The Spanish period of New Mexico (taken from the Internet)
The Spaniards put great faith in the legends and myths about the New World that were being told throughout Spain. Belief in these legends led Fernando Cortez to discover Mexico. The conquest of the Aztec Indians in 1519 - 1522, and discovered precious metals further fueled these myths. Colonial Spanish were continually told astonishing tales concerning great treasures in the North by local and visiting Indians. Believing these tales, the Colonials began searching for the Seven Cities of Gold, the Gran Quivira, the Seven Cities of the Seven Bishops, and the Seven Caves of Origin of the Aztecs.
During 1536, four survivors of the Narvaez Expedition arrived in Caliacan. Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca claimed to have seen only small supplies of cotton shawls, beads, and turquoise among the Indians during his trip. He also saw five arrowheads made out of emeralds. However, he reported hearing stories of people who lived in large houses in the North who traded in turquoise and other goods.
In 1539, a Spanish Franciscan friar named Father Marcos de Niza set out with friendly Indians and Estevanico, the black slave from the Narvaez Expedition party, to learn the secrets of the North. Fray Marcos left Mexico with a party of Indians and after some time, finally crossed into Arizona. He turned east into New Mexico, and found Zuni Indians living in pueblos. After they moved North and discovered the city of Cibola, Estevanico traveled ahead and entered the Zuni town of Hawikuh. The tribesmen were hostile and he further provoked their anger by taking their women and turquoise. Zuni Indians, believing in sorcerers, spellbinders, and witches, thought Estevanico was a sorcerer so they killed him and cut him into several pieces. Some of the party survived and returned to tell Fray Marcos the news.
Members of his party threatened to kill him because of the deaths of their friends and relatives. Instead of searching further, the friar headed back to Mexico City. When the Franciscan friar returned to Mexico, he falsely claimed to have seen one of the fabled cities from a distance. His own accounts of the expeditionís journey and the route of its travel have been contested by historians. However, the effect of the expedition on future expeditions is significant to New Mexico.
The friarís news led to the expedition of Francisco Vasquez de Coronado. Coronado, accompanied by Fray Marcos, led an expedition back to Cibola. When they entered the Zuni town of Hawikuh, it was nothing like the friar described. The friarís reports had been filled with fabrications and lies. Never the less, Coronado continued his search in the area and discovered new territories.
Despite the lies, it has to be noted that Coronado might not have made his historical journey if Fray Marcosí reports were truthful. Coronadoís expedition and all other Spanish expeditions continued to center around the search for the fabled riches and lost cities. Consequently, the history of New Mexico may have differed greatly from its present history, had the truth been known.
After Coronadoís explorations, approximately 40 years elapsed before there was renewed interest in New Mexico. Once again, the greed for riches played a part. During 1546, soldiers discovered a huge silver deposit northwest of Mexico City. Some of the soldiers who were with Coronado thought that the mountains near the Rio Grande looked like the same type of mountains that yielded the recently discovered silver deposits. This resemblance led to new interest in the exploration of the New Mexico area.
The three sub-expeditions that were offshoots of Coronadoís "Big Search" were attempts by the leader to locate hidden wealth that might be in the Southwest. After Coronado failed to find any riches in New Mexico, he sent smaller groups from the expedition in other directions. Every time a new story or rumor was told by local and visiting Indians, he sent his troops in search of the fabled city or treasure.
These sub-expeditions were sent westward with the hope that something was out there to be found. Garcia Lopez de Cardenas discovered the Grand Canyon of Colorado. Pedro de Tovar encountered the Hopi Villages. Melchor Diaz located the Colorado River and searched into the desert region of California. Unfortunately, each sub-expedition returned without any financial success. Although none of the sub-expeditions found any wealth, Coronado is an important historical figure because of his travels and discoveries. His sub-expeditions are historically important because these sub-adventures expanded the worldís geographical knowledge of North America.
Spanish exploration continued to be an emphasis of the Crown. Previously, Chichimecas Indians blocked expansion to the North, but in 1548-48, silver was found in Central Mexico. Soon Indian resistance ended. Captured Indians became slaves in the mines and slave raiders crossed into New Mexico to capture other slaves to sell them to the mine owners.
Franciscan lay brother Agustin Rodriguez, two other Franciscans, and Francisco Sanchez Chamuscado traveled North looking for an advanced civilization. They were killed near the Rio Grande River, but rumors concerning the expedition included the discovery of 11 silver mines. Bernardino Beltran, a Durangan Priest, received authorization for rescuing the party. This expedition traded with the Indians, found traces of copper, and located salt deposits.
The Spanish government wanted to spread Christianity to the Indians and sent missionaries for this purpose. However, the causes for intermittent Spanish contact with the Indians of New Mexico prior to 1598 were due to both wealth and religion. The leaders of these expeditions were after wealth. From historical facts, It appears that New Mexico had never lost its luster. The myths and outright lies, made her the apple of everyone's eye. The Franciscan Order, for one, was preeminent in the exploration of New Mexico. A colonial merchant, Antonio de Espejo, financially sponsored a 1582 expedition to New Mexico because he was interested in the area. While men of wealth were trying to obtain permission to enter New Mexico, two illegal entries were made.
Later, Gaspar Castano de Sosa, Lieutenant-Governor of Nuevo Leon in northeastern Spain, thought that great riches were to be discovered in New Mexico. He became acquainted with Indians who carried tales of riches in the undiscovered area. While testing some of their ore, he took a silver cup and threw it in with the test ore. The result was that the rocks had a high silver content. As a result, Castano de Sosa was able to convince his followers that the journey would be profitable. He took 170 people from Almaden and left for New Mexico in 1590. Two and one half months later, Juan Morlete, a Spanish government official and soldier and fifty soldiers found the group, arrested Castano de Sosa at Santo Domingo, and took him back to New Spain. The expedition was a failure.
Gaspar Castano de Sosa is important to New Mexico history because he was the first pioneer to lead an expedition into the area that was not government sanctioned. Gaspar Castano de Sosaís party crossed into the Pecos River Valley into southern Texas and then wandered along the Rio Grande. The expeditionís journey was important because it marked the first excursion of wagons on land destined to become part of the United States.
