Abo Mission, New Mexico

Steven Dutch, Professor Emeritus, Natural and Applied Sciences, University of Wisconsin - Green Bay

Fruit salad. Looking north along the east scarp of the Rio Grande Rift. The Sandia (melon) Mountains are the distant peak left of the clouds, with the Manzano (apple tree) Mountains in the foreground.

Below: Manzano Mountains.
If you want back of beyond, the Salinas Missions in New Mexico are it. Beyond the Manzano Mountains is the fringe of the high plains where almost nobody lives.
The Salinas basin lay between the mountains on the margin of the Rio Grande Rift and the high plains. It was so called because of its salt pans. In the late 1600's the valley was abandoned by both the missions and the local tribes. A combination of famine and Indian uprisings was the cause.
Point taken.
This structure is identical in plan to a kiva, or Indian religious structure. One speculation is it was permitted to help the Indians transition from their traditional practices to Christianity. Unfortunately, the arrival of the Inquisition in the later 1600's stifled tolerance of traditional customs. The relationship between the Church, the secular authority, and the Indians was complex. The Church intervened at times to prevent secular abuse of the Indians but the secular authority stepped in on occasion to prevent the missions from using the Indians as forced labor.
Model of Abo Mission in its prime.

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Created 12 December 2011, Last Update 03 June 2020