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.