The Royal Commentaries of Peru

The Royal Commentaries of Peru
This book offers a unique perspective of indigenous history and custom during a time fraught with European ethnocentrism. This is in large part because its original author, Garcia Laso de la Vega, was a descendant of both Spanish and Incan heritage. Garcia Laso, often called Garcialasso, "a corruption of... his real name," was the son of Sebastian Garcilasso de la Vega y Vargas who served in Mexico under the conquests of Hernán Cortez, "in Guatemala under Diego de Alvarado, and in Peru under Francisco Pizarro," and who became the Governor of Cuzco. Here "he had done much to better the condition of the natives" compared to other European explorers. Sebastian married an Incan princess named Chimpa Ocllo, who raised the author and taught him "the language of the ancient inhabitants of Peru, and suggested to him the idea of writing a history" of their people (Fuentes).

Garcilasso's two-fold privileged birth offered him special access to Incan and Spanish heritage, and each nation considered him one of their own. His "Commentaries of Peru" are therefore a perspective of indigenous life not often seen in the era in which he lived (Fuentes). Throughout the text Garcia Laso views the customs and practices of the Incans with less ethnocentrism and more egalitarianism. While some bias arises, his work still maintains its unique status as one of the more anti-racist surveys of indigenous society and the effect of European conquest upon it.

The work was originally written in Spanish and later translated by Sir Paul Rycaut and published in London.
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Fuentes, Ventura. "Garcilasso de la Vega (the Inca)." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 6. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1909. 7 Oct. 2020 <>.
Date Created
1688 AD
Garcia Laso de la Vega
Garcilasso de la Vega
Miles Flesher for Christopher Wilkinson
Paul Rycaut
Geographical Coverage
Temporal Coverage
17th Century
Collecting Areas
History of Writing Collection
Faint, illegible handwritten notes on the top center of the verso side of the first endpaper
Anthropological study
Bibliographic Citation
Vega, Garcia Laso de la, 1539-1616. The royal commentaries of Peru, in two parts : The first part. Treating of the original of their Incas or kings: of their idolatry: of their laws and government both in peace and war: of the reigns and conquests of the Incas ... The second part. Describing the manner by which that new world was conquered by the Spaniards. Also the civil wars between the Piçarrists and the Almagrians ... and other particulars contained in that history. Illustrated with sculptures / Written originally in Spanish, by the Inca Garcilasso de la Vega, and rendered into English, by Sir Paul Rycaut, kt. London: Miles Flesher for Christopher Wilkinson, 1688

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