Doctora Elisa Luque Alcaide

Elisa Luque Alcaide.  Adjunct Professor of the History of the Church at the Dept. of Historical Theology at the University of Navarre, Spain.  PhD in History of the Americas from the University of Seville..

She has worked in the history of education and the history of evangelization in the Americas.

Her current areas of research are the pastoral instruments of the New World (16-18th centuries) and the guilds of the faithful.

December 18, 2021 marked the 380th anniversary of the day the founding documents of the Brotherhood of Our Lady of Aranzazu of Mexico City were notarized; the brotherhood would later become a guild.

Our regular readers will well know how interested this blog is in this organizational model.  Brotherhoods and guilds were created by the “members of the Basque nation” (which is to say, those from Álava, Biscay, Gipuzkoa, and Navarre) living in the New World colonies (and the Philippines) with a clear objective: to aid and succor, both spiritually and materially, those compatriots who were living there or who reached their areas of influence.

As we mentioned in the article on this commemoration, we intended to publish a series dedicated to this guild of Basques in Mexico and to all those founded by Basques throughout the Americas.  To this end, we have used as a leading resource the book authored by Dr. Óscar Álvarez Gila to celebrate the 400th Anniversary of the founding of the Brotherhood of Our Lady of Aranzazu of Lima (*), the academic minutes of which he organized.

Colegio de las Vizcaínas. México
Colegio de San Ignacio de Loyola – Vizcaínas. A work of the Guild of Our Lady of Aránzazu of Mexico City, which is still in operation today

The Brotherhood of Our Lady of Aránzazy has authorized us to use the articles that make up that book, which have been written by some of the best specialists in the field.  This publication allows us to have a broad, complete vision of what these groups of Basque nationals that were founded in the New World in the 17th century meant, and of how important they were.

Given that the idea of this series of articles is born out of the commemoration of the founding of the Guild of Our Lady of Aránzazu of Mexico City, it seemed appropriate to us to start this series with the article that Elisa Luque Alcaide, one of the greatest experts in this field, wrote, to give us a comparative view of this Mexican guild and of the Brotherhood of Our Lady of Aránzazu of Lima.

This historian, researcher, and professor at the University of Navarre has been cited many times on the blog, all in relation to her work on the Basque entities in the Americas.

In one of these articles dedicated to the Brotherhood of Our Lady of Aránzazu of Lima, we brought you the videos of the conference given at the academic event to commemorate its 400th anniversary (linked to below).  This encounter, organized by the Limako Arantzazu Eusko Etxea – Lima Basque Center at the Riva-Agüero Institute (IRA), included a series of conferences led by José La Puente BrunkeÓscar Álvarez GilaElena Sánchez de MadariagaElisa Luque Alcaide, and Diego Lévano Medina.  In this case, we must also thank the Brotherhood in Lima for permission to share this with our readers.

(*) In an event organized by Limako Arantzazu Eusko Etxea – Lima Basque Center which included the following important collaborators:

Euzko Etxea of Santiago de Chile. Haize Hegoa Basque Center of Montevideo, Uruguay. Archbishopric of Santa Fe de Argentina, Passionist Congregation of Spain. Carmelite Congregation of Spain.  University of the Basque Country, Spain.  University of Navarre, Spain.  Autonomous Universtiy of Madrid, Spain.  State University of New York, USA.  Potsdam University, Poland.  San Martín de Porres University of Lima, Peru.  Autonomous University of Buenos Aires, Argentina.  Pontifical Catholic University of Peru.  Pontifical Catholic University of Chile.  University of Veracruz, Mexico.  Greater National University of St. Francis Xavier of Chuquisaca, Bolivia.  The “Olga” magazine archives, Lima, Peru.


The guilds of Arantzazu in the colonial capitals of Lima and Mexico City, a comparative overview

University of Navarre


Studying the enterprises set up by the Basques, both in the geographic area of the Iberian peninsula as well as overseas, lays bare a strong spirit of association, linked with an entrepreneurial, hardworking, and tenacious disposition that characterizes them.  In the provinces of origin, with its few urban centers, the population was dispersed in caseríos, where family and work life were carried out.  It was necessary to create ways to make necessary social relations easier, for all activities.  In addition to Sunday meetings at the anteiglesia church portico where matters of common interest were decided (commercial transactions, giving powers, and providing deeds), guilds of faithful were encouraged, which grouped residents together to worship the local tradition, and where formulas were created to tend to the needs of the whole of the guild members.

This Basque tradition of association took strong root.  In the 13th century, the Basque guild of Arriaga, which worshiped Our Lady of Estívaliz, managed to get Alfonso X the Wise to grant a delegation of the royal court.  This measure was justified by the distance to the court and the area’s poor access.

This tradition accompanied the Basques in the lands they settled.  They did so throughout the Iberian peninsula[1].  In Seville, those from Gipuzkoa and Biscay who made up a collective that was quite strong in the city’s business community, in 1546 founded the Guild of Our Lady of Piety.  In Cádiz, around 1626, the colony met in St. Augustine’s Convent.  In the 18th century, the Basques residing at the court erected a Congregation or Guild of St. Ignatius which, among its founding purposes, was to serve as a link between the crown and the Basques Overseas.  Indeed, Chapter X of their constitution established that they would name some countrymen who were residing in the so-called Indies to receive the memorials sought to be sent to the Congregation, and the figure of the agent in the Indies was institutionalized to work with the Basques Overseas.

They did all this when moving to faraway lands in order to defend their rights and to keep their cultural and religious traditions alive.  The arrival to an unknown place, the need to make one’s way in a society so different to the one they had left behind, the desire for spiritual care rooted in the devotions of the homeland; these were all incentives to come together around common tasks.

In several places throughout the Americas and in the Philippines, Basque guilds devoted to the Virgin of Aránzazu sprang up, bringing together all those from the three Basque territories and the Kingdom of Navarre.  The patronage they chose laid bare the community’s conscience.  Indeed, the Virgin of Aránzazu’s original sanctuary is in the foothills of the Pyrenees, located near the triple point of Gipuzkoa, Álava, and Navarre.  Moreover, the origin of this devotion dates back to the reestablishment of the concord between the residents of Oñate and of Mondragón, who had been separated by mutual quarrels.

The guild of Aránzazu of Mexico City, from its beginnings in 1681 to the end of the 19th century, was an association founded by a group of Basque-Mexicans of the viceroyalty in order to venerate the Virgin of Aránzazu and aid Basque immigrants.  Over time, it expanded its area of action: it incorporated manifestations of Creole religiousness and tended to the needs of Mexican society.  It maintained its relationship with its homelands and promoted the personal and cultural interests of its countrymen.  It was efficiently led by an elite group.  The governing style of the guild, the economic management of its enterprises, and the personal relationships within and outwith the the guild, the dimensions of its religiousness; all this makes clear the characteristic features of this group’s mentality: businessmen who knew how to run a tight ship.  These are the features that I gathered in the research and studies of its sources that I carried out, thanks to the financing of the Basque Government’s Culture Council[2].

