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PEDRO GONZALEZ DE MENDOZA (1428-1495)

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Originally appearing in Volume V18, Page 127 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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PEDRO GONZALEZ DE MENDOZA (1428-1495), Spanish cardinal and statesman, was the fourth son of Ingo Lopez de Mendoza, marquess of Santillana, and duke of Infantado. He was born at Guadalajara in New Castile, the chief lordship of his family, on the 3rd of May 1428. The house of Mendoza claimed to descend from the lords of Llodio in Alava, and to have been settled in Old Castile, in the 11th century. One chief of the house had been greatly distinguished at the battle of the Navas de Tolosa in 1212. Another had been Admiral of Castile in the reign of Alphonso the Wise. Peter the Cruel had endowed them with the lordships of Hita and Buitrago. The greatness of the Mendozas was completed by Pedro Gonzalez, who sacrificed his life to save King John I. at the battle of Aijubarrota in 1385. The cardinal's father, the marquis of Santillanato use the title he bore for the greater part of his life—was a poet, and was conspicuous during the troubled reign of John II. Loyalty to the Crown was the traditional and prevailing policy of the family. Pedro Gonzalez, the future cardinal, was sent into the Church mainly because he was a younger son and that he might be handsomely provided for. He had no vocation, and was an example of the worldly, political and martial prelates of the 15th century. In 1452 at the age of twenty-four, he was chosen by the king John II. to be bishop of Calahorra, but did not receive the pope's bull till 1454. As bishop of Calahorra he was also senor, or civil and military ruler, of the town and its dependent district. In his secular capacity he led the levies of Calahorra in the civil wars of the reign of Henry IV. He fought for the king at the second battle of Olmedo on the loth of August 1467, and was wounded in the arm. During these years he became attached to Dona Mencia de Lemus, a Portuguese lady-in-waiting of the queen. She bore him two sons, Rodrigo, who was once selected to be the husband of Lucrezia Borgia, and Diego, who was the grandfather of the princess of Eboli of the reign of Philip II (see PEREZ, ANTONIO.) By another lady of a Valladolid family he had a third son who afterwards emigrated to France. In 1468 he became bishop of Siguenza. In 1473 he was created cardinal, was promoted to the archbishopric of Seville and named chancellor of Castile. During the last years of the reign of King Henry IV. he was the partisan of the Princess Isabella, afterwards queen. He fought for her at the battle of Toro on the 1st of March 1476; had a prominent part in placing her on the throne; and served her indefatigably in her efforts to suppress the disorderly nobles of Castile. In 1482 he became archbishop of Toledo. During the conquest of Granada he contributed largely to the maintenance of the army. On the 2nd of January 1492 he occupied the town in the name of the Catholic sovereigns. Though his life was worldly, and though he was more soldier and statesman than priest, the " Great Cardinal," as he was° commonly called, did not neglect his duty as a bishop. He used his influence with the queen and also at Rome to arrange a settlement of the disputes between the Spanish sovereigns and the papacy. Though he maintained a splendid household as archbishop of Toledo, and provided handsomely for his children, he devoted part of his revenue to charity, and with part he endowed the college of Santa Cruz at Valladolid. His health broke down at the close of 1493. Queen Isabella visited and nursed him on his deathbed. It is said that he recommended her to choose as his successor the Franciscan Jimenez de Cisneros, a man who had no likeness to himself save in political faculty and devotion to the authority of the Crown. He died at Guadalajara on the lrth of January 1495. The life of the cardinal, by Salazar de Mendoza, Cronica del gran cardinal Don Pedro Gonzalez de Mendoza (Toledo, 1625), is discursive and garrulous but valuable. See also Prescott, History of Ferdinand and Isabella.32,000. It stands on a plain near the foot of a secondary Andean range called the Sierra de los Paramillos, at an elevation of 2320 ft. The surrounding district is arid, but has been irrigated and is covered with gardens, orchards and cultivated fields. The city is about 15 m. N. of the Mendoza, or Lujan river, whose waters are utilized for irrigation and for the requirements of the city by means of a channel which leaves the main river a little above the town of Lujan and runs to the Tulumaya river and the lagoons of Huanacache. This channel is called El Zanj6n, and is believed to have been opened by Guaymallen, the chief of the Guarpes who inhabited this district at the time of the Spanish conquest, but it is more probably natural. The city is laid out in a regular manner with broad well-paved streets and numerous public squares. The Zanj6n and another stream called the Guaymallen traverse the city, and the principal streets have water flowing through them and are shaded by poplars. Because of earthquake risks, the public buildings are neither costly nor imposing. The private residences are commonly of one storey, built with wooden frames filled in with adobes. The climate is hot, dry and enervating, not-withstanding the elevation and the proximity of the Andes. The surrounding districts produce fruit, vegetables, alfalfa and cereals. The vineyard industry -is prominent, and raisins and wine are exported. The position on the main route across the Andes into Chile, by way of the Uspallata or Cumbre pass (highest point 12,870 ft.), has given the city commercial importance. It has railway connexion with the principal cities of the republic, including the ports of Rosario, Buenos Aires and Bahia Blanca, and also with the capital of San Juan. Mendoza was founded by Captain Pedro del Castillo, who had been sent from Santiago across the Andes in 1559 by Garcia Hurtado de Mendoza, the governor of Chile, to conquer and annex the territory extending N.E. to Tucuman. The city was named after Mendoza. It was made the capital of the province of Cuyo, and belonged to Chile down to 1776, when the province was transferred to the newly created viceroyalty of La Plata. It was the headquarters of General San Martin while he was organizing an army for the liberation of Chile, and greatly assisted him with men and money. Under re-publican administration Mendoza suffered much from revolutions. Moreover, on the loth of March 1861, the city was destroyed by an earthquake and a fire which followed. Not a building was left standing, and the loss of life was estimated at 1o,000 to 12,000. The French geologist Bravard, who had predicted the catastrophe, was one of its victims. The poplars in the streets, together with some species of fruit-trees, were first planted in Mendoza by a Spaniard, Juan Cobos, in 1809, who thus became one of its greatest benefactors.
End of Article: PEDRO GONZALEZ DE MENDOZA (1428-1495)
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