In September 28, 1709, an uprising of indigenous groups led by Pablo Presbere known as “Pa Blu” or “Rey Lapa” killed a number of Spanish in the mountains of the Talamanca region of Southern Costa Rica. Including also f the friars Pablo de Rebullida and Antonio de Andrade . This group of indigenous with 10 soldiers and one women burned 14 Catholic churches and forced to the Spanish people moved out from the area.
This rebellion effectively put an end to Spanish efforts to control this area during the colonial period.
Talamanca is one of the few Village who could not be conquered by the European invasion. Since the first Spanish arriving in 1540 , the warrior and the libertarian spirit manifested itself inhabitants of the region. To understand Indigenous act , we need to know why the constant and determinate resistance of the indigenous:
The Encomenderos(Those with the right to receive Indigen tribute) found it profitable to use Indian labor to farm and raise livestock. But from the Spanish point of View, the small dispersed Indian Villages made it difficult to efficiently exploit indigenous labor. Thus, Indias were concentrated were they could more easily be evangelized by Franciscan friars and made to work. At least, until 1610, Indians owed tribute in good as well as in service. They provided agricultural and household labor as well as products like cotton blankets, honey, wax, and ceramics. The sort of abuses to which the Indians were subject becomes clear in records of complaints they made to Spanish authorities. The Indians of Garabito, for instance, complained in 1590 that the Spanish governor had taken and sold corn that belonged to their village, and the Indians of Pacaca complained that the friar there forced them to spend all day long weaving mats and baskets, among other items, and the result was that the town went hungry because no men were available to work the cornfields (Solorzano Fonseca 2002)
Thus it was indigenous labor and the goods collected as tribute that constituted the first sustained economic activity in colonial Costa Rica. Later, markets for wheat, corn, and pack mules and other livestock opened up in the growing settlements of Panama to the south and Nicaragua to the north and the encomenderos took advantage of these. In the arly years of the 17th century, the Spanish looked to the southeast, to the conquest of the Talamanca region, to gain new lands and more Indian labor. An Indian uprising of 1610, however, destroyed the new town of Santiago and forced the Spanish to flee back to Cartago. The southern region was to remain unconquered, but the violence there gave the Spanish the excuse that needed to declare the Indians in open rebellion and to send military expeditions to forcibly capture Indians slave. Even with this, the encomienda as a source of labor was doomed. The population available to be distributed in encomienda rapidly dismissed.
On July 1, 1710 Pablo Presbere was sentenced to die arcabuceado, since Costa Rica had no executioner to apply the cruel death.
At the begging of the 1700s, a final effort was made to subdue and evangelized the indigenous people of the Talamanca. By 1709, the Franciscan friars had established 14 missions in the region. However, the Bribri, Cabecarand Terbis Indians overcame their traditional rivalries to unite in a surprise attack under the leadership of Pablo Presbere in September 28, 1709. Almost immediately, the Spanish authorities in Cartago organized in expedition of 200 soldiers to punish the rebellious Indians. The Spanish captured Presbere and marched him and 700 of his followers back to the capital. Two hundred Indians died of fled along the way, and the remains 500 were divided up among the Spaniards who had participated in the expeditions.
Presbere was tried, condemned for treason, and executed in July 4th, 1710.Despite not knowing much about the life of Cacique Pablo Presbere or Suinsi, it is important to rescue his role in the Indian rebellion . He is a national hero by opposing the submission and destruction of indigenous culture by the Spanish . The goverment of Costa Rica, declared Paul Presbere “Defender of Indigenous People” Day on July 4th.
The memory of Pablo Presbere Lives on this monument to him in the city of Limon
Costa Rica: A Global Studies Handbook By Scott Pentzer