The Pueblo Revolt of 1680, also known as Popé's Rebellion or Popay's Rebellion, was an uprising of most of the indigenous Pueblo people against the Spanish empire, Spanish colonizers in the province of Santa Fe de Nuevo México, larger than present-day New Mexico. The Pueblo Revolt killed 400 Spaniards and drove the remaining 2,000 settlers out of the province. The Spaniards reconquered New Mexico twelve years later.


For more than 100 years beginning in 1540, the Pueblo people of present-day New Mexico were subjected to successive waves of soldiers, missionaries, and settlers. These encounters, referred to as ''entradas'' (incursions), were characterized by violent confrontations between Spanish colonists and Pueblo peoples. The Tiguex War, fought in the winter of 1540–41 by the expedition of Francisco Vásquez de Coronado against the twelve or thirteen pueblos of Tiwa Puebloans, Tiwa Native Americans, was particularly destructive to Pueblo and Spanish relations. In 1598 Juan de Oñate led 129 soldiers and 10 Franciscan priests, plus a large number of women, children, servants, slaves, and livestock, into the Rio Grande valley of New Mexico. There were at the time approximately 40,000 Pueblo Native Americans inhabiting the region. Oñate put down a revolt at Acoma Pueblo by killing and enslaving hundreds of the Native Americans and sentencing all men 25 or older to have their foot cut off. The Acoma Massacre would instill fear of and anger at the Spanish in the region for years to come, though Franciscan missionaries were assigned to several of the Pueblo towns to Christianization, Christianize the natives. Spanish colonial policies in the 1500s regarding the humane treatment of native citizens were often ignored on the northern frontier. With the establishment of the first permanent colonial settlement in 1598, the Pueblos were forced to provide tribute to the colonists in the form of labor, ground corn, and textiles. Encomiendas were soon established by colonists along the Rio Grande, restricting Pueblo access to fertile farmlands and water supplies and placing a heavy burden upon Pueblo labor. Especially egregious to the Pueblo was the assault on their traditional religion. Franciscan priests established Theocracy, theocracies in many of the Pueblo villages. In 1608, when it looked as though Spain might abandon the province, the Franciscans baptized seven thousand Pueblos to try to convince the Crown otherwise. Although the Franciscans initially tolerated manifestations of the old religion as long as the Puebloans attended mass and maintained a public veneer of Catholicism, Fray Alonso de Posada (in New Mexico 1656–1665) outlawed Kachina dances by the Pueblo people and ordered the missionaries to seize and burn their masks, prayer sticks, and effigies. The Franciscan missionaries also forbade the use of entheogenic substances in the traditional religious ceremonies of the Pueblo. Several Spanish officials, such as Nicolas de Aguilar, who attempted to curb the power of the Franciscans were charged with heresy and tried before the Inquisition. In the 1670s drought swept the region, causing a famine among the Pueblo and increased raids by the Apache, which Spanish and Pueblo soldiers were unable to prevent. Fray Alonso de Benavides wrote multiple letters to the King, describing the conditions, noting "the Spanish inhabitants and Indians alike to eat hides and straps of carts". The unrest among the Pueblos came to a head in 1675. Governor Juan Francisco Treviño ordered the arrest of forty-seven Pueblo Medicine man, medicine men and accused them of practicing "Magic (paranormal), sorcery".Sando, Joe S., Pueblo Nations: Eight Centuries of Pueblo Indian History, Clear Light Publishers, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 1992 p. 63 Four medicine men were sentenced to death by hanging; three of those sentences were carried out, while the fourth prisoner committed suicide. The remaining men were publicly whipped and sentenced to prison. When this news reached the Pueblo leaders, they moved in force to Santa Fe, New Mexico, Santa Fe, where the prisoners were held. Because a large number of Spanish soldiers were away fighting the Apache, Governor Treviño was forced to accede to the Pueblo demand for the release of the prisoners. Among those released was a Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo, San Juan ("Ohkay Owingeh" in the Tewa Language) native named "Popé".


