Hawikuh

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

Hawikuh was an ancestral home of the Zuni people. Founded around 1400, it was the first city encountered by Francisco Vasquez 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 couple years 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 and banished from Nuevo Mexico).

Coronado 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 the pueblo atop 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 closer to the Zuni River 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 yellowware pottery that had recently made its way south from Tusayan.

The Franciscan fathers came to Hawikuh around 1628 and forced the Indians to build the Mission La Purisima Concepcion de Hawikuh. Soon the Franciscan yoke was a burden too heavy 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. The 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 had come through in 1540, they were scattered in seven major pueblos and other structures. When they came down from the mountain top in 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 maintained 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:

Atsinna : 1275-1350
Awatovi : 1200-1701
Aztec : 1100-1275
Bandelier : 1200-1500
Betatakin : 1276-1300
Casa Malpais : 1260-1400
Chaco : 850-1145
Cicuye : 800-1838
Fourmile : 1276-1400
Giusewa : 1560-1680
Hawikuh : 1400-1680
Hohokam : 300-1450
Homolovi : 1100-1400
Hovenweep : 50-1350
Jeddito : 800-1700
Kawaika'a : 1375-1580
Keet Seel : 1250-1300
Kuaua : 325-1600
Mesa Verde : 600-1300
Montezuma Castle : 1200-1400
Payupki : 1680-1780
Poshuouingeh : 1375-1500
Pottery Mound : 1320-1550
Puye : 1200-1580
Sikyatki : 1375-1625
Snaketown : 300 BCE-1050
Tonto Basin : 700-1450
Tuzigoot : 1125-1400
Wupatki/Wukoki : 500-1225
Wupatupqa : 1100-1250
Yucca House : 1100-1300