South of the Rio Grande the teaching of medicine began long before formal instruction was introduced in North America. The first medical school was established in Santo Domingo in 1538. A medical school was organized at the University of Mexico in 1580. and other schools appeared in Lima, Peru, in 1621: Habana, Cuba, 1728; Santiago, Chili, 1756; Bogotá, Colombia, 1758, and Buenos Aires in the Argentine in 1801. There were hospitals in Latin America long before similar agencies for the care of the sick appeared in North America. The first hospital was established in Guatemala in 1503, and an excellent institution, which has grown to great size and developed scientifically, was established by a Catholic brotherhood in Santos, Brazil, in 1543.
From the sixteenth century on, the Spanish government provided health officials and scientific councils to its American colonies. As early as 1569 Peru developed a Tribunal del Protomedicato General,