The Pueblo Revolt

The peaceable Pueblo Indians seemed an unlikely people to rise emphatically and successfully against the Spanish Empire. For eighty-two years the Pueblos had lived under Spanish domination in the northern part of present-day New Mexico. The Spanish administration had been led not by Coronado's earlier vision of god but by a desire to convert the Indians to Christianity and eke a living from the country north of Mexico. The situation made conflict inevitable, with devastating results. Robert Silverberg writes: "While the missionaries flogged and even hanged the Indians to save their souls, the civil authorities enslaved them, plundered the wealth of their cornfields, forced them to abide by incomprehensible Spanish laws." A long drought beginning in the 1660s and the accelerated raids of nomadic tribes contributed to the spontaneous revolt to the Pueblos in August 1680. How the Pueblos maintained their independence for a dozen years in plain view of the ambitious Spaniards and how they finally expelled the Spanish is the exciting story of The Pueblo Revolt.