Porras Barrenechea, Raúl (1897–1960)

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Porras Barrenechea, Raúl (1897–1960)

Raúl Porras Barrenechea was an important historian of colonial Peru, a literary critic, and a diplomat. Born in Pisco on March 23, 1897, Porras studied at the University of San Marcos, earning a law degree in 1922 and a doctorate in 1928. He was one of the leaders of the Student University Reform Movement (1919). From 1922 to 1926 he was librarian at the Ministry of Foreign Relations. Interested in Peru's boundary disputes with Bolivia, he published many documents in defense of his nation's claims.

As a historian Porras focused his attention on the primary accounts of the early Andean world, the chroniclers, the biography of Francisco Pizarro, the Quechua legacy, the era of the Spanish conquest, and liberalism in the early republic. In 1945 his Los cronistas del Perú won the Inca Garcilaso de la Vega Prize for history, and it has since been used by generations of Peruvianists.

Porras was elected senator in 1956 and had a distinguished diplomatic career in Europe, serving as Peru's representative to the League of Nations (1936–1938), its ambassador to Spain (1948–1949), and its foreign minister (1958–1960). On August 18, 1960, he gave a memorable speech to the Organization of American States against the U.S. blockade of Cuba. Porras died a little more than month later, on September 27.

A research institute at the University of San Marcos honors Porras's name. His most important writings include Historia de los límites del Perú (1926); El Congreso de Panamá, 1826 (1930); El testamento de Pizarro (1936); Las relaciones primitivas de la conquista del Perú (1937); Cedulario del Perú (1529–1534), (2 vols., 1944 and 1948); El Inca Garcilaso de la Vega (1539–1616) (1946); Crónicas perdidas, presuntas y olvidadas sobre la conquista del Perú (1951); Fuentes históricas peruanas (1954); El Inca Garcilaso en Montilla (1561–1614) (1955); and Cartas del Perú (1524–1543) (1959).

See alsoLiberalism; Pizarro, Francisco; Quechua; Spanish Empire.


Primary Work

Los cronistas del Perú (1528–1650) y otros ensayos. Edited by Franklin Pease G.Y. Lima: Banco de Crédito del Perú: Ministerio de Educación, 1986.

Secondary Works

Homenaje a Raúl Porras Barrenechea. Lima: Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, 1984.

López y Sebastián, Lorenzo Eladio. "Raúl Porras Barrenechea en el centenario de su nacimiento." Revista Complutense de Historia de América 23 (1997): 303-309.

                                   Noble David Cook

                                   Kendall W. Brown