The Latest Word from 1540: People, Places, and Portrayals of the Coronado Expedition

By Melzer, Richard | The Historian, Winter 2012 | Go to article overview
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The Latest Word from 1540: People, Places, and Portrayals of the Coronado Expedition


Melzer, Richard, The Historian


The Latest Word from 1540: People, Places, and Portrayals of the Coronado Expedition. Edited, with an introduction, by Richard Flint and Shirley Cushing Flint. (Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press, 2011. Pp. xi, 505. $55.00.)

Francisco Vazquez de Coronado began his exploration of Tierra Nueva on New Spain's far northern frontier in 1540. Accompanied by more than a thousand Indian "allies" and African and Indian slaves, Coronado and his 375 Spanish followers searched for God (Catholic converts), glory (higher social status), and gold (although silver would do). Parts of the expedition traveled as far west as the Grand Canyon, as far east as the current state of Kansas, as far north in New Mexico as Taos Pueblo, and as far south as today's town of Truth or Consequences, an appropriate name for Coronado's entire entrada. Frustrated by his lack of success in finding God, glory, or gold, Coronado retreated to New Spain in 1542, humiliated, disillusioned, and defeated. Exhausted by excessive Spanish demands and frequent wars, the Pueblo Indians were glad to see the invaders go.

Individually and together, Richard Flint and Shirley Cushing Flint have written or edited six previous books on Coronado's failed expedition. Indeed, the editors have mined the Coronado expedition with far greater success than Coronado ever experienced in mining for wealth, souls, or social status on the northern frontier. In addition to their own extensive research and writing, the editors have encouraged fellow historians and anthropologists to develop their multidisciplinary interests in the Coronado expedition in two earlier anthologies, published in 1997 and 2003.

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