Turquoise Trail - CostaMesaPhotography
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The Galisteo Basin has been continuously occupied by a diverse collection of peoples and cultures since pre-historic times and remained sparsely populated until about the 12th century. Up to that time, the Basin was a trade route for turquoise, malachite, and lead—materials mined in the Cerrillos Hills. In the 1820s, a growing supply of goods and materials flowed into New Mexico after trade restrictions were lifted, and the Santa Fe Trail was formally established. By 1821, 45,000 people lived in New Mexico. Around this time, gold was discovered in the Ortiz Mountains. During the 10-year period of the "Ortiz Gold Rush," more than 10 percent of New Mexico's winter population lived in the Ortiz Mountains prospecting for gold.

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