This work is the first English translation of the entire text of part one of sixteenth-century Spanish historian Francisco López de Gómara’s General History of the Indies. Including substantial critical annotations and providing access to various readings and passages added to or removed from the successive editions of the 1550s, this translation expands the archive of texts available to English speakers reconsidering the various aspects of the European invasion of America.
General History of the Indies was the first universal history of the recent discoveries and conquests of the New World made available to the Old World audience. At publication it consisted of two parts: the first a general history of the European discovery, conquest, and settlement of the Americas, and the second a detailed description of Cortés’s conquest of Mexico. Part one—in the multiple Spanish editions and translations into Italian and French published at the time—was the most comprehensive, popular, and accessible account of the natural history and geography of the Americas, the ethnology of the peoples of the New World, and the history of the Spanish conquest, including the most recent developments in Peru. Despite its original and continued importance, however, it had never been translated into English.
Gómara’s history communicates Europeans’ general understanding of the New World throughout the middle and later sixteenth century. A lively, comparatively brief description of Europe’s expansion into the Americas with significant importance to today’s understanding of the early modern worldview, Francisco López de Gómara’s General History of the Indies will be of great interest to students of and specialists in Latin American history, Latin American literature, anthropology, and cultural studies, as well as specialists in Spanish American intellectual history and colonial Latin America.