Following his release, Popé, along with a number of other Pueblo leaders (see list below), planned and orchestrated the Pueblo Revolt. Popé took up residence in Taos Pueblo far from the capital of Santa Fe and spent the next five years seeking support for a revolt among the 46 Pueblo towns. He gained the support of the Northern Tiwa Puebloans, Tiwa, Tewa, Jemez language, Towa, Potou–Tano languages, Tano, and Keresan languages, Keres-speaking Pueblos of the Rio Grande Valley. The Pecos National Historical Park, Pecos Pueblo, 50 miles east of the Rio Grande pledged its participation in the revolt as did the Zuni people, Zuni and Hopi, 120 and 200 miles respectively west of the Rio Grande. The Pueblos not joining the revolt were the four southern Tiwa (Tiguex) towns near Santa Fe and the Piro Pueblos south of the principal Pueblo population centers near the present day city of Socorro, New Mexico, Socorro. The southern Tiwa and the Piro were more thoroughly integrated into Spanish culture than the other groups.Riley, p. 267 The Spanish population of about 2,400, including mixed-blood mestizos, and native servants and retainers, was scattered thinly throughout the region. Santa Fe was the only place that approximated being a town. The Spanish could only muster 170 men with arms. The Pueblos joining the revolt probably had 2,000 or more adult men capable of using native weapons such as the bow and arrow. It is possible that some Apache and Navajo participated in the revolt. The Pueblo revolt was typical of Millenarianism in colonial societies, millenarian movements in colonial societies. Popé promised that, once the Spanish were killed or expelled, the ancient Pueblo gods would reward them with health and prosperity. Popé's plan was that the inhabitants of each Pueblo would rise up and kill the Spanish in their area and then all would advance on Santa Fe to kill or expel all the remaining Spanish. The date set for the uprising was August 11, 1680. Popé dispatched runners to all the Pueblos carrying knotted cords. Each morning the Pueblo leadership was to untie one knot from the cord, and when the last knot was untied, that would be the signal for them to rise against the Spaniards in unison. On August 9, however, the Spaniards were warned of the impending revolt by southern Tiwa leaders and they captured two Tesuque Pueblo youths entrusted with carrying the message to the pueblos. They were tortured to make them reveal the significance of the knotted cord. Popé then ordered the revolt to begin a day early. The Hopi pueblos located on the remote Hopi Mesas of Arizona did not receive the advanced notice for the beginning of the revolt and followed the schedule for the revolt. On August 10, the Puebloans rose up, stole the Spaniards' horses to prevent them from fleeing, sealed off roads leading to Santa Fe, and pillaged Spanish settlements. A total of 400 people were killed, including men, women, children, and 21 of the 33 Franciscan missionaries in New Mexico. In the rebellion at ''Tusayan'' (Hopi) churches at Awatovi, Shungopavi, and Oraibi were destroyed and the attending priests were killed. Survivors fled to Santa Fe, New Mexico, Santa Fe and Isleta Pueblo, New Mexico, Isleta Pueblo, 10 miles south of Albuquerque, New Mexico, Albuquerque and one of the Pueblos that did not participate in the rebellion. By August 13, all the Spanish settlements in New Mexico had been destroyed and Santa Fe was besieged. The Puebloans surrounded the city and cut off its water supply. In desperation, on August 21, New Mexico Governor Antonio de Otermín, barricaded in the Palace of the Governors, sallied outside the palace with all of his available men and forced the Puebloans to retreat with heavy losses. He then led the Spaniards out of the city and retreated southward along the Rio Grande, headed for El Paso del Norte. The Puebloans shadowed the Spaniards but did not attack. The Spaniards who had taken refuge in Isleta had also retreated southward on August 15, and on September 6 the two groups of survivors, numbering 1,946, met at Socorro. About 500 of the survivors were Native American slaves. They were escorted to El Paso by a Spanish supply train. The Puebloans did not block their passage out of New Mexico.Flint, Richard and Shirley Cushing.
Antonio de Otermin and the Pueblo Revolt of 1680
" New Mexico Office of the State Historian, accessed 29 Oct 2013.

