The New Mexico: Preliminaries to Conquest
The "Christianization" of Pecos
The Shadow of the Inquisition
Their Own Worst Enemies
Pecos and the Friars
Pecos, the Plains, and the Provincias Internas
If Juárez or anyone else counted on pardon for
the murderers of the king's representative in New Mexico, their hopes
faded in the summer of 1642 when the implacable visitor general Juan de
Palafox, assumed the viceregency. Palafox stood for royal authority and
against the special privileges of the religious orders. He viewed the
New Mexico affair as a patent case of "revolt and sedition," crediting
the reports of men like Sargento mayor Francisco Gómez and
branding the Franciscans the villains in the tragedy. He instructed his
governor accordingly. 
Under cover of general amnesty granted by Palafox,
Gov. Alonso Pacheco y Heredia quietly identified the leaders of the
pro-Franciscan, anti-Rosas faction. Then on July 21, he had Antonio Baca
and seven other soldier-colonists beheaded in summary fashion. The same
day, town crier Jusepe announced the executions to a stunned populace.
The governor reiterated the general pardon and ordered every citizen of
the colony to rally to the royal standard within two weeks or suffer the
death penalty. They knew he meant it. At the end of the decree, he
added: "And likewise under said penalty all the Indians captains of the
pueblos are to come." 
Bishop Juan de Palafox, viceroy in 1642,
Francisco Sánchez Castaner, Don Juan de Palafox (Zaragoza,
Evidently a delegation from Pecos was there in the
crowd on the feast of St. Ann, July 26. Before the governor and the
royal standard, there appeared, in the words of the official
all the vassals, citizens, and residents of these
provinces, likewise the prelate, his definitorium, and the rest of the
guardians, and all the principal caciques of the settlements, as proof
of loyalty and of the true obedience owed the Royal Majesty. In
compliance with the general pardon published by the crier all those who
were accomplices of the executed leaders asked for acquittal and
immunity, by virtue of which said lord governor ordered issued for their
favor and pardon certificates in due form. He also ordered continuation
of payment to the thirty soldiers who have enlisted to maintain
obedience and the public peace of these provinces. 
Still, the sheep refused to lie down with the lion.
Inside a month, Governor Pacheco had threatened Custos Covarrubias with
banishment or worse if he did not consent to the reburial of a body in
the Santa Fe church, the same excommunicate body, since removed, that
Father Vidania had let in three and a half years before. The aggrieved
relatives of the eight executed men filed criminal charges against
Pacheco. Ordered to investigate the conduct of the clergy in New Mexico,
the well-respected procurator-general Fray Tomás Manso chose
witnesses who whitewashed the friars and damned the memory of Rosas and
Vidania. There had been no rebellion, vowed Manso. There had been open
rebellion, countered Pacheco. 
"Map of the Kingdom of New Mexico
dedicated to Señor don Francisco Antonio Marín del Valle,
governor and captain general of said kingdom, by don Bernardo de Miera y
Pacheco, showing the provinces that surround it, enemy and peaceful," c.
1760 (Colleción de Orozco y Berra, no. 1148). The allegorical
figure in the upper lefthand corner is the pope being drawn in his coach
by the lions of Castile. Courtesy of the Dirección General de
Geografín y Meteorolgía, Tacubaya, D. F., Mexico
"Dance and dress of the Indians of New
Mexico." Detail from the Miera map, c. 1760.
"Dress of the Faraón Apaches and
their manner of fighting against the Spaniards." Judging from his fancy
outfit and trappings, the Spaniard in the foreground may be Governor
Marín. Detail from the Miera map, c. 1760.
"Dress of the Comanches" and the El Paso
district. The note says that New Mexico's jurisdiction extends thirty
leagues farther south. Detail from the Miera map, c. 1760.
Northeastern New Mexico. The note reads:
"All these lands on this side of the mountains and their rivers are
dominated by Comanches, who invade said kingdom plundering and
murdering. They are extremely skillful in horsemanship and use of
firearms, which they get from the French nation. The Apache nations also
wage vigorous war to the south." Detail from the Miera map, c.
The Specter of Pueblo Revolt
Nothing had changed. The small ruling minority in New
Mexico, far from the seat of authority, remained polarized by
self-interest and fear around the office of the governor or the
Franciscan-dominated church. At issue, as always, was social and
economic control of the Pueblo Indians. Both factions within the
Hispanic community recognized the growing danger of Pueblo revolt. The
Zuñis, the Jémez, and the Taos had made certain of that.
What blinded governors and friars alike was the inability of either
faction, in the context of their struggle, to admit any share of the
When the friars of the custody convened at Santo
Domingo in 1644, their major concern was defense against the calumny
that had made them traitors in the eyes of king and council. They
underscored the adverse effect of the Rosas tyranny on the Pueblo
Indians, "who are for certain the best Indians in the world."
Considering the grinding oppression and indignity these poor natives had
suffered at the hands of governors and encomenderos, "even to taking
away their children and selling them," it was truly, the friars
contended, "a miracle that they have not killed us all." 
It was a miracle, to be sure. But in the stifling
paternalism of their missions, the friars also wrought oppression and
When Fray Andrés Juárez, dean of New
Mexico missionaries in 1647, addressed the king, he laid the blame as
usual to self-serving governors. "May I be cursed of God if they have
kept a single command of Your Majesty." They were the scourge of the
land, despoiling Indians and colonists, provoking the Apaches, and
interfering in the missions. The past governor, don Fernando de
Argüello, for selfish reasons of his own, had rebuked a friar for
having an Indian whipped. If the missionary tried it again, said the
governor, the Indians should shoot him with arrows. As a result of such
blatant discord between secular and religious authority, and the
continual exploitation, the Pueblos, alleged Juárez, were no
longer obeying their friars and were returning to idolatry. 
