The full content of this document is only available to subscribing institutions. More information can be found via

Title Letter [manuscript]: Mexico [City], to Charles V of Spain, 1537 Nov
Author Zumárraga, Juan de (1468-1548)
Document Type Correspondence
Description From the Newberry Library Catalogue: Letter, dated November 1537 in Mexico City, to Charles V from Juan de Zumárraga, bishop of Mexico; Juan López de Zárate, bishop of Oaxaca; and Francisco Marroquín, bishop of Guatemala, in which they discuss the problems they face preaching Catholicism among the Indians of New Spain. The bishops first request instructions from the king on attendance at the General Council. They then ask the king to facilitate Christianization of the Indians by authorizing the construction of roads and pueblos; by building churches to replace the temples and caves in which the Indians continue practicing their idolatry; and establishing convents and church schools where Indians can be educated. They point out the benefits of teaching the Indians how to farm and to perform other jobs. They also request more missionaries to be sent to New Spain, especially those well-trained in doctrine and theology. In view of the special problems the bishops face in New Spain, they ask for broader powers for themselves, such as filling benefice vacancies on a temporary basis. Other topics include requiring Indians to pay tithes or tribute to support the Church; imposing penalties on Indians for bigamy; allowing those Spaniards who have children by Indian women to remain in New Spain; standardizing baptismal rites and ceremonies; and using locally-produced holy oils, instead of oil shipped a great distance from Mexico City.
Names Charles V; Marroquín, Francisco
Places Mexico City, Mexico; Guatemala; Spain
Keywords religion, church, education, missionary, council, Spain, New Spain, colonialism, government, legislature, Christianity, road, pueblo, custom, culture, farming, payment, money, marriage, ceremony
Theme Missionaries and Education; American Indians and the European Powers
Culture Area Mesoamerica
Language Spanish
Library The Newberry Library
Copyright The Newberry Library
Collection The Edward E. Ayer Collection
Reference VAULT Ayer MS 1275 no. 1
Catalogue Link The Newberry Library Catalogue