La Junta de los Rios

by Morgenthaler, Jefferson


Presidio, Texas, sits opposite the junction of the Rio Grande and Mexico's Rio Conchos. On the far bank, south of the junction, is Ojinaga, Chihuahua. The confluence, and the surrounding lands, have been given a logical name: La Junta de los Rios. The river junction.

When the first organized Spanish expedition reached La Junta more than 450 years ago, they found flourishing native communities growing crops and living in solid, square houses with flat roofs. The age and dignity of those villages matched those of the Anasazi in New Mexico. La Junta is the oldest continuously occupied community in Texas.

The arrival of the Spaniards heralded the beginning of a tumultuous and tragic era in La Junta. Over time, the twin pressures of Spanish oppression and Apache predation drove La Juntans from their valley. Ironically, they were replaced by pacified Apaches settled into reservations under Spanish supervision.

Far into the desert frontier, La Junta became a key defensive point for New Spain. Remnants of the eighteenth-century Presidio del Norte still stand in the Ojinaga square.

La Junta de Los Rios chronicles La Junta's story from prehistory through the 1830s. Woven into the context of the exploration and occupation of the central corridor of northern New Spain, this is a tale of three distinct cultures--La Juntan, Spanish and Apache--competing for possession of a desert oasis.

Mockingbird Books, 193 pages
Available in softcover


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