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CHAPTER V:
THE PIMA REVOLT OF 1751

111Spanish blood did run red on the night of November 20-21 in 1751, and the blood of survivors ran cold.

At Saric, Captain-General Luís Oacpicagigua managed his share of the initial uprising with typical imagination and efficiency. He informed the mission personnel that an Apache attack impended, and suggested everyone take refuge in his home. Around a score of Spaniards and Indian servants did so, and the Piman leader stationed armed guards around the house and fired it. Those who did not burn to death inside died under the war clubs of the guards when they tried to escape. The mission overseer escaped, but deserted his wife and children (Ewing 1945:261). Four Spanish men, four youths; two women and nine children died, along with a mestizo and two Yaquis (Libro de Entierros de San Ygnacio....de 1697), for a total of twenty-two dead at Saric.

An eager-beaver type acculturated neophyte warned the priest at Tubutama of the planned revolt, and he got word of the crisis to the Saric Jesuit who rode off without displaying much concern as to the fate of anyone save himself. The Tubutama contingent forted up and held the rebels at bay with the loss of three men until the survivors slipped away on the night of November 22 (Ewing 1945:262-263).

112For some reason one Spanish family at nearby Ati had not been warned in time, and Garcia and his wife and child died there (Libro de Entierros de San Ygnacio....de 1697).

Farther west the northern Piman rebels enjoyed uniformly bloody success. They wiped out the hated user of stocks at Caborca, the missionary Tello (Ewing 1945:263) and ten others, mostly children (Libro de Entierros de San Ygnacio...de 1697). At the Busani visita six Spaniards, three Yaquis and one Opata were massacred (ibid.). Upriver at the Pitiquito visita six Spaniards and a Yaqui died at the hands of the rebels. Farther upstream at Oquitoa five Spaniards departed this life with one Mulato youth and a Níxora slave. At the mine camp near Oquitoa the death toll was nineteen: eighteen Spaniards including three women and six children, and one Yaqui (ibid.).

Out in the desert on the short Sonoita river, another Jesuit fond of corporal punishment paid with his life for the indignities he had inflicted on neophytes, and the rebels dispatched his foreman and a servant to keep him company in purgatory (Ewing 1945:264).

At other civilian settlements, a family of four perished at Agua Caliente (Libro de Entierros de San Ygnacio....de 1697) and the slaughter at Aribaca was considerable (Ewing 1945:264). There four Spanish men, three Spanish women and four Spanish children died, accompanied by one mestizo, a Yaqui couple and a Níxora slave (Libro de Entierros de San Ygnacio de 1697).

When the Spaniards counted noses back at Santa Ana and the mission of San Ignacio, they found that the death toll 113numbered at least 105 persons. Two German Jesuit missionaries had rendered account for their corporal punishment of mission Indians. Eighty-eight Spaniards paid the price of pioneering in Indian country-thirty-six men, fifteen women and thirty-seven children. Two mestizos were caught in the holocaust and died. So did one Mulato youth. So did nine Yaquis, an Opata and a pair of Níxora slaves. Other Yaquis were taken prisoner by the rebel northern Pimans.

There had been a grim reckoning for the carefree years of conversion.The Pima Revolt reminded the Spaniards most unpleasantly of the successful Pueblo Revolt in New Mexico in 1680. Once again a native Indian leader had achieved strategic surprise, despite efforts on the part of "loyal" mission Indians to warn Spaniards of impending doom. Once again native leaders filling Spanish-created and Spanish-sanctioned offices had united across wide distances to rebel in concert at an agreed-upon time. Once again the Indians who seemed to have made the most progress in learning and practicing Spanish customs officered a successful surprise attack on unsuspecting Spaniards too complacent to listen to warnings proffered them by sympathetic Pimans. Once again Spanish men, women and children had died on what had been considered a firmly subdued frontier.

While New Mexico proper had finally been reconquered in 1692, it had required twelve years of strenuous military effort and several punitive expeditions before the province 114could be recolonized. Even yet the isolated Hopi towns remained independent as they had been since 1680 even though Spaniards had been attempting to reach them from the northern Piman country during the 1740's only to be frustrated by the advancing Apache refugees from the Plains (Bancroft 1884:I:536). In this situation, shudders ran up and down the spines of every surviving Spaniard on the margins of northern Piman country.

Every Spaniard left in the area could expect Piman raids on his home and family unless the rebellion were immediately repressed. Moreover, every arms-bearing Spaniard and particularly every official, knew that higher officials all the way up to the king in Spain could be expected to light fires under his nervous posterior for, first of all, having permitted this catastrophe to occur, and second for not having squelched the rebels immediately.

Since there are adequate narratives of the progress of the suppression of the Pima Revolt already in print (Ewing 1938:1945) the present discussion of the rebellion will be restricted to events at Tubac which have not been published.

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