History of Ysleta del Sur Pueblo
First Encounters  
The Emergence  
Founding of Pueblos
Building Ysleta del Sur  
Defending the Frontier  
Travel Down the Mission Trail
Scholars' Bookshelf
Missions Bibliography
Ysleta Bibliography
Roster of El Paso Area Tribal Leaders
Native American Water Use Chronology
Tigua Military History
Early Accounts & Bibliography
Tigua Participation at Texas State Fair
Travel Links & More
Ysleta Land Grant Chronology
Acknowledgments / Resources
Founding of Pueblos

The Tigua Indians, who had been removed from Isleta Pueblo in 1680 and 1681, were congregated near Guadalupe Mission. In 1682, the Tigua Cacique (chief), Juan Moro, and War Captain, Bartolo Pique, founded Ysleta del Sur, several miles downriver from Guadalupe Mission (near present day Faben, Texas).

In 1682, the refugee Piro Indians founded the pueblos of Socorro del Sur and Senecú del Sur in the El Paso region. The Spanish governor approved the new Indian settlements in the El Paso area to separate Indians from the Spaniards, to reduce conflicts between the groups, and to protect the Spaniards from an epidemic that was rampant among the Indians. For twelve years, until the re-conquest of New Mexico in 1692, The Pass of the North was the most northern outpost of the Spanish Colonial Empire in North America. 

Map of the Province of New Mexico, (El Paso area in lower section)
by Bernardo de Miera y Pacheco, 1758
Courtesy of New Mexico State Museum

Spanish Indian Policy Reformed

Following the Pueblo Indian Revolt, the Spanish policy toward the Pueblo Indian became more tolerant. In 1692, when Governor Don Diego de Vargas led the successful re-conquest of New Mexico, he decided that the Tigua Indians would remain at Ysleta del Sur Pueblo to support the economy and to defend the El Paso District. Thus, the area’s new Indian settlements became permanent. In 1751, the Tigua Indians received the Ysleta Grant from the King of Spain.

Don Diego de Vargas,
Reconqueror of New Mexico, c. 1692
Courtesy of the artist, José Ciseneros

The reformed policy permitted the traditional Pueblo Indian religion to co-exist with Spanish civil, military and religious institutions. In 1540, when the Spanish Conquistador, Coronado, entered the Southwest, there were over 500 pueblos. Today, there are twenty-one pueblos. Despite horrific losses of Indian lives and land, the Spanish Crown recognized the land and water rights of Pueblo Indian communities.

Site Changes of Ysleta Pueblo and Mission

In 1684, Spanish authorities, under the direction of Father López, consolidated the Indian Pueblos of the Pass of the North nearer to Guadalupe Mission in order to buttress frontier defense. The repositioning was deemed necessary as result of the Manso and Suma Indian rebellion throughout the region.

Ysleta Pueblo was relocated 6 to eight miles upriver to the vicinity of present-day Ysleta. The pueblo and mission were situated several blocks north of the present site of the mission. In 1692, a new church was built and dedicated (quote if necessary). In the spring of 1740, the Rio Grande flooded and destroyed Ysleta Pueblo (and the mission). For this reason, the community was transferred to the mission’s present-day location. By 1758, a new mission was erected using some of the original foundation stones from the old one. The pueblo was located immediately east of the mission. In 1905, the mission was destroyed by fire. A year later, a new church, was built on the same foundation.

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