timeline of events

A Taos Timeline – A Long Winding Road
Throughout our long history, Taos has been a destination for travelers wanting the powerful experience of seeing new places and meeting new people. When you get to Taos, you can get a sense of these ancestors of present-day Taoseños by taking a stroll through the historic district. Print the self guided walking tour.

1000 AD: Estimated time the ancestors of the Taos Pueblo people constructed inhabitable structures (pit houses); created pottery (micaceous pottery); and ceremonial structures (kivas) are created.

(Taos Pueblo does not and has not allowed archaeological extraction to tribal lands or the buildings. All dates produced are based on the Pot Creek Pueblo located approximately 15 miles away from Taos Pueblo).

1100: Estimated time of multi-storied adobe construction begins in the Taos Valley. (Taos Pueblo was inhabited in the same time frame as Mesa Verde communities in the Southern Colorado Region. The Anasazi also known as Ancestral Puebloan peoples migrated out of their communities in the late 1200’s. It is known some of the people were absorbed into the other communities and started new communities along the Rio Grande.)

1350: The Pot Creek Pueblo is abandoned. Previous information states this would have been the time of Taos Pueblo’s construction, but recent accounts have stated different information. The Pot Creek community did disperse at this time and many of the people absorbed into the Picuris and Taos Pueblo communities. There were small villages located all over the Taos Valley area which were broken down for safety and preservation of life during the arrival and establishment of the Spanish community in the Taos Valley.

1540: Conquistador Hernando de Alvarado follows the Rio Grande north to Taos Valley. When he sees the sun shining on the straw in the adobes at Taos Pueblo, he believes he has found the famed Cities of Gold.

1610 – 1617: Fray Francisco de Zamora was based at the Taos Pueblo to spread the Catholic faith in the Taos Valley. The first mission church was founded around 1619 and became known as Mission de San Geronimo.

1680: The Pueblo people unite to drive out the Spanish.

1696: Don Diego de Vargas of Spain resettles the area around Taos Pueblo, Taos Plaza and Ranchos de Taos.

1723: The Spanish government forbids trade with the French, and limits trade with the Plains Indians only to Taos and Pecos, thereby giving rise to the annual summer trade fairs at those locations where Comanches, Kiowas and others come in great numbers to trade captives for horses, grain and trade goods from Chihuahua.

1776: At the time of the American Declaration of Independence according to the census taken by Father Dominguez, the Taos Valley area contained 67 families with 306 Spaniards. The Ranchos de Taos area was the most populated at that time.

Early 1800s: Taos becomes the headquarters for mountain men, such as Kit Carson, who marries Taoseña Josefa Jaramillo.

1826: Padre Antonio Jose Martinez begins serving the Taos parish. He starts the first newspaper west of the Mississippi, an offshoot of which is still in existence today.

1834 – 1835: The first printing press west of the Mississippi River was brought to Taos by Padre Martinez who then published the first newspaper “El Crepusculo” which is the predecessor to The Taos News. The first book published in New Mexico was published for the school.

1843: Kit and Josefa marry. Kit Carson purchases a house from the Jaramillo family as a wedding present to his new bride. The house built in 1825, served as the Carsons’ home until 1868, and today as the Kit Carson Home and museum.

1847: During the war with Mexico, some of the people of Taos rebel and kill U.S. Territorial Governor Charles Bent in his Taos home, as he attempts to escape through a hole he has dug in his adobe wall.

1848: The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed ending the Mexican/American War ceding Taos and the Southwest to the U.S. and making all non-Indian inhabitants who did not leave within one year citizens of the U.S.

1898: Artists Bert Phillips and Ernest Blumenschein stop to have a broken wagon wheel repaired, become enchanted with Taos and decide to stay. This event starts an immigration of artists that continues today.

1912: New Mexico became the 47th state of the United States of America.

1915: Taos Society of Artists was formed by Bert Philips, Ernest Blumenschein, Oscar Berninghaus, Joseph Sharp, E. Irving Couse and Herbert Dunton.

1917: Socialite Mabel Dodge Luhan arrives and eventually brings to Taos creative luminaries such as Ansel Adams, Willa Cather, Aldous Huxley, Carl Jung, D.H. Lawrence, Georgia O’Keeffe, Thornton Wilder and Thomas Wolfe.

1934: Town of Taos was incorporated.

1955 – 1956: Ernie and Rhoda Blake open Taos Ski Valley. The first lift goes up Al’s Run for 300 vertical feet and is 1,000 feet long.

1965: The second highest suspension bridge in the U.S. highway system is built spanning the Rio Grande Gorge. It is called the “bridge to nowhere” while it is being built, because the funding does not exist to continue the road on the other side.

1960s & 1970s: Taos is quite the hippie hang out. Many of the hippies stay and become part of the lively modern cultural scene of Taos.

1970: the U.S. government returns sacred Blue Lake to Taos Pueblo in a landmark decision.


Taos Visionaries

Taos has long attracted – or created? – people who are agents of change, “visionaries.” Learn their stories.

Kit Carson Home & Museum

Purchased by Kit Carson in 1843 as a wedding present for his bride Josefa, the family occupied this four-room adobe home until 1867.

Ghosts of Taos

Taos’s colorful and sometimes violent history means that ghost stories reverberate from the adobe walls in the historic district.

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