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Diego Fernández de Palencia

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A Spanish conqueror and historian; b. at Palencia in the early part of the sixteenth century. He took up a military career, and went to Peru shortly after the conquest (about 1545). In 1553 and 1554 he took part in the civil struggle among the Spaniards, fighting under the banner of Alonso de Alvarado, Captain-General of Los Charcos, against the rebel Francisco Hernández de Giron. In 1555 Hurtado de Mendoza, Marquess of Canete, came to Peru as viceroy, and charged Fernández to write a history of the troubles in which he had just taken part. He then began his history of Peru, and later, when he had returned to Spain, upon the suggestion of Sandoval, President of the Council of the Indies, Fernández enlarged the scope of his work, and added to it a first part, dealing with the movements of Pizarro and his followers. The whole work was published under the title "Primera y segunda parte de la Historia del Peru" (Seville, 1571). Having taken part in many of the events, and known the men who figured in most of the scenes which he describes, Fernández may be regarded as a historian whose testimony is worth consideration. Garcilaso de la Vega, the Peruvian, who quotes long passages from Fernández, fiercely attacks his story and accuses him of partiality and of animosity against certain personages. Whatever the reason may have been, however, possibly because of the truth of the story, the fact is, the Council of the Indies prohibited the printing and sale of the book in the provinces under its jurisdiction. A perusal of the book conveys the impression that Fernández was a man of sound judgment, who set down the fact only after a thorough investigation. The reproaches of the Inca historian may, therefore, be regarded as without foundation.

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