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Silvio Zavala

Prince of Asturias Award for Social Sciences 1993

Doctor in Law from the Central University in Madrid and an outstanding Mexican historian, Silvio Zavala Vallado (Mérida, Mexico, 1909 – Mexico City, Mexico, 2014)

He underwent his higher education in Mexico and Spain, and worked in the Centre for Historical Studies in Madrid from 1933 to 1936. Upon returning to his country, he joined the domestic section of the Museum of Mexico. A titular life member of the National College of Advocates in his homeland since 1947, he has been a visiting lecturer at universities of great prestige in Europe and America, and has been an emeritus professor of the College of Mexico since 1981. He has directed the journal "Historia de América" -of which he was a founder- and the National History Museum of Chapultepec.

The Mexican Ambassador to France (1966-75), he was also a permanent delegate for his country to UNESCO for seven years, becoming Vice-President of the Executive Committee (1961-1966). He has also been chairman of the International Council of Philosophy and Human Sciences in Paris (1968-71) and has published more than a hundred books and essays about Spanish colonisation in America, among which titles such as the following may be highlighted: La defensa de los derechos del hombre en America Latina, Por la senda hispana de la libertad and El mundo americano en la epoca colonial.

Silvio Zavala who considers himself a disciple of Ramón Menéndez Pidal, belongs to many academies and institutions, such as the Spanish national academies of history and geography, the Mexican academies of history and language, or the Royal Historical Society of London and the Portuguese Academy of History, among many others. He had obtained important prizes, such as the Mexican National Literature Prize and the Serra de las Américas Award granted by the Academy of American Franciscan History of Washington.

Furthermore he was a doctor honoris causa of the universities of Columbia (USA), Ghent (Belgium), Toulouse and Montpellier (France) and those of Yucatan and Sonora (Mexico), and was a holder of the French Legion of Honour and the Grand Cross of Alfonso X, among other decorations and honours.

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