By Lisa Zamosky
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There is some evidence that it was the influence of another culture, the Mogollon, or Mimbres, culture, developed to the south of the Anasazi, that first motivated the Anasazi innovations in building, making pottery, and trading over wide areas. , when pithouse villages, ceremonial lodges, farming, and decorated pottery began to characterize the life of a people living in southwest New Mexico's Mogollon Mountains. The early development of the Mogollon may have been influenced by cultural contacts with Mexico, resulting in the introduction of squash, beans, gourds, and pottery, passed along in turn by the Mogollon to their neighbors to the north in the four-corners area.
He was led back to Mexico City in irons. 1 The considerable promise shown by this aborted expedition was, however, a factor in the official sanction given to a new settlement effort. In 1598 Juan de Oñate led the first successful colonizing expedition into New Mexico. The wealthy son of the owner of a silver mine in Zacatecas, Oñate had won a royal mandate from the Spanish crown by agreeing to pay most of the expedition costs out of his own pocket. After recruiting and equipping two hundred soldiers and their families, Oñate led his group northward, having been granted the titles of governor and captain general and having authority to distribute land to his followers.
But the high country was not to remain home for long for the troubled inheritors of the Anasazi tradition; a searing dry period, known as the Great Drought, began in 1276 and continued to the close of the century, its effects felt all the way Page 12 from Colorado to central Mexico, where the Aztecs were beginning to build their empire. In New Mexico, conditions in the high reaches of mountain country where new pueblos rose like small fortresses became too dry and harsh for successful farming. Once again villages were abandoned.