Correspondence and reports regarding evangelization of indigenous people by Catholic missionaries in Mexico from the holdings of the San Cristobal diocesan archives in Mexico. Dominicans and Franciscans reported on Maya and Zoque Indians in Chiapas and Jesuits reported on Tarahumara Indians in Nueva Vizcaya (now Chihuahua and Durango). Spanish is the principal language.

With slide film during the 1990s, Nicholas "Nick" D. Patrinos, Jr., of Riverview Studios, Milwaukee, reformatted one bound volume of 16-18th century letters, reports, and financial accounts, which he gifted to the Marquette Archives in 2014.

Related publications in Archives noted at the end of the container list.

Historical Note

The following events, people, and places are noted in the records with alternate names as spelled in the records noted in parenthesis with additional notes in brackets.

Dates Notable Events
1529 In Mexico, Spain established the province of Chiapas.
1539 The Catholic Church erected the Diocese of Ciudad Real de Chiapas from a portion of the Diocese of Antequera, Oaxaca.
1562 Spain established the province of Nueva Vizcaya in northern Mexico, which includes the modern-day Mexican states of Chihuahua and Durango and adjacent areas. Nueva Vizcaya quickly became a major silver mining region.
1708-1713 Gradually, 32 Tzeltal (Tzendales), Tzotzil, and Chol pueblos or communities revolted in a cultural and political revolution known as the 1712 Tzeltal Revolt.
1708-1714 Bishop Juan Bautista Alvarez de Toledo, O.F.M., served as bishop of Ciudad Real.
1712-1713 Spanish military forces suppressed the 1712 Tzeltal Revolt.
1964 The name of the diocese changed to Diocese of San Cristóbal de Las Casas.


Notable People Dates
Alvarez de Toledo, O.F.M. (Franciscan), Bishop Juan Bautista; Bishop of Ciudad Real de Chiapas 1708-1714
Bravo (Brabo) de la Serna, General don Francisco; Governor of Nueva Vizcaya 1708-1714
De Estrada, Padre Pedro, Chiapas 1679
De Santiago (Sanctiago), O.P. (Dominican), Padre Geronimo; Comitán, Chiapas 1658
Garcia, Bishop Samuel Ruiz; Bishop of San Cristóbal 1959-2000
Pascal, O.P. (Dominican), Padre Pablo Iribarren 1985-1992


Places Noted:
Chiapas Bachajón, Chenalhó, Chilum, Ciudad Real (renamed San Cristobal de las Casas), Comitán, Moyos, Ocosingo, Ocotitlan [not confirmed], San Francisco Petalcingo, San Matheo Tila, San Miguel Tumbalá (Tumbala), Soconusco (Xoconusco) [within cultural region by same name], Tenejapa, Tuxtla (Tustla), Zinacantán, Zitalá (Zitala)
Nueva Vizcaya San José de Parral (renamed Hidalgo del Parral) [In modern-day Chihuahua.]
Puebla? Huehuetlán (Huehuetlan) [Community not clearly identified.]
San Luis Potosí? Huehuetlán (Huehuetlan) [Community not clearly identified.]

Scope and Content

Series 1. Diocese of San Cristobal Correspondence, 1580-1582, 1596-1710s, 1716, undated: The correspondence comprises reformatted copies from one bound volume of letters, reports, and financial accounts. These records pertain to evangelization by Dominicans and Franciscans among the Maya and Zoque peoples in Chiapas and by Jesuits among the Tarahumara people in Nueva Vizcaya (now Chihuahua and Durango). Included are financial accounts of native confraternities and reports of native idolatry and the Tzeltal revolt. At least one record was written in Nahuatl.

These documents are numbered with a “MUA_DSC” prefix followed by a hyphenated number. To the left of the hyphen, the three digits indicate a slide film box number, and to the right, the two digits identify an individual slide frame or document side. Furthermore, some irregularities exist within this scheme. Two slide film boxes preceding box 01 lacked numerical identifiers and were collectively numbered 00, and two boxes were numbered 21, and were further numbered as 21a and 21b. Slide boxes 39-43 are missing. Approximately 400 slide frames comprise the series with up to 10 slides or frames per slide box.

Dr. Laura Matthew, Marquette University History Department, compiled the following notes from series 1:

Chiapas, 1580-1582, 1596-1658, 1663-1664, 1676-1710s, 1716

Slide Box 00: Chiapas, 1658

Autos de oficio contra el Padre Fr. Geronimo de Sanctiago religioso de la orden de sancto Domingo cura por el Real Patronasgo del pueblo de Comitlan, Chiapas, 1658.

MUA_DSC_00A-11 = A random page of 16th century script without numeration and possibly no verso.

MUA_DSC_00A-12, 14, 1-10, 13 = The top halves of these pages are missing.

MUA_DSC_00A-15 = Portada of “Vol. 2.”

Slide Boxes 01-02: Chiapas, 1658

MUA_DSC_01A-01 (start) = Autos de oficio contra el Padre Fr. Geronimo de Sanctiago religioso de la orden de sancto Domingo cura por el Real Patronasgo del pueblo de Comitlan, Chiapas, 1658.

MUA _01A-01 = A close up duplicate of MUA_DSC_00A-13.

MUA_DSC_01A-07 = A single document in Nahuatl.

Slide Box 03: Chiapas, 1658

Ibid, continued. Contains fiscal accounts for Cofradía de Santissimo Sacramento.

Slide Boxes 04-06: Chiapas, 1658

Ibid, continued. An examination of Fr. Geronimo de Santiago in the vernacular language of the parish in Comitlan, Chiapas, 1658.

