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    Hernán Cortés Letter Signed "El Marqués". One page, 8" x 9" (sight on verso). Cuernavaca; July 7, no year, but circa 1530s. A letter to Juan de Toledo, mayor of Tehuantepec, transmitting a letter (on the verso) regarding a debt: "Pariente señor / Juan Carreño has written to me that he owed your nephew Molina twenty two pesos de minas and was jailed until he was bailed out by his creditor Vicente." Cortés' letter explains that he is transmitting Carreño's letter, which is written on the verso, stating that Carreño is a servant employed by Toledo and receives twenty-two pesos de minas and that his salary be transferred to pay for his debt. The year 1542 is written at the top of the letter in a different hand, but it is more likely that the letter dates from circa 1530s, as Cortés had returned to Spain in 1541.

    Cortés arrived in the New World in 1504 as a colonist in Santo Domingo. He took part in the conquest of Hispaniola and Cuba, and received large grants of land and slaves as his reward. But unsatisfied with his lot, he set out on an expedition in February 1519 to explore and secure Mexico despite a revoked charter from the governor.

    Accompanied by 500 men aboard 11 ships, he quickly conquered the Mayan empire, and claimed their lands for the Spanish crown. King Charles V would appoint Cortés governor of the lands he conquered, but Cortés would not gain the title of Marqués until his return to Spain in 1528. Cortés returned to Mexico in 1530, as the Marqués del Valle de Oaxaca.

    The letter is accompanied by transcriptions of both letters prepared by an archivist at the General Archive of the Indies in Seville, Spain.

    Ex. Sang Collection, sold at Sotheby's for $20,000 in 1978.

    Condition: Bit of paper loss along right margin not affecting any text. With toning, and bold ink. Framed with double-sided glass to an overall size of 15" x 17.75".

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    May, 2017
    11th Thursday
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