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Diocese of Campeche
Diocese in the State of Campeche, Republic of Mexico, suffragan of the Archdiocese of Yucatan (see Yucatan). It was created 24 March, 1895, by division of the Diocese of Yucatan. Its territory includes the western portion of the Peninsula of Yucatan, and in the north is mainly a plain, from which rise the heights of Sierra Alta. Broad savannahs and dense forests abound. The southern part is abundantly watered by running streams. The Spanish captain, Hernández de Córdova, and the pilot, Anton de Alaminos, discovered (20 March, 1517) a seaside village inhabited by Maya Indians, and known to the natives as Ah Kin Pech, which the Spaniards translated Campeche, often, anglicized as Campeachy. In 1540 Captain Montejo, with thirty Spaniards, founded on this site a seaport town. A church was at once begun (Santa Maria de la Concepción, the present cathedral); the first priest was Francisco Hernández, Montejo's chaplain. Later on a storm drove upon the Campeche coast the vessel in which Fray Bartolomé de las Casas, Bishop of Chiapas, was returning to his diocese; this illustrious man was therefore the first bishop to visit Campeche. Its first missionaries were Franciscans; in 1715 the Jesuits came to Campeche, but were expelled 12 June, 1767.
The diocese is bounded on the north by the Diocese of Yucatan; on the south by the Archdiocese of Guatemala and the Vicariate Apostolic of Belize; on the south-east and west by the Dioceses of Chiapas and Tabasco, and by the Gulf of Mexico. It has a population of about 100,000, with twenty-three parishes. The third bishop, Don Francisco Mendoza y Herrera, who was appointed 17 January, 1905, opened a diocesan seminary and three colleges, and built an episcopal residence. Since 1901 there has been in the Diocese of Campeche a small group of non-Catholics. The episcopal city, Campeche, situated on the bay of that name, about ninety miles south-west of Mérida, has about 16,000 inhabitants, two parishes, and twelve churches. The chief exports are maze, sugar, sisle-hemp, salt, wax, logwood, and mahogany. Ship-carpentry is the principal local industry, the harbour, though shallow, being quite capacious.
Gerarchia Cattolica (Rome, 1907); Battendier, Ann. pont. cath. (Paris, 1907), 217; Catholic Directory (Milwaukee, 1907, Foreign, 187.