Fray Francisco de la Cruz and translatio imperii

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Spanish and Portuguese



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Colonial Latin American Review


On 13 April 1578, the Dominican friar Francisco de la Cruz (b. 1529) was burned at the stake by the Inquisition in Peru. He had been declared a ‘hereje pertinaz, heresiarca, dogmatizador y enseñador de nueva secta y errores’ (Abril Castelló 1997, 2:1644). Cruz was first arrested in 1572 for his involvement with María Pizarro, the niece of the conquistador Francisco Pizarro who claimed to be inhabited by an angel. As Cruz’s trial progressed over the course of more than six years, its focus changed significantly. The early subject matter of the trial concerned Cruz’s dealings with Pizarro, his relationships with other women, including a married woman with whom he fathered a child, his use of black magic, and the unorthodox religious beliefs he was purportedly propagating. It was not until January 1575 that Cruz made a number of outlandish predictions based on what he claimed were recent divine revelations. He articulated the terms of these predictions in a variety of ways, as I discuss below, but in general they foretold that the Turks would destroy European Christendom, the seat of the Church would move to the Indies, and Cruz himself would become pope and king.


For more information on the published version, visit Taylor and Francis's Website.



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