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Hawikuh (Hawikku, "gum leaves" in Zuni[3]), was one of the largest of the Zuni pueblos at the time of the Spanish entrada. It was founded around 1400 AD.[3] It was the first pueblo to be visited and conquered by Spanish explorers. The pueblo site is located 12 miles (19 km) southwest of Zuni Pueblo, on the Zuni Indian Reservation in Cibola County, New Mexico. The site was designated a National Historic Landmark as the Hawikuh Ruins in 1960, and is included as part of the Zuni-Cibola Complex of archaeological sites, a larger National Historic Landmark District designated in 1974.

Hawikuh church.jpg
Ruins of Mission La Purísima Concepción de Hawikuh, photo circa 1886
Hawikuh Ruins is located in New Mexico
Hawikuh Ruins
Hawikuh Ruins is located in the United States
Hawikuh Ruins
Nearest cityZuni, New Mexico
Coordinates34°55′56″N 108°59′4.4″W / 34.93222°N 108.984556°W / 34.93222; -108.984556Coordinates: 34°55′56″N 108°59′4.4″W / 34.93222°N 108.984556°W / 34.93222; -108.984556
Area10 acres (4.0 ha)
Built1539 (1539)
Part ofZuni-Cibola Complex (#74002267)
NRHP reference #66000502[1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHPOctober 15, 1966
Designated NHLOctober 9, 1960[2]
Designated NHLDCPDecember 2, 1974


Map of Hawikuh Ruins by Victor Mindeleff, 1891

Estevanico, a North African slave assigned to Fray Marcos de Niza's expedition, was the first non-native to visit Hawikuh, in 1539. He may have been killed when he unwittingly alarmed Zuni tribesmen with decorations that symbolized death, but it is just speculative.[3][4]

Francisco Vásquez de Coronado conquered the pueblo in 1540, hoping it was one of the legendary "Seven Cities of Gold". He recorded its native name at the time as Cevola, though others who accompanied him wrote it as Cibola in their accounts. It has been conjectured that this name comes from a word meaning "buffalo". Coronado was severely disappointed by the lack of gold, but wrote that, "As far as I can tell, these Indians worship water, because it makes the corn grow and sustains their life." About the pueblo, he reported that,

Although they are not decorated with turquoises, nor made of lime or good bricks, nevertheless they are very good houses, with three, four, and five stories, where there are very good apartments ... and some very good rooms underground Kivas, paved, which are made for winter and have something like hot baths.[5]

Some Hawikuu residents fled to the Dowa Yalanne mesa top to escape the attackers of the Coronado expedition. The 14 structures at Dowa Yalanne used as a refuge from the Spaniards between 1540-1680 were called Heshoda Ayahltona ("ancient buildings above").[6]

In 1628 the Mission La Purisima Concepcíón de Hawikuh was established. The Spanish attempted to suppress the Zuni religion, and introduced the encomienda forced-labor system. In 1632, the Hawikuh Zunis rebelled, burnt the church, and killed the priest. In 1672, the church was burnt again, by Apache raiders, and it was burnt a final time in 1680 during the Great Pueblo Revolt, when all the Nuevo Mexico pueblos rose against the Spanish. After this revolt, Hawikuh was permanently abandoned.[3]

The ruins of Hawikuh were excavated during the period 1917-23 by the Heye Foundation under the leadership of Frederick Webb Hodge. The records and artifacts from this excavation are now at the National Museum of the American Indian.[7] Hawikuh was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1961.[2][8]

Hawikuh is located on the Zuni Indian Reservation near Zuni, New Mexico.[8]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  2. ^ a b "National Historic Landmarks Survey, New Mexico" (PDF). National Park Service. Retrieved December 17, 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d Lanmon, Dwight P. and Harlow, Francis, "A brief history of the Ashiwi (Zuni) pueblos", in The pottery of Zuni Pueblo, 2008, Museum of New Mexico Press. ISBN 0-89013-508-8
  4. ^ Estevanico entry at the Handbook of Texas
  5. ^ Coronado's letter of August 3, 1540, quoted at
  6. ^ Flint, Richard and Shirley Cushing Flint "Dowa Yalanne, or Corn Mountain." Archived 2012-07-14 at New Mexico Office of the State Historian. 21 April 2012.
  7. ^ Hawikuh at National Park Service
  8. ^ a b Marcia M. Greenlee (September 27, 1974). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination: Site of Hawikuh Pueblo (Zuni Indian Tribe) one of legendary Seven Cities, discovered by Estevanico in 1539" (pdf). National Park Service. Cite journal requires |journal= (help) and Accompanying 3 photos, from 1958 (32 KB)

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