Wall mural of a warrior and birds painted in a kiva at the proto-historic village of Kuaua
Detail from a wall mural found at Kuaua
The foundations of the pueblo at Kuaua as they looked in 1940
The ruins of Kuaua in 1940

Kuaua was a Tiwa-speaking pueblo, most likely speaking what is now recognized as Southern Tiwa, like today's Sandia and Isleta pueblos. History notes Kuaua as being a place where Francisco de Coronado and his men stopped for several months over the winter of 1540-41 to loot the pueblo's food stores and ravage their agricultural fields before moving on to Cicuye. Then Coronado came back in the winter of 1541-42 and did it again.

First settled around 1325, Kuaua was prosperous for many years. Excavations showed the village expanded from south to north over 200 years. There were six kivas found in the pueblo, some round and some square. The most remarkable one was a square one that revealed a set of wall murals, one painted over another. 14 of them have been restored and now adorn the walls of the Coronado State Historic Site Visitor Center.

There are some who say that second visit of Coronado was enough to finish the village but it was the diseases set loose among the people that did that. When Coronado first arrived in the area there were 13 Tiwa-speaking villages recorded in the Rio Grande Valley. Coronado fought the Tiguez War against all of them in the winter of 1540-1541. When Don Juan de Onate came through 50 years later there were only 2 villages left that were occupied year round.

Sites of the Ancients and approximate dates of occupation: