Romay y Valdés Chacón, Tomás (1764–1849)

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Romay y Valdés Chacón, Tomás (1764–1849)

Tomás Romay y Valdés Chacón (b. 21 December 1764; d. 30 March 1849), Cuban physician and scientist. Romay, a native of Havana, achieved prominence in Cuba between 1790 and 1830, a period of transition during which Cubans discovered their own national identity. A writer, orator, and poet, he was one of the founders in 1790 of Papel Periódico, the first Cuban newspaper. He was also a professor of philosophy at the University of Havana and a mentor of students and patron of the arts. Probably Romay's greatest achievement was to introduce in Cuba the vaccine against smallpox and to initiate early investigations into the causes of yellow fever. He was also a founding member of the Sociedad Patriótica, one of the key institutions in the development of colonial Cuba. In a very real sense he was the initiator of the scientific movement in Cuba. Romay died in Havana.

See alsoDiseases; Medicine: The Modern Era; Science.


José López Sánchez, Tomás Romay y el origen de la ciencia en Cuba, 2d rev. ed. (1964).

Additional Bibliography

López Sánchez, José. Vida y obra del sabio médico habanero Tomás Romay Chacón. La Habana: Editorial Científico-Técnica, 2004.

                                      JosÉ M. HernÁndez