OVIEDO Y VALDÉS, Gonzalo Fernández de (1478-1557)
Historia General y Natural de las Indias, Islas y Tierrafirme del Mar Océano
Madrid: Imprenta de la Real Academia de la Historia, 1851-1853, 1855. 4 vol. Folio. (12 7/8 x 9 inches). With half-titles, 15 lithographed plates total, 3 of which are folding, 1 of which is in colour. [Vol I:] (ii), cxii, (1), 632, (2) pp. 5 plates. [Vol II:] vii, (i), 511, (3) pp. 2 plates (1 folding). [Vol III:] viii, 651, (3) pp. 2 plates. [Vol IV:] viii, 619, (3) pp. 5 plates (1 folding and in colour).
Dark brown half morocco and marbled paper boards, spines with raised bands in 6 compartments, lettered and ruled gilt, marbled endpapers. Uncut
An attractive and uncut set of one of the great 16th century eyewitness accounts of the Spanish settlement of the New World, here published in its complete form for the first time.
This opus represents an exhaustive chronicle of the initial Spanish forays into and colonization of the Americas, with a particular focus on the Caribbean and Central America. Penned by Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo during the early 16th century, his narrative spans a spectrum of themes encompassing Spanish interactions with indigenous populations, the geography of the continent and its flora and fauna. Historia General distinguishes itself through its meticulous portrayals of the natural terrain and the diverse indigenous cultures encountered by Spanish explorers. It unfurls a treasure trove of knowledge concerning the region's plant life, wildlife, landscapes, as well as the practices and traditions of its original inhabitants. Within these pages, Oviedo captures the sense of awe and curiosity that gripped European explorers upon their arrival in the New World. A testament to the early European perceptions of the Americas, this book holds the status as one of the foremost sources for unravelling the history of the nascent Spanish colonial era. Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo y Valdés, often simply referred to as Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo, was a Spanish explorer, author, and historian who was active during the late 15th and early 16th centuries. Oviedo's early career was marked by his participation in various exploratory expeditions to the New World. He arrived in the Americas during the second voyage of Christopher Columbus in 1493. Oviedo spent several decades in the Caribbean and Central America, where he held administrative and official positions related to Spanish colonial activities. His career as an explorer and official in the Spanish colonies continued for many years and, upon his return to Spain, he dedicated himself to completing his historical works, which became some of the earliest and most comprehensive accounts of the New World.
Sabin 57990; Howes 159; Le Clerc 433; Palau 89532; Brunet 4, 299; Winsor 11, p. 346, iv, 73, 81; Graff 3147.