We think that Santa Fe sounds more like a place with gunmen and cowboys than Moors and Christians. But it shouldn’t be like that, because the American cities that bear that name are an actual copy of the original one, located a stone’s throw from the capital of Granada.
If it’s so close, it is because it was built, precisely, to lay siege of what was then the Nasrid Kingdom of Granada. The King and Queen, Fernando and Isabel, determined to take over the territory they were missing to complete the puzzle of Spain, ordered to set a military camp in the area and they were very positive about the conquest. So much that, they say, the queen had no better idea than to swear not to change her shirt until Granada was theirs.
The matter took longer than expected, and it all ended up being just a “little unhygienic” anecdote. The monarchs and their soldiers were stationed there from 1482 until 1491. During the last year, they say, in just a matter of eighty days, the camp became a city of stone and brick, with walls, towers and a regular gridded surface that would serve as a model for many villages of the New World. It was the way to make the enemy understand that things were very serious and that they were going to end soon. And that’s precisely what happened.
At the end of 1491, Boabdil signed away the keys of the city to the monarchs. And a few months later, making it clear that the king and queen were on a roll, here in Santa Fe, another important document was formalised: the agreement of Isabel and Fernando with a sailor named Christopher and surnamed Columbus. Document by which the future benefits and lands that could come out of the adventure of the intrepid man, determined to discover an alternative route to the Indies to avoid the hostile Turks, would be distributed between them.
Between one thing and another, the city became as symbolic as its name. So much that it has been called Cuna de La Hispanidad, (Hispanic cradle) and it is considered a key reference in the modern history of Spain. It preserves three of its four old gates, and you can still perceive the historical past in its streets, today declared Historic-Artistic Ensemble. Once you walk a little while around, you will stop associating the population of Santa Fe with Clint Eastwood or John Wayne.