A little bit of history before I talk about our next story in this newsletter:
During the 1540’s after hearing rumors that there were cities of gold in northern New Spain (present day New Mexico), Spanish conquistador Francisco Vasquez de Coronado and a group of soldiers set out on a quest of discovery to find what was known as “The Seven Cities of Gold”. They traveled from Mexico City north into central New Mexico. There they found the city known as “Cibola” or gold (the present day pueblo of Zuni) and other “cities” that were settled in Pueblo style villages by indigenous Americans. However they didn’t find any gold, but they did discover turquoise and other metals that are still being found today. Ironically gold was discovered by later settlers in the 19th century. During our recent travels through central New Mexico we came across the routes and some of these pueblo cities that the conquistadors tried to conquer and dominate as well as some other surprises.
Traveling north from Ruidoso, we discovered the lovely little city of Carrizozo. It became an unexpected rest stop when we drove through the semi-restored downtown and saw many interesting buildings and art galleries to photograph and explore. I was especially charmed by “Gallery 408” and their collection of local and national artists.
There is camping available as well as nature trails walking through the old lava flows. The gold the Spanish were looking for was discovered at the nearby former mining town of White Oaks.
that the conquistadors discovered and tried to convert their members to Christianity. The churches that were built were largely destroyed in the late 1680’s along with the pueblo villages they tried to convert. The Indians fled to north central New Mexico to rebuild their lives there. Today the churches still stand in various states of repair. At Abo there was a team of young students working on restoring mortar that had decayed around the building stones.