José Fernando Ramírez

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José Fernando Ramírez (May 5, 1804 – March 4, 1871) was a distinguished Mexican historian in the 19th century. He was a mentor of Alfredo Chavero, who considered him "the foremost of our historians."[1]

Ramírez was born in Parral, Chihuahua but grew up in Durango, where he became a prominent liberal politician. After graduating with a degree in law from San Luis Gonzaga he was elected several times to the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate. He chaired the Ministry of Foreign affairs under three different administrations and became a minister in the Supreme Court of Justice.

Ramírez specialized in prehispanic and sixteenth-century Mexican history and excelled as a biographer. He headed the Imperial Academy of Sciences and Literature during the Second Mexican Empire, directed the National Museum (1852) and built an impressive collection of historical documents. Among his works are one on Toribio de Benavente Motolinia and several translations of Aztec codices such as Mapa Quinatzin and Codex Aubin. He was elected a member of the American Antiquarian Society in 1862.[2] A bibliography of his writings on Mesoamerican ethnhistory appears in the Handbook of Middle American Indians.[3]

He died in Bonn, Germany on March 4, 1871.


  1. ^ quoted in Cline, Howard F., "Selected Nineteenth-Century Mexican Writers on Ethnohistory," in Handbook of Middle American Indians, Guide to Ethnohistorical Sources, Part 2. p. 374. University of Texas Press 1983.
  2. ^ American Antiquarian Society Members Directory
  3. ^ "Appendix B, Ramírez, selected writing of ethnohistorical interest. Handbook of Middle American Indians, Guide to Ethnohistorical Sources, Part 2. pp. 404-406. University of Texas Press 1983.

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