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SOCORRO (Socorro; settlement, county seat; on US 60-85 and I-25, 72 miles south of Albuquerque on the Rio Grande; Post Office 1852-present).
On June 4, 1598, Juan de Oñate gave the Spanish name Socorro, meaning "aid, help," to the Piro pueblo of Teypana, in the vicinity of the present city of Socorro, because the Indians "gave us much corn." But while the Indians at Teypana inspired the name, it ultimately was planted upon the Piro pueblo of Pilabó, where by 1626 the mission of Nuestra Señora de Socorro, "Our Lady of Aid," had been established; the pueblo and its mission served as the administrative center for the area; the mission\'s name also had been given as "Our Lady of Assumption." When the Pueblo Revolt struck in 1680, most of Pilabó\'s 600 residents followed Governor Otermín south to present El Paso, where they established a new village, Socorro del Sur, "Socorro of the South," which still exists. When Vargas led the Spaniards back to New Mexico in 1692, he found Pilabó and its mission burned and abandoned; it remained thus throughout the 18th century. In 1800, Governor Fernando Chacón ordered the locality resettled, and around 1815 the present church of San Miguel de Socorro was established, likely on the foundations of the old pueblo. The new settlement appears as Socorro on all 19th-century maps, and like many Hispano settlements it includes numerous suburbs, such as Cuba, Chihuahua, Rincon, La Vega, La Florida, and Park City. Between 1867 and 1890 Socorro was the center of one of the nation\'s richest mining districts, and the New Mexico Bureau of Mines and Mineral Resources are located here. Navajos call Socorro Sokwolah, a corruption of the Spanish name.
From Place Names of New Mexico by Bob Julyan. University of New Mexico Press.