People of the Folsom culture occupied the area around Lake Lucero in White Sands National Park from about 9000 to 8000 BC, and the region subsequently was inhabited by various populations until it was deserted c.1350 following a major drought. When the Spanish arrived in the mid-17th cent., the ancestors of the Apache lived in surrounding mountainous areas, and Apache resistance delayed significant settlement until after the Civil War. Subsequent cattle ranching led to overgrazing, and the replacement of grasslands by desert shrubland.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: U.S. Physical Geography