Cardinal Francisco Jiménez de Cisneros

Religious reformer, archbishop, cardinal, promoter of culture and knowledge, politician, Cardinal Cisneros is one of the key figures in the history of Spain. Born in Torrelaguna (Madrid) in 1436, he was baptised Gonzalo. However, his roots come from this town in Palencia, where some of his relatives are buried, such as Friar Francisco Ximénez de Cisneros, a cousin and secretary of the Cardinal himself, whose tomb is in the presbytery of the San Facundo and San Primitivo church.

He began his studies in Roa (Burgos) and continued his education in Alcalá de Henares, Salamanca and Rome. His ecclesiastical career began first with his obtaining the archpriesthood of Uceda and later with the major chaplaincy of Sigüenza Cathedral. In 1484, he entered the Franciscan Order, changing his name from Gonzalo to Francisco.

He accepted to be Queen Isabel's confessor and was appointed Provincial of the Franciscan Order, of which he carried out important reformation. In 1495 he replaced Cardinal González de Mendoza as head of the archbishopric of Toledo.

The trust and consideration that the Catholic Monarchs had for him led them to entrust him with the evangelisation of the recently conquered kingdom of Granada.

In the political sphere, he held the post of Regent of Castilla on two occasions: between 1506 and 1507, after the death of Philip the Handsome, and between 1516 and 1517, after the death of Ferdinand the Catholic, a particularly complex and unstable period.

Equally intense was his outstanding work in the cultural sphere, which materialised in the foundation in 1499 of the Complutense University of Alcalá de Henares, the first Renaissance university, which the cardinal himself endowed with a vast library with a significant section of books on Natural Sciences. Another of his great achievements was the publication of a Bible which, in addition to its original languages, incorporated the Latin translation. Known as the Complutensian Polyglot Bible, it consists of six volumes that began to be distributed in 1522.