Spanish missions in New Mexico

Last updated

The Spanish Missions in New Mexico were a series of religious outposts in the Province of Santa Fe de Nuevo México — present day New Mexico. They were established by Franciscan friars under charter from the monarchs of the Spanish Empire and the government of the Viceroyalty of New Spain in a policy called Reductions to facilitate the conversion of Native Americans—Indians into Christianity.



Quarai Mission church in 1940. Photo: George A. Grant. Sapu hpc-000751.jpg
Quarai Mission church in 1940. Photo: George A. Grant.
San Miguel Mission in Santa Fe, New Mexico 16 21 2688 san miguel.jpg
San Miguel Mission in Santa Fe, New Mexico

They attempted to Hispanicize the indigenous peoples. The affected included the rich cultures and tribes of: many of the 21 distinct Puebloan groups; the Tiwa; the Navajo; and the Apache. The missions also aimed to pacify resistance to the European invasion of the tribes' Pre-Columbian homelands and loss of traditions. The missions introduced European livestock, fruits, vegetables, and small-scale industry into the Southwest region. They also introduced European diseases that the native people had no immunity against.

Fray Marcos de Niza, sent by Coronado, first saw the area now known as New Mexico in 1539. The first permanent settlement was Mission San Gabriel, founded in 1598 by Juan de Oñate near what is now known as the San Juan Pueblo. [ citation needed ]


(est. 1598 as San Pedro y San Pablo; destroyed 1680; rededicated 1692; Church built between 1706 and 1760)

(est. 1598; destroyed 1680; re-est. 1692; Church built 1694-96; Second church built 1706-44; abandoned 1838)

Noted churches that were not missions

See also

Related Research Articles

The Puebloans or Pueblo peoples, are Native Americans in the Southwestern United States who share common agricultural, material and religious practices. When Spaniards entered the area beginning in the 16th century, they came across complex, multi-story villages built of adobe, stone and other local materials, which they called pueblos, or villages, a term that later came to refer also to the peoples who live in these villages.

La Purisima Mission place in California listed on National Register of Historic Places

Mission La Purisima Concepción, or La Purisima Mission is a Spanish mission in Lompoc, California. It was established on December 8, 1787 by the Franciscan order. The original mission complex south of Lompoc was destroyed by an earthquake in 1812, and the mission was rebuilt at its present site a few miles to the northeast.

Spanish missions in Trinidad

Spanish Missions in Trinidad were established as part of the Spanish colonisation of its new possessions. In 1687 the Catholic Catalan Capuchin friars were given responsibility for religious conversions of the indigenous Amerindian residents of Trinidad and the Guianas. In 1713 the missions were handed over to the secular clergy. Due to shortages of missionaries, although the missions were established they often went without Christian instruction for long periods of time.

Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument United States historic place

The Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument is a complex of three Spanish missions located in the U.S. state of New Mexico, near Mountainair. The main park visitor center is in Mountainair. Construction of the missions began in 1622 and was completed in 1635.

Spanish missions in Texas

The Spanish Missions in Texas comprise a series of religious outposts established by Spanish Catholic Dominicans, Jesuits, and Franciscans to spread the Catholic doctrine among area Native Americans, but with the added benefit of giving Spain a toehold in the frontier land. The missions introduced European livestock, fruits, vegetables, and industry into the Texas area. In addition to the presidio and pueblo (town), the misión was one of the three major agencies employed by the Spanish crown to extend its borders and consolidate its colonial territories. In all, twenty-six missions were maintained for different lengths of time within the future boundaries of the state of Texas.

Spanish missions in Mexico

The Spanish missions in Mexico are a series of religious outposts established by Spanish Catholic Franciscans, Jesuits, Augustinians, and Dominicans to spread the Christian doctrine among the local natives. Since 1493, the Kingdom of Spain had maintained a number of missions throughout Nueva España in order to preach the gospel to these lands. In 1533, at the request of Hernán Cortés, Carlos V sent the first Franciscan friarss with orders to establish a series of installations throughout the country.

Spanish missions in the Sonoran Desert

The Spanish missions in the Sonoran Desert are a series of Jesuit Catholic religious outposts established by the Spanish Catholic Jesuits and other orders for religious conversions of the Pima and Tohono O'odham indigenous peoples residing in the Sonoran Desert. An added goal was giving Spain a colonial presence in their frontier territory of the Sonora y Sinaloa Province in the Viceroyalty of New Spain, and relocating by Indian Reductions settlements and encomiendas for agricultural, ranching, and mining labor.

Pilabó was a former Piro pueblo located on the site of the present city of Socorro, New Mexico. In 1598 the vanguard of the Spanish colonizing caravan under Juan de Oñate acquired food at the Piro pueblo of Teypana. The Spaniards named that pueblo “Socorro” which means “help” or “aid” in Spanish. Eventually, a different but nearby pueblo, Pilabó, would be given the name "Socorro" following the May/June 1626 founding there of the mission of Nuestra Señora del Socorro. Some buried remains of Pilabo are still present south and southeast of the current church of San Miguel in Socorro.

Quarai United States historic place

Quarai, also known historically as Quarai State Monument, is a prehistoric and historic unit of the Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument located north of Mountainair, New Mexico. A National Historic Landmark District, it encompasses the archaeological remains of prehistoric Native American settlements, historic remains of a pueblo that was abandoned in the 1670s during the Spanish colonial period, the ruins of a 17th-century Spanish mission compound, and 19th-century Spanish ranching artifacts. The site was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1962, and was added to the Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument in 1980.

La Iglesia de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles original church of Los Angeles, California

La Iglesia de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles,, is a historic Roman Catholic church in El Pueblo de los Ángeles Historical Monument in northern downtown Los Angeles, California, United States. The church was founded by the Spanish in the early 19th century when modern-day California was under Spanish rule and known as Alta California in the Viceroyalty of New Spain.

Mission Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles de Porciúncula de los Pecos

The Mission Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles de Porciúncula was a mission that served the people of the Pecos Pueblo, near modern Pecos, New Mexico, from sometime around 1619.

Albuquerque–Santa Fe–Las Vegas combined statistical area

The Albuquerque–Santa Fe–Las Vegas combined statistical area is made up of nine counties in north central New Mexico. The combined statistical area consists of the Albuquerque and Santa Fe metropolitan statistical areas, and the Las Vegas, Los Alamos, Española, and Grants micropolitan statistical areas. As of the 2010 census, the CSA had a population of 1,146,049. The population of the CSA is 1,178,664 as of the July 1, 2018 Census Bureau estimate. Roughly 56% of New Mexico's residents live in this area. Prior to the 2013 redefintions, the CSA consisted only of the Santa Fe metropolitan statistical area and the Española micropolitan statistical area. The total land area of the Albuquerque–Santa Fe–Las Vegas combined statistical area is 26,421 sq. mi.

Socorro Mission Mission in Texas, USA

The original Franciscan mission, Nuestra Señora de la Concepción del Socorro, was founded in 1682 by the Franciscan order, to serve displaced Spaniard families, American Indians from New Mexico, who fled the central New Mexico region during the Pueblo Revolt. The present Socorro Mission was constructed around 1840 to replace an earlier 18th-century mission destroyed in 1829 by flooding of the Rio Grande. The mission, constructed of adobe surfaced with stucco, is particularly notable for its interior. The finely painted and decorated beams, or vigas, are from the 18th-century mission and were reused when the present church was constructed. The massing, details and use of decorative elements of the Socorro Mission show strong relationships to the building traditions of 17th-century Spanish New Mexico.

Jemez Historic Site United States historic place

The Jemez Historic Site is a state-operated historic site on New Mexico State Road 4 in Jemez Springs, New Mexico. The site preserves the archaeological remains of the 16th-century Native American Gíusewa Pueblo and the 17th-century Spanish colonial mission called San Jose de los Jemez. The site was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973, and in 2012 it was designated as a National Historic Landmark. It is considered an ancestral site of the Jemez Pueblo people who live nearby.

Mission Concepcion

Franciscan Friars established Mission Nuestra Señora de la Purísima Concepción de Acuña in 1716 as Nuestra Señora de la Purísima Concepción de los Hainais in East Texas. The mission was originally meant to be a base for converting the Hasinai to Catholicism and teaching them what they needed to know to become Spanish citizens. The friars moved the mission in 1731 to San Antonio. After its relocation most of the people in the mission were Pajalats who spoke a Coahuiltecan language. Catholic Mass is still held every Sunday.

Iglesia de la Concepción (San Cristóbal de La Laguna) San Cristóbal de La Laguna

The Iglesia-Parroquia Matriz de Nuestra Señora de La Concepción is a Roman Catholic church located in the city of San Cristóbal de La Laguna. This church is almost a twin of the Church of the Conception of Santa Cruz de Tenerife. It was the first parish was established in Tenerife.

Pueblo IV Period

The Pueblo IV Period was the fourth period of ancient pueblo life in the American Southwest. At the end of prior Pueblo III Period, Ancestral Puebloans living in the Colorado and Utah regions abandoned their settlements and migrated south to the Pecos River and Rio Grande valleys. As a result, pueblos in those areas saw a significant increase in total population.

The Keres people are one of the Pueblo peoples. They speak English, Keresan languages, and in one pueblo Keresan Sign Language.

Mary Ellen Toya Jemez Pueblo potter

Mary Ellen Toya (1934-1990) was a Jemez Pueblo potter of the Water Clan. She was active ca. 1950-1990, and was known for creating some of the largest Storyteller figures.


  1. "Mission Nuestra Señora de Purísima Concepción de Quarai".
  2. Frank D. Reeve,History of New Mexico, Volume 1.Lewis Historical Publishing Co.1961
  3. Images of Acoma and San Estevan, Acoma, New Mexico
  4. "Abo Pueblo and San Gregorio Mission".
  5. "Books of the Southwest - University of Arizona Library".
  6. "Mission San Buenaventura de Humanas".
  7. "Mission San José de los Jémez".
  8. "San José de Laguna".
  9. "Mission Santa Ana".
  10. "Mission Santo Domingo".