Frequently Asked Questions
Q: When were the mission churches built?
A: The mission churches that are preserved in Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument were mostly built in the early seventeenth century, with some work taking place in the middle seventeenth century.
Q: Why did the Missionaries choose these places for missions?
A: They built where the people were: Before the arrival of Europeans, New Mexico was largely populated by native people with a farming economy who lived in large, permanent, multi-family buildings that were several stories high, much like modern apartment buildings.
Q: What is a Pueblo?
A: "Pueblo" is one of many Spanish words that means "Village." The word has come to mean the permanent, pre-European villages of the American Southwest, the various cultures of Native American people who occupied (or still occupy) the villages and the common elements of those cultures.
Q: When were the missions and Pueblos abandoned?
A: All of the missions and Pueblos in the area east of the ManzanoMountains (known by the Spanish Colonists as the Salinas Jurisdiction) were abandoned in the 1670s.
Q: Why were the missions and Pueblos abandoned?
A: There was a devastating drought: The people were dry-land farmers who depended on snow and rain to make the crops grow. They saved in good times for bad times, but sometimes it wasn't enough. Droughts may have played a large role in the abandonment of permanent villages in the American Southwest for centuries.
Did You Know?
The overall shape of the original pueblo at Gran Quivira, what is now called Mound 7, was round with a circular plaza in the middle, unlike the square house-blocks of pueblos today.