Alonso Manso

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Bishop Alonso Manso (1460 – September 27, 1539) was a Spanish bishop born in Becerril de Campos, Spain. He studied theology at the University of Salamanca. He became the canon of Salamanca and the chaplain of the prince Don Juan. On November 15, 1504 he was appointed bishop of Magua, Dominican Republic. On August 8, 1511, Pope Julius II created three dioceses in the New World, two in Hipaniola (Santo Domingo and Concepción de la Vega) and one in Porto Rico [sic] (San Juan), and Manso was appointed bishop of the diocese of Porto Rico. Before even arriving to Puerto Rico on September 26, 1512, he founded the first school of advanced studies. On 1513, he became the first bishop to arrive in the New World. In 1519, at the request of Bishop Manso the diocese of Puerto Rico was expanded to cover all the Leeward Islands. That same year he was appointed as the first Inquisitor General of the Indies and two years later he directed the construction of the Cathedral of San Juan. However, the cathedral would be completely destroyed by a hurricane in 1539, shortly after his death.

Bishop Manso, as was customary at the time, became involved in politics. He became the eighth governor of Puerto Rico[1] in 1523.[2] However, his stay in power was short lived as he was replaced a year later by Pedro Moreno, the man who, incidentally, he had replaced.

Bishop Manso was the precursor of many acts in the New World. Aside from establishing the first advanced studies school he performed the first episcopal consecration in the New World when in 1529, at the Cathedral of San Juan, he consecrated Sebastián Ramírez de Arellano, elected bishop of Santo Domingo. He also founded two hospitals, Concepción (which was the first hospital built in Puerto Rico) and San Ildefonso hospital. Bishop Manso died in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in 1539 at the age of 79. He was succeeded as bishop of Puerto Rico by Rodrigo de Bastidas y Rodriguez de Romera in 1541.

Preceded by
Archbishop of San Juan
Succeeded by
Rodrigo de Bastidas y Rodriguez de Romera
Preceded by
Pedro Moreno
Governor of Puerto Rico
Succeeded by
Pedro Moreno

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bishop Manso was officially the 10th governor of Puerto Rico but Vicente Yáñez Pinzón, the first appointed governor, never arrived on the island and Juan Ponce de León held office as the 2nd and 6th governor of Puerto Rico.
  2. ^ Sources vary on whether he became governor on 1523 or 1522.