Monday, April 6, 2009

Gran Quivira National Monument

We went on a road trip this past weekend, and our first stop was Gran Quivira pueblo ruins - the remains of an Anasazi Tompiro-speaking pueblo dating from ancient times up to the 1600s.

Gran Quivira lies on the Salt Mission Trail of the Estancia Basin, which was an ancient lake that left the area rich with salt deposits. It is also in a fertile area in which pinto beans and other crops and livestock have been raised for centuries.

To get to Gran Quivira, we drove from Eldorado down to Moriarty on I-40, and then south through the central New Mexico towns of McIntosh, Estancia, and Mountainair, then on to Gran Quivira, the furthest south of the three missions (the other two being Abó and Quarai).

Gran Quivira (also known as Las Humanas in the past) was built from gray stone, was the largest of the three pueblos, and was an important trade center for many years before and after the Spanish arrived. These pueblo people had roots in this area going back 7,000 years. The Spanish arrived in the 1600s to convert the pueblo people to Christianity, but after some years, the Gran Quivira people resisted and tried to maintain their native religion. The end came for these pueblos in the late 1600s for various reasons: cultural conflicts with the Spaniards, raids from Apaches, drought and famine. The pueblo was abandoned in 1670, and the people of Gran Quivira migrated south to the El Paso area, where they were absorbed into other Indian communities, and became the only linguistic group of pueblo people to lose both their homeland and their language.

Gran Quivira National Monument is operated by the National Parks Service, and is an interesting place to visit on its location up on a hill overlooking of valley of scenic vistas in every direction.

1 comment:

Buck said...

It looks like you had an absolute brilliant day for your visit, Sharon. Great pics!