Delivery alert

There may be an issue with the delivery of your newspaper. This alert will expire at NaN. Click here for more info.

Recover password

Local historian awarded medal by Spain

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Thomas E. Chávez, a former director of the New Mexico State History Museum in Santa Fe and the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque, has been inducted into the Spanish Order of Isabel the Catholic (Orden de Isabel la Católica) second class (Commander/Encomienda) with the royal sanction of King Felipe VI.

Thomas E. Chávez has been inducted into the Spanish Order of Isabel the Catholic, second class, with the royal sanction of King Felipe VI. (SOURCE: Consul General Of Spain, Houston)

Thomas E. Chávez has been inducted into the Spanish Order of Isabel the Catholic, second class, with the royal sanction of King Felipe VI. (SOURCE: Consul General Of Spain, Houston)

The medal was presented by Consul General of Spain in Houston, Enric Panés, during an April 4 ceremony at the consul general’s residence.

“It was quite an honor and very special coming from the consul general and having the ceremony at his home,” Chávez said. “My whole life I’ve been writing about Spain.”

The Order of Isabel la Católica was created in 1815 to highlight the outstanding achievements of people whose works and actions have contributed to cultivating a closer relationship between the people of Spain and the world.

Chávez has published 10 history books, two of them translated and published in Spain. Among his books are “Spain and the Independence of the United States: An Intrinsic Gift” and “Manuel Alvarez, 1794-1856: A Southwestern Biography.”

He is working on a project to collect and publish all correspondences and other documents related to Benjamin Franklin that are in the archives of Spain. The first product of that work is his latest book, “Doctor Franklin & Spain: The Unknown History.”

As an associate research professor for the Latin American Iberian Institute at the University of New Mexico, Chávez has taught courses on the history of New Mexico and the Southwest, and has led students and adults, including Native American artists, on tours of Spain.

Born in Las Vegas, N.M., Chávez earned his doctorate in Southwest history from UNM.

He is not the first person in his family to receive the Spanish Order of Isabel the Catholic.

“My uncle, a Franciscan priest, Fray Angelico Chávez, received the same award in mid-1980s,” he said. “He published 25 books on poetry, and fiction and nonfiction works about New Mexico history, Spanish Colonial history and the heritage of Hispanic New Mexico.”

A love of history clearly runs in the family. Chávez is married to Celia López-Chávez, who recently retired as a teacher of Latin American history at UNM. She has written books on the history of New Mexico and the history of Argentina.

Their daughter, Nicolasa Chávez, is curator of Spanish Colonial collections at the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe.

We welcome suggestions for the daily Bright Spot. Send to newsroom@abqjournal.com.

 

Subscribe now! Albuquerque Journal limited-time offer

Albuquerque Journal seeks stories of our community's pandemic loss

If you’ve lost a loved one to COVID-19 and would like for the person to be included in an online memorial the Journal plans to publish, please email a high-resolution photo and a sentence about the person to Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com
Please include your contact information so we can verify, and your loved one’s name, age, community where they lived and something you want our readers to know about them.

TOP |