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Alexander Von Humboldt

Other names/titles:
Gender: M
Ethnic origin: White

Biographical details

A German scientist, traveller and writer, born in 1769. He arrived in Acapulco, Mexico in March 1803 and stayed until March 1804. Keen describes his portrayal of the American continent as through an Enlightened prism. He died in 1859. (Keen, 664)

Franco claims that his Voyages (1814-29) revealed that Spain had not effectively developed its colonies and that Creoles thus concluded Spain should allow them to do the task instead. (Franco, 18)

Alexander Von Humboldt found a copy of Feijóo’s work at the isolated Convent of Caripe, New Andalusia (Venezuela): “I was lodged in the cell of the superior, which contained a pretty good collection of books. I found there, to my surprise, the Teatro Crítico of Feijoo, the Lettres Edifantes, and the Traité d’Electricité by abbé Nollet. It seemed as if the progress of knowledge advanced even in the forests of America." (Humboldt, 252)

He commented about Lima in 1803: "Lima is more isolated from Peru than London, and although no part of Spanish America is guilty of excessive patriotism, I do not know of another where this sentiment is more lacking. A cold egotism dominates all, and what one does not suffer, one completely ignores." (Wibel, 223)

He met Bolívar in the salons of Paris in the autumn of 1804 after he had returned from Caracas. They became good friends. (Zapata, 49, 60, 93-96)

He attended the tertulias de Buen Gusto in Bogotá. (Díaz y Díaz, 108)

Life Events

Born 1769
Other 1803He described Lima as isolated from Peru.
Other 1803He was in Mexico from March 1803 until March 1804.
Other 1804He met Bolívar in Paris.
Other 1804He visited Venezuela.
Died 1859


Werner, Michael S., (1997), Encyclopedia of Mexico

Wibel, John Frederick, (1975), The Evolution of a Regional Community Within Spanish Empire and Peruvian Nation: Arequipa, 1780-1845

Zapata, Ramón, (1997), Los libros que leyó el Libertador Simón Bolívar

Pérez Vila, Manuel, (1983), Gaceta de Caracas

R.O. Jones, (1973), Spanish American Literature Since Independence


Book: Personal Narrative of Travels to the Equinoctial Regions of America During the Years 1799-1804 Vol.1

Book: Personal Narrative of Travels to the Equinoctial Regions of America during the years 1799-1804, Vol.II.


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Gendering Latin American Independence

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