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The origins of the American Indians, proposing a migration via a land bridge across the Bering Strait

HORNIUS (HORN), Georgius.
De originibus Americanis libri quatuor.
The Hague, Adriaan Vlacq (colophon: printed by Philippe de Croy, Leiden), 1652. 8vo. With title-page in red and black with De Croy's(?) woodcut tree device. Late 19th-century binding made from an early music manuscript on sheepskin parchment.
€ 3,500
The first edition of a learned essay in Latin on the origins of the American Indians. It culminated a fierce debate that began with Grotius in his 1642 Dissertatio de origine gentium Americanarum, which argued that the American Indians of North America descended from Norsemen crossed via Iceland and Greenland; those of the Yuccatan from Ethiopian Christians, also crossing the Atlantic; and the more "advanced" ones in Peru from Chinese who came by boat to the Pacific coast. Grotius based his theories partly on linguistic arguments, culture and artefacts, but also attempted to make the evidence fit the Biblical accounts of the world, and he supposed no people lived in the New World in pre-Christian times. Johannes de Laet published a sharp critique of Grotius's arguments in 1643, demolishing most of his edifice and suggesting numerous possible scenarios, particularly suggesting a much earlier (pre-Christian) migration from Scythia across a land bridge between America and Tartary. The two men continued an even more heated exchange. Grotius's death in 1645 gave the last word to De Laet, who nevertheless urged the young Hornius (1620-1670), to take the study further, leading to the present account.
In very good condition. The boards are slightly bowed and the spine labels chipped, but the binding is still good.
Alden & Landis 652/111; Hanna Bijl, De herkomst van de Amerikaanse Indiaan (2011), pp. 19-33; Borba de Moraes, p. 413; Field, Indian bibliography 717; Huddleston, American Indians (1976), pp. 118-127; Palau 116199; Sabin 33014.
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Americas  >  North America & Mexico | South America
History, law & philosophy  >  History