Historia, di Don Ferdinando Cortes, marchese della Valle, capitano valorosissimo
Author: Francisco Lopez de Gomara (1511-c1566)
Publisher: Giovanni Bonadio
Place: Venetia (Venice)
+355 leaves+[Venetia 1564 page] with lists of words in Nahuatl: leaves 299-303. Small octavo (5 3/4" x 4") bound18th-century stiff vellum. (European Americana 564/25; Medina BHA 159n; Sabin 27741; Wagner, Spanish Southwest 2v) Early Italian translation of the stand-alone third part of Lopez de Gomara's 1552 landmark History of the West Indies, dedicated to the exploits of Hernán Cortés.
Francisco López de Gómara was a Spanish historian who worked in Seville, particularly noted for his works in which he described the early 16th century expedition undertaken by Hernán Cortés in the Spanish conquest of the New World. Although Gómara himself did not accompany Cortés, and had in fact never been to the Americas, he had firsthand access to Cortés and others of the returning conquistadores as the sources of his account. However other contemporaries, among them most notably Bernal Díaz del Castillo, criticized his work as being full of inaccuracies, and one which unjustifiably sanitized the events and aggrandized Cortés' role. As such, the reliability of his works may be called into question; yet they remain a valuable and oft-cited record of these events.
With the information given him by the conqueror and other persons who had returned from the New World (he himself cites Gonzalo de Tapia and Gonzalo de Umbria) he wrote his Historia general de las Indias. a work published at Zaragoza in the year 1552. It was translated into French by Martin Fumée and published at Paris in 1578; Augustin Gravaliz translated it into Italian and published it at Venice in 1560; lastly, Juan Bautista de San Anton Chimalpain Quauhtlehuanitzin translated it into Nahuatl. The author relates in the first part, which is dedicated "To Don Carlos, Emperor of Romans, King of Spain, Lord of the Indies and New World", the whole discovery and conquest of the Antilles, Peru (up to the pacification effected by Pedro de la Gasca), Chile and Central America, also the voyage of Magellan and the discovery of the Moluccas. In the second part he tells of the conquest of Mexico, and it is dedicated "To the very illustrious Lord Don Martin Cortés, Marques del Valle"—the son and heir of the conqueror.
18th-century stiff vellum, moderate wear and soiling, 19th-century shelf label at base of backstrip; title page soiled with an early inscription incised and verso reinforcement, lacking leaf 1 following the table of contents, cropped with a few headlines and page numbers trimmed, minor foxing, title inscribed on lower edge; early inscriptions on title page, later owner's signature on front free endpaper. A good copy.
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