Meléndez Chaverri, Carlos (1926–)

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Meléndez Chaverri, Carlos (1926–)

Carlos Meléndez Chaverri (b. 3 June 1926, d. 12 June 2000), Costa Rican historian, diplomat, and university professor.

Carlos Meléndez Chaverri is recognized as the most productive and insightful twentieth-century Costa Rican historian. He has focused his research and writing on the colonial period in Costa Rica. His works on the colonial period culminated in the valuable monograph Conquistadores y pobladores (1982). He has published general histories of Costa Rica for different educational levels, biographies, a study of blacks in Costa Rica, monographs on other Central American topics, and a scholarly work on the national hero, Juan Santamaría.

Heredia-born Meléndez is a scholar-teacher in the full sense of the term, having taught at two high schools before joining the faculty of the University of Costa Rica (1958). There he served as the director of the School of History and Geography and was responsible for the formation of a more professional generation of Costa Rican historians. In addition to these academic functions, he held other public positions such as head of the anthropology and history section of the National Museum (1953–1966), president of the Academy of History and Geography, and Costa Rican ambassador to Spain.

Among his many honors are national literary awards, election to geographic and historical societies throughout Central America, and an honorary doctorate from Tulane University (1979). From 1985 to 1986, he served as the ambassador of Costa Rica in Spain. In 1993, he received another honorary doctorate from the University of Nicaragua. That same year, Costa Rica awarded him the Premio Nacionál de Cultura Magón. He died on June 12, 2000. The following morning at 8:45, the University of Costa Rica held a minute of silence in his honor.

See alsoCosta Rica .


One of the few examples of Meléndez's writings in English, "Land Tenure in Colonial Costa Rica," is contained in Marc Edelman and Joanne Kenen, eds., The Costa Rica Reader (1989), pp. 13-28. See also Carlos Meléndez Chaverri, Conquistadores y pobladores (1982); Kenneth J. Grieb, ed., Research Guide to Central America and the Caribbean (1985).

Additional Bibliography

Meléndez Chaverri, Carlos. Don Manuel José Arce: Una vida al servicio de la libertad. San Salvador, El Salvador: Editorial Delgado, 2000.

Meléndez Chaverri, Carlos. Santa Rosa: Un combate por la libertad. Alajuela, Costa Rica: Museo Histórico Cultural Juan Santamaría, 2001.

                            Chaverri Carlos MelÉndez