The Seventeen Years of Travels of Peter de Cieza through the Mighty Kingdom of Peru, and the Large Provinces of Carthagena and Popayan in South America

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Author: Cieza de Leon, Pedro de (1520 1554)

Year: 1709

Publisher: unknown publisher

Place: London


[viii]+244+[12] pages with engraved map, folding plan and four engraved illustrations in text and index. Quarto (9 ¾" x 7½") bound in period calf with modern rebacking, original gilt spine leather laid down and ruled gilt edges to cover. Translated by Joh Stevens. First English Edition.

This is a highly regarded chronicle of the conquest and colonization of Peru by Spaniards in the latter part of the 16th century and is lauded for its (at the time) objectivity. Cieza de Leon's Chronica was to appear in 4 sections, this translation being the first part only, all that was available of the history until the latter part of the 19th century.

Pedro Cieza de Leon was a Spanish conquistador and chronicler of Peru. He is known primarily for his history and description of Peru, Cronicas del Peru. He wrote this book in four parts, but only the first was published during his lifetime; the remaining sections were not published until the 19th and 20th centuries. Cieza de León was born to a family of Jewish conversos around 1520 in Llerena, a town in southeastern Extremadura, less than 60 mi from Portugal. Although recently converted from Judaism to Catholicism, the family enjoyed good social standing in the region because of their networks and business dealings. His father, Lope de Leon, was a shopkeeper in the town, and his mother, Leonor de Cazalla, was a native of Llerena. There is scant documentary evidence of the young Cieza de Leon's childhood, and little is known of his early life before his voyage to the Americas. Given the fact that he left home at 13, it is unlikely that Cieza de Leon received more than a rudimentary education. In 1536, in Cordoba, at 16, Cieza de Leon was greatly surprised to learn of the discovery of the land of the Incas and so decided to go to Seville to embark on his journey to South America, to see for himself the artifacts of precious metals which had been brought to Spain from Cajamarca. In light of the prohibition of entry into the Spanish colonies for Jews and Jewish converts to Catholicism, Alonso Lopez and Luis de Torres attested for Cieza de Leon that he was not prohibited. Jewish converso Pedro Lopez de Cazalla, secretary of Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro, conqueror of the Incan Empire, was also his first cousin. He returned to Seville, Spain, in 1551 and married a woman named Isabel Lopez de Abreu. Here he published, in 1553, the first part of the chronicles of Peru (Primera Parte). He died the following year, leaving the rest of his work unpublished. His Second Part of Chronicles of Peru, describing the Incas, was translated by Clements Markham and published in 1871 for the Hakluyt Society. In 1909, the fourth part of his chronicle, focusing on the civil wars among the Spanish conquerors was published under the title Third Book of the Peruvian Civil Wars. The third part of Cieza de Leon's Cronicas del Peru, which examined the discovery and conquest of Peru by the Spaniards, was considered by historians to be lost. The document eventually turned up in a Vatican library, and historian Francesca Canto published a Spanish version of the text in 1979. Though his works are historical and narrate the events of the Spanish conquest of Peru and the civil wars among the Spaniards, much of their importance lies in his detailed descriptions of geography, ethnography, flora and fauna. He was the first European to describe some native Peruvian animal species and vegetables.


Expertly rebacked, some light rubbing to extremities, foxing, old book plate on front pastedown else very good.

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