A later expedition, by Leyva de Bonilla was also a failure. The outcome of the de Bonilla expedition according to Jusepe, who was one of the native servants, was the death of de Bonilla. He stayed one year at San Ildefonso Pueblo where he died following a fight with Antonio Gutierrez de Humana, one of his soldiers. Soon after the death of de Bonilla, Indians attacked the camp and killed everyone except Jusepe.
Next, came the Juan de Onate Expedition, 1598 to1600. Gaspar Perez de Villagra was one of Juan Onateís lieutenants and supporters who traveled with the expedition into New Mexico. He wrote a book entitled, A History of New Mexico. The book detailed the historical events of the Onate expedition. It was published in 1610, preceding the Pilgrims landing in America by ten years. And his book came fourteen years before the publication of Captain John Smithís historical book on the events that happened in Virginia during its colonization.
Juan de Onateís was selected to lead a Spanish expedition and to become the leader of Spainís colonization effort in New Mexico was because of his persistence and wealth. Perhaps, not the best man for the position, the journey was a result of his own urgings. He pleaded with authorities to lead the first authorized group of settlers into New Mexico. Also, New Mexicoís first governor supposedly had a commitment to the duties centered around the Christianization of the Indians living in New Mexico. Official conquest of undiscovered areas was authorized to the wealthy because these trips had to be financed by private parties due to Spain's unwillingness to finance expeditions into the unknown without first knowing that they would be benefited by these excursions.
Onate would have to bear all the financial costs of the expedition. This included recruiting and supplying 200 soldiers and their families, assembling the livestock, and providing the supplies necessary for building homes on the Rio Grande. After accepting this responsibility, Onate was authorized to make the journey.
The expedition arrived near the Rio Grande at the Tewa pueblo of San Juan. The local Indians shared their homes and food with the settlers. The Spanish intended to build a town next to the pueblo, but Onate instructed everyone to move to the west bank of the Rio Grande to built San Gabriel, New Mexicoís first capital. San Juan de los Caballeros was the first headquarters for Onate until San Gabriel was built.
His main purpose as governor was the pacification and Christianization of the Indians. Instead, personal gain appears to have been his hidden agenda for the expedition. Among his supplies, he brought heavy mining tools and supplies necessary for extracting silver. Once camped, Onate visited nearby pueblos searching for signs of silver and found none.
Soon, problems developed for Onate. With no riches to be found, some of his men considered mutiny. Lieutenant Villagra was dispatched to pursue and arrest four people who had stolen horses and were heading south. After catching two of the thieves, he cut off their heads.
Continuing his expedition, Onate led a party to the west to find the seacoast. In need of reinforcements, he sent for Juan de Zaldivar and other. When Zaldivarís party moved out to meet up with Onate and they were attacked by Acoma Indians. Zaldivar and ten men died in the battle. Several others in his party were injured.
Juan Zaldivarís brother, Vincente, was selected to lead the retaliation attack. During the middle of January in 1599, seventy men left for the Acoma Pueblo. After reaching the pueblo, they slaughtered most of its inhabitants. Captives were brought to San Gabriel for trial. The punishments given to the Indians by Onate were extreme. Some men had one foot cut off and were sentenced to serve 20 years in servitude. Other captives, including women and children were sentenced to servitude or sent to the convent. Two Hopi Indians, sentenced to have their right hands cut off, were released to tell others about the Spanishís revenge tactics.
During December in 1600, Onate went in search of new mines at the Strait of Anian, and harbors on the South Sea. When he returned, San Gabriel was almost deserted because most of its residents had returned to Mexico City. Onate still continued his search for silver into the Southwest.
In 1607, the Crown removed him from office when the Spanish government became aware of his dereliction of duties as governor. Juan de Onate was charged by the Spanish government with mismanagement and false reporting. It is good to remember that Onate was not selected because he possessed the qualities of a civic-minded leader. He searched for wealth while neglecting his political commitments proved his true intentions for leading the expedition. His few achievements and many problems during his inept reign as the first governor of New Mexico, helped in his undoing. Instead of using his power for the welfare of San Gabriel, Onate neglected the needs of the community while trying to fulfill his own needs. He financed the group with the intent that New Mexico would reward him with more wealth, but his dream was shattered
Although in all fairness to Onate, he did establish San Gabriel and became New Mexicoís founding father. The Governorís arrival started the first lasting settlement. It also ended the previous pattern of exploration in New Mexico. Onate is important to New Mexico history because he established the first community in the state. His few achievements while in office led to the growth of New Mexico. The majority of his problems while being the first governor, and his removal from office, were results of his greed. The same greed many future governors would bring to the office.
Don Pedro de Peralta was appointed the new governor to ensure the future success of the settlement. By the time Don Pedro was appointed the new governor, the Spanish had altered Indian life in many ways. Their settlements, laws, and Church changed tribal customs and eliminated many religious traditions. Indians were punished when they followed their own religious beliefs so tribal ceremonies were held in secrecy. Many Indians blended their customs into the Spanish customs while some Indians completely gave up their old way of life.
Soon, the Indians were required to feed the settlers with food originally intended for their own use. This proved to be a burden during the dry growing seasons. Implementing the encomienda and repartimiento systems forced Indians to pay taxes with food, blankets, and their labor. Repartimiento was a detriment to the Indianís because it took them from their own fields to plant and harvest the Spanish fields. Under these systems the Indians lost their land. Their families suffered due to the heavy burdens. Spanish villas and farms were constructed on prime Indian land and near important water sources. This meant that Indians lost prime farm and grazing lands at the same time they were taxed into working the land for the Spanish.
Some of the Spanish settlers were guilty of unscrupulous actions. Sheep were traded to the Indians for land and goods. The wool from Spanish sheep was meant to replace the cotton plant as the material used in Indian blankets. Later, the sheep were stolen back. Some Spanish raided Indian camps, stole livestock, and took Indian women and children who were used as servants in their homes.