Pecos human effigies, tallest 3".
If the Pueblos were stirring under the whip of
mission discipline, it was not alone because the governors interfered,
but also because the whip stung.
They had already begun plotting. Governor
Argüello, 1644 to 1647, "had twenty-nine Indians hanged in the
pueblo of the Jémez as traitors and confederates of the Apaches."
In 1650, a revolt, reportedly involving Jémez, Keres, Southern
Tiwas, and Apaches, aborted. The Pueblos had arranged to hand over to
the Apaches the Spaniards' horse herds, thereby immobilizing their
oppressors for the kill. The plan was "to attack in all districts on the
night of Holy Thursday, because the Spaniards would then be assembled."
But word leaked out. "Many Indians were arrested from most of the
pueblos of this kingdom. As a result nine leaders were hanged and many
others were sold as slaves for ten years." 
Despite the setback of the Rosas years and the
ominous stirring of the Pueblos, the friars rallied during the 1650s.
Their Sonora adventure, begun in 1645 when five friars went among the
northern Opatas, ended in 1651 or 1652 after Franciscans and alarmed
Jesuits worked out a compromise withdrawal, but only after the friars,
had harvested a considerable crop of souls. During the fifties, the
custody finally acted to found missions for the Manso and Suma Indians
at El Paso and to the southwest. They stayed well on their side of the
line agreed upon with the Jesuits. In 1657, the viceroy approved the
Franciscans' bid for twenty missionaries to bring the New Mexico custody
up to full quota, plus four extras to minister to Mansos and Sumas.
They would need all the strength they could muster.
Another governor, the devious don Bernardo López de
Mendizábal, rode north in the same caravan, "another Rosas." 
The Pecos Bide Time
For twenty years no one mentioned Pecos, or so it
appears from the documents that survive. From the time of Rosas, who
interested himself unduly in the pueblo's trade, to that of López
de Mendizábal, who took office in 1659, it was as if Pecos had
ceased to exist. This long silence reveals, if nothing else, a certain
unobtrusiveness on the part of the people. If some of them abandoned the
pueblo or took part in the conspiracy of 1650, the Pecos, unlike the
Taos or Jémez, did so unnoticed.
Even the names of their missionaries have vanished.
From Antonio de Ibargaray, who sat down at Pecos and wrote the viceroy
in 1636, and Brother Antonio Jiménez, confined there briefly by
Rosas in 1638, to ex-custos Juan Gonzalez, serving the mission in 1660,
the rolls are blank.  Afraid for his
life in 1640, the Pecos missionary probably moved in with the others at
Santo Domingo. Although Pecos may have been relegated for a time to a
preaching station of Santa Fe or Galisteo, it is not likely that the
friars left such a prominent pueblo or such a fine church and convento
unattended for long.
A listing and census of the missions, evidently
compiled in 1641, contains the following entry for the Pueblo de los
it has a very good church, provision for public
worship, órgano, and choir. There are 1,189 souls under
its administration. 
Pecos was listed eighth. The compiler, who had
described five of the previous churches as "very good," and the others
as not so good, began to color his descriptions on down the line. The
churches at Chililí and Isleta were "very fine
(excelentísima)," the one at Jémez "splendid
(grandiosa)," at Sandia "excellent (excelente)," at
Ácoma "exceedingly handsome (hermosísima)," and the
one the Indians had wrecked at Taos "a handsome temple (un hermoso
templo)." The slight to Fray Andrés Juárez'
magnificent monument at Pecos was the result not of the compiler's
careful appraisal of architecture, but rather of his elegant variation
of adjectives. He also forgot to mention the convento.
The órgano, shown at Pecos and at sixteen
other missions, was probably a small cabinet organ. Extant mission
supply lists show shawms, bassoons, and trumpets, but no organs. Such
organs could have been made in New Mexico, and destroyed in the revolt
of 1680. On the other hand, the same word can also mean canto de
órgano, or polyphonic music. It could be that all these
missions, like some of them during the time of Benavides, had Indians
choirs trained in polyphony. 
But the poignant thing about this brief entry is the
population. Most of the entries are expressed in round numbers, some of
them obvious estimates. The figure for Pecos seems to be the result of
an actual count, or of a devious friar. If we set aside the pious
chroniclers like Benavides and Vetancurt, who kept the number of Pecos
steady at "more than two thousand" through most of the century, the
decline is appalling.
Father Juárez, who should have known, put the
population of Pecos at "two thousand souls or a few less" in 1622. If
the 1641 figure is accurate at 1,189and if both include
childrenthe loss is about forty percent in twenty years. Late in
1694, the count, which definitely included children, was down to 736. In
human terms, where three Pecos had lived in 1622, only two lived in
1641, and only one in 1694. 
The ministry of Fray Andrés Juárez,
1622 to 1635, was formative in the "Christianization" of Pecos. Digging
in the ruins three hundred years later, the astute A. V. Kidder
recognized this fact without even knowing the friar's name.
It was probably 1620 or 1630 before domestic animals,
china dishes and metal implements became common enough to find their way
into the refuse in quantity and so to mark, for the excavator, the
beginning of European influence. 
That influence, the Pecos now knew, meant more than
sheep and flowered plates and trade knives. Much more.
After Códice Azcatitlan, central
Mexico, 16th century.