Spotlights

Southwest Crossroads Spotlights have been created by the authors of Southwest Crossroads as general introductions on key topics in Southwest history. After reading each Spotlight, follow the associated links to get in-depth, specific information. Or keep reading Spotlights for more fascinating introductions to topics like Southwest arts, migration, or warfare—which together provide an overall view of the people and events that have shaped Southwest history.

Spotlights: 44  
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Title: Abiquiu

Author(s): Southwest Crossroads Spotlight

A short history of Abiquiu and its peoples, including genizaros in the 1700s.

The village of Abiquiu lies in the Chama River Valley on high ground above the Chama River. People made their homes in the Chama River Valley for at least 5,000 years before the establishment of this village in the 1700s. We know this because we find...

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Title: Acoma

Author(s): Southwest Crossroads Spotlight

An introduction to the history and culture of the people of Acoma.

Tribal elders say that Acoma (sometimes spelled Akome, Acuo, Acuco, Ako and A’ku-me) means “a place that always was.” Archaeologists have found artifacts at digs on Acoma Mesa that speak of prehistoric times. Like its near neighbors Hopi and Zu...

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Title: Acoma Pottery

Author(s): Southwest Crossroads Spotlight

Acoma pottery in the past and today.

From earliest times, Pueblo Indian potters have made ceramic pots for practical daily use. Pueblo people carried, cooked, and stored water and food in pottery. They also used it for ceremonial purposes. The exceptional quality of Acoma pottery made i...

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Title: Acoma Pottery Design Motifs

Author(s): Southwest Crossroads Spotlight

The development of bread bowls and an explanation of common design motifs.

Bread Bowls When the Spaniards introduced wheat and various fruits and vegetables to the Southwest, the Acomas and Lagunas began to need new sizes and shapes of vessels for food preparation and storage. One of these was the large dough bowl, up to 1...

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Title: Awat’ovi Kiva Murals

Author(s): Southwest Crossroads Spotlight

Discussion of the kiva murals found at Awat'ovi Pueblo.

The Hopis lived in the village of Awat’ovi on Antelope Mesa from about 1200 AD until its destruction in 1700. Between 1300 and 1600 AD Hopi artisans painted dozens of large murals in the village kiva, one on top of another. Between 1935 and 1939...

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Title: Construction of the Belen Cutoff

Author(s): Southwest Crossroads Spotlight; William Penner

A brief history of the construction of the Belen Cutoff and its effects.

The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway (commonly known as the AT&SF) formed in Kansas in the mid-nineteenth century with plans to build a railroad to Colorado and New Mexico. The AT&SF crossed into New Mexico via Raton Pass in 1878 and built south...

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Title: Crossing the Border

Author(s): Southwest Crossroads Spotlight

A short history of border crossings between the United States and Mexico.

The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo defined the border between the United States and Mexico in 1848. Before that year, the region now called the American Southwest was part of Mexico. After the Mexican Revolution began in 1910, thousands of Mexicans m...

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Title: Early Accounts of Turquoise Use by Native Americans

Author(s): Southwest Crossroads Spotlight

Spanish explorers on the use of turquoise among the Pueblos

“In this pueblo they were all bedecked with turquoises, which hung from their noses and ears and which they call cacona.…The three days being over, many people gathered to go with me. I selected thirty prominent men, all very well dressed, wearin...

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Title: Father Greyrobe: Was He or Wasn’t He?

Author(s): Southwest Crossroads Spotlight

Account of a Spanish priest who may have survived the Pueblo Revolt.

Catholicism was the religion of Spanish conquest. By the late 1600s, it had dominated Pueblo life for well over a century. In the wake of the Pueblo Revolt of 1680, few signs of it remained. The leaders killed the mission priests and burned the churc...

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Title: Gaspar Castaño de Sosa and His Expedition of 1590

Author(s): Southwest Crossroads Spotlight

A brief description of Gaspar Castaño de Sosa’s expedition of 1590; related information about the Spanish Inquisition and Luis de Carvajal.

In 1590, Gaspar Castaño de Sosa led an expedition of 170 people from Mexico into New Mexico. Born in Portugal in the middle of the 16th C., Castaño de Sosa administered mining towns in northern Mexico under the leadership of Luis de Carvajal y de l...

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