In this new Spanish dominated world, tribal alliances shifted and new rivalries were developed. Spanish leaders formed alliances with some of the Indian tribes and provided them with tools, crops, livestock, and arms. The new materials available to these tribes gave them superior weaponry over their enemies. As Indians acquired Spanish horses, they became more mobile. Once, Spanish weapons and horses were obtained by marauding Indians they were quickly used against peaceful Indian villages.
The home of these marauding Indians was the Buffalo Plains are located east of the Pecos River in Eastern New Mexico and extend into the Great Plains. The relationship of the Buffalo Plains is that exploration parties to New Mexico have extended into this area in search of wealth. Coronado was guided to this area during his adventures. The Santa Fe trail which opened the door to American trade to New Mexico trail extends through parts of these plains and into Kansas. The Pueblo Indians from the western half of New Mexico Indians traveled to Eastern New Mexico to hunt buffalo in this area. Arizona Indian tribes hunted in this area while frequently raiding the Pueblos.
Governor Don Pedro Peralta authorized construction of Santa Fe as a new capital city in the late spring of 1610. It was selected because the site was more centrally located and the area was more satisfying to his needs.
Following the instructions of Governor Francisco Cuervo y Valdes, Alburquerque was built and named for the viceroy, Francisco Fernandez de la Cueva Enriquez, the Duke of Albuquerque. Captain Hurtado and Father Juan Minguez founded the town on the Rio Grande. Spanish documents list the original name as Alburquerque, but the first "r" was dropped. The exact original name was San Francisco de Alburquerque. King Phillip V of Spain did not like the name and changed it to San Felipe de Alburquerque. There was never a Spanish grant to the town of Albuquerque. On May 21, 1892, a decree handed down by the Court of Private Land Claims established that under the laws of Spain and Mexico, the Villa de Albuquerque was entitled to four square leagues of land. The first "r" was dropped from the name of the town.
Many specific steps were taken by Spain to solidify its control of New Mexico after initial occupation. Each step gave the Pueblo Indians a governmental and religious structure that would coincide with the Spanish government and religious structure.
The Spanish period in New Mexico lasted for approximately 225 years. During this time, the two permanent bases for Spanish colonial life and control of the newly established territories in New Mexico were the Spanish pueblos of Santa Fe and Albuquerque. The Spanish government's goal was for the peaceful submission of the Indians to Spain's rule. The Role of the Catholic Church and its missionaries was to convert the Indians to Christianity. These efforts were to be followed by the Indians being accepted as members of the Spanish civilization. The Spanish attitude toward the Indians was that they saw themselves as guardians of the Indianís basic rights.
The initial Spanish exploration and settlement of the New Mexico territories was conducted by the Dominguez-Escalante group. It consisted of the two friars and eight local citizens as escorts. The ultimate goal of the party was in reality two goals.
These goals were not achieved and the expedition was a disaster. The reasons for this calamity were numerous.
Later, in an effort to establish order and govern effectively, the Spanish established the first formal laws. Water rights were guaranteed to further the expansion of agriculture. Laws controlled the conduct of soldiers during wars, even when the tribes were hostile. Under extremely difficult circumstances these soldiers were courageous, respected, and capable frontiersmen. They were faithful and fought the marauding nomadic Indians with valor. Contrary to the depiction of these Hispanic frontier soldiers as weak and ineffective.
The mistrust of the Indians in New Mexico and their frequent hostile actions toward the Spanish settlers were contributing factors which kept the Spanish from fulfilling their goals for the area. The primary threat to Spanish domination and control of the New Mexico territories were marauding nomadic Indians such as the Ute, Navajo, Apache, and Comanche tribes. The proposed solution for controlling these marauding bands was accomplished by royal decree. King Charles III separated the northern region from the old vice-royalty, creating a new military department called the Commandancy-General of the Interior Provinces of New Spain. Only he had the power to make Indian policy immediate. Anyone else would have had to wait for approval from a higher authority. The man assigned the difficult task of controlling the Indians was The principal Officer the Interior Provinces of New Spain, Don Teodoro de Croix. The second most powerful man in territories was the Governor of New Mexico, Juan Bautista de Anza. His role on the frontier was to win an alliance with the Comanche, and make war on the Apache.
Many New Mexico Indians cooperated with the Spaniards. The most obvious evidence of the influences of the Spanish in territories is that the Indians successfully raise livestock and grew crops. These Indians were trusted and allowed to and carry weapons that were introduced to them by the Spanish. This practice continued even after the Great Pueblo Revolt of 1680.
However, even with Spanish laws in place, exploitation of the Indian did occur. In addition to exploitation, a major deterrent to Spanish success was the greed of the some Spanish governors, missionaries, and a few of its citizens.
Before proceeding, it should be stated that the Spanish colonial attitude toward the Indians is contrasted with the Anglo-American attitude that was one of total removal from their lands or total inhalation. In that scenario the Indian was continually pushed aside or killed.
The Pre-Pueblo Revolt
One might say that the clash of two cultures was inevitable. The population of the Pueblo Indians at the time of first European contact with the well established Pueblo culture to be between 40,000 to 50,000. And the main linguistic families that existed in New Mexico were the Keresan, Zunian, Shoshonean, and Tanoan. With languages of their own, indigenous religious practices, and a strong community life these Native-Americans had well-established societies.
In the context of agriculture and animal domestication, at the time of the Spanishís first arrival in New Mexico, the domesticated animals maintained by the Pueblo Indians were dogs and turkeys. So, they were well suited to expand this area to cows, pigs, and sheep.
Although most historical accounts of pre-Pueblo Revolt New Mexico were negative, Franciscans Jeronimo Zarate Salmeron and Alonso de Benevides wrote optimistically concerning the area. Also, in the story of Maria de Jesus de Agreda, or the Woman in Blue, events of the time are portrayed as be better than some of the negative descriptions which were written about the same period.
The term "Pueblo" refers to a group of people who share a common culture that have a similar lifestyle where they are all farmers. The Spanish grouped all these people into one and called them "Pueblos" which means "Townsmen ." Only a few of the original buildings are left including the one at Taos, but the people are still referred to as "Pueblos." A "kiva" is the Pueblo Indiansí ceremonial chamber which also served as lodging for visitors.
