Skip to main content
Kit Carson and the “Americanization” of New Mexico
New Mexico Historical Review (2002)
  • Barton H. Barbour, Boise State University
This article appeared as a lead article in the New Mexico Historical Review, 77:2 (Spring 2002), and as one of a dozen biographies in Richard W. Etulain's New Mexico Lives: Profiles and Historical Stories (2002). Carson's contemporary fame, and his mythical and historical legacies offer a great deal of material that helps readers understand not only Kit Carson's real life, but the Santa Fe Trade, fur traders and Indian-White relations, and Anglo-Hispanic relations during the decades spanning 1820 and 1870. For a sample, see the following introductory paragraph: Dateline: Fort Lyon, Colorado Territory, May 1868 Kit Carson, the mountain man, "Indian scout", soldier, guide, and Freemason, lay dying at the age of fifty-nine. He reclined on a simple bed made of a blanket and a buffalo robe spread on the floor of his doctor's quarters at the Fort Lyon hospital, close by the banks of the Arkansas River near the mouth of the Purgatory River. Ever since 1860, when his horse lost its footing on a steep slope and dragged him for some distance, Carson had suffered discomfort from an aneurysm--a damaged blood vessel above his heart. Over time the swollen aneurysm became a painful obstruction in his upper chest that caused frequent coughing and made breathing difficult.
Publication Date
April 1, 2002
Citation Information
Barton H. Barbour. "Kit Carson and the “Americanization” of New Mexico" New Mexico Historical Review Vol. 77 Iss. 2 (2002)
Available at: