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Juan de Zumarraga

ZUMARRAGA, Juan de (thoo-mar'-rah-gah), first bishop of Mexico, born in Durango, Biscay, in 1468; died in Mexico city in 1548. He entered the Franciscan order at Aranzazu, and was superior of several convents till Charles V. appointed him inquisitor of Biscay. In 1527 he was named first bishop of New Spain, and in 1528 sailed for Mexico as visitor of his order and protector of the Indians. He had difficulties with the first audiencia under Nuiso de Guzman, whose cruel measures against the Indians he opposed. After the second audiencia, under the presidency of Sebastian Ramirez de Fuenleal, took charge of the government in 1531, Zumarraga returned to Spain, was consecrated bishop in September, 1534, and sailed soon afterward to Mexico, where he continued to befriend the Indians. He began the construction of the first cathedral, founded the hospitals of Amor de Dios in Mexico and Vera Cruz, and established also a hospital for Franciscan monks. The image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, painted on the Indian cloak, was first seen by him. In 1538 he assembled the first Mexican council, and in 1545 Pope Paul III. raised him to the dignity of metropolitan archbishop of New Spain. He is probably the author of a " Doctrina Cristiana," or catechism (Seville, 1532), which still exists in the Franciscan convent of Texcoco, with his autograph dedication to Friar Toribio Motolinia, who translated it into Aztec. It was the first book that was printed in the New World, on a press and material furnished by the famous printer Juan Cromberger, of Seville, and brought to Mexico by the first viceroy, Antonio de Mendoza (Mexico, 1540). He also wrote several catechisms and other religious works, which were translated into Aztec (Mexico, 1543-'6) ; "Varias Cartas al Emperador Carlos V."; and " Memorias de la Nueva Espania," giving noteworthy details about the condition of Mexico soon after the conquest. The letters and history are preserved in manuscript in the archives of the Indies, and will appear in the continuation of the state publication, " Cartas de Indias."

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