The Pueblos had no single leader. Dual chieftainship meant that their were two chiefs with equal authority. The Tewa had a chief for the summer and one for the winter season. So Juan de Onate introduced the office of petty governor (gobernadorcillo) and the smaller governmental positions of Lieutenant Governor, sheriff (alguacil), irrigation boss (mayordomo) and church warden (fiscal). Each held a one-year term of office after they were elected by a vote of the Pueblo people. This municipal government handled minor political and judicial affairs. Later, a council of elders (principales), comprised of former governors and lieutenant-governors, was added to serve as an advisory committee.
The republica system, or municipal domain, was used by Spain to introduce the Pueblos to Spanish civil government.
These republicas, or municipal domains were the only representative government positions available to the citizens where they were allowed by the Spanish government to participate directly in politics. The flaw in the Spanish system was that the holy men of each pueblo selected who was elected to these offices and then ruled through them. Currently all pueblos still have a governor who leads the government of the Pueblos. The Spanish made strong attempts to influence the outcome of these elections. They knew who they wanted to lead the pueblo governments and did everything in their power to get that man elected.
The missionaries did the same thing. The area was divided into seven religious sections with one Franciscan friar in charge of each district. New Mexico was now divided into pueblo governments and religious sections.
As described above, the first Pueblo Revolt occurred in 1580, it was motivated by causes similar to the second Pueblo Revolt of 1696. Taxes were levied in the form of the encomienda and repartimiento systems where Indians were required to pay their taxes using food, blankets, and labor. The Spanish referred to these taxes as a tribute system. The tribute system was a routine part of Spanish colonization. It is commonly accepted that the major cause of the revolt was the encomienda. Its demands forced Indians to pay taxes with food and blankets. The system continually drained their food supply. In addition, repartimiento made Indians work in fields while Pueblo fields went neglected. As a result, the Indians were overworked in fields and sweatshops.
Many of the seventeenth century New Mexico governors were self-serving and favored oppressive actions toward the Indians. Little considerion was given to the fact that an oppressed people could only endure hardship and punishment for a limited time. This oppression led to the Pueblo Revolt during Governor Oterminís term of office. The governors that were considered by some historians as most and unworthy of their positions were Governors Bernardo Lopez de Mendizabal, Luis de Rosa, Juan Francisco Trevino, Antonio de Otermin, and Juan de Onate. The greed, dishonesty, and unscrupulous actions of these governors has been documented.
The Spanish proposed to live off the Indians hard work using enforced labor as the tool for accomplishing this goal. The encomienda system was a form of Spanish taxation that required the Indians to pay using corn and blankets. The encomienda system did not require a tax in the form of labor. The repartimiento required the Indians to pay taxes using their labor for tilling fields and tending livestock instead of corn and blankets. However, both systems were used and the Indians had to pay taxes using corn, labor, and blankets.
Luis de Rosa was a former governor of New Mexico. Arriving in Santa Fe during 1637, he constantly clashed with the friars in the area. The governor ruled with an extreme authority that bordered on tyranny. Rosa discovered the means used by previous governors for exploiting the Indians for profit and implemented these same tools. He went to the pueblos demanding that the Indians weave blankets and other textiles which were to be delivered to him. In Santa Fe, he built a sweatshop and forced Christian Pueblos, unconverted Apache, and Ute captives under the sentence of servitude to work in these shops. He furnished knives to the Pecos Pueblo and ordered them to trade them to the Apache for buffalo hides and meat. When they returned without as profit, the governor blamed the Pecos and took one of them prisoner. Rosa went further, promising the Indians of the Pecos that they could perform their ceremonial dances if they furnished him with blankets and hides.
The Franciscans in New Mexico viewed the Pueblo Indians role in the Spanish Colonial society as a labor force. They thought that the Indians needed to re-channel their energy towards tasked that were useful to the Spanish laity, and clergy. Besides teaching them Latin and the Catholic doctrine, the Franciscans taught the Pueblo Indians the useful arts. There was music, painting, carpentry, and weaving. And the New Mexican Santeros created the Santos, primitive art forms that represent Mary, Jesus, and the Saints. They are primitive because they were cut with rough tools. Santos may be carved (bultos) or paintings on wood (retables) often depict saints associated with agriculture.
They also taught the Pueblos the skill of the blacksmith.
In that period, the staple crops of New Mexico are grapes for wine, corn, and wheat. A few vegetables were grown. Fruit trees such as cherries, apricots, and apples were also planted. Cotton was native to the area and grown for some time. But wool replaced the need for the plant. Punche, a false tobacco plant, was grown for smoking and trade. The Spanish crown had a monopoly on the production of real tobacco so it was illegal for anyone to grow the plant in New Mexico.
The economy of New Mexico during that first century of its Spanish settlement centered around trade between the settlers, the Indians, and the Spanish in New Spain. New supplies were only delivered to Santa Fe from New Spain every three years. Shortages of supplies occurred and trade systems became a necessary tool.
In addition to the Pueblo Indians, the unconverted Apache, the captive Ute Indians, and the Genizarosí provided forced labor for Spanish administrators.
The Pueblo attitude toward Christianity was that religion was a means for establishing harmony with the universe. If learning the new religion would help establish this harmony, then the Indians were willing to learn its doctrine and integrate it into their own religious beliefs. St. James, St. Isidore, and St. Rafael were included into the katchinas of the Indians. They relate Christ to Pohe-Yomo who was a similar cultural hero. They liked the color and sound of the Catholic rituals. When the Hopi met Coronadoís lieutenants, they thought that the two faiths could be united into one religion leading to a better brotherhood. The Rio Grande Pueblos had the same idea as the Hopi, but the Franciscan friars would not consider the union.
At one church service, Governor Rosa stood up during the sermon and called the Franciscan friar a liar. The Pueblos began to wonder if they could believe the friars because the governor didnít. The governor had broken the influence of the Catholic friars over the Indians. This Church-State quarrel deteriorated the Spaniardís ability to control New Mexicoís affairs. The governor and the Franciscan friars were not prepared for coming tragedy that was to hit New Mexico leading to the Indiansí eventual revolt.
