LOPEZ DE GOMARA, FRANCISCO. 1511-1566
[JUAN DE ESPINOSA (bookseller in Toledo).] Manuscript on paper, signed J.S. of Toledo, small 4to, 41 leaves, Toledo, October 18, 1554, in a neat Spanish hand, an extract from Lopez de Gomara's La Historia de las Indias y Conquista de Mexico, foliated -96. Modern half morocco, mottled paper covers.
CONTEMPORARY MANUSCRIPT EXTRACT FROM LOPEZ DE GOMARA'S BANNED WORK ON THE SPANISH CONQUEST OF THE AMERICAS, the work covering the voyages of Columbus, Balboa and Magellan, the conquest of Mexico by Cortes and of Peru by Pizarro. Lopez de Gomara was the secretary and chaplain of Cortes from 1540 and in that capacity acquired first hand knowledge of some of the events he describes. Apart from his interviews with Cortes he acquired documents and written reports from Father Toribo de Benavente, Gonzales Fernandez de Oviedo y Valdes, Pedro de Alvarado and Andres de Tapia.
La Historia de las Indias was first published in 1552 in Zaragossa, a second edition appeared in 1553, and other editions quickly followed in Medina del Campo and Antwerp, while translations into Italian, French and English proliferated after the Spanish officially banned its printing in Spain in 1556. This manuscript copy appears to have been copied out by the Toledo bookseller Juan de Espinosa with a long note on p 79 and with his initials and date on p 93. Wagner in Francisci Lopez de Gomara, La Historia de las Indias y conquista de Mexico (1924), pp29-30, suggests that the suppression of the work began as soon as it appeared, and that copies were confiscated from booksellers. He suggests that the Cortes family had a hand in its suppression and the Crown did not like the criticism of the Royal Family. The privilege for the book was only in Aragon, so it would be highly likely that manuscript copies of this rare work would have circulated long before it was officially banned from Spain. The ban on its printing was extended by Philip II of Spain.