4. Pueblo Revolution and the Reconquest

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Like a thunderbolt from a clear sky, the Pueblo Revolution of 1680 fell upon the devoted heads of the Franciscan friars who ministered to the missions of New Mexico.

There had been rumblings of discontent, and occasionally some local revolt or act of violence, but nothing to presage the general and simultaneous rising that brought such tragic results.

As before stated, during much of this period there was increasing friction between the civil and the religious authorities; the friars claiming almost absolute power in matters connected with the Indians, and the governors vigorously resenting this interference with their authority. Each side complained of the other to the higher powers in Mexico and Spain, and long controversies resulted. Governor de Rosas was stabbed to death in 1641 or 1642, and this was said to be in connection with the difficulties just referred to. About this time the Inquisition was introduced, and this added to the friction between the ecclesiastics and the governor. Meanwhile the Indians were becoming more and more restless under the heavier burdens of the Spanish rule.

For a number of years after the colonization, the

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best of feeling existed between the native Pueblos and the newcomers; but, as time went on, the Spaniards began to exact as duties those services which had at first been rendered from kindness. Little by little they assumed greater powers, introduced European laws, and punished the natives for the least infraction of a foreign code of which they had never heard. The favorite penalty was slavery, as that provided the labor of which the colonists stood in need, especially in the mines, where the servitude was of the most harsh character. At the same time, the early Franciscans, who came as true missionaries, actuated by love, and easily won the hearts of the people, were succeeded by ecclesiastics of a more severe type, who sought to convert the natives by compulsion, and introduced various forms of punishment, in order to compel the universal observance of their religion.

Under all the circumstances, the Pueblos, who had lived for generations an easy life of freedom and happiness, until the coming of the pale-faced strangers, naturally changed in their feelings from welcome and hospitality to hatred and a determination to expel the invaders whenever opportunity should be presented. The middle of the seventeenth century was filled with a succession of revolts and conflicts arising from this state of affairs. Many of these were local and easily ended, but others were well-arranged, and formidable. As one after the other attempt failed, either from lack of coöperation or because the project was divulged prematurely, the

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Indians learned that only by united and secret action was success to be achieved; and preparations for such an uprising were cautiously discussed, year after year, at the great Pueblo festivals.

What they most needed was a leader of acknowledged ability, and in the excitement which followed the severe punishment of forty-seven Indians for alleged witchcraft, in 1675, a man came into general notice who seemed by his fearless intrepidity as well as by his good judgment well fitted for the task. His name was Popé, of the pueblo of San Juan, and from that time he seems to have been regarded as a leader, and was untiring in his endeavors to unite the whole Pueblo population in a general uprising against the Spaniards.

With this view he traveled from town to town, urging a forgetfulness of old jealousies, and using his wonderful eloquence to great effect. He was ably seconded in this by several other natives of large influence, prominent among whom were Catití of Santo Domingo, Jaca of Taos, and Tacu or Tupatu of Picuris. By their efforts the whole Indian population was brought into a condition of preparation, and only waited for an opportune moment to strike a decisive blow. There is some doubt as to the occasion of the final rising, but the tradition is so general that we can hardly think it without foundation, that the caving in of the shaft of a silver mine, and the consequent burying alive of a large number of Pueblo Indians who had been forced to labor there, was the “last straw” which exhausted the

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long-tried patience of the natives, and precipitated the revolt.

The day finally fixed on by the leaders for the uprising was August 13, 1680, and swift messengers were sent to every Pueblo town to carry the information and call for its coöperation. Warned by previous failures, every means was used to secure secrecy. Not a woman was entrusted with the secret, and so intense was the feeling that Popé killed with his own hand his son-in-law, Nicholas Bua, the governor of San Juan, because he was believed to be disloyal. But even all these precautions did not suffice, for on the 8th of August two Indians of Tesuque, which was so near to Santa Fé that the Indians were specially intimate with the Spanish authorities, revealed the whole plot to Governor Otermin, and other Indians at San Lazaro and San Cristobal gave information to Father Bernal, the Franciscan custodio.

The fact that they were betrayed was almost immediately known by the Pueblo leaders, who saw that their only chance of success now lay in immediate action. Orders were consequently issued to that effect, and were so swiftly carried, that within two days, in all the pueblos, except those far distant, every Spaniard was slaughtered without regard to age or sex, except a few girls reserved for wives for the young braves. The news of this general massacre naturally created the utmost consternation at the capital and in all the Spanish towns. Otermin sent messengers through the territory directing the

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people at the north to concentrate at Santa Fé, and those of the south at Isleta, and immediately set about fortifying the capital.

