Camino Real Map
Richard Greenleaf and Joseph Metzgar point to a 1662 attempt by Governor Peñalosa “to found a villa in the midst of the settled region, in a valley called Atrisco” as the earliest evidence for the existence of this settlement (Greenleaf 1967:5; Metzgar 1977:269). This document went on to call Atrisco “the best site in all New Mexico” (Hackett 1937:265). Before the 1680 Pueblo revolt this area was well populated, according to documents cited by Charles Wilson Hackett (Hackett 1911:129). Maestro de Campo Juan Domínguez de Mendoza testified to going by his old hacienda “in the jurisdiction that they call Atrisco” on 8 December during the 1681 attempt to reconquer New Mexico (Hackett and Shelby 1942:II.258; Hackett 1915:383-384).
In 1692, Fernando Durán y Chávez, a resident of the area before the 1680 revolt, asked Governor Vargas for a grant to the lands of Atrisco and Vargas assented. In 1701, Durán y Chávez officially petitioned for a grant. Atrisco was resettled in March 1703 (Sánchez 1998:9-12; Armijo 1929:278-279).
Menchero described Atrisco along with the villa of Alburquerque in 1744. He wrote that the two were on the banks of the Río Grande, 177 engaged in farming and weaving, and were administered by a priest in the villa (Hackett 1937:400-401). In 1760, Bishop Tamarón noted the danger faced by the priest in Alburquerque when he crossed the Río Grande to minister to citizens on the west bank. Such a crossing would have taken him to Atrisco and shows that Atrisco was an ecclesiastical dependency of Alburquerque (Adams 1953:202; Sánchez, 1998:17; Simmons 1973:10). Fray Domínguez gave a brief description of “Atlixco” in 1776. He placed it directly across the river from Alburquerque on a beautiful sandy plain and cited a population of 52 families, 288 persons. He also referred to it as Atlixco and Atrisco of Alburquerque (Adams and Chávez 1956:154,207,243).
When Zebulon Pike traveled down the Río Grande as a Spanish prisoner in 1807, he crossed the Río Grande from east to west “a little below Alburquerque” on 7 March. In 1895, Coues identified the ford as Atrisco, a common crossing before the advent of roads and the railroad (Coues 1895:II.621,625; III.946).