Popé's land

The retreat of the Spaniards left New Mexico in the power of the Puebloans. Popé was a mysterious figure in the history of the southwest as there are many tales among the Puebloans of what happened to him after the revolt. Later testimony to the Spanish by the Pueblo people was probably colored by anti-Popé sentiments and a desire to tell the Spanish what they wanted to hear. Apparently, Popé and his two lieutenants, Alonso Catiti from Santo Domingo and Luis Tupatu from Picuris, traveled from town to town ordering a return "to the state of their antiquity." All crosses, churches, and Christian images were to be destroyed. The people were ordered to cleanse themselves in ritual baths, to use their Puebloan names, and to destroy all vestiges of the Roman Catholic religion and Spanish culture, including Spanish livestock and fruit trees. Popé, it was said, forbade the planting of wheat and barley and commanded those natives who had been married according to the rites of the Catholic Church to dismiss their wives and to take others after the old native tradition. The Puebloans had no tradition of political unity. Popé was a man of trust and strict policy. Therefore, each pueblo was self-governing, and some, or all, apparently resisted Popé's demands for a return to a pre-Spanish existence. The paradise Popé had promised when the Spanish were expelled did not materialize. A drought continued, destroying Puebloan crops, and the raids by Apache and Navajo increased. Initially, however, the Puebloans were united in their objective of preventing a return of the Spanish. Popé was deposed as the leader of the Puebloans about a year after the revolt and disappears from history. He is believed to have died shortly before the Spanish reconquest in 1692.

Spanish attempt to return

In November 1681, Antonio de Otermin attempted to return to New Mexico. He assembled a force of 146 Spanish and an equal number of native soldiers in El Paso and marched north along the Rio Grande. He first encountered the Piro pueblos, which had been abandoned and their churches destroyed. At Isleta pueblo he fought a brief battle with the inhabitants and then accepted their surrender. Staying in Isleta, he dispatched a company of soldiers and natives to establish Spanish authority. The Puebloans feigned surrender while gathering a large force to oppose Otermin. With the threat of a Puebloan attack growing, on January 1, 1682 Otermin decided to return to El Paso, burning pueblos and taking the people of Isleta with him. The first Spanish attempt to regain control of New Mexico had failed. Some of the Isleta later returned to New Mexico, but others remained in El Paso, living in the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo. The Piro also moved to El Paso to live among the Spaniards, eventually forming part of the Piro, Manso, and Tiwa tribe. The Spanish were never able to re-convince some Puebloans to join Santa Fe de Nuevo México, and the Spanish often returned seeking peace instead of reconquest. For example, the Hopi remained free of any Spanish attempt at reconquest; though they did, at several non-violent attempts, try for unsuccessful peace treaties and unsuccessful trade agreements. For some Puebloans, the Revolt was a success in its objective to drive away Spanish influence.


