Discover Our History

The long and proud history of the Taos dates back to August 29, 1540 when Captain Hernando Alvarado as part of the expedition of Francisco Vasquez de Coronado arrived in the Taos Valley for the first time. They saw the magnificent ancient towering pueblo structures and peaceful Tiwa Indians who had inhabited the area for centuries. There was a diplomatic meeting and exchange of gifts that would forever change the valley we know as Taos today.

In 1598, the name Taos was first inscribed in history by Juan Belarde, secretary to Don Juan de Onate, the first Governor of what is now New Mexico. He had heard the Picuris Indians pointing to the northeast, say that their relatives the “Tao” lived yonder.

The peaceful co-existence between the two cultures eroded over time, and led to conflicts between religious beliefs and the treatment of the native peoples. On August 10, 1680, a San Juan Pueblo Indian led a large revolt which led to the expulsion of the Spanish from New Mexico.

In August of 1692, Don Diego de Vargas was appointed leader of an expedition that conquered New Mexico and eventually established the capital at Santa Fe. In 1696, the proud Taos Pueblo Indians made their last stand before surrendering. By 1760, the Village was named “Don Fernando de Taos” by Spanish settlers. Historians believe the name is attributed to Captain Don Fernando de Chavez, one of the leading settlers prior to the rebellion, who owned the land currently known as the Cristobal de la Serna land grant.