The Missions of New Mexico

The Missions of New Mexico in 1680 showed a population of twenty-five thousand, of which probably twenty-five hundred were Spaniards. Neither in importance, wealth, nor influence did they compare with the great Missions of the eighteenth century, established in other provinces of Mexico. From the records of the Church, made mainly of the reports of the priests in control at the time, is derived what knowledge is available on the subject, and these give but little information in regard to each of these quasi Missions. The following notes are taken from the reports of 1680 and 1691.

Seneca (San Antonio), above Guadalupe del Paso, founded in 1630 by P. Arteaga, succeeded by P. Garcia de Zuniga, or San Francisco, who is buried there. Piros nation ; Convent of San Antonio; vineyard ; fish

Socorro, above Semern; of Piros nation; 600 inhabitants. Founded by P. Garcia.

Alamillo (Santa Ana), 31 miles above Socorro; 300 Piros.

Sevilleta, 51 miles from Alamillo across river; Piros.

Isleta (San Antonio), where a small stream, with the Rio del Norte, encloses a fertile tract. Convent built by P. Juan de Salos; 2,000 inhabitants of Tiguas nation; named for the alamo trees which shade the road. Puray, or Purnay (San Bartolome), 11 miles from Sandia (Alameda) ; 200 Tiguas.

Sandia (San Francisco), 11 miles from Puray; 3,000 Tiguas. Convent, where P. Estevan de Perea, the founder, is buried; also the skull of P. Rodrigues, the first martyr, is venerated.

San Felipe, on the river, on a height (apparently on east bank); 300 inhabitants with the little pueblo of Santa Ana; of Zures (Queres) nation; Convent founded by Quinones, who, with P. Geron Pedraza, is buried here.

Santo Domingo, above San Felipe; 150 inhabitants. One of the best convents, where the archives are kept, and where in 1661 was celebrated an auto da fe by order of the Inquisition. P. Juan de Escalona is buried here. Padres in 1680, Talaban (one custodio), Lorenzana, and Mondesdeoca.

Santa Fe Villa, 81 miles from Domingo; residence of the Governor and soldiers, with four padres. Tesuque (San Lorenzo), 21 miles from Santa Fe, in a forest; 200 Tiguas (Tehuas); P. Juan Bautista Pio. Nambe (San Francisco), 3 miles east of Tesuque; 51 miles from Rio del Norte; two little settlements of
Jacono and Cuya Manque; 600 inhabitants. P. Thomas de Tirres.

San Ildefonso, near the river, and 21 miles from Jacona, in a fertile tract, with 20 farms ; 800 inhabitants. PP. Morales, Sanches, De Pro and Fr. Luis.

Santa Clara. Convent on height by the river; 300 inhabitants; a visita of San Ildefonso.

Sun Juan de los Cabelleros. Three hundred inhabitants; visita of San Ildefonso. In sight are the buildings of the Villa de San Gabriel, the first Spanish capital.

All the padres named in the above fifteen Missions were killed in the revolt of the Indians in 1680, as they were in eighteen other Missions at the same time. The revolt was attributed to demoniac influences upon a people given to idolatry. It is said that a girl, several years before miraculously raised from the dead, foretold the uprising and massacre. The tribes were deeply devoted to their primitive faith, and resorted to old rites and forms of worship in secret on every opportunity. The priests destroyed their idols and punished them severely whenever detected in their devotions. The State taxed heavily; the soldier had no regard for native rights, and no mercy. Had the Missions been in absolute control of the situation the rebellion might not have happened, but the curse of Spanish misrule was upon all, and the padres were held responsible by the natives for the tyranny of Church and State.

The Pueblo, or Zuni Indians, occupied the central region of revolt. They had been a peaceful agricultural people for ages, and had a civilization above the Aztecs and equal to the Mayas, except in architecture and written language. The soldier entered the Zuni country one hundred and forty years before the rebellion and subdued it with fire and sword. The priests came immediately in his rear, and vigorously attacked the Zuni creed and worship; they suppressed it for a century, but did not eradicate it; and when the flames of war burst out, the Indian was conquered again, but the progress of the Missions was stayed forever. The parish church was substituted, and remains today administering the rites of the Church and teaching its creed to a population less enlightened than the Zuni.

Return to: The Missions of California and the Old Southwest

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