Fifty years after the arrival of Columbus, at the height of Spain's conquest of the West Indies, Spanish bishop and colonist Bartolomé de las Casas dedicated his Brevísima Relación de la Destruición de las Indias to Philip II of Spain. An impassioned plea on behalf of the native peoples of the West Indies, the Brevísima Relación catalogues in horrific detail atrocities it attributes to the king's colonists in the New World. The result is a withering indictment of the conquerors that has cast a 500-year shadow over the subsequent history of that world and the European colonisation of it. Andrew Hurley's daring new translation dramatically foreshortens that 500 years by reversing the usual priority of a translation; rather than bring the Brevísima Relación to the reader, it brings the reader to the Brevísima Relación -- not as it is, but as it might have been, had it been originally written in English. The translator thus allows himself no words or devices unavailable in English by 1560, and in so doing reveals the prophetic voice, urgency and clarity of the work, qualities often obscured in modern translations. An Introduction by Franklin Knight, notes, a map, and a judicious set of Related Readings offer further aids to a fresh appreciation of this foundational historical and literary work of the New World and European engagement with it.
No gamble in history has been more momentous than the landfall of Columbus's ship the Santa Maria in the Americas in 1492 - an event that paved the way for the conquest of a 'New World'. The accounts collected here provide a vivid narrative of his voyages throughout the Caribbean and finally to the mainland of Central America, although he still believed he had reached Asia. Columbus himself is revealed as a fascinating and contradictory figure, fluctuating from awed enthusiasm to paranoia and eccentric geographical speculation. Prey to petty quarrels with his officers, his pious desire to bring Christian civilization to 'savages' matched by his rapacity for gold, Columbus was nonetheless an explorer and seaman of staggering vision and achievement.
Dramatic, revealing entries — including Columbus' own words — document epochal voyage, heavy seas, discouraged crew, first sighting of land, appearance of island natives, more. Translated into English, reset in large type. 44 illustrations, including a number from rare sources. Fascinating historical document. Publisher's note.