Spanish Texas, 1519-1821

By Donald E. Chipman; Harriett Denise Joseph | Go to book overview

Introduction to the Second Edition

Spain’s presence off the Texas Gulf Coast began in 1519 with the voyage of Alonso Álvarez de Pineda. Its direct influence over significant parts of the present Lone Star State, sporadic until 1716, lasted until 1821, when Texas became part of the newly independent Mexican nation. When the first edition of Spanish Texas, 1519–1821 was published in 1992, no adequate one-volume synthesis of the Spanish, Indian, and French experiences in Texas, or any consideration of their legacies lasting beyond 1821, existed in any language. The book helped challenge a misguided notion that the colonial period— aside from six restored missions, one reconstructed presidio, and a few other old buildings—is a colorful but largely irrelevant chapter in Texas’s past.

Research for the first edition of Spanish Texas ended around 1990. Since then the history of colonial Texas has become much richer, thanks to the work of many historians, archeologists, and anthropologists. For example, approximately a dozen books on Texas Indians appeared between 1990 and 2008. Highlighting that scholarship was the appearance of David La Vere’s The Texas Indians (2004), the first comprehensive overview of Texas’s earliest human inhabitants since the publication of W. W. Newcomb Jr.’s book with an identical main title in 1961. Then, in 2007 Julianna Barr’s Peace Came in the Form of a Woman: Indians and Spaniards in the Texas Borderlands provided a capstone monograph that emphasized indisputable Indian dominance in Spanish Texas that continued into post-1821 Texas history. Several other important works from this era of scholarship are cited in the chapter notes.

As the target date drew near for submitting the second edition manuscript to the University of Texas Press, we received permission from Pekka Hämäläinen to use information from his manuscript “The Comanche Empire,” subsequently published by Yale (2008) while our own work was in press. Where possible, we have incorporated this “landmark study that will make readers see the history of southwestern America in an entirely new way.”1

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