Narratio regionum indicarum per Hispanos quosdam devastatarum verissima

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Author: Casas, Bartolomé de las (c1484-1566) from the library of Federico Gómez de Orozco

Year: 1598

Publisher: de Bry and Sauer

Place: Frankfurt


[6]+141 pages with Engraved title page, 17 copperplate text engravings. Octavo (8 1/4" x 5 1/2") bound later vellum. From the library of Mexican bibliophile Federico Gómez de Orozco. (Church 320; European Americana 598/20; Medina BHA 383; Palau 46960; Streeter sale I:30) First Latin edition, and first illustrated edition of the author's Brevissima relacion, its appendix, and 2 other tracts. This was the first appearance of the illustrations depicting the atrocities committed by the Spaniards in the New World. The engravings, which were used in many later publications, were done by the de Bry brothers after original drawings by Jodocus a Winghe, who had never visited America. "This edition is much sought for, in consequence of the beauty of the first impressions of the plates"--Sabin 11283.

Bartolomé de las Casas was a 16th-century Spanish historian, social reformer and Dominican friar. He became the first resident Bishop of Chiapas, and the first officially appointed "Protector of the Indians". His extensive writings, the most famous being A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies and Historia de Las Indias, chronicle the first decades of colonization of the West Indies and focus particularly on the atrocities committed by the colonizers against the indigenous peoples. He spent 50 years of his life actively fighting slavery and the violent colonial abuse of indigenous peoples, especially by trying to convince the Spanish court to adopt a more humane policy of colonization. Unlike the other priests who sought to destroy all of the indigenous peoples' native books and writings, he was strictly opposed to this action[3]. Although he failed to save the indigenous peoples of the Western Indies, his efforts resulted in several improvements in the legal status of the natives, and in an increased colonial focus on the ethics of colonialism. Las Casas is often seen as one of the first advocates for universal conception of human dignity.

Theodorus de Bry (also Theodor de Bry) (1528 – 27 March 1598) was an engraver, goldsmith, editor and publisher, famous for his depictions of early European expeditions to the Americas. The Spanish Inquisition forced de Bry, a Protestant, to flee his native, Spanish-controlled Southern Netherlands. He moved around Europe, but he settled in Frankfurt. De Bry created a large number of engraved illustrations for his books. Most of his books were based on first-hand observations by explorers, even if De Bry himself, acting as a recorder of information, never visited the Americas. To modern eyes, many of the illustrations seem formal but detailed.

Federico Gómez de Orozco (1891-1962) was a Mexican historian, bibliophile, researcher and academic. He specialized in Novohispano art, in the study of the pre-Hispanic manuscripts of Mesoamerica and sixteenth-century manuscripts. He was a friend and companion of Manuel Toussaint with whom he participated in the founding of the Art Laboratory of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) in 1935, which one year later became the Institute of Aesthetic Research, where he worked as a researcher. He taught in the History of New Spain in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, as well as Paleography in the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters of the UNAM and in the Anthropology School of the National Institute of Anthropology and History.


Minor wear; endpapers renewed, title page worn on fore-edge and restored with light foxing, first 3 text leaves with marginal wear to fore-edge, most illustrations cropped slightly on fore-edge, 3 left uncropped but folded, many leaves tastefully reinforced on fore-edge, lacks final blank; all edges gilt; later bookplate on front pastedown else a good copy.

SOLD 2019

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