Azorean humanist Gaspar Frutuoso

Saudades da Terra is a manuscript that was published by father Gaspar Frutuoso. It forms a reference work on the knowledge of Macaronesia in the late 16th century.

 

Gaspar Frutuoso_Ribeira Grande_Açores
Gaspar Frutuoso statue at Ribeira Grande

 

The manuscript was written between 1586 and 1590, divided into two volumes, based on the author’s observations which makes a detailed description of the archipelagos of the AzoresMadeira and the Canary Islands. It also has multiple references to Cape Verde and other Atlantic regions.

Saudades_da_Terra,_Gaspar_Frutuoso,_1590

It finishes a most important repository of information about geography, history, life usage of clothes, genealogy, toponym, fauna and flora of the mid-Atlantic archipelago before the 17th century, in which closes by the author with a personality of a Renaissance typical humanist: encyclopedic, literary, artistic and music, observed natural phenomenon, pre-occupied with alchemic experimentations and speculating inside the dominions of geology, biology, mineralogy and petrography.

Azores_old_map-1

The book contains each of the island chain, the three features one or more islands of the Azores, one was a poem, including:

  • Book I – Cape Verde and the Canary Islands
  • Book II – Madeira
  • Book III – Azores: Santa Maria
  • Book IV – Azores: São Miguel;
  • Book V – Poem – with fictional characters “Verdade” and “Gama” – typically renaissance persons, in pastoral style – a story of two friends who were forced to live in a house for a long time.
  • Book VI – Azores: Terceira, Faial, Pico, Flores, Graciosa and S. Jorge.

The work was completed with the last volume, titled Saudades do Céu, a philosophical-theological dissertation during the Azorean crisis during the Portuguese Succession Crisis of 1580.

 

Desembarcoislasterceiras.jpg
Disembarkation of the spanish tercios in the Terceiras islands (26 july 1583) (detail). Fresco by Niccolò Granello, Sala de las Batallas, Monasterio de San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Madrid, Spain.

 

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