Juan de Zumárraga

Brief Biography

Juan de Zumárraga, in adulthood to become the Bishop of Mexico, was born about 1468 in Tavira de Durango, Vizcaya province, Spain. He joined the Order of Friars Minor (Franciscans) and was nearly 60 years old when nominated as bishop of Mexico. That bishopric was administered under the See of Sevilla in Spain. Technically, he was later elevated to archbishop, but the official authorization did not arrive from Spain until a month after fray Juan had died in 1548. Zumárraga was a very powerful personage in early colonial Nueva España. He was a friend of don Antonio de Mendoza and a correspondent of fray Marcos de Niza, whom he recommended to make the preliminary reconnaissance of Tierra Nueva in 1539.