5 April 2016
BENZONI, Girolamo (b. 1519). La historia del mondo nuovo. Venice: Pietro and Francesco Tini, 1572.
8° (142 x 91 mm). 19th-century half vellum, marbled boards, morocco lettering-piece on spine. Provenance: Prince of Liechtenstein (bookplate).
Second edition, after the first published in Venice, 1565. In the 1550s and 1560s Benzoni spent fourteen years traveling throughout Haiti, Cuba, Panama, Colombia and Peru. His first-hand account of the customs and religions of the Native Americans of these regions and of the history of the Spanish settlements there provided scathing evidence of the abuses of European rule, as summarized in the title of this edition: "... the history, deeds, and strict and severe regime of the Spanish against the Indians, [whose] unbelievably huge wealth of gold, silver, diamonds, pearls, emeralds and other riches was stolen by the Spanish..." The popularity of the work, which was translated into French, German and Dutch, helped revise contemporary views of early Spanish America. Alden & Landis 572/7; JCB (1919) I, p. 248; Medina BHA, 250n; Sabin 4797.
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