Don Diego de Vargas Statue and the Pueblo Revolt
This monument commemorates Don Diego de Vargas who served the crown as Governor of New Mexico after the Pueblo Revolt of 168. In 1680, many tribes of the Pueblo Indians revolted against the Spanish empire within their holdings of Santa Fe de Nuevo Mexico (containing parts of modern-day New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado and Kansas). Also know as Pope's Rebellion (not to be confused with the head of the Catholic Church), the revolt was lead by one Pope (Po'Pay) to free the Pueblo from the inhumane treatments laid on them by Spanish political and military leaders, and some religious leaders. The Revolt killed over 400 Spanish settlers and officials and drove Spain out. What would become the modern city of Santa Fe, was one of many Spanish towns captiured by the Pueblos. It would take 13 years for Spain to regain control of Santa Fe de Nuevo Mexico. The reconquest was violent, but did lead to some changes to the empire's Indian policy. Violence and revolt be attempted again after the reconquest, but never at the 1680 scale. Changes to policies included allowing property rights to some Indians, ability to argue cases before local Spanish Courts, end to wholly dismantle indigenous faith by Franciscan priests, and many members of the Pueblo tribes leaving their homes for the Great Plains. A statue of Pope is found in New Mexico's Capitol Building. The town, now city, of Santa Fe would be recaptured by Spain during the end of 1693.
Backstory and Context
Popé then ordered the revolt to begin a day early. The Hopi pueblos located on the remote Hopi Mesas of Arizona did not receive the advanced notice for the beginning of the revolt and followed the schedule for the revolt. On August 10, the Pueblos rose up, stole the Spaniards' horses to prevent them fleeing, sealed off roads leading to Santa Fe, and pillaged Spanish settlements. A total of 400 people were killed, including men, women, children, and 21 of the 33 Franciscan missionaries in New Mexico. Survivors fled to Santa Fe and Isleta Pueblo, 10 miles south of Albuquerque and one of the Pueblos that did not participate in the rebellion. By August 13, all the Spanish settlements in New Mexico had been destroyed and Santa Fe was besieged. The Pueblo surrounded the city and cut off its water supply. In desperation, on August 21, New Mexico Governor Antonio de Otermín, barricaded in the Governor’s Palace, sallied outside the palace with all of his available men and forced the Pueblo to retreat with heavy losses. He then led the Spaniards out of the city and retreated southward along the Rio Grande, headed for El Paso del Norte. The Pueblos shadowed the Spaniards but did not attack. The Spaniards who had taken refuge in Isleta had also retreated southward on August 15 and on September 6 the two groups of survivors, numbering 1,946, met at Socorro. About 500 of the survivors were Indian slaves. They were escorted to El Paso by a Spanish supply train. The Pueblos did not block their passage out of New Mexico.
Ever since the recapture of Santa Fe by de Vargas, Santa Fe has held "de Vargas Days" ceremonies to commemorate the event.
November/December 2002, Volume 23/Number 6.
Sando, Joe S., Pueblo Nations: Eight Centuries of Pueblo Indian History, Clear Light Publishers, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 1992 pp. 61–62
Hackett, Charles Wilson. Historical Documents Relating to New Mexico, Nueva Vizacaya and Approaches Thereto in 1773, 3 vols, Washington, 1937
Flint, Richard and Shirley Cushing. "Antonio de Otermin and the Pueblo Revolt of 1680." New Mexico Office of the State Historian,
Richard Flint and Shirley Cushing Flint (2009). "Bartolome de Ojeda". New Mexico Office of the State Historian.
Flint, Richard and Shirley Cushing, "de Vargas, Diego." New Mexico Office of the State Historian