Outstanding Personalities from Cortegana
Dña. Agustina Gómez: She was a distinguished embroiderer from Cortegana who reached the height of her activity in the middle of the 20th century. Her gold embroidery workshop in our town quickly became famous and acquired an extraordinary prestige due to the high quality of the work produced there. Many brotherhoods in Huelva and Seville provinces ordered important pieces from Agustina’s workshop, where a quite significant number of women were employed.
The brotherhoods in Cortegana in those days added considerably to their wealth of gold embroidered vestments. Outstanding among these is the Hermandad de Nuestra Señora de la Piedad (Brotherhood of Our Lady of Piety), patron saint Cortegana, for whom an excellent cloak and several beautiful robes were made. Also we should note, for their excellence and quality of embroidery, the processional cloaks of Nuestra Señora del Rosario (Our Lady of the Rosary) and the Santísima Virgen del Valle (The Most Holy Virgin of he Valley). In addition, to dress the images of Christ in our town, Agustina embroidered two spectacular pieces: the tunics of Nuestro Padre Jesús Nazareno (Our Father Jesus the Nazarene) and Cristo de la Oración en el Huerto (Christ at the Sermon in the Garden).
Agustina Gómez, in recognition of her brilliant work and the fame her workshop acquired, was awarded the Spanish State National Medal for Excellence in Work, thus becoming one of the most distinguished personalities on Cortegana in the 20th century.
Amadeo Romero Tauler:A great humanist, democrat and liberal, a graduate in Geography and History and also in Philosophy and Literature, he was appointed headmaster of the Colegio Libre Adoptado San José (the high school) in Cortegana.
Coming back to his home town, he reflected on the importance, in the region in particular and the area in general, that the restoration and promotion of the Castle fortress, a building that at that time was in a ruinous and abandoned state. Taking advantage of his friendship with D. Florentino Pérez Embid, Director General of the Fine Art Department at the University of Seville, D. Amadeo began preparing a proposal for a grant to repair and restore the castle. In the end, the restoration project was carried out in various phases, first under the directorship of D. Rafael Manzano in 1969, the second in 1972 by D. Alfonso Jiméneza third under the leadership of D. Eduardo Barceló in 1976, and the fourth and last, again by D. Alfonso Jiménez in 1979.
Supported by a group of pupils, students and friends, D. Amadeo created the Asociación de Amigos del Castillo (Association of Friends of the Castle), with the aim of preserving, maintaining, promote and conserve both the building and the historical, cultural and environmental heritage of Cortegana. Once the Association was founded, more than thirty years ago, they began asking all the local inhabitants for items to set up a small museum. D. Amadeo himself donated numerous objects, such as a very interesting collection of coins. He also bought one of the neighbouring olive groves in 1975 to donate to the Association.
In addition, he was flattered to be named a member of the Academia Sevillana de Buenas Letras (the Seville Academy of Literature).
Pedro Romero de Terreros: First Count de Regla (Cortegana, Spain, 10th June,1710 - Huasca, Vice-royalty of New Spain, 1781), he was a Spanish nobleman and businessman who settled in colonial Mexico and started exploiting mines and ranches, as well as carrying out philanthropic activities and sponsorship. He was believed to be one of the richest men of his time.He was born on 10th June, 1710 in the Andalusian town of Cortegana. He belonged to a family of rural nobles, the fifth son of a marriage between José Romero and Ana de Terreros. From an early age he showed exceptional intellectual ability and as he could not benefit of the entailed estate, his parents considered that he should study for the clergy. At the age of twenty-two he embarked for New Spain, to join his uncle Juan Vázquez de Terreros, a prominent citizen in Santiago de Querétaro. Pedro took control of his uncle’s businesses, which had been failing, and rapidly brought them back into profit.
After the death of Juan Vázquez de Terreros, in 1735, Pedro took over from him several municipal duties, becoming in 1742 the mayor, royal second lieutenant and bailiff of the city of Querétaro. These positions helped him expand his knowledge and so he found out that in the town of Real del Monte there were great deposits of silver, gold and other minerals. As he was an ambitious person, he lost no time in going there, where in 1743, he joined José Alejandro Bustamante y Bustillo, who had managed in 1739 to get permission from the Count of Revillagigedo, at that time the Viceroy of New Spain, to carry out mining operations on the seam called La Vizcaína. Romero de Terreros was the partner who brought in the capital, which enabled him, on the accidental death of Bustamante in 1750, to take possession as permanent and sole proprietor of the seam and so accumulated an enormous fortune. This seam was the only one which was mined during the last sixty years of the 18th century, and it was so rich that in 1746, there were 900 families of workers assigned to this deposit.
Between 1745 and 1781, the year of his death, Romero de Terreros, became a notable benefactor for several religious centres, in particular convents and Franciscan colleges where missionaries were educated. He granted 41.933 pesos to the college of San Fernando de México, 91.023 pesos to the college of la Santa Cruz de Querétaro and another 100.000 pesos to the convent and college of San Francisco de Pachuca.
