Arciniegas Angueyra, German

▪ 2000

      Colombian historian, novelist, essayist, and diplomat (b. Dec. 6, 1900, Bogotá, Colom.—d. Nov. 29/30, 1999, Bogotá), wrote dozens of books and thousands of essays and newspaper articles (especially in the newspaper El tiempo, which he also served as editor in chief and director) during a career that touched nine decades and was an important influence on Colombian culture. He wrote prolifically on Latin American history and cultural identity—a number of his books were translated into English and became college textbooks—but his outspoken criticism of the region's military dictatorships led those governments to ban several of his works and in the early 1950s resulted in his being forced into exile. Arciniegas had his first newspaper article published when he was a student at the National University of Colombia, Bogotá. He graduated from that university's law school in 1924, and his first book, El estudiante de la mesa redonda, was published in 1932. Such books as América, tierra firme (1937) and Los comuneros (1938) followed, and in 1945 one of Arciniegas's finest works, Biografía del Caribe (Caribbean, Sea of the New World, 1946), appeared. Another of his best-known books was América en Europa (1975; America in Europe: A History of the New World in Reverse, 1986). In it he stressed the influence the New World had had on the Old, the opposite approach of the one most commonly taken and a view that he believed had been largely neglected. In addition to his writing career, Arciniegas published five magazines; served as visiting professor at a number of American universities, among them Columbia University, New York City (1943, 1947–57), the University of Chicago (1944), Mills College, Oakland, Calif. (1945), and the University of California, Berkeley (1945); engaged in public service in such capacities as member of the Colombian legislature (1933–34, 1939–40, 1957–58), minister of education (1941–42, 1945–46), and ambassador to Italy (1959–62), Israel (1962), Venezuela (1967–70), and Vatican City (1976–78); and served (1979–81) as dean of the faculty of philosophy and letters at the University of the Andes in Bogotá.

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Universalium. 2010.

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