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The first recorded European visitor to the area was Spanish conquistador Francisco Vásquez de Coronado, who passed through in 1540. The settlement of Santa Fe was established in 1610, and it is likely that Roswell had already been settled by Native Americans for many years before that. In 1811, Juan María Ponce de León built a ranch house on the west side of the Rio Grande near San Pedro Springs (now called Pecan Springs). During this time it served as an important stop-over on El Camino Real between Mexico City and San Antonio; today's U.S.-85 roughly follows this route north out of town towards Las Cruces and then veers east toward Albuquerque after passing through downtown Roswell along Main Street (old Route 66).