Histoire natvrelle et moralle des Indes, tant Orientalles qu’Occidentalles

Jose de Acosta. 1598.

Image of Histoire natvrelle et moralle des Indes, tant Orientalles qu’Occidentalles

As a Jesuit missionary, Acosta travelled through New Spain for fifteen years before returning to Europe. His book describes indigenous customs; climate; bodies of water; and plant, animal, and mineral resources in the New World.

Image of Histoire natvrelle et moralle des Indes, tant Orientalles qu’Occidentalles

As a Jesuit missionary, Acosta travelled through New Spain for fifteen years before returning to Europe. His book describes indigenous customs; climate; bodies of water; and plant, animal, and mineral resources in the New World.

“It is so much prized among the Indians, and even among Spaniards, that it is one of the richest and most frequent objects of trade in New Spain; for because it is a dry fruit it can be kept for a long time without loss and ships loaded with it are brought from the province of Guatemala. And this past year an English pirate burned more than a hundred thousand loads of cacao in the port of Huatulco in New Spain. It is also used as money, for with five cocoa beans one thing can be bought, and with thirty another, and with a hundred another, and without haggling; and it is customary to give cocoa beans to the poor when they ask for alms.

The chief value of this cocoa is a beverage that they make called chocolate, which is prized to the point of folly in that land. It is nauseating to some who are not accustomed to it, for it has froth on top and a sort of lees, which indeed require a good deal of effort to drink. Yet it is the most prized drink and is offered to noblemen as they pass through their lands. Both Indians and Spaniards, and especially Spanish women who have grown accustomed to the land, adore their black chocolate. They say that this chocolate is made in different forms and temperatures: hot and cold and lukewarm. They often put spices in it and much chile; they also make it in the form of a paste, and say that it is good for the chest and stomach and against catarrh. No matter what its uses, those who have not been brought up to it do not much care for it.” Translation from Jane Mangan, ed. Natural and Moral History of the Indies, trans. by Frances M. López-Morillas (Durham: Duke University Press, 2002), 209–10.

Image of Histoire natvrelle et moralle des Indes, tant Orientalles qu’Occidentalles

As a Jesuit missionary, Acosta travelled through New Spain for fifteen years before returning to Europe. His book describes indigenous customs; climate; bodies of water; and plant, animal, and mineral resources in the New World.

“It is so much prized among the Indians, and even among Spaniards, that it is one of the richest and most frequent objects of trade in New Spain; for because it is a dry fruit it can be kept for a long time without loss and ships loaded with it are brought from the province of Guatemala. And this past year an English pirate burned more than a hundred thousand loads of cacao in the port of Huatulco in New Spain. It is also used as money, for with five cocoa beans one thing can be bought, and with thirty another, and with a hundred another, and without haggling; and it is customary to give cocoa beans to the poor when they ask for alms.

The chief value of this cocoa is a beverage that they make called chocolate, which is prized to the point of folly in that land. It is nauseating to some who are not accustomed to it, for it has froth on top and a sort of lees, which indeed require a good deal of effort to drink. Yet it is the most prized drink and is offered to noblemen as they pass through their lands. Both Indians and Spaniards, and especially Spanish women who have grown accustomed to the land, adore their black chocolate. They say that this chocolate is made in different forms and temperatures: hot and cold and lukewarm. They often put spices in it and much chile; they also make it in the form of a paste, and say that it is good for the chest and stomach and against catarrh. No matter what its uses, those who have not been brought up to it do not much care for it.” Translation from Jane Mangan, ed. Natural and Moral History of the Indies, trans. by Frances M. López-Morillas (Durham: Duke University Press, 2002), 209–10.

Image of Histoire natvrelle et moralle des Indes, tant Orientalles qu’Occidentalles

As a Jesuit missionary, Acosta travelled through New Spain for fifteen years before returning to Europe. His book describes indigenous customs; climate; bodies of water; and plant, animal, and mineral resources in the New World.

“It is so much prized among the Indians, and even among Spaniards, that it is one of the richest and most frequent objects of trade in New Spain; for because it is a dry fruit it can be kept for a long time without loss and ships loaded with it are brought from the province of Guatemala. And this past year an English pirate burned more than a hundred thousand loads of cacao in the port of Huatulco in New Spain. It is also used as money, for with five cocoa beans one thing can be bought, and with thirty another, and with a hundred another, and without haggling; and it is customary to give cocoa beans to the poor when they ask for alms.

The chief value of this cocoa is a beverage that they make called chocolate, which is prized to the point of folly in that land. It is nauseating to some who are not accustomed to it, for it has froth on top and a sort of lees, which indeed require a good deal of effort to drink. Yet it is the most prized drink and is offered to noblemen as they pass through their lands. Both Indians and Spaniards, and especially Spanish women who have grown accustomed to the land, adore their black chocolate. They say that this chocolate is made in different forms and temperatures: hot and cold and lukewarm. They often put spices in it and much chile; they also make it in the form of a paste, and say that it is good for the chest and stomach and against catarrh. No matter what its uses, those who have not been brought up to it do not much care for it.” Translation from Jane Mangan, ed. Natural and Moral History of the Indies, trans. by Frances M. López-Morillas (Durham: Duke University Press, 2002), 209–10.

Metadata Details
Item Type Book
Title Histoire natvrelle et moralle des Indes, tant Orientalles qu’Occidentalles
Creator Jose de Acosta
Publication Date 1598
Call Number VAULT Ayer 108 .A2 1598b
Location Special Collections