In 1756, Romero de Terreros married doña María Antonia de Trebustos y Dávalos in Mexico City, the twenty-two year old daughter of one of the most distinguished families in New Spain.
Thanks to his ideas and projects to promote great actions of a religious, cultural and beneficent nature, he was given the noble title of Count in December, 1768 by King Charles III. He chose the title Conde de Santa María de Regla for the devotion he expressed for this marian invocation, especially venerated in the Augustine convent of Chipiona and whose devotion had spread over several places in Spanish America. In honour of the Virgin de Regla, he also called his principal ranch San Miguel Regla.
With the passing of time Pedro Romero de Terreros became more powerful, but there also developed problems with the miners who worked in his mines. Romero de Terreros decided to stop their “tequio”, the part of the extracted mineral that they were allowed to keep. Due to these measures, in 1766 a revolt broke out among the miners, considered to be the worst in the Mexican colony. This strike caused Romero de Terreros great problems as it affected his reputation, won over years, as well as the losses caused by the suspension of the mining operations. With this state of affairs, Romero de Terreros chose to keep the mines closed, while he retired to his ranches, San Miguel Regla and Santa María Regla, in the present state of Hidalgo. Since 1767, he had also owned Santa Lucía Molino and La Gavia, in the present state of México; San Javier,in Hidalgo; Xalpa, Portales and el Rosario, in the Federal District and Ajuchitlánin the present town of Colón, Querétaro.
In his desire to keep in good standing with King Charles III, he gave the navy a warship with 80 cannons (named The Conde de Regla) and another ship that had the cabins covered with precious stones. He had the idea of paving the road joining the city of Pachuca with the port of Veracruz with silver, for when the King visited New Spain. But this plan was never carried out and the King never visited the American colonies.
On 25th February, 1775, Romero de Terreros founded the Sacro y Real Monte de Piedad de Ánimas, which is now known as the Nacional Monte de Piedad, a pawnshop and loan society to provide interest-free or low-interest loans to the poor in Mexico City. This contributed to the solution of economic problems for many inhabitants of New Spain. The large seams of Real del Monte made Pedro Romero de Terreros a multimillionaire, the richest man in America and perhaps in the world, in the middle of the 18th century.
He died in 1781 on his ranch San Miguel Regla, in the Huasca region. According to his will, his remains were taken to Pachuca, where they were buried under the grand altar of the church in the convent of San Francisco, of which he had been a benefactor.
Fray Alonso Giraldo de Terreros: Born in Cortegana on 16th June, 1699, he can be considered as a truly distinguished Cortegana personage, given how famous he became during his life in Indian territory. Friar Alonso Giraldo de Terreros had emigrated as a child with his parents to Querétaro (Mexico). Very soon, with his great spiritual conviction, he showed an enormous enthusiasm for a religious vocation and joined the Franciscan Order as a friar in 1721. His vocation led him to preach the Gospel to the Indians in the north of Mexico, in praiseworthy missionary work lasting some thirty years, especially during his work at the Mission of the San Saba River. This mission, also known as the Mission to the Texas Apaches, was approved by Royal Seal by King Ferdinand VI on the 10th September, 1756, taking the name of San Luís de las Amarillas. In an effort to consolidate the northern frontier of the Viceroyalty of New Spain, this project was mainly supported by Pedro Romero de Terreros, First Conde de Regla, and it was he who installed his cousin, Friar Alonso Giraldo at the head of the mission.
For a short time Friar Alonso Giraldo de Terreros left his missionary work to carry out the position of keeper of the Convent of Querétaro. However, he returned to the mission and this second stage led him to an ominous end, as after celebrating mass in San Saba on the 17th March, 1758, he was murdered by Comanche Indians.
In the 1940s, he was a step away from being beatified, thanks to an agreement between the bishops of all the dioceses of the USA. So far, the beatification is still pending.
Diego López: Born in the place in Huelva that gave him his surname: Cortegana. It is most probable, although we lack documentary evidence of his birth, that he was born in 1455, as we know the date and age at which he died: 1st October, 1524. His childhood was spent in Cortegana, presumably of noble origin. This fact is expressed in his coat of arms, stating that he was Diego López de Cortegana. This coat of arms appears in the book “El Itinerario del venerable varón micer Luís patricio romano” translated in 1520 by Cristóbal de Arcos. Here we can see a castle, which appears to be the Cortegana castle, crowned with a sun and supported by stairs. We aren’t sure if Diego López de Cortegana created the coat of arms and it was later adopted by the town or vice versa, but what is certain is that one way or another, the coat of arms of Cortegana nowadays is a faithful reproduction of that of Diego López de Cortegana. Diego López de Cortegana went to Seville at the beginning of the 80s in the 15th century, and achieved a brilliant ecclesiastical career: Canon and Archdeacon of the Holy Cathedral Church, Public Prosecutor and Secretary of the Holy Inquisition and Chaplain to the Queen. We can speak of Diego López de Cortegana as an “Inquisitor Translator” or “Humanist Inquisitor”. Among his varied and extensive range of translations, one which stands out is that which preserves his name in posterity among humanist Castillian literature: the “Asno de or” (The Golden Ass) by Apuleyo.
