Fray Martín Sarmiento
The Instituto de Estudios Gallegos Padre Sarmiento is a perennial tribute to the figure of Fray Martín Sarmiento, who was one of the most important characters of the Spanish enlightenment.
Born to Galician parents in Villafranca del Bierzo (in the province of León) on 9 March 1695, he spent his childhood in Pontevedra, where his early education was at the Compañía de Jesús and the Artes school in the Benedictine monastery in Lérez. In 1710 he enrolled in the Colegio de San Martín in Madrid, where he taught the following year, subsequently completing his philosophical and theological training in the monasteries of Irache and of San Vicente de Salamanca respectively. Following a short period as an assistant in the monastery of Eslonza (León), he returned to the monastery in Madrid. His cell there became the centre of a life dedicated entirely to study, although he made several journeys, three of them to Galicia, which provided him with the raw material for his research into all of the various branches of knowledge. On 4 June 1755 he was appointed abbot of Ripoll, but his love of studying and the distaste which he felt towards any kind of office led him to give up the post just a few months later, at the end of March 1756, and to devote himself once again to his studies in his cell in Madrid. He died on 7 December 1772.
The exceptional scientific ability and learning of Padre Sarmiento, as well as his wholehearted dedication to study and research, are reflected in the enormous volume of his works and writings which touch upon a wide range of subjects: history, geography, palaeography, linguistics, bibliography, philosophy, agriculture, natural history, anthropology, ethics, law, education, politics, sociology… The common foundation of all of these works is the empirical method employed by modern science, and for this reason he is considered, along with Padre Feijóo, his fellow countryman and brother in the Order, to be one of the most distinguished enlightened Spanish scholars.
The Instituto de Estudios Gallegos Padre Sarmiento adopted his name as a tribute to the intellectual prestige of this illustrious Benedictine friar from Galicia. It also wished to bring to fruition the idea that he himself expressed in his work “Onomástico Etimológico de la Lengua Gallega” (Etymological Onomastics of the Galician Language), which was to bring together a group of those who love the truth – “alethophiles”, as he called them – who would follow common principles and work towards a shared purpose for the good of Galicia.
Pardo de Guevara y Valdés, Eduardo
“El Instituto de Estudios Gallegos Padre Sarmiento”, Investigación, Cultura, Ciencia y Tecnología, 10, núm. 20 (2018), pp. 6-7.
García Tato, Isidro y Valdés Hansen, Felipe (Eds.)
Vida y obra del Rvdmo. P. M. fray Martín Sarmiento (1965-1772), sacada a la letra de un manuscrito anónimo del siglo XVIII, Santiago de Compostela, Instituto de Estudios Gallegos Padre Sarmiento; Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas; Xunta de Galicia, 2003.
Pardo de Guevara y Valdés, Eduardo
Fray Martín Sarmiento, el amador de la verdad (1695-1772), Santiago de Compostela, Diputación Provincial de A Coruña; Instituto de Estudios Gallegos Padre Sarmiento; Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, 2003.
Barrio Barrio, Julián
Frei Martín Sarmiento, monxe bieito, Santiago de Compostela, Instituto de Estudios Gallegos Padre Sarmiento; Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científica; Xunta de Galicia, 2002.
Santos Puerto, José
Martín Sarmiento: ilustración, educación y utopía en la España del siglo XVIII, A Coruña, Fundación Pedro Barrié de la Maza, 2002.
García Tato, Isidro y Suárez Piñeiro, Ana
Frei Martín Sarmiento, Toxosoutos, Noia, 2001.
Álamo, Mateo del, y Pérez de Urbel, Justo (trad.); Sánchez Cantón, Francisco Javier, Pita Andrade, Jose Manuel (Eds.)
Viaje a Galicia de Fr. Martín Sarmiento (1754-1755). Ms. de la Abadía de Silos, Santiago de Compostela, Instituto de Estudios Gallegos Padre Sarmiento; Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científica, 1950 (Anejos de Cuadernos de Estudios Gallegos, 3).