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Cristobal Martinez Puerta

PUERTA, Cristobal Martinez (poo-air'-tah), Spanish missionary, born in Andalusia in 1580; died in Honduras, Central Ameritca, in September, 1623. He was a soldier in his youth, came in 1600 to America with Juan Monasteries, and landed in Trujillo, Honduras. He served in the expedition to Costa Rica, and while there resolved to abandon the army and undertake the conversion of the Indians of the province of Teguzgalpa. In 1602 he retired to Guatemala, entered the Franciscan order. 17 October, and in the newly founded seminary studied theology and the principal Indian dialects. Afterward he was professor of Latin grammar in Chiapa, and master of novices in the convent, of Guatemala, but he continued in his desire to convert the natives, and after many difficulties obtained from his superiors permission to undertake the task. With another friar and four Guanajuan Indians as interpreters he landed at Cape Gracias Digs, penetrated into the interior, and was fairly successful with the Paye and Guazacalpa tribes, where he founded the mission of Concepcion near Jurua river. He afterward received a vessel with auxiliaries and another priest, and undertook the conversion of the Guava and Jicaque tribes, where he founded seven other missions. While camping on Guampo river, he was invited by the ferocious Albatuino tribe to preach to them, and, notwithstanding the opposition of his Jicaque converts, he entered their country and was murdered by them toward the end of September, 1623. His body was recovered later by Juan de Miranda, the governor of Trujillo, and buried in the chapel of San Antonio in the Franciscan convent, of Guatemala. He wrote "Cartas al Provincial de Guatemala sobre la Expedicion a Teguzgalpa" and "Satisfaccion a las razones alegadas contra la expedicion a Teguzgalpa, etc.," which are preserved in manuscript in the Franciscan convent of Guatemala.

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