Martino Fernandez Navarrete, a Spanish historian, born at Abalos, Old Castile, Nov. 9, 1705, died in Madrid, Oct. 8,1844. He entered the navy in 1780, was present at the attack on Gibraltar in September, 1782, and afterward served against the Moors and Algerines. In 1789 he was commissioned by the Spanish government to compile from the national archives a collection of documents on the history of Spanish maritime discovery. He returned to sea when war was declared with France, and remained afloat until he was appointed in 1797 to a post in the ministry of marine. On the French invasion in 1808 he retired to Seville. Returning to Madrid in 1814, he engaged in literary labors, proposed the new system of orthography adopted by the Spanish academy in its dictionary, and wrote a "Life-of Cervantes" (Madrid, 1819). In 1823 he was made chief of the hydrographical department. The first two volumes of the work to which he devoted the best part of his life were published at Madrid in 1825, under the title of Coleccion de los viajes y descvlrinrientos que hicieron por mar los Fspanoles desde fines del siglo XV. The third appeared in 1829, and the fourth and fifth in 1837. The sixth and seventh were left unfinished at the author's death.

The first two volumes are devoted to the discoveries of Columbus, concerning whom they brought to light from the national archives an immense wealth of information, consisting of letters, public documents, etc, which were the basis of Washington Irving's "Life of Columbus." Navar-rete began in 1842, with two associates, a "Collection of Unpublished Documents for the History of Spain," of which five volumes appeared during his lifetime, and it was continued after his death. He published a treatise on the Spanish discoveries on the Pacific coast of North America, prefixed to a narrative of the "Vovace of the Sutil and Mexican on the Coasts of California "(1802). His Disertacion sobre he hittoria de la nautica espanola was published in 1846, and his Biblioteca maritima espanola, in 2. vols., in 1851.