Vasco de Quiroga

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Vasco de Quiroga (born between 1470-78 - died March 14, 1565) was the first bishop of Michoacán, Mexico and one of the judges (oidores) in the second Audiencia that governed New Spain from January 10, 1531 to April 16, 1535.

Coming from a background as a lawyer and a judge he was appointed to be a judge in the second Audiencia after the first Audiencias failure. As an oídor he took a strong interest in restoring order to the Michoacán area which had been ravaged by rebellions and unrest. He employed a strategy of congregating indigenous populations into congregated Hospital-towns called Republicas de Indios, organized after principles derived from Thomas More's Utopia. The purpose of this policy was to make the dispersed indigenous populations easier to control and instruct in Christian values and lifestyles. He established two such hospitals: Santa Fé de México close to the town of Tacuba in the Valley of Mexico, and Santa Fé de la Laguna close to Pátzcuaro, Michoacán.

Because of his reputation as a protector of the Indians, Vasco de Quiroga is venerated as a saint in some communities in Michoacan to this day.

Background and life in Europe

Vasco de Quiroga was born into a noble family in Madrigal de las Altas Torres, Castile. His family was of Galician origin. His brother Álvaro became the father of Gaspar de Quiroga y Vela, later Cardenal of Toledo. Traditionally his birth year has been given as 1470, because of a tradition...
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