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Galvão, António | A landmark in the literature of Portuguese expansion in the east

Galvão, António | A landmark in the literature of Portuguese expansion in the east

Galvão, António | A landmark in the literature of Portuguese expansion in the east

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Galvão, António

Tratadao dos descombrimentos antigos, e modernos, Feitos até a Era de 1550. Com os nomes particulares des Pessoas que os Fiseraõ: e em que Tempos, e as suas Alturas, e dos Desvairados Caminhos por onde a Pimenta, e Especiaria Veyo Da India as Nossas Partes, Obra Certo muy Notavel, e Copiosa. Lisbon: Officina Ferreiriana, 1731

Folio (272 x 190 mm). Title-page in red and black with woodcut vignette, full page woodcut portrait of the author, woodcut head- and tail-pieces, woodcut initials; title-page browned at edges, some early annotations including to title, marginal chip to one leaf, light scattered foxing. Contemporary mottled calf, spine with raised bands in 6 compartments, 2nd with red morocco label lettered in gilt, others with repeat gilt decoration, boards roll-tooled blind, red speckled edges; hinges a bit loose, rubbed at extremities, corners bumped.

A landmark in the literature of Portuguese expansion in the east

The present volume is the second edition of Galvão's history of exploration and voyages, issued after the virtually unobtainable first edition of 1563. According to Sabin, this second edition "is also rare, the greater portion having been destroyed by an earthquake." Galvão's text was translated in 1601 by Hakluyt, who complained about the rarity of the first edition even then, and had to rely on a copy sent from Lisbon. Currently, only three copies of the first edition are known, including one at the John Carter Brown Library.

Born in 1503, Galvão was sent to India in 1527, and after distinguishing himself there, he was appointed governor of the Moluccas. He maintained a keen interest in military and religious affairs throughout his career, and spent the latter part of his life assembling accounts of the voyages that comprise this collection. He provides a relatively succinct chronological list of ancient and modern discoveries to the year 1550, including those by Columbus, Cabral, Cortés, and Pizarro. "The author has been styled 'the founder of historical geography.' The book gives a good summary of the geographical explorations of the Portuguese and other important voyagers, including the English" (Hill).


Hill 670; Sabin 26468; Bibliotheca Americana 642; European Americana 731/89; Borba de Moraes, p.289; Palau 182290

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