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: Tierra Amarilla

Author(s): Southwest Crossroads Spotlight

A brief history of Tierra Amarilla.

The village of Tierra Amarilla lies in the Chama River Valley. Groups of hunters and gatherers lived in this valley as far back as about 5,000 years ago. Archaeologists know about at least ten significant pueblo sites along the Chama River, between p...

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Title: Trading in the Americas

Author(s): Southwest Crossroads Spotlight

A brief overview of trading in the Americas.

For hundreds of years, indigenous people of the American Southwest, whether on the move or in permanent settlements, traded among themselves. Archeologists have found shells from the Pacific Ocean, parrot feathers from Mexico, and turquoise from dist...

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Title: Trading Posts in the American Southwest

Author(s): Southwest Crossroads Spotlight

An overall description of trading posts in the American Southwest.

For hundreds of years, people of the American Southwest traded among themselves. They used a system of barter to exchange everything from furs, bison hides, foods, woven material, and clothing to pottery, beads, feathers, and turquoise. The establish...

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Title: Traditional Apache Life

Author(s): Southwest Crossroads Spotlight

An overview of some important events and themes in the lives of Apaches.

The Athapaskan peoples migrated south from Alaska and Canada and eventually split into seven distinct groups. By 1500, they occupied a vast expanse of territory in the American Southwest. The extreme environments they inhabited—mountains, deserts, ...

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Title: Turquoise in the History of the Southwest

Author(s): Southwest Crossroads Spotlight

Turquoise in the ancient Southwest

Throughout history, peoples around the world have revered turquoise for its beauty. Turquoise comes from the earth but is the color of the sky. Indians of the American Southwest associate the semi-precious stone with early tribal stories and prayer. ...

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Title: Turquoise Mining in the Southwest

Author(s): Southwest Crossroads Spotlight

Turquoise mining among the Pueblos, Spanish, and Americans

Archaeologists have also found turquoise mines throughout Mesoamerica. One of the largest mines is in a mountain south of Santa Fe called Cuwimi Kai or Chalchihuitel—“a house inside which turquoise is found.” The Zuni often obtained...

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Title: Turquoise Trail

Author(s): Southwest Crossroads Spotlight

Turquoise trade and Zuni jewelry.

The Zuni traded for turquoise stones for hundreds of years. They traded with the Santo Domingo and Cochiti Indians who had access to the turquoise mines. Later on the Spanish seized control of the mines. In the late 1800s Anglo mining interests took ...

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Title: Villagrá’s Cantos

Author(s): Southwest Crossroads Spotlight

A brief introduction to Gaspar Pérez de Villagrá’s cantos describing the battle between the people of Acoma and the Spanish in 1598.

Gaspar Pérez de Villagrá accompanied Juan de Oñate on the Spanish expedition into Nuevo Mexico in 1598. Luckily for history, Villagrá was a poet who recorded the details of the adventures in the rhyming verse of his day. Villagrá modeled his His...

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Title: Who Is Chakwaina?

Author(s): Southwest Crossroads Spotlight

Origins of the Chakwaina katsina.

In 1529, Spanish explorer Alvar Nuñez Cabeza de Baca and three companions survived a shipwreck at the mouth of what is now known as the Mississippi River. Esteban, a black Moorish slave, was among the survivors. For seven years, the four Spaniards w...

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Title: Who Were the Lipan and the Kiowa-Apaches?

Author(s): Southwest Crossroads Spotlight

An introduction to the Lipan and Kiowa-Apache peoples.

Two small Apache tribes, the Lipan and the Kiowa-Apache, lived on the western Great Plains during the early 1600s. Today they have become part of the other Apache tribes. Very few of those living today remember the Lipan and the Kiowa-Apache tribal ...

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