Historical Figures

Hipólito Unanue y Pavón

Hipolito Unanue and Pavón , was born in Arica on August 13, 1755. Son of Miguel Antonio de Unanue y Montalivere and Doña Manuela Pavón y Salgado. He carried out his first studies under the direction of Dr. Osorio, a priest from Arica, and moved to Arequipa to pursue an ecclesiastical career at the San Jerónimo seminary, guided by the priests Salguero de Cabrera and Abad y Llana. He studied Philosophy, Jurisprudence and Humanities there and learned to read Greek and Latin. In 1777 he came to Lima with his uncle, Father Pedro Pavón. He was immediately employed as a tutor in the house of Don Agustín de Landaburu , rich landowner, a fact that allowed him to interact with the most outstanding characters of the viceroyalty society. Among the teachers who introduced him to physics, chemistry and natural history are Cosme Bueno, Gabriel Moreno and Francisco de Rúa. Having obtained a bachelor's degree and a licentiate, he received a doctorate in medicine from the University of San Marcos on December 23, 1786 . Two years later he obtained the chair of Method of Medicine by competitive examination.

Positions during the viceroyalty

He collaborated with Bausate and Mesa in the economic and commercial newspaper of Lima (1790). He belonged to the Academic Society of Lovers of the Country and wrote articles for the famous Peruvian Mercurio, signing them under the pseudonym "Aristio". At that time viceroy Teodoro de Croix promoted the creation of an anatomical amphitheater in order to boost the teaching of medicine and agreed to delegate this responsibility to our character . This amphitheater was formally inaugurated on November 21, 1792, in the San Marco cloister, on which occasion Hipolito Unanue read a speech entitled "Decadence and restoration of Peru." He held the position of chief cosmographer of the kingdom (appointed in 1793) and was in charge of preparing the political, ecclesiastical and military guide of Peru. Later, Viceroy Gil de Taboada commissioned him to write part of his government report . In 1799 Hipolito Unanue married Manuela de la Cuba, with whom he had no children and died in 1805. Before Doña Manuela died, she asked him to marry Josefa de la Cuba y de la Rocha, a niece of hers, and so he did. the wise ariqueño did. Five children were born from this second marriage:Jesús, Francisca, Germán, Rosa and José.
Hipolito Unanue published in 1806 one of his best-known works, Observations on the climate of Lima and its influences on organized beings , which he dedicated to his teacher Gabriel Moreno. Being viceroy of Peru, Don Fernando de Abascal called him to join his circle of advisers and granted him the position of protomedic of the viceroyalty (November 29, 1807) . His friendship with Abascal allowed him to found a medical school, called San Fernando in honor of the viceroy and for which Hipolito Unanue formulated the synoptic table that served as the basis for the teaching system. In 1808 he was appointed professor of medicine and the first director of the school. The so-called "San Fernando conspiracy" took place there, bringing together a group of intellectuals to deliberate on the events of the Peninsula and the conduct that the Americans should follow.

Unanue's trip to Spain

In 1812, Hipolito Unanue wrote a memorial requesting equal rights between Creoles and peninsulars, and a year later, when general elections were held for the Cortes, he obtained a seat as deputy for Arequipa. he had to arrive in Madrid just when the absolute monarchy of Fernando VII was being restored, due to which he chose to carry out various procedures, such as the restitution of the assets of don Agustín de Landaburu. It is said that the monarch, upon verifying in an interview the accumulation of knowledge that the Peruvian delegate possessed, agreed to confer on him the title of Marquis of the Sun; Unanue rejected this favor, but instead obtained an image of the Virgin of the Assumption and the vindication of the assets of his protector Landaburu. By royal decree of March 9, 1815, and at his request, the creation of the Colegio de San Fernando was confirmed. Unanue finally received the title of honorary doctor of the Royal Chamber of Majesty from her before returning to Lima (1816). He took on the task of drafting the government report for Viceroy Abascal and then retired to live on his haciendas in the Cañete Valley.

Hipolito Unanue at the proclamation of independence

On September 8, 1820, the liberating army of General José de San Martín landed in Paracas, and Hipolito Unanue, who was in his hacienda in the Cañete Valley, was appointed secretary to Viceroy Pezuela in the peace negotiations in Miraflores. that however failed . Wanting to blame the patriots for the failure, the royalist Dionisio Capaz published a poisonous memorial in the Government Gazette signed by Hipolito Unanue. This one reacted indignantly by means of a writing titled “The evils of the civil war and the duty of the writers” , but he was persecuted by the viceregal authorities and was forced to leave Lima in February 1821. He returned after the proclamation of independence and in August of that year he was appointed Minister of Finance by San Martín , a position from which he was in charge of reducing the number of public employees, creating an auxiliary paper money bank and establishing provisional trade regulations. When the first constituent congress was installed (1822), Hipolito Unanue was elected deputy for Puno and even presided over said body. He belonged to the Patriotic Society of Lima and was a founding member of the Order of the Sun. In the legislative assembly created by Riva Agüero in 1823, he was assigned a seat as senator for Tacna, opting to resign due to political disagreements.

Charges with Simón Bolívar

He had an interview with Simón Bolívar as soon as he arrived on Peruvian soil and the Liberator immediately made him his trusted man, adviser and personal doctor . In November 1824, Hipolito Unanue received the appointment of Minister of Government and Foreign Relations, and after the capitulation of Ayacucho he had to preside over the government council, due to the absence of La Mar. In the economic aspect, he issued the first trade regulations, established the customs staff and gave impetus to agriculture, mining and manufacturing. In the educational aspect, he restored the schools that no longer worked, founded other schools in Lima and in the provinces, organized the General Directorate of Studies and created societies for cultural purposes such as the Philharmonic Society and the Museum of Natural Sciences. In addition, he created the first public welfare board, founded hospital establishments and spread vaccination to eradicate smallpox. In June 1826 he became Minister of Justice and Ecclesiastical Affairs, but after a few months he decided to retire to his farm in San Juan de Arona.

Death of Hipólito Unanue

With broken health, he still saw his second wife Doña Josefa de la Cuba expire, and shared his last days with a prominent neighbor:the former supreme director of Chile, Bernardo O'Higgins, who owned the "Montalván" hacienda. . Feeling death close, Hipólito Unanue returned to the city of Lima, where he died on July 15, 1833, at the age of 78 .

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