Po’Pay: The Little-Known Pueblo Hero Who Led the First American Revolution

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Nearly 100 years before the American Revolution, another war of independence took place on American soil—against Spanish colonizers. Coordinated by Tewa leader Po’Pay, the Pueblo Revolt of 1680 saved Indigenous cultures from destruction under a feudal system that enslaved inhabitants of the region and forced them to convert to Christianity.

The rebellion, fought in what is now New Mexico, resulted in a rare victory for tribal nations against European colonizers. Although it succeeded in repelling the Spanish for only 12 years, that was long enough to secure the ancient traditions, languages and homelands of Pueblo people to this day.



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