Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

October 1997


Published in Great Plains Research 7:2 (Fall 1997). Copyright © 1997 The Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Used by permission.


In Dividing New Mexico's Waters, 1700-1912, John O. Baxter examines New Mexico's sordid water history spanning more than two-hundred years and three colonial empires-Spanish, Mexican, and American. Drawing on a range of primary documents including legal cases, Surveyor General reports, deed books, Spanish and Mexican records, and U.S. territorial papers, Baxter pieces together a complex and informative story of water allocation and management. The pervasive theme running throughout the book addresses the gulf between political structures and legal statutes colonial powers established to administer water usage and the more common and pragmatic forms citizens employed to manage water and settle disputes over its allocation.