[Relaçam verdadeira] Relaçaõ verdadeira dos trabalhos que o governador Dom Fernando de Souto e certos fidalgos portugueses passaraõ no descobrimento da provincia da Florida. Agora novamente feita Por hum Fidalgo d’Elvas. Hernando do Soto, d’Elvas, Fidalgo Delvas or A. Gentleman of Elvas, Fernando da Silveira, André de Burgos.
[Relaçam verdadeira] Relaçaõ verdadeira dos trabalhos que o governador Dom Fernando de Souto e certos fidalgos portugueses passaraõ no descobrimento da provincia da Florida. Agora novamente feita Por hum Fidalgo d’Elvas.
[Relaçam verdadeira] Relaçaõ verdadeira dos trabalhos que o governador Dom Fernando de Souto e certos fidalgos portugueses passaraõ no descobrimento da provincia da Florida. Agora novamente feita Por hum Fidalgo d’Elvas.
[Relaçam verdadeira] Relaçaõ verdadeira dos trabalhos que o governador Dom Fernando de Souto e certos fidalgos portugueses passaraõ no descobrimento da provincia da Florida. Agora novamente feita Por hum Fidalgo d’Elvas.
The Discovery of Florida - A Manuscript Copy

[Relaçam verdadeira] Relaçaõ verdadeira dos trabalhos que o governador Dom Fernando de Souto e certos fidalgos portugueses passaraõ no descobrimento da provincia da Florida. Agora novamente feita Por hum Fidalgo d’Elvas.

France(?): Second half of the eighteenth-century. Manuscript book. Written in brown ink by one or probably two neat hands. A French introduction by a different hand on the front flyleaf with bibliographical details, and the addition of Fernando da Silveira’s Epigramma from the printed book and the summary of André de Burgos’ prologue. Pages ruled in pencil. In contemporary half morocco. Title lettered in gilt on spine. ff. [189]. Corners bumped. Panels are rubbed at the extremities. Wormholes on the spine, with no effect on the book. Light water stain to the upper corners of the last few leaves. Overall in fine condition.

An eighteenth-century manuscript copy of the scarce, Portuguese eye-witness' account on the discovery of Florida, Relaçam verdadeira, a narrative of Hernando de Soto’s expedition, which was first published in Évora in 1557 by Andrés de Burgos.

Relaçam verdadeira is the first account to be published about de Soto’s expedition and the discovery of Florida. The book was written by an anonymous gentleman from Elvas, who was one of the Portuguese fidalgos accompanying the Spanish expedition crossing the southern territories of North America from Florida to the mouth of the Mississippi.

De Soto, the seasoned conquistador who had participated in the conquest of Peru, and his men landed in Florida in May 1539 and wandered through what is now the southeastern United States, Florida, Georgia, South and North Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, and Louisiana. After nearly four years of unsuccessful search for gold, and the death of de Soto in 1542, the three hundred survivors of the initial force of seven hundred reached the Mississippi River and returned to Mexico.

Relaçam verdadeira is among the few key narratives of early Spanish efforts to explore North America and is considered as one of the major documents of sixteenth-century American history. It provides the earliest accounts of the Southern Indians and gives the first insight into their customs and religious practices.

The printed book is extremely scarce, IB (just as USTC) lists only 3 copies in New York (NYPL), London (BL), and Madrid (BNE). Besides those, we located two copies at Biblioteca Geral da Universidade de Coimbra and JCB. The French introduction of the present volume mentions a copy, probably of which the manuscript was made after, in Lisbon at Real Palacio das Necessidades, however, we could not verify the existence or the current location of it.

References for the printed book (Évora: Andrés de Burgos, 1557): IB 18049, USTC 343292, Joaquim Anselmo, Portugal, no. 388.

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Price: €35,000.00