Hernán Cortés's Cartas de Relacíon, written over a seven-year period to Charles V of Spain, provide an extraordinary narrative account of the conquest of Mexico from the founding of the coastal town of Veracruz until Cortés's journey to Honduras in 1525. Pagden's English translation has been prepared from a close examination of the earliest surviving manuscript and of the first printed editions, and he also provides a new introduction offering a bold and innovative interpretation of the nature of the conquest and Cortes’s involvement in it. J. H. Elliot’s introductory essay explains Cortes’s conflicts with the Crown and with Diego Velazquez, the governor of Cuba.
Author Biography: Anthony Pagden is Harry C. Black Professor of History at the Johns Hopkins University. J. H. Elliott is Regius Professor Emeritus of Modern History, University of Oxford.