Governor Don Diego de Vargasí reconquest of New Mexico led to its Spanish recolonization. Several factors made the reconquest important to the Spanish. One factor was the need for reclaiming the souls that were lost to Christianity. Another factor was that New Mexico was needed as a defensive zone against hostile Indian attacks. The final factor was that the Spanish needed to restore their pride after losing New Mexico.
Other factors played a part in the second Pueblo Revolt of 1696. During this period, natural and man-made disasters struck New Mexico. The New Mexicans found themselves in the middle of a drought by 1650. Later, the Indians harvested no crops from 1665 to 1668. Starvation caused hundreds of Indians to die. Dead bodies were scattered throughout the villages and near the roads. The Indians blamed the missionaries because the Puebloís couldnít perform their rain-making ceremonies. Ten years earlier, a smallpox epidemic swept through the Pueblos and 3,000 Indians died. Continuing epidemics had continued killing Indians since 1640.
Another cause of the revolt involved the troubles that the Indians endured prior to the revolt. The Pueblo Indians placed the blame on the Spanish missionaries due to their zealous demands regarding the Puebloís religious culture. Indian religious artifact and kivas were destroyed by soldiers following orders from the missionaries.
In 1675, the religious persecution of 47 medicine men caused additional stress. Some of the medicine men were arrested for killings, while others were arrested for idolatry and witchcraft. Among these 47 men, three were hanged by the Spanish, one hanged himself, and 43 were flogged and imprisoned. Pope, the medicine man of the San Juan Pueblo who was flogged, gained the alliance of other dissatisfied Pueblo groups and the support of neighboring Apache tribes. Prior to his flogging, Pope was a self proclaimed enemy of the Spanish government.
By 1676, a worried Father Francisco de Ayeta petitioned the viceroy to send more soldiers to the area. As a result, fifty armed convicts were sent as soldiers to New Mexico. He also petitioned for a fort to be built, but the viceroy referred the matter to the king.
Until the whipping, the various Pueblos had no one true leader. Each Pueblo community discouraged one individual from demonstrating leadership skills so there were no individual leaders. The whipping of all the medicine men changed this fact. Pope, the medicine man of the San Juan Pueblo who was flogged, gained the alliance of other dissatisfied Pueblo groups and the support of neighboring Apache tribes. Continuing abuse and persecution of the Pueblo Indians fueled the rebellion until it occurred in 1680.
When Tewa warriors from the North entered the apartment of Governor Juan Francisco Trevio demanding the release of the medicine men. The governor consented to their demands because his army was away chasing the Apache. As a result of a show of Spanish weakness, one medicine man named Pope realized that the Spanish were vulnerable. Now that the Pueblo communities had finally united, the idea for a revolt was developing.
He told his plans only to trusted medicine men and war captains who would keep his secrets. Then, he claimed that while he was praying in the kiva, the god Poheyemo appeared to him and appointed him his representative ordering him to kill all the Spaniards, destroy every symbol of Christianity, and to return the Indians to their former way of life. This movement was not popular among all the pueblos. His plans were to unite the warriors of the different pueblos with various Apache tribes and to launch a surprise attack on the Spaniards at Santa Fe and the weakly guarded settlement and missions the missionaries. Pope issued his orders to the other pueblos in a cloud of secrecy. The date set for the attack was August 11, but Governor Otermin learned about the attack. However, the governor didnít think the attack was as extensive as it proved to be and ignored the warning. Pope moved the attack one-day ahead of schedule and laid siege to Santa Fe on August 10. This siege, lasting nine days, ended with the surviving settlers and missionaries escaping to El Paso.
At that time, the Spanish government was short on provisions. A shipment of supplies that was due to arrive but didnít get to Santa Fe on time. This lack of supplies contributed to the defeat of the Spanish settlement at Santa Fe. Additionally, those married in the church were told to abandon their spouses and marry other people. Religious ceremonies of the Catholic Church were banned and the Indians were stopped from verbally using the names of Christ, the Virgin Mary, and the Saints. Despite this, many Indians who believed in the teachings of the Catholic Church, kept religious items from being destroyed by hiding them until the friars could return.
Pope's revolt and the Indians were victorious.
The friar Father Francisco de Ayeta was also in charge of supplying the missions with provisions from New Spain. In 1680, on a return trip to New Mexico with supplies needed by the missions and Santa Fe, he heard the reports of the Pueblo's Revolt. He was able to supply the settlers, soldiers, and missionaries with supplies when they escaped to El Paso. But, New Mexico was lost.
The Reconquest of New Mexico
After more then ten years, the reconquest of New Mexico was viewed by the Spanish people as being similar to the recapture of Spanish territories from the Moors during the Middle Ages. The Spanish lost New Mexico because the government and the missionaries werenít united. While the Spanish government and the church never did unite in their causes, both joined together for the reconquest.
In 1691, Vargas was selected to accomplish the reconquest. By this same time, the Puebloís had disbanded and returned to their old ways which included each pueblo being autonomous from the others. The pueblos were no longer united, Pope had died, and the reconquest by Governor Vargasí soldiers was to succeed. His first trip into New Mexico was with his soldiers for the purpose of reconquest. Later, he would bring settlers back to the area.
His first duty was to quash rebellious tribes surrounding the areas of El Paso. The Pueblo Indians there pledged their peace to the Spanish government. After peace was reestablished, the governor moved his troops on to Santa Fe. Pope had died and the Indians were no longer united under one leader. They thought the Spanish were defeated and did not expect other troops to return. Consequently, they were surprise when Vargasí troops arrived near Santa Fe.
Vargas told the Indians that he wasnít there to punish the people. Instead, his mission was to pardon and convert them. Finally the Indians left Santa Fe and the Spanish resumed their authority over New Mexico. Vargas gave pardons to all the Indians who wanted one and didnít punish any Indian for the revolt.
The Spanish won their reconquest of New Mexico for many reasons. First, the Pueblo Indians were no longer united. Secondly, the Pueblos didnít have sufficient manpower to fight the Spaniards. By the 1700ís, the total population of the Pueblo Indians in New Mexico which once numbered between 40,000 to 50,000, had dwindled to 17,000 due to disease, starvation, fights with neighboring tribes, and battles with the Spanish. Thirdly, the missionaries tried to convert the Indians to Christianity, but many didnít want to be converted. Pueblo Indians, who didnít want to submit to Spanish rule, escaped to live with the Apache and the Navajo Indians. In the end, those who remained submitted to the governorís rule.
