1540: Three Worlds Collide The Tiguex War in the Rio Grande Valley

Conquistador Clip Art

In 1540, the Coronado Expedition moved into the middle Rio Grande Valley, now Albuquerque, Rio Rancho, and Bernalillo.  They brought with them a sizable group of Mesoamerican warriors.  They encounter the Tiwa-speaking Pueblo people of the Rio Grande Valley, and what follows is the first war that takes place between European and Native American forces in the Southwest.  

Essential Question:  Why was there a war in the Rio Grande Valley?

Objectives:   After completing this lesson, the learner will be able to:

  1.  Identify the first historic site in New Mexico;
  2.  Discuss  the three groups involved in the Tiguex War and their motivation for fighting a war in the middle Rio Grande Valley;
  3. Map the journey of the Coronado Expedition into New Mexico;
  4. Write a narrative of the Tiguex War from contrasting perspectives.

Recommended as a lesson to work on before or  after your visit to Coronado Historic Site, this lesson will stand alone without the field trip if it is impossible for you to visit us.


Document 1 – PowerPoint 1540-Three Worlds Collide 

Document 2 – 1540 Presenter’s Notes

Document 3 – 1540 Vocabulary

Document 4 – 1540 Student Handout

Document 5 – Map of Coronado Expedition

Document 6 – Notes on Tiguex War 


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