By Jose Cortes, Elizabeth A.H. John, John Wheat
Lieutenant Jose Cortes of the Spanish Royal Corps of Engineers was once a prepared observer of the local peoples of the Northern Borderlands of recent Spain. in particular enthusiastic about the Apaches whom he saw at frontier presidios within the 1790s, he gleaned all attainable details from veterans of the frontier provider, and within the approach grew from sympathetic inquirer to digital recommend. spotting the strategic value not just of the Apacheria but in addition of Indian peoples within the farthest reaches of recent Spain, the zealous officer combed to be had documents, summarizing info said over 1 / 4 century through the nearest observers of latest Spain’s frontier peoples from the Mississippi to the Pacific. surroundings that details in a world strategic context, he paid specific attention--both admiring and cautionary--to the hot Anglo-American republic, stressing the demographic components making the USA one of these risky neighbor to New Spain.His ensuing file at the Northern Provinces of recent Spain presents the main heavily knowledgeable, most sensible geared up realizing of Apaches to be had on the finish of the eighteenth century. It additionally presents a unprecedented glimpse of a worldly Spaniard’s clutch of the risks boding the tip of Spanish empire in the USA.
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Extra info for Views from the Apache Frontier: Report on the Northern Provinces of New Spain
Fortunately, it was a responsible professional journal that had suffered the mishap of the misleading translation, and as soon as its staff could verify the accuracy of my submission, it published the corrective translation, only a year and a half after I discovered the discrepancy in Madrid. 1 While that clarification smoothed the way for publication of the book-length Cortés manuscript, translating the much shorter document for publication taught me just how grueling and time-consuming such a task could be.
From her perspective as an historian of the Spanish military experience in the Borderlands, Dr. Fireman had rated the Cortés Memorias naive about Apaches and thus of little importance, a judgment quite consistent with conventional wisdom. However, trends emerging in my own ethnohistorical research indicated that the Cortés work deserved more positive consideration. But would it merit publication? Since Dr. Fireman had cited a microfilm of the Cortés Memorias in Arizona, I wondered whether she or some other scholar of that region were already working with the document.
Then Page xiv knowing little about the welter of little tribes in present Arizona and California, I could only wonder about that segment of the Cortés effort, but subsequent investigation showed it to contain the best data available in that era. Whatever usefulness the Cortés data might or might not have for anthropologists, there seemed little doubt that this ambitious military engineer's report warrants historians' attention. At the very least, it summarizes the knowledge of Indians of the trans-Mississippi West that was available to Spanish officialdom in the dawn of the nineteenth century.