French historiography had highlighted that the study of the guilds might be a way to approach the Christian life of the members of a certain society, and to detect the noteworthy characteristics of a certain society.  Gabriel Le Bras, pioneer in France of religious sociology, backed the study of the guilds as a way to learn about religious societies[3]; following along that path was Marie-Hélène Froesschlé-Chopard[4], who rebuilt the map and the features of the devotional guilds of Provence.  In social history, Maurice Agulhon[5] and Michel Vovelle[6] took on the study of the guilds of Provence to detect the sociability of its communities.  The study of the Basque-Mexican guild approaches from both points of view.

Comparative study of the Guilds of Aránzazu of Lima and of Mexico City

In an earlier study, which I now present a revised version of, I set out to contrast the data of the Mexican guild of Aránzazu with those of the Guild of Aránzazu of Lima[7].  Those were the two Basque guilds of the capitals of the viceroyalties and, given the maturity of association found in the Basque-Mexican group, it was to be expected that the Basques who gave rise to the guild in the then City of the Kings, at the head of Southern America, would also carry out work with a strong socio-cultural reach.  The research carried out by Guillermo Lohmann Villena[8] confirmed my hypothesis.

To establish a comparative study between both guilds, I set out to dig deep into the maturity of association and social incidence of either by applying three dimensions I had found in the Mexican guild which had allowed me to discover their excellent ability to start and continue work, as well as the strong outreach program of the Basque-Mexican group:

    1. Exclusive initiative of the group to found the guild;
    2. Governing autonomy of the guild and the works it sets out to do;
    3. Ability to carry out its founding goals and to set out to reach new ones.

Firstly, the decision of the Basque group to found the guild of Aránzazu of Mexico City had to be autonomous.  That means that there was no prior movement on the part of the Church or its associates to have it founded.  Secondly, the government of the guild and the work it carried out had to be in the hands of the governing body, made up only of guild members; that is, without any intervention from the Mexican prelate or from the religious Minorites from the Convent of St. Francis, where the guild’s headquarters were located; at the same time, the Aránzazu committee decided on all the matters of the guild by a majority vote of its memebers and, in more special cases, such as founding what would become the Colegio de las Vizcaínas in Mexico City, which turned out to be a huge enterprise to favor the education of Mexican women, by a majority of all the guild members called to that meeting.  Thirdly, the Mexican guild of Aránzazu consolidated its founding goals and set itself new ones to meet.

While digging in to get more precise data in order to contrast both associations, I had to start from a dissimilarity between the source documents.  The Mexican guild had preserved an important archive of primary and secondary sources, the guilds books, minutes, relationships, letters, etc, at the Historical Archives at the Colegio de la Vizcaínas, today’s José María Basagoiti Archive, which they have never left.  The Peruvian documentation was seized, along with the guild’s assets, in 1865, when the government of Colonel Prado decreed their nationalization; they were moved to the Public Charity Administration in Lima, which I could access but which lacked archive support, meaning it was impossible to get a complete selection of sources.

Indeed, the Peruvian documentation was stored in a room that is closed to the public and which can only be accessed with express authorization from the corresponding authorities[9].  The books of the Aránzazu Guild were all there, meeting minutes, accounting ledgers, books of pious acts, elections of officers.  They are all important and with them it was possible to rebuild the association’s history, but I could not find the secondary documentation, personal letters, reports, etc, as had been the case in Mexico[10].

Below, the data found for each guild is presented as regards the three dimensions studied.

Founding initiative of the Guild of Aránzazu in Peru (1612) and Mexico (1681)

In the case of Mexico, we knew that a large part of the Basque-Navarrese community in the city took part in setting the initiative in motion.  Founding the association as a brotherhood took place on November 23, 1681.  On that day, at the behest of some Basques, the remaining Basques from the Lordship of Biscay, the Mining District, the Kingdom of Navarre, and the Provinces of Gipuzkoa and Álava met at the large convent of St. Francis of Mexico.  The aim, as stated in the minutes of the meeting, was to establish a brotherhood to promote the veneration of Our Lady of Aránzazu.  The association undertook to build a chapel where her image could be venerated, and also a crypt where the members of the brotherhood and their relatives could be buried.

Sixty-one members of the Basque-Navarrese group were in attendance and signed[11] the document of the transfer of one of the convent’s chapels to be the provisional headquarters of the guild[12], equipped with a crypt; the Guardian of the convent, Brother José de Velarde Orozco, signed the document in the name of the religious.  At the same meeting, the members of the governing committee were chosen by those present.  The first rector was Álava-born Capt. Domingo de Larrea, the “silver merchant.”  At the same time, it was decided to build a more capable and independent chapel as soon as possible, to be located in the atrium of the convent; this new chapel would be inaugurated seven year slater on November 21, 1688.

Those members in attendance also signed the agreements between the recently-founded brotherhood and the brothers at the convent of St. Francis, and they also decided to write up the brotherhood’s first constitution.  This document, drawn up in 1682, was made up of 15 points and was the association’s basic law until 1696, when rector Alonso Dávalos de Bracamonte, Count of Miravalle, determined in the governing meeting to draw up a new constitution and to request the archbishop raise the association up to the status of a guild (cofradía).

So, then, in Mexico City, we find a group of Basques who are promoting, among the Basques and Navarrese of the city, the formation of an association that brings them together; in 1681, they founded a brotherhood[13] which, fifteen years later, in 1696, was re-founded as as guild.  A considerable portion of the Basque-Navarrese community voted in favor of this initiative: specifically, sixty-one members; however, the important decision to transform the brotherhood into a guild was made solely by the governing body, authorized to do so by the brotherhood’s constitution.

* * *

In Lima, the City of the Kings, the initiative of the Basques to join together as a brotherhood far preceded the Mexican case.  On February 13, 1612, a representative group of people from Álava, Gipuzkoa, and Biscay who were residing in the city went to a notary to process the purchase of a chapel and burial crypt at the Church of St. Francis in the city for the purpose of housing a brotherhood they meant to start[14].  Unlike in Mexico, in Lima, we do not know whose idea it was.

The “noble gentlemen of the Basque nation” in the City of the Kings constituted the strongest core of the city’s merchants.

They empowered Diego de Olarte, Juan de Urrutia (a benefactor of the enterprise), and four other countrymen to acquire, in the name of the Basque community, a chapel, that of the Incarnation of the Virgin and the Annunciation of the Lord, at the church of St. Francis to be the headquarters of the brotherhood they wished to found.  Along with the chapel, they acquired the corresponding crypt in order to bury future members.  The undertook to raise, among them all, 10,000 pesos to rebuild the chapel and crypt.  On March 18, they formalized the acquisition contract and the chapel was transferred to the hands of the Basques of Lima.

Once they had their headquarters, the guild had to normalize their association.  On December 27, they again got the Basque community of the city together to choose those who would make up the governing body of the brotherhood.  The election was made by all those in attendance.  At that same meeting, they decided that the association’s constitution should be drawn up.