The Spanish return to New Mexico was prompted by their fears of French advances into the Mississippi valley and their desire to create a defensive frontier against the increasingly aggressive nomadic tribes on their northern borders.Flint, Richard and Shirley Cushing,
de Vargas, Diego
." ''New Mexico Office of the State Historian'', accessed 29 Jul 2012
Gutierrez, p. 146 In August 1692, Diego de Vargas marched to Santa Fe unopposed along with a converted Zia war captain, Bartolomé de Ojeda. De Vargas, with only sixty soldiers, one hundred Indian auxiliaries or native soldiers, seven cannons (which he used as leverage against the Pueblo inside Santa Fe), and one Franciscan priest, arrived at Santa Fe on September 13. He promised the 1,000 Pueblo people assembled there clemency and protection if they would swear allegiance to the Charles II of Spain, King of Spain and return to the Christian faith. After a while the Pueblo rejected the Spaniards. After much persuading, the Spanish finally made the Pueblo agree to peace. On September 14, 1692,Kessell, John L., 1979. ''Kiva, Cross & Crown: The Pecos Indians and New Mexico, 1540–1840''. National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior: Washington, DC. de Vargas proclaimed a formal act of repossession. It was the thirteenth town he had reconquered for God and King in this manner, he wrote jubilantly to Gaspar de la Cerda, 8th Count of Galve, the Conde de Galve, viceroyalty of New Spain, viceroy of New Spain. During the next month de Vargas visited other Pueblos and accepted their acquiescence to Spanish rule. Though the 1692 agreement to peace was bloodless, in the years that followed de Vargas maintained increasingly severe control over the increasingly defiant Pueblo. De Vargas returned to Mexico and gathered together about 800 people, including 100 soldiers, and returned to Santa Fe on December 16, 1693. Robert W. Preucel, ''Archaeologies of the Pueblo Revolt: Identity, Meaning, and Renewal in the Pueblo World'' (University of New Mexico Press, 2007) p. 207 This time, however, 70 Pueblo warriors and 400 family members within the town opposed his entry. De Vargas and his forces staged a quick and bloody recapture that concluded with the surrender and execution of the 70 Pueblo warriors on December 30, and their surviving families (about 400 women and children) were sentenced to ten years' servitude and distributed to the Spanish colonists as slaves. In 1696 the residents of fourteen pueblos attempted a second organized revolt, launched with the murders of five missionaries and thirty-four settlers and using weapons the Spanish themselves had traded to the natives over the years; de Vargas's retribution was unmerciful, thorough and prolonged.Kessell, John L., Rick Hendricks, and Meredith D. Dodge (eds.), 1995. ''To the Royal Crown Restored (The Journals of Don Diego De Vargas, New Mexico, 1692–94).'' University of New Mexico Press: Albuquerque. By the end of the century the last resisting Pueblo town had surrendered and the Spanish reconquest was essentially complete. Many of the Pueblos, however, fled New Mexico to join the Apache or Navajo or to attempt to re-settle on the Great Plains. One of their settlements has been found in Kansas at El Cuartelejo. While the independence of many pueblos from the Spaniards was short-lived, the Pueblo Revolt gained the Pueblo people a measure of freedom from future Spanish efforts to eradicate their culture and religion following the reconquest. Moreover, the Spanish issued substantial land grants to each Pueblo and appointed a public defender to protect the rights of the Native Americans and argue their legal cases in the Spanish courts. The Franciscan priests returning to New Mexico did not again attempt to impose a theocracy on the Pueblo who continued to practice their traditional religion.

In the arts

The 1994 Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Journey's End (Star Trek: The Next Generation), Journey's End" references the Pueblo Revolt, in the context of ancestors of different characters having been involved in the revolt. In 1995, in Albuquerque, La Compañía de Teatro de Albuquerque produced the bilingual play ''Casi Hermanos'', written by Ramon Flores and James Lujan. It depicted events leading up to the Pueblo Revolt, inspired by accounts of two half-brothers who met on opposite sides of the battlefield. A statue of Po'Pay by sculptor Cliff Fragua was added to the National Statuary Hall Collection in the US United States Capitol, Capitol Building in 2005 as one of New Mexico's two statues. In 2005, in Los Angeles, Native Voices at the Autry produced ''Kino and Teresa'', an adaptation of ''Romeo and Juliet'' written by Taos Pueblo playwright James Lujan. Set five years after the Spanish Reconquest of 1692, the play links actual historical figures with their literary counterparts to dramatize how both sides learned to live together and form the culture that is present-day New Mexico. In 2010, students Clara Natonabah, Nolan Eskeets, Ariel Antone, members of the Santa Fe Indian School Spoken Word Team wrote and performed their spoken word piece telling the story of the Pueblo Revolt, "Po'pay" to critical acclaim in New Mexico and the US. The team performed in the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. The track can be found on iTunes.

