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De Bry Rare Books

"Black slaves mining gold" - De Bry - 1595 - Benzoni

"Black slaves mining gold" - De Bry - 1595 - Benzoni

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"Black slaves mining gold"

-Original Copperplate Engraving-Theodore De Bry (1528-1598)

-Page 9.5 x 13 inches (23 x 33cm)

-Image 8.5 x 6 inches (22 x 15cm)


-Good condition 

-Verso  Blank

This plate comes from Benzoni's work which describes his 15 years on the isthmus of America, in Panama and Nicaragua.

Benzoni, an Italian, acted as a mediator between different nations. The work describes life of the first nations of Central America. Benzoni wrote at a time when the Spanish treatment of the Indians was a concern, and described the cruelty of the Spanish towards the Indians and African slaves - the famous "Black legend". The work is beautifully illustrated with engravings of the Native Americans and Spanish conquistadors. It including images of Nicaraguans dancing, how they held their markets, and made war, and of slaves being harshly treated.

The text reads:

"When the indigenous peoples of Hispaniola became worn out under Spanish rule, they refused to work and some committed suicide. Black slaves were consequently brought in to replace them and open up the veins of gold and silver found on the island, especillay the Cibo region of the Cordillera Central. They were purchased from the Portuguese who had already conquered Guinea in West Africa and profiteered handsomely from the slave trade. Here the slaves are shown digging into the mountainside for the previous metals and pouring them in heaps before the Spanish for inspection"

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Theodore De Bry

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