The Epic Story of Spanish North America, 1493-1898
Bloomsbury Publishing, 9781632867223, 544pp.
Publication Date: March 5, 2019
An epic history of the Spanish empire in North America from 1493 to 1898 by Robert Goodwin, author of Spain: The Centre of the World.
At the conclusion of the American Revolution, half the modern United States was part of the vast Spanish Empire. The year after Columbus's great voyage of discovery, in 1492, he claimed Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands for Spain. For the next three hundred years, thousands of proud Spanish conquistadors and their largely forgotten Mexican allies went in search of glory and riches from Florida to California. Many died, few triumphed. Some were cruel, some were curious, some were kind. Missionaries and priests yearned to harvest Indian souls for God through baptism and Christian teaching.
Theirs was a frontier world which Spain struggled to control in the face of Indian resistance and competition from France, Britain, and finally the United States. In the 1800s, Spain lost it all.
Goodwin tells this history through the lives of the people who made it happen and the literature and art with which they celebrated their successes and mourned their failures. He weaves an epic tapestry from these intimate biographies of explorers and conquerors, like Columbus and Coronado, but also lesser known characters, like the powerful Gálvez family who gave invaluable and largely forgotten support to the American Patriots during the Revolutionary War; the great Pueblo leader Popay; and Esteban, the first documented African American. Like characters in a great play or a novel, Goodwin's protagonists walk the stage of history with heroism and brio and much tragedy.
About the Author
Praise For América: The Epic Story of Spanish North America, 1493-1898…
“The events and people who figure in these pages of centuries-spanning history are mostly well-known, from Cortés and Cabeza de Vaca to the Alamo, but the author's great strength is to give them layers of meaning that warrant a fresh look . . . recommended for any student of American history.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Goodwin adopts a page-turning style to convey the sheer magnitude of Spain in this period.” —Library Journal on SPAIN
“A highly readable account of the birth of the first global superpower.” —The Economist on SPAIN
“A bright, wide-ranging chronicle of the golden age of the Spanish empire . . . Any student of the Renaissance should read this excellent work showing Spain's enormous impact on the arts and, with her vast American empire, the world.” —Kirkus Reviews on SPAIN, "Best Books of 2015"
“This is history as it should be but so rarely is. It is told through lives lived, written out of passion, as well as deep knowledge. Goodwin makes English dance a flamenco; sometimes his prose whirls like a Dervish; sometimes it cuts like a surgeon's knife; it is never dull, though it knows when it needs to be measured.” —David Starkey on SPAIN
“What distinguishes Goodwin from other historians of the period is the sheer multiplicity of his perspectives. He is erudite and concise in covering familiar ground, while full of original insight when it comes to the motives and actions of the key players . . . [I]t is not enough to bring truth to history. One must also bring life--and this book has it in golden abundance.” —The Spectator on SPAIN