Pueblo revolt leaders and their home pueblos

* ''Ku-htihth'' (Cochiti Pueblo, Cochiti): Antonio Malacate * ''Galisteo'' (Galisteo Basin#History, Galisteo): Juan El Tano * ''Walatowa'' (Jemez Pueblo, Jemez): Luis Conixu * ''Nambé'' (Nambé Pueblo, Nambé): Diego Xenome * ''Welai'' (Picuris Pueblo, Picuris): Luis Tupatu (Ciervo Blanco) * ''Powhogeh'' (San Ildefonso Pueblo, San Ildefonso): Francisco El Ollito and Nicolas de la Cruz Jonv * ''Ohkay'' (Ohkay Owingeh, San Juan): Po'pay and Tagu * ''San Lazaro'': Antonio Bolsas and Cristobal Yope * ''Khapo'' (Santa Clara Pueblo, Santa Clara): Domingo Naranjo and Cajete * ''Kewa'' (Santo Domingo Pueblo, Santo Domingo): Alonzo Catiti * ''Teotho'' (Taos Pueblo, Taos): El Saca * ''Tehsugeh'' (Tesuque Pueblo, Tesuque): Domingo Romero Sando, Joe S. and Herman Agoyo, editors, ''Po'pay: Leader of the First American Revolution'', Clear Light Publishing, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 2005 p. 110

See also

* List of battles fought in New Mexico * List of conflicts in the United States * Spanish missions in New Mexico * Fiestas de Santa Fe * Zozobra * California mission clash of cultures * Astialakwa



* Espinosa, J. Manuel. ''The Pueblo Indian revolt of 1696 and the Franciscan missions in New Mexico: letters of the missionaries and related documents'', Norman : University of Oklahoma Press, 1988. * Hackett, Charles Wilson
''Revolt of the Pueblo Indians of New Mexico and Otermín's Attempted Reconquest, 1680-1682''
2 vols, Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1942. * Knaut, Andrew L. ''The Pueblo Revolt of 1680'', Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1995. 14. * Liebmann, Matthew. ''Revolt: An Archaeological History of Pueblo Resistance and Revitilization in 17th Century New Mexico'', Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2012. * Ponce, Pedro,

, ''Humanities'', November/December 2002, Volume 23/Number 6. * PB

* * Salpointe, Jean Baptiste, ''Soldiers of the Cross; Notes on the Ecclesiastical History of New-Mexico, Arizona and Colorado'', Salisbury, N.C.: Documentary Publications, 1977 (reprint from 1898). * Simmons, Mark, ''New Mexico: An Interpretive History'', Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1977. * Weber, David J. ed., ''What Caused the Pueblo Revolt of 1680?'' New York: Bedford/St. Martin's Press, 1999. * Preucel, Robert W., 2002. ''Archaeologies of the Pueblo Revolt: Identity, Meaning, and Renewal in the Pueblo World''. University of New Mexico Press: Albuquerque. * Wilcox, Michael V., "The Pueblo Revolt and the Mythology of conquest: an Indigenous archaeology of contact", University of California Press, 2009.

External links

* PBS Documentary about the Pueblo Revolt


"Letter of the governor and captain-general, Don Antonio de Otermin, from New Mexico, in which he gives him a full account of what has happened to him since the day the Indians surrounded him. [September 8, 1680.]" Retrieved Nov. 2, 2009.
Pueblo Rebellion
{{Authority control Conflicts in 1680 Colonial New Mexico Pueblo history Native American history of New Mexico Wars involving the indigenous peoples of North America 1680s in New Spain 17th-century rebellions 1680 in North America 17th century in New Mexico Spanish-American history 16th-century Roman Catholic martyrs Indigenous rebellions against the Spanish Empire