Although the first Spanish contact with the Acoma was in 1539 by Fray Marcos de Niza, the first significant interaction began when Spanish explorer Francisco de Coronado visited in 1540. In a report back to Viceroy Mendoza in 1540, Coronado spoke of his interactions with the people. Coronado says he captures the city for a short time, and forced the people to tell all they knew about the wildlife of the area and where he could find gold. The gold is the real reason Coronado was exploring, for he was in search of the seven cities of Cibola. Unfortunately, the people could not tell him where to find gold, which he believed was because they were trying to hide it from him. He left shortly afterwards with gifts from the Acoma, continuing on his search.

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    Evan Neal

    As an architecture major learning more about the religion of the Pueblo people, the Spanish influence on their religious architecture was an interesting avenue to take the research down. The Acoma village has, “the finest and most impressive of the Spanish Colonial Mission churches in New Mexico,” so was a perfect fit for my research.