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Los Comanches

(Southwest United States, Late Eighteenth Century/1840-50)
Translated by Gilberto Espinosa

Los Comanches is a conquest drama that reenacts the Spanish army’s historic defeat of a famous Comanche chieftain in what is now New Mexico. In this secular reinvention of the moros y cristianos tradition—mock battles between Moors and Christians that the conquerors brought to the ‘New World’—the victors are portrayed as being motivated by greed and lust rather than religious zeal. The play was staged in small towns throughout northern New Mexico during the nineteenth century, and a version of it is still performed outdoors and on horseback every year in the community of Alcalde.