The Inquisition in New Mexico
This ruined church, Nuestra Señora de La Purisima Concepción de Cuarac, stands at the edge of the Southern Plains, southeast of Albuquerque, New Mexico. It is one of three large mission churches built in the early 1600s by forced labor from the Indians who lived at the adjacent villages. The interior is about 100 feet long.
It is now part of Salinas Pueblos National Monument.
Constructed by the Franciscan order, it was also the location of the Inquisition in New Mexico, which could bring charges of heresy, witchcraft, etc., against the few thousand Spanish colonists in the province.
The remote Spanish colony of New Mexico suffered from two command structures: one religious and one secular-military, with frequent "turf wars" between them -- all very medieval.
You can imagine the conflicts:
Don Somebody y Somebody de Someplace, encomendero: "I need los indios to to work for me, to herd my livestock and build my new house."
Fray Somebody, Franciscan priest: "Oh, no, señor, they must work building the new rooms on the church. Such labor helps in the conversion of their heathen souls."
(Los indios, in Tiwa: "Do we ever get to hoe our own corn fields?")
Fray Somebody, playing his trump card: "And we have reports that you have permitted los indios to perform their devilish kachina dances. Could it be that you are sliding into heresy? We have prepared these documents for the holy Inquisition. . . ."
Meanwhile, the Apaches and Comanches of the Plains, having mastered the horse-riding lifestyle, started playing the game of "Let's attack the settled agriculturalists, kill them, and take their stuff."
The Spanish were spread too thin to fight them off, and arming the Pueblo Indians went against their plan of keeping the Indians subservient and helpless.
Between raids and drought, things got so bad at the three Salinas pueblos that the Franciscans pulled the plug. In 1677, the priest at the church in the picture, Fray Diego de Parraga, locked the doors and rode off in a cart with all the altar goods and the church bell, accompanied by the remaining residents of the pueblo of Quarai (Cuarac). They went to Isleta, where the people spoke the same language.
And then three years later came a significant event in American Pagan history: the Pueblo Revolt of 1680, when all the missionized Indians of New Mexico and northern Arizona revolted simultaneously.
The revolt's cultural effects linger to this day, as David Roberts explains in The Pueblo Revolt : The Secret Rebellion That Drove the Spaniards Out of the Southwest.