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Acoma

Acoma or Ácoma (both: ăkˈəmə) [key], pueblo (1990 pop. 2,590), alt. c.7,000 ft (2,130 m), Valencia co., W central N.Mex.; founded c.1100–1250. This "sky city" atop a steep-sided sandstone mesa, 357 ft (109 m) high and hard of access, is considered to be the oldest continuously inhabited community in the United States. The residents, who speak a Western Keresan language (see Pueblo), are skilled potters. Below the mesa are the cultivated fields and grazing grounds that help support the community. Sheep, cattle, and grain are produced.

The pueblo's location has impressed visitors from Fray Marcos de Niza (1539) and Coronado's men (1540) to present-day tourists. Juan de Oñate was allowed entry in 1598, but the natives soon resisted the Spanish; defeated after severe fighting, many were later maimed. The missionary Fray Juan Ramírez arrived in 1629. The Acoma people joined in the Pueblo revolt of 1680, were forced to submit to Diego de Vargas in 1692, joined in the later uprising of 1696, and were subdued again in 1699. They were later Christianized; the pueblo is dominated by the mission church of San Estevan del Rey.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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