Person: Cajigal, JuanManuel
Juan Manuel Cajigal developed mathematical and engineering studies, founded the first astronomical observatory, and formulated theories and solutions to complex equations.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Of the 35 references below that include his name in their title, 21 give the spelling Cajigal and 14 give Cagigal.
- He returned to Spain, landing in Cádiz on 8 February 1816, after a stay in San Juan de Puerto Rico.
- Juan Manuel studied as a cadet in the Corps of Mounted Hussars and then at the University of Alcalá de Henares.
- At the École des ponts et chaussées, Cajigal had met Lino de Pombo, a Columbian engineer and diplomat, who had written on 13 January 1828 to General Carlos Soublette, the Minister of War of Colombia, saying that Cajigal was a young man of great talents who would be a great asset to Columbia.
- Having completed his studies in Paris, Cajigal returned to Venezuela where, in 1829, he approached José María Vargas who had been appointed by Simón Bolívar to restore the Royal and Pontifical University of Caracas.
- Vargas had created the new Central University of Venezuela in Caracas and was keen to employ Cajigal as the first professor of mathematics.
- Although there had been no immediate response to Vargas's approach to the Minister of Education concerning Cajigal, by 1830 things began to move when Congress met in Valencia, and decreed on 14 October to establish a Military and Mathematics Academy in Caracas.
- The Military and Mathematics Academy was formally founded on 26 October 1831 as part of the University of Caracas and Cajigal took up his duties as Director of the Academy on 4 November 1831.
- It is not surprising to see that the syllabus which was set up by Cajigal was based on the teaching that he had experienced in Paris.
- Cajigal spent ten years directing the Military and Mathematics Academy.
- During his time running the Military and Mathematics Academy, Cajigal was also involved in other activities.
- Cajigal worked on evaluating this controversial treaty which was signed on 14 December 1833.
- José María Vargas, who had played a role in Cajigal's career, became president of Venezuela in that year.
- Given the remarkable number of different activities that Cajigal was undertaking, it is not too surprising that his mental health began to deteriorate.
- In 1843 Cajigal returned to Venezuela but by this time his mental health had deteriorated further.
- Back in Venezuela Cajigal retired from public life and from all his teaching activities.
- Cajigal is rightly credited as the founder of mathematical and engineering studies in Venezuela.
- The book follows closely Cauchy's approach to the subject and was clearly strongly influenced by courses that Cajigal had taken while he had been a student in Paris.
- Cajigal also wrote the texts Treatise on astronomy and Treatise on elementary mechanics for use by students but neither has been published.
- Today Cajigal's name is remembered for Avenida Cajigal and in Caracas as well as Avenida Cajigal in Barcelona, Anzoátegui.
- Asteroid 12359 was named "Cajigal" in his honour.
- Finally we promised at the beginning of this article to say a little about the fact that his name appears sometimes as Cajigal and sometimes as Cagigal.
- The version Cajigal is an older spelling which changed over time to Cagigal.
- We suspect that he was given the name Cajigal when he was born but one fact is certain and that is that he signed himself using the form Cagigal.
- It was impossible for Juan Manuel Cajigal to overcome the stupidity of his time, and his tragic end is nothing but the result of a man before the defeated vision of his Destiny.
Born 10 August 1803, Barcelona, Venezuela. Died 10 February 1856, Yaguaraparo, Venezuela.
View full biography at [MacTutor](https://mathshistory.st-andrews.ac.uk/Biographies/Cajigal/
Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive