Basel: Sebastian Henripetri, 1582-1583. Two volumes bound in one. ,ccxliii,,ccxlv-dcii,; ,cccvi,pp., plus folding table. Titlepages printed in red and black. Folio. Contemporary vellum, manuscript title on spine, yapp edges. Rubbed, front hinge neatly repaired. Marginal tear in folding table. Internally clean. Old bookseller's label and later ownership signature on front pastedown. Very good. In a cloth clamshell case, leather label. Item #WRCAM33119
Second edition, after the first of 1579, translated from Benzoni's HISTORIA DEL MONDO NUOVO, published in Venice in 1565. Benzoni's history of the New World was one of the most widely disseminated texts of its day. Having traveled to America himself in 1541, Benzoni was familiar with the Antilles, Guatemala, and the west coast of South America. Engaged in commerce, he quickly grew to hate the Spanish and their administration, and he treats them unfavorably in his text.
"[The work] contains interesting details about the countries he visited, but abounds in errors and often in intentional misstatements. What Benzoni states about the Antilles is a clumsy rehash of Las Casas. His reports on the conquests of Mexico and Peru bristle with errors" - CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA. Despite his inaccuracies, the wide distribution of his book made Benzoni an influential figure in describing the New World to Europe. It was undoubtedly chosen by De Bry in 1595 for publication because it matched his own virulently anti-Spanish view, promoting the "Black Legend" of Spanish cruelty and duplicity in conquering the New World. A version of the text occupied the fourth, fifth, and sixth parts of the GRAND VOYAGES. The present large folding plate of Cuzco, Peru is among the earliest civic views of South America.
An important and rare description of America. EUROPEAN AMERICANA 579/3. SABIN 4797 (another ed). BAGINSKY, GERMAN AMERICANA 79. JCB (3)I:273. THE CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA (online).