Many of the Spaniards reached these cities of refuge, but a still larger number, found in their houses or on the roads, were slain. Those living in the extreme north, finding it impossible to reach Santa Fé, assembled at Santa Cruz, and endeavored to fortify the town; but on the eleventh the Indians carried it by storm and massacred all who were found there.

By this time the people of every pueblo were on the war-path and news came to the governor from all quarters of approaching armies. The men from the Tanos pueblos were marching from the south, while the Tehuas had united near the Rio Tesuque and were hourly expected from the north. The city of Santa Fé was transformed into one great fortification. The outlying houses were abandoned, and all the inhabitants gathered in the plaza, the entrances to which were closed and fortified, and the palace put into condition to stand a siege. All recognized that it was a life and death struggle, for the war was one of extermination.

Before the preparations were completed, the Tanos Indians were seen marching over the plains from the south. The governor sent out envoys to endeavor to treat with them before their northern allies appeared, but without success. They would only make peace on condition that the Spaniards should immediately leave the country. This attempt having failed, Otermin determined to make an attack

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and endeavor to gain a victory before the Tehuas should arrive; and an immediate sortie was therefore made. A desperate battle ensued, the Indians fighting with great energy, and the Spaniards having gradually to bring out their whole force to take part in the contest. The destruction of the natives was terrific, but the number of fighting men among the Spaniards was not great, and was being gradually reduced by wounds and fatigue, while the Pueblos were constantly re¨nforced by fresh arrivals. As there was no hope of relief from without, and a continuance of the siege meant sure destruction, the Spaniards finally concluded that in view of their reduced condition and the scarcity of provisions it would be better to evacuate the town while the coast was clear. Preparations were accordingly made during the night of the 20th, and at early dawn the next morning, the whole population mournfully left the town, and started on their long and toilsome march to the south. There were not even horses enough to carry the sick and wounded, so that all the women and children as well as the men had to proceed on foot, carrying all their personal property, as well as provisions, in bundles on their backs. Meanwhile, the Indians stolidly viewed them from the surrounding hills., making no attack, but apparently well content so long as the intruder's were leaving the country. They followed the retreating band for about seventy miles in order to see that they were actually proceeding south, and then returned to their homes to enjoy the independence

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in both civil and religious matters which they desired.

The Spaniards continued their march down the river, hoping to find their countrymen from the southern part of the province at Isleta; but were disappointed in this, as they had already left in charge of the lieutenant governor for El Paso. The provisions were almost exhausted and none were to be found in the route, so that at length they were compelled to stop and send south for assistance. The call was responded to by Father Ayeta, of El Paso, who sent four wagon-loads of corn; and thus partially relieved, the fugitives continued their retreat, joining their southern brethren on the road, and finally selecting San Lorenzo, above El Paso, as their winter quarters. Here they built rude houses, but suffered many privations, both from cold and hunger, and lost a large fraction of their number who sought a less unhappy life in the villages of Chihuahua.

The Spaniards who were left behind in various parts of New Mexico, were with scarcely an exception killed after their countrymen had abandoned the country. Especially did the priests, against whom and the Christian religion the Pueblos were greatly incensed, suffer horrible deaths—those at Zuñi, Moqui, Jemez, and Acoma being among those thus doomed to a dreadful fate.

The Franciscan order never had suffered such a loss from the martyrdom of its members as at this time. No less than twenty-one gave up their lives

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on that fatal 10th of August, 1680. On the 1st of March of the succeeding year a great memorial service was held in the cathedral of the city of Mexico, in the presence of the viceroy and other high officials, when a commemorative sermon was preached by Doctor Ysidro Sariñna y Cuenca, in which each of the twenty-one martyrs is named, together with the place of his death. A copy of this sermon, printed in 1681, is in the possession of the Historical Society at Santa Fé, which has published a translation.

From that celebrated sermon we take the following extract, containing the list of the. Franciscan martyrs, and the missions which they served. But three friars remained alive in the north, Fathers Cadena, Duran, and Farfan, who accompanied the retreating Spaniards from Santa Fé to Paso del Norte, and tried to encourage the weary travelers.


