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Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Ietersdorf-Klasten, Gustav von

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IETERSDORF-KLASTEN, Gustav von (e-ters-dorf), German explorer, b. in Neu Breisach in 1609; d. in Cologne in 1669. He was descended from an ancient family of the Palatinate and served in the Bavarian army till 1634, when he became a Dominican monk, and was attached in the following year to the South American missions. He resided for twenty years in Hispaniola, Cuba, and other West Indian islands, was elected provincial of his order for the West Indian missions in 1649, and founded several colleges in Hispaniola. He went also to Guatemala as provincial in 1653, but was compelled three years later to return to Europe in broken health. After a few months he prepared to sail for America again, but his family opposed his departure, and he settled in Cologne, where he became a canon in the cathedral and devoted the remainder of his life to arranging his notes on America. He published “Lexicon Linguæ Caraïbæ” (Cologne, 1659); “Grammatica Linguæ Caraïbæ” (1661); “Gebräuche, Sitten und Producte von Cuba, Hispaniola und einiger anderer Westindischer Inseln,” the original edition of which is very rare, one copy having brought at Didot's sale in Paris in 1853, $6,720 (1665); and “Relatio Gestorum a primis ordinis Prædicatorum missionariis in insulis Americanis, præsertim apud Indigenes quos Caraïbes vulgo dicunt, ab anno 1635, ad annum 1653” (3 vols., 1768). The dictionary and the grammar of the idiom of the Caribs are yet considered as the most complete documents on the language of those people.