Explore New Mexico’s Spanish Missionary Heritage

Tent Rocks in New Mexico
Tent Rocks in New Mexico. Photo by Bruce Warrington on Unsplash

All the way back in the 16th century, Europeans began to flock to the American continent. In the case of the Spanish, one of the goals of the people who came was to spread the Catholic religion to the indigenous peoples of the continent. This history can be observed to this day in the US state of New Mexico, whose Spanish missionary heritage can be observed at the following sites.

San Estévan del Rey

Finished in 1641, this gorgeous church which is a mixture of indigenous and Spanish colonial architectural styles can be found in the remote town of Acoma in western New Mexico. Named as a National Historic Landmark, it’s a stunning example of the simple churches erected.

San Miguel Mission

Located in the northern New Mexico city of Santa Fe, San Miguel Mission is known as the oldest still-existing church in the United States. Built in 1610, not all of the original structure remains, but it has been rebuilt and can be visited to see its art and adobe architecture.

San Gregorio de Abó

While the structure is no longer intact, what can be observed is San Gregorio de Abó’s ruins near the town of Mountainair, south of Albuquerque. Excavated in the 1930s, you can see how Spanish colonizers attempted to impose their way of life on the natives at this remote site.