[Noticias Sacras y Reales de los dos Imperios de las Indias occidentales de la Nueva España, y el Peru.] Memorial y Resumen breve de Noticias de las Indias Occidentales, la Nueva España, y el Peru. Al Excelentissimo Señor Don Gaspar de Bracamonte y Guzman, Conde de Peñaranda, Comendador de Daimiel en la Orden de Calatrava, Gentilhombre de la Camara, y Plenipotenciario del Rey nuestro señor para la paz universal en la Junta de Munster, de los Consejos de Estado, y Guerra, Presidente del Real y Supremo de las Indias. D. O. C. Juan Diez de la Calle, Oficial Mayor de la Secretaria de la Nueva- España. Comprehende Las Erecciones de las Audiencias, y Chancillerias Reales, y de los Arçobispados, y Obispados, con lo Eclesiastico, y Secular, que por la Camara, y Junta de Guerra dellas se provee; Presidios, gente, y costa, valor de las Encomiendas de Indios, armas de las Ciudades, y Iglesias; y otras cosas necessarias y dignas de saberse para la verdad, y autoridad de la Historia.
Madrid: Alonso Victor Panoja, 1654. In contemporary limp vellum. ff. [1 (woodcut frontispiece, verso blank)] [1 (letterpress title page, verso blank) [1 (“Ex.mo Señor”)] [1 (Distrito de la Audiencia […])]–4 [1 (“Armas que se d. Binding stained, ties missing, artistically restored. Contemporary inscription on front free endpaper in ink. Woodcut architectural frontispiece. Each page framed by a typographic, ornamental border. Wormholes throughout, some affects the printed space but mostly the borders, few, particularly those on the first leaves at the gutter surrounded by brown stains. Fingermarks at the lower outer corner throughout. Tiny inkblots and spots occasionally. Closed tear near the center of “Armas de la […] Catedral de la Provincia de Veneçuela […]”, not affecting the image. Small closed tear at lower edge of “La Ciudad de Arequipa […]” not affecting the print space. Lower half of the outer margin of “La muy noble y leal Ciudad de Popayan […]” is missing. Small closed tear at lower edge of “La Cuidad de Santiago del Estero […]” not affecting the print space. Small closed tear at lower edge of “La Ciudad Imperial del Reino de Chile […]” not affecting the print space. Otherwise in very good condition.
First edition of the exceedingly rare work displaying the governing structure of the Spanish Indies, and the first illustrated work on the heraldry of Spanish America and Philippines.
Governing a global empire consisting of scattered territories, extending from the Iberian Peninsula to Chile including Santo Domingo, Mexico, Peru, Potosi, Nueva Galicia, California, Florida, Rio de la Plata, and the Philippines in Southeast Asia, the Spanish royal authority massively depended on written information such as letters, certificates, memorials, and any documents referring the West and East Indies. Everything concerned the Indies was dealt with by an administrative organ, the Council of the Indies, consisting of eight counselors, assisted by two secretaries and around twenty employees.
Díez de la Calle (1599–1662), the author of the present work, was one of these employees, served as a clerk of the Secretariat of New Spain of the Council of the Indies between 1624 and 1662, and throughout his career, he gathered an important corpus of documents related to the overseas provinces, their structure of power, and “human resources”, namely the civil employees and clerics of the Crown in the Indies. A good part of these documents was published in four separate volumes under the collective title Noticias Sacras y Reales.
