Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Fray Antonio de la Calancha

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Catholic Encyclopedia (1913), Volume 3
Fray Antonio de la Calancha

by Adolph Francis Alphonse Bandelier


An erudite Augustinian monk, born 1584 at Chiquisaca (now Sucre) in Bolivia; died 1 March, 1654. Both his parents were of Spanish descent. He studied at Lima, where he entered the Order of St. Augustine, and was successively definitor, secretary of the province, and rector of the College of San Ildefonso. During the earthquake that made great ravages in Truxillo, 14 February, 1619, he was at the head of the convent of that city and afterwards became prior at Lima. His most important work is the "Corónica moralizada de la orden de N.S.P.S. Agustín en el Peru", the first volume of which appeared in 1638 and the second in 1653. Both have become very rare. They are bulky tomes written in a ponderous style, but replete with valuable information on the Indians of Peru and Bolivia. In regard to the natives of the Peruvian coast, it must be said that, while Calancha had ample opportunity to gather information on the spot, he still prefers to rest mostly on the authority of the Jesuits Arriaga and Terhuel, and in regard to the Lake Titicaca region he follows almost exlusively the Augustinian Ramos Gavilán. On primitive conditions Calancha discourses extensively, but not always in a critical spirit, following therein the conditions and tendencies of the age in which he lived. The book is indispensable for the study of the aborigines and antiquities of South America. His book was also published in Latin by Brullius in 1651. Of the other works of his, only two, one on the Conception of the Blessed Virgin, and the other on beavers (probably seals), were printed, the former in 1629, the latter in 1642.

ANTONIO, Bibliotheca hispana nova (Madrid, 1733-38); MENDIBURU, Dic. hist. biog. (Lima, 1876), II; LEóN Y PINELO, Epítome etca (1737-38); JIMÉNEZ DE LA ESPADA, Tres Relaciones peruanas (Madrid, 1880).

AD. F. BANDELIER