A history of the reign of King Manuel I, including the great Portuguese voyages of discovery and colonisation of the era, it is the work of Damiao de Goes (1502-74), a humanist and scholar who knew Luther well and was both pupil and friend to Erasmus.
Married to a Dutch noblewoman, he settled in Louvain for some years but on his return to Portugal was appointed royal archivist and chronicler.
This Chronica… was a royal commission, but when the first part appeared, some members of the country’s great families took offence at his criticisms. Denounced to the Inquistion, he was later sentenced to a short term of monastic seclusion, but died soon after his release.
The first part of his chronicle was recalled to have the offending pages replaced, but this copy is one of only three known examples retaining those offending original leaves.
This rare copy was some three centuries later bound in elaborate fashion by Leon Gruel (1841-1923).