"THE MOST SERIOUS AND THOROUGH EXPLORATION OF MAGELLAN'S STRAIT IN THE 16TH CENTURY": 1768 FIRST EDITION OF SARMIENTO DE GAMBOA'S IMPORTANT AND EARLY EXPLORATION OF THE STRAIT OF MAGELLAN
(STRAIT OF MAGELLAN) SARMIENTO DE GAMBOA, Pedro. Viage al Estrecho de Magallanes… en los Años de 1579 y 1580. Madrid: Imprenta Real de la Gazeta, 1768. Small quarto, early marbled paper wrappers, red morocco spine label. Housed in a custom chemise and clamshell box. $7300.
First edition of "the most serious and thorough exploration of Magellan's Strait in the 16th century—indeed the most thorough exploration ever made before the voyage of the Beagle in the 19th century" (Parry, The Discovery of South America), printed here for the first time from the manuscript preserved in the Royal Library at Madrid, with three folding engraved plates.
"In 1579, when Drake appeared in Peruvian waters, Sarmiento was sent to intercept him. Drake, however, went on to circumnavigate the globe, and Sarmiento failed to overtake him. "Sarmiento then explored and mapped the Strait and sailed for Spain to convince he government to build forts and to populate that region. The government fitted out an extensive fleet of 16 ships for the purpose of transporting a considerable body of colonists, with Sarmiento as governor, to settle along the Strait… Inclement weather, several shipwrecks, English attacks, desertions, and the incompetence of the commander of the fleet, Diego Flores de Valdez, all combined to render the enterprise unsuccessful. The two small settlements founded in 1583 were short-lived" (Hill). Sarmiento de Gamboa's account describes both the initial exploration of the Strait and the attempt to establish colonies in that inhospitable region. Text in Spanish. Edited by Bernardo Yriarte. Cox II, 279. Hill 1526. Sabin 77094.
Restoration to minor wormholing on last few text leaves and folding plate margins, not touching images. Text generally clean and fresh. A very good copy.