May 19th, 2008 at National Museum of History, Castillo de Chapultepec homage, coordinated by National Library of Anthropology and History (BNAH)
Teacher of teachers, doctor in Law, universal historian, intellectual, academic, unstoppable researcher of Mexico and Latin America history, and divulger of American culture, is what Dr Zavala was and still is, according to historian Hilda Lagunas Ruiz.
Almost 100 years old, Silvio Zavala Vallado is “a man that has not left his themes, no matter heavy his other responsibilities were, and in a great responsibility act, he has kept new generations informed about his investigation results.”
“He delivers his work as monographies, when he can, and when not, he divulges his results at lectures, which he believes must be complemented with notes. This is how he embroiders American universe with World history”, expressed Dr. Andres Lira, researcher from Colegio de Mexico (COLMEX).
National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), one of many institutions that have been part of his prolific work, will pay him homage on Monday, May 19th, at the National Museum of History, Castillo de Chapultepec, a space he directed from 1946 and 1954.
National Library of Anthropology and History (BNAH) coordinate the celebration, which, along with UNAM Institute of Legal Investigations (UNAM-IIA) is depository of his work. Authorities and experts will accompany Silvio Zavala from INAH, COLMEX, Panamerican Institute of Geography and History (IPGH), National General Archives (AGN), Mexican Culture Seminar and Mexican Academy of Language.
Several experts will talk about different aspects of Dr Silvio Zavala work, who received, among other distinctions, the Principe de Asturias prize 1993. Some of the lectures are “13 Moneda St. National School of Anthropology”, “Silvio Zavala and History of Law”, “Work and Indigenous Property”, “Don Silvio Zavala: El Colegio de Mexico”, “National Museum of History and Paris”, and “The Hospital pueblos”.
Andres Lira, former director of Colegio de Mexico (COLMEX), commented that his lecture “The American Universe in the work of Silvio Zavala” name is a pleonasm, “because Don Silvio has dedicated precisely to show American universal history; sample of this is his book American World In Colonial Period”.
Nevertheless –he said-, we must notice three aspects that nurture the Yucatan historian and lawyer’s great enterprise. First, the way he established his own path to determine American universe; second, the history of legal institutions, which he enriched, and lead him to favor a critic American issue, indigenous work.
“The other important part of his studies is history of labor, which he never abandons, and where he compares institutional, social and economic situations; he observes which elements nurture American universe and which place it occupies in world history, another mayor concern”.
“His career has been unstoppable; being in Europe, very young, Silvio Zavala began to notice a character of America among great European expansion, how they get in contact with a broad diversity of peoples, and constructed a great variety of societies. This would open, from institutions history, huge possibilities to understand world economy”, he concluded.
Silvio Zavala’s professional career began in the 1930’s decade, and has occupied many instances, like Madrid Historical Studies Center, Colegio de Mexico, INAH, UNAM, and Puerto Rico, La Havana and Harvard universities.
Among Dr. Zavala charges, outstands being a member since 1947, of El Colegio Nacional; president of Panamerican Institute of Geography and History (IPGH) Commission of History; National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) Government Board member, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Commission of History of Cultural and Scientific Human Development, and cultural advisor to Mexican Embassy at Paris, France, among others.
His career has been widely acknowledged, Premio Nacional de Letras (National Literature Prize), 1969; Presea Vasco de Quiroga (Vasco de Quiroga Prize), 1986; Premio Rafael Heliodoro y Valle (Rafael Heliodoro y Valle Prize), 1988, Gran Cruz de la Orden Civil de Alfonso X El Sabio (Great Cross of Alphonse the Wise), 1993, and Premio Carlos Siguenza y Gongora (Carlos Siguenza y Gongora Prize), given by Academia Mexicana de Archivos Historicos (Mexican Academy of Historical Archives).
His historiographical work occupies more than 100 books and 600 articles and contributions.