New Mexico: The Agony of 7/erra Amarilla

In the 16th century, Spain built a buffer province near the headwaters of the Rio Grande to shield her Mexican territories from possible French incursion. Transported to a wild, 600,000-acre land grant, Andalusian settlers turned their arid Tierra Amarilla into a grazing empire that exists today as New Mexico's Rio Arriba county. Bigger than Connecticut and almost as inaccessible as Tibet, the area sprawls southward from the Colorado Rockies to atomic-age Los Alamos. Its western reaches contain the licarilla Apache reservation, and to the east loom the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, where...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!