Espinosa, Isidro Félix de

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Franciscan missionary and historian; b. Querétaro, Mexico, November 1679; d. there, February 1755. Espinosa entered the Franciscan Order at Querétaro March 18, 1696, and was ordained in February 1703. When sent to the missions in northeast Mexico just below Texas, Espinosa soon became a promoter of reopening the old Franciscan missions. A preliminary exploratory trip (April 1709), of which he wrote his diario, helped win a favorable decision, although Espinosa himself was sent back to the college as master of novices. After 1714 Espinosa returned north and with Fray Antonio margil helped to advance the mission frontier to the border of French Louisiana, founding six missions. A French advance in 1718 destroyed these promising centers. In 1721 Espinosa went back to Texas with the Marqués de Aguayo, but his election as guardian of the college forced him to leave and he never returned. He devoted the rest of his life to literary and administrative tasks. In 1726 he was appointed official chronicler of the college of Querétaro and later of all the mission colleges of Mexico. Espinosa's published works are numerous, but the more important are: El peregrino septentrional atlante: delineado en la exemplarissima vida del Venerable Padre Fray Antonio Margil de Jesús (Mexico 1737), the basic life of Margil; Chrónica de la Provincia de Michoacán, unfinished but printed in 1899; and Chrónica de todos los colegios de Propaganda Fide de esta Nueva España de misioneros franciscanos (Mexico 1746). This is the most important work, written in a fluent style carefully documented. A posthumous biography of his brother, the Oratorian Juan Antonio Pérez de Espinosa, was printed in 1942.

Bibliography: i. f. de espinosa, Crónica de los Colegios de Propaganda Fide de la Nueva España, ed., l. gÓmez canedo (Franciscan Historical Classics 2; new ed. Washington 1964).

[l. g. canedo]

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Espinosa, Isidro Félix de

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