Subirana, Manuel de Jesús (1807–1864)

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Subirana, Manuel de Jesús (1807–1864)

Manuel de Jesús Subirana (b. 1807; d. 27 November 1864), Spanish missionary in Cuba and Honduras. Born in Manresa and educated in the seminary in nearby Vich, Subirana was ordained in 1834. He left Spain in 1850 for Cuba, where he worked in El Cobre. In 1856 he was sent to Christianize the Indians of Honduras. Finding them exploited, he struggled to alleviate their misery while catechizing them. He won land and ownership titles for the Jicaque Indians of Yoro and the Paya Indians of Olancho. Subirana's protests to the central government succeeded in mitigating the widespread practices of debt peonage and forced labor. He ended the practice of paying lower prices to Indians for their sarsaparilla than was paid to ladinos. Such efforts won the trust of the Indians, enabling Subirana to baptize thousands. After his death his work passed on to less zealous priests, and past abuses were soon revived.

See alsoCuba: The Colonial Era (1492–1898); Honduras; Missions: Spanish America.


Ernesto Alvarado García, El misionero español Manuel Subirana (1964).

José María Tojeira, Panorama histórico de la iglesia en Honduras (1986), pp. 173-177; William V. Davidson, "El Padre Subirana y las tierras concedidas a los indios, hondureños en el siglo XIX," in América Indígena 44, no. 3 (1984): 447-459.

Donna Whitson Brett and Edward T. Brett, Murdered in Central America: The Stories of Eleven U.S. Missionaries (1988), pp. 6-7.

Additional Bibliography

Sierra Fonseca, Rolando. Manuel Subirana y el movimiento mesiánico en Honduras, 1857–1864. Tegucigalpa: Instituto Hondureño de Antropología e Historia, 1997.

                                      Edward T. Brett