Zumárraga, Juan de (c. 1468–1548)

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Zumárraga, Juan de (c. 1468–1548)

Juan de Zumárraga (b. ca. 1468; d. 3 June 1548), first bishop (1528–1547) and archbishop (1547–1548) of Mexico. Fray Juan de Zumárraga was born in Durango, near Bilbao, Spain; his birthdate is unknown but he was said to have been over eighty at death. Impressed by Zumárraga's campaign against alleged Basque witches, Charles V appointed him bishop of Mexico City. Zumárraga arrived in Mexico in 1528 as bishop-elect and Protector of the Indians. Zumárraga went to Spain in 1532 to report to the emperor; he was consecrated as bishop there in 1534. In 1535 Zumárraga joined forces with Don Antonio de Mendoza, newly arrived first viceroy, to stabilize colonial rule and promote Indian education and Christianization. In 1536 they founded the Colegio de Santa Cruz, a Franciscan college for indigenous nobles. Zumárraga imported a printing press in 1536 and authored or sponsored a number of imprints, including Erasmian tracts. Zumárraga's thinking, typical of Spanish Franciscans, combined Renaissance humanism with mysticism and militant religious zeal. He conducted inquisitorial proceedings against Indians suspected of religious violations; the trials culminated with the 1539 burning at the stake of Don Carlos Mendoza Ometochtzin, native ruler of Texcoco. In 1547 Zumárraga was named archbishop of a new archdiocese comprising the bishoprics of México, Oaxaca, Michoacán, Tlaxcala, Guatemala, and Chiapas; he died soon after receiving the news.

See alsoCatholic Church: The Colonial Period .


Joaquín García Icazbalceta, Don Fray Juan de Zumárraga: Primer Obispo y Arzobispo de México (1947).

Richard E. Greenleaf, Zumárraga and the Mexican Inquisition, 1536–1543 (1962).

Robert Ricard, The Spiritual Conquest of Mexico (1966).

Additional Bibliography

Alejos-Grau, Carmen José. Juan de Zumárraga y su regla cristiana breve (México 1547): autoría, fuentes y principales tesis teológicas. Pamplona: Servicio de Publicaciones de la Universidad de Navarra, 1991.

Elizondo, Virgilio P. Guadalupe, Mother of the New Creation. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1997.

Gutiérrez Zamora, Angel Camiro. El origen del guadalupanism: Fue Montúfar, y no Zumárraga, el padre de la devoción a la Virgen de Guadalupe. Mexico City: EDAMEX, 1996.

                                      Louise M. Burkhart