first edition, folio (265 x 185mm.), engraved plate of the author's coat-of-arms, printed errata leaf, contemporary vellum, paper flaw in L5 with loss of a few letters, a few leaves browned, slightly soiled and stained, one tie defective
Garcilaso ("The Inca", to distinguish him from the famous poet and forbear of the same name) was the son of the Spanish conquistador Sebastián Garcilaso de la Vega, and princess Isabel Chimpu Occlo, relative of the last Incan emperor, Atahuallpa. He was born in Cuzco in 1539 and spent the first 21 years of his life in Peru absorbing both the Indian and Spanish cultures. In 1560 he travelled to Spain, never to return to South America. He is unique among the early chroniclers of Spanish America in his native background, education and first-hand knowledge, as a Quechua speaker, of Incan history and traditions.
This Primera parte de los commentarios reales contains the origins and rise of the Incan empire and is based on his own childhood memories and accounts sent to him by native friends. The second part, published some years later (in 1617) and therefore often not present with the first, contains the history of Peru from the arrival of the Spanish until the end of the sixteenth century. The two volumes clearly illustrate the contrast between the orderly Incan empire and the violence of colonial Peru.
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