Author of the first book on medicine printed in America (sixteenth century)
Bravo, FRANCISCO, as far as known, author of the first book on medicine printed in America. His “Opera Medicinalia etc. (Authore Francisco Brauo Orsunensi doctore Mexicano medico)” was published at Mexico, 1570. Three years before, Dr. Pedrarias de Benavides had published his “Secretos de Chirurgfa”, at Valladolid in Spain, and while the latter work is invaluable for the knowledge of Indian medicinal practices, and is the earliest book on these topics known to have been published, the work of Dr. Bravo has the merit of being the first medical treatise printed in America. The first regular physician who came to Mexico appears to have been a Dr. Olivarez, although surgeon-barbers and other “healers and curers” are mentioned as having already practiced with Cortez. Strict medical regulations were established by the municipal council of the city of Mexico in 1527, and extended to the apothecaries in 1529. Although the faculty of medicine at the University of Mexico was not founded until 1578, two “Doctors in Medicine” were received at that institution as early as 1553. Dr. Benavides was a native of Toro in Spain and came to Honduras about the year 1550. Thence he went to Mexico and returned to Spain, after having directed for eight years the hospital “del Amor de Dios” in the city of Mexico. Of Dr. Bravo it is only known that he was a native of Ossuna, and began to practice at Sevilla in 1553. He came to Mexico between that year and 1570. The date and place of his death are not known.
AN. F. BANDELIER