jueves, 30 de enero de 2014

New research about the German Conqueror Pedro Lisperguer and La Quintrala


National Library of Spain, Madrid. By Edmund Gall (2013-04 Spain 081)
[CC BY-SA 2.0  (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)],
via Wikimedia Commons

Dear friends, lovers of  history: 

     I am a researcher of the National Library, Royal Academy of History, National Archives, and many other institutions in Spain, and I write to you concerning the following matter:

  I have been about a decade researching and studying the background of Peter Lisperg, a German conqueror in Chile, born in Worms in 1530, son of Peter Birlinger and Katharine Lisperg. There is no doubt that in Chile and Peru the Lisperguer family has achieved enormous success, considered by many historians the first family of this beautiful region of the world. Granddaughter of Peter Lisperg was Catalina de los Ríos Lisperguer, called “La Quintrala,” whose life constitutes the second literary topic of Chile nowadays, behind the great national landmark, La Araucana, of Alonso de Ercilla. This overwhelming success has attracted many scholars, universities, and public who have made an incredible attempt to solve the question of the origin of Peter Lisperg. The fact that in Chile Lisperg is believed to be descendant of the duchy of Saxony has spread his legend considerably. However, despite all of this enthusiasm until now has been impossible to trace the past of the famous conqueror. 

   Thanks to new evidence and documents found in Spain, it has been possible to go further into his background and family in Germany, his education in Spain, the traits of his personality, his political environment, shedding an overall new light over his figure. For the first time, a precise itinerary of the journey of Lisperg through The Low Countries, accompanying the emperor Charles V, and the Count of Feria has been laid out. This journey lasted for six months, in which Lisperg met the most important personalities in the empire and visited important cities like Bruges, Brussels, Antwerp, Leiden, and Utrecht. Also has been very interesting to revive with accuracy his living in Andalusia-Spain, where he stood for a decade (1545-1555) under two influences, the marquisate of Priego, with its geopolitical center in the city of Montilla (Córdoba) and the county of Feria, with its political headquarters in the city of Zafra (Badajoz). In the first years of his stay in Spain he was under the patronage of Pedro Fernández de Córdova, IV Count of Feria, Grandee of Spain, until his death in 1552. Therefore all circumstances of his living in Andalusia have been examined in detail. Essential too, has been to unfold the historical merits and greatness of the House of Feria and Priego, highlighting the main hero at that time, don Gonzalo Fernández de Córdova, The great Captain, the conqueror of Italy, between many other fascinating subjects.

   After the death of Pedro Fernández de Córdova in 1552, the county of Feria was inherited by his brother Don Gómez Suarez de Figueroa, V Count of Feria, Grandee of Spain. Protocols found in Spain prove how Peter Lisperg continued in Andalusia for a year under the protection of Gómez Suárez, with whom he traveled in July 1553 to London to attend the wedding of Philip II and Mary Tudor in 1554. He remained there for seven months with the most important knights, and nobility of England, Spain and the empire. The Count of Feria was the ambassador of Philip in England, a member of his council of state, and one of the most prominent politicians of Philip’s reign, in direct relationship with the Duke of Alba, Ruy Gómes and many others. After his experience in England, Lisperg returned to Spain with other courtiers. Anew in Andalusia, he obtained many licenses and protocols to allow his traveling to the New World. One of them was given directly by the emperor in Brussels, and all of this has been studied carefully. Later on, he embarked to the Indies, in San Lucar de Barrameda, Cádiz, in October 1555, with the viceroy Andrés Hurtado de Mendoza and has been very interesting to revive his rough crossing of the Atlantic Ocean, his arrival to the continent and crossing of the itsmo of Panama.

   But the primary purpose of this book has not been to describe the adventures and remarkable role of Peter Lisperg in Chile and Peru, because about this exists abundant literature. The main aim of this project has been to find out the origin of the family. New documents found in Spain have shown that a flourishing German family called Wittemberg, was established too in the peninsula. These documents reveal how the Lisperg and Wittemberg were linked, belonging to the same family. If the first chapter is dedicated to the education of Lisperg in Europe, the goal of the second chapter is to solve the challenging puzzle of setting the background of the family. To accomplish this objective, I have weighted the status of the family in the New World, gathering all possible information from the South American sources. But especially important has been to observe the nobility status of the Wittemberg´s in Spain. Thanks to many manuscripts completely unpublished up to now, it has been possible to know from which counties and duchies did the family come from in Germany, analyzing as well the coat of arms described in those documents. New evidence and statements of the Wittemberg’s brothers in Spain suggest that the family came from the Duchy of Württemberg. Nevertheless, I have also had a close collaboration with the Stadtarchiv of Worms, as a way to enhance what it is known about the Lispergs in this area.