On October 27, 1619, a new meeting of the Basque community in Lima took place at the theology room of the convent of St. Francis.  General Ordoño de Aguirre presided, and a total of 51 guild members, “all Basque”, were in attendance; among them were Capts. Juan de la Plaza, Francisco and Martín de Zamudio, Sebastián de Solarte, Juan Rey, accountants Julio de Arriola Ypeñarrieta, and Diego de Aguirre Urbina; also present was the Guardian of the Franciscan convent, Brother Julio Quijada since, as we know, the guild’s chapel was in the church of the Minorite convent.  A public scribe was also present.  Leaders were elected, “by receiving the votes of all those in attendance, as was the custom in such elections, and those elected were Captain Juan de la Plaza, General Administrator of the Royal Navy of the Southern Sea, with forty-one votes, and Gregorio de Ybarra, with fifty votes.”[15]

After electing the members of the governing body, they formalized the cession of the chapel with the Franciscan provincial.  That is, at that time they had yet to pass the chapel acquired in 1612 to the guild.  A later document, dated February 9, 1620, renewed the acquisition.  However, the works to adapt the chapel still did not take place at this time, due to the lack of Master Espinosa, who was in charge of carrying them out[16].  The first list of donations for the construction of the chapel, the burial crypt, and the meeting room for the brotherhood are from 1628[17].

On April 12, 1635, the Basque community again met; this time, 105 countrymen joined together, including some from Navarre[18].  The approved the constitution that directed the life and activity of the guild.  The objected that guided them to found the association was that of joining together all those from the Basque-Navarrese provinces “in order to work amongst themselves and with those of their nation to carry out works of Christian piety and charity, in life as in death, to thereby reach the glory of God our Lord and savior of souls” (1st constitution).

Thus, in Lima, the project to set up the brotherhood made up of the Basques of the city was in place since 1612.  Getting the plan going happened at three different moments.  In the three phases, the project was voted on and approved by those present in the meetings convened to that end at the convent of St. Francis; we lack the datum of how many attended the first meeting in 1612, though in the second, in 1620, there were 51 participants.  In the third, held in 1635, that number was soundly doubled, and in it there are also some Navarrese: the representation of the group was widening.  All those in attendance participated, with their vote, in the proposed goals and objectives and in approving the association’s constitutions.  The Guardian of the Convent is present as a counter-party and witness of what occurred.  We can affirm that the brotherhood of Aránzazu of Lima was born, like Mexico City’s, of an initiative of the Basques and Navarrese in the city.  The management of the Lima project required twenty-three years to complete its foundational cycle, and reach the formulation of the constitution of the guild.

* * *

From all the above, it can be deduced that, both in Lima and in Mexico City, the first condition to claim the maturity of association of a group happened.  That is to say, the decision to set it up arose from the members of the community without any external instigation.

Governing autonomy of the Basque associations of Lima and Mexico City

The maturity of association also requires that the governing body of the enterprise and its works be in the hands of the group that starts it.  More than anything, I point out the governing flowchart of the governing bodies of both associations.

The governing body in Mexico City was made up of fourteen members: a rector, twelve committee members, and a treasurer, who were elected annually by the outgoing committee.  Therefore, there was a head, a rector, who was granted, moreover, the possibility to have his vote be decisive in the case of a tie in the voting; from the beginning, it is also stipulated that the number of committee members be divided equally among those originally from each one of the three Basque territories of origin, the Mining District[19].

The governing body in Lima was made up of two majordomos, four committee members, and a solicitor or treasurer.  These roles were renewed annually, and the new leaders were elected as an integrated group by all those members of the brotherhood who enjoyed the right to vote.  The majordomos could be reelected, four times if believed appropriate by the voters.  The governing body in Lima, made up of a smaller number of members than in Mexico City, to wit, exacthly half, or seven, lacked a deciding vote, as there were two majordomos and both enjoyed preeminence in the affairs of the guild.  In the annual meetings, all the members who had the right to vote could participated in renewing the brotherhood’s governing body.

* * *

When studying the Aránzazu guild in Mexico City, I could verify the governing autonomy that presided over the association’s works.  The government of the guild by the Aránzazu committee was maintained over time.  What’s more, the guild defeded it against the Franciscan religious of the convent where their headquarters were, against the civil authorities, and even against the ecclesiastical authorities.  An important part of the work of the guild’s committee was dedicated to the management and resources that it sustained to preserve its independence, both in the affairs of the guild itself, as in the projects it carried out.  To that end, it received the Royal protection of a guild on November 6, 1729 and the exemption of the Mexican bishopric via a Bull from Clement XIII on February 3, 1766.

Founding the Mexican association as a guild implied, according to what was laid out in the Council of Trent, the right of the metropolitan archbishop to make an annual visit to the guild to review that its constitution was being followed; that is to say, the prelate must exert certain control over the association and its assets[20].  The constitution of 1696 removed that control by supporting the legal autonomy of the guild from the ecclesiastical hierarchy as regards the economic self-sufficiency of the enterprise they managed.  They claimed, “(this) brotherhood has no donation plate nor receives handouts like the other guilds, and those who are elected as rector and committee members of said brotherhood maintain it at their own expense”[21].

The archbishop of Mexico City, Manuel Rubio y Salinas, defended the rights granted him by canon law, and the guild members sustained that, as they were the masters of their works, they had the right to govern themselves autonomously; a lengthy legal process ensued, processed in Madrid and then in Rome, which ended, as we have stated, with the Pontifical Bull of 1766, which granted the Basque-Mexicans their petition[22].

The management of the guilds of Aránzazu in Mexico City thus confirms the maturity of association of the enterprise and of the group that ran it.

* * *

The constitution in Lima foresaw the holding of two types of meetings to govern the brotherhood: the general meeting, which would be held once a year, on May 3, to name the new officers to the governing committee and to approve the management of the outgoing committee; and the individual monthly meetings, which would be on the second Sunday of the month, to decide on the matters that came up “for the good and the improvement of said brotherhood and for individual cases.”  Those other brothers who “wished to participate” (constitution 15) could also attend; what’s more, it was decreed that, in order for what was laid out to come into force, the general meetings had to have at least thirty guild members in attendance, and the individual onces at least twelve (constitution 16).

The brotherhood in Lima, in its constitution, guaranteed the participation of a majority of the guild members in the affairs of the association: all could vote for the officers of the managing committee and had in their hand the reelection of the same with no time limites; the majordomos had to render accounts annually to the managing committee; that is, to the whole of the membership; it was also the power of the members to set aside the assets of the brotherhood for specific projects, such as establishing dowries, or chaplaincies (constitution 21 and 22).  The election of the recipients of the pious works the brotherhood set out would be made by a committee of thirteen members: the seven who made up the governing committee, and six who were elected in the general meeting; just like in Mexico City, voting was secret, to guarantee the freedom of the voters.

The constitution also set out the exemption from all ecclesiastical and secular authorities, who were not permitted “to ask for explanations for its pious works or the expenses of its income and donations because this is and has been the express will of the founders”[23].

In Lima, however, we come across some information that seems to infringe upon that autonomy: the presence of the Guardian of the Franciscan convent in the brotherhood’s general meetings, though it was stated in the constitution that he would have no voting rights.  What’s more, the constitution expressed that he would only attend “if called to attend by the majordomos” (constitution 13).  The data we have lead us to believe that the presense of the Franciscan superior of the convent in Lima was institutionalized in the brotherhood’s meetings: e.g., the minutes of the meeting of May 3, 1700 to elect the majordomos of the committee state that the Guardian Father of the convent who was present “called on them to give their votes to the person they believed most opportune to be majordomo,” after which, a secret vote was held[24]; this as repeated in the following years.

The presence of the convent’s superior can be explained by the generalized practice in Peru at the beginning of the 17th century.  On April 4, 1603, the prior of the Dominican convent in Lima, Brother Agustín de Vega, stated: “These Fathers always attend the meetings these guilds hold, and other religious of this convent in their place, without allowing them to hold them without their attendance”[25].

The ability of the Lima committee to make deciisons included the managament of the guild’s capital for its own purposes and for the pious works it had been commisssioned to do; to guarantee this independence, it was decided, just as in Mexico City, that the assets must always come from the Basque associates themselves.  In fact, the use of raising funds by going door-to-door among the brothers to receive their contributions became standard practice[26].

The deposit of assets was the responsibility of the management committee, who had free hand to use them to the best advantage[27].  What happened to this order after the earthquake that destroyed the city in October 1746 is significant, and led to a notable decline in the income it received from the properties it held; in such a situation, the committee decided to take over the management of seven shops on the Callejón de los Pelateros, rather than just 5% of the capital invested in them; this was one way to deal with the losses caused by the earthquake[28].  The decision was beneficial.  Thus, the income from managing the shops in 1761 was 328 pesos, the rent on the 5% of the capital of 5,000 pesos invested in the shops contributed only 250 pesos annually[29].

The minutes of the brotherhood in Lima also reflect its independence regarding the convent of St. Francis, where its headquarters were located.  For example, in the general meeting on August 15, 1744, it was decided to launch an appeal in the convent to have them continue holding mass at the altar of Holy Christ in the guild’s chapel; mass was stipulated with the convent but the Franciscans had stopped attending due to lack of corresponding profit[30].

The association in Lima never became a guild during the time of the viceroyalty, as had its namesake in Mexico City; therefore, it never needed to protect its autonomy from any ecclesiastical control over its affairs, as the Mexican body had had to do.

* * *

The managing hierarchies for each association are different: the managing committee in Mexico City was centralized in the rector, who presided over it, and who had twice the number of votes, representatives from each and every one of the Basque-Navarrese communities that made up the guild.  In Lima, it was presided over by one head, and the number of committee members was reduced by half; at the same time, all the brothers were called to participate in the decision-making processes of the guild.  In Mexico City, the guild members had no possibility to attend and vote on decisions; only for very high-profile affairs were assemblies called so the members could vote on their decision, or they could have their petitions addressed to the committee: on November 1, 1732, a meeting of all members was held to decide to found the Colegio de las Vizcaínas; in 1753, the guild members sent a petition signed by all to request a second reelection (the constitution only allowed for one) of Manuel de Aldaco, at a key moment, to provide continuity for the legal management of the Colegio de las Vizcaínas[31].

We can state that the managing committees of both guilds were managed themselves the means to reach the goals they set.  However, in this order, we can also find a difference: in Lima, the committee was supported on the base of the guild members; in Mexico City, the committee was the deciding body.

The work of the Basque guilds of Lima and Mexico City

Until now, we’ve been covering the freedom to associate that governed the two Aránzazu guilds.  The social maturity of the group that gave life to both guilds was also reflected in accomplishing of their founding objectives and in how far their achievements spread out.  That is to say, how they contributed to sustaining the faith and religious life of their members, or if they ventured on to other objectives, how they extended the reach of their work in society.

The religious life of the guild members

Now, let’s look at their contribution to the religious life of the members.  In the guild in Mexico, we can find very precise dimensions.  The Basque-Mexicans set out the veneration of the Virgin of Aránzazu, based on a veneration from the Southern Basque Country, as a foundational goal; they put it into practice during the entire existence of the guild.  Now, the first constitution did lay out the possibility of celebrating other devotions; therefore, they also celebrated the patrons of their lands of origin (the Virgin of Begoña, St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. Prudence, and St. Francis Xavier).  In 1731, they celebrated the Virgin of Guadalupe for the first time, a typically Mexican veneration that brought together Natives and Creoles.  They continued with all these solemnities until the guild was ended in 1860.

The Peruvian guild was founded to celebrate religious acts in honor of the Virgin of Aránzazu and the Holy Christ of the brotherhood.  As in the Mexican case, these dates were celebrated annually throughout the life of the guild[32]; they continued to do so well into the 19th century: in 1857, when the 278 members of the brotherhood were called to take part in them[33]; after the seizing of the brotherhood’s assets by the Colonel Prado Government, which were given to charity, where those funds ended up, a sum of which was set aside to continue the veneration of the Virgin of Aránzazu[34].

Unlike the Mexican guild, the one in Lima was born with a double veneration: the Virgin of Aránzazu, rooted in the religious traditions of the lands of origin, and Holy Christ, a devotion that is deeply rooted in Peru.  The brotherhood did not incorporate the feast days of the patron saints of the Basque-Navarrese territories, as happened in Mexico.  We can put forward the hypothesis that the founds of the Peruvian brotherhood were more rooted in the Colony than those who started up the Mexican guild.

Dimensions of the life of the guild of Aránzazu

Now let us look at the possible influence the Basque guilds had on the lives of their members.  Both associations provided their members with spiritual attention via chaplains, confessors, and preachers, and supplied role models that could promote in them Christian conduct.

The analysis of the Mexican association has allowed us to detect the profile of the guild member as a businessman, capable of setting goals and reaching them, responsible for his own decision-making, and upright in the use of the guild’s assets, which he defended by turning to arbitrage with his own countrymen or, if unable to reach his goal thus, to the courts of justice.

In the guild, there was also a true opening-up to the community it had been born in and which it felt responsible for: in the family, its work reached out so far that it could be considered to have become an authentic integrated clan as in many cases, members of three generations took part; what’s more, there were the cases of godparents.  Joining the guild led one to take care of the Basque group and to contribute to its needs.  For example, the guild penalized those who did not partake in that opening-up; thus it was established that those who refused the nomination to be rector that they had been elected to could never be elected again.

