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Historic Economy of New Mexico

The economy of New Mexico during the first century of its Spanish occupation centered around trade
between the settlers, the Indians, and the Spanish in New Spain. New supplies were only delivered to
Santa Fe from New Spain every three years. Shortages of supplies occurred and trade systems became
a necessary tool.

Spanish Period
Corn obtained by the encomienda system provided the settlement with needed food supplies and limited
the food supplies of the Pueblos. Blankets obtained by these demands were also used as trade goods.
Labor supplied by the repartimiento demands aided the Spanish economy because labor costs were minimal
or not at all. Hispanic residents were required to support the local government and the crown by paying
various tributes or taxes.

Sheep, and cattle were traded by the Spanish. Indians
traded hides, turkeys. jerky, tallow, pelts, and captives for beads, iron implements, and other merchandise.

Mining was not too important to the economic growth of New Mexico during the first century of its
Spanish colonization. Salt taken from deposits in New Mexico was used for trading.

New Mexico was in the middle of a drought by 1650. From 1665 to 1668 no crops were harvested by the
Indians or the Spanish. There were no crops that could be used by the Spanish as trade goods and the
economy suffered. This drought had a devastating effect on the economy of the region. The economy
based on trade was reestablished following the Spanish reconquest of New Mexico.

Native American History in Santa Fe
Spanish History
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