Established on April 5, 1851, Colorado’s oldest town, San Luis de la Culebra, remains remarkably true to its heritage. Nestled below the Sangre de Cristo Land Grant in the San Luis Valley, San Luis and its descendants sustain a way of life and preserve a culture in this high, isolated desert region. Eighteen men migrated north from New Mexico into the northernmost area of Spanish exploration in the mid-1800s to settle San Luis along the Culebra River. These pioneering families brought their use of communal land and water and a language dating back to 16th-century Castilian Spain. They carried on a deep faith from the Old World into the New. The traditions of San Luis and the surrounding villages—Chama, San Pablo, San Pedro, San Francisco, and San Acacio—continue today among the young and old who remain the keepers of culture.