Friday, July 25, 2008
Mighty Western Women: "Trudy" Barcelo Santa Fe
Gertrudis Barcelo Santa Fe "Gambling Queen" kept her maiden name, owned her own casino, & helped the United States win the Mexican-American War.
Barcelo's wealthy parents saw that she received an education, and in the early 1820s the family moved to a small village just south of Albuquerque, which at the time was part of Mexico. As a result of her upbringing and education, Barcelo grew to be an unusually independent and financially astute woman. When she married at age 23, she—contrary to custom—retained her own property, her right to make contracts, and her maiden name. She and her husband moved to the Santa Fe area in 1825 and established a highly profitable game-of-chance operation near a mining camp. Several years later Barcelo bought her own casino in Santa Fe. The opulent casino soon became a favourite with Santa Fe's fashionable society, with Barcelo, who became known as “La Tules,” presiding as one of the dealers. As Santa Fe was a trade hub, Barcelo further increased her wealth and status through shrewd trade deals and investments.