Mexican Jesuit and outstanding historian; b. Mexico City, Feb. 18, 1879; d. Mexico City, March 31, 1949. In 1893, Cuevas went to Spain, where, on September 24, he entered the novitiate of the Society of Jesus at Loyola in the Basque province of Guipúzcoa. His studies were extensive: Latin and the humanities at Loyola; rhetoric in Burgos; philosophy in Oña; theology at St. Louis University, Missouri; history at the Gregorian University, Rome, and the University of Louvain, Belgium, where he received the Ph.D. in 1912. He was ordained on Aug. 24, 1909. From 1913 to his death, with the exception of eight years spent in teaching and in other occupations, such as being the director of Our Lady's Sodality at the military garrison in Toledo, Spain, Cuevas dedicated himself mainly to research in the archives and libraries of Spain, England, Italy, the United States, various countries of South America, and his native Mexico.
He wrote more than 15 major works in 23 volumes. Too numerous to mention are minor works and articles that appeared in newspapers and magazines both in Mexico and abroad. Of all Cuevas's books, the outstanding is his five-volume history of the Church in Mexico, Historia de la iglesia en Mexico (Mexico City and El Paso 1921–28). It has been printed in five editions and is still the only work of its kind. Besides this, his Historia de la nación mexicana has appeared in two editions, the first in 1940. His Monje y marino, published in 1943, tells of the life and times of Fray Andrés de urdaneta, who accompanied Legazpi (1564) on the successful voyage from Mexico to the Philippine Islands and who, by discovering a northerly return route, made possible the establishment of a flourishing trade route between Acapulco and Manila. The editing of various books of significant documents adds to the contribution that Cuevas made to the history of Mexico. The more important were: Documentos inéditos del siglo XVI; Testamento de Hernán Cortes; Descripción de la Nueva España en et siglo XVII por el Padre Fray Antonio Vázquez de Espinosa y otros documentos; Historia antigua de Mexico del Padre Francisco Javier Clavijero. He ranks among the foremost historians of Mexico and all Latin America.
Bibliography: j. bravo ugarte, "El P. Mariano Cuevas, S.J., 1879–1949," Revista de historia de América 27 (1949) 103–107.
[n. f. martin]