The Domainguez-Escalante Journal: Their Expedition through Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico in 1776

The Domainguez-Escalante Journal: Their Expedition through Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico in 1776

The Domainguez-Escalante Journal: Their Expedition through Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico in 1776

The Domainguez-Escalante Journal: Their Expedition through Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico in 1776

Synopsis

The chronicle of Fray Francisco Atanasio Dominguez's remarkable 1776 expedition through the Rocky Mountains, the eastern Great Basin, and the Colorado Plateau to inventory new lands for the Spanish crown and to find a route from Santa Fe to Monterey, California.

Excerpt

The Domínguez-Escalante journal of the 1776 expedition into the interior basin of Western America has been previously translated into English and published three times. A reasonable question is whether yet another version is necessary. We believe that it is.

The first English translation was published in 1909 by the Reverend W. R. Harris. Although it is a good pioneer effort, Harris relied entirely upon a typescript prepared for him from the imperfect 1854 version published in Spanish in Mexico City in Documentos para la historia de Mexico, segunda serie. Because of its numerous errors, both in translation and notes, it has been judged practically worthless by scholars. In 1945 Herbert S. Auerbach Father Escalante's Journal, 1776-77 appeared. He too relied primarily upon the 1854 version in Documentos, spot-checking various passages here and there with the Ayer manuscript in the Newberry Library, Chicago, Illinois. It is far superior to the Harris work, and Auerbach's notes and maps are especially useful, but it still contains mistakes because of the faulty source upon which he primarily relied. Herbert E. Bolton Pageant in the Wilderness was the third English version to appear. The translation was apparently prepared by one of his graduate students, Miss Jessie Hazel Power, as a part of her M. A. program. She also relied mainly on the published Mexico City work, but checked some passages with manuscript copies from the Archivo General de Nación in Mexico City. These are later copies and also contain errors made by the scribes as they copied them. Bolton's long "Historical Introduction," while very well done, is virtually a paraphrasing of the journal with only an occasional editorial comment. His notes which accompany the text of the journal contain numerous errors.

It was therefore felt that, as a way to commemorate the two hundredth anniversary of the expedition during the bicentennial year of the United States, a new and definitive translation was appropriate in order to correct the numerous errors and false assumptions which have developed concerning it over the last half century and more.

This translation by Fray Angelico Chavez, a native New Mexico historian, poet, novelist, and Franciscan, is based primarily upon the earliest known manuscript copy of the journal. He has rendered it into . . .

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