“This Kingdom” (.New Mexico), said the eloquent doctor, “was utterly foreign in character from the event which was so soon to occur, judging from the peace and tranquility which prevailed.” “Everything seemed to be peaceful outwardly; but inwardly all was rabid passion, instigated by the devil; for, on the 10th day of August, dedicated by our Holy Mother Church to the honor of the Most Glorious Spanish Protomartyr, St. Lawrence, the fury of the nefarious sacrilegious wickedness, which had been hidden in the quiver of the heart, suddenly broke forth.

“On this day, the venerable Padre Fray Juan Bautista Pio, a native of the City of Victoria in the Province of Alaba, having gone to celebrate the holy

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sacrifice of the Mass at the Pueblo of Tesuque, which is a mission of the City of Santa Fé, the Capital of that Kingdom, was killed by the Indians of that very pueblo, This is the death which is first mentioned in the authentic accounts of the conspiracy.

“On that same morning they killed in different and distant Conventos twenty other Religious.

“In Santa Cruz de Galisteo, the Reverend Fathers Fray Juan Bernal, the actual Custodian, and Fray Domingo de Vera, natives of the most noble City of Mexico.

“At San Bortolome de Xongopavi, the Rev. Padre Fray Joseph de Truxillo, a mad of exemplary virtues, the knowledge of which induced the higher Prelates to elect him Prelate of the Convento of San Cosme without the walls of this city of Mexico.

“At the Convento of Porciuncula [Pecos], the Rev. Padre Fray Fernando de Velasco, who had served thirty years as a missionary in that Holy Custodia; both of these latter being natives of Cadiz.

“In that of Nambé, the Reverend Padre Fray Thomas de Torres, a native of Tepozotlan.

“In that of San Ildephonso, the Reverend Padre Fray Luis de Morales, a native of Ubeda of Baeza; and in company with him, the brother Fray Antonio Sanches de Pro, a native of this city, who from the order of the Descalces passed to the Observancia, with the object of going to serve in that Holy Custodia.

“In that of San Lorenzo de Picuries, the Reverend Padre Fray Mathias Rendon.

“In that of San Geronimo de Taos, the Reverend

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Padre Fray Antonio de Mora; both the last named being natives of the City of Los Angeles; and in the same Convento de Taos, Brother Fray Juan de la Pedosa, a native of Mexico.

“In that of San Marcos, the Reverend Padre Fray Manuel Tinoco, a son of the Province of San Miguel in Estremaaura.

“In that of Santo Domingo, the Reverend Padres Fray Francisco Antonio Lorenzana, a native of Galicia; Fray Juan de Talaban, Custodio habitual, a native of Seville, who had been a missionary almost twenty years, and Fray Joseph de Montesdoca, a native of Queretaro.

“In that of San Diego de Jemez, the Reverend Padre Fray Juan de Jesus, a native of Granada.

“In that of San Estevan of Acoma, the Reverend Padre Fray Lucas Maldonado, Difinidor actual, a native of Tribugena.

“In that of the Purisima Concepcion of Alona, the Reverend Padre Fray Juan de Val, of the Kingdom of Castile.

“In that of Aguatubi, the Reverend Padre Fray Joseph de Figueroa, a native of Mexico.

“In that of Oraibe, the Reverend Padre Fray Joseph de Espeleta, Custodio habitual, a native of Estela in the Kingdom of Navarre, who had been thirty years a missionary, and the Reverend Padre Fray Agustin de Santa Maria, a native of Pasquaro.”


As soon as the Spaniards had retreated from the country, the Pueblo Indians gave themselves up to

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rejoicing, and to the destruction of everything which could remind them of the Europeans, their religion, and their domination. The army which had besieged Santa Fé quickly entered that city, took possession of the palace as the seat of government, and commenced the work of demolition. The churches and the monastery of the Franciscans were burned with all their contents, amid the almost frantic acclamations of the natives.

The gorgeous vestments of the priests had been dragged out before the conflagration, and now were worn in derision by Indians, who rode through the streets at full speed, shouting for joy. The official documents and books in the palace were brought forth, and made fuel for a bonfire in the center of the plaza; and here also they danced thecachina,with all the accompanying religious ceremonies of the olden time. Everything imaginable was done to show their detestation of the Christian faith, and their determination utterly to eradicate even its memory. Those who had been baptized were washed with amole in the Rio Chiquito, in order to be cleansed from the infection of Christianity. All baptismal names were discarded, marriages celebrated by Christian priests were annulled, the very mention of the names Jesus and Mary was made an offense, and estufas were constructed to take the place of the ruined churches.

