Francisco López de Gómara wrote this volume as a record of the Spanish Conquests. Although he was criticized for inaccuracies and for aggrandizing Hernán Cortés, his work does summarize public and private records now lost. His dedication to Emperor Charles V, from the original Spanish edition published in 1552, begins with these words, “The greatest event which has happened since the creation of the world . . . is the discovery of the Indies.” This book, the first English translation, unfortunately omits or changes much of the matter contained in Gómara’s original work in Spanish.