North American Exploration - Vol. 2

North American Exploration - Vol. 2

North American Exploration - Vol. 2

North American Exploration - Vol. 2

Excerpt

JOHN L. ALLEN

The six chapters in this volume encompass the exploration of North America from the Spanish entrada of the sixteenth century to the British and Russian explorations of the Pacific coastal regions in the closing years of the eighteenth century. Like the chapters in the preceding volume, these contributions differ in tone and approach, as befits a work of collaborative scholarship. Yet, each of the chapters in volume 2 of North American Exploration deals with the second critical period of the exploration of the continent, the time when the various regions of North America were brought to the light of European science and the time when that science began to understand the continent in ways very different from those of the sixteenth century. The process of "discovery," or finding, gave way to the process of "exploration" and, as the traditions of Enlightenment science developed, to understanding. No longer was North America thought of as an Asian promontory; the Renaissance worldview had given way to an Enlightenment geographical understanding based on a detailed examination of both Atlantic and Pacific coastal regions and on considerable penetrations of the continental interior. And although there were, by the end of the eighteenth century, still vast regions of terrae incognitae in North America, the basic outlines of the continent itself had been defined.

The volume begins with Spanish Penetrations to the North of New Spain byOakah L. Jones Jr., emeritus professor of history, Purdue University. In his comprehensive examination of the entrada and the exploration of the Borderlands, Jones notes that in the lands of northern New Spain and "La Florida" were two types of explorers: pathfinders and explorer- colonizers. The pathfinders explored and discovered the first native cultures and marked trails and geographical features across regions previously unexplored. The explorer-colonizers conducted explorations before or after establishing temporary or permanent settlements. Moving from the Caribbean Islands to the Florida and Carolina coasts and briefly to Chesapeake Bay, or from Mexico City into the kingdoms and provinces of northern New Spain--Pánuco, Sinaloa, Sonora, Pimeria Alta, the Califor nias . . .

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