To say that Columbus's initial reports from the New World are the earliest texts of Dominican literature doesn't stretch the truth very much; whatever the author's personal national identity may have been, his response to America becomes part of its literary and general history. This at least was the assumption made by Dominican literary historians who added to Columbus the names of many distinguished representatives of Crown and Church who at least began their American careers in this first outpost. Among them we should mention Fray Roman Pane (dates unknown), a Catalan Jeronimite who was the first to learn the indigenous language and to compile local lore, and of course Gonzalo Fernandez de Oviedo (1478-1557), official chronicler and author of Historia general y natural de las Indias (General and Natural History of the Indies; 1526), and Bartolome de las Casas (1474-1566), defender of the Indians and author of Historia de las Indias (History of the Indies; 1560).