The Origins of Centralization

Changing Features of Local and Regional Control during the Rio Grande Classic Period, AD 1325-1540
  • Winifred Creamer
Part of the Fundamental Issues in Archaeology book series (FIAR)


In the fall of 1540, the Spaniard Francisco Vasquez de Coronado with a following of soldiers, priests, and Indians entered what we know today as northern New Mexico. He was searching for gold and treasure, chasing the myth of the golden cities of Cibola. What he found instead was the vibrant culture of the Pueblo Indians. The Pueblos both impressed Coronado with the strength of their communities and to some extent confounded him because they did not fit the pattern of anything he was used to. Unlike the highly centralized and opulent civilizations of central Mexico the Pueblos did not have a king or even a dominant chief who could command the immediate obedience of his people. Coronado and subsequent Spaniards who explored northern New Mexico found to their considerable consternation that without a central Pueblo command structure, they really had little choice but to deal with each village independently, a cumbersome and costly way to both conquer and govern a new territory.


Fifteenth Century Fourteenth Century Room Block Ceramic Style Sequential Occupation 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Winifred Creamer
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyNorthern Illionois UniversityUSA

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