With few priests available, the penitentes emerged. Penitente rites were practiced mostly during the Lenten season. Vestiges of the penitente rites are occasionally practiced in the mountain areas of the Sangre de Cristos. The ceremonial building for the penitent brotherhood is called the morada. Originally started during Onateís time of office, some rural people who didnít have a minister, had organized religious brotherhoods of laymen. They called themselves penitentes and flogged themselves and also conducted mock crucifixions. Archbishop Lamy attempted to stop the penitentes in the mid-19th century. Currently, the penitente worship is accepted by the church provide the zealous actions of the original brotherhood does not occur.
In 1693, Vargas returned to New Mexico with more soldiers, seventy families, and eighteen friars. Following the re-conquering of Santa Fe, and Vargasí subsequent departure, some of the Pueblos reneged on their loyalty and pledge of peace. As a result, Vargas had to recapture the capital from the Pueblo Indians. During the following year, he had to subdue rebellious Pueblos. To his credit, he didnít destroy their kivas and the Indiansí resentment was limited. But still, conditions didnít improve for the Indians because the Spanish hadn't learned from their mistakes.
In 1696, another revolution occurred due to much of the same causes as the previous revolt. But Vargas swiftly ended it. However, he did not resolve the underlying problems. The Pueblo Revolt of 1680 was due to the failure of the Spanish government and the Franciscan friars to get along. While they were bickering, the Indians were neglected, abused, and starved. Although the Spanish government was at fault for the majority of the Indianís problems, the Indians blamed the missionaries because the friars didn't allow the Indians to perform their ceremonial dances and other rituals.
Pueblo Indians respected the views and decisions of their religious leaders. This respect extended to the Catholic friars who were trying to convert them to Christianity. The Spanish government verbally fought openly with the friars and deteriorated the Indiansí respect for the missionaries. The Indians began to wonder if they could believe what the friars said, especially if the Spanish government didnít believe them.
For seventy years prior to the 1680 Revolt, Spanish governors and church authorities had continually confronted each other. The government was obliged by the Crown to cooperate with the missionaries. This cooperation was minimal at best. And the exploitation of the Indians was a continual source of that conflict. The actions of the Spanish government had a demoralizing effect on the Indians.
The revolts had caused the Spanish government officials in Mexico City to consider abandoning the province of New Mexico. Father Francisco de Ayeta, the supply officer for the missions, rode 1200 miles to convince the Viceroy that New Mexico was important and insured the future of New Mexico. New Mexico was about to enter into a new era.
In retrospect, although the movementís leader wanted the Indians to return to their previous way of life, the majority of the Indians were unable to do so. Sheep had become important to Pueblo life because of its meat and wool. Sheep were an important commodity because the animal was almost completely consumable. It also provided milk and cheese. This is why the Spaniards implemented what is called the Partido System. It as established using a contract between the sheep owner (patron) and the shepherd (pastor). The shepherd was given a flock of sheep and took them to the mountains. After a specified period of time, the sheep were returned to the patron and the shepherd was given a percentage of the flock which was previously agreed to in the contract. The percentage was usually based on the risks the sheepherder had to undertake while caring for the flock.
Spanish tools, weapons, and goods were superior to those previously used and were now needed on a daily basis. The Pueblo Indians became dependent on these Spanish goods. Also, early copper deposits were worked at the Santa Rita mines near Silver City. As a result, Spanish speaking settlers called Comancheroís, were traders who went east to trade with the Comanches and other Plains Indians. Their role as traders opened the trading to the French and American traders. This trade continued throughout Indian hostilities.
Men like, Pedro Vial, a French resident in New Mexico, was a precursor of the Santa Fe Trail because he discovered a trade route from Santa Fe to New Orleans. He was originally sent to open a trail from San Antonio to Santa Fe. In 1792-93, he traveled over the future Santa Fe Trail and was captured by the Kansa Indians. In 1803-1805, he went North to ask the Plains Indians to stop the Lewis and Clark Expedition.
As New Mexico quieted down and prospered the missionaries and new settlers arrived. The central point for the military defense of New Mexico was positioned around two garrisons. One was created at El Paso in 1683, but withdrawn during 1772. The second, was located at Santa Fe in 1693.
The population pattern of 18th century New Mexico followed the course of the main rivers and their tributaries. Farms and ranches were established in the fertile river valleys. Following 1700, settlers from New Spain flowed into New Mexico and established farms, ranches, and towns. The population of Spaniards and mestizos, or mixed bloods, grew and soon outnumbered the Pueblos who became a minority in their homelands.
The majority of the new Spanish population lived in smaller settlements. These were built along the Rio Grande, the lower Chama River, and in the Taos Valley. The main military defenses were at El Paso and Santa Fe. Settlement went as far north as Ojo Caliente. In 1770, settlements were established beyond the Pecos, but they were soon abandoned due to hostile Comanche raids. Settlements followed river valleys as far north as the San Luis Valley. Sheepherders were among the first settlers to expand the population into the frontier.
Abiquiu, Tome, Belen, and San Miquel were started as Genizaro settlements in New Mexico's frontier. They served as a defensive zone on the outer border of New Mexico.
Father Juan de Morfiís evaluation of New Mexico's residents was that they chose to live in remote unobserved areas because they were free to commit immoral and criminal acts. The rural residents were often nude and lewd. New Mexico's towns were not immune to social rebellion either.
Many Franciscan missionaries returned and built new missions. Farms and ranches were established in the Rio Abajo area. Previously, Spanish colonists built their farms near the Rio Grande and other major rivers, but now they were establishing farms in other areas of the province. This Period of Repartimiento placed demands for provided Indian labor to the settlements, farms, and ranches. This labor force was used to build the new towns and work the Spanish's farms and ranches.