It was laid out that in order to be a guild member, one must be a respectable man with a good reputation.  The guild reserved the right to expel those who were scandalous in public.  In the data I have, it seems that this was never the case: there were never any members who were heretics, criminals, or large-scale thieves.  There were losers, and they were helped by the guild.  This was the case with e.g. Navarrese Miguel Francisco de Gambarte, the rector in 1757, who died in extreme poverty in 1783; the guild paid for his funeral.

I would also like to highlight a dimension of the two associations being studied which, in my opinion, had a bearing on the ethical profile of the citizen of the colony.  Both associations admitted commerce as a means of raising funds: the Mexican association practiced trade with products from the Philippines from 1690 to 1721; in Lima, in 1746, it was decided to deal directly with the shops they owned in the city to cover the costs of the damage the earthquake had caused the guild.  With these measures, both Basque made a considerable positive contribution to commercial enterprise in the New World colonial society.

Well into the 19th century, both pious associations provided their members with the means to transmit the faith and piety of their forebears and, at the same time, serve as role models of a moral way of life; honorable behavior in accordance with their condition as members of Basque noble families, a privilege the Crown had granted them as hidalgos in 1754.

Socio-cultural work

We now look into the relationships each association had with the community it was a part of and with the other components of the society they lived in.  While studying the development of the Mexican guild, I have divided their timeline into four stages: the setup, the internal consolidation of the guild, outreach into the viceroyalty, and finally, setting up projects whose effects went beyond the viceroyalty.

In the first stage, for fifteen years, from 1681 to 1696, the Mexican association fulfilled its institutional profile: founded as a brotherhood in 1681, it 1696 it was transformed into a guild.  Thus it entered into its second phase in 1696, which I have called the internal consolidation; during this time, for about 35 years, until 1731, the guild increased in member numbers, took on new religious devotions, and increased the aid projects that had been set out in its constitution: aiding those in need among the Basque-Navarrese community, which allowed the youth of the community itself who lacked a fortune to get married or to enter into a convent, and also to fund chaplaincies which allowed priests to be ordained.  From 1732 to 1772, for almost forty years, the Mexican guild took on a new project that and an undeniable impact on society: the founding of the Colegio de Vizcaínas for Mexcan women, which is still in operation today.  Finally, in 1772, a fourth phase began which would last to the end of the 18th century: the guild during these years took on new projects.  Among them was a Christian association for Mexicans without means, aid to missions in East Asia, and the development of the Royal Basque Society of Friends of the Country; these projects the guild ran reach into Asia and the Iberian Peninsula, reaching far beyond the borders of the viceroyalty itself.

Now onto the case in Lima.  The setup pohase, which is to say the one where the association defined itself, took longer than in Mexico: it lasted from 1612 to 1635; it took the Basque of Lima 23 years to get their brotherhood going.

Unlike in Mexico, thos ein Lima never proposed transforming their association into a guild.  The associative solidity of the gorup and the social category of the Basque-Navarrese community in Lima would have made taking that step possible.  The fact that they remained a brotherhood shows, in my opinion, the determination of the Lima association to preserve their own independence from the ecclisiastical authorities.

From 1635 to 1771, over 136 years, the brotherhood in Lima would remain in the phase I’ve called the consolidation of their work: that is, the association’s numbers grew in both members and projects which had been stated in their constitution: aiding the needy of the Basque community of Lima and establishing chaplaincies to ordain priests, such as Juan de Urrutia, Joseph de Lizariturre, Sancho de Elorriaga, and Andrés López de Arcaya[35].  It was a lengthy period of time in which the brotherhood remained on paths they’d already laid out, without expanding into any new enterprises.  When compared to the one in Mexico, the brotherhood in Lima could been as to have had less potential.

In order to calibrate this last statement, it must be born in mind that the Basque brotherhood of Lima had to build its own chapel and altarpiece twice, due to the earthquakes that razed the city.  The chapel was only finished in October 1645, and was then seriously damaged on February 4, 1656, when the crossing and part of the dome of the church collapsed; it had to be rebuilt, and the works finished in 1669.  The October 1687 earthquake destroyed the altarpiece and forced them again to rebuild it at a cost of 16,525 pesos[36].  This would go to explain, at least in part, why the brotherhood in Lima was less active than its Mexican counterpart.

In 1771, a new phase in Lima began with its outreach program; that is, they started carrying out new aid work which was not laid out in the constitution and not aimed exclusively at its own group.  At this time, Juan Ignacio de Obiaga, Apostolic Inquisitor and Public Prosecutor for the Holy Office of the Inquisition in Lima, former majordomo in Aránzazu, established a lay foundation outside ecclesiastical jurisdiction with a bequest of 17,000 pesos received from a pious person, to use the interest from it to provide for an infirmary and pharmacy at the convent of St. Francis and the ornamental needs of the sacristy of the convent itself[37].  In 1864, this foundation was still in operation[38].

By 1771, when the brotherhood in Lima was creating the foundation to benefit the convent of St. Francis, the Colegio de las Vizcaínas that the Mexican guild had founded was well underway, and the Basques of Mexico City were working hard to sign up members to the Royal Basque Society of Friends of the Country.  In Lima, we can find no similar projects.  These data may signify the smaller social influence of the Lima brotherhood when compared to the Mexico City one and, therefore, less socio-cultura works in the Basque-Peruvian community.

To calibrate the socio-cultural reach of the Basques of Lima, we must also turn to data from outside the life of the brotherhood.  Indeed, in the 1770s, members were being signed up to the Basque Society[39],  to the point that a second contingent of the Basque Society was set up in Lima[40], following the one in Mexico City.  What’s more, about that same time in Lima, the groups which were promoting the Basque Society were promoting “enlightened” cultural projects that sought to create progress in the region: the Academic Society of Lovers of the Country, which gave life to the “Mercurio Peruano”, a body that spread the ideals of cultural and technical progress that the Academic Society sustained[41].  Lohmann Villena has shown the connections between the three enterprises by studying the membership in them and comparing it with that of the Basques of Lima[42].

The above data show that the Basque group of Lima was carrying out socio-cultural projects beyond the scope of the brotherhood of Aránzazu.  The Basque-Peruvian association continued carrying out, until at least the second half of the 19th century, the religious and aid work they had begun with when founding the brotherhood in the 17th century.


We started out on this project to detect the influence of the Aránzazu guilds of Mexico City and Lima, which were the result of the socio-cultural maturity of the group that started them.  We’ve seen that the Basques of Mexico City and of Lima joined together of their own free will and governed their associations by themselves.

The association in Lima opted to remain institutionally a brotherhood, thereby staying outside ecclesiastical jurisdiction, and therefor maintaining their own governing autonomy.  The Basques of Mexico City, who opted to re-form as a guild, had to fight to stay exempt of civil and ecclesiastical authority.

Both groups precisely laid out their governing bodies, which would maintain control of the guild and its works, and which would be the foundations of the associations’ governing autonomy as regards the financing of the enterprises by the Basques themselves.  Thus, both associations, founded in the 17th century, were part of the group’s freedom.