     However, there are still many questions without an easy answer. If that noble status was so evident why did the Wittembergs incurred in some contradictions? What was the value at that time of those certificates of nobility enacted by these experts in international heraldry? What was the standard of living of the Wittemberg family in Andalusia? Were they merchants? Jews perhaps? Why did Peter Lisperg take the name of his mother, “Lisperg,” and some of his descendants use the traditional of “Wittemberg”? All these questions have been carefully assessed approaching the reader to the real nature of the family. Consultations to the regional archives of Saxony and Württemberg were unavoidable. To try to comprehend the dichotomy of the origin between Saxony and Württemberg, I have gathered all possible information in South America and Spain. At stake was the idiosyncrasy of the family. Interesting has been to check the family way of living in South America, their marriages, their bounding to nobles titles, their military careers, and prominent posts in this aristocratic society. But if the noble status of Peter Lisperg was so manifest, why did he marry an indigenous woman in Chile? All these facts and other paradoxes have been the delight of historians and sociologists for decades and for the first time have been deeply studied, giving proves which permit to discard the Jew background of the family completely and at the same time allow to go ahead in our comprehension of these mixed-race lineages of America, establishing parallels with similar families, who despite their exotic blood have attained an enormous success in those societies.

  The third chapter describes the development of the Wittemberg family in Spain. The story begins with the arrival of Johannes Wittemberg Dreyers to Spain in 1668, being a representative of Hanseatic merchants in Hamburg. Later on, he created his own shipping company with a German partner, achieving an immense commercial success for 130 years. Very interesting has been to analyze all the transactions and connections undertaken by the family in Spain and the destinations of their ships, mainly to the Baltic ports of the North of Europe. The evolution of the company has also been examined, knowing in detail all its members, among them many foreign consuls who have shared interests with the Wittemberg family. Through the study of its staff and partners, its businesses, and many records found in Spain have been possible to trace the background of the family in Hamburg.

   Through the study of their many testaments, partitions of goods, protocols of all kind, it has been possible to construct the genealogy of the family in Spain, their high rank marriages with many members of the nobility, enabling their members to occupy critical positions in the Spanish government, in the army, in the clergy. It is an absorbing story of an intelligent foreign clan, who in few years took control of the land, owning large country farms with beautiful mansions, where they cultivated all sort of crops, especially wine, a product they massively exported abroad. It is an ambitious inquiry which offers a new scope of this important German family, revealing their huge achievements, their marriages with grandees, their high style of life, the refinement of their furniture, silver dishes, silky clothes, and many delicate objects. It is a magnificent work, which illustrates the high standard of living of the family, how they played musical instruments, owned elegant carriages with their coat of arms printed on them, sent their sons to study in universities, becoming some of them lawyers, holding an immense power and recognition, creating truly prominent aristocratic dynasties in the Spanish eighteenth-century society.

   Member of this German family by his mother side was also Luis Joseph Velázquez de Velasco, Marquis of Valdeflores (1722-1772), member of the Royal Academy of History, a key figure in the early Spanish Enlightenment, whose “Geschichte der Spanischen Dichtung” was translated in 1769 by professor Andreas Dieze in Gottingen, and in 1860 Emil Hübner, member of the Die Königlich Preussische Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Berlin, took advantage of the many epigraphic gatherings of Valdeflores to form The Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum. Velázquez, well educated and a member of many academies, was involved in the most important literary movements and cultural projects of that time. He is known to be the first who introduced the neoclassicism in Spain, and one of the youngest who undertook scientific journey through the peninsula to gather their antiquities.

            In conclusion this is an insightful work which compiles all facts concerning this wealthy German family, the clever Lisperguer Wittembergs, who did not only adapt themselves in advantageous terms to a foreign land, but they occupied the first posts of these societies, contracting the very best imaginable marriages, deriving from this family several nobles titles, who embody the mainstream of achievement in Spain and South America. The work is also enriched with several appendixes: a complete genealogy of the Wittemberg family in Spain, an important certificate of their nobility, a full chronology of Peter Lisperg, a compilation of all his licenses to embark to Chile and Peru, and a well-done genealogy of the Lisperguer family in South America.

 It is also interesting to say that at this very moment, “La Quintrala” and the Lisperg family is on the stage at the National Theater of Chile, and a good performance of their lives are permanently appearing in a TV series, novels, articles, even operas. In conclusion, the work that I present to the public at this moment, represents a real breakthrough in research terms, and I am sure it will be the genesis of many cultural initiatives in Chile, Spain and Germany, and any other country. 

                                                               Yours truly,

                                     Daniel Piedrabuena Ruiz-Tagle

Please don´t forget to comment or email me. 

P.D. Dear Readers:

The title of the book has changed. It has been divided into two volumes. The first one called "El conquistador alemán Pedro Lisperguer Wittemberg: De cortesano de Carlos V y Felipe II a célebre precursor de Chile," is available on Amazon in its digital version. Thank you. DPR.

Very recently I have also written an article about the origin of the Lisperguer family in the Atenea magazine. To read the article click here: 

The origin of Lisperguer family

I have also published a second book concerning this interesting matter: Los Lísperguer Wittemberg: una familia alemana en el corazón de la cultura chilena: Identidad y esplendor de la primera familia colonial de Chile. 

You can have it at the following link: 

Daniel Piedrabuena Ruiz-Tagle 

Don´t forget to leave your comment !!!

Thank you


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