San Diego, CA
Spanish Mission Ruins Of Quarai Nm
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© Christine Till - CT-Graphics
Two ancient southwestern cultural traditions - the Ancestral Puebloans & Mogollon - overlapped in the Salinas Valley and produced the later societies at Abó, Gran Quivira and Quarai.
Soon after Spain had conquered and colonized Mexico, tales of great wealth drew explorers to the north. In 1598 a party led by Juan de Oñate came to New Mexico to plant a permanent colony. He called salt, which was abundant in the Salinas, "one of the four riches of New Mexico".
Cultural conflict and natural disaster devastated the Salinas Pueblos. Apache raids and drought in the 1600s forced the abandonment of the pueblos, and its inhabitants abandoned the region.
Even from a distance across the meadow the abandoned church and mission ruins at Quarai are impressive. The stones of the Salinas Valley pueblo ruins preserve faint echoes of the communities that lived there three centuries ago.
April 11th, 2012
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