We’ve seen how well into their independence stage, both kept their initial goals, veneration and mutual aid, at the forefront.  They focused their work on the religious lives of the Basque community, as had been proposed with the association was founded.  In Mexico City, those groups more closely linked to the homeland had greater weight, and managed to incorporate the venerations of the home provinces into the guild’s devotions; starting in 1731, there was also the incorporation of Creole devotions.  In Lima, from the brotherhood’s very start, there was a double presence of peninsula rand Creole piety that was maintained right up to the association’s end.  So then, in Lima, tradition prevailed, reflecting the Basque-Creole presence, while in Mexico City, the ability to innovate in the religious field stood out, and the weight of the first emigrant generation can be felt.

Both guilds provided ethical role models which influences the behavior of their members.  In Mexico City, we can see the consolidated prestige of honor in the handling of the Guild’s assets; indeed, they turned to them to be able to send move their assets to the Court or to the Philippines.  What’s more, the solutions adopted to finance the associations themselves seem to us to have contributed to their positive moral and social reputation in business affairs in what would be considered the pre-capitalism colonial period.

The guild in Mexico started up cultural enterprises that would reach far beyond the group, such as the Colegio de las Vizcaínas and the promotion of the Basque Society in Mexico, pushing forward economic and scientific development in their lands of origin and in New Spain.  From 1772 on, the Basque Society managed to send 27,000 pesos from Mexico to schools in the Basque lands.

The brotherhood in Lima did not propose such works, as we have seen in the documentation we’ve studied.  However, the Basques of Peru did undertake similar enterprises in Lima; they did not, as was the case in Mexico City, do so as part of the Brotherhood, though.

So we then com across the association’s double project.  The Mexican guild appears to have had a considerable power to join together all the Basques in the viceroyalty, and the consequent access to funds; it then launches into different projects in the religious and cultural scope of the community it manages to represent[43]; their ability to organize works and enterprises is noteworthy.  The Lima brotherhood, which, given then data available at the time the research was carried out, brought together the Basques of the viceroyalty’s capital, was founded as a religious aid association, and retained a stronger link to its initial goals.  The Lima associaiton had less influence with their works: it needed more time to get up to full steam and to take on new works; it maintained its own traditions well.

The guild in Mexico City adopted a centralized government with a managing committee.  Only those members with a right to vote in the general meetings decided the affairs of the guild; the hierarchy of the Mexican management committee was based on the final decision of the rector.  The brotherhood in Lima lacked this centralizing force.  All members had the right to vote and attend the general meetings; the committee was presided over by two majordomos.  It seems to us that this difference in management might have influenced the Peruvian association’s lesser activity.  This is a hypothesis that further studies with other guilds might be able to answer with greater precision.

The study carried out has shown us two guilds of the business elite in the colonies which, having been started up by their own groups, showed a socio-cultural development that makes itself known in Lima in 1635 and in Mexico City in 1681 and which continued into the 18th century, with a high-water mark in the 1770s. Both associations are presented as an area of autonomy of the respective groups.  Historiography has reevaluated 17th-century New World History, and with Ruggiero Romano, it is positioned as a counter to a Europe in crisis at the time[44]; for this author, a key element in this positive situation in the Americas was precisely the autonomy of life in the New World from governmental authority[45].  The data obtained in the guilds studied would be in line with Roman’s thesis.

In this context, it seems to me to be a topic of great interest to study the autonomy and socio-cultural influence the colonial guilds of the 17th and 18th centuries had.  There are data which point in this direction.  In 1731, news reached the Council of the Indies that no congregation or guild in the city was following the orders laid out in Recopilación de Indias, Law 25, Book 1, requiring attendance of a minister of the Royal Audience at the meetings[46].  As for researchers, those researching indigenous guilds see them as spaces which affirmed the local power of the indigeneous authorities[47].  This study could shed new light on the socio-cultural reality of the Americas in the 17th and 18th centuries.


[1]      J. Garmendia Arruebarrena made known several Basque guilds on the Peninsula, among other studies: Presencia vasca en Sevilla (1698-1785), in the “Boletín de la Real Sociedad de Amigos del País”, 37 (1981) 429-512; La Cofradía del Santísimo Cristo de la Humildad y la Paciencia de los vascos en Cádiz, in “Boletín de la Real Sociedad de Amigos del País”, 34 (1978) 375-412.

[2]      Elisa Luque Alcaide, La cofradía de Aránzazu de México 1681‑1799, Pamplona, Eunate, 1995.

[3]      Gabriel Le Bras, Les confréries chrétiennes. Problèmes et propositions, in “Revue historique de droit fraçaise et étranger”, 19-20, Paris [1940-1941] 310 ss., followed by the work of the same author ID.,  Etudes de sociologie religieuse, P.U.F., Paris 1956.

[4]      Marie-Hélène Froesschlé-Chopard, Etudes des confréries. Problèmes et methode, in “Provence Historique”, 34, Aix-en-Provence [1984] 117-123.

[5]      Maurice Agulhon, Pénitents et francs-maçons de l’ancienne Provence: essai sur la sociabilité, Fayard,  Paris 1984 (original 1968 edition revised).

[6]         Michel Vovelle, Piété baroque et déchristianisation en Provence au VXIIIe. siècle, Éditions du Comité des Travaux Historiques et Scientifiques, Paris 1997 (original 1973 edition revised and expanded).

[7]      Elisa Luque Alcaide, Coyuntura social y cofradía. Cofradías de Aránzazu de Lima y México, by Pilar Martínez López-Cano, Gisela von Wobeser, Juan Guillermo Muñoz (coords.), Cofradías, Capellanías y Obras pías, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Instituto de Investigaciones Históricas (Series titled “Historia Novohispana”, 16), Mexico City 1998, pp. 91-108.

[8]      Guillermo Lohmann Villena, La Ilustre Hermandad de Nuestra Señora de Aránzazu de Lima, by Ignacio Arana Pérez (coord.), Los vascos y América. Ideas, hechos, hombres. Madrid, Fundación Banco de Bilbao y Vizcaya, GELA, 1990, pp. 203-213. Recent historiography has expanded these data: José de la Puente Brunke, Hermandad de Nuestra Señora de Aránzazu (LIMA), Enciclopedia Católica on-line: _Se%C3%B1ora_de_Ar%C3%A1nzazu_(LIMA).

[9]      It is good news for the historian that today, the renovation of the Mexican Guild of Aránzazu has made possible the recovery of their sources and is proceeding to set up the corresponding Archives.

[10]    Much like the Mexico City Guild of Aránzazu, it seems that the one in Lima had all its papers at the headquarters itself, meaning there is very little in the way of documentation at the city’s archives.  At the Archvies of the Archbishopric of Lima, there is a file from the Aránzazu Brotherhood’s former solicitor, Agustín de Ezpeleta, demanding, on 23-Oct-1885, the return of the brotherhood’s assets seized by the government; it seems this claim had no effect at all: Achives of the Archbishopric of Lima (henceforward AAL), Fondo Cofradías, 71, 17.

