Historie of the West-Indies


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(WEST INDIES) (HAKLUYT, Richard) MARTYR, Peter (aka Pietro Martire d'Anghiera). The Historie of the West-Indies, Containing the Actes and Adventures of the Spaniards, Which Have Conquered and Peopled Those Countries, Inriched with Varietie of Pleasant Relation of the Manners, Ceremonies, Lawes, Governments, and Warres of the Indians. London: Andrew Hebb, circa 1625. Octavo, contemporary dark brown calf rebacked, raised bands, red morocco spine label.

Very scarce second complete edition of this English translation of an important and early account of the Spanish in the West Indies, published in English by Richard Hakluyt in order to encourage English exploration and colonization of the region. An excellent complete copy in contemporary calf boards.

"Although Hakluyt himself never traveled farther than France he inspired some of the great overseas explorations of his time and was one of the leading spirits in the Elizabethan maritime expansion" (PMM). A vigorous propagandist and empire-builder, Hakluyt's purpose was to further British maritime enterprise and to intensify British expansion overseas. He saw Britain's greatest opportunity in the colonization of America, and was one of the chief promoters of the petition to the king for patents for the colonization of Virginia. He recommended the capture of the Magellan Strait from Spain, pleaded for a voyage to discover the North-West Passage, and maintained a very lucrative consultancy with the East India Company. He met many of the great navigators— Drake, Raleigh, Gilbert, Frobisher and others— corresponded with Ortelius and Mercator and collected all the material on voyages he could find, and spent much of his career arranging for the translations of these accounts into English. Martyr published his history beginning in 1511, in Latin, and separately and cumulatively until his death. The first complete edition of all eight books was issued in Latin in 1532. Hakluyt edited and had published a second complete Latin edition in 1587. Martyr's work was first translated into English in 1555 by Richard Eden as The Decades of the Newe Worlde. That was the first major work in English about the New World, but it only included the first three of Martyr's books. The full translation of all eight books, the first three in Eden's translation, the other five newly translated by Michael Lok, was not issued until 1612 at Hakluyt’s instigation and from his Latin edition, by printer Thomas Adams, followed by this edition, which is described as a reissue of the 1612 first edition sheets using a new title page that omits Eden's name as translator of the first three books. Sabin 45011. STC 651. Cox II: 202. See G. Bruner Parks, 263, 267. Some early owner signatures and pen trials to front and rear blanks; owner ink signature dated 1908. Old pencil notation from Bernard Quaritch ("Perfect") on rear pastedown.

Scattered light foxing and soiling. Tiny marginal hole to L1, not affecting text; short marginal closed tear to X6, barely touching text. A very good, complete copy of this very scarce title.

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