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El Cuartelejo, Scott County

Located within Lake Scott State Park of western Kansas are the remains of a small seven-room pueblo and an extensive Plains Apache village. Archeologists believe that this is the location of the village of El Cuartelejo referred to in 17th century Spanish reports. El Cuartelejo was the name given to a Plains Apache village in the High Plains where Taos Indians fled in 1664 to escape Spanish rule.

A Spanish expedition led by Lieutenant Juan de Archuleta later returned the Taos to their pueblo on the Rio Grande. In 1696 another Pueblo group, the Picuris, fled from the Spanish and resettled El Cuartelejo. They were later rounded up and brought back by General Ulibarri, the sergeant major of the kingdom. During the years that followed came reports of Frenchmen attempting to trade with the Cuartelejo Apaches. The ill-fated Villazur expedition stopped at El Cuartelejo on its way north to investigate the extent of French influence. Near the forks of the Platte River, the Pawnees killed most of the party, reportedly under French direction.

By the 1730s raids by Comanche, Ute, and Pawnee had decimated the Cuartelejo Apache. The survivors moved south to join the Jicarilla Apache at Pecos.

The Lake Scott site was developed in 1971 as an interpretive exhibit by Kansas Historical Society archeologists. The outline of the ruins was restored and markers placed for park visitors to see. The site was listed designated a National Historic Landmark by the National Park Service in 1964.

El Cuartelejo National Register Nomination

Entry: El Cuartelejo, Scott County

Author: Kansas Historical Society

Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.

Date Created: December 2004

Date Modified: February 2013

The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.