Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
and Company, 1887-1889 and 1999. Virtualology.com warns that these 19th Century
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Francisco de (cor'-do-vah), clergyman, born in Spain; died in Cumana,
Venezuela, in 1514. He was sent by Peter de Córdova with Juan Garces to convert
the natives of Venezuela in 1514. They arrived at Cumana, where the Indians
received them with kindness, and were making numerous conversions when a Spanish
vessel visited the coast with the object of carrying off and selling the
natives. The captain and crew were well treated for the sake of the
missionaries, and the captain invited the cacique and principal Indians on
board. As soon as they were on deck they were seized and thrown into chains, and
the vessel then sailed for Santo Domingo.
The Indians rushed to the house of the two Dominicans and
were about to kill them, when the priests obtained a respite by promising that
if the cacique and his companions were not restored in four months they would
submit to their fate. Meanwhile another Spanish ship arrived, on which Francisco
de Cordova and his companion could easily have made their escape; but they
contented themselves with begging the captain to return promptly to Santo
Domingo and state the facts to the admiral and Peter de Córdova. The captain
executed his commission, but was too late. The cacique and his chiefs had been
sold, and the purchasers refused to surrender them.
The king of Spain ordered the pirates to be tried and the
cacique and his companions restored to freedom. The four months, however, had
elapsed without the Indians hearing news of their countrymen, and Francisco de
Cordova and his companion were slain, these being the first Dominican martyrs of
the New World.
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