Published by Primary Source Microfilm
From the holdings of the New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations
In the late 1700s, Carlos III, King of Spain, commissioned Juan Bautista Muñoz to "give a history of the Indies, complete in all its parts, authenticated with original documents." Muñoz travelled, visited, investigated and copied the documents and papers written by both Spaniards and Americans. Eventually the body of work passed into the hands of Obadiah Rich, who supplemented it with other pertinent reports.
This collection, based on Muñoz's and Rich's work, is a unique source of rare, original materials. It includes papers that describe events and conditions of the Spanish discovery, conquest and administration of the Americas from 1492 to the early 19th century, including Christopher Columbus' original diary from the voyage during which he first saw the New World.
There are more than 100 volumes in this collection, including reports of explorations; correspondence between the kings of Spain and the Spanish explorers relating to the administration of the colonies as well as disputes among explorers; descriptions by Spanish missionaries of the Indian natives and their resistance to Spanish settlers; histories of the various colonies; and more. A printed guide accompanies the collection.