Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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TASTERA, Jacques de (tah-stay-rah), French missionary, born in Bayonne in 1480; died in Mexico, 8 August, 1544. He served a few years in the army, but, despite fair prospects of advancement, became a Franciscan friar at Seville in 1508, and soon attained to the highest ranks in the order. After preaching with success at Seville he was appointed court chaplain of Ferdinand of Aragon, and later he became a favorite with Charles V., who offered him a bishopric ; but he declined, and in 1529 went to New Spain. From Mexico he went to Champoton in Yucatan, where he founded a convent, and for years he travelled alone in the country, accompanied only by one interpreter, evangelizing the Indians and preaching the gospel with success. In 1533 he was appointed prior of the Convent of Santo Evangelio at Mexico, and, continuing to interest himself in the welfare of the Indians, summoned and presided over councils of Franciscan missionaries at Michoacan and Guatemala in 1535 and 1537, where means for the protection of the conquered nation were devised, an embassy being sent to the holy see to obtain its ratification of the measures. In 1541 he went to Milan and took part in the general council of the Franciscan order in that city, and before returning to Mexico obtained from the pontiff an encyclical letter to the Spanish officials, advising them to show leniency toward the Indians. In 1542 he was appointed commissary-general of the Franciscan friars in the New World, which post he held until his death. He is the author of " Arte de la lengua Mexicana" (Seville, 1555), and " Litterae annuae Mexicanae" (1571). The recent publication, "Cartas de Indias," prepared by the Spanish government from manuscripts in the state archives, contains several letters of Tastera.
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