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New Digital Collection Features Engravings of Early Spanish Exploration

Digitization, Rare Books

Special Collections is excited to announce the publication of a new digital collection, Theodor de Bry’s America. This collection of copper plate engravings depicts the arrival of the Spaniards in the New World. The engravings are taken from the 16th century book Americae, volume IV of Theodor de Bry‘s Grandes Voyages series, a collection of 30 books documenting the new age of exploration.

Plate 9: "Columbus, as he first arrives in India, is received by the inhabitants and honored with the bestowing of many gifts"

The illustrations in this collection depict a variety of scenes related to Spanish exploration. Christopher Columbus is featured in many of illustrations, both in Spain and in the New World. Violence perpetrated on both the Spaniards and the Native Americans is also depicted in detail.

Plate 18: "Some Indians are killed, some perish in a fire"

The engravings are in very good condition and can be examined in detail in the UH Digital Library. While only the engravings have been digitized as part of this effort, Special Collections holds a near-complete first edition of the volume. This edition is printed in German, with the exception of the title page, which comes from a first edition printed in Latin. This copy is missing plates 2, 3, 19, 21, and 23, along with an original map.

Detail from Plate 24: "The religious ceremony of the Indians"

Take some time to examine these 22 images! Not only do they represent some of the earliest depictions of the exploration of the New World, but the details in the engravings are fantastic. If you’d like to learn a little more about Theodor de Bry and his Grande Voyages, check out Episode 893 of Dr. John Leinhard’s “Engines of Our Ingenuity” radio program.

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