Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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DETRE, William, missionary, born in France in 1664; died in South America. He entered the Jesuit order, and obtained permission from his superiors to devote himself to the Indian missions. He was sent to South America either in 1701 or 1706, where his zeal and ability attracted attention, and he was made superior general and visitor of all the missions on the Amazon for over an extent of more than 3,000 miles. As soon as he had made himself thoroughly familiar with the Inca, or Quichua, the most common language in that country, he succeeded in translating the catechism into eighteen languages spoken by the tribes under his jurisdiction. He was appointed rector of the College of Cuencja in 1727. He is said to have died at an advanced age, but the date is not given. He sent to Europe the celebrated map of the Amazon, drawn by Father Fritz, who died in his arms. He left an interesting "Relation," written in 1731, giving curious details about the savage tribes that dwell on the banks of the Amazon. It is inserted in the 23d volume of the " Lettres edifiantes."
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