cover of book

Spain and the Plains: Myths and Realities of Spanish Exploration and Settlement on the Great Plains
edited by Ralph H. Vigil, John R. Wunder and Frances W. Kaye
University Press of Colorado, 2007
eISBN: 978-1-60732-013-5 | Paper: 978-0-87081-837-0

The myths of settlement of the Great Plains usually conjure up images of Anglo-American pioneers moving into a sea of grass, opposed by Native peoples. Such myths leave out the considerable influence of Spain. Spain and the Plains corrects this error, revealing the Plains as a northern frontier of New Spain, a frontier antedating the northern European presence in North America, and a frontier where Spanish and Native peoples met, clashed, and blended.

Spain and the Plains introduces and documents Spanish exploration of and migration to the Plains, examines the myths that shaped Spanish exploration and the pragmatic realities of exploration and settlement, and documents racism and misrepresentation that Hispanic groups encountered in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Contributors show how early explorers, shaped by the intellectual context of the Renaissance, sought mythical locales: the fountain of youth, the straits of Anian, and the city of Quivira. They describe how exploration shifted to emphasize military and economic gains in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Essays portray the diaspora of Spanish settlers and reconstruct daily life in their settlements on the Plains.

This unique collection paints a clear picture of a crucial but often misrepresented and neglected era in American and Spanish history.

The editors, all authors of previous books, are affiliated with the Center for Great Plains Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where Frances W. Kaye is a professor of English, John R. Wunder is a professor of history and journalism, and Ralph H. Vigil is a professor emeritus of history and ethnic studies. Contributors include Félix D. Almaráz Jr., Thomas E. Chávez, Frances W. Kaye, Russell M. Magnaghi, Ralph H. Vigil, Waldo R. Wedel, and John R. Wunder.

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