Santa Fe Public Library

The French in New Mexico Author Event with François-Marie Patorni

Posted by ajreilly on

January 14, 2021 @ 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm

The French in New Mexico: Four centuries of exploration, adventure & influence

Author Event with François-Marie Patorni

Thursday, January 14th, 2021 at 5 P.M. MST

Register to attend here


In this first history of the French in New Mexico, the author chronicles the lives of French-speaking people who came mainly from France, Canada, Switzerland, Belgium, Africa, and the Caribbean Islands; of people with French ancestry who retained some of their French culture; and of people with strong connections to France. The book traces their presence in New Mexico from the 1500s to present times. It tells the stories of influential, unusual, or colorful characters, and of people who are not as well remembered. They came from all walks of life, explorers, adventurers, fur trappers and traders, soldiers, merchants, priests, farmers and ranchers, businesspeople, scientists, artists, actors, politicians, lawyers, criminals, women of note, intellectuals, and other influencers in society. Whether dramatic or lighthearted, their lives are filled with stories of love and death, of chases and hunts, of successes and failures. As they roamed across the land, they will occasionally take us to California, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Texas, and Mexico. These stories are placed in their historical and cultural context, and point to more detailed readings and further research. What is now New Mexico was for centuries at the limit of the world known to Europeans. This is still the case as far as French history is concerned. This book is offered as a contribution to the cultural resurrection of the French in New Mexico. It is for the thousands of New Mexicans who share a French ancestry, conscious and proud of the value of French culture, heritage, and identity. It is also for their distant cousins who remained in their original lands. And beyond direct family ties, it is for all those interested in the multicultural aspects of New Mexico’s history and society.

About the Author

François-Marie Patorni, a French American, is an independent scholar specializing in the history of the French-speaking people in New Mexico and the American Southwest.

Patorni was born and grew-up in Paris. After post-graduate studies in France, he spent two years as a volunteer in Chad, and some more time in Togo, Benin, and Algeria. Later, he tried the American experience, earning an MBA from the Wharton School in Philadelphia in 1972. On campus, he got involved in the Nixon-McGovern Presidential campaign, quite a ride for a Frenchman! He then had a career at the World Bank in Washington D.C., including multi-years postings in India and Senegal, and frequent travel to Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, and Asia.

Patorni moved to New Mexico in 2004. He realized the extraordinarily rich history of the French, French Canadians, and other French-speaking people, and embarked on his great chase for the French in New Mexico. He also was been an environmental advocate in New Mexico, including being president of the Santa Fe Watershed Association for 7 years.

To purchase the book and learn more visit

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