During the 16th century, El Paso became an important stop for Spanish explorers on their way to New Mexico to find riches and convert the native population to Christianity. After the founding of Santa Fe in 1609, El Paso became a critical point in the long north-south route of communication and trade between the Mexican interior and the missions and Spanish settlements of New Mexico. Painting by Jose Cisneros, courtesy of the University of Texas at El Paso Library Collection.
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