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Origins of New Mexico


Capitol of New Mexico
Capitol of New Mexico

The first known inhabitants of what is now New Mexico were members of the Clovis and Folsom cultures, so named because the first remains of their cultures were found near the towns of Folsom and Clovis. These early nomads may have lived more than 10,000 years ago. Later Native American cultures practiced farming and irrigation. The Anasazi culture flourished in the San Juan River Basin in the 1st millennium ad. By AD 1300 thousands of Pueblo people, descendants of the Anasazi, lived in several towns along the Río Grande from Taos south to Isleta (below present-day Albuquerque). The Pueblo were advanced in domestic arts and crafts—pottery, weaving, and home decoration.

Some of their adobe dwellings were five stories high. They domesticated turkeys, and in the fields near their towns, they raised corn, beans, and squash for food and cotton for weaving into blankets. In southwestern New Mexico a people called the Mogollon, whose culture included elements of Anasazi culture, built massive cliff dwellings in the 13th century, which they appear to have abandoned soon afterward.

In the 15th century the lives of the Pueblo were disrupted by the arrival of the nomadic Navajo and Apache peoples. The newcomers raided the prosperous Pueblo settlements for food, clothing, tools, and Pueblo children, whom they enslaved, initiating four centuries of warfare between the two groups. "New Mexico" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia

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