New crops, including wheat, were introduced, planted, and grown throughout the province. Grapes for wine were introduced to the region. Apple, cherry, and apricot trees were brought into the area. Sheep were more prevalent than cattle in New Mexico and the Indians used the wool for weaving instead of cotton. Punche, a native false tobacco was being planted to replace the tobacco plant. A few vegetables were also planted to supplement the food supply of the settlers and the Indians. After these crops were harvested, they became trade goods.
As new settlements began to be established, Albuquerque was founded near the Rio Grande by Captain Hurtado, Father Juan Minguez. Albuquerque was built in 1706 because thirty-five families marked out a plaza around the giant cottonwood trees near the east bank of the Rio Grande. An additional, 252 original settlers acquired land from the Spanish government on a provisional basis. Other settlements were established as far north as Ojo Caliente and beyond the Pecos. The Genizaro settlements of Abiquiu, Tome, Belen, and San Miguel were established as defensive zones on the outer areas of the province. In time, miners moved into the area of the Ortiz Mountains, Cerrillos, and Silver City in search of turquoise, gold, silver, and copper. The region was growing and prospering causing trade to expand.
Prior to the Taos Trade Fair, New Mexico's trade was limited to the Indians, settlers, and south into New Spain. New Mexico's trade routes were very risky. Sometimes the supply shipments arrived safely and other times they didn't. Trade became safer by the establishment of the fair. In the beginning, this yearly event attracted Indians from various tribes, Genizaros, and the Spanish who traded with illegal goods. It proved to be a marketing tool necessary for the economic growth of New Mexico. Soon, New Mexican traders traveled east and south to bring merchandise to the fair. The fair was also used for the bartering of slaves and ransoming of captives. Pawnee and Wichita slaves were brought from the central plains.
Even the governor of New Mexico traveled to these fairs to insure the harmony of the fair. He had a mercy fund that he sometimes used to solve quarrels over the price of merchandise. The king authorized a mercy fund for the purchase of the Indiansí slaves who sometimes were Spaniards captured from other distant settlements.
Trade became formalized by the establishment of the Taos Trade Fair. So much so, that a truce was called during the fair and traders traveled freely to bring merchandise safely to the fair and to New Mexico communities. Communities could get supplies that were desperately needed. The people were able to move about with minimal risk to their lives. Participants in the fair were friendly until they returned home. Then hostile Indian tribes made plans to attack the same people that they just traded with. Some of the hostile Indians traded horses and sheep and then stole them back at a later time. The Spanish looked forward to this time of peace with the Indians. The New Mexican supply trains and Spanish lives weren't safe during the rest of the year.
Supplies and trade goods could be brought in from the north, south, east, and west without any interference from the Indians. The Spanish looked forward to this time of peace with the Indians because it was preferable to the constant wars with hostile Indians that took place during the rest of the year. Missionaries attended the fair and conducted peace talks with the hostile Indians.
The Taos site in the northern part of the province was assessable from the north and the Great Plains and allowed the traders to avoid government interference. Indians brought hides, jerky, tallow, pelts, and captives. These, they traded for beads and other merchandise. Chihuahua and Durango merchants brought trade goods and cheated the Indians and the New Mexicans. The Spanish originally prohibited trade in horses, mules, and guns, but changed this prohibition. Guns were traded to the Indians during the 1700ís.
It was profitable to everyone except the Indians. Indians brought hides, jerky, tallow, pelts, and captives that they traded for beads and other merchandise. The fair was not profitable to the Indians because the peso had a different value for Spaniards, genizaros, and the Indians. Indians paid for their goods with pesos, fuertes, and were paid with pesos de la tierra which was a trade money that only had 25% of the value of peso fuertes.
Religion had always played a significant role in New Mexico's early history and contributed to the discovery, exploration, naming, continued settlement, and reconquest of New Mexico. Earlier, in 1581, Franciscan lay brother Agustin Rodriguez, along with with two other Franciscans and Francisco Sanchez Chamuscado, traveled northward on the Rio Grande and named the area The Kingdom of San Felipe. They explored the Manzano Mountains to the Pecos and into the Buffalo Plains and were killed. A Father Bernardino Beltran organized a rescue party for Rodriguezís group. While traveling their route, he renamed the area "Nueva Andalusia." Both expeditions rekindled interest in New Mexico. But still the missionaries continued to bring the faith to the Indians.
Back in 1607, when Governor Onate was removed from office, the Crown considered removing the settlements. But it was the Friars who sent favorable reports to the king that included the fact that New Mexico already had 8,000 Pueblo converts. The king was committed to converting the Indians to Christianity and didn't withdraw the settlers from New Mexico. The purpose of the settling New Mexico remained to convert all the Pueblo's to Christianity.
And these converted Indians obeyed the mission priests regarding religious matters and worldly matters. Some Indians were given tasks that were considered against their beliefs and their culture. If they refused to obey, the priests and soldiers carried out punishment. Indians were whipped or put in stocks, their heads shaved and sent from the pueblos in disgrace. And yet, it was the Indians who built the large adobe churches for the missionaries.
These same friars would not allow the Indians to practice their cultural religious ceremonies and flogged them when it occurred. As a result, religious practices were held in secret for fear of punishment that included medicine men being flogged.
The practice of Pueblo government continued with the office of petty governor (gobernadorcillo) and the smaller governmental positions of lieutenant-governor, sheriff (alguacil), irrigation boss (mayordomo) and church warden (fiscal). Each held a one year term of office after they were elected by a vote of the Pueblo people. This municipal government handled minor political and judicial affairs. A council of elders (principales), comprised of former governors and lieutenant governors, was added to serve as an advisory committee.
Many specific steps were taken by Spain to solidify its control of New Mexico after initial occupation. Each step gave the Pueblo Indians a governmental and religious structure that would coincide with the Spanish government and religious structure. These republicas, or municipal domains were the only representative government positions available to the citizens where they were allowed by the Spanish government to participate directly in politics. The flaw in the Spanish system was that the holy men of each pueblo selected who was elected to these offices and then ruled through them. Currently all pueblos still have a governor who leads the government of the Pueblos.
The death of Diego de Vargas a few years earlier in 1704, marked the passing of an era in New Mexico history by forcing the Spanish to look at problems outside their colony. The Spanish government had concentrated their affairs on local problems. However, now they had to broaden the scope of their concerns.
