The history of the Salt Missions Trail and the Salinas Pueblos begins about 20,000 years ago...fortunately I will keep this post short and cover roughly the events of 400 years ago.
Before they left the area in the 1670s due to famine and disease, Pueblo Indians forged a stable agricultural society whose members lived in apartment-like complexes. These pueblo's eventually became The Salt Missions established by the Spaniards at Quarai, Abo and Grand Quivira. At one time Grand Quivira was home to over 2000 Indians and Spaniards.
The Salinas Valley became a major trade center and one of the most populous parts of the pueblo world with perhaps 10,000 or more inhabitants in the 17th century.
Soon after Spain had conquered and colonized Mexico, tales of great wealth to the north drew people to New Mexico even though Coronoado's expedition in 1540 had failed to turn up the fabled land of the Quivira or even one city of gold.
Spain finally concluded that New Mexico would never be profitable: however, they wanted a permanent colony. At the crowns expense [and the urging of the Pope] missions were established to Christianize the natives. Don de Onate led a party to do just that in 1598.
Franciscan missionaries were sincere and well-meaning but the overlapping privileges to the church and civil authorities led to conflict between the Franciscans and the governors.
In the end cultural conflict, natural disaster, over growing the land, drought, famine disease and Apache raids killed hundreds of people. The pueblos and missions were abandoned in 1670. The population that was left spread out to various parts of New Mexico
*My apologies. I DID take video footage but I uhm....uh... I kind of erased it thinking I had backed it up. I am a fool.
Next up: Quarai.