The Pueblo Revolt of 1680

Essay by fewiiiUniversity, Bachelor's April 2004

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The Spanish first set out to settle New Mexico around 1600. Although there were a few revolts in the first half of the 17th century, Van Hastings Garner believes that the period was one of relative harmony amongst Indians, Spanish officials, and the Spanish religious presence. But in 1680, a multi-tribal revolt destroyed many Spanish towns and drove the Spanish out of the Pueblo land. The reasons for this highly organized revolt are many and complicated, but among the most important are the enslavement and exploitation of the Indians for decades, the Indians loss of interest in Spanish novelties, and the Spanish military's ineffectiveness against Apache raids.

From the time the Spaniards set foot in Mexico, they had been exploiting the Indians using the Requerimiento. Their treatment of the Pueblos was no different. The conquistadors, Franciscans, and governors alike used the Indians as slaves or at least took tribute from them.

The conquistadors used Indians to farm the land and charged them tribute. Their treatment of the Indians was so brutal that the king appointed political governors to take over control. (Lecture, 9/15). But according to David Weber, they seemed to prove no kinder to the Indians. "In that remote frontier province, far from the eyes of watchful officials, even appointed governors commonly abused their powers over Indians."(Weber, 5) the brutality seemed to get much worse in the 1660s and 1670s, the years of drought and famine. It seemed apparent to the Indians that the Christian God was not providing for their basic needs (mainly rain), so they resorted back to the old gods. The Friars were not too pleased and "responded as any father would have with disobedient children- the punishment began. None of the backsliders was spared the whip....for when the beating was done, the friar drenched...