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Full Online Book HomeNonfictionsThe Life And Voyages Of Christopher Columbus_volume 2 - Appendix - No. 30
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The Life And Voyages Of Christopher Columbus_volume 2 - Appendix - No. 30 Post by :acaby Category :Nonfictions Author :Washington Irving Date :April 2012 Read :1341

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The Life And Voyages Of Christopher Columbus_volume 2 - Appendix - No. 30

Appendix. No. XXX.

Oviedo.


Gonzalo Fernandez de Oviedo y Valdes, commonly known as Oviedo, was born in Madrid in 1478, and died in Valladolid in 1557, aged seventy-nine years. He was of a noble Austrian family, and in his boyhood (in 1490) was appointed one of the pages to prince Juan, heir-apparent of Spain, the only son of Ferdinand and Isabella. He was in this situation at the time of the seige and surrender of Granada, was consequently at court at the time that Columbus made his agreement with the Catholic sovereigns, and was in the same capacity at Barcelona, and witnessed the triumphant entrance of the discoverer, attended by a number of the natives of the newly-found countries.

In 1513, he was sent out to the New World by Ferdinand, to superintend the gold foundries. For many years he served there in various offices of trust and dignity, both under Ferdinand and his grandson and successor, Charles V. In 1535, he was made alcayde of the fortress of St. Domingo in Hispaniola, and afterwards was appointed histomgrapher of the Indies. At the time of his death, he had served the crown upwards of forty years, thirty-four of which were passed in the colonies, and he had crossed the ocean eight times, as he mentions in various parts of his writings. He wrote several works; the most important is a chronicle of the Indies in fifty books, divided into three parts. The first part, containing nineteen books, was printed at Seville in 1535, and reprinted in 1547 at Salamanca, augmented by a twentieth book containing shipwrecks. The remainder of the work exists in manuscript. The printing of it was commenced at Valladolid in 1557, but was discontinued in consequence of his death. It is one of the unpublished treasures of Spanish colonial history.

He was an indefatigable writer, laborious in collecting and recording facts, and composed a multitude of volumes which are scattered through the Spanish libraries. His writings are full of events which happened under his own eye, or were communicated to him by eyewitnesses; but he was deficient in judgment and discrimination. He took his facts without caution, and often from sources unworthy of credit. In his account of the first voyage of Columbus, he falls into several egregious errors, in consequence of taking the verbal information of a pilot named Hernan Perez Matteo, who was in the interest of the Pinzons, and adverse to the admiral. His work is not much to be depended upon in matters relative to Columbus. When he treats of a more advanced period of the New World, from his own actual observation, he is much more satisfactory, though he is accused of listening too readily to popular fables and misrepresentations. His account of the natural productions of the New World, and of the customs of its inhabitants, is full of curious particulars; and the best narratives of some of the minor voyages which succeeded those of Columbus are to be found in the unpublished part of his work.

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Appendix. No. XXIX.Peter Martyr.Peter Martir, or Martyr, of whose writings much use has been made in this history, was born at Anghierra, in the territory of Milan, in Italy, on the second of February, 1455. He is commonly termed Peter Martyr of _Angleria_, from the Latin name of his native place. He is one of the earliest historians that treat of Columbus, and was his contemporary and intimate acquaintance. Being at Rome in 1487, and having acquired a distinguished reputation for learning, he was invited by the Spanish ambassador, the count de Tendilla, to accompany him to Spain. He willingly
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