THE ORIGIN OF THE AMERICANS

Origen de los Indios de el nuevo mundo, e Indias Occidentales, averiguado con discurso de opiniones por el padre presentado Fr. Gregorio Garcia, de la Orden de Predicadores … Segunda impresion. Enmendada, y añadida …

Madrid, Francisco Martinez Abad, 1729.

Folio, pp. [32], [7]-336, [80 (index)]; text in two columns with side notes, engraved vignette to title, large engraving of Thomas Aquinas to leaf following title, four engravings of coins to pp. 225-227, woodcut initials, head- and tail-pieces; small holes to title where book label removed from blank verso with loss of a few letters (made good in MS), old repairs to verso, repair to fore-edge margin of second leaf (likely where stamp removed), repair to corner of pp. 169-170; otherwise a good clean copy in eighteenth-century cat’s paw calf, spine gilt in compartments with gilt-lettered red morocco label, red edges, marbled endpapers; a little wear to extremities, front free endpaper renewed.

£1200

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Origen de los Indios de el nuevo mundo, e Indias Occidentales, averiguado con discurso de opiniones por el padre presentado Fr. Gregorio Garcia, de la Orden de Predicadores … Segunda impresion. Enmendada, y añadida …

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Second enlarged edition (first 1607) of an extraordinary work on the origin of the Americans by the Spanish Dominican missionary Gregorio Garcia (c. 1556–1627), ‘a work of vast erudition’ (Sabin).

After joining the Dominican Order, Garcia travelled to Quito in 1586 as a missionary. He would spend the next twelve years in America, much of it in Peru, his missionary activities being combined with exhaustive research into the question of how the first settlers reached the New World. Upon his return to Spain, where he was appointed professor of moral theology at Baeza, he published the results of his research in 1607, laying out the ‘opinions that have existed regarding the origin of the Indians’ and leaving the reader to discern truth from falsehood. This enlarged second edition was edited by the Spanish historian Andrés González de Barcia, one of the founders of the Royal Spanish Academy.

After examining allusions to the New World in the works of classical writers, Garcia discusses hypotheses that America was peopled by the Hebrews, Carthaginians, or colonists from Greece and Rome. A special study is devoted to certain tribes in Mexico and Peru. Garcia’s experiences during his many years in America also feature, and ‘Barcia’s additions are considerable’ (Sabin). Clavigero decribed the Origen as ‘a work of vast erudition’, while Charlevoix wrote that ‘all that has ever been imagined as to the origin of the Americans, and the manner in which this New World was peopled, is gathered here’ (quoted in Sabin).

Borba de Moraes I, 346; Medina IV, 2713; Sabin 26567.

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