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Commemorating 200 Years of the Santa Fe Trail - Part 11 (Mexican Merchants)

Two hundred years ago this month, a handful of American traders from Franklin, Missouri, received a warm welcome in the Mexican city of Santa Fe, which signaled the opening of trade on what became known as the Santa Fe Trail. As we continue our monthly series commemorating the bicentennial of the trail, we learn that Americans were not the only ones engaged in the Santa Fe trade. At the time the first traders made their way to Santa Fe, the Republic of Mexico had just gained its independence from Spain, which had colonized the region more than 200 years earlier.

Gene Chavez, of Tonganoxie, was speaking with Dave Kendall, producer of the documentary titled The Road to Santa Fe. That documentary will be screened in Santa Fe at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History on Sunday afternoon, November 14, as part of the city's bicentennial commemoration of the Santa Fe Trail. This month marks the 200th anniversary of the arrival of the first group of American traders in Santa Fe. Also on November 14, the documentary will be broadcast again on Kansas City PBS, beginning at 1:30. The documentary will also be shown on KTWU, Channel 11, in Topeka on Monday, November 22, at 8 p.m.

The Osher Institute of Lifelong Learning at the University of Kansas is offering a special class on the Santa Fe Trail, presented by two of the men behind the documentary. Producers Dave Kendall and Rex Buchanan will present the class Thursday, November 18, at the Osher Institute in Lawrence. (Learn more.)

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