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Teypana (alternate spelling “Teypama”) was the first pueblo to be called Socorro. This Piro pueblo was located close to present-day Socorro, New Mexico. A reference from 1598 suggests Teypana was on the west bank of the Rio Grande, below the pueblo of Pilabó (the site of modern Socorro). Found in a partly flawed list of Piro pueblos, the reference is somewhat problematic. However, in 2013 a French archaeologist working in conjunction with the University of New Mexico determined through a series of digs on the grounds of San Miguel Mission that the remains of Teypana most probably lay beneath the church. In 1598, Juan de Oñate and an advance party of his colonists were given food and water by the people of Teypana. In response, they named the settlement “Socorro”, which means “help” or “aid” in Spanish. By 1626, the name had become associated with the Piro pueblo of Pilabó, site of the first permanent mission in Piro territory.[1]

It has been claimed that “Teypana” means “village flower” in the Piro language.[2] As the Piro language survives only in fragments, however, the meaning of the name "Teypana", like all 17th-century Piro place names, remains unknown.

Michael Bletzer has done a lot of excavation on a site in the vicinity of Luis Lopez which he believes to be the Teypana village.


  1. ^ Marshal, Michael P. & Walt, Henry J., Rio Abajo: Prehistory and History of a Rio Grande Province (Santa Fe: New Mexico Historical Preservation Division, 1984), p 250.
  2. ^ Julyan, Robert, The Place Names of New Mexico: Revised Ed., (Albuquerque, University of New Mexico Press, 1998) p. 351.