Pueblo Revolt of 1680 – Santa Fe, New Mexico

Pueblo Revolt of 1680

The genesis of revolt
To understand the origins of the anti-colonial revolt, the earlier history of the Pueblo people must be examined. In the decades preceding the revolt, the Spanish and the Pueblo Indians enjoyed a largely positive relationship. However, by 1680 New Mexico had undergone a period of famine and disease. Resentment against the Spanish also grew when they failed to check the inroads of wandering bands of Athabaskan raiders. To add insult to injury, the Spanish authorities declared unofficial war on the native Pueblo religion, arresting religious leaders and destroying the sacred kivas where they held their ceremonies.

The revolt
Popé was one of the Pueblo religious leaders arrested by Spanish authorities. After his release, he resolved to unite the different Pueblo groups and form a rebellion against the Spanish. Popé asserted that the god Poheyemu had told him that the Spanish should be ejected from Pueblo lands. The governor of New Spain heard rumors of rebellion, but dismissed them as ridiculous. On August 10, 1680 the armed Pueblo warriors attacked Spanish settlers. Assisted by a few Apache fighters, they spread death and mayhem for three weeks. When the revolt was over, around 400 settlers had been killed. About 20 of these were Catholic priests. The Spanish did not regain control over the area until 1692.