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Acoma Pueblo Grant

In 1855, the Pueblo of Acoma requested confirmation of their land grant. Following a period of legal maneuvering the grant was given a patent by the office of the Surveyor General for 95,791.66 acres in 1877.

The pueblo of Acoma is one of the most unusual Queres pueblos in New Mexico for several reasons. The main village is built on a high mesa of solid rock  357 feet above the valley.  This mesa is called Acuco by the Acoma people.  The location of the pueblo is sixty miles west of the Rio Grande.

Pedro de Castaneda y Najera was the first Spaniard to discover the pueblo in 1540.  He was the chronicler for the Coronado expedition and he wrote a detailed description of his discovery.  Antonio de Espejo also visited the pueblo in 1583.  The pueblo of Acoma has a long history of resistance to Spanish domination beginning with the arrival of Juan de Onate.  In 1598, Onate announced that the people of Acoma were to be made Christians and vassals of the King of Spain.  He also ordered them to supply food, water, and blankets to his troops. 

When Juan de Zaldivar, Onate’s captain arrived to collect the tribute the Acomans attacked and killed all but two of his troops.  Onate sent a force of seventy men to conquer the rebellious pueblo in 1599.  Six hundred residents were killed and the village was partially burned. 

Following the battle Onate ordered a harsh punishment on the population.  All males over 25 years old were to have one foot cut off and serve twenty years of personal servitude.  All adult residents, male and female, were given to Onate’s men as slaves for twenty years and the children were to be separated from their parents.  It is not known if these punishments were actually carried out. There is no documented evidence to prove that the punishment took place. What is known is that Juan de Onate was forced to resign as Governor of New Mexico and was later tried and convicted for using cruel and excessive measures in punishing the people of Acoma. 

In 1680, the pueblo of Acoma joined the Pueblo Revolt and killed their missionary, Fray Lucas Maldonado.  Following the revolt the residents of Acoma continued to rebel against Spanish authority. Diego de Vargas was unable to subdue the pueblo and bring it under Spanish authority, it was not until 1690, that Governor Pedro Rodriguez  Cubero forced them to surrender and brought the pueblo of Acoma under the Spanish crown.

In 1855, the Pueblo of Acoma requested confirmation of their land grant. They were unable to file their copy of the “Cruzate Grant” because it was in the possession of Gregorio de la O. Following a period of legal maneuvering the grant was given a patent by the office of the Surveyor General for 95,791.66 acres in 1877.  The Acoma land grant is located in Cibola County.