Hawikuh

Zuni pueblo around 1880, Hawikuh looked similar to this multi-story structure of rooms and ladders
Hawikuh probably looked like this: Zuni pueblo in 1880

Hawikuh was an ancestral home of the Zuni tribe. Founded around 1400, it was the first city encountered by Francisco de Coronado in his search for the Seven Cities of Cibola. It was also the first city conquered by the Spanish. Coronado hung around long enough to discover there was no gold to steal. He and his men then plundered the pueblo's food stores, ravaged their crops and moved on to the east.

Coronado came back a year later and mistreated the people again before heading back south to Mexico to never return (he was tried in Spain, charged with mistreatment of the Indians). He did leave three Mexican Indians behind and they most likely informed the Zunis about the relative strength of the Spanish military and church in Mexico. Sometime around then the Zunis began building a stone fortress atop a nearby mesa. They occupied Dowa Yalanne several times over the years until about 1703 when the tribe finally reached a workable truce with the Spanish. By then though, Hawikuh had been abandoned and most of the tribe's members resettled to where Zuni Pueblo is today.

When Coronado came through, Hawikuh was composed of (in Coronado's letter of August 3, 1540) "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." The Seven Cities of Cibola turned out to be the seven pueblos of the Zuni. They had some turquoise but the gold turned out to be a few pieces of Jeddito or Sikyatki-style yellow ware pottery that had made its way south from Hopi First Mesa.

The Franciscan fathers came to Hawikuh around 1628 and forced the Indians to build the Mission La Purisima Concepcion de Hawikuh but the Franciscan yoke was quickly a burden too hard for the people to bear. So those priests were killed and the mission burned in 1632. New priests came, with Spanish military, and the tribe was punished. Then mission was rebuilt. Apaches came to raid in 1672 and burned the mission again. The structure was burned a final time in 1680, when the 1680 Pueblo Revolt broke out. When rumors began circulating of the Spanish return in 1692, everyone left at Hawikuh moved to the top of Dowa Yalanne and prepared for a long siege. When Don Diego de Vargas came in 1692, he was allowed to climb to the top of the mesa. Once there he found the people had preserved some of the relics from the mission. As they hadn't destroyed everything from the church, de Vargas made peace with them and soon left. Hawikuh was never reoccupied after that.

Dowa Yalanne was the first place that all the Zunis gathered together in one settlement. When Coronado came through in 1540, they were scattered in seven major pueblos and other structures. When they came down from the mountain topin 1692, they began building the pueblo next to the Zuni River where Zuni is located now. Dowa Yalanne is still a sacred place for the Zunis. The structures on top of the mesa are still mantained and are used during spiritual ceremonies, but no one who is not a member of the tribe is allowed up there.

Sites of the Ancients and approximate dates of occupation: