The Pueblo Revolt of 1680: Lesson for Kids

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  • 0:04 Spanish Conquistadors
  • 1:12 Turning to Religion
  • 2:09 The Revolt Plot
  • 2:54 Freedom
  • 3:27 Lesson Summary
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Instructor: Angela Burke

Angela has over ten years of teaching experience in Special Education, classroom teaching and GT. She has a master's degree in Special Ed with an emphasis in Gifted.

Have you ever felt so mad that you wanted to rebel and stand up for yourself and your rights? This is what happened during the Pueblo Revolt of 1680 in the state of New Mexico. In this lesson, find out why the revolt started and its surprising outcome!

Spanish Conquistadors

How would you feel if people from another country came to your town and took it over, eating your food, building on your land, and demanding you change your way of life to be more like them? This is what happened to the Pueblo Native Americans, beginning in 1598, when the Spanish conquistadors, or conquerors, moved into what is now the state of New Mexico. The Spanish brought missionaries, or people sent on a mission to persuade other people to take up the religion of Christianity, the religion that is based on the teachings of Jesus Christ.

The Pueblo people lived in pueblos, meaning villages or towns. When the Spanish arrived, the Pueblo people were not treated well. The Spanish made them work hard and took away their native religion. To make matters worse, in the 1670s, the Pueblo people were dying because of disease brought over from Europe. There was a lack of water and people were starving. The promises the Spanish made to the Pueblo people were broken. Only 19 out of about 100 pueblos were left by the end of the Spanish rule.

Turning to Religion

Because of so many hardships, the Pueblo people turned to their native religion with hope that life would get better. The Spanish were angry about this and they told the missionaries to take the Pueblo people's masks and prayer sticks. The Spanish forbid them to practice their native religion.

Think of a time when you were treated unfairly, or blamed for something you didn't do. It might have made you feel angry. This is what was happening with the Pueblo people. In 1675, 47 medicine men were accused of witchcraft. Four of the medicine men died, while the rest were whipped and put in jail. When they were released, one of them, named Pope (sometimes pronounced Po-pay), wanted to fight back. Pope became the leader of the Pueblo Revolt. He moved to Taos Pueblo, a valley near the Rio Grande River, where he gathered support from other Pueblo people to plot, which means to plan, a rebellion against the Spanish.

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