JANUARY 22, 1599


Acoma leader Zutacapan learned that the Spanish intended to conquer Acoma Pueblo.  Knowing of their atrocities, he sought to negotiate.  The Spanish Governor Juan de Oñate sent Juan de Zaldivar, to consult with Zutacapan.  Zaldivar arrived in December 1598.  When Zaldiver demanded food for his soldiers, food the Acoma could not spare, a fight left Zaldivar and eleven of his men dead.  Oñate then ordered Juan’s brother, Vincente, to punish the Acoma.  Skirmishing began January 22, 1599.  On January 24, the Spanish ascended the mesa with a small cannon.  When firing ended, about 800 Acoma were killed, 500 captured.  Oñate ordered every male over age twenty-five to lose his right foot and all Acoma over twelve be enslaved for twenty years.  Twenty-four received amputations.  Initially convicted of cruelty, Oñate was cleared of all charges on appeal.  Eventually, survivors returned.  Acoma was rebuilt and remains the oldest continuously inhabited city in the United States.

Source:  Kathy Weiser, “Acoma Pueblo, New Mexico—Ancient Sky City,” Legends of America.  Retrieved 6/5/2019,  https://www.legendsofamerica.com/nm-acoma/
Lithograph:  C. B. Graham, 1848, for report of J.W. Abert of "His Examination of New Mexico in the Years 1846-47" to the Secretary of War.  Public Domain in U.S.:  Pre 1/1/1925.  Public Domain elsewhere where copyright term is author’s life plus 100 years or less.

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