On October 19, 1899, Miguel Ángel Asturias was born, 1967 Nobel Prize in Literature.

With information from @M_V_MEJIA / gazeta.gt / Cover image @BMCadiz

Miguel Ángel Asturias Rosales was born in the house located on Avenida de Caballería de la Nueva Guatemala de la Asunción. The current nomenclature of the property corresponds to 13 avenue 5-54 zone 1. Gonzalo Asturias describes it as a construction “of open courtyards, Andalusian style, with wooden corridors and columns, supported by stone bases, which supported the ceilings.”

At the end of the 19th century, Guatemala City looked like a colonial city. The avenues were wide and paved with large stone pavers, not always level with each other. The streets were bordered on both sides by one-story houses, painted in bright colors, each contrasting with the color of the neighbor. There were not a hundred two-story houses in the entire city (Arévalo, Village memories, 1980: 225).

Miguel Ángel was born on October 18, 1899, at ten o’clock in the evening. According to family tradition, his coming into the world happened a day later. His parents were Ernesto Asturias and María Rosales de Asturias. They were 23 and 21 years old, respectively, at the time of their first-born birth. They had been married on October 28, 1898.

The name Michelangelo was given out of admiration to the famous Florentine painter, sculptor and architect Michelangelo Buonarroti. Its baptism was in charge of the priest Alberto Rubio y Piloña and it took place in the parish of El Sagrario, integrated into the metropolitan cathedral. In another of the chapels of the same church, that of Nuestra Señora del Socorro, Miguel Ángel married Clemencia Amado, on April 2, 1939, at times of great urgency, as his father was in a critical condition caused by a throat cancer.

Ernesto Asturias Girón was a lawyer and notary. At the time of the birth of his son Miguel Ángel, he served as a magistrate of the Court of Appeals. He was «thin and tall like a flute», «a reserved and authoritarian man (…) in fact, he talked about everything, as little as possible. Their conversation was reduced to monosyllables torn off with difficulty. Despite this hermetic description, Gonzalo Asturias acknowledges that “with friends he was more open and talkative.”

On the contrary, María Rosales had an outgoing character. According to Juan Olivero, she was “a very communicative and conversational woman peppered with sharp observations of many subtleties.” With a «white complexion» (…), «fine features» (…) and «sweet brown eyes». Miguel Ángel was more attached to his mother, who was an important emotional and economic support in his constant discovery of the world and literature.

So much was Maria’s generosity and understanding that, at certain times, she tried to hide them. In 1946, Miguel Ángel lived in Mexico and could not find a publisher willing to publish Mr. President. He decided to print it on his own in the workshops of the Catalan Bartomeu Costa Amic. The two hundred dollars for the printing were supplied by his relative Jorge Asturias, who, years later, would confess to the writer that this sum was contributed by María.

His brother Marco Antonio, the second of two children, was born in 1901. Miguel Ángel’s early childhood was spent in the building located on Avenida Central number 99, to which the current nomenclature of 14 avenue 1-69 zone 1 corresponds. The house was declared Cultural Heritage of the Nation by the Ministry of Culture and Sports, due to its architectural and historical value, by Ministerial Agreement number 588-2003, published in the Official Gazette on Wednesday, November 5, 2003, page 5. The The arrangements were made by the architect Jazmín Solís Roche, at my suggestion.

In 1903, the family stability suffered a turnaround. In his role as judge, Ernesto Asturias Girón faced the madness of the tyrant Manuel Estrada Cabrera. Some students had been captured for being the alleged perpetrators of riots. The despot wanted the application of an “exemplary punishment”, but the judge Asturias released them for not finding merits to prosecute them. This meant his dismissal from office, the impossibility of litigating and preparing deeds. María Rosales also lost her position as a teacher.

Faced with the impossibility of obtaining income, they decided to move to Salamá, Baja Verapaz, where grandfather Gabino Gómez, a colonel in retirement, lived comfortably. This first trip was an opening for the future writer to a world of vegetal suggestion, of surprising roads, disheveled suns and unusual moons. They began by descending a path with white corners next to the Las Vacas River. Then they headed for Chinautla. The first night they were in La Canoa, where the Motagua River passes. They spent the night for the second time in El Rincón, a place where pilgrims venerated the crucified Christ. The third station was in Salamá.

From: Marco Vinicio Mejía /

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On October 19, 1899, Miguel Ángel Asturias was born, 1967 Nobel Prize in Literature.

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