Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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IMHOFFER, Gustav Melchior, Brazilian explorer, born near Graetz, Styria, in 1593; died in Bahia de Todos os Santos in 1651. He became a Jesuit, and was attached in 1624 to the missions of South America. He resided many years in Peru, crossed the Andes to the headwaters of the Amazon in 1636, and descended that river from the Napo to its mouth in 1637, two years before the expedition of Texeira. He arranged his notes in Par£ prior to his leaving for Spain when the expedition of Texeira arrived in that city, 1639, and, hearing that Acunha, who had accompanied Texeira, proposed to go to Madrid and present the council of the Indies with a relation of the expedition, he asked leave from his superiors to sail in advance of Acunha, arriving in Madrid in November, 1639, and published immediately the relation of his own journey, "Descubrimiento del Rio de las Amazonas" (2 vols., with charts, Madrid, royal printing-office, 1640). In an introduction the author urged the king of Spain to conquer and civilize the vast country that he had explored. Acunha, who had arrived in Madrid in the mean while, published his own narrative, trying to east discredit upon that of Imhoffer, and succeeded so well that, although the latter's narrative is better and more complete than that of Acunha, his name is scarcely known, and many historians have forgotten that he was the first European to describe the Amazon. Oomberville, who gave a French version of Acunha's voyage (4 vols., Paris, 1682), published also a version of Imhoffer's narrative (3 vols., Paris, 1687), and the latter was also translated into English under the title "A Relation of a Journey along the River Amazon" (London, 1689). Imhoffer returned afterward to Bahia, and was rector of the College of the Jesuits. He is also the author of a " Dictionarius linguae Amazoniae," "Peruvia Societatis historia," and "Vitae illustrium missionarium qui in Peruvia vixerunt," published in the "Bibliotheca Nova Societatis Jesu," edited by Father Bernard of Bologna (1771).
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