Acosta, Jose de (1540-1600) Naturall and Morall Historie of the East and West Indies. London: Printed by Val: Sims for Edward Blount and William Aspley, 1604. First edition in English, quarto, type ornaments and woodcut "The" on title, ex libris Sir George Chudleigh and his daughter-in-law, Lady Mary Chudleigh, the poet, with several extensive manuscript text annotations on title, last few leaves, and some instances in the text, this copy sold in the Fleming sale at Christie's New York on 18 November 1988; bound in full pale olive green calfskin by Leighton, elaborately gilt spine; some minor staining to text leaves, last leaf repaired, lacks final blank, b4, a few headlines shaved, boards a bit rubbed, 7 1/4 x 5 1/4 in.
The Historia Natural y Moral established Acosta's reputation as a keen observer capable of relating detailed and realistic descriptions of the New World. A Spanish Jesuit by training, Acosta first traveled to the Americas in 1570. In addition to notes on the natural history of the places he visited, including Peru (where he crossed the Andes), Panama, and Mexico, Acosta also describes Incan and Aztec customs and natural geographical features, such as tides, lakes, rivers, and mineral resources. He also established several universities in South America, where native languages were carefully studied and recorded, and was responsible for bringing a printing press to Peru in the 1570s.
A4 (A1 present, blank save signature mark), B-Z8, Aa-Pp8, a4, b3.
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