History of South America

And who was Jorge Basadre?

Each country has, among its illustrious characters, those who represent its historical memory, the permanent and inexhaustible sources of information and memory of our past, which serve as reference material, available For those who want to know how other times happened, forceful and reliable. Read, for example, the work Peru:Problem and possibility It is as essential as reading Garcilaso's Royal Comments on the Incas or Mariátegui's Seven Essays, both for teachers and students. The author of that fundamental book of our history as a republic is the protagonist of this new installment of our biographical series “And who was it?” also commemorating one more anniversary of his birth, which occurred on a day like today, Wednesday, February 12, 1903. And who was Jorge Basadre ?

Jorge Basadre He was, without a doubt, the contemporary Peruvian historian who has best studied the republican life of Peru. His work is extensive and consists of different essays, studies and research in fields such as pedagogy, history and literary criticism.

Jorge Basadre Grohmann was born in Tacna on February 12, 1903. His father was the engineer and politician from Tacna Carlos Basadre Forero and his mother, Olga Grohmann Pividal, a woman of German origin. Basadre was born in the context of the confrontation between Peru and Chile to recover the provinces of Tacna and Arica, territories that Peru lost at the end of the infamous War of the Pacific (1879). In 1911, two years after the death of his father, his family moved to Lima, where the young Basadre continued his school studies at the Colegio Alemán, studies that he would finish at the Colegio Nacional Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe. .

When he was only 16 years old, he entered the Universidad Mayor de San Marcos from which he obtained a Doctorate in Letters at the age of 25 and Law at 32. Jorge Basadre He worked for some time at the National Library as a book conservator, in addition to being the editor of the Bibliographic Bulletin of the Library of the university where he studied.

The 1929 treaty, through which the province in which Basadre was born becomes part of Peru again and with which Arica remains definitively under Chilean jurisdiction, is the epilogue of a series of events in which the historian had actively participated. Three years before Tacna's return to his homeland, Basadre had been violently attacked by a Chilean mob when he was part of a Peruvian delegation sent to the provinces in dispute to decide on the execution of a general plebiscite that would put an end to the controversy over the their nationality.

At 26 years of age, Jorge Basadre He began his career as a professor of the Peruvian History course at his alma mater, of which Alejandro Octavio Deustua was director at the time. In the 1930s, Basadre held the position of director of the University Library, in addition to teaching the course on History of Peruvian Law in San Marcos and History of Peru at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru. In 1943, with the regrettable fire at the National Library, he was appointed its director by Manuel Prado y Ugarteche, who knew of Basadre's organizational capacity. Peru owes Basadre the foundation of the National School of Librarians, which occurred in 1944 in an act of extreme importance for the country's academic life.

During the governments of José Luis Bustamente y Rivero (1945) and Manuel Prado (1956), the notable Peruvian historian and patriot, held the position of Minister of Public Education and President of the Historical Institute of Peru between 1952 and 1962. The periods in which he holds the position of Minister are of the utmost importance for education in Peru because Basadre establishes the foundations for a change in the educational system.

Basadre had the idea that Peru had an immense development potential. The distinguished and enthusiastic Peruvian believed that, despite the burden caused by the colonial era and the problems that it had generated, in addition to the war against Chile, already in Republican times, there were enough signs and glimpses to believe in a bright future for the young South American nation.

Among the main works of Jorge Basadre Grohmann we cannot fail to mention the following:Mistakes (1928), The Initiation of the Republic (1929), The multitude, the city and the countryside in the history of Peru (1929), Peru:problem and possibility (1931), History of Peruvian Law, Inca Literature (1938), History of the Republic of Peru (1939), Peru in the Universal Chronology (1957), Elections and centralism in Peru (1980), among others.
Gustavo Pons Muzzo, another illustrious Peruvian historian, of whom Basadre was a friend and mentor, mentions that nothing had made him so happy in his life as receiving a dedication from his friend in his imperishable work History of the Republic of Peru. There is no other intellectual who has left such a vast and well-organized work on and about Peru as Jorge Basadre Grohmann Peru owes the teaching of its history to this distinguished intellectual and patriot. Jorge Basadre He died on June 29, 1980 in Lima, at the age of 77.