Abbeville, Claude d'
ABBEVILLE, CLAUDE D'
French Capuchin missionary and historian; b. place and date unknown; d. 1616 (not in 1622 or 1623, as some have stated). He entered the order in 1593. In 1611 he volunteered as a missionary in the French expedition to Brazil. He arrived in Maranhão in June 1612 and with six Amerindians returned to France to get aid in December of the same year. With 12 missionaries he returned to Maranhão in June of 1614, but they were expelled in December because of the war between the French and Portuguese. Abbeville's reputation is based on his literary work; he was a keen observer and an impartial historian, the first to write about the Brazilian lands conquered by the French. In August 1612 he was already writing interesting letters about the expedition and the native tribes; these letters were edited six times in French and translated into German (Augsburg 1613) and Italian (Bérgamo-Treviso 1613). His principal work is the history of Maranhão Island and its first evangelization, Histoire de la mission des Pères Capucins en l'isle de Maragnan et terres circonvoisines (Paris 1614). It is valuable for its information on evangelization, colonization, ethnology, and linguistics.
Bibliography: Histoire de la mission des Pères Capucins en l'isle de Maragnan et terres circonvoisines (Paris 1614), Port. tr. s. milliet (São Paulo 1945). f. leite de faria, Os primeiros missionários do Maranhão (Lisbon 1961).
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