Camino Real Map
For the entire colonial period (1598 – 1821) the Chihuahua Trail was virtually the only route between New Mexico and the outside world. Hispanic cultural forms and material culture were brought up the trail by wagon and cart from central Mexico. While New Mexico may seem to have been exceedingly remote, early inventories of goods brought north show that the entire range of European culture of the day was, as far as possible, transmitted to the frontier settlements of New Mexico. The inventories of the Oñate expedition surprisingly include a profusion of luxury goods, as well as the more basic necessities, such as tools, iron-working equipment, woven yard goods, and furniture. Among luxury goods carried on the expedition were fancy garments and other textiles of silk and brocade, gold and silver jewelry and table wear, fine majolica and Chinese porcelains, musical instruments, and religious goods often of precious materials for adorning the churches.