AYETA, FRANCISCO DE
AYETA, FRANCISCO DE (1640–169?). Francisco de Ayeta, missionary, was born in Pamplona, Spain, in 1640. He entered the Franciscan order at the age of nineteen, was ordained a priest the next year, and was assigned to the province of New Mexico. He provided vital assistance to refugees at El Paso del Norte when they arrived after the Pueblo Revolt of 1680. The exiles numbered nearly 2,000, including soldiers and other men, women, servants, children, and Indian allies. Among the last were Tiguas from Isleta pueblo.
Ayeta, a remarkable missionary, had only recently arrived in El Paso with a large train of supplies from New Spain. He agreed to provide rations for the displaced families, especially if Governor Antonio de Otermín should decide to undertake an immediate reconquest of Pueblo lands. When Otermín chose to delay military initiatives, the refugees were moved to camps near Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe Mission, west of the Rio Grande. Otermín then requested authorization to build a presidio, regarded as essential to the safety of the displaced persons. To lend support to the proposed garrison of fifty men and obtain additional provisions, Father Ayeta traveled to Mexico City.
During the winter months of 1681–82, Otermín attempted an unsuccessful reconquest of New Mexico. This failed campaign determined that Spanish recovery of Pueblo country would be a long and difficult process, and that realization lent a reluctant sense of permanence to the El Paso communities. The desire to resettle the Tigua Indians-including the original refugees and additional ones who returned with Otermín in 1682-away from Spanish settlers prompted Ayeta to assist in the founding of the mission and pueblo of Corpus Christi de la Isleta. The first mission within the borders of present Texas, thanks to a shifting river channel in 1829, was located a few miles east of El Paso near the site of modern Ysleta, Texas.
Father Ayeta, in ill health and physically impaired, left the frontier and returned to Spain in 1683. There he took up his pen in defense of the missionary (regular) clergy, who were increasingly challenged by bishops and the secular clergy. Ayeta died in Spain during the decade of the 1690s. He has been called one of New Mexico's greatest men.
Carlos E. Castañeda, Our Catholic Heritage in Texas (7 vols., Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones, 1936–58; rpt., New York: Arno, 1976). C. L. Sonnichsen, Pass of the North: Four Centuries on the Rio Grande (2 vols., El Paso: Texas Western Press, 1968, 1980). W. H. Timmons, El Paso: A Borderlands History (El Paso: Texas Western Press, 1990).
Image Use Disclaimer
All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.
For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml
If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.Donald E. Chipman, "AYETA, FRANCISCO DE," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fay09), accessed February 11, 2016. Uploaded on June 9, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Get Texas history everyday,
with day by day
Each day's email tells a little bit more of the story of Texas and links to our collection of more than 27,000 articles