García Guerra

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Archbishop-Viceroy Fray García Guerra

Fray García Guerra, OP (c. 1547, Frómista, Palencia, Spain—February 22, 1612, Mexico City), archbishop of Mexico and viceroy of New Spain. He held the former office from December 3, 1607 and the latter from June 19, 1611. He still occupied both offices at the time of his death in 1612.


He took up the habit of the Dominicans in the Spanish monastery of San Pablo de Valladolid, where he was prior and principal of the province. In 1607 Philip III named him archbishop of Mexico.

In 1611 a letter was received in Mexico City from Spain ordering the sitting viceroy, Luis de Velasco, marqués de Salinas to return to the mother country to take charge of the Council of the Indies, and directing García Guerra to fill the position of viceroy. The letter stipulated that Velasco was to remain in charge of the viceregal government until his actual departure from the colony. Velasco left the city on June 10, and Archbishop Guerra retired to Tacubaya to await the news of his sailing from Veracruz.

Archbishop-Viceroy Fray García Guerra, 1611-1612.

This news was received on June 18, and on the following day Guerra made his solemn entry into the capital. He was mounted on a fiery charger, beneath a canopy whose poles were carried by the councilors of the city, on foot and dressed in crimson velvet. Accompanying the archbishop were the members of the Audiencia and the tribunals, the royal officials, and the noblest and richest residents of the colony. The procession stopped first at the cathedral, where a solemn Te Deum was sung, and then passed to the viceregal palace, where Guerra officially took office.

As viceroy, he worked to find funds to improve the drainage system of Mexico City, and to convince the native Spaniards to return land to the Indians. In the first objective he was not successful. He received a scientific report from the noted mathematician Ildefonso Arias that the project could not succeed because of the subterranean connection to the Río Acolhuacán. In the second objective he was not successful either, due to his short time in office and the strong opposition of the owners of the encomiendas and latifundios.

On August 20, 1611 an earthquake caused much damage in the capital, and some damage in the provinces. Many buildings were destroyed.

Not long after becoming viceroy, Guerra suffered an injury in the descent from his coach. He was operated on without success, and he died in 1612. He was interred with much ceremony in the cathedral of Mexico City. After his death, the Audiencia assumed the government, pending the arrival of his replacement. A few days later the Audiencia suppressed a conspiracy of Negroes, hanging 29 men and four women.


  • (Spanish) "Guerra, García," Enciclopedia de México, v. 6. Mexico City, 1988.
  • (Spanish) García Puron, Manuel, México y sus gobernantes, v. 1. Mexico City: Joaquín Porrua, 1984.
  • (Spanish) Orozco Linares, Fernando, Gobernantes de México. Mexico City: Panorama Editorial, 1985, ISBN 968-38-0260-5.

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Religious titles
Preceded by
García de Santa María Mendoza
Archbishop of Mexico
Succeeded by
Juan Pérez de la Serna
Government offices
Preceded by
Luis de Velasco, marqués de Salinas
Viceroy of New Spain
Succeeded by
Diego Fernández de Córdoba