Pedro de la Gasca

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Pedro de la Gasca (1494-1567)

Pedro de la Gasca (* 1494 in Navarregadilla , Ávila , † November 13, 1567 in Sigüenza ) was a Spanish bishop , diplomat and special envoy in Peru with the powers of a viceroy .


De la Gasca studied first at the University of Salamanca and later at the University of Alcalá and became known for his high intellect. He was trained as a priest and lawyer . In 1522 de la Gasca joined the Spanish army. In 1542 he was a negotiator for King and Emperor Charles V in a dispute between Pope Paul III. and the English King Henry VIII , a task that required a great deal of knowledge and sensitivity. From 1542 to 1545 he was governor (visitador general) in the Kingdom of Valencia .

In May 1546, de la Gasca was sent to South America as President of the Real Audiencia from Lima . Gonzalo Pizarro had overthrown Blasco Núñez de Vela , the viceroy of Peru , and seized power. De la Gasca was now supposed to restore peace to the colonies. Due to the previous Turkish wars, the Spanish king was no longer able to raise soldiers against Pizarro. So de la Gasca traveled with only two other priests, a handful of employees and without any financial means. But he had been given Alonso de Alvarado , a former colleague of Pizarro's.

De la Gasca first wanted to restore the law by force. He planned that a fleet of 40 large ships with 15,000 soldiers would travel from Seville to the New World to enforce peace. Pizarro's fleet was in Panama at the time . Since there was no money for it, he negotiated with Admiral Pedro de Hinojosa († May 6, 1553), who commanded Pizarro's fleet of Panama. After a while the admiral changed sides.

Pizarro, who now had to vacate his position due to a lack of support, withdrew to Cusco because he could rely on the local troops. De la Gasca moved with the former Pizarro's fleet to Tumbes , a port city in the north of what is now Peru. He issued a pamphlet in which he stated that he had come in the name of peace and that every godly man was invited to follow his army. In another public writing he promised amnesty to all deserters and repealed parts of the protection laws for the Indians ( Leyes Nuevas ), and with it the reason for the rebellions.

After de la Gasca had succeeded in raising a powerful army, he decided to march against Cusco in December 1547. The two armies met on the plain of Cusco. Even before the battle, de la Gasca talked to Pizarro's officers, some of whom he was able to win over to the crown by making promises to them. On April 9, 1548, the decisive battle of Jaquijahuana took place . Pizarro's officers switched fronts, with the exception of Francisco de Carvajal , known as the demon of the Andes . That decided the battle. Pizarro and his main allies were executed.

After the battle, after all of his opponents were either on his side or defeated, he dispersed the adventurers who had turned against him and rewarded his own troops. He reorganized the administration and judiciary and reorganized the way taxes were collected. He also brought reforms on the way to alleviate the oppression of the Indians. De la Gasca proved to be assertive and relentless in his actions.

A year after the successful battle against Pizarro, de la Gasca resigned from his offices in order to return to Spain the following year. He was of Charles V bishop of Palencia appointed. In 1561 Philip II raised him to the rank of Bishop of Sigüenza .


  • Teodoro Hampe Martínez: Don Pedro de la Gasca (1493-1567). Su obra politica en España y America . Diputacion provincial de Palencia, Palencia 1990, ISBN 84-86844-33-9 .

Web links


  1. ^ Teodoro Hampe Martínez: Don Pedro de la Gasca, visitador general en el Reino de Valencia (1542–1545) . In: Estudis (Valencia), Vol. 13 (1987), pp. 75-97.
predecessor Office successor
Blasco Núñez de Vela Viceroy of Peru
Antonio de Mendoza