Biography of Francisco López de Gómara (1511-ca. 1562)

Writer and Spanish historian, born in Gomara (Soria) in 1511 and died in the same place to 1562, who was a Professor of classical literature in Alcala. Ordered priest and traveled to Rome. He/She was the Secretary and Chaplain of Hernán Cortés. His great work, written with data provided by Cortés and other explorers, is the history of the Indies and conquest of Mexico (1552).

Most of the so-called "chroniclers of the Indies" associated with the actual historical account, the "moral story" or ethnographic description and natural history, but his interest from the point of view of science is very diverse. There are a very large group that just includes references to natural things. Bernal Díaz de Castillo, Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda books and, even, the history of the Indies of Bartolomé de Las Casas who, as says Esteve beard, "relates primarily events, without stopping too to describe the scenario in which" can serve as examples. A second group consists of texts also basically enshrined to the historical narrative, but with attention to the considerable nature, although it does not reach the real naturalists. It is the case of the work of figures such as Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo and José de Acosta; and the Group also belongs to the history of the Indies (1552) Francisco López de Gómara.

The first part of the work is the discovery and conquest of the new world, except for Mexico, until 1552. The second part is dedicated to Mexico and is written in a simple style. Front of Las Casas, it remained committed to that America was part of the West Indies, Gómara contrasts the new world to the old, formed by Europe, Africa and Asia. The line opened by Columbus, it has a peculiar attitude to nature and strives to underline the differences in a world which "may also be called new" by being all of their diferentisimas things of the of our. Says, however, their basic uniqueness, both in the physical aspect-"elements (are) the same thing there and here"- as in the anthropological, because Indians "otherwise, beasts and monsters would be, and would not come, as they come, Adam". On the base, almost always, Fernández de Oviedo and Pedro Mártir de Angleríanews, describes animals, vegetables and minerals. Dealing with Hispaniola, devotes a chapter to two insects - the cocuyo (Pyrophorus noctilucus) and the chigger (Tunga penetrans) - and the other to the Manatee. He/She exhibits other earths discovered from North to South, beginning with the Labrador, where "say there are taps and the bears, with many other animals and birds, are white". Often limited to illusions of this type. Others, in contrast, offers a description in some detail and even a figure, which they dedicated to the "guava" and "corcovada cow". Guava (Psidium guayaba) "it's small, good shade tree and wood; Aging presto. It has leaf laurel, but more fat and wide. The flower smells better than the jasmine looks like something orange. There are many differences of guavas and, accordingly, of the fruit, which is like camuesa. One is round, others long, but all green on the outside, with a few crowns as persimmon. Inside they are white or pink, and four quarters, like walnut, with many production in each. Seasoned they are good, even if you agrillas; Green restricts as servas; mature they lose color and flavor and bred many worms". "Corcovadas cow" or bison "middle back have more hair between front and a large jib on the cross, and it is wool. They have as mane on the backbone and long hair and very long from the knees down. Hang them by the front large hulls, and seem to have beards, according to many hairs of the throats and rods. Males have very long tail and with a large fringe at the end; so they have something of lion and some camel. Finally, it is ugly and fierce animal of face and body; dellos fleeing horses by their bad tasting or never having seen".

The work was reprinted in 1553 in Medina del Campo and in 1554 in Zaragoza and Antwerp. It was banned because it contained criticism of some decisions of Carlos V, and this made that it fell into oblivion until 1717, year in which was printed in an edition of Andrés González Barcia. Then there were other later editions and was translated into Italian (1560), English (1578) and French (1606). López de Gómara wrote also about annals of Carlos V, unpublished work until 1912, and the facts of the Barbarrojas, about the Spanish conquest of Algiers.

Bibliography

Sources

History-General of the Indies... (Zaragoza: Agustín Millán, 1552). First and second part of the history in general of the Indies... (Medina del Campo: Guillermo of Millis, 1553). About the reprints and translations, cf. the book of J. M. López Piñero and M. L. López Terrada referred to in the following paragraph.

Studies

LÓPEZ PIÑERO, J. M. (et to the.). The Spanish scientific forms of the 15th and 16th centuries. Inventory, Bibliometrics, and thesaurus. (Valencia: Cátedra de Historia de la Medicina, 1982).COLMEIRO, M. Botany and the botanical of the Hispano-lusitana Peninsula. Bibliographic and biographical studies. (Madrid: M. Rivadeneyra, 1858, [p. 27]).JOS, e. "the chronicler of Indias Francisco López de Gómara." Biographical aspects", in Revista de Occidente, no. 18, 1927. (pp. 274-278).ESTEVE BARBA, F. colonial culture. (Barcelona: Salvat, 1965). -Indiana historiography. (Madrid, Gredos, 1964).LÓPEZ PIÑERO, J. M. and LOPEZ TERRADA, M. L. The Spanish influence in the introduction in Europe of the American plants, 1493-1623. (Valencia: Institute of documentary studies and historical science, 1997).Brown Thomas, j. and LÓPEZ TERRADA, M. L. The first news about the American plants in relations of travel and Chronicles of the Indies (1493-1553). (Valencia: Institute of documentary studies and historical science, 1993).