Biography of Fernand Paul Braudel (1902-1985)

French historian, born in Lumeville-in-Ornois, village of the French Lorraine in 1902, and died in Paris, in 1985. Of intellectual experience, he attended college at the University of Sorbonne (Paris) and in the practice Ecole des Hautes Études (practical school of high studies), which became director. He got at age twenty-one, in 1923, the added title, feat little current. He went to Algiers to practice teaching and immediately engaged in a doctoral thesis under the direction of Émile Bourgeois, Professor at the Sorbonne. His thesis revolved around the diplomatic history on Mediterranean policy of Felipe II of Spain. Algiers, although it provided an excellent Observatory to study navigation in the sea inside, to familiarize yourself with the Muslim world, not provided accurate file documents to carry out its ambitious work. Braudel was forced to investigate the full archive of Simancas (Valladolid). Little by little, it was expanding its conception of the work and undertook a long search by French, Italian and even Yugoslav archives.

His work was abruptly interrupted at the outbreak of the second world war. However, Braudel had already managed to gather most of their material and set the guidelines for his book. Like many of his contemporaries, he had to spend five years in a camp for prisoners in Germany. Despite this major obstacle had the courage to devote that time of confinement to the scientific work. He managed to receive books and notes and wrote numerous chapters. That way, it was possible that in 1947, with copies that are typed by the mismo same he could read the thesis, which two years later was published with the title of La Méditerranée et monde méditerranéen a l' époque de Philippe II (the Mediterranean and the Mediterranean world in the time of Felipe II). The work caused a great impression in the community of historians of the time. Presented in three volumes, was a detailed analysis of a vast geographic area (the Mediterranean and its area of influence) over a long period (the second half of the 16th century) in which the author staggered masterfully phenomena structural, cyclical and episodic, thus providing a phenomenal analysis of set. For Braudel structural phenomena were that affected more broad and lasting the life of societies, forming what he called as l'Histoire Lourde (the slow story). Braudel spoke of a sort of tertiary structure, subject to different evolutionary acceleration, that society should be studied in relation to the geographical environment, social relationships and the different political actions of the time.

Fernand Braudel got a great weight within the scope of the historians. Lucien Febvre, reach retirement, yielded his chair in the College of France to Braudel, his direct disciple. At the same time, Braudel retained his teaching at the École practice of the Hautes Études. Thanks to these two charges he could release the ordinary tasks of higher education and engage in personal research. In 1951, together with his teacher Lucien Febvre, he founded the Centre de Recherches Historiques (historical studies centre), which secured the release of several economic and social history collections. Until the year 1956, year of the death of Lucien Febvre, was considered the second historian of France. From that year its pre-eminence was manifested with the direction of the famous magazine, founded by Lucien Febvre and Marc Bloch in 1929, called Annales. Economies. Sociétés. Civilisations (Annals. Economies. Societies. Civilizations).

In 1967 he published his second major work entitled Civilisation matérielle the capitalisme: XV-XVIII siècles (material civilization and capitalism: the 15th until the 18th), structured in three volumes. This work was conceived under a completely different to the previous level. It is a very ambitious synthesis since it's around the globe. According to Braudel, cultures corresponded to an elementary State of social organization, while civilizations are located a highest rung. The book is the result of a series of courses made for several years at the College of France.

In conclusion, suffice it to name a few of the most important works of Fernand Braudel, such as: the dynamics of capitalism (Madrid 1985), a history lesson of Fernand Braudel (Mexico, 1989), history and the social sciences (Madrid, 1968).


AGUIRRE ROJAS, C.A: Fernand Braudel and the social sciences. (Barcelona, 1996).

FEBVRE, L: Un livre qui grandit: La Méditerranée. (Paris, 1950).