True History and Description of a Country in America, whose Inhabitants are Savage, Naked, Very Godless and Cruel Man-Eaters


Hans Staden was born in Hesse, Germany, sometime between 1525 and 1528. He made his first voyage to Brazil in 1547-48, serving as a gunner on a Portuguese ship. In 1550 he joined a Spanish expedition to the La Plata River but was shipwrecked and eventually captured by Tupinamba Indians, who were known as cannibals who ate their captives. Staden managed by various means to avoid being killed, but spent nine months as a captive of the Tupinamba. In February 1555 he escaped to a French ship. He returned to his native Germany, where in 1557 he published a lurid account of his adventures and his life among the Tupinamba. Staden’s book became an immediate best-seller that was reprinted several times in German and translated into Dutch, Latin, and French. This edition, published in Amsterdam in 1595, is one of many editions published in Dutch between 1558 and 1736. Staden’s work contains drawings and detailed descriptions of Tupinamba villages, food, pottery manufacture and other crafts, religion, marriage customs, and political practices. The book is regarded by many scholars as an important primary source for the study of the Tupinamba culture, which is now extinct.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

Cornelis Claesz, Madrid, Spain


Title in Original Language

Waerachtige Historie en beschrijvinge eens Landts in America gheleghen, wiens inwoonders Wilt, Naect, seer godtloos ende wreede Menschen eeters zijn

Type of Item

Physical Description

Printed paper, 15 x 10 centimeters


Last updated: September 18, 2015