This volume brings together twenty-one contemporary descriptions of the Americas, written by a variety of Italian observers in the generation following Columbus's first voyage.
"This collection is full of many historical gems and it will be of great service to scholars and students for years to come." (R. Fritze in Sixteenth Century Journal, XXXV/1, 2004, p.196-198)
This volume brings together twenty-one contemporary descriptions of the Americas, written by a variety of Italian observers in the generation following Columbus's first voyage. The authors range from diarists recording noteworthy events, to merchants relating items of news they had heard from their commercial contacts, to the reflections of prelates, government officials, and scholars. Among these accounts an early version of the humanist Peter Martyr's account of America, pirated by a Venetian diplomat, Angelo Trevisan, figures prominently, along with Michele da Cuneo's vivid memoir of Columbus's second voyage. These documents illustrate the European reaction to the undreamed-of social, political, and natural world revealed by the Columbian voyages, and the wonder, curiosity, and frequent misapprehension that this exotic new reality provoked. This volume thus forms a companion to volume 10 of the Repertorium Columbianum series, Italian Reports on America, 1493-1522: Letters, Dispatches and Papal Bulls, which presented a parallel selection of governmental documents covering the same period of the initial encounter between Europe and the New World.