Isidro de Espinosa

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Isidro de Espinosa
BornNovember 26, 1679
DiedFebruary 14, 1755
Querétaro, Mexico

Isidro de Espinosa (1679–1755) was a Spanish Franciscan missionary who participated in some expeditionary missions in Texas. He was the president of the missionaries from the College of Santa Cruz de Querétaro.[1]


Espinosa was born in Querétaro on November 26, 1679. He was the son of Isidro de Espinosa and Gertrudis de Miraelrío Tovar. Espinosa had nine brothers, three of whom died before adulthood. On March 18, 1696, Espinosa started studying at the College of Santa Cruz de Querétaro, and on March 19, 1697, began his career as a Franciscan. On December 17, 1703, Espinoza received holy orders and on February 26 of that same year he became a priest. It is believed that he was assigned to Mission San Juan Bautista at the end of 1703 or shortly thereafter.

On April 5, 1709, Captain Pedro de Aguirre, Espinosa, Antonio de Olivares, and fourteen soldiers embarked on an expedition to the area which today is San Antonio, Texas. The Franciscans were interested in this location, due to the availability of water and the possibility of establishing a Spanish colony. The expedition moved past the San Antonio River and traveled to Colorado River of Texas, where they hoped to contact Hasinais, who were rumored to have been there.[2] On this trip, Espinosa also encountered Yojuanes and their allies, the Simonis and the Tusonibi, who tried to convince Espinosa and his associates to come to their villages along the Rio Brazos. However, they failed in this endeavor, and Espinosa did not go to the Yojuane's villages.[3]

Espinosa and associates also failed to contact any natives on the Colorado River. The expedition returned to San Juan Baptist on April 28, 1709.

Shortly after, Espinosa returned to Querétaro, where he lived in this state until he was appointed president of new missions, for which he would be sent again to Texas for the college of the missionaries. In 1716 he joined Domingo Ramón's expedition. During the expedition he founded three Querétaro missions in the east of territory: Our father San Francisco de los Tejas, Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, and San José de los Nazonis.[2] In late April 1716, another Espinosa and Ramón expedition left San Juan Bautista.[4]

Espinosa also participated in two other expeditions in Texas, the expedition of Martín de Alarcón (1718) and that of the Marques of San Miguel de Aguayo (1721).

In late 1721, Espinosa was renamed as the guardian of Texas Missionary University, but he left Texas and never returned to the territory again. In 1733, he was appointed as president of the future Hospice of San Fernando in Mexico City. In the final years of his life he went back to the University of Santa Cruz in Querétaro, where he died on February 14, 1755.[2]

Chronicler of Texas[edit]

Espinosa was also a chronicler of Texas in the first half of the 18th century, working in the day and writing at night, for which earned the nickname of "El Julio Cesar de la Fé en Nueva España" (The Julius Caesar of Faith in New Spain). He wrote many pieces of literature, as well as the biography of his friend Antonio Margil de Jesus, and the "Crónica de los colegios de propaganda fide de la Nueva España" (Chronicle of the Colleges of Propaganda Fide of New Spain), a work that was reprinted in 1964.[2]


  1. ^ Debbie S. Cunningham (editor). Project Muse. Notes and Documents: The Domingo Ramón Diary of the 1716 Expedition into the Province of the Tejas Indians: An Annotated Translation. Page 41.
  2. ^ a b c d Donald E. Chipman. "The Handbook of Texas Online:Isidro de Espinoza". Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved May 8, 2010.
  3. ^ Juliana Barr, Peace Came in the Form of a Woman (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2007) p. 33-34, 46
  4. ^ Foster, William C. (2008). Historic Native Peoples of Texas. Page 123.

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