Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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RODRIGUEZ, Manuel del Socorro, Cuban scientist, born in Bayamo, Cuba, in 1758; died in Bogota, Colombia, in 1818. Being of poor parentage, he was obliged to work for a living from early life, and received only a scanty education; but he supplied this deficiency by his energy and love for study, and without any teacher obtained a profound knowledge of science, history, and literature. He followed Jose de Ezpeleta in 1789 to New Granada, and, being appointed director of the public library of Bogota, began at once to aid the intellectual development of the country, associating his name with many literary and scientific enterprises for that purpose. At his suggestion the viceroy founded the "Papel periddico de Santa F6 de Bogotfi," the first newspaper in the colony, the editorship of which was assigned to Rodriguez in January, 1791. He suggested also the idea of creating an astronomical and meteorological observatory, and was appointed one of its directors. He founded several scientific and literary newspapers and reviews. When the country revolted against the Spanish rule in 1810, Rodriguez sided with the patriots and shared their fortunes. Although he wrote much, especially on scientific subjects, many of his works are lost. The principal manuscript that is preserved is "Historia de la Fundacion de la Ensenanza." Humboldt praises him in several parts of his numerous writings.
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