Latin American and Spanish Books and Manuscripts from Libreria de Antano
By Michael Stillman
The latest offering from Argentinean bookseller Libreria de Antano is entitled A Selection of Fine Books and Manuscripts. Arranged chronologically, these 93 items range from 1600-1969. Most are in the Spanish language, with the great majority printed in either Latin America or Spain. There are, of course, exceptions to both. This is an exceptional collection or rare and important works, and will appeal greatly to collectors of Americana, Latin Americana in particular. Here are a few of the items you will find.
Libreria de Antano offers four very early and rare imprints from Lima, Peru. All are orders from the Viceroy, Luis de Velasco, pertaining to the Indian population, and most are surprisingly humane, considering the Spanish reputation in the Americas at the time. They were printed by Antonio Ricardo, an Italian who first began printing in Mexico, but moved his operation to Lima in 1585. His printing was sporadic until the year of these decrees – 1603. They are:
Item 2. Para que den de comer a los muchachos... This decree orders the corregidores (government administrators) to properly feed, employ and pay the sons of chieftains. It also forbids Indian girls and women from being placed into forced labor as this could result in "sins and offenses to God."
Item 3. Para que en cada pueblo que hubiere de 200 indios... This decree prohibited Indians from engaging in the professions or requesting exemptions from cyclical forced labor, but did allow for exceptions of one or two tailors, shoemakers, saddle makers, etc., depending on whether the community had more or less than 200 residents.
Item 4. Reserva de tributo... This order exempts the first sons of chieftains from taxes and forced labor, and provides lesser concessions for their other children.
Item 5. Sobre que no se carguen los indios... This decree orders that Indians not be subjected to excessive labor which could harm them, and provides penalties for violation of this ordinance of up to four years in prison or exile from the Indies.
Each of these 1603 decrees is priced at $9,800.