Cieza de León, Pedro. The Discovery and Conquest of Peru: The New World Encounter. Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press, 1999. Pedro Cieza de León arrived in Peru in 1547, wide-eyed at the age of 27, and proceeded to explore every nook and cranny, describing everything as he went. He is the first Spaniard to describe Spanish mistreatment of Peru’s natives. His reliable voice paints the Spanish-Inca encounter in simple and clear language.
Garcilaso de la Vega, Inca, and Harold Livermore, translator. Royal Commentaries of the Inca and General History of Peru. Austin, Texas: University of Texas Press, 1966. Inca Garcilaso was the son of a conquistador and an Inca princess who moved to Spain in his youth and spent the rest of his life documenting the myths, culture, and history of the Inca. Though criticized for historical inaccuracies and exaggeration, Inca Garcilaso’s 1,000-page Royal Commentaries contains subtitles that make this work easy to thumb through.
Poma de Ayala, Felipe Guamán. Nueva Crónica y Buen Gobierno. Madrid: Siglo XXI, 1992. This magnificent 16th-century manuscript has become the New World’s best known indigenous chronicle since it was discovered in the Royal Library of Copenhagen in 1908. It is a 1,200-page history of the Spanish conquest, told from the Andean point of view in an eclectic mixture of Quechua and Spanish. Its harangues against Spanish injustice are complemented by 400 drawings made by Poma de Ayala, which accompany the text. Parts of this text, which was intended as a letter to Spanish King Phillip III, have been translated into English and are published on the Internet at www.personal.umich.edu/~dfrye/guaman.htm .