Irish travellers judged by the Inquisition in Colonial
Lourdes De Ita (Universidad
Michoacana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo)
the 16th to the first years of the 19th
Century, Mexico was under the Spanish Colonial Rule. As a
reaction to the Protestant Reformation in Europe, but as
well as a strategy for protecting its territoriality in its
American colonies, Spain brought to America institutions
such as the Holy Office of the Inquisition.
this paper we will talk about some Irishmen who arrived in
New Spain during that period. They are the first Irishmen
registered to have been in Mexico. The most of them came as
crew members in a commercial journey (most frequently
illegal for the Spanish government) and curiously, were
judged by the Inquisition rather than by the civil laws.
these men we can distinguish William Cornelius of Cork
(judged and ‘relaxed’ in Mexico in the Auto de Fé
in 1575), Tubal of Nash, from “Guatford”, reconciled in
Mexico in the Auto of 1605, Guillén de Lamport,
‘reconciled’ in 1695, and Nicolas O’Silti Valois,
judged in c.1785.
will focus particularly in the case of William Cornelius -
“Cornelio el irlandés”, Guillermo Cornieles, Juan Martín
or Julio Martín - who was a crew member in John Hawkins’s
third slave trade journey to the Caribbean and Central
America. His New Spanish experience is worth examining. He
was, at the end, one of the first foreigners who had to die
because of his beliefs and the intollerance of ‘the
other’. We will consider as well the impact of these
events in the New Spanish (Mexican) population.