Rodríguez Freile, Juan (1566–c. 1642)

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Rodríguez Freile, Juan (1566–c. 1642)

Juan Rodríguez Freile (b. 15 April 1566; d. ca. 1642), Colombian chronicler. The son of a conquistador, Rodríguez Freile studied for the priesthood in his native Bogotá, learning Chibcha as well as Latin and attaining minor orders by 1585. Abandoning clerical life, he took service in an oidor's household and spent the years 1585–1569 as a soldier/clerk in Spain and various parts of the Indies. Back in Bogotá, Freile married Francisca Rodríguez, a mestiza, about 1600, and in 1608 fought against Indians in the Neiva Valley; thereafter he settled as a farmer near Bogotá. Between 1636 and 1638, he wrote his masterpiece, El carnero, a racy, sprightly (occasionally fictionalized) firsthand account of colonial Colombia's first century. Considered too salacious for publication, El carnero circulated in manuscript. The original was lost after 1850, but a later copy served as the basis for the first printed version (1859).

See alsoLiterature: Spanish America; New Granada, Viceroyalty of.


The Conquest of New Granada by Juan Rodríguez Freile, translated by William C. Atkinson (1961).

José Restrepo Posada, "La familia del cronista Rodríguez Freile," in Boletín de historia y Antigüedades 53 (April-May 1966): 227-230.

Mario Germán Romero, "Autobiografía de Juan Rodríguez Freile," in his edition of Rodríguez Freile's El carnero (1984), pp. xiii-xxii.

Additional Bibliography

Bruno, Charles J. (Re)writing History in Juan Rodriguez Freile's Conquista Y Descubrimiento del Nuevo Reino de Granada: Myth, Irony, Satire. Madison: University of Wisconsin, 1990.

Freyle, Juan, and Mario Germán Romero. El carnero: Según el manuscrito de Yerbabuena. Bogotá: Instituto Caro y Cuervo, 1984, 1997.

Hernandez-Torres, Ivette N. El contrabando de lo secreto: La escritura de la historia en El Carnero de Juan Rodriguez Freile. Santiago: Editorial Cuarto Propic, 2004.

                                       J. LeÓn Helguera

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Rodríguez Freile, Juan (1566–c. 1642)

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Rodríguez Freile, Juan (1566–c. 1642)