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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CORPA, Peter de, missionary, born in Spain about 1560; died in Florida in 1597. He came to America in 1592, and was one of a body of Franciscans who were sent to Florida to mediate between the Indians and Spaniards. At this time the Spaniards were so hemmed in by the natives that they could not leave their forts, and were reduced to great extremity. Father de Corpa was well received and succeeded in restoring friendly relations. He then began his missionary labors, at first without much success, owing to the difficulty of weaning the natives from polygamy. He prevailed in the end, however, built several chapels, and founded villages and schools. He introduced an Indian translation of Pareja's "Doctrina Christiana para los Indios." In 1597 he found it necessary to denounce the life of the son of a cacique who had relapsed into polygamy. The young chief fled from the village, collected a band of braves, returned, crept into the chapel where the friar was at his devotions, and tomahawked him before the altar. He then cut off his head and placed it on a spear in front of the gate.
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