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:
900 A.D. Settlements began to develop in the Taos valley. Some ruins can be seen today south of Abiquiu.
1000 Present villages of Taos Pueblo and Picuris Pueblo were inhabited.
1500s - 1540 Some rooms at Taos Pueblo were set aside for visiting Kiowa, Apache and Comanche traders. Captain Alvarado leads the Coronado expedition of the first European explorers into Northern New Mexico.
1598 Don Juan de Onate comes as thr official colonizer of Spain's province, Nuevo Mexico, and assigns Fray Francisco de Zamora to serve Taos and Picuris Pueblos.
1613-1690 Numerous Spaniards have settled in the Taos Valley and more than 50 missions were constructed throughout New Mexico.
1680 The Pueblo Revolt initiated was at Taos, when growing conflicts escalated and all Spaniards were either killed or driven from the province. This uprising was the most successful in 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. The population growsand acequias (irrigation ditches) are built - some remain in operation to this day.
1725 Ranchos de Taos (originally called 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 Repeated attacks by the Plains Indians lead to a decline in population of Taos Valley. Spanish settlers occaisonally 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 was given to 63 Spanish families as the Don Fernando de Taos Land Grant.
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. He was a soft-spoken man with a gift for languages and 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 co-educational 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 completed.
1821-1846 Numerous land grants made by Mexico lead to increased 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 Mission.
1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo is signed, ending the Mexican-American War.
1850 Official designation of the Territory of New Mexico, which includes Arizona
1866 Gold dicovered in the Moreno Valley; many new settlers move to the area.
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 was gradually created from the Pecos River Forest Reserve, the Taos Forest Reserve, and part of the Jemez Mountain Ranges.
1898 Artists Bert Phillips and Ernest L. 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 in 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 Frank Waters' novel, The Man Who Killed the Deer, a story of a Pueblo man trying to live in two worlds, was published.
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 the U.S. At the time of construction, it was called the "bridge to no where"
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 Parts of the movie "Easy Rider" 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 culture.
1970 U.S. returns the sacred Blue Lake to Taos Pueblo in a landmark decision.
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.
1992 Old village of Taos Pueblo designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site by the World Heritage Foundation under the auspices of the United Nations.