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Texas and Northeastern Mexico, 1630-1690 Hardcover – January, 1997
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Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Spanish
About the Author
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Juan Bautista Chapa, native of Albisola, near Genoa, participated in this entrada and chronicled it among other events in his Historia del Reino de León which traces the history and colonization of northeastern Mexico and Texas in rich detail for the period between 1650-1690. Chapa intended his history to be a follow-on to Alonso (the elder) de León's Discourses which detailed the history of this region prior to 1650. Chapa's Historia demonstrates the author's literary acumen through a mournful poem written as a memorial to the dead French encountered in 1689 at La Salle's settlement. This history has become the key contemporary work from which any historical study of this region must begin.
This volume is the first widely accessible and accurate English translation of Chapa's Historia. Elegantly translated by Ned F. Brierley and annotated by William C. Foster, who is becoming known for his welcomed efforts in bringing to the English-speaking world the chronicles of other Spanish expeditions into Texas, this book is a valuable addition to the historiography of colonial Mexico and Texas. Foster provides a cogent and insightful introduction in which he details the history of Chapa's manuscript and an analysis of the history and puts it in context with De León's Discourses. Foster has added De León's previously unpublished revised diary of his 1690 expedition into Texas as well as a listing of the 80 Indian tribes identified in this book. This book is essential reading for all students and scholars of Mexico's far north frontier and Texas. Additionally, the descriptions of the Indians, vegetation, wildlife, and climate in seventeenth-century Texas, will be of interest to ethnographers, anthropologists, and biogeographers. Genealogists of northeastern Mexico and south Texas will also benefit because the book contains some muster listing of the expeditioners-whose many descendants presently carry their names throughout the region and beyond. So names in genealogical trees and pedigrees get fleshed-out and placed in historical context.