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, indigenous people of North America

Pueblo, name given by the Spanish to the sedentary Native Americans who lived in stone or adobe communal houses in what is now the SW United States. The term pueblo is also used for the villages occupied by the Pueblo. The prehistoric Ancestral Pueblo settlements, also known as the Anasazi and Mogollon cultures, extended southward from S Utah and S Colorado into Arizona, New Mexico, and adjacent territory in Mexico. The transition from Archaic (see Americas, antiquity and prehistory of the) hunters and gatherers to sedentary agricultural populations occurred around the 1st cent. A.D., when corn, squash, and beans were widely adopted; the trio of foods is still used by the Pueblo. Although agriculture provided the bulk of the diet for these early populations, hunting and gathering was an important source of additional foodstuffs. Pottery manufacture began about A.D. 400 and was used for cooking and water storage. Clothing was woven from cotton, grown in warmer areas, and yucca fiber. Early houses among the Ancestral Pueblo peoples were pit houses, which were replaced by adobe and stone surface dwellings throughout the region by the end of the first millennium A.D.

Villages were variable in size and architectural content, but most included circular, often subterranean structures known as kivas (apparently a derivation of the pit house) and storage pits for grains. Large pueblos were found at Chaco Canyon, dating from the 9th to early 12th cent., and at Mesa Verde, where multistoried cliff houses were inhabited in the 12th and 13th cent.; a great lunar observatory was built at Chimney Rock, S Colo., in the 11th cent. Changing climatic conditions forced the abandonment of much of the region by the early 14th cent., with populations migrating to their present-day locations in the Rio Grande valley and a few other isolated areas (e.g., the Hopi mesas).

Contact with the Spanish

Initial contact with European populations came in the 16th cent., when Spaniards entered the Rio Grande area. The seven Zuñi towns were reported by the Franciscan Marcos de Niza to be the fabulous Seven Cities of Cibola, leading to the first intensive contacts—a Spanish exploration party under Francisco Vásquez de Coronado in 1540. Due to increasing pressure on the existing food supplies, the initially friendly Pueblo became hostile and then revolted; their resistance ended in a mass execution of Native Americans by Coronado. In 1598 Juan de Oñate began full-scale missionary work and moved the provincial headquarters of the Spanish colonial government to Santa Fe. By 1630, 60,000 Pueblo had been converted to Christianity, and 90 villages had chapels, according to Father de Benavides.

Determined to put an end to the suffering caused by their Spanish oppressors, the Pueblo staged a successful revolt in 1680. Popé, a medicine man, led a band of Pueblo who killed 380 settlers and 31 missionaries and forced the remaining Spaniards to retreat to El Paso. However, the Pueblo lost 347 of their number in one attack on Santa Fe. Fearing Spanish reprisal, villages were abandoned for better fortified sites. In 1692 De Vargas, with the cooperation of some Pueblo leaders, reconquered the Pueblo in New Mexico. The Western Pueblo, however, including the Hopi, remained independent.

The Pueblo have the oldest settlements N of Mexico, dating back 700 years for the still-occupied Hopi, Zuñi, and Acoma pueblos. The Europeans who settled in the Southwest adopted the adobe structures and compact village plans of the Pueblo. The Pueblo, for their part, adopted many domestic animals and assorted crafts from the Old World, including blacksmithing and woodworking.


The Pueblo speak languages of at least two different families. Languages of the Tanoan branch of the Aztec-Tanoan linguistic stock (see Native American languages) are spoken at 11 pueblos, including Taos, Isleta, Jemez, San Juan, San Ildefonso, and the Hopi pueblo of Hano. Languages of the Keresan branch of the Hokan-Siouan linguistic stock also are limited to Pueblo people—Western Keresan, spoken at Acoma and Laguna, and Eastern Keresan, at San Felipe, Santa Ana, Sia, Cochiti, and Santo Domingo. The Hopi language, which belongs to the Uto-Aztecan branch of the Aztec-Tanoan linguistic stock, is spoken at all Hopi pueblos except Hano. The Zuñi language may be connected with Tanoan, falling within the Aztec-Tanoan linguistic stock.

Social Structure

Among the modern Pueblo, men are the weavers and women make pottery and assist in house construction. The status of women among both the Western and the Eastern Pueblo is high, but there are differences related to the different social systems of each. The Western Pueblo, including the Hano, Zuñi, Acoma, Laguna, and, the best known, the Hopi, have exogamous clans with a matrilineal emphasis and matrilocal residence, and the houses and gardens are owned by women; the kachina cult emphasizes weather control, and the Pueblo who follow this cult are governed by a council of clan representatives. Among the Eastern Pueblo, there are bilateral extended families, patrilineal clans, and male-owned houses and land; warfare and hunting as well as healing and exorcism are more important than among the Western Pueblo.

The Spanish added new elements to the government in the form of civil officers, but the de facto government and ceremonial organization remained native. The Bureau of Indian Affairs introduced elected officials in Santa Clara, Laguna, Zuñi, and Isleta, and the Hopi have an elected council on the tribal level. The Kachina and other secret societies dealing with war, agriculture, and healing still carry out their complicated rituals and dances: for some occasions, the public is invited. In 1990 there were some 55,000 Pueblo in the United States, the largest groups being the Hopi, Zuñi, Laguna, and Acoma.


