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Gazetas, newspapers published primarily from the 1760s on. Although the first gazeta appeared in New Spain in 1722 and a longer-lived successor lasted from 1728 to 1742, it was only in the late eighteenth century that these short newspapers, usually published on a biweekly or weekly basis, began to appear widely. Typically these later gazetas served as vehicles to present not only local news but also, and more important, enlightened thought and approaches to practical, everyday problems for the edification of their readers.

The best-known newspaper in Peru was the Mercurio Peruano, published from 1791 to 1795 as the expression of a group of self-styled "enlightened" intellectuals. Through the Mercurio, the supporters of progress tried to provide Peruvians with "useful knowledge" of their region and information relevant to their daily lives. Thus it published articles that, among other things, advocated burial outside churches for reasons of health, supported more efficient mining techniques, and analyzed the viceroyalty's commerce.

As in Peru, periodicals reached a broader audience in New Spain than did formal schooling. The foremost Mexican publicist was the cleric José Antonio Alzate y Ramírez (1729–1799), an enlightened advocate of scientific knowledge and its application to contemporary problems. His Gaceta de literatura de México (1788–1795) provided a stream of informative articles on medicine, applied science, agronomy, and a host of other scientific topics. A daily paper, Diario de México, originally edited by Carlos María Bustamante, appeared from 1805 to 1817.

In Guatemala the Gazeta de Guatemala (whose modern series began in 1797) reflected the curiosity of intellectuals in Guatemala City at the time. Published by Ignacio Beteta, the Gazeta sought to provide "useful knowledge" through articles on the economy, medicine, and commerce, and campaigned vigorously to end Latin's sway as the language of university instruction.

Newspapers also appeared in Havana, Bogotá, and Buenos Aires prior to 1808. After that date, the number of publications increased rapidly.

See alsoJournalism .


Bailey W. Diffie, Latin-American Civilization: Colonial Period (1945; repr. 1967), pp. 553-561.

John Tate Lanning, The Eighteenth-Century Enlightenment in the University of San Carlos de Guatemala (1956), esp. pp. 83-91.

Additional Bibliography

Timoteo Álvarez, Jesús, Asención Martínez Riaza, and Enrique Ríos Vicente. Historia de la prensa hispanoamericana (1992).

                                   Mark A. Burkholder