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GARCILASO (or GARCIA-LASO) DE
LA VEGA, Sebastian, Spanish soldier, born in Badajoz, Spain,
about 1495; died in Cuzco, Peru, in 1559. He was of the same family as the
Spanish poet of the same name. Sebastian went to Mexico with Pedro de Alvarado,
and when the latter returned to Guatemala, after the invasion of Quito,
Garcilaso remained in Peru, and became a follower of Francisco Pizarro. After
Pizarro's assassination he joined the royal governor, and was wounded at the
battle of Chupas, 16 September, 1542. He then joined Gonzalo Pizarro, and was
forced by him, on pain of death, to assist in his insurrection against the
viceroy, Pedro de la Gasca.
In the decisive battle of Xaquixaguana, 9 April, 1548,
Garcilaso went over to Gasca's side at the turning-point of the contest, and was
afterward appointed governor of Cuzco, which office he held until his death. He
was noted for his humanity to the Indians, and founded a hospital and other
benevolent institutions for them. He married an Indian princess, the niece of
Huaina Capac, who was the son of the Tupac Yupauqui.
GARCILASO INCA DE LA VEGA,
Peruvian historian, their son, born in Cuzco, 12 April, 1537. The time of his
death is uncertain, but it is supposed that he died in Cordova, Spain, a few
years after 1617. He was educated by a learned priest, who was his father's
chaplain. He became interested in the history of his country at an early age,
collecting all the traditions he could gather from the Indians, making journeys
through every part of Peru, and transcribing the oldest songs and hymns of the
country. His mother assisted him in his researches, and furnished whatever
details she was acquainted with concerning her unfortunate family.
A short time after the death of his father he embarked at
Callao for Spain, 21 January 1560. He served with credit, under Juan de Austria,
in the war against the Moors in Granada, and, after wasting the best years of
his life in military service, found himself poor and needy. In 1584 he
translated the " Dialogues on Love " of Leon Abravanel, and at the same time
employed himself in writing the "History of Florida," which he published in
Lisbon. In 1600 he began the first part of the "Comentarios Reales" (Lisbon,
1609), and in 1612 concluded the second part (Cordova, 1617), which forms a
general history of Peru. His works have been translated into German, French, and
As a Peruvian historian, he had unusual facilities for
acquiring accurate information. Many of the conquerors were in the habit of
meeting in his father's house in Cuzco and recounting their valiant deeds, and
he knew intimately Gonzalo Pizarro, brother of the conqueror. He often exhibits
such an ardent patriotism and love of liberty that it appears strange his works
should have been allowed to be published in any part of the Spanish empire
during the reign of Philip II. He protests against the destruction of ancient
buildings and records, and, although he hints that he has been compelled to
restrain himself in his exposition of Spanish cruelty in the expression "No todo
se dice" (all is not told), his history of the ancient Peruvians is the most
thorough as well as the most correct that we have.
He published "La traducción del Indio de
los tres Diologos de Amor de Leon Abravanel, por Garcilaso Inca de la Vega,
dirijidos a la sacra Catolica Real Magestad, Don Felipe II." (Madrid, 1590) ;
"La Florida del Inca, Historia del Adelantado Hernando de Soto, y de otros
heroicos Caballeros espanoles y indios" (Lisbon, 1605, Madrid, 1723 and 1804).
The "History of Florida" was translated into French by Richelet (Paris,
1670; reprinted in 1707, with a preface by the Abbé Lenglet-Dufresnoy). It was
translated into German by H. L. Meier (Zelle, 1753). "
Primera Parte de los Comentarios Reales, que tratan del origen de los Incas,
Reyes que fueron del Peru," etc. (Lisbon, 1609); translated into French
by Dabilard (Paris, 1744). The German translation by G. C. Bottgeer (Nordhausen,
1787) is not complete. The second part, entitled "Historia General del Peru,"
appeared at Cordova in 1617, and numerous editions have since been published in
Lisbon and Madrid. An English translation by Sir Paul Rigault, knight, was
published in London in 1688. It was translated into French by Baudoin (Paris,
1633, 1650, 1658). An Amsterdam edition of this translation (1737) is very much
sought after on account of its engravings by Bern.
Edited Appletons Encyclopedia by John Looby, Copyright © 2001 VirtualologyTM