Juan de. Primera [segunda, tercera] parte de los veinte i unlibros rituales i monarchia indiana, con el origen y guerras, de los indios occidentales, de sus poblaciones, descubrimeinto, conquista, conversion, y otras cosas maravillosas de la mesma tierra. Madrid: Nicolás Rodríguez Franco, 1723. Small folio (29.5 cm; 11.5" ). 3 vols. I:  ff., 768, 71 pp., fold. map. II:  ff., 623 pp.,  ff. III:  ff., 4, 634 pp.,  ff.
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The second and best edition of one of the primary works on the early history of New Spain. The author was a Franciscan and it is known that he was a disciple of Fr. Juan Bautista and perhaps of Fr. Bernardino de Sahagún. Torquemada’s detailed and fastidiously correct work was originally published in Seville in 1615 and that edition is of the utmost rarity. This second edition, in three thick volumes, is preferred by scholars and readers as it was prepared by the great historian González Barcia, who corrected errors, filled in gaps, and added notes, indexes, and other material.
Most of the Monarchia indiana is devoted to an account of the native people of Mexico and the history of the country from the conquest until 1600. Harper calls it “the most complete work on Mexico, an indispensable source for the history of that country.” The entire second volume is devoted to native religions, and important sections concern explorations in New Spain—especially the explorations of Sebastian Vizcaíno to lower California in the 1590s, for which this work is the principal published source.
Besides its primary importance for New World history, Torquemada’s work includes an account of voyages of Pedro Fernández de Quiros and his searches for and theories about Terra Australis incognita. Quiros had made two voyages in the Pacific in 1595–97 and 1605–06 and was actively lobbying the Spanish crown for support for further exploration. Lach credits Torquemada’s description of Quiros’s voyages as “promoting a Franciscan plan to missionize the austral lands.”
With some justice, Lucas Alamán called Torquemada, “The Livy of Mexico.”
MEXICO is one of our great specialties.
Each volume here begins with a sumptuous and highly baroque engraved title-page and vol. I has a large engraved folding map of the New World and the Pacific Ocean, to the China coast.
Provenance: Late 18th-century ownership stamp (in two margins) of Joaquin Antonio de Medina.
Sabin 96212; Wagner, Spanish Southwest, 18A; Alden & Landis 725/195; Medina, BHA, 2491; Barrett, Baja California, 2420; Hill (2003 ed.), Pacific Voyages, 1707; Harper, XVI, 518; Lach, Asia in the Making of Europe, III, 308; Palau 335033. Recased in original limp vellum, a few tears to edges of vellum; one volume repaired at joints. A few leaves extruded and a little ragged at edges as a consequence. In vol I, old moisture damage to endpapers (only); title-page and preliminaries of vol. II supplied from a different copy and a bit smoke damaged. An attractive, solid set.
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