[11]    Libro de Elecciones que principió en 23 de noviembre de 1681 y acavó en 20 de agosto de 1773, f. 1 v-r, at the Biblioteca de Antropología en Historia de México, Fondo Vizcaínas, rollo 40.

[12]    Since 1671, the chapel had been dedicated to this veneration; but worship was not endowed.  This was an attempt to ensure this via the association and, at the same time, provide a burial place for the members.

[13]    An association whcih, in the Modern Age, unlike a guild, required no approval from the diocese.

[14]       It would seem that that first attempt at a Basque guild in the Inca period was in the city of Potosí, the work of the Basque businessmen, who owned almost all the tools and mines in the Imperial City: Cfr.  Lohmann Villena, by Arana Pérez, work cited in note 8, pp. 203-213.

[15]    Libro de Elecciones de Mayordomos de la Ilustre Hermandad de Ntra. Sra. de Aránzazu, sita en el convento de N.P. S. Francisco de Lima desde el año de 1612 hasta el de 1750 y Constituciones de la misma, at the Archivo de la Beneficencia de Lima [henceforward ABL], nº 8179, ff. 2d- 3v.

[16]       He took a leave of absence to lead the construction works of the cathedral in Arequipa: Cfr. Lohmann Villena, by Arana Pérez, op. cit. in note 8, p. 205.

[17]    Borrador de las Constituciones de la Ilustre Hermandad de Nra. Sra. de Aránzazu, de Bascongados en el convento de N.P. S. Francisco de Lima, que empezó en 1612 y derecho a las siete tiendas que posee en el callejón de Petateros, y así mismo algunas cuentas de los primeros Mayordomos, Archivo Beneficencia Pública de Lima (ABL), nº 8180.

[18]    They were 35 from Gipuzkoa, 49 from the Lordship (of Biscay), 9 from Navarre, 7 from Álava, and 5 from four towns (Laredo, Castro Urdiales, Santander, and San Vicente de la Barquera): Libro de Elecciones de Mayordomos de la Ilustre Hermandad de Ntra. Sra. de Aránzazu, cover folio.  The fourt towns were coastal ports in Cantabria which had joined with Vitoria and several Basque ports on May 4, 1296, making up the Brotherhood of Towns of the Coast of Castile with Vitoria, maintaining commercial links with some of the most important port cities in all of Europe, and which stopped the commerce of the Hanseatic League with Hispanic ports: cfr. Margarita Serna Vallejo, El Fuero de Laredo en el octavo centenario de su concensión, Universidad de Cantabria, Santander 2002.

[19]    Region located at the western end of Biscay, inhabited by descendants of the Cantabrians and which enjoyed its own legal personality and certain autonomy, though by the 13th century, it was linked to the Lordship of Biscay, to which it would be definitively joined in 1804: cfr. José Víctor Arroyo Martín, Las Encartaciones en la configuración institucional de Vizcaya (siglo XVIII), UPV/EHU, 1990.

[20] The Council had affirmed the right of the bishops to visit the guilds, except those which were under Royal protection, and whcih required accounts be rendered annually of its administration in Ordinary Session XXII, De reformatione , canon. 8 & 9 (COeD, 740).  The control of the economic running of the guilds approved by Trent in Session XXII dates back to the Quia contingit Constitution, of the Viennese Council (1311-1312): Cfr. Ibidem, 374-376.  In the 17th century, the Quaecumque Constitution, granted by Clement VII on 7-Dec-1604, also established that the Ordinary had to approve the founding of each guild and that its statutes, set by the obove method to receive charity and which stated what they should be used for: Cfr. Naz, Dictionnaire de droitcanonique, Letouzey et Ané, Paris, T.IV, 1949, col. 156.

[21]    XIV. Item, in which the founding of said Brotherhood, and desire to convert it into a Guild, is only for the purpose of serving and bequeathing to the Holy Virgin Mary, and that said Brotherhood has no plate nor asks for charity like the other Guilds, and those who are elected as Rector and committee members of said Brotherhood maintain it at their own expense.  All that notwithstanding, for what it currently has and enjoys, as well as for what it will have and will enjoy in the future, said Brotherhood, its Rector, committee members, and treasurer, are placed under the Protection and subordination that they owe to the Hon. Doctor Francisco de Aguiar y Seijas, Most Worthy Archbishop of this city according to the Sacred Council of Trent and Apostolic Bulls; so that with his great fervor, zeal for the good of souls, devotion to the Most Holy Virgin Mary, he protects said Brotherhood as a plant so new and that of course is placed under his subordination, in everything and for everything, and in his name of Sr. Provisor and Vicar General who is or might be from this Archbishopric”: Libro de Elecciones cited in note 15, f. 31v.

[22]       A good study by Guillermo Porras Muñoz, by Josefina Muriel de la Torre (coord.), Los Vascos y su Colegio de las Vizcaínas, CIGATAM, Mexico City 1989, pp.109-137.

[23]    Constitution 24.  What’s more, it is inclined in case of doubt to turn to civil rather than ecclesiastical authority.  This is laid out in the same constitution that should it be necessary to recur to litigation to settle guild’s accounts, “they will turn to the Viceroy of these kingdoms, so that he may be made to see them (the accounts) and approve them as they may best be served”.

[24]    Libro de Elecciones de Mayordomos de la Ilustre Hermandad de Ntra. Sra. de Aránzazu : f.145 r.

[25]    Similar expressions in the report by Jesuit Joseph Tiruel, rector of the Colegio of St. Paul in Lima: Archivo General de Indias (henceforward AGI), Lima 34, book 6, nº 41. Relationships attached to the letter from the Viceroy of Peru to His Majesty regarding the guilds of Indians and Blacks that existed in the convents and monasteries of Lima. Cited by Rodríguez Mateos (1995), pp. 15-43.

[26]    “List of the brothers who failed to go to the party on May 3, 1799 and to the meeting held on that day at the Chapel of Our Lady of Aránzazu are the following, to whom Mr. Gabriel de Borda and Governor Martín de Jano, members, whent to their homes to ask for donations…”,  Libro de Elecciones de Mayordomos de la Ilustre Hermandad de Ntra. Sra. de Aránzazu, f-149 r.

[27]       Regarding the method to proceed to several cases into the same Libro de Elecciones to take charge of some bequests that the committee had take on, or also to decide the imposition of capital, e.g., “On February 5, 1713, a Meeting was held in this brotherhood to impose a tax of 4,000 pesos on principal and 200 of interest to help pay for the obligatory festivals in this chapel…, ”:Libro de Elecciones de Mayordomos de la Ilustre Hermandad de Ntra. Sra. de Aránzazu, f. 2 r.

[28]       Meeting on 15-Aug-1750, Libro de Elecciones de Mayordomos de la Ilustre Hermandad de Ntra. Sra. de Aránzazu, ff. 216 v-219 r.

