Many of the Pueblo people harboured a latent hostility toward the Spanish, primarily due to their denigration and prohibition of the traditional religion. The traditional economies of the pueblos were likewise disrupted, the people being forced to labour on the encomiendas of the colonists. Some Pueblo people may have been forced to labour in the mines of Chihuahua. However, the Spanish had also introduced new farming implements and provided some measure of security against Navajo and Apache raiding parties. As a result, they had lived in relative peace with the Spanish since the founding of the Northern New Mexico colony in 1598.
In the 1670s, drought swept the region, which not only caused famine among the Pueblo, but also provoked increased attacks from neighboring nomadic tribes—attacks against which Spanish soldiers were unable to defend them. At the same time, European-introduced diseases were ravaging the natives, greatly decreasing their numbers. Unsatisfied with the protective powers of the Spanish crown and disenchanted with the Roman Catholic religion it had brought along, the people turned to their old religions. This provoked a wave of repression on the part of Franciscan missionaries. continue reading