voted in 1998 against participating in events involving the Spanish colonization, including Santa Fe Fiesta. Maurice Bonal, president of the board of directors of the 400th Anniversary Organization, said recently that the AIPC council has endorsed the 400th anniversary as a "period of reconciliation." The organizers say the Sep 5-7 events will include "well-known entertainers," a 400-voice choir, the Santa Fe Symphony Orchestra performing before addresses by the heads of state and a final marquee act followed again by the choir and then fireworks. Books, movies and documentaries are also expected. The 16 months of events would culminate with the New Year's Eve 2010 Legacy Ball at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center. Jun/09

Santa Fe 400th events

Santa Fe history

New Mexico web

Date written/update: 2009-09-05