- Ensayos de Calidad, Tareas y Monografias


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Toribio de Benavente Motolinia

(1482, Benavente, Spain-1568, Mexico City, New Spain), also known as Motolinía, was a Franciscan missionary and among the first 12 clerics to arrive in New Spain in May 1524.

Toribio entered the Franciscan Order as a young boy, dropping his family name of Paredes in favor of his birth city, as was the custom among the Franciscans. In 1523 he was chosen to be among the first twelve missionaries to be sent to the New World.

After a strenuous journey he arrived in Mexico where Toribio was greeted with great respect by Hernán Cortés. Upon riding through Tlaxcala the Indians commented on his ragged Franciscan robes, saying "Motolinia", which in the Nahuatl language means "He afflicts himself" or "He is poor". This was the first word he learned in the Nahuatl language and he took it as his name. He was named Guardian of the Convent of San Francisco in Mexico City where he resided from 1524 to 1527.

From 1527 to 1529 Toribio worked in Guatemala and Nicaragua, studying the new missions in that area. Back in Mexico he stayed at the convent of Huejotzinco near Tlaxcala, where he had to help the natives against the abuse and atrocities committed by Nuño de Guzmán. He suggested to the native leaders that they complain to Bishop Juan de Zumárraga about Guzmán but the latter accused him of trying to instigate a revolt among the Indians against the Spanish sovereignty. In 1530 he went to the Convent of Tlaxcala and contributed in the foundation of the City of Puebla de Los angeles. With Franciscan colleagues he traveled to Tehuantepec in Guatemala and to the Yucatan to undertake further missionary work.

Even though Motolinía protected Indians against the abuse of Guzmán, he did not share the opinions of the Dominican bishop Bartolomé de las Casas, who saw the conquest and subjugation of the Indians as a crime and against all Christian morality. Motolinía believed that God would protect the Indians once converted and that the missionary work thus was more important than fighting the encomienda system and he remained a defender of the conquest, the encomienda system and the evangelization. In fact, in a famous letter to King Charles V of Spain, he undertook a virulent attack upon Las Casas, intending to discredit him completely. He called him "a grievous man, restless, importunate, turbulent, injurious, and prejudicial" and even an apostate, in that he had renounced the Bishopric of Chiapas. He furthermore advised the king to have Las Casas shut up for safe keeping in a monastery. In 1545 the encomenderos of Chiapas asked for him to come there to defend them against Las Casas but he declined, in the same way he declined a position as bishop offered to him by the king.

Having founded many cloisters and convents in Mexico and supposedly baptized more than 400,000 Indians, Toribio retired to the Convent of San Francisco in Mexico City, where he died in 1568. He is remembered in Mexico as one of the most important evangelists.

Bartolomé de las Casas

Bartolomé de las Casas, O.P. (c. 1484[1] – 18 July 1566), was a 16th-century Spanish historian, social reformer and Dominican friar. He became the first resident Bishop of Chiapas, and the first officially appointed "Protector of the Indians". His extensive writings, the most famous being A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies and Historia de Las Indias, chronicle the first decades of colonization of the West Indies and focus particularly on the atrocities committed by the colonizers against the indigenous peoples.

Arriving as one of the first European settlers in the Americas, he participated in, and was eventually compelled to oppose the atrocities committed against the Native Americans by the Spanish colonists. In 1515, he reformed his views, gave up his Indian slaves and encomienda, and advocated, before King Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, on behalf of rights for the natives. In his early writings, he advocated the use of African slaves instead of Natives in the West-Indian colonies; consequently, criticisms have been leveled at him as being partly responsible for the beginning of the Transatlantic slave trade. Later in life, he retracted those early views as he came to see all forms of slavery as equally wrong. In 1522, he attempted to launch a new kind of peaceful colonialism on the coast of Venezuela, but this venture failed causing Las Casas to enter the Dominican Order and become a friar, leaving the public scene for a decade. He then traveled to Central America undertaking peaceful evangelization among the Maya of Guatemala and participated in debates among the Mexican churchmen about how best to bring the natives to the Christian faith. Traveling back to Spain to recruit more missionaries, he continued lobbying for the abolition of the encomienda, gaining an important victory by the passing of the New Laws in 1542. He was appointed Bishop of Chiapas, but served only for a short time before he was forced to return to Spain because of resistance to the New Laws by the encomenderos, and conflicts with Spanish settlers because of his pro-Indian policies and activist religious stances. The remainder of his life was spent at the Spanish court where he held great influence over Indies-related issues. In 1550, he participated in the Valladolid debate in which Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda argued that the Indians were less than human and required Spanish masters in order to become civilized. Las Casas maintained that they were fully human and that forcefully subjugating them was unjustifiable.

Bartolomé de las Casas spent 50 years of his life actively fighting slavery and the violent colonial abuse of indigenous peoples, especially by trying to convince the Spanish court to adopt a more humane policy of colonization. And although he failed to save the indigenous peoples of the Western Indies, his efforts resulted in several improvements in the legal status of the natives, and in an increased colonial focus on the ethics of colonialism. Las Casas is often seen as one of the first advocates for universal human rights.

Juana Inés de la Cruz

Sister (Spanish: Sor) Juana Inés de la Cruz, O.S.H. (English: Joan Agnes of the Cross) (12 November 1651 – 17 April 1695), was a self-taught scholar and poet of the Baroque school, and nun of New Spain. Although she lived in a colonial era when Mexico was part of the Spanish Empire, she is considered today a Mexican

writer, and stands at the beginning of the history of Mexican literature in the Spanish language.

A portrait of Juana during her youth in 1666, which states she was 15 at the time,


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