The vast wilderness of North America that was outside Spanish jurisdiction. The first foreign traders to arrive in New Mexico were the French led by Pierre and Paul Mallet who were residents of Illinois, but they didn't attempt a settlement. The Frenchman Robert Cavelier de la Salle and his army set up a fort near the head of Lavaca Bay. Indian attacks and epidemics forced the group to abandon the fort. La Salle was killed by one of his own men. But several survivors remained living among the Texas Indians. These were taken prisoner by the Spanish and sent to Mexico City for interrogation. Jacques Grole and Jean lí Archeveque were two French prisoners that were captured from La Salles group. They were allowed to emigrate to New Mexico after the reconquest of the area. They changed their names to Santiago Gurule and Juan de Archibeque and still have descendants who live in New Mexico.
The invasion was troubling to the Spanish even though the fort was deserted by the time it was discovered. This was a warning to the Spanish that their northern territory was in jeopardy. Although Texas was previously neglected by Spain, La Salleís actions led the Spanish to place forts and missions in Texas during the 1700ís. Fortunately for the Spanish, the end of the French and Indian War in 1763 marked the end of the French as a rival force of Spain in Western North America.
However, the Robert Cavelier de la Salle incident pointed out a long running problem, continued Indian attacks. A Pawnee Indian group was responsible for the defeat of Pedro de Villasur near the Platte River in present day Nebraska. Governor Valverde was blamed for the defeat of Pedro de Villasur because he had sent an unseasoned lieutenant on such an important and dangerous mission. Later, the Comanche Indians coming out of the northern mountains became a force to be seriously reckoned with in New Mexico after the Pueblo Revolt and the Spanish reconquest around 1706. The other hostile Indian groups surrounding New Mexico were the Jicarilla, a group of assorted Apache bands camped on the far-eastern frontier. On the southeastern plains were the Mecalero Apache tribe. Along the southern border of New Mexico the Gila Apache attacked the travelers and sheepherders south and west of Albuquerque. The Navajo's from the mountains and mesas of the west finished the circle.
During this period, Governor Juan de Anza decided to go to war with the Comanche who were responsible for destroying many towns and killing hundreds. The purpose for his campaign against the Comanche was to stop them from raiding New Mexican settlements. It was his intent to later form an alliance with them. The experienced Indian fighter knew these goals could only be achieved in battle. The governor studied Chief Cuerno Verde, the Comanches, and the geography of the plains that extended from Colorado to eastern New Mexico. He knew victory could only be achieved by invading the Comancheís homeland and capturing Chief Cuerno Verde. In 1779, the governor prepared his soldiers and the citizen's militia for the fight. He equipped his militia with new horses and issued new military supplies to them. Then he divided the 600 men militia into three divisions, sent out scouts, and marched them north to Colorado to find Cuerno Verde.
Anza had learned that all the earlier armies sent against the Comanche had taken the mountain pass east of Taos into the Comancheís territory. He knew that this route was watched by the Comanche, giving them warning whenever troops were approaching them. Anza concluded that he would take his troops was to travel up the west slope of the Rockies. At a point near the enemy's camp, soldiers would leave the mountains and outflank the Comanche.
The plan was successful. Anzaís troops crossed over the ridges of the Front Range just below Pike's Peak and attacked the Indians from behind. He learned that Cuerno Verde had gone to pillage New Mexico and was returning to his camp along the Arkansas River. Anza, in his finest military campaign, was able to surprise the Comanche and kill the chief. The success of Anza effectively stopped the Indians raids that had plagued New Mexico. This victory eventually led to a permanent truce with the Comanche.
Governor Juan Bautista de Anza wanted to establish a new communication route to Senora that would allow New Mexico's provincial leaders to communicate with Sonoraís provincial government. This search coincided with New Mexico's governmental attempts to improve communication with the northern provinces. New Mexicans wanted to fortify both their defensive position and their economic position.
The only road accessible for trade went through Chihuahua and its merchants took advantage of this situation by charging high prices for their products. Anza wanted to establish a new trade route that would offer New Mexicans the chance to purchase merchandise at fair prices.
The province of Sonora extended north to the Gila River and included the settlements of Tucson and Tubac. The land north of the Gila formed part of the province of New Mexico. The province of Nueva Vizcaya was located east of Sonora and was tied closely to New Mexico by the King's Highway, or the Camino Real. The Camino Real ran from the town of Chihuahua and continued almost straight north to El Paso and then to Santa Fe. This road was the only established route that provided a link to New Mexico's Rio Grande communities. New Mexico's limited access to trade allowed Chihuahuan traders to take advantage of New Mexicans by establishing a monopoly over provincial commerce. A new trade route to Sonora would break their monopoly.
In 1780, Anzaís expedition left Santa Fe for Sonora. After traveling to southwestern New Mexico, his expedition journeyed along the edge of the Black Range in south-central New Mexico. Then, they crossed a desert near present-day Deming and climbed the San Luis Pass. Finally, he reached Arizpe, Sonoraís capital. The route of Anzaís expedition to Senora proved to be too long and difficult to be established as a trade and communication route.
In the late 1700s, Spain invited each of the New World colonies to send a representative to this parliament. Pedro Bautista Pino, a humorous merchant of prominence from Santa Fe, was chosen as a cortes or parliament representative in 1810. His significance was in his words and actions. He thought that the Spanish government should respond to the needs of its people and that these citizens should express their needs. In 1812, he wrote down his views and published them in a book titled, "A Concise and Candid Exposition on the Province of New Mexico". He told the parliament about the exact problems facing his homeland and offered suggestions regarding actions Spain should take to remedy the problems. The author wrote that Americans were menacing New Mexico's borders. He also told the government that his area needed schools, a better judicial system, and a separate bishopric. The book also detailed the life and conditions facing the New Mexico farmer and rancher.
By the late 1800s, the Spanish had altered Indian life in many ways. Their settlements resulted in changing tribal customs and religious traditions. Indians had lost their lands. Spanish villas and farms were constructed on prime Indian land and near important water sources. Indians had lost prime farm and grazing lands at the same time they were taxed into working the land for the Spanish. This had become the way of the New World.