“ Every Pueblo from Acoma to Pecos, from Taos to Isleta rose to destroy the Spanish presence north of El Paso. Of the 2,500 colonists approximately 380 were killed, including 21 of the 33 resident friars. ” Stated by Henry Warner Bowden, in his article entitled Spanish Missions, Cultural Conflict and the Pueblo Revolt of 1680, a reader is able to grasp an in depth understanding of the various factors that led to the Pueblo Revolt of 1680. Apart from Bowden’s research, I have obtained other information from different authors and have been able to come up with a general assumption as to why this event occurred in the history of our country.
Based upon the knowledge of various authors, I have come up with the following statement. The Pueblo Revolt of 1680 was brought about by the religious oppression of Pueblo Indians by Franciscan friars. Having briefly introduced the reasoning behind the Pueblo Revolt of 1680, I believe it is first important to provide a background on the lifestyle of the Pueblo people before Spanish conquest occurred. In order to gain a more concise perspective of this historical event, one must first understand who the Pueblo people were and what their society consisted of.
During the year 1540 A. D. , the Pueblo Indians were densely populated in large plaza-orientated villages throughout the state of New Mexico. The majority of these villages often surrounded valley bottoms because these areas proved to be more fertile for sustaining life. During this point in time, the Pueblo people often gathered in underground areas known as kivas, and the total Pueblo population consisted of 30 to 40 thousand people. In these underground areas, the Pueblo Indians performed various ceremonial activities, most of which, were focused on their religious practices.
The Pueblo Indians valued their religious beliefs very highly and because of this, they spent a lot of time performing various ceremonial rituals. In regards to the time before Spanish conquest, (the era prior to 1540 A. D. ) the Pueblo Indians had a very communal society in which everyone shared common religious practices, material culture, and social organization. However, differences did exist in the fact that various clusters of Pueblo Indians, throughout New Mexico, communicated in very separate ways.
They were a very affluent people in which “they spoke seven different languages, some of which had several dialects. ” Prior to Spanish conquest, one may assume that the Pueblo society was quite harmonious in a sense that everyone communicated together and shared common beliefs. In contrast to the period of time in which Spain had no affiliation with the Pueblo Indians, I’d now like to address the topic of Spanish influence in New Mexico. Spain’s influence on New Mexico began in 1540. “The period of New Mexican history which may be called the era of discovery and exploration lasted from 1540 to 1596. As stated by Charles Wilson Hackett, the period from 1540-1596 was when the most notable expeditions into New Mexico took place. In specific, a Spanish conquistador, by the name of Francisco Vasquez de Coronado, led the first and most notorious expedition into New Mexico. This expedition took place over the time period of 1540-42. However, one could conclude that this expedition was merely a trial run. The Spaniards were interested in utilizing the New Mexico land to make money, but at that time they could not find a way to produce a profit.
Therefore, they did not take over New Mexico at that point in time. The ending product of this expedition resulted in the fact that “New Mexico was practically forgotten for nearly forty years. ” Or in other words, the Spanish simply gave up trying to conquer New Mexico and the Pueblo Indians for the time being. Despite the previous lack of interest in New Mexico in 1540, the Spaniards eventually returned to its land. At this point in time they conquered all of New Mexico and claimed power over the villages that the Pueblo people had occupied.
