25 September 2002
BARTOLOME GARCIA DE NODAL and GONÇAOL DE NODAL
Relacion del viaje par orden de Su. Magd. y Acverdo del Real Consejo de Indias... al descubrimiento del Estrecho nuevo de S. Vicente. y reconosimio. del de Magallanes. Madrid: Fernando Correa de Montenegro, 1621. 4° (194 x 133mm.) Engraved title, woodcut illustrations on three pages. (Without the folding engraved map, small split to upper platemark and lower blank margin of title, and shaved into image area at outer edge). Contemporary limp vellum, ties.
Unidentified early inscriptions (the first reads 'Del Convento del carmen de Busa Caroze' ?); early printed stamp at beginning and end (dated 1747).
A FINE COPY OF THE FIRST EDITION of this famously rare work which even in the 1860s was described by Sabin 'one of the rarest books of its class'. He goes on to note that the map 'is almost always wanting'. Borba de Moraes comments that 'This first edition, particularly with the map, is very rare and in fact is considered one of the rarest travel books of the seventeenth century. Copies containing the map are so rare that it is believed to have been withdrawn [in accordance with the official Spanish policy of secrecy] ... [the book] is of great value as a work of navigation'.
This landmark voyage included the first circumnavigation of Tierra del Fuego and was undertaken by the Nodal brothers aboard two specially built caravals. They were despatched by the Spanish authorities who had become alarmed by the news of the discoveries made by Le Maire and Schouten during their voyage of 1616 in search of the Southern Continent. After a remarkably quick and trouble-free voyage the Nodals returned with accurate observations of the tides in the Straits of Magellan and precise sailing instructions for the area. Borba de Moraes II, p.616; Hill p.214; Palau 99485; Sabin 55394.
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