Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/Don Felix de Azara

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AZARA, Don Felix de, a Spanish naturalist, was born 18th May 1746, and died in 1811. He studied first at the university of Huesca, and afterwards at the military academy of Barcelona. In 1764 he entered the army as a cadet, and in 1767 obtained an ensigncy in the engineer corps. In 1781 he was appointed, with the rank of lieutenant-colonel of engineers and captain in the navy, on a commission to lay down the line of demarcation between the Spanish and the Portuguese territories in South America. There he spent many years, observing and collecting specimens of the various interesting objects of natural history that abound in those wide and little-known regions. In 1801 he obtained leave to return to Spain, and after a short residence at Paris, was appointed a member of the Junta de fortificadones y defensa de Ambos Indias, a public board, in which chiefly was centred the home government of the Spanish colonies. His principal work is his Travels in South America from 1781 to 1801; published in French from the author's MS., by C. A. Walckenaer, with atlas and plates, 4 vols. 8vo, Paris, 1809. It contains a valuable account of the discovery, conquest, and civil and natural history of Paraguay and Rio de la Plata; and embodies his former contributions to the zoology of these countries, which had appeared in a French translation at Paris in 1801. The work is enriched with the notes of Walckenaer and Cuvier, and a notice of the author by the former. An English translation of part of Azara's work on the Natural History of Paraguay appeared at Edinburgh in 1838.