THE third volume of Giovanni Battista Ramusio's Delle Navigationi et Viaggi was first published in Venice by Giunti in 1556.' It included an account of the first Spanish descent to the River Amazon made during 1542. This account was written by Gonzalo Hernandez de Oviedo y Valdes (1478-1557), and sent as a letter to Cardinal Pietro Bembo (1470-1547), the distinguished humanist, who from 1530 until his death was the official historian as well as the librarian of the Venetian Republic. It was Bembo, a friend of Ramusio, who undertook to have translated into Italian what appears to be this very letter presumably so that Ramusio could include it in his projected volume. However, while Ramusio's third volume includes such primary material as Oviedo's letter, it contains also extensive extracts from histories.
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