Mexican researcher Clemente Cruz Peralta wins Yuste Foundation’s Research Prize to Ibero-American Doctoral Theses

The doctoral thesis, El elegido inesperado. Pedro José de Fonte, último arzobispo de la Nueva España, by Mexican researcher Clemente Cruz Peralta, won the II Research Prize to Ibero-American Doctoral Theses, which is organised by the European and Ibero-American Academy of Yuste Foundation. It is a work that recovers the figure of De Fonte, one of those characters that were forgotten, on both sides, in the conflict of the Ibero-American countries’ independence. The prize was delivered at the 2nd International Congress on “Relations between Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean: A meeting space”, held on 23, 24 and 25 March at the Royal Monastery of Santa Maria de Guadalupe. (25/03/2022)

The thesis is framed within the interpretive trend of telling that other history, a trend that is supported by Yuste Foundation, and which research is being done on – both in Spain and throughout Ibero-America – by authors who show their objectivity in view of the events; one that is already far from politicised perspectives, which are more typical of the 20th century.

The figure of Pedro José Fonte, the last archbishop of New Spain, represents the fidelity of a religious man involved in worldly affairs; a man who was faithful to the reigning Spanish monarchy and faithful to his status as archbishop, a position he did not renounce to after Mexican independence. His image is the representation of the dilemma, moral and personal, which many Hispanic characters saw themselves in due to the world transformation they were experiencing. It also shows the permanence of client relations between the two nations during the first years of its formation as a State. Studies such as this work favour the rescue of this conscious forgetfulness of historiography and reveal another side of history.

During the delivery of the Prize – which was streamed online, since the recipient lives in Mexico – Doctor Cruz Peralta highlighted that the study of Pedro de Fonte is important because in Mexican and Latin American historiography in general, “we have to delve into the study of people of peninsular origin who were in favour of the Spanish monarchy, especially in the period of independence because an official history is still present in Mexico, but many scholars are also making great efforts to offer new interpretations”, he said.

On the other hand, the winner explained that the pages of his thesis try to tell the story of a young ecclesiastic and describe the period of crisis that he had to go through: the context is the disintegration of the Spanish empire, the efforts of a monarchy to maintain its domains, and the efforts of the American kingdoms in search of their independence as well”, he concluded.

The jury of the II Research Prize to Ibero-American Doctoral Theses included the following doctors: Juan Carlos Moreno Piñero – who chaired it -, Rosa María Perales Piqueres, Elena Jurado Mangas, Sigfrido Vázquez Cienfuegos and Gabriel Moreno González.

In this second edition of the prize, which is organised by the European and Ibero-American Academy of Yuste Foundation, the following works were finalists: “Entre el éxtasis ilustrado y el miedo espiritual: discursos y acciones en torno a la creación de cementerios extramuros en los contextos urbanos del Nuevo Reino de Granada”, by the Colombian Diego Andrés Bernal Botero, and “Gilberto Freyre y España: la constante iberista en su vida y obra”, by the Spaniard Pablo González Velasco.


The European and Ibero-American Academy of Yuste Foundation called for the II Research Prize to Ibero-American Doctoral Theses in order to award the best doctoral thesis that – once read over the last two years in Spain, Portugal or any Ibero-American or European country and obtained the highest academic qualification – addresses the relations between Spain, Portugal or Europe with Ibero-America and vice versa as a topic, from a historical, cultural, social and scientific perspective, or from any other field of study. The Prize is endowed with € 3,000 and the publication of the doctoral thesis.