Amsterdam: Jean Frederic Bernard, 1737. Two volumes. ,540,; ,xxiii,,373,pp., plus sixteen copper- engraved plates and three folding copper- engraved maps. Half titles. Quarto. 19th-century three- quarter calf and marbled boards, raised bands, spines gilt. Light scuffing to spines, moderate edge wear. Minor scattered foxing, small marginal repair to frontispiece in first volume. Very good. Item #WRCAM54947
A handsome and scarce French edition containing important early histories of Peru and Florida, by the author sometimes called the first native American historian, along with a French translation of Father Hennepin's famous travels with Le Salle in New France and along the Mississippi River. Garcilaso de la Vega, "El Inca," a distinguished 16th-century mestizo Peruvian, son of a Spanish conquistador, and a descendant of the Spanish poet of the same name, was born in Peru and spent his formative years there, living out his later life in Spain. "By turns Indian and Castilian, Garcilaso, as he himself puts it, has engagements to both peoples..." - Livermore, in the introduction to his 1966 translation published by the University of Texas Press. THE ROYAL COMMENTARIES OF PERU is Garcilaso de la Vega's major work, and the source from which all later writers on the subject have drawn. It consists of two parts, the first describing the origins, religion, laws, and many other details regarding the Incan empire and policies before the invasion by the Spanish. The second part describes the conquest by the Spanish. Vega's contemporary record of the early Spanish period in Peru is most valuable, as it is based on eyewitness testimony and personal observation. The Spanish critic, Menendez y Pelayo, called the ROYAL COMMENTARIES OF PERU "the most genuinely American book that has ever been written, and perhaps the only one in which a reflection of the soul of the conquered races has survived." Garcilaso de la Vega's great work on De Soto and the aborigines of Florida, originally published as LA FLORIDA DEL YNCA in 1605, follows his history of Peru. It is one of the two primary accounts of the De Soto expedition (the other being the account written by the Gentleman of Elvas), and is based on the eyewitness accounts of a Spanish nobleman and two common soldiers of the expedition. "One of the major accounts of the travels of De Soto in Florida and throughout the present day Southeastern United States...the Inca's work remains the major literary by-product of this historic invasion...[it] has earned the distinction of being the first work published by a native- born American author" - Servies. Palau praises this edition of Garcilaso de la Vega's two major works for its beautiful engravings by Picart. Rosenbach concurred, calling this book a "superbly illustrated edition with the fine frontispiece by Picart and the well-known plates by him throughout." The plates emanate from Picart's seminal work on world religions. The images here include important depictions of indigenous peoples in Peru and Florida: their dress, tools, architecture, and ceremonies. The two maps in the Vega work show Peru to illustrate the first work and the Mississippi Valley region centered on Louisiana, illustrating the second. In addition to the two works by Vega, appended to the end of the second volume is Hennepin's DECOUVERTE DUNS PAYS PLUS GRAND QUE L'EUROPE... (DISCOVERY OF A COUNTRY GREATER THAN EUROPE...) on pages 223-376, accompanied by a folding map of Florida and the Mississippi region, including Louisiana. The map was produced for this volume by the printer, Bernard, and is titled "Le Cours de Fleuve Missisipi, Selon les Relations les plus modernes." Hennepin accompanied the great French explorer, the Sieur de la Salle, on his 1678-79 expedition from Fort Frontenac to Niagara, then on to the Illinois country where Hennepin was directed to explore further on his own. He ultimately ascended the Mississippi as far as the Falls of St. Anthony, near where he was captured by the Sioux and held for some time before being released. He later claimed to have reached as far as the Gulf of Mexico, but this claim was spurious. A very useful edition containing three important works on early America, well- illustrated with notable plates and maps. EUROPEAN AMERICANA 737/98. PALAU 354803. MEDINA, BHA 658n. STREIT III:405. FIELD 591. ROSENBACH 20:272. SERVIES 101 (ref). HILL 677 (ref). SABIN 98752.