formerly the Archives and Collections Society  

Origen de los Indios

Garcia, Fr. Gregorio. ORIGEN DE LOS INDIOS DE EL NUEVO MUNDO, E INDIAS OCCIDENTALES, AVERIGUADO CON DISCURSO DE OPINIONES por el Padre Presentado FR. GREGORIO GARCIA, de la Orden de Predicadores. TRANTANSE EN ESTE LIBRO VARIAS COSAS, Y PUNTOS curiosos, tocantes àdeversas Ciencias, i Facultades, con que se hace varia Historia, de mucho gusto para el Ingenio i Entendimiento de Hombres agudos, i curiosos. DIRIGIDO AL ANGELICO DOCT. STO. THOMAS DE AQUINO. CON PRIVILEGIO REAL. En Valencia: Año de 1607.

xx, vi, iv, 536, xxiv, includes list of authors quoted and index, and at least four woodcuts.

This first edition is rare. It has not been translated into any other language. The first license to print 2 pages is in the Valencia dialect (See Ternaux No 303.) It has been rebound in what appears to be contemporary vellum or very fine calf. Some repairs to page edges, very carefully pasted in with "hand printed" lettering are to be found. The edges have been guillotined to 5 1/2 x 3 3/4 inches, with occasional minor incursion into the page titles and margin notes. We are assuming that such repairs are C19th or earlier.

Garcia was a monk of the Dominican Order. He spent at least twelve years in America, perhaps as many as twenty, where he devoted himself to the studies of the antiquities of the country and the manners and customs of the native Indians. He was a writer of high authority, and his work is one of great value and importance. "He reviews the supposed navigations of the Phoenicians, the identity of Peru with Solomon's Ophir, and the chances of African, Roman, and Jewish migrations, only to reject them all and to favor a coming of Tartars ..." (The Catholic Historical Review, Vol. 3 No. 3 (Oct. 1917), 257-275.) Given that the Behring Strait had not yet been discovered and it was not known whether Asia and America were connected or not, his conclusion is remarkable.

Bibliotheca Americana: A Dictionary of Books Relating to America, from its discovery to the present time, vol. 7, Joseph Sabin, Wilberforce Eames, R.W.G. Vail, New-York, 1868-1936, only mentions the first edition very briefly as being "of great rarity." Concerning, the second edition (Madrid, 1729) Sabin is more verbose: "This second edition has many notes and additions by the editor, And Gonzalez de Garcia. Clavigero pronounces it 'a work of vast erudition but almost totally useless as it gives little or no assistance in discovering truth the foundation for the opinions which he maintains concerning the origin of the Americans are for the most part weak conjectures founded on the resemblance of some of their customs and words and those of other nations' History of Mexico Vol i p xxv.) 'All that has ever been imagined as to the origin of the Americans and the manner in which this New World was peopled is gathered here and set forth with endless but not always necessary erudition' (Charlevoix's New France Vol I.)"


Revised: 13 January 2002