San Martín, Tomás de

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Spanish Dominican, considered the founder of the oldest university in America; b. Palencia (or Córdoba), Spain, March 7, 1482; d. Lima, Peru, March 1554. He was professed in the convent of San Pablo at Córdoba in 1498 and graduated in arts and theology from Santo Tomás in Seville. He went to America in 1525 and returned to Spain four years later. Once again, in 1538, he visited the New World, this time participating in the important events of the establishment and early development of the Peruvian viceroyalty. He contributed toward the pacification of the country during the conqueror's struggles; and in order to favor the Indians, whom he strongly defended, he opposed the perpetuation of the encomiendas. He corresponded with B. de las casas about moral problems of the conquest and provided information on the situation of the Peruvian Indians. San Martín was the first provincial of the Dominican Order in Peru and promoted the rapid expansion of the order there. He founded numerous doctrinas and schools for the Indians that were operated by the members of his order. In 1548, in the Dominican convent in Lima, he started a curriculum that shortly afterward developed into a university. To obtain the charter for its foundation, he was commissioned by the cabildo of Lima to go to Germany. He also negotiated with the Council of the Indies the establishment of schools for Creoles, mestizos, and Indians in the principal cities of the viceroyalty. In 1552 he was appointed first bishop of Charcas. He was consecrated in Spain but died before he could occupy his see.

Bibliography: l. a. eguiguren, El fundador de la Universidad de San Marcos (Lima 1911), with bibliog. and portrait.

[e. t. bartra]

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San Martín, Tomás de

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