Eighteenth Century Historians
Alexander von Humboldt
Revolution & Independence
Rediscovering Mexican Antiquity
Emergence of Mexico
Ramusio, Giovanni Battista,
1485-1557. Terzo volvme delle navigationi et viaggi.
Venetia, Nella stamperia de' Givnti, 1565. Later vellum.
The oldest published account of Mexico in Thomas Cooper Library
appears to be that printed in the third volume of this mid-16th
century Italian collection of exploration narratives, published less
than fifty years after Hernan Cortes invaded central Mexico in 1519.
Shown here is an illustration and description of Mexico City, built on
the ruins of the much larger original lake-bound Aztec capital of
View of Mexico City from 1572
Georg Braun, 1541-1622, and Franz Hogenberg, c.1536-1588.
"Mexico Regia Celebris Hispaniae Novae Civitas," from Civitates
Frankfurt: Braun and Hogenberg, . John Osman Collection.
Collection, donated by to the University by Mrs. Mary C. Osman,
includes more than four hundred copperplate engraved maps and views of
(mostly European) cities, issued by the Dutch engravers Braun and
Hogenberg in six volumes over the years 1572 to 1618. In this
engraving, the view of Mexico is paired with one of Cusco, in Peru.
Purchas His Pilgrimes
Bartolomé de Las Casas, 1474-1566, translated in Purchas, Samuel,
Purchas his Pilgrimes, in Five Bookes. The Sixth, Contayning
English Voyages to the East, West, and South Parts of America: Many
Land and Sea Fights, Invasions and Victories against the Spaniards in
those parts. 4 vols.
London: Printed by W. Stansby for H. Fetherstone, 1625. Later
collection of exploration narratives, in English translations made in
the same years as the King James Bible, long retained a major
influence among English-speaking readers as a source on the Spanish
conquest. As the subtitle suggests, European rivalries, sharpened by
religious differences, influenced Purchas's choice of sources to
reprint. Shown here is the sharply-critical account of the cruelties
of the conquistadors by the Franciscan missionary Bartolomé de Las
Casas (1474-1566), which in 1542 led to changes in Spanish
administrative policies in New Spain.
Extent of Spanish Influence in the New World
R: Eltracke, sculp.,"America
Septentrionalis." in Samuel Purchas, 1577?-1626 Haklvytvs
posthumus or Pvrchas his Pilgrimes. Contayning a history of the
world, in sea voyages, & lande-truells, by Englishmen and others. . .
London: Printed by W. Stansby for H. Fetherstone, 1625. 4
vols. Later sprinkled calf.
map gives a striking
representation of the extent of Spanish settlement in 1600, not only
in Mexico and central America, but north up the Californian coast,
into what is now New Mexico, and up the Atlantic coast from
Martyr, as edited by Hakluyt
Anghiera, Pietro Martire d', 1457-1526; Hakluyt, Richard,
1552?-1616, ed. De orbe novo Petri Martyris Anglerii
Mediolanensis, protonotarii, & Caroli Quinti senatoris decades octo,
diligenti temporam obseruatione, & vtilissimis annotationibus
illustratæ, suóque nitori restitutœ, labore & industria Richard
Paris: apud G. Avvray, 1587. Contemporary calf,
decade-by-decade chronicle of Spanish conquest, by Peter the Martyr,
had been published earlier, and had appeared in English translation in
1555. Shown here is the version edited and annotated by the British
geographer Richard Hakluyt, resident in Paris in 1583-1586.
Theodor de Bry's Greater Voyages, I
Bry, Theodor de, 1528-1598, map of New Spain, in
Americæ pars quarta. Sive, Insignis & admiranda historia de reperta
primùm Occidentali India à Christophoro Columbo anno M.CCCCXCII.
Frankfurt: Feyrabend, 1594. Contemporary vellum with the date
The two volumes of Theodor de Bry's illustrated collection of voyages
to the Americas were purchased for the South Carolina College library
in the 1820's. The fourth part printed Urbain Chauveton's annotated
Latin translation of the Italian Historia del Mondo Nuovo, book
1, by Girolamo Benzoni. Benzoni had travelled in America in the years
1541-1556. De Bry's beautiful map of New Spain shows how widely
Spanish exploration and settlement had reached by the 1590's.
de Bry's Greater Voyages, II
Bry, Theodor de, 1528-1598. Americæ nona & postrema pars.
Qua de ratione elementorum: de Novi Orbis natura: de huius incolarum
superstitiosis cultibus: . . . Catalogo Regum Mexicanorum omnium. . .
& figuris . . . æneis coornata.
Frankfurt: Matthew Becker,
1602. Contemporary vellum stamped 1605.
Each of the
separate parts of de Bry's great project was illustrated with an
appendix of copperplate engravings, which had a lasting influence on
European perceptions of pre-Columbian America. Shown
here is de Bry's
illustration of Aztec sacrifice, with the victim's discarded corpse
tumbling down the steps of the temple, and the racks of human
skulls beneath the main platform. While most of this ninth part of de Bry's collection is drawn from the Dutch explorer Sebald de Weert, the
first section is by the Spanish Jesuit José de Acosta.
José de Acosta on American natural history and customs
Acosta, José de, 1540-1600. Historia natural y moral
de la Indias, en que se tratan . . . los ritos, y cereminas, leyes, y
govierno, y guerras de los Indios.
Sevilla: Juan de Leon,
1590. Nineteenth-century calf.
In 1583, as
a Jesuit missionary, Jose de Acosta had published the first book ever
printed in Peru. This sophisticated defence of Spanish policy in the
New World was his most famous book, notable especially for its careful
descriptions of natural resources.
José de Acosta in translation
Acosta, José de, 1540-1600; Grimeston, Edward, transl. The natvrall and morall historie of the East and West Indies. . . . with
the manners, ceremonies, lawes, governements, and warres of the
London: V. Sims for E. Blount and W. Aspley, 1604.
The extent of
European interest in Mexico and the New World is indicated by
successive translations of Acosta's book into Italian (1596), French
(1597), Dutch (1598), German (1601), Latin (1602), and English (1604).