Burgoa, Francisco de

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Mexican Dominican chronicler; b. Antequera (today Oaxaca), c. 1600; d. Zaachila or possibly Teozapotlán, 1681. He was the son of Ana de Porras, but his father's name is unknown. Burgoa was a descendant of the conquistadores of Oaxaca and was related to prominent families there. He took the habit in 1618 and made his profession in Antequera in the Dominican province of San Hipólito (1620); he was ordained in 1625. Burgoa taught theology for many years and worked in various parishes. He mastered the Zapoteca and Mixteca languages, which enabled him to learn the traditions and legends of the natives of the province. He was provincial in 1649 and was named procurator of his province to the Holy See and to the master general. Eager to improve the culture of his country, he visited many libraries, museums, cultural centers, and convents while in Europe. In Rome he attended the general chapter of his order (1656) and was named definitor, officer of the Inquisition in New Spain, inspector of libraries, censor of books, and vicar general. On his return to Mexico, he was again made provincial (1662). After his term of office, Burgoa went to the convent of Zaachila, where he wrote two of his best literary works: Palestra historial de virtudes, y exemplares apostólicos (1 v.) and Geográfica descripción de la parte septentrional, del polo ártico de la América, nueva iglesia de las Indias Occidentales y sitio astronómico de esta provincia de predicadores de Antequera Valle de Oaxaca (2 v.). Both these works were published in Mexico City (1670 and 1674). They were reissued by the Mexican government in 1934, along with a biography of Burgoa and a bibliography of his published and unpublished works. The Palestra historial is a chronicle beginning with the arrival of the Dominicans in Mexico City in 1526 and emphasizing their work in the area of Oaxaca. It is largely biographical. The Geográfica descripción is concerned mainly with histories of the monasteries. While Burgoa's style is extravagant and tedious, his works are irreplaceable sources for the history of Oaxaca.

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