On the Frontier of the Frontier:
The Southwest in the 1600s and 1700s

Pottery of New Spain  |  Meeting in Battle

The Pueblito country lies at the heart of the Navajo Dinétah. The ancestors of today's Pueblo communities had once made this region their home as they moved across the Southwest. Today, this land is well remembered. Once blessed, the landmarks on this frontier remain forever part of the Pueblo and Navajo heritage.

Over the next two centuries, Spanish colonists and Pueblo communities would trade with Apaches and Navajos in some years and suffer raids in others. Foodstuffs, hides, livestock, woven blankets, tools, jewelry, and people made their way back and forth across the frontier, along the canyons of the Gobernador. By 1608, Navajo and Apache raids on villages and towns across the region brought Spanish mounted soldiers across the border. By 1659, captive Navajo men, women and children were being sold along the Rio Grande and sent south to work in silver mines south in Zacatecas. Everyone was raided--Spanish, Apache and Navajo, Pueblo and Ute--all took captives and losses in turn. In 1680, after years of raids and retaliatory strikes, Native people united to drive the Spanish down the Rio Grande to El Paso del Norte. They would not return for a dozen years.

Between 1705 and 1716, Spanish troops and their Pueblo allies, hard pressed by raids from the frontier lands, marched into the Gobernador nearly every year. They killed and enslaved many Navajo, burned fields, captured horses, and took back Pueblo people who had sought refuge from the unrest along the Rio Grande. By 1720, though, the Navajo and the Spanish had a new common enemy in the Ute tribes pressing south along the San Juan River.


Navajo History | Early Archaeology | Pueblito Architecture | Clothing & Tools
New Spain (1600-1700) | Modern Archaeology | Timeline | Acknowledgements
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