Corrales, the Spanish word for corrals, was home to the Tiguex Indians for centuries before Spanish explorers laid claim to the region around 1540.
Two pueblo ruins, unexcavated, are known to exist in the village, and many pithouses and artifacts have been discovered in villagers’ backyards.
European farmers from Italy and France began to settle in the Corrales valley in the 1860s (some said after 1879).
The more fertile and irrigable land in the river bottom was used for raising chile, corn, beans, fruits and vegetables, while the sand hills were used in common for the pasturing of sheep, cattle and horses.
Little is recorded of Corrales during the first 150 years of Spanish occupation since it was not on the major trade routes along the river from Santa Fe; even as late as 1870 the census records only 141 households with 687 residents, nearly all of whom were farmers, ranchers or laborers.
These residents of the valley were the first agriculturalists, eating corn, beans and squash supplemented with wild game.
The pueblo occupation had ended and their pueblos abandoned by the late 1600s when the Spanish settled permanently in New Mexico.
The old Corrales acequia, or irrigation ditch, was dug in the early 18th century, and water was brought into the ditch directly from the Rio Grande at a diversion point at the north end of the valley.