laguna

The Spanish equivalent of lagoon, that is, an enclosed bay, inlet, or other narrow or shallow body of water, the word laguna commonly appears as a part of place-names in the Spanish-speaking Americas. For example, Laguna Mar Chiquita and Laguna de Términos in Mexico. Not restricted to marine environments, in Spanish the term also refers to a large diffusion of stagnant water, or to country in which marshy ground and wetlands abound, such as La Laguna Flamingos system in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas. A laguna may also be a shallow pond or small lake in a bolson where waters ephemerally gather in basins. One of the best-known occurrences of the term is Laguna Pueblo, located in west-central New Mexico near the paths of the Santa Fe Railroad and Interstate 40, and so named for a former small lake along the Rio San Jose, which, by way of the Rio Puerco, is a tributary of the Rio Grande. In Wah-to-yah and the Taos Trail, Lewis H. Garrard writes of a discovery in the Rio Rayado vicinity of northeastern New Mexico: “On the summit, a level bare spot and a brackish body of water—El [sic] Laguna—presented itself—its margin grown with slime-covered sedge.”

John Keeble