InNature in the New World(translated 1985), Antonello Gerbi examines the fascinating reports of the first Europeans to see the Americas. These accounts provided the basis for the images of strange and new flora, fauna, and human creatures that filled European imaginations.Initial chapters are devoted to the writings of Columbus, Vespucci, Cortés, Verrazzano, and others. The second portion of the book concerns theHistoria general y natural de las Indiasof Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo, a work commissioned by Charles V of Spain in 1532 but not published in its entirety until the 1850s. Antonello Gerbi contends that Oviedo, a Spanish administrator who lived in Santo Domingo, has been unjustly neglected as a historian. Gerbi shows that Oviedo was a major authority on the culture, history, and conquest of the New World.
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