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TO THE SOVEREIGN PONTIFF ADRIAN VI FROM THE SAME PETER MARTYR D'anghera OF MILAN
OST HOLY FATHER and most gracious Sovereign: I have dedicated the Fourth Decade of my Indian history to the Sovereign Pontiff, Leo X., your most gracious brother and cousin.1 We have enumerated in that work with great fidelity and absolute integrity the peoples, the islands, the unknown lands discovered in our time in the ocean up to the year 1522, from the Incarnation. Since that epoch other letters have arrived from Fernando Cortes, commander of the Imperial fleet, describing the countries he has brought under Spanish rule. * These letters contain new and extraordinary particulars, astonishing from every point of view. In this Fifth Decade of my commentaries I have reported these particulars with as much precision and
1 Although dedicated to Adrian VI., this Decade is addressed to his successor, Clement VII., a natural and posthumous son of Giuliano de' Medici, who had been legitimised by his cousin, Leo X.
1 The letters of Cortes to Charles V., known as Cartas de la Relation, contain the earliest description of Mexican civilisation under Montezuma, when the country was first seen by Europeans. Including the letter of the magistrates of Vera Cruz, these letters number five. The following are the editions in different languages of the entire series: Enrique de Vedia in Ribadeneyra's Biblioteca de Autores Classicas, 1852; Pascual Gayangos, Cartas de Hernan Cortes al Emperador Carlos V.; Desire1 Charnay, Lettres de Fernan Cortes A Charles Quint, 1896; Francis MacNutt, Letters of Cortes to Charles V., 1908.