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Los Cabos Magazine #43

L I F E S T Y L E It’s only about an hour drive to Todos Santos, where you can visit the mission church known as Our Lady of Pilar, or Iglesia Nuestra Señora del Pilar.  were inflamed, in many instances, by the tribal guamas, or witch doctors, who saw the missionaries as threats to their power and railed against them at every opportunity. Discontent was also fanned by church doctrine that ran contrary to traditional practices; most notably, strictures against polygamy. Francisco Javier Clavijero’s credits the latter solely in his epochal Historia de la Antigua o Baja California: “There was no other motive than the hatred of those savages for Christian law,” he says, “that deprived them of the many women they had for their comfort and pleasure, according to what the conspirators later confessed. The first to join them were some tribes who lived on the southern coast between the two missions of Santiago and San José. In that region resentment was stirred up against all the missions in the south, but with such secrecy that the missionaries did not suspect a thing.” The Jesuits had almost immediately established a presidio in Loreto, but other missions were decidedly less secure. At the time of the Pericú uprising in 1734, there was one soldier in La Paz, two in Santiago, and three in Todos Santos. In San José del Cabo, there were neither soldiers nor garrison. Word of Pericú plots reached the Jesuits, 28 Los Cabos Magazine | Spring 2016 but because the Indians controlled the roads, letters urging the southern padres to evacuate to the mission at Dolores were never received. Lorenzo Carranco, padre at Santiago, sent some of his neophytes to fetch Tamaral from San José, because he feared that without soldiers there he was in the most vulnerable position. Tamaral refused to abandon his post. Despite their overwhelming numerical superiority, the Pericú were understandably wary of Spanish firearms. But when the two soldiers from Santiago went into the nearby Sierra de la Laguna to fetch oxen, a group of conspirators saw an opportunity, and killed Carranco, his altar boy…and eventually the returning soldiers, when it turned they were replacements who carried not guns, but knives. Here’s how Clavijero describes the killing of Carranco: “Two of them immediately seized him, and threw him outside the house, hung up his habit, while the others shot their arrows. Lifting up his eyes and his heart to the sky, he offered God the sacrifice of his innocent life for his sins and those of his sons in Christ, and afterwards he fell dying to the ground, invoking the sacred names of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. Then with sticks and stones they began to take from him the small amount of life that remained.” Although many Jesuits had died for the cause—including, by this time, Salvatierra, Piccolo, and Ugarte— Carranco was the first California martyr. He would not be the last. The conspirators headed directly for San José del Cabo, where they surprised Tamaral in the middle of saying mass. According to Clavijero: “The padre grasped their perverse intentions, and in order to calm them, he said: Wait, my sons, I will try to please you with everything there is in the house. But they, frustrated by that pretext, did not wish to ask for anything else. The same ones who had overpowered Padre Carranco threw themselves on him and cast him to the ground. Seizing him by the feet, they tossed him outside in order to shoot him full of arrows, but all the conspirators rushed forward and decided to decapitate him, which they did with one of the knives he had given them through necessity.” This was the first salvo of what would be a three year “war” (1734–1737), the repercussions of which would ultimately foretell the end of both the Jesuits and the Pericúes. But that’s another story. Y


Los Cabos Magazine #43
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