- Ron McCoy
Popé (?–1688), principal organizer of the Pueblo revolt (1680) that drove the Spanish from New Mexico for twelve years, principal organizer of the Pueblo revolt (1680) that drove the Spanish from New Mexico for twelve years, was a native of the village of San Juan. Although virtually nothing is known about Popé’s early life, emergence as an important political and religious leader marks his adulthood. Popé (the Tewa name may refer to a ripe plant) lived amid the turmoil created by Spain’s 1598 colonization of New Mexico. By 1680 many of New Mexico’s village-dwelling Pueblo farmers felt victimized by Spanish religious persecution and demands on their labor. Conditions favored the emergence of a leader like Popé, who offered a counterweight to Spanish domination. For traditional leaders, whose secular roles entwined with the religious sphere of Pueblo life, the remedy lay in emphasizing those cultural attributes that set them apart from the Spanish. Accordingly, Popé and those of like mind sought revival of the proven ways of the Pueblo past. It was as a proponent of this policy of cultural renaissance, acting in his capacity as a religious leader of shamanic proportions, that Popé attained influence....