This text contains the second and third letters of five sent by Cortes to the Holy Roman Emperor and King of Spain, Charles V. These provide an account of his conquest of Mexico, and were written as a justification for his actions as de facto governor of Mexico. However these letters could not bridge the distance to the imperial court, and this enabled his political enemies to weaken his position. This edition was printed four years after Cortes had had to return to Spain, to defend himself against charges of murdering a Spanish bureaucrat who had been sent to monitor his activities. Forced to return again in 1540, he was only allowed back to Mexico in 1547, but died before he could leave Spain.
The woodcuts on the title page and throughout this copy have been hand-coloured. The border is made up of the armorial badges of 25 Spanish provinces and towns, whilst occupying a central place is a portrait of Charles V.
Bequest of Thomas Baker.