10/18 & 19

The current belief of archaeologists is that the Ancient Puebloans of the Four Corners Region slowly migrated to the valleys along the Rio Grande River of New Mexico.  To follow this migration, we made Taos our next destination.

Our first stop was the Taos Pueblo.  The actual Pueblo dates from about AD 1450 although Indians have lived in the area for a thousand years.  The Pueblo consists of two large four- and five-story adobe communal homes.  Seeing the buildings gave us an appreciation for what the Pueblo must have looked like when the Spanish arrived.

taos pueblo house.JPG (376218 bytes)

Taos Pueblo is also important as it was a focal point of rebellion.  First against the Spanish in the Great Pueblo Revolt of 1680 when the Indians successfully expelled the Spanish from New Mexico, (although they returned 12 years later) and secondly when the Indians were allegedly involved in the assassination of the first U.S. governor in 1847.  The Pueblo Indians then suffered retribution by the U.S. Cavalry when they destroyed part of the Pueblo in retribution.

On the outskirts of Taos we got our first glimpse of the Rio Grande.  It was an impressive first view as we looked down from atop the second highest suspension bridge in the U.S., looking 650 feet down into the Rio Grande gorge to the river below.

Taos became the home for, or was visited by, many famous figures in the history of the American West.  Names like Buffalo Bill Cody and Kit Carson surface.

Kit Carson made Taos his home for many years and after touring the Carson museum we found that the Kit Carson myth, like so many of the early west, was greatly exaggerated.  The myth had Carson wandering the west rescuing scores of pioneers and killing hundreds of hostile Indians.  The real Carson was actually an avid supporter of Indian rights and he only fought if necessary.  He was a mountain man, a trapper and a guide for the Fremont expeditions.  In the early 1800's he traveled from Mexico to Canada and from Missouri to the Pacific Ocean.  Even more amazing was the fact that he accomplished this without being able to read or write English.

We leave Taos following the route of the "El Camino Real", the road by which the Spanish traveled from Mexico City to Santa Fe and Taos.


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