Gran Quivira, New Mexico
Gran Quivira is the largest of the three Salinas Pueblo Monument sites. Puebloan Indians had built several Pueblos in the area of Gran Quivira before the Spanish arrived in 1583. The Spanish established a mission at Gran Quivira in 1629. That mission and the surrounding communities were abandoned by both the Spanish and the Puebloans in 1672. Neither the Spanish nor the Puebloans ever returned in significant numbers. I had a long chat with the park ranger on staff at the visitor center about the collapse of the community. According to him the Spanish had imposed Spanish culture on the Puebloans and essentially enslaved them. Combined with the terrible toll the diseases the Spanish brought had on the natives, this effectively broke the social and cultural organization of the Peubloans. The Spanish also brought foreign crops and livestock with them that were perhaps ill suited to the local climate. For example they would have possibly forced the Puebloans to plant Spanish wheat in place of the corn that the Puebloans had traditionally grown. Feeding the Spanish livestock would have also placed a strain on the community and local environment. When a period of drought hit in the 1670s the local environment collapsed and the strained community disintegrated. The Puebloans and the Spanish either fled or starved. Throughout all of this the Apache were regularly raiding the community.
Gran Quivira is 26 miles from the small town of Mountainair NM. There are no other settlements in the area. Mountainair has a couple of motels, groceries, gas etc. The Salinas Pueblo Missions headquarters is also in Mountainair. When I visited in 2013 the headquarters and main visitors center in Mountainair were closed for remodeling or asbestos abatement? Gran Quivira, Abo and Quarai Missions all have their own small museums and visitor centers.
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