Madrid: Imprenta de la Viuda de Manuel Fernandez, 1757. First edition. 3 volumes, small quartos; , 240; , 564; , 436 pp.; 4 folding copperplate maps: Vol. 1 "Mapa de la California su golfo, y Provincias Fronteras en el Continente de l Espana" (approx. 14.75 x 12.25 inches); Volume 3: "Seno de California, y su Costa Oriental Nuevamente Descubierta, y Registrada Cabo al las Virgenes, Hasta su Termino, que es el Rio Colorado año 1747..." (approx. 12.5 x 11.25 inches); "Carta de la Mar del Sur, o Mar Pacifico, entre el Equador..." (approx. 9.25 x 9 inches); "Mapa de la America Septentl. Asia Oriental y Mar del Sur Intermedio..." (approx. 11.75 x 14 inches). Later full vellum with dark green morocco spine labels. Vellum lightly soiled and worn, chips to first volume spine label, old mend to verso of map in first volume and to title page of third volume, minor foxing. Overall a very good set in very presentable condition. Item #21614
Generally regarded as the first published history of California, the first two volumes of “Noticia de la California” deal exclusively with Baja (lower) California and are based on the manuscript written by Mexican Jesuit scholar Miguel Venegas in 1739. Though he was himself unable to travel he compiled his history from a variety of sources, including reports, letters, mission documents, original manuscripts, etc. Upon its completion his manuscript, titled “Impressas Apostolicas . . . de la Provincia de Nueva Espana obradas en la conquista de Californias . . . ,” was sent to Spain where it went unpublished for several years, deemed too potentially revealing of Spanish military secrets in New Spain. The work was eventually turned over to Jesuit historian Andres Marcos Burriel who anonymously edited and extensively revised the manuscript. Burriel brought to Venegas' work additional information from a variety of sources and ultimately organized “Noticia” into four parts. The first introduces the geography and native inhabitants of Baja California; the second explores pre-Jesuit attempts to colonize the region; the third focuses on Jesuit activities in Baja and includes both Venegas' original work and Burriel's additions to bring the text up to date. The fourth part (comprising the whole of the third volume) is entirely the work of Burriel and is composed of a series of seven appendices and three maps. The text includes accounts of discoveries in Northern California, including Russian activities on the coast. Burriel also dismisses as fictions the widely accepted accounts of the voyages of de Fuca and de Fonte. The maps include Father Ferdinand Consag's “Seno de California,” based on his own findings in a 1746 expedition to the mouth of the Colorado River. This is the first printing of the map, engraved from Consag's original manuscript. It is foundational in the cartographic history of California, as it put a definitive end to the notion of California as an island. The large frontispiece map in the first volume “Mapa de la California su golfo . . .” (which is based on Kino’s 1702 map) is beautifully rendered and includes ten captioned vignettes bordering the cartographic image. These depict local Indians, local wildlife, and two tableaux dramatizing the martyrdoms of of Father Carranco and Father Tamaral. These same images were reprinted as plates in the first English-language edition of the work (London, 1758). The London edition was an abridgement of the work and included only one map. Subsequent French (1766) and German (1769) editions were translations from the English. Intermediate issue with page 479 misnumbered as 476. Cowan p. 238; Graff 4470; Howes V69; Palau 358387; Sabin 98848; Streeter sale 2433; Wheat Transmississippi West 138; Zamorano 80 #78.