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The decades of the 1530's and 1540's witnessed the founding of Hispanic colonial institutions, many of which with modifications continue today. Among the most lasting of these has been the Church. This is part of Juan de Zumarraga's (Mexico's first archbishop) legacy, not only the setting up of ecclesiastical administration but also the prelate's ministry among his people. Zumarraga's concerns were many and varied. Concern for the Indians' spiritual and material well-being prompted Zumarraga to establish schools and hospitals, introduce the first printing press, and collect a library. Equally significant and less known is his role of introducing and promoting European culture in early colonial Mexico. Spain and Portugal were a century ahead of other European colonial powers in bringing Western Christian civilization to the New World. Throughout the 1600's much of the present day United States Atlantic seaboard was a wilderness when compared to the developing cultural life in Central Mexico. This booklet's purpose is to provide the essential historical information for this head start through the study of the life of Zumarraga. Although its primary intent is as a teaching tool for elementary teachers, it can be profitable on the secondary level. A brief bibliography is included to provide the teacher with additional information and a listing of audiovisual materials.


Part of The Tinker Pamphlet Series for the Teaching of Mexican American Heritage.

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