The same course was pursued in all of the pueblos where there were churches or conventos. Many were entirely destroyed, while others were despoiled

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of everything connected with Christian worship. It seemed as if, in a few days, the whole work of a century—the plant watered by the blood of Friar Ruiz and his companions just a hundred years before—had been destroyed.

The Spaniards, succored and sustained by the aid of Father Ayeta, now the head of the New Mexican Franciscans, settled down in the vicinity of Paso del Notre, where a mission had been established some years before, and awaited the reconquest of the northern province.

This, however, was not soon to be accomplished. We cannot go into the details of the various attempts to reoccupy the country. In November, 1681, Governor Otermin penetrated to Isleta, where the people, to the number of 1157, returned to their allegiance to Church and King, and General Mendoza went as far as Cochité; but they finally returned, without permanent result. Everywhere they found the same story of desecrated churches and revived paganism.

One fruitless expedition followed another, the most notable one resulting in the temporary capture of Cia by Governor Cruzate in 1688, until Diego de Vargas was appointed governor in 1692. His rapid marches and remarkable victories are historic. In his first campaign, by tact more than by force, he restored the old authority, both civil and religious, and the Franciscan friars baptized nearly a thousand children. After returning to Paso del Norte for the winter, he reëntered New Mexico in the fall of 1693

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with colonists as well as troops, but encountered more difficulty. Fierce contests occurred at most of the important pueblos, as well as at Santa Fé but ultimately the whole country was subdued.

Toward the end of 1694 De Vargas made a tour which included nearly all of the existing pueblos (many had been destroyed or deserted during the Revolution), formally receiving the submission of the people and in return granting pardon for their rebellion. He also delivered over to them their women and children, who had been captured at various times grid were held in slavery. The new Franciscan friars who had accompanied the reconquest were established in their missions, and immediately proceeded to restore or rebuild the churches, and the conventos necessary for their accommodation. As the different Missions are considered, it will be found that many of the more modern structures date from about this time.

The Missions thus reëstablished, together with the names of the Franciscan priests placed in charge of them, were as follows: Padre Francisco Corvera at San Ildefonso and Jacona; Padre Geronimo at San Cristobal and (temporarily) at Santa Clara; Padre Antonio Obregon at San Cristobal and San Lazaro; Padre Diego Zeinos at Pecos; Padre Juan Alpuente at Cia; Padre Francisco J. M. Casanes at Jemez; Padre Juan Muñoz de Castro, vice custodio and head of the Inquisition, at Santa Fe; Padre José Diez at Tesuque; Padre Jos Garcia Marin at Santa Clara; Padre Antonio Carbonel at San Felipe, Cochité, and

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later Taos; Padre Miguel Tirso at Santo Domingo; Padre José Arbizu at San Cristobal; Padre Antonio Moreno at Santa Fé (temporarily), La Cañada, and later Nambé Padre Antonio Acevedo at Nambé Padre Francisco Vargas, custodio.

Within the next two years, two new villas were established; these being Spanish towns not connected with former Indian pueblos, and the only ones in New Mexico until recent times, with the single exception of Santa Fé.

The first of these was the Villa of Santa Cruz de la Cañada, near the junction of the Santa Cruz River with the Rio del Norte, and in this place the colonists brought up from Paso del Norte by Father Farfan, were permanently settled. As there had been a settlement there before the Revolution of 1680, the new town is uniformly called in all documents the 7ldquo;Nueva Villa de Santa Cruz.” The church erected here was for a long time the largest in New Mexico, and the villa itself was the cabecera or capital of the Northern Jurisdiction of New Mexico for many years. The other was Albuquerque, then always spelled Alburquerque. This was established in 1706 by Governor Francisco Cuervo y Valdes, who had been appointed governor ad interim by the viceroy of New Spain, who was the Duke of Alburquerque. In honor of his patron, the new town was founded, with thirty families, and was christened “San Francisco de A1burquerque.” On being officially informed of this compliment, the viceroy gently reprimanded the governor for acting without authority, and directed

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that in honor of the king, Don Philip V, the name be changed from San Francisco to San Felipe de Alburquerque. A church was immediately established at the new villa, the records of which are comparatively perfect and extend back nearly to the time of its foundation.

The churches in the villas, although not strictly Mission churches, will be described in later chapters of this work.

Since the reëstablishment of the Missions after the reconquest by De Vargas, there have been several changes, some additions and some abandonments; but these are reserved for mention in the separate articles on the respective Missions in order to avoid repetition.

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