(c. 1540-1600)
Josei de Acosta, a Spanish Jesuit historian, wrote the earliest European study on Mexico and western South America, Historia natural y moral de las Indias (Natural and Moral History of the Indies, 1590). In De procuranda Indorum salute (1576), Acosta was one of the first Europeans to write at length about European missionary activity in the Americas.
Josei de Acosta worked as a preacher, teacher, and leader of the Jesuits in Peru for fourteen years. When Acosta arrived in Lima in 1572, he immediately addressed the problem of converting the native population to Christianity. He learned the native language, Quechua, in Cuzco and examined firsthand the situation of the Indians. In De procuranda Indorum salute Acosta argued that the native peoples were capable of being evangelized. He wrote the first book to be published in Peru, a catechism written in local native languages (1584). While he believed that Spain fulfilled the will of divine providence in its con­quest of the Americas, he complained to the king about colonial policies that burdened the native population.
Acosta sought to educate Europeans about the native peoples of the Americas and their natural surroundings in his Historia natural. Acosta described the geography, the climate, and the plant and animal life of Mexico and Peru. He depicted the culture of the indigenous peoples: their economic, educational, po­litical, and religious beliefs and institutions. He asserted that the native peoples had reached a high level of cultural development that could be perfected by the introduction of Christianity.
Acosta's depiction of the native peoples evinces a mixture of forward-thinking notions about universal human dignity with condescending Eurocentric attitudes. He argued for universal human equality while also characterizing native peoples as childish, barbaric, and unintelligent. His Historia natural was widely read by educated Spaniards and was translated into other European languages. Through De procuranda Indorum salute and Historia natural Acosta contributed in a fundamental way to the formation of European attitudes toward native Ameri­cans as Europe sought to incorporate them and their lands into its orbit of influence in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
E. O'Gorman, Cuatro historiadores de Indias, 1989.
Evelyn Toft

Renaissance and Reformation 1500-1620: A Biographical Dictionary. . 2001.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Acosta, José de — • Founded a number of colleges, among them those of Arequipa, Potose, Chuquisaca, Panama, and La Paz Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Acosta, José de     José de Acosta    …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Acosta, José de — ▪ Spanish theologian born 1539, Medina del Campo, Spain died Feb. 15, 1600, Salamanca       Jesuit theologian and missionary to the New World, chiefly known for his Historia natural y moral de las Indias, the earliest survey of the New World and… …   Universalium

  • Acosta, José de — ► (1539 1600) Cosmógrafo e historiador español. Autor de un catecismo en castellano, aimará y quechua (1583) y de una famosa Historia natural y moral de las Indias, en que se tratan las cosas más notables del cielo, y elementos, metales, plantas… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Jose de Acosta — José de Acosta Pour les articles homonymes, voir Acosta. José de Acosta José d Acosta, né vers 1539, mort le 15 février 1600, était un Jésuite espagnol du …   Wikipédia en Français

  • José de Acosta — (September/October 1539 ndash; February 15 1600), was a Spanish 16th century Jesuit missionary and naturalist in Latin America.LifeBorn at Medina del Campo in Spain, he became a novice in the Society of Jesus at the age of thirteen at the place… …   Wikipedia

  • Jose de Acosta —     José de Acosta     † Catholic Encyclopedia ► José de Acosta     The son of well to do and respected parents, born at Medina del Campo in Spain, 1540; died at Salamanca, 15 February, 1600. He became a novice in the Society of Jesus at the age… …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Jose de Acosta — José de Acosta (auch José d Acosta, * September/Oktober 1539 (oder 1540) in Medina del Campo; † 15. Februar 1599 in Salamanca) war ein spanischer Jesuit, Missionar und Gelehrter. Er entwickelte die Theorie, dass die amerikanische Urbevölkerung… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • José Vicente Garcia Acosta — José Vicente García Acosta (* 4. August 1972 in Tafalla) ist ein spanischer Radrennfahrer. Karriere García Acosta begann seine Profikarriere 1995 bei dem spanischen Radsport Team Banesto. Das UCI ProTour Team nennt sich mittlerweile Caisse d… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • José Manuel Núñez Ponte — (Caracas, 5 de mayo de 1870 † Caracas, 16 de junio de 1965), fue un importante educador y escritor. Estudió en el Colegio Sucre de Caracas y cursó estudios superiores de Derecho en la Universidad Central de Venezuela, culminándolos en la… …   Wikipedia Español

  • José — de Nazaret Origen Hebreo Género Masculino …   Wikipedia Español

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.