Torre y Huerta, Carlos de la (1858–1950)

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Torre y Huerta, Carlos de la (1858–1950)

Carlos de la Torre y Huerta (b. 15 May 1858; d. 1950), Cuban naturalist, educator, writer, and public figure. Born in Matanzas, de la Torre was the son of a professor. He began his studies under his father, who instilled in him a love of science and objective methodology. De la Torre earned his baccalaureate from the Instituto de La Habana, and then moved on to study zoology and mineralogy at the university under the famous scientist Felipe Poey. There young Carlos's enthusiasm for mollusks quickly earned him the nickname Carlos Caracol, or Charles the Snail. In 1879 he discovered a new species of mollusk and earned a master's degree. In 1881 de la Torre earned his doctorate from the University of Madrid and moved to Puerto Rico. For several years he was on tenuous terms with the scientific community in Cuba, but he finally returned in 1892 and served as director of two reviews: La enciclopedia and La revista enciclopédica. During the Cuban War of Independence (1895–1898), de la Torre fled to Paris, where he worked closely with naturalists at the Museum of Natural History and across the Channel at the British Museum. In 1900 he returned to Cuba and cofounded the Cuban National Party, on whose platform he was elected to the Havana City Council. De la Torre continued to write on many subjects, including ethnohistory and anthropology in his later years. He received honorary doctorates from Harvard and Jena universities and was considered a pioneering member of the international community of naturalists.

See alsoCuba, War of Independence .


Carlos De La Torre y Huerta, Clasificación de los animales observados por Colón y los primeros exploradores de Cuba; Distribución geográfica de la fauna malacológica terrestre de Cuba; Historia de Cuba; and Geografía de Cuba (1955).

Carlos Eugenio Chardón, Los naturalistas en la América Latina (1949).

Additional Bibliography

Alvarez Conde, José. Carlos de la Torre, su vida y su obra. Havana: Siglo XX, 1951.

                                               Karen Racine

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Torre y Huerta, Carlos de la (1858–1950)

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