Considered by many as the first ever written book from the New World in a European language, "An Account of the Antiquities of the Indians- by Fray Ramon Pané (edited and adapted by Juan José Arrom, and translated by Susan C. Griswold), served as an example for colonial Latin American Literature. The style in which it is written, chronicle observations, set the tone for the writings of great Latin American colonial writers in reporting to Royal authorities. Many nationalistic writers of colonial Latin America also adopted this chronicle technique to document their countries' history, for example, Andrés Bello wrote patriotic prose in this form about Venezuela's independence process. .
The period Pané covers is short span, from 1494 to 1498; it is restricted to a defined area, the island of Hispaniola - which is presently divided in the Dominican Republic and Haiti - and focuses on recording the lives and beliefs of the TaÃno people. Columbus dubbed these and other peoples of the New World Indians', and unlike their North American counterparts (which are now more fairly and politically correct referred to as Native Americans) we still call them indigenous people. Although it was already known by the end of the first third of the sixteenth century that Columbus was actually lost and consequently misnamed them, in a loop of history, neither Indigenous tribes nor the real Indians have been ever paid their due and they are still constantly misidentified.
The short book is a gathering of annotations, anecdotes and findings that the self-proclaimed humble Fray made of the inhabitants that he encountered and observed while accompanying Columbus on his second voyage. The original title is worth analyzing, Pané subtitled it " Diligently Gathered by Fray Ramon, a Man Who Knows Their Language, by Order of the Admiral-, one cannot help to ponder how accurate this is.