The Twelve Apostles of Mexico, the Franciscan Twelve, or the Twelve Apostles of New Spain, were a group of twelve Franciscan missionaries who arrived in the newly-founded Viceroyalty of New Spain on May 13 or 14, 1524 and reached Mexico City on June 17 or 18. with the goal of converting its indigenous population to Christianity. Conqueror Hernán Cortés had requested friars of the Franciscan and Dominican Orders to evangelize the Indians. Despite the small number, it had religious significance and also marked the beginning of the systematic evangelization of the Indians in New Spain.
Franciscan Fray Pedro de Gante had already begun the evangelization and instruction of natives in New Spain since 1523. Fray Juan Galpión had offered himself as a missionary but could not go himself; he organized the Twelve Franciscans with Fray Martín de Valencia as its head. The group consisted of:
- Fray Martín de Valencia (their leader)
- Fray Francisco de Soto
- Fray Martín de Coruña (also known as Fray Martín de Jesǘs)
- Fray Juan Juárez
- Fray Antonio de Ciudad Rodrigo
- Fray Toribio de Benavente Motolinia
- García de Cisneros
- Fray Luis de Fuensalida
- Juan de Ribas
- Fray Francisco Jiménez
- Fray Andrés de Córdoba,
- Fray Juan de Palos.
The most famous of the Twelve was Toribio de Benavente Motolinia, whose extensive writings on the customs of the Nahuas and the challenges of Christian evangelization make his works essential for the history of this key period in Mexican history.
- 1 Missionary orders
- 2 Areas of evangelization
- 3 Initial reception of the Twelve
- 4 Institutions of evangelization
- 5 Transformative impact and precedent
- 6 References
- 7 Sources