Penn Library

CULTURAL READINGS: Colonization & Print in the Americas


del Rio
Jay I. Kislak Foundation
Antonio del Rio,
Description of the Ruins of an Ancient City Discovered near Palenque in the Kingdom of Guatemala.

London: Henry Berthoud, 1822.

In 1787 an obscure soldier named Antonio del Rio undertook the excavation of a Maya ruin near Palenque. He duly reported back on his mission and seemed unimpressed by what he considered evidence of rampant paganism and idolatry. Had it not been for Berthoud, the publisher, del Rio's letter would have been forgotten. Capitalizing on public interest in American indigenous cultures as well as in Romantic ruins, Berthoud published the letter along with a suite of plates of Mayan scenes.

Colonial Fictions, Colonial Histories

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