Prior to Spanish conquest, the Mora area was Indian country. Although not an area of heavy Indian settlement by such tribes as the Pueblo Indians, the Mora valley was much used by nomadic tribes: the Utes, Navajos and Apache.
The Mora Valley then became a travel-way for various Spanish explorers and others. It was not settled until the early part of the 19th century. The history of the settlement of Mora dates to 1817 when a group of settlers petitioned for a priest.
The next significant event was the Mexican Land Grant through which on September 28, 1835 Governor Albino Pérez, the governor of the New Mexico Territory, gave land title for over 800,000 acres (3,200 km²) to some 25 families.
"Mora" is actually today three plazas and three villages; Mora, Cleveland (originally San Antonio), and Chacon. Holman (originally Agua Negra) lies between Chacon and Cleveland.
Historical and genealogical records for Mora are difficult to obtain for a number of reasons. One is that US Army forces entered the area in 1848 and destroyed Mora while quashing Native American rebellion; most of the archives were lost. "Not until artillery was brought up (by the United States Army) and Mora practically destroyed did the insurgents yield." A US Government Proclamation at the time (February 15, 1847) wrote that the US Army " proceeded with a body of men and one canon to Moro and razed the towns (Upper and Lower Moro) to the ground."
In April 2013, Mora County became the first county in the United States to ban oil and gas drilling on both public and private lands.