The Pueblo Revolt

Powerful Essays
After Coronado’s fruitless search of the seven cities of gold, Juan de Oñate in 1598 was awarded a contract for the colonization of New Mexico. The arrival of Juan de Onate and the Spanish entourage brought confusion and chaos into Pueblo society. The competing interest of the Spanish civil authorities and the Franciscans resulted in the continued mistreatment of the Pueblos, which eventually culminated in the Pueblo revolt of 1680. This revolt brought rapid social change for the Pueblos Indians.

The political policies and beliefs that shaped the historical background helps one to understand the causes of the Pueblo Revolt. Colonial expansion under the Spanish Empire was first initiated by the Spanish conquistadores and further implemented by the monarchy of Spain through its administrators and missionaries. This expansion is one of the contributing causes for the Pueblo revolt. Spain conceived of a single kingdom for all Pueblo Indians under one governor… but with so much hardship, compounded by recent outrages, it galvanized anti-Spanish fervor to the point of revolution (Kessler 118). The reasons for colonial expansion were two fold. First, the Spanish were interested in obtaining natural resources to increase their wealth through trade and, secondly, to spread the Christian faith through indigenous conversion.

During the years between 1598 and 1680, the Pueblo peoples faced an intensive campaign of conversion and colonization. Converting the Indians through missionary efforts became an integral goal and desire of Spanish colonization effort. The Pueblos grasp of Spanish Catholic doctrine and external worship dovetailed nicely with their native mythology. The Franciscan order aimed to stomp out and replace the traditional ...

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...g the same land in an effort to coexist. Distrust and hostilities grew between the indigenous population of the region and the Spanish land and its perceived value and ownership only added to the conflict. The Spanish brought with them the European practice of expansion and of recognizing only limited land rights of indigenous people. The land and the tribute that was required of the Pueblos increased hostilities as forced labor was introduced. Two vastly differing beliefs regarding religion added to the mix. Spanish soldiers and priests were intent on converting the Pueblo Indians to Christianity and prevented the Pueblo Indians from communing with their gods. It is no surprise that all of these factors led to uprising and revolt.


John L. Kessel, Pueblos Spaniards and the Kingdom of New Mexico. (University of Oklahoma Press: Norman, Oklahoma, 2008)
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