The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 20, July 1916 - April, 1917

The Southwestern Historical Quarterly

BOOK REVIEWS AND NOTICES
The Founding of Spanish California. The Northwestward Ex-
passion of New Spain, 1687-1783. By Charles Edward
Chapman, Ph. D., Assistant Professor of History in the
University of California. (New York: The Macmillan
Company, 1916. Pp. xxxii, 485.)
Most of the contributions that have been made in recent years
to the history of the Spanish Southwest have dealt with their re-
spective fields largely from a local point of view. The writers
have been interested in the presentation of new facts of a narra-
tive nature, rather than in the discussion of the broader aspects
of their subject-in many cases with too little recognition of the
fact that the region in question was merely a small division of a
great 'colonial empire, and not an isolated, self-sufficient political
entity. Such treatment is more or less inevitable in the pioneer
work of developing a new field of historical research. Dr. Chap-
man's book shows clearly that the writing of the history of Cali-
fornia, at least, has passed beyond this early stage. Emphasis is
laid, not on the local events connected with the founding of Span-
ish establishments in California, which have been fairly well
known, but rather upon the general attitude and policies of the
Spanish government which were responsible for and explain such
local occurrences. The chief contribution of the book may be said,
therefore, to lie in the creation of a new and broader perspective
from which facts of local interest may be approached and inter-
preted. Such a study as Dr. Chapman has made is possible only
in the light of the great mass of original source materials to be
found in the archives of Spain, and it is to be noted that the
author has based his work almost entirely upon new documents
discovered by him in the General Archive of the Indies at Seville.
In order to provide a proper background for his subject, Dr.
Chapman first traces the northward expansion of New Spain from
its conquest to the beginning of settlement in the peninsula of
Lower California. In this opening chapter he has given an ex-
cellent summary of the complex movements which resulted in the
far northward extension of the frontier down to the close of the

404

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 20, July 1916 - April, 1917. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101070/. Accessed February 1, 2015.