The Captivity of Hans Stade of Hesse, in A.D. 1547-1555, among the Wild Tribes of Eastern Brazil

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Author: Staden [Stade], Hans (c1525-c1576)

Year: 1874

Publisher: Hakluyt Society

Place: London


12 (ads and membership directory)+xcvi+169 pages. Octavo (9" x 6") bound in original publisher's blue cloth with gilt lettering to spine and gilt pictorial representation of the ship Victoria on the cover and edge ruled decorative blind stamp to covers. Translated from the 1557 Marburg edition by Albert Tootal. Annotated by Richard F. Burton. Works issued by the Hakluyt Society, First Series, Number 51. First edition.

Hans Staden was a German soldier and explorer who voyaged to South America in the middle of the sixteenth century, where he was captured by the Tupinambá people of Brazil. He managed to survive and return safe to Europe. In his widely read account describing his travel and captivity, he claimed that the native people that held him captive practiced cannibalism. Staden was born in Homberg in the Landgraviate of Hesse. He had received a good education and was in moderate circumstances when desire for travel led him to enlist in 1547 on a ship that was bound for Brazil. He returned from this first trip on 8 October 1548, and, going to Seville, enlisted for a second trip as a volunteer in an expedition for Río de la Plata which sailed in March 1549. On reaching the mouth of the river, two ships sank in a storm. After vainly trying to build a barque, part of the shipwrecked crew set out overland for Asuncion. The rest of the crew, including Staden, sailed upon the third vessel for the island of São Vicente, but were also wrecked. Staden, with a few survivors, reached the continent in 1552. A few weeks later, while engaged in a hunting expedition, Staden was captured by a party belonging to the Tupinambá people of Brazil, an enemy group of the Tupinikin people and their Portuguese allies. As Staden was part of a Portuguese crew, he was perceived of as an enemy of the Tupinamba and they carried him to their village (the predecessor of today's Ubatuba) where he claimed he was to be devoured at the next festivity. However, Staden allegedly won the favor of the Tupinamba Chief Cunhambebe by translating between the Tupinamba and European traders as well as predicting a Tupinikin attack on the tribe, thus his life was spared. When Staden later claimed to have cured the tribal king and his household from illness through the power of prayer and Christianity, the Tupinamba embraced him and called him "Scheraeire," meaning "Son, do not let me die." The Portuguese tried several times to negotiate for Staden's ransom, but the Indians declined all overtures. At last he made his escape on a French ship, and on 22 February 1555, arrived at Honfleur, in Normandy, and from there went immediately to his native city. After his return to Europe, the support of Dr. Johann Dryander in Marburg enabled Staden to publish an account of his captivity, entitled Warhaftige Historia und beschreibung eyner Landtschafft der Wilden Nacketen, Grimmigen Menschfresser-Leuthen in der Newenwelt America gelegen (True Story and Description of a Country of Wild, Naked, Grim, Man-eating People in the New World, America) (1557); the book was printed by Andreas Kolbe.


Spine age toned and gilt dulled, corners gently bumped, bookplate on front pastedown else very good.

SOLD 2017

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