"[Lot of 2] [Vespucci Lands on the Island of Itius] [and] [The Spanish Are Attacked by the Indians in Costa Rica]", Bry, Theodore de
Subject: Guadeloupe, Dominica, & Costa Rica, Natives
Period: 1655 (circa)
Publication: Newe Welt und Americanishe Historien
Color: Black & White
6.9 x 6.1 inches
17.5 x 15.5 cm
This copper engraving is from a remarkable series of publications, illustrating voyages of discovery and travels of exploration to various parts of the world. The project was begun by Theodore de Bry of Frankfurt, in 1590 and was to continue for another 54 years. They became known collectively as the Grands Voyages (to America and the West Indies) and the Petits Voyages (to the Orient and the East Indies). De Bry died after the first six parts of the Grands Voyages were completed. The project was completed initially by his widow and two sons, Johann Theodore de Bry and Johann Israel de Bry, then by his son-in-law, Matthaus Merian in 1644.
These striking engravings present confrontations between Spaniards and Indigenous peoples in the New World. The first depicts the clash between Vespucci and his Spanish crew and the natives along the shore of the island Itius (likely either present-day Guadeloupe or Dominica). The second engraving depicts a battle between natives and the Spanish in Chirripo, a mountainous district in Costa Rica. Diego Gutierrez, governor of Costa Rica, was the first of many Spanish to be killed while the remaining troops were forced to retreat. The Indians pursued them, but when reinforcements arrived under the leadership of Alonso de Pisa, they retreated into the forest. Benzoni, who was also involved in this battle, reported that his helmet looked like a battered saucepan but claimed it had saved his life. On sheets of German text measuring 8.1 x 13.1".
The first engraving is on a lightly toned sheet with a few wormholes and a small rust spot in the margins. (B+) The second sheet has a few small wormholes confined to the blank margins. (A)