What are the Staked Plains?

Steve Mowery
Logan, Ohio

The Staked Plains are in eastern New Mexico and northwest Texas near Lubbock. When Coronado’s Expedition went searching for the “Seven Cities of Gold” in the 1540s, the natives in New Mexico told them to look “farther east.” The plan was to get them out in the hot, dry, desolate country in hopes they would perish. Coronado named the area Llano Estacado, Spanish for “Palisaded Plains,” sometimes mistranslated as Staked Plains.

Folklore says the Spaniards drove stakes in the ground so they could find their way back out again, hence the name. The area, larger than New England, later became the lair of the Kiowa and Comanches who used it as a sanctuary until their defeat in the 1870s.


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