The first Booke of the Historie of the Discoverie and Conquest of the East Indias, enterprised by the Portingales, in their daungerous Navigations, in the time of King Don John…. Fernão LOPES DE CASTANHEDA.
The first Booke of the Historie of the Discoverie and Conquest of the East Indias, enterprised by the Portingales, in their daungerous Navigations, in the time of King Don John…
The first Booke of the Historie of the Discoverie and Conquest of the East Indias, enterprised by the Portingales, in their daungerous Navigations, in the time of King Don John…

The first Booke of the Historie of the Discoverie and Conquest of the East Indias…
The first Booke of the Historie of the Discoverie and Conquest of the East Indias, enterprised by the Portingales, in their daungerous Navigations, in the time of King Don John…

London: Thomas East, 1582.

Small quarto, printed in black letter with woodcut initials; a few contemporary marginal notes; nineteenth-century calf, very well rebacked.

The Portuguese expand into India, the East Indies, and China

The first English edition of one of the most important works of the first great age of discovery, a rare and important source for the history of sixteenth-century Portuguese expansion into Asia. This first book of Castanheda's work, originally published in Coimbra in 1551, was translated by Nicholas Lichefield and, most appropriately, dedicated to Sir Francis Drake. Castanheda spent some two decades in the Portuguese colonies in the East, and so was well equipped to write this account. Only this first book was published in English; as the Hill catalogue notes, 'the English edition is very rare'.

The first English edition of one of the most important works of the first great age of discovery, a rare and important source for the history of sixteenth-century Portuguese expansion into Asia. This first book of Castanheda's work, originally published in Coimbra in 1551, was translated by Nicholas Lichefield and, most appropriately, dedicated to Sir Francis Drake. Castanheda spent some two decades in the Portuguese colonies in the East, and so was well equipped to write this account. Only this first book was published in English; as the Hill catalogue notes, 'the English edition is very rare'.

Most of Castanheda's great book is devoted to the Portuguese thrust into Asia in the early 16th century, chronicling their epic expansion into India, the East Indies, and China between 1497 and 1525. It is one of the primary sources for the early Portuguese trading empire, a model that the British were beginning to emulate at the time of publication. Penrose describes the book as 'an impartial book of outspoken sincerity which was the fruit of years of residence in the East.' 'In translating this history of Portuguese eastern imperialism to 1525, Nicholas Lichefield gave to English readers the accounts of Diaz, Covilhan, Da Gama, Cabral, the cousins Albuquerque, Pacheco and other Portuguese pioneers of eastern exploration, trade and conquest. In these narratives he set forth the navigations, battles, difficulties, and triumphs of the first East Indian empire; he also revealed the 'commodities and riches that every of these places doth yield'…' (Parker, pp. 116-7).

'Although relating principally to the Portuguese in India, China, and the East Indies (where Lopes de Castanheda lived for twenty years), this work contains interesting particulars of the Portuguese conquest of Brazil. The first book [all that was published] treats only the early part of Lopes de Castanheda's history, but it is the part most important in American history, as it includes Cabral's voyage [his discovery of Brazil in 1500] and others. Nothing more was ever printed in English or Spanish…' (Hill).

Provenance: From the library of the Inner Temple, with its old stamps and bookplate, and its winged-horse crest in gilt on the front cover.

Alden, 'European Americana', 582/54; Borba de Moraes, I:143; Hill, 1035; Penrose, Travel and Discovery in the Renaissance, pp.274-79; Sabin, 11391 ("A most interesting and rare book"); STC, 16806; Streeter sale, 26.

Price (AUD): $65,000.00

US$45,907.75   Other currencies

Ref: #3912563