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García Xerez, Nicolás


Bishop of Nicaragua; b. Murcia, Spain, 1746; d. Guatemala, July 31, 1825. He entered the Dominican monastery in his native city, where he studied and graduated as master of sacred theology. He then went to the Indies as a missionary. There he was elected prior of the monastery in Cartagena. One author says that before he came to America he had renounced the archbishoprics of Zaragoza and Valencia. This is not very probable for he accepted the bishopric of Nicaragua in 1807 and took possession in 1810. His see city of León disavowed the governor intendant of Nicaragua Don José Salvador when the revolutionary movement in New Granada asked that all Spaniards be deprived of office. Although García Xerez was a Spaniard, he was accepted by the people as magistrate until 1814. García Xerez could do no less than join in proclaiming the independence of Nicaragua from the Spanish crown. However, he took a very moderate position, which was interpreted by Liberal authors as ambiguous. He calmed impulsive men and warded off riots and excesses; he brought under his influence the committee presided over by Miguel González Saravia. He inspired the proclamation of Oct. 11, 1821, known as the Acta de los Nublados, which declared that Nicaragua freed itself not only from Spain but from every other nation. Saravia altered his stand at the end of 1821 and supported annexation with Mexico. This started a fight between the inhabitants of New Granada, who were unwilling, and the people of León, who because of their leader were ready to compromise. In the political-religious confusion stirred up in Nicaragua in 1824, García Xerez was banished to Guatemala, and he died there in the Dominican monastery. His remains were brought back to Nicaragua on Sept. 12, 1854, and rest in the cathedral of León.

García Xerez had finished the towers and façade of the monumental cathedral and rebuilt the church and monastery of La Merced; he built a bridge of stone and mortar, which joined the city of León with its suburb of Guadalupe.

Bibliography: v. sanabria martÍnez, Episcopologio de la diócesis de Nicaragua y Costa Rica (San José 1943). f. ortega, Nicaragua en los primeros años de su emancipación política (Paris 1894). a. aguilar, Reseña histórica de la diócesis de Nicaragua (León 1927).

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