Biography of David Joaquín Guzmán Martorell (1845-1927)

Physician, writer, journalist, and Salvadoran politician, born in San Salvador on August 15, 1845, and died in his hometown on January 20, 1927. Considered to be one of the most eminent doctors of his time, who, while developed a brilliant essay and journalistic career coupled with the high public responsibilities that played in the service of his country, make it one of the most prominent intellectuals of Central American scope.

Son of the general Joaquín Eufrasio Guzmán - former President of the Salvadoran nation-, the young David Joaquin received from an early age a careful academic training that, in those years, only remained within reach of the wealthiest families in the country. Indeed, began his studies at the prestigious colegio La Asunción, San Salvador, and later traveled to Guatemala to graduate as Bachelor in philosophy in College Trent (1859). After this initial stage of their studies, in 1863 he/she moved to Europe to settle in Paris, where upper studied medicine and surgery and earned a doctorate in these disciplines in 1869, with a thesis entitled Essai de topographie physique et Médicale de la République de El Salvador, Amérique Centrale, work that deserved an honorable mention by the Court which examined it.

Yet without abandoning the old world, he/she moved with his recent title of doctor in medicine to the capital of Spain, where in 1870 he/she joined the Faculty of Madrid. Subsequently, he/she was teaching and medical faculties in Santiago de Chile and Lima, in order to work in different educational and health institutions in Central America. In those years began already prestigious Dr. David Joaquín Guzmán to publish his first journalistic articles in various media, at the time decided to involve itself in the political future of their homeland. In effect, after the fall of the Government of Mr. Francisco Dueñas - who had ordered to run to a doctor brother-in-law Guzmán Martorell, the ex-President Gerardo Barrios, married with his sister Adelaide — David Joaquín Guzmán was elected Deputy to the Constituent Congress of 1871-1873, 1880 and 1886, charge he/she took - since his first appointment in 1871 - to promote the expulsion of the society of Jesus of the Salvadoran territory and seize their convent in the capital of the country (located in the current Plaza Morazan).

Subsequently, continued performing public posts in the various bodies of the Salvadoran Administration: was Assistant Secretary of State for Affairs exteriors and public instruction (1872), surgeon of the army during the war struggle against Honduras and Nicaragua (1872-74), director of the National Library (1872-73), inspector-general of public instruction (1874), director of the National Institute and Professor of the University of El Salvador and Leon (1881-88)(, and 1896). He/She was also founder and director - on two occasions - the National Museum of El Salvador (the institution that bears his name since 1945), and the National Museum of Nicaragua; Secretary of the Salvadoran Presidency (1908); Member of the International Academy of Botany (Le Mans, 1884) and natural sciences (Brussels, 1885), which distinguished him with their respective gold medals and commemorative plaques; Member of the Academy of Sciences and fine arts in San Salvador (1888); of the Ateneo de El Salvador (1908), on whose Board he/she was permanently, as well as being editor of their magazine; and the Royal Academy of the Spanish language (1915). For its part, the French Government appointed him Knight of the Legion of Honor and officer of public instruction.

But his public work inside and outside their borders not dropped charges and newly listed honors. As Commissioner-general for competition (a feature that served from 1875 to 1904), he/she assumed the leadership of the pavilions of El Salvador, Costa Rica and Nicaragua in the Universal Expositions of Santiago of Chile, Paris, Boston, Antwerp, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Guatemala, Chicago and Buffalo. To finish this stage of his public career, in 1904 was the ultimate responsibility for the Organization of the major national exhibition held in the farm model of San Salvador (located on the land that currently holds the National Zoo).

As Galen, David Joaquín Guzmán Martorell occupies a privileged position within the Salvadoran history of medicine. His efforts to the introduction and spread of vaccine - together with other works of Pasteur- in health institutions of El Salvador, and the Foundation of the first Amphitheatre of autopsies and anatomical dissection in the Rosales Hospital, establishment where he/she also created the first office of plant pathology.

As a journalist and columnist, left a vast legacy. The impact of their early collaborations, that saw the light in the universe rotating, you encouraged to enter fully into the world of print media; Thus, acquired the journal democracy, where overturned an incessant copy of works which had continuity in other Central Americans, as the voice of the people many media, Tribune, La República, University, La discussion, the Repertoire Salvadoran, Costa Rica illustrated, El Imparcial (from Costa Rica), the annals of the National Museum, El Comercio (of Ecuador), the school of Medicine of EL Salvadorthe newsletter of the Salvadoran Academy, the journal of El Salvador, La Prensa and the Diario Latino.

In addition to the activities, David Joaquín Guzmán Martorell cultivated also rightly literary creation, focusing mainly on the essay genre. In the last years of his life, a composition of his own was the winner of the contest convened under the motto "Prayer flag" (1925); but long before had already given to printing several works, including organization of El Salvador (1886) elementary public instruction, text of school hygiene (Managua, 1898), Natural History (Managua, 1900), industry of Central America (Guatemala, 1908) Botany, text of elementary Zoology (San Salvador, 1910), comment on public education and social practice (San Salvador, 1914), and Handbook of elocution, Declamation and style and eloquence. Vade-mecum of the speaker El Salvador (San Salvador, 1915). Finally, a year before his death he/she published a treatise on useful species of the flora of El Salvador (San Salvador, 1926).

Given such amount of political, diplomatic, cultural and literary contributions to the history of his country, is not surprising that the death of David Salvador Guzmán Martorell (that took place in San Salvador during the early morning hours of January 20, 1927) lifted a widespread wave of pain among all his countrymen, who mourned his corpse in the doctor's own residence andSubsequently, in the Auditorium of the Universidad Nacional. His mortal remains were buried in the Pantheon of the men illustrious in the cemetery General of San Salvador, in the midst of a solemn funeral ceremony presided over by the highest governmental and academic levels from across Central America.


RODS-DINARTE, Carlos. School dictionary of Salvadoran authors (San Salvador: National Council for culture and art [CONCULTURA], Directorate of publications and printed materials, 1998).

J. R. Fernández Cano.