The history of Vasco de Quiroga
He is considered one of the most important and influential men in the state of Michoacán at the beginning of the colonial era. Vasco de Quiroga was born in Spain, specifically in Villa Madrigal de las Altas Torres, where he was educated as a lawyer. In 1531, at the age of 60, Vasco de Quiroga arrived in New Spain as part of the Second Audience, an administrative and judicial group sent by the Spanish Crown to govern the colony. This second group was sent to organize the territory and repair the damages of the First Audience, especially those caused by its president Nuño de Guzmán, who used it to obtain power and control that used for personal benefit. It was rumors of the arrival of the Second Audience that made Nuño de Guzman to run away to what is now the state of Michoacán.
In 1533, two years after his arrival, Vasco de Quiroga organized what was his first experimental village, which he named Santa Fe de México, due to its proximity to the capital city. That same year he founded another town on the shores of Lake Pátzcuaro, Michoacán, which he called Santa Fe de la Laguna, which can still be visited today. He founded hospitals in the communities of Tzintzuntzan, Pátzcuaro, Uruapan, Tacámbaro and Cuitzeo, which served as a refuge for pilgrims from other parts of the country. Later, in 1538 followed its designation like first bishop of Michoacán, with the intention to evangelize the purépechas. Vasco de Quiroga or Tata Vasco, as he was known, had the firm intention of strengthening the communities, in which he made a division of land so that each family had its own house and plot to work the land. He introduced the rotating practice of work in the fields and farms, so that the natives could be self-sufficient and at the same have free time to receive instruction and spiritual practice. He made sure that each population was dedicated to the manufacture of a certain product or craft, which further enriched the pre-Hispanic techniques with which they already worked. Today it is still possible to admire the polychrome of the Uruapan lacquers and hear the beating of the copper wrought iron in Santa Clara. Also, it is common to see in some restaurants that the dishes are served in fine pottery of Patamban, as well as the works in carved wood and ceramics that decorate thousands of homes in Mexico and in many countries of the world.
Don Vasco de Quiroga died on March 14th, 1565 at the age of 95 in the city of Pátzcuaro. His death was the closing of one of the most important periods in the history of the state of Michoacán. The remains of Don Vasco are in the Basilica of the Virgin of Health, which he founded in Patzcuaro.
Nowadays Vasco de Quiroga is one of the most venerated figures in the state of Michoacán and the towns around it, since it was a fundamental part for the development of the institutions and commerce of the city, so much, that some of them still exist nowadays. There are also attractions erected in its name, such as Plaza Vasco de Quiroga, considered one of the largest and most beautiful in Mexico and Latin America, where various cultural events take place throughout the year.
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