Pueblo Indians

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Pueblo Indians

Pueblo Indians, Native Americans of New Mexico and northern Arizona. The modern Pueblos are descendants of the prehistoric Anasazi, who inhabited the Four Corners area. About 700 ce the Anasazi underwent a complete transition to agriculture and sedentary life, ushering in the Pueblo cultural period, which continues to this day. With the arrival of the Spaniards in New Mexico during the sixteenth century, most of the Pueblo Indians were settled along the Rio Grande and its tributaries. Encountering people of a common culture living in multistoried stone and mud apartments, the Spaniards dubbed these native peoples "Pueblos" (from the Spanish word for village). Although the Spanish crown promulgated laws designed to protect the Pueblos, they were forced to pay tribute and provide personal services for the Spaniards. Spanish abuses, including the efforts of Franciscan missionaries to eliminate native religion, eventually led to a revolt in 1680. In a rare show of unity, the various Pueblo groups threw the Spaniards out of New Mexico. Twelve years later the Spaniards reconquered New Mexico, but rule over the Pueblos was now tempered. After Mexico's independence, the Pueblos of the Southwest were largely neglected by political officials, although in theory they became full citizens of Mexico.

See alsoNew Mexico .


An extensive treatment of Pueblo history and culture may be found in Alfonso Ortiz, ed., Handbook of North American Indians, vol. 9, Southwest (1979). A general survey is provided by Edward P. Dozier, The Pueblo Indians of North America (1983). For an account of the Pueblos' interaction with Europeans and Anglo-Americans, see Edward H. Spicer, Cycles of Conquest: The Impact of Spain, Mexico, and the United States on the Indians of the Southwest, 1533–1960 (1962). An interesting anthropological study of one group of Pueblos is contained in Alfonso Ortiz, The Tewa World (1969).

                                     Suzanne B. Paszter