Oviedo, John Gonsales D'

, in Spanish Gonçalo Hermandez de Oviedo Y Valdes, a Spanish historian, was born at Madrid, about the year 1478. He was educated among the pages in the court of Ferdinand king of Arragon, and Isabella queen of Castile, and happened to be at Barcelona in 1493, when Columbus returned from his first voyage to the island Haiti, which he called Hispaniola, and which now is known by the name of St. Domingo. Curiosity led him to obtain from Columbus and his companions an account of what was most remarkable in their voyages; and the information he obtained, and the services he rendered Spain during the war of Naples, induced Ferdinand to send him to the Island of Haiti, as intendant and inspector-general of the trade of the new world. The ravages which the syphilis had made during that war, led him to inquire into the most efficacious remedies for this malady, which was supposed to have come from the West Indies. His inquiries were also extended to every thing which regards the natural history of these regions and on his return to Spain, he published “Summario de la Historia general y natural de les Indias Occidentales,Toledo, 1526, which he dedicated to Charles V. He afterwards made some additions to this work, which he published under the tide of “La Historia general y natural de las Indias Occidentales,Salamanca, 1535, fol. It was translated into Italian, and afterwards into French, Paris, 1556, fol. It is in this work that he attempts to prove that the syphilis is endemic in the island of Haiti, and that it was imported thence to Spain, and afterwards to Naples, which opinion Astruc advances in support of his own; but this, however, has been called in question. Oviedo is thought to have been the first who recommended the use of the wood of guiacum in the disorder, a remedy not now in any great estimation. 2


Antoino Bibl. Hisp. E5oy, —Dict. Hist. de Medecine.