Antonio de Herrera y Tordesillas
(1559 – March 29, 1625), Spanish
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...
A historian is a person who studies and writes about the past and is regarded as an authority on it. Historians are concerned with the continuous, methodical narrative and research of past events as relating to the human race; as well as the study of all history in time. If the individual is...
, was born at Cuéllar
Cuéllar is a large town and local government district in the autonomous community of Castile and León, in Spain. It had a population of 9,841 in 2008....
, in the province of Segovia
Segovia is a city in Spain, the capital of Segovia Province in the autonomous community of Castile and León. It is situated north of Madrid, 30 minutes by high speed train. The municipality counts some 55,500 inhabitants.-Etymology:...
His father, Roderigo de Tordesillas, and his mother, Agnes de Herrera, were both of good family. After studying for some time in his native country, Herrera proceeded to Italy, and there became secretary to Vespasian Gonzago
thumb|250px|Vespasiano I Gonzaga.Vespasiano I Gonzaga was an Italian nobleman, diplomat, writer, military engineer and condottiero...
, with whom, on his appointment as viceroy of Navarre, he returned to Spain. Gonzago, sensible of his secretary's abilities, commended him to Philip II of Spain
Philip II was King of Spain, Portugal, Naples, Sicily, and, while married to Mary I, King of England and Ireland. He was lord of the Seventeen Provinces from 1556 until 1581, holding various titles for the individual territories such as duke or count....
; and that monarch appointed Herrera first historiographer of the Indies, and one of the historiographers of Castile
A former kingdom, Castile gradually merged with its neighbours to become the Crown of Castile and later the Kingdom of Spain when united with the Crown of Aragon and the Kingdom of Navarre...
Placed thus in the enjoyment of an ample salary, Herrera devoted the rest of his life to the pursuit of literature, retaining his offices until the reign of Philip IV
Philip IV was King of Spain between 1621 and 1665, sovereign of the Spanish Netherlands, and King of Portugal until 1640...
, by whom he was appointed secretary of state very shortly before his death.
Of Herrera's writings, the most valuable is his Historia general de los hechos de los Castellanos en las islas y tierra firme del Mar Oceano
(Madrid, 1601-1615, 4 vols), a work which relates the history of the Spanish-American colonies from 1492 to 1554. The author's official position gave him access to the state papers and to other authentic sources not attainable by other writers, while he did not scruple to borrow largely from other manuscripts, especially from that of Bartolomé de Las Casas
Bartolomé de las Casas O.P. was a 16th-century Spanish historian, social reformer and Dominican friar. He became the first resident Bishop of Chiapas, and the first officially appointed "Protector of the Indians"...
. This work, reprinted in Spanish in 1726, was translated into English by Captain John Stevens.
Herrera's main works
Herrera's main published works are the following:
- Historia de lo sucedido en Escocia a Inglaterra en quarenta y quatro annos que vivio la reyna Maria Estuarda (Madrid, 1589)
- Cinco libros de la historia de Portugal, y conquista de las isles de los Acores, 1582-1583 (Madrid, 1591)
- Historia de lo sucedido en Francia, 1585-1594 (Madrid, 1598)
- Historia general del mundo del tiempo del rey Felipe II, desde 1559 haste su muerte (Madrid, 1601-1612, 3 vols)
- Historia general de los hechos de los Castellanos en las islas y tierra firme del Mar Oceano (Madrid, 1601-1615, 4 vols)
- Tratado, relation, y discurso historico de los movimientos de Aragon (Madrid, 1612)
- Comentarios de los hechos de los Españoles, Franceses, y Venecianos en Italia, etc., 1281-1559 (Madrid, 1624, seq.).