Early Inhabitants of Northern New Mexico

The Native Americans

The state of New Mexico has a rich Native American history. The dry environmental conditions both preserve traces of the earliest inhabitants as well as shape the lives of all who currently live there. Today there are eight northern pueblos that lie between Santa Fe and Colorado as well as other tribes that reside in the northern part of the state. Throughout the state there are thousands of ancient remains of inhabitants that have lived there in the past. Some have left large impressive structural remains and others only traces of short-term habitation. The earliest traces that have been found are of the Clovis people from about 13,000 years ago. Until about 500 BC all of the inhabitants were classified as hunter/gathers. They ate meat from the many animals that could be caught or killed and plants that could be identified as healthful and eaten. The earliest agriculture era has been designated as Basketmaker II. These people lived a semi-nomadic life style growing corn that was originally grown in Mexico. Later beans and squash (The Three Sisters) were added to their gardens.

Early Hispanics

The first Hispanics that came to New Mexico to stay were with the Juan de Oñate y Salazar colonization in 1598. His group of colonists first settled at the pueblo of Ohkay Owingeh (which was renamed San Juan Pueblo). With him were twenty Franciscan missionaries who were settled in various northern pueblo communities. In 1610 the settlement was moved to the present location of Santa Fe. Later other Hispanic villages were settled along waterways in northern New Mexico.

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