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Universidad del Pacífico


Novvs orbis, seu, Descriptionis indiae occidentalis libri XVIII, by Joannes de Laet

Joannes de Laet, Director of the Dutch West Indies Company, is the author of one of the most notable works of the XVII century on America: Novvs orbis, seu, Descriptionis indiae occidentalis. It is constituted by XVIII (18) books and complemented with diverse illustrations of the natural world and unpublished maps of great quality. This Latin version of 1633 is the third edition of the work whose previous editions were published, always in Antwerp, in Dutch.

This work has been translated into other modern languages and is of special interest for the studies of viceregal America because it shows the spatial configuration of the Spanish Empire in all its administrative complexity. The different kingdoms are described in detail by the authorities and jurisdictions from the political point of view, in order to introduce the reader to a description of the natural resources and, of course, to comment on the particularities of its inhabitants (traditions, myths, known languages). This Latin version is almost contemporaneous with the translation made by Gaspar Barleus of Antonio de Herrera’s book (also indexed in this same collection).