Otero Vértiz, Gustavo Adolfo (1896–1958)

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Otero Vértiz, Gustavo Adolfo (1896–1958)

Born in La Paz, Bolivia, on September 8, 1896, Otero Vértiz was a politician (minister of education), diplomat (representing his country in Barcelona, Colombia, and Ecuador), and bureaucrat (director, National Library). But he is most important for his historical, sociological, and literary writing. As a historian he wrote La vida social en el coloniaje (Esquema de la historia del Alto Perú, hoy Bolivia, de los siglos XVI, XVII, y XVIII; 2nd ed., 1958), a work frequently cited and republished. In this vein he edited an anthology of colonial chronicles under the title Tihuanacu (1943). As a sociologist/anthropologist he effected studies such as La piedra mágica: Vida y costumbres de los indios callahuayas de Bolivia (1951), creating a rubric for ethnocostumbrismo. In addition, as a novelist, he cultivated the historical novel with Horizontes incendiados (1933), a work that deals with the Chaco war. His writing was well known in Bolivia and was also disseminated to the far reaches of Latin America (Mexico and Argentina) as well as Spain. Unfortunately, he has been largely passed over by scholarship in the United States. Otero Vértiz died in La Paz on July 1, 1958.

See alsoLiterature: Spanish America .


Arnade, Charles W. "Gustavo Adolfo Otero (1896–1958)." Hispanic American Historical Review 40, no. 1 (February 1960): 85-89.

Valdez, Abraham. "Gustavo Adolfo Otero y su Contribución a la Sociología Boliviana." Revista Mexicana de Sociología 21, no. 1 (January 1959): 31-47.

                                          Thomas Ward