Díez de la Calle’s compilation of paperwork, as a classical bureaucratic tool, or a handbook of the administrative and ecclesiastical administration of the Indies, enumerates and describes the provinces, cities, dioceses, churches, and convents, councils and officials, and considered the best statistical accounts with historical summaries concerning the Indies, and an essential source to understand the machinery by which the Spanish overseas empire was governed. Published between 1645 and 1654 in four volumes of which the first (Memorial informatorio, 1645) is a compilation of printed transcriptions of administrative documents, while the second (Memorial y Noticias Sacras, y reales del Imperio de las Indias Occidentales, 1646), an extended version of the earlier one, offers additional historical information, biographical notes, and details of its sources. In the third book (Memorial y compendio, 1648), de la Calle presents to the monarch his further aims with the Noticias Sacras y Reales-project and justifies its importance by recounting the history of the Conquest and some thirty miracles or divine signs showing the blessing of the Hispanic enterprise. (Gaudin, p. 256)
Published six years later, the present fourth volume, Memorial y Resumen, recounts and lists the districts of the eleven Royal Audiencias and Chancelleries of the Indies: Santo Domingo, Mexico, Lima, Guadalajara, Santa Fe de Bogotá, Charcas, Panama, Quito, Guatemala, Manila, Santiago de Chile (also mentions the short-lived Real Audiencia of Concepción), and most importantly enumerates the associated civil and ecclesiastical positions of each court. Besides this notable textual part, de la Calle collected the imagery of the coats of arms of the principal cities and churches of the New World and the Spanish East Indies and reproduced them as full-page woodcuts with few-line descriptions and dates of granting at the bottom of each page. We know no earlier illustrated works of its kind. Unlike the former ones, this volume is enhanced with a woodcut frontispiece: the series title set within an architectural border and crowned with the armorial achievement of the Council of the Indies, and two angels holding cornucopias. The separate letterpress title page, for the first time, indicates a publisher and presents the work to the president of the Council of the Indies, Gaspar de Bracamonte y Guzmán, Count of Peñaranda. In the two-page dedication, de la Calle summarizes his previous works and asks the president’s support for the publication of an enlarged monograph concerning New Spain and Peru. The dedication is followed by the aforementioned enumeration of the Royal Audiencias and their staff. The next distinctive section is the texts of the royal decree granting coats of arms to Santo Domingo; and the honors, privileges, and the detailed description of the coat of arms granted to Hernando Cortés for conquering Mexico. The texts are illustrated with a full page and a large woodcut copy of the emblems. The conclusive and most extensive part of the book contains forty-nine woodcut reproductions of the coats of arms of major cities of the West and East Indies, such as San Juan (Puerto Rico), Santiago de Cuba, Mexico City, Tenochtitlan, Zacatecas City, Mérida, Santiago de los Caballeros de Guatemala, San Cristóbal de las Casas, León (Nicaragua), Cartago (Costa Rica), Manila, Cartagena, Ciudad de la Plata de Nuevo Toledo (later Charcas, today Sucre), Santiago del Estero (Argentina) and many others, furthermore several insignias of the chief cathedrals of these places (unfortunately “Santa Iglesia Catedral de la Ciudad Real de la Provincia de Chiapa” [Catedral de San Cristóbal de Las Casas] had been removed from our copy).
Any part of Noticias Sacras, y reales are very rare. In the second volume, the author claims that it was printed exclusively for the King, the members of the Council, and the Ministers. Albeit it seems to be an exaggeration, bibliographers agree that they were issued in a very limited edition. In his recent monograph on de la Calle, Guillaume Gaudin estimates by the number of the preserved copies, that the first two volumes were printed in 50–100 copies, and the latter ones in about twenty. (Gaudin, p. p262) Among them, the present volume is the scarcest, with only four copies known to be held in libraries (IB lists only 3), of which two are incomplete. Unlike the earlier volumes, there is no record for Memorial y Resumen in RBH, and except for our copy, we could not find any other to have appeared ever on the market.
Known copies: Madrid (Es), Biblioteca Nacional [incomplete: f.  4; as part of MSS/1447(H.2R-8V.)]; Valencia (Es), Universidad de Valencia. Biblioteca Histórica [complete; BH Y-13/061]; Ann Arbor, MI (USA), Michigan University, William Clements Library [incomplete: 10 p.lea., 49 pl.; F2 1654 Di]; Tucson, AZ (USA), The Arizona Historical Society Libraries & Archives [complete, according to Gaudin]
References: IB 101070; Sabin 10059; Leclerc 253 (“extrèmement rare et presque inconnu”); Medina, Filipinas, no. 180
Literature: Guillaume Gaudin. L’empire de papiers de Juan Diez de la Calle, commis du Conseil des Indes. Espace, administration et représentations du Nouveau Monde au XVIIe siècle. Histoire. Université de Nanterre - Paris X, 2010.