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The First Astronomical Text Published in the American Continent

  • Marco Arturo Moreno-Corral (a1) and William J. Schuster (a1)


In 1539 the Italian Giovanni Paoli, better known as Juan Pablos, began operating in Mexico City the first printing press that existed in the New World. The first books he printed were religious texts, vocabularies of some indigenous languages of Mexico, and compilations of ordinances and laws. In 1556 followed the Sumario compendioso de las cuentas, a text of arithmetic and algebra that was the first American mathematics book. A year later, he printed the Physica Speculatio by friar Alonso de la Veracruz, a text of Natural Philosophy that dealt with Aristotelian works such as Physics, On the Heavens, and Meteorology. As part of this book, was included the text of geocentric astronomy written during the thirteenth century by the Italian mathematician Giovanni Campano de Novara, entitled Tractatus de Sphaera, where the author discussed, from a geometric perspective, the cosmic structure and the stellar distribution. No doubt this is the first astronomical treatise that was published in the entire American continent, which is why it is emphasized here.



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De la Veracruz, A. 2012, Physica Speculatio (Mexico City: Facsimile edition edited by the National Autonomous University of Mexico)
Moreno-Corral, M. A. 2004, La physica speculatio, primer libro de física escrito y publicado en el continente americano. Rev. Mex.Fís. E, 50(1), 74
Portuondo, M. M. 2009, Secret Science. Spanish Cosmography and the New World (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press)
Toomer, G.J. 1971, Campanus of Novara and Medieval Planetary Theory (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press)
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