Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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CLAVIJERO, or CLAVIGERO, Francisco Xavier (clah-vee-hay'-ro), Mexican historian, born in Vera Cruz, 9 September, 1721; died in Bologna, Italy, 2 April, 1787. After studying in the Colleges of St. Jerome and St. Ignatius, Puebla, he entered the novitiate of the Jesuits in Tepotzotlan in 1748. He devoted himself at first to the study of natural philosophy, but the great collection of documents and antiquities bearing on the history of the Aztecs in the library of the College of St. Peter and St. Paul turned his attention to Mexican history. He taught rhetoric in Mexico, and philosophy in Valladolid, in the mean time publishing works and translations that were the fruit of his special studies. Owing to the dissolution of the Jesuit society, he was banished from Mexico in 1767, and retired to Ferrara, and then to Bologna, Italy. The fruit of his researches was the "Storia Antica del Messico" (4 vols., 1780-'83; English translation by C. Cullen, 2 vols., 1787). It was also translated into German and Spanish. This work, compiled from the best Spanish histories and from the ancient picture-writings and manuscripts of the Indians, is the source from which modern writers on Mexico have drawn their materials. Its greatest merit is its impartiality, especially in relating the story of the conquest by Cortes. The principal purpose of Clavijero in writing the book was to refute many absurd assertions made by Parr, the Prussian author, Robertson, and Ravnal. It was highly commended by historians and critics of that time, and afterward by Prescott. Clavijero also published the "Storia della California" (Venice, 1789).
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