Slide Box 07: Chiapas, 1580-1582

Ibid, continued through MUA_DSC_08A-06.

MUA_DSC_08A-07 – MUA_DSC_08A-12: Provision real de su Magestad de pedimiento de los padres religiosos de la orden de señor san francisco sobre los ornamentos del pueblo de los moyos, 1580.

Slide Boxes 08-19: Chiapas, 1580-1582

Ibid, continued.

Slide Box 20: Chiapas, 1580-1582, 1619

Ibid, continued. Foliation shifts on MUA_DSC_20A-07, which has “69” (continuing prior folio numeration) and 118, which follows “en adelante” with next recto photo being 119. After folio 119, the year shifts from 1619 to 1580-1582, from the principal towns of San Matheo Tila, San Miguel Tumbala, and San Francisco Petalsingo to ldquo;todos de la provincia de los soques en la de Chiapas.”

Slide Box 21: Chiapas, 1676-1710s

MUA_DSC_21A – MUA_DSC_21A (a)-08: Ibid, continued. The final five folios pertain to the previous case with San Matheo Tila, San Miguel Tumbala, San Francisco Petalsingo and “todos de la provincial…” to 1678.

MUA_DSC_21A (a)-09 (start): Correspondence beginning in 1676 that describes the widespread practice of idolatry throughout the region.

MUA_DSC_21A (b)-09 (start): A report to the Franciscan bishop of Chiapas and Soconusco after the 1713 rebellion of the Tzendales in the Lacandon forest of Chiapas.

Slide Box 22: Chiapas, 1650, 1663-1664, 1708, 1716

MUA_DSC_22A-02: A 1716 letter asks for accounting books in the cathedral.

MUA_DSC_22A-05: A 1708 letter requests information from bishops.

MUA_DSC_22A-07: A 1650 letter (incomplete) relates to a prior conversation with the pueblo of Comitlan, Chiapas.

MUA_DSC_22A-09: A 1664 letter pertains to the presence of the church in Ocosingo, Chiapas.

MUA_DSC_22A-13: A 1663 letter pertains to the “doctrinas examinados en su lengua”.

Slide Box 23: Chiapas, 1663, undated

MUA_DSC_23A-04: A letter of approval for fiadores de Juzgado de bienes de difuntos.

MUA_DSC_23A-07: A 1663 letter, “aprobación for curas de Ocosingo y Ocotitlan”.

Slide Box 24: Chiapas, 1662-1663, undated

MUA_DSC_24A-03: A letter of 1662 from Tuxtla, “aprobación de cura en lengua zoque.”

MUA_DSC_24A-08: A letter of 1663 requesting more religious.

MUA_DSC_24A-11: A letter arguing against a priest from Tuxtla as provincial of his religious order.

Slide Box 25: Chiapas, 1656, 1679

MUA_DSC_25A-03: A letter of 1656, “nominación para beneficio de cura de Tustla y sus anexos.”

MUA_DSC_25A-07: A letter of 1656, “nominación y examinación en zendal [Zeltal] para Bachajon, tanquinquis Zitala Chilum and iajalum.”

MUA_DSC_25A-11: A letter of 1679, “carta protestando las acciones de Fr. Pedro de Estrada.”

Slide Boxes 26-28 and 28A-03: Chiapas, 1710

MUA_DSC_26A-02: A letter of 1710-11-12, “Cuaderno de reales provisiones.”

Continued in -- DSC Slide Boxes 34-44: Chiapas and Huehuetlan, 1596-1658

Nueva Vizcaya, 1639-1699

Slide Boxes 28-32: Nueva Vizcaya, 1639, 1659

MUA_DSC_28A-04: A letter of 1659, “Jesuitas y nación tarahumara.”

MUA_DSC_30A-12: A letter of 1639 begins second copied section of same case from 1639.

MUA_DSC_31A-05: A letter of 1639 from Nueva Vizcaya, “Testimonio de los autos Ynformaciones y diligencias sobre el descubrimiento de la laguna de la sal llamada Sta. Maria de los tobossos.”

Slide Box 33: Nueva Vizcaya, 1659-1699

MUA_DSC_33A-04 (start): The account books of Real de Minas de San José de Parral, Nueva Vizcaya, 1669-1699.

Slide Boxes 34-36: Nueva Vizcaya, 1640

MUA_DSC_34A-04 – MUA_DSC_37A-01: “Ynformación hecha de pedimiento de el Sr. General don Francisco Brabo de la Serna Governador y Capitan General deste Rey, 1640, San Josep del Parral, Nueva Vizcaya.

Chiapas and Huehuetlan, 1596-1658

Slide Boxes 34-36: Chiapas and Huehuetlan, 1596-1658

MUA_DSC_37A-02: “Cuaderno primero de provisiones Reales desde el Año 1596 hasta el de 1658.” Pertains to Chiapas, Xoconusco, Huehuetlan, and other pueblos.

Slide Box 38: Chiapas and Huehuetlan, 1590s

Continues Cuaderno to folio 235 (last slide, MUA_DSC_38A-07): Huehuetlan, 1590s.

Slide Boxes 39-44: Chiapas and Huehuetlan, 1590s-1658

DSC slides 39-43 are missing, which should contain the remainder of the “Cuaderno primero de provisiones.” DSC 44 continues with folio 274v.

Series 2. Diocese of San Cristobal Reports, 1985-1992: Parish personnel training guides and follow up reports on pastoral visits to the parishes, most, if not all, written by Pablo Iribarren Pascal, O.P.


Diocese of San Cristobal de las Casas Records (Series 1 and 2)


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