[29]    “Accounts and data presented by majordomos Juan Obiaga, guest member of the Royal Court of San Felipe and attorny of this Royal Audience, and Ignacio de Altube, Secretary of the Holy Office of this inquisition; the latter is the one who has taken charge of receiving and paying the offerings in this chapel”, Libro de Cargos y descargos de los Mayordomos del Santo Christo y Ntra. sra. de Aránzazu de la Ilustre Hermandad de Bascongados en la Iglesia del Convento de N.P.S. Francisco de Lima desde el año de 1695 hasta el de 1763, f. 116v, en ABL, nº 8181.

[30]    Meeting on 15-Aug-1744, Libro de Elecciones de Mayordomos de la Ilustre Hermandad de Ntra. Sra. de Aránzazu, ff. 211 v-214 r.

[31]    Cfr. Luque alcaide, work cited in note 2, pp. 92 & 153, quote 118.

[32]   E.g., in 1761, the guild spent 200 pesos and 1 real on the festival held August 15 in honor of the Virgin of Aránzazu (decoration of the altar, music, wax, sermon, solemn mass and luminaries, rockets, shawns, and other trifles, they specify).  That same year, they spent 49 pesos and 6 reals for the celebration of the Cross on May 3 (decorating the altar, music, solemn mass, wax, and other trifles): “Accounts presented by majordomos Juan de Obiaga, member of the Royal Court at San Felipe and attorney at the Royal Court, and D. Ignacio de Altube, Secretary of the Holy Office of the Inquisition in Lima”, in Cuentas de Cargo y Data de los Mayordomos del Santo Christo y Ntra. sra. de Aránzazu de la Ilustre Hermandad de Bascongados.

[33]    Lohmann Villena, by Arana Pérez, work cited in note 8, p. 213.

[34]    So it was expressed in his report to the Archbishop of Lima, the brotherhood’s former sollicitor, Agustín de Ezpeleta, on September 23, 1885: AAL, Fondo Cofradías, 71, 17, cited in note 10.

[35]    The data of these chaplaincies are to be found in the already-cited Libro de Elecciones; I have not found any testimony regarding the establishment of dowries for girls.

[36]    This would be destroyed in a fire on September 21, 1899.  These data have been taken from Lohmann Villena, by Arana Pérez, work cited in note 8, pp. 205 & 211-213.

[37]    Obiaga, for the pious work, named as patrons “the Majordomos of the Illustrious Brotherhood of Our Lady of Aránzazu for which I was a Majordomo for nine years; and failing that, the Minister and Trustee of the Third Order, so that they may care for in the safest and most permanent way the principal of the Properties, which have never been registered, or the value of the area covered by this Pious work; deposit the capital of the seventeen thousand pesos if diminished, and distribute the charity, without this being optional to them, nor may they in any way alter the method and order that I have laid out.”  It is significant that the three keys of the box corresponding to this pious act were assigned as follows: two were held by the majordomos of Aránzazu, and the third by the Guardian of the covent of St. Francis: Libro de la Fundación de Obra pía para la Enfermería, Botica, y Sachhristía de Sn. Franco, dispuesta por el Sr. Inqq.or Obiaga por encargo de un Devoto, at ABL, nº 8185, ff. 5v-8v.

[38]    In that year’s accounts, signed by majordomos Lucas de Ugarte and J.F. Puente, the total income from the foundation that was used in clothing expenses for the sacristry of St. Francis and in medications for the pharmacy was 731 pesos and 2 reals, in Ibídem, f. 27 in the second part, corresponding to the 19th century.

[39]    In 1772, the first person from Lima joined the Royal Society; from that date on, the number increased, reaching a total of 121 members in 1790, which in the New Spanish capital, 530 members joined; Lima was, after Mexico City, the second-largest New World city in terms of numbers of Basque Society members: Cfr. J. Vidal Abarca, “Estudios sobre la distribución y evoluciónde los socios de la RSBAP en Indias (1765-1793”, at VV.AA. La Real Sociedad Bascongada y América, Real Sociedad Bascongada de Amigos del País,- Fundación BBV, Madrid 1992, pp. 105-148.

[40]       Jean-Pierre Clément quantifies the number of Basque subscribers of El Mercurio Peruano: in Lima, they were 60% of the Basque community of the city; in the whole of the Viceroyalty of Peru, they were 27.2% of the Basques of the territory: J-P Clément, El Mercurio Peruano, 1790-1795, Vervuert-Iberoamericana, Vol, Frankfurt 1998, p. 86.

[41]    In addition to Clément’s monography, there are good studies on the ideas present in the period in Lima, as well as those of Rosa Zeta Quinde, El pensamiento Ilustrado en el Mercurio Peruano: 1791-1794, Universidad de Piura, Piura 2000, José de la Puente Brinke, El Mercurio Peruano y la Religión, in “Anuario de Historia de la Iglesia” 17 (2008) 137-148.

[42]       Lohmann Villena, by Arana Pérez, work cited in note 8, pp. 315-337.

[43]    He does so as regards the Basque Society; also by channeling the guilds and peninsular Basque people in the New Spanish sphere: Cfr. Luque Alcaide, work cited in note 2, Chapter IX, especially pp. 310-318.

[44]    Ruggiero ROMANO, Coyunturas opuestas. La crisis del siglo XVII en Europa e Hspanoamérica, El Colegio de México, Mexico City 1993.

[45]       “the weakening of the Spanish state not only led to the fact that more money stayed in the Americas; there is also something more important that took place in the 17th century (the century that lasted until the “reforms” of the 18th century which are nothing more than the last attempt to recover the “Empire”) and that is that life in the New World was more and more autonomous”: ROMANO, work cited in note 42, p. 149.

[46]       He was informed by the committee of the Guild of Aránzazu of Mexico City, asking that they be made exempt of the attendance at the meetings by a member of the Audience of Mexico City, as they had been promised to be placed under royal protection in 1729.  Among other reasons, he claims that “such a minister attends no congregation of guild”: AGI, Mexico City, 716.

[47]    This was already stated in 1961 by G. M. Foster, Cofradía y Compadrazgo en España e Hispano-América, en“Guatemala Indígena”, 1 (1961) pp. 107-135, first era. Cfr. also D. Betchloff, Bruderschaften im Kolonialen Michoacán. Religion zwuischen Politik und Wirschaft in einer interkulturallen Gesellschaft, LIT, Münster-Hamburg 1992.


Videos covering the conference given by Dr. Elisa Luque Alcaide about the Basque merchants in the Viceroyalties of Peru and Mexico, analyzing the history and evolution of the Brotherhood of Lima and the influence on others which grew in the Americas.  This conference was given on the occasion of the commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the founding of the Brotherhood of Our Lady of Aránzazu of Lima.


The Bicentennial of the Independence of the New World Republics series is a project of the Euskadi Munduan Assocaition, the Limako Arantzazu Euzko Etxea, the Brotherhood of Our Lady of Aránzazu of Lima, and the Editorial Archives of Oiga Magazine.

Last Updated on Feb 20, 2022 by About Basque Country

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