The Palace of the Governors is located on Palace Avenue in Santa Fe, New Mexico, between Lincoln Avenue and Washington Avenue.
It is an adobe structure built in 1610 that reflects both Native and Spanish methods of construction and today stands as the oldest continuously occupied public building in the United States.
Placed within the Santa Fe Historic District, the palace served as the seat of government for the state of New Mexico for centuries.
In 1610, the governor of the Spanish territory Pedro de Peralta began construction on the palace, although some historians have suggested that construction began in 1618.
The palace originally served as the seat of government of the Spanish colony of New Mexico, which at one time included the states of Arizona, Colorado, Utah, Texas, California, Nevada and New Mexico.
During the Pueblo Revolt in 1680-1693, the native Pueblo Indians occupied the Palace and in 1862 during the Civil War it was occupied by the Confederacy.
In the 1870s, in this building, Lew Wallace finished his book Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ while serving as territorial governor.
He wrote the Crucifixion scenes of the novel in the spring of 1879 after returning from Lincoln Country where he had a tense meeting with Billy the Kid.
In 1886, the palace became New Mexico’s first territorial capital when New Mexico was incorporated as a United States territory.
Between 1909 and 2009 it served as the site of the state history museum. The New Mexico History Museum was opened near to the Palace, which today stands as one of the eight museums overseen by the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs.
Inside the palace, there are collections of Spanish and Native artifacts and photos which show the history of New Mexico from the colonial period through to the present.
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Outside the palace, Native American artists sell their handmade art and jewelry. In 1960, the palace was declared a National Historic Landmark and since then it has been open for visitors daily.