José de Acosta, SJ
The Pliny of the New World



Spain Scott 1462
SPAIN, 1967, Scott 1462

Born at Medina del Campo, Spain, José de Acosta entered the Jesuits and became professor of theology in Spain and Peru. He worked in Mexico and Peru in the 1570s and 1580s. As provincial superior he founded many colleges and played an important part at the Third Council of Lima (1582). Recalled to Europe, he taught theology at the Roman College, and at the time of his death was rector of the college at Salamanca.

Acosta was the first Westerner to investigate altitude sickness and so has been considered a pioneer of aeronautical medicine. His Catechism for Indians (1585) was Peru's first printed book, though he's better known for his Saving the Indians (1588), which affected the pastoral practice of Jesuits in South America, and for his Natural and Moral History of the Indies (1590) in which more than a century before the discovery of the Bering Strait he postulated native origins from Asia via a land route.

Scott 862 FDI cancel special cancel
PERU, 1985, 4th centenary of printing in South America, Scott 862
The frontispiece of Acosta's catechism which Peru claims as the first book printed in South America
PERU, 1985, FDI cancel for Scott 862 to honor Acosta
SPAIN, 1990, show cancel