Antonio Zapata y Cisneros

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Antonio Zapata y Cisneros
Antonio Zapata y Cisneros
Consecration 1587
Created Cardinal 6 June 1604
by Clement VIII
Personal details
Born (1550-10-08)8 October 1550
Died 27 April 1635(1635-04-27) (aged 84)

Antonio Zapata y Cisneros, also listed as Zapata y Mendoza,[1] (Madrid, 8 October 1550 – Madrid, c. 27 April 1635) was a Spanish bishop. He served as bishop of Cádiz and Pamplona, archbishop of Burgos, cardinal, councillor of state for Philip III, Viceroy of Naples, and Inquisitor General of the realm.


Ecclesiastical career[edit]

He was the first child of Francisco Zapata de Cisneros, 1st Count of Barajas, and María Clara de Mendoza; and a grand-nephew of Cardinal Cisneros.

He studied at Salamanca, graduating with a degree in Canon Law. He was named a canon and inquisitor of Toledo and later of Cuenca, where his uncle Gómez Zapata was the bishop. In July 1587 he renounced the noble title he had inherited by right of primogeniture in favor of his brother Diego, and in November that year he was made bishop of Cádiz at the urging of Philip II, and consecrated by Cardinal Gaspar de Quiroga.[2] During his episcopate he ordered the raising of part of the city walls at his own expense.

In May 1596 he was sent to the diocese of Pamplona.[3] In 1599 he was named a councillor of state, and in September the following year Philip III made him archbishop of Burgos, in which post he contributed to the ornamentation of the city's cathedral.

In June 1604 Pope Clement VIII named him a cardinal,[4] after which he resigned from the office of archbishop and moved to Rome, where he lived for the following years. He participated in the conclave of 1605 in which Pope Paul V was elected and was the inquisitor of the city.[1]

In 1617 he returned to Spain, bringing with him the remains of Saint Francis Borgia. Two years later he bestowed the cardinal's galero on Prince Ferdinand of Austria.[1]

Viceroy of Naples[edit]

In September 1620 Philip III gave him the post of Viceroy of Naples, where he arrived at the end of the year.[5] At the death of Pope Paul V the following month, Zapata traveled to Rome, where he participated in the conclave in which the new pope Gregory XV was elected; in his absence of less than a month Naples was governed by Pedro de Toledo, general of the king's galleys.

During the viceroyalty of Zapata the country suffered serious inflation caused by the systematic counterfeiting of the currency. Inclement weather, which left the kingdom isolated for several months, thereby hindering commerce, added to the precarious situation of the Neapolitans, who protested angrily against his government, leading on several occasions to physical aggression against the viceroy. In December 1622 Zapata was succeeded in his post by Antonio Álvarez de Toledo y Beaumont, 5th Duke of Alba.[6]

Return to Spain[edit]

After his return to Spain, in 1625 he was entrusted with the administration of the Archdiocese of Toledo during the minority of the titular archbishop, Cardinal-Prince Ferdinand of Austria. In a bull issued in January 1627 by Pope Urban VIII he received the post of inquisitor general of the kingdom. Five years later, now an octogenarian, his advanced age led him to resign from all his posts and retire to Barajas. Afflicted with an illness which hindered his speech, he was taken to Madrid, where he died in April 1635. His remains were buried in the Discalced Carmelite monastery of Our Lady of the Conception, founded by his father in Barajas.

He wrote a book entitled Discurso de la obligación en conciencia y justicia que los prelados tienen en proveer las dignidades y beneficios eclesiásticos ("Discourse on the prelate's obligation of conscience and justice in the provision of ecclesiastical offices and benefits"), dedicated to the Cardinal-Prince. It was published in Madrid in 1629.[7]


  1. ^ a b c Salvador Miranda: The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church.
  2. ^ José Antonio Álvarez Baena: Hijos de Madrid vol. I, pp. 130-133 (1789).
  3. ^ Gregorio Fernández Pérez: Historia de la iglesia y obispos de Pamplona, vol. III, pp. 53-56.
  4. ^ "Catholic Hierarchy: Antonio Zapata y Cisneros". Retrieved 20 June 2012. 
  5. ^ Juan Ramírez de Arellano, a servant of Antonio Zapata, wrote an account of the voyage from Madrid to Naples at the end of 1620: Relazión de la jornada que desde Madrid a Nápoles hizo don Antonio Zapata.
  6. ^ Virreyes de Nápoles, José Raneo, with annotations by Eustaquio Fernández Navarrete, pp. 408-417, included in "Colección de documentos inéditos para la historia de España", vol. XXIII.
  7. ^ Álvarez Baena, op. cit., vol. IV, pags. 394-395.
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Luis García Haro de Sotomayor
Bishop of Cádiz
1587 - 1596
Succeeded by
Maximiliano de Austria
Preceded by
Bernardo de Sandoval y Rojas
Bishop of Pamplona
1596 - 1600
Succeeded by
Mateo Burgos Moraleja
Preceded by
Cristóbal Vela y Acuña
Archbishop of Burgos
1600 - 1604
Succeeded by
Alfonso Manrique
Preceded by
Robert Bellarmine
Cardinal-Priest of San Matteo in Via Merulana
1605 - 1606
Succeeded by
Roberto Ubaldini
Preceded by
Ascanio Colonna
Cardinal-Priest of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme
1606 - 1616
Succeeded by
Gaspar de Borja y Velasco
Preceded by
Pompeio Arrigoni
Cardinal-Priest of Santa Balbina
1616 - 1635
Succeeded by
Alfonso de la Cueva, 1st Marquis of Bedmar
Preceded by
Andrés Pacheco
Inquisitor-general of Spain
1627 - 1632
Succeeded by
Antonio de Sotomayor
Military offices
Preceded by
Gaspar de Borja y Velasco
Viceroy of Naples
16 December 1620 – 22 December 1622
Succeeded by
Antonio Álvarez de Toledo y Beaumont