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 Vasquez de Coronado and his men stopped for several months during the winter of 1540-41. The Spaniards looted the pueblo's food stores and ravaged their agricultural fields before they moved on to Cicuyé.

Somewhere early in Coronao's "negotiations" with the elders of Kuaua, one of his men raped a native woman, a married woman at that. It was the spark that ignited the Tiguex War. The Spaniards might have kept their looting to that one pueblo but when every other pueblo in the valley sent warriors to attack them, they retaliated with more murder, rape and looting. Before it was over they'd attacked and looted most of the "12 or 13 pueblos" in that part of the Rio Grande Valley.

Finally, in the early spring of 1541, Coronado and gang left and headed north, then east to Cicuyé. Six months later they came back and savaged the natives 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.

Generally speaking, the Ancestral Puebloans built their kivas round and in the ground. The Mogollon people built square or rectangular kivas, usually above ground. A mix of kiva constructions indicates a mix of societies living in the village.

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 middle Rio Grande Valley. Coronado fought the Tiguex War against all of them in the winter of 1540-1541. When Don Juan de Oñaté came through 50 years later there were only 2 pueblos left that were occupied year round: Isleta and Alameda.

Sites of the Ancients and approximate dates of occupation:

Ancestors Index
Atsinna : 1275-1350
Awatovi : 1200-1701
Aztec : 1100-1275
Bandelier : 1200-1500
Betatakin : 1275-1300
Casa Malpais : 1260-1420
Chaco : 850-1145
Cicuyé : 800-1838
Fourmile : 1276-1450
Giusewa : 1560-1680
Hawikuh : 1400-1680
Homolovi : 1100-1400
Hovenweep : 50-1350
Jeddito : 800-1700
Kawaika'a : 1375-1580
Keet Seel : 1250-1300
Kuaua : 325-1580
Mesa Verde : 600-1275
Montezuma Castle : 1200-1400
Payupki : 1680-1745
Poshuouingeh : 1375-1500
Pottery Mound : 1320-1550
Puyé : 1200-1580
Sikyátki : 1375-1625
Snaketown : 300 BCE-1050
Tonto Basin : 700-1450
Tuzigoot : 1125-1400
Wupatki/Wukoki : 500-1225
Wupatupqa : 1100-1250
Yucca House : 1100-1275