Pedro de Cieza de Leon was the first historian to write a global history
of the Andes. In conveying to the reader an obligatory description
of the land, and in creating a history of the Incas of Cuzco that was
the earliest vision of the pre-Spanish world- analogous to the
Suma y
narracion de los Incas
ofJuan Diez de Betanzos-Cieza offers an early
and complete depiction ofthe Andean world, though clearly based on
European precepts.
Part Three
ofhis history, the subject ofthe present
translation, is a detailed narrative that initiates the story of Spanish
presence in the Andes and continues in three singular books that he
was able to
about the civil wars among the region's conquerors.
Cieza de Leon surpasses the classic definition of a chronicler. Years
agb, Peruvian historian Raul Porras Barrenechea considered him with
reason among those authors who encompassed the totality of the his-
torical experience, comparing him with, among others, Gutierrez de
Santa Clara and Garcilaso de la Vega, Pedro Pizarro and Agustin de
Zarate, in addition to the general chroniclers of the Indies, such as
Francisco L6pez de Gomara or Bartolome de las Casas. Like these
writers, Cieza de Leon was working within a particular temporal con-
text in his
Chronicle ofPeru,
but he also depicts the events with minute
detail and makes a distinction between various historical periods, far
exceeding the standard criteria ofhis contemporaries.
Cieza de Leon died in Seville in
During his lifetime, he was
able to publish only
Part One
ofhis ambitious project, although copies
of the
parts circulated throughout Spain. From his testa-
ment, it is clear that he wanted to send posthumously some of these
to the famous friar Bartolome de las Casas. The printing
ofPart Three
had to wait until our time, whereas the remainder came out at the end
ofthe nineteenth century. He has been called justifiably the "prince of
The title C:ieza de Leon chose for his history was the
Chronicle of
The various incomplete editions incorporated diverse labels for
some parts of the
It is useful to remember that the titles
ofthe Anglo·-American chronicles often differed, showing a change in
the author's original title or the invention of a title in cases where the
manuscript lacked the original. Although the title of
Part One
of the
published in Seville in
is undisputed, Cieza called it at
Previous Page Next Page