Biography of Cristóbal de Acuña (1597-1643)

Spanish missionary, born in Burgos in 1597 and died in Lima (Peru) in 1643. Rector of the Jesuit College of Quito, captain Pedro Teixera Molato accompanied on a trip down the Amazon River; He/She left Quito in January 1639, and reached for in December 1640. Arrival at Madrid, 5 February 1641, was so registered by José Pellicer: "has come here the Jesuit P. Acuña, West Indies... Aventurose to come with [Portuguese] P. Acuña, and wine, noticing the heights, coasts, degrees, lines, breasts, coves, Islands and directions of travel. Bringing it all demarcated."

Acuña presented a map to the King and returned to India after posting its description. He/She characterized the Amazon as "the largest and most famous [River] ORB" and located its source close to Quito. It describes the course, latitude, width and depth of the River, as well as the flora and fauna observed along its margins, noting that the region contained so many medicinal drugs that their study would produce a second Dioscorides or a third Plinio. Their understanding of climate based on the floods of the River: "Although recognizing some kind of winter, is not so much caused the range of planets and Sun course, which always rises and puts at a same time, as the flood of waters, preventing with its moisture content for a few months the sowing and fruits of the Earth".



New discovery of the great river of the Amazon, Madrid: Imprenta del Retiro, 1641. (Modern Edition directed by Raúl Reyes and Reyes, Quito: Ministerio de Gobierno, 1942).


FERNÁNDEZ DE NAVARRETE, M.: Maritime library Spanish, vol I, Madrid: widow of Calero, 1851, pp. 291-296.