EXQUEMELIN, Alexandre Olivier (1645?-1707). Piratas de la America, y luz à la defensa de las costas de Indias Occidentales. Translated from Dutch by Alonso de Bonne-Maison. Edited by Antonio Freyre. "Cologne: Lorenzo Struickman" [i.e., Amsterdam: David de Castro Tartas], 1681.
4o (201 x 153 mm). Collation: *-7*4 A-Z Aa-Tt4. 196 leaves (including blanks Ee4 and Tt4). Title printed in red and black, full-page engraved arms of the dedicatee Bernardino Antonio de Pardiñas Villar de Francos on title verso. Dedication, prologue by the Dutch printer of the 1678 edition, and translator's preface, each followed by a poem by Daniel Levi (Miguel de) Barrios, a sonnet by Duarte López Rosa concluding the preliminaries; the text preceded by a long descriptive poem by Barrios on the Americas (6*1r-7*4v). One engraved portrait (of 4, Church 3), 2 engraved plates (of 5, Church 2 and 5, the latter folding), and 1 folding map of Panama; engraving in text (p. 20, C2v), two woodcuts of arrows in text (p. 297 and 300), woodcut ornaments and initials. (Lacking 6 engravings as above, title rehinged and with short marginal repaired tear, some soiling and marginal discoloration, a few short marginal tears.) Contemporary sheep, speckled edges (broken, backstrip perished).
RARE FIRST EDITION IN SPANISH of Exquemelin's enormously influential Buccaneers of America, A LITTLE-KNOWN JEWISH AMERICANUM. The Jewish source of this edition was unknown to the standard Americana bibliographers, although the falsity of the imprint has been suspected (cf. Alden & Landis).
The first edition of Exquemelin's account was printed at Amsterdam by Jan ten Hoorn in 1678. This Spanish edition, printed three years later, is illustrated with impressions of the copperplates, slightly reworked, from the first edition -- the most obvious sign of a possible Dutch origin. In fact, most of the contributors to this edition were members of a circle of Iberian Sephardic immigrants to Amsterdam, including several physicians, who were well-integrated into the Christian literary community and were friendly with Exquemelin, who had settled in Amsterdam upon returning from his adventures at sea. The key to identifying the edition lies in the contributions of Daniel Levi Barrios (1635-1701), the Marrano poet and historiographer of the Portuguese Jewish community of Amsterdam, who retained his military title of Captain in the Spanish Army, in which he had served in Brussels in 1662-65, and his gentile name Miguel, even after becoming an active member of the Amsterdam Sephardic congregation of Talmud Torah. The startlingly out-of-place engraving of a love scene printed on page 20 of this edition, unsigned but by Johannes Kip, had appeared the previous year on the title of one of Barrios' works, Luna opulenta de Holanda en rubes que el amor manda, printed at the Sephardic press of David de Castro Tartas. The typeface of the Piratas is also that of the Luna, i.e., of Tartas' press. In the Luna Barrios praises the talents of his friend Dr. Alonso de Bonne-Maison, the translator of this edition, a Christian physican who had extensive contacts within the Sephardic community of Amsterdam and shared both his profession and, for a time, a house with Exquemelin. (In 1681, following publication of this translation, the two shipped out together for Jamaica.) Duarte López Rosa, who contributed a sonnet to the edition, was a Portuguese Jewish physican with literary interests, and a friend of Barrios. One may conjecture that Barrios and Rosa recommended to Exquemelin that he have his translation printed by Tartas, who specialised in Iberian and Hebrew editions and who was well-known as the printer of the Gazeta de Amsterdam (1667-1700).
Barrios' long descriptive poem, entitled "Descripcion de las Islas del Mar Athlantico y de America," which prefaces the text, is the most interesting manifestation of this web of Jewish/American connections, for in it he displays a thorough knowledge of the Atlantic and Caribbean islands, including Trinidad, Tobago, Martinique, Puerto Rico, Santa Lucia, Guadalupe, Barbados, Tortuga, Jamaica, and Haiti. He had himself made the voyage to Tobago in 1660, but, his wife having died upon arrival, he immediately returned to Holland. Barrios' poem appears to be one of the earliest literary works specifically devoted to America by a Jewish writer.
Of this edition a variant issue is known, containing 35 instead of 28 leaves of preliminaries, the difference due to a longer dedication. Bonne-Maison's Spanish translation, which was reprinted under the same false imprint in duodecimo format in 1682, was the source of the English translation, first published in 1684. This edition, the third edition of Exquemelin's account to appear in print, following a poor German translation printed at Nuremberg in 1679, is the earliest obtainable edition of the work, the first edition surviving in only a few institutional copies and the German edition being also exceedingly rare. No complete copies have appeared at auction in over 30 years.
Alden & Landis 681/38; Borba de Moraes p. 299; Church 667n; Medina BHA 1714; Palau 85730; Sabin 23471.