Orozco y Berra, Manuel (1818–1881)

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Orozco y Berra, Manuel (1818–1881)

Manuel Orozco y Berra (b. 1818; d. 27 January 1881), Mexican historian, engineer, and statistician. Born in Mexico City, the son of an insurgent captain who served under Mariano Matamoros during the Mexican War of Independence, Orozco attended the Colegio de Minería as an engineer topographer. While in Puebla as maestro mayor of public works, he received his licenciate in law (1847). His friend José Fernando Ramírez secured a post for him at the Archivo General de la Nación, of which he later became director. In 1856, he became senior official in the Secretaría de Fomento.

A contributor to literary and political journals since his youth, he wrote on geographical and historical subjects for the seven-volume Diccionario universal de historia y geografía (1853–1856). Between 1853 and 1857, he edited the Documentos para la historia de México in twenty volumes. A minister of the Supreme Court of Justice (1863), he declined appointment to the Assembly of Notables but in 1864 he accepted membership in the Scientific Commission of Mexico.

Under the empire, he again worked at the Secretaría de Fomento and became director of the National Museum created by Emperor Maximilian, who appointed him to the Council of State in September 1865. Rehabilitated by 1870 (he had never been a Conservative), he rejoined the Society of Geography and Statistics and the Academy and Literature and Sciences. His last years were dedicated to his magnum opus, the four-volume Historia antigua de la conquista de México (1880). His interest in the pre-Columbian era distinguished him as part of the Mexican historiographical revival of the latter part of the nineteenth century.

See alsoMexico: 1810–1910 .


Manuel Orozco y Berra, Historia de la dominación española en México (1938).

Additional Bibliography

García, Rubén. Biografía, bibliografía e iconografía de don Manuel Orozco y Berra. Mexico City: [?], 1934.

Uribe Ortiz, Susana. Manuel Orozco y Berra en la historiografía mexicana. Mexico City: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Facultad de Filosofía y Letras, 1963.

                                           Brian Hamnett