The Legend of the Fox and College of the Irish in Santiago de Compostela

During the period of spiritual conflict between the British Isles and the European continent, Spain will be a refuge for some of the Catholic nobles. Philip II was married to Queen Mary I of England, daughter of Catherine of Aragon, a defender of Catholicism, but she will be dethroned after 5 years in command and the Spanish court will politically confront her successor Elizabeth I (reign 1558-1603), a supporter of Anglicanism.

Following an agreement with the Spanish crown in 1603, these exiles decided to set up schools in the Iberian Peninsula. First they will be installed in Salamanca, at that time a student mecca of world-level thought, but the second of the centers is established in Santiago de Compostela founded by the Jesuit Thomas White (1556 Clonmel, Tipperary County, 1556 – Irish College, May 7, 1622). At that time the Archbishop of the city of the apostle, was a member of a royal family, Maximilian of Austria, cousin of Emperor Charles I, and son of the religious Leopold of Austria, rector of the University of Salamanca and Catherine of Aspert. The educational institution will be active until 1767, the year in which Carlos III promulgates the expulsion of this order.

The name of the institution will be in honor of Saint Patrick or Patrick, patron saint of Ireland, a missionary, the introducer of the Catholic religion on the island, it is believed that he could be the first bishop, Palladius, whom Prosper of Aquitaine tells us about, mentions that he was sent in the year 431 by Pope Celestine I. The symbol of this Saint will be the 3-leaf clover or Shamrock (Trifolium dubium) of Celtic mythological connotations, a culture closely related to Galicia in which this community will settle.

The location of this school was in the Pazo de Ramirás, which was later bought by the Marquis of Casa Pardiñás, a neoclassical building with the coat of arms of said lord in its central pediment, it will pass at the beginning of the 20th century, at the hands of the Harguindey, tanning entrepreneurs. The College of Graduates in Philosophy and Letters and Sciences or the Chamber of Commerce will also be installed in this construction.

One of his most distinguished students was William Lamport (1611–1659), also called Guillermo Lombardo or Lombardo de Guzmán, popularly known as El Zorro. He was born into a family with deep patriotic convictions, and faced with the English crown for the invasion of the Tudors. His grandfather Partrick Lamport fought in the service of Juan del Águila at the Battle of Kinsale in January 1602, a fight within the Anglo-Spanish war, which lasted 9 years, in which Irish rebels such as the Lord of Tyrconnell, Red Hugh O’Donnell and his son-in-law the Earl of Tyrone Hugh O’Neill. This O’Donnell will travel to Coruña and will visit the tower of Hercules, remembering the ancestors who came from these lands, who sang the book of invasions or Lebor Gabala Erenn. The Lamports, although they considered themselves nobles, but they were navigators and merchants, they practiced piracy occasionally, since they had their own boats. His grandfather will finally be judged in 1617 by King James I for his constant uprisings.

William will study Latin and rhetoric as a child, with Augustinians, with Franciscans in Wexford and with Jesuits in Dublin. As an adult he prepares himself, in Greek and mathematics at the university, Gresham College in London, there he will be judged a traitor for writing in favor of Ireland. He will have to escape and is captured by some pirates in Portmouths, some time later he ends up landing in La Coruña where there was a community of Irish, this will be his first destination in Spain. He also wrote about his presence in the Galician port of Dean, where he was held in high esteem among his compatriots, having a leadership role and charisma.

Lamport, an educated man, was awarded a scholarship by the Marquis of Mancera, to be sheltered by his countrymen, going on to study at the Colegio de San Patricio in Santiago, later in Salamanca, and will also attend the classrooms of El Escorial. Here he acquires a strong relationship with the court, due to his skill with the sword he is also appointed Captain in 1634, he will join the Wild Geese of the Tercios, where he will serve during the 30-year War, at the battle of Nördlingen in 1634 and in the siege or siege of Hondarribia in 1638. During this period, his presence had such an impact that even the painter Anthony Van Dyck sketched his portrait in Brussels, a drawing that can be found in a museum in Budapest.

After this journey, he embarked for Mexico in 1640 with the retinue of the 7th Marquis of Villena, Diego López de Pacheco, named viceroy. It is believed that William was a spy of Don Gaspar Guzmán y Pimentel, valid of the king, the famous Count-Duke of Olivares, who previously helped him in his studies, the truth is that if there were suspicions in Spain of a possible rebellion of the bourgeoisie Creole from Mexico City. Lampart will make friends with Fernando Carrillo, a senior notary public, a member of the social elite, who introduces him to political movements. At that time there is a conspiracy of the Bishop of Puebla Juan de Palafox y Mendoza, against López de Pacheco deposed in 1642, in which William participates, who sends a report to the court, seeking approval within the new established power.

Disenchanted, after a frustrated attempt to help in the recently established order, he meets Ignacio William, an indigenous man whom he helps on legal issues, for whom he writes texts, in favor of the bad treatment given to the Taxco miners. Due to the disagreements in New Spain, he began his rebellion against oppression, inventing a story that would make him well known, posing as the son of Philip III, with the idea of ​​governing, freeing indigenous people, mestizos, and slaves. But his partner Captain Felipe Méndez denounced him for heresy before the inquisition, on October 26, 1642, in the registry of his house there are the following works: Proposal to King Felipe IV for the liberation of Irelandthe Insurrectionary Proclamation for New Spain and the Proclamation of the just judgments of God, who punishes whoever takes it away. This done will cause him to be locked up for 7 years, until he manages to escape and sneak his ideas back into the colony through Proclamation of the just judgments of God, who punishes the one who takes it away, who talks about the repressions of his executioners. But he was imprisoned in Veracruz and Viceroy Luis de Velasco ordered him to be burned at the stake on November 19, 1659. For many of these acts throughout his life, he is presumed to be a precursor of the Mexican liberation, as well as of the irish

His history and public projection is in the world entity as a protector of the underdogs, turning him into a social myth. Movies or writings have been made about his person. Some like the film The Mark of Zorro (1920) or the hollywood blockbuster The Mask of Zorro (1998) by Antonio Banderas. Books like the one by Vicente Riva Palacio in Don Guillen de Lampart (1872), and that of the American McCulley with Capistrano’s Curse (1919) where he introduces the figure of Diego de la Vega, a Mexican landowner who fights for injustices, reaching us a more recent adaptation in 2005 by the novelist Isabel Allende. Even in the famous Angel of Mexico City, or Plaza de la Independencia, there is also a statue of this hero.

The Mexico-Galicia relationship is deep, since the time of the first European settlements. In addition to the sailors of the exploration ships, or the religious such as the friar Sebastián de Aparicio, we will see how the migratory movements from the times of Porfirio Díaz to Lázaro Cárdenas are permanent, to the point that many people from Ourense or Lugo took root there, proof of this is the imposing Galician Center of Colonia Roma. It is said that they are the main hoteliers in the country, true and notable, is that there are native figures, such as the Vázquez Raña brothers, Mexican magnates, the Mouriño family of which a member like Camilo became Secretary of the Interior during the time of Felipe Calderón, or also one of the greatest collectors of national classic cinema such as Carlos Vasallo.

With controversies involved and migratory movements aside, the reality is that the Legend of this Irishman trained in Galicia has become a world reference in the fight for the defenseless, a human figure that represents a David against Goliath, the weak against the strong, the revolution against repression. @worldwide

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The Legend of the Fox and College of the Irish in Santiago de Compostela


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