Varones ilustres del Nuevo Mundo, descubridores, conquistadores y pacificadores del opulento, dilatado y poderoso Imperio de las Indias occidentales

Hernando Pizarro and Orellana, native of Trujillo, is an illustrious member of the Pizarro family. He held various positions and titles: Knight of Calatrava, Commander of Betera (Valencia), intellectual, historian, jurist, Minister of the Supreme Council of Castile, compiler of the Kingdom’s law, Major Ensign of the city of Trujillo, Warden of his fortress and Patron of the convent of the Merced of that city. He also served as administrator of justice and occupied positions of special importance in Seville, Granada and the Court of Madrid.

His work as a historian and humanist resulted in a collection entitled Illustrious Men of the New World, discoverers, conquerors and peacemakers of the opulent, dilated and powerful Empire of the West Indies, printed in Madrid by Diego Diaz de la Carrera, at the expense of Pedro Coello. The book is interesting even by its manufacture: it is a luxurious volume in folio that denotes a painstaking typographic work. Even when a second part was promised, this was the only one printed by the author.

Illustrious men of the New World is more than a conventional collection of lives, in the best style of Plutarch. It is an organic work that establishes moral and spiritual relations in the historical events of the main agents of the conquest: Cristobal Columbus, Francisco Pizarro, Hernan Cortes and Diego de Almagro, among others. It presents an ordered sequence of events-treated as a gesta- which, is additionally accompanied by a careful marginal annotation. These represent an important reading of how the conquest was understood by the Europeans of century XVII. As a typical Baroque product, this book contains both the text and its interpretation.