Historical Figures

Gaspar Zuniga y Acevedo

Gaspar Zúñiga y Acevedo, 5th Count of Monterrey, 10th Viceroy of Peru . He was born in Bavilafuente (Salamanca) in 1562. Son of Don Jerónimo de Acevedo y Zúñiga, Count of Monterrey, and Doña Inés de Velasco. He was appointed to the viceroyalty of New Spain in 1595 and exercised the government of this jurisdiction for eight years, with singular virtue and selflessness. When in September 1603 he learned that King Felipe III had promoted him to the Viceroyalty of Peru and that his successor, the Marquis of Montesclaros, had arrived in Veracruz, he left for Otumba and from there to the port of Acapulco. . It is said that his departure was greatly mourned by the indigenous Mexicans.
Gaspar Zúñiga, arrived in Paita after a painful journey, which accentuated the ailments of his broken health, the count of Monterrey took possession of the government in Lima on December 8, 1604 . He was the fourth in the series of Novohispanic viceroys who deserved to be promoted to Peru by the Crown, although his valetudinary status (crippled by gout) barely allowed him to serve as head of command for fourteen months. Despite such inconveniences, he devoted himself to the fulfillment of his mission with the zeal and dedication of one who was imbued with a high sense of responsibility. Honest, pious and humble, he exercised charity to the point of dedicating almost all of his income to alms, such as during his mandate he distributed 25 thousand ducats among the needy.
To order the administration of the royal treasury he established the High Court of Accounts . He made an effort to regulate the personal service of the Indians and issued ordinances for some guilds in Lima, such as those of swordsmiths and shoemakers. He favored the foundation of the monastery of Santa Clara (1605), and the collections of Mercedarian, Dominican and Augustinian friars. During his government, the foundation of the town of Oruro by Diego de Padilla (1604) and the creation of the bishoprics of La Paz and Santa Cruz de la Sierra occurred.
Gaspar Zúñiga y Acevedo died on the farm of the Dominican fathers of Limatambo, near the Peruvian capital, on February 16, 1606 . In a letter from the Royal Audience for the Chachapoyas council it is said:“the count of Monterrey, viceroy who was of these kingdoms, after having suffered a very long illness that kept him in bed for eighty-five continuous days, died of a very happy death, with singular demonstrations and examples of religion and holiness, as could and should be expected from such a Catholic and such a great Christian man, having first arranged his things and received the holy sacraments with much space and calm and very notable edification, which is the only consolation that remains for us of such a great loss as these provinces will have to feel with the lack of their just and prudent government”. His remains were transferred to Galicia and buried in the school of the Compañía de Jesús de Monterrey. He was survived by his wife, Doña Inés de Velasco y Aragón.

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