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Lorenzo Boturini Benaducci

Anthropologist of New World natives (eighteenth century)

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Boturini Benaducci, LORENZO, a native of Milan in Lombardy who went to Mexico in 1736 by permission of the Spanish government and remained there eight years, familiarizing himself with the Nahuatl or Mexican language. He gathered a number of Indian pictographs on tissue paper, etc., the first collection of the kind of importance. His frequent intercourse with the aborigines excited suspicion, as he was a foreigner, and the authorities, ever on the watch for intrigues against Spanish rule by strangers, deprived him of all his material, including prints, while he himself was sent to Spain under surveillance. There he succeeded in clearing himself of the accusations, but never obtained restitution of the precious collection, which afterwards was neglected and partly lost. Notwithstanding these drawbacks, Boturini, from such notes as he had saved, composed a treatise with the title of: “Idea y ensayo de una historia general de la America setentrional” (Madrid, 1746). The most valuable part of this book relates to his former library and to other literary material. His text, especially concerning migrations of Indian tribes, is of less importance. Besides the “Idea“, he is credited with the authorship of the following writings: “Oratio ad Divinam Sapientiam” (Valencia, 1750), and “Oratio de iure naturali septentrionalium Indorum” (Valencia, 1751). The date and place of his death are unknown.

AD. F. BANDELIER


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