Cosío Medina, José Gabriel (1887–1960)

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Cosío Medina, José Gabriel (1887–1960)

Juan Gabriel Cosío Medina was born in the town of Accha, Cuzco, Peru, on March 18, 1887, to Timoteo Cosío and Juana Medina. In 1903 he began advanced studies at San Antonio de Abad University in the Faculty of Letters and Law. After receiving his doctorate in 1908, he held professorships in the history of ancient and modern civilization, the history of America, and sociology, the three fields in which he excelled. He also served as an assistant to the rector (president) of the university, Alberto Giesecke. He is best known for his exploratory work with Hiram Bingham to discover Machu Picchu in 1911.

Later on Cosío Medina served as director of the San Carlos de Puno High School (1927–1931), of the San Juan de Trujillo High School (1935–1944), and at one point served as interim rector of San Antonio de Abad University. Due to his fervent intellectual activity, he was named "académico de número" at the prestigious Instituto Histórico del Perú. He also was well known to readers of El Sol, an important newspaper published in Cuzco, the ancient Incan capital. He wrote a prologue for the 1917 edition of Clorinda Matto's Tradiciones cuzcueñas as well as a number of well-received books, including Americanismoliterario (1909), Cuzco prehispánico y colonial (1918), and El Cuzco histórico y monumental (1924).

In addition to being an educator and a journalist, Cosío Medina was also a politician, serving as Cuzco's mayor on more than one occasion. He died in Lima on November 23, 1960.

See alsoArchaeology; Bingham, Hiram; Machu Picchu; Matto de Turner, Clorinda.


Bingham, Hiram. The Lost City of the Incas: The Story of Macchu Picchu and Its Builders. New York: Duell, Sloan and Pierce, 1948.

                                     Wilfredo Kapsoli