Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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BETETA, Gregorio (bay- tay'- tah), Spanish missionary, born in Leon, Spain, about 1500; died in Toledo in 1562. At the age of seventeen he began his novitiate in the convent of St. Stephen, Salamanca. He finished his course in the University of the same City, and, after gaining distinction as a professor and preacher, volunteered for the mission of New Granada. He remained in the island of Santo Domingo from 1524 till 1529, studying the Indian dialects and fitting himself otherwise for his work as a missionary. His success in New Granada was remarkable. He preached first in the valley of the Uruba, where the Indians were noted for their ferocity, and in a short time converted the inhabitants. Ambitious of martyrdom, he penetrated into Florida; but, as the natives would neither kill him nor listen to him. he was forced to return to New Granada. He traversed every part of the country, his efforts in civilizing the natives being so successful as to attract the favorable notice of the Spanish court. He was nominated bishop of Carthagena in 1555, endeavored to decline the honor, and only submitted under threat of censure. He set out for Rome, finally received permission to surrender his bishopric, and then retired to a convent in Toledo.
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