Vasaeus was born Jan Was or Waes (of which his later name is the Latinised form) in Bruges. At the age of twenty, while he was still studying at the Collegium Trilingue in Leuven, he met Ferdinand Columbus, the second son of Christopher Columbus, who persuaded him to accompany him to Spain. Here he became the first librarian of Ferdinand's personal library (later known as La Colombina), a collection dedicated to the discoveries and voyages of Christopher Columbus. When Ferdinand died in 1539, the library, consisting of around 10,000 volumes, was given to Seville Cathedral, and Vasaeus' contract was terminated.
In 1550 he became a teacher and lecturer in Salamanca, where he died.
His substantial works on the history of Spain appeared posthumously.
- Rerum Hispaniae memorabilium (...), Cologne, 1577.
- Roersch, A., 1933: L'humanisme à l'époque de la Renaissance, part II. Leuven
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