A NATURAL AND CIVIL HISTORY OF CALIFORNIA: CONTAINING AN ACCURATE DESCRIPTION OF THAT COUNTRY...THE CUSTOMS OF THE INHABITANTS...Translated from the original Spanish....

London. 1759. Two volumes. [20],455pp. plus folding map and two plates, including frontispiece; [8],387pp. plus two plates, including frontispiece. Contemporary three-quarter calf and marbled boards, spines gilt. Moderate rubbing and wear to boards and spines, spine titles partially rubbed away, spine heads a bit chipped. Armorial bookplate of Lord Sandys on each front pastedown, scattered minor foxing. Overall, very good. Item #WRCAM55260

The first English edition of this classic history of California, originally published in 1757 in Madrid. Venegas's work is the first general history of California and of the Spanish on the Pacific Coast and into the far Southwest, including southern Arizona and northern Sonora. It broke the general Spanish practice of concealing as much information as possible about their activities and possessions in America; noted bibliographer Henry R. Wagner expressed surprise that the work was permitted to be published at all. Wagner also states that the work "contains more on Lower California than almost any other book that had been published in one hundred and fifty years." The folding map is entitled, "An Accurate Map of California Drawn by the Society of Jesuits and Dedicated to the King of Spain" and was engraved on copper by noted cartographer, John Gibson. It shows the Baja Peninsula of California and the Gulf of California from the Colorado River down to Cape St. Lucas, with part of Sonora and Sinoloa in the south and the Gila River and Apache territory to the north. Part of the westernmost region of California itself is labeled "Unknown Tribes of Infidels." The plates depict Indians and the martyrdom of several Jesuits; according to Dorothy Sloan, the plates are "reworkings and enlargements of the vignettes which appeared on the first map of the original edition printed in Madrid in 1757, and here they are reversed." The four plates depict eight scenes, as follows: "Women of California," "Men of California," "The Coyote, or Fox," "The Taye or California Deer," "The Manner of Curing the Sick in California," "Sorcerers of California," "The Martyrdom of Father Carranco," and "The Martyrdom of Father Tamaral." Cowan asserts that all four plates appear in "but a few copies of the work, as two is the number usually found." "First attempt at a history of California. Based, by the anonymous editor, Father Andres Marcos Burriel, on Venegas's 1739 ms., but incorporating information from other sources" - Howes. "This work is considered the foundation of a library of Californiana. While largely devoted to Lower California, it also contains an account of the geography and voyages to the north. Padre Burriel, the editor, was a scholar of intelligence and ability. Aside from Cabrera he was the first writer to reject the apocryphal voyages and restrict northern geography to actual discoveries" - Harper. An essential work of early California. HOWES V69, "b." WAGNER SPANISH SOUTHWEST 132a. STREETER SALE 2435. COWAN, p.237. GRAFF 4471. FIELD 1600. BARRETT 2536. JONES 499. ZAMORANO 80, 78. HILL 1768. SABIN 98845. STEVENS, NUGGETS 2737. LATHROP HARPER 164:454. REESE, BEST OF THE WEST 7 (note). DOROTHY SLOAN 23:562. WAGNER CARTOGRAPHY OF THE NORTHWEST COAST 587n (map). LOWERY 437 (map).

Price: $6,000.00

Classic California History