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THE very nature of the questions which we have proposed to examine, the seeking after the European influences which so largely contributed to shape the religious and social institutions of ancient America, gives us readily to understand that our further study will require, above all, the help of European information.
We have succeeded in obtaining valuable intelligence regarding the history of pre-Columbian America from quite a number of authentic documents, either but little known or yet altogether unpublished. Ancient manuscripts and rare collections of authentic historical sources, besides the writings of venerable historians, also cast a flood of light upon a period of our continent which, until lately, was regarded as simply prehistoric. Yet we must acknowledge that we have not found any information strictly historical anterior to the sixth century of our era in regard to influential communication between Christian Europe and pagan America.
We might have expected to find in the Vatican archives, which form the most complete and most au
thentic history of the world, the solution of the imporII.-l 1