Gonzalez Fernandez de Oviedo: Oviedo on Columbusby Gonzalez Fernandez de Oviedo
For Bartolome de Las Casas Columbus was the agent of God in a benign mission of evangelization but ended his career as a perpetrator of injustice against the indigenous peoples of the Antilles. A contrary image of Columbus as both the initiator of a new scientific era and agent of imperial expansion was first suggested by the author of the writings collected in this volume, Gonzalo Fernandez de Oviedo. Oviedo was a natural historian who Humboldt states was the first to attempt a systematic description of the flora and fauna f the Americas. But he was also a tireless champion of the Spanish conquest and occupation of the Americas. Oviedo's work is certainly, as Jesus Carrillo demonstrates, one of the earliest in which the objectives of science and empire are yoked together in a way which later became a feature of botanical, zoological and anthropological writing. The work comprises an introduction, text and modern English translation of parts of the following works: De la Natural Historia de las Indias, the Cahalogo Real e Imperial de Castilla, La Historia General y Natural de las Yndias, the Dialogo on Alonso de Cordoba and the Dialogo on Pedro Gonzalez de Mendoza, and from the Quinquagenas de los generosos e ilustres e non menos famosos reyes. Four maps, twelve plates and a detailed index are provided.
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