Sahagún, Bernardino de
- Cristina Gonzalez
(b Sahagún, León, 1499; d Mexico, 1590).
Spanish writer, missionary, linguist, and ethnographer. Bernardino de Sahagún wrote and compiled the Historia general de las cosas de Nueva España (c. 1577), a comprehensive account of the Aztecs. Before arriving in New Spain (Mexico), he studied at the prestigious Universidad de Salamanca, one of the principle centers of culture in western Europe. He took the habit of the Franciscans while still a student. In 1529, at the invitation of friar Antonio de Ciudad Rodrigo, one of the twelve Franciscan friars to arrive in Mexico with Martín de Valencia in 1524, he sailed to New Spain as a missionary. In Mexico City he witnessed the ruins of the Templo Mayor and, according to friar Juan de Torquemada, commissioned a painting of the site and sent it to Spain. He was custodian of the monastery in Tlalmanalco and also resided at the monastery in Xochimilco before becoming a teacher of classics and history at the trilingual imperial Colegio de Santa Cruz de Tlatelolco in ...