DIAZ DEL CASTILLO, Bernal (ca 1492-1581). Historia verdadera de la conquista de la Nueva-Espana. Madrid: Imprenta del Reyno, 1632.
2o (280 x 196 mm). Woodcut title-page border, head and tail-pieces, and initials. (Some marginal staining occasionally affecting the text, blank portion of last page of "Tabla de los Capitulo" with closed tear.) 19th-century quarter vellum, marbled boards (scuffed at the foot of the spine). Provenance: C.H. Lavadigere (signature on title-page dated 1860); discreet library ink stamp on title-page.
THE FUNDAMENTAL EYEWITNESS ACCOUNT OF THE CONQUEST OF MEXICO
FIRST EDITION, FIRST ISSUE, with letterpress title-page. Diaz del Castillo, a soldier of fortune, participated in several of the key expeditions of the conquistadores, including that of Pedrarias to the Darien in 1514, and, three years later, that of Córdoba to the Yucatán Peninsula. He then joined the small expeditionary force under Hernando Cortés and was an eyewitness to the entire epic conquest of Mexico, from 1519 to 1521. In 1524, he accompanied Cortés on the expedition to Honduras. The Historia verdadero de la conquista de la la Nueva España was written between 1552 and 1557 in opposition to the previously published narrative of the conquest by Lopez de Gomara, Chaplain of the Cortés expedition, Diaz del Castillo's account constitutes perhaps the principal authority for the history of the conquest. Bernal Diaz remained in Mexico until 1541, then relocated to the colony in Guatemala, where he spent the remainder of his life; he was a regidor or member of the city council in 1551 or 1552 (the exact date remains uncertain due to gaps in the records of the Cabildo in that period) and held that office until his death. A similar document from the Actas of the Cabildo is illustrated in Herbert Cerwin, Bernal Diaz, Historian of the Conquest, 1963, facing p.164. Alden & Landis 632/27; Palau 72354; Sabin 19978; Streeter Sale I: 192.