Diego López de Cortegana’s literary interests and his innovative way of reading and translating classical texts made him an archetype of Christian Humanism in Spain and unquestionably an example of vernacular Humanism. Diego López de Cortegana is without doubt one of our most illustrious natives, considered today by some prestigious international universities as the precursor of the picaresque novel in Spain, which later developed in works that shine in universal literature like Lazarillo de Tormes (The Life of Lazarillo de Tormes) or El Ingenioso Hidalgo Don Quijote de La Mancha (Don Quixote), which places Diego López de Cortegana as one of the great humanists of 16th century Spain.
Juan Vázquez de Terreros: Native of Cortegana, he emigrated to The Indies (South America) at the beginning of the 18th century, settling in Santiago de Querétaro around 1708, where he became a notable miner. A person of colossal charity and piety, he was a member of 12 religious guilds and a Jesuit lay brother. He had four daughters and a son, who was still very young at the time when D. Juan’s business started failing, so he was obliged to ask for help from his family in Cortegana, as he needed someone whom he could trust to carry on his affairs. Therefore Juan Vázquez de Terreros brought three of his nephews, Francisco Romero de Terreros, Pedro Romero de Terreros and Alonso Giraldo de Terreros to America. The death of the first and the dedication to religious life of the third, enabled Pedro Romero de Terreros to take control of his uncle’s business.
To Juan Vázquez de Terreros are owed the legacy to his home town of two important Indian silver collections. The first was sent in 1730 with the help of his nephew Pedro Romero de Terreros, who sent the collection from Veracruz, destined for the parish church of Nuestro Señor San Salvador and the Ermita de Nuestra Señora de la Piedad in Cortegana, where it arrived on 22nd October, 1731. In 1733, Juan Vázquez de Terreros decided to send Cortegana another notable collection of silverware, especially liturgical objects and vessels. This huge donation is certainly one of the greatest gifts of Indian silver documented during the Spanish colonial period. To Juan Vázquez de Terreros and to Pedro Romero de Terreros, to a lesser degree, is owed the greater part of the magnificent Parrochial Treasure housed in the parish church El Divino Salvador in Cortegana. The sacred silver ornaments sent by these Cortegana emigrants are so numerous and of such quality that the Parrochial Treasure of Cortegana is considered by the Diocese of Huelva to be one of the most important in the province.
Pedro Barbaboza Parreño: Chief Accountant of the Tribunal of Accounts of the Viceroyalty of New Spain and founder of one of the best noble families of Mexico today. Born in Cortegana on 13thNovember, 1673, Pedro Barba Boza Parreño was without doubt the first Cortegana emigrant to The Indies who attained significant renown. After his arrival in New Spain, Pedro Barba Boza Parreño joined his surnames, becoming known as “Barbaboza”, which is today considered to be a completely genuine Mexican surname. He lived in Cortegana until he was 31, leaving to undertake university studies in Salamanca or Seville, according to the custom of the time, and embarking on the American adventure at the beginning of the 18thcentury, arriving in Mexico in 1706 on the invitation of his uncle Bartolomé de Terreros y Ochoa. On his arrival he set up a business consisting of a shop selling local merchandise and imports from Spain and the Philippines. The shop was splendidly situated in the merchants area in Mexico City, in the well-known area of the Zócalo, in what is now the Plaza de la Constitución. The economic and material capital that Pedro Barbaboza Parreño amassed meant that he could move in the highest levels of civil and religious society. Four years after his arrival in Mexico, in 1710, he was awarded the title of Chief Accountant of the Royal Tribunal of Accounts and Auditor of the Accounts of New Spain, so named by King Philip V of Anjou, for his achievements and acumen. His influence and his magnificent social relations would make him a truly important personage, who was surrounded at all times by high level civil servants in the Viceregal Court, officials and high grade military officers, refined and distinguished ladies, heiresses to aristocratic and rich estates and all the people who would shine in colonial society of the time from a social and economic point of view. Pedro Barbaboza y Parreño lived surrounded by a Christian and well-mannered environment, with the help of a more and more booming personal power which would allow him and his family a splendour and fame that still attach to the name of Barbabosa. The descendants of Pedro Barbaboza Parreño, from the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries, became famous ranchers of fighting bulls, known and recognised the world over, especially the Santín (1837) and San Diego de los Padres (1863), two of the three oldest fighting bull ranches in Mexico.