The cry of “Viva la Fiesta” has been reverberating through the streets of Old Santa Fe every autumn for 306 years.
The sound generates a curious blend of thanksgiving, revelry and pride in the hearts of Santa Feans who celebrate Fiesta annually to commemorate Don Diego De Vargas’ peaceful reoccupation of the City of Holy Faith in 1692. The historic capital is one of the oldest in the United States. It was established by Don Juan de Oñate at San Gabriel in 1598 and moved over 30 miles south to the foot of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains where Santa Fe was founded in 1610. In 1680 the Indians revolted, burned the city and drove out the Spanish colonists, who fled to Guadalupe del Paso, now Juarez, Mexico. They rescued from the burning church the 29-inch wood carved Marian statue, La Conquistadora, originally brought to Santa Fe in 1625 by the missionary, Fray Alonso de Benavides.