El Camino Real
During the Spanish Colonial Period (1598-1821), New Mexico’s main artery of connection to the outside world was El Camino Real, also known as the Royal Road or the King’s Highway, which connected Santa Fe with Mexico City 1,200 miles away. The story of El Camino Real lasted more than 220 years, from its beginning in 1598 down to the close of the colonial era in 1821. During that period, New Mexico’s history was shaped by the swelling volume of traffic that flowed over this route, and many of the central events affecting the province’s development were closely associated with it. The origins, evolution, and inner workings of El Camino Real make for an interesting narrative and shed light on one of the most dramatic chapters of New Mexico history.