Popé pōpā´ [key], d. c.1690, medicine man of the Pueblo. In defiance of the Spanish conquerors, he practiced his traditional religion and preached the doctrine of independence from Spanish rule and the restoration of the old Pueblo life. In Aug., 1680, he organized the revolt of the Pueblo against their Spanish oppressors. The Native Americans attacked Santa Fe, the capital city, killing some 400 colonists and missionaries and forcing the survivors to retreat down the Rio Grande to El Paso. For the first time in 82 years the Pueblo were free of Spanish rule. Popé, assuming a despotic role, then began a campaign to wipe out all traces of the Spanish conquerors—prohibiting the Spanish language, destroying Christian churches, and even washing clean those who had been baptized. Internal dissension and Apache raids soon weakened the unity of the Pueblo, and in 1692, shortly after Popé's death, they were reconquered by the Spaniards.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2022, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: North American indigenous peoples: Biographies