ABTRUCK AINS LATEINNISCHEN SANDTBRIEVES AN BABSTLICHE HEILIGKEIT, VON KUNIGKLICHER WURDEN ZU PORTEGALL DIS IARS AUSGANGEN VON DER EROBERE STAT MALACHA: ANDEREN KÜNIGRYCHEN UND HERSCHAFFTEN IN INDIA AUCH GEGEN AUSSGANG DER SUNNEN ERSTLICH ZU ROM IN LATEIN GETRUCKT UND NACHMALN IN TEÜSCH GEBRACHT.

[Strassburg: Matthias Hüpfüff, 1513]. [7] leaves, including woodcut titlepage illustration (3 1/4 x 4 1/2 inches), plus final integral blank leaf. Quarto. Dbd., leather tab on foredge of first leaf. Slight soiling and dampstaining in margins. A very good copy. In a half morocco and cloth box. Item #WRCAM38334

An extremely rare German translation of a newsletter first issued in Latin and published in Rome in 1513, reporting the Portuguese conquest of Malacca in 1511 and describing its rich potential as a commercial center. No copies of this seven-leaf edition are recorded in OCLC or RLIN, and only a single copy of another 1513 German translation, printed in Augsburg and consisting of five leaves, is located in the U.S., at the James Ford Bell Library. However, the British Library holds copies of both translations, and the imprint information for this edition is based on Robert Proctor's research on German books in the British Museum. The letter from Manuel I to Pope Leo X relates the conquest of Malacca by Portuguese military commander Afonso de Albuquerque in June 1511. In addition to providing details of this victorious battle, the report includes descriptions of the wealth to be found in the region and the importance of the city as a trading nexus. In particular, the text emphasizes how courteously the merchants were treated in order to ensure future commerce. Albuquerque's voyages and military exploits between 1503 and 1515 were instrumental in consolidating Portugal's expansion to India and Malaya. The present pamphlet also records his actions after he departed from Malaya and returned to Goa in 1512. These include descriptions of skirmishes with the Moors and embassies to other parts of India and Asia related to the payment of tribute to the Portuguese crown. As in the descriptions of Malacca, the potential wealth to be found in the region is emphasized. While the text of the pamphlet is entirely about the East Indies, the titlepage contains one of the earliest illustrations of an American Indian. The woodcut on the titlepage shows a native man and native woman on either side of an armorial shield immediately below a royal crown. The naked woman, with a flowering plant in her left hand, holds the bottom of the crown with her other hand as the man steadies the shield with his left hand and grasps a bow with his right hand. The man, with full beard, wears a feather crown, skirt, and leg decorations. This woodcut is exactly the same as that illustrating the titlepage of an earlier German newsletter reporting Portuguese activities in the East, Manuel I's GESCHICHTE KURTZLICH DURCH DIE VON PORTUGALIEN IN INDIA, MORENLAND, UND ANDERN ERDTRICH, published in Nuremburg circa 1507. This portrayal of the man, in turn, appears to be derived from images of South American Indians found in an illustrated Vespucci broadside printed in Nuremberg circa 1505-1506 (see EUROPEAN AMERICANA 505/11, and illustrated on the cover of the Wolfenbüttel exhibition catalogue) and broadsides based on Vespucci's third voyage printed in Augsburg circa 1505-1506 (EUROPEAN AMERICANA 505/13 and 505/14). The publisher of the present work also issued an illustrated edition of Vespucci in 1505, although not this one (see Church 22 for a reproduction). Of course, at this early time Europeans might well have supposed that the East Indians of Malacca and the natives Vespucci encountered in the New World were the same people. All of these broadsides and pamphlets, including the present work, were published within seven or eight years in three different centers of German printing. A remarkably rare early German newsletter reporting on Portuguese military and commercial activities in Malacca and India. No copies on OCLC, or VD16; a single copy located at the British Library. PROCTOR, INDEX OF GERMAN BOOKS 1501-1520 IN THE BRITISH MUSEUM, p.31, no. 10035. BELL M125 (variant translation, [5] leaves). OCLC 35837666 (variant translation, [5] leaves, James Ford Bell only). HOWGEGO A43 (Albuquerque). PENROSE SALE 156 (for woodcut illustration in the 1507 Nuremburg GESCHICHTE...) (ref). DEÁK, PICTURING AMERICA 4 (illustrated broadside, ca. 1505) (ref). GLASER, ENGRAVED AMERICA, p.16 (illustrated Vespucci broadside, 1505-6) (ref). EXHIBITION OF THE DUKE AUGUST LIBRARY WOLFENBUTTEL; THE NEW WORLD IN THE TREASURES OF AN OLD EUROPEAN LIBRARY, 1976 (see cover illustration and entry 3) (ref).

Price: $125,000.00

One of the First Works Describing the Portuguese Conquest of Malacca, and One of the First Images of an American Indian