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Vasco de Quiroga (1479-1565)

Born on September 3, 1479  Madrigal, province of  Avila. He studied law in Vallalodid and Salamanca. He became a judge in Orán, Africa. He went to New Spain in 1531 as an oídor (comparable to a judge) of the second Audiencia headed by Bishop Sebastián Ramírez de Funleal . Of noble lineage, Vasco de Quiroga carried authority with him birth because of his lineage and his ability. He was consecrated a priest. He began ministering to the Indians, especially the Otomíes and Náhuas. From 1531 to 1533 he worked in Mexico City teaching his ideas to the native population as well as in trying to convince Spaniards that the natives were rational human beings. he established the hospital-school of Santa Fé near Mexico City. It served 30,000 people. He was sent by Charles V to  Michoacán in 1535 to insure that the royal order prohibiting the enslavement of natives was being obeyed. In 1535, he wrote a treatise in which he opposed the royal cédula of 1534 which authorized the capture of Indians in a just war. He founded the town of Pátzcuaro in now Michoacán state in 1540.  He founded El Colegio de San Nicolás; forty years later it was moved to Morelia. Eventually, he would donate his library of 600 books to the institution., Named a bishop in 1542, he joined Bartolomé de las Casas in denouncing encomiendas. He was deported to Spain. He left Mexico in 1545 but had to return when his ship was damaged. He left again in 1547 and managed to attend part of the Council of Trent. When he returned to New Spain, he worked even harder to establish a utopian society for the native population. 
    He died in  1565 at the age of ninety-five. Tata ("Uncle") Vasco, as he was known by the Indians, left a sterling legacy. He trained the native population in a variety of crafts many of which they still practice.

Don Mabry