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Historical Background

Survey of Historic Sites and Buildings

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Explorers and Settlers
Survey of Historic Sites and Buildings

New Mexico

Location: Sandoval County, just off N. Mex. 44, about 5 miles northwest of Bernalillo.

This monument preserves the extensive ruins of the ancient pueblo of Kuaua, believed to have been besieged by Coronado in the winter of 1540-41. A sister pueblo 1 mile to the south may have been the site of Coronado's winter quarters during that period. The ruins include a restored square kiva, on whose interior walls are represented prehistoric Indian murals. The murals depict masked dancers, and are based on partially preserved originals found by archeologists when the University of New Mexico excavated the kiva in the 1930's. An adjacent museum exhibits Pueblo Indian and Spanish colonial artifacts. Operated by the Museum of New Mexico, the monument is open to the public throughout the year.

New Mexico

Location: Bernalillo County, northwest side of Old Town plaza, Albuquerque.

Construction of this church was begun by Fray Manuel Moreno, at the northwest corner of the plaza, almost as soon as Gov. Cuervo y Valdez, in 1706, established the villa of Albuquerque. The facade has been rebuilt and minor repairs have been made, but the church today differs little from the original. The most imposing and historically significant edifice in Old Town Albuquerque, it is still used by the Catholic Church for religious purposes.

New Mexico

Location: Sandoval County, on N. Mex. 4, Jémez Springs.

This Franciscan mission was founded around 1620 at the Pueblo of Giusewa, probably by Fray Gerónimo Zarate Salmerón, and ministered actively to the Jémez Indians for at least 10 years. The pueblo sheltered some 800 inhabitants. The Jémez pueblos and missions had stormy histories—revolt, abandonments, and reestablishments at various sites. By 1658, Giusewa had definitely been abandoned, perhaps because of Navajo aggression.

The ruins of the mission church, now part of Jémez State Monument, are unusually impressive. Walls of stone, 4 to 8 feet thick, rise as high as 30 feet in places, and the ruins of an octagonal tower stand 50 feet high. Extensive remains of the convento, especially the monastery, adjoin the church. A small private chapel in the monastery is the best preserved room. West of the church are the ruins of the pueblo, including dwelling rooms and kivas.

New Mexico

Location: Rio Arriba County, on U.S. 64, about 27 miles north of Santa Fe.

The northernmost of the several pueblos of the Tewa group, San Juan was the first Spanish base in New Mexico, and thus the temporary first capital when Oñate occupied the region in 1598. The Spanish invaders occupied a large part of the pueblo—which they called "San Juan de los Caballeros"—while they built permanent quarters and a church across the Rio Grande at the neighboring pueblo that was known by its Indian name of Yungue-ouinge. Existence at San Juan was apparently uneventful during the 17th century until the Pueblo Revolt of 1680, in which the pueblo was deeply involved. Popé, the leader of the uprising, directed it chiefly from Taos Pueblo, but he was a native of San Juan. In 1692, the Spanish reconquered the Rio Grande Valley around San Juan.

San Juan Pueblo
North section of the plaza at San Juan Pueblo, the first Spanish base in New Mexico.

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Last Updated: 22-Mar-2005