Soledad Chavez Chacon.
The previous examples show how important women’s honor and reputation was for New Mexicans: family elders closely guarded young women, and their sexuality was strictly supervised. Nevertheless, there were events in community life where opposite sexes could meet and interact with minimum supervision, especially during holiday fiestas. The behavior that reigned at such galas often provoked church officials to demand moderation. In a sermon in the early 1800s, one priest exhorted women to abstain from dance: “You women, dancers of the devil, scandalous persons, you are the damnation of so many souls. Oh! What a horror!...you provocative women, dancers of the devil, scandal, nets of the devil, basilisks of the streets and windows, you kill with your stirrings.”
As the century turned, an 1800 census revealed that New Mexico’s population consisted of 13,786 men and 11,780 women. Census takers divided them into three ethnic categories, showing about 7,500 Hispanic men; just under 6,000 Hispanic women; more than 4,000 each of Native American men and women; and almost 2,000 casta (mixed ancestry, including African) men, as well as 1,600 casta women. The addition of 8,690 children brought the population to a total of 34,256.