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Blood in the Borderlands: The Rise and Fall of Charles Bent, 1829-1847

October 4, 2023

David C. Beyreis

Chair of Humanities and Social Sciences

 Saint Mary’s School, Raleigh, North Carolina

At the time of his violent death in 1847, Charles Bent was one of the most powerful men in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands.  He first came to New Mexico in 1829 and rapidly became an economic powerbroker in the region.  Bent and his close associates used intermarriage with prominent local women to expand their business and political connections in New Mexico and the southern plains.  As Bent’s influence grew, however, other powerful factions arose to oppose him.  When the United States government made Bent governor of New Mexico in  September 1846 his possibilities seemed limitless.  His death four months later in the bloody Taos Revolt of 1847 exposed the deep rifts in the region’s communities and led to the rapid collapse of Bent, St. Vrain, and Company in 1849.

David C. Beyreis is the author of Blood in the Borderlands: Conflict, Kinship, and the Bent Family, 1821-1920 (University of Nebraska Press, 2020) and articles on Southwest borderlands and Great Plains history.  His work has won awards from the Historical Society of New Mexico, the Santa Fe Trail Association, Westerners International, and the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum.  He received his Ph.D. from the University of Oklahoma and currently teaches history at Saint Mary’s School in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Dr. Beyreis’ book is available for purchase  thru the University of Nebraska webpage at

Copies are also available at the New Mexico History Museum’s Spiegelberg Museum Shop or thru your local bookshop(s) at


Here is the link to Dr. Beyreis’ presentation:


October 4, 2023
Event Category:


Friends of History
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In-person walking tour
113 Lincoln Avenue
Santa Fe, NM 87501 United States
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