Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Taos Pueblo

An important town of the Pueblo group, inhabited by Indians speaking the Tigua language of Shoshonean linguistic stock, and situated on Taos River, Taos County, New Mexico, United States of America, about fifty miles north-east from Santa Fe. From an estimated population of 2500 in 1630, and 2000 just previous to the outbreak of the rebellion in 1680, it had dwindled to 578 in 1788 and stands now at about 450. It was first visited by Coronado's men in 1540. About the year 1620 a Spanish-Franciscan mission was established there under the name of San Geronimo de Taos. In the great Pueblo revolt of 1680 the people of Taos took a prominent part, their town being the headquarters of Pope, the leader of the rebellion; the two resident missionaries were killed. On the reconquest of the country some fifteen years later, most of the missions were re-established, but under the attacks of the wild Ute and Navaho the prosperity of the Pueblo steadily declined. In 1847 the people of Taos resisted the American occupation, killing the newly-appointed governor, Charles Bent, and a number of others. As a result their town was stormed by the American troops, and some 150 of the Indians were killed in addition to sixteen others afterwards executed for their part in the massacre. In 1910 troops were again called out to quell a threatened rising. In general culture and condition the Taos people resemble the other Pueblos, but are noted for their extreme tenacity of ancient custom, and for a greater boldness of spirit, probably due to the large admixture of Ute blood. The mission of San Geronimo still exists, served by a secular priest, and the principal festival occasion is the patronal feast of San Geronimo, 30 Sept., a leading feature being a relay foot-race; but many of the old-time tribal rites are still kept up by a large proportion of the people.

MILLER, Prelim. Study of the Pueblo of Taos in University of Chicago publications (Chicago, 1898); see also bibliography under PUEBLO INDIANS.