Mompox de Zayas, Fernando (c. 1690–c. 1745)

views updated

Mompox de Zayas, Fernando (c. 1690–c. 1745)

Fernando Mompox de Zayas (b. c. 1690; d. c. 1745), Spanish-born revolutionary and participant in the Paraguayan Comunero Revolt of 1721–1735. Of shadowy origins, Mompox had been imprisoned in the late 1720s by inquisitorial authorities in Lima. In jail, he made the acquaintance of José de Antequera y Castro, former leader of the anti-Jesuit faction of the Spanish residents of Paraguay. Shortly thereafter, Mompox escaped, and in 1730, armed with letters of introduction from Antequera, made his way to Asunción, where he began to resuscitate the popular opposition to the Jesuits. Passing himself off as a lawyer, he soon gained fame for his loud oratory in the streets of the town.

Though an outsider, Mompox quickly became the most important actor in Paraguayan politics, taking Antequera's movement in a new, radical direction. Mompox denounced the entire artifice of absolute government, claiming that only the común, the "free-born" residents of Asunción, could speak for Paraguay. This declaration threatened not only the power of the Jesuits, but also that of the king's representatives. When word came that a new governor, Ignacio Soroeta, was due to arrive, Mompox organized a plot against him. Armed Comuneros took over the Paraguayan capital and made it clear to Soroeta that they intended to retain power no matter what. Shortly thereafter, however, Mompox was betrayed and handed over to loyal officials. Later, while en route back to Lima, the prisoner escaped and managed to get across the Brazilian frontier. Mompox spent the rest of his life as a retailer in Rio de Janeiro. His Comunero associates, however, went down in defeat by early 1735.

See alsoAntequera y Castro, José de .


James Schofield Saeger, "Origins of the Rebellion of Paraguay," in Hispanic American Historical Review 52 (1972): 215-229.

Adalberto López, The Revolt of the Comuñeros, 1721–1735 (1976).

Carlos Zubizarreta, Cien vidas paraguayas, 2d ed. (1985), pp. 67-69.

Additional Bibliography

Montezuma Hurtado, Alberto. Comuneros del Paraguay. Bogotá, Colombia: Ediciones Tercer Mundo, 1983.

Romero, Roberto A. La revolución comunera del Paraguay: Su doctrina política. Asunción, Paraguay: s.n., 1995.

                                      Thomas L. Whigham