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Hermenegildo Infante

INFANTE, Hermenegildo (in-fan'-ray), Spanish missionary, born according to some authorities in Merida, according to others in Havana, and according to others in Spain; died before 1692. In 1646 he was a friar in the Franciscan convent of Campeche, when an expedition for the conquest of the Itzas and Lacandones was fitting out. Father Infante, desiring that the cross should precede the sword, proceeded in February, 1646, from Campeche to Usumacinta, the most advanced Christian settlement of Yucatan, accompanied by Father Villasis. It was evident that they were not welcome among the Indians, and, not receiving any tidings from Campeche and Nerida, Villasis returned to Merida. Friar Bartolome de Gabalda was sent to assist Infante in his dangerous position, but well-nigh perished on the road before he reached his destination. The Spanish forces arrived at Usumacinta about the beginning of 1647, but there was no order among them. Instead of proceeding to Nohua, as Infante, who had joined them, urged them to do, they tarried day after day at Usumacinta till their followers, seeing no hope of success, gradually abandoned them. At last, with the remnant of their former force, they moved on to Nohua, where they arrived in July. The Indians, having previously in treated the friar, had fled to the mountains, but their cacique had already made his peace with the chief of the Spaniards, and Father Infante was now despatched to Guatemala to obtain pecuniary assistance, as the adelantado was destitute of funds. At Palenque, however, he received a letter from the former advising him of his illness. Infante hastened to return, but found that in his absence the Indians had set fire to the town, and the adelantado with his followers had escaped to Petenecte, where Ordonez died in April, 1648. The remaining Spaniards and Father Infante returned to Merida, and this expedition was not followed by any other for several years, but Infante, who had studied thoroughly the country, exerted every influence for calling the attention of the authorities to the project. When in 1692 the government of Yucatan and Guatemala undertook the conquest of the Itzas, Lacandones, and Choes, they had in mind and studied the notes of Father Infante.

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