See E. P. Dozier, The Pueblo Indians of North America (1970); R. Silverberg, The Pueblo Revolt (1970); J. U. Terrell, Pueblos, Gods, and Spaniards (1973); A. Ortiz, ed., Handbook of Indians of North America: Vol. 9, Southwest (1979); L. Cordell, Prehistory of the Southwest (1984).


, city, United States
Pueblo (pwĕbˈlō, pyo͞oĕbˈlō), city (1990 pop. 98,640), seat of Pueblo co., S central Colo., on the Arkansas River in the foothills of the Rockies; inc. 1885. It is the center of shipping, retail, and industry for the irrigated Arkansas valley farm area. One of the country's largest steel plants is nearby, as are coal fields and abundant timber. Agricultural products include cattle, wheat, beans, corn, and sorghum. Traditionally a steelmaking center, Pueblo's economy diversified greatly in the 1990s. A trading post, called Pueblo, was established there in 1842, followed by a temporary Mormon settlement (1846–47). The city was laid out in 1860. After a 1921 flood, levees were constructed. The Pueblo Dam and Reservoir, part of a reclamation project serving the Arkansas and Fryingpan rivers, were completed in the 1980s. They are designed to provide irrigation, diversion, and power, as well as flood control. Pueblo is the seat of Colorado State Univ.–Pueblo and the headquarters for San Isabel National Forest. A large U.S. army ordnance depot is nearby.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



the name given in the 16th century by the Spanish to a group of Indian tribes in the southwestern part of what is now the United States. Population, approximately 35,000 (1967, estimate). The Pueblos are quite diverse linguistically; their languages include Hopi, Zuñi, Keres, and Tanoan. Spanish was the second language until the middle of the 20th century; now it is being replaced by English. Most Pueblo Indians regard themselves as Catholics, although many ancient cults and ceremonies have been preserved.

The Pueblos are the descendants of an ancient farming population that lived to the north of present-day Mexico and that by the 11th century had attained a high level of culture. Their culture was marked by irrigation farming; a complex building technology; weaving; pottery-making; and the working of copper, silver, turquoise, and emeralds. In the 15 th century the Pueblos settled in the valleys of the Rio Grande and its tributaries and in the arid plateau regions of the present-day states of New Mexico and Arizona. In these new areas the Indians engaged in farming (corn, beans, squash, cotton, tobacco) and handicrafts (pottery-making, weaving, basketry).

The Rio Grande, or eastern, Pueblos and the western Pueblos of the plateau regions had different levels of socioeconomic development. The former were irrigation farmers who stood on the threshold of a class society; the latter engaged in dry-valley and flood-irrigation farming and, to a considerable extent, preserved the institutions of a maternal-clan system.

In 1598, Pueblo lands were declared Spanish possessions. The Pueblos revolted and drove out the Spanish in 1680, but Spanish rule was restored in 1693. The Pueblos borrowed livestock raising (mostly sheep), the cultivation of wheat, and horticulture from the Spanish. In 1821 the territory inhabited by the Pueblos became part of Mexico. In 1848, as a result of the Mexican War (1846–48), the land was seized by the United States. The best lands, pastures, and irrigation canals were taken away from the Indians, thus severely damaging the Pueblo economy. Most of the Pueblos became hired workers.

In present-day Pueblo communities a process of socioeconomic differentiation is taking place. An intelligentsia and leaders in the struggle for Indian rights have emerged among the Pueblo.


Narody Ameriki, vol. 1. Moscow, 1959.
Dozier, E. P. The Pueblo Indians of North America. New York, 1970.




a city in the western United States; located in Colorado, on the Arkansas River. Population, 97,500 (1970; including suburbs, 118,000); railroad junction. There is ferrous and nonferrous metallurgy, and construction materials are manufactured. Pueblo also has a food industry. The city is the center of a vast irrigated farming region (primarily vegetables). Coal and metal ores are mined nearby.



the name given in the 16th century by the Spanish to the permanent settlements of the Indians in the southwestern part of North America.

Pueblos often consisted of a single multiroom, multistory (as many as five or six stories) dwelling that housed 1,000 to 3,000 persons. They were built of sandstone slabs or adobe bricks. The ground floor served as a storage area and had no windows or doors; the living quarters were above the flat roof of the ground floor. The upper stories, which rose upward in the form of terraces, were connected by ladders. The layout of a pueblo was usually U-shaped; sometimes the pueblo formed a circle with blank exterior walls and an inner courtyard. Some pueblos consisted of one- or two-story dwellings joined to form a single complex by a wall.

A classic architectural landmark from the height of the Pueblo period is Pueblo Bonito (12th century), a circular 600-room residential fortress having blank exterior walls and religious structures in the center of the courtyard. Pueblo cliff dwellings also existed but were abandoned by the time the Spanish arrived. These multiroom, multistory dwellings were built under cliff overhangs or were cut into cliffs.

The multistory, communal pueblos have given way to one-room, single-family adobe huts with dirt floors and to small houses with three or four rooms (among prosperous Indians).


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


Communal dwelling, usually of stone or adobe, built by the Pueblo Indians of southwestern US; built in excavated hollows in the faces of cliffs or on the plains, valleys, or mesas. Usually entered by means of ladders.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. Copyright © 2003 by McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


a city in Colorado: a centre of the steel industry. Pop.: 103 648 (2003 est.)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
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