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Treviño de Sobremonte, Tomás


TREVIÑO DE SOBREMONTE, TOMÁS (1592–1649), Marrano martyr in Mexico. His father came from an old aristocratic Christian family and his mother, Leonor Martínez de Villagómez, was a Judaizing New Christian. Born in Medina de Riosoco, Spain, he studied Latin in two Jesuit schools and canon law at Salamanca, and became a page for a nobleman in his home town. When a fellow page called him a Jew, he killed him and went into hiding. In 1612 Tomás fled to New Spain, where he prospered as a merchant, with connections at the commercial centers of Zacatecas, Guadalajara, Acapulco, and Vera Cruz. His brother, Gerónimo, was arrested with their mother by the Inquisition in Spain, and revealed under torture that Tomás was a Judaizer. Consequently, the Mexican Inquisition arrested Tomás in November 1624 and reconciled him to the Church the following year after he expressed repentance. The repentance was feigned, however, for Tomás had no intention of relinquishing his Judaism. He even had himself circumcised in jail by a cell mate. In 1629 he married the Judaizer, Maria Gómez, and despite the interdict of the Inquisition he dressed in finery, wore arms, and rode on horseback. When his wife and her family were arrested by the Inquisition, he found various ways of communicating with them, but refused to take his wife back after her reconciliation with the Church until he was ordered to do so by the Inquisition. He was planning to flee New Spain, most probably to Holland, when he was rearrested as a relapsed heretic on Oct. 11, 1644, and after a lengthy trial condemned to the stake. He was the only one of over a hundred prisoners to be burned alive at the great *auto-da-fé of Apr. 11, 1649. To his last moment, learned theologians tried to convert him, but could not budge him from his devotion to Judaism. The poet Miguel de Barrios dedicated a eulogy to Tomás Treviño de Sobremonte, but it is apparent that he confused him with another Marrano victim, Francisco Maldonado de *Silva, who died at the stake a decade earlier.


J.T. Medina, Historia… de la Inquisición en México (1905), 148, 199, 206; A. Wiznitzer, in: ajhsq, 51 (1962), 229–39; B. Lewin, Mártires y conquistadores judíos en la América Hispana (n.d.), 116–76.

[Martin A. Cohen]

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