4to., (10 ½ x 8 ¾ inches). Notes & Errata leaf. Fine engraved frontispiece “Plan of the City and Lake of Mexico, with an Elevation of an Ancient Temple” (small fold to upper corner, one or two spots). Contemporary mottled calf, the spine in six compartments with five raised bands, red morocco gilt lettering piece in one (rebacked, extremities a bit worn).
First English edition (first published in Spain in 1632). Born in Spain, Bernal Diaz del Castillo arrived in America in 1514 at the young age of 21. He settled in Cuba, and five years later he joined Hernandez de Cordova’s expedition to Yucatán. Later he fought alongside Cortès in the conquest of Mexico, and was appointed governor of Santiago de Guatemala by the King of Spain in recognition of his efforts there. He was inspired to write a “true history” of the events of the conquest because he greatly disapproved of the works previously written about the period, which he declared were full of errors. He insists in the text that “as actor and eyewitness, he was better situated to record the truth of the expeditions in their topographical and military details” (Encyclopaedia Britannica). The manuscript was completed in 1568, whereupon a copy was made and sent to King Philip II. However, it remained unpublished for 70 years, until it was found in the library of Don Lorenzo Ramirez de Prado and given to Remon to be printed in 1632. (Huntington Library Notes).