The True History of the Conquest of New Spain

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Author: Diaz del Castillo, Bernal (1496-1584)

Year: 1908-1916

Publisher: Hakluyt Society

Place: Cambridge


5 volumes: lxv+396 pages with 18 illustrations, including frontispiece and 5 maps (some folding including two in back pocket); xvi+343 pages with 13 illustrations including frontispiece and folding panoramas, 2 maps (including one folding in back pocket); portfolio of 13 folding maps and plans; xiv+395 pages with 6 illustrations including frontispiece and maps including one folding in back pocket; xv+463+[i]-xxxvi pages with 5 illustrations including 3 folding maps in back pocket. Octavo (9" x 6") issued in blue cloth with gilt lettering to spine and pictorial representation of the ship Victoria on the cover, decorative blind stamp to covers. Edited by Genaro Garcia. Translated and edited by Alfred Percival Maudslay. Hakluyt Society Second Series Volumes 23, 24 25, 30 and 40. 1st edition. First published in 1601 in Spanish and first published in English in 1800.

Volume one contains Books I through V, 1517 to 1519, considering the discover and expeditions of Francisco Hernandez de Cordova and Hernan Cortes, the march inland, and the war in Tlaxcala. Volume two contains Books V to IX, 1519 to 1520, concerning the march to Mexico, the stay there, the expedition against Narvaez, the flight from Mexico and the halt at Tepeaca. Volume three a portfolio of maps and plans, several dating from the sixteenth century, of the valley and city of Mexico. Volume four contains Books X-XIII, relating the siege and capture of Mexico, 1521, and the ensuing settlement. Volume five contains Books XIV to XVII, relating the expedition to Honduras, the return to Mexico, the rule of the Audiencia there, and the record of the conquistadors, with and appendix including the fifth letter of Cortes to the Emperor Charles V, 1526.

The True History of the Conquest of New Spain, written by Bernal Diaz del Castillo, one of the Conquerors, was known and appreciated by historians and bibliographers before it was published. Antonio de Herrera quotes it frequently, Friar Juan de Torquemada also refers to it on several occasions, and Licentiate Antonio de Leon Pinelo devotes some line to it in his brief bibliography. Although the original manuscript has always been kept in Guatemala, first by the Author, and afterwards by his descendants, and still later by the Municipality of the Capital, in whose archives it is preserved today, a copy of it was made in the sixteenth century and sent to Spain to King Philip II and was there consulted by the Royal chroniclers. After its publication in Madrid by Friar Alonzo Remon of the Order of Mercy in the year 1632 the True History was universally accepted from that time onwards as the most complete and trustworthy of the chronicles of the Conquest of New Spain. A second edition followed almost immediately in the same city, some four years later a third, a fourth, and a fifth. It was translated in to English by Maurice Keatinge in 1800 and John Ingram Lockhard in 1844; into German by J von Rehfues in 1838 and Karl Ritter in 1848; into French by D Jourdanet in 1876 and Jose Maria de Heredia in 1877, and into Hungarian by Karoly Brozik in 1878 and Moses Gaal in 1899. Several of these translations obtained the honors of a second edition, as that of Keatinge in 1803, that of Rehfues in 1843 and that of Jourdanet in 1877.


Corners bumped and rubbed, book plate on front paste downs, spine ends moderately rubbed with some mild chips, front and back page ends foxed, spine sunned, some inner hinges cracked, half titles age darkened, some foxing. Over all a good to very good set lacking jackets.

SOLD 2017

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