This action took place in 1598, when Mexican explorer Don Jaun de Onate, led an expedition into the Rio Grande Valley. In addition to Onate, a total of 400 persons, including 10 Franciscan friars participated in this journey into the Pueblo’s land. During the year 1598, the upper Rio Grande Valley was turned into an outpost for Spanish colonists. The Spaniards utilized the New Mexican landscape for mining and missionary exploits. However, the first ten years of occupancy resulted in “unsteady beginnings for both churchman and civilians. As Henry Warner Bowden described this event, he mentions how tensions existed for the first ten years between the Franciscan friars and Pueblo Indians, but in 1609, tensions settled down within the new Spanish colony. At this point in time, the Pueblo Indians were said to have welcomed the Spanish colonists ideals and expressed great interest in their religious practices. Another important goal of the Spaniards and friars was to try and convert as many Pueblos as they could into the worship of Christianity. As Bowden attempts to describe this action, he stated “ an average of less than thirty Franciscans labored among olonists and natives during the seventeenth century and ministered to a baptized population of approximately 20,000 Pueblos. ” Or in other words, the friars had succeeded in converting approximately 20,000 Pueblo Indians into following the principles of Christianity. Although, it’s important to note that a remaining ten to twenty thousand Pueblo Indians were yet to be conformed to Christianity. In 1609, one could assume that all was well between the Pueblo Indians, Spaniards, and Franciscan friars. However, this peace was short lasting.
As the years progressed, tensions again began to build between the Pueblos and the colonists. Originally, the Pueblo Indians were very accepting and willing to learn the new religious practices that the colonists had taught them, but when colonists began to impose restrictions on the Pueblos ceremonial beliefs and rituals, things began to escalate. Specifically, the friars began to impose strict regulations on the native Pueblo practices. In particular, they banned the presence of all religious ceremonies and seized the ceremonial chambers (kivas) that the Pueblos had long cherished.
The friars wanted the Pueblos to focus only on the concepts of Christianity. Therefore, they wanted to eradicate the Pueblos from practicing any former religious beliefs. As a result of this action, the Pueblo Indians lashed out. Leading to what some refer to as “ One of the most dramatic and well-known events in the history of the greater Southwest. ” This dramatic event I am speaking of is known as the Pueblo Revolt of 1680. As I stated earlier in this paper, every Pueblo throughout all of New Mexico rose to destroy the Spanish and Franciscan friars’ presence in their home state.
The aftermath of this revolt resulted in the death of 380 colonists. Along with killing some of the colonists, the Pueblo also destroyed a large portion of the colonist’s property. In particular, they burned down all of the churches that the Franciscan friars had built. After burning down the churches, the Pueblo Indians then proceeded in cleansing themselves from Christianity by bathing in nearby rivers. The Pueblo Indians had no more interest in the principles of Christianity and they believed that if they bathed themselves, they would rid themselves of Christianity and the new beliefs that the friars had taught them.
Having provided some insight into the event known as the Pueblo Revolt of 1680, I find it now necessary to further clarify why this event occurred in our nations history. What caused the hostility on behalf of the Pueblo Indians that eventually led to this monumental event? Well, the answer is simple. The Pueblo Indians lashed out against the friars because they were not about to completely abandon their former religious beliefs and live by the strict rules of the friars. Religious customs were very important in Indian cultures.
When the Pueblo Indians were forced to abandon their native customs and religious beliefs, they went into a rage. This rage eventually led to a notorious event that will always be known in our countries history as the Pueblo Revolt of 1680. ——————————————– [ 1 ]. Henry Warner Bowden, “Spanish Missions, Cultural Conflict and the Pueblo Revolt of 1680,” Church History, no. 2 (Jun 1975): 221. [ 2 ]. Mathew Liebmann, T. J. Ferguson, and Robert. W Preucel, “ Pueblo Settlement, Architecture, and Social Change in the Pueblo Revolt Era, A.
D. 1680 to 1696,” Journal of Field Archaeology, no. 1 (Spring 2005): 49. [ 3 ]. Charles Wilson Hackett, “The Revolt of the Pueblo Indians of New Mexico in 1680,” The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, no. 2 (Oct 1911): 95. [ 4 ]. Charles Wilson Hackett, 96. [ 5 ]. Henry Warner Bowden, 219. [ 6 ]. Henry Warner Bowden, 220. [ 7 ]. Charles Cutter, review of The Pueblo Revolt of 1680: Conquest and Resistance in Seventeenth-Century New Mexico, by Andrew L. Knaut. The Journal of American History, no. 4 (Mar 1996): 1551.