This lead to the creation of a hybrid culture of Spanish and Indian peoples. The birth of this new culture demonstrated the success the Spaniards had in the waning days of the century (Otermin, 2007). The Spaniards used the idea of converting the native populations to Christianity and forcing their values to match their own (Otermin, 2007). Eighty years after the establishment of the first colony in the Rio Grande Valley by Juan de Onate in 1598, Spanish missionaries had built thirty missions as well as thirty religious stations.
The Pueblo tribes and the Spanish colonists coexisted but not without conflict. Thousands of Pueblos were converted to Christianity. The converts adopted the rituals of the Christians, such as the Christian form of marriage and baptism. They also practiced the Christian burial rituals. However, these converts also observed their native religious rituals. This straddling of both religions angered the Franciscan missionaries.
This anger drove the Franciscans to destroy religious objects and shrines of the natives, and punish Indian ceremonial leaders (Otermin, 2007). In addition, the Spanish forced the natives to provide slave labor to build churches, as well as work in mines and farms for the encomenderos. These encomenderos were Spanish colonists whose role was to protect the local natives from hostile Indian tribes. Late in the seventeenth century, diseases imported by the Spaniards such as smallpox and measles, began to decimate the Indian population.
Natural disasters such as crop failures and major droughts added to the misery of the natives. Attacks by the hostile Navajo and Apache tribes aggravated the strained relationship between the Spanish colonists and the Pueblos (Otermin, 2007). In 1670, a missionary claimed he was bewitched by a Pueblo community. Several Indians were executed and several more were beaten for this offense. From this, the seeds of revolt were planted. Ten years later, Pope, one of the beaten natives rose to lead a massive revolt.
Pope’s united forces sought to drive all traces of Spanish influence from their lands. The Pueblo Revolt of 1680 was successful in ridding the Pueblos of the Spaniards for a decade. Pope’s efforts united the Pueblos against an oppressive Spaniard regime and gained their people a few more years of independence. Reference Otermin, D. A. Mexican American Voices: Resistance and accommodation in New Mexico. (2007). Digital History. Retrieved May 14, 2009, from: www. digitalhistory. uh. edu/mexican_voices/voices_display. cfm? id=24