A Taos Timeline: Wide Open
Spaces and Historical Places
Some 6,000 years ago, nomadic hunter-gatherers passed through the Taos
area, leaving behind arrowheads, potsherds, and pictographs. In the
early 20th Century, Doc Martin, Taos' beloved country doctor, said,
"God's in charge of everything that happens in Taos!" As you visit our
community, you'll see that Taos is a place where history is honored and
continues to be made every day. Some dates relating to human habitation
and activities in Taos and its environs include:
Settlements throughout the Taos valley. Some ruins can be seen today
south of Abiquiu.
1000 Present villages of Taos Pueblo and Picuris Pueblo were inhabited
by this date.
1500s - 1540 Some rooms at Taos Pueblo set aside for visiting Kiowa,
Apache, and Comanche traders. Captain Alvarado leads first European
explorers, the Coronado expedition, into the area.
1598 Don Juan de Oate comes as official colonizer of Spain's province,
Nuevo Mexico, and assigns Fray Francisco de Zamora to serve Taos and
1613-1690 Numerous Spaniards have settled in Taos Valley and more than
50 missions constructed throughout New Mexico.
1680 The Pueblo Revolt initiated at Taos, when growing conflicts
escalated and all Spaniards were either killed or driven from the
province. This uprising was the most successful on the North American
continent, and it was 13 years before the Spanish returned.
1692 Diego de Vargas reconquers New Mexico for Spain, and in 1693
begins resettlement of the province.
1696 Second Taos Pueblo revolt; de Vargas puts down the rebellion.
Population of the area grows. Acequias (irrigation ditches) are built;
some remain in operation today.
1725 Ranchos de Taos (originally Las Trampas de Taos) becomes a
permanent Spanish settlement.
1739 The first French traders, led by the Mallete brothers, attend the
Taos Fair. Such trade fairs were considered important; leaders of the
annual caravan to Chihuahua, Mexico, planned its schedule so as not to
miss the Taos Fair.
1760 Chronic attacks by the Plains Indians lead to a decline in
population of the Valley. Spanish settlers sometimes move into Taos
Pueblo for protection from the raiders.
1779 Colonel del Anza passes through Taos on his return from Colorado,
where he decisively defeated Comanches led by Cuerno Verde. De Anza
named the Sangre de Cristo Pass, as well as the road between Taos and
Santa Fe, designating it part of El Camino Real.
1796-1797 Land given to 63 Spanish families as the Don Fernando de Taos
1800s By the early part of the century, Taos had become the
headquarters for a number of mountain men who trapped beaver nearby. In
1826, Christopher "Kit" Carson (1809-1868) moved to Taos. A soft-spoken
man with a gift for languages, he bought the house (built in 1825),
which is now the Kit Carson Museum, as a wedding present for his bride,
Maria Josefa Jaramillo. They lived in it until their deaths in 1868.
1804 Severino Martin (later Martinez) builds La Hacienda de los
Martinez, which still exists as a museum. It becomes an important trade
center and the headquarters of an extensive ranching operation.
Martinez's eldest son is Padre Antonio Martinez, who fought Bishop Lamy
in an attempt to preserve the Hispanic character of the Catholic
Church. He also created the first coeducational school in New Mexico
(1833), brought the first printing press to Taos (1834), and founded
"El Crepusculo," a weekly newspaper, in 1835.
1815 The mission church, San Francisco de Asis at Ranchos de Taos,
begun about 1772, is finished.
1821-1846 Numerous land grants by Mexico lead to additional settlement.
1846-1848 Mexican-American War. General Stephen Kearney and his troops
occupy the province.
1847 U.S. takes possession of New Mexico. Some former Mexican citizens
and Taos Natives rebel, killing the first territorial governor, Charles
Bent, in his Taos home. U.S. Army retaliates against the Pueblo,
killing more than 150 people and destroying the original San Geronimo
1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo is signed, ending the Mexican-American
1850 Official designation of the Territory of New Mexico, which
1866 Gold dicovered in the Moreno Valley; many new settlers enter the
1880 A narrow-gauge railroad, the Denver and Rio Grande Western, built
from Alamosa, Colo., to 25 miles southwest of Taos. Later named the
Chili Line, it was discontinued in World War II.
1892-1906 Carson National Forest gradually created from the Pecos River
Forest Reserve, the Taos Forest Reserve, and part of the Jemez Mountain
1898 Artists Bert Phillips and Ernest Blumenschein stop in Taos to have
a broken wagon wheel repaired. Enthralled by the scenery and clear
light, they decide to stay. They invite other artists to Taos, and in
1912, form the Taos Society of Artists with other new arrivals.
1912 New Mexico becomes the 47th state of the union.
1917 Mabel Dodge Luhan arrives in Taos, and becomes a central figure in
attracting celebrities that
include Ansel Adams, Willa Cather, Adous Huxley, Carl Jung, D.H.
Lawrence, Georgia O'Keefe, Thornton Wilder, and Thomas Wolfe.
1931 Patrocino Barela begins to be known internationally for his
artistic transformation of the Hispanic santero tradition.
1915-1944 Many Taos residents fought in World Wars I and II, and died
for their country. Bataan Hall, part of Taos Civic Plaza and Convention
Center, and a large cross at Taos Plaza honor the Taosenos who were in
the Bataan Death March.
1942 Publication of Frank Waters' novel, The Man Who Killed the Deer,
the story of a Pueblo man trying to live in two worlds.
1955 Ernie and Rhoda Blake open Taos Ski Valley.
1965 Steel arch bridge completed west of Taos, spanning the Rio Grande
650 feet above the river. It is the second highest suspension bridge in
1950-1969 Taosenos fight in the Korean and Vietnam conflicts. The
Vietnam Memorial in nearby Angel Fire lists names of those who gave
their lives in the Vietnam War, as well as the survivors.
1960-1970s Remember Easy Rider? Parts of the movie were filmed in Taos,
which attracted hundreds of "hippies" during that period. Many of them
stayed and became part of the diverse and colorful landscape of Taos
1970 U.S. returns the sacred Blue Lake to Taos Pueblo in a landmark
1974 Publication of Taos writer John Nichols' novel, The Milagro
Beanfield War, a fictional account of the Hispanic community in a town
very much like Taos, centering on water rights issues in an arid
region. Robert Redford adapted the book for a movie, released in 1988.
1992 Old village of Taos Pueblo designated a World Heritage Site by the
World Heritage Foundation under the auspices of the United Nations.
Posted by Lisa Skye
Saturday, February 21, 2009