Díaz del Castillo, Bernal (bārnälˈ dēˈäth dĕl kästēˈlyō) [key], c.1492–1581, Spanish conquistador and chronicler. He had served in the New World under various commanders—Pedro Arias de Ávila, Diego de Velázquez, Francisco Fernández de Córdoba, and Grijalva—before joining Hernán Cortés in 1519 to serve in the conquest of Mexico. His monumental work, The True History of the Conquest of New Spain (1632; tr. by A. P. Maudslay 1928, rev. ed. 1956, and by Albert Idell, 1956; both with variant title), written in his old age in Guatemala, is a fresh, unstudied account of events, scenes, and men he had himself known, with an accent on everyday concerns and on the common soldier.
See biographies by R. B. C. Graham (1915) and H. Cerwin (1963).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.