Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Pecos Pueblo in 1540

Along the trail
The Pecos people called their pueblo Cicuye (also spelled by the Spaniards as Acuique, Cicuique, or Cicuic). When the Spanish expedition led by Captain Hernando de Alvarado arrived in 1540, they found an impressive and well-fortified structure, as described by Pedro de CastaƱeda:

[Cicuye] is a pueblo of as many as five hundred warriors. It is feared throughout that land. In plan it is square, founded on a rock. In the center is a great patio or plaza with its kivas (estufas). The houses are all alike, of four stories. One can walk above over the entire pueblo without there being a street to prevent it. At the first two levels it is completely rimmed by corridors on which one can walk over the entire pueblo. They are like balconies which project out, and beneath them one can take shelter.

The houses have no doors at ground level. To climb to the corridors inside the pueblo they use ladders which can be drawn up; in this way they have access to the rooms. Since the doors of the houses open on the corridor on that floor the corridor serves as street. The houses facing open country are back to back with those inside the patio, and in time of war they are entered through the inside ones. The pueblo is surrounded by a low stone wall. Inside there is a spring from which they can draw water.

The people of this pueblo pride themselves that no one has been able to subdue them, while they subdue what pueblos they will.

Wall fragment today

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