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Unanue, Hipólito (1755–1833)

Unanue, Hipólito (1755–1833)

Hipólito Unanue (b. 13 August 1755; d. 15 July 1833), Peruvian physician, academician, and author. Unanue was born in Arica, Peru. He studied medicine at the University of San Marcos and became a doctor in 1786. In 1789 he won the chair of anatomy at San Marcos, initiating a long and illustrious academic career there.

Unanue first achieved recognition as a principal author for the Mercurio Peruano, the voice of enlightened Peruvians in the early 1790s. His international reputation, however, rested on Obser-vaciones sobre el clima de Lima (1806; revised 1815), in which he outlined and documented his theory that climate was primarily responsible for disease.

Unanue brought eighteenth-century medicine to Peru. Through his efforts, Lima secured first an anatomical amphitheater (1792) and then the San Fernando College of Medicine and Surgery, which began functioning in 1811.

With the coming of independence, Unanue served briefly as a government minister. He died amid the instability of early Republican Peru, his contributions to Peruvian intellectual life largely forgotten.

See alsoMedicine: Colonial Spanish America .


John E. Woodham, "Hipólito Unanue and the Enlightenment in Peru" (Ph.D. diss., Duke University, 1964).

John E. Woodham, "The Influence of Hipólito Unanue on Peruvian Medical Science, 1789–1830: A Reappraisal," in Hispanic American Historical Review 50, no. 4 (November 1970): 693-714.

Additional Bibliography

Glick, Thomas F. "Science and Independence in Latin America (with Special Reference to New Granada)." Hispanic American Historical Review 71, no. 2 (May, 1991): 307-334.

Perazzo, Nicolás. Sánchez Carrión y Unanue: Ministros del Libertador. Caracas: Oficina Central de Información, 1975.

                                     Mark A. Burkholder

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