1585 · Impresso ... en la Ciudad delos Reyes [i.e., Lima]
Following the fall of the Inca Empire to Pizarro and his men, the => shaping of a new social order began but was complicated by a civil war between two factions of the conquering Spaniards. Nonetheless, the development of one of the preeminent colonies of the Spanish empire, there in the coastal and Andean regions of the west coast of South America, progressed at a steady pace.
The society that developed in Peru, as in Mexico, Guatemala, and elsewhere in the Spanish New World, was one of => parallel social systems governed by Spanish laws and royal appointed officials; the Spaniards transplanted their traditional social system from Iberia and the indigenous population maintained its own in modified form. Carefully nurtured points of commonality and interchange ensured that while the populations and cultures were essentially separate, the indigenous one did not develop beliefs and practices that would be in conflict with those of the dominant Hispanic culture.
To this end => it was necessary for there to be individuals in both societies who were fluent in each other's languages and could assist in legal, religious, and social matters. In Spanish society one principal group whose members were expected to learn either Quechua or Aymara, the two principal languages of the Inca empire, were the Catholic missionaries. But works in either of those languages were slow to appear in print and => the number of works in Peruvian indigenous languages printed in the 16th century lagged far behind the number of works in the languages of Mexico. The first two works in the languages of Peru were printed in Europe only in 1560. No more works appeared until 1584 and then they were printed in Peru itself.
In that year => Antonio Ricardo printed the first book in South America, the Doctrina christiana y catecismo para instruccion de los Indios. Antonio Ricardo was an Italian who began working as a printer in Mexico in 1570 in the shops of other printers, almost certainly principally in that of Pedro Ocharte. In 1577 he became the fifth independent printer in the New World but operated under his own name only until 1579, during which time he worked closely with the Jesuits and printed books for students at the Society of Jesus' Colegio de San Pedro y San Pablo; at the urging of the Society he left Mexico in 1580 to establish his press in Peru. There, however, because of a dispute between the Jesuits and the viceroy, he did not receive license to print until 1584, when the first thing he printed, at the insistence of the viceroy, was a four-page explanation of the change from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar. This was quickly followed by => three tri-lingual books in Spanish, Quechua, and Aymara, all works by members of the Society of Jesus. The Tercero cathecismo is only the third book printed in South America and it shows Ricardo as aware and proud of his position as the first printer in South America. He pointedly identified himself as such on the book's title-page: "Antonio Ricardo, primer impressor en estos Reynos del Piru."
The Tercero cathecismo's importance is multifaceted and goes far beyond its place as an icon in American printing history, for it provided doctrinally approved sermons both for those priests serving the Spanish population who were less than proficient sermonizers and also, specifically, for those => priests and missionaries working among the indigenous population whose command of Quechua and/or Aymara was not sufficient for them to be safe and fluent deliverers of the word of God and instruction in Christian ethics and practices. Modern study of these sermons additionally considers which indigenous terms were used to convey European concepts (precursor to the Chinese rites controversy of the late 17th century Jesuit missionaries in China), which Spanish words became loan words in Quechua and Aymara, what indigenous practices were of concern to the religious authorities, and of course which dialect of each language was chosen to be the norm of proselytization.
Ricardo was fond of printing his texts with => a mix of type faces and a wide variety of large woodcut initials. The inventory of the type, ornamental letters, woodcut illustrations, etc., that he owned when he sold the press shows that he had amassed huge quantities of all of those elements of the black art. (The inventory is in the Manuscript Division of the New York Public Library, the gift of Edward Harkness.) The Tercero cathecismo prints the Spanish text in italic and the indigenous-language texts in roman, with the Spanish printed margin to margin at the top of the pages and the Quechua and Aymara below it in parallel columns to the left and right respectively. And yes, there is goodly use of several woodcut headpieces, many large woodcut initials (some historiated); curiously, no tailpieces.
Provenance: 18th-century ownership inscription in an upper margin of the library of Colegio de Santa Rosa; which one, not clear.
As one would expect of any book that was among the first productions of a press in a remote region, the Tercero cathecismo is a rare book. Searches of NUC Pre-1956, WorldCat, COPAC, CCPBE, and KVK locate only eight U.S., four European, and two South American libraries reporting ownership. However, we know of one other U.S. and one other European library owning copies.
DeBacker-Sommervogel, I, 34; Sabin 94838; Medina, Lima, 3; Vargas Ugarte, Impresos peruanos, 3; Johnson, The Book in the Americas, 34; Medina, Lenguas quechua y aymará, 4; Viñaza 81; Index Aurel. 100449; Iberian Book Project IB 1695. Recased in possibly original limp vellum; new free endpapers and fly-leaves; evidence of long-gone ties. Title-page in facsimile. Thirteen leaves supplied from a shorter copy (ff. 57, 138, 143, 146, 151, 135, 160, 161, 168, 186, 191, 194, 199); heavy staining to ca. fol. 25 and again at the end, other staining scattered. Worming, mostly pinhole but some meander, with loss of letters, parts of words, and occasionally whole words, seldom with injury to reading; a few leaves with repaired margins and repairs to wormed areas. => Obviously a sophisticated copy and one that has seen hardships, nonetheless, a copy ready to repay ownership and study. (Inventory #: 36505)