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Charles Etienne Brasseur de Bourbourg Biography
Charles Etienne Brasseur de Bourbourg (8 September 1814 - 8 January 1874) was a Belgian ethnographer.

Born at Bourbourg, near Dunkirk, he entered the Roman Catholic priesthood, was professor of ecclesiastical history in the Quebec seminary in 1845, vicar-general at Boston in 1846, and from 1848 to 1863 travelled as a missionary, chiefly in Mexico and Central America.

He gave great attention to Mexican antiquities, published in 1857 - 1859 a history of Aztec civilization, and from 1861 to 1864 edited a collection of documents in the indigenous languages. In 1863 he announced the discovery of a key to writing system of the Maya civilization, but despite his efforts most of the Maya writing remained undecyphered by scholars for over a century more. In 1864 he was archaeologist to the French military expedition in Mexico, and his Monuments anciens du Mexique was published by the French Government in 1866.

Perhaps his greatest service was the publication in 1861 of a French translation of the Popol Vuh, a sacred book of the Quiché Maya people, together with a Quiche grammar, and an essay on Central American mythology. In 1871 he brought out his Bibliothque Mexico-Guatemalienne, and in 1869 - 1870 gave the principles of his decipherment of Indian picture-writing in his Manuscrit Troano, etudes sur le systme graphique et la langue des Mayas.

He died at Nice. His chief merit is his diligent collection of materials; his interpretations are generally fanciful.
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