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Theologian, archbishop, patron of Christopher Columbus, b. at Toro, 1444; d. 1523. Entering the Order of St. Dominic in his youth, he became successively: professor of theology at St. Stephen's, Salamanca; tutor to Prince John, son of Ferdinand and Isabella; Bishop of Zamora, of Salamanca, of Jaen, of Palencia; Archbishop of Seville (1505). In 1523 he was appointed Archbishop of Toledo and Primate of Spain, but died before he had taken possession of that see. He left several theological works, the principal one being a "Defensorium Doctoris Angelici, S. Th. Aquinatis" (Seville, 1491). Historians generally have not emphasized the importance of Deza's friendship for Columbus and the bearing of this friendship and patronage on the discovery of America. In a letter dated 21 Dec., 1504, Columbus wrote to his son Diego: "The Lord Bishop of Palencia (Diego Deza) has always favoured me and has desired my glory ever since I came into Castile." Then he added this most significant declaration: "He is the cause of their Highnesses' possessing the Indies, and of my remaining in Castile, when I was already on the road with the intention of leaving it."
MANDONNET, Les Dominicains et la decouverte de l'Amerique (Paris, 1893); O'NEIL, The Columbian Celebration (Louisville, 1892); IRVING, Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus (New York, 1868); TARDUCCI, The Life of Christopher Columbus, tr. BROWNSON (Detroit, 1890); THATCHER, Christopher Columbus (New York, 1903); TOURON, Hist. des hommes illust. de l'ordre de S. Dom., III (Paris, 1746), 722; QUETIF AND ECHARD, Scriptores Ord. Praed., I (Paris, 1721), 51.