During the first half of the 17th century, along with Martini's book, numerous other sources kept Europeans informed about the social turmoil in China at the time. It is interesting to note that among these sources, the Spanish accounts and the Portuguese accounts differ considerable in terms of their views pertaining to the political shifts in the Far East during the first half of the 17th century, such as the downfall of the Ming Dynasty and the ensuing rise of the Manchu as the dominant power in the region, as well as the First and Second Manchu Invasion of Korea. In particular, those such as Mendoza and Montanus, who were openly critical of the Jesuits, sought to remedy Europeans' negative conceptions of the Manchu people, as well as of the Koreans.
Palafox y Mendoza, who came from an aristocratic Spanish family, had never personally set foot on Chinese soil. Nevertheless during his tenure as Bishop of Puebla de los Ángeles in Mexico, he was able to receive regular dispatches from Macao and Manila on the China situation up to the end of 1647, which later served as the basis for his Historia de la conquista de la China por el Tartaro (History of the Conquest of China by the Tartars), a fact stipulated by Mendoza in the preface to the book. Interesting enough Mendoza does not acknowledge Martini as a source for his accounts. Given the fact that at the time, Portugal had been granted exclusive rights to conduct mission work in China, it is understandable that the Spanish Mendoza would have harbored some amount of animosity toward the Jesuit missionaries in China.
Despite Mendoza's manifest anti-Jesuit sentiments, his book went a long way in challenging the Europe's established conception of the Chinese people and the Manchu people. If Martini is overtly favorable toward Ming China based on his sinocentric propensities, Mendoza is outspoken in his rebuff of the notion of the 'Middle Kingdom' and does not hide his admiration for the Manchus. In Mendoza's view, the Manchus, in contrast to the Mings, did not stand on ceremony and were not antagonistic toward Westerners. Praising the Manchus for the uncommon valor, Mendoza foresaw that China would be born anew through them. He goes as far as to state, "the Golden age [of European antiquity] was gone from Europe into Tartar." According to Mendoza's assessment, unlike the Japanese, the Manchus, once regarded as barbaric, tended to be much more reasonable and judicial in their treatment of foreigners. Mendoza also sees Emperor Shunzhi as a ruler moderate in character and endowed with abundant virtue.
Mendoza compares the breakup of the Christian nations in Europe in the face of the Islam threat to the Manchu invasion of China and urges the European monarchs to learn from China's mistakes. He reminds them that different peoples (namely the Mongols and the Manchus) had united to overthrow the oppressive Chinese, and chastised Europe's Christians for their petty squabbles even with the Ottoman Turk at the gates. Just as Scipio faced up to reality after Rome defeated the Carthages, Mendoza stipulates that there was a lesson to be learned from the collapse of China and implores neighboring countries like Japan and Cochin China not to repeat the failures of China. Furthermore, he writes in no uncertain terms that the Emperor and the officialdom of Manchu were considerably more effective in the enforcement of law and order than the European leadership and that they should try to emulate the so-called "barbarians." Clearly Mendoza's assessments were motivated by his God-centered view of history, in lieu of sinocentricism. Thus from his standpoint, nations in the Far East were essentially equal under God. This also serves as basis for his views on Korea.
Mendoza's Historia is comprised of 32 chapters, and the third chapter is devoted to the Manchu invasion of Korea. Mendoza's account seems to augment Martini's own account of the incident. Martini fails to mention the 'Humilitation at Samjeondo,' was well as the Crown Prince Sohyeon's captivity in Beijing. In contrast, Mendoza's is the first instance in which the 'Humilitation at Samjeondo' is mentioned in a book published during the first half of the 17th century.
According the Mendoza's account of the incident, the Manchus were able to occupy the greater part of Korea at great cost. The Korean king was well aware that in terms of military strength, Koreans was no match for the Manchus, and in lieu of pointless resistance, he ultimately opted to yield to the aggressors. Confident that he would retain his throne once the Manchus acknowledged Korea as a subject state, the Korean king lay down his crown before the feet of the Manchu emperor. Manchu estimated that faced with an almost impossible situation, the Korean king acted most sagaciously.
The truth be known, Mendoza's account of Korea leaves much to be desired. The dates of specific events are not accurate, and Mendoza glosses over certain proper names, in the fashion of 'this Korean king' or 'that Korean prince,' apparently in consideration of his novice readers at large. Nevertheless, Mendoza's Historia provides the most comparative factual and insightful rendering of the Korea situation of related books of the period. Mendoza contends that Korea had enjoyed a long history as an independent state, made to pay tribute to China only due to its inferiority in strength. He graciously surmises that Korean King Injo's humiliating submission at Samjeondo was in fact an unavoidable choice of a sagacious leader of a weak country. Throughout his account, Mendoza consistently portrays Korea as a politically independent state nation.
Historia was published in Paris in 1679 in Spanish, after Mendoza's death. The French edition came out in Paris the same year. The English edition was translated from the French edition and published in London in 1671, the second and third edition coming out respectively in 1676 and 1679. For nearly ten years, Mendoza's Historia succeeded in capturing the interest of the Europeans.