Skip to main content

Brasseur de Bourbourg, Charles Étienne (1814–1874)

Brasseur de Bourbourg, Charles Étienne (1814–1874)

Charles Étienne Brasseur de Bourbourg (b. 8 September 1814; d. January 1874), French prelate, antiquarian, and pioneer ethnohistorian. Ordained in 1845, Brasseur enjoyed a variety of postings in the Americas, where he was able to make most of his lasting contributions. Among the countries he visited were Canada (1845–1846), the United States (on at least two occasions, in 1848 and 1854), Mexico (1848–1851, 1863–1866, and 1871), Nicaragua and El Salvador (1854), Guatemala (1855–1857 and 1863), and Honduras (1863).

Brasseur is significant today primarily for his discovery, translation, and publication of several important colonial sources concerning Mesoamerican Indians, principally the Maya. These include Diego de Landa's Relación de las cosas de Yucatán, the Popol Vuh, the Título de los señores de Totonicapán, the Troano Codex, and the Memorial de Tecpán Atitlán, or Annals of Cakchiquels. He also compiled and published linguistic materials for both highland Maya (primarily Quiché, including the Rabinal Achí drama) and lowland Maya (Yucatecan) peoples that continue to be useful to scholars. Unfortunately, Brasseur's historical interpretations of the documents he worked so tirelessly to discover were judged even by his contemporaries to be seriously flawed. Of little use to present-day scholars on the region, his pronouncements retain only a documentary interest.

To his credit Brasseur did much to promote American studies in his native France, through cofounding the Société Américaine de France (1857) and participating in the subsequent Société d'Eth-nographie and the Société de Géographie of Paris. He also raised popular consciousness concerning the indigenous peoples and civilizations of Mesoamerica through his publication of many episodes and discoveries made during his travels.

See alsoIndigenous Peoples; Mesoamerica.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Adrián Recinos, "Cien años de la llegada del Abate Brasseur de Bourbourg a Guatemala," in Anales de la Sociedad de Geografía e Historia, 29 (January-December 1956): 12-17.

Carroll Edward Mace, "Charles Étienne Brasseur de Bourbourg, 1814–1874, in Handbook of Middle American Indians, vol. 13, Guide to Ethnohistorical Sources, part 2, edited by Robert Wauchope, Howard F. Cline, and John B. Glass (1973), pp. 298-325.

Additional Bibliography

Dufétel, Dominique. "Charles-Etienne Brasseur de Bourbourg, 1814–1874. (Accompanied by the original French and an English translation by Gregory Dechant)." Artes de México 43 (1998): 34-35.

                              Robert M. Hill II

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Brasseur de Bourbourg, Charles Étienne (1814–1874)." Encyclopedia of Latin American History and Culture. . Encyclopedia.com. 13 Nov. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Brasseur de Bourbourg, Charles Étienne (1814–1874)." Encyclopedia of Latin American History and Culture. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 13, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/brasseur-de-bourbourg-charles-etienne-1814-1874

"Brasseur de Bourbourg, Charles Étienne (1814–1874)." Encyclopedia of Latin American History and Culture. . Retrieved November 13, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/brasseur-de-bourbourg-charles-etienne-1814-1874

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.