History

Tortugas is an unincorporated village surrounded by the city of Las Cruces, New Mexico between Interstate 10 (I-10) and Main Street. The culture and traditions of Tortugas are an amalgamation of the Hispanic and Indians customs. Although Tortugas is not an Indian Pueblo, a number of its residents are descendants of the Mission Indians of the El Paso Valley. Many others, though not of Mission Indian descent, carry on the Indian traditions brought to the Mesilla Valley in the late 1800s.

Present day Tortugas is made up from two historically distinct villages: the village of San Juan (the older village) and the Village of Guadalupe.

The village of San Juan was first mentioned on maps of the area in 1854. It was located just north of the Stevenson smelter and about four miles north of Fort Fillmore, which was established in 1851. Between 1650 and 1851, there is no reference to the village of San Juan in journals from early settlers who traveled through the region.

The land for the village of Guadalupe (adjacent to and south of the village of San Juan) was obtained by petition to the Justice of the Peace in 1888. The Pueblo Indians caused a new town site to be laid out where they would proceeds to build thirty houses and a church. On December 10, 1908, the Board of the Dona Ana Bend Colony deeded forty acres of land for the village of Guadalupe to the Commissions of the Town of Guadalupe.