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Native Insurgencies and the Genocidal Impulse in the Americas

Nicholas A. Robins

Publication Year: 2005

This book investigates three Indian revolts in the Americas: the 1680 uprising of the Pueblo Indians against the Spanish; the Great Rebellion in Bolivia, 1780--82; and the Caste War of Yucatan that began in 1849 and was not finally crushed until 1903. Nicholas A. Robins examines their causes, course, nature, leadership, and goals. He finds common features: they were revitalization movements that were both millenarian and exterminatory in their means and objectives; they sought to restore native rule and traditions to their societies; and they were movements born of despair and oppression that were sustained by the belief that they would witness the dawning of a new age. His work underscores the link that may be found, but is not inherent, between genocide, millennialism, and revitalization movements in Latin America during the colonial and early national periods.

Published by: Indiana University Press


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pp. vii

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pp. ix-x

During the years spent researching and writing this book, I have been very fortunate to have beneted from the support and kindness of many people. In Bolivia, I am especially indebted to Marcela Inch, director of the National Archive and Library of Bolivia, as well as her predecessors, Hugo Poppe Entrambasaguas, Ren

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1. Introduction

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pp. 1-11

In the predawn hours of August 10, 1680, the Pueblo Indians of present-day New Mexico rose up in a well-planned and highly coordinated effort to eliminate the Spanish presence in the R

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2. Millennialism, Nativism, and Genocide

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pp. 12-22

The concept of millennialism derives from the reference in the book of Revelation (20:4–6) to the promised 1,000-year reign of peace prior to the Judgment Day following the Second Coming of Christ. Millennial movements, however, are not limited to those of Christian orientation and are archetypal expressions of hope, usually born of desperation. While focusing on millennialism...

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3. Creation through Extermination: Native Efforts to Eliminate the Hispanic Presence in the Americas

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pp. 23-67

The Pueblo Revolt of 1680 was the culmination of decades of endemic resistance by the Pueblo Indians to Spanish rule. Numerous conspiracies had been uncovered and broken up by the Spaniards over the years, and had it not been for the extraordinary organization and coordination of the rebels, the rebellion of 1680 would have met a similar end. By then, however, the natives had...

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4. Nativism, Caste Wars, and the Exterminatory Impulse

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pp. 68-95

The three insurgencies that are the focus of this work were each a “conscious, organized attempt on the part of a society’s members to revive orperpetuate selected aspects of its culture.”1 Each responded to a complex of “stresses” within their society and culture that either threatened their cultural or physical survival, such as in the case of the Pueblo Revolt, or were exacer-...

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5. Rebellion and Relative Deprivation

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pp. 96-107

Millennial movements in traditional societies are reactionary, seeking to re-create a legendary golden age often through cultural, and occasionally genetic, purification. On the other hand, they are fundamentally revolutionary in that their ideological agenda can usually only be implemented through the removal of a certain strata of society.1 They are also revolutionary in the true...

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6. Leadership and Division

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pp. 108-141

Despite the differences in time and place, these rebellions were all led by charismatic individuals who promised divine protection for their salvationist endeavor. These leaders not only helped to imbue the movements with millennial qualities but also, with varying degrees of success, offered a degree of cohesion that mitigated the divisive nature of the forces that they led, nomi-...

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7. Atrocity as Metaphor: The Symbolic Language of Rebellion

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pp. 142-153

While most rebels left no written word of their sources of inspiration or of their goals, in many ways their actions were their written word. Many were anything but inarticulate and expressed themselves clearly through the symbolic nature of their actions. Symbolic language preceded that of oral and written expression, and that it would be used by traditional peoples should...

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8. Cultural Assimilation in the Native World

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pp. 154-163

Although each of the movements studied here was exterminatory in terms of their millennially inspired objective of eliminating the Hispanic presence in their lands, the rebels had assimilated, to differing degrees, elements ofthe culture that they were seeking to eliminate. While this appears contradictory, such assimilation is not at all unusual in such movements generally, and...

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9. Conclusion

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pp. 164-172

Although the rebellions examined in this work were expressions of different cultures and separated by time and distance, they share a great deal in common. All of them were millennially inspired, subaltern exterminatory movements that responded to a history of antagonistic interethnic relations, severe socioeconomic disparity, and pressures that threatened the well-being or...


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pp. 173-178


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pp. 179-180


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pp. 181-274


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pp. 275-286


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pp. 287-289

E-ISBN-13: 9780253111678
E-ISBN-10: 0253111676
Print-ISBN-13: 9780253346162

Page Count: 304
Illustrations: 1 bibliog., 1 index
Publication Year: 2005