What Caused the Pueblo Revolt of 1680?
The Pueblo revolt of 1680 definitely changed the Spanish colonial landscape of the 17th century in New Mexico. For more than a century and a half, Spanish colonization seemed to be progressing at a rapid pace. Franciscan friars were spreading the word of God to the native populations and encombiendas were being established. This all came to a halt as a result of the Pueblo revolt of 1680.
At first, it seems that the answer to the question, "What caused the Pueblo Revolt of 1680? is an easy one: The Pueblo tribal people had reached the end of their rope with the Franciscan friars who were employing barbarism in an effort to force conformity to Christianity. Prior to reading the assigned readings, I read other sources on the Pueblo Revolt of 1680 to gain more historical knowledge. The overwhelming conclusion of the authors was the revolt was solely inspired by religious oppression and forced conformity to Christianity among tribal members by the Franciscans. The answer to the question, "What caused the revolts? was then relatively simple. The Pueblo tribes united to overthrow the oppressive Franciscans.
However, after reading the assigned readings, deeper questions were raised. Was the cause of the revolts entirely the fault of the Franciscans or were there other aspects of Spanish culture that the Pueblo tribes were trying to remove? Did the Franciscan friars have a death wish and actively seek out martyrdom? Were the atrocities committed by the Franciscans just the tools that tribal religious leaders needed to unite the seemingly autonomous pueblos against Spanish influence? Were the tribal revolts the sole idea of el Pope, a San Juan medicine man or was a former African slave to blame for the plot? (Oh, I do love a good conspiracy theory!) And what exactly was the role of mestizos, or mixed Spanish-tribal peoples in Spanish colonial and Tribal America? So, in a s