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Martín Fernández de Navarrete y Ximénez de Tejada (November 9, 1765 - October 8, 1844), was a Spanish sailor and historian who rediscovered Las Casas' abstract of the log Christopher Columbus made on his first voyage.

Oil painting of Fernández de Navarrete, from the Naval Museum of Spain.

Early life and career

He was born at Abalos and received part of his education at a seminary in Vergara.[1] He entered the navy in 1780 and was later engaged in the unsuccessful operations in 1782 during the Great Siege of Gibraltar, and afterwards in the suppression of Algerine pirates. Ill-health compelled him for a time to withdraw from active service, but he devoted this forced leisure to historical research, and in 1789 he was appointed by the crown to examine the national archives relating to the maritime history of Spain.

Rejoining the navy

He rejoined the navy in 1793 and was present at the siege of Toulon. Afterwards he received command of a frigate.

From 1797 to 1808 he held in succession various important posts in the ministry of marine. In 1808 the French invasion led to his withdrawal to Andalusia, and the rest of his life was entirely devoted to literature. In 1819 appeared, as an appendix to the Academy's edition of Don Quixote, his Vida de Cervantes, and in 1825 the first two volumes of the Colección de los viajes y descubrimientos que hicieron por mar los españoles desde el fin del siglo XV (3rd vol., 1829; 4th vol., 1837).

In 1837 he was made a senator and director of the academy of history. At the time of his death he was assisting in the preparation of the Colección de Documentos Inéditos para la Historia de España. His Disertación sobre la Historia de la Nautica (1846) and Biblioteca Maritima Española (1851). were published posthumously.


  1.  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Herbermann, Charles, ed (1913). "Martín Fernández Navarrete". Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company. 

Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911) Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.) Cambridge University Press 

  • Navarrete, Martín Fernández de (1825–37) Colección de los viages y descubrimientos que hicieron por mar los españoles desde fines del siglo XV: con varios documentos inéditos concernientes á la historia de la marina castellana y de los establecimientos españoles en Indias, 4 vols., Madrid: Imprensa Real.v.1 (1825), v.2 (1825), v.3 (1829), v.4 (1837).

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