The Scientific Institutionalization of Indigenous Knowledge in Mexico: A Historical Analysis of the Medical and Surgical Academy of Puebla de los Ángeles


This paper presents a historical analysis on the Medical and Surgical Academy of Puebla de los ángeles, which was founded in Mexico in 1824. The methodology of the science history was used, particularly the historiography. The above mentioned Academy can be considered the first institution that in the Independent period of Mexico approached scientifically the indigenous knowledge on medicinal plants, across the disciplines as the botany, the chemistry and the medicine. In this academy the first two Mexican scientific works in the analyzed topic were published; the first one was a book on botany and the second one was a proposal for a Mexican pharmacopoeia. Furthermore there was a particular way of hierarchy relation between the characters of the indigenous knowledge and the characters of the scientific knowledge, which would become stronger in the approaches of the epochs and future institutions later to the academy’s life. Nevertheless, this institution was buried in the science history, due to her rivalries with another scientific institution that obtained greater diffusion in the topic and denied the credit to the contributions and the existence of the Academy of Puebla de los ángeles.

Share and Cite:

Guzmán-Rosas, S. (2015) The Scientific Institutionalization of Indigenous Knowledge in Mexico: A Historical Analysis of the Medical and Surgical Academy of Puebla de los Ángeles. Open Journal of Social Sciences, 3, 283-292. doi: 10.4236/jss.2015.37041.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Merlo, J. (1987) Las ciencias en la obra de Zendejas [The Sciences in Zendejas’ Work]. Elementos, 2, 56-68.
[2] Huerta, J. (2001). Salus et solatium: El desarrollo de las ciencias médicas en Puebla durante el siglo XIX [Salus et solatium: The Development of the Medical Sciences in Populates during the 19th Century]. BUAP, México.
[3] De Michelli, S. (2003) De academias y académicos [About Academies and Academicians]. Gaceta Médica de México, 139, 281-285.
[4] Fajardo-Ortiz, G. (2002) Un pasado con mucho presente. El Hospital Real de San Pedro [A Past with a Lot of Present. The Royal Hospital of San Pedro]. Cirugía y Cirujanos, 70, 459-467.
[5] Izquierdo, J. (1961) Discurso de recepción del Dr. J. Joaquín Izquierdo. Academia Mexicana de Historia correspondiente de la Real de Madrid [Welcome Speech of Dr. J. Joaquín Izquierdo. History Mexican Academy Corresponding to the Royal One of Madrid].
[6] Izquierdo, J. (1949) El primer ensayo de farmacopea mexicana [The First Essay for a Mexican Pharmacopeia].
[7] Izquierdo, J. (1953) Les origines et le développement de la pharmacopée mexicaine [The Origins and Development of Mexican Pharmacopeia]. Revue d’histoire de la pharmacie, 41, 20.
[8] De Olaguíbel, M. (1889) Memoria para la bibliografía científica de México en el siglo XIX [Memory for the Scientific Bibliography of Mexico in the 19th Century]. Promotion Department’s Typographical Office, México.
[9] Cervantes, J. (1825) Tablas botánicas [Botanical Charts]. Moreno Brothers’ Office, Puebla.
[10] Medical and Surgical Academy of Puebla de los ángeles (1832) Ensayo para la materia medica mexicana [Essay for the Mexican Medical Subject]. San Pedro Hospital’s Office, Puebla.
[11] Moreno, B. (1997) La botánica en Puebla [The Botany in Puebla]. Ciencia y cultura elementos, 4, 45-55.
[12] Guerrero, L. (1833) Replica contra la división de cirugía y medicina, y la cuestión subalterna sobre los cirujanos como son, pueden considerarse como verdaderos médicos [An Argument against de Division of Medicine and Surgery and the Matter That Surgeons As They Are, Can Be Considered Real Doctors]. Medical and Surgical Academy of Puebla de los ángeles, Puebla.
[13] Aceves-Pastrana, P. (2013) La profesionalización de una farmacia académica en México (Siglos XIX-XX) [The Professionalization of an Academic Pharmacy in Mexico (Centuries XIX-XX)]. In: Kleiche-Dray, M., Zubieta García, J. and Rodríguez-Sala, M., Coords., La institucionalización de las disciplinas científicas en México, UNAM & IRD, México, 59-95.

Copyright © 2023 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.