The Pueblo Revolt 1680 Summary With Facts and Information

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The Spanish conquered the Pueblos in the 17th century. The Indians were forced into slavery. Their way of life was destroyed. After about 80 years, the Indians rebelled driving the Spanish south. This was known as the Pueblo Revolt. The pueblo revolt of 1680 is an example of how the Pueblos were treated by the Spaniards.

 The Franciscan Friars lived amongst the Indians. They brought the Indians under their wing, teaching them and demanding obedience. This was the way the Spanish spread their religion and kept control. Ever present the friars supervised the Indians conduct, chastising them when the friars felt it was necessary.  The Spanish had been established in the area for about 100 years at the time of the revolt so the Spanish culture had mingled with the Indians. The old ways of the Indians were almost completely gone. The revolt was the last gasp of a dying civilization.

The years prior to the Pueblo Revolt was marked by draught. Famine, disease and death were widespread among the Indian population. The Indian population had decreased drastically. the Apaches and Navahos added to the misery of the Pueblos by attacking them and stealing what food they could. The Spanish required the Indians to give tribute. Tribute was a portion of the harvest which in this case was corn. For centuries the Pueblos had traded with the Apaches and Navahos. Now there was little food left after giving tribute for trade. Therefore, the Apaches and Navahos raided the Pueblos to take what they needed. The Medicine Men told their tribesmen that the reason for their troubles was that the Indians' gods were angry for being forgotten. If the tribesmen offered gifts and respect for the ancient gods then the land would produce food and all would be happy. Problem was the Spanish Friars had destroyed all the Indian religious icons. The Indians openly defied the Spanish and began publicly performing the old dances, making offerings to the gods, begging their gods to return and practicing witchcraft. When the Indians finally revolted, they destroyed and defiled the Christian relics. This was a statement reflecting the Indians anger for the way the Spanish and Franciscan Friars treated the Indians. The Franciscans believed that they were civilizing the Indians. One Franciscan commented that they had taught the Indians to cultivate the soil, wear clothes and live in house. The Franciscans had overlooked an important element; the Indians had survived for centuries prior to the arrival of the Spanish.

The Franciscans truly believed they were bringing salvation to the Indians.  Whether or not the Indians wanted salvation was not an issue. Governor Trevino who being Catholic believed the same. Dealing with the widespread Indian sedition, he launched a campaign against the idolatry. He hung those Indians who were known to practice witchcraft. The Governor believed these Indians to be beyond hope of salvation and by doing so, it would help save the rest of the Indians from damnation. These Indian's execution would set an example. When the Indians demanded the release of their medicine men, they were forced to back down. The medicine men were released.  Pope, who was the leader of the revolt, was among the medicine men released. He went north to plan the revolt.

The Indians were ripe for revolt. They were exploited and poor. They suffered at the hands of the Spanish. Because of the draught, they were hungry. The Indians were between cultures. The Spanish culture had not fully integrated into the Indian ways. Many still remembered the old ways. It was clear that the old ways were disintegrating. Pope promised them better times by returning the Indians to the old ways. Misery and hunger would end. Crops would be plentiful again. They could take more than one wife. they could plant the Indian plant instead of the Spanish.

Pope realized that to defeat the Spanish, the Indians would have to take the horse from the Spanish. The horse had been the principal instrument in the conquest of the Indians. Before the Spanish arrived there was no horse in the Americas.

When Santa Fe, was taken under siege by the Indians. Otermin, the leader of the Spanish colonists refused to surrender. He sent word to the Indians that if they would stop the rebellion, all would be forgiven.

The Indians killed the Franciscan Friars. The Friars remained true to their faith in that they went to their deaths believing their Father's love for humanity as Christ did. The Franciscans lived their religion. It must also be noted that those Indians who did the most harm were those who were those who were the most favored by the Franciscan Friars.

The Indians quickly found out that Pope could not deliver his promise. The draught and famine still persisted. When the Spanish came back, the Indians did not resist.



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