A 500 years old Utopia

Don Vasco de Quiroga was a man ahead of his time and a visionary who wanted to create and live in a fair and more balanced society.

Don Vasco arrived in New Spain in 1531. Marked by the social injustices he witnessed, he founded a new peaceful and inclusive society in Michoacán (inspired by Tomás Moro's Utopia). Bishop, humanist, judge, teacher, town planner and spiritual father, the legacy of Grandpa Vasco remains alive today in the Purépecha communities.

The intesity of a life

The intesity of a life

Don Vasco de Quiroga came to New Spain when he was over 60, and died in the Uruapan Huatapera 30 years later. He founded more tan 200 hospital villages and he had to fight repeatedly for his revolutionary ideas, resisting attacks from noblemen and clergy.

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Utopia

Utopia

Utopia is an island with a peaceful society, organized on the basis of work, community, responsibility and Christian values. Utopia was written by by Thomas More in 1516. Don Vasco Quiroga was inspired by Utopia to create his hospital villages, a new model for a sustainable and just society. This model still exists.

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Social organization

Social organization

Community life revolves around the huatapera or hospital. The wole community is involved. It ennobles man through work, serving the sick and the traveller, dictating strict stardards for living. Today communities still maintain their customs ad traditions, with a comunal government, which has real authority.

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Arts and trades

Arts and trades

Don Vasco made each community specialize in a trade, incorporating European techiques and traditional occupations, and so bartering and trading economy flourished. That’s why Santa Clara is famous for its copper, Cocucho for its clay cocuchas, Uruapan for its lacquerware. The artisans of today have elevated their trade to art level and are widely recognized.

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Spirituality and art

Spirituality and art

The chapels for the natives are richly decorated. They tell stories of saints, guide the liturgies and are meant to be didactic. When we look up we are looking at the sacred. We find ourselves in the position of prayer. Look at the ever-present shells: they represent transformation, baptism, the new beginning.

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Knowledge

Knowledge

In 1540 he founded the College of San Nicolás Obispo, one of the first institutes of higher education in the Americas which, for the first time in history, admitted indigenous students. The Founders of the Nation are closely linked to this institution, which was founded on the values of Humanism.

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Did you know?

Did you know?

Sometimes the details show the true dimension of a deed. The history of Don Vasco de Quiroga deserves an epic novel in its own right. 30 intense years in the New Spain filled with truly incredible anecdotes.

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Don Vasco de Quiroga

Explore Michoacán history hand in hand with Don Vasco

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