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Zumárraga, Juan de

(227 words)

Author(s): Nebel, Richard
[German Version] (1468?, Durango, Biscay – Jun 3, 1548, Mexico City), Spanish Franciscan, archbishop, and inquisitor in Mexico. He served as ¶ superior, definitor, and provincial of his order in Spain and as guardian of the Abrojo friary near Valladolid. In 1527 he was appointed inquisitor of Navarre and recommended as the first bishop of Mexico. He arrived in Mexico in 1528 as “Protector of the Indians,” but had a confrontation with the first Audiencia; as a result, he was not consecrated to the episcopate until Apr…

Palafox y Mendoza, Juan de

(233 words)

Author(s): Nebel, Richard
[German Version] (Jun 24, 1600, Fitero, Navarre – Oct 1, 1659, El Burgo de Osma, Soria), Spanish Catholic theologian and politician. Following studies in Salamanca and his ordination to the priesthood in ¶ 1629, he was appointed crown attorney of the counsels of war and of the Indies (Consejo de Indias). He spent the years 1640–1649 in New Spain, where he briefly held the highest offices: viceroy, inspector general, and archbishop of Mexico in 1642, and bishop of Puebla de los Angeles from 1640 to 1655. He attempted to implemen…


(196 words)

Author(s): Nebel, Richard
[German Version] (Montezuma; in Aztec Motecuhzoma etc., “angry lord”), Aztec rulers: 1. Montezuma I, Ilhuicamina (?–1469, Tenochtitlán), fifth ruler of Tenochtitlán, following his uncle Itzcoatl, 1440–1469; co-founder of the state system instituted by the Mexica; he promoted culture (botanical gardens, medicine). ¶ 2. Montezuma II, Xocoyotzin (1467, Tenochtitlán – Jun 30, 1520, Tenochtitlán), ninth ruler of Tenochtitlán, great-grandson of 1.; succeeded his uncle Ahuítzotl in office. Expansion and far-reaching trade created the condition…

Durán, Diego

(194 words)

Author(s): Nebel, Richard
[German Version] (c. 1537, Seville – 1588, Mexico), a Dominican (1556) from a family of converted Jews (?); in New Spain c. 1542; worked in Texcoco and for shorter periods in Oaxaca, Chimalhuacan Atenco, Hueyapan and Mexico. Durán published a Historia (1581) of the Aztecs and their religion ( Libro de los Ritos, 1570; Calendario Antiguo, 1579), an authentically Mexican history with a Spanish physiognomy (first published in 1867–1889); alongside the works of Fernando Alvarado Tezozómoc and the Códice Ramírez, it is one of the most successful accounts…

Motolinía, Toribio de

(245 words)

Author(s): Nebel, Richard
[German Version] (Toribio de Benavente; Paredes; 1490?, Benavente, Zamora, Spain – Aug 9, 1569?, Mexico), OFM, one of the “12 apostles” who went to Mexico in 1524 under the leadership of M. de Valencia in order to establish “the true church of Christ” in the spirit of mystical millenarianism. He advocated and practiced the Franciscan ideal of poverty; the Nahuatl called him “the poor man” (in Náhuatl: Motolinea). In 1531 he co-founded the town of Puebla de los Angeles, and became guardian of the convents in México, Texcoco, Huejotzingo, Tlaxcala, and elsewhere;…


(276 words)

Author(s): Nebel, Richard
[German Version] (Mexico). The veneration of Our Lady of Guadalupe that arose during the Reconquista in the Spanish Extremadura also spread in the era of European expansion to the viceroyalty of New Spain, where, according to B. de Sahagún OFM, it was already initiated after the conquest of Aztec Tenochtitlán by H. Cortés (1521) in place of an earlier sanctuary to the goddess Tonantzin Cihuacóatl (Our Beloved Mother, Lady Serpent) on the hill of Tepeyac (modern Mexico City) and developed into the …

Valencia, Martín de

(183 words)

Author(s): Nebel, Richard
[German Version] (1474? Valencia de Don Juan, León, Spain – Mar 31, 1534?, near Amecameca, Mexico), Spanish Franciscan and “founder of the Mexican church.” After a novitiate at the convent of Mayorga, he saw to the building of the monastery of Nuestra Señora de Berrogal, near Belvís; he was a co-founder of the custody of San Gabriel in Extremadura and its first provincial. He traveled to central Mexico in 1524 as leader of the “12 apostles of Mexico,” a group of Franciscans sent to Christianize th…

Cortés, Hernán

(226 words)

Author(s): Nebel, Richard
[German Version] (Jul 1485?, Medellín, Badajoz, Spain – Dec 2, 1547, Castilleja de la Cuesta, Seville), a Spanish conquistador in Mexico. He was from the lesser nobility; he did not finish his studies in Salamanca; in 1504, he was in Santo Domingo, and in 1511 in Cuba. Allied with Tlaxcalteks, he destroyed the Aztec empire (1519–1521). He conquered Tenochtitlán (now Mexico City) on Aug 13, 1521; in 1522, he became general captain and (until 1528) governor of “New…

Veracruz, Alonso de la

(226 words)

Author(s): Nebel, Richard
[German Version] (Vera Cruz; 1505?, Caspueñas, Guadalajara – 1584, México), Spanish Augustinian who pioneered the teaching of European philosophy in Mexico. He studied in Salamanca and Alcalá; one of his teachers was F. de Vitoria. He taught philosophy in Salamanca. In 1536 (?) he entered the Augustinian order in New Spain (Mexico); there he learned the Purépecha language and taught at the college of Tiripetío in Michoacán, where he established one of the first libraries in the New World. He was a…