Selections from Van der Aa’s Voyages

Cortés in Mexico & Ayllón in South Carolina in 1526

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181. HERRERA [DE TORDESILLAS], Antonio de, Hernán Cortés, Lucas Vásquez de Ayllón, et al. Four separate volumes from Pieter van der Aa’s voluminous compilation Naaukeurige versameling, consisting of 28 vols. in 127 parts. The four volumes we offer are drawn from Herrera’s Historia general de los hechos de los castellanos en las islas y tierra firme del mar oceano (1601), translated into Dutch. The four volumes relate to very early voyages, exploration, and conquest in America, particularly those of Hernán Cortés. Each volume has its own title page and pagination, and all are illustrated with very decorative, detailed maps and plates (6 copper-engraved maps and 23 plates, all folded). JCB III (1, 1700-1771) #88 (with abstract of titles in van der Aa’s Naaukeurige versameling & reference to the 1727 edition with more details on contents). For more on prolific publisher Pieter van der Aa, see Jonathan Potter’s note below. Each of the four volumes has an engraved vignette on the title page depicting a cherub patiently sawing through a formidable block of stone on which is engraved van der Aa’s motto: “Door tyd en vlyt,” i.e., “Time and diligence,” or perhaps more appropriate would have been: “Don’t stop the presses.” The text is mostly dense Blackletter interspersed with dramatic scenes, filled with facts and fancies. See Sabin 3 and Wagner, Spanish Southest 12h.


[1] De Roem-Waardige Zee-en Land-Togten door den vermaarden Ferdinandes Cortes, als Bevel-hebber met een Scheeps-Vloot gedaan na Nieuw-Spanje en Mexico. In de Jaaren 1518 en vervolgens...Met noodig register en konst-printen verrijkt.... Leyden, 1706. [2], 1-247, [26, index], [1, instructions to binder] pp., engraved vignette and motto on title, 5 folded plates (Spanish destroying Aztec idols; European soldier and a Native American cacique embracing; Moctezúma’s prescient dream of the coming of the Europeans with shooting star, eagle carrying away a sleeping man, Tenochtitlan in flames, etc.; Natives presenting treasures (coins, jewels, frogs, etc.) to a European man sitting on a throne; Native soldiers with council of war in background), plus folded map: Nieuw Spaanje van Panuco, Mexico en Iucatan Tot aan Costa Rica... (plate mark: 16.2 x 23.4 cm), showing northern Mexico to Costa Rica; illustrated cartouche of Spaniards supervising Native Americans and Blacks working in mines. 8vo (18.2 x 11.7 cm), modern brown calf. Slightly cocked, title stained in gutter, first leaves darkened, a few leaves with minor chipping to blank margins, plates and map generally fine. Herrera’s account of Cortes from Decada II, Libro III. The text covers Cortés and the first point of landing by the Spanish at Cozumel in 1519, along with early events in the Conquest. European Americana 1706/117. Palau 114302.


[2] Heldhaftige Reys-Togten, te Land, door Ferdinand Cortes, In Nieuw-Spanje, Ter Belegering der Koninglijke Hoofd-stad Mexico, van Tlaskala ondernoomen in ‘t Jaar 1519.... Leyden, 1707. [2], 1-174 [17, index], [1, instructions to binder] pp., engraved vignette and motto on title, 9 folded plates (Tlaxcalans present gifts to Cortés and his men; in Mexico City Cortés and his men ride horses and greet Moctezúma who is carried in a covered chair; the court of Moctezúma with various deformed men and others eating dinner in the background; dancers perform for Aztec court on stilts, gymnastics, Natives play ball games beside a dwelling; Natives dance and play musical instruments for the chief; Moctezúma receiving game and hunting scene; tzompantli or charnel house with a multitude of skulls; chained men are executed by burning), plus one folded map: Land Togten door Ferdinand Cortes aan de Golf van Nieuw Spanje... (plate mark: 15.5 x 22.9 cm); shows region from Cabo San Lucas, Baja California—with California identified as an island, “California Ins.”—to south Texas and the Gulf of Mexico, to southern Guatemala; illustrated cartouche with pediment and Natives presenting treasures to Cortés. 8vo (18.1 x 12 cm), modern brown calf. Generally fine. A translation of Decada II, Libro V of Herrera. Text covers the further exploits of Hernán Cortés in Mexico. European Americana 1707/67. Palau 114311.


[3] De Rampspoedige Scheeps-Togt van Franciscus Hernandez de Cordua; ter nieuwe Ontdekking na Jukatan ondernomen, door Jean de Gryalva, met IV Schepen, tot aan de Kust van Nieuw-Spanjen, voospoediglyk agtervolgd, in de Jaaren 1517 en 1518.... Leyden, 1706. [3] 4-95, [7, index] pp., engraved vignette and motto on title, 3 folded plates (beheading scene with crowd of sightseers, burial of a chief who is holding a bow and resting in a hammock over a fire; involuntary open-heart surgery for two men who lie before an idol on altar in a temple while Europeans look on); plus folded map: Iukatan en Vaste Kusten van Nieuw Spanje... (plate mark: 15.6 x 23.5 cm); showing the Gulf of Mexico, Bahia del Espiritu Santo on Texas coast, Florida, eastern Mexico, Central America, Venezuela, Cuba, and West Indies; pictorial cartouche (crowd watching as a man is about to be executed by decapitation). 8vo (18.2 x 11.6 cm), modern brown calf. Very good, one minor split to map (no losses) and scattered browning and foxing. Text covers Herrera’s account of various conquests and explorations, primarily in Yucatan and Central America, of Francisco Hernández de Córdoba (early exploration of Mexico); Juan de Grijalva (discoverer of Cozumel); Pedro Arias Dávila (governor of Panama); Vasco Nuñez de Balboa (Western discoverer of Pacific); and others. European Americana 1706/111.


[4] Vier Verscheyde Reys-Togten te Water ende te Land gedaan na de Vaste Kust van Chiribichi, Cubagua, Chicora en Nieuw-Spaanje, in t’ Jaar 1520.... Leyden, 1706. [2], [1] 2-171 [9] pp., engraved vignette and motto on title, 6 folded plates (Europeans with guns attack Natives with bows and arrows; a Native and an European fight on a canoe with ship behind them; battle in a town with ladder at right; Natives worshipping idols; Natives dance in a vast hall with chandelier and Europeans watch; Europeans triumphantly enter a walled city), plus 3 folded maps: [1] De Vaste Kust Van Cheribichi door Alonzo D’Ojeda Van’t Eyland Cubagua Besogt (Venezuela; plate mark: 15.3 x 23 cm; cartouche of battle scene with burning buildings and fleeing Natives); [2] De Straat van Magellaen Sedert desselfs eerste ondekker F. Magellaen Ao. 1520 meermaal bevaren (Tierra del Fuego; plate mark: 16 x 23.4 cm; cartouche of pensive Native sitting beside a pediment and staring at the land); and [3] De Vaste Kust van Chicora Tussen Florida en Virginie door Lucas Vasquez d’Ayllon... (plate mark: 15.6 x 23.16 cm; showing Florida, Chicora, South Carolina, Apalache, Atlantic coast from Cape Hatteras, Cuba, and the Greater Antilles; territory covered by the expeditions of Lucas Vásquez de Ayllón; plate mark: 15.7 x 23.1 cm; cartouche of pastoral scene with Native Americans playing music and milking a deer[?]). 8vo (18 x 12.4 cm), full modern vellum. Except for scattered foxing and staining, very good. Cumming lists the map showing Florida and the Atlantic coast (The Southeast in Early Maps 141). Expeditions covered in this volume include: Alonso d’Ojeda (slaver who discovered what is now Venezuela in 1499, and Colombia in 1509); Gonzalo de Ocampo (best known for leading a punitive expedition against the Chirihichi in Venezuela and in 1521 and founding Cumana, the first city settled by Europeans in South America);, Panfilio de Narváez (participated in conquest of Jamaica in 1509 and Cuba in 1511; led 1519 expedition to Mexico to bring Hernán Cortés to heel; later in Florida with crew that included Cabeza de Vaca); Ferdinand Magellan (discovered Strait of Magellan); Lucas Vásquez de Ayllón (in 1516 landed at present-day South Carolina, near Georgetown, or Chicora, founded the ill-fated colony of San Miguel de Gualdape, which was the first attempted settlement by Europeans in present-day United States; the first Africans brought to present-day United States were brought by Lucas Vásquez de Ayllón to serve his colony). European Americana 1706/131. Palau 114308.

     Jonathan Potter best sums up the work of Pieter van der Aa (

Pieter Van Der Aa (1659-1733) was apprenticed to the booksellers’ trade at nine. He later became a bookseller and auctioneer, and in 1692 was appointed one of the High Commissioners of the Booksellers’ Guild. Van Der Aa was a prolific publisher, working in Leiden during the first three decades of the eighteenth century. Much of his output consisted of re-issues and re-engravings of map and view plates that he had acquired from earlier mapmakers. Little of his output was original, though that which is has a very distinct style, precisely and elegantly engraved, and is much sought-after today.... Despite the quantity and variety of Van Der Aa’s publications they seem to have had only a limited circulation, and so are now scarce.


Sold. Hammer: $750.00; Price Realized: $918.75.

Auction 23 Abstracts

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