Hispanic settlers from the Taos Valley established several small villages along the Rio Culebra in the San Luis Valley and officially took possession of this portion of the Sangre de Cristo Land Grant on April 9, 1851. Settlers built a church in the central village of La Plaza Medio and dedicated it on the Feast of Saint Louis, June 21, 1851. The village was renamed San Luis de la Culebra in honor of its patron saint. San Luis remained part of the Territory of New Mexico until 1861 when the Territory of Colorado was established. Today, San Luis is the oldest town in the State of Colorado.
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