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En Mexico : En casa de Geronymo Balli. Año 1609. Por Cornelio Adriano Cesar. Quarto (191 x 140 mm), in a fine 19th-century binding signed by Lortic of dark blue crushed morocco, spine in compartments lettered in gilt, all edges gilt, gilt dentelles, marbled endpapers; engraved title, 178 ff., historiated initials and type ornaments; leaves lightly browned, a superb example. The exceedingly rare first edition of a cornerstone work in the literature of European exploration and colonisation in the Pacific. From 1595 to 1603 the Spanish jurist Antonio de Morga (1559-1636) held several important official posts in the Philippines, including that of Deputy Governor. His history of the Spanish in the Philippines, Sucesos de las islas Filipinas, was printed in Mexico in 1609 following his reassignment to New Spain in July, 1603, where he would serve until 1615. The last two decades of his life were spent as president of the Audiencia in Quito, Peru. The Sucesos contains not only a highly-detailed eyewitness account of the Spanish community in the Philippines around the turn of the seventeenth century, but also valuable commentary on China, Japan and the islands of the Pacific. This information was sourced directly from the many Spanish merchants trading out of the Philippines. In his official capacity Morga produced numerous reports based on the first-hand accounts of Spanish mariners, including perhaps most significantly that of de Quirós, the navigator on the epic 1595-96 voyage of de Mendaña, which sailed from Peru in search of the Solomon Islands. The content of these reports is re-presented in Sucesos. Sucesos has always been - from as far back as the early eighteenth century - a notoriously difficult book to obtain. Fewer than 25 extant copies are recorded. Of these, only one example has both a letterpress title-page and an engraved title-page signed from Mexico by Samuel Estradanus Antuerpiensis from Mexici ad Indos (as in the present copy); all other remaining copies have either one or the other title (or else lack a title-page altogether). 'The value of Antonio de Morga's Sucesos de las Islas has long been recognised. A first-hand account of the early Spanish colonial venture into Asia, it was published in Mexico in 1609 and has since been re-edited on a number of occasions. It attracted the attention of the Hakluyt Society in 1851, although the edition prepared for the Society by H. E. J. Stanley was not published until 1868. Morga's work is based on personal experiences, or on documentation from eye-witnesses of the events described. Moreover, as he tells us himself, survivors from Legazpi's expedition were still alive while he was preparing his book in Manila, and these too he could consult. As a lawyer, it is obvious that he would hardly fail to seek such evidence. The Sucesos is the work of an honest observer, himself a major actor in the drama of his time, a versatile bureaucrat, who knew the workings of the administration from the inside. It is also the first history of the Spanish Philippines to be written by a layman, as opposed to the religious chroniclers. Morga's book was praised, quoted, and plagiarized, by contemporaries or successors. Filipinos have found it a useful account of the state of their native culture upon the coming of the conquistadors; Spaniards have regarded it as a work to admire or condemn, according to their views and the context of their times; some other Europeans, such as Stanley, found it full of lessons and examples.' (Cummins, J. (1969). Antonio De Morga and his Sucesos De Las Islas Filipinas. Journal of Southeast Asian History, 10(3), 560-581. doi:10.1017/S0217781100005081) Retana 68 (mucha rareza); Medina, Mexico 249; Cordier Sinica p. 2064 (extrêmement rare); Cordier Japonica p. 264 (extrêmement rare); Sabin 50631; Bibliotheca Americana. Catalogue of the John Carter Brown Library, Volume II